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Proud,

head high,

reservations trap body; not my soul.

Box,

strings strung,

cradled in arms; sings of my land.

Flowing,

drifting away,

melancholy chords strummed; end of day.
-pj

Thanks to Paul Karslake for letting me use the image of Ronnie Woods guitar. Please visit his site to see his fine art on guitars at: 

http://www.paulkarslake.co.uk/index.php?CATEGORY=2&SUB=1&THISPAGE=1&RADIOSORT=4&PICFILE=29&STKNR=29&STRH=4046&ORDN=2303

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My daughters and I enjoy telling stories with one of us giving a small part and then the next person adding on, and so forth. Last night, my daughter Denise and I played this game by text message. The following story is what we had at the end of an hour (while she worked out and I read). My lines are red. With luck, we plan to continue the saga.



Blue, Pink, and Black go to Sea

Pink and Blue went to sea in a tiny bottle. They had a lot of trouble because Black kept threatening to push out the cork. So even though Blue loved to joke around with Black, he knew he was going to have to put an end to this before Pink did.

So Blue reached over and flipped Black in the ear and whispered, “Please don’t make me look stupid in front of Pink. You know I’ve been working on her for a month.”

“Pink and you? Don’t make me laugh.” Black chortled. “Pink has always been into Brown; you know that. If Brown finds out you’ve been putting the moves on his Pink he’s gonna blow. And we know what a stink that would make.”

“But,” cried Blue, “Pink and I could make beautiful Purple if only she would wake up. I’m tired of playing these games with her. Just last year she was into Red. A girl for Christ’s sakes. Hey, I have an idea. Why don’t we take the long way. That way I have more time to work on her.”

“You deranged idiot. But, whatever.” Black set the bottle control to a new setting and they sailed toward the far coordinates of Umgerloo. Black had something he wanted to take care of there anyway. For Umgerloo was the site of treasure buried by the great pirate, Orange. And Black had a map with a big X on it that was sure to lead him to the treasure and no one had to be the wiser, for he had no intention of sharing with Pink and Blue.

Black opened the cork a slit and peered out into the endless turquoise sky. He thought that in the distance he might have saw another bottle. One flying the flag of the Indroponese. He hated those indrops. They were always dropping in uninvited. Now it looked like they would be dropping here. Black told Blue to hid Pink because the indrop men had the habit of taking women as their own. Now Black thought if push came to shove, he might offer Pink to them but he certainly wouldn’t tell Blue.

Suddenly, Pink spoke. “Why do you guys keep acting like I can’t hear you? I’m in the same bottle here. Now let me tell you something. If those indorps are coming here, then you guys better get ready to beg for your lives. I am not worried about myself because I can control their thoughts. Master Yellow was teaching me the art before I was sent on this mission. Maybe you should take off those dresses too, or they might think your are girls. You namby-pambies.”

Blue said, “Mission? What mission? No one told me about no mission.”

Then, Black and Pink exchanged looks and Pink said, “Blue! Open your eyes! Does a normal bottle carry the chest of musturdanary and the gems of alketchuuup? No. I thought not. Now…

But before she could continue, the indrops blew their bottle to pieces and now there is nothing left of Blue, Pink, and Black except swirls of color on the sea.
The end!
--dl and pj 

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 Game Day

 Big screen TV, a six-pack of beer,

            he readies for my visit.

He calls all his friends, be here by four,

            and be sure you make it on time.

Bowls full of peanuts and popcorn sit near,

            while he anxiously awaits my arrival.

Once a year I come to his front room,

            and touch down for a January day.

Leave once again, but I will be back,

            the guest he loves more than the rest.

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Living Land


 

  A beach, washed clean by tides

A brook, flowing on its way

A wind, across the land

A ray, from behind a cloud

A grove, reaching for the sky

Everlasting Earth
-pj

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Furby Goes Online


When I arrived home today, I was exhausted. Entering the house, I made little, to no, noise. As soon as I entered the room, I noticed the screen on the computer was lit and a site was pulled up.

Thinking someone was in the house, I ducked into the other room. Should I call the police? Should I run? I listened. I heard no sound.

Cautiously, I stuck my head back into the room. The screen was dark. Nothing was moving. I entered the room and found a most astonishing sight. My Furby was sitting in front of the computer, one fuzzy little foot on the mouse.

I eased the pc from in front of the electronic robot. Booting up the computer, I pulled up the history. I opened the most recent site and made a horrifying discovery; my Furby had been viewing porn.

Now, I know most of you must be thinking I’ve gone cuckoo. But, it’s a fact. I saw it with my own eyes, and you can too. Just visit the site below where they have a nude Furby on display; oh, they’re promoting the site as Hacked Gadgets, but I know the ugly truth. I witnessed my Furby enjoying the unsavory sight.
-pj

http://www.google.com/imgres?imgurl=http://hackedgadgets.com/wp-content/images_pic-medium-24158-New_Furby_Robomonster.jpg&imgrefurl=http://hackedgadgets.com/2006/01/04/20/&h=500&w=399&sz=47&tbnid=L250pXwTuheczM:&tbnh=251&tbnw=200&prev=/images%3Fq%3Dfurby&zoom=1&q=furby&hl=en&usg=__1UeQGYzQZnSVNn-kqW893fGzUuc=&sa=X&ei=f9XxTPiwNYOClAfnis3iDA&ved=0CCMQ9QEwAA

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phone

I’ll Send Boyd

(EXCERPT FROM CATCH HER IN THE RYE BY WODKE HAWKINSON)

To say Marcel was speechless would be an understatement. When he had left for work this morning everything had been fine. Now, sitting across from him in his living room was an old acquaintance; Kramer Cranston.

Marcel lifted the phone and dialed a number from memory, a number he hadn’t called for twenty years. The voice on the other end answered tersely, “Speak!”

“It’s me,” was all Marcel said.

“What do you want,” asked the voice. “You weren’t supposed to ever contact me again.

“Yes, I know. But there’s a problem.”

“What kind of a problem?” The voice was suspicious now.

“Kramer Cranston,” Was all Marcel said.

Silence blasted through the phone line as the listener contemplated Marcel’s words. At last, he spoke, “Where is he?”

“He’s sitting in my living room. I’m staring at him now.”

A sigh, “Put him on the phone.” 

"That would be impossible,” Marcel said.

“Impossible? Why?”

“He’s dead!”

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Dream Gifts

I baked today, gifts for friends

I made their favorite things.

For Rita,

a batch of rain cookies,

vanilla thunder for Tom.

Cinnamon refrain

especially for Carla;

licorice dirt for Lyam.

I whipped up a batch

of ice cream paint

that Ira really likes.

Lemon torment is just the thing

for Lucy to eat tonight.

Apple knight

and green apple grapes,

a particular treat for Granny;

chocolate ocean coated

with pepper explosions

is what I made for Franny.

And last but not least,

I must not forget,

to bake up a peppermint baby

and soak it real well,

in a bubblegum river

 to give to my neighbor, Sadie.

-PJ Hawkinson

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                Red Dress

          Red dress, draped
        on tailor's dummy,
      showing off, flashy,
       dancing in window.
        I imagine floating
          across the floor
        on the arm of
      whoever. I visualize
     waltzing to orchestral
   music. I dream of
  moving on air. Empty
 pockets. There is no
whoever. I move on.
Red dress dances alone.

-PJ Hawkinson

 


Wodke Hawkinson's bio:

I was born between the horse barn and the chicken coop on a blustery winter night in Death Valley or maybe it was Somewhereville, Kansas. I get easily confused. Three hours later my mother retrieved me from the cold ground upon which she had dropped me. I believe my lifelong love of frozen tundra was born from those tender first moments.

From there, we moved around a lot while my father campaigned passionately against the manufacture of tight restrictive clothing and my mother did her best to support him in this odd pursuit. He was ultimately unsuccessful, but his drive and ambition toward insignificant goals made an impression on me.

Growing up, I spent many minutes perusing the pages of books, usually catalogs since I spent a lot of time in the outhouse. I had a lazy digestive tract in my younger years. A combination of hot sauce and caffeine has since cured me, so worry not for my intestine, dear reader!

I graduated high school at fourteen. I was a teacher’s pet of sorts. In fact, my teachers loved me so much they accelerated my academic progress and threw an enormous farewell celebration for me.  Some even wept. For four years I played video games and in the process had to get my eye prescription replaced seven times. Many misguided persons started calling me bottle-eyes.

At the age of eighteen, I made the arduous three-hour tour to the Jyekak Temple and Monastery in Tibet to study under the Dalai Shamr-ock. After three months of grueling studies, I realized I would never learn anything since the monks were under a vow of silence and never spoke to me. I still see the experience as a net positive. The lasting trauma of this exciting segment of my life has proved to be a fertile source for my muse.

I returned to my home country and simultaneously attended Duke University in N. Carolina and Princeton University in New Jersey. Three months before graduation, with multiple degrees in diverse studies, I burned out and withdrew from both schools. Further education had become unnecessary at that point, since I had absorbed, by unrevealed methods, all I needed to know. I immediately took a job as a toll booth operator on the Harrison-Sherman Freeway. Why is it called a freeway when it’s not free? I never found out. Just another of life’s profound and baffling mysteries that haunts me day and night and causes me infinitesimal angst. This is but more fuel for the fires of creativity that burn like furnaces of vast and never-ending smelters in the artistic minds of some of my almost peers. I am unaffected by it, of course.  They are lost souls tossed heartlessly about on the waves of motivational torment while I recline in the boat of contentment and disinterestedly watch them flounder on the unforgiving rocks of self-doubt.

I soon found I could concentrate on the weave in my paper towels for hours on end without boredom. This skill for intense concentration has given me a unique perspective and critical eye that supports my notion of notionlessness. It has given my meaninglessness a new and more intense futility, which I find personally gratifying. I’ve been accused of being deep, which is completely and utterly untrue. I am just like anyone else who finds his own shirtsleeve to be endlessly entertaining.

Sitting in a coffee house one afternoon I became aware of one constant in my life; my laptop computer. Opening a word document, I reached out three fingers and cautiously typed ‘It was a dark and stormy night’. I’ve been writing ever since.

-Wodke Hawkinson

Now for everyone without a clue, Wodke Hawkinson is the pen name PJ Hawkinson and Karen Wodke use on their co-authored works. For the true bios of these fantastic writers simply read on...

PJ Hawkinson grew up in the Midwest. She is a Hutchinson Community College graduate. An avid reader since childhood she is now the published author of Half Bitten. PJ's interest include sightseeing off the beaten path, fishing, and paint-by-numbers. She admits to no favorite writer but enjoys the works of Stephen King, JRR Tolkien, Kent Conwell, and Douglas Adams. PJ envisions life of writing, both on her own and with her long-time friend and co-author, Karen.

Karen attended HCC and Kansas Wesleyan University. She grew up in the Midwest and has played in various bands off and on since childhood, writing many of the songs herself or with co-writers. She is now narrowing her focus to creative writing. She has always been an avid reader, having a wide range of literary interests. Tangerine is her first co-written novel with co-author, PJ. Interestingly, they plan to release their second novel, Betrayed, first.


Short Stories and Short Story Collections

Wodke Hawkinson believes a reader should never be tricked into buying a book of short stories believing it is a full-length novel. Some authors unfortunately title their short story collections in a way that obscures the fact that they are indeed stories and not a single book-length work.

That said, short story collections are an ideal reading alternative, and come in handy in certain circumstances. In fact, they are at times preferable to longer works.

Waiting: Whether spending time in a waiting room for an appointment or simply waiting for someone to arrive, short stories can fill the gap. A story is relatively quick to finish and doesn’t require the investment in time and uninterrupted attention that some full-length books do. It’s like a literary snack that fills empty spaces of time and can stave off the appetite for fiction until there is enough time to devote to reading a novel.

Reading in bed: For those of us who like to read to get drowsy, short stories are a wonderful alternative to the novel. A reader can usually hold his eyes open long enough to get to the end of a short story. On the other hand, a novel does not offer this same advantage. If a novel is very engaging, the reader might find himself actually fighting sleep to see what happens next, thereby defeating the purpose.

Between novels: Sometimes grabbing a short story or two makes a nice transition between longer works. It allows a little time to ‘clear the palate’ and fill the small gap before tackling another novel or book.

Sampling an author: Short stories offer a way of finding out if you like an author’s style, without committing time and resources to an in-depth reading project only to discover you and the author do not mesh. It’s not an absolute guarantee, but chances are good that if you like the short story, you will probably also enjoy the author’s full-length works, too. Sometimes authors produce singles for their readers. A mere preview does not allow the reader to see how a writer handles the execution of the plot and brings around the conclusion. A short story can give the reader a glimpse into the author’s complete writing style in a way that a preview simply cannot.

What are your reasons and/or motivations for reading short stories or short story collections? Have you any favorites?

 

                                                            

Holy Smokes! I have a web-page and blog. I was messing around on the web and stumbled on my name; well, the name of me and my co-author. What’s this? I wondered. Clicking on the link took me to a very interesting web page; www.wodke-hawkinson.com. Here I found all sorts of links to stories we have written, stories we are trying to publish, and general info on ourselves.

Wow! How did I forget this? And then, there on one of the pages of the site, was another link. This one took me to a blog  www.wodke-hawkinson.com/blog1/. It seemed abandoned. I felt sad for the blog. Suddenly, like a bolt of lightning (which I know about first hand since my house was struck by lightning this past Saturday), it hit me that I (and my co-author) were the ones neglecting this lonely blog. What to do, what to do?

Bam! Pow! Wham! I was hit by the notion that I should try to keep the blog (and website) up-to-date. What a notion! I was very proud of myself and am here now to remedy these mistreated, no, ignored sites.

Look through the blog for the new and exciting ‘Wodke Ruminates’ on ‘Forgotten’.

 

catcher in the rye

Our first collection of short stories is now available on Kindle. Catch Her in the Rye is being offered at the very reasonable price of only 99 cents as a means of introducing readers to our writing. The book includes a variety of genres, something for every reader.

 

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