From the mind of a mild mannered maniac

Archive for June, 2013

Aside

Do we really stop and listen?

Do we stop and really listen to the people we, casually meet? I know I haven’t always done that.

For me, the exchanging of pleasantries, and making of small talk is more a force of habit, than a real attempt at meaningful conversation. I guess it is marginally politer than ignoring people, and truth be told, there isn’t always time or opportunity for anything more.

As a writer, no, no, not a published one, but a writer none the less, I lean towards solitary pursuits. Chief among these, when I’m not safely ensconced behind my writing desk or contemplating the universe, is an activity commonly referred to as people watching. I have come to realize that It is a sort of buffer or comfort zone that I cling desperately to, like a newborn baby to its mother’s breast.

I know I need to, actively, participate in life, a whole heck of a lot, more than I do, and it is a situation I have been trying, albeit pitifully, to rectify.

They call it a comfort zone for a reason though, so it does take a concerted effort, for me. to ,truly, put myself out there in the line of fire. When I do though, it can, sometimes, be a real eye opener!

I was talking, I mean, really talking, to an elderly man that cleans the floors at the local shopping center the other day.

Edward, (not his actual name), is a very genial fellow, with twinkly eyes and short-cropped, snowy-white hair. He always has a friendly smile and a  “Howdy!” for anyone and everyone who crosses his line of sight.

Several times now, Edward and I have shared a word, or two, in passing. Small talk about the weather, or the plight of our local hockey team, you know the kind of thing. Never a real, honest to goodness, conversation mind you, but at least an attempt at one.

On this particular day, I was sipping my favorite, caffeinated concoction,  flipping aimlessly through the newspaper, and more or less killing time. Edward flashed me his usual fifty megawatt smile, and tossed me a wave, as he relined a nearby trash bin.

“I see here  The Vancouver Canucks have hired a new head coach.” Was my brilliant ice breaker.

“They’ve got more sense than money.”  He replied,  “Nothing wrong with the old one, fars I’m concerned.”

I shrugged, noncommittally, and watched him as he tossed the tied up garbage bag into his cart.

As he started to wheel it away. For the first time, I noticed the deeply gouged lines and furrows on his weathered brow, the slight limp, and just a hint of a grimace as his right foot contacted the concrete floor.

“Do you ever get a coffee break?” I asked.

Edward shrugged,

“I don’t usually bother with ’em”

“When is your next one?” I inquired.

He unclipped the pager from his overall pocket and squinted at it.

“As a matter a fact, any time now, ” He threw me an amused glance. “but whydyer ask?”

I smiled, “Thought you looked a little thirsty.”

I bought him a coffee and we sat down to talk. We introduced ourselves, and for the next fifteen minutes we had a real conversation.

Edward told me about the old days and how things had changed in the neighborhood; He talked, lovingly, about his dearly departed wife, she was a real looker, he says, a gifted seamstress and a stay-at-home Mom.

The three bright intelligent lads that he put through college, are all off doing their own thing. A huge smile lights his weathered old face when he tells me how they all, make time to, get together on holidays and special occasions.

ed He is a very intelligent and humble man, and despite a lifetime of hard toil, and hardships, he is a happy one.

It is amazing how easy it can be to take things for granted, like the people that we see in our day to day lives, but never truly get to know.

As my, maternal, grandfather used to say,
” You must, always, take the time to, really, listen to people, and do so without interruption. Do so, even if you disagree with what is being said. Let them finish the thought.

That is great advice. Everyone has at least one story to tell, and even the humblest of men have lessons they can teach us all.

Do we really stop and listen?

 

Copyright2013

Image

Weekly Photo Challenge: The World Through Your Eyes

Weekly Photo Challenge: The World Through Your Eyes

Spooky Old Tree

This old gnarled tree stood for years at the end of a long sloping drive. Mere moments after I took this, it was unceremoniously felled by the property owner. It was infested with dry-rot and growing to close to the power lines..
I feel badly for hardly ever noticing it until it was too late,  😦

The Prizefight

This short story is based on an actual event. Names have been fictionalized to protect the innocent. 🙂

The Prizefight

Image
By Clifton J. Lewis
The two men, glared at one and other across a
dilapidated wooden fence, the tension between
them palpable. Hatred fairly oozed like so much putrid
perspiration from every pore.
.Kyle Macgregor spoke first.”It belongs to me! I seen it first and I intend to stake
my claim!
“That may be so, but its my property! Owen Smiley practically spat out the words between sneering lips,
.“Possession is nine tenths of the law; that makes it mine now, don’t it?””You son of a …”Macgregor swung a meaty fist, but Smiley ducked smartly, and countered with deadly
aim. Kyle winced and fingered his tender jaw.”You’d be minced meat b’now!” He bellowed, “If I were ten years younger!””Oh yea, You and what army? Come on, fight like a man!”Macgregor lunged and missed again; he grunted  with the exertion and grabbed at the
fence to steady himself. The rail came away in his hand.Recovering quickly he hefted the wood and swung it like Babe Ruth’s favourite bat.

The makeshift club struck Smiley square on the shoulder, and sent him sprawling
across the lawn.

Macgregor laughed.

“Not smilin’ now are ya, ya smug buzzard?”

Smiley grimaced as he clenched his injured shoulder. Outrage blazed in his glowering
eyes and beat red complexion.

“You nose-picking coward,” he hollered, “can’t fight w’ya fists, so ya break up m’fence to
do it!”

Macgregor scowled.

“Your fence…..! I don’t need no feeble stick to kick your behind. Come over here ya mealy-
mouthed buzzard; I’ll thrash you old style!”

If he’d been in a comic strip, the steam would have been erupting from Owen Smiley’s
flared nostrils. He snorted and bellowed like a rampant bull as he charged.

The eight-foot section of weary fence was no match; it surrendered with a single blow,
and was quickly trampled under foot.

Macgregor growled and jumped on him, and the two brawlers tumbled to the ground.
The Canny Scot and the Wiry Welshman fought tooth and nail. They clutched, clawed,
and pummelled each other like savage beasts, neither man yielding an inch until finally
they both dropped from sheer and utter exhaustion.

Pam Macgregor was hanging sheets on the clothesline when her neighbour, Denise
Smiley, arrived on the scene. Neither seemed surprised at the sight of their bruised,
bloody and battered husbands.

“Oh lovely,” said Denise sarcastically, “I see the boys have been at it again.”

Peggy grinned.

Denise chuckled, looked over at the two weary combatants and slowly shook her head.

“Yep, they sure have. I swear that fence is down more often than a duck!”

“So, what earth-shattering event was it over this time?”

Pam was trying hard to keep a straight face.

“Well, it would seem that the first pear of the season fell from our tree on to your side of
the fence.”

“Oh yes!” Said Denise, “Here it is, and what a nice pear it is.”

It was big, plump and had a ripe rosy blush on its skin that foretold of the sweet
juiciness to come.

There was a mischievous grin on her face, as she dashed, pear in hand, into the house.

“Hey, she can’t do that, ” Yelped Kyle McGregor; “it’s my tree!”

Owen Smiley shrugged, the good humour returning to his elfin eyes.

“It looks like she already has, boyo”

Kyle’s complaints were quickly muted as his neighbor’s wife reappeared. She was
carrying the same pear, but now it was cut perfectly in two halves.

“Well I guess fair’s fair” Said MacGregor as he awaited his share of the fruit.

Denise handed one half of the pear to Pam, and the two fighters watched in
dumbstruck silence, as their wives, with looks of sheer ecstasy on their saintly faces,
happily devoured the prize.

Imageprize2
Copyright2013

I’m back, I think?

I hope this random, jotting finds you all safe and well.

Sorry I haven’t posted anything new in the last little while. Did you miss me? (the sound of crickets chirping) That much eh?

I was very under the weather, and the last thing on my mind was adding new content to Cliff’s Notes.

Anyway, I am still alive,
contrary to common belief, and feeling slightly guilty about the fact that my wp friends have not had anything new from me in days. (cue end of world footage)

I guess, I could have written daily, describing my symptoms and griping endlessly about… well everything. I’m sure you woud have enjoyed that

Day one – Oh **** I feel like #%&% ! Why am I such a &*%#ing wimp? I just discovered a fascinating new substance oozing from my… Did anyone catch the license plate number of the thirty-ton truck that just ran over me? Where the **** is Bob Barker? Not another Flu remedy commercial!!!
I Suspect I may be dieing! …..
Oh ****! where’s my ###%ing bucket!!!

Some of you medical students, out there, might have found it an interesting case study. I seriously   doubt it though. Suffice it to say, that, when influenza rears its ugly head, I magicly transform myself into the biggest baby known to man.

———— (insert pithy segue here)
I am hoping to get around and catch up on all your pages and posts today, and then I’ll focus on posting new stuff for tomorrw.

Peace and Love,

~Cliffy

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Where do you write?

Write

Writers are a fascinating lot, we can find inspiration in the strangest of places . A thought that germinates in our minds, an event or activity that resonates with us, a photograph, a memory, a spoken word, an emotion, or even a vacant screen,or blank piece of paper can generate ideas in a particularly fertile mind. Well any way there are far too many to name, and besides that is a question for another day.

Today’s question  deals with the actual physical action of writing. Once your chosen muse or inspiration strikes,  where are you most likely to be when it comes to putting pen to paper, or fingers to keyboard? 

I’ve listed a few places here, but please feel free to add your own.

First Harvest

(more…)

Questions…?

image

Can a tiger change it’s stripes?
Must a new-born baby cry?
Can you keep the rain from falling?
would you even want to try?

If an oak fell, in the forest depths,
would anybody hear?
Does a poor man, in a paupers grave,
simply disappear?

Can a shark become a vegan?
Can the wind refuse to blow?
Will you love me less tomorrow?
Do I really want to know?

How long is ’til forever?
When will the world see peace?
What is, this thing called life about?
When will these questions cease?

A few, have simple answers, Others? Far more involved
Some are a matter of opinion,
or just can’t be resolved.

Thoughts ?

Copyright2013

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