A Little Teaser...coming up in May

The Military Sober (longer story) (1st person narrative)
walk down to Kmart and then go in the opposite direction crossing over to the other side when you get to the other side you will instantly be drunk and this is because now that you work for us we have an obligation to fix you so you you will notice this whole side has greener grass, cleaner air, even footing, you will make note of this that it is a fleeting feeling and no one is harming you and no one is watching you and no one is causing you conflicting thoughts or feelings you are totally in your own element and now that you are here, we are going to change you, we are going to erase you and recharge you, we are going to take the drunk out of you


Final Belle Story (The Dream)

Final Belle Story (The Dream)
by Sheri

Belle grew up hearing her father tell the stories about her mother, Rose, and she heard them so often that she started dreaming of her clear as glass with a heavenly aura all about her, and waking startled she wondered if she saw her through her window, but it was only moonlight. Belled wanted to find out more and more about this magic, especially after her father diagnosed her with Fire's Furies, something she got from her mother's rare blood disorder and couldn't go out in hot weather otherwise if she cut herself she could bleed to death. So she became known as Winter's Rose, with rosy red cheeks all the time, she carried her mother's magic deep inside of her, and most who knew her thought she was pure as snow. She started to give birth to new ideas, new experiences, it was like every day she was being born again, and through hearing those stories about her mother, she started pouring herself into more and more stories of castles, princes, with cunning and daring, with mystery and with malice.

And it wouldn't take long, because when Belle's father went missing, soon after the winter snowstorm had passed, Belle went out to find him, and she was right in her element, this heart of winter, this heart from her mother, Rose. She came upon a castle and entered slowly to find talking candelabras, talking clocks, talking paintings, even the cups and cutlery were in on it. What kind of place was this?

“Who's there?” screamed a terrifying voice.

“It is I, I, I was looking for my father.”

“He's my prisoner now, you can do no good here.”

“What, no, I will surely go in his place. I can be a maid servant. I can, I can, dust the library.”

“Hmph! You, you would take his place?” his voice grew softer.

“Come into the light.”

When he came into the light she saw just how big, monstrous and terrifying he was, and she ran up to a bedroom and locked herself in. But in this room, the bureaus came to life, the wardrobes, the drawers, all of them insisting that she dine with the beast.

“Never. I'm not going. Let me be a prisoner in this room.”

“But the master will come around, you will see,” the drawer said.

“I don't want to see. I never want to set eyes on him again.”

Well, the beast was listening through the door, and he was heartbroken, because he had waited so long for a girl to come along, and had almost given up on anything changing his condition. He dined alone, then retired to his study.

Belle crept out of the room into the dark hallway, up a few stairs, and pulled open the heavy wooden and glass stained doors, and there was a sight to see, something so wonderful, she could barely see it straight. She knew for certain that her mother's magic lived on at this castle, as she saw the rose floating suspended, just like the world was suspended in this hate, with the Beast raging with anger and evil, this symbol was a suspension of her mother's magic of love, the glass jar reminded her of her dreams of the moonlight in the window, thinking she saw her mother's face, but it was this power of love, this Rose.

She would just have to turn her fear and hate of the beast into love and acceptance, this is what she learned from her mother, and that is what she set out to do. She read to him, he asked questions, and they dreamed together, they dine together, they have a snowball fight, this magic of love was about to happen.

About this time, the castle was raided by young men who were of the old school of thought, the same time as her parents, during war and hate, and they tried killing everything in sight. The beast was stabbed fatally in his back, and he struggled to find words for Belle. He ran his paw through her hair, just as he had done when they danced, and he whispered in pain, “I love you,” and when Belled cried, “I love you too.” He actually did start to dance again with her because his body twirled and rose up, rose and rose, blooming with her mother's magic, and there he turned into a stunning prince. Those who came to fight were frightened out of the their minds and ran hysterically out of the castle.

“Your mother must be my guardian angel,” the prince said to Belle while they were cleaning up.

“Yes, she opened herself the way she has opened our hearts.”

And Belle and the prince lived on in the castle, and even Maurice came to live there, set up his shop in the carriage house, and they gave daily tours of the magical hold and transformation that occurred there. Soon after their deaths, it became a national landmark and museum.


2nd Belle Story (The Magic of Love)

The Magic of Love
by Sheri Grutz

During this time there was a war, and much hatred spread across the land. Rose's two brothers died fighting, their bloodshed wasted on lands that wouldn't grow a single thing, not peace, patience or poetry. Rose remembeed her mother had said blood is thicker than water, but only when it's used properly, she knew, like from the tips of fingers that reach out to touch another, not from the fingertip that reaches out and pulls the trigger. Rose was a young and beautiful woman who was known to ride bareback on horses, drink malt liquor and swim naked in Silver Creek under the moon. She was worried that nothing unusual would ever happen in Cross Grove, until one day, there came a mysterious man who was selling tonics that would help with mother's arthritis, and Rose went into town where he was set up in a booth out in front of the mercantile.

“This here is made of licorice root and flax seed, got a little honey, and even a touch of aloe vera, why I bet you didn't know it cures heart burn and any kind of inflammation,” this man in a ragged suit was telling the townsfolk. Rose was caught by his blue eyes that seemed to burn like centers of flames. He looked at her, and smiled, and she felt the burn of her face go red from under her throat to up through her cheeks. “I'm selling a vial of this stuff for only one dollar, and it should last you through the summer, where by fall, I'll be back to get you through the winter. And when I come back, I'll be bringing fish brine and apple cider vinegar, you won't believe how your body will perk right up after using this stuff. What'd ya say, just one dollar to try it out for the summer? Who'll be my first customer?” About 3 women all came forward and laid out their money. Rose knew they were expecting a big crop this year, and they had made their money sewing clothes all winter to sell in the city at the Spring Bazaar. Rose waited until everyone had cleared out.

“My mother could use some of this, maybe I could work it off, you know, be your assistant,” Rose told him with surprising confidence that she thought came from a streak of her father who told her to always believe in a better day.

“My young lady, you may have this vial for your mother, and this Saturday I would love your assistance to the neighboring Twin Cities. I'll be leaving the mercantile at sunrise. Don't be late.” He tipped his hat to her, and handed her the potion, and Rose's heart flew like a hundred birds both scared and determined.

On the buggy ride into the cities, this man told Rose to call him Maurice, and she did with ease as she told him about her own magical making of things. She told him where her blood drops, 4-leaf clovers grow by morning. And that she only has to prick her finger on the rose thorns to make the bushes bloom, and she adds a drop to the tomatoes, the apple tree, the radishes where they burst out like the last days of summer. She told him where her blood drops in winter will eventually harden into seeds and all kinds of vegetables are just waiting to be grown. After their show in the cities, Maurice had her put a drop of her blood into his mixtures, and it first bubbled, then turned to pure water, and the inventor sayid to her, “Why, it is pure love.” Soon after that the two of them were married.

Maurice taught Rose that she held a very crucial thing, and that is the magic of love. He told her she cannot keep this to herself, so she started her own column in the cities paper called, Love Bug. She wrote about how just one drop of love can change things, how she and her husband knew the magic of love, and how just a little bit of warmth is all you need to grow bigger and better. It was finally breaking this spell of hatred, and it started to turn things into a more peaceful, kind and giving world, and Rose became a local legend for a time, especially when she found out she was pregnant, carrying her first child. “The child will be a symbol of our love,” she told the townsfolk. Maurice was becoming famous in his own way, because he was now inventing things for practical and ingenious uses. The two of them were unburdened by anything.

When Rose gave birth to her child, it was a daughter, and the birth was unnaturally fast, and caused a lot of blood, the very blood that Rose knew was part of this magic. And because of the magic of love, because she loved her daughter so much, Rose died shortly after giving birth. She was able to kiss her little forehead and name her, Belle, and then she turned to the light and breathed no more. Maurice was devastated, but claimed then that he would care for and raise his daughter with this abundance of love that her parents knew for such a short period of time.


This week

This week's new writing has come from a place I'm familiar with and can easily access, maybe I'd even my true voice, done with care so I don't start to scream or cry. It's not hard, it's what I do. I'll finish off this month with the Belle story series sometime this weekend. After that, I'll be doing some paintings. See you in May.

1st Story on Belle (The Rose Bushes)

The Rose Bushes
by Sheri Grutz

There was a young girl in the village named Cross Grove who looked forward to the fall festival in the small town center every year with its pie eating contest, its water dunking machine, its Irish dancing, and the games the young kids played like statue, and boys kiss the girls, things that the grown-ups never saw out back behind the school house. She was going to be making a few extra dimes by putting roses from their family's bushes on each of the tables in the restaurant where everyone would come for Sunday dinner at the height of the festival.

She went out early to the back grove-like area of her family's house, but she was dismayed to find that the rose bushes were just spindly sticks jutting out every which direction with not one bloom on them. She wondered at first if there was an animal that had been by nibbling on the blooms, but there were no other signs, and plus her father had a fence along the perimeter of their property keeping back the woods. She went inside to consult her mother. Her mother was making apple pie, something that was very common since they had a big apple tree on the west of their house, something that her father said was the biggest nuisance he ever saw. Mother was making this pie for the festival. She entered the sunny kitchen.

“You know that your brother Alan is in the contest this year,” her mother said upon her standing there perplexed. “There's nothing to that boy, and he's only gonna race it off when he's done. Them young men are having running races, you know that?”

“No mother, I didn't know that.”

“Well, Alan, if I know him at all, will wanna go barefoot racing down that dusty street.”

“Yes, I imagine he will, mother.”

“Just gotta make sure I keep your father out of it, he's bound to bet a bit of change on the outcome, and we don't need to be blowing the savings on no child's play.”

“We sure don't, mother.”

“This here is one of my best, what do you think?” She held up the pie with long towels around and under it.

“It smells fantastic. And it's good and plump, might take the words right out of their mouths eating that.”

“That's the idea, girl. They only can bite off what they can chew, see.”

“It will make for a challenge, I'm sure.” Silence. Mother looked up at her daughter.

“What's bothering you? You got the roses all cut for the Gitty-Up?”

“That's the thing, mother. I'm sorry to inform you, but there's not a one rose bloom in the whole bunch.”

“What? What you mean?”

“I don't know. I can go back and out with some water, maybe that would spring them to life in a couple of hours.”

“That's a good plan my girl. They won't be eating til high noon anyway. Yes, try some water.”

So the girl went to the well, and got a big bucket of water, walking gingerly to not spill any, she dumped it into the watering can, then carefully poured the sprinkling water all over the two rose bushes that were now in the direct sunlight. She said a little prayer, then walked away to go brush her horse, and waited about 2 hours for those darn flowers to bloom.

When she came back, there still was not a bloom on it, and she dragged her mother to the back of their property, mystified and thinking that her eyes were deceiving her.

“You see, mother, not one single bloom on either of these fine bushes.”

“You're right. Ain't nothing wrong with 'em. They are sturdy and healthy as onion grass.”

“I even looked deep underneath,” the girl said pulling a vine up and out, “and there was still nothing- ouch!” One of the thorns had caught the girl's finger, and it immediately started to pool blood. The girls shook her hand to take the sting away, and when she did two drops of this blood fell right on the roots and center of the rose bush. An amazing thing happened then. Because right when the blood soaked into the dirt, a dozen full blooming rose heads grew like watching a sped up butterfly come out of its cocoon. The girl was astonished. Her mother was wide-eyed.

Her mother said to her, “And you see, that's because my dear girl, blood is thicker than water.”

“You are right, mother.”

The girl was able to cut off all twelve of the roses, and take them into town, for each table at the Gitty-Up. She came home with some money for her savings she was holding onto to buy herself a playing instrument. She would always know the magic of that day, and felt it swell in her heart because you see this was no ordinary girl and flower, this girl was Belle's mother, and she was named Rose.

Poem-Story (Television)

Television by Roald Dahl

The most important thing we've learned,
So far as children are concerned,
Is never, NEVER, NEVER let
Them near your television set --
Or better still, just don't install
The idiotic thing at all.
In almost every house we've been,
We've watched them gaping at the screen.
They loll and slop and lounge about,
And stare until their eyes pop out.
(Last week in someone's place we saw
A dozen eyeballs on the floor.)
They sit and stare and stare and sit
Until they're hypnotised by it,
Until they're absolutely drunk
With all that shocking ghastly junk.
Oh yes, we know it keeps them still,
They don't climb out the window sill,
They never fight or kick or punch,
They leave you free to cook the lunch
And wash the dishes in the sink --
But did you ever stop to think,
To wonder just exactly what
This does to your beloved tot?
'All right!' you'll cry. 'All right!' you'll say,
'But if we take the set away,
What shall we do to entertain
Our darling children? Please explain!'
We'll answer this by asking you,
'What used the darling ones to do?
'How used they keep themselves contented
Before this monster was invented?'
Have you forgotten? Don't you know?
We'll say it very loud and slow:
THEY ... USED ... TO ... READ! They'd READ and READ,
AND READ and READ, and then proceed
To READ some more. Great Scott! Gadzooks!
One half their lives was reading books!
The nursery shelves held books galore!
Books cluttered up the nursery floor!
And in the bedroom, by the bed,
More books were waiting to be read!
Such wondrous, fine, fantastic tales
Of dragons, gypsies, queens, and whales
And treasure isles, and distant shores
Where smugglers rowed with muffled oars,
And pirates wearing purple pants,
And sailing ships and elephants,
And cannibals crouching 'round the pot,
Stirring away at something hot.
(It smells so good, what can it be?
Good gracious, it's Penelope.)
The younger ones had Beatrix Potter
With Mr. Tod, the dirty rotter,
And Squirrel Nutkin, Pigling Bland,
And Mrs. Tiggy-Winkle and-
Just How The Camel Got His Hump,
And How the Monkey Lost His Rump,
And Mr. Toad, and bless my soul,
There's Mr. Rat and Mr. Mole-
Oh, books, what books they used to know,
Those children living long ago!
So please, oh please, we beg, we pray,
Go throw your TV set away,
And in its place you can install
A lovely bookshelf on the wall.
Then fill the shelves with lots of books,
Ignoring all the dirty looks,
The screams and yells, the bites and kicks,
And children hitting you with sticks-
Fear not, because we promise you
That, in about a week or two
Of having nothing else to do,
They'll now begin to feel the need
Of having something to read.
And once they start -- oh boy, oh boy!
You watch the slowly growing joy
That fills their hearts. They'll grow so keen
They'll wonder what they'd ever seen
In that ridiculous machine,
That nauseating, foul, unclean,
Repulsive television screen!
And later, each and every kid
Will love you more for what you did. 

Television by Sheri Grutz

Every Sunday night, Jules would watch Nature on PBS with her young kids, the survival of the fittest, and it was showing them without telling them that life can be cruel, very cruel, even though they knew cruelty, because they had seen their mother exclude a neighbor kid from their birthday party, even when he came over with a gift, even when he cried, all because he fought with her daughter, the same way Jules fought with the kids dad, and leaving him then, and this boy, out in the cold. Her daughter learned about survival also from her mother, when, down to their last 20 dollars she took her to the bank and told her, “Now, don't ever do this,” and she got a $500 cash advance on a credit card. Very much about survival.

“I thought I might have read that animals don't feel the same intensity of pain as humans,” Jules told her kids after the lion finally caught the antelope.

“Yes they do, mom,” her daughter insisted.

“Really? Who told you that?”

“Well why would they run? Why would they fight at all?”

“No, I'm sure they still don't want to die, and I'm sure it's very painful to die this way, but they don't have the same capacity for emotions as we do.”

“I don't know, mom, can we watch something else?”

They turned the station and it was Funniest Home Videos, quite an opposite take on the fun-loving, hilarious shots of pets, kids, and crazy mishaps. The kids loved this show, but Jules decided to clean out the fridge, and then call her dad.

“You know I think the video we have of you coughing, and A.J. Copying you would make it onto this show.”

“They wouldn't know what I was coughing about, mom.”

“Are you in a mood today, or what?”


“When this is over, we'll read, ok?” Silence. “Ok?”

“Yes, ok.”

“And also the minute they start previewing those violent, scary movies, it goes off.”

“Yes, I know. I'm the only kid who hasn't seen The Sixth Sense.”

“That cannot be true.”

“It is true.”

“You are not missing out on anything. Isn't that rated-R?”

“I don't know, I think PG-13.”

“And you are?” Silence for t.v. Viewing. “Huh?”

“What mom?”

“Never mind. I just want to watch ESPN sometimes, that's the only thing I'd like to watch. And why do you want to have nightmares?”

“It's not any more violent that Harry Potter.”

“How can you say that? Mr. Potter is a classic.”

“Is that kinda like letting me watch The Birds when I was 5-years-old?”

“Well, that may have been a mistake on my part, we were vacationing, and I wasn't really thinking.”

“It was a scary classic.”


“The Allen's have the t.v. Going all day and all night.”

“That's terrible. I saw that, the little babies are exposed to all that garbage.”

“I learned at school that parents are the biggest role models.”

“Yeah, I agree.”

“T.V. Doesn't do much.”

“You're wrong. You just want to veg with your eyes locked in and escape this sad life.”

“No. I mean, you read to us, and we go places, it means more, mom”

“Ok, I hope that is true.”

“More than my dad can ever say.”

“And that's not saying much.” Silence.

There was fighting coming from the apartment above them, and screaming outside, and it looked like it could rain at any moment, all of that with the volume on the t.v. Set made things difficult to talk through much more, but Jules knew that her daughter was on the right track, the track that wound you around and through obstacles and challenges, scenery and potholes, and she grinned at the sight of her kids sprawled out on the floor with big pillows under them, and a foundation made of peace.


The Signs That You Are a Writer

You reflect more than others.

You started out keeping journals or diaries.

You feel most fulfilled by good conversation.

You like to be alone.

You don't just read, you absorb.

Writing is like being an athlete. And like all sports,
you might be good at another artistic thing.

You can write at any time, anywhere, with any material.

You have failed at many things.

Your experiences continue to shape you.

You have had or continue to have at least one addiction in your life.

You used to make up stories wildly as a child.

You like to explore libraries.

The Kiss Poem

The Kiss Poem (for Beth)

by Sheri

My daughter got her
name from Kiss,
their painted moon
faces with the black
of night like searching
for our damn God,
and finding only rock
music to call our own.
My daughter brings
the music from the mess
like an explosion of light
early mornings when
I miss her most,
dragging myself to
the maker for a yielding
in the build-up of pressure,
ear pressed to the speaker,
mouth moving against
the slight breeze,
I feel the morning well up
like a full bladder,
early morning
when Kiss was up all night
and wrote that song with her
name and there was a mic
that picked up the birds at dawn,
faces drawn like the moon
lifting every last light out
of its fullness and dumping it
into a clear dream, her body's
image, her bones.



I changed the last 'god' in this morning's poem, to a capital G, so that there is some distinction between gods and the ultimate God. It starts to become like God is a branching off of these little gods, I'm not sure how you take it, but I didn't like how the poem ended, it wasn't as coherent as it needed to be. I think that distinction is better.

Little Gods

In The Land of Littles: Little Gods

My son says about any
so-called problem,
there's a god for that,
as if this entity can be
applied like cream
we still have from
the last burn, from the
last raw emotion,
says there's a god
for the poor and a god
for the rich, a god for
the young, and a
god for the sinner,
applied like a flower
to spring, a natural
thing where the space
runs out, says he can
draw him in his mind
like a grid of pie, this
percentage going to
the ones who
lost everything,
that percentage going
to those who won,
applied like a bird
to the morning,
his lips burning with
every notion, silent.
My son doesn't talk
like this, like that,
but if he could this
is exactly what he'd say,
that god is many
things to many people,
a changing sky,
a closer moon,
says that every one of
these gods is a symbol
of love we apply like
the cream, the flower,
the bird, finding
these things in
the hand of God.

-Sheri Grutz