Wednesday, February 29, 2012

On the Trail of Bigfoot

By Candy Korman, excerpted from her blog, Candy's Monsters
The Internet is a great place to do research. You can find out that your blind date lied to you about the business he ‘owns.’ You can double-check the side effects of a new medication your doctor has prescribed. You can even find a good price on airline tickets.
You can also drive yourself crazy. You can self-diagnose/misdiagnose; discover that ghostwriters are routinely hired by content mills to write college papers for money; and you can get lost on the trail of BIGFOOT.
The Internet is full of shaky videos, sketches and first person reports of sightings of the big, hairy humanoid monster, also known as Sasquatch.
Is Bigfoot a holdover from an early human — an out-of-time, throwback to another branch of human evolution? Is there a tribe living on the outskirts of the ‘civilized’ world?
With all the great science fiction devoted to time travel and alternative histories, this one is fun to think about. These almost, but not quite, homo sapiens could cross into our world through some distortion in the time space continuum. I like this theory for fiction, but I’m not going to join the Bigfoot hunters in a hopeless attempt to find proof.
There are other great Bigfoot back-stories.
My personal best is, that the tales of Bigfoot started with an overreaction to a hermit in the woods. This loner — maybe even a writer — happened to be spotted on a bad hair day. Living in the woods, with shaggy hair and a heavy beard, he could have worn a coat and boots made of animal skins. The stories rolled from there.
A clever storyteller, my Bigfoot heard the rumors about his ‘monster’ persona when he was in town buying supplies or knocking back a few drinks at the tavern. He then fed the legend with doctored bear prints. He may have even whispered in a fellow drinker's ear that he’d seen the beast in the forest. It would have been a great way to scare off the casual hikers.
And then, like many good stories, those rumors grew into a monstrous legend.
Read more monstrous stories at Candy's Monsters, Literary Novellas Inspired by Classic Tales of Horror. And read an excerpt of Candy's book, The Mary Shelley Game, available for Kindle at Amazon.
Then, come back and post your own monstrous, first-person story in the comments to be featured on My Embellished Life.

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Canning Peaches in the World Inside My Head

By Ariele Sieling, excerpted from her blog, I'm in Love with the Universe

In my head is another world. This world is a magnet for thoughts. It's a world that draws people who think so much that they forget to shower, who think so much that they look like they're floating somewhere else, who think so much they don't notice they've been standing in the middle of the sidewalk for fifteen minutes. Here people keep swarms of stinging insects in boxes and use shopping carts like summertime sleds and find ways to repel from the clouds. Instead of metal and paper, currency is made of ideas.

In my world you can see the stars and no one is afraid of the dark. When the sun comes up, the sky changes into a thousand colours before it balances out into just one, and when it goes down in shatters into a different million coloured pieces that fly out into the vast expanse of everywhere and light up the dark with shining pricks of white light, a hundred billion miles away.

The trees are triangular. There is grass too, almost the same wavering green and winking lavender as the trees, and it spreads out from your feet in every direction, as if you are its source. It pours down the hill, spiky and filled with life and pizzazz. There are little flowers, blue ones. They look like your eyes, sparks of colour, sparks of life in the endless green. I can hear a river. It swishes an hiccups and bellows. It spins and tangles with the earth; it ducks under bushes and careens around trees. And then it takes a mad leap into a different large bit of water that's just biding its time until the dam breaks.

The sun is a square, if you look at it for too long. The clouds float around masquerading as rabbits and flying horses and Jesus' face. The people that live here have black skin, as black as the night sky and more beautiful than the earth itself, and white skin too, and all different shades of brown.

My mother and father live here, and sometimes I help Mom can peaches. It is very satisfying to have the peach juice running down your arms and the slices of peach splop-ing into the bowl of lemon juice.

-- -- Read the rest of Ariele’s story of canning peaches and her mind’s life at her blog post, Canning Peaches in the World Inside my Head.

And, please share your own first-person story, from either inside your head or out. Post a link to your blog post in the comments. If you don't have a blog, simply copy the whole story in the comments section. I’ll create a new post for your own embellished life tale and promote it through my networks.

Monday, February 27, 2012


By Catherine Roth, excerpted from her blog Restoring Life.

My teenage years were filled with poems and music and angst and art and an unquenchable desire to put into words and pastels and photos and pencil what I was feeling. I was in a portfolio art class in high school where we had to pick a theme, and with my love of words, mine was quotations.  I could create any piece of art as long as it was based around a quote. 

I used the opportunity to chronicle what was going on in my tedious, high school existence, or to put into pictures a song or poem that I loved. In December of 1999 I decided to use Jewel’s song “Hands”. I used a photo someone had taken of my hands in Central Park as a center piece, and painstakingly sketched my own, spelling the word “hand” in American Sign Language. After I finished the project, I often wondered if I should have used someone else as the hand model.

I’ve never liked my hands. My mother’s hands are long and elegant, with generous nail beds, and the softest skin, always having the warmest and most comforting touch. My own fingers are short with small nail beds that produce nails that like to bend and crack and break at the slightest provocation.  I always felt my fingers should be longer so that it was easier to play the piano, or should be more graceful and ladylike.

Sunday, February 26, 2012

An Apology to Stefanie

By Steve Sears, excerpted from his blog SGSWrite

I wanted to reach out and publicly apologize to my daughter, Stefanie.

I won’t get into specifics and my reasoning, but I really yelled at her this past Thursday evening, and I still think she deserved it. But, she also deserved better — from me.

A little history here, if I may. When my wife Lucille and I were first married, I prayed for a pregnancy, and a daughter. I guess growing up in a home with two brothers for 25 years will do that to you — give rise to that wish.

But there’s something special about a little girl for a Dad. Maybe you need someone to protect gallantly? Perhaps. But for me, it meant having something or someone special toddling around our tiny, Bloomfield, New Jersey home. First dates? Walking her down the aisle? Yes, for me it was all part of what I envisioned.

My wife got pregnant a year into our marriage, and I immediately set to work on making my upstairs den into a baby room. We chose not to know the sex of the child, so we planned on painting and carpeting the second bedroom in colors that sufficed for both sexes.

I was certain this was my prayer being answered. A daughter was coming into my life.

And then it happened. Almost three months in, as it sometimes happens with pregnancies, my wife had a miscarriage.

The evening I left Lucille in the hospital — which, ironically enough, was her birthday — to rest, I came home that night, climbed the stairs, and looked into what was supposed to be my daughter’s room. I leaned against the doorway, just looked in, and felt like crying. It was, without a doubt, a deep blow, probably the saddest time in my life.

“Now,” I thought to myself, “we’ll be coming home with nothing.”

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Labyrinth of Love

by Jane Alexander, excerpted from her blog, Exmoor Jane.

Yesterday was a strange day. You ever have those days when you keep trying to convince yourself that everything is fine, that all the crap is just in your head (which, of course is it)?  But then the crap just keeps throwing itself at you – quite literally.  That was yesterday. My boy was home sick (literally) again. The phone kept ringing. The doorbell kept ringing. I kept having to race out into town and then come back to find I’d missed deliveries, missed calls, missed people.  It was a missing day.  And then my brother phoned, from the US, and we hadn’t spoken for ages – and he always phones me from his cell-phone as he drives the highway, pausing every so often to pay a toll. Only yesterday, we’d been on the phone for all of five minutes when the SP came in, looked at me and vomited shit at my feet.

‘Call me back, Chris,’ I said. ‘Give me ten minutes.’ So he did and I cleaned it up and then he phoned again and then James called, ‘He’s done it again!’ so I sighed and Chris said ‘I’ll give you fifteen.’ And

I cleaned up a small dog’s bodyweight in crap.  And then he phoned again and we talked again and he said, ‘How’s work?’ And I laughed.  And he said, ‘So what are you doing?’ So I said ‘Meditating mainly.’ And he didn’t laugh but sounded wistful. ‘I should be doing that,’ he said. ‘And I will. When I have time.’ Which made me sad.

And yesterday I saw a lot of sadness, a lot of pain. I heard a lot of pain. I felt a lot of pain. And, FFS, a dog bit a man in the face in the pub.

Friday, February 24, 2012

Aquarius / Let the Sunshine In

I’ve been in love three times as an adult (and once as a teenager… he’s a Facebook friend if you want to try to figure out who it is!). Two of the adult men I fell in love with were a bull and a lion - astrologically-speaking.

Now me, I’m a water-bearer and a first-born. As much as I don’t fit the stereotypical personality of an “I-don’t-know, you-decide, please-just-love-me” first-born, I do express myself and live my life as a textbook Aquarian.

And, as much as I don’t like the idea of believing that the day we are born has any real impact on our personalities, I have to say that the bull ex-husband (Cowboy) and the lion former boyfriend (Beefcake) are as textbook as I am.

And, as much as I don’t like the idea of believing that the day we are born has any real impact on the way we interact with others, I have to say that my relationships with the Cowboy bull and the Beefcake lion were textbook case studies. And by ‘textbook,’ I mean, if one were to read, for instance, Linda Goodman’s, Love Signs. Which I did, over five years ago.

Thursday, February 23, 2012

What's your story, morning glory?

In 2005, I launched my first blog, Shattering Rose Coloured Glasses. I knew exactly why I was blogging back then: I had a passion and needed a place to voice my very strong, quite controversial beliefs about childhood vaccines. I was also working on a documentary film about the topic, so the blog served as a place to clarify my thinking, meet others who had the same and opposing opinions, and generally be engaged in a discussion about something I cared deeply about.

After years of effort and many small successes, the vaccine film project had to be put to rest since financing was not forthcoming. So my blog languished and I diddled about until I found a new topic to amuse myself: my own crazy dating life as an unexpectedly single 40-year old.

Looking back, it probably wasn’t a very strategic move to jump from writing thoughtful analysis on media coverage about vaccines to (often) thoughtless analysis of the men I was meeting through Lavalife. But some readers stayed. And new folks followed. I’ve since pulled all the dating blog material into its own space at My Lava Life.

And here I am today having just created a new blog, My Embellished Life. Here’s the $20,000 question: Why am I writing it and why would you want to follow?

I’ve been paid to write for over twenty years. What I write for money is material I care about, but that isn’t part of me. Two months ago I completed the first draft of my first novel. It took me over five years to finish that damned book. The actual writing time was just a few months. The putting it aside for huge chunks of time because I was terrified of letting the world see me in my own writing is what kept this project from completion for so long.

And that’s why I’ve started this blog and why I hope it will be of interest to you – and… and, and, and – why you’ll want to join this coming out party!

Not because you care about me and my controversial ideas about childhood vaccines or my bad dating decisions, but because, like me you have a dream of not just writing, but of having an audience of readers who adore your words!

You have great stories to tell. We all do.

Let this blog be the welcoming home of first-person stories – fictionalized if you'd like, since we really never get the facts right anyway, so why not take pride in the embellishments! –  by all of us who are ready to stand up, be ourselves, and, maybe, make others laugh at our expense.

If you have a story to share, post it in the comments and I'll move it to it's own post. Then I'll let my networks know that there's a new story here and direct them to your blog as well.