Moments in Magical Modernity: II

He narrowly avoided the frazzled human who barged through the door of The Hollow Bean (affectionately known by regulars as just The Hollow), keeping his chameleon-spiced chai safely out of harm’s way. Bryan Banebridge breathed a sigh of relief as he made his way out the door and into the city streets. He immediately took a deep sip of his chai and its fortifying additive. Being in the city always set his nerves on edge, as it often did for most Earthborn Elementals. His missed his acreage but it was the cost of doing business, and his investors were mostly city-fold sheeple (what he privately called humans, while maintaining that most of his actual sheep were more intelligent) who were wanting to diversify their portfolio with the now-popular “Gaiorganic”. He rolled his eyes nearly into the back of his horned head, a cold, autumn breeze rustling his russet hair as he wrapped the slightly-fraying green scarf with its hand-knitted pattern of fauns cavorting around a lamppost a bit tighter.

Fairy-run coffee shops were his favorite (perhaps only favorite) thing about the city. The baristas always seemed to get him and know just what he needed at any given time. Since fairies were Talented, they were tethered to any particular Element and so seemed to understand…well…everything a bit better than anyone else. Especially Pearla…

Bryan felt the tips of his ears warm and cursed himself for a foolish kid. Crushing on a fairy, not to mention a city barista fairy, is nothing short of soul-stupid. Especially for a country farmer faun.

Making his way downtown, Bryan rode up to some obscenely high floor in some obscenely tall crystal-plated building (crystal being fifty times stronger than glass and cheaper to manufacture with an in-house alchemist in your R&D). Stepping out of the elevator, he was greeted and ushered in by a pale portly man. Short, squat, and fat he was, with a mop of white hair atop rounded his pate. His eyes were beady, his nose pert, and he really did look entire too much like a sheep for “sheeple” not to float through Bryan’s head. This man wouldn’t last a day’s work on Bryan’s “delightful Gaiorganic operation”.

The meeting was long and arduous, the men attempting to haggle, but fauns are nothing if not built of stronger stuff and with the endurance and patience of growing grass. Eventually, stuffy, sweating with the exertion and pining for their dinners, the men gave in. They congratulated Bryan on his business acumen and the latter, his next three years’ investments secure in writing, made his grateful exit. All he wanted was his beat-up pickup truck and the cold country air.

Maybe one last stop at The Hollow before making his way back upstate in the autumnal night…

The Blue Bench

There is a bench somewhere, probably nearby. You might have totally missed it before, but it’s there. More of a swing, really, though it’s mostly fallen into disuse as such over the years. Its color, however, has remained bright and vivid, as if it desires to teach the sky how to be just so. It’s a rather impossibly bright shade, making the bench simultaneously something old and something new.

This is an uncommon bench. This bench invites company. As you sit on the bench, you will find that its openness and space are not diminished. Rather, the bench seems bigger, longer, wider, brighter. So you add a friend. That bright blue bench seems bigger still. The more people who join you on the bench, the bigger it seems. The bench sees everyone as important and makes room for them.

The bench holds a lot of things, things spoken, sung, shared, and written. Joyous dreams. Mind-blowing adventures. Broken hearts. Torn souls. Stronger scars. Triumphant stories. Tearful whispers. But one of the most important things that this brilliant blue bench holds is a hand to always take yours, someone who has got your back and will always be there. Because the bench never met someone who wasn’t important. And everyone needs someone.

The Blue Bench

Watching Beauty

One of the things I do not understand is the fact that not everyone can see the beauty in others, or, if they do, they don’t celebrate it but negativize it. Over the past week, I have been just struck by how immensely beautiful people are. Now, these are people whom I have just seen in passing so their physical traits are all that I was observing, but I gave myself permission to observe them. To look at them, to watch them, to meet their gaze and offer a smile.

At the mall, there was a woman who passed me. She was shorter, though still a touch taller than me. She had dusky skin and dark hair that flowed like water down to her waist. Her hips were full, generous, and curvy, accented by the dark leggings that she wore. The name Hebe came to mind. She was stunning and I was just floored by her! I couldn’t understand why everyone wasn’t just staring at her like I was. She just felt like beauty unbound to me.

Then there was the young man at the gas station. He had russet-gold hair and contemplative eyes. I let myself look at him and smile and I saw the ghost of a smile back. He might have thought that I was flirting with him and that’s okay. His smile seemed tired so I hope that mine gave him a bit of a pick-me-up.

Sometimes I cannot help but wonder how people cannot see the beauty in each other, in others. But then I realize that it has become quite easy. We have been taught to be jealous, suspicious, and hateful of the beauty of others. To regard them as enemies or ourselves as less than. We have been taught to believe that we must compete with each other rather than appreciate each one’s uniqueness for what it is. I don’t want to do that. I don’t want to deny someone else’s beauty just because it might make me feel better or more powerful. No, I’d much rather allow myself to see beauty in each person and marvel at it, whatever it might be.


The Education of a Lady

Author’s Note: This is a momentary writing that flitted through my head yesterday, inspired by memories of lines from Oscar Wilde’s The Importance of Being Earnest.

“Oh, I absolutely despise being her tablemate at a dinner party. Have you seen her? It’s disgraceful, I tell you, the way she flirts with her husband across the table. The woman is shamelessly blissful! It puts the entire table out! If something is not done soon, I shall demand that the police interfere.”

Her tablemate at this particular teatime tutted: “Truly, does she not know that it is the position of other women to flirt with her husband and her position to be utterly unconcerned by it?”

“It is also the position of other women’s husbands to flirt with her and hers to be outraged by such behavior,” chimed another well-taught madame.

“Indeed, does she have so little education at all in Societal affairs?” ruffled the originally offended party.

“The barest it would seem, poor fool,” sighed the commiserating tablemate.

— “A Meritous Conversation Betwixt Ladies of Standing”


A Smile Like Wine

Her lips were dark like malbec, the smile that tilted them almost coy in its own innocence. They were lips unused to color, unsure of just how to function in it. How widely she may smile, how freely she may laugh. Her lips trembled and stumbled through it until they decided, seemingly of their own volition, that they could not maintain such primness and elected merely for truth of being.

They parted when she laughed, to let her voice ring out. They beamed when she smiled, her teeth flashing brightly against the dark of her smile and catching her bottom lip shyly at times. They flew eagerly, drawing accidentally elegant shapes, when she talked about something of which she was passionate. They fluttered like dark birds in that moment, like the starlings that wheeled in lovely shapes overhead.

Coy innocence. Accidental elegance. Unintentional grace. A wine-dark smile beaming a sun-bright spirit.





BloPoMo Day 9, Part 2: Facts, Fiction, and the Truth of Them

Methos glanced at the address in his hand as his cab pulled up to Bulfinch Street in New York City. Woodland Luxury Apartments. Yep, this was the place. He paid the cabbie, shouldered his bag, and made his way through the great iron gates.

A smiling man in uniform greeted him at the door. “Good day, sir, and welcome to Woodland.”

The old man nodded in reply. “I’m here to see Miss White.”

“Of course. Please, just step into the lobby and the attendant will call her for you,” the doorman directed, still with a large smile.

Nodding again, Methos stepped through the open door in the sumptuous, old-fashioned lobby. Following the doorman’s directions, he spoke to the person at the security desk.

“It’ll be just a moment or two, sir,” the guard said, hanging up the phone.

Methos declined to sit and just waited near the staircase, glancing around. As he stood there, someone came tromping down the stairs and bumped shoulders with the old immortal as they passed.

“Hey! Watch it!” It was out of Methos’ mouth before he could suppress it. Blast it all; didn’t he usually try to avoid confrontation?

The man who had bumped into him paused in the midst of pulling a battered old trench coat over his shoulders. He turned and glanced at Methos, a cigarette clenched between his teeth, his eyes narrowing slightly as he finished pulling on the coat.

Methos didn’t feel threatened, more like the man was trying to recognize him. The man leaned towards him as though to speak but, instead, he sniffed the air around Methos.

“Heh,” he finally grunted. “Didn’t think I’d ever see you again.” With that and nothing more, the man turned and strode out the door.

Methos barely had time to be nonplussed, for a voice rang out halfway up the stairs. “Adam! Adam Pierson, is that really you?”

He glanced up to see a woman coming down the stairs towards him. As long as he could remember, the only way to describe her was “lips red as a rose, hair black as ebony, and skin white as snow”.

“Well, don’t just stand there like a hobo waiting for a handout, come on.” She smiled and led him up the stairs and down more than a few halls. “My office is this way. Welcome to Fabletown, by the way.” She smiled over her shoulder at him.

Let’s just say Methos was more than happy to follow form, so to say.

Once they were in her office, she closed the door behind them and Methos proceeded with gaping.

“This isn’t an office….it’s…Ali Baba’s cave!” he gasped, as they stepped into the yawning space that Miss Snow White called her office.

“Close,” she laughed in reply.

“Ooooo, Miss White, do we have a visitor?” Methos suddenly found himself face-to-face with, of all things, a flying monkey.

“Yes, Bufkin. This is my friend Adam Pierson,” Snow introduced Methos by his “mundy” name.

“Call me Methos,” he rather stuttered.

“Oh, lovely to meet you,” Bufkin grinned. “I’ll rustle up some tea for us all if that’s all right, Miss White.”

“That would be wonderful, Bufkin, thank you. Where’s Boy Blue?”

“Out to lunch!” the monkey threw over his shoulder as he flew down the corridor.

Methos let out a low whistle as he glanced around Snow’s office. “Impressive. I never thought…”

“You just thought I was insane, didn’t you?” Snow said, chuckling. “A girl who claims to be the Snow White and to run a community of fairytales and fables.”

“Well…I’ve never been much for fables. After all, I was one.” Methos smirked, sitting in one of the leather chairs across from her handsome desk. “Oh, speaking of your citizens, I passed someone on the stairs. Rough looking guy, trench coat…?”

Snow nodded knowingly. “Bigby. Bigby Wolf. He’s our Sherriff. Don’t worry, he’s that way with everyone.”

“You mean, he sniffs everyone he passes?”

Snow cocked her head to the side and raised an eyebrow questioningly. “No…not necessarily. He did that?”

“Yeah, rather strange. He spoke like we’d met before but, honestly, I think I’d remember. He’s too much like another person I know,” Methos added

“Perhaps you have met before, just not while he looked like that,” Snow suggested, lifting teacups off the tray that Bufkin had just brought.

“What did he look like before?”

“Try the largest wolf you’ve ever seen and then multiply that by about 20,” Bufkin laughed, setting the teapot down. “And he huffs and he puffs…”

“Wait, wait! Big…by Wolf. He is the…”

“…Big Bad Wolf, yes,” Snow supplied, “So you have met before?” She reached for the teapot.

“No, allow me.” Methos took it from her and did the honors of the tea service as he spoke. He shook his head in disbelief as he did, smiling in spite of himself. “Long, long ago, when I lived alone in the woods, I came across a wolf in my cattle pen one morning. Sugar and cream? A huge thing, it held a bull down with one paw while it tore its throat out. One lump or two? Naturally, I tried to kill it but…”

The door crashed open as Methos hurtled through it. It was unusual for his small herd to be so restless, especially out here away from everything. But something had those animals spooked, because they were lowing up a storm.

His Ivanhoe drawn, he hurried to the cattle pen. It was probably thieves; couldn’t let an honest man live his life without butting into it and making things difficult.

“All I wanted was to be left…alone?” Methos felt something die quietly in his brain. There, in the cattle pen, was the single largest creature he had ever seen. A wolf. No, a leviathan. It held a bellowing animal down with one paw, staring at it for a moment before neatly snapping its neck in two, nearly severing the head.

Damn it. That was his only breeding steer and eventually starving to death was not a happy prospect. Methos lost no time moving against the wolf. As he leapt from the fence, sword held high, the wolf suddenly turned on him with a snarl.

When next he could think, all that filled his mind was the arm that the wolf had seized him by and flung him a hundred feet, crashing into a tree.

The arm was completely shredded, forever useless; if he had been mortal, that is. Methos heard the beast approach, the bull in his maw. The wolf just looked down at him from its towering height and sniffed at the man.

Methos was keenly aware that one of his ribs was lodged in a lung; he was dying, sure as the sun rose. He struggled to look up at the wolf and, he was just delirious, to be sure, but he was certain that he heard the wolf mutter around the bull in his mouth.

Later, when he would reflect on it, Methos would almost swear the animal said, as he died, “Idiot.”

“….needless to say, that was a battle I lost. I always wondered by he didn’t finish killing me.” Methos shook his head and chuckled ruefully as he handed Snow the cup.

Snow smiled, cradling the saucer. “We can tell what you are, almost like we would tell each other. It’s a different feeling entirely, like a different consciousness, but it’s there. You Immortals are as much a fable as we are, in a way. And Bigby never forgets a scent.”

The old man shrugged as he prepared his own dish of tea. “Lucky me, I guess.”

The two took their tea in quiet for a while before Bufkin started up. “So…Methos…you’re Immortal?”

The old man almost guffawed at the winged monkey’s attempt at small talk. “Yes.”

“Bufkin might be quite interested in what you’ve brought us, Methos. Shall we show him?” Snow suggested mischievously.

“Ooo, ooo! What is it?” The monkey perched on the back of her chair excitedly.

Turning to his bag, Methos opened it and pulled out a rather large, heavy book, setting it on Snow’s desk with a respectable thump. “Welcome to my world, Bufkin.”

The monkey’s eyes widened. As the Fabletown librarian, he had a fondness for books and knew where each and every book and document in the Fabletown offices and library were filed.

“Bufkin, this is Methos’ Chronicle; it’s his life story,” Snow began.

“Kept since writing was invented so I hope you’ve brushed up on your hieroglyphics and Ancient Greek,” the ancient finished.

“Methos needs somewhere safe to keep it; the Immortals are in more danger from Mundanes than we are, Bufkin. And he is the oldest of them all, if what he tells me is true.”

“And where else to hide something you don’t want found…”

“…than with people who don’t exist. Got it!” Bufkin flapped up over the desk and settled on the edge, next to the great book. “Let’s see, where shall I put it? History, Memoirs, or Languages?” he asked himself more than anyone else.

“Wherever you like, Bufkin. You’ll be the only one who remembers where it is anyway,” Snow offered.

“Yeah, that’s true,” the monkey agreed. After a few moments, he figured a way to heft the book and then flapped off into the depths of the library.

Snow smiled gently when he was gone. “We will take excellent care of it, Methos. The proof you exist is safe here.”

The Immortal nodded but, before he could say anything, the office door banged open and there was Bigby. “Snow!”

She sighed. “Don’t you knock, Bigby?”

He ignored the question as he strode up to her desk. “Just got word from Wheyland up at the Farm, Colin’s run off again.”

Snow sighed. “That pain of a pig. OK, let me know when he shows up, because you know he will.”

“Always does,” Bigby grunted. Then he looked down at Methos. “How’s the arm?”

Methos looked confused but then recollection flashed behind his eyes. “Just fine, thanks. Mended perfectly, now that you mention it.”

“Yeah, would figure it did,” Bigby muttered around his cigarette. “So what are you anyway? Cuz you’re not a fable.”

“Well, he is…of sorts,” Snow offered, “Among his own kind.”

“And that would be?” When they both hesitated, he pulled the cigarette out of his mouth, exhaling heavily, “If I’m gonna protect this place, I need to know what’s going on. What are you, bub?”

“Immortal,” Methos replied.

“But not like us, huh?”

“No, not quite. From what Snow has told me, your immortality hinges on how much you are believed in, right?”

A grunt in reply.

“Well…our Immortality hinges in whether or not our head stays attached to our shoulders.” Methos’s mouth curled sardonically.

“Well, then, Methos. From what you’ve told me…I guess the three of us are going to be around for quite a time, huh?” Snow snickered, leaning back in her chair.

Bigby sort of grunted again and then turned towards the door. “Well, enjoy your tea, ladies. Some of us have business to attend to.” With that, he was gone again.

Snow sighed in annoyance, pinching the bridge of her nose. “And that’s when he’s polite. You have no idea…”

Methos raised an eyebrow, smiling in that infuriatingly superior way he had. “Oh, don’t I? Let me tell you about a guy named Logan. But they also called him the Wolverine…”

Inventorying Your Beauties

  1. What color makes you feel beautiful when you wear it?
    1. A color that makes me feel beautiful is yellow. I feel sunshiny yet poised, and it feels like my own personal light is shining through the cracks. One of my favorite dresses is a lovely, 60s-esque yellow, white, and grey striped pencil dress with a belted empire waist. Love the way it makes me look and feel!
    2. I also love basic black and grey. They are understated and elegant and they give me the chance to be creative with my hair, shoes, and accessories. A little pop of the right color can do wonders for a look and for this woman’s head-holding and hip-swaying.
  2. What is one of your physical features that you think is the most beautiful?
    1. My hands. They are small and petite and delicate. I love it when they are held, caressed, and kissed. A friend in high school used to exclaim over how small they are and say how a man was going to fall in love with me for my hands alone.
  3. What is it about your heart that is beautiful?
    1. I have a deep-seated desire to help the hearts of others. I want them to know that they are thought of and cared for even when all they feel points to otherwise. I want to be able to give someone’s horrible day some life, light, and a silver lining.
  4. What is your definition of true beauty?
    1. I will be the first to admit when someone is physically beautiful and to call them so. But, for me, what makes someone truly beautiful in the deeper sense of the word is how they treat others. I am not saying that a beautiful person is calm and graceful all the time and lets everything just roll off. No, we are all human. A person of true beauty is one who lovingly holds space for the hearts of others, speaks truth and life, and does their best to treat each other as well as they can in every situation, even if it means stepping away from said situation. I cannot tell you just how much people like this have done for me in my lifetime, how they have saved and buoyed up my heart and spirit. I am truly thankful for the space they have held and the beautiful souls they have shared with me.

One of my favorite Scripture verses

Writing Prompt – She Held Stones, Flowers, & Shells

From Bella Grace magazine, Issue 4: Summer 2015. Article and Prompt by She Is Three.

List 5 tangible, physical items that bring you comfort:

  • My blanket
  • A box from Malawi that my dear friend gave me
  • A fountain pen
  • My husband’s sweatshirt
  • A book

How does each make you feel?

  • Safe, warm, comfortable
  • Loved, remembered, thought well of
  • Creative, elegant, verbose
  • Beloved, comforted, supported
  • Adventurous, awed, inspired, elevated


List 5 intangible items that return you to yourself

  • Rain/snowfall outside my window
  • A crackling fire
  • Classical music
  • The rustle of a gown or dress
  • The click of my heels on a tiled floor

How does each make you feel?

  • Peaceful, like the world has quieted and is observing this beautiful moment with me
  • Relaxed, as if it is bedtime everywhere
  • Like I am soaring above heights of heart
  • Elegant, classic, beautiful
  • Powerful, strong, like I’m on top of the world

Memories Trapped in Chestnut

There was a memory trapped somewhere in her hair, a memory she desperately wished she could remember. She knew that it was one she had cherished and replayed with all fondness. Its scent was tangled there in her chestnut tresses, and she caught it when she would tilt her head just so or when the wind would throw her hair about her head like a halo. What was it? A person? A place? Perhaps just a moment in time? Whatever it was, it lingered there, teasing her affectionately and she found herself smiling at every little moment. And that, in itself, was precious.

Lost in the Spiral

Author’s Note: Inspired by Erin Morgenstern’s The Night Circus and based on the Writers Write writing prompt: “Need advice Which fictional character would you turn to?”

I wander through the black and white spiraled paths that wind through Le Cirque du Reves, finding myself lost in thought and melancholy.

I wander through the black and white spiraled paths that wind through Le Cirque du Reves, finding myself lost in thought and melancholy.

“You look as though you could use this,” comes a voice and a small bag of chocolate drilled kettle corn is held under my nose. The warm, sweet smell seems to fill my head and clear it for a moment, replacing my anxiety with a momentary comfort.

I turn to meet a lovely face, framed by brilliant red hair. Penelope Aislin Murray, known lovingly to all in the Cirque family as “Poppet”. She smiles in that knowing way she has and bids me eat.

“And tell me what has you so twisted up?” she requests as well, beginning to lead the way along the windy circular paths between the black and white tents.

It is late, nearing dawn. One can see the telltale line of light beginning to illumine the horizon. Soon, the cirque will close for the night, the lights will dim and silence will fall.

“I…am stuck, Poppet,” I finally tell her after we have passed a tent or two, “I do not know whether to come or go, stay or venture. I know what will happen if I leave but what might not happen if I stay?” I know that I am being vague but vagueries have never stumped Poppet before and I know they will not now.

The young woman walks silently alongside me, our path curling and circling in on itself. “You are not stuck,” she tells me, “You are afraid.” She regards me with those poignant eyes and gentle mouth. “You don’t have to be afraid.”

She’s right. I am afraid. Deathly afraid. “What if–” I stammer, “What if this is all the magic there is in the world? What if there is no more?”

Poppet gives me that enigmatic, ethereal smile. “How can you think that, dear heart? When it was magic that brought you here?” she asks, her voice like the most soothing music. I noticed that when she was giving advice: her voice took on a musical quality to it. It calmed me. My heart beat more slowly and I felt less like I was going to collapse.

I noticed that when she was giving advice: her voice took on a musical quality to it. It calmed me. My heart beat more slowly and I felt less like I was going to collapse.

“Don’t be afraid,” she says, turning and taking my hand to lead me into a certain tent. Within it are jars of all shapes and sizes, filled with a myriad of different things and the labels all different. It is my favorite tent. Dreams and memories. My favorite place in the entire circus.

“There will always be magic, dear. It is around you, within you, a part of you. And you will always be a part of us and we of you, no matter where you go.” Poppet then picks up a bottle that I had never seen before. It is warm, the glass almost feels silky. The label has my name on it.