Fatigue: A Story of Susie Bee (Part VI, Conclusion)

It was Dewday, the day before the bee’s extended hibernation. All the year’s filings were done, all the t’s crossed and i’s dotted with beetle ink. Susie’s staff and fellow bees were lining up with quilts and scarves, preparing to help warm the queen through the coming winter months. The grand harvest party was beginning and would end with hibernation. The hive was warm and glowing with hundreds of wax candles. The Bee’s Knees Dance would start later after the parade.

“Susie, aren’t you coming?” a fellow worker bee called out. Her name was Petunia. Petunia was only three weeks old and had a grin the size of a rose on her face.

“I need to finish my reports. You go on ahead,” Susie called from her typewriter, waving an antennae in greeting. “Have fun!”

Susie waited until the hive quieted, the workers all gone from their units. The band started down the hall and a pleasant buzzing began, punctuated with congratulatory speeches from their queen. It had been a good harvest.

Susie rested her head on her arms, waving her antennae in time to the music. She felt peace.

Continue reading “Fatigue: A Story of Susie Bee (Part VI, Conclusion)”

Fatigue: A Story of Susie Bee (Part V)

Susie walked morosely behind the queen, expecting a lecture or two at any moment. Once in awhile, the queen would make an impatient noise and Susie would fly ahead to catch up. After awhile, Susie could no longer stand the silence.

“Are you going to tell me not to work too hard anymore?” Susie guessed, feeling thirsty. “That bees need to work together? That the life of the colony is worth more than the individual? Or that when life gives you lemons, make honey?”

“Heavens, child, what have you been reading? I hate those frou frou sayings,”  the Queen Bee declared, flicking her antennae disdainfully. “They’re anything but helpful. My grandmother had them embroidered on all her pillows. Made me sick. Come along now, you keep dragging behind. We’re nearly there.”

Continue reading “Fatigue: A Story of Susie Bee (Part V)”

Fatigue: A Story of Susie Bee (Part IV)

Luckily for Susie, honeybees have sturdy, waxy exoskeletons. The golf ball simply went “ping” against Susie’s forehead and bounced harmlessly away, rolling up to an unlucky ant hole. The ants spilled out of the hill, all chattering in a concerned rumble. They lined up and spelled out phrases like “Go away!” and “Scoot!” with organized fervor. Susie rubbed her forehead, feeling a slight pain but nothing serious. She rolled the white ball away from the ant village and continued home. Hopefully the golfer would find the ball later.

Susie continued her amble home, passing a Pollen Run (similar to the human Color Run), and became coated with a thin layer of yellow dust. After awhile, Susie flew up to her honeycomb window, buzzed in and collapsed next to her sleeping aphid.

“Oh, woe is me. I must have a disease unbeknownst to all bees,” Susie moaned, draping an antennae dramatically across her forehead. She sponged herself down with a clover and some dew. “To bee or not to bee, that is the question…”

Continue reading “Fatigue: A Story of Susie Bee (Part IV)”

Fatigue: A Story of Susie Bee (Part III)

Susie Bee sat in the doctor’s office, listening to the sounds of stapling papers, stamps and the general buzzing of office life. It was rhythmic and made her doze off once or twice.

“Ms. Suzanne Bee?”

“Here I buzz,” Susie spoke, setting down her Bee Happy magazine. She had been reading an especially silly article about the Queen redecorating her hive in the newest fashions.

“What seems to be the problem today, Suzanne?” the nurse asked after taking Susie’s vitals in the receiving room.

“I’m not sure. But my buzz is weak, the rhythm in my knees is kaput and my antennas drag behind me when I walk. I’m tired all the time, my appetite has plummeted. I feel sick. It’s hard to even fly.”

“Well, you don’t have a temperature and your blood pressure is fine,” the nurse announced, scratching some numbers onto a clipboard. “But let’s do some blood work  to be safe and I can send them over to the lab. It’ll rule out some things. The doctor will review and call you; he’s out today on vacation. In the meantime, here’s a sick note and orders to rest and stay hydrated. If anything changes, let me know. You may just need to rest, Suzanne.”

Susie grumbled to herself on the walk home, mumbling about nurses with their degrees and feeling invalidated by the quick visit. Surely, something was wrong with her to feel so tired. Why didn’t anyone believe she was sick?

“Fore!” a voice shouted in the distance.

Surely, there was a pill waiting for her somewhere. She just needed the right diagnosis. Yes, maybe she should see another nurse, or ask to talk to the doctor directly. Or should she wait until the lab results came back?

“I said FORE, you idiot. Watch out!”

“What?” Susie muttered, breaking from her thoughts. She squinted about in the bright sunshine. “Four of what?”

And that’s when it hit her. A bright white golf ball, sailed through the air and landed– directly on Susie’s forehead.

Continue reading “Fatigue: A Story of Susie Bee (Part III)”

Fatigue: A Story of Susie Bee (Part II)

Susie Bee lay in bed, tapping on her laptop. Susie was looking up articles on HoneyCombMD, fitting on self-diagnosis like new shoes, seeing how each fit and looked on her dainty legs.

“Maybe I have American Foolbroud bacteria,” she announced squarely, squinting at the screen. “No, that’s not it. How about Colony Collapse Disorder? That can’t be it either;  I’m just one bee, aren’t I? A bent stinger? No, it’s as straight as ever and I sharpened it only yesterday. Hmm…”

Susie hummed in thought, buzzing up and down in volume.  She heard a Messenger Bee tap on her door.

“Susie Bee. How DO you be?” a voice sung out merrily. “Heard you hummin’ all the way down the hall. Here’s your mail!”

Susie looked up as a stack of envelopes fluttered down from her mail slot. Her pet aphid scurried forth and brought the mail dutifully to Susie in bed.

“Honey bill…Nurse Bee Bill from the BuzzBub Hospital. Undertaker Bees are taking up another collection, I see…Oh, here’s my bill from the Cleaners…”

Susie’s head swarmed as she added up the figures quickly in her head, using her antennae to carry over the ones.

“Oh, Alfred,” Susie moaned to her pet aphid. “I’ll have to work double shifts all next month to pay these bills! How is this even possible? I just caught up on my finances and now this!”

The bee shut her laptop and sighed, sipping on some clover juice. She scratched Alfred under the chin, humming again.

“Maybe I need to buzz up the doctor after all,” Susie concluded after awhile. “My research is becoming a drone and I’m getting nowhere. Perhaps the doc can get the pep back into my step.”

Continue reading “Fatigue: A Story of Susie Bee (Part II)”

Fatigue: A Story of Susie Bee (Part I)

Susie Bee was a busy bee. Up and down the stairs in the honeycomb castle she flew, serving the queen’s whims and wishes. As Susie Bee was responsible and hardworking, she worked diligently, ensuring the day’s work was done before sundown.

One day, Susie called into work using her buzzline phone. She pulled out a thermometer from her medicine cabinet. She used her antennae to hold the thermometer to her mouth while dialing with her free hand.

“Hello, this is Susie. I work on the 10th floor in administration and paper filing. Yes, yes I am Harold’s boss. Yes, he is a dear bee… I’m calling in sick today, I’m afraid. I think I have a fever and my knees have lost their rhythm. Yes, I’ll be sure to call the doctor. Thank you.”

Susie collapsed on her honey filled pillow. The thermometer let out a buzz, letting her know it had a reading. She pulled it out, dangling it it front of her face.

“Normal. Now isn’t that the bee’s knees…”

Continue reading “Fatigue: A Story of Susie Bee (Part I)”

The Keys to Oz: Peaceful Retreats

As a human, it’s important to know what recharges our spirits. As writers, it’s imperative to our craft. Write too long on empty and gobbledygook splats out, pouring black ooze from our fingers and drips onto our feet. The gook sticks to our legs, trapping us suddenly in our chairs. Our brains soon crawl out afterwards and slink away to find a new oasis. Our noses follow quickly, searching for roses and rain showers of bygone, blissful days. If truly dire, legs may start a feverish tap dancing number underneath your desk, greatly upsetting the carefully arranged pencils and tawdry knickknacks. Away, they demand! Away, away, away!

We’re not meant to work forever; we’re meant to live in Oz. Truly.

Don’t argue with me. Take a munchkin and move over.

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Combing through Novel Drafts: How I do it

This morning I’m combing through my novel, M.B., for what is probably the three hundredth time–without exaggeration. If you want to write, and write well, get used to this process. As you scan back and forth over your novel’s pages, like a scanner hovering silently over the moon’s craters, you will find mistakes, blip and puddles that will need to be fixed, altered or mopped. This is good, normal and part of the writing process. I enjoy the process and bring tea, snacks and Enya music along for the ride. Make yourself comfortable and go.

Here’s some ways how I go about the revision and editing processes…

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Seasons of Writing & Novel Snippet

I’ve been in a particularly busy season of my life for the past few years. There’s been some respite and solace, but overall everything’s been at a steady, enduring clip. As things shift and change, I’m starting to realign my time and focus on my personal goals: writing and exercise among them. I’m also volunteering and becoming involved in activities that support my growth and refill my cup. As an introvert, this is a careful balance. Remember my formula? One hour of socializing = one year of hibernation. And yes, I’m still in the red.  But it’s less crimson and more of a happy, candy apple red now…

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Running through Silent Hill: On Writing

I have this obsession lately with the movie Silent Hill.* I wrote about my fondness for the film in a previous entry (“Refilling the Tank”) and how I’ve returned to it for creative storytelling and refueling. The mother, Rose, runs throughout the film, either chasing down her daughter, running after clues or fleeing from the town’s varied inhabitants. Women make up the leading characters and they drive the action and decision making. The themes of motherhood, protection and justice are particularly strong and prevalent. The movie isn’t perfect, and contains some explicit gore scenes, but it’s become a dear thing to me. An odd dear.

Today, I started a running program. Small flakes of snow began to fall during my run, much like the ash in Silent Hill that Rose notices upon her entrance to the town. I ran in the drifting snow, listening to an audio book of Jane Eyre when Rose ran past me, her boots skidding on the blacktop beneath her grey skirt. “Sharon!”  she yelled, her voice ricocheting around me. “Sharon!” Rose disappeared into the school building, the door slamming behind against the frame. I skirted Midwich Elementary, ran past the hospital and ended my run at the cliff.

How much is writing like running, I thought, catching my breath. Always chasing, always enduring. Unsure of what comes next at times, but believing we know all the same…

Cue siren. Continue reading “Running through Silent Hill: On Writing”