People Like Us

Drowning

I almost drowned when I was six. We were staying at the King’s Motel, a 20-room motel in a small South Texas town with a terrain that was flat and lifeless for as far as the eye could see. It was one of those establishments that was located on the outskirts of town, almost like an afterthought. Twenty orange doors with black numbers were lined up in a neat row behind an on-site diner and small rectangular swimming pool.

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The Battle

“The Battle”

Karen Muston, 2001

 

In misty pre-dawn

light

I peer into a

silvery depth–

They are here again

this time their number

has multiplied.

My heart pounds,

and I run

to escape the

Dark Purpose of

their visit

I shudder to think

of surrender,

Of the repercussions.

My pace too slow,

they attack my

lower extremities,

in a scarring,

hailstorm force

that becomes

hideously disfiguring

I battle valiantly,

with a hunger

to be victorious.

I run faster

until they suffer

violently

in their retreat.

Cautiously,

I slow my pace

and return once

again

The Victor

in the

Cellulite Battlefield.

 

Watch Me, Mama

“Watch me Mama,” she calls

and I watch

as she performs great, acrobatic feats

her sunlit brown hair dances

around sparkling hazel eyes

in a face whose beauty

has only begun to bloom

I am watching

only I see the cherub she once was

with an angelic, toothless smile

chubby legs attempt those first steps

as she reaches for me–

“Are you watching, Mama?”

She leaps again and

with a bittersweet smile

I see the young woman

she will be–

Sweet-spirited, with a tender heart

and a fine mind to aid her

so much love to give

those blessed ones

she will share her life with

I am watching

every performance

Engraving these images

so that I will not

miss a thing.

Karen Muston, 2001

His Dance (The Baylorian, 2001)

“HIS DANCE”

With uninhibited energy he leaps and gyrates

to a popular, classic rock beat

His pre-adolescent body

Like unfinished architecture

covered only by briefs

His face aglow, eyes dancing,

his impish grin, that mischievous expression

so well known to me.

Laughingly, I watch

beset by memories and passing time

A time before muscular limbs

replaced chubby, dimpled legs

when that mischievous expression

could be found in

a rounder, more innocent face

sprinkled with angel kisses

And quick, firm hugs

replaced soft, delayed embraces

When we danced to nursery songs

and I was his world.

I watch him

and then, still laughing,

I join him there

and together

we dance.

~Karen Muston

2001 The Baylorian

Journey’s End

My father’s ashes felt warm in my hands. This is what death feels like, I thought. I rolled the plastic over in my hand and wondered at how a man with such power in my life could be condensed to little more than a gallon-sized storage bag. I put the plastic bag back into the cardboard box and placed it on the floor in the back seat.

Flat, frozen land flashed past us on the way to the cemetery. It was a cold day in January and all the foliage had withered to brittle shades of brown. The shrill sound of a train whistle pierced the silence. “We should put his ashes in that train car over there,” my husband said with a smile. His large, calloused hand patted my leg, and his blue eyes twinkled in an attempt to make me smile. “After all, it would be fitting. He never did want to be in one place for very long.” I nodded and smiled ruefully. He was right, my father would travel no more.

I glanced back at the box that contained what was left of my father. I wanted to feel something besides the hollow tightening in the pit of my stomach.  I wished for home. My mind flashed involuntarily to my father’s sunken face, his gasping for air with lungs that betrayed him, gnarled hands clutching, and my betrayal in the end. I could smell death. I momentarily fought nausea. Cigarette ashes, that’s what he looked like now. How ironic, I thought. I can’t ever remember seeing him without a cigarette in his hand.


 

Broken Gifts

It was supposed to be a simple task, really. Everyone always tells me that I simply must share my story, I must write the book. The time seemed to have come. I thought it would be a matter of just telling what happened, beginning to end–the end. A neat package. What I have discovered in allowing myself to revisit the past, is that inside the neatly wrapped boxes of memories are broken gifts. What I put away is different than what I have unwrapped. I am finding new truths,  new understanding and it is emotionally exhausting. Perhaps the reason I am so forgiving is because I have completely blocked out parts of my past, maybe it is better to not conjure those things. This is a journey, a discovery of things long buried. A discovery of truths that heal. And to think they said “just write”.

The Power of Words

gradblog

People like us don’t go to college. At least that’s what Mama always told me.

Somewhere along the way, my parents became convinced of this lie. Neither of my parents wanted me to go to college, in fact, earning a high school diploma seemed optional in our home. Mama dropped out of high school in the eleventh-grade so that she could marry our father, who had dropped out of high school in the ninth-grade. Read more…

Crooked Legs

        I tried to catch myself, but only managed to catapult down those steps like an awkward bouncy ball that rolled and bounced in a haphazard, unpredictable path for what seemed like an eternity. With every roll down those steps, I could hear the crowd gasp in a collective “ohhhhh” and could feel my dress ride higher up on my hips.

I was born with crooked legs. I am told I first learned to walk while wearing metal braces, very similar to those the main character wore in the beginning of the movie Forest Gump.  Mama used to tell me I was “knock-kneed, pigeon-toed and bow-legged, with one leg longer than the other”, though I see no signs of any of those conditions today. Mama was known for her inventive exaggerations, so I am inclined to believe my sisters’ accounts of my childhood maladies, which are less interesting but a bit more believable. Read more…

Your writer’s platform needs to be unique, like you

Great advice!

Live to Write - Write to Live

The adage of ‘if you build it they will come’ can be applied to a writer’s platform.

If you build a strong platform, business will find its way to you.

Building a platform doesn’t happen over night, let’s say that right at the start. Most likely, the experience may turn out to be something like a successful author who says “It took me 8 years to become an overnight success.” No one, except you, truly knows the effort you put in to building your business. But with a strong platform, one day everything will click into place and you’ll realize the effort was worth it.

So, what goes into a strong writer’s platform? Here are some pieces to consider:

  • Your website and/or blog is a great place to start. Make sure to have your photo, bio, some samples of your work, descriptions of past projects, and a list of…

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An Atari Kind of Christmas

        I just knew everyone could see straight through me… After a brief jackhammer like pounding, my pulse began to slow, and I could feel the fire leaving my face. My body was like rubber, and I felt like I had just walked a tightrope over a sea of piranhas.

 

 1479289_10202812808820528_576699923_neditThe holiday break was over. I could still hear the sound of the bell ringing in my ears when Ms. Hurto made the announcement that would cause my stomach to plummet to my feet.

“Everyone, put your chairs in a circle,” she began. “We are all going to take turns telling what we got for Christmas.”

The sounds of almost twenty, seventh-grade girls sliding metal chair legs across the pale green, industrial tile almost drowned out the sound of the roaring in my ears. With sweaty palms I gripped the back of the bright-green, hard, plastic chair. I was sweating. Read more…

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