Still Life with Acorn


a small bunch of oak leaves and acorns

Acorn from the neighbor’s tree, ©2022 Karen Fayeth

It’s one of those Bay Area days where the so-called Marine Layer is in and it’s clinging to the treetops. Not quite fog, not quite overcast. Just dark gray and low, kind of like my mood.

I’ve no reason to be glum, but I have to admit on an overcast day, it’s kind of hard to be chipper. There are certain people who get energy from the gray skies. As a sun loving New Mexican, that ain’t me.

But overcast skies do make for lovely photography. Thanks to the generous overhang of our neighbor’s oak tree, we have a plethora of acorns littering our yard. They plink off the eaves and bounce heavily on the rooftop. Our local squirrels are shoving them in every corner and crevice and I swear we’re going to have an explosion of oak trees in our yard next year.

I do enjoy the squirrelly surreptitious dig-dig-dig, bury, pat-pat-pat, look around to be sure the pesky crows and scrub jays didn’t see, dash off routine happening outside my office window right now.

I went outside to clear my head a bit and found the lovely little still life you see at the top of this post. Easy snap, full of a feeling of memory and thoughts. Now that matches my mood.

Autumn really is a nice time of year, and Halloween is soon enough. Hey, that gives me an idea. maybe I need a big bowl of candy? That will surely help my mood. For a minute or two, anyway…

Words in Motion

Photo by Corey Agopian on Unsplash


I am incredibly excited to announce that my story, “Swim, Swam, Swan” was selected by a group of esteemed judges as part of the Bay Area Rapid Transit (BART) first ever writing contest called BART Lines. The writing contest coincided with BART’s 50th Anniversary celebrations.

The winning stories are made available on Short Edition short story dispensers found in some of the many BART stations around the Bay Area and on the Short Edition website. The Short Edition team also pushed my story out to their machines worldwide. Riders can hit a button and have a story dispensed on a long strip of paper, much akin to a CVS receipt, but instead of listing soap and toothpaste, you get my story!

With a theme of motion, the judges were notable Bay Area authors Annalee Newitz, Ishmael Reed, Ingrid Rojas Contreras, JK Fowler, and Daniel Handler.

My story can also be found on the Short Edition website, here’s the link.

Love My Links

A collection of my most recent stories, in easy clicky format.

Photo by Dan Dennis on Unsplash

These days I am doing most of my writing over on Medium. For a little while I was also publishing the individual stories here on the ol’ blog, but to be honest this blog isn’t aging well. I’ve been hacked more times than I can count and WordPress has made changes to how editing works and sometimes its a bit more than I can handle.

I know, I  know, I need to just hire someone to revamp the whole site, I really do. But until then, I wanted to share the links to my most recent writing over on Medium. These are all friend links so you should be able to read without a pesky firewall getting in your way.

 

Smoke Covers Fire – an essay contemplating a morning swim under skies blotted out by smoke from recent California wildfires

 

Prince Charming with a Handicap – My response to the prompt: prosthetic eye. I got a little weird on this one and had a lot of fun. It ended up being an editors pick for The Hinged publication which made me very proud.

 

A Writer Looks at Ted Lasso – Hardly groundbreaking to love this incredibly popular show, but for me, the writing is everything and the Ted Lasso writers do it well.

 

The Heart of Our Home – The prompt was: hinge, and I really like this story. Though I must confess I wrestled to get it out and onto the page. The words fought me a little. It happens. In the end, I’m very happy with the results. This one was also published in The Hinged.

 

Make Hay While the Sun Shines – The prompt was: harvest season and I wrote this for the Lit Up publication. Now this story told itself, one of those incredibly satisfying experiences when words flow like water. This one might be based on some things that happened back in my college days at NMSU, and I just love how it turned out.

 

My Grapes are Sour and Difficult to Digest – I’m pretty good at dealing with my writing being rejected, but a recent rejection stuck in my craw and I had to write my sour grapes.

 

Better Than The Original – My first story for The Riff publication and it’s a fun one. Based off of the question I saw on Twitter “What’s a song you fell in love with, not because of the original, but the cover version?” I pick three but there are plenty more. The commenters added a few of their own, too.

 

You’re Gonna Miss Me, Little Baby – An ode to the late, great San Francisco blues legend, Johnny Nitro, on what would have been his 70th birthday. This one also found a home with The Riff.

 

If you like what you’re reading on Medium and would like to sign up, I’d be much obliged if you would do using my referral link. I get a little kickback if you do, and thanks!

In The Beginning…

Learning as I go.


This past year has given me a new hobby, my “COVID hobby” if you will. I have been spending time learning about Monarch butterflies and about Monarch conservation.

The Monarch butterfly is considered endangered, however in 2020 there were other species in more dire situations, so the Monarch didn’t make the official federal Fish and Wildlife endangered list for 2020. It is expected that the gorgeous butterfly will make the list in 2021, as the numbers from the 2020 migration were down dramatically.

And so combing my recent research and my love of photography, I wanted to share my first Monarch egg of Spring 2021 that arrived a lot sooner in the year than expected. Thankfully I have enough milkweed to provide the food needed to sustain this new little life.

The first photo is a Monarch egg that is about 20 minutes away from hatching. The second photo is moments after emerging from the egg. The egg is about the size of the tip of a mechanical pencil and the baby caterpillar is about one quarter inch (6mm) long.

Both photos were captured using an Olympus mirrorless micro 4/3 camera and a 30mm macro lens.

 

Monarch egg soon to hatch©2021 Karen Fayeth

Just hatched monarch egg©2021 Karen Fayeth

 

I can’t wait to follow this little friend on its journey through growing into a large caterpillar, turning into a chrysalis, and eventually emerging as a gorgeous orange butterfly.

To do your part to help the dwindling Monarch populations, look to see if milkweed is native to your area, and if so, please plant some in your yard. Also, if you can, refrain from using insecticides that have so decimated the Monarch numbers. Thank you!
 


This post can also be found on Medium and you can see more of my work @karenfayeth over there

Ella Knew Before We Did

Yesterday the masterful local DJ Miles Green served up a Zoom session that brought both hope and healing.

The theme of the day was optimism with music from mostly female artists to honor Women’s History Month.

Miles opened the set by saying, “We gotta get off this Zoom and get back together.”

Too right.

Interwoven with amazing rump-shaking throwback songs, from out of nowhere that singular voice of Ms. Ella Fitzgerald glided into the mix.

She sang the lyrics:

Zoom zoom zoom zoom
The world is in a mess
With politics and taxes
And people grinding axes
There’s no happiness

I almost came out of my chair. What did I just hear?

Wasn’t I lamenting Zoom fatigue just two days ago?

That’s right, friends. Ella knew it before we did.

Written by the Gershwin brothers, their recommendation from 1937 to slap that bass as a path to feeling better remains solid. And valid.

Slap that bass
Slap it till its dizzy
Slap that bass
Keep the rhythm busy
Zoom zoom zoom
Misery, you’ve got to go

So zoom zoom, my work-from-home weary friends.





Ella Fitzgerald – “Slap That Bass”





This item can also be found on Medium, and you can see more of my work @karenfayeth over there