Searching for Stress Relief

There’s a sense of security that rhymes with nature.

It swims in saline sunsets, hunched in the burning shadows beneath the clouds.

There’s a peace just outside of anxiety. It’s rooted in the ground where my bare feet should press, warm and watery.

That’s not all. It’s far and brushes just the grasp of my fingertips. Clear and intangible; shafted light through the window.

Powerful, powerless. Can I surrender and have it?


Privateering, historical fiction, short story

Prompt from

Are you really a pirate if you’re knighted by the Queen?  For how could something condoned by government truly be illegal?  Drake leaned far over the railing reaching his into the shadowy greens that lay far beneath.  The sun skipped, flashing against the chopping waters, each reflection a cutting blade. He picked at the black splinters under his fingers.  “Enchanting enough?” He felt a clap to his shoulder, he looked up at the sun beat scraggly face, “The sea? Or your whiskey?” Drake bayed. The two men stared out towards the mischievous waters, the straights, and, what beyond them?  Immortality. 

That drain though…

I am in the early stages of pregnancy and entirely drained. It is amazing how quickly your body feels foreign once you conceive. I spend most of my days now on the couch, vomiting into a pan while my two year old marches around pounding her drum and announcing that she is going to smash the dog. Furthermore, everything smells, especially the drain in my kitchen…what is it? Can metal rot and also smell like old bananas? Perhaps, perhaps.

Credit: mcneela instruments

Quick Check-In (short story)

Dear Mrs. Parker,

    I just wanted to have a quick check-in in regards to Halloween.  As I am sure you are aware from my numerous emails and classroom visits, my family is non-denominational, non-secular, trans-political, agnostics.  This was a position that, I was under the impression, you Mrs. Parker respected. As you should well know, we chose this school specifically because of its righteous indignation and its firm yet nondescript commitment to image of equality.  Therefore Mrs. Parker, I was shocked and saddened to read your email expressing that the second grade class was “welcome to wear school appropriate costumes to class on Tuesday”. As non-denominational, non-secular, trans-political, feminist, environmentalist agnostics, we do not celebrate such europhilic holidays.  I try very hard to instill a sense of universal love and cultural understanding in my children. This, in fact, is why I make a point of physically touching people of color whenever I see them out and about. A practice which your school has somehow deemed against your code of conduct. Tell me Mrs. Parker, if my children don’t see me confidently stroking an elderly Latino man’s hair, how will they ever know that he is my exactly my equal or maybe in fact better than me, who am I to say?  That Middle Eastern woman trying to get her shopping done might be the president of her country. There’s simply no way of knowing! And if I don’t grab her by the shoulders and kiss her directly on the lips, how will she know that I’m not just another culturally inept Republican? Yet, you and your “school” insist on continuous ethnocentrism by celebrating holidays like Halloween and Arbor Day. Frankly, I feel like I am being profiled against. Not only are my children non-denominational, non-secular, trans-political, feminist, environmentalist, Angora, agnostics, but they are also gluten and dairy free.  Can you imagine how they will feel on Tuesday, when all of their friends come dressed in costumes which hideously degraded the medically un-livings while scarfing malt balls, while they only have homemade setan and their hemp clothing? Terrible. How am I supposed to teach my children tolerance when everyone keeps doing things I disagree with? As non-denominational, non-secular, feminist, trans-political, environmentalist, Angora, human centipede, agnostics, my family faces constant adversity. You are just another in a long line of people who hate us simply by virtue of the things we say and do. Therefore, I ask that none of the children celebrate the holiday either at school or at home.  This has been a horrible oversight down entirely to your personal negligence and it calls, I will be blunt, into question your intelligence and your fitness as a teacher. I expect such a mistake will not be made again.

Warmth and light,

      Cathy Whitecastle

Nearly 30 (word prompt)

Credit: New Yorker Cartoon

Nearly myself
Myself there, behind the glass.
Faced,  enticed, nearly free.
Clawing at the muzzle: nearly me
Cashed in desires for security 
Open again, trying again.
Slate gray among the green.
Another roll on worn out dice.
An opportunity to uncover 
Wholly me. 

Prompt from

Grandma Got my Baby a Barbie (short story, except)

… I think every young girl has a moment when they suddenly realize they actually hate Barbie.  It’s truly a watershed moment when a little girl finally stairs Barbie in her freakishly large yet undeniably sexy eyes and pops her head off.  My little girl isn’t there yet.  
       Grandma gave my little girl a Barbie,  completely unsolicited. It’s wearing a pink taffeta, fit and flare ball gown, adorned with metallic butterflies.  She’s painted up with blue eye shadow and equipped with what I would file under unnecessarily large tits. I knew the doll must have been antique by the Princess Diana style sleeves and the hair which, now I’m all in favor of women supporting women, but, girl’s hair was a mess.  It looked like Barbie had endured a few rough nights. I watched helpless as my daughter reached perfectly pudge hand towards Barbie plastic statuesque figure, sighing “Pretty”…