Monday, December 28, 2015

Second Annual Last Post of the Year

So I just re-read my end of the year post for 2014, in which I laid out four modest goals for the upcoming year:

1. Find a home for Antiartists: COMPLETE
The book will be published by Pen Name Publishing Spring 2016
 
2. Develop a network of writers and readers: COMPLETE (ongoing)
From my publisher, Dionne, my new writer buddies Scott Thompson, Lev Butts, and Mike Hansen, my Twitter pals Tim and Salome' from Ghostwood Books, and all of you that check this thing out on a regular basis, a massive thank you is in order.  My regular readership for this blog has more than doubled in the last year, from a very (VERY) modest number to a slightly higher very modest number.  You can help by sharing this with others if you like it, by liking my stuff on Facebook, by following me on Twitter.  I'm literally counting on you for my success.  Spread the word.
  
3. Finish the new novel, Flagg: COMPLETE
With a ridiculous amount of support (and incredible editing) from my brilliant wife, Sheri, I finished a new novel in a year, a personal best.

4. Stay positive and moving forward: I'm going to call this one good, too, despite a few struggles with apathy and mild depression, coupled with tragedy and familial stress. I have kept it together pretty well, all things considered.

So.  Let's look forward, shall we?

New goals for 2016:

1. Write a new book:  I think the new book will be four novellas, each between 25,000 and 35,000 words, a la Different Seasons, or the Bachman Books.  I've got ideas for four different stories, all of them different but with similar themes of growth and hope and letting go.  It is possible that one of these will develop into a full novel, but for now I'm thinking of them as too long for shorts but too short for novels.  These are all things I have been putting off while I finished my current project, and now they can have my attention.  Regardless of the outcome, I fully intend to have a new publishable book by the end of next year.

2. Find a home for Flagg: The book is good.  I'm confident this will happen.

3. Have a good launch for Antiartists: I'm a bit nervous about this, but I believe in my work.  I believe that good stuff will find an audience.  I believe in being patient and in developing a good, engaged readership.  I believe given my very modest expectations and goals for this strange little novel, this will be a good result at the end of 2016.

4. Remember to be present to love and savor the fleeting life I have been given.  Remember to be thankful for all of my many blessings. Because I'm better off, more comfortable, more happy and at peace than I would ever have expected.  Life is never easy, but it is better now than it has ever been.  I have a lot of growing still to do, professionally and artistically and personally, and I don't know what I ever did to deserve the life I have, but to whomever I stole it from, sorry pal, but I'm keeping it.

So long, 2015.  Welcome to history.

Hello 2016.  Let's hope you look as good up close as you do from a distance; I've been fooled before.

Peace to you and yours.  Happy New Year.

Still Writing,

RP
12-28-15      

Thursday, December 10, 2015

Finishing the Job

So you're in the shower, feeling the warm wash splash over you. You allow yourself to relax a bit, let the heat and the water wash off the psychic bruises of the day, the low grade filth that sticks to your skin after a day in this world. You stand there in the steam and you get an idea.

It is vague, right, a vapor cloud, a ghost, but it happens, you see it in your head and it starts to form, take a more solid shape, take on more structure, it becomes a skeleton, a frame on which to hang other ideas, things that have been bouncing around your head for a while now, bouncing because they had nowhere to stick, but now they do, and the idea takes a place in your world.  It has become real.

This is it. This is the thing that will be your breakout. This is your Golden Ticket.

You jump out of the shower, you gotta get started on it right now, this very moment, before the idea fades, before you can talk yourself out of it, find reasons to not even start, to not even try. 

This is the first obstacle, that sneaky voice that wants you to stay small, the mouse, that wants you to hide and stay safe and small, that tells you to never take risks, that whispers to you every reason that you can't do it, that is so persuasive and insidious.

Listen.  Do not listen to the mouse.  He is small.  He is weak and terrified.  You are not a mouse.

Ignore the mouse.

You start, you move, and it is glorious.  This is what it feels like, the fireworks, the orgasm. This is what you were always meant to do. It is this feeling that allows you to still drive the kids to soccer practice, to hold the wife's purse while she shops for shoes, to accept the ridiculous and hurtful bullshit, why you can suck it up when you step in dogshit in your front yard and you don't even have a dog, this is why you can continue in this life that can be so full of pain and disappointment.

This is a lie.  This is a teenage love, fast and hot and short lived, and when it burns out, you find yourself standing in the cold grey ashes, and you cry, you wonder if it is worth it to even continue.

Listen.  Your teenage love was a lie, and your fireworks are a lie, too.

Ignore the fireworks.

This is it.  Here now, where you get to decide who you are, what you want to be.  You work, you skip your snacks and your naps, you plow forward, keep moving, keep pushing.  You know that it will be worth it.  You are close now.  You work so hard you break a sweat, you lose track of time, and then your wife taps you on the shoulder, tells you that you haven't moved for days, you haven't come up for air, the kids are starting to ask where Daddy went, they keep mentioning someone called Uncle Greg, but you don't have any brothers, and neither does the wife.  Maybe it is time to clean yourself up, shave off your disgusting beard, take a shower.  You can see the end anyway, you are so close, maybe a break is in order, hell, you deserve it. You can eat food, maybe ask about this Greg asshole.

You take a shower.  You let the warm wash over you, let the water leach off some of the psychic bruises, let the soap rinse off the crust and barnacles, and then it happens.  You get an idea, just a whisper in your mind, and you remember the fireworks, that hot, fast love.  You remember that what you are doing now is hard, and long, and it is starting to look like your car does, pretty once, new and exciting, but now it has two hundred thousand miles on it, and the kids have thrown up in the back seat seven or eight times, and you have stopped throwing your garbage out because if you do, it exposes the holes in the floorboards. 

This new idea is a Ferrari.  This new idea will go fast and furious.  You can always come back, the Ferrari whispers, you can come home after your race and set to restoring your old POS, right?  Take a ride with me, it whispers, I go fast.

Listen: don't believe the Ferrari.  If it is real, it will sit there in the driveway until you fix up your old car.  If it is real, it will still be there when you are done with your old POS.  If it isn't real, it will fade like a dream in the morning sun.  Expensive cars always lie.

Ignore the Ferrari.

Kiss your wife (why is she wearing make-up at three in the afternoon on a Wednesday?), say hello to your kids (they are so much taller, my God, is that a mustache?).  Sit back down.  Finish.  You do this because you have decided who you are, what you want to be.  You made your choice, and all the mice and fireworks and Ferraris will not be able to change that.  You finish your work, because you want to have done something that might last even after you have died and rotted away, after you have long crumbled into dust.  You do this because you do not want to live in fear.  You are not a mouse.

Finish the job, then go and have a word with Greg.

Still Writing,
RP 12-9-15

Hello there, strangers.  I have been working, I promise.  Just last night I finished the first, long and terrible edit of my second novel, Flagg.  Thank you so much for reading.  Check out my short "Learning" on Grand Central Review (grandcentralreview.com), Follow me on Twitter (@RDPullins), go and sign up for the launch team for Antiartists on my publisher's website (pennamepublishing.com).  Cheers!
  

Monday, November 9, 2015

Heat

This came from another of those one-word story prompts that my publisher did for the year.  The word for August was "heat." 

---------------


Heat



What he remembers most is her heat.

She would get up for work before he did because she had a longer commute.  He would feel her get up, get out of bed, hear her start the shower, and because he could, he stayed in bed for an extra half-hour longer than her.  He would slide his hand through the sheets, under the blankets and feel for her warmth still radiating from where she had been sleeping.  She would come back, lean in, her hair still wet, her skin hot and flushed from the shower, kiss him goodbye.  They wouldn’t see each other again until the evening, and sometimes that seemed hard, being away from her all day, and feeling her warm place in bed was a way to have her close for just a little while longer.

He sits now, looking out the sliding glass door, his eyes roaming over the backyard.  It snowed last night while he slept, a stark white blanket laid over the world.  Pretty, yes, but also cold, empty, dead.  He sips his coffee, a single cup of instant, poured in a cup of water he had heated in the microwave.  He has found that it is wasteful now to make a whole pot; he just ends up dumping most of it down the sink.  He feels cold.  The coffee sliding its warm trail down his throat helps, but the feeling doesn’t stay.

She got home before he did, too, and sometimes he would walk in from work and the lights would be low and she would not even say a word, just swarm him, wet mouth and nails and breath, she would show him everything, pose for him in ways that he liked, bent over at the waist in her short skirt, just a peek of her showing from under the hem.  He loved that about her, she was a show off, a tease.  He would reach for her and she would slap lightly at his hands, tell him not yet, just wait, I have something special planned.  She would touch him when they were out, she would whisper things, graphic, filthy things, sometimes shockingly so, into his ear at dinner at his parent’s, and he would have to endure his father’s golf stories all the while the image of her doing the things that she whispered in his ear dancing in his head, her fingers dancing lightly across his fly under the table, the whole while her smiling and laughing, sipping from her wine glass, laughing at his mother’s goofy knick-knacks, tossing her hair, her eyes glittering and full of fire.

His coffee has gone cold.  He looks around his kitchen.  He didn’t turn on the overheads, so the only light in there comes from outside, white blue and unforgiving.  The dishes have piled up in the sink, but he isn’t really ever hungry anymore, the food seems to be all bland and tasteless.  On the sliding glass door he can see the outline of a heart she had drawn there months ago when it was warm and rainy, a trace of her that had never been washed away.

He would come home sometimes defeated, tired.  His job paid well, but his boss was an unfair tyrant, would blame mistakes on his underlings, take credit for their ideas.  Her voice would be soft, warm, and he would slip into her arms like bathwater, she would say all the things that he wanted to hear, that he was talented, that he was being taken for granted at that shithole, she would say forget all that, come here, and she would lift her blanket where she had been sitting on the couch watching some dumb movie, she would let him in, mute the TV and she would listen to him.  He always seemed cold and her body would warm the two of them together, I’ve got enough heat for the both of us she would say.

How he remembers it happening is, one day he woke up, slid his hand under the sheets, and it was cold there, where she should have been was empty, she was just gone.  But of course this is not true; he knows that.  What really happened was a thousand little things: when she needed him to be open he was closed, when she needed him to listen, he didn’t, when she just wanted to hold his hand he pulled away.  He didn’t understand her, what she saw in all these silly things, why she loved all those old sappy movies, why she read those insipid romance novels, why she took the time to prepare a whole tray, properly arranged with cups and saucers when they were just trying to have a cup of tea.
 
In the end she was wrong about something: she didn’t have enough heat for them both.  He realizes now, staring out at the frozen dormant trees, even at the end, even after she had packed up all of her stuff in boxes, she had still tried.  He couldn’t remember when it started happening, but they started sleeping back to back, then after that she started sleeping on the couch, saying she just wanted to finish this movie, but he would wake and she would be gone to work.  She would be back there under her blanket when he got home, only now she didn’t lift the corner for him, she would just smile a brief sad smile and go back to watching the TV.  Then the boxes arrived, all brown corners and shapes, wardrobe boxes, and boxes marked in her looping script: “Bathroom Stuff,” “Books,” and somewhat cryptically, “Other.” He doesn’t remember ever talking about it; the boxes arrived, and she filled them up.  The last time she spoke to him, she had slept in what used to be their bed, because the boxes had taken over the couch.  In the morning, he felt her get up, and in his half-awake state, he forgot about the boxes, and he slid his hand under the sheets to feel her heat, to keep her close for just a while longer.  She spoke then, in a whisper, asked him to get out of bed, to come and take a shower with her, to get up and have some coffee with her, to fucking say anything, do anything to make her feel like she was making a mistake, that he wasn’t dead inside, do anything at all to make her stay, please just say anything… but he pretended not to hear, acted like he was still asleep. He just couldn’t face her, couldn’t take her anger or to see the pain in her eyes, pain he had maybe put there, he just somehow… couldn’t.  You really are a cold-hearted bastard, aren’t you, she said in a normal volume, like she knew it, but still couldn’t quite believe it, and she got dressed and she left. That evening when he got home from work the boxes were gone.

Now sitting in the stark and frozen white-blue light, he can see her key sitting on the counter where it had been when he got home from work that night.  He shivers.  It is cold enough in the house that he can see his breath.
 
He should probably turn on the heat, but he probably won’t.

8-15


----------------------------------


 I suppose it is just in my nature that if the word is heat, I will fill the piece with ice and frost imagery.  This one was from August, and I have been sitting on it for a while because I was contemplating entering it in a flash fiction contest.  I ultimately didn't enter it, partly because I dislike paying entrance fees, but mostly because I put it off until after the deadline.  Regardless, I really like this one and I think it works really well.

In case you are curious, the word for Sepetember was "learning," and the piece I wrote for that was accepted for publication by Grand Central Review (grandcentralreview.com), and should be available to read on their site soon.  The word for October was "fright," and I didn't actually write one for that yet, because I have been preoccupied with real life events recently and haven't had a lot of capacity for imaginary stuff.

I am also currently editing my second novel, Flagg.  I am once again cursing my inability to properly punctuate while I am writing and wanting to fight myself from a few months ago.  (JUST USE QUOTATION MARKS, YOU JACKASS, YOU CANT RUN A SIMPLE SPELL CHECKER AFTER YOU ARE DONE FOR THE NIGHT?  OH MY STARS AND GARTERS, THERE ARE KEYS FOR PERIODS AND QUESTION MARKS, PAL.)

Oh, and be sure to visit my publisher's website (pennamepublishing.com), join the launch team for Antiartists, and check out other PNP writers as well.

If you are here and reading this, thanks.  I hope you enjoy what I do.  If you don't, tough, 'cause I'm just going to keep on doing it anyway, sorry.

Seriously, though, thank you for reading my stuff.

Still Writing, 

RP

PS.  Follow me on Twitter @RDPullins, Like my Antiartists Facebook page, share all this stuff far and wide.  Independent creators rely on you, personally, to spread the word.  It is you (yes, YOU), that allows us to keep doing what we do.  If you like what you see here, tell your neighbor, your librarian, the lady at the grocery store.  You might not think it makes that much of a difference, but it does, believe me.  Cheers.     

Monday, October 19, 2015

Photophobic

I have been avoiding the light, hiding from life, wishing for a cool quiet oasis in which to ride out the storm of pain and loss that has been raging outside.

So far, October can go to hell.
Or maybe it has already.
My family has
We-
We have been dealing with real things, impossibly difficult things, scary and crushing and heartbreaking things.
Real things, not these imagined and half remembered things that I write about here and adapt for my fiction, no, genuinely terrible events, life changing big and I have found myself unable to process these things in a meaningful way.

It has been all too real for me, too serious, too much.

I am a fake adult, understand?  I am not equipped to deal with adult things.  I wear the uniform, but I never want to actually play in the game.
And for most of this stuff I am only a peripheral player, a side note, but my head and heart have been filled with worry and terrible grief for the people I love, and I find myself wide open emotionally where the smallest thing can send me spiraling. All work has ceased, I haven't written, haven't edited, haven't submitted, haven't blogged, I have been attempting to keep my hand in various outlets with a couple of tweets here and there, or a Facebook post or two, but I have been struggling to see the importance of these things, and the face I present to the world is a plastic mask, locked in a rigid and unchanging smile, and people can look and say yep, that's the guy I know, good old him, and I want more than anything to hide and avoid and burrow into the sand until the storm has passed.

Photophobia is a symptom, indicative of a larger issue, an indicator of a deeper pain.

I hide when things get too bright, I slink away into the shadows, bury myself under the blankets,close the blackout curtains, lock the doors and turn off the heat.
I am a dissected frog, pinned under chemical lights, taken apart, inspected, flayed open for the learning of others.
I squint and hide from the light, I bury myself
I wish for a different world, one in which parents do not outlive their children,
Where sickness and pain-
Where-

This is nothing, really, just an attempt to explain myself, to say that I'm sorry that I took so long to call, I'm sorry that I am not there, I'm sorry, I'm sorry.

Time passes, and things revert to something that looks a lot like normal.  And we will eventually all be Ok, or something that looks a lot like Ok.

Yesterday, I stood and watched my son play flag football, and the sun was warm on my back, and the dry rich smell of fallen leaves filled my lungs, and I looked at the sidelines filled with parents and proud families, and I knew that we would endure, that even this will pass, and for the first time in weeks I knew that I would emerge and eventually step back into the light.  Even this, this disjointed and incomplete ramble, this is progress. 

And the people to whom this might mean anything may never read it, and the people that read it will probably misunderstand my intentions here, and that is just going to have to be Ok too, because I don't know what this is about, don't know my own intentions, I just know I don't want to hide from the light anymore. 

Still Writing,

RP

10-19-15

Friday, September 18, 2015

Dreamers and Doers

I was driving home last night, and the sun was setting behind the trees, leaving them a black sillohette against a burning sky.  It happens almost every night, but last night, I thought to myself how fortunate we are to live here in this world, so full of magic and wonder all the time.

I know that I am particularly succeptible to this kind of imput, I am predisposed to seeing these things, I live my life mostly in my head, and in words and images; this is my business and my joy.  And it may be a form of mental illness, but my writer's brain narrates events even as they are happening to me, even as I experience the world in life, my head is filled with words.

I am exceptionally fortunate to live where I do, with the people I do, I am blessed with eyes that can see these things and blessed with a mind that can sometimes describe things so others can see them too, even if they see them differently than I do, and only in their head.

With the right kind of eyes, this world can be magic.

There are other kind of people, important, smart people, that are more focused are more driven by other things, that see importance in things that I do not, that are driven by careers and money and status in a way that I am not, and I don't want to give the impression that I am looking down on these people or lifting them up, either, they are just different than I am, they see value in things that I do not, discard things that I find important, and that is just fine. These people get things done, they can call customer service and be their own advocate in official situations.  They write letters and instigate discussions, they, in other words, get shit done.  I wish I had a lot of that myself really.  I wish I was more on top of things, I wish I remembered appointments, I wish running errands and calling the cable company didn't seem so insurmountable, I really do.

People are different, thats all.  People see the world differently, they value different things and that doesn't make me or them better than the other.  We all contribute, just differently.  Some people are doers and some people are dreamers, but we all bring good things to the world, don't we? When the PDA planner chimes lesiure time, and the doers need a break?  They pick up a book that a dreamer wrote, they listen to music that a dreamer made or watch a movie conceived by a creator.  These things would never be possible with out doers though; they publish our books, distrubute our music, finance our movies, they are patrons for our symphonies and our theatres.  They make life move along, we just make it worth moving along with.

I was driving home last night and the sun lit fire to the sky and I was filled with wonder and awe for the magical, musical world we live in and I felt truly blessed to have the eyes I do, to have the mind I do, I felt blessed to have a wonderful family in the car with me, blessed that my life is filled with love and joy.  I'm not rich, and I will never be great at calling the insurance company, but damn I wouldn't trade this for all the stock options in the world, I wouldnt trade this for a cleaner house or a more organized schedule.  Im a dreamer.

Consider: what are you seeing when you drive home from work today, when you step out of your front door, when you see strangers on the street walking their dogs?  What does the world look like to you?

Take a moment.  Dream with me.

Still Writing,

RP  9-18-15

Friday, September 11, 2015

This Is Why We Can't Have Nice Things

I wrote a new short over the course of three lunch hours this week.  The word of the month for September was learning, and I started a thing that grew and turned out pretty OK, I think, just finished editing it yesterday.  I'll probably put it up here, let you all take a look at it.

I had this idea about an AI that scientists teach to learn and then they hook it up to the internet, to absorb the entirety of human knowledge, and then when they talk to it later, it comes back with cat videos and says bae and LOLz and all of the moronic shit that can be seen every second of every day on this steaming shitshow that is the internet, the whole point of which was that given this amazing tool of communication we just poop on it, and then seek to spread our poop as far and as wide as possible.

And it was going to be a funny story, a cute little parable.

This is not the story that I ended up writing.

What I wrote ended up being a terrible reflection on guilt and suicide and shame. It's not a nice story at all; it's sad and violent and sweary and filled with terrible choices and regret.  And I wrote this thing, and I started to wonder: why can't I write nice things?  Why is it always abuse, drugs, shame, sadness, violence, and fear?

And I think it is really all about fear.  I wrote this story, filled it with details to make you feel something, to make you experience the thing, not just read it.  There is a point when you read something and it absorbs you and your heart starts beating and you don't think about the words at all, you are there, you are enveloped in the world that the author created, your mind fills in all the details and the textures... It is very much like magic, though it isn't; it is just words, arranged in a nice order.

I wrote this story and it isn't nice, not at all.

It is about fear, it is always about fear. 

I'm terrified of suicide.

Not my own, I want to be very clear about this, I am not entertaining thoughts of self harm, you don't need to call the authorities, or my wife, there is nothing to worry about here, hell, I'm just getting started.

But

I had a friend call me once, he called me to tell me goodbye, that he was going to kill himself.  He said he had a gun, he said he was going to use it, and I was thousands of miles away and there was nowhere to go, nothing to do but to helplessly plead with him to not do it, tell him that I'd hop a plane and get there tomorrow, just hang on, wait until tomorrow, I would be there...  He didn't do it, thankfully, and I don't know if I did the right thing, said something that turned it around, or if he just needed to hear a friendly voice, someone who cared whether he was still around.  I don't know, I have never mentioned it again, we never talk about it.  This was years and years ago, and even now I feel shaky, what if I said the wrong thing, what if I didn't answer the phone that night, what if I was in a dark place myself, like I could very well have been.  Even today, knowing that it all worked out for the best, even now I'm still scared, it could have gone so wrong, could have gone terribly terribly wrong, and then how would I live with that, how would I carry that around, how could I absorb that into my experience?

It didn't happen, but what if?  What if it did?

What if?

And this is where this shit comes from, why I can't write nice things, because I am filled with memories like this, times it worked out, times I failed, times I wish I had said something or times I wish I had paid attention, had been a better man, had listened to what people were trying to tell me, times I was too self absorbed or too drunk or distracted or too anything...

Whatever.

This is stupid, self flagellation, total nonsense.  I don't know why I hold on to this shit, don't know why I feel compelled to write this shit, I don't know why I remember this shit, why I can't let things go.

I don't really write too much about my own experiences, except for here I suppose, mostly because I'm pretty boring, and also because it's all pretty pedestrian; I was no worse off than anybody, and better off than most.  I have been surrounded by people that loved me, cared about me supported me my whole life, and all I can do is think of how things could have gone wrong, the times when I failed at being a good person.  I just feel sometimes like I am too soft, like I am made of dough, and the world presses on me and leaves a mark, and where other people just bounce back, I don't, I stay pressed, and now at my age, I'm covered in marks, and maybe if I write something that people can relate to, make them feel like they are not alone, maybe they will bounce back instead of staying marked.

I don't know anything.

And like in the new story, I never learned anything, either.

Bless.

Still Writing

RP 9-11-15

Reach me if you want to, Twitter @RDPullins, on Facebook, comment here, or email me at dissent dot within at gmail dot com.  I WANT to hear from you!  REALLY.  Even if you just wanna say that I'm dumb. 

 

 

Monday, August 31, 2015

Scraps and Unused Ends #4: Tooth Troubles



 Since I usually put up my stuff that is... emotionally demanding, shall we say, I thought I might lighten it up a little this time with a short I wrote quite a few years ago after I got a tooth pulled.  

This one is dedicated to my Mom, who has had some recent tooth troubles of her own.  


==========================================================

Tooth Troubles

            On Wednesday, the pain in my tooth became unbearable, so I had it pulled.  The dentist let me keep it.  I didn’t want to let it go-- this thing has been part of me.  When the numbness went away, I was so relieved that the pain was gone, I laughed out loud. 

            On Thursday, I awoke to find the tooth lying on my pillow, next to my head.  “How did you get there?” I asked the tooth.  I put it back in the little box that the dentist gave me, and thought about it no more.

            On Friday, I awoke to find the tooth balanced on my nose.  I could only see it if I looked cross-eyed. 
            “What,“ I asked the tooth, “are you doing there?”
            “I didn’t know you could speak Tooth,” said the tooth. 
            “I can’t.” I replied. 
            “Well I can’t speak People either” said the tooth.   “One of us must be dreaming.” 
            “Sounds about right,” I said.  “Well I should probably wake up now.  I’ve got to go to work.” 
            “Wait,” said the tooth. “How do you know I’m not dreaming you?” 
            “Teeth can’t dream,” I replied. 
            “Don’t be so sure,” said the tooth.  I went back to sleep.  When I awoke again, the tooth was gone. 

            On Saturday, I awoke to find the tooth again on my nose. 
            “What are you doing there?” I asked the tooth again. 
            “Listen,” said the tooth.  “We gotta talk.  I’m mad at you.  You did me wrong, brother, real wrong.   
            “What?”  I asked the tooth. 
            “You had me pulled,” the tooth said.  “That hurt my feelings.  Now I’m homeless, and I don’t have a job.  After all I have done for you, you fire me without any notice?  You’re a jerk. 
            “Wait,” I said to the tooth.  “You were hurting me.  I had to have you pulled, I couldn’t stand the pain anymore.”
            “Great,” said the tooth. “Think only of yourself.  Now what am I supposed to do?  I’m useless.” 
            “This is stupid,” I said, more to myself than the tooth.  “I need to wake up.” 
            “What for?” said the tooth, “It’s Saturday.  You don’t work today.  Plus, I’m dreaming you, so it’s me that needs to wake up, and I don’t want to. 
            “Teeth can’t dream,” I said again. 
            “Well,” said the tooth, “I know quite a few molars that would be very surprised to hear that. I’m glad you are such an expert on teeth. 
            “Listen,” I told the tooth, “I’m sorry.  I only wanted you to stop hurting me, not put you out of work.  Can’t you get another job?” 
            “In this condition? Not likely.  You see this hole?  No one will want a cavity-ridden tooth in their mouth.  It’s all over for me.” 
            “Well what can I do now?” I asked the tooth.  “I can’t put you back.  There’s no hole anymore.”          
           “Hmmmm,” said the tooth, “I’ll have to think about this when I wake up.” 

            On Sunday, The tooth was back on my nose. 
            “I got it,” the tooth said. “Make me into a necklace.  Then I’ll have a purpose.” 
            “What?”  I asked. “That’s ridiculous. I can’t have a tooth necklace, I work in a bank.”
            “You could wear me on the inside of your shirt when you’re at work, then on the bus home you could pull me out so I could get some air.  Maybe we could have a chat as well.”
            “I can’t speak Tooth while I’m awake,” I reminded the tooth. 
            “So what?” the tooth said.  “I can still hear you, and that makes a difference.” 

            On Monday, the tooth was in the box when I woke up.  I took it to work, and on my lunch hour had it made into a necklace. 

            Now, I have the tooth with me all the time.  It’s just hanging around my neck doing nothing for me except maybe embarrassing me from time to time.  I think of getting rid of it a lot- especially when it falls out at an inopportune time, like on a date, and I have to make up some story about why I have a tooth around my neck.  But then I think of how mad it would be if I got rid of it, and how embarrassed I would feel if the tooth confronted me.  It hasn’t appeared on my nose for a while, so that’s good.  Yesterday on the bus, a woman leaned down to tie her shoe, and a tooth on a chain swung out of her blouse.  She caught my staring and for a moment, I was going to ask her about her tooth troubles, but then, I didn’t.  Tooth problems are personal affairs, and no one’s business but your own.


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 I really like this one because it seems to have a hidden meaning.  It might, I suppose; you're the reader, you tell me. 

It is a nice piece, if a little strange, and one that I can actually read to my kids, which is hardly ever the case.  I would love to see it made into a picture book.
 If there is an illustrator out there that wants to collaborate, I have something else that needs pictures, too.  Please contact me; maybe we can work together.

Still Writing, 
RP

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