The Old Red Barn

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The Old Red Barn

Years ago, driving on a two-lane highway from Decatur, Illinois to Springfield, Illinois, I found myself stuck behind a semi-truck. After several attempts to pass the truck failed, my patience was on the thin side. (So, I’m a ‘mover’ in life! Not necessarily a ‘shaker’.)

Impatience can lead to bad decisions!

On a long inclined straight-away I decided to make my pass, jammed the accelerator to the floor and went into the oncoming lane. Abreast of the Semi, I saw a fast-moving car coming into view over the distant rise. It was coming straight at me. The semi-truck seemed to pick up speed, and I remember thinking at the time the driver was being spiteful. I slammed on the brake, screeched, got back behind the Semi but going too fast to slow down. So, I was either to hit the truck’s rear-end or go off the road…I took the latter choice, went off onto a grassy knoll and slid sideways past the Semi, looked into the shocked driver’s eyes, and came to a stop by an old barbwire/wood post fence.

I turned off the ignition and sat stupefied, my whole body quaking from within my sweaty skin. Nerves scrambled, I looked across a green field of daisies and saw an old red barn…

Suddenly, déj vu moments came: “My God! I’ve been here before!” Aloud, I mumbled to myself. That red barn, this land, has something to do with my life, not in its current human form, but, maybe, as a cow grazing in this green field of daisies…

These bits of thought brought deeper cognition: was it God’s plan that we entities were to keep incarnating until we reached some quintessential level of growth? Live our lives in other  forms, perhaps, a bird, barn owl, cat, coyote, dog, rabbit, squirrel, an ape, a bear, different human forms? Was it God’s plan that, at some point in these incarnations, we would reach a level of purity at which point we would become part of the great light and glow with happiness forever?

I sat there and wondered how scientists would assess such thoughts? Surely, they would laugh and dismiss such notions as nonsense, silly aberrations of the mind that go against fundamental scientific inquiry. But, there, at that rotting fence post and barbwire, I sat and argued within myself: Wait, God gave me a mind to think my thoughts! Can I not be rational in an irrational world? Or, is it that I am irrational in a rational world? ‘Cogito ergo sum’! I think, therefore I am! Certainly, in this body I’m allowed to follow the course of my linking thoughts to the limited ability of my intelligence quotient.

I even remember laughing at myself as my body and mind came back more to the ‘real world’ in which I was living: cars passing on a hightway; business meeting to attend; a banquet to attend, et al.

Of course, I knew this near-death interruption of normalcy was likely a factor in this instance of mind skittering, but it was all so very real to me at that time, the strong sense of some force pulling me back in time. Those moments of neuronic madness spread before me my early life of family displacement, mobility, and emotional confusion, and I sat, only peripherily noticing the passing cars and its occupants staring at the strange car and driver. I’m sure it was but a momentary distraction for the passing cars and occupants, likely thinking someone just pulled off the highway for a nap.

For me, though, the incident brought so many questions and metaphysical thoughts. I sat there behind the wheel for thirty minutes feeling relief from what could have been a highway ‘death pass’ accident, trying to equate my near death to moments that spoke to me so clearly.

Billy Ray Chitwood – April 23, 2018

Please preview my books of mystery, suspense, thriller, romance at:

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Where the Dreams Are

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Where The Dreams Are

Where The Dreams Are
There on the horizon
Where the clouds
Where the Sun
Where the winds 
Bring shimmering shadows
On the placid surface
Of the cobalt sea…

 
Dreams live in all
These converging elements
From the melodious music
Of hungry souls…

 
Those who somehow
Know that the thief of night
Cannot for long defy the
Precious treasures that
Await us in that dazzling
Merger of colors…

Out there
On the horizon
Where the dreams are.

Billy Ray Chitwood – April 19, 2018 (ARCHIVES)

Please preview my books of Mystery, Suspense, Romance at:

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Why Do I Blog? Guest Post from Robbie Cheadle

A Marvelous Writer! Beautiful and Soulful! ♥♥♥

What are the advantages of blogging? Find out this woman's answer.

 

When Women Inspire

Join me today in welcoming author and blogger Robbie Cheadle to the guest post stage. In this write-up, Robbie explains how her blog Robbie’s Inspiration came to be, as well as chatting about her new website Bake and Write. You may recall her guest post last year about the dangers of over-exercising. Welcome back, Robbie! Let’s give her our attention now:

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Tanka Tuesday

Colleen’s Weekly #Tanka Tuesday #Poetry Challenge No. 80, GATHER & SOFT, #SynonymsOnly

Operation: Blue Swans

“Pilots amassed, Chief?”

“Yes, Captain, raring to go!”

“Mission Understood?”

“Yes, Sir, no cranial fluff!”

“Now hear this! God’s Speed, Blue Swans!”

Billy Ray Chitwood – April 17, 2018

https://www.billyraychitwood.com

https://twitter.com/brchitwood

The Light Must Be On

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The Light Must Be On

After all the years it’s still with me,

That fear that clutches in the night

The vulnerable spots of my Soul –

And there must be constant Light.

*

There even into the morning’s sunrise

The room which is my only world

A table light must continue its glow

To feed ravenous thoughts unfurled.

*

Whence came this awful curse of mind?

What mockery didst I make of Life

To cause thought demons to visit me thus?

To bring such monsters of strife?

*

Was it a childhood devoid of care and love?

A child’s witness to life’s vulgar showing?

The vagaries of unbridled behavior?

The bleak, lonely child’s unknowing?

*

Didst come with nature’s random imprint?

This ugly mistake with no remedy?

Whatever its symptoms my life goes on

And I fear that I still wish to be!

 

@Billy Ray Chitwood – April 15, 2018

*

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A Quest for Vision!

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A Great post, Beem! Now, I’m really ‘scratching my head’! 🙂 ♥

The Indie Spot!

Visionary.

It’s a word that we’ve all heard bandied about from time to time, usually attached to some famous figure in history known for inventing something important that has changed the nation—or the world—in ways modern generations could not contemplate living without. Take Steve Jobs for example. Mr. Jobs is considered a true visionary. He’s the father of the modern personal computer, a device with which a life without would seem unimaginable in this modern world. Or consider Henry Ford, automotive tycoon. Mr. Ford certainly didn’t invent the automobile, but he did perfect the assembly line, bringing costs down, allowing for the common people to afford their very own car—and through employment in Ford’s factories, a stronger middle class arose.

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The Oxford American College Dictionary contains multiple definitions for this complex yet simple word. The definition I like best reads as stated: a person with original ideas about what the…

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Do [Command] the Two-Step [Dance]

life-is-likea-cup-of-tea

Do the Two-Step

 

Just two-step for me…

Desire the warmth of bodies,

Anticipation,

Sensuous, Edgy, Pleasure,

The awesome feel of romance!

Billy Ray Chitwood @ [R-RATED!!!] 🙂

 

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Lucky Old [Silly] Sun

Ray Charles That Lucky Old Sun – YouTube

 

Up in the mornin’
Out on the job
Work like the devil for my pay
But that lucky old [silly] sun got nothin’ to do
But roll around heaven all day.

Fuss with my woman, toil for my kids
Sweat till I’m wrinkled and gray
While that lucky old [silly] sun got nothin’ to do
But roll around heaven all day.

Dear Lord above, can’t you know I’m pining, tears all in my eyes
Send down that cloud with a silver lining, lift me to Paradise

Show me that river, take me across
Wash all my troubles away
Like that lucky old [silly] sun, give me nothing to do
But roll around heaven all day

Send down that cloud with a silver lining, lift me to Paradise
Show me that river, take me across
Wash all my troubles away
Like that lucky old [silly] sun, give me nothing to do
But roll around heaven all day

  • Songwriters: Beasley Smith / Haven Gillespie

That Lucky Old Sun lyrics © Sony/ATV Music Publishing LLC

Courtesy of – Billy Ray Chitwood – April 10, 2018

Please preview my books at:

https://www.billyraychitwood.com

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The Optometrist and the Dragon #writephoto

‘The Optometrist and the Dragon’ – Brilliant! ♥

Myths of the Mirror

photo compliments of Sue Vincent

A man of science, Irvus the optometrist didn’t believe in enchantment. But a dare was a dare, and he wasn’t about to cede his convictions to a bunch of old-timers at the Pickled Sow. It was the 5th century, for Heaven’s Sake. The last known dragon had gone extinct a hundred years ago.

The climb up the scree to the cave was steeper than it appeared from a distance. His borrowed twin-bladed battle-ax weighed a ton, and if the rusted iron weren’t strapped to his back, he would have abandoned it on the dirt track below. Sweat dripped into his eyes and plastered his hair to his scalp. He renewed his determination to begin exercising, again… maybe.

Then he saw the old skull.

His boot crunched on a human spine twisted like a skeletal snake. Farther up, a rubble of sun-bleached bones littered the loose…

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Phoenix Fire

      

A Phoenix, Arizona entrepreneur and an ad agency director fall in love in a most unusual way. Their relationship is interrupted by sibling clashes, a gambling addiction, a murder, and a matriarch’s secret that ultimately causes emotional chaos and disorientation. This is a book that will draw the reader into the story and compel them to stay glued until the end. The gripping climax to PHOENIX FIRE is powerful, and tissues are recommended. Treat yourself to a marvelous romance, mixed with some suspense and a desert odyssey to save one’s soul. A truly great read.

Questions:

Do you like a love story with suspense?

Do you like characters with complex issues?

Do you like a smooth flow of narrative?

Do you like vivid description with your narrative?

Do you like dramatic and tense situations?

Do you enjoy plots and sub-plots that link coherently?

Do you prefer ‘Happy Endings’?

Do you like authors with a clear, lucid, style?

If you answered ‘yes’ to all of these questions, you will enjoy PHOENIX FIRE! And, you will like it enough to leave a Review on Amazon.

Now, enjoy a few excerpts from the novel… My wish is to give you a sense of my writing style, to introduce you to some of the characters. My promise: you will enjoy PHOENIX FIRE, a love story with some tense moments. Now, the excerpts:

*****

Chapter One

[Part of Chapter One]

She was lost in the brightness, a magnificent static whiteness, alluring and warm. It was an easy place to be, if, it was a place. Perhaps it was a state, a bright and new awareness, a safe and final destination.

She only knew that her essence was etched in the great luminous energy and she did not wish to leave it. The light seemed to be transporting her outward, expanding some awesome truth, recently possessed, and she wanted only to remain and to become whatever the promising ecstasy.

Then, there came a shimmer of interference, vaguely emanating from the mystic fringes, slowly fragmenting the weightless pool of white. There was a rippling which nudged her new awareness, gently precluding her anticipated oneness with the expanding light.

Then came sound, soft and beckoning, like a bird chirping in slow motion, becoming stronger and more strident. She resisted the sound and the fragmenting but she could not pull herself onward into the radiant void. Like a swimmer urgently breast stroking against a strong noiseless tide, she felt herself dipping, sinking, then free-falling from the disintegrating brilliance.

She became conscious of her head shaking in sidelong negation of the interference, her lips silently murmuring, ‘no, no, let me stay! Please let me stay!’

Then she acknowledged the inevitable full immersion back to a solid, contoured reality. The bird chirps became loud concerned voices. The ripples became caring and caressing hands.

The hard ground was cold.  She began to shiver, felt the urge to rise, but was somehow constricted. Her mind made some adjustments and she suddenly knew where she was, how she had gotten there.

Finally, she slowly opened her eyes with a fluttery acceptance of her immediate environment. A man’s face came into focus, hovering two feet above her own. She felt pinned down and quickly discovered that the man was astride her. There was a momentary sense of panic but something about the man’s face made her relax.

A light rain fell, and she was conscious of wet hair matted to her face and forehead. The sky was a dull gray, and skinny treetops came to her peripherally as some surreal apparitions. The man’s concerned face gave her a final focus. She remembered what happened.

The lightning! She recalled an awful clap of thunder, so jarring and harsh, so totally upon her, instantaneously enveloping her in its loud and splintered brightness. She remembered the searing, exquisite pain that so consummately wracked her body and mind.

She was jogging and she must have been struck by lightning. As she blinked from the raindrops and the accounting of the lightning strike, she felt lethargic and without purpose. She was struck by lightning, yet there was no panic, no real sense of urgency.

The man’s hands left her chest and he studied her with a tender and squinted concern. She felt the weight of his body leaving her, felt a great rush of air fill her chest. The man lifted himself from her but his soft blue eyes remained upon her face.

They were beautiful eyes, shrouded by dark cavernous brows. Wisps of his black hair was pasted about his forehead, and he made odd movements with his lips as though making an adjustment.

Her own lips felt strangely tender to the touch of her tongue, and, in a moment of clarity, she understood: the man had given her mouth to mouth resuscitation.

The man then spoke, softly, his voice conveying a cultured refinement and pleasant resonance. “Can you move your arms and legs?”

She understood the question and lifted her head tentatively, feeling her hands, arms, and legs slowly move to her inner commands. She nodded to the handsome stranger who knelt above and to her side. She managed a small, sad smile of gratitude.

“And can you speak?” He returned her smile.

“Yes, I think so,” came her weak reply.

She noticed for the first time a small group of people standing off to her right, near a park utility shed. She heard a siren off in the distance, its sound increasing in volume. She attempted to rise from the ground.

“Maybe you should stay where you are until you’ve been medically checked. Are you feeling much pain?” The man lightly touched her shoulder.

*****

[Part of Chapter Three]

Chapter Three

Without religious fervor or zeal, Jason Prince believed in fate and serendipity. He felt simply there were fateful events in every life.

At age thirty-three he was the recipient of some good genetic tailoring: a strong Roman angularity to his attractive face and full black hair, minus the imperious and defiant set; a well-built body without flab; intelligent, solid business acumen, with a penchant for fairness and mild aggressiveness. Jason suffered no swollen and insufferable ego problems in his stable environment. He was lucky, and, not so lucky. He carried with him a pleasant humility, no doubt the result of his grandmother, whose doting was subtle but pure. There was also no doubt that the death of his parents when Jason was eleven years old factored into whatever essence was uniquely his.

Although he was shielded by his grandmother, Jason remembered the details of his father’s and mother’s deaths. His parents died in an ill-fated traffic accident. A tractor-trailer semi, its driver asleep at the wheel, crossed a center line on Carefree Highway near Cave Creek, Arizona, and plowed head-on into his parents’ car. The truck was going seventy-five miles per hour at the time of the crash, so death for his parents was reported as instantaneous. His father and mother, weary and anxious to be home, were returning from a dinner party in Oak Creek Canyon.

Grandma Myrena Wimsley was home with Jason and his older brother, Carlton, when the call came from the authorities. There were tears and there was anguish, but Grandma Wimsley was not one to dwell too long in emotional crises. Her strong will prevailed as she sheltered the boys as much as possible from the devastating news.

Carlton Prince was the difficult son to soothe. He somehow internalized his parents’ deaths as his own personal tragedy, intermingling his tears of loss with aberrant fits of selfish tirade. Grandma Wimsley found it necessary at times to forcibly control Carlton’s behavior.

For Jason, the death of his parents brought a period of dull apathy. He seemed for some time lost in a foggy nether world, unable to accept the tragic event yet powerless to deny it. He moved in awkward limbo and was ultimately sustained by his grandmother’s stoic acceptance and patient nudging which brought him to a final certainty and reluctant peace. Grandmother Wimsley became for Jason an anchor and a symbol of stability and safe harbor. In a very real sense Jason adopted his grandmother’s calm and unflinching personality, an alluring stoicism with a slight edge of inner doubt. His tinge of humility and resolve was not an unpleasant anomaly.

It was Carlton who could not resolve his seemingly vindictive grief. He vented anger and hostility. His mood shifts were uncomfortable and unreasonable. Grandmother Wimsley came to an uneasy and wary acceptance of Carlton’s moods, hoping that eventually he would grow out of the negative self-absorption. It was Carlton who inevitably and unknowingly brought a tight bond of love between Grandmother Wimsley and Jason. There was also a decidedly open favoritism shown to Jason by his grandmother. Grandfather Wimsley stayed lovingly neutral in the background, busy in his work, leaving the rigors of child nurturing to his capable wife.

So, fate and serendipity were accepted and important acknowledgments for Jason Prince, and his unusual encounter with Jenny Mason aroused a dormant emotion. He found her image kept superimposing itself in his thoughts. He knew that this woman was somehow meant to be a part of his life. His acceptance of fate negated the fleeting feeling of impetuousness.

*****  

[Part of Chapter Eleven]

“But he is my grandson. Now stop your fretting. You did the right thing in telling me.” The pain was easing. “The medicine is working. Don’t worry about me. I’m a strong old girl. Just got an aging ailment, that’s all. You get old, the old body starts breaking down a bit. I’m feeling better now.”

“What is it, Grandmother Wimsley?” Sheila’s voice was tender and genuine in its caring. It was the first time she had addressed Myrena in that way. Sheila’s face wore the knowledge that this was not just an ‘aging ailment’ for Myrena.

Myrena was touched and beckoned Sheila to her small but strong arms. They comforted each other for some long moments.

It was Myrena who spoke. “Child, I’m going to be sorry not seeing you with Carlton anymore. But you’re not to worry. I’m going to work on the problem you’ve talked about. I want you to stay in touch with me. You are like family.”

Sheila soon left. Wardley came to the day room to assist Myrena, but she waved him away. He smiled with affection at her indomitable spirit. With the tray of uneaten finger sandwiches and lemonade in his hands, Wardley left her alone, a painful knot in his gut. She would not be with them too much longer. The trusted employee and friend felt a deep sadness with the thought and would wait until he was in his quarters before shedding the tears welling up inside of him.

Myrena went to the parlor and stood a long time in front of the portrait that she loved so much. Then she reclined on the long sofa, placing herself so that her view of the portrait was unimpaired. She was there staring at the portrait for a long time, her mind playing themes from the long ago past. She pulled the misty old memories from the deep rich tones on the portrait’s canvas. The scenes passed swiftly and poignantly before her clouding eyes.

She and John standing at the doorway to the boys’ bedroom, watching them sleep…

The daughter who bore the boys in her cap and gown at graduation exercises …

A wedding reception so gala, so full of hope and possibilities …

A funeral …

A past and present merging into a wistful place in the heart …

Dusty, rutted roads in Mexico, the smell of frijoles, mariachis strumming their plaintive, discordant guitars …

A flower garden by the sea, the boys skipping along the surf …

A camp site in the high desert …

Carlton, Jason, smiling, joyfully playing cowboy games …

A plot of land, scenes of family gatherings, loving scenes, faces, merging, flowing into a profusion of color …

Tears slowly flowed down the tanned and weathered furrows on either side of her stoic face, and she slept.

[End of Excerpts… – It truly is a great story… – Do hope you read it!]

The excerpts were randomly selected. Again, just giving a sense of style and short shots of some characters. Please enjoy the entire book.

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