This page showcases creative writing from members of the talented GetShotByElla.com team, as well as customers and select featured guests. This page is dedicated with appreciation to the creative side of our team writers, customers and fans.
(Just like the GetShotByElla.com Blog page, the creative writing on this page of our website either originates with the GetShotByElla.com team or is written by guest bloggers invited to contribute stories, poems, book news, and prose that complement our company vision.)
CREATIVE COLLABORATION: Garden Dove photograph by Myra Elrod of MER Made Treasures features prose by Ella Chabot of GetShotByElla.com
Discover the creations of Myra Elrod and MER Made Treasures on facebook at https://www.facebook.com/MerMadeTreasures
Magical Book Discovery: Legends of Amun Ra The Emerald Tablet by author Joshua Silverman is now on E-books available for the Kindle through Amazon.com
Paying attention to coincidences can reveal priceless finds. During a quick scan of one of the CEO Space pages on facebook, GetShotByElla.com stumbled upon a posting for an intriguing new book, just prior to its September 15, 2012 release date. Those who like the GetShotByElla.com In Sight design and readers who enjoy the science fiction and fantasy genre will appreciate discovering Legends of Amun Ra The Emerald Tablet by author Joshua Silverman, published by Enchanted Forest Press.
Legends of Amun Ra The Emerald Tablet by author Joshua Silverman is now on E-books available for the Kindle through Amazon.com at http://www.amazon.com/Legends-Ra-The-Emerald-Tablet-ebook/dp/B00A3DZ97I/ref=sr_1_fkmr2_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1352405148&sr=8-2-fkmr2&keywords=legends+of+amun+ra The printed book can also be ordered through amazon.com. (Note: If amazon.com indicates the book is out of stock, you can still order the book because the author will resupply as needed.) To view the video book trailer and order a copy directly from the author, go to the website at http://www.legendsofamunra.com/ Follow additional book news and events on the facebook page at http://www.facebook.com/LegendsofAmunRa
Description: When an archeologist discovers the mythic Emerald Tablet buried beneath Egypt’s desert, her son decodes the ancient text leading him to a distant world.
Thirteen year old Leoros, the son of an archeologist and a scientist, doesn’t have many friends. He is constantly on the move. But when his parents make a startling discovery in Egypt, Leoros’ world is turned upside down.
On that world, a slave girl begins a journey towards a destiny she cannot imagine. But when an ancient foe rises from the ashes, they will be brought together by forces neither understands.
Leoros, who dreams of being like the heroes in the comic books, must fight to unlock the secrets of the universe to save a people he never knew existed.
Atlantia, whose bloody visions wake her in the night, senses the darkness coming.
Together they will face an enemy with the power of dark energy, loose a mentor to the assassin’s blade, and be betrayed by someone they trust. Their fight for the future is just beginning, and before it is over, a final sacrifice must be made.
About the Author: Joshua Silverman was born in Washington DC and currently resides in Orange County, CA. He grew up watching Star Trek, Star Wars, and other science fiction series with his family when he was young. Star Trek: The Next Generation was a ritual show in his house. In his spare time, he collected a respectable collection of comic books and Magic: The Gathering cards.
Silverman, signing copies of Legends of Amun Ra The Emerald Tablet, was featured at the Comikaze Expo at the Los Angeles Convention in September 2012. (For more information, go to http://www.comikazeexpo.com/ )
Upcoming book events for Legends of Amun RaThe Emerald Tablet with appearances by Silverman are planned for LA, San Francisco, Long Beach, Phoenix, and Denver.
The Box of Trinkets: A Short Story by Gabriella Shelow
GetShotByElla.com team member Gabriella Shelow wears many hats. The designer of the GetShotByElla.com Sunface design (Pictured left; see the women’s tee tab on our menu and scroll down to view details), Gaby was also instrumental in the theme selection and set-up of this website. When she is not helping out at GetShotByElla.com, she is a writer, teacher, photographer, artist, and swim team coach. She enjoys running, surfing, skiing, snowboarding and hiking. The debut on the GetShotByElla.com Creative Writing page of her copyrighted short story The Box of Trinkets follows:
By Gabriella Shelow
My short story The Box of Trinkets is very special to me because, while it is a fictional story (my father is still alive and well) on some levels it relates very closely to my life. For one thing, the boathouse apartment in Clayton, New York is, in fact a real place. When I was a little kid, I spent every summer up there with my family. After my parents divorced, I stopped going up there as much, and I always knew that it really hurt my dad’s feelings. I still do get those calls every spring where my dad asks, “So, you coming to the river this summer?” In a lot of ways, the feelings of guilt that Heather experiences are feelings I also have. The father in the story has some key characteristics of my paternal grandfather. He died very suddenly when I was in college, and two of the things that I loved about him and will always remember are his ratty old polo shirts and his worn-out boat shoes. It was just a quirky characteristic of his that I wanted to honor in my writing.
The Box of Trinkets
As Heather made her way down the long, steep, dirt driveway it struck her how everything looked the same, yet it was all so different too. It had been years since she’d been down this driveway, six, maybe seven, yet it still looked exactly as she remembered it.
She followed the driveway down along the bluff that made its way to the river’s edge. The house, which was really more of a boathouse with a 1-bedroom apartment tacked on the side, was situated in a bay on the U.S. side of the St. Lawrence River. As she got out of the car she was struck with the same familiar smell. It was fresh, unpolluted, pure. She walked down the familiar path, skipping every other stone the way she had as a child, recalling the familiar chant she and her brother used to say. “Don’t step on the crack, or you’ll break your mother’s back!”
Carefully avoiding all of the cracked stones, she made her way to the house. As Heather approached the front door, she read the poorly constructed sign atop the door frame where the word “Apartment” had been written using twigs nailed to a piece of scrap wood. There was a twig missing from the “m” so the sign now read “Apartnent” – a reminder of a Nor’easter from years ago. At the sight of the sign, she felt her throat constrict; this was going to be harder than she had thought.
The boathouse was located in the little town of Clayton, which was not an easy place to get to from North Carolina. Situated along the northern boarder of New York, it was basically Canada. She remembered the days when the whole family had piled into the old Chevy Suburban – all four of them plus the dog – to make the annual 12-hour drive up north. The last time they had made the trip together had been the summer after Heather’s freshman year of high school. She had been 14 and still too young to have a job, and her pleas to stay home with her friends had been ignored.
The next summer she had begged and begged to stay home so she could work as a camp councilor at the YMCA across the street from her parents’ house. Heather cringed as she remembered that conversation.
“But Daaaaddd! All of my friends are working there. I wanna work with my frieeeeendssss!” Heather had no shame when it came to whining.
“Heather, we always go to the river. Don’t you think you could get a job up there? Then we could all be together. Don’t you like it up there?”
“I hate it! It’s boring, NO ONE is my age, I have NO friends, all we do is go out on the boat and hang out with family. It’s. So. Boring!”
Heather bit her lip and winced remembering the pain on her dad’s face at her words. What she wouldn’t give to spend that summer, and every one of the last summers with him up here. After her sophomore year of high school, it had become a habit for Heather to stay home and work, while the neighbor looked in on her. Her father, along with her mother and her brother Cameron, had continued to go up North.
In college, Heather became so focused on school and internships that she never even gave going up to the river a thought. Nonetheless, her father called her every year to ask. She remembered the last of these particular phone calls.
“Hey baby girl. You coming up to the river this summer?”
“No dad, I can’t. I just found out I got the internship at The News & Observer. I’ll be in Raleigh all summer! It’s going to be awesome.”
“Really! So proud of you honey. Send me a copy of your articles.”
Eventually, Cameron and her mother stopped going up north too. Cameron was accepted into UCLA and had spent his summers surfing up and down the Pacific coast, while her mother had just gotten sick of the long drive. Not her dad though, he’d made those drives every summer without fail. That was how she’d figured out something was wrong. Honestly, at the time she’d been too caught up in her senior year finals to notice that he hadn’t made his annual “are you coming to the river?” call yet. She remembered the moment she’d found out her father was dying at her graduation dinner.
“So Dad, what’s up with not getting a call about the river this year? Am I no longer invited now that I’m an adult?” She had been making fun of her dad all night because her mother had somehow gotten him to wear a brand new navy blue sports jacket for her graduation ceremony, but had not been able to get him out of those worn out old boat shoes he was so fond of. Heather had been teasing him about how uncomfortable he must be in something new and was now ready to start jesting on a new subject.
Her Dad chuckled. “Baby girl you’ll be invited to the river until the day you die. And I hope you do get up there sometime soon.”
“When are you going up there?”
Her Mother, who was sitting directly across from Heather, shot her Father a quick look.
“Uh, well,” he cleared his throat. “Actually, I thought I’d stick around North Carolina this summer. I’ve got some, uh, tests I have to take.”
Heather had looked at Cameron and saw her face reflected in his, confused and slightly concerned.
“Pop,” Cameron forced a laugh. “You’re, uhhh. Whaddaya mean?”
“Let’s talk about this later,” her mother said a little too quickly.
“No. Let’s talk about this now,” Heather said.
“Sweetie, I didn’t want to ruin your graduation, this is your day.”
“Dad, what is it,” Heather was determined. “You can’t not tell us now. Cam and I know something’s up.”
So it was then, at her graduation dinner, that Heather found out about her father’s stage four lung cancer. Her father had only found out about it a few months earlier, but there was nothing he could do. They had caught it too late in the game and it had metastasized to other organs. He was dying and soon.
She’d made the decision then and there to spend his last few months on this earth being there for him, like she knew he’d always been there for her.
It had been six months since her father had passed. In those six months, Heather had become the head of the family. Her mother had completely crumpled after her father’s death and rarely left the bed. Cameron had taken a semester off of school to spend time with his father, but had to return back to Los Angeles shortly after the funeral. The new semester was starting and Heather wouldn’t allow him to get even further behind. So, it was up to her to keep things together. She had busied herself, first with making funeral arrangements, then packing up her father’s belongings in the main house in North Carolina, and handling his affairs.
The house in upstate New York was the last “project” to tackle. She called them projects because it made them seem less personal, more like a job than the end of someone’s life. But as she stood here, looking at the sign above the door, she knew this was different. She had been putting off packing up the summer cottage. She told everyone it was for logistical reasons – the weather in upstate New York is brutal in the winter, best to wait until summer when things have a chance to thaw out. But she knew this wasn’t the real reason. This had been his place; it had been where he was happiest in his life. Thinking back, it had been where she was happiest. But now, despite her familiarity with everything, she felt like a stranger in the house and that made her heart ache.
She hated herself for being too caught up in her own life to have made time for him these past years. She hated that she hadn’t realized her father’s life was ending until it was too late. And more than anything, she wanted him to know how much she had loved him all those years that she hadn’t made time for him. She had finally made time for him at the very end, but then it was too late. He had deteriorated so quickly that within a few moths he was a shadow of the man he had been. And then one day, he just died. There were no groans, no sighs, he just went. So simply. It was just like him to die without making a fuss. He was always such a simple man. After her father’s death, Heather couldn’t help but wonder if those few months she’d spent with him at the end had made up for the many year’s she’d been too busy living her own life to make time for him.
But reminiscing about the past wasn’t going to make today’s “project” go by any faster. She walked through the tiny apartment wondering where to begin. Wondering what she would find. Would her absence over the last 7 years be apparent? Would a stranger even have known she was in her father’s life? She knew her dad wasn’t one to hang photographs. The place had been decorated long ago by his grandfather and the hangings on the wood paneled wall remained the same, albeit with a year’s worth of dust covering the tops of the frames.
The wooden floors creaked as she walked through the living room and down the hallway toward the main bedroom and bathroom. As she walked, she took a quick survey of the house and realized that her father had packed it up for winter before he had left the last time. So it was more a matter of sorting things into piles – Good Will and Keep – and then removing them from the house. She went directly to the dressing room where her father’s closet and chest of drawers were, thinking that this would be the easiest place to start. When she opened his closet she was hit with her father’s familiar smell, a mix of Hawaiian Tropic SPF 45 sunscreen, and Old Spice deodorant. She felt a lump develop in her throat and took a few minutes to compose herself.
“Just get to it,” she whispered, and began systematically placing clothes in the Good Will pile.
As she worked her way through the closet, memories flooded back to her. She smiled as she looked at her dad’s tattered-up polo shirts that he wore summer after summer, the five pairs of boat shoes that he accumulated over the years, one pair so worn-in they looked as though they would fall apart, and the other four looking brand new. She knew the four “new” pairs had been her mother’s attempt at getting her father to dress better. He’d been very particular about this. Sometime when Heather was little, her father had bought a pair of boat shoes and some polo shirts and left them up north. He’d bought the exact same pair of shoes and shirts and kept them at home in North Carolina. He’d reasoned with her mother that this way he wouldn’t have to pack anything when he traveled up there. The polo shirts he’d left in North Carolina had managed to be replaced nearly every year by her mother, but her mother had never been able to get her hands on these ones, and her father had worn them every summer since Heather could remember. That had been her father’s way; he refused to throw anything away until he had gotten his full use out of it. Until a hole was burned into the sole, he’d continue wearing the shoes. Until the shirts fell from his shoulders, he’d continue to don the same thing year after year. Good ole’ dad, he’d never changed a bit in that regard.
She made her way through the closet and then moved on to the chest of drawers and began to go through the things on top. She found a few letters of appreciation from the Antique Boat Museum, an organization her father had donated generously to due to his love of and appreciation for antique wooden boats. She collected these and put them in the Keep pile.
Next she grabbed a wooden trinket box. It was a plain design and obviously old. The cherry varnish was peeling in some areas, revealing raw and decaying wood. She assumed it had belonged to her great-grandfather at one time, but she wasn’t sure. She thought it might hold some of her dad’s things – cuff links, maybe a watch or some lapel pins – so she opened up. She wasn’t prepared for what she saw. On top, was a picture of her with her dad and brother holding up a fish that she had caught. She had been about seven and her brother must have been five. The look on her face was one of pride as she displayed her first catch, a 6-inch perch that had to be thrown back. In the picture, her brother was glaring at her with resentment – sibling rivalry at its height. She smiled, remembering the day.
“Daddy, daddy, It’s pulling, something’s pulling me,” Heather screamed with pure delight.
“I think you got a fish there baby girl. Reel it in, real slowly. That’s it.”
“Daddy, I can’t! Help!” Heather was screaming at the top of her lungs.
“Stop scweaming, Heathur, yor scawing all de fish away. Now I won’ get wone!” Cameron said. He was so mad to be beat by his older sister yet again.
“Here you go baby girl. Like this. I’ll help ya. That’s it.” Her dad helped her reel it in, and her mom took the picture as she posed with her dad and Cameron.
Heather had seen this picture a hundred times; it was one of her mother’s favorites. But for the first time she took notice of the look on her dad’s face. She’d never really looked at him before because he wasn’t facing the camera. Instead, he was looking at her – beaming with pride. As she realized this, she felt her face get hot.
She moved on to examine the other things in the box. There were the lures that she and her brother had each used to catch their first fish, a ticket to the one and only dance recital she’d ever preformed in, one of her brother’s Boy Scout pins, newspaper clippings covering sporting events that she and Cam had participated in, and two high school graduation announcements. These things were expected, they were remnants of memories her dad had shared with her and her brother.
But as she continued sorting through the items, she became surprised. There was a sticker from the YMCA camp that she’d worked at the first summer she’d stayed at home, a keychain in the shape of a surf board that Cam must have given him, a matchbook from a restaurant out in Los Angeles that they’d eaten at when they dropped off Cam at UCLA, a bumper sticker she’d brought back from a Senior Frogs that she and her girlfriends had visited in Jamaica on spring break, and a clipping of every single article she had written for The News and Observer. She couldn’t believe he had kept all these things, things that had been important to her but had been done while she was too busy to be with her family. How could her father have kept these things among his other treasures?
Examining the contents of the box, tears began to roll down her face, and she realized that this was the first time she’d really cried about her father’s passing. When she’d first realized he was dying she hadn’t wanted to waste a minute more of his life by being sad. She’d been so determined to make the most of her time with him that she hadn’t let his situation sink in. After his death, she’d made herself so busy that she’d never taken the time to reflect on her loss. Now she realized that her father had always loved and adored her and her brother no matter what they were doing or where they spent their time. The guilt she had been feeling about not coming up to the river was of her own making. Her father had continued to love and support his children, even when they didn’t show their love and support for him. He’d loved them unconditionally, in their presence and in their absence.
She carefully put the contents back into the box and turned around to examine her piles. From the Good Will pile, she picked up his tattered old boat shoes and his favorite ratty polo shirt and moved them to the Keep pile. *Copyright Gabriella Shelow 2012
Following a beachside photo shoot with author and retired educator Steve Jackson, GetShotByElla.com received a signed copy of Jackson’s book Think Twice…About Teaching, A Victim’s Tale, available on-line at Amazon.com.
A retired public school history teacher who worked in the Long Beach, New York area, Jackson penned his book as a memoir, covering a period from the 1970’s through the first decade of the 21st century. The book follows the 30 plus years journey of a suburban Long Island public school teacher and includes the challenges he faces as a result of false charges from which he is eventually exonerated.
“Using ‘victim’ in the title is misleading,” Jackson clarifies. “I am an advocate of teaching. However, the book offers a unique perspective that young teachers are not exposed to in college education departments. This is a universal story. Any teacher in America can be fired at any time. The book offers guidelines of acceptable teacher behavior in the classroom and illustrates the fine line of how to walk that line in teaching.” “
The following is an excerpt from Think Twice…About Teaching, a Victim’s Tale: “Like swings in the stock market, educational philosophy in our country has undergone many phases. In colonial America, the Puritanical way of life was reinforced in the classroom. If a student was not 100% focused on doing what the teacher demanded, retribution was swift. The student placed his hands on the desk in front of him and the teacher rapped him across the knuckles with the wooden rod. (I use the word “him” because girls were not allowed to attend school in those days.) As our country expanded, there was a new movement that viewed the old ways as being too coercive and repressive. This new philosophy, started by the Humanist Movement, was illustrated by the phrase “Spare the rod, and spoil the child.” When America began to get embroiled in wars of imperialism and defense against Fascist and Communist states, educational philosophy again became more conservative but not puritanical. In the age of political correctness, the pendulum has swung back to “Spare the Rod.” Many of us feel the new philosophy actually is more like let the child do whatever…he wants to and let the teachers be…if they try to do something about it.”
The author graduated from Susquehanna University with a Bachelor of Arts in history and sociology and has a master’s degree in education from S.U.N.Y., Stony Brook. For over two decades, along with teaching, he served as a multi-sport coach at the middle and high school levels, specializing in basketball and baseball. Born in Massapequa, New York, Jackson is an avid boater and surfer, spending time on the water in both New York and Florida.
GetShotByElla.com’s creative writing spotlight shines on Helen Mullican, a member of our advisory team. In addition to helping out at GetShotByElla.com, Helen wears several hats including providing notary services and being an independent Herbalife Distributor. Her poems have been published by The International Library of Poetry and awarded by the Poetry in Motion contest.
Helen’s poem “Snowflakes” presented below captures in four flowing lines the essence of the GetShotByElla.com “One of a Kind Snowflake” design featured on our women’s 3/4 sleeve v-neck shirt.
Snowflakes falling one by one
Glistening diamonds in the sun
Try to catch them if you can
Then watch them melt in your hand