Waverly Writes: Musings from a wandering soul

Hello, I'm Elena Waverly. Follow for creative fiction and nonfiction work. For general discussion, please follow @desertstar84@dragonscave.space. Thank you.

The Torn Manuscript

Tiny shreds of my shatter past still cling to the spine, but before me lies a blank page. all the memories were removed, for my protection, they say. All the memories, the celebration, laughter, fun, even the sad times... All of them have been deleted by eager hands.

The Christmas bells ring outside, chiming the hour. There are people downstairs, dancing to the music playing on the local radio station. I'm tired and my head is pounding. I came into my room, looking for some peace and quiet after the festival, but the empty book on my bed was a gift I was not ready for. It was placed on my pillow, with a small note attached.

“Fill this book with new, precious memories,” the note said. So, I was supposed to forget about my old life, while writing new chapters in a book that not only had pages obviously torn from it, but also had the inscription on the cover, written by my mother over twenty years ago. So, I'm supposed to write memories while staring at that inscription, never to return to those days ever again?

I wondered if this was their plan. Was this the work of a sadistic antiChristmas asshole who had nothing better to do with their time? I can't imagine any of the elders would really go to such lengths and expect me to do the same. I can't erase a past that taught me so much about the future. Where would I go from here? How do I reminisce on a holiday that isn't even mine anymore? How do I look back at a shadowless void that follows me everywhere I go, taunting me with little shards of memories floating by, and attempt to enjoy a festive celebration?

I slip the broken book under my bed. I tried concentrating on the memories that still clung to the edges of my mind. I wanted to write them down, but on sheets of paper that wouldn't be added to my books. With trembling hands, I pull my notebook out of my backpack and begin to write frantically. I'll try and replace as many memories as I can find, but I know I'll have to hide it. The elders will surely discover this, and I wasn't going to let them take away what memories I had left.

A steady knocking on my door pulled me from my thoughts.

“who's there,” I called out.

The door opened, and my sister Linda stood there, her hair still wet from her shower and clinging to her like a protective shield around her back and arms. She still wore her bath robe, and clutched a cup of what looked like coffee in her hands. “You coming downstairs? It's time for breakfast?”

“No thanks. I'm not hungry,” I reply, without looking up from my notebook.

“what are you doing?” She asks.

“Just writing down some stuff,” I say. I briefly look over my shoulder and notice she's walking toward my bed, a curious gleam in her eye.

“Oh come on, tell me. Most of what Julia writes is super boring, but you know how to write. Your stories always have me hooked.” She sits down on the bed and taps me on the arm. “Hey, where's your life story,” she says matter of factly.

“I put it away,” I say, putting my supplies back in my bag. “I'm not in the mood to read it right now.”

“Read what?” She said darkly. “There's nothing in my life story either. The elders ripped up all our books, even yours. I saw Maria with your book earlier. She almost looked pained when she tore off all the pages. It was so sad.”

“Linda, please go enjoy your breakfast and have a great Christmas. tell Maria I'm not hungry. I'll come down later.”

“Are you not feeling well?” Her brow creased with concern. “Want me to have Maria call a doctor up here?”

“No thanks, just go enjoy breakfast. I promise I'll be down for the main feast later.”

She jingerly slid off the bed and quietly walked to the door. She paused, then turned to me. “You know, you could start writing new things in your life story. The elders tell us our old memories do us more harm than good. Perhaps there will be time to make more?”

“Just please, get out,” I say, climbing back under the covers. “I just need to stay here for a while. Please go.”

Without a word, Linda closed the door. I knew she meant well. I just didn't want to talk about our story books. These were projects that were close to our hearts. Linda's talk about the books, and her unwavering devotion to the elders wouldn't only made her attempt to cheer me up seem sadistic.

A couple hours and ten pages later, I'd written down a few more memories. I contemplated talking about some of the christmas I spent at my uncle John's house. He always threw the best Christmas parties, but Uncle John is no longer with us. Thinking about him and my Aunt K made the tears fall. There would be no more preserving memories today.

I thought about how memories could and should be preserved. Should we waste our time writing down all the bad ones? Maybe we would be wasting time if those memories taught us nothing, but my own mind had little to fall back on when it came to memories that actually taught me important life lessons. I tried thinking about how I learned lessons, from the most basic to the most conplex I could imagine. When you're only twelve, there aren't many experiences to draw from. If only we could have read the book one last time, to really grasp the impact of each new memory as it was read and reread. There'd be more clarity, and I could have tried to duplicate the book before giving it to the elders to edit with their monstrous fingers. Oh well. I guess... There's nothing left to do but keep on writing. Maybe the stories for the next year will help us forget about the missing pieces less and less, although I doubted it.

Thank you for visiting. be safe and healthy. Warmest regards, Elena Waverly

The room was filled with the heat of a million suns. Each wall was covered with glass that reflected the heat and made it even more unbearable. We all lie on the floor, grimacing in pain. The people outside celebrate, no doubt the Christmas festivities. The music played from somewhere in the building, and we can all see the people clapping and marching in place outside its walls.

I turn to see my friend, lying alone in a discarded heap against one of the locked doors. At least her soul would be free, if not her body. Would the rest of us end up that way.

“This is the end I'm afraid,” one person said, almost in a moan as he tried to roll over on his blanket to get comfortable. “Will this torture ever, ever cease?”

I knew it wouldn't. I'd been trapped in this chamber for many years now, watching familiar faces come and go, leaving with boundless energy, returning drained and pale. We'd stayed out long past our determined exploration period. we all knew socializing was a crime here, and yet we couldn't help ourselves.

No lights were on in the black room. All we heard was the hearts beating, the varying levels of rattled breaths, and murmurs reverberating off the lonely ceiling. Another tune began to play, and I watched in horror as the festival goers outside turned to face the building, singing gleefully, their mouths opened wide in discussing exultation. They weren't celebrating because it was Christmas. No. They were celebrating our impending demise. The heat would soon dry up our bones and spirits. With no water, all we could do was lie there... and die.

One by one, a life would be snuffed out. The room would go quieter by the hour, as each soul's body had reached its end. When would mine come. Could I be free? Would I, truly? Knowing some of my friends were still trapped here made my heart ache, and even though they were lying just feet away, some sleeping, some moaning in agony, I felt the loneliest I'd ever been.

The festival goers began dancing in place to the Christmas music. The melodies made me sick. They played in soothing merriment, almost like a bouncing, bustling mother, tending to each one of her charges, hoping to sooth away our nightmares.

“There, there now.” I could almost hear the music saying to all of us. “It will be over soon. Just breathe.”

I wanted to close my eyes. I wanted to breathe no more. I could no longer bear the sounds of struggle. My heart couldn't take the pain. The wails and groans that occasionally escaped far away corners of the room made me shudder. Not being able to move or help the wounded dried up my spirits faster than the awful heat.

Outside, it began to rain. Fresh, crystal clear droplets tapped playfully on the panes of glass surrounding us, joining in rhythm with the songs that played for the dancers, who were now tilting their heads back, catching raindrops on their tongue like a blessed elixir from the heavens. They turned satisfied, dripping faces on us, smiles wide and wild, some toothless, some with tongues almost thrashing at the air. Their dancing forms almost seemed to spell out a message. “Welcome. Welcome to planet Earth. Hope you enjoy your stay.”

Thank you for visiting. be safe and healthy. Warmest regards, Elena Waverly

Paper Trail

“Don’t forget to buy milk.”

This was the third sticky note I’d found this week, this one on the refrigerator door. It was half past six in the morning, and I’d gone downstairs to put some coffee on to brew. My husband John was due to wake any minute now, but I figured he’d written the note the night prior, probably after his late night snack. I thought about sticking this note to his forehead and giving him a taste of his own medicine. What good-for-nothing husband can’t tell his wife in person that we were running out of milk? Instead, I tore it up and tossed the pieces into the trash can. I was on a time crunch anyway. Soon, the kids would have to get up and et ready for school, and my friend Janette would be coming over to help me finish my presentation for tomorrow’s meeting. As I prepared the coffee however, I couldn’t help but glance nervously around the kitchen occasionally, my gaze always landing on the fridge last.

The first note came on Monday afternoon. I’d just returned from running errands. The sticky note was found on the garage door opener next to the door that led into the house.

“Call the principal at Olivias school. There’s been an accident.”

I stumbbled through the door, threw down my purse and bags of groceries and frantically searched for the school’s contact on my phone. With shaking hands, I held the phone to my ear, pacing around the den. There had indeed been an accident. Olivia had tripped and fallen on the school’s front steps while on a walk with her class. Relief replaced my initial anxiety about the note to hear that she was only bruised, and would be feeling better within a few days. I questioned the origin of the note throughout the day, even going to the point to ask my husband if he’d somehow been home during his lunch break and left the note for me. He of course denied it, but we were so focused on trying to console Olivia that we easily forgot about it.

The second note came on Wednesday morning, when I briefly stepped out to water the plants. I sat down in the family room to watch TV, and thats when I saw it, a light green sticky note just like the first one, sticking to one of the phone books on our coffee table.

“Order some flowers for Mrs Gensen. Her husband passed away last night.”

Once a week, I volunteer at our local hospital, visiting sick patients who just needed a little cheering up or someone to talk to. Tom Gensen ha been complaining of severe abdomenal pain, and was due to undergo a procedure. The nature of this treatment wasn’t known to me for obvious reasons, but while he slept, I’d often talk to his anxious wife who was having a hard time dealing with this alone. Knowing the hospital probably wouldn’t tell me if I called to inquire about Tom’s condition, I’d opted to order flowers just in case. Again, I asked John about the note, wondering if he’d intercepted a call from the hospital at some point, but he said He never took a call, and he couldn’t have written he note because he was at work when I found it. I knew he was right. I was supposed to be the only one in the house. I tried to put the note behind me as I went about my day, but it gnawed at my brain like an itch I couldn’t scratch. Sure enough, Tom Gensen had died during his surgery, and the flowers were just what I needed to help comfort his grieving wife.

Fastforward to this morning, a cold and rainy Friday, and that stupid that stupid milk note was just what I fucking needed. Reaching for the milk to pour some in my coffee, I noticed that we were indeed running low. I became furious again and decided this time I’d let John have it. He had to be writing these notes. It must be him!

I hesitated however, as his foot falls were heard descending the stairs. The first two notes I’d torn up, not thinking he’d need to see them because I assumed he’d written the notes. I slapped myself for being such an idiot and ripping this third one up. I could have shown it to him and demanded an answer.

“Morning, Beverly,” John said in his usual cheerful voice after kissing me and reaching for a coffee mug on the shelf.

“We’re low on milk,” I said flatly, just to gauge his reaction. He pulled the almost empty gallon from the ffridge and nodded.

“I see that.” He smiled. “Don’t worry about it. I know you have a big presentation coming up. I’ll go to the store after work.”

Well… that was odd. If he’d been the one to write the note, he would have acknowledged it before having to open the fridge to check it out for himself. Or, was that just an act?

“John, if we’re low on milk, just tell me. You don’t need to put a note on the fridge.” Then, with a warm smile so I wouldn’t come off as bitchy, I added, “I’m sure I’m smart enough to know when the ilk supply is low.”

John looked up from pouring his coffee, a puzzled expression on his face. “Note? Honey, I didn’t write a note. I didn’t even realize we were low on milk until you just mentioned it.”

I didn’t buy it, but decided not to protest any further. We sat down and enjoyed our coffee, going over our plans for the day. He was actually starting to become concerned about me. My repeated anxious glances around the room didn’t go unnoticed. He kept asking me if I was ok, but I told him it was the stress of the upcoming project, plus the death of Tom Gensen. He seemed satisfied with that explanation, and was soon on his way to work. I continued with my morning ritual of getting the kids ready and preparing for the presentation.

I’d just pulled into the garage after picking the kids up from school, when my phone rang. It was my friend Kelly, with good news about her archaeology courses. Her professor had asked her to come to Costa Rica with him, and she’d delightedly accepted his offer.

“I can’t believe it!” She was practically beaming from ear to ear. I heard the brightness in her voice. “I’m going to Costa Rica! Oh, and I have a great idea. the professor said I could take one companion with me so I don’t have to stay there alone.”

“That’s great,” I said. “I think Mrs. Larson from the book club might enjoy it. She’s totally into the stuff you’re doing.”

“Bevie…” She sighed. “Mrs. Larson broke her hip, remember? Besides, I didn’t have her first in mind. I want you to come with me.”

“Oh, Kelly, that’s awful sweet of you, but no thank you. I’ve got the kids, and John can’t take offf time from work. I don’t think I can get anyone to manage things while I’m gone. Thanks for thinking of me, though. Have a great time, and stay safe.”

“Couldnt you get your sister to come down and hold down the fort for a while? Well, I’ll leave the offer on the table in case you change your mind. I’ll need an answer by next Friday.”

I told her I’d think about it, all the while knowing it was still going to be a no. I briefly entertained the idea that I should run it by John and see what he thought, but it slipped my mind as I became distracted with my usual duties. After finishing the dishes from dinner, I told John and the kids that I was going upstairs to lay down for a while. I flicked on the light in the master bedroom, and that’s when I saw it.

“You should really consider taking Kelly up on her offer.”

There it was, that same damn light fucking green sticky note, right on my pillow of all places! At least I knew this time that John hadn’t written the note. What the fuck was I going to do now?

Thank you for visiting. be safe and healthy. Warmest regards, Elena Waverly

Are you doing anything right now? If you're browsing Mastodon, stop. Time for a little writing exercise. Mind exercises are a lot of fun because you're not relying on any prompt or outside influence. You are going strictly with the quirkiness that lies within your own brain. If you're like me, your brain is a chaotic Twilight Zone of weird thoughts and ideas. If you haven't tried this writing exercise before, pay attention! You're gonna love this one.

If I could give the exercise a name, I'd call it a #MindList. This differs because each list we create relies heavily on the scenarios we answer with the power of our minds. These can be humorous, strange, serious, and even sad. The important thing to remember is the object of these mind lists is to be able to use the list in a piece you may be working on. It could be an article, a short story, or any other project. You could even use it to build a podcast episode.

So, what kind of mind lists can I make? Easy. Here are some examples. For me, I love sticking with a consistent number with these lists. Ten is my number, but it could be any number you wish. It helps me stay focused on my targets even when I'm writing projects of various lengths. Try to maintain lists of five or more items. Three may be enough for a short project, but ideally, you want as much material to work with as possible. Some of my favorite lists are:

  1. Ten things you should never confess to your preacher
  2. Ten responses to a job interviewee asking, “What makes you a good candidate for this job?”
  3. Ten suggestion titles for Tim Cook to use for the Apple Events.

Finally, we're going to do my favorite list! Today, we'll be working on ten questions that randomly pop in your head! Wait, you may be asking. I have to think? Yep, gotta keep those brain muscles strong! And now that the technical stuff is out of the way, let's talk about your powerful brain, and what it has to do with all this. :)

If you're going to do this list with me, then open up a blank document, or if you're still loyal to the physical pencil or pen, then grab your favorite writing instrument and a sheet of paper, find a quiet space, and close your eyes. When I say mind list, I really mean it. Focus entirely on making these lists. It's not exactly meditation. Think of it mainly as a practice in stream of consciousness writing. Silence your phone. log out of Facebook or Mastodon. Tell the boss you need a five minute break so you don't end up pulling out all your hair and leaving a huge mess for your buildings janitors to clean up. :) Finally, tell your inner critic to go take a cruze. Maybe it'll come back with a happier attitude, and you can focus on the random, fun, thoughtful, quirkiness that is your beautiful, unique self. :)

So, here I am, tired after working in the kitchen all day. I made breakfast and a batch of brownies. All is quiet here except for the background sounds of everyday life. I'm going to give myself a few minutes to lean back in my chair, and whatever question comes to mind, I'm going to write it down. That will be my #MindList, which I will share with you in this blog. Ok, turn off the lights, and get comfy! Here are the ten first random questions that pop in my head. I'll try to keep it PG rated, but I can't promise that after reading the list that your sanity will still be in tact. :) Anyway, enough blabbering. Let's get this show started!

  1. How many crows can successfully change the bulb on a street light?
  2. If I give a lion a peanut butter and jelly sandwich, will it be my friend forever?
  3. How does one go about returning Grandma's long overdue library book now that she's gone and the contents of her attic has been passed down to me?
  4. If Johnny walks to school and Tommy takes the bus, and they just so happen to arrive at school at the same time, was Johnny running too fast or was the driver passed out at the wheel?
  5. If a book has chapters, chapters have pages, pages have words, and words have letters, then what happens to all the unused letters left to float around in the universe? Do they all eventually get eaten by Pac-Man?
  6. Did Elvis like anchovies on his pizza, like ever?
  7. If everyone leaves Twitter except Trump, will he try to buy Musk out? Would he honestly be that stupid?
  8. What do pigs think of while having sex?
  9. If bears and lions roar, cats meow, birds chirp and dogs bark, does Elon Musk make the sound of a tesla motor when he snores?
  10. If 42 is the number that defines the meaning of life, what number can be used to repair the space time continuum?

Ok, so I've not had any coffee, and my brain is not fully functioning at the moment. I'm surprised I was able to come up with those very strange questions. I suppose I shall never live this list down. :)

Well, that's a wrap for me today. Do you have any mind lists you'd like to share? Did this inspire you to start making some of your own? Oh and one more thing. I love making similar lists when I need inspiration, but they are lists that rely on interactions with the environment. For example, Ten random things you hear in a coffee shop, or Ten items you spy someone removing from store shelves. Okay, maybe not that last one. I don't want to be responsible for people randomly checking others out, so I'll behave and exit stage left. Lots of love to each and every one of you. Take care. :)

Thank you for visiting. be safe and healthy. Warmest regards, Elena Waverly

Hello everyone, Welcome to the wandering soul of Elena Waverly, otherwise known as Waverly Writes. This is a place where I'll post my creative fiction and nonfiction work. Follow and enjoy!

Comments are always welcome, but this is a space where I'll post writing only. Feel free to follow me on my main Mastodon instance for general chat. @desertstar84@dragonscave.space

also, if you are a writer who loves collaborative projects, get in touch. I love working on tandem stories! :) I'll wrap up this intro for now, but please stay tuned, and I'll see you soon!

Thank you for visiting. be safe and healthy. Warmest regards, Elena Waverly