Wednesday, July 13, 2016

A Writer, Upon Retiring

Notice to: My fans, Facebook followers, reviewers, groupies, critics, whatevs
This puts you on official notice that whatever “literary debt” (real or imagined, in your brain or mine) I may have owed you as a poet or novelist, is now Paid in Full.
Specifically, I consider that I no longer owe you any-
-Subtle but clever metaphors
               -Imaginative parallelisms
                  -Iconic imagery
                     -Complex but likeable characters
                        -Snappy dialog
                           -Ponderous, dark mysteries
                              -Ironic and unexpected plot twists
                                 -Suspenseful setbacks
                                    -Surprising yet believable
You should no longer expect to hear about-
                                    -Youngsters drawn unwittingly to the dark side
                                             -Oldsters finding romance and adventure
                                          -Erotic pilgrims stumbling and bumbling through sexual misadventures
                                       -Unflinching optimism while facing death
                                    -Silly yet satisfying sexiness
                                 -Dream sequences resonating with comfort and renewal
I feel no compunctions about making such a declaration. You will not starve or suffer verbal hunger pains. The world produces an endless line of word-grinders who will continue to fill your minds with both wheat and chaff. Take your pick, assuming you can tell the difference. They will feed your need for self-delusion. Your need to believe you are having real experiences and feeling genuine feelings.
NOTE: Regarding my latest book, if you haven’t already bought it, don’t.
My contract with my Irish publisher, Leabhair Tríú-ráta, called for a “final book.” My attorney searched diligently and found only one loophole. We agreed, however, that my dying would rather defeat my plans to retire in my mountain retreat.
Instead I rented a cheap motel room for two weeks and ground out a prequel to my prequel of “Sex Kittens from the Plains of Mars.” By the end of the first week I was so bored I stuck my head in the oven and turned it on. Turned out it was electric. Somewhere during the second week I blacked out. When I woke up I was staring at an email titled “Your submission has been received.” Go figure!

Oh, You already bought it? Ask for a refund. Let them know how special you are, I'm sure they'll cooperate!

Sunday, July 10, 2016

Short Thoughts on Kissing

Our lips should be embarrassed by our brains-
                                                    "Should I"
                                                               "What if”
                                                                        "If only"

Kissing comes with just one instruction- "No Over-thinking Permitted"


Many lips are like prisoners of war who are conditionally released at Christmas.
Their assignment: "Find mistletoe, then wait there for the others."
Why do so many lips return to confinement rather than risk meeting?


Today my lips were captured… captivated…sated. I cannot send them back to their former sentence of either solitary confinement or hard labor-
  • Hard labor- antiseptic air kisses that should be arrested and charged with                      "impersonating a kiss"
  • Hard labor- sterile obligatory kisses on the cheek or, inappropriately, the lips
  • Hard labor- lying, reassuring, "of-course-we-are-still-in-love" kisses


From your purse you draw red satin ribbon, a sprig of berries and leaves. You tape it above the archway of the dining room. The archway into your heart.

            You stand beneath it, unselfconscious, unhesitant. You await me, 
             hands clasped behind, eyes closed, lips parted. 

Your stillness quiets me even as your heat draws me. Then you're in my arms and our lips fulfill the promise of mistletoe and of love.

Collaboration (Fantasy)

As I limped from the bathroom to my bedroom, I was astounded to see Delilah Sampson wearing a Forties-era calf-length satin slip and 4" heels. It hugged her curves and appeared to be unencumbered by additional foundation garments. She was bent over my desk flipping through my half-finished manuscript. 

If my big toe hadn't been throbbing, I would've thought I was dreaming.But I'd just stubbed my toe on a leg of our claw-foot tub and celebrated with a string of expletives learned from my older brother. 

"Everything all right," my wife called from the downstairs kitchen where she was preparing lunch. "Do you need me to come up?"

Now wouldn't that be something, I thought. "Just stubbed my toe. Be down in a few minutes." 

You might think I'd be astounded, but my reaction went way beyond that. Delilah was a character I had created just hours earlier for my upcoming novel, Delilah Delivers the Goods. 

Still holding my manuscript, she straightened up and stepped out of the heels. I couldn’t keep the surprise from my voice. "You're not as tall as I imagined." 4'10" at best.

She arched well-groomed eyebrows and her full ruby lips twitched in mirth. As she bent forward to replace the manuscript, the loose lacy bodice revealed breasts that called to mind pink unblemished apples. She tilted her head slightly to the right and grinned. "My heightThat's what you notice?"

She then scanned me from toe to head. "You're not as well-built as I had pictured."

I recalled being teased in high school and a warm blush spread from my chest to my neck and face. "And just what's wrong with my looks?"

She sighed and glanced toward the ceiling, then back. Our eyes locked. "I rather imagined well-defined muscles and..." She paused and shifted her weight to her other well-turned leg. "Hair..."

"Yes..." I encouraged.  "What about my hair?

She smiled. "I rather imagined you would, you know, have some."

I turned and headed to the small office off my bedroom and she followed. Soon we were seated facing each other in my tiny, book-lined refuge. She grasped the lacy hem of her slip, raised it (unnecessarily high, I thought) and crossed her legs. She winked at me, then draped the slip over her legs again demurely.

The “no hair” accusation stung. My dad had been bald as far back as I could remember and I’d lost most of my hair in my thirties. Being appalled by the comb-over so many of my peers resorted to, I’d chosen to razor my head as well as my face at the dawn of each new day. 

I thought…hoped we were done talking about my appearance, but no such luck.

"I always pictured you’d look more like Stephen King."

"You know about Stephen King?" Her only reply was a smirk. "And how can you say 'always pictured'? You're my newest character."

"Do you think that I'm stupid or unread? Everybody knows about Stephen King."

I was flabbergasted. "How?"

"We talk to each other. Read newspapers, go online. Just like you do."

Did the ground just shift slightly…or was it my imagination? I decided the best defense really was a good offense.In your only scene in the book, you’re dressed in jeans, a Beatles sweatshirt and a pair of old Nike’s. Now you’re almost naked. What’s that about? “

She leaned forward, resting forearms on her satin-covered knees. Her voice was that of a mother scolding an errant child. "What gives you the right to dictate how I dress?"

"I should think it would be rather obvious." Her unblinking gaze was beginning to unnerve me. "I created you. Until this morning you didn't even exist."

She shook her head slowly from side to side. "I didn't take you for the religious type. Apparently you think of yourself as some type of deity, right?” She paused, then brightened. "Have you considered counseling?"

The conversation went on this way for a few more minutes. Then, without explanation, she slipped into her heels, stood up and headed for the front door.

"Will I be seeing you again?"

She paused and glanced back over her shoulder. "I rather hope so. I've always wanted to collaborate on a novel I appeared in." Then she slipped out the door and closed it quietly behind her.

(c) 2015-16 Charles E. Pierson

I Don't Remember Shrinking! (Fantasy)

I stand in my stocking feet in my doctor’s office.  “I’m 5’7”- I know I am," I cry defensively. "Could you remeasure me, please?” 

Middle-aged Nurse Stevens sighs. “Okay… leave your shoes off and stand against the wall…again.” I do and she frowns. “Stand straight, keep your head up.” Then, under her breath, "Need every last millimeter we can squeeze out."

She could have skipped that last bit. I’m determined to demonstrate my five-foot-seven-ness. I strain my neck muscles and will my head to defy gravity! I think of kids who at this very moment are standing in line for their first ride on the Supreme Blue Thunder Rocket of Death. If all goes well today, I can teach them the secrets of cranial levitation so they can be tall enough!

The world around me fades and now I’m standing in the defendant’s dock of the World Court of Truthfulness in Height. Nurse Stevens has morphed into 6’1” Judge Stevens, resplendent in a shimmering black mid-thigh judicial robe. Her long slender legs terminate in 5” stilettos. Ominously, she asks, “Has the jury reached a verdict, madam foreperson?” 

The jury foreperson, herself well over 6’, adjusts her spectacles and reads from a legal pad- “On the charge of ‘five-foot-four-ness,’ we find the defendant, Chuck Pierson, guilty. On the charge of impersonating a taller person, we find the defendant guilty.” A buzzing sound builds in my head…the courtroom scene fades like the hopes of a hog at a bacon convention. 

“Mr. Pierson…Mr. Pierson…are you ok?” 

“My attorney was incompetent…I want a retrial, a remeasurement, something! “ I focus on the room around me. Nurse Stevens leans toward me with a concerned expression.

“Mr. Pierson, you’re not making sense!” She indicates a nearby chair. “Please sit down.” 

Other patients and medical staff smile consolingly as they walk by shaking their heads. I’m sure they’re thinking, “Poor man…understand he used to be 5’7” tall. So sad.”

My head spins and the scene changes once more. I’m in my childhood bedroom with its nautical-themed solid maple furnishings. On the back of  my door are a series of hash marks with dates and heights. The final date was ‘1/18/58,’ my seventeenth birthday.

I hear my Dad’s voice, proud and precise- “Five feet, eight and seven thirty-seconds of an inches tall. Handy to know when we buy your graduation suit.” Did I mention he was an aeronautical machinist and accustomed to measuring things down to a thousandth in of an inch? Must have been off of his game that day.

Fast forward to my college years. A doctor measures me as 5’7” and I put that on all future drivers license applications. 

Then I’m back in 2014 and working my way through the height-loss grieving process: anger, denial, bargaining and acceptance. I’m proud of the A I got in Anger and the B+ in Denial. But I only got a C in Bargaining and I’m currently flunking Acceptance. 

What now?  Do I start a new set of hash marks…ones that show my height diminishing each year? 

Oh, as a side note- until my fifties I had a full head of hair. In a cigar box on the top shelf of my closet I have my old drivers license photos to prove it.  

Damn, I can’t reach the box! “Honey! Can you reach my cigar box for me? Please…”

© 2012-2014                    Charles E. Pierson                   All Rights Reserved

Deer Crossing (Mash-up)


I admire my fellow writers who can plan out a whole book and systematically work their way through to completion. My ADD brain requires there be several projects going at once. So publishing excerpts from works in progress enables me to both show what I'm working on and to get reader reactions/comments/suggestions.

My NEW New Year's Resolutions!


* Nancy's thoughts were so newly formed that the cynicism had not had time to dry. It dripped from the freshly-hewn words, splattering the optimism of the following pages.

Life As a Writer

  • She worried that she wasn’t even doing a good job of writing poorly.


Quilters have their stacks of “some day” fabric, woodworkers their scraps “too large” or 
“too nice” to discard, seamstresses their jar of buttons ‘just perfect for doll clothes or a special project.”

Likewise writers have their notebooks of “metaphors,” “transitions,” “characters” and such like. They are filled with scratchings of ideas that appeared, often unbidden, akin to finding a puppy in a basket on your doorstep as you are rushing to an appointment. These are some of my so-far-unused scraps. They are not meant to pass for philosophy and are not necessarily consistent with each other.


  • As a cruel child might use a magnifying glass and the rays of the sun on unsuspecting ants, his sister used trumped-up accusations and certitude to immolate his last vestige of self-worth.

Skeptical Happiness

  • A ray of happiness snuck through the storm clouds of his depression, momentarily blinding him.
  • Luke felt irrationally happy. It worried him that he didn’t know why.
  • Occasionally Penelope played at being happy. But mostly she preferred the familiarity of despair.
  • The Prince’s happiness was only exceeded by his skepticism of its durability.
  • Happiness was such a new experience that Anne wanted to grab every sad person she encountered and make them a convert.
  • Tom concluded that “happiness” was an imprecise concept, equally applicable to how he felt after completing a marathon or having good sex. He had heard others use the term after “meeting the right person” or seeing their child overcome some personal obstacle.