Five Photos, Five Stories Challenge: Day 5


What is talent? Where does it come from?

I’ve been pondering this today because of the picture above. The character’s name is Professor Sparkles, he comes from the show Dr. Dimensionpants. It was drawn freehand by my 8 year old son.

Now, I don’t want to be one of those parents that see’s genius in their own child where it clearly isn’t. This isn’t a “mine is bigger than yours” contest. In my experience though this is well beyond the work I’ve seen from his peers. Sure he draws a lot, but so does every other kid I know. He picks up things though, like perspective for instance, seemingly on his own. Which brings me back to my original point.

I believe in most instances, given enough passion and persistence, talent can be learned. If you dedicate yourself to one thing, all day every day, you’re probably going to get really good at it. Now this can’t be 100% true of course. I see people all the time with more ego than talent. But I guess that is likely part of the problem.

There are some where it seems natural, effortless. Often though there is an intense amount of work and dedication behind it that we don’t see. But what if? What if some of us really just have a natural talent? What if a small percentage of us really are “chosen”?

I don’t have any answers. I only know to encourage it when I see it, wherever it comes from.


I wanted to take this opportunity to once again thank Ann Edall-Robson for nominating me to finish this challenge.  I’ve been having a hard time finding the time to write lately but this really got me back into it, even if they were short pieces.  I’ll be back to the regular scheduled weirdness next week. 

Five Photos, Five Stories Challenge: Day 3


The dark clouds have drifted away and the sun once again warms the patchy garden. Signs of life begin to emerge from all directions.

The two large newcomers have heard about this place. Word gets around quickly when a welcoming spot is found. The young family around the corner was just put in a fancy new house after being unexpectedly evicted from the abandoned mouse den that had been their home for the last two seasons.

The newcomers continue with their work as a group of spectators surround them. Respect is shown for the newcomers and the work they do. There is no interruption, only intense observation as the small miracle of sustainment and procreation play out in one small act.

When they have had their fill, the newcomers move on, searching for the next inviting spot to. And so the day goes. The sun shines. The cycle continues.

Five Photos, Five Stories Challenge: Day 2

The end is near.

It’s closer than I thought.

The sun is setting as a breeze kicks up from the east.

I lay on the ground watching the heavens above shift and change.

Clouds streak the sky, like dragons chasing the horizon.

My body aches.

I’m so numb there is no room for emotion.

I thought I had so much more to do.

But I was wrong.

The roof is finally done!

I can see the end.


Five Photos, Five Stories Challenge: Day 1

I was nominated for the Five Photos, Five Stories Challenge by Ann Edall-Robson.  Here are the rules, and a link to Ann’s blog post proving that it’s true!

The rules of the Five Photos, Five Stories Challenge are:
1) Post a photo each day for five consecutive days.
2) Attach a story to the photo. It can be fiction, non-fiction, poetry, or a short paragraph. It’s entirely up to the individual.
3) Nominate another blogger to carry on the challenge. Your nominee is free to accept or decline the invitation. This is fun, not a command performance!  (Since I don’t know any other bloggers well enough to nominate, if you would like to play along please post your intentions in the comments!)–cattail-down/day-two-cattail-down



I miss being whole.  I miss being free.  I’ve been hiding for too long.  Not that it was my choice.  Every now and then I get a small touch, the intention of something more.  But still I am here.  Waiting.

The Untitled Beginning

I sat alone in the waiting room.  The scant natural light coming through the dirty window panes behind the receptionist’s desk was casting grim shadows.  I should have been grateful we were on the 6th floor, otherwise the windows likely would have been boarded up and there would be no light at all.  There was a thick layer of dust covering every surface.  Somehow it felt colder in the office than it did outside in the gentle falling snow.  All of these things may have seemed strange not that long ago, but a lot had changed over the past few months.

The attacks started in October.  Nobody saw it coming.  How could they?  Now life was a lot like those post-apocalyptic movies that everyone used to be so fond of.  Pretty much everyone I knew was missing or dead.  Except for Jody.  She’s the reason why I was sitting there in the dark waiting for someone claiming to be the Queen of the vampires.

I was just starting to get impatient when I heard soft footsteps coming toward me from the darkened hallway to my left.  Jody emerged first, followed by the Queen.

Expectations are a funny thing.  I’d had ample opportunity to think about what Irina must look like.  I had heard a few scattered stories, how she had been in hiding for almost two hundred years.  I couldn’t even imagine how that related to her actual age.  I pictured a frail, shriveled figure.  Instead the person that walked from the shadows was vibrant, beautiful even.

Her Raven Black hair was long and straight.  Emerald green eyes, deep as the ocean, watched me without emotion.  Her flushed lips held tightly together.  It seemed at first like a terrible stereotype that she was dressed all in Black, but there was no garish flowing cloak or tight leather.  Instead she was wearing a simple blouse under an open button up sweater, straight leg pants and reasonable footwear.

“Hello Marshal.  Thank you for coming.”  Her voice had a depth that betrayed her centuries of existence.  There was a hint of an accent but I couldn’t place it.

“I am told that you have information which will provide very useful to our cause.” She said, then looking towards Jody, “I have also been assured that you can be trusted.”

“I’ll tell you everything I can.” I said, “I don’t really understand what any of it means but Jody says it’s important.”

“Yes, you are very lucky that Peregrin’s people did not hear you speak openly about what you saw.”  There was an uncomfortable pause, like I was silently being scolded.

“Follow me.” She said, “We have much to discuss.”

Time Travel

I opened my eyes to find myself standing in a barren wasteland of ice and snow.  The sun was in the process of rising but at the same time did not appear to be making any progress.  The ground shifted almost imperceptibly under my feet.

I don’t know how I knew, whether through some unnatural ability or the actual sense of the globe spinning, but it occurred to me that I was standing at geographical north.  Where I half expected to see a red and white striped pole, there was only an old Inuit woman sitting atop a mound of ice and snow.

The old woman was wearing a long Caribou parka.  The hood, fringed with wolf fur, was pushed back exposing silver hair tied tight against her head and a weathered face like old leather.  I couldn’t see her eyes, only the creases where they should have been.  Below her flat nose was a broad smile of amusement and welcome.  I waved to the old woman, not able to find any words to suit the situation.  She didn’t respond, but continued to sit with her hands in her lap, smiling at me.

It was at that point that my attention was drawn to slow movement in my peripheral.  I turned to my left to see a Polar Bear approaching.  He paused as I faced him and let out a low, guttural snarl.  His head was low to the ground, staring me down with deep black orbs.  His long fur glowed with a yellow and orange halo in the light of the rising sun.  He was a monster, easily twice my height if he had stood next to me.

Somehow I kept control over my bowels as he resumed his slow pace towards me.  I began moving in the opposite direction, circling the old Inuit woman.  I broke into a sprint.  So did the bear.

“Six o’clock!  Five o’clock!  Four o’clock!” the old Inuit woman cackled.  “Run time traveler!”

I kept running in circles, the bear close behind.  His shadow would envelope me and then abate.  Again and again.  Round and round.  The Inuit woman laughed like it was the best thing she’d seen in years.  Her fur slippers kicked against the ice in glee.  She was laughing so hard at one point that she began to cough and convulse, almost tumbling off of her perch.

Five days into the past my legs were burning.  Massive paws pounded the ice behind me, closer with every step.  I could feel hot breath on the back of my neck.  Suddenly there was a sharp pain on my right side, and I was lying in the dark on the simulated hardwood of my bedroom floor.  Nearly out of breath, I crawled back into bed and tried to calm my racing heart as the sights and sounds of the terrifying dream echoed in my mind.