About C. A. Sanders

Hi, everyone. I am a semi-established writer of fiction and non-fiction. I live in Rockland County, NY, where I ply my trade and occasionally get paid for it. You can see my full website, with links to published work and my blog, at www.casanders.net

The Alabaster Grapes (Yet Another Fractured Fable)

Thanks to the advice of a friend, I revised my Fox and the Grapes satire, removing it completely from the fable to give me more room to play with it. Here is the first draft:

The Alabaster Grapes

Not so long ago, there was a great vineyard surrounded by steep hills and cliffs. The grapes were sweet and tasty, each grape slightly different. It wasn’t a perfect vineyard, for perfection is a myth, but most of the animals were content, except for a fox and an owl

The fox and owl had heard that somewhere in the vineyard were the legendary Alabaster Grapes, a grape with the perfect flavor. For them, only this would do.

The fox and owl searched the vineyard for the Alabaster Grapes. They sampled from every vine, some grapes plump and purple, others a green or gold approaching the alabaster they were searching for. Though they were all delicious, they did not satisfy them.

When the owl settled on the bunch of grapes that he liked best, the fox became filled with anger.

How can you settle!?” Demanded the fox. “Only the Alabaster Grapes are worthy.”

The Alabaster Grapes are just a legend, my friend,” said the owl. “We must enjoy the best we have.”

No! I will never back down, and these inferior grapes are in my way. They are now my enemy.”

“How can grapes be an enemy?”

“They are my enemy!”

But they’re delicious,” said the owl as he ate a tasty grape.

The fox was so enraged by his friend’s wisdom and pragmatism that he chose to teach him a harsh lesson. The fox grabbed a branch from Mankind’s Fiery Flower, the one that brought heat and destruction.

The fox set the owl’s favorite grapevine aflame with the Flower. “You dare settle? Now you get nothing! Good day, sir!” And his friend’s weeping enraged the fox even more. He set every plant in the vineyard on fire, watching with satisfaction as they burned.

But the Fiery Flower burns all in its path. The flames spread red across the land. All the animals except those living high in the verdant hills were burned to death or fled far from the vineyard. Even the owl died in the flames, but the fox felt no guilt for his friend’s gruesome death. He watched from his borrow on a high cliff, where the fire would not touch him.

And when the fires went out, all the vineyard was destroyed except for one grapevine, which was covered with white ash. “At last!” Cried the fox. “The Alabaster Grapes!” The fox came down from the verdant hills and took a bite of one of the ashy grapes. It was dry and bitter, the flavor of desolation.

“This is fine,” said the fox between choking bites. “This is just fine.”

****

If you have any feedback, please comment below. Like with all of my stories, I strive for perfection.

doge in space card redux

Moments of Kindness, and the Coming Plague

I had a conversation about kindness at work the other day. My coworker was telling me that the thing that makes her most proud of her sons is that they are kind. She then told me a story about the week before in the city. The three of them saw a homeless woman shivering, and without even a thought, her sons went to the food truck down the street to buy her something (instead of giving her money, as homeless with money often makes you a target for other homeless. First it was water, but one argued that it was too cold, so they decided on tea. Then in expanded into tea with sugar and milk on the side and two hot dogs.

They were bickering over the best way to help the woman. That’s kindness. Just a random act, in a city where homelessness has once again become ubiquitous as rent, food, and medicine skyrockets. NYC can be merciless, but the people (believe it or not) are kind. We’re kind because unless you’re rich, we’re all a sprained ankle or staph infection away from living on the street.

I was moved by her story. So I said something cheesy, but true: Kindness is what really matters. We tend to measure success by being wealthy or having a good job, but so much of that depends on external factors and luck. Kindness comes entirely from inside of you. That’s the true way to measure success. To be a good person.

I think it’s true. I have to think so, because wealth, fame, and success have missed me. But if I can’t be those other things, I will be kind.

************************

2020 is the year of the plague.  My coworker’s family all have the flu. My dear friend has double pneumonia. My brother just went to the ER. A second strain of the flu virus is tearing through the area. Everyone on my FB feed has something or is taking care of someone with something.

Though not flu-related, I just found out that a friend had major surgery earlier this week, and may have cancer.

Heck.

cosmic-cat tripping balls redux

 

Award of Arms

Something very unexpected and wonderful happened to me on Saturday. I was at an SCA event called Yule, in the Barony of Bhakail (the Philadelphia area). During court (the period near the end of the event where the current royals give out awards that have been voted on secretly by members of society) I heard my SCA name called…Actually, I didn’t. Like many names, they’re uncommon, from historical times and places rarely spoken. For example, mine is Drustan, the Old Irish version of Tristan (meaning “calamity or tumult,” perfect for this walking disaster.) The herald put the emphasis on the wrong syllable (not unusual because it was the first time he probably saw my name), so I didn’t realize that it was me until Katie took my hand to walk me up and the rest of my friends were all smiles and hugs.

Once I was led up to the Queen (who is an absolutely wonderful person in mundane life as well as in the game) I knelt, and after telling the audience all about the wonderful things that people have noticed me doing, she awarded me what’s called the Award of Arms, or AoA. Basically, the AoA is the first award you receive in the SCA, for contributing in some way to the society, participating, and just making it more enjoyable for everyone. It entitles you to a noble rank, as in “Lord, Lady, or Noble,” (the SCA is very inclusive and recently added a gender-neutral title). I was given a scroll (or a promissory note for one, since the scroll wasn’t done yet) received cheers from the crowd, and walked trembling off the stage into the waiting arms of all of my friends…all of whom knew that this was coming.

I did not. I’ve only been in the SCA for a year and a half. I wasn’t expecting this so soon. Luckily, I like surprises.

It feels good to be recognized, that people have noticed me and said “we like what he’s doing, he makes the society better.” Based on the timing, I’m sure that I got it by impressing everyone with my music and storytelling at Winter Nights (I am interested in the Bardic Arts, big surprise, right?), and not for any fencing skill (since I suck). But I guess people have also noticed me just being kind, and helping out when I can.

I feel seen, and in a modern world where most of us are a shade above invisible, it feels good to be seen.

I love the SCA.

It should be noted, I had a bit to drink (we do a lot of eating and drinking. I think I’ve put on 15 pounds since joining), and I was wearing Christmas lights around my neck, over my tunic (I’ll post a pic).

Merry Yule.

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doge in space card redux

Never Again is Now

Speaking as a Jew, one that spent his childhood growing up around Holocaust survivors, one that has seen many a serial number tattooed on a forearm, one that currently lives in a county with one of the highest jewish population per capita in the world: NEVER TRUST A LAW THAT DEFINES US AS AN “OTHER”

 

Done and To Do

Hooray! I finally finished all of the online mandatory trainings for my job.  I hate binging something like that, but it needed to be done by friday. Still to do: gift shopping, finding out if I am exchanging gifts with my friends that have moved or cut me off.  Finding how to get my gifts for my brother to him in Buffalo. Figuring out what to get him.

I love gifting, but it is nerve-wracking.

I also need to get my stuff together with my next book and especially the reprinting of Song of Simon.

Also, shovel snow…heck.

cosmic-cat tripping balls redux

I saw mommy what?

I’ve been thinking about “I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus.”  What exactly would Daddy have done if he saw that? It’s an old song, so would he have gone all toxic and tried to punch Santa? Santa would have kicked his ass. The North Pole is a harsh place, and it breeds harsh folk. Santa probably fights polar bears for exercise (gotta work off those cookies)

Or would Daddy have laughed the whole thing off? Maybe Santa is on the exceptions list, like Keanu Reeves.

Or would Daddy have joined in? I mean, it’s Santa! Who can resist? He has the charisma of Frank N Furter, plus toys! Merry Christmas indeed.

I obviously have too much time to think about stuff.

doge in space card redux

 

Writing About Not Writing

I’ve been very disappointed in myself this year.  I have not been able to transition to the increased work hours while keeping up with my writing.  I know that it’s a lot for me to handle and not something that i am used to, but I have to get used to it.  I love to write, and I can’t not work.  Something has to give, or I have to change myself to be able to do everything.

And it’s not just writing that has suffered. I’ve had less discipline and progress across the board.  No more daily exercise routine. No more keeping track of my diet.  I’ve put on a good 15 pounds this year. Granted, I’ve had a lot of injuries, but still.  And I think it’s because my mind is so frazzled from all of the stuff that I have to do.

So I am trying a productivity app on my phone. Am I am going to sometimes journal from my phone.  Anything to get all of these thoughts out.  I think that we all know that every person needs an outlet. Writing has always been my main outlet.  When I don’t write, I get very stressed.  I have other outlets too: playing guitar, fencing, various SCA stuff, but writing has always been the key.  I think that if I want everything else to fall in place, I have to get back to what keeps me in the right headspace, and that is writing.

I can feel myself starting to relax already.

doge in space card redux