So you can read my books

Thursday, September 19, 2013

I KNOW I AM NOT LOST for Write ... Edit ... Publish

 {Work In Progress}

{589 words}

I looked out the motel room’s window into the dying night.  I could sense the Badlands out there calling to me.  I remembered wandering alone out there last century.  There had been a living silence to that distant desert night.

Pilots call the Badlands barren, dry, and rugged.  It only seems that way from the airplane’s cockpit.  Its best parts are just spaced out some over place and time.  I was lost in that time for a heartbeat to the moment in my walking to what folks called civilization.  That night had been so quiet and still I heard the rustle made by the wings of ravens as they flew overhead … at least I told myself they were ravens.

I remember glancing down and realizing that I was standing in enormous dinosaur tracks.  Feet dead over 140 million years ago made those impressions.  Those huge reptile kings thought their reign would never end.  Reigns always do.  I could bring to mind the taste of those pine nuts I crunched for a midnight snack on that long ago walkabout.  The nuts, of course, could not nourish me.  I fed off of different … food.

The Badlands weren’t as remote as they once were.  Maybe no place was remote anymore … except maybe the soul of a man to himself.

The Badlands had seen a lot of human traffic for all its remoteness these past thousand years: Anasazi, Ute, Navaho, and Lakota Indians.  Then, there had been conquistadors, Mormon settlers, Gold prospectors, and now Hollywood film crews.  Everybody passing through leaves a mark … and the Badlands replies in kind.

The weather extremes are drastic: Drought and downpour.  105 degrees in the August shade and 10 degrees in January’s bright sunlight.  A spell of dust storms is capped by a week of icy gales.  Wildflowers in spring and aspen trees in fall seem poor reward for black widow bites, the sting of a rattler’s fangs, and even flies that bite.

Yet, I loved the Badlands.  There is something here that renews my spirit when New Orleans has all but drained it.  It is the land.  Each of us is a tuning fork for some kind of locale.  I was born in the open country of the West Texas of 1799 and spent my first fifteen years there.  I spent the happiest days of my life on horseback, evading Comanches and hunting the deer that fed my family. 

I lost my family … my innocence.  I found my … destiny in the Pajarito Mountains of Sonora.  I became one of the first Texas Rangers.

Though I still wore the Silver Star on the underside of my coat lapel, I didn’t fool myself into thinking I was still a Texas Ranger.  But I am most comfortable under the wide skies of wild country and in the sprawl of raw desert.  It’s where I go when I am unsettled, confused, or bruised of heart.  New Orleans does that to me quite often.  My wife, Meilori, does it even more.  She wasn’t speaking to me … again.

It’s enough to be in stark places like the Badlands of South Dakota, to be alone awhile in a place where all I can hear is the lonely wind blowing, where all I can see is the earth stretching all around me into the far distant mountains.  I look up into the wide embrace of the endless night.  Life sings to me again, and I know I am not lost.


  1. Hi Roland. Just the word, The Badlands, resonates with so much mystery and intrigue. I loved the pace of this. Great storytelling. Very atmospheric. Moving On all right.

    Thanks for posting for the WEP blogfest Roland. Your support is much appreciated.


  2. What a beautiful picture you paint of such a ... challenging place. Well done!

  3. Denise:
    Yes, the very name of the locale: The Badlands conjures up mystery and danger. I will always have your back as they say in the states! :-)

  4. Words Crafter:
    It is a mystery in the time of the silent movies and involves mysterious deaths on location with the lead actor being ... Samuel McCord -- also on hand: Tom Mix, Marlene Dietrich, Harry Carey, the director John Ford ... and Elu. How can we go wrong? :-)

  5. Love the voice and imagery here Roland. Of course, you know I'm slightly in love with Capt Sam and his Texas hat. I liked the dinosaur print. Speaks of ages long past, and embodies the Earth moving on as well as the Ranger. Well done.


  6. Donna:
    And Sam doffs his Stetson in appreciation. :-)

    It was time for me to do a novella of Sam. I've missed being in his head.

    Something stirs in the night in Sam's Badlands, and it is hungry.

    Thank you for the very kind words. It is getting harder for me to get it all done lately in my writing so I appreciate you visiting. :-)

  7. Love the imagery and how your words put them all together. Unique, haunting in some way, very interesting read!

  8. As others have said, well done. I think you have more affinity writing about Sam McCord. I had a sad feeling reading it.

  9. Nice. I love the mood it set from the beginning, and kept throughout.

    The line "Maybe no place was remote anymore … except maybe the soul of a man to himself." ring true. We can be alone in a crowded room.

  10. "I look up into the wide embrace of the endless night. Life sings to me again, and I know I am not lost."...Beautifully written Roland. I too have a crush on Samuel McCord :) Have a nice week-end Roland!

  11. Now when Samuel disappears, we'll know where he's gone.
    You described the Badlands very well.

  12. Anne:
    That means a lot this weary morning. Thanks. :-)

    I enjoy writing about Sam. His perspective is a bit different than Victor's. Sam is a man who has seen too much and feels he's understood too little of it. I'm enjoying writing HER BONES ARE IN THE BADLANDS.

    We certainly can be alone in a crowded room, can't we? I appreciate so much that you liked my post today. :-)

    Sam tips his Stetson to you, too. Watch out for Meilori ... she's the jealous type. :-) Of course, if she keeps leaving Sam, she has no one to blame but herself if other ladies become fond of Sam, right?

    Sam is really a poet forced into a life of violence. His thoughts remain that of a poet though.

    I work solo all weekend at my blood center -- whew! But I have a job when many do not.

    Thanks for the great words. It looks like CASSASTORM is sizzling in sales. Congratulations. :-)

  13. You have such a way with words, Roland, conjuring up such vivid imagery and emotions.

  14. Sally:
    I can sometimes hear Sam in my head as I write -- so I guess the credit is all his. :-)

  15. Absolutely adore that last line. And also "Maybe no place was remote anymore … except maybe the soul of a man to himself."

  16. Hi Roland,

    A perfect moving on. Very evocative. Great story-telling.

  17. Excellent imagery, you took me there and I did not want to leave.

  18. Beverly:
    Samuel feels and thinks deeply. I really am glad you enjoyed my post.

    It is all Sam's doing. I just channel him. :-)

    Every now and then Samuel catches me by surprise by what words flow from him to my keyboard. It is very nice to say what you did. :-)

  19. Hi, Roland,

    What a treat to hear Sam in first person and before Milori dies.

    Your descriptions of the Badlands is unique and beautiful. Even in the harshest of places, there is beauty to behold.

  20. The Badlands are wild. They felt like another planet to me. Your description is spot on.

  21. Hi Roland
    Such mystery and sublime innuendo. I thought you captured your characters voice well and of course, your writing is unique and good.

    My story is up.

  22. The Badlands (the location) is not fictional...?
    I like the sense of mystery... the area is harsh, isolated, unforgiving... and yet possesses a certain indefinable attraction, a magnetic rugged charm... like you are drawn to it, against your better judgement...
    Very atmospheric.
    I also get the sense of movement... time passing... which fits in with the theme of moving on...
    Really, really interesting.
    Love the tone too!

  23. Michael:
    Meilori even shows up towards the end of the novella. I'm glad you liked this snippet.

    The Armchair Squid:
    When standing in the middle of the Badlands I felt as if I were on Mars early in its history. Happy you found my prose authentic. :-)

    You made me blush with such nice praise ... then Sam slapped me with his Stetson, reminding me I had only been RECORDING his words. LOL.

    No, the Badlands are just as I've described and more!

    I'm very happy you liked what you read and stayed to tell me. Thanks.