Raison d’être

From The Bancroft Project: Creating Character Dossiers-Establishing Blocks of Time. To add to our dossiers we worked with the concept of blocks of time and pathways chosen, blocked, travelled, and bypassed. We also considered others whose paths crossed ours or the path of our characters-

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” I have all the time in the world.” the Ghost said to herself as she stood, or more specifically, as  she floated a little above her empty Grave.

Even though she knew she was alone there in her spot above her empty Grave where nobody had left her flowers for so many years she had lost count, she waited for a reply.

Of course there wasn’t one.

There never was.

” I have all the time in the world to decide what kind of ghost I could be. ” the Ghost said firmly and the place where her eyes would be seemed to glow a bit and the place where her jaw would had it not been covered by a  shroud of light blue haze, looked a little firmer.

The Ghost thought about her options for a moment. ” I could be a vicious ghost and throw things around and push people down stairs and scare cats and dogs-well. Not scare exactly but I can  make them puff up and growl.

Or I could be a nice ghost and when I show up people would smell things like freshly baked cookies or flowers. Actually. I wasn’t exactly a nice person so that probably isn’t going to happen at all.”

The Ghost looked down into her empty Grave and then her misty face swirled like fog rolling from the sea up to the beach and when the mist settled down she was smiling.

” I know, I could be one of those ghosts that shows up when bad things are going to happen. I could make myself look like a cat or a big black dog or a black as coal rabbit with fiery red eyes. Now that sounds like the ticket, doesn’t it? The possibilities for what I could do there are only limited by my imagination- which as we both know was pretty wild monster back in my day. I mean, that’s how we ended up together after all.”

Her empty Grave, as dark and inscrutable as ever offered no opinion.

It never did.

She sighed and her misty face broke apart.

 

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” I have all the time in the world.” the Ghost said to herself above her empty Grave when nobody was listening because nobody was ever there.

Even though the Ghost knew she was alone there in her spot above her empty Grave where nobody had left her flowers for so many years she had lost count, she waited for a reply.

This time she got one, in fact, this time she got several.

She swirled in confusion, a light blue mist hanging above her empty Grave because something behind her roared and to her left,   dead rose bushes  snapped and fell to the ground which was a riot of sticker bushes and weeds and chunks or marble and concrete.

The roar was gone and after a few bangs and thumps she heard someone say not very clearly, ” yes I’m sure it doesn’t matter if we dig around here. We might find a few bones or maybe some wood but who cares?”

The Ghost followed the voices  with her almost non-existent eyes and saw that the voices  belonged to two men with shovels.

They chose a spot and begin to dig into her empty Grave and after several hours they seemed satisfied with their work. They went away and came back many  times with black bags- several in fact and after looking at each other for a minute one said to the other. ” Lunch at The Oak Tree  on Main Street after?’

The other man said, “Sounds good. Their burgers really  hit the spot”

Unceremoniously they began to drop the black, lumpy and in some cases leaking black bags into her empty Grave.

Then they filled it.

They were not acting like they had all of the time in the world.

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” So  now you have a purpose, . ”  the Ghost said to her dark and inscrutable Grave. How tragic is that? My empty Grave has a raison d’être and I don’t. ”

Had she had  lungs she would have taken a deep breath  before she screeched- so she just skipped to the screeching part, ” My entire situation is ridiculous and intolerable!”

This time she felt like her dark and inscrutable formally empty Grave was listening to her.

The ghost simmered and then she snapped together atom by atom, nightmare by nightmare and when she was done her eyes were fiery red and she was covered with dark silky fur.

Then she hopped over her once Empty and inscrutable Grave and she went to start her own  reason for being and her little black nose quivered with excitement.

 

Birds and Stars

Life Isn’t a Straight Line — How to Chart Your Own ‘River of Life’
This exercise is designed to help you reflect on your life and tell your story.

If my life were a river

I think it would go through dark forests and it would run under cloudy skies

and nothing would want to live in it because the water would always be so cold.

If my life were a river

nobody would raft on it, or picnic near it because  if my life were a river

it would be traveling along, wearing itself against the Earth until you could see the scars from a satellite circling the Earth

and when the scientists see it, the River that is my life, they will be appalled because such a mindless force tore away at something so beautiful and left it’s  vacuous mark behind.

And they will echo then mantra of my childhood,

” You’re a  stupid useless good for nothing kid, you’ll never amount to anything. No one wants anything to do with you.”

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Photo A.M. Moscoso

When I was five years old,

the river that is my life had tangled brown hair and a desire to read and to write

and to sail in a spaceship to Mars.

Then I learned to read and I learned to write but that didn’t matter

I was told,

because anybody can read a book or write a story

so the River that is my life moved on and when

the River that is my life turned 14

it’s greatest accomplishment was for coming in first at an Ugliest Date contest.

I was learning to play the guitar, I won awards for my writing but none of that mattered

that year.

The River that is my life turned to the nowhere and headed for the darkest hills it could find.

That is managed to do with absolute success- a roaring black river with icy cold water disappeared one day and not a single solitary soul noticed.

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Photo A.M. Moscoso

The River that is my life got older and one day it got slower and once again it found itself all alone.

The good for nothing useless kid grew up to be a good for nothing useless woman who existed day to day  and in a round about way I guess I won the Ugly Girl Award again.

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Photo A.M. Moscoso

One day and purely by chance,  the River that is my life wandered off track and it cut it’s way out of  those dark forests under cloudy skies and while it was there it found some friends who wrote stories and loved to listen to music and painted pictures and would wonder if there had ever been life on Mars and one day while the river was taking it’s time instead of running under dark and cloudy skies, the River that is my life saw a puppy running at it’s banks.

It laughed and splashed around and it even ran into a tree but then it shook it’s head got back on it’s little paws and laughed the way puppies do.

So the river slowed down so that the puppy could catch up and it even cut new trails into places just so the little puppy could see sunlight and hear people laughing and talking and where it could run under blue skies.

One day the River that is my life came to a place where it saw the dark mountains covered with snow and the black skies full of clouds and it wondered if it was time to go home.

Where it belonged.

But the River that is my life saw the puppy, who is now a full grown dog who ran at her banks and followed her just because it wanted to be with her and she knew he would have followed her back into her darkness, where at least she wouldn’t be alone.

Only there was so much more to see and the sky was so big and it was so full of stars and birds and rain and snow that River that is my life wanted her dog to see all of that.

So the River that is my life, decided for her dog she would see this other world, just for him.

And that is where they are today- they are running together under a sky that isn’t always empty or dark because now  it’s full of birds and stars.

Photo A.M. Moscoso

Bancroft Manor Creating Dossiers:

 

My Sister’s House

Today I tried to answer the question- Who is the Bancroft Miniaturist?

Photo A.M. Moscoso

 

In my Sister’s mostly

bare and very dark house

is a room

that nobody is allowed to go into

and in that room

are shelves and shelves of glass lined cases.

 

In the cases

my Sister says

are bits of magic

held in delicate hand carved figures

that no one is allowed to touch

and they most certainly are not that for anyone to see.

 

Then what’s the point in having them

I asked, for the billionth time.

 

My Sister said

to me one day,

” Fine go ahead, go on in and touch what you want and see what

is there.”

 

She pushed the door open and took my arm

and before she could push  through I stepped back.

Because

I heard what was in there

and what I heard was pleading and a little screaming too.

 

The voices sounded far away but they were coming from the shelves

and what they were saying was:

 

” I have eyes. I can’t see, why can’t I see anything? ”

 

My sister put her lips close to my ear and said,

” It’s because their eyes are ornamental. ”

 

I left my sister to her dark and mostly

empty house

and the magic she trapped

in glass cases

that nobody is allowed to touch or see.

Photo A.M Moscoso

Photo A.M. Moscoso

Photo A.M. Moscoso

Photo A.M. Moscoso

Inspired By The Bancroft Miniaturist

The Greatest Little Show On Earth

When I was little, one of my favorite museums to visit was Miniature World in Victoria, BC Canada.

I would spend an eternity in front of each display with no fixed idea in my head about what I was seeing. I would just imagine the little figures actually dancing, or running or sitting or riding horses.

Of course, I was a little on the macabre side as a child so I assumed that spirits and ghosts and maybe even a curse or two were involved because WHY NOT.

Here are some pictures I took of a couple of the exhibits- I think that after all of these years I should put some thought into what is happening here and why.

Photo A.M. Moscoso

Photo A.M. Moscoso

Photo A.M. Moscoso

Photo A.M. Moscoso

Photo A.M. Moscoso

Bancroft Miniaturist

When Memories Dream

Last month I took a train ride from Washington State ( which is on the West Coast of the U.S. ) to Wisconsin which is in the Midwest.

Riding on the train was interesting- it was a solitary way to travel- much more so then flying or even riding on a bus. I’m not sure why. Maybe it’s because you can get up and move around or away from people.

Which I did because I was coming down with a cold, so I wasn’t feeling very sociable.

I had my own little room for part of the trip so I took a lot of pictures and I watched movies on my DVD player because the internet is spotty in a lot of areas, plus I didn’t feel like surfing the internet when I could look out my window and surf the world.

I saw lots of interesting things- sadly enough one of my experiences was that someone was out on the tracks and they were struck and killed by the train I was on.

But before that happened we were passing through Montana when I saw the most interesting formations.

They were golden and sandy, they were honeycombed and in some places I suppose you could find little caves.

I was sitting there in my seat, watching the sky, when I saw them- and as we raced by I felt like I had seen something like these before- but I couldn’t put my finger on it.

So I went back through my camera later and it occurred to me why these formations looked so familiar-

they looked like something you would have seen in Deir el-Bahari or maybe in the Valley of the Kings

one reminded my or the Pharaoh Hatshepsut’s mortuary temple.

Keep in mind, they didn’t look exactly like these places, but they did speak to them and like ghosts they haunted me- and they still day.

Something strange that caught my eye on a train ride.

Photo A.M. Moscoso

Photo A.M Moscoso

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Photo A.M. Moscoso

Photo A.M. Moscoso

Creative Memory#2

The Day I Got Scolded By A Tree Stump

One day

I went out to take some pictures.

Maybe, I thought

I will see something that wills inspire me, or give me nightmares or something.

In my mind’s eye I threw up a grid and started to methodically look for a little story to capture.

What I got was a bunch of nothing.

I had never deleted pictures so fast- on the other hand I’ve been getting a lot of things I haven’t liked so maybe I’m just getting better at hitting that delete key without putting much thought into it;

I was standing there, deleting pictures ( so glad I was accomplishing something ) and marveling at the fact that if there was a story to be found the only story I got was how fast ideas can run from you, if they put their mind too it.

Then I looked down and saw this stump and thought I could spook it up somehow for my Halloween posts this fall when I noticed…yeah, it looked like a face was staring up at me.

PHOTO A.M. MOSCOSO

PHOTO A.M. MOSCOSO

It even looked like it had a cigar in the corner of it’s mouth.

It also looked very annoyed.

At me.

Yeah.

I see a story in your future Sour Puss and in this one, I get the last laugh.

PS.

Thanks for the inspiration.

amm

Bancroft Prompt: My Life As A Writer

 

It’s Actually A Funny Story

This is a little look into my creative process:

Last year I visited Wisconsin for the very first time and my family- with the happy addition of my beautiful Granddaughter- took a nature hike at a park outside of Fox Lake.

Here’s a picture of my handsome son and his beautiful baby:

Photo A.M Moscoso

There was greenery everywhere- even the turtles- who I had never seen in the wild before were green. I’m from Washington state, so the minute I see green and blue I instantly feel at home and I settled into my creative ways right off the bat.

That is always a good thing, right?

Because of  the I felt so at ease,  I saw a lot of potential  for some great shots that I could use for my Halloween stories.  Ok, Halloween was like five months away but if I want to post daily I get my work finished by the end of August.

Photo A.M. Moscoso

 

Photo A.M. Moscoso

Photo A.M Moscoso

So I was standing at this lookout point and I could see marshes and animals like hawks trying to not be noticed as they went about their day and these gnarly clusters of trees and the ground was super soft and if you wanted to:

” This would be a great place to dump body parts.” I told my son and about a dozen people standing next to us who were part of a bird watching group. ” I mean, what you don’t toss into the marsh is going to get eaten by a hawk or maybe foxes or something like that.”

My son who knows his Mother well wasn’t  exactly  taken back by my observation.

” So. ” I said as these beautiful birds burst from a tree and took flight over head and my Granddaughter crowed in delight. ” Are there any old cemeteries around here?”

” You know the kinds I like, the creepy ones ghosts wouldn’t get caught dead haunting.”

My son assured me there was and did we want to stop for Ice Cream first?

” Hell yes!” I  said with boatloads of enthusiasm, because who doesn’t love Ice Cream on a hot day?

I turned around and a group of very nice people who were enjoying a day of bird watching looked from the sky to me and I sort of tilted my head forward so that my bangs  fell across my eyes and I smiled, well my version of one.

Yeah. I didn’t help myself there much. It’s not one of my more Grandmotherly looks- unless you put it in the same category as the Wolf pretending to be Red Riding Hood’s Grandmother.

I suppose that sometimes it might serve me well to remember to use my inside voice when I’m working.

But when inspiration takes root and burst to life, I don’t think that reigning it in is the thing to do. In my case, I let it run wild.

amm

The Wishing Well

 

Photo A.M. Moscoso

Her name is

Jingle Gravesend

and she was the there when the Sphinx was newly built

Her name is

Jingle Gravesend

and she was there when the Sun burst to life

in the sky.

Her name is

Jingle Gravesend

and she fought in the Crusades on a black horse

and wherever she rode

Death would step to the side let her have her way.

Her name is Jingle Gravesend

and

todays she sits by a Wishing Well

and she is  thinking  about her Cat

with the mismatched eyes

and her dog with two faces

and she is thinking about the years

she has spent

without them

then she hides her face in her hands

and she wishes with all of her might

after she drops her coins

into the Wishing Well  at  the Garden at Bancroft Manor

that  no one sees her crying.

 

Bancroft Manor: Creating Dossiers