Dear Ceil: If someone asks me how the writing's going, are they being passive aggressive? Or just mocking me, outright? Hansen from The Heartland Dear Hansen, They're not being passive-aggressive, nor are they mocking you. They are aggressively mocking you. If there are two things everyone knows about writers, it's: 1. We procrastinate. We procrastinate … Continue reading Ask Ceil – How’s the Writing Going?
You wake up lying on the floor. You’re on your side. Blurred faces gather around you. “He has a hammer!” a woman yelled. There’s a sharp pain in your thigh. You lean back, shoulders stiff. You slide the tool from your body. A moment ago, you were in the hardware store. Before that, you were … Continue reading Engine
Continued from last week's installment of Digging in the Dirt. Sheriff Daniel Coyle huffed up the long, gradual hill a few acres from where he’d parked his gray Ford Crown Victoria by the storage barn at the small, family-run pig farm. Moist winds blew the mixed scents of fertilizer and grass around the field. Once … Continue reading 5. The Things We Miss
Continued from last week's installment of Digging in the Dirt. The sun was slipping behind distant treed mountains at the furthest viewable point of Route 118. “Entering Dirt City, PA. Pop. 329, Elev. 994 ft.” Louisa swerved, just missing the sign. She corrected immediately and continued at exactly 45 mph. It didn’t happen all the … Continue reading 4. Mud Pies
Dear Ceil, I just had a pumpkin spice latte with my pumpkin spice donut, in front of my pumpkin spice candle. I don't have friends anymore; I only have these things that are flavored with pumpkin spice. Is that ok? Sincerely, Autumnal in Austin Dear Autumnal, You know, when a person and a spice love … Continue reading Ask Ceil – Pumpkin Spice
Continued from last week's installment of Digging in the Dirt. Tabitha, a pale woman in her 30's with blue-tinted black hair cut in a severe bob and--at 4pm--still in her pajamas, carried two mugs of coffee in one hand, a clipboard under her arm, and a stack of file folders in the other hand. She … Continue reading 3. Frogs
Continued from last week's installment of Digging in the Dirt. A rust-colored 1973 Chevy Nova was flattened underneath a smaller blue 1977 Honda Civic. Russ awkwardly climbed over them to get to the spot. Just beyond a block building, in a muddy clearing backed by three trees, and surrounded by an evenly placed circle of … Continue reading 2. Church
This is the first installment of Digging in the Dirt. Jim lifted a spoon to his mouth and took a taste from the pot. He paused and let the smells infuse his senses; he closed his eyes and meditated on the flavors. "Mediocre," he thought. "Oh, well," and yelled, “Dinner’s ready!” as he wiped the … Continue reading 1. Dinner Time
Dear Ceil,Why am I afraid of things?Scared in SaskatchewanDear Scared,You are afraid of things because...You are sane.Shit is scary right now. It requires a full-on pep talk for me to get out of bed these days. For God's sake, because of the bed bug epidemic that hit the news last year, I need a stiff … Continue reading Ask Ceil – Fear Factor!
He was safe. No phones would ring, no thieves could break in, no internet hackers would steal his identity. Enclosed in his one-bedroom bungalow ten miles outside of Raleigh, Joe planned for everything. He could still get around if need be. His handicapped-modified car allowed him to visit people and go to stores. But otherwise, … Continue reading Safe