Spot 021: Peace in the Midst of Turmoil


by Nicole E. Hirschi

I find that all I seem to be doing is bitching, about being behind at work, about my divorce not being finished, about not writing, and not as loudly, about my need to change who I have become. I never thought myself a narcissist, at least not until recently, and now that’s all I’m able to see.

I look for peace in all my turmoil of life, but in looking harder and harder for it, I know I’m missing it. Looking, but never seeing, reading, but not between the lines, searching, but never finding – and it all has my mind in a chaotic state.

I’m coming more to terms with myself only to find that I no longer like who I am, and I’m confused. Who am I, and who do I want to become? Will I change but unknowingly hold on to my narcissism and other bad habits? What parts of me am I willing to change and which parts am I not? I haven’t yet decided.

No one holds the old skeleton key to ornate treasure chest containing the answers anymore; it’s long been buried in the unknown desert sands of time. Alone and desperate, I know, it’s a waste to shed tears over my personal disgrace, but I will put my glass up and drink to acknowledging my years of failure, and wonder if anyone ever truly finds peace in this life.

See Authors page for Nicole’s bio.



by Paul de Denus

My job is simple: keep the peace. I will be the moderate voice of tolerance. Yelling, cursing, hair pulling, eye poking, food throwing, gravy spilling, spitting, dead-eye staring, index finger across throat, and utensil wagging will be reviewed and most likely denounced. There is one unbreakable rule: nobody dies unless of course someone has a heart attack or gets food poisoning. Let me clarify, food poisoned on purpose! I am here at the head of the table orchestrating the big event, the family Holiday dinner. I’ve already cribbed my notes. Keep Aunt Rene away from Aunt Clara at all costs. Intertwining cheating husbands is a complicated matter and will not be resolved this year. Seat Uncle William next to his brother Carl, as they will spend the whole evening safely discussing sports and not attempt to hit on my girl Shelly, she with the double D wardrobe. Keep my sisters Margaret, Sonya and Beth out of the kitchen. There are too many utensils and moving appliances to issue a ‘safety zone’ designation. Place Shelly D, (she with the double D wardrobe) between Rodney and Carson. Perhaps they can discuss fashion tips. All children will be sequestered in the living room with the flat screen and video games. Uncle Louie – who is a sometimes lawyer – has told them that should they misbehave, he will personally issue a restraining order against Santa from visiting the house. Ahhh, I see glassy-eyed Clara reaching for the gravy boat. Time for a toast.

See Authors page for Paul’s bio.



by Sandra Davies

And then, as she had done so many times before, she grasped the hem of her dress, pulled it up and over her head, so that it was inside out, turned it the right way round, folded it lengthways and laid it on the chair before climbing onto the bed. He saw that he had guessed right – she had worn nothing underneath all day.
He had lit the large oil lamp which stood on the low chest beside him, and now was overwhelmed by the softness of its light, and of her in it. She was totally relaxed, leaning back against the new cotton of the pillowcase, whose right-angled, straight-out-of-the-packet folds were sharp enough to cast shadows. Her hair was gathered on her shoulders or fell behind her back, save a strand which reached below her breast. Her right foot was tucked under her left leg which was extended, soles of both feet a little grubby, hands lay loose on her thighs, fingers interlinked, palms upturned, peaceful, content and calm.
Without a mark on her skin, as if she was, once again, simply posing for him.
Not a mark.

See Authors page for Sandra’s bio.



by Bill Lapham

I remember that day.
I was on my hands and knees pulling weeds in the garden. Fucking hot, it was. Sweat dripped off my nose and made mud spots in the soil. When my tee shirt got wet, I took it off and wrung the water out of it, put it back on so I wouldn’t burn up in the sun.
Most of the neighbors weren’t home, had gone to work, or shopping. Mrs. Canfield, who lived next door, she was cleaning candle stick holders down at the church, spending time with that new priest she liked.
Me? I live alone. Been that way my whole life. Like it that way, nice and quiet.
The sky got dark real fast that afternoon. The clouds looked like a swirling brew of hot lava, deep purples, blue and black, flashes of lightning. There wasn’t much rain but the wind blew like a mother scorned and everything not tied down flew.
The freight train sounded too close, the tracks were on the other side of town. I thought it must have been some kind of sound channel bringing it in the wind. I didn’t realize until later that it was the wind. Trees bent and broke. Branches crashed on houses. A roof flew like a Frisbee. Bikes and picnic tables and bricks and kiddy pools.
I laid flat on the ground, stuck my face in the dirt, tried to bury myself. Whatever it was, passed right over me, left me laying there, wondering.

See Authors page for Bill’s bio.



by Michael D. Brown

I believed I was running dry. This post itself was very late getting to the page. Prior to Sandra’s rescue effort, I hadn’t a clue as to appropriate accompanying images. I had hoped if I left these things open, something might come along, and am grateful. The year ends and it feels as if the Spots might do as well. Should properly just post the pieces that have been sent my way, but I had a perfect record along with Bill and am reluctant to admit defeat.
Feels like plenty of turmoil going on at the moment, but I don’t wish to bore anyone with the details, besides, I have done already several times, and this is the season to be jolly. I wrote thousand-word essays, so it’s not a block. It’s too bad this piece has no peace to share.
I think of going on hiatus until the new year, but there’s no guarantee my muse will return from holiday ready, and able to kick into fiction. And, I am afraid if I lie low for too long others will lose interest and stop sending all those marvelous stories. Could be I’m not ready to write about peace in the midst of turmoil because my life is not tumultuous enough, and I exaggerate my discomfort. But I have to say, these last few weeks have been murder on my self-esteem. Surely, I survived with a smile, but I never convinced myself that it was more than a facial contortion.

See Authors page for Michael’s bio.



Illustrations for Spot 021 generously provided by Sandra Davies.


5 Comments to “Spot 021: Peace in the Midst of Turmoil”

  1. I loved Paul’s too-recognisable family get-together and Bill’s stormy weather description, and would beg you Michael not to abandon these too precipitously becaue this is a most-valued exercise. I wish you peace in all corners of your life and a return of your joie de vivre in the New Year – take a couple of weeks break and come back – please.

  2. hey Michael- hang in there! 2012 is the last year, aint it?:)
    This site has been an inspiration for me as I’ve tried to keep up- I find that adding pictures may be asking a lot of extra from you- personally, I’d say skip it- focus on the words. You’re doing great-

  3. I know how Michael feels about being unappreciated. I have a blog site, and Sandra and Harry are my only two visitors. I post on Fictionaut, and no one from our crowd ever goes there to read and comment. It’s like sending a message in a bottle.
    To Michael, I would just say that I fell behind in contributing at the end of this year for personal reasons (speedbumps) in my life but also because sometimes one has nothing to say. The brain is a vacant lot and the weeds are growing where the swings and sandbox used to be. Nil desperandum. YOu are loved and valued.
    This week’s batch had weather, a wedding, a family gathering and self discovery, and with each one I could sense the need for a safe and peaceful place amid the swirl of events. I think that MuDSpots, MuDJob and 6S are my safe harbors in this chaotic world and I am greatful to know you all. Peace and Love, Gita

  4. This was an enjoyable week of reading – I am sorry I was not able to contribute though.

    Michael – I hope things brighten for you – your work would be missed if you were to take a break., but certainly the break would be understandable.

    Now I am off to bookmark fictionaut so I can visit later…

  5. What a great compilation! Sandra’s warm piece was like watching a youtube video; the imagery was gorgeous. Paul’s reminded me of my favorite Thanksgiving movie, “Home for the Holidays.” COB’s hit close to home, as I recently toured my childhood neighborhood that was leveled by a tornado. As to Nicole’s and yours, Mud, seeing as how angst does not really compute in my life, I’m left feeling somewhat fortunate. Don’t throw in the towel, Michael. Whether I make the time to contribute or not — this time of year is difficult for me — this is my lifeline to you, and I don’t want to lose it.

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