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Month: April 2014

Alfred, the Ghost – a Guest Blog by Patty Joslyn

Alfred, the Ghost – a Guest Blog by Patty Joslyn

As a poet, Back CameraI have ghost stories and I have GHOST Stories. For now, I will share the tale of the ghost of the Point Cabrillo Lighthouse. He needs a name. How about Alfred. I have a friend who lives in Negril, Jamaica. His hair is so thin you can see right through it. His name is Alfred.

Recently, I spent two nights at the lighthouse with three other women. It was pegged as a time to get lots of writing (and eating) done. The weather was cool and though it never rained, it threatened each day. The gray sky turned a shade of light purple a time or two, and then it went to dark. It was excellent for being inside and taking walks long enough to get your shoes and socks wet.

One of the ladies, after a wonderful dinner of leek soup, vegan macaroni and cheese and varied conversation, told us she did not believe in ghosts. I was amazed, truly amazed. What was she talking about? I guessed she also didn’t believe in the Tooth Fairy? What about Rudolph, the Red-nosed Reindeer? Because I did and do believe in ghosts, fairies and myths. I sadly shook my head. She looked at me like she wanted to say something, excused herself and mumbled something about being in the middle of editing Chapter 18 of her book.  I ran my fingers over the gluten-free bread crumbs that had fallen to the table, all that was left of the mac and cheese.

That night I woke up with the distinct weight of someone beside me. It was a man. A heavy, quite large man. A snoring man. He had stolen some of the bed covers. I hoped that my husband had surprised me. But he was not invited, it was a woman’s weekend. I reached over to ask the snorer to roll over. I then had a better idea. I suggested he move on, into Norma’s room. She didn’t believe in ghosts, surely she would not mind.

Alfred left as soundlessly as he had arrived. The bed was warmer on that side, I rolled over and fell into a sweet deep sleep.

I woke early. I was the first one downstairs the next morning. Making myself a cup of tea I was startled to hear someone on the creaky stairs. In a house built in 1909 things creak and groan. Someone was making their way down in the weak morning, light. It was Norma. She looked exhausted.

“You will never believe this,” she said. “I woke up to the sound of water running, I’m sure I shut off the faucet after brushing my teeth last night and yet it was more than dripping, it was running. When I got up to shut if off I thought and felt that I wasn’t alone.” I hid my chuckle in my steam of peppermint.

“I was afraid to look up into the mirror” she appeared stunned with herself, with the possibilities of having encountered a ghost.

I told her about the heaviness in my bed, about  how the man I named Alfred warmed my bed and I didn’t think she’d mind the same loving kindness. Again, she looked at me with wide eyes and a slight shake of her head. She mentioned a new chapter, the editing that had to be done. When she left, I made another cup of tea, placed it in the windowsill to steep, hoping Alfred would know it was for him.

Patty Joslyn moved back to Mendocino County in 2012 from Vermont where she worked in End-Of-Life Care, she is fascinated by death, as she is with birth–as passages into new realms. A writer, she has been published in El Calendario de Todos Santos,, VOYA, several anthologies and has been a guest reader at many events. Patty has seven self-published chapbooks. She and her husband share four wonderful children. Patty still has not fully recovered from her empty nest syndrome.

Five Reasons Why Fifty Shades of Grey Will Never Be My Thing

Five Reasons Why Fifty Shades of Grey Will Never Be My Thing

01c83602e689905a6439a1c6346d4266With the release of the movie, Fifty Shades of Gray, upon us, I thought I’d repost a blog that explains why I will never be a fan of the book series or sit through the movie.

1. Set in Bellevue, Washington, the setting and its people do not inspire anything to moisten, except maybe the pre-glued lip of a manila envelope. Sorry, Fifty Shades of Grey, I’m not buying it. Bellevue, Washington is about as sexy as plain tofu. Who could equate creative, raw and unleashed sex with this button-down, blue-shirt clad, Microsoft haven? From their obsession with The Black Keys to their singular pursuit of creating the perfect refurbishment of the Vanagons parked in their suburban garages,  the people locals refer to as ‘Softies’ could never be described as sexy.

Now, set the series in San Francisco and I’d believe you.

2. I’m not a fan of masturbation, so what’s the point? It might stem from my own sexual hangups formed as the child of an ousted Catholic mother determined to never have a pregnant daughter, I admit, this one’s all on me. I do know that my Women’s Studies class at UW didn’t help matters.

This was before the class title changed to Wymyn’s Studies, which might relate to the hymen I suppose, but would be better titled, “Why Men Are Scum.” We signed up for the class, my bestie and I, with two guy friends who thought it was a great way to meet chicks (or chyx?) and knock out five easy credits. Yeah, right.

From that first day in lecture hall, our guy friends came under the hostile gaze of the wymen in class throughout the hour. Every reference to ‘male priviledge’ made them sink lower in their seats. With that first class nearly over, the professor announced the homework. We were to write our names on our dildos in Sharpie pen. If we didn’t yet own a dildo, we were to purchase one, along with said Sharpie. I didn’t even know the word, ‘dildo’ until that moment, so I was a candidate for option two – purchasing a plastic wonder wand. Problem was, it would never stir anything but confusion in me because after that class my dildo would be sporting a condom made up of man hate and wymen’s pride; the sure makings of icy loins.

So, no dildo, no point. Sorry, Fifty Shades.

3. Public sex = Ick. The thought of public sex makes me wildly uncomfortable. As a teen, I used to run along the Columbia River after school, usually accompanied by my stepdad, Mike. One day, Mike bailed on me so he could get caught up on back episodes of All My Children, so I ran alone. Thank you, Lord.

As I neared the entrance to the trail, I noticed a shiny sedan bouncing up and down. It was a sunny afternoon and my first thought was that a dog was locked inside the car and was fighting to suck in enough cool air from the cracked window to live. I approached, peeked in the window and saw a chubby white butt bobbing up and down. I must’ve gasped, because the next thing I saw were two sweaty pink faces gaping back at me. I ran home and told Mike what he’d missed while watching AMC. Public sex. Ick. Sorry, Fifty Shades. I assume you don’t just contain condo sex, but public sex as well. And that makes me barf a little in my mouth. (what the kids these days refer to as a ‘vurp’)

4. My own failed attempt at PDA (public displays of affection) put me off Fifty Shades. Not sex, no. But, heavy kissing with a boy I’d been dating for some time. His name was, well, that’s none of your business, but he was beautiful and delicious and shy. Oh God! He was shy. He’d been my friend for ages and then sometime during high school we decided to be a couple. He was the star of the basketball team, and gorgeous, and oh so shy.

On a Sunday, God’s day, I invited him to my house under the guise of studying. Within minutes of walking in the door, I lured him down to the basement to watch football and “study.” Instead of falling all over me in the gaps between my mother’s trips to the laundry room, he read. He wrote on lined-paper. He studied.

I pinched my cheeks, pushed up my bra and licked my oh-so-willing-lips, but nothing. He studied.

Fast-forward to the summer. He came over to walk the river trail with me. I wore a cute swimming suit and teensie tennis skirt and we walked together, hand in hand. We spread our beach towels out on the dock and kissed. Oh, dear heavens, we kissed – physical, hot, lustful kisses and then there was an “Ahem!” We split apart and stared at a purse-lipped old lady.  She explained (as I shuffled my bathing suit back into place) that this was her dock. And we should take whatever this was leading up to far, far away from her respectable dock.

I can’t speak for him, but at that moment, all my lust spontaneously combusted, as did all hope for our budding relationship.

PDAs? Nope. Fifty Shade’s not for me. I’d squirm my way through the pages, in a bad way.

5.  My first, and only, exposure to porn was a fat failure. I’ll never try again, which means definitely no Fifty Shades.

It was the summer after my first year at UW. Me and my bestie traveled to Spokane to visit two of our best guy friends. It’d been revealed at the end of spring term that we’d never seen porn and they felt it was their duty to expose us to this life-changing media. (their words – not mine) Well, we didn’t care one way or the other, but it became the thing that our whole trip centered around. The boys had done research at numerous adult video shops and selected an award-winning (Yes! An award!) video. They rented it, we ate dinner and they popped in the VCR.

My bestie and I giggled our way through the opening scene. A woman’s television was broken. Oh no! She called a repair guy and he came over, tight shirt, tight pants and toolbelt. Well, while he was trying to repair the t.v., the woman unbuttoned her shirt, rubbed her boob, rubbed the other boob and then the movie faded out to nothing. We were in hysterics, laughing and rolling on the floor. THIS was the magical world we’d missed out on? Really?

On the other side of the room, sitting under a cloud of bitter, were our two guy friends. They were yelling at one another, “You just HAD to get an award-winner!” Etc. Etc. Etc.

Apparently, this was not typical porn. They were pissed that they’d completely blown their one and only chance to deflower two mostly innocent girls with the world of X-rated vids.

Porn, you and I were never meant to be. Sorry, Fifty Shades. I’ll never know if your best chapters fade out to nothing or thunder to a conclusion of  loud groans and noisy slaps.


If you’re in the mood for a more cerebral read, check out my novel – filled with friendship, mystery and psychological thrills, Four Rubbings.

Just Not the Dirty