• First Sentences,  Random Ramblings

    Not in the sense that people always mean it

    I am writing this post on my phone so, for once, there is no cat between me and the screen. Not that my cats don’t get between me and my phone, but they don’t run to do it the way they seem to when they see me on my computer.

    I had a fun evening with a friend I hadn’t seen in a few months. We watched a really interesting sci-fi movie called Anon. I enjoyed the premise and implications of that premise a lot. I was also very struck by the demographics of it. In a world with many mostly white male casts, this one’s white maleness stood out more than normal. I discussed this with my friend and commented that if the cast were the opposite – say, mostly black women – people would complain about forced diversity and pandering to liberals.

    This weekend I’m excited about the return of Doctor Who, a show that has been accused of that very thing in its casting of a female Doctor and two minorities (plus one white male) as companions. These people, self-professed Doctor Who “fans,” talk about how the series will be cancelled within two seasons because of this forced diversity and virtue signaling, and seem to hope for that eventuality. I, for one, hope the new season is wildly successful and I can’t wait to see what they’ve done.

    Today’s First Sentence, written just now:

    I’m going to commit the perfect crime. Not in the sense that people

  • iPhone Xs
    First Sentences,  Random Ramblings

    The Appfinity Loop

    Today I was going to edit the first chapter of my novel. Emphasis on the word “was.” Because today I also had an appointment with Apple at 6:15pm since my week and a half old iPhone Xs said its maximum battery capacity was at 98% instead of 100%.

    Apple verified the phone was defective and recommended, due to warranty reasons, that I replace it through Xfinity, who I bought it through. Apple also said that because the phone was such a new model, it would need to be sent away and that I’d be without the phone for several days if I did it through them.

    Xfinity gives you 14 days from the day the phone is shipped, not from when you receive the phone. My phone shipped two days before I received it and that 14 day period ends exactly today. I think it’s BS that I lose two days of the return window to shipping since the phone was literally not in my possession during that period. But, whatever, I was still in the 14 day period so I called. I got a very helpful person who started the process right away, letting me know that I wouldn’t have to return my phone until the new one arrived. Unfortunately, she ran into the problem of the Xs being backordered for several weeks. Apparently their system won’t let you process an exchange unless the replacement is immediately available. This is something else I think is BS because I

  • Ianta the Punk 1
    First Sentences,  Random Ramblings

    Every. Single. Time.

    It never fails. Every single time I sit down to work on a blog post, Ianta is sure I’m here for her. Every. Single. Time. She’ll purr. She’ll walk back and forth. She’ll rub up against things to mark them with her scent. She’ll knock things off the desk with her tail and then be startled by the sound they make when they fall. It’s 100% cat.

    So, in honor of her, today’s First Sentence:

    They said it would be easy. Well, listening to them was my first mistake. Thinking anything in my life would be easy was my second. In my defense, all I was supposed to do was knock on his door and ask for directions to some place or other, and that really does sound easy, doesn’t it? Yes, yes it does. So how did it go wrong? I’m glad you asked.

    It all started with the cat.

  • The Osprey cover art
    Short Stories

    The Osprey

    My short story of the month is called the Osprey. It’s one of several short stories I wrote during a real-world stint that I think was inspired by the writing group I was in at the time not being very into fantasy or science fiction.

    This one’s very short. 1,410 words. I wrote it in November of 2009. Here’s a little info about it: Life is uncertain. Loved ones are sometimes ripped away unexpectedly and moving on can seem an insurmountable task.

     

    The Osprey
    by Erika Friedman

    “I have the same dream almost every night. I’m flying over the water. And calling your name. You never answer.” The clash of the dumpster being emptied into a garbage truck intrudes on the early morning. I stop, wait for the distraction to fade, as if fearful my voice won’t carry over it. “I guess you were right about the osprey.”

    I turn around. The kitchen is unoccupied. Silent. Undisturbed. There are dirty plates on the table. The smell of mint tea hugs the apartment. My untouched mug still steams its invitation, sitting beside Jeremy’s eternally empty one.

    “Baby, your absence is all I see of tomorrow.”

    At the funeral I talk about the osprey that lost its mate to a fishing net at Huntington Lake. Jeremy heard its calls every morning of our vacation and thought it was grieving. What to me seemed like nothing more than a series of short whistles was a song of mourning to my fiancée. He

  • Nothing but choices
    First Sentences,  Random Ramblings,  Story Excerpts

    Better. Worse. Different.

    After a couple weeks of me being fairly moody and easy to annoy, I’m introspective tonight. I’m facing some decisions that feel large to me, but when I sit back and compare them to the decisions of others – Dr. Christine Blasey Ford’s decision to testify at the Senate hearing, for example – they’re not. They’re medium sized, probably edging in the direction of small, when stacked against the sexism, racism, homophobia, transphobia, classism, and other difficulties that many people in this country face on a daily basis.  Adults having to work two or more jobs to survive, families one medical-emergency away from bankruptcy, one prolonged illness away from not having a reliable paycheck, there are just so many serious struggles that so many people are in the middle of even as I write these words.

    My story is still my own though, and my decisions are important to me. I won’t minimize how they impact me but I have to allow the above comparisons to make me grateful for all that I have, for the ease of contemplating medium-small dilemmas instead of cliff edged ordeals.

    So, today, the beginning of a story about choices and changes and the days that define the courses our lives will take. From 1/26/09, back when I used to write about actual romantic relationships in more than just the background:

    Things never turn out the way you expect them to. Better. Worse. Different. But never the same. Today is no exception. I imagined a

  • First Sentences,  Random Ramblings

    If I saw you I never noticed

    Very little of my day has gone as planned. Amidst a world and life of uncertainty and constant change, it would be nice to occasionally have a day that goes exactly the way you intended. Just once in a while. For a change of pace.

    To make my point, I was interrupted between writing the previous paragraph and this one. A pleasant interruption, though, which I probably can’t say for most of the others today.

    Today’s First Sentence is from 09/09/2008, and I have the strange feeling I’ve already posted it, though I can’t find evidence of that.

    It’s funny how things work out. I never saw you before graduation. Or if I saw you I never noticed. Yet somehow, even though I don’t know your name and I have friends that are waiting for me, there’s a connection that makes me listen when you approach me after the ceremony.

    “I’ll remember you.” That’s it. You don’t say ‘hi,’ don’t introduce yourself.

  • First Sentences,  Random Ramblings

    My Words Just Break and Melt

    My mom and I have enjoyed Chipotle, Thai food, and several games of Yahtzee. My luck was strong for the first two games, but has completely turned around. I’ve gotten sad, pathetic little scores.

    She’s on the phone at the moment so I thought I’d take advantage of the break and post. This is the first paragraph of a story called My Words Just Break and Melt. The title is taken from a song by Snow Patrol. I wrote the story on 2/12/2008.

    I can fix this. I know I can fix this. If I could just say the right thing, you’d understand. You’d know. You’d see. You’d stay. I made a mistake. I screwed up. I won’t deny it. I haven’t denied it. My action seems incomprehensible to you. But it’s not. There was a reason. It’s not a good reason, maybe not even a valid reason, but a reason. A reason you’d accept, if I could just give it to you.

  • First Sentences

    Mundane furniture surrounded by gaping holes

    What to write when your mom is visiting and you just got a new iPhone so your mind isn’t anywhere near the process of crafting words and sentences? Hmm. I really don’t know. So, moving on to a first sentence form 6/17/2010:

    It’s been three weeks since she moved out and the living room still feels half-empty every time I enter the apartment. Mundane furniture surrounded by gaping holes, solitary hollowness where her ordinary things once stood. I walk through quickly, don’t let my eyes linger on the areas I need to fill, and am grateful her bedroom door is shut. It’s easier that way.

  • First Sentences,  Random Ramblings

    The Silence is a Trap

    We’ve watched a lot of Columbo this weekend. It’s a different approach than most detective shows where you’re trying to figure the mystery out along with the protagonist. It’s fun to see how Columbo nails the murderer.

    Unrelatedly, today’s First Sentence is from 7/5/2011:

    The silence is a trap, the longer Danielle waits the less she knows how to break it. She eats last night’s eggplant parmesan, watches Matthew do the same. Her heart is clenched. There’s never a good time to deliver bad news. Her confession tastes like sour milk and every time she opens her mouth she stops, green eyes studying the delicate blue flowers that decorate their white plates.

  • First Sentences

    Upside-Down Teardrops

    I’m leaning toward posting A Way Out on October 1, as long as I have time to make a good editing pass. Extinguishing Eternity needs more work.

    Posts this weekend will be short with my friend visiting. This is an even older one than usual, from 4/24/2008:

    When I think of her I always think of spider webs, burnt marshmallows, rain, and upside-down teardrops. The confining white walls of this terrible room can’t take that from me. The frustratingly consistent numbers that flash across the dreary display, the cables and tubes that hook into her fragile body like a horrible science project gone wrong, can’t take that from me. Nothing can. Not even the steady beeping of that infernal machine.

    Beep. Beep. Beep.