Trapped

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I can’t get out.

I checked the locks. I checked the windows, the alarm, and the closet doors. Are all the lights off? What about the front gate – is it closed and locked? I checked them all once, twice, three times.

I’m almost out the door. The car keys are in my hand.  In ten minutes I’ll be at work, where I won’t worry so much about the locks, the windows, the alarm, the lights, and the closet doors.

Wait, did I check the lock on the back door?

I have to go back and check. Then, I have to check all the locks, again. Every doorknob, deadbolt and window latch. I touch each lock and turn every knob to make sure it doesn’t twist open. I turn the deadbolts just to make sure they are all hard over in the locked position.

Then, there’s the windows. I pull up on them to make sure they don’t open. Recheck the latches to ensure I didn’t shake one loose when pulling up the window. All are fine, but now I can’t remember if I turned off the upstairs light.

Up the stairs I go. The light is off, but I touch the light switch just to make sure. Then, I go through the house and touch all the light switches to prove they are all in the off position.

I can’t stop.

I can’t get out. I stand in the middle of the living room, clutching my car keys. The exit is just through the kitchen and out the door, but I can’t leave. This is ridiculous – I know this as well as I know I can’t stop.

And then, I wonder: Are the doors and windows locked? I close my eyes and take a deep breath.

“Stop.” I whisper to myself, buy my voice is not strong. It shakes as I stifle the tears. Once again, the demons inside are winning. I draw another deep breath and dig for what little strength I have left.

I race through the kitchen and force myself through the door. I’m in the garage and I can see my car. I lock the last lock – once, twice, three times. I jiggle the door knob just to make sure . . . but, wait.

Is the refrigerator closed? And the pantry door? Is the oven off? I didn’t check! I lean my head on the door in defeat. I have go back inside, again. It never ends. A voice in my head says, “No. You don’t have to,” but I cannot obey.

I’m touching every lock, window, doorknob, and light switch. Once, twice, three times.

I can’t get out.

– – –

c.b.w. 2014

Seated At The End

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Every time the door opens she looks up. This time it’s a woman with two small children and not the person she is supposed to meet. She arrived an hour ahead of time in order to calm her nerves with a cup of tea. It’s been years since the word “date” had any meaning in her life and the idea going back into the proverbial sea of fish is terrifying, not to mention humiliating.

Her best friend picked the guy. She said he was nice looking and knew the feeling of a divorce. This could be good or bad. Two souls ripe with hurt had a shot of finding comfort in one another, but they could also feed each other’s insecurities and open a new door to Relationship Hell. Then again, nothing could happen as well. Some people just don’t click no matter what they have in common.

She rubs her temples and takes a deep breath. Once again, she’s over analyzing the situation. All those self-help and pop psychology books on her shelf have screwed up her mind more than the trauma of having to start over again. Those books are full of advice, but short on the truth. No one likes to talk about the tricky business of accepting how nothing will ever be the same. It doesn’t matter how much you reinvent yourself because the past you loved is gone. And it’s never coming back.

Fifteen minutes before he is supposed to arrive, the door opens. A man walks in and eyes each table in the cafe as if he’s looking for someone. Could this be him? He is tall with salt and pepper hair and has a kind face. Not bad at all, she thinks. She sits up straight and adjusts her red sweater. In her last text message to him, she told him to look for the woman in red.

His eyes catch hers and then look past her to someone sitting two tables down. His face lights up with a smile and twinkling eyes when he recognizes a woman who is probably half his age. In the name of preserving what is left of her self-esteem, she decides the youngster is his daughter.

Laughter and conversation surround her on all sides. So many people having fun with friends, family, or new acquaintances. And here she is sitting all alone, wondering if she looks as lost and out of place as she feels. She tried to hide it with make-up and the red sweater, but who is she fooling, anyway? Certainly not herself.

The negative thoughts are starting to win, again. Stop. Stop. Stop. Good things are the result of good thoughts. Right? At least they are according to Dr. Whoever and his latest bestselling fix-all solution. Stop. Sarcasm doesn’t help, either.

With only ten minutes to meeting time, she swishes what remains of her black tea to stir up the flavor. There is nothing worse than a bitter end.

– – –

c.b.w. 2014

Celebrating One Year!

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It’s hard to believe that one year ago today, I launched my blog.  The last 12 months have brought more milestones than I ever thought I’d reach and has allowed me to be part of an amazing community of writers and readers.  My gratitude goes to all of you for deciding to follow my journey as a writer and creative spirit.  Your presence as readers and commenters is so encouraging, inspiring, and very much appreciated.

As my muse and I grow, my blog continues to evolve, which means both new and old followers may not be aware of everything hiding in the nooks and crannies of C.B. Wentworth.  So, it seems the only fitting way to celebrate my one year anniversary is to take a look at how far I’ve come and where I’m heading next.  Let’s take a tour!

Along the Top: 

  • There is a small menu of page links that divide the content of my blog.
    • About – Like most bloggers, I wrote a little blurb about myself and the purpose of my blog. Perhaps I got a bit too whimsical, but I stand by the arguments I have with my muse!
    • My Bookshelf – Did you know I keep a log of all the books I read?  Books I’ve enjoyed from 2010, 2011, and the growing list of 2012 are all listed on My Bookshelf.  This year, I started writing snapshot reviews and providing links for each title.  I update this page regularly and leave comments open for book discussions, debates, and recommendations for further reading.
    • Home – The main page of my blog is where all new posts appear.  I write on a number topics, which are represented with category links below the main header.  Content is pretty random and that’s largely because I don’t believe in limiting where my muse can go.  If anything, I like the element of surprise for both myself as a writer and for readers.  My voice, however, is what ties everything together.  I’ve been told I have a unique personality and it comes through in everything I write!

On the main page:

  • Blog Schedule – I post three or four times a week, typically Monday, Wednesday, Friday, and Sunday.  However, there are weeks where I’ll post every day.  It depends on how chatty my muse is and how much time is available to write.
  • Comments – Every post is open to comments and I make it a point to answer every single person who leaves a comment.  Reader thoughts are important to me and I enjoy the conversation.
  • Current Series/Projects:
    • Wreck This Journal – This series documents the pages I complete in Keri Smith’s groundbreaking book of the same title.  I’m happy to say this series has inspired a number of people to buy their own Wreck This Journal and embark on a similar journey of reckless creativity.
    • Project Art Journal – This series showcases pages from a journal I created with paper lunch bags.  Each page is constructed using mixed-media collage and I provide step by step instructions for the techniques I use to create each layout.
    • Sundays in London – A three week sojourn to London serves as the inspiration for poetry and musings.  Every Sunday I post a photograph from my adventure, along with the words it inspires.
    • 2012 Goals Status Report – At the end of every month, I hold myself accountable for the writing goals I’ve set for 2012.  I document both successes and failures as they occur to keep myself on track for the year.
  • In between these regular series is where random topics run rampant.  A post without the aforementioned titles is one where I’ve wandered into fiction, travel, books or any of the other categories listed under the main header.

Along the sidebar:

  • The main photograph is my actual bookshelf.  I took this shot with my cell phone and played with it on iPhoto until I got it to match the color scheme of my chosen theme. Every photograph on my blog is my own, unless otherwise noted.
  • Subscribing to my blog is as easy as clicking on the “sign me up” button.  Thanks again to those who have already done so!
  • Over on Facebook I’ve create a writer page, where I post blog updates, links to other blogs and sites, announcements, and general musings about writing.  Clicking “Like” button opens up these features and I love it when people write on my wall.
  • My Twitter Tweets chronicle my writing process, books I’m reading, and fantastic inspirational quotes I find in a variety of places. Click the button on my sidebar and we’ll tweet together!
  • Pinterest is my newest obsession.  The crafter and artist in me can’t get enough of the visual inspiration this site has to offer.  I pin everything from upcycling projects, photos of my dream flat in London, and art journal pages.  Click the red button on my sidebar to see what I’m pinning and to follow along.
  • I recently joined the World Literary Cafe to network with other writers and readers.  So far, it has been an amazing experience!  I’m still learning the ropes of all it has to offer, but I highly recommend it to anyone looking for information about how to network.
  • I joined goodreads a few months ago, because I loved the idea of the 2012 Reading Challenge.  I have a goal of reading at least 30 books this year and so far, I’m right on track.
  • Musings of a writer is a little section where I place random quotes that pop into my head.  I don’t change it very often, but I always try to come up with something that represents my philosophy of what it means to be a writer.
  • In the Recent Posts section, I keep a listing of the 50 most recent blog entries.
  • My tag cloud is just as random as my posts, so I guess that’s another indicator of how my muse works! Clicking on any one of those tags will take you to all my posts relating to that topic.
  • I’m sorry to say my Blogroll is in dire need of updating!  I have about 30 blogs to add, but the current list of blogs are still among my favorite.  I visit them daily for a great read and endless inspiration.
  • The Campaign Shield serves as my badge for surviving my first Writers’ Platform-Building Campaign.  The campaign was worth participating in as I met so many wonderful bloggers and I really enjoyed the challenge of tough writing prompts and competition. I’m still in shock that I won the last competition, (See Fatespeak)!
  • Thanks to some fabulous bloggers, I’ve been lucky enough to receive several blog awards.  There’s nothing quite as encouraging or gratifying as another blogger acknowledging my work.  I appreciate every single one and those who gave them to me.

Filling out the Footer:

  • I keep all the logistical information at the bottom.  This is where the archives, calendar, and blog stats reside.   I wish it was more exciting, but alas there is always a corner for the technical stuff!

Random Tidbits:

  • My gravatar photo is the same photo I use for all social media.  The meaning behind that black and white road can be found on a post entitled, One Photograph Changed Everything.

Photo by Robert Frank, (as featured in "The Americans.")

  • My icon photo is a collage I created and photographed.  I pieced together magazine photos of trees, cliffs, and petroglyphs.  The emphasis on the hand in the center is symbolic of the human journey in which we all travel.

Collage by c.b.w.

  • Back in August, my post The Best Souvenirs Are Free was chosen to be Freshly Pressed.   I wish I could properly convey how exciting that was, but I still can’t find the right words.

The Best Souvenirs Are Free

Coming Soon:

  • Project Flash Fiction – As summer approaches, I’ll be embarking on a challenge to write one piece of flash fiction every week.
  • Finish This Book – With Wreck This Journal winding down over the next couple of months, Keri Smith’s most recent book will be my next source of reckless creativity. Pages and experiences will be posted on a bi-weekly basis.
  • Pinhole Camera Adventure – On a whim, I bought a kit for a pinhole camera and I plan on documenting the experiment from start to  finish, including the photographs I take with this contraption!
  • Project Upcycle – Pinterest has turned me into an upcycling fanatic.  I have several projects lined up and I’ll be documenting each one as they are completed.
  • Q&A Journal – Another summer project where a question a day can lead to anything.  A weekly post will document my answers and the inspiration that will likely ensue.

Thanks again to all my readers, new and old!  This year has been an incredible experience and I can’t wait to see what is yet to come.

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c.b. 2012

He Waits Alone

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Just as it did every year on this day, Malcolm’s cane rattles across the cobblestones.  He knows where the walkway is uneven and how many steps it takes to get from the flower market to the clock tower.  Fifty-five, fifty-six, fifty-seven.  For the last ten years, the number has always been the same.

The roses smell stronger than usual, their sweet, musky scent hangs heavy in the foggy air.  The treads on his old shoes struggle to grip the stones still wet from the street washer’s hose.  He tightens his hold on his cane and feels for the wall behind him.  A chill seeps into his spine as he leans on the stone bricks.

He knows he’s in the right place when he hears the soft tick-tock of the clock tower.  The steady tempo calms his pulse and soothes his nerves.  It’s been so long, but the thought of her still makes his hands clammy and his knees wobble.

Footsteps approach and they could be hers . . . but, no.  Too heavy and too far apart.  They belong to Jakob, a waiter from the café across the street.  A large gentle hand squeezes Malcolm’s arm with the assurance of friendship.  He says nothing, but gives Malcolm a warm cup of coffee before walking away.

The steam warms his nose and weaves through his thick mustache.  It’s enough to warm his bones, but not much else.  She said she’d be here and he still believes her.  People get lost or wander away, but they always end up coming home.  Don’t they?

As the minutes tick by and his coffee cup empties, he listens carefully for the sound of her voice calling his name and sniffs the breeze for a hint of her perfume.  He would know her touch anywhere as there is nothing like the feel of her hand in his.  If he tries hard enough he can imagine her phantom fingers caressing his skin.  Though, he cannot see her face. The memory is no longer vivid and his eyes are a thing of the past.

She would come, he knew she would.

Side street view of the clock tower in Old Town Square, Prague, 2008, c.b.w.

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This is a little experiment in free-writing with the assistance of a prompt and a partial story it inspired in one of my journals.  I played with both a bit more and filled in some blanks.  The photograph comes from a trip I took to Prague a few years back.

Prompt: They’d agree to meet under the clock on Valentine’s Day.  That was four years ago, but he still came very year on that date to wait for her.

Source of prompt:  First 50 – I’ve had the prompt tucked in my journal for a while, but never checked out this blog until today.  It’s an amazing source of writing prompts and I highly recommend it for any writer looking for a little inspiration!

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c.b. 201

Lucky Seven

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I’ve been tagged again, but there won’t be 11 questions this time around, (I’m probably out of answers by now, anyway!).  Many thanks to Traci Kenworth for thinking of me for the Lucky Seven Meme.  I’ve never seen this game, so it was twice as fun to be tagged for the challenge.

Here’s how it works:

1. Go to page 77 of your current manuscript or work in progress

2. Go to line 7

3. Copy down the next 7 lines – sentences or paragraphs as they are written.  No cheating!

4. Tag 7 authors and let them know.

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This excerpt is from an untitled work in progress, otherwise known as my second novel.  Please forgive any horrific grammar and sentence structure errors!  The selection comes from a manuscript that barely qualifies as a first draft and I’ve barely touched it in terms of proofreading or refining.  Its a mess!

From page 77, starting with Line 7:

Ian’s eyes open, shimmering with the brilliance of gemstones.  Reluctantly, I let my hand fall from his face.  “See.”  What I don’t tell him is the break in our connection creates a deep void inside of me.  It’s not an ache like before, thankfully, but the feeling of something missing is unbearable.

“Wow.”  Ian says, but the word barely makes a sound.  One of his hands slides out of his pocket and hovers shyly between us.  “May I?”

I nod with a little smile that tells him I’ve been waiting for him to ask that question all along.

– – –

An interesting sidenote: The story I wrote for Campaign Challenge #2, (Fatespeak)* is starting to turn into a spin-off to this novel.  It wasn’t planned that way originally, but the challenge inspired something so much larger than a piece of flash fiction.  I can’t believe how everything links together so perfectly!  Fantasy is a huge experiment for me and I’m enjoying every twist and turn of the learning curve.

* If you are part of the campaign, I would so appreciate your vote!  I am #90. Here’s the link.  While you’re there be sure to check out all the wonderful entries!  They are truly fantastic!

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The next Lucky Seven:

That’s Not My Table

Bonnie James

The Everyday Epic

Rebekah Loper

mywithershins

Sky Diaries

Natalie Sharpston

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c.b. 2012