it’s time to paint a tiger

it’s time to paint a tiger
by Courtney Cantrell

it’s time to paint a tiger
and i am not ready

the wildness is what gets me
i guess
sharp gleam of jade eye
power of muscle and mercurial spirit
contained in a casing of banded skin
tiger tiger burning bright
greed would turn you into a rug
your greed would break my neck drag me off
devour me

but all i want is to paint you
and i am not ready

     how do i capture this in words
     elusive feelings so resistant to the bars
     of serif font in black-and-white
     how do i chronicle a slow descent into
     sad unhappy gloomy
     life as a darkening mass above my head
     wretched forlorn forgotten

     angry

     how do i catalog despair?

the wildness is what gets me
i know
pupils dilate, track my every shudder
those powerful muscles coil
the creature waits motionless
ready to leap the moment i look away
tiger tiger burning dull
lulling me into a false sense of safety
tricking me into a belief that
i have a handle on this situation

i do not

we stare each other down, the tiger and i
my canvas screams for paint
my fingers itch to slather this blank space in wet color
but i can’t paint unless i look away from what hunts me
the tiger and i stare each other down
and the hair stands up on the back of my neck as i realize
all my paints are the color of crimson

     i stand already eviscerated
     my heart caught in the creature’s claws
     i didn’t even see it move

     my world is spattered with gore
     there’s blood everywhere

except for that damned white canvas

the creature refuses captivity

     i can only stand here
     and stare
     and bleed

it’s time to paint a tiger
and i am not ready

May 2, 2015

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grandfather: a poem

Today is the last day of National Poetry Month, so I’m finally posting a poem. Better late than never, right? ; )

I wrote this the day after I came upon my Grandpa sitting in his rocking chair in the sun room, peering toward the outside beyond the window, and quietly singing “Amazing Grace” and “It Is Well with My Soul.” It was a beautiful, simple moment in which I felt overwhelmed with love, respect, and reverence. Grandpa gave me a gift without compare. I’ll never forget it.

grandfather
by Courtney Cantrell

he is ninety-four years old
and much has changed

he has set aside the politics
he has rejected the lies
he has turned his back upon the old ways
that once told him

     grace is conditional
     deity is wrath
     love depends on the boxes you check off

          tradition becomes less necessary than Truth

he is ninety-four years old
and can barely see

old retinas give him darkening blurs
where faces used to be
and yet some Sight remains
and yet he can still recognize

     the children of God
     the house of the Messiah
     the bride of the Savior

          clarity becomes less important than Compassion

he is ninety-four years old
and the musica universalis is his symphony

his rocking chair creaks
like his voice as he lifts it in praise
“sometimes i just have to sit and sing a little”
his wavering melody weaves peace into the heart

     cruel death has no power
     he rests in amazing grace
     it is well with his soul

          proficiency becomes less significant than Passion

     simplicity is his father’s wont
     love is his father’s Word
     these are his father’s world

          and he adores his Lord.
 

This is my Father’s world, and to my listening ears all nature sings, and round me rings the music of the spheres.
This is my Father’s world: I rest me in the thought of rocks and trees, of skies and seas; his hand the wonders wrought.

–Maltbie Davenport Babcock

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I can fit my whole fist in my mouth (weirdness + #amwriting update)

Me: I would seriously throw up if I had to remove somebody’s eyeball. Makes me sick to my stomach just thinking about it.

Ed: Don’t think about it. You won’t have to do it anytime soon.

Me: I might. There could be a zombie apocalypse and somebody could have a tumor in their eye.

Ed (in Schwarzenegger voice): It’s not a tumah.

____________________

Ed: I hate that story.

Me: What? “The Three Little Kittens”? Why?

Ed: Because I’ve read it about a million times!

Me: Well, the good news is, I can still fit my whole fist in my mouth.

Ed: I… what? Why are you–? Your whole fist?

Me (with enthusiasm): Uh-huh!

Ed: But…what are you doing, just sitting in here all by yourself, stuffing your fist in your mouth?

Me (with enthusiasm): Uh-huh!

Ed: But…I…okay. (walks out)

____________________

In the car….

Toddler (from backseat): I need a pah*!
(*pacifier)

Me: You don’t need one right now. It’s not naptime.

Toddler: I need a pah!

Me: No, not right now.

Husband and I converse for several minutes. Suddenly–

Toddler (singing to tune “Wheels on the Bus”): A baby in a bus say, I need pah, I need pah, I need pah. A baby in a bus say, I need pah, all through the town.

Me: Well, that’s the most passive-aggressive thing I’ve ever heard.

____________________

In other news,

my January progresseth apace with editing every moment I get.

Legacy (Legends of the Light-Walkers #3) (working title) is still underway: I’ve finished Draft 0.1-1.5 (I’ve lost track of which version this actually is by now) and am now in the throes of editing and rewriting based on feedback from three beta-readers. Since all three know what they’re doing, I have my work cut out for me. I’ll write a more comprehensive Writing Life update soon.

Also, I really can fit my whole fist in my mouth. Cheers.

_______________________________________________________________

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I read 45 books in 2014…

…and I’ve starred the ones I enjoyed most. If you’d like to hear specifics about any of these books, ask in the comments! :)

Books Courtney Read in 2014

1. Blackbirds by Chuck Wendig*

2. Mockingbird by Chuck Wendig

3. The Cormorant by Chuck Wendig*

4. Taunt (Ava Delaney, #2) by Claire Farrell

5. A Series of Unfortunate Events: The Bad Beginning by Lemony Snicket

6. Gooseberry Bluff Community College of Magic: The Thirteenth Rib by David J. Schwartz

7. Quintessence by David Walton

8. Regarding Ducks and Universes by Neve Maslakovic

9. Wool (1-5) by Hugh Howey*

10. Shift (1-3) by Hugh Howey

11. Dust by Hugh Howey

12. The Wrath of a Shipless Pirate (The Godlanders War, #2) by Aaron Pogue*

13. Tempt (Ava Delaney, #3) by Claire Farrell

14. Edge of Oblivion edited by Tony Healey

15. “A Darkness in the East” (The Dragonprince’s Arrows, Pt. 1) by Aaron Pogue

16. Divergent by Veronica Roth*

17. Insurgent by Veronica Roth

18. Allegiant by Veronica Roth

19. 11/22/63 by Stephen King*

20. The Wind through the Keyhole by Stephen King

21. Alas, Babylon by Pat Frank*

22. Promethea, Vol. 1 by Alan Moore*

23. Promethea, Vol. 2 by Alan Moore

24. Promethea, Vol. 3 by Alan Moore

25. Promethea, Vol. 4 by Alan Moore

26. Promethea, Vol. 5 by Alan Moore

27. The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald

28. Bringing Down the House: The Inside Story of Six M.I.T. Students Who Took Vegas for Millions by Ben Mezrich

29. Into the Wild by Jon Krakauer

30. Slaughterhouse-Five, or the Children’s Crusade: A Duty-Dance With Death by Kurt Vonnegut

31. The Dawn of a Desperate War (The Godlanders War, #3) by Aaron Pogue

32. The Shining Girls by Lauren Beukes*

33. Club Dead (Sookie Stackhouse, #3) by Charlaine Harris

34. Darkly Dreaming Dexter (Dexter, #1) by Jeff Lindsay

35. Superbia by Bernard Schaffer*

36. Dead to the World (Sookie Stackhouse, #4) by Charlaine Harris

37. The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe by C.S. Lewis*

38. Under the Empyrean Sky (The Heartland Trilogy 1) by Chuck Wendig*

39. Blightborn (The Heartland Trilogy 2) by Chuck Wendig

40. “The Wind Has Teeth Tonight: A Gwennie Story” by Chuck Wendig

41. The Wolf’s Hour by Robert R. McCammon*

42. The Siren: The Original Sinners Book 1 by Tiffany Reisz

43. The Mirror Empire: Worldbreaker Saga 1 by Kameron Hurley

44. Prince Caspian by C.S. Lewis

45. Red: The Heroic Rescue by Ted Dekker

Also, I tripled my book-reading count from 2013. So it would seem that 2014 was a good year for reading. May 2015 prove even better!

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An original poem to celebrate #NationalPoetryDay (which was yesterday)

Hile, sweet inklings,

I wanted to post this yesterday, but the blog was mysteriously down. Blahg doon! We have a blahg DOON! *ahem* Anyway, I thought it’d be fun to post an original poem in honor of National Poetry Day, which was yesterday. So that’s what this is all about, YO.

I’d be thrilled if you let me know in the comments what you think. (Note: I’ve disabled comment moderation again. More on that in a later post.)

This poem originally appeared on the delightful Laurie Laliberte’s blog in honor of National Poetry Month.

succor

by Courtney Cantrell

dont pick at that
momma said
youll make it bleed

i wont forget
curled up in the rocking chair listening
as you yearn to watch over me

i wont forget
vulnerable to your gentle hands
you knead the pain from my soul
heal my winter
break my fall
even as the black dogs of your despair nip at your vitals

i wont forget
sobbing the hollowness from my heart
into yours
and your eyes like the sky
wide
welcoming
filled with the softest storms
that cleanse and soothe

i wont forget
enveloped in your sweetest darkness
hidden held whole
heart brought back to life
raw and wild
beating mad with the knowledge of what can and cannot be

i wont forget
tinged with crimson or no
still the memories are warm
and i drink them.

Happy poetizing, people!

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This is why I should stay off of Pinterest.

Ed: What are you *doing*?

Me: It says to reblog this with my tongue.

Ed: Okayyy….

Me: According to this, 95% of people can’t do it.

Ed: I don’t doubt it.

Me: My touchscreen won’t respond. I have to dry my tongue first. How do you dry your tongue?

Ed: You probably don’t.

Me: Nnng. Mmmp. Guh. Shoot, I have to start over.

Ed: …

Me: There. I did it. I am so superior to 95% of people.

Ed: *sigh*

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Win a holiday for a little girl with cystic fibrosis!

Hidey-ho, y’all,

Today, I bring you a guest post from my friend and fellow Kindle All-Stars writer, Tony Healey. Tony’s got a great, easy way for you to help out a little girl with cystic fibrosis. Well worth the minute or two! Here’s Tony to tell you more:

TONY:

At the beginning of this year I released a charity anthology, featuring the work of 16 fantastic writers and the artwork of the legendary Bruce Pennington, with all proceeds to go to The Cystic Fibrosis Trust (we’ve not hit enough for a donation yet – but we’re getting there). [Editor’s Note: This is Edge of Oblivion, the anthology I told you about here.]

The original inspiration for that collection of stories – and for doing something to raise funds for CF in the first place – is a little girl called Tilly.

She has a chance to win a free holiday with her Mummy and Daddy next year, but she needs your help. It’s very easy and will only take 2 minutes of your time.

Step 1. Click this link: http://havenholidays.offerpop.com/campaign/649927/entry/4270902

Step 2. LIKE the Haven Facebook page (you can always UN-LIKE it later).

tilly1

Step 3. Scroll down on the FB page and hit the VOTE button.

tilly2

That’s it!

Of course, if you wanted to be super-duper cool you could also share the above link and get your friends to vote too. In fact, here’s the link again in case you want to do that: http://havenholidays.offerpop.com/campaign/649927/entry/4270902.

I’d like to see Tilly reach 1000 votes and take first place. I’ll also be promoting this via my Official Facebook Page, too, which is: https://www.facebook.com/fringescientist?ref=hl.

Thanks for your help and support. Let’s win this brave little girl a holiday.

So there you have it, folks! Go place your vote for Tilly and help send her and her family on a lovely vacay!

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Three-sentence horror romance: BEGINNING

BEGINNING

by Courtney Cantrell

After my funeral, I crossed nearly two continents and an ocean to get to her.

I watched through the window as she slid out of her bra and panties, the first time I’d ever glimpsed those beautiful curves glorious and naked.

When I rapped on the pane, she rushed to let me in as though understanding that our long, agonizing wait had ended and we could finally be together…in spite of my fangs…or because of them.

THE END

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