A Hoppy Tail

Commander Bun-Bun and Earl the Squirrel met every morning at the tree in front of the gray house to share a kernel of corn and a sunflower seed or two. They’d been meeting every day, and although they each thought the other looked a bit strange, they’d gotten used to one another and didn’t mind the company. The squirrel was good at knowing when the truly good stuff had been put out, and his presence always meant that it was time to put the feedbag on. The rabbit was good at sensing danger. One sweep of his gigantic, twitchy ears, and he instantly knew if that darned black and white cat, the evil hawk or the rowdy brats from across the street were approaching. When he gave the signal, they both ran for cover.

Breakfast went on as usual, with the occasional mumbled comment about happenings in the neighborhood. Other than the new bluejay offspring which everyone already knew about because of their horrendous squawking and screeching when they wanted to be fed, there wasn’t much new going on. All was well. When Earl received a message from his sister, Pearl, that his wife was looking for him, he said his goodbyes and scampered off. Bun-Bun, who secretly envied Earl’s domestic bliss, ate quietly by himself for several minutes. He was concentrating on the seed when he suddenly heard soft footfalls in front of him.

Who was this creature? Could it be? Why, yes, it was a female rabbit. “Um, hi, hello? I’m Commander Bun-Bun,” he addressed the vision in loveliness in front of him. He was almost afraid to blink she was so beautiful. Her coat was glossy, her black eyes shiny, her gaze direct, her whiskers softly twitching, and her ears turned with just the sweetest curve.

“Hi, yourself,” she said. “My name is Hope, but everyone calls me Hoppy. Is this seed for everyone?”

“Yes, yes, it is,” he said, hardly daring to believe his good luck. She wanted to eat with him!

They ate in companionable silence, and slowly but surely, she crept closer.

‘Oh, my Gosh!’ thought Commander Bun-Bun.

She stretched closer, her whiskers twitching in that cute way that made Bun-Bun’s tummy feel all queer and twirly.

Just when it seemed like she was really going to kiss him, he panicked. Was his breath fresh enough? What if he tried to kiss her back, and he missed? Oh, no!!!!!

He was just too excited to stand still. He took off in a wild spin around the tree. He ran faster than he’d ever run before! He dashed a mad dash around and around. As he sped around, he could hear soft chuckles and snickers. She… she was laughing! She thought he was cute, too!

He screeched to a halt, near to his original spot.

“Hey, how you doin’?” he asked, in his best cool bunny voice, trying not to breathe too heavily and trying to appear much calmer than he felt inside. His nose twitched in excitement.

“Ah, Bun-Bun,” she sighed, twitching her nose back at him. “Would you teach me how to dash like that? You have some mad skills. Maybe when we’re through, you could walk me home? And maybe when we get to my door, I might try to kiss you again, and maybe you’ll stand still this time.”

Bun-Bun blushed, not believing his good fortune. He couldn’t wait to tell Earl.

What I Learned About Popularity

When I wrote yesterday’s post on popularity, I wasn’t expecting the results that I got. I guess I should’ve known that the WordPress community would surprise me. Things just kind-of exploded, and it made for an interesting day.

The post (after 18+ hours) has 31 likes. Previous posts this week had 13, 9, 4, 6, 7, 10, 4, 2 and 13 likes. I attribute quite a bit of the traffic to reblogs from blogs with a much larger fan base than mine. I thank everyone for the support, suggestions and attention.

supportGiven all the comments I received, I wanted to share some of the ones that resonated with me.

Some important things I learned from yesterday’s post:

  1. Find like-minded blogs and build a core group. If you have shared interests, you will be more likely to comment on what others are posting. That will facilitate building a community of supporters and friends to share ideas;
  1. Make sure to comment on posts that you like. This increases your visibility. When commenting on posts, check out what the other commenters are saying. I liked the writing style of one commenter recently (he was really funny) so I went to his blog to check out his regular posts. I now have a new blogger to follow. This helps you to branch out and find others;
  1. Try to find an area of focus. I feel this is important for me because I tend to want to do it all and jump around in what I’m posting. The areas that are most important to me are photography (nature and wildlife), book reviews (because I read obsessively), and creative writing (because I like to capture my thoughts and ideas, and sharing my scribblings in my blog seems natural and easy to do); and
  1. Go back through old posts and find some you might want to re-post. I liked this idea a lot. The suggestion was to go back through old posts made before newer followers came along. Either clean up posts that didn’t work and re-post them or re-post ones that did work. Chances are they will get more interest the second time around. I have some posts I migrated over from Blogger. I need to wade through those to see if anything is worth a re-try.

I’ve done some other cleanup this weekend, too. I cleaned up the blog’s side bar to get rid of the clutter, I removed one of the pages across the top, and after I’d fussed with the color scheme, I set it back to something that was easier on the eyes. I love a dark background and white text, but it was harder to see and read.

One other suggestion I received was to end posts with a question. I’m not sure how to naturally flow into a question, but I’d be interested on thoughts about that. Does ending with a question successfully promote comments?

Image courtesy of Pinterest




Never the Same

Prompt:  Eye Contact: Write about two people seeing each other for the first time.

The roar of the crowd was muted deep in the bowels of the arena, but it was still noticeable even over the bustle of the backstage personnel. He reached down to give the wrinkled puckers of fabric on his tightly-fit dark denim jeans a tug to straighten the edges where the hems broke over his scuffed boots.

He loved those boots. They were black leather motorcycle boots with the stirrup strap and rivets. They’d been through a lot of good times together from concerts to bars to bike rides. He could afford to own hundreds of pairs of shoes, but he always seemed to come back to the boots.

The boots meant freedom to him. With the hectic lifestyle he led with the band’s overloaded concert schedule, he seldom had any free time. When he wasn’t on stage somewhere, he was giving interviews or in a studio recording new tracks or holed up somewhere trying to make the jumble of notes and words in his head organize themselves into magic on paper or flow easily from his fingers and guitar’s strings. Riding his Harley was not something he got to do very often. If his manager had his way, he’d never do it.

He bit back the sigh that wanted to escape. Feeling sorry for himself wasn’t something he was going to give in to anytime soon. He hated that shit. Poor, lonely rockstar. No one would believe him if he were to give voice to that thought out loud. He rolled his spine back up as he rose to his full 6’4″ height.

He’d no sooner stood up straight when he was forced to bend again as the stylist flitted to a stop in front of him. She was a tiny bird of a woman. He doubted she even reached five foot. She reminded him of his grandmother with her green jeweled glasses and dyed black hair. She had to be nearly sixty, but she had been with them from the start and she was the only one he let touch his hair.

“Let me…,” she began, and he bent over a bit so she could reach his hair. He waited patiently while the twitchy woman worked her fingers through the rich tobacco brown strands of his choppy, shoulder length hair. Russet and amber colored highlights glinted throughout the thick strands. He was often asked who colored his hair, and he’d smile and say, “Mother Nature.”

As the pint-sized stylist manically fussed through his hair, his dark brown gaze drifted to watch the foot traffic he could see passing by out in the hallway behind her. It was always the same people – security, assistants, roadies, techs and various other hangers-on.

The woman finished his hair and turned to reach for a makeup case she had sitting nearby. She latched onto a huge, feathery brush and dipped it into some flesh-toned powder. When she went to take a swipe at his face, he quickly stepped back.

“No,” his husky voice rasped out. He heard a masculine snort of laughter at the same time she asked, “No? You’re a little dewy tonight, Dev.” The snort came again, and he looked up to glare at his friend, the band’s drummer.

“I’m good, Magda,” he told the stylist. He gave her a smile and she reached up to brush some powder she had spilled off of the form-fitting black band t-shirt he had on. Her small hands flitted across his stomach, and he waited patiently until she was satisfied he was presentable.

She hurried off to check on the other band members and the two backup singers. He raised a brow as his best friend snorted again.

“Magda had to touch the six pack!” Ricky chortled.

“Shut up.”

“Come on,” his friend, the jackass continued to rib him. “All the women want you. Did she touch your ass, too?”

“Shut the hell up,” he grumbled, trying not to smile at the goofy grin on Ricky’s face. He and Ricky had been tight since they were ten. Ricky had moved to his neighborhood and they had found themselves in the same fifth grade classroom. Their friendship had been inevitable when Ricky told him his favorite band was the Foo Fighters. He’d been stuck with the horse’s ass ever since.

“Devan and Magda sittin’ in a tree,” Ricky sang, and then stopped and quickly ducked, laughing as a lazy punch swung in the direction of his head.

“Five minutes, gentlemen!” a fussy voice interrupted their clowning around. He did sigh this time, and he flipped off the tour manager’s back as he rushed by and bustled through, gathering them all up to herd them towards the stage. Ricky laughed again as he saw the gesture.

One of the guitar techs brought him his Gibson Les Paul, and he stood still while the tech fastened the leather strap for him and hooked the wireless transmitter to the back of his jeans.

He thanked him and looked up as their bass player, Treat and their rhythm guitarist, Zach joined them both. They were all ready for the stage. Ricky made a fist, and he put his hand on top of Ricky’s fist. Treat’s hand covered his, and Zach’s went on top of Treat’s. Their two backup singers, Tiffany and Kayla, hurried over to get in on their traditional pre-concert ritual. They crowded in with the four guys and put their hands on top.

“We gonna kick some ass?” Treat bellowed, and they all yelled an affirmative response.

“Who’s gonna blow the rafters off?” Ricky cried.

“We are!” they all yelled.

They tossed their joined hands high in the air and broke for the door.  As lead singer and lead guitarist, he brought up the rear as they stepped out into the hallway.

He felt the hum of excitement as he strode towards the stage and the hometown crowd. They’d been a band for over ten years, and they were at the top of their game, playing venues all over the world. Even though they were world-famous, it was always good to come home again.

As nice as it was, though, it was true that every town and city had begun to look the same. The faces that crowded the stage, cheering them on, had begun to blur, and the playlist of songs sometimes felt stale. He had lately begun to wish for something more, perhaps a life beyond the stage, something he could call ‘normal’ in the chaos that surrounded him.

As he followed the band towards the stage, he noticed a crowd of dignitaries and VIP’s standing over near one of the arena’s hospitality suites. The crowd seemed to part at just the right moment, and there she was.

He stopped in his tracks as his eyes met hers. Her huge baby blues looked boldly back at him. Who was she? She was absolute perfection, her petite body exquisitely dressed in a vivid red dress and black platform stiletto heels. Her white blonde hair cascaded wildly down her back.

As he gazed longingly at her, the tour manager hurried back to push him along towards the stage and the waiting crowd. He refused to break eye contact with the glamorous blonde. He had to find out who she was. He needed to meet her because he knew his life was never ever going to be the same again.

Inspiration:  http://thinkwritten.com/365-creative-writing-prompts/




Writer’s Group – First Meeting

That was interesting. It was also fun. I do have to admit that I felt like a bit of a fraud. I was in over my head. It was a group of approximately 10 people (if you count me, I believe there were 7 women and 3 men present). They were all older people. I was nervous, but I had it under control. The worst part was when I had to talk about myself (of course). I expected that, though.

They all knew who they were (as writers). Not all are published, but they had all written more than I have. One lady in particular was fairly successful – she’s written and published enough books to have purchased a second home in Florida on the waterfront where she spends half of her year.

I joined as a member, but I do feel a little out of my depth, and it wasn’t just the nerves taking over. I couldn’t really identify what it is that I write (or want to write) – it’s too much of an abstract for me yet. I will return for future meetings, and I really wanted to volunteer for something or contribute in a bigger way, but I don’t have enough experience yet. My hope is that I can learn from these nice people and maybe soak something up through osmosis.

surroundThe next meeting is what they call a critique meeting – there is no actual meeting; they just review each other’s writing samples. Unless I can write a lot more between now and then, I’m not sure I’ll go to that one, but we shall see. I’ve connected with some of them online, and I’ve signed up for various suggested newsletters, blogs and information.

In terms of my writing, I keep wondering if I should just write, or if I need to learn how to do it better first. There’s so much information out there on how to craft this and that, but most of it just serves to make me doubt myself more. Perhaps I should just write and then worry about making it perfect later on when I edit. I really want to do this. I just didn’t realize it was so hard.

Image courtesy of Pinterest