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Well That Changes Everything! September 27, 2018

Posted by nrhatch in Fiction, Mindfulness, People, Spirit & Ego.
16 comments

It’s awesome when gifts reveal that the giver “gets us.”

Especially since, unlike numbers, we don’t always add up.

We are not always easy to figure out.

We are conundrums.  ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

As it turns out, there’s a good reason for our internal inconsistencies.

On the one hand, we are the product of our experiences.

Every moment is a valuable link in an unbroken chain.

From first breath to last.

But . . .

Our memories are unreliable causing those “valuable links” to shift about like Hogwart’s staircases in an Escher print.

The “Real You” is a Myth.

A fabrication.

A self-styled creation.

An imaginary concoction cobbled together from snippets that may or may not be true.

“We constantly create false memories to help us achieve the identity we want.”

In short, we can’t rely on our memories to tell us who we are because the tangled collection of tangential and essential connections and choices that led to THIS door is mired in mystery.

So . . . where does that leave us?

Here.  Now.

Aah . . . that’s better!

To read more:  The “Real You” is a Myth (NeuroscienceNews.com)

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Fiction Prompt from Poets & Writers September 7, 2018

Posted by nrhatch in Fiction, Word Play, Writing & Writers.
16 comments

I received this Fiction Prompt from Poets & Writers today and found it intriguing:

What kind of story would you write for someone reading it one hundred years from now?

For Scottish artist Katie Paterson’s Future Library project, which started in 2014, she has commissioned Margaret Atwood, David Mitchell, Elif Shafak, Sjón, and Han Kang to write manuscripts that will remain unread in storage in an Oslo library until 2114. The texts will then be printed on paper made from one thousand trees planted in a Norwegian forest when the project began.

Write a short story with the notion that it won’t be read for one hundred years. While imagining a future generation of readers, explore themes involving time, eternity, and mortality.

Do you think that the participating writers will all abide by the “rules” . . . allowing their words to remain unread for 100 years?

Or will most/all of them keep a copy available to share with chosen readers before the designated date?

Aah . . . that’s better!

Celebration at Moonbeam Farm! July 19, 2018

Posted by nrhatch in Books & Movies, Fiction, Writing & Writers.
8 comments

Another new release!
This time short stories from the Moonbeam Farm gang!

Perfect to curl up with the next time you need a page turner . . .

Nuggets of Gold

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Time passed, and feeling CUCKOO may have happened sometimes while waiting!

And than, just like that …. it happened! It’s REAL! What was once just a dream is now available to be enjoyed by everyone and yes, my eyes may be a little wet!

51vje-ybqhl-_sx331_bo1204203200_

https://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_sb_noss?url=search-alias%3Dstripbooks&field-keywords=The+Odessa+Chronicles

https://books.friesenpress.com/store/title/119734000053250745/Carolyn-Shelton-and-Colin-Chappell-The-Odessa-Chronicles

Thank you dear readers for your support and encouragement throughout this wild and crazy adventure!

A special thank you to my amazing co-author, Colin, from https://meandray.com/. Thanks for what I often called your magic touch! Thanks for your patience also that may have been needed sometimes in working with me. How did Moonbeam Farm get its name again? 🙂

Also a big thanks to the very talented artist Jodi McKinney from https://lifeinbetween.me, You been with us from the very beginning of this dream, from the first story that appeared on my blog, and you made our beloved characters look awesome!

Looking for adventure? Take…

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It’s Release Day! July 17, 2018

Posted by nrhatch in Books & Movies, Fiction, Writing & Writers.
12 comments

Need a summer beach read?
Check out . . . A Father For Bella by Jill Weatherholt.

It’s hot off the presses!

Jill Weatherholt

A

IN STORES AND ON AMAZON.COM

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Little Pitchers Have Big Ears February 10, 2017

Posted by nrhatch in Fiction, Humor, Writing & Writers.
48 comments

Donald-Duck-BaseballMy feet dragged down the hall.

I found my older brother Wally sprawled on his bed doing homework.

He glanced up, saw my glum face, and said, “Hey, Teddy.  What’s wrong?”

“Mom and dad are getting divorced.”

Wally shook his head.  “No way, you doofus . . . they’re BFFs.”

“I heard her say so.”

“To who?”

“Don’t know.  Her bedroom door was closed.”

“What did you hear?”

“Hmm . . . ‘I’m tired of being taken for granted.  I want to be swept off my feet’ . . . whatever that means.”

“That doesn’t mean they’re getting divorced.”

“Duh!  I know that!  I’m not stupid.”

“Duly noted.  What else did you hear?”

I better get flowers this Valentine’s Day . . . or I’m getting a divorce.”

Wally frowned.  “I don’t get it.  Mom doesn’t even like flowers.  She has allergies.  They make her sneeze.  I wonder if . . .”

Just then, mom appeared at the door.

“Hey, guys, guess what!  That play I auditioned for . . . I got the part!  Rehearsals start tonight so I’m busy going over my lines.  Pizza OK for dinner?”

Wally nodded.  “Pizza’s great. Hey, mom, do your lines mention flowers, divorce, and Valentine’s Day?”

Now mom looked confused. “Yes. How did you know that?”

“A little pitcher told me.”

I grinned at Wally and hugged mom. “Great news, mom.  Break a leg!”

* * * * * *

Written for Susanna’s 2nd Annual Valentiny Writing Contest.  Entries accepted through 2/14.  Complete rules ~> HERE.

 

 

 

Spools of Gossamer Thread February 11, 2016

Posted by nrhatch in Fiction, Word Play, Writing & Writers.
23 comments

448px-Alice_05a-1116x1492If writers wrote only from first hand experience and observation without extrapolation, we would not have been gifted with:

Harry Potter
Gulliver’s Travels
Alice in Wonderland
Mary Poppins
A Christmas Carol

When writers write from the heart, our worlds collide into a kaleidoscope of shared experience.

Hookah optional.

Of course, we never step into the same stream, book, or painting twice ~ it’s always New . . . Now.

170px-Alice_par_John_Tenniel_02Why insist on writing only “what we know” when most thoughts and memories flow from fertile imaginations fueled by spools of gossamer threads?

Keep honoring your creative curiosity!

Even if you end up chasing harried white rabbits bewitched by pocket watches.

Aah . . . that’s better!

Related posts:  You Don’t Know What It’s Like To Be . . . (Behind The Story) * How Jack Daniels Kicked The Bucket (Another Day in Paradise)

A Brand New Day January 27, 2016

Posted by nrhatch in Fiction, People, Spirit & Ego.
46 comments

Turtle-Underwater“When is the viewing?”

“No viewing.  He’s already been cremated.  All that’s left is ash.”

“WHAT?!  How could you do that?!  You knew we’d want to see him again.  And that we’d want to bury him in the family plot next to mom and dad.”

“Hmm . . . to be honest, I didn’t consider what you wanted.  HE wanted to be cremated.  I arranged for his cremation.”

“But you should have let us view him first!”

“Why?  That’s not what HE wanted.  HE didn’t want people admiring the work of a mortician, talking about how peaceful HE looked.”

Lotus“But we wanted to see him again!”

“Too bad. Too little. Too late.”

“What’s that supposed to mean?”

“It means HIS wishes trumped yours.”

“That’s not good enough.  How could you ignore what WE wanted?!

“I’m sure you can figure it out.”

“Spell it out for me anyway.  I want to understand why you chose to disregard OUR wishes.”

“OK.  Here goes:  He called you. And called you. And called you. And YOU did not call back. YOU didn’t write. YOU didn’t visit. YOU ignored him while he was alive so I felt no need to accommodate YOUR egocentric desires once he died. HE asked to be cremated. I honored that request. Case closed.”

“But you had no right to cremate OUR brother!”

300px-Paradiso_Canto_31“Of course I did.  If I didn’t have the legal right to dispose of his remains, the funeral home would have refused my request.”

“That’s not what I meant! You should have called US to see what WE wanted.”

“I don’t see it that way. And, even if you could somehow convince me now, it’s too late.  It’s a done deal.  Deal with it.”

“He never should have married you!”

“But HE did.  And now he’s dead.  It’s a brand new day.”

Aah . . . that’s better!

When someone dies . . . should the wishes of the deceased trump the desires of the mourners?

Experience Inspiration & Wonder July 15, 2015

Posted by nrhatch in Books & Movies, Fiction, Writing & Writers.
44 comments

poems_inspiration-1Life is in the details, the cobwebs in the corners, the echoes of tarnished memories tap dancing over dusty hardwood floors.

Writers bring ashes of the past to the surface, quilting tapestries of interwoven gilded threads.

Our words, when real, create connection.

Stories reel us in when driven by believable characters residing in the “real world” (even if that world is make believe ~ like Harry Potter and Hogwart’s).

When characters feel real, we understand where they’re coming from, we relate to their challenges, we feel their pain, and we want to see them succeed.

We keep turning pages.  We wonder what’s coming next.

220px-TennieldumdeeWonder is why I love Mary Poppins, Nanny McPhee, Harry Potter, and Alice ~> the perfect juxtaposition between familiar elements (British nanny, boarding school) with unfamiliar elements (tea parties on the ceiling, shifting staircases, rabbit holes).

These stories cast charming and disarming spells:  Expelliarmus!

Aah . . . that’s better!

Related:  The Stanton Effect: Inspiration from a TED Talk (El Space ~ The Blog of L. Marie) * Write From Experience (El Space) * Invoking Wonder (El Space)

A Bolt of Lightning December 8, 2014

Posted by nrhatch in Fiction, Gratitude, Happiness, Life Balance.
88 comments

2014-11-30 13-50-44_0013Joan flipped through sales flyers for the mall, planning her attack for Black Friday.  The front door slammed with insistence.

“M-O-M!  Christmas is ruined!”

“What?”

“The mall exploded!  It got hit by lightning and a generator blew up. It’s closed until January.”

“January?”

“Yes!  Christmas is ruined!”

“Calm down . . . there’s always Cyber Monday.”

“Ugh.  I hate on-line shopping.  No pushing.  No shoving.  No lines.”

Joan smiled at her daughter.  “And worst of all . . . no food court!”

Cathy collapsed into a chair.  “I’m going to go into serious sugar withdrawal without my weekly Cinnabon!”

Tossing the flyers into recycling, Joan stood.  “Don’t worry.  We’ll think of something.”

Joan found her husband tinkering at his workbench. “Paul, the mall has closed in a puff of smoke.”

“So I heard.”

“You did?”

“Yup.  I heard Cathy’s concerns about Christmas and Cinnabons loud and clear.”

santa0001

“What are we going to do?”

“About?”

“Are you daft?  Shopping.  Gifts. Christmas.  Ringing any bells?”

Paul caught Joan’s gaze. “Let’s make hand-made gifts.”

“You have sawdust for brains.”

“Hear me out.  Instead of poring over flyers, hunting for parking spots, and lugging piles of stuff home, let’s create gifts from the heart.  I’ll make wooden trains, planes, and puzzles for the kids. And a pipe rack for your dad.”

“What about me?”

“Your friends would love your homemade fudge or toffee . . . or one of your famous Grand Marnier cakes. You could make your mom that wreath she’s wanted.”

Warming to the idea, Joan returned to the kitchen and grabbed her recipe file.

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Soon delicious aromas circulated, mingling with carols.  As fragrant cakes baked, Joan created a starfish and sand dollar wreath for her mom, scented candles for her sister, and an afghan for Cathy.

Paul spent hours in his workshop emulating Santa’s elves.  Sawdust flying.

Cathy mastered the art of the Cinnabon.

Instead of waiting for the Big Day, Joan, Paul, and Cathy delivered treats to delighted friends throughout December.

Christmas morning, Cathy served fresh home-baked Cinnabons to her parents and grandparents.

Between bites, Joan grinned at Paul, “Hey, sawdust for brains! That was some bolt of lightning.”

Aah . . . that’s better!

Written for Susanna’s 4th Annual Holiday Contest.  Entries accepted through 12/12.  Complete rules and other Merry & Bright Submissions ~> HERE.

2014-12-01 14-10-09_0014

Joan’s famous Grand Marnier Bundt Cake:

1 pkg. yellow cake mix
1 small package instant vanilla pudding mix
1/2 cup cooking oil
1/2 cup orange juice
1/2 cup Grand Marnier (or other orange liqueur)
4 eggs
1/2 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 tsp. cloves
1/4 tsp. nutmeg

Combine all ingredients and mix well, about 5 minutes, with an electric mixer or whisk.  Pour into a well-greased and floured fluted Bundt pan (or 10-inch tube pan).  Bake in pre-heated 325 degree oven for about 50 minutes.  

OPTIONAL: Drizzle with Grand Marnier glaze or sprinkle with confectioner’s sugar.  NOTE:  Cake Freezes well before topping.

CHEF Left A Bad Taste In My Mouth November 5, 2014

Posted by nrhatch in Books & Movies, Fiction, Happiness, Humor.
35 comments

Snoopy5Some movies leave a bad taste in your mouth.

It’s not just that you feel you wasted your time by watching it, but you feel they wasted their time by filming it, marketing it, distributing it.

CHEF is just such a movie:

* Chef Carl Casper loses his job at a prominent L.A. restaurant when he refuses to compromise his creative integrity in the kitchen.

* He teams up with his pre-pubescent son to launch a food truck in Miami.

* He reignites his passion in the kitchen by pressing paninis and frying yucca.

A plausible premise poorly prepared and implausibly served . . . with plot holes large enough to swallow a Food Truck.

The biggest problem is the time line.

In a single day, a short 24-hours, Chef and his 8-year-old son manage to clean out a dilapidated, worn out 1988 food truck (delivered with food rotting in the fridge), shop for ALL the supplies they need to trick it out, install new kitchen equipment (flat top, stove, fryers, etc.), buy food, test out the menu, and get the messed up exterior of the food truck  professionally painted ~> effectively turning a rotting pumpkin into a gilded chariot overnight.

Cinderella couldn’t have accomplished that level of transformation with the help of her fairy godmother’s magic wand.

By Day #2, Chef, his son, and a faithful sous chef (who dropped everything to fly across country and get the show on the road) start serving Hot Cubanos on South Beach.  To immediate acclaim.

A police officer parts the crowd to ask Chef and his Merry Men if they have a permit to serve food.

They do!

How’d that happen?  When’d that happen?

But wait!

Satisfied that they have perfected the panini, the trio commence a road trip across country, stopping for beignets in New Orleans ~ a promised treat for the son.  In the time it takes to eat a bag of beignets and brush the sugar dust from their lips, a line forms around the block with people anxious to eat Chef’s Cuban sandwiches.  They’re just that good!

Who knew that a food truck license from Miami would transfer to the Big Easy?

But wait!  They continue on to California, with a pit stop for Pit Bar-B-Q in Austin Texas.  Chef believes he has reclaimed his Culinary Integrity by serving cubans, sliders, beignets, and fried yucca ~> not exactly the inspired menu we envisioned him creating when he quit his job because he couldn’t exercise complete Creative Control in the kitchen.

Now, instead of crafting Molten Lava Cakes around frozen ganache, he and his merry band are sliding ham & cheese sandwiches out of a panini press, frying up yucca, and serving barbecue sliders . . . on store-bought rolls.

Boring!

I could think up a more creative menu than that and I don’t even own a Chef’s knife.

Or a magic wand.

But wait!

The food critic who panned the Chef’s mundane menu falls in love with Chef’s glorified grilled cheese sandwiches and offers to partner with him by opening up a new restaurant.

Of course he does.

So Chef abandons the food truck (and his longed for autonomy and creative freedom) to work for someone else.  Again.

Why do I have the feeling of déjà vu?

Oh, right . . . because he’s right back where he started.

Of course, by following his heart, Chef reunites with his son, re-kindles the flame with his ex-wife, and they remarry.

In his new restaurant.

How’s that for a happily-ever-after ending?

Aah . . . that’s better!