Wednesday, November 2, 2016

IN THE MIST is Live and Broadcasting on the Internet!

It was really a terrific honor to have Saffia Widdershins of Prim Perfect Publications and Designing Worlds choose my 2013 story "In The Mist" to produce as their 2016 Halloween Special.  I had a terrific time working with DW Team.  Elrik Merlin (Richard Elen) did an outstanding job editing and mixing all the elements together.  What a magician!

Experience anew Daimhin's frantic, frustrated run away from the roguish James, and her near encounter with the dangerous Gray Man of the Mists with text updated specifically fort his production.  The episode features narration by myself, Corwyn Allen, Saffia Widdershins, and Elrik Merlin who does a fantastic job voicing the ethereal Far Liath. 

The gifted Wildstar Beaumont provides still shots interspersed with narration footage shot at some dazzling and atmospheric settings in Second Life ©,  


"In The Mist" is part of A Trio of Irish Tales, Volume I. The characters of Daimhin and Patrick Flynn are continued in A Trio of Irish Tales II. Both are available in Kindle and Paperback through Amazon.  They make great gifts - I'm just sayin'!



Saturday, October 22, 2016

Ever Been UNDER SUSPICION?

The Spanish Inquisition  - from Wikimedia Commons
Under Suspicion
by Judith Cullen
© 2016

If you have not been, you do not understand.  If you have not been stopped by the police, or called in for questioning, or any of the other degrees of being suspected of committing a crime, you have no idea what this process is like and what it does to you.  You have no idea what it is like to know that you are innocent, and be in the power of people who believe fervently that you are not.  We are all raised on the notion that every citizens is innocent until proven guilty.  It probably seems simple to you.  If you are innocent, you have nothing to worry about.  Think again.

In reading the account in the Boston Globe, and artist SteveLocke's own account of being stopped by the police ("I Fit the Description", Dec 5, 2015) last year on his way to work at the Massachusetts College of Art and Design where he is on the faculty, I was reminded that "innocent until proven guilty" is a figure of law in America, not a figure of practice.  It is something lawyers remind citizens during voir dire, something that judges remind seated juries.  It is not something that happens on the streets in the midst of a crime investigation.  I am sorry to disillusion you. It does not matter who you are, being a suspect messes with your head.

Thursday, September 29, 2016

BACK TO SCHOOL: An adventure both new, and familiar

There are certain things I always associate with "back-to-school."  Even in the weeks before the official turn of the season, the air begins to crisp, the trees display colorful intent, and the world begins to taste different - spiced with cinnamon, nutmeg, and just a touch of clove. I love this change equally to its spring counterpart.  I know it is more than a little trite but, seriously, it always brings to sensory memory the smell of new leather shoes, the perfection of a fresh box of crayons, and the pride of this year's sparkling lunchbox.

The last time I was actually going back-to-school was decades ago.  Yes, life itself is one big classroom, and learning is a constant. I will not deny that philosophy.  But there are certain rituals associated with back-to-school, and I find I am engaging in them in a new way this year as I prepare to add to my weekly schedule auditing a college class online through the University of Washington iSchool.

Saturday, September 3, 2016

A NEW REFLECTION: "To Fu, or Not Tofu?"

"Tofu With Soy Sauce And Carrot" by Chris 73
(see end of post for full attribution)
To Fu, or Not Tofu?
by Judith Cullen
© 2016

As time passes, our relationships change.  I cherish memories of the righteous freedom of my child and young adulthood, when my head was still filled with questions of "how" and "why" instead of bearing the time-inflicted patina of doubt. Yet, every now and again I surprise myself. I find myself embracing something new in a new way, and I feel that young excitement again.  Today it was tofu.

I was introduced to the curd in the 1970s. Back in those times buying lettuce in the produce section, a single side of an aisle and not even a full one, meant purchasing the sphere of green known as iceberg.  There were no other options.  Since there were Caesar Salads there had to have been romaine, and I am sure there were gardens bountiful with green leaf varietals, and red.  They might have even existed in my little fenced-yard of the world.  I just didn't know about them. They were not a part of my formative gastronomic experiences.

Sunday, August 7, 2016

PROCTOR ARTSFEST 2016 - Art Inspired Stories


Juried Art Show 2016
 Art-Inspired Stories Project 

This is the 20th Anniversary year of Proctor Arts Fest. This year's Juried Art Show and Art Inspired Stories Project are dedicated to the man who worked quietly behind the scenes for two decades, and whose vision of the arts in the Proctor District are reflected in the vibrancy of this annual celebration. 

  Thank you Gene Kester for your stewardship, your dedication, and your vision.




One Man's Garden
by Judith Cullen

To Gene Kester

The wise gardener knows the richness of inspired soil,
when to quench the eager thirsts of growth,
when to submit to the invigorating touch of the sun.

He toils compassionately among his rows, planting, tending,
a gentle influence over decades of potentialities.
The warm touch and twinkling presence is ever patient.

The vibrant mind, full of constant imaginative ideas,
always sees the garden in its fullest, most vibrant splendor
despite the cycling realities of decay and winter's rest.

His spade and trowel work on: encouraging, persuading,
gently assessing that which would remain in the safety of seed,
and seeks out just the right spot to plant for prosperity.

This man's garden shall never be fallow, fade or wither,
remaining a testament to one soul's stewardship and scope:
vivid color, dynamic shape reflecting the ardor of his vision

For he has planted to a design which conforms to the eternal,
and cherished it with the blessing of every God-given gift
that one hand, and one heart can hold in everlastingness.


**********

Pieces Selected for Presentation
Note: All Stories are © 2016 by Judith Cullen
Use of any of the photo images on this page without the express permission
of the individual artists is strictly prohibited

{LOCATED IN THE FOYER}

Aunt Ruthie
Image copyrighted by the Artist 
by Janette Stiles, Graphite on Paper

Is this really her?  The undulating gleam of calculated waves.  The precise manicure and intense perfection of rouge and liner.  Determined lips reflect a polished, fell sensuality belying the softness of fur.

I question what I remember - what I choose to remember: impossibly good cookies whose recipe was never revealed, dizzy songs sung in the car that can never be forgotten, secret assaults on household furnishings that I was sworn never to disclose to my Mother.

That is the aunt I remember. That is the complex formula of imperfections that branded me with its eternal acceptance, and unquestioned love.


Thursday, August 4, 2016

THE THIRD ANNIVERSARY of Art Inspired Stories

It is hard to imagine that Mr Gene Kester and I hatched this idea over coffees three-plus years ago for the 2014 Proctor Artsfest.  While never claiming it was an original idea, it has turned out to be a very enjoyable and fruitful one.  Not only have I done two ArtsFests, but I did another installment got the Peninsula Art Guild last fall, and the project has extended into the virtual world as well.


I'll be at the Juried Art Show at Mason UMC at 11:30am on Saturday with the third set of Art Inspired Stories for this year's Proctor ArtsFest.



I happily dedicate this post and this year's stories to Gene Kester: Thank you for always seeing the creative possibilities, and being the first to stand behind them!

I love doing these projects, and it is hard to choose individual favorites, but here are some highlights from the five Art Inspired Story Projects, real world and virtual, over the past three years.

Wednesday, July 27, 2016

WARMING UP for Art Inspired Stories: The Canvas of Childhood

It was a great morning to be out to breakfast.  Apparently I wasn't the only one to think so.  After placing my order, I began scribbling on my notepad in the usual hope that something will spark my interest or imagination.

One full page of drivel later (and a lot of frustrated page slashes), a family of four walked in complete with sparkly birthday hats and a cluster of balloons clutched in the hands of the birthday boy. The parents waved at me as I took a snapshot of them.  It made me think about what an open canvas childhood is, and how experiences big and small paint themselves on that canvas in hues that set the tone for the rest of life.  They can't be primed over or sanded away.

My 85 year old Mother tells stories all the time.  Almost all of them are about her childhood.  Very little is spoken of some 65 years in deference to fond recollections of the first 20.  It reminds me of the importance of that childhood canvas, and how the events and sensory input of those years are indelibly marked on the soul.

By the way, I gifted the young celebrant with a glass of chocolate milk, and when he left he was wearing TWO of the sparkly hats on his head.  I hear the chocolate milk is especially fine this season.


The Canvas of Childhood

by Judith Cullen
© 2016

Five balloons a float
each helium-filled token a year
excitement still fresh

Remembering times
of a world all bright and high
vibrant child essence

Remembering days
joy-infused with adventure
replete, repeat them

Remembering sense
sounds and smells of young living
surprises await

When decades have passed
indelibly imprinted
sounds, smells, colors, tastes

Five balloons a float
a special breakfast this day
seeds of memories


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More haiku, drabble and free-verse coming for this year's Proctor ArtsFest Art Inspired Stores Project, coming August 6th!