A Tribute to Gary of Bereaved Single Dad Blog

It’s been a while since I wrote a tribute piece; all the more reason to cobble one together.

Tonight, I wish to honor Gary of A Dad trying to cope with the loss of his Partner and becoming a single parent. Real, authentic, and (in his son’s words) a muppet; Gary mixes relatable humanity with life lessons and heartwarming morals.

I fall flat, I’m certain, but here is my effort to replicate his style and pay tribute to his daily blog posts.

Meal Plans

close up photo of man cooking meat

Photo by Min An on Pexels.com

Had to use a photo from the free media library as I didn’t think to take my own today. Was too busy putting out flames.

“So, last time I used the grill, I noticed it was really dirty. I pushed all the burned stuff into the bottom through little holes, but then saw I couldn’t get it out without taking the grill apart…”

My husband and I were between work and night, between school for the boys and free time on the computers, between dinner and eating it.

Evening had come without meal plans, as usual. I’d searched the freezer for what meat might be hiding and discovered chicken breasts from the mad rush to stockup last March. Surely if I could defrost them enough we could grill them the rest of the way, I thought.

“…Well, when I closed the grill cover, those old pieces all caught fire…”

Hm, my husband said, I wondered why I smelled smoke.

He hadn’t seen the entire grill in flames. Thankfully.

While the fire died down so the gauge didn’t read 750 degrees I mixed up a sauce for the well-done chicken. Oil’s good for a sauce, and vinegar, and this bottle called Pizza Seasoning and salt and pepper… Turns out oil’s also good for a second round of incineration.

So, dinner was also between: between raw and burnt black.

It’s not bad if you put barbecue sauce all over it, one son said at dinner. His piece of chicken was more sauce than bird but he ate it.

Life doesn’t always turn out how you plan either. Sometimes you plan a wonderful dinner. Sometimes it’s a good idea to get takeout. Most times, at the between times, you make do with what you’ve got.

And perhaps pull out the barbecue sauce.

——

If you’d like a better representation of Gary, visit his site. The poor guy’s only got a few thousand adoring fans.

 

©2020 Chelsea Owens

A Tribute to Geoff LePard of TanGental

I’ve wanted to replicate Geoff’s style for awhile now, but he is a very …unique sort of writer. Take Douglas Adams, Terry Pratchett, and Mark Twain; then add a little brain injury or late night staring at hedgerows and you’ve nearly got him.

Since I’m not those authors and lack any hedges (I’m American), I’ve vowed to do the best I can. Geoff writes spot-on reviews of plays or movies, brags about his amazing garden (with pictures), and includes the occasional stint into poetry. Most of the time, however, he comes up with the strangest of short stories (supposedly) based on photo prompts.

The final sort is what I chose to mimic. I give you, therefore,

Tricks and Stones #writephoto

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‘What d’you think, Francisissi?’

‘Hard to say, hard to say…’

‘But you do say it’s him; tell me you say that, at least.’

Thomaquinas scratched a gravelly spot near his ear. He attempted to pull at his robes near another, equally irritated area, but failed. ‘Hard to say…’

A puff of dust exited Fran’s facial orifice that once resembled a mouth. He should’ve expected this; should have brought along Patrireland or even Thérieux. No, maybe not Théri. Last time she’d literally talked the ear off the poor soul –

Thom shifted uncomforably. He always shifted uncomfortably, of course, but managed to convey that this particular discomfort came from his needing to answer Fran and not, as was usual, from a necessarily stiff figure.

‘So is he a close enough resemblance to try it?’

Thom considered, his features a blank slate as he did so. He nodded, dropping a few chinks of neck in process.

‘Right.’ Fran raised his arms stiffly to meet Thom’s. Their palms touched in a small crumble of grey dust. Fran winced.

Aiseray isthay oulsay omfray ethay astpay, the two intoned. Aiseray isthay oulsay omfray ethay astpay!

More dust and chips of rock fell as they attempted to raise their arms. The ground rumbled. Grass wilted. A doe, as surprised by talking stone as readers are to find a doe suddenly inserted in a paragraph, leaped away. The statue before the chanting pair shook slightly, else shook because the ground beneath it did.

Beginning with a muffled ‘Eeeur,’ and ending with a shouted, ‘Rrrrraugh!’ the man before them began moving. Dust, bits, and the odd bird excrement flew at Thom and Fran from his stretching limbs. Uttering a final, Omfray ethay astpay!, they stepped back apace and dropped their hands.

‘Yeaurgh!’ the third man said. He shook and twisted at his immobile robes, then fixed blank, grey eyes on his rescuers. ‘What’s this, then?’

‘Francisissi.’

‘Thomaquinas.’

‘Eh?’ Tilting his head to the side, he smacked at an ear. Smallish rubble and powder drifted from the downward side of his face and rained on the wilted grass.

‘Are you,’ Fran queried, ‘Simeter?’

‘Who?’ Their companion tilted the other way, smacking more grey detritus to the ground.

‘Simeter,’ Thom ventured, ‘Or, maybe …Paulsus?’

‘Who, me?’ The once-statue’s face nearly broke as he broke into a grin. ”Fraid not, boys.’

Thom turned and fixed Fran with a stonelike stare. ‘Well,’ Thom gulped, coughing from swallowed dust, ‘Who are you?”

‘Dominizza,’ Dominizza shrugged, ‘The pizza deliverer.’

——

I probably murdered it, so sorry to Geoff. To the rest of you, try him out if he’s your cup of tea.

 

Photo Credit: unsplash-logoZac Farmer

©2019 Chelsea Owens

A Tribute to Stephen Black of Fractured Faith Blog

Tonight I visit Stephen Black’s blog, Fractured Faith. As I wrote in my review of his bookThe Kirkwood Scott Chronicles: Skelly’s Square, I’ve known Mr. Black for a long time. We’re like those college students whose friends were friends, and found ourselves drawn to the same awkward punch bowl at those friends’ parties.

Stephen’s blog deals mostly with life issues and his observations and encouragements in dealing with them. He also promotes his book, has hosted some writing prompts, written rap-reminiscent poetry, and occasionally talks about marathons and running.

In tribute to an old friend, I give you my attempt to mimic a typical Stephen Black blog post:

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Has Life Ever Surprised You?

This morning en route to another working day, I was surprised to see into the back garden of a house I passed. I could see into their garden because the fence and tool shed were smashed in, done for. Debris from fence and shed, scattered tools, and the churned earth bore testament to what caused the damage, but whatever vehicle had done it was long gone.

I imagined the owners of the house coming out to the same scene as me. What if they only discovered their back part in pieces that morning? Would they feel the shock and surprise I did? How would they react to this unwelcome discovery?

Sometimes in my life I’ve felt like those owners, an unwitting party to unexpected disaster. I’ve written about some. My father’s death, for example. Failing to make the time I wished for on a run. Rejection e-mails or no response to my book queries.

At those times I did not react as would be best. I stood in shock at the damage. I turned to bad habits. I turned away from my wonderful, supportive family and toward shallow friends and the world’s attention. I gave up, and even granted power to the demons of OCD to tell me how wrong I was to try. I stood in the car tyre ruts in my back garden and despaired of any positive outcome.

But the old me is someone I don’t have to be anymore. I am not he. I can look over the scattered debris of my life and choose to act, instead. I don’t need to cry over broken wood and tools when I know I can pick up the pieces and move on.

Maybe cleanup will take time. I might need assistance from loved ones. I may need to seek professional help to repair the damage, to build a new fence and shed. It might take time or a few pints of honeycomb ice cream, but I won’t be alone to solve it.

We are masters of our lives, even when we do not feel like it. We may not be able to control whether something drives through our lives and leaves us in shock, but we can control our reactions. We can control what we do next. I know we can.

Have you ever had an unexpected event take you by surprise?

What did you do to recover and rebuild your life?

——

If you enjoyed my wee tribute, head over to Stephen’s blog and drop him a ‘Follow.’ The poor guy’s only got about 11,000 followers.

 

Photo Credit: Image by Thomas Schink from Pixabay
©2019 Chelsea Owens

The Kirkwood Scott Chronicles: Skelly’s Square

War! Adventure! Boring desk jobs! Drinking! Compulsions! Evil paranormal enemies?

A week ago Monday, I got a very long-anticipated book in the mail.

I met Stephen Black way back when he followed my blog as part of growing his. He’s moved on to securing 11,000+ followers, finishing his manuscript, and finally (FINALLY!) publishing.

Even though I’m deathly envious of his success, I’m also freakin’ proud. Great job, Stephen!

But what about the book??

Skelly’s Square is only my second or third experience with reading a newbie author’s work. Plus, I’ve known Stephen through his blog’s awkward teenage years. Plus, I’m a …bit of a spelling and grammar fiend.

-Which didn’t matter in the slightest. To me, an excellent book is one I get lost in. Somewhere along the way I’m part of the characters and story; we’re seamless and it’s beautiful. Skelly’s Square became just such an experience for me.

Colonel Augustus Skelly is the name of a man the main character, Kirkwood Scott, sees in very realistic visions. Skelly is a demon of sorts. He preys on Scott’s Obsessive Compulsive Disorder by making him follow a series of routines determined by dice rolls. These routines are called The 49. Scott knows storms, tempests, abductions, and death around the world will happen should he refuse The 49.

In the midst of a life ruled by this and periods of blackout drinking to avoid it, Scott stumbles across a homeless young woman, Meredith Starc. Starc also practices alcoholic numbing because of a depressive event in her past.

The two, and cosmic forces interested in keeping them down, cross paths. Why? What is their importance? How can they possibly mean anything toward …the fate of the world?

Stephen Black’s delivered a doozy of a first novel. Skelly’s Square is a creation to be proud of. Plus, it’s an engaging fantasy adventure to boot!

Go, visit Amazon and pick up your own.

Do it!!

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©2019 Chelsea Owens

Something in the Mail…

I came back from vacation to a little surprise waiting in our mailbox….

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Hmmm… Air Mail addressed to me, in a padded envelope…

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It claims to be a book! I think I know what ‘book’ this is!!!

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And I know some of those “fellow bloggers!”

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Not sure about that signature, though. Hopefully it’s legit.

Stay tuned for a book review, all ye others who are also expectantly excited. I will finish tonight.

THE KIRKWOOD SCOTT CHRONICLES: Skelly’s Square by [Black, Stephen ](Dude; you could be reading, too! Click here for the Amazon link.)