Fiction: Three Lovers

Three Lovers

I have had many lovers throughout my life. At times, I was too self-absorbed to understand them well, and the ending of these affairs left me feeling bad. Other times, my lovers did not understand me, resulting in the same things: sadness, bitterness, anger, regret. I am happy to say, this no longer happens. Now I have it figured out.
Now I have three lovers.

My first lover experiences the world through his sense of touch. If he can’t touch it, it doesn’t exist. What exists is only what he takes in through his hands. He takes things apart to build them back up again. With little use for things like feelings, and little patience for emotions, everything comes down to how something feels when he touches it.
When we lay together, he runs his hand along the length of my body, feeling the curves, slowing down to notice the change from bone to muscle under the surface of my skin. He holds me, feeling the warmth of my body alongside his, the angle of my jaw, the lines of my shoulders. He says nothing. I feel his body on mine, I revel in the heat and the sensation of his hands moving across my bare skin. It is a sensual world, we are sensual beings.

My second lover lives in a world of words and sound. His prose flows like poetry, set to music that plays in time with the beating of his heart. He makes sense of what he experiences by speaking it, singing it, playing it. What he feels, he translates into vibration, thought, words, notes. He reads voraciously, ravenously, devouring thoughts and stories, with each new word the universe expands.
In the silent darkness of a moonless night, he comes to my bed, his breath warm in my ear, speaking in low tones of love and desire. He wants to know what I’m feeling, he wants to know what’s in my head and my heart. He lays by my side, talking slowly and quietly, the curls falling from his forehead tickle my neck. His melody is sweet, with each note I am softened. He has sung his way into my heart.

My third lover sees life as story. He sees stories everywhere he looks. He tells me, with a combination of passion and wistfulness in his voice, that stories find him, wanting to be told. He sees meaning in actions, as well as the pauses in between them. The unspoken sometimes says more than what is said. Every story in the world can be told this way, he tells me softly.
He takes me on a trip, to a house overlooking the grey stormy sea, and lays me down on a feather bed, his body behind me, holding me up, protecting me. We gaze out the window at the world he has created. He says he wants me to see the story he has written, can I see it just there, on the horizon? He asks. Yes, I can see it, beyond the rocks and breaking waves, that sunny patch of blue. I lean back and let the plot unfold.

Original fiction copyright 2017, Andrea C. Neil

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The Yoga of Experience – I Just Lost My Good Excuse

I often come up with snippets of ideas for stories. I’m not exactly sure how to categorize these stories though. I guess they are children’s stories? I mean, the protagonists are often mice or cats or other small furry creatures (with the occasional bird or turtle thrown in the mix). The plots are fairly straightforward. So maybe the best way to describe them might be “stories for children of all ages.” Yes, that sounds about right.

Usually, these stories write themselves. I start out with a little bit of an idea, and I sit down and write. And the story writes itself. When this happens, I know I’m onto something – that the story comes from somewhere else besides my brain. They are mine, but it’s like I’ve “written” them somewhere else and it’s just a matter of tuning in and downloading them through my fingertips and into my computer.

When a story is jagged or somehow irking me as I write it, or if I feel frustrated, I know that its time hasn’t quite come yet. I back off, leave it alone and try again another day until it’s ready to show up. It’s a really satisfying process. Sometimes when I go back and read the finished product, I’m surprised. In a good way.

Many times after I’ve written a story, I think, oh now this needs some illustrations! Yes, wouldn’t this be so much cuter or more fun or whatever if there were some cute little sketches that accompanied this story!

A few times I’ve tried to illustrate my own story (in 2014 and 2015 I released Christmas books that were stories accompanied by little sketches I drew), but usually when I try to do something “artsy” I get really frustrated and everything comes out looking like a potato with a bad hairpiece. It doesn’t work. Maybe I’m too critical of my own art. But whatever. I CAN’T DO IT. Nor do I want to, because it’s not my thing.

But I so often wish I had illustrations to go with my supacute stories. So a few times I’ve asked friends who are amazing artists (because I know a lot of them!) if they would be interested in illustrating one of my stories, they are all very nice and usually say yes. Hooray! Except.

Except they are very busy people and don’t have time to work on a small project like mine.

I don’t blame them at all! I get it. I really do. But I am still sad because my stories go un-illustrated. They are naked little stories.

After a while, I started saying this to myself: “I can’t find an illustrator to make my stories come to life so why bother writing any?”

And so I stopped writing stories. No more tales (or tails?) of below average intelligence partridges. No more spinning yarns about birds who teach their friends to knit. No more nail-biters about worms who save fancy dinner parties from being overrun by ants.

Until now.

As I grow up, grow older, and grow wiser, it finally hit me today. Screw the illustrations!

If I wait till everything has a drawing to go with it, I’ll be waiting a long time. I would rather share these stories without illustrations than to have them just sit as a bunch of 0s and 1s on Google Drive. I would like you to read them. And hopefully enjoy them.

You’d think I would have realized this before today. But I am a slow learner. A late bloomer. A conformist, apparently. OH GOD NO! NOT THAT!

Well, better late than never. It’s time to get them out into the world.

So I’ve started going back through some things that I’ve written. Some are finished, some are not. But I’m getting back to them – and there are more coming. About a cat with special sleuthing powers who travels all over the world flying his own plane. And another cat who lives on a farm on the Russian Steppes. And a bird who can’t decide what book to read next.

You’ll be able to draw your own illustrations to go with them.

This is an illustration by my amazing uncle, Jan Zaremba, which he did for my story “The Thunderstorm.” We published it in 2014 and it’s available here.

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shopping.

​this one time, i was walking around in the grocery store looking for the sweet relish, and i got totally lost. i found the 2,000-roll econo pack of toilet paper, and the even cheezier nacho chips, and the box of healthy cereal that gets smaller and smaller while the price gets higher and higher… but still no sweet relish.on i walked, past the moth balls, the fiber granola bars, nose hair trimmers, funfetti cake mix, family packs of bologna… still no relish. i started to panic. what if i never find it? or even worse, what if i never find my way out of this place??!?! i started to wheeze.

then suddenly, right in front of the display of holiday themed cupcakes, a giant hole opened up in the floor. it was dark and a bit musty. but i didn’t care – it was a way out! i jumped in, feet first.
and out i came in belize, just like that. sitting under a palm tree, in front of the ocean, a warm, fresh breeze on my face. my friend ruddy appeared, with a fresh coconut, the top cut off, a straw dipped in to reach the sweet, fresh water inside. ok, i thought. i like this kind of shopping.

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