My first appreciation.
It’s not a win or a publication, but it’s the only recognition I’ve ever received for my writing, so I am overjoyed!
If you would like to read the story I submitted, click on the Short Stories tab. Much love!
My first appreciation.
It’s not a win or a publication, but it’s the only recognition I’ve ever received for my writing, so I am overjoyed!
If you would like to read the story I submitted, click on the Short Stories tab. Much love!
I don’t know if you can tell, but I’ve run out of Bi-Weekly Book Recommendations! Well, run out of the ones I had stored. This semester has been on a whole other level compared to my first one. I’ve been stretched too thin!
Recommendations and a couple of short stories are coming your way in a few weeks. The semester is almost over, and I can’t wait to show you some of the work I did in my Fiction Writing Workshop. Most of the stories are themed, which can be a bit of fun when working on one’s writing skills. It will also be fun to see if you can guess what the theme is. (I’ll tell you in a separate post from the story. Give you some time to think what it might be.)
I will be posting a little ditty about meeting CS Pacat soon!
(PS/ I am happy to receive any emails from fans. In fact, I am overjoyed. However, if you send me emails requesting things, ask a friend or neighbor or colleague take a look at it before you send it. Ask them if the things you are requesting are ludicrous and offensive. Chances are, if you have to ask, they probably are both of those things.)
Thank you to everyone who read ‘Gorilla-Man: A Memorandum.”
I’m kind of obsessed with Bigfoot documentaries, if you can’t tell. They are how I spend my Friday nights. It can get wild. So I guess what I am trying to say is…I have no idea where I came up with the idea for the story.
Haha, just kidding. Just Kidding.
I do watch Bigfoot documentaries all the time, and sometimes over and over again. I got to thinking one night, as I lay in bed unable to sleep, why would a species try so hard to evade humans? The story snowballed from there, shaping its way into the memorandum. I think I may expand upon it later, but for now, I am pleased.
Thank you again, my readers! We will now continue our regularly schedule posts.
Once all the tears had subsided, he pulled out a rectangle from his bag that opened like a book, but sat up sideways. I glanced from the books and sci-fi magazines occupying every inch of wall in the cabin, back to the open thing on the desk in an attempt to identify the object.
“It’s a lap top,” he said. “I know you can’t write, but you can type.”
The rest of our last day together Phil showed me over and over again how to write on a lap top, and how to change the batteries. Of which he brought 7 extra. I thanked the only friend I’d ever known, and watched him limp out of the woods to his blue pick-up truck on a breezy autumn day, the setting sun silhouetting his form. That was many years ago. The sobs and howls still creep up on me from time to time.
I am on my last battery now, so it was time I write this all down. When my time comes, I will carry the lap top with me to a place I know my body will be found. My hope is that by finding and studying me, humans will finally understand who and what I am. And hopefully come to understand, as Phil and I did a long time ago: Do not fear or hate or hunt the unknown; care, and we might not be strangers anymore.
I was no longer alone. No matter how long it took Phil to return to the cabin, I knew he would be back. In between visits, on days when I had excessive energy, I would explore the forest of my childhood. Stalking through the trees, I’d watch birds flutter as they chirped their songs, the grounded animals skitter away at the sound of my footsteps. It was a game for a long time. How long would it take this animal or that to hear me creep up behind them? Their reactions used to send me into hysterics. The “I’ve been caught!” moment of terror followed immediately by “Run! Run for your life, fool!” Only once did a tiny critter collapse. Waiting a few minutes to see if the creature would wake up and run away, I held my breath. When he didn’t move, I picked him up so he could be buried in an appropriate place. I’d never felt so bad, and I cried as I dug the tiny grave. When the hole was deep enough, I turned just in time to see the damn thing roll over on its legs and trot away from view into the woods.
On days when I felt a little lazy I’d read the latest books Phil had left for me. My favorite author is Charles Dickens. His books take me a long time to read, and are always filled with so much dread. But I must say they are well worth it when you get to the end. Hopefully he is well liked by human kind as well. I save the science fiction and theory magazines for the days when my spirit is low. Phil brings them by the box full. Those magazines are what gave me the idea to coin the name ‘Gorilla-Men’ for my species; purely comical. Not to brag, but Gorilla-men are featured in almost all of them. The stories you humans come up with are hilarious! One man swore he witnessed a Gorilla-man with the head of a horse-ape hybrid. And apparently we smell horrible. I chose to be amused instead of offended. I have never in my existence come in contact with any other human other than Phil, who had warned me greatly against it. And as far as I am concerned, there are no more of my kind left. But it is charming how humans use their imagination. I admire it, truly.
When his children had grown up and his wife was content, Phil dedicated his time to search for more of my kind, which accounted for the longer absences. I never asked him to, he just volunteered. Convinced it was a dead end, I tried to talk him out of it. The idea that I not be alone was important to him, especially later in his life. I suspect he knew about his cancer earlier than when he shared the woeful news with me. Phil searched as many forests as he could, with no results, before the day he told me he couldn’t come back. By this time I was a fully grown gorilla-man at seven feet tall, but that didn’t stop either of us from crying. No more of my own kind, and the memory of a very skinny shadow of the man I knew as Phil. I was about to be alone again.
Sick to my stomach from berries and leaves, I ventured to a stream not large enough to carry me away in the current, but big enough to have copious amounts of fish. While splashing around in the icy water, attempting to grab a slippery fish, I was suddenly startled by a loud gasp. The noise caused me to jerk my head in its direction. A middle aged man, (hu-man, not gorilla-man), stood gaping at me on the bank. Fully clothed, he held a wooden chair in one hand, a fishing pole rod in the other. Not knowing how to react to a sighting, and tired of being alone, my little body remained where it was, the water lapping up my bare waist. At this point I should mention that pre-pubescent Gorilla-men are not as hairy as a fully gown one. For the most part I could have passed for a hairier-than-normal, dirty human child from a distance. However, at the distance this man was, there was no doubt my prominent brow and abnormally shaped muscles were noted.
A few minutes passed before I broke my parents’ second rule: Do not ever speak to a human. I called out to him. The first rule obviously being to remain unseen. A rule I had clearly already broken.
Here I stress the importance of our similar functions. We are able to speak. Our voices come out growly and throaty, but I assure you I can speak English. My parents also spoke a native Canadian tongue, of which I don’t know a single word. It wasn’t always this way, but the world has changed a great deal in a small amount of time. I could not tell you how my ancestors learned languages, all I know is this is how my parents spoke. I merely followed. If I remember correctly, the first thing I said was “Go-od d-ay.” The bearded man placed the chair gently on the dirt, laid the fishing pole beside the chair, then held out his hands in front of him, as if to stop something charging towards him. Slowly he crept closer to the water’s edge. “Are you ooo-kay?” he asked me.
From that moment on, until the day he died, I had a friend. I have no intention of betraying this man’s identity. That is his own. But for sake of the reader, I will call him Phil. Phil’s father had built a cabin deep in the woods when he was young. No one had lived in it for years, so Phil had used it to store his fishing gear. Only visiting on the rare occasions he was able to fish. In that cabin was where he taught me fluent English, and how to read. Writing wasn’t something that was possible with my dexterity, but in our own unique, and sometimes funny way, we bonded. From teacher to pupil, father to son, friend to friend. Can I tell you how much easier it is to catch a fish with a fishing pole, even without proper hand strength?
It is time the world knew the truth about me. I have been called by many names: skoomcoom, ts’emekwes, stiyaha, Yeti, Sasquatch, and to my great annoyance, Bigfoot. The obvious thing to assume is that a large creature, such as myself, will need properly sized feet to stably balance my body weight. But I digress.
My name is Melem, given to me by my parents, and I am coming close to the end of my time on this planet. As learned as such a being can be, I have decided to donate my body to your science so that you may understand me, more than perhaps I myself do. But before I do, it is important to tell you a brief history of my life. Viewing a life from all angles is key to actually understanding it.
The beginning of my account starts with my parents. Mother and Father are the only names I knew them by. They had met late in life on the northwest border of Canada, near the Yukon River. Dreaming of warmer weather to raise their offspring, they migrated south to Washington. The state, that is. The reason my parents met so late in their lives is simply because, as far as either of them knew, they were the last of our species. Being extremely close to the human species, where genetics are concerned, our kind also has trouble procreating the older we become. After many attempts, I was born to my adoring parents near their end. Both Mother and Father taught me as much as they could about life, and the world around us. How to find shelter and keep it hidden. How to feed one’s self in different terrains and climates. And, most importantly was how to stay invisible to the world of humans.
We Gorilla-men, closer to Neanderthals than gorillas…well, hairy like gorillas with a mind closer to that of a human being. I’m babbling again.
We Gorilla-men live long lives, similar to some modern humans. Possibly even a bit longer, but not quite as long as a tortoise. Upon examining my body, you may learn more about why that is. Could be the way we are built, or our all natural diet, I am not entirely certain. Obviously we don’t have calendars. I base these assumptions on the stories my mother and father told me, as well as my experience on this earth. The change in man seen from afar is the best way for my kind to judge time. A building known as “Smith’s Tower” opened the year my father passed. My mother held on for as long as she could, but slipped away soon after.
If the short amount of time without my father was hard to bear, it was nothing compared to being completely alone. How does one even begin to describe the devastating, crushing emotions of being the last of something, anything, along with the loss of both parents? Stomach wrenching sobs mixed with high pitched howls echoed through the woods for months on end. I remained, and still remain, in the shelter my parents built. Every call, every swish, every hoot in the night spooked me for months after their passings. (No, I am not nocturnal. I am just really good at evading humans.) Hunting and foraging were the toughest parts to get used to. Countless times I had trailed behind my parents while gathering leaves or catching fish, the only animal we eat. Never had I done these things on my own.
As promised late last year…you’ve got some more fiction heading your way.
Written by yours truly, a short story by the name of “Gorilla-Man: A Memorandum” is making its way to the Sidney blog. Depending on how long it is, (cause I forgot, haha), the story will either be in two or three parts. Either way, I plan on putting all parts up in the same week, instead of spacing it out over several.
After the story was rejected by a great number of scifi and fantasy magazines, I decided to share it with the people who enjoy reading what I post. If you’re a long time follower, I hope you can see some advancement in my writing skills. End “downer” paragraph here.
In another exciting turn of events, I was thrown into a fiction workshop class last minute, so I’ll have new material to post more consistently. I know I promised everyone a serial fiction this year, and it WILL happen, but I need more time. If a fiction workshop works the way I think it does, I’ll be able to have enough material to carry us through while the serial novel is finished.
But the important question is this: should I get a new wig? Possibly two?
I haven’t abandoned my original blog! I promise!
It might seem that way since I’ve started putting up the Bi-Weekly Book Recommendations and a decent amount of Author Loves, but my blog is still primarily for putting my writing work out there for anyone who might be interested. So you might ask, “Then why, Sidney, have you not posted anything you’ve written in such a long time?”
I have an answer, my friends. I have an answer.
After I was 1000% committed to going back to school, with all my classes picked out and paid for, I realized (possibly too late) that I would have no time to somewhat regularly post. That was when I knew I had to take action. Hard action. I spent the entire month of August writing anything I could.
The idea for a bi-weekly book recommendation came to me one afternoon at work. A quick summary of some of my favorite books was easy enough to execute, thought I. That is essentially what I do all the time with my favorite books of the year post, just more concentrated. This led to day after day of combing through my ‘Read’ list on Goodreads. It was like a trip down memory lane…. which resulted in my having to rip these books off my shelf again to remember the details. It was worth it though! I have stored away a good amount of my personal recommendations of books for you lovely folks to read!
Two other projects I’ve been working on are short stories. The two are in totally different genres…. or are they. You will have to read to find out….(dun dun dunnnnnnn)
Last, but most certainly not least, I have finally given in to all the advice everyone has been giving me: I have started writing a serial fiction story to post on the blog. I’ve always felt it is sort of unfair to give away one’s book for free after months or years of working on it. I still feel this way. However, the fact that the likelihood of getting published is so slim to none, I have come to the realization that if I don’t post online, my work may never be read at all.
I am about eight chapters into the serial blog, and I am loving the way it is coming along. I want to be about 15-20 chapters into it before I start posting, mainly so you guys (assuming anyone reads it hahaha) don’t have to wait a super long time for the following chapter. I don’t want to give too much away about the synopsis, so I will just say this…” She began to saw off her hair, leaving an uneven fuzz where the silky locks had once been.”
I hope everyone is as excited as I am!
4 of 9 pictured.
Ignacio, Iggy to his friends, watched through blurry tearful eyes as his late girlfriend’s pearly white casket was lowered into the ground. The slowness of the process was agonizing. Even more so with the sun shining off the chrome lining, blinding him for almost a minute. By the time the glare was extinguished, Fiona’s casket had sunk below the surface of the manicured lawn.
An enlarged photograph of Fiona smiling widely, her golden locks curling over her shoulders rested on a tri-stand next to her sobbing mother, Linda. Linda made as if to jump in the grave after her deceased daughter, but was unsuccessful after her husband wrestled her to the ground. They hit the new grass with a thump, leaving Linda red faced as she gasped for air.
Iggy hung back from the crowd of family and friends. The only feeling to match the endless torture of sorrow was the awkwardness of not having her to protect him from them. Throughout the church procession, palm bearing, and the priest’s last words only Fiona’s great-aunt had spared him so much as a courteous smile.
Fiona had lived with Iggy for almost three years and her idiot, prejudice family still wouldn’t give him the time of day on the day he said goodbye forever. In a sea of well-bread Aryan middle-classers, Iggy stuck out like a sore brown thumb. Looking around at all those bigots display their dramatic emotions to one another, judging who was the saddest, was disgusting. He was the one who had to watch the future Mrs. Ignacio Romero being buried under six feet of crushing earth.
A solo sob escaped his trembling lips as a hot stream of stinging tears ran down his already raw cheeks. Covering his face with his callused hands, the arms of his borrowed suit to raised, cutting into his armpits. Before anyone could notice, he whipped his cheeks for the thousandth time and pulled down his sleeves.
Linda was dusting the dirt and grass off of her skirt as people began to grab handfuls of dirt to throw into the grave. Iggy hesitated before walking closer and taking a chunk of dirt in his sweaty palm. Peering down, Iggy wondered if he was relieved the funeral was a closed casket or not. To see her one last time would be priceless…but she wouldn’t be the same.
The dirt broke into pieces as it struck the casket, scattering around the spot where her aqua blue eyes rested eternally on a soft pillow inches below. Iggy looked up at the cloudless bright sky. It gave him the tiniest smig of happiness. Fiona once joked about wanting to be buried on a beautiful warm sunny day.
“This isn’t real,” he whispered to himself.
After leaving behind his one true love beneath a mound of soil, Iggy followed Fiona’s family to a cozy hall to the left of the modest brick church were the funeral procession had been held. If any of them had listened to him they would have known she wasn’t religious. They had taken their sweet time with the arrangements as well. Linda wouldn’t tell him why, but the coroner took forever to release Fiona’s body. Maybe she did tell him. Iggy’s mind had become spotty over the last six months. “Mental Blocks” the doctors called it. Not quite dementia or early onset Alzheimer’s. Fiona had started leaving sticky notes on the fridge to remind him of things she told him or places he needed to be. Now there was no one to be his external memory.
The hall matched the church décor of dusty rotten wood, exposed brick and the smell of decay. Battling the aroma of death was the scent of microwave-warmed blueberry scones, buttery croissants, and sour champagne. Iggy sipped methodically at a glass of the bubbly as Fiona’s great-aunt sauntered his way. Her skin was strangely wrinkly and too tight at the same time. Her hairline receded when she smiled.
“Hello,” she greeted him with an outstretched claw covered in liver spots. Her accented voice must have been European, but Iggy couldn’t remember where exactly Fiona’s family was from. “I hear your Ignacio, Fiona’s good friend.”
“I’m Fiona’s boyfriend.” The only thing preventing his voice from cracking when he spoke Fiona’s name was his annoyance. “We’ve been together for four years. Lived together for almost three.”
“Okay, okay,” she patted his shoulder. “We’re all upset here. There’s no need to get touchy.”
“We’re all upset?” Iggy mocked. The glass in his hand began to shake. “You don’t even have a right to be upset! You clearly know nothing about her.”
The guest quieted, turning to see what the yelling was about. Great-aunt whatever-her-name-is clutched the collar of her pink lace top as she took a step back. Iggy looked around at all the surprised faces. Their stupid intrusive glares and their gaping mouths only angered him more. A hot flush rolled over his body. His attention shot back to the old bag.
“You probably haven’t seen her since she was a child, if you’ve ever met her at all. I–,” he jabbed a finger into his chest, “–did not leave her side for four years! And I sure as hell have never seen or heard of you. So don’t talk to me about ‘touchy’.”
He was breathing heavily, his chest expanding and deflating dramatically. Linda’s husband approached with his hands raised,
“Now calm down, son.” He stepped closer.
“I’m not your son!” Iggy threw his champagne glass against the brick wall where it shattered into sharp pieces at his feet. “I don’t know any of you! And none of you knew Fiona, so fuck you and your fake condolences. Ya bigot bastards.”
Without so much as a second glance, Iggy spit on the floor and stormed out of the hall.
People must have thought he was mental the way he stalked the streets, unsure of which direction to go, bursting into uncontrollable sobs at random. They just let him go. No one even tried to stop him from leaving the church grounds out of respect for Fiona. They didn’t care. None of it mattered. None of them know. Nobody knows. The emotional pain of losing the love of your life is nothing compared to the physical aches it causes. By the time he was done walking the streets his legs were so sore he was limping, his eyes were raw, and the only company to the cloudy abyss of his stomach was the acidy rumble of emptiness in all forms.
The warmth from the clear day had melted away into a lukewarm cobalt night. Iggy had begun dragging his feet to keep them moving. He headed toward his neighborhood pharmacy when at last he numbly decided to go home. Only a couple of teenagers playing dominoes stopped to take notice of his burdened body pulling itself through the sliding doors. Only sleepy employees occupied the store itself.
“Do you have a prescription, sir?” The curly haired pharmacist eyed him suspiciously from behind the counter. She strolled over with less enthusiasm then Iggy; if that were even possible.
Nodding, Iggy slowly fished around in his back pocket for his wallet. In the folds of the worn leather was a paper for a prescription he hadn’t yet filled. The pharmacist, whose name tag read ‘Sharon’, looked over the paper.
“You look like you need this,” she chuckled. Iggy starred at her blankly, not returning her humor. There was no humor left in the harsh world. Sharon’s smile faded, “It’s going to take about a half hour.”
“That’s fine. I’ll wait,” his voice coming out coarse from dehydration.
Iggy sat down in a hard plastic chair facing the counter. He stared hopelessly at the last button on his suit, waiting the half hour in unbearable silence. Sharon hailed him back to the desk with a wave of a white medical bag in his direction.
“You’re co-pay is twenty-five dollars.”
Iggy paid the amount, and with a sudden sense of urgency flew out of the store at hummingbird speed. As fast as his aching legs would take him, Iggy skyrocketed up to the one bedroom apartment on the sixth floor that he had shared with Fiona. Not a soul was in the dimly lit hallways to stop him and give condolences or piteous looks. With shaking hands he dropped his keys twice before unlocking, entering, then re-locking the door.
Pictures. Pictures on the walls, on the bookcases, on the TV, the nightstand, the fridge of Fiona smiling, laughing, pouting, sticking her tongue out. Iggy had blanketed the walls in Fiona wall paper without even noticing it. Before the acid in his stomach could burn up the wood floor, Iggy ran into the bathroom to spit the yellowish goop in the sink. After producing two spit-outs and about five minutes of dry heaving, he could finally lift up his face enough to see his reflection in the mirror.
“It’s not real,” said Iggy as a fresh batch of tears pooled up in the corners of his bloodshot eyes. ‘Dark Chocolate’ was the color she had given his eyes. She said they looked pretty next to his light brown skin. “It didn’t happen,” he continued out loud, “This isn’t real.”
A low, quiet click went off in his brain like a switch someone flicked to light the attic, making everything go numb. Iggy instinctively splashed a handful of water over his paling face, grabbed the glass on the sink that held their purple and green toothbrushes (which he then threw on the floor), then filled it with tap water. Taking the orange container out of the white bag, he swallowed every last one of the sleeping pills in the bottle. When the container was empty, Iggy was no longer able to grip it. It slipped out of his hand, landing on the floor with a thunk that sounded miles away.
Erecting himself unsteadily, Iggy peered at his swaying figure in the mirror. Using his hands to guide him to the bed, his nostrils filled with the scent of Fiona in the sheets and pillows. Cherry blossoms and warm sugar enveloped him with their familiarity as he closed his heavy eyelids. She was there. She was right there next to him. It wasn’t real.