Thursday, September 19, 2013


The other night on my way home from work sometime around 3:30 am, the highway was unusually quiet and void of cars. It gave the night an eerie air. My mind loves it when I am alone on the freeway, and I was amusing my self with thoughts of, what if...

What if they closed the freeway and the bridge is out ahead...

What if I am the only one left on the planet...

What if I see a hand in the road, will I stop?...

You know the stuff your mind barfs up to keep you awake.

After 15 miles of nothingness I saw flairs ahead.

What if its a trap to get you to pull over?...

I moved over and slowed down. Now awake and curious. I passed the state trouper at a near crawl....because there was a mini-van laying on it side straddling the center line of the highway.

There was a trouper crouched down peering in the window with a flash light. I drove off the road and passed the vehicle. All the while playing detective.

There were no skid marks, there was no broken glass, no car parts scattered about, no apparent damage to the vehicle, no smoke or steam, no spinning tires. Nothing. It looked as if someone had just gently laid this van on its side, on the freeway.

If the police hadn't had their flairs set up odds are I wouldn't have seen the underside of the van until it would have been too late, and with it on the center line, would have hit it. The location was in a curve.

After prayers for the safety of the occupants, my mind chewed on the images.

what if...

While there is not complete story to be had from the data...I had gleaned enough to plunk a chunk of images into my writers compost pile. That place I toss scraps and interesting tidbits to rot and ferment until I need to use them in a story.

This is what I wrote and deposited in my mind:

....Tired, so tired...each exhale nodding my head lower and lower. Each blink heavier and heavier. Head lights reflecting the fain hint of misty rain as they slice through the blackness. The repetitious lulling sway of the curvy road dulling my exhausted mind even further.

The shadow arched up from the road and congeals into the shape of a man so fast it stopped my heart. My hands claw frantically at the wheel pulling it to the right. The world slows as the wheels leave the highway and the car tips.

Its hangs for an eternity

the pavement reaches for me and punches the window in. I feel the wet damp coldness touch my skin. The seat belt snatches me back with a powerful jerk.

Metal screams as we slide to a halt.

I go to open my eyes and find they are already wide open.

Silence. Save for this sound coming from within my soul. The sound adrenaline makes when it contacts the air. The same sound a soul makes as it slips from its tangible form.

The car and gravity play tug-a-war with my body. At last air forces its way in and expands my lungs. I don't fight it and ride the waves of deep breaths till at last my chest calms.

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

oh what the heck...

As long as I am confessing is another tidbit about me.

I have swung a pick-ax into another persons skull.


I can tell you exactly the sensation that vibrates back up the wooden handle of a pick-ax as the heavy steel collides with a human skull.

We used to do an exercise in writing class. The idea was to write an opening sentence that made the class HAVE to ask more. If no one asked for further explanation, you failed.

I never failed.

Mostly because I have lived a very exciting life for someone who is such a recluse.

We had a huge plot of land that we called the dirt pile. Our parents let us dig to our hearts content in it. I was breaking off dirt clods with the pick-ax. I was preparing the ammo for yet another dirt clod war with my older siblings.

One of my younger brothers wandered out to watch. I warned him to stay back, and kept working.

With a mighty swing I swung the pick-ax over my shoulder and WHAM...right into my brothers skull.

The sensation even to this day, is like nothing I have ever felt before or after. Almost a hum that transmitted through the metal and wood and right up my arms.

That is what made to stop and look behind me, just in time to see my brother keel backwards into the dirt.

There was no blood and it took a second for me to see where he had been hit. Right in this eye brow.

I left him and went screaming for our mother.


You don't think I'm gunna fess up to nearly cleaving in my bro's skull do you? Not a chance. Not a chance.

By the time she got out there it was bleeding and she whisked him off to the ER for stitches.

I put away all the tools, cleaned the yard, and the house and emptied the dishwasher AND folded all the laundry while they were gone. My alibi was iron clad as long as my bro didn't squeal on me.

Apparently getting gorked in the head with a pick-ax will give you amnesia, because he never said a word. And the event went down in history as the version I fabricated.

Which is good because if my mama had known the truth, I would probably still be grounded.

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Confession: I am a killer.

There he laid before me, with deep red arterial blood spewing from his grotesquely twisted neck, and a surprised 'oh shiiiiit' expression on his face.

I was suddenly conscious of the weapon in my hand, I dropped it like a hot poker.

I had never killed a man before.

I was expecting to feel different...this didn't feel wrong. This felt ....strangely exhilarating. I glanced around to see if there were any witnesses.

No one.

I just killed a man, and no one knows it. I felt my face tugging at my mouth as a smile slowly crept across it.

I wonder they put 10 year olds in jail?

I have been a killer since I was very young. I have gotten away with all my murders too. Even though countless people have seen the carnage, and one even told me..."Your quite talented" as he surveyed the pile of corpses I left like stacked wood on his desk.

I'm a writer. I have the divine power within to create life, manipulate it and call an end to it with a stroke of my pencil, or click of my keys.

I can conjure up entire worlds and fill in the faces. I can create life where there was none a second ago.

I am not a benevolent god to those who I create. They must dance to my tune or be deleted.

Though... I have had a few creations who wrestled with me and refused to die when I commanded it. A few brazen souls who I find time and time again clinging to the sides of my writers pail. I scoop them out and they dance as my fingers fly over the keys.

I wonder if they are merely my reflection in the water in my writers pail.

About a year ago I tossed my novel The Children of Starr out.

All of it, save for the drawings and some scattered pages that were not in the box.

I started writing TCoS in 1975, when I was 9. Killed the first character when I was 10.

This novel was my therapy tool. I am not kidding when I say it kept me alive. I actively wrote on it till I was in my late 20's.

Here I am when I had completed the year 2075 "The cracker war". 

This is in the mid 80's. I felt the need to pose for this "mug" shot. This young woman just got away with murder.

 TCoS was written day by day. As in each and every day of the time frame is documented.

Each of those three note books is the complete day by day description of the characters for the year 2075. Where the big city has attacked the inhabitants of the Wild Area. Its a blood war with lots of casualties.

When I tossed my novel in the trash I graduated to a whole new level...I had now committed genocide. and worse then that ....i destroyed evidence.

What a power.

The ability to create a character and make them sentient...then choose their life outcome for them. All while the rest of the world sees you as a well adjusted person, never realizing the darkness inside your imagination.

A friend once recommended a Steven King book for me, telling me it was the scariest thing she had ever read.

I love a good scary read, so I jumped in.

bah, not scary at all.

He was writing about being a writer...about that well we all dip our buckets into.

To a non-writer it must have seemed scary and frightening. me a was just, the normal everyday in my head.

Sometimes when I walk by mirrors and I catch a glimpse of me, my writer's mind will whisper, she doesn't look like a killer. 

Oh, make no mistake. I most definitely am.

Friday, September 13, 2013

The swings

I wearily plop down in the shade of one of the park's trees and rest my head on it's gnarled roots. Near toxic stress levels had brought me to my favorite sanctuary: outside. Nothing slows me down like watching trees grow. I feel the tight stranglehold of tension let go as my body melts into the cool grass. In just a few minutes the wind lulls me to sleep as it whispers through the leaves.

HHee...aaHH - HHee...aaHH ... HHee...aaHH -HHee...aaHH!

The rhythmic metallic braying rouses me from my nap on the grass and lures me to the playground.


A half tanned boy in baggy yellow shorts is putting forth a tremendous effort on the old swings. The metal casing, which loops around the steel frame anchoring the chains to the bar, squeals as he flies with determination to get to some unreachable destination.

HHee...aaHH! He bails out and stumbles in the the gravel for a moment before bolting off to give the merry-go-round a dizzying spin.

Sitting on the far swing is a young girl watching the boy with an angry pout face. She limply drags her bare feet in the dusty trenches scrapped in the ground. I sidle up to one of the empty swings and take the smooth black seat in my hands and jangle the chains to catch her attention.

"I once tried to swing over the bar" I quietly confess and without waiting for her response heave the swing in a wobbly 360 degree spin around the bar.

With her mouth frozen in an "O", her eyes never leave the the swing and its phantom rider.

I begin to push her and once she is flying fast enough I give her an underdog and plop into the adjacent swing to catch my breath.

"Didja make it?" She asks as she whizzes past me.

The memory makes me laugh out loud. I had been seven when my older brother had had shown me that flung hard enough an empty swing would go around the bar. It had been that summer I set about to swing over the bar. I had vigorously trained for days. Spending all my free time at Lawnridge park glued to the swings. I ignored countless wails from the other kids who complained that I should get off and give them a turn.

Then came the infamous day of the attempt.

I had felt the chains slacken momentary as I lunged forward and then the with a teeth clenching jar catch as I was retrieved from the clutches of the sky and pulled back. I reclined my body and pumped my blackberry stained legs. Then for just a second my line of vision cleared the top of the swing set. As I swung down I saw the ground rush up...I saw the grass blur into the blue of the sky, this was it I was going over!

Then with a jerk I was catapulted from the swing and sent flailing through the air...I saw sky, I saw grass, I saw STARS as I tumbled down the west hill of the park. Hawthorne street caught me in its gutter and halted my descent.

An avalanche of screaming children rumbled down after me. As they gawked at me I looked to my sister for an evaluation of my condition. Surely she would have paused to collect any of my limbs that may have been ripped from their sockets. She was already sprinting back up the hill calling dibs on my vacant swing.

"Did...did" I croaked. "I go over?"

"Hell yes!" one of the neighbor kids excitedly screamed, "Head OVER heals!"

They broke up and followed after my sister.



The wind on my face rouses me from the past as the swing transports me into a new reality. I close my eyes and fling my head back till my hair sweeps the ground. The pitch and sway numbs my inner ear and I loose all sense of direction.

...I let the swing toss me out. My legs feel awkward and gawky like a new foal as I struggle for my footing. My new friend parachutes through the air and lands next to me. I take her hand and we skip over to join the boy on the merry-go-round.

As I lay with them on the hot grittle surface, watching the sky wheel like a kaleidoscope, I feel the last of my stress dissipate. Playground are so much cheaper than therapy.

(c) P Russell 4-24-2000

home town pictures

Well now unless there is another picture of the maze are Riverside park with someone at the top, I get to claim "king of the mountain" for all eternity!!

All skate the all skate direction!

Boatnic parade, even with living in GP all my life I only manage to walk in it twice...err skate in it twice. Ogwie the octopus, my invention, the fastest thing on 32 wheels!

Lived here in the summer...used to HATE that 15 min rest break in the middle of the afternoon to let the "water settle." And to all those who used to call me fat, I would like to retroactively go back in time and slap the Sheet-outta-you!

Ha! holding my nose like a goober! I can still hear that sound the boards would make as you got them bouncing.

Lived on this street, you can see Beacon Hill in the background, without any rocks on it. I would like to thank the city of GP for placing those red/white stickers on the stop sign second grade before they did that I froze my tongue to this very pole licking the icy crystals off of it LOL!!

Gilbert Creek and the cub scouts! We called this bend "the fish hatchery" Behind those vines on the other shore are some caves we dug but don't tell my mother that.

Monday, September 9, 2013

Crick Indian update

Circa September 2013

In clear defiance of their reservation being declared off limits by the Department of Fish and Wildlife the elders of the Gilbert Crick Indians tribe have resurfaced. It appears they have intentions of reclaiming their home land.

Law enforcement responded and were reportedly: "Viciously scratched by blackberry vine traps" and pelted with "waterskippers."

The leader of them appears to be one P, AKA She-who-pees-in-the-bushes. 

Eyewitness accounts report: "She is awfully damn fast for an old fat woman." 

All afternoon City officials have been getting reports of children coming home with soaked shoes, sandy socks and smiles on their faces.

Sunday, September 1, 2013

Crick Indian

I am a crick indeean. I am ate yers old...

That is how I started my fourth grade autobiography. Scarcely was the rough draft in teachers hands when I saw her reach for her red pen. From my desk in the third row I watched the violent slashing movements of her hand counter the disappointed swings of her head as she corrected my paper. She stopped at the bottom of the first page and closed her eyes as if the devastation was too great. She looked up over the arches of her red glasses and found me staring at her. Slowly she shook her head and beckoned to me with her finger.

"I want you to take this to the resource-room and rewrite it. Be more specific, use adjectives..." she rolled her eyes as if it was a loosing battle, "and check your spelling."

I took the paper from her and quietly retreated.

"P..." she called after me "Your brother has blond hair and green eyes, how can he be a Creek Indian?"

I shyly chewed on my lower lip while I twisted my ankle around in half circles. "I didn't say he was."

I slunk from the class room and set about rewriting my life, or at least spelling it correctly. As usual I got only three sentances corrected before my mind wandered.

I am a Crick Indian. I am eight years old. I was born on the kitchen table...

More correctly, I am a Gilbert Crick Indian...

....My feet pound an ancient rhythm in the dry powdery field dirt as I gallop my wind stallion down the treacherous paths that run parallel to Gilbert Creek. My pale skin has long since returned to its sun dyed golden hue. The late blooming honey suckles scent the thick hot summer air. The icy water jostles past worn stones as crawdads retreat under clumps of slimy alien plant life. I fly past Clay Mine...beyond the Sticker Fort, over Bottle Mine...I charge past the ruins of a white mans settlement...near the cement pillars I fling myself from the bank and arch over the flowing water. Short of my target, I plunge into the creek. Laughing I toss my uncombed dark mane and prance noisily up stream. Through the holes in my tennis shoes, gritty creek sand invades. I stop only long enough to abandon them on the bank. There soles will dry and contort in the late sun.

My brothers in their blackberry war paint, swing in the trees over head, pelting the neighboring tribe with hard green apples. Around my brier scratched ankles the cohorting water is suddenly tainted with swirling smoke signals of silt. I freeze...tense...sniff the air and snort. I acknowledge my sisters message with a high whinny.

My response filters through the lush green canopy as it casts long shadows across the creek. It is time. I will journey upstream past the fish dam, beyond the Stairwell of No Steps, through Web Alley to join my sister. We will spend till dusk setting up camp in the abandoned sub-station at the base of Manzanita hill as we await the return of the war party....this time, this place...oh how I live for this narrow reservation of flowing water...

I am a Crick Indian. I am eight years old. I was born on the kitchen table in Grants Pass. My family lives on Hawthorne steet. I like to play in the crick behind my house. it is a neat place. The water is cold.

There are no adjectives in my vocabulary grand enough to describe this pocket of delicious magical wonder. At least not yet. This does not daunt the budding author in me.

I like to play in the wet crick behind my house. it is a really neat place.

I chew enthusiastically on my dusty eraser as I wrote passionately about the environment that defined my existence. Certainly the pull of my words would sweep her into the mystical aura of the creek. I could make her understand.

The water is cold. Thay are krawdads. We build forts in the gras. I drink frum the crick...

Two days later, eager to see her reaction, I twist excitedly in my seat as she bobbed up and down the rows of students returning our autobiographies. She stopped and deposited my paper on my desk. I stared in quiet horror at the giant NEEDS IMPROVEMENT scrawled in red ink. Every crick was lined out and crowned with CREEK. She was telling me my life was unsatisfactory.

"P surely you know how to spell creek." was all she said before continuing on.

She did not understand. I am a Crick Indian. English is not my native language.

*   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *
Circa March1997

I am thirty-one years old. I was born on the kitchen table in Grants Pass. My spelling has only improved slightly. I live by Sand Creek now. Last week I brought my children into town and stood with them on the spot where Gilbert Creek flows under Manzanita. I touch the bars that are meant to keep us out, and the creek safe. A young boy skids his bicycle to a stop behind us and tells us that he was told the police would be called if anyone is seen in the creek. He joins our queue and wistfully stares at the water.

It makes my heart ache. To protect the creek we are depriving generations of Crick Indians. I feel this crushing weight in my chest. Tears form, but not for me,. I have my memories, but for the children who have none.

The wind impatiently nudges me and beckons me to play. I whinny skips across the stones and vanishes with the creek into the mouth of Web Alley. There is no response. My language is no longer spoken. Suddenly the bicycle boy throws back his head and howls. My children join him. We laugh until we are reduced to a pile on the ground. I put arms around the shoulders of these kids and hold them tight. In silence we sit and watch the water pass.

The rush of the water clears my head. I close my eyes and I am once again ate yers old...I will always be connected to this place. There are no fences and no bars that can stop my spirit from wandering the trails that meander along side Gilbert Creek. There are no rules or police that can stop me from wading through the memories that dwell in my mind.

Teacher was wrong.

My life did not NEED IMPROVEMENT.

Hers did.