Exactly 500 Words, a New Writing Challenge

A couple of weeks ago, I came up with a new writing exercise to stimulate myself and anyone else who wanted to participate:  write exactly 500 words based on a prompt twice a month.  This started on Facebook, where a friend urged me to not just limit it to 500 words but to add to the challenge by requiring exactly 500 words.

We started at the beginning of the month with the prompt “Rebirth, renewal and the return of light”.  Myself and one other person have participated so far by posting our work to Facebook.  If you’d like to participate, either post your work as a comment or comment with a link to your blog.  Or whatever you want to do.  If the medium allows, please tag it with #Exactly500Words.  The objective for me is to stimulate myself first, get some other people involved second, create some community around writing third.  The first prompt runs through 2/15.

The next prompt, for 2/16 – 2/29, is “Leap”, in honor of a 29 day February for Leap Year.  I would love to see what other people can do with 500 words.

This is what I wrote for the first round – Rebirth, Renewal and the Return of Light:

It’s dark in here.  Dark and close like a womb. I keep shifting and changing position, trying to get comfortable.

My skin feels too tight. My body is heavy and awkward, stumbly and lacking grace. I’ve felt this way for weeks.  No, months.  It’s hard to remember a time before this dark sense of pending.  What am I waiting for?  I don’t know, my mind won’t give up its secrets, though it’s happy to snicker at me as I attempt to think my way out of this puzzle.  Whiskey provides some distance, liquid anesthesia to numb the jagged edges of nagging.

I either need to shrink or break free.  I don’t have the energy to pop my skin and slither out like a snake, but the alternative seems just as improbable.  Maybe if I sleep a while longer, if I lie still and let the planet turn a few times more, maybe I’ll be able to find a comfortable position. The days are dark with weather so that waking feels a lot like sleeping most of the time.

I try but I can’t sit it out.  Can’t distract myself with whiskey and politics enough of the time.  My skin is tight and itchy.  I want to rub up against rough barked trees like a bear emerging from hibernation.  I want to thrash around and pop my casing.  I need more space! The house is too small, too crowded, too INSIDE.  The rain is still falling steadily but I want OUT. Stir crazy, that’s what I’ve got.  My head and my heart and my insides are too tight and bursting at the seams.

I go to the gym, I press the weights up and press the weights down and lift them and pull them.  I pedal miles without going anywhere.  It helps, a little.  My muscles are grateful for the use but what I really need is to dig and lift and haul and rake and move, move move.  Real moving for real miles, not running like a hamster on a wheel.

When the light begins its return, it’s slow and patient, like a glacier.  Even at that pace, I can feel the change in my quickening pace, in the way my muscles begin to move with more ease, the way my eyes look up to find the horizon.  I’m looking long rather than keeping my gaze close and safe.  The sun is beginning its annual return to dominance. I’m pulling it in, recharging my batteries.  Soon, soon, I can break free.

The smallest crack becomes my way out. I don’t stop until my dark prison lies in shards behind me. Prison, womb, egg. Ended.  And now a new beginning, basking in this blessed radiation so far from its source.

Always this cycle: light to dim, succumbing to deepest  night.  Re-entering the womb, the egg that cradles new life. Waiting with seeds and deep sleeping animals until that first sweet warm kiss of spring sets us free once more.

Born again.

 

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I Miss My Tears

Have you ever had sex so good it made you cry?

I’ve been there and done that more than once.  I’ve been so moved by the connection and passion I’m experiencing with my lover that I’ve sobbed and cried with joy and release.

I don’t know that I can do that any more.  The other day, I felt that feeling of overwhelming joy welling up inside me.  I clung to Red and felt as though the tears would spill any second.  Any second.  Any second now.

It was the weirdest thing, I felt all the same feelings that should precede tears but the tears didn’t come.  I think my eyes may have gotten extra moist but they didn’t spill over.

Before starting to take testosterone, I had heard that losing the ability to cry was a potential side-effect.  I didn’t think much of it, I figured it was all individual, like so many things around hormones.  It wasn’t like I cried all that often anyway. Maybe it would be a big deal for me.

Well, now I know.  Now that I’m taking T, I have a diminished ability to cry. I feel all the emotions that would have caused tears – sadness, grief, expansive joy… but the tears don’t come as easily.  Weirdly, I still tear up over scenes in movies or TV shows, even commercials.  So far it looks like I can cry if it’s about something I can relate to that isn’t personal, but have a harder time crying when the emotion is coming from a personal place.

I really didn’t want to lose my ability to cry and release emotions that way. It has me thinking about the other fear/expectation I heard about around testosterone – more anger and violence. I think about the way men are conditioned to not cry or show vulnerability – maybe they really don’t have the same capacity as people not on testosterone.  At any rate, the need to express and release emotions is still there and if I can’t cry, I have to do it somehow.  Crying has always felt like a safe way to vent overwhelming emotions – well, safe if I was alone or with those rare people I feel comfortable crying with.  What’s the safe way to spill off those emotions if I can’t cry?  I’ll have to figure that out.

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For You, It’s Always Yes

I wake up in her bed, a rare treat that I savor every time.  She’s still asleep next to me – soft, warm, relaxed.  We were up late fucking and talking and fucking some more. Now, I’m lying here looking at her in the dim morning light thinking I should let her sleep.  I rest my hand on her hip and resist the urge to press my fingertips into the crease between hip bone and mound.  I roll over and press my backside against hers and I can feel her breathing.  She settles against me in a way that speaks volumes about comfort and safety and belonging.  I close my eyes, willing myself to sleep a little longer, not wanting to break the moment.

But, no, I’m done sleeping.  I reach for my phone, on the side table.  I occupy myself for a while with social media until I’m just scrolling and no longer seeing anything.  She’s right there, right behind me, in her gloriously sexy birthday suit.  yes, she needs sleep but I can’t justify being on my phone when she’s right there.  We don’t have enough sleepovers, and really it wouldn’t matter how many we had, this moment, when I wake up with her, is too precious to squander.

Facing her again I slide one knee between her parted legs. Not aggressively, just to get my body closer to hers.  I adjust myself so my lips rest against the base of her neck. She takes a deep breath and settles into me. My fingertips trace a path from shoulder to thigh.  I’m not in a hurry, the pleasure her skin is too exquisite to rush. I take my time touching as much of her as I can reach without moving and disturbing her sleep. I reach across her body, palm resting on her belly.  I’m mesmerized by the rise and fall of her breath. I draw my hand lightly upward until it’s resting on her sternum. Her heart beat is steady and strong.  I can feel my own where my chest presses against her back and where it echoes between my legs.  Be patient, I tell myself, hold the moments as long as you can.

Whether it’s because of my hand roaming her body or because my need for her has found its way into her sleeping mind, she begins to stir.  She rolls partway over, into me, her head pressing back so that my lips find the spot under her ear. I kiss her lightly and cup her breast without pressure.  Her breath catches and her eyelids flutter.  It’s hard to tell if she’s waking or still asleep.  If she’s asleep, I wonder what her dreams look like. Do her dreaming eyes see me, or am I giving form to a fantasy of someone else? I’m curious, but it doesn’t matter either way.  The pleasure of her body and her skin are mine.

I become more insistent with my fingers and I start to kiss down her neck and across her shoulder, very gently grazing her with my teeth. At one point, when my palm crosses from hip to thigh, her pelvis tilts, just a little. I follow her lead, unconscious though it might be.  I’m remembering something she said the first time I slept over.  “The answer is ‘yes’, even if I’m asleep.  I trust you – for you, it’s always ‘yes’.”

 

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Turtles

I like turtles.  I have a collection of turtle figurines, small toys and artwork.  My daughters have contributed with original art and one plush turtle made in home-ec.  I used to say turtles were my totem animal, but now I know that’s appropriative.  So instead I now refer to them as inspirations and role models.

I look at sea turtles and I see a creature who has to navigate on two very different environments in order to survive individually and as a species.  On land they’re awkward, ungainly, dragging themselves across beaches to lay eggs.  In the sea, they are graceful, in their element, soaring along through the water.

I can relate. I have had a lot of awkward moments in my life, feeling ungraceful and out of my element.  And then there are the moments of soaring, of gliding and of feeling perfectly in the groove.

There’s another way I relate to turtles, land tortoises in this case.  The legendary slowness of tortoises has been laughed at by hares all through history.  I’ve often envied people who make decisions and act quickly.  I’ve envied the people who seemed to know from a young age what shape their lives would take. They’ve run off like hares while I’ve taken my time, sniffing flowers and lying on my back to watch the clouds go by.  Unlike the hare in the old story, however, there doesn’t seem to be a downside to their sprint.

I’m a turtle, I know this, I used to fight it because I envied those speedy rabbits.  I envied that certainty. My brother is a rabbit, he’s known from a young age that he would be successful and, with the exception of a length detour through some very bad times, has driven himself to success and is still moving in an upward direction on his chosen career ladder.  I fell into software development.  It was interesting and I like solving puzzles.  I have been fairly successful in terms of longevity and monetary reward.  For a while it felt like a passion and now it feels less so.  Anyway, I digress.

Red, with no small amount of love, calls me ‘glacial’ – that’s her way of describing the slow, methodical way I move from idea to decision to action. At first, I bristled at her description and then I recognized the truth.  I’m not stationary, but I don’t move quickly on things I think are really important.  I take my time – “no haste, no waste” is one of my guiding principals.  I am a turtle, it’s in my nature.  I’m also able to move gracefully in my element.  That’s also in my nature.

Sometimes envy still comes up and nips at me and I wish maybe I’d started writing earlier in my life, or figured out poly earlier or started exploring kink at a younger age.  Some of that comes from this sense that I’m running out of time to do ALL THE THINGS.  Sometimes that misgiving comes from the recognition that I’m really enjoying this now and if I’d started enjoying it earlier, that’d just be more enjoyment.  Regardless, this is where I am now, and all the places I’ve been and people I’ve been with and ways I’ve been in the world inform the me I am now.  And I really like the me I am now. I like the me I am now and even though there’s a possibility I’d have liked being me earlier in my life, that’s not how it unrolled for me.

I have turtled my way to where I am now and it’s a pretty good place.  And when I’m in my good place, I am as graceful as a sea turtle soaring through seaweed.

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It’s Easy To Second Guess

It’s easy to second guess decisions we’ve made and hindsight is twenty-twenty, or so they say.  I bring that up because today I was thinking, not for the first time, about how passionate and confident I am in my future as a fiction writer and how in the past that feeling often would have been accompanied by a feeling of regret – regret that I didn’t find my way to this place sooner. That regret comes from a misguided notion that I could have done this particular kind of writing at any time and would have had that much more time to be successful.

The reason I don’t have that regret now is that I don’t believe I could have done the kind of work I’m doing now, 10 years ago or more.  I would have done different work, and I’m sure I would have enjoyed it, but that’s neither here not there, clearly.  My perspective now is that I spent those decades collecting experiences, honing a variety of skills, following my curiosity down a large number of very rewarding paths and doing a lot of internal work on myself.  The genre for my current novel-in-progress is sometimes called dystopia, though it could also be described as speculative-future fiction.  Speculating about the future and creating realistic, complex and interesting characters to populate that future is not easily done until you’ve learned a little about a lot of things:  economics, race conflicts, culture wars, the environmental impacts of humankind on this planet, group think and sociology, mental health, perspectives based on a diverse number of variables, what it feels like to age, what it feels like to move across gender lines, what it feels like to fall in love and experience heart break and live through depression and feel triumph and failure.  All of the things I’ve read about, lived, participated in, seen, witnessed and felt are a part of a grand stew I can draw from.

So sure, I would probably have enjoyed pursuing my passion for writing rather than the career path I chose, but that was then and this is now.  I made the choice, it wasn’t a bad one, I’ve learned a lot.

And really, having come to this place, at this age and in this state of the world, I can honestly say that my best work is ahead of me.  That is not a bad place to be.

 

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Knowing Myself

I know myself best when life challenges me. I know myself deepest when love calls me to be generous and trusting, rather than gripping it tightly with both hands.

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There are Days…

There are days when I just want to retreat into myself, hit the pause button and step off the treadmill for a bit.  I want to sit and think without interruption, to sink into my own raw material and do nothing but breathe and follow the fickle trails of thought as they wind their way through memory and mindlessness.

It’s not that I want to be forgotten, or that I want the dear people in my life to feel I’ve abandoned them, it’s just that sometimes I need to have my own space.  And why can’t I? I guess the standard answer is that there’s too much to do.  I’m lashed to that treadmill by habit and duty.  People depend on me, running away isn’t an option I can choose if I don’t want to hurt them.  Not that I want to run away, mind you, just that there are times I need to step away.

The thing about treadmills is they literally have you travelling on the same pathway, over and over again.  I need a new path.

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Coming in June, 2016: Me and My Boi

Yesterday, I got email confirmation that an anthology of queer female erotica, Me and My Boi, will finally be published this June.  Due to one thing and another, it was on hold for about a year.  I’m excited about this because it will contain, What I’m Made Of.  To say I’m pretty excited is a big understatement. I’m thrilled.  I’m encouraged.  I’m looking forward to finding another anthology to submit my work to.  Well, actually, I have submitted another story to an anthology being published in the UK.  So I need to find the next anthology or magazine to submit my work to.  Heh.

Here’s a link to the Cleis Press page for Me and My Boi.  I hope you’ll consider putting it on your wish list and exploring not just my contribution, but all the other great stories Sacchi Green selected for the collection.

book_image

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Taking a Drive with Daddy

Want to take a ride with Daddy, babygirl?  Yes?  I’m so glad, we’re going to have so much fun!  Please wear that dress I like so much.  We’re going to go for a drive to meet some of Daddy’s friends.  I’ll be over to pick you up soon.

That’s it, get in the car with me. Yes, I want you to sit on that pad.  Oh now, I can see you’re embarrassed, but there’s no reason for that.  I love the way you come like a dam breaking, over and over and over again.  Daddy likes it, baby.  And yes, baby, Daddy is going to make you come while we drive, you like that, right?  Uh huh, I thought so.

That’s it, lean your seat back a bit and hike your dress up for me… yeah, just like that.  What?  You’re worried other people will see?  Well, yes, I suppose that could happen. They might look down and see a girl who is being good for her Daddy, a good slutty girl just the way I like you to be.  Would you like that, baby?  I’ll take your smile and that squirm as a ‘yes’.

No, no.  Leave your panties on, I like the way it feels when I run my fingers just under the edge of the elastic.  It feels dirty and naughty, and I like that.  Yes, yes, your Daddy is dirty and naughty just like his babygirl. Lean over here and give me a kiss on the cheek, baby.  Good girl, now lie back and relax.

I’ll tell you something.  When I press against the fabric like this, I can feel you underneath.  I can feel all of you through the thin fabric and that’s super sexy.  I can feel your wetness, baby, your excitement.  This is exciting, isn’t it?  You seem to be turned on and also very nervous at the possibility people will see what we’re doing.

Here comes a big truck now.  If the driver looks down at the right moment, he’ll see your sweet thighs, open and exposed.  He’ll see your little girl panties and my hand, gently stroking you.  Yeah, that’s it, squirm under my hand, show me how much you love this, even though you’re also embarrassed. I just wish there was a way he could signal me if he was interested.  How would you like that, my little slut?  Oh yes, whimper for me, moan and press against my hand.  I know you, you’d love to lie down for him, wouldn’t you?

And what about her?  I know she looks like a suburban mom now, but imagine her in a vinyl catsuit, her hair up and a crop in her hand.  Oh yes, moan for me, moan at the vision of her popping your sweet ass with that crop while she slides her gloved hand all over your body.  Maybe I should make a little sign to put in the window, so they know who to call if they like what they see?

What’s that baby, you love me?  Oh sweetheart, Daddy loves you, too.  Yes, I know you and I know what you like and I know what a wet slut you are when you imagine having your holes well used.

Mmmmmm, yes, time to slide my fingers inside your panties, inside where your slippery folds guard your sensitive places.  Oh, that hard swollen clit.  It’s a small cock now, growing larger all the time thanks to testosterone.  I love to stroke it like this, sliding down and around and back up again. Oh, how you squirm and thrust and moan.  Yes, little love, you may come.  Do it now, come for your Daddy, come all over my hand. Yes… just like that baby.  You are such a good girl.  And, mmm, you taste so good.

Oh, is that right?  Your hole is aching to be filled? You need Daddy to fuck you, right now, driving down the freeway?  Mmmm… yes, open up for me, darling one.  I’ll slide my hand down your thigh and under the elastic to find your sweet, wet, slutty hole. One finger, then two.  That’s it, buck those sexy hips for me, fuck my fingers.  Yes, come while I stroke you on the inside.  That’s my good girl.  Oh yes! That is exactly why I had you sit on the pad.  I love the way you come so hard for me, love the way it gushes out. Keep your dress up, dear, mmmmm yes, let me see you.

Oh really? You need more?  Well, if I lean forward a bit, I can get three fingers in there and stretch you out a little.  Is that better, baby? Oh yeah, do it, girl, fuck my hand, make yourself come. That’s it, baby, yes.  Yes, just like that.  Such a good girl.

 

Alright, I need that hand back for some driving, baby, please play with yourself for me.  Yes, you can push your panties down a little bit.  Oh sweet girl, I love your sexy body.  I never get tired looking at you.  And I think the guy in the pickup truck next to us is enjoying the view as well.

 

Heh, yes, he did smile at me.  He’s a handsome guy, isn’t he?  Too bad he had to take that exit.  Ours is coming up, sweetheart.  Yes, we’re almost there.  No, you don’t need to do anything, just relax and keep your little cock hard for me.

 

Alright, here we are honey. Are you ready to meet my friends? I think you’ll like them.  They are all very nice handsome men and I know you’re going to be a very good girl for me tonight.

 

Oh, honey, are you upset that your panties are all wet now? Don’t worry about that, babygirl. Just take them all the way off and leave them here on the car.

 

That’s right.

You won’t be needing them.

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Seasonal Affective Disarray

I’ve come to realize how important Winter Solstice is to me.  Not that I have rituals around it or any tradition I follow concerning that day.  For me it is the end of the long darkness and the beginning of the re-emergence of the day star.

I’ve never thought I had Seasonal Affective Disorder.  I’ve always associated that with depression and sadness.  More than disorder, I feel disarray:  the loud clanging of my emotions and thoughts inside the tin pan of my skull and the difficulty I have keeping my cool. My skin feels prickly and irritated.

I’ve been feeling this mental and emotional disarray for weeks now and just today, this evening, some of the pieces that have been jumbling around in my head began to fit together to form a partial picture.  This season – a season for introspection, for hibernation, for preparation and for strengthening ties with family and friends – is also a season of darkness and foul weather and stir crazy pets and people.

I’ve fought the urge many times over the past few days to get into my truck and drive until I run out of gas.  To drive to somewhere quiet, somewhere quiet enough for my mental mud to settle and allow me to think, to breathe deeply, to be.  I feel crowded by darkness and a full schedule of activities and expectations.

I long for light, for fresh air, for time spent outside with out the voices in my head nagging me about the length of my to do list.  And more than anything, I long for quiet – hard to get in a home that seems to always be full of sounds.  I don’t like being this way, I don’t like feeling so irritable and ready to bark at my loves.

I’m glad I could finally put into words the feelings that have been pressing the inside of my skull.  It feels a little better already, just seeing the words on this page.  Light is coming,

We’ve slipped past the longest night and the day star will make its presence known more and more as the days go by.  Just thinking about it I can feel the sensation of rebirth in my belly, in my chest.   Winter feels like a crowded, messy cell, spring is my time.

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