Check below for information about my podiobook, "The Price of Friendship"

Creative Commons License
The Price of Friendship by Philip 'Norvaljoe' Carroll is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 United States License.

Saturday, April 25, 2009

Guess Toast

This week I had a new experience. I was invited to guest host the Great Hites podcast. It was a lot of fun and I learned a lot while doing it. I mainly learned that I sound like a robot when I try to just talk. I feel like I am getting better at reading my stories, but I found when I was doing into's or commenting on someone elses stories, I was a bit stilted.

The most fun was making up some feedback. Here it is:

Here is some feedback from someone named William Shatner. He says:

Excellent story, Mr. Roche, I think Gene would have liked it, if he were still around to read it. As captain of the enterprise, there was one thing I always liked to tell myself… Peace or...UTTER's up to you. Take that for what its worth, Scott. Oh, and if you ever need a good price on a hotel room, just tweet me @therealenterprisecaptain, and I’ll negotiate something special for you.

(Thanks Mr. Shatner, coming from someone who spent so much time in the enterprise, that is a real compliment)

Here is some feeback from Barak Obama:

Dear Jeff, I and all the chiefs of staff love your podcast. I have my speech writers working on an entry for the anniversary episode #52. I think that the prompt ‘It's been a year what I have done with myself’ seems like an appropriate subject for this administration. We’ll see if they can get it written in enough time for me to record it.

(Thanks Mr. President. We’ll look forward to your entry, It will be kind of like a state of the union address with out everyone standing up and applauding all the time.)

OK, here is another one from someone calling herself Hillary Rodham-Clinton, she says:

Ashley, I’ve finally found you. Are you trying to avoid me? I miss our late night talks and long walks on the beach. Call me, your cousin, Hillary.

(Hmm. Well, take that for what it’s worth.)

Finally, here is some feedback from someone who calls herself, “Madam Fatima, psychic, fortune teller, palm reader.”

She says “Great Hites is one of the most popular podcasts amongst dead people. They have been sending me E-mails and asking me to forward them on to you. Some examples are:

Elvis says “Thank you very much.”
Marilyn Monroe and John F. Kennedy say “Great podcast, love the variety.”
Ronald Reagan says “Thanks for quoting me, I came up with that myself”
Richard Nixon says “Expletive deleted”
And Shakespear says, “Beware the ides of March”

Well, that’s a little late….oh, (ha, ha, ha) They sent the feedback in February. Typical, huh?
Gene Rodenbury says, "Checking with legal right now to see if there are any copyright violations. ROFL. Not really, love your story Scott, you're doing a great job."
Well, that’s if for feed back.

I probably spent 5 to 6 hours working on the podcast. I'm sure that would cut way down, once I got used to how it is done. A lot of time was spent lining up the music after importing it from an mp3. That being done, would make it faster as well.

I also volunteered to record anyones story that wasn't able to record, or was afraid to. I'm hoping someone will take me up on that. I think reading what someone else had written would really improve my skill at presenting.

Here is my story for episode #50 of Great Hites. I had more people read this before recording than I have ever had before. I found through their feedback, that the theme of the story wasn't clear, and the story was confusing at times. It is one of my favorites so far, and I hope to add to it.

The prompt was "He found himself if a very unfamiliar place. Here it is:

'No Body but you'
He woke up to find that he was having a bad day. He could tell that it was, because his body was missing, again. Though it was usually difficult to think clearly when he was separate from his body, it didn't take much mental processing to see that his body was, in fact, gone.
"It must be Wednesday", he thought, "this kind of thing always seems to happen on Wednesdays." He was pretty sure that it was mid-week though he couldn't be sure or the exact day, separated from his body as he was.
He walked across the bedroom floor and ducked his head as he walked under the bed. He didn't need to worry about hitting his head on the bed frame, since his his head was with his body, but of course, it wouldn't occur to him in his current state. He ducked his head out of habit; this is the nice thing about habits, they don't require thought, you just do them. He walked around under the bed, looking in an empty shoe box and behind neglected stuffed animals.
It was a pleasant spring morning in New Orleans; it was warm enough for short sleeves, but not at all like the sticky humid heat that would come with the summer. The young family was strolling casually down Bourbon Street. Traffic was light, being the middle of the week, early in the day, and not during The Mardi Gras. Still the young couple was vigilant in keeping their daughter close to them at all times.
As they crossed a small side street, she broke from her mothers hand and dashed up the alley shouting, "Dolly, Mommy, dolly!" The parents caught up to her as she reached a grimy shop window, and peered into the darkness, her nose pressed hard against the glass. The faded gold leaf name on the window identified the shop only as 'Jezareel'.
Through the window they could see in the dimly lit shop, the homeliest excuse for a doll either of the parents had ever seen. Its bald ceramic head was expressionless with its black beans for eyes and a small flat horizontal cleft for a mouth. The body appeared to be made of random pieces of thread, yarn, twine and cloth, wrapped tightly around old popsicle sticks and twigs. Its only clothing was a simple cotton serape, held in place by a piece of yarn around its waist.
The father felt a chill run down his spine as he looked at the ugly doll, discomfort growing with each passing moment. The girl kept her face pressed against the window, trying to get the best view. Finally, he said to the girl, "No, honey, you have enough dolls at home, you don't need any more. Come on, let's go."
Her tantrum was so sudden and violent that both parents stood, shocked, mouths open, staring at what they could not believe was their child. Eventually, they broke from their stasis. They knelt to console the girl and try to convince her to come along back to the hotel. They coaxed, bribed and threatened, but nothing would calm her.
When she stopped her screaming, it was as sudden and shocking as when it had started. With a great sob and sigh, it abruptly ceased. Relieved that the ordeal was over, her parents looked around to see who else had witnessed the embarrassing event.
A woman stood in the open doorway of the small shop. She was as old and dark and dusty as the store itself. So wrinkled and small it was impossible to determine her ethnicity. Was she French, Spanish, or African? They couldn't tell.
"Madam Jezareel sees the dolls little girl," she slurred mysteriously in a rich southern accent. "Come," she commanded them, "The doll must be held."
They followed Madam Jezareel into a shop so small that here was barely room enough for all to sit around a small table without bumping the walls or one another. On the table and on a bookshelf there were bits and pieces; scraps of cloth, snips of thread, beans and soft, grey, clay; to make more dolls, but there were no other dolls near completion.
The old woman placed the doll in the little girls lap, who immediately hugged it around the middle of its lumpy body. Jezareel closed her eyes and began repeating arcane words while moving her hands in circles in the air between herself and the doll. At times she would raise her voice in volume while raising her hands higher into the air. At other times she barely whispered the incomprehensible words. At one point, when she was getting fairly worked up, her hands making great circles, her voice a shrieking wail, she inhaled a bit of saliva, that caused her to pause her incantation. She sat, looking ahead, for a few, long seconds, and made a small cough; then another. At first, it appeared that her coughing was under control, but soon she was hacking and choking, spraying the family with spittle with each wheezing gasp. Eventually, she stood, beating herself on the chest, coughing and gasping for air. Just as the girls parents stood to see if they could help the old woman, the hacking subsided.
She sighed and sat back down, as if this was nothing out of the ordinary. With her chin raised and her eyes closed, she took several deep calming breaths.
She took up her chanting where she had left off, and while it was not as frenzied, she spoke much more rapidly. The now recognizable arcane words and phrases came to a sudden stop. Jezareel sat with her hands flat on the table, eyes closed and breathing steadily and deeply.
She opened her eyes and looked at the doll, still clutched tightly in the little girls arms. The surprise was evident on the old woman's face. She stood again and reached for the doll. The girl was reluctant, but allowed the doll to be taken from her. The old woman held the doll close to her wrinkled face and squinted into its black bean eyes. She supported it by placing her hands under the dolls arms and shook it lightly. "Dear me," she said, "dear, dear, dear, dear, me." Then placing it face down, its stomach on one of her hands, she patted it on the back with her other hand, like she was burping a very small baby. She turned it onto its back, its lifeless stick and twine arms flailing behind it. "My, my, my, my, my", she said, shaking her head.
"Well," she said, an unmistakable note of finality in her voice as she handed the doll back to the little girl who quickly took it and clutched it again to her chest. "Well," she said again, firmly and with a nod. The family understood that they were being dismissed. They left the shop in a daze and wandered back to their hotel as if the unusual evens of the morning had been a dream. All the while, the little girl held the mysterious gift tightly, but lovingly in her arms; evidence that the experience had been real.
He crept out from underneath the bed, careful, again, not to bump his head on the bed frame. He scanned the floor, the corners of the room, the furniture and bookshelves. There was no sign of his body.
He went to the door and looked up and down the hallway. To his horror; if he could have felt horror without his body; perhaps his body, where ever it was, was feeling the very horror, that his brain was having difficulty perceiving at that moment; in the hallway outside the bedroom door, was a piece of himself.
He bent to pick it up, but couldn't, naturally, not having a body to pick it up with. But it felt good to be near it, and he did know that if felt good. He followed the bits of himself down the hall and around a corner until he found himself in an entirely foreign and wholly unfamiliar place. He knew the bedroom, the kitchen and dining rooms, the tv room, all places his girl had carried him. He had never been in this tiny room. There were two large white machines, boxes of soap powder on shelves, and brooms and mops hanging from hooks on the wall. Next to the white machines was a large plastic pan with sand in it, and an awful odor exuding from with in. He could smell the odors, hear the sounds, and began to understand what was happening.
With a rush, comprehension and realization he woke him to his dilemma. There, before him, between its litter box and its bowl of water, he found himself in the razor sharp claws of the family cat. With its wicked teeth it tore at his body of string, and yarn and pieces of cloth. Suddenly back in his body he could feel the burning pain of the cats teeth and claws as it chewed on his head, neck and chest.

The 100 word challenge this week was, "Falling Bricks Hurt", and my story is:

Blocks away, across the city park, he set up the complicated apparatus. Multifaceted photoreceptors gathered solar power. He laughed vengefully as he flipped the lever on the clattering machine. A wormhole disintegrated the lower half of his ex-girlfriends apartment building, the upper half of the clay brick structure, subsequently, dropping though.
His victory over the woman, who embarrassed him in front of all his friends, was short lived.
The falling bricks hurt for only a moment, as the last of the upper three floors of apartment building dropped out of the other side of the wormhole, directly over his head.


Tuesday, April 14, 2009


I wanted the post about to be above the post of this weeks stories, where this post is. Please refer to the NAMI post, which is much further down.


This weeks stories

This week I have taken a mental illness theme. It is often a theme, in my mind. I wrote 'The Dishwasher' first, and then followed the Smelly Rose prompt with a similar story. (But much shorter.)

Here is the 100 word challenge story:

The smelly rose powder told Johnny his mother was going out even before he saw her wearing the dress that showed too much of her legs.
"Don't go out, Mom. Stay home and watch a movie with me." He begged.
Anger flashed momentarily in her eyes. "You know Mommy needs her medicine. My friend, John, said he can get some."
There was a knock at the door.
"Go to bed by Ten. I'll be out pretty late."
Johnny saw a grubby hand with dirty finger nails grasp his mothers arm as she left the house.
Johnny went straight to bed.

I began my recording of 'The Dishwasher' with some philosophy about harmonica playing versus playing the blues. If you want to hear that, you'll have to go to the Great Hites podcast. Here is the story:

The Dish Washer
He picked up the cup to put it into the sanitizer. The handle dropped off and broke into several pieces on the floor. "Why they don't change all these for plastic," he grumbled and bent to pick up the pieces. His hand reaching for the closest piece, he stopped and stood back up. He kicked the pieces under the sanitizer, then quickly looked around to see if anyone had seen him do it. They would make him move the heavy machine and clean underneath it, if he gave them the slightest reason.
He looked into the sanitizer, there didn't seem to be any room for the cup that he held in his hand. It was chock full with chipped and broken coffee cups, cracked and stained plates, and beer glasses so completely covered with hard water spots that they appeared opaque, even frosted.
He took out three of the glasses, moved some coffee cups and replaced the glasses, leaving enough room for the newly handless cup. The rack of cups, glasses and bowls was a fascinating and intricate utilization and conservation of space.
Unhappily resigned that the arrangement couldn't be improved, he pushed the rack shut and lowered the door of the sanitizer. He poked the green button to start the cycle.
Twice he turned from the deep stainless steel sink where the bus boy had dumped more dishes into hot, soapy water; he turned to stop the sanitizer and rearrange the cups. Instead, he stopped himself and went back to hand washing the dishes.
He had been warned; and he knew that they were watching; he could feel their eyes on his back, when they were in the room with him. They told him, "Do it fast. Just throw them in there and they'll come out clean." He heard it from them everyday, each time they caught him reorganizing the cups and bowls for greater efficiency. "Just thrown them in there", he muttered, reaching into the warm suds and rubbing the food off another plate.
He dipped the plate back into the soapy water and lifted it to watch the soap bubbles ooze off the plate and down from his wrist to drip off his elbow. He studied his deformed reflection on the wet surface of the cheap white ceramic plate. He watched his nose grow large and then small as a ripple of soapy water moved by.
"Robert Mc Feergan", the announcer said, and Robert got to his feet and walked across the stage. An honors graduate in Mathematics, he had continued his studies and received his masters and doctorate degrees in Statistics. He could see himself on that hot, June, Arizona day shaking the deans hand, receiving his diploma. As he turned and walked back to his seat, his young wife, with tears of pride in her eyes, blew him a kiss.
"Robert Mc Feergan," he suddenly said out loud to the plate, now mostly dry, in his hand. He held it up. "I present you with the plate of ignominy. The highest award for failure to perform to ones potential. For your outstanding service as a dishwasher, for the ability to clean even the grimiest of plates under the most favorable of conditions, I award you the plate of shame." His voice was raising in both fervor and pitch. "Take it you fool. Carry it with you, for all to see. So that all may no the limitless potential of your ineptitude and incompetence." The waiters were staring in through the open door. Customers were getting from their seats, trying to see the cause of the commotion.
Looking again at the plate, his image faint and deformed, he was revolted. As if suddenly realizing that he was holding rotten meat in his hands, teaming with maggots and roaches, he screamed, "No! I won't have it!" He threw the plate to the floor with such violence that it unbalanced him and he fell forward, striking his head on the corner of the stainless steel sink.
The shock and pain of hitting his head brought him out of his rant, to find himself on hands and knees, watching a pool of blood, on the floor, rapidly growing in size, as his blood flowed steadily from the gash on his head.
The hostess rushed over, "Oh, Bobby. Your head. Here, here is a cold towel. Sit down and hold the towel on your head." Her hand was on his shoulder, and he felt himself turning to sit, and taking the towel from her hand, pressing it to where he felt a sharply dull pain at the crest of his head.
"That's it Bob." The owner walked in. "I've had enough. No more broken dishes, no more screaming rants, no more scaring the customers. Here is your pay, plus an extra day. Take it and don't come back."
"I'm sorry, Jack." He could hear himself saying. "I'm sorry, my head is bleeding."
"I'm sorry, too, Bob, but you have to go. We've tried this and it's not working."
"My head is bleeding," Robert repeated as he got to his feet, he could hear the surprise in his own voice, as if he had just realized why he was holding the towel to his head.
"Go Bob. There's a clinic down the road, you know where it is." Jack took him by the elbow, and lead him to the back door.
The light outside was brilliant and harsh. He squinted up the road in the direction of the clinic. He took several steps in that direction, then abruptly turned to cross the street. Amid the honking of horns and cursing of drivers, he made his way to the liquor store. He stepped toward the door but stopped just short of it, sudden horror turning his insides to water, and he felt a wet warmth running down his leg.
In the reflection of the glass door, he saw a monster. Equal in size and nature to the famous Frankenstein monster. It held its overly large head with one hand, blood covering its misshapen face. In its other hand it clutched a wad of $20 bills. The macabre image faded into that of his own, but as urine pooled around his feet, in shame and frustration, he realized that he couldn't enter the business, in such a condition.
He shoved the bills into one urine soaked pocket. He turned toward the clinic again, but after only a dozen steps he stopped. His head hurt, the world was starting to spin, and his wet clothing chafed his thighs as he walked. He swayed a bit and then sat heavily in the middle of the sidewalk trying to keep the world from spinning around him. However, he soon toppled to his side, vertigo and weakness sapping his balance.
Overwhelmed by his impotence, in pain and self pity, he lay on his side weeping, pedestrians careful to step around him, and careful not to look too closely at him.
He knew that he should go to the clinic, but he couldn't. They would ask too many questions. "What is your street address?" "Who is your next of kin?" "Do you have your insurance card?" "Are you taking any medications?"
Medication! That's what he needed, he shifted his body and looked in the direction of the liquor store. He felt for the money in his pocket. "I just need a drink," he groaned. If he could just get some whiskey he would be alright. He would feel even again, in control. That is why he washes dishes, after all; to buy alcohol. He was too proud to pan handle; still, he needed to get the whiskey, his medicine, to make him feel right, so that he could be himself.
He stood on the front porch of his suburban home staring at the door, the frustrations of the office, like a recent sunburn, persistently aggravating and refusing to cool, even with the passage of time. He stared at the faux antique door knocker, just below the peep hole and in his mind, as if it came directly from a Dickens novel, the knocker took the shape of a human visage. But it wasn't the ghostly visage of a deceased miserly business partner; it was his own. He pointed his finger at the door and shouted, "You know that I should be the one running that place. I'm the Vice president of production! If they would just listen to me, they could be so much more efficient. Instead it's, 'No, Robert, that would take too much time' or, 'Put that idea down of paper, Bob, and we can see if we can whittle it down to make it more cost effective.' It's been three years now, and they haven't used a single idea that I've presented. Why'd they hire me, if they won't implement any of my programs."
He rubbed his face with a sweaty hand, put his key in the lock, and turned it. Strange, the door was unlocked. He would have to talk with Karen; he had lectured her before on keeping the doors locked when she was at home, without him there. He had to lecture her a lot recently; leaving lights on, windows open, going outside in a halter top, and how she was raising their little girl; she was getting a bit spoiled, and only three years old.
He pushed open the door, "Kare?", he called out. "Honey? You left the door unlocked again, you know how mad that makes me," his voice trailed off, as he realized that there was nobody home. As he walked through the door to the kitchen he could see the piece of paper on the table. He stopped and stood just inside the doorway, as if not approaching it, not reading it, would make it not real.
The sun had set, and he had to turn on the light to read it, when he finally approached the letter. "We're gone. Don't try to find us, you won't be able to. I've taken all we need, you can have the rest." 'What more was there?', he asked himself in despair.
He sat at the table and wept. He only got up to go to the liqueur cabinet, filled a laundry basket with as many bottles as he could and returned to the kitchen table, where he stayed for days. The phone range, people pounded on his doors and windows, but he never answered, never even moved. Finally, weeks later, the police came; they broke open the door and took him; filthy, emaciated, barely coherent; to the hospital.
Here were the police, again. He looked up from where he lay on the sidewalk, holding his bleeding scalp. "What are you doing there, pal? Been in a fight?" A cop with a night stick in his had was asking. "You got an address, bum?" The second cop said, "I think you must be a vagrant. You know we don't want vagrants bothering the decent people around here."
He rose on one elbow, looking around, expecting to see vagrants chasing decent people around, threatening them with bad breath and body odor. 'Decent people', he thought. 'I'm a decent person, what about me.' "I'm bleeding" he shouted at the cop, "can't you see I'm bleeding?" He was getting to his feet, to speak to the policeman face to face. "I have more education than the two of you combined," he wanted to shout at them, and make them see that he was a decent man, as decent as any other citizen. All he got out was, "I have more," when the first cop hit him with the night stick.
Riding in the back of the police cruiser Robert Mc Feergan was about to reenter the American mental healthcare system; prison, limited counseling, even more limited medication, and then back onto the street.
'Well,' he thought, 'At least they use plastic cups in prison.'

Last weeks stories

Here are my stories from last week.

The 100 word story was in response to some comments that Lawrence made about Inigo Montoya during the 100 word challenge the previous week. If you have listened to the 100 word podcast, you know that he has a, somewhat, foul mouth.

The prompt was, 'Rusty Steel'.

Inigo lay dead, the thrust to his heart so rapid and deadly that little blood oozed from the fatal wound.
It wasn't a thrust from the shinning, razor-sharp, blade of a master swordsman, like Arnesto Cervantes, nor was it the rusty steel of a clandestine, blackguard, mercenary.
He had no opportunity to use the Agrippa defense and take advantage of uneven ground, or engage in witty banter with his attacker.
He couldn't thrust his fist into the gaping wound and difiantly challenge his murderer.
Lawrence cut him down with an attack he could not counter; an expletive to the heart.

On the Great Hites site, the prompt was, 'And where shall we go for the Honey Moon.'
I thought it would be fun to write a story about weiner dogs, so my story was called 'Hot Dogs in the Park'.

It was a pleasant day in the city park, and though it was the lunch hour, they were the only two there.
He smiled a toothy grin at her, winked his eye, and licked his lips. She looked his way and sniffed the air; It wasn't as if she needed to, she could smell him without even trying. He didn't smell bad, just not very interesting.
He walked over and sat down next to her, as she lay, sunning herself. "Your big head is casting a shadow on me," she said and looked away. Now that he was close enough for her to really see him, she realized that he wasn't bad looking at all.
He stood and walked around to her other side and sat again. She found herself looking directly at his chest; full, nicely shaped and muscular.
She snorted; an awkward, accidental, sound, and she was aghast. She turned to look away from him, again, trying to hide her embarrassment.
He leaned over, his mouth close to her ear. "What do I have to do to keep your attention", he whined, then he laughed.
'Oh, you have it!', she thought. She was getting used to his smell and there was something attractive about it.
"I don't know," she said eventually, "Tell me something interesting."
He thought for a moment. "I'm pure," he said, hopefully.
She rolled her eyes. "That's what they all say. And that's not very interesting, anyway."
"OK," he said, "You have the most alluring, deepest brown eyes that I have ever seen. They draw me and suck me into them, and hold me there; they tell me that I am your pet, that I must be obedient to your every command."
She grinned, and said, "That's close. And very flattering, I might add. But I want to hear something that says, 'This guy is something special!' I want to hear something that Wows me."
He thought for a moment more, and with a gleam in his eye, he said, "I'm a super hero. I can fly."
She couldn't help it; she laughed out loud. "That's one I haven't heard before," she said and laughed again. Her laugh was a magical song that lifted him to his feet. She stood as well and he leaned his chest into her and her scent was an intoxicating perfume.
She playfully pushed her shoulder into his chest, and said, "You are kind of cute, maybe we could meet for dinner some time."
He was overcome by her nearness and nuzzled his nose behind her ear. He licked her neck. The sensation that rippled from her head to her toes was thrilling, but it was sudden and unexpected. She turned her head to look directly in his eyes and said, "Hold on, Turbo. You're moving a bit fast. I mean, shall we choose where to have the honeymoon, first, or just start naming the children." Her comment more biting than she intended.
He was slow; he was a guy after all; but he clearly read the sarcasm in her tone, and was abashed. She could see the shock on his face and the hurt in his eyes, as he looked down. She felt guilty and small. "Hold on," she said, "I just mean, we only met. Let's take our time."
Just then, a woman approached. "Oh," she breathed, "I have to go. I'll see you around, sometime, ok?" She turned and left.
He sat down, dejectedly, to watch her leave, her stubby legs beating a rapid cadence as she hurried after the woman.
Shocked with realization, he jumped to his feet and barked after her, "I'm Fritz! My name is Fritz!" Floating on the wind, he heard her laugh; that magical laugh; and she said, "I'm Schnitzel."
He sniffed the air as her laughter faded away. The laughter would fade, but her scent wouldn't, he could follow her scent forever. He closed his eyes and followed her in his mind; past the post office, the grocery store, the pizza place. As she approached a row of apartment buildings, his senses picked up another smell; he smelled danger.
Without hesitation, he raced to a park bench. Leaping onto it he vaulted himself into the air. Short forelegs extending in front of him, his long ears flowing across the sleek fur of his neck and back, he flew out, over the city, his ultra-canine powers of hearing and scent, alert; he searched for crime.

Easter Sunday

The combined choirs sang in both the 8th and 10th wards. They sang beautifully, and if I have faith as a minute fraction of a mustard seed, I should have know that they would.

I am a worrier, though, and I think that this weekend nearly killed me. I didn't sleep well and was grumpy and stressed all day Saturday.

We sang "My Shepherd will supply my need." The Mormon Tabernacle Choir has it on a CD, but we did it better.....Well, we did it.

Dixie Tirre sang, "Gethsemane", by Sally De Ford

A quartet sang, "His hands", I think. It was added last week when Sis. Briscoe said that she would like to sing it on Easter. I had heard her practicing it, and was ok with anyone who was prepared to sing. She was joined by Ann Siemore, Abby Siemore, and Le Ann Escobar.

The choir then sang, "Woman why weepest thou", written by Rob Gardner, a personal favorite of mine that is on the CD, 'Witness' by the A Capella group '259'.

Emily Woodward sang a solo, "The Via Dolorosa", that is also on the 'Witness' CD, but I forget the author/composer.

Finally we sang, 'The Holy City', a well known song, and well loved by many.

We had a lot of help from angels singing with us.

My bigest mistake was starting 'The Holy City' without standing the choir, and I didn't die, so I think it went pretty well.

I have mentioned before that I direct the choir at my church. I'm not paid to do it, and I am not very talented or experience at it. I do it because it because they need someone to do it, out of love for music, and, of course, out of love for God.

We performed for Easter, and it went very well. If I had a little faith, I would have expected it to go well.

However, I am an 'arm of flesh' type of person, and that leads to stress.

I didn't sleep for the better part of 2 nights, and when I did, I had nightmares about the performance. I had fears that the choir members wouldn't show up, that I would make mistakes, that the program would run long, that people would be restless, inattentive or offended, that I would be embarrassed, or possible just drop dead. (There is a blog about the event itself, further down, if you are interested.)

I self medicated. I joke about it, but, when I am stressed, depressed, or angry, a Monster Energy drink brings me around. It is probably the huge blast of caffeine, but I become more optimistic, focused, and happier after the drink.

Both of my stories this week are about people who self medicate. Both people the type that we judge when we see them on the street, doing what they need to 'get right'.

I have two children that joined our family by adoption who need medication to allow them to be who they are. I know that there are a lot of people that oppose ADHD medications, but my personal experience in the last 6 months has been a positive one. My children have not become passive, sleepy, shells of their former selves. They remain intelligent, inquisitive and actively themselves.

Their birth mothers were both drug users during pregnancy. One was a self medicating schizophrenic.

My hope for NAMI, is my hope for my children, that if, or when, they are no longer under my watchful care, that there will be a saftey net in place for them. Naturally, the safety net of first resort is the family, which I have plenty to fall back on. Secondly, is the Church. But, sometimes people actively lose themselves from the nets that have been placed.

I hope that you have felt the emotion from my stories this week. They should be in the next blog down.

Saturday, April 4, 2009

100 word story weekly challenge

It seems that whenever I send my story in to the 100 word challenge, I end up with my story at the end. I sent mine in on Tuesday this week, to see if it would come in closer to the top. Maybe it is just my imagination, but it seems like the earlier ones, closer to the top, seem to do better, overall.

There was a choice of five prompts this week. The last time there were that many prompt I tried using all of them in the story. It made for a really 'ok' story. So this time I chose one that I liked the best, and that was 'The fencing master'. Here is this weeks story:

"Hello, my name is Inigo Montoya. You killed my father, prepare to die!"
He couldn't help it; He read the book three times and watched the movie countless more; each time he stepped forward to face an opponent, the thought came to mind, and he smiled.
He saluted his opponent. At the word 'fence' he advanced three quick leaps to stop, unable to attack.
A shy freshman at the Junior College, he took beginning fencing to meet girls, but could never bring himself to poke them in the breasts.
Defeated, he smiled, and moved the foil to his right hand.

I took fencing my first semester at Junior College, and, on top of my being terribly uncoordinated, I couldn't bring myself to stab the women in the chest, and it seemed like that's all there was, when it came down to me against them...