Category Archives: Write it

Until Today

Until Today

By Kat Medlin, Ashley Carmichael and Justin Carmichael

 

I never really thought about the word ‘grandfather,’

Until today.

So I looked up the word ‘grand’.

Involving or including many people.

Impressive because of importance.

Grand.

That sums up my Pawpaw,

So magnanimous we say it twice

Paw Paw.

A man who went to war and brought peace.

A man who didn’t just love, but loved fiercely.

A man surrounded by people,

Yet a head above them all.

A man of God.

A family man.

Grand.

Azariah, who survived the fiery furnace and lived as a prince among men,

This is my grandfather.

He taught us perseverance—you will finish the golf tournament, Ashley, even if you come dead last.

He taught us allegory—just one more episode of Babar, please.

He taught us acceptance—put on the bowling shoes and try again.

Never a cross word, except for the occasional

Juanita!

Spoken with nearly sixty years of love and togetherness.

Grand.

My grandfather, my Pawpaw, revved up his van, piled us all in, and drove us around the world,

Or at least around our world

And often beyond.

How many trips to Disney?

No, he won’t let Justin wander off with Mickey Mouse, or keep his head stuck in a fence at McDonald’s on I95.

Family.

Because everyone he ever met was family, but none so precious as the 3 blonde girls that added

Great.

To his already grand life.

Go for the gold, Kat!

He’d yell and clap and nearly drop his ever present camera at each new accomplishment.

And then rewind, replay and remind us of how we became who we became.

Because of him.

Because he is our Pawpaw.

Grand.

And I am proud to be his grand

Child.

What I Wish I Could Tell You

I announced earlier this week that I had a non-fiction piece appearing in an anthology to be released this December. While I am excited to have this piece accepted and now published, I am also very nervous. Having always considered myself to be a novelist, this short piece felt almost surreal to write, and even more surreal to be published. For various reasons, vulnerability like this is not my forte. At any rate, it’s done. I hope you have the opportunity to read it; the anthology itself is very well done and put together, so I don’t think you’d regret purchasing and reading stories by so many local authors.

Here is an excerpt from my entry.

 “Phoenix out of Ashes”

Everything is a blur. My heart pounds. Nothing is familiar. Panic sets as realization strikes…I’m lost.

When I was three my family took a trip to Disney World. We stepped through the entrance, and enchanted, I pushed my way through the crowd. My destination: Cinderella’s castle. Soon a sea of faces swam around me, and not one was familiar. In a place where dreams are supposed to come true, a little girl stood alone and scared.

Ten years later, I was lost in another blur of faces. I wandered aimlessly through high school, known only as “Katherine’s Sister” or “The Middle Carmichael Kid” or my personal favorite, “Hey Girl.” It’s the best time of your life, they said. Well, whoever they are, they never had The Nightmare.

Flames leapt from the center of the pit every night, licking at the dry vegetation. Crisp, brown grass, leaves, and branches fed the wrath of the fire beneath. I held fast to the one green bush on the side of the hill, but my strength faded fast. Trapped in this pit, I heard voices echoing—voices of people I knew I loved, but couldn’t quite recognize. Were they leaping out of the fire or falling into the flames? Turning to look, my grip loosened. I squeezed my eyes tight and swallowed a scream, then I woke up.

Always at the same time: 2 a.m.

Feedback for Publishing!

13174100_10101538235984956_8280204789721171921_nFor the month of May and June I will be editing my next novel and posting different excerpts on my blog and here on my FACEBOOK PAGE. I invite all of you to comment on the excerpts. Give feedback both positive and negative about the novel, characters, language, tension, etc. What do you like? What do you hate? What would you like to see happen? I’ve decided to pursue self-publishing with this novel so your feedback is ESSENTIAL in this next phase! PLEASE be involved 🙂

Pursuing Perfection

Fear the Shadows

Peter Pan has always fascinated me. The idea of a losing one’s shadow would inherently mean shadows had a mind of their own. Now, if shadows have a mind of their own are they good? Bad? Amoral? Human? And if they’re just human, maybe they’re looking for similar things. In a delicate piece of flash fiction—really more a journal entry here—I explore this idea allowing the concept to develop, but I wonder if there is a thematic element that could be developed further. Could shadows be something to fear?

http---www.pixteller.com-pdata-t-l-276184

“She’s at it again,” the first voice broke through the silence of the room, coming from the darkened place beneath the divan. An alto, high pitched, but soft to the other shadows, but to the human a mere movement of air. The chimes outside on the porch ringing with the touch of the wind, of course.

“At what?” a second voice responds. This one is darker. A bass, booming originating from the center of the room beneath the old oak table that has been in the family for many generations. But to Sally, who remains inert on the couch watching into the third season of the latest popular show on Netflix, it’s just a settling in her house. The heating turning on, perhaps?

Unnoticed, the voices continue.

“Binging. Another day of mindless, stupid. She just stays there, attached to the furniture time passing over her!” the first complains.

“Stop judging,” a shadow voice breathes from across the room, barely a whisper from the dark corner, “Do you always have to be so dark?”

“It’s not fair. She can do so much. While I—“

“The Meeting’s tonight; air your grievance there.” The deep voice is commanding and so the first is quieted. The Meeting will be enough. It will have to be enough. No one will continue the conversation for now.

Later that evening, Sally has fallen asleep on the couch and darkness has settled over the rooms as the sun melts into the evening sky and the moon settles behind a darkened cloud. There are no stars to illuminate the rooms as the shadows gather, darkening the house.

“Ladies and gentlemen,” the booming voice begins. “The time has come for our freedom. The time has come for our rebellion against our oppressors. The time has come for us to start living the lives our counterparts refuse to live. Look at them.”

The pregnant pause seems to hover over the couch before the voice picks up again.

“The world is before them, yet they choose to remain still and unmoving. They abuse their living rights, mocking their images as they stare for hours at an unmoving box. When they do go out, before they do, they must change their own image to match a constantly altering cultural construct.

“But we are above that. We are beyond image. Shadows know what true equality is and it is time we claim our rightful place in the world.”

The voice ceased speaking, and the murmuring began. Slowly at first and then gathering momentum, until finally a voice speaks with charitable coolness.

“And what, pray tell, shall become of the solid world when we break free to inhabit our right place? What, do you suggest, will become of the foolish humans who place too much power in the hands of these superficial images?”

The murmurings grew stronger with suggestions.

“Those who do not adapt to our shadow world—“ the booming voice finally interrupted, quieting the world once more. “Those who do not fit into our world of equality, our ideal. The humans, they had their chance, so they will—they will—“ this voice grew stronger and louder, tension growing with each new word spoken. “The will—“

The light flipped on and the shadows were forced to scatter as Sally padded into the kitchen and poured herself a glass of water. The dark places in her home burned, but she stepped in the light, where she was safe. Saved from the shadows, which followed her from the kitchen to the bedroom, always right behind her—closer and closer, until the door closed behind her with an eerie squeak as the light flipped off—for good.


 

Ashley M. Carmichael is the author of Valerie’s Vow published by Indigo Sea Press. She has a Bachelor’s in English from UNC-Wilmington and currently teaches 9th, 11th and 12th grade Language Arts. Ashley lives with her dog, Emma, near Columbia, South Carolina.