Tag Archive | sponser

The Grove – a Sponsored Story

In the Northeast, every city, every town, every blink-and-you’ll-miss-it village has at least one, a grove of trees that will never know the cut of a saw. Syracuse has an extra-wide median full of them, shading the Thruway from one end of the city to the other. Rochester has verdant blocks interspersed with new construction in areas that used to be full of abandoned factories and crack houses.

In Brockport, the grove stands in and around the cemetery, so that the gravestones snuggle up next to the trees. It makes a sort of sense, I suppose, but sometimes it confuses the girls.

We go there, to Brockport’s grove, every Sunday from first thaw until mid-autumn, my daughters and I. I try to make it a fun thing, a family bonding, though I know as they get older, they won’t want to bond, will want less and less to do with their old man. We take a picnic, trying to avoid the mourners, not wanting to diminish their grief, park at the bottom and walk up the long stone-paved path to the top of the hill.

Zel waits for us up there, where the sun shines first in the morning, where the dirt is good and rich, where the big old oak tree shelters her from the bulk of the wind. She’s always waiting, of course, has been for the last five years. She will be as long as I can take the girls up that hill, and for a long time after that, long after the girls are dead, or have joined her there, in the grove.

Today is special. It’s a Sunday, much like any other Sunday, but today the girls and I have decided it’s time for Zel to meet Thea.

It’s legal, of course. Even the Church sanctions it, after a certain appropriate time of solemnities. Zel may have moved on, but the girls still need a mother around, and I, after these long years, find the bed is too empty at night, the breakfast table too quiet in the morning. No-one will fault me for it, not my first wife, not the good people of the town, not the law. Still, it seems awkward and uncomfortable to be walking with Thea up this hill, and I can’t bring myself to hold her hand.

She understands. It was a month ago – on a Saturday – that we walked down the Syracuse median together, her and I and her son Jacob, and talked to Jeremy. I pass, I’ve been told, at least conditionally, but she didn’t hold my hand then, either.

As I said, Zel is planted just leeward of an ancient oak, so old his name has been forgotten by time. The girls always hug him when we visit, and today is no different. He waves to them, and a gentle breeze through his branches, whispering “hello, children.”

“Hello, Old Man Oak,” they say politely, but today they’re too excited about other things to play with him for long. He understands, I think, although it has been a very long time since he was young.

We step around him, and, as every time we do this, my breath catches. It’s not quite a sob; I have shed my tears for her long since, and what’s left can’t really even be called regret. But sometimes I forget, and I expect, because I know it’s her, to see my wife standing there, the lovely woman with the hair just starting to grey and the eyes that always seemed to know more than she told. And… that Zel is long gone.

The maple tree that stands there in the lee of Old Man Oak is, I notice again, growing bigger every year while never outpacing our daughters’ ability to reach all the way around her. That will change at some point, I’m sure, but by that point, the need to hug their mother will, I hope, be less pressing.

Her presence is with us almost immediately, a breeze that isn’t there brushing a hello through her leaves. It hurts, and is beautiful enough to make me sing for it, how much more alive she sounds now. When she chose to put down roots, the cancer and the treatments for it had sapped most of her energy. Now, she is healthy, strong, and beautiful. Now, nature willing, she will outlive the girls and me both, growing old and woody with the Old Man and the others here.

A branch brushes my cheek, and I can tell she’s looking over Thea. “A grove-widow,” the wind sighs. It shows, somehow. “Good, Josh.” A whirlybird, a little two-winged maple seed, lands in my new love’s outstretched hands.

“Take care of my family,” the wind whispers. Now, I do cry, though I try not to let the girls see it. I know what this blessing means. Zel has always been very talkative, very aware for a grove-tree. But we all knew it couldn’t last forever.

Thea cradles the little seed like the infant child it is. “I will,” she promises. There are tears in her eyes, too: she understands.

“Thank you.” A warm wind embraces us, and we lean against her trunk. This isn’t mourning: Zel lives, and will live on. But, even with Thea’s arm around me, even with my cheek against Zel’s bark, I find I still miss her embrace. And Thea understands that, too. There are worse things to build a second marriage on, I think, than an understanding of the cracks the grove trees leaves in one’s heart.

Sponsored from the general tips pool, chosen by poll. If you would like to sponsor another story, the list is here; the donor info page here

This entry was originally posted at http://aldersprig.dreamwidth.org/106412.html. You can comment here or there.

Stories for Sponsorship!

These stories have been written from prompts and are available for sponsorship.

Any piece can be microfunded in increments as small as $1:

Bridged, the “sequel” to Relics, 1100 words, sponsor for $18

It Always Hurts, 1400 words from the lyrics of “the Holly and the Ivy,” sponsor for $23

Holding the Ways, a microfiction of an unconventional funeral, 350 words. Sponsor for $6

The Old Path, from [profile] ellenmillion‘s prompt “the Old Ways” and [personal profile] eseme‘s prompt “…discovering old overgrown [ways].” 4100 words, sponsor for $70

Labyrinth, still in progress, from [personal profile] clare_dragonfly‘s prompt “the path the the labyrinth” & [personal profile] eseme‘s prompt of “bartering.”

The Trouble With Bongong Island, from Inventrix’s prompt “Bananas, Bifurcation, Belittling Bohemian butterflies.” 2111 words gentlemen adventurer tale, sponsor for $35
Keeping the Gods, a story of the fae apoc, from Shutsumon’s prompt “bacchanal, barbarocracy,bathykolpian.” 1500 words of cautionary fantasy, Sponsor for $25

AvariceFrom [personal profile] haikujaguar‘s prompt “Avarice. Anemia. And maybe… appetite.” 1038 words, a story of mixed appetites and dovetailing greed. Sponsor for $20

Afghans for Aliens, a flash fiction sci-fi

Sunday at the GroveFrom [personal profile] clare_dragonfly‘s prompt, this is a tender story of mourning and passing on. 900 words. Sponsor for $15

Revived, a story of the Stranded World, 2556 words. Sponsor for $42

How does Sponsoring work?
You can:

  • Throw money in the general pool. When there’s enough to sponsor a story, I’ll put it up for a general vote.
  • Micro-fund a specific story: donate any amount of money towards a specific story. I’ll post that it’s $Xx towards being completely funded.
  • Sponsor a whole story. If you sponsor a story, I will immediately post it on my blog for everyone to see, with your name or that of a dedicatee if you wish; plus you get a nonexclusive publication right, so you can post it on your own blog or elsewhere as long as you keep the credits intact. (Some phrasing from YsabetWordsmith’s Poetry Fishbowl).

This entry was originally posted at http://aldersprig.dreamwidth.org/84549.html. You can comment here or there.

*falls down and has dreams about writing to prompts*

Sunday, I put out a call for prompts (LJ post) on the theme of Gender, Sexuality, and how they can go funky (short title: Genderfunky Giraffes).

25 short and medium pieces later…

I have only [personal profile] lilfluff‘s second commissioned piece to write.

Monday’s summary is here (or here)

Yesterday’s summary is here (or here)

Switcheroo (LJ), for DaHob‘s prompt

Buuut… (LJ), for kelkyag‘s prompt: “Dealing with the lack of reassurance on the acceptance of a newly asserted gender identity…”

On Top (LJ), for [personal profile] kc_obrien‘s prompt: “Not every pack Alpha has a bitch. Sometimes it is the bitch.”

(LJ, for @skysailor99’s prompt: Make up a gender and have a character’s partner learn to understand it.

ankewehner is doing a flash fiction fishbowl, if you’re still feeling prompty.

And I’ve still got 3 slots left in this prompt-me meme (2 on LJ)

Any piece I’ve written can be sponsored for continuation.

For more information, my Donor landing page is here (and on LJ)

This entry was originally posted at http://aldersprig.dreamwidth.org/105351.html. You can comment here or there.

“The Way Things Flow” Fully Sponsored!

HERE (or on LJ)

Last Friday (and on LJ) I opened up the Winter story “The Way Things Flow” (open to a better title) for sponsorship.

Thanks to Rix_Scadeau and the_vulture, the story is now completely available for reading here (or on LJ).

This is part 1 of a three-part story; stay tuned for opportunities to fund the rest.

Thanks to everyone for their support! I’m getting closer and closer to that giraffe carpet!

Edited to add:The next story/section, at 1645 words, is available from now ’till next Friday, 8/12/11, for $15; microfund in $1 increments.

This entry was originally posted at http://aldersprig.dreamwidth.org/96602.html. You can comment here or there.

Winter: The Way Things Flow (FULLY Sponsored)

Last week, I opened up this story for sponsorship.

Rix_Scadeau has sponsored part of the story (Approximately 46%), and so I will post the sponsored part here.

Yes, even though that ends in the middle of a sentence.

The remaining story can be sponsored for $5.45 until Saturday, at which point it rises to normal price. 🙂

There were times when Winter thought his mother had chosen to have him first, to be there for the girls when their father was gone.

It wasn’t a possibility he ever talked about; Mom, who would know, he’d never ask. Other people would either think he was crazy for at least three facets of that thought, and the ones who wouldn’t, well, were either just as close to the situation as he was, or would have reactions to it he wouldn’t find comfortable.

Pre-planned or not, he had been the father figure to his sisters since he was seven years old and now, as an adult with his “daughters” grown up and out of the house, he found the habits hard to put aside. His nature, the way the strands of the world reacted to him, was either created by that situation or exacerbated it, and either way seemed to solidify it.

He walked down the street, using one hand as he went to slowly comb smooth some small tangles in the strands of the world. The traffic unsnarled. The panicked stockbroker calmed. The off-tune singer found the proper notes. Order, in Winter’s world, wasn’t something to be shunned. It was the way things went, the way things ought to be.

He stroked the strands a little more intently as he passed a young mother with two crying children, and then had to shift his focus more clearly into the solid as the older child darted out towards traffic. Handling other people’s children as always a risk, but in this case, there was no choice. He crouched and caught the kid with one arm across the chest, lifting – him? Her? – her up and depositing her facing her nervous mother.

“Woah,” he said, in that jovial tone that seemed to work with girls that size. “Careful, there.” He nodded at the mother cautiously. She was a tangle of stress and emotions, a chaotic stew over-flavored with distress.

She nodded back, an exhausted gesture that barely took him in. “Thank you, sir.” No wedding band on the hand reaching for the child, but a vanishing callus where one had sat. Bags under her eyes. He took a chance, spurred on by the knots twisting in her.

“Winter.” He offered her his hand. “Winter Roundtree.”

He saw the moment she actually noticed him, the raised eyebrow as she took in his appearance: the tailored suit, the hair that might as well be white, the manicured hands. He smiled and gave his pat response. “One-eighth Cherokee on my father’s side.” Which, while it had nothing to do with the name, was both true and gave the appearance of an explanation.

“Aah. Well, thank you, Mr. Roundtree, for grabbing Mila here for me. She knows better than to run out into traffic; I don’t know what got into her.” That last bit was for the child as much as it was for him.

If offering…

…a name was taking a chance, pulling out his card was tantamount to jumping off a cliff to try to catch a passing boat. But he did it anyway, pulled by a need to not let this boat get away. “One of my co-workers has kids about the same age as yours. She tells me the Ice Capades going on right now is quite good; they have a show Friday and another one Saturday..?” He left the absence of an invitation hanging in the air with the card.

She took the card, glancing curiously at his job title. “Law clerk. Hunh. I’ll give you a call Thursday either way.”

“Pleasure to meet you.” He nodded politely, smiled at the children, and combed a little extra calm into their strands once his back was turned.

He liked the law library. His sisters liked to twit him about it sometimes, and his mother despaired, her oldest child, a law clerk (normal parents might complain about jobs like itinerant painter, but hippies and women like Ernesta Roundtree worried their sons would grow up to be clerks and lawyers), but law was, at its purest, about humanity instilling order upon itself. And at its purest was how Winter worked hard to keep it.

In the library, too, his affinity for order (some said obsession, but those were people who didn’t understand him) fit right in. It was meditative, relaxing, to live in a place where everything was supposed to be smooth, perfect, and level. Whatever his mother might say, Winter found work restful.

He re-shelved another book, leveling its spine with the rest of the row, and was checking his list for his next task when his cell phone chimed softly. The number came up with an unfamiliar name, Marina Kuziemska. He stared at it for a moment; people he didn’t know didn’t often call him. Marina?

The woman with the two children had said she’d call on Thursday. That had been Tuesday, and this was only noon on Wednesday. Living with his sisters, two of whom tangled the universe by their very nature, had taught Winter how to deal with chaos, but his lip still curled a little in frustration before he answered the call.

“This is Winter RoundTree.” It could still be a wrong number.

“Winter? This is Marina Kuziemska. The, ah, the mother of the girl who ran into traffic?” She sounded rushed and nervous, so he took care to make his voice warm as he replied.

“I remember you, Marina.” Although he hadn’t been expecting her call until tomorrow, he had been thinking of her, pondering the tangles around her and how they could be smoothed out.

“Oh, good. I was worried! Well, ah, Henry and Mila and I discussed it, and if the offer’s still open, we’d love your company for the Ice Capades this Friday. The kids could use some fun.”

So could she, from the sounds of it. “Wonderful.” She probably wouldn’t take well to him offering to pick her up. “We could meet at the Metro stop right across the street from the Arena? I can be there at seven oh five.”

“Great! We’ll see you then. And, ah, Mr. Roundtree?” She was back to sounding nervous again; had he distressed her inadvertently?


“Thank you for saving my daughter’s life.”

Oh. Well. That sort of statement required a considered response. He nodded to the phone, knowing she couldn’t see it. “Think nothing of it.”

This entry was originally posted at http://aldersprig.dreamwidth.org/96275.html. You can comment here or there.

Prompt-Me results: Wow. Also, want moar? Giraffe sale.

last Saturday and Sunday for 24 hours, I opened up a line for prompts; ask for anything, and I’ll write 10 minutes or 250 words on it. I got quite a bit of short fiction out of it!

In my Addergoole ‘verse:
Joff Gets a Pony (LJ Link), for @daHob’s prompt of the same title.

Devil Deals (LJ Link) from Rix’s prompt, wanting more of Rozen/Aviv in the post-apoc.

Keys (LJ Link), for jeriendhal‘s prompt “You mean it was supposed to have a key?” (Half of this is Addergoole Year9; the other half is Planners).

Dark Corners (LJ Link), Addergoole Year9, to @shutsumon’s prompt “the things that lurk in dark corners.”

Plans is in Addergoole’s current timeline, to @dahob’s prompt asking how Regine sees her students.

Stranded World got:
Bringing Home the Bacon (LJ Link), for [personal profile] kc_obrien‘s prompt of the same title.

Tir na Cali got a new subsetting:
Frying Pan, Fire (LJ Link), from [personal profile] lilfluff‘s prompt regarding a slave school.
Final Exams (LJ Link), from wyld_dandelyon‘s prompt of the same name.

The rest of Fae Apoc got an early history, apoc and a post-apoc story:
[personal profile] eseme wanted goddesses. She got Coming of Age (LJ Link)

(LJ Link)From [personal profile] kc_obrien‘s prompt: “Can I get a short piece from another perspective of some of the internees/guards in the community featured in Discovery Channel/Invisibles (LJ Link)?

First Planting (LJ Link) came from [personal profile] clare_dragonfly‘s prompt of the same title

Reiassan got two stories:
Old Friends (LJ Link), From fayanora‘s prompt “An unexpected ‘Hello.'”

Mighty Sword (LJ Link) from the_vulture‘s prompt – “An intelligent and mighty enchanted sword… that’s afraid of the dark.” In an older era of Reiassan.

Facets of Dusk got another story:
Trouble in Doubles (LJ Link), from [personal profile] kc_obrien‘s request for Josie/Facets and [personal profile] elfling_eryn‘s prompt: “There’s only so much trouble you get into in a day…unless, of course, you have a clone or two at hand.”

And, as always, there were a couple things from no known ‘verse at all:
Waiting Vigil (LJ Link), from [personal profile] lilfluff‘s prompt”The beach, overnight in winter.”

Three Inches (DW Link), for @Inventrix’s prompt for a pookah

Want more of something? I’m having a giraffe sale (it’s like a fire sale. Only it’s giraffe.(*); from now ’till this time next week, I’ll continue any written piece at a rate of $4 for 400 words.

(*)You see, there’s this carpet I want for the new house, and it looks like a giraffe pattern.

This entry was originally posted at http://aldersprig.dreamwidth.org/80372.html. You can comment here or there.