Letting Go


In one of my of creative writing classes, we would sometimes do 10 min writing exercises where the teacher would pick a phrase and we would have to madly write something for the next ten minutes surrounding that phrase, After the ten minutes were done “PENCILS DOWN PLEASE”  and what you got is what you got….I was proud of this very very very short story and was even prouder when my teacher at the time  decided to read it in front of the class instead of the other twenty-eight submitted stories. I will never forget his words.  “I wish to read this story  by one of your fellow students because I found something in it to be very compelling. You be the judge.”   I am not stating all this to brag just to express that I felt elated that someone liked what I had written and got what I was trying to relate and that finally my  real desire for writing had found me in that moment.

 

 Letting Go

“I’m gonna let go, but I don’t know where I’m gonna fall to?” asked the dirty faced little boy who hung limply from a clothesline in the pitch blackness over a deserted alley some four stories high.

“That’s right Michael” said the other much older boy who hung out the window with one hand in a tight knuckled grip on the window sill and the other on the clothesline from which Michael hung.  “You gotta drop straight down and let us see what you’re made of.  We’ve all had to do it, you won’t be the first,” the boy said in a matter fact tone.

Michael looked up from where he hung at the older boy who had spoken to him, his face and body were hidden in the myriad of shadows the surrounding buildings cast upon him. It seemed to Michael that the shadows spoke to him, the voice didn’t belong to anyone at all just a disembodied entity wanting him to fall to his doom. Michael looked up higher to the stars overhead, his only source of light. He gazed at the nighttime sky, the dancing twinkling night.  He had never noticed the stars twinkle as much as he did this night. It made him ponder, it made him think. It made him come to a decision.

He took one last look, time to see what he was made of he thought. He gave the shadowy boy a nod and let go. Just like that.

He fell for an eternity. His long hair was pulled upward as he heard the rush of air flow past his ears.  The beat of his heart was the only other intrusion upon his senses as he fell. The stars above were lost in a deep blackness that couldn’t be pierced, like falling down a well at night. Thump! He had landed and he was alive. Somehow he was alive.  Michael got up and stood amidst the cheering, hooting and hollering of the other boys that had waited down below. Then he simply turned from them and walked away and never looked back. He did look up though at the twinkling stars.

The End

At my side – A poem


At my Side –

I carry this sword at my side.

It shines bright in the morning light

it reflects.

I have made it so,

for ne’er will you see it pitted or dull

while it lays in my hands.

Ne’er will you not see the blade as

keen of edge as when it was first cast

that fateful day from the folded metal within.

I count it a true companion for you will

ever see it at my side.

More faithful than the rest ever have been

from days forever gone and treacherous roads long

ago tread.

Ours is a pact forged of conflict,

Where we have both stood together

and tasted the promise of another

day as the blood dripped from both of

us to soil the ground beneath.

I will wake and it will be there.

I will live while it still shines,

for we have each other

My sword and I.

 

By Philip Wardlow 2012

This poem is about more  than a sword. It’s about what’s in us all. The will to to fight when hope may be lost but we fight and struggle and continue to climb out of it no matter what the odds. May you always keep your sword close by your side my friends…

6 Things that at First Don’t seem too Scary then scare the hell out of you later!


When I try to think of things in my writing that are scary I often  sit at my keyboard for a moment and think hmmm..what would scare ME  if I were reading it.   Now for me its not the Freddy Krugers, or the Jasons or the Michael Meyers. They never did it for me. To me it was the psychological stuff or the sinister things in nature or the things that cut closer to home that got me scared.

So here are my 6 top things that at first Don’t seem to Scary then scare the hell out of you later!

1.  TREES – You say whaaat Philip? Trees? Really cmon! Think about it.  Trees have been used in so many movies to scare the hell out of children. My first experience as a little kid was ‘Wizard of Oz’  when those fuckin trees  came alive and got pissed off at Dorothy for picking the apples off the tree.  That freaked me out as a five year old! Then there’s the  tree in ‘Poltergeist’ that reached into the kid’s room  and grabbed his ass out through the window and tried to eat him.  Let’s also not forget the young woman in ‘Evil Dead’ that was almost raped by a tree. So yes, Trees ladies and gentleman ..those fuckin Trees.

2. WATER – Now water is one of those subtle fears.  For me, when I first saw the movie ‘Jaws’ it wasn’t the shark that scared me it was the water., 75% of this planet is covered by water and most of it unexplored. You know how much crazy shit we haven’t run into yet in the ocean? Forget Bigfoot. He’s got nothing on all the things in the big blue. Let’s not forget movies like the first ‘Final Destination’, which so eloquently portrayed water as the villian in the story,  Death wanting its just dessert. I never looked at water the same again after that movie. It’s a sneaky bastard…

3. Semi-Intelligent Animals that Stare too Much – Okay, you all know what I’m talking about here. You have a pet, be it a dog, a cat, a bird, or a flipping guinea pig.  There comes a time when your just sitting there minding your own business. Maybe you’re watching tv, reading a book, or even sleeping and you feel you’re being watched.  You look up and you see these eyes staring directly into your soul. Why is it staring into your soul. I don’t know but leave it alone. It’s mine.  I love my pets but I don’t trust  them. Don’t turn your back on them my friend, they are just waiting to pounce…

4. People That  are Just too Nice –  Why is it that I cringe inside whenever someone smiles at me, or acts like they are my best friend after only knowing me for a just few minutes? Is it because I’m anti-social? Possibly, most people do annoy the hell of  me in a short amount of time. But that’s besides the point. It just creeps me out man. How many movies start out with the “nice guy”, or  the “congenial man”,  and you just know he’s the one who’s doing all the killing around town. It’s not usually the town dick who’s doing all the killing, he’s just  the distraction for the real culprit Mr. Green Jeans.  Remember  Norman Bates in ‘Pscyho’, John Lithgow in ‘Dexter’ as the Trinity Killer or the Sheriff in ‘Along Came A Spider’.

5. EVP or Electronic Voice Phenomenon – You would think EVPs would be scary right off the bat, but they’re not I have watched many epsiodes of Ghost Hunters and all the other fly by night wanna be paranormal shows.  Most of these “investigators” can’t recite the alphabet and they are supposed to convince me that they can discover otherworldly phenomenon by asking its name, only to run like a pussy down a dark corridor because a mouse or raccoon was scuffling around in the night.  I have never really  heard  an EVP with a concrete message in it  that wasn’t either garbled so badly you could make up anything you wanted or that is was suspect to contamination by the surrounding idiot investigators. Well my family and I had  had seen enough of these so called professionals. My wife, son and I ventured out to a well known site  where a boy had been killed many many years before and where his ghost was said to have been seen and heard on several occasions.  We brought along a voice recorder for EVPs and a digital camera . Before we went out we established rules of conduct for the investigiation.  The most important was that when doing the EVP no one was to say a word after a question was asked on the recording, That way we would know it was a clean recording for sure and also take note  of any background noise at the same time. Well after our outing we saw nothing on the pictures, but when we played the recorder back on one  of our questions directed to the dead boy, we all distinctly heard “Put that away!”  To this day we cannot explain it. It is not any one of us on the recorder . Creepy.

6. Cute Children who Either Worship Some Creature in the Corn Field and will kill you on site if you’re over sixteen or Very cute kids who have perfectly coiffed blonde hair and glowing eyes with deadly  mind powers or a  young innocent little girl who laughs and is like any other normal girl until she gets possessed by a demon and her head does a 360 spin while buckets of vomit spew from her all the while cussing  like a sailor. (Yeah, I know it was long title for the  last one on my list) –  Basically any seemingly innocent looking child that is evil or turns evil freaks me out…for example the little kid in ‘Pet Semetary’, or even the the kids in ‘Lord of the Flies’ when half of them go postal.  Or McCauly Caulkins as the ‘The Good Son’.  I could go on and on.  Take this as a serious warning more so than even for your pets….watch your kids closely, very closely.

Yes don’t be fooled by this cute face….or it may be the last thing you see.  Is there anyone out there that would like to add to this list above?  Remember it’s the not something that should be obvious right away.

I was gonna add Old People to the list but I didn’t wanna be accused of ageism. 

Remember the creepy old guy in Poltergeist that came to the screen door…or the little old Lady in Legion that jumped like a Amazon Toad on the walls of the restaurant?  Ok you twisted my arm so yeah definitely Old  people also. So here you go  Number 7 below…:)

Zombie


If Zombies could talk they would

probably sound just like you.


You’re just a walking stick of bones

with a speech impediment.


Dull and lifeless,

it seems you don’t  have a clue.


You shamble around in a daze,

seemingly half crazed, while spittle

forms around you in a pool.


Your brain must be brimming with

maggots all the way to the core.

 

Hey, your ears are bleeding profusely,

and here I thought I was just being ignored.

Wait here,  I’ve got something for you that might

clear that up…..

Steady, Steady, don’t move,   click  BOOM!

All Better my friend

Blue Balloon


Through a Blue Balloon

I see one color as I’m driving down the road.

That’s Blue.

Blue through my blue Balloon.

 

I see a Blue lady walking her short blue dog with a leash.

 

I see a Blue Officer waving and saying hello to a bunch

of Blue kids he meets.

 

Everything is Blue. Even though I know the truth.

It doesn’t matter

which way I turn my head I’m surrounded by a Blue ocean of color

consuming my sight.

 

Is that light green up ahead?

It’s hard to tell through a balloon made of Blue.

 

Oh, but that blue girl jogging in her tight Blue shorts

Now she’s something to see wouldn’t you agree?

Hey, I think she’s staring at me.

She must like a well-manicured gentleman of Blue

Who knew?

 

So unique.

What a wonderful view as I drive down

The Blue streaked street.

 

No other color as far as the eye can see.

Blue in the back. Blue in the front.

From side to side.

I think I’m having a Blue attack!

 

I like the world I’ve made for myself

So simple. So easy to define.

No other nasty colors to confuse and blind.

Simply divine.

 

Through my Blue balloon,

That’s how I see. That’s how I want

life to look for everyone and me.

 

Call me crazy. Call me a fool.

But to see the world in a bright shade of Blue

should be the rule.

 Blue, Blue through my beautiful Balloon.

Haikus of Horror and Fantasy


I have been visiting a lot of sites lately devoted to horror and fantasy. I have mainly being doing this for a two reasons. First, is because I’m actually interested in other people’s stuff because I’m a big fan of  both genres.  Next, was to see the talent (and competition)  that’s out there in horror and fantasy for what’s being published and bench mark myself a little to see if I have what it takes to get published.  After reading the good, the bad and the hideous in various publications around the web I would say YES!, I do have what it takes to get published (and paid) for my writing.  Anyways there is hope for me yet.

In my fledgling posts here on my blog  I am  always attempting to have the visitor get a sense of me, where my mind likes to wander and where I may be going in the future with my talents as a writer you may wish to read and check out.  To preface the below set up I picked some of my favorite pictures related to aspects of horror or fantasy and wrote a little haiku to capture that very moment or scene. I often will do writing exercises like this to help limber up my brain prior to writing a story.

I would love to hear any comments or thoughts on if I got it “right”…hell I would love to hear your own Haiku of said picture. So please respond if a thought or comment tickles your brain.

The Abbey in the Oakwood

Darkness falls deeply
Hallowed ground never disturbed
Lest the spirits rise

Conan The Warrior

Blade drawn and battered
Warrior's blood soaks the ground
Death cannot find him

No Escape!

Cold hands tight on throat
Black grave no longer asleep,
now not so alone.

Red Sonja

Deep in thought she sits,
Cursed to suffer, blessed to kill
with strength in her heart

A Door Opens

Door opened to light.
Blood trail shows a fools luck,
a door best kept shut

The Tree of Snakes

A tree of snakes hiss
Undulating mass of skin
fall like leaves on me

The Clown

Painted red and white,
the clown smiles keenly at me
with teeth razor sharp.

Spider on my Arm

Delicate and soft,
the Spider walks up my arm,
witches good luck charm

So what do you think? Care to give it a go?  Should I assume everyone knows how to write in Haiku Form? If not the writing formula is simple, it’s basically 5 syllables for the first line, 7 for the second and 5 again for the third line. Give it a try..I would love to see what you come up with besides my own stuff..Thanks!

RoadKill story excerpt…


Below you will find a scene selection from the Novella I have written called “Roadkill” that I have recently submitted to a publisher for consideration.  It is basically about a family man dealing with  a fatal encounter in the middle of snowstorm and  the aftermath of that as he tries to protect and save his family from a maelevolent creature bent on making his life hell. Enjoy.

             The thing had waited long enough, suffered long enough. There needed to be balance, balance, always balance, for balance was life.

            It crouched in the snow. The snow had fallen in a flurry all around it while it had crouched and waited. The cold had come as the night had grown deeper and still more snow came and the wind howled in the trees around it and still it had crouched and waited. What was snow? What was cold? They were dead things while it was very much alive.

            Looking up from its vantage in the back yard of their home it had seen that the last of the lights had died inside the house sometime ago and knew that they all slept. All was quiet. Quiet was good. It released itself from its crouch for it was time to retrieve the female. It moved to the front.

The garage was dark where Elisa’s car and Adrian’s truck were parked. The wind and snow beat against the big garage door wanting to get inside. It wanted inside as well but it knew the rules. Rules more ancient than what it was, but remembered none-the-less. It knew the rules could always be twisted and bent however.  In its own way it was already inside so no rules need apply. The female would come to it when it was all done and they would leave together. Already it was beginning to itch. It couldn’t remember the last time it had itched.  It would lose itself before too long and go the way of all the others.   The balance had to be restored and soon if it itched already. But the rules must always be obeyed lest it forfeit everything. It had lived too long to forget that. It reached out its mind to inside the garage and the bounce back came, weak but there. Enough it thought, enough to do what needed to be done.

                                                                                                           **********************************************************************

 The lid to the garbage bin in the garage shifted upward slightly then lifted as if pushed from something inside. The lid lifted more almost to an inch high crack .The crusted and bloodied mottled gray dead flap of skin slid out and dropped to the floor of the garage. It moved along the floor of the garage in the dark in slow inchworm like movements towards the inner door to the house. It had no trouble in manipulating the concrete step that led up to the door for it just slid up the vertical side of the step like a snail would and proceeded on. It moved along the threshold of the door pushing and probing into the crack. It found a place seven inches from the doorframe that let its form fit into it just barely. It oozed under the opening and slipped inside the darkened house.  It needed no eyes to see, for it was a puppet doing its master’s bidding who saw everything, even in death as it held onto the last bit of life in the cells that dwelled in the dead flap of skin it served.

It was slow going but it reached the top of the landing on the floor where they all slept. It must hurry for it knew its time was drawing to a close.  It inched up to the room of the parents. The door was shut.  It sensed heavy breathing from that of a deep sleep coming from the room. It could enter if it wished easily and unheard. The opening at the bottom was even wider on this door. But it continued on to the child’s room for it wanted the small female not the other.

The door to the child’s room was wide open. A small nightlight plugged into an outlet near the floor gave off a very faint blue glow to light the room.  It entered. It sensed two presences, the child and an animal. There was an animal with her.  The animal had not sensed it yet. Good. It would take care of the animal. It crawled up at the foot of the bed. The child’s breathing was deep as well. The animal lay across the girl’s chest deep asleep, twitching every once in while on top of her. All it needed was contact then it would be over. One of the girl’s arms lay on the outside over her blanket with her hand down at her side.

It sprung. It fell against the top of her and pressed itself down onto her skin. Nerve endings responded while neural transmitters fired throughout the little girl’s body. Her back arched up from her bed as she slept. A small moan escaped her lips as if she was in pain. It continued to do its work on her as it was bided to do. It was re-mapping her, not fully, no not fully at all. The mapping would not hold but it would enough for now. It was almost dead itself and only a shell of its former self but it would give what it could. Suddenly it was being attacked, being bitten by the creature that had been lying on the little girl. It felt no pain as the creature bit into its dead flesh. It felt nothing. It was done.  Its job was over. The little girl ceased in her moaning and contortions and settled down in her bed. The flap of skin came away dead, held in the cat’s mouth. Tonks flung it to the floor.

                                                                                                                         ****************************************************************

 Tonks looked down towards the floor from where it laid and eyed the flap of skin, not trusting it to not move again. Tonks sniffed the air and didn’t like what he smelled. Suddenly the little girl raised herself up from her bed bent at the waist and looked around the room. Tonks looked over thoughtfully at her with its big green eyes and then looked down at the flap of skin again as if trying to say, “Hey look at my prize I killed for you”.  Sylvia reached out as if to pet Tonks on the head but instead wrapped him tight around his neck with her little fingers and flung him across the room to hit the far wall hard and slide down it.  Tonks didn’t stir or utter a noise from where he had landed. All was quiet

Fear, Fantasy, and Feelings in my Writing


I have finally submitted my story “Roadkill”  to a publisher for consideration! As the submission process goes I will not find out for about 90days what the results will be. So wish me luck!   If you wish to see a sampling of that story please look to my Blog category above entitled “Story Excerpts”  to find it.(or the blog directly above this one)   Below is my latest blog on what makes me tick as writer somewhat and for you the potential reader get to know me a little bit better and give you a sense of  where I’m coming from…

Fear, Fantasy, and Feelings in my writing? Why whatever do you mean Mr. Wardlow? Well first, I am not talking about what I actually write about. I am not talking about the sentence I write that creates a scene for you, the reader, to get you into the mood for what’s coming next around the corner. I am not talking about the fear which may trickle into your brain and tickle the mind into wanting to look over your shoulder as you walk a lonely trail or to look a little closer at that open closet door in your room at night as you lay in bed.

I am not talking about the fancies or fantasies which may take you from the daily mundane life that you may lead to a magical arena where possibilities of life abound with but a belief in it wholeheartedly.
I am not talking about feelings for a character or a conflict that has your soul invested in those bounded pages (or digitized pages) you hold in your hands as long as the story lasts (may it be forever).

No, I am talking about MY fears, MY Fantasies, MY feelings when it comes to writing. All three have been present and continue to be present in me when I write.

First let’s take Fear. Isn’t that a feeling? Yep, you betcha. So why I do I call out it separately. Well for me, it’s what drives me. It’s a big Neon Light. A big “F” blinking in my brain at times, for awhile though it was what want drove everything else away about my writing. It pushed away my passion for it; it pushed away the wonder of it. It held me down like giant’s foot pressed heavy upon my chest. Even now I am wondering as I write this, who I am to be talking about myself, who am I to think I can talk about myself, who am I to think anyone cares what I have to say matters. Who am I? Then the fear goes away because this is who I am. I think there is value in what I say. Take it or leave it. So I am glad that I have that fear from time to time. I am glad it is there, ready to creep in. I believe it keeps me and my work real ultimately in the end.

Now comes the Fantasy part; for me it’s allowing my brain to access the childlike part of me. It is the what-ifs in life, the endless scenarios, and the dreams most people seem to find only when their heads hit the pillow at night when they fall to sleep. I often get lost in thought on a story or have an errant thought meandering through my mind from a scene all day long. I remember my mother when I was very young in life taking me to see an ear specialist because she thought I was going deaf. So often I would ignore her unintentionally when she talked to me directly. (I past all the hearing tests with flying colors) I have always wanted more to the story of my life than what I was born into as so many of us probably do. I found this escape through daydreaming, movies, reading, and writing. It’s my form of meditation in life.

Finally we come to Feelings, what a word that is. I cannot sit down to write unless I feel something. I cannot put pen to paper unless I’m inspired to write, or so I thought. That thought in the beginning of my desire to be a writer was my Achilles heel. It was a self-made self-induced writer’s block to my psyche and my performance. I don’t wait for that feeling anymore. I found you can’t if you wish to be a serious writer and for the longest time I didn’t get that.
Sting, one of my favorite songwriters and singers said pretty much the same thing. He said  (I’m paraphrasing here), that writing is the most difficult thing he does but he doesn’t wait to be inspired. He goes after it and basically wrestles it to the ground until it submits to his will. So I guess that’s the best analogy for what I do. I wrestle the story to the ground and put it in a choke hold until it passes out. You’re mine you little bastard.

I look to great things happening in my life. I expect it be hard fought to get what I want. I know the odds. I look forward to the challenge. I have the tools to get me there, my fear keeps me sharp, my daydreaming keep me supplied with endless ideas, and my feelings keep me grounded.

As they always say, if it was easy everyone would do it

The Crow Waits


I am sure you have seen my avatar the Crow on my Blog and other places such as my facebook page so I thought it only fitting to create a poem to commemorate it…so here goes..hope you enjoy…by the way my weekly blog in the Inquiry Section of my blog which hits on here every Wednesday…enjoy the poem below.

The Crow Waits

I see it on high sitting in a tree, a Crow amongst the sparse fall leaves
that yet hang to the branches, even though winter fast approaches,
no one told them it seems that they are dead and should already be on their way.

The crow with its pitted black eyes knows me it seems, for it calls my name
across the wind while I languish on the ground in my own blood which spills
from my body and forms around me like a macabre picture frame.

Funny thing, how the crow knows my name, a simple carrion bird waiting for
this warrior’s death so it can pick me clean and leave nothing but my bleached bones,
rusted armor, and a forgotten sword as my only legacy.

Long has the battle been gone from this place I now rest in, the victors have gutted me
like a fish on a stone and left me to the flies and the maggots to fester inside.

But yet shall I live, ever stubborn to die and only the Crow truly knows why.
I hear it laughing at me, calling me a fool for an adventure I sought full of folly
with only death to be met at its end.

It has seen many a fool I am sure and feasted contently before the sun has set.
But still I live! You will not have me fool or not!

So sit your perch and wait for you shall not have me this day or the next,
for even if I should pass these earthly bounds so shall my shade pick up
my blade and strike you down!

The sun has set and the night grows cold, the crow sits in his tree and
waits;  for it has seen many a warrior born and bred and knows full well their
strength,courage and the valor which fills their head, but it knows when dead is dead.

Ain’t no rest for the wicked…..


Welcome to my first blog page post . Like my title?  definitely not getting any rest and I’m only wicked if I haven’t had my coffee in the morning.

This is my first attempt at blogging so bear with me. I am a quick learner…but until I learn to navigate this thing it will probably be pretty uneventful on here for awhile. Even though I am a quick learner there is so much time in a day or night.

I am currently in the process of becoming a well renowned Horror/Fantasy/Sci Fi author (for now you must label me a writer) and this is my first step into marketing myself to the people who might be reading my stuff one day. Hopefully sooner than later if the publishers like my first submission I am plan on turning in this week actually. (won’t find out for about 90 days as the  submission process goes)

What submission do you say?  ….well it’s a nice little scary story entitled “RoadKill”. It’s about a man named Adrian who has to face his own fears from his past  first before he can face the thing that has kidnapped a family member. Will he succeed in both or fail in both…Do horror stories have happy endings? Maybe you will find out if this thing gets published.

In the coming months I will let keep you up to date on where I am at in the submission process…these things take a while but I’m always pessimistically optimistic about the events in my life…

In the mean time I am working on my next story called “A Dark Place” which I am about 9 pages into. I plan about tripling that number before I’m done. I tend to write long when it comes to stories, usually novella length (17k to 30K words). I will also keep you up to date with my progress in that as well.

I will also try to keep you entertained with some writing of my mine,  such as some of my darker poetry which entails aspects of horror, fantasy, and the occasional dark matter in life.

My style is a work  in a progress but I’m getting there.  Hope you enjoy!

I will try hard to balance writing my stories, learning this frigging blogging mumbo jumbo, and being consistent at least on weekly basis with a new blogging showing more of who I am and what I am about through my writing.

Thanks for listening…and watch out for the shadows in the corners ..things like to hide there and just stare at you.