Archive for April 2013

Show me…

Show me that you care

To be the friend I can trust

With no strings attached.

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Joyce E. Johnson

WHAT? NO ‘DUMMIES’ BOOK FOR WORDPRESS?

‘Wall to Wall’? Funny you should mention that. As I went through my blog and deleted old ‘pages’ this week to make room for new ‘pages’ and posts, it was a frustrating experience once again trying to work out the complex system Word Press has developed for our ‘walls’ or collage of sorts. How does one go about adding new ‘pages’ neatly to the sidebar as a ‘widget’ without getting it all messed up and incorporated wrongly into the above menu? It requires a ‘Dummy’ book for the denser of the dense like me, I guess. 🙂 Well, I got it accomplished the first time around with my first ‘pages’ and an order, somewhat, but the second time around I had to once again begin all over to familiarize myself with the system designed for such an option. So, back to the ‘wall to wall’ look or mood I’m trying to create? Well, just putting up and displaying what pleases my eyes, and accomplishes my goal is all I’m interested in at the moment. Maybe it is not a ‘mood’ that comes into play, but just what interests me, and the fact I just want to keep things updated, post what is new, and draw interest, and readers to my site and display my ‘stuff’. It is all about compelling the curious, interested, and the faithful back to my collage, my wall, my domain. I’ve read a lot of tips, and posts lately on how to make things come together for the completed look, but I am one that likes those ‘Dummies’ books and old style manuals one can pull off a shelf and get into for the nerdy, wordy amateur blogger I am. How does everyone else fair in working through the Word Press system to display their ‘walls’?

By the way, this is a great time for me to thank all those faithful, and new readers and followers to my site. Thank you, all.

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Joyce E. Johnson

WHEN DARK CLOSES IN – Incoming Tide, Chapter IV

This is a chapter and scene from my novel, When Dark Closes In, about young adults in the sixties era. A bit of history  about that time: During the years between 1963 – 1975,  the military draft was implemented to increase the numbers of troops needed to fight the hated war in Southeast Asia, known as the Vietnam War. It was a historic time in the U.S. when the  ‘hippie’ generation experimented with pot, a promiscuous lifestyle, held protest demonstrations against the war and rebelled against the ‘establishment’ of rules and regulations. It is a generation that rocked and danced to the beat of the Beatles, the Beach Boys, and other popular groups and singers on Dick Clark’s American Bandstand. All of this story is fiction, simple as that. All characters are fictional, created only for this story, alone. Their lives and character are not based on any values or opinions of my own, but their story could be that of many out there, given the history and facts of that era and time. The history and references to the Vietnam War in places and localities are truthful and factual. You will find the prologue and first three chapters and parts of this story all posted under my ‘fiction’ category on my blog.

When Dark Closes In tells the story of Jennifer, Scott and their friends who lived, loved, fought and died during that time, succumbing to  the shadows of a dark period in history. But, from out of the darkness comes a light of hope, grace and redemption for those whose lives will be forever changed from that moment on.

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WHEN DARK CLOSES IN

Chapter IV

Incoming Tide

Jennifer waited while Scott showered and dressed. She looked at framed pictures he displayed on the walls, one of them together, taken years earlier. His apartment was filled with things and touches of the man he was. A collection of miniature die-cast model cars and planes was arranged on the mantel beside the picture. On the other side rested an old baseball glove and hard ball from his days with their high school baseball team he played on when he was their star pitcher. A desk in one corner held textbooks and notebooks from his three years in college. A stereo unit with a stack of records propped up beside it took up space on the other side.

She turned on the stereo, tuning in to the local hit parade AM station, and the Beach Boys revved up and roared to life in, Little Deuce Coup.

The door to his bedroom opened. He was dressed in khaki pants, knit shirt and deck shoes. His hair with natural blond streaks, still damp, had a mussed up look adding to his rakish charm. His aqua blue eyes and captivating smile were just a couple of the things that attracted all the girls back in high school, she remembered. His recent tan was evident he’d not spent all his hours indoors at his uncle’s garage, working on cars, or in a classroom at SITE (Seattle Institute of Technology and Engineering).

Gads, he looks good.

“I left my grungy clothes in a pile on the floor for the maid to find. She’s off today.” He quipped.

“Oh. That’s too bad. I guess you will just have to wash your own clothes. Hmm…is that British Sterling I smell?”

“It is. You remember.” he replied, grinning.

Jennifer nodded. “I gave you a bottle of it the Christmas before I left for Notre Dame. It is my favorite men’s cologne.

“And now mine, too.”

“Oh, do I have that kind of effect on you?” she said, teasing again.

“Don’t you know what you do to me?” He walked over to the stereo, turned off the Beach Boys, and picked out several records, stacking them onto the cylindrical record changer. The strains to, “When a Man Loves a Woman,” began playing.

“Come here.” He said, motioning to her with his forefinger.

She went into his embrace.

“What are you thinking, with that smug grin?” she said, looking up into his eyes.

“Just how happy I am to have you all to myself tonight. We don’t have a third-party hanging around this time.”

“Who are you referring to?”

“Someone. Anyone. It seems whenever I want to be alone with you there is always someone around. But, tonight it’s just you and I, here alone in my apartment. And, since I am your ride back home tonight, you can’t get away from me.”

“I realize that. You certainly arranged this well, didn’t you? My father used to warn me, ‘Watch yourself with that guy.’ But, with my car in your uncle’s shop waiting to be serviced I could hardly refuse the ride, could I? But, Scott, don’t assume…”

“Jennifer… relax. Let’s just dance. Then we’ll go to dinner somewhere.” His arms tightened around her and he began coaxing her gently into a slow dance, their legs and hips coming together, moving together, with the music, the lyrics capitalizing on the mood, and the physical sensations she was feeling.

“Scott… I realize it’s hard for you to understand. It’s just that…well…”

“Understand what? Jennifer, I love you. I respect you for the person you are, and I’m not going to force my intentions on you. But, we’re adults, now. Let us have our time, our moments, together. Make your own decisions. Right or wrong. You’ve allowed your parents and your old-fashioned virtues to stand in the way too many times of finding some happiness for yourself.”

“It isn’t just that. It’s the consequences we live with if we make a mistake we aren’t prepared to live with, and could regret.” Her words, spoken quietly were so muffled she could barely hear them herself as she leaned into him, feeling the heat of his body, penetrating into her’s. Jennifer wanted to pull away, but couldn’t make herself do it.

The scent of his British Sterling cologne was intoxicating, his hands on her lower back, electrifying. Even as she said the words, “I think we should wait.” she knew he did not want to. She did not think she did either, anymore, as she allowed herself to be carried along, the pleasure, the blissful gratification, an ecstasy, she had never known before, and knew she could not stop. His kisses sent a wave of desire through her, gently at first like an incoming tide, then increasing with such intensity it was like the surf pounding against her groins, would not let her retreat. She succumbed to the moment, returning his kisses with the same intensity, and they forgot all else.

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On a personal note: My husband and I were just nineteen in 1966, got married and lived through that time. He was placed on exempt status from the draft so he could attend college in L.A., CA. Because, he attended four years of college, graduated, and the arrival of our first-born child in 1970, he never had to fight in that war, of which we are very thankful.

Joyce E. Johnson

Sunny Days


I can hardly wait

For bright sunny days to come

To plant my spring blooms

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Joyce E. Johnson

Where is SPRING?


Carved from wood, this bear

Stands draped in a shawl of snow

Waiting for the thaw

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Note:  The above photo is one of our bear that does sentry duty in our back yard.  But, sometimes the birds and squirrels  will use it as a perch.  🙂 After our big (12 in.) snow storm on Monday we thought it looked so funny with its large helmet of snow, yet the nose and mouth was so distinct. My husband, Wayne took the photo.  I thought it would be fun to do a haiku poem.

Joyce E. Johnson

QUIET HEROES

War memorials in Washington D.C. dedicated to those who fought in the Vietnam War.

War memorials in Washington D.C. dedicated to those who fought in the Vietnam War.

 

 

In April of 1998 my husband and I took a vacation trip back east to New England and states from Main down to Washington D.C. and Virginia. While visiting D.C. for the first time, we took in several tourist sights including the Arlington National Cemetery, and other war memorials  honoring soldiers and military who fought in our wars. I was so moved by the quiet, peaceful settings of the graves and memorials there. The above picture is one of the memorials there honoring those who died in Vietnam. The beautiful black granite Vietnam War memorial wall has over 58,000 +  names engraved into it of soldiers who died in just that war, alone. Many of the visitors take a piece of paper and lay it over the name inscription and with a pencil fill in that part where the name leaves an impression or mark on the paper, an emotional experience for those who have lost a loved one in that war.  The sculptures and monuments of soldiers from all the wars were equally impressive  honoring quiet heroes who fought in those wars. Arlington National Cemetery, also a quiet, serene setting with beautifully landscaped grounds is covered with the graves of soldiers who served and gave their lives for our country. As the anniversary nears of the fall of Saigon on April 30th I think of all those who gave their life for our freedom. They are gone, but not forgotten.

Below the picture is my first attempt at a haiku poem. I decided to use it this way with the protagonist character (Jennifer) whom I created for my recent Historical Fiction story, When Dark Closes In.

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A deep impression —

His name engraved on the wall

Her eyes filled with tears.

___________________

Joyce E. Johnson

Photo credits: Joyce E. Johnson

THROUGH THE NAKED EYE

3-15-2013, mountains, RMNP 0013-15-2013, mountains, RMNP 0033-15-2013, mountains, RMNP 006

3-15-2013, mountains, RMNP 0073-15-2013, mountains, RMNP 0083-15-2013, mountains, RMNP 009

3-15-2013, mountains, RMNP 0113-15-2013, mountains, RMNP 0133-15-2013, mountains, RMNP 014

3-15-2013, mountains, RMNP 015

THROUGH THE NAKED EYE

With careful steps I place my feet

between large boulders that hug the ground

and rocky mounds of prickly scrub,

and listen with earnest ears the sound

of raptors large that soar in flight

to peaks: their summits reach the  skies

 far beyond my naked sight.

Where is one greater, a scene to view

a mountain sought, on land or sea

where one’s eyes can travel to

 these lofty, high majestic heights

for the traveler passing through?

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Poem by: Joyce E. Johnson – 2013

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