Category: CREATIVE WRITING

Death’s Breakdown at the Edge of the Universe

For the first time, Death realized she was done. Really. Out of work. No place to go. Nothing to do.

She called the Holy Spirit.

“Thank you for coming,” she told the Holy Spirit. “I’m not sure why I’m so sad. I hated my job of collecting souls.”

“Yeah. I’m sorry,” the Holy Spirit said as the universe spun around them and the nearest star blinked to remove an eyelash.

They stood quietly, with only the pulse of a long-lost Hubble Space Station struggling to find itself and sighing in the darkness. Death sat down and broke down. She hated to show her soft spots, even though the Holy Spirit knew her almost as well as she knew herself. He waited respectfully while she tried to get control again.

“What can I do?” the Holy Spirit asked, offering a handkerchief that appeared magically. He dabbed at Death’s beautiful eyes and noted that her makeup did not smear a smidge. Of course not because Death is a celestial being with all the powers, but no authority, and now, no job.

She said, “I don’t know if you can do anything. I think I’m on my own, as usual. I’ll figure out something.”

Indeed she does. Check out Kathryn Atkins’s novel Deathlist to find out what Death does. Here’s the Deathlist book trailer.

Exactly 23 Memories Before My Last One

Deathlist Book CoverExactly give or take 23 memories before the last memory I had, I was in a dark place like I imagine most people are before they are them. I do not remember the 24th memory because I wasn’t me yet, I don’t think.

When did I become Death? Was I dropped off a turnip truck? Borne in a bundle hanging from a black stork’s bill? Is there such a thing as a black stork? OR was I drug across the River Styx by a black swan? I like that a lot better, don’t you? What color was the river? Has anyone ever checked? Did it bleed red? Ooze brown? Stink of Hades? Have a burning oil slick slithering across it, an environmental insult to the underworld?

Someone dropped a match from nowhere I could see and flames covered the entire river from one end to the other. Yet the flames parted as the black swan and I floated through, for we did not burn, nor did his shiny black shell ever smell like burning pin feathers. That odor returns from another incarnation. Who was I then? Who were you?

I am Death. But I wasn’t always. Before humans, God did not need a reaper. Souls are unique to humans. I love animals as much as the next person, though I wonder at being a person. AM I? I would say yes. For a while I am. I was. But my memories are murky. What about you? What was your 23rd memory before the last you can dig from inside your honest self?

While you’re thinking, I will reiterate: I hate my job. Collecting souls? UGH. No wonder I quit.

 

Ms. Death Wears Chanel

The woman on the Paris runway during Fashion Week does not wear a black hood nor does she carry a scythe. She is not bent over in the crone position and does not have a warted, hooked nose. If you saw that kind of woman,  she might be selling poisoned apples to a hapless Snow White character, soon to be part of a group of weird short men with names like Sleepy, Dopey, Grumpy, and the rest.  (Can you name them?)

No. This woman is Death. A female princess of darkness as it were. She’s in Paris to strut her beauty and clear her name. Of the former, she might succeed. As to the latter, the chances of clearing her name are remote. But she will try in the novel Deathlist, by Kathryn Atkins.

“Hey, Coco,” the woman behind her in the lineup says as they begin their exit off the stage. Death’s name to the mortals around her is Coco. The woman continues, “Do you smell that?”

“What?” Oh. No. Death thinks to herself. My odor is seeping out. I forgot to hold it at bay and it is not Chanel No. 5!

You see, Death has a terrible smell (think rotting flesh) that always surrounds her unless she expends enough energy to suppress it. Sometimes she fails at it, especially when she’s concentrating on something else. Sometimes she’s just too sad. The odor seeps out of sad tears. Other times she’s happy, and the stench (incredibly enough) squeezes out through the tears of laughter. Nah. Doesn’t make much sense, except to say Death loves clothes. Loves to be beautiful, and really does like humans.

You’ll see. Read Deathlist to find out. And besides, you might like to know when you’re going to die. That is if you believe that there is a Deathlist. I think there is or I wouldn’t have written the book.

~ Kathryn Atkins,  Deathlist Author

 

 

What Would You Do if You Knew?

I sometimes wish I knew when I was going to die. I’d make different plans. Maybe I’d travel more, worry less. Why worry? What’s to worry about if something can’t kill you? Well, I have thought about that. Living in a mangled body would suck.

Severing one’s fear of death would take one thing off the list. Ha! I don’t worry about dying. I know that I will. Now I can know when. Ah, but the biggie is knowing how. Don’t know that yet. Maybe that’s for later science… hacking the “HOW” code, now that we’ve cracked the “WHEN” code. But does taking that ‘when’ question out of the equation help?

I wonder what a doctor would do for me if he or she knew I was going to die in two days? They certainly wouldn’t need to go to extremes to save my life. If saving my life wasn’t the goal, think of how much money I could save! The doctors would be much better off concentrating on making my last two days fun and restful rather than splitting me open and taking stuff out, to no avail. I’d prefer to be comfortable, thanks.

Meanwhile, what would I do if I knew I were going to die FOR SURE next Thursday? Hop a plane to Paris for three days. Then Venice. Yes. Venice. Florence? Why not? If I could squeeze it in.

That’s it for now. If my date to check out is not next Thursday, then I’ll stick around here for a while.

What about you? Where would YOU go?

What would you do if you knew?

Writer, Author, Published Author

As mere writers, the word “author”  puts fear in our hearts. As mere people, the word “writer” can put fear in our hearts, too.

“We have met the enemy and he is us.” ~ Walt Kelly

While the quote was taken from the comic strip “Pogo” and was designed to help promote environmental awareness on the first “Earth Day” in 1970, the quote is applicable to writers and, dare I say, any creative person. We are afraid of publishing our work. Publishing as in making it public. It’s scary! But why? Because. We. Can. Be. Rejected. We can fail! So of course, we are our own worst enemies. However, it is quintessentially for that reason that we must publish.

Learning is failing better. ~ Kathryn Atkins 🙂

I didn’t know how to author a book, so I wrote and published (10 Reasons to Hire a Professional Writer). Yes, I made a few tactical errors, but I learned so much! We are luImage_008cky to live in an age when we can publish our work without censor from a publishing industry that, while wonderful in its own way (thank you, publishing industry), has made the “author” word fearful. They also made publishing itself nearly impossible. Not so much now. We can author all sorts of stuff. But the coolest part is that we get to practice our art form (our writing) and eventually we can be a golly gosh darn gee published author! We learn every time we try and fail. If we don’t try, we don’t fail, and if we don’t fail, we don’t learn.

I like learning, failing, failing better, and learning more. It makes me better. Not perfect, but better. So, as Martha Stewart says, “And that’s a good thing.”

I love being a writer and love more being an author of two books now. (My second, big-girl book is Giving My Self to the Wind.) I hope you give your self [two words!] to the wind and publish something. Put on your big person panties, and author up. It’s worth it. Oh. . .  and let me know when you publish! Please.

I Had to Give God a Turn

Yikes! I’m in trouble again! God hasn’t been on the blog yet!

Here’s what he said,

Yes, Death… it’s about time!

So, I thought we had made a mistake, letting Death go to Earth. She had her work cut out for her. But we hoped she could save the people on the Earth. We enjoy humans a lot. They’re so entertaining! They mess up. But We gave people Free Will, and it’s fun to see what they do. Humans make wonderful things… like music and spaceships and all kinds of stuff. I sort of plan it, but it doesn’t always work.

The Deathlist was a big help to me. I didn’t have to keep everyone’s dates in my head. Births, deaths, and all the Smiths were difficult to keep apart. It’s hard to concentrate on my golf game with all the going on in my head. We thought Death would want her job back but she is pretty stubborn. I had a good time after all. It scared me when Death quit. Who would we get to do her job? Anyway, I’m glad Kathryn Atkins wrote the novel the Deathlist. As the Holy Spirit said, it gets boring up here in Heaven. We had a good time hanging out together in Kathryn’s book. 

See ya,

Signed GOD

Hope for Christmas 2021

‘Twas three weeks before Christmas and all through the towns.

People wore masks that covered their frowns.

The frowns had begun back in 2020 Spring,

When a global pandemic changed everything.

They called it Corona but unlike the beer,

It didn’t bring good times; it didn’t bring cheer.

 

Airplanes were grounded, travel was banned.

Borders were closed across air, sea, and land.

As the world entered lockdown, flattening Covid’s curve,

The economy caved, and folks lost their nerve.

Through spring 2020, we rode the first wave.

People stayed home and tried to behave.

When summer emerged, the lockdown was lifted.

But away from sanity, many folks had drifted.

Now it’s December 2021, and cases are spiking.

Omicron has arrived, much to our disliking.

The last two years have brought sadness aplenty.

We’ll never forget the year 2020.

 

Now we’re nearing another holiday season.

But why be merry? Is there even one reason?

To decorate the house and put up the tree?

Who will see it?  Maybe no one but me.

But outside our window, the rain gently falls

And I think to myself, “Let’s deck the halls!”

So, I gather red ribbons, garlands, and bows.

As I play those old carols, my happiness grows,

Christmas is not canceled and neither is hope,

If we lean on each other, I know we can cope!

Death on Earth

Death wakes up. Disoriented.

“Where am I?” she whispers to the cracked dingy walls.

From the open window, the aroma of freshly baked bread wafts in from the nearby bakeshop, followed immediately by stale urine odors rising from the alley three floors below. She stretches and then remembers. She’s no longer a female. She’s no longer a powerful part of the team in Heaven. And she is no longer Death. She’s a human on Earth, her body reeks of New York summer humid, and her mouth tastes the bitterness of her predicament.

Sitting up and running her palm across the scratchy morning chin stubble, she says for the millionth time, “Why did I ever let the Trinity talk me into this?”

Deathlist!!!???!!!

What is this thing?

Are we talking a hit list? Is this a book put out by the bad guys? Is the list before or after the fact?

Did some newspaper reporter unearth a hidden file or did a hacker get access to this “Deathlist” by accident (or on purpose)?

Nope.

Actually, it’s God’s list! He uses it to keep track of when everyone is born and when they will die. We think our deaths are random because we don’t know when we’ll die. But of course, God does. And okay, we know He’s omniscient, but He’s plain tired as heck of keeping all this “stuff” in His head. Besides, He’d rather play golf any day of the week. And He plays a lot of golf.

 

You’re in for a treat. Because the novel Deathlist by Kathryn Atkins challenges humans’ thinking about death, and therefore life, but also we get to see how God and the other two parts of the Trinity spend their time. We find out Jesus likes to ride mountain bikes, and the Holy Spirit loves to wear designer clothes. All three of them like to play golf. As do I.

There’s more to the Deathlist, of course, but we can’t tell you everything, or you wouldn’t have to read the book. And speaking of which, the book Deathlist is due out in early 2022.

  See ya.

~ Death

The Holy Spirit?

Hey guys–

The Holy Spirit asked if He could get on our blog. Why would I say no?? He was such a big help to me in fighting the devil.

Here’s what he says:

“I’m not sure how I got drug into this novel, but it’s been a hoot! I’ve gotten to wear some hip clothes, play lots of golf, and drink and smoke. On the other hand, I also had an opportunity to help an Earthling, Ariadne, and help Death as she tried to save humans from the stupid devil. I’m not sure how We let someone like him survive all these years, but We did. 

What’s been the most fun? Being able to go back and forth between Heaven and Earth, and in all honesty, not being so bored. We don’t have much going on up here in Heaven. When Arnold Palmer’s spirit gets a hole in one, we all cheer and get extra drinks. Sometimes, God gets a bee in his bonnet and starts a new hobby. We just have to grit our teeth and live through it. Jesus changes his shoes a lot. One day, he’s riding his mountain bike, the next he’s at the bowling alley. We all play golf, so that’s another pair of shoes for Him, of course.

The cool thing: we all have Free Will. You, me, Death, Ariadne, and the devil, unfortunately. But without Free Will, we’d be REALLY bored. Anyway, as I said, I’ve had a good time and I hope you read Kathryn’s book, Deathlist. 

Over and out…

Signed,

H.S.