Mabon’s Harmony ~ Harvest Blessings   Leave a comment

Mabon’s Harmony

Sun and moon in harmony
Welcome Dawn’s cacophony,
From North and South and West and East
The Elementals join the feast.

Sweet gnomes bring ripened nuts and grain
That Undines wash with healing rain,
And Salamanders call forth fire
For Sylphs to weave a glowing pyre.

Dragons guard the joyous gathering,
Greenman dresses the Muses’ ring,
Bloom of harvested dreams dance free,
Honoring the Goddess Three.

As above, life hearkens below,
In synchrony with Mabon’s flow,
On wings of perfect symmetry
‘Neath twilight’s cerulean sky,
From chrysalis tended with care,
Butterfly rises, takes to air.

© 2010 Kate Sender


Review of Donny’s Day   1 comment

My review of Donny’s Day, a short run with Brandon Berntson

Donny Daniels once stole an ancient book from an equally ancient hermit whom some in his small town called a sorcerer. The 14-year old athlete and his kid brother, Dallas, took it out one night and he opened it, to find words written in blood, blood that was not human. Donny, apparently mesmerized by the ancient tome, did not heed his brother’s cries as Dallas was mauled and bloodied by the beings that rose hungry, to feed. Donny put on his running shoes a couple years later and left behind the whispers of folk who surmised he had killed young Dallas, and the bloody shoe prints he saw in his dreams awake and asleep. Donny ran, and kept running, from the memories and visions and dreams, leaving behind him a trail of bloody footprints wherever he stopped for a spell. Were there demons following in his wake, or had he become the demon of his dreams, guilt destroying his own chances at happiness, love, safe respite, not giving him a day of peace.

The story is brief, with each scene in the 55 pages offering visceral, sensual impact. One flinches when Donny opens a closet door and one feels with Donny his need to run from the creatures that haunt his dreams and follow him into wakefulness. This reader ponders whether Donny is acting out his own destruction imposed upon him by the loosing of the ancient demons, or whether the demons follow in his wake and directly effect the horrific deeds that daily keep him on the run. Much of the story is related in back-story and several transitions are abrupt, but perhaps the intent is to instill in the reader the confusion and sense of urgency Donny experiences as each day he wakes from a dream made manifest, and understand his need to escape the bloody violence that follows in his wake, keeping him on the run.

The visceral imagery and psychological ambiguity through Donny’s Day call to mind the early work of Ray Bradbury, as in his October Country tales. The visual and sensory images further evoke in-your-face horror films. The author, Brandon Berntson is definitely a writer to watch, and run with.

Donny’s Day, by Brandon Berntson, is available in ebook and paperback from the publisher, Damnation Books

Review © 2010 Kate Sender

Posted September 6, 2010 by Kate2World in Writing

Fireworks ~ A soldier’s view   3 comments


burn the sky
with toxic flames,
searing flesh and mind;
‘till veiled by joyous cries,
mem’ries retreat, careworn eyes
open to see reflected light
glow with freedom’s joy in his child’s face.
For this sight with pride he served – soldier smiles.

© 2010 Kate Sender

The soldier’s recollections are those of a friend who served in Vietnam. ~ Think this Independence Day of those soldiers, sailors, marines, guards, who make it possible for us to take joy, not fear, in the light of flames dancing in the sky ~ and thank them for their service with honor.  Brightest Blessings.

FYI ~ the poetic pattern I used is Etheree ~ Ten lines, increasing syllable count line by line, from one to ten.

Write On!


For my Dad on Father’s Day~and Always   1 comment

It’s not that I will never forget; I forever remember.

On freshly mown grass

I lay on my back on freshly mown grass
for a moment to savor Sun’s setting foray
marking sibilant silence of approaching night;
no white noise encroaches my space to blight;
I give thanks for the gift of this one spent day
lyrical, not harsh, with but Nature’s own delight.

I wait for the silence to speak of times past
before venturing at last into Morpheus’ domain;
I listen for their music and watch for the lights
of crickets and fireflies commencing their repast
beneath moonlit skies, breeze kissed maple limbs sway,
each movement and breath plying Earth’s delight,
present and past in my mind blend and twist…

We lay on our backs on freshly mown grass,
he listens to my dream of being star bound someday
his eyes reflect moonlight, his words encourage my flight;
‘work hard if you believe and dreams do come to pass’;
believing, I weave him our story right away
of space bound adventurers on plumes of starlight.

I smile, memory for a moment recast,
I hum with cicadas, watch shooting stars at play;
whispers of fireflies give memories real might;
I believe for a moment that hope once so vast
lives on as I write down the story I cast;
dreams kept safe by one caring heart’s refrain
until past, present and future one day I greet in the mist.

© 2006 2010 Kate Sender

In loving memory of my Dad, who kept safe my first story written at age 6 (I learned more than a decade later) in his strongbox with other ‘important’ documents like his citizenship papers. He was the first mate on my starship, and his sage advice I continue to embrace along the voyage to my writing success.

Posted June 21, 2010 by Kate2World in Dad, Family, Free verse, Holiday, Poetry

Show and Tell ~ Writers, Let’s Play :)   1 comment

Show and Tell ~ A Writing.Com Editorial

Remember back when you were a kid in school and you got to take something to school for ‘show and tell.’ You and some of your classmates sometimes had like items (a doll, a fire truck just like the one that rescued dad off the roof, skates, a Transformer, perhaps), but no two were the same. Because each had its own story, and you each shared it with your friends and classmates.

As we got older, we were taught to narrow our focus. We learned to respond to questions with succinct answers; to show what we knew, without telling how or why we knew it. Many of us, over time, perhaps forgot altogether to notice or seek the ‘why’ of things.
I submit that we, as writers, have an arrested development. We’ve not given up, or have recalled, the joy of searching, of questioning, and of sharing the journey behind the quest. We observe and explore, we imagine and postulate, then regale ourselves and our readers with the details of our journey. We do some ‘telling.’

Numerous “How To” writing books and articles instruct us to ‘show, don’t tell’ in order to keep our readers in the moment and grab their attention. When writing a chase scene, a gunfight, an alien to mortal brain transplant, yes, one needs to show the event unfold in real time to draw the reader viscerally into the story. But then, to hold your reader’s attention, to make him/her want to stay for a time in the ‘otherworld’ you’ve created, I think you have to tell him the why of the chase or gunfight. To turn a scene into a story, you want to make the reader care about the ‘why’ of it. You’ve shown your reader the cherished item, now tell him/her why it’s important or interesting.

As writers, one way we do this is with ‘backstory’. We know the details behind our characters’ actions; we know how the ‘snapshots’ derived from a sound or scent evolve to reach their full-screen resolution; we know what each of our characters does, looks like, thinks like, fears and hopes. We share with our readers only enough of this information to draw them into the story and make them understand why events are unfolding as they are, why characters act as they do, and make them want to know more. We don’t want to give them everything, they don’t need an information dump to distract them from the world we’re creating for them with our story or poem. Your reader doesn’t care, and doesn’t need to know, what each character had for breakfast (unless perhaps poison is involved). In my example above, the kids in class didn’t need to hear a distracting litany of the swear words dad used when his foot went through the old roof shingles. Those had nothing to do with the hook and ladder rescue; they didn’t move the story along. Telling them that would not have shown why the toy fire truck was interesting or special.

When the details are important; when they draw the reader further into the story; when they show the ‘why’ of things, then a writer has several ways to ‘tell’ readers.

There are several you can use as a writer to ‘tell’ your reader things about your characters, your idea, your ‘otherworld’; things that make him/her understand the why of things, and to make your reader empathize with a character, want to turn the page, join you for a time in the literary world you’ve created. But give no more than what’s necessary (no litany or information dump), that your reader can follow the story.

Flashback – on the one hand, answers a question you’ve posed for your readers; tells them something in response to action that’s taken place. It’s an effective way of weaving history into your ongoing story. For example, Mike will not consider living in a house without a basement, one without a foundation. He becomes again the five year old running for the door his grandpa held open against the storm. His grandpa stopped smiling as the oak hit the trailer, mashing it, and his grandpa, into the unyielding ground.

Backstory through dialogue – is a dynamic way of engaging your readers, and give depth to the characters themselves. Conversation among characters is an effective way of telling why they are taking one action over another, foreshadowing events to come by alluding to events in the characters’ past. It can be overt or subtle, proclaim deeds done or allude to the motive for what may occur.

Narrative – is another way that you can tell your readers something, either using your character’s voice or your own author’s omniscient voice. Your character can provide background, internal and external, for action taking place or perhaps yet to occur. Or, as the omniscient author, you can offer third-person narrative to explain the present by relating it to the past. “When we made the first campfire,” grandpa begins, “the bears came to feast, and where once we were four, by dawn we were three.”

Framing – is an effective way to give a ‘narrator’ (like ‘grandpa’ in my example above, depth of identity. Telling a story within the story, often recalling in first person events of the past, can give added relevance to events occurring in the opening story. Consider the cliche “Once upon a time,” and how the story that follows is framed by the opening and then resolved with a message, a lesson, a quip, or by somehow changing the actions or beliefs of the characters in the opening story = it’s a story within a story. Framing is also effective in explaining by action some tenets of a belief system or political or social mores. The characters in the original story are engaged with and changed by their encounter with the framed story.

So, don’t be afraid to show – and tell – your readers your story. Each of the above techniques can be effective, used judiciously, to add that flavor to your story that will make your readers want to know more, make them want to enter more deeply into your world built of words.

Try it!  Show a bit of your ‘otherworld’, and tell your readers just enough to make them want to stay awhile.

I hope you’ve enjoyed this Writing.Com Editorial and wish you joy and success with your writing journey as you Write On!

(c) 2010 Kate Sender

Please feel free to visit and share the full text of the Writing.Com Short Story Newsletter, June 2, 2010, along with the journey of some of our members. 

I would also like to share one of my favorite resources here for exploring my short story writing, Writing in General and the Short Story in Particular, by Rust Hill.  If you have a guide you’d like to share, write back or post ~ until we next meet,  as we say at Writing.Com ~ Write On!!

Kate ~  Here’s the link. ^_^

Memorial Day~Giving Thanks   1 comment

Thank You 

It is because you dare to walk away,
To greet an arid, alien terrain
Where ever-open wounds bleed ceaseless pain,
That in my gilded tower, I dare stay.

Your gentle hands proffered with friendship’s clasp
Will bear the arms that set caged spirits free,
Your voice that sings awake the dawn with glee
Will whisper terse commands with measured rasp.

Because you leave behind all that you know
A fateful autumn day will not reprise,
But in its stead I watch the starlit skies
And see heroic echoes in their glow.

It is because you care to walk away,
That in my gilded tower I dare stay.

(c) 2008 Kate Sender

I wrote this for a friend, a Guardsman, shipping out – a Swannet form verse  in tribute.  It didn’t at first have a title.  My friend came home more than a year later, but so many over time have not.  So many served with honor and paid the ultimate sacrifice for your freedom and mine, so today I gave the little verse a title, ‘Thank You.’

Memorial Day ~ After the parades and barbecues in company of friends and/or family, recall the men and women who are yet in harm’s way, those who over time have had the courage to take up arms for our freedom, and yes, those who paid the ultimate sacrifice that we may enjoy our freedom ~ ‘Thank You.’  

A simple ‘thank you’ from the heart, I really believe  will echo across the veil; and if we listen we just may hear, borne upon a breath of wind, a chorus of Taps in refrain.

‘Thank you’

Posted May 31, 2010 by Kate2World in Freedom, Memorial Day, Military, Poetry, Swannet, Writing

Earth Day   Leave a comment

Earth Day 

When I listen close for the sound of silent
whispers heaving waves, I can hear, the nascent
Song of earth primeval and feel the strident
Call of the sea reach
Land, caress the first grain of sand with fervent
Sigh, carving my beach.

Every day is Earth’s Day ~ hear Gaia’s song

Brightest Blessings!

Posted April 23, 2010 by Kate2World in Burns stanza, Earth, Earth Day, Nature, Poetry


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