Posted in An Authors Thoughts

Were Modern Artists Really Synaethetes?

d78f14d8836a842784c223668a159214Synaesthesia seems to everyone to be weird. But I got to thinking about it, and wondered if it really is. For those of you who don’t know what it is, I’ll explain it this way: The mixing of senses. You can hear the food you taste, see the colours of music, taste it, and feel sound. This strange gift, discovered over 100 years ago, was determined to be neural in basis. And, nothing has changed, until recently with the advent of the MRI.

Here’s the science: Those who have an auditory response to a visual stimuli may be telling researchers it has nothing to do with a neural basis, raising fundamental questions about how the brain integrates information from multiple senses. What it suggests is there exists a cross activation of the senses across the cortical regions of the brain. Numerous brain areas are well-known to be involved in audio-visual integration, and has included regions of the parietal cortex and the superior temporal sulcus. In a recent magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) study, audio-visual stimuli increased the activity of the superior temporal sulcus, showing that there were multi-sensory interactions. In short, the mixing of senses more…

Posted in An Authors Thoughts

To Sleep, Perchance to Dream


Imagine a doctor has entered your mind while you’re dreaming, and you’re making difficult decisions, but with a lucidity that you haven’t achieved while awake. You’re thinking this is a great idea for a novel or film, but it doesn’t happen in reality. Well, you’d be wrong. While science is closing in on a better understanding of our brain connections in dreaming, they have leaped forward in communicating with “lucid dreamers“. Yup. That’s what I said. Communicate with someone while dreaming. Lucid dreaming, the idea depicted in the film Inception, starring Leonardo DiCaprio, is regarded as a “hybrid state of waking consciousness and sleep“. It is suggested that decisions can be made during this type of sleep, but not so with planning. That uses a different part of the brain, and is very detailed which requires one to be awake. But decisions that are straight up choices can be influenced during this type of sleep. That is precisely what the film Inception is about: influencing a man to make a different decision, and he believing it was not only his idea but the right thing to do. more

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This sentence is a lie. All lies are untrue. Is that sentence true? To answer it you have to say if it is true, then it’s a lie. This paradox is known as the Liar’s Paradox, first postulated by the Megarians (a Grecian school of philosophical thought founded by Euclides from Megara, a student of Socrates), and the likes of Cicero and Aristotle, but to Mathematicians it’s called, Epimenides Paradox, for having said, “All Cretans are liars.” The paradox lies in that Epimenides is from Crete. The whole Cretan liar thing is also in the New Testament. The Liar’s Paradox was considered one of the insolubilia, meaning it can’t be solved. Lying has become one of the most studied and discussed conditions of humanity. And it makes for interesting reading. Given the extent of the lying going on in political circles and the media, it’s a salient topic for writers, for discussion groups, for understanding ourselves and neighbours better… more.

Posted in An Authors Thoughts



Checkout all the great short stories by members of the Short Mystery Fiction Society.

For Short Story Month, here’s one I cooked up over a picture I saw on Twitter:


Matilda Boucheron—although she preferred the moniker Tilly to the full tilt version of her name—lowered her shapely bottom onto the edge of one of two crypts resting side-by-side in the private cemetery. She slipped off one of her black stilettos and held it by the long, slender heel. There were diamond studs in a line from the top down to the hard tip, flashing in the sunlight. Tipping the heel over, she casually let an annoying pebble to fall to the ground. After wiping her black, silk stockinged foot with her hand, she slid the dangerously pointed toed, designer pump back on her foot.

“I love this place,” she said in her Louisiana syrupy drawl. She drew herself up from the cold marble. “It’s so restful.” She giggled. “I’m sorry, darlin’, I shouldn’t be so disrespectful to the dead.” The word dead was drawn out into almost three syllables.

She was completely alone in the cemetery, although she never behaved as if she were alone anywhere, always acknowledging the presence of someone watching her, and listening to her every word. In this case, it was the dead who were watching and listening, and in her way of thinking, they were enraptured with her every word.

“I keep seein’ that damned snake, though,” she continued. “I kin smell it, too. I’ll be walkin’ to the kitchen, or in the garden, or doin’ my ablutions, and there’s that smell… a stinkin’ whiff of evil… The ol’ devil serpent.” She sighed in a dismissive way, waving her hand under her sculpted nose. “I miss y’all,” she said while spreading a big smile across her face. She shook her head. “Really, I do. I promise.”

Dead Reckoning

Falling to her knees on the grass, her cool gray eyes were not fixed on anything. She ran her hands over the cold, smooth stone of the crypts, as if she were trying to comfort the occupant within. Then, she laid a white rose on the stone cross, rose from her knees, then strolled around the crypt toward the other. Gently, she laid a rose on the second crypt. Out of the corner of her eye she saw movement under a palm.

“There it is,” she said pointing. “I am sorry that spirit won’t leave y’all in peace, but I don’t think that varmint likes you. Someone must have put a gris gris on y’all.” She giggled. “Imagine that… a gris gris. Hale, you never believed in such things.”

Standing between the two crypts, she kissed her manicured fingers, then laid them on each one. The rusty face of the sun shown through the cypress trees, casting its light onto the prehistoric palms and the crypts beneath them. The diamond on her finger flashed, and she admired it, raising it up to let it sparkle.

“Oh, y’all wonderin’ about this,” she said, holding up her hand to show off her ring. “It’s just a dreegailles, a trinket. Just a little ol’ thing that I needed to help ease the pain of losing my husband and my sister at the same time.” She raised her black veil. “It goes with this.” She ran the back of her fingers under the diamond necklace. “And these.” She flicked an earring. “I do regret killin’ the snake. One of God’s creatures. But it had to be killed, even though it was only doin’ what snakes do, and that was defendin’ itself by bitin’ y’all. Why y’all wouldn’t have noticed a hurricane. Probably, cuz you were so distracted. I mean, y’all were havin’ sex in my bed. That would have been enough to distract me, too.” She leaned forward as if she were about to impart a secret. “He was very good at it, wasn’t he Kallie?” She turned to walk away, but paused, and faced both crypts. “C’est sa couillion, Hale,” she said. “Oh, I forgot.” She placed her fingers over her mouth. “Y’all never did understand Cajun, did ya? You were a fool to be with Kallie, ya cheatin’ bastard,” she said with deadly earnestness. “Y’all should never have slept with my sister. And Kallie,” she directed her eyes to the other crypt, “ya lyin’ bitch. Seducin’ my husband in my bed is a treachery that just can’t be forgiven. Y’all had to die.”

The sun disappeared behind a large fluffy cloud, easing the heat of the day. Tilly couldn’t get the image of the two of them in her bed out of her head, moaning in delight, their naked bodies locked in a climatic sexual embrace. Glancing down at her ring, she stretched a wide grin across her face, then turned to wave her fingers at the two crypts.

“The money does help ease the pain, though. See y’all in hell.”

She turned and strolled toward the gate, leaving the crypts behind.

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Folie a deux to you and you…


Folie à deux (/fɒˈli ə ˈduː/; French pronunciation: [fɔli a dø]; French for “a madness shared by two”), or shared psychosis. It is a psychiatric syndrome in which symptoms of a delusional belief are transmitted from one individual to another. [1] The same syndrome shared by more than two people may be called folie à trois, folie à quatre, folie en famille or even folie à plusieurs (“madness of many”). Recent psychiatric classifications refer to the syndrome as a shared psychotic disorder (DSM-IV) (297.3) and induced delusional disorder (F.24) in the ICD-10, although the research literature largely uses the original name (“Folie à deux”). The disorder was first conceptualized in 19th-century French psychiatry by Charles Lasègue and Jean-Pierre Falret and so also known as Lasègue-Falret Syndrome.”[The above quotation and definition was taken directly off the Internet and the DSM. It’s accurate.] more

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The Fragility of Being Human

It had been years since I’d seen Tennessee Williams’ play, The Glass Menagerie when I saw it was about to air on Turner Classic Movies. I think when I was younger, I didn’t have the patience to watch the play for its subtleties, nor understand its remarkable beauty. I didn’t care for the turned-in and frail nature of the character, Laura Wingfield. I found her brother, Tom, to be wilful, too impatient and rude to his mother, Amanda Wingfield, to like him. I’m an old-fashioned Southern gal, and I deplore rudeness to parents, so, I did understand the mother’s motivations, her understanding of how necessary it was for Laura to be taken care of. I also understand how much hope she had for her own life when she first married, and the constant day-to-day reminder that her life was to be something other than what she was experiencing. When she married her wayward husband, that hope was fresh and raw, filled with visions of love, children, and growing old together. Tom, unfortunately, was just like his father, ready to bolt because he itched to be “long distance”, always somewhere else. Time and age has brought it back to me to see it with wiser eyes. What I have learned in the ensuing years is that everyone is breakable, fragile, and the concern that the mother had for both her children is well-founded. Kirk Douglas as Jim, and Jane Wyman as LauraFor those of you who don’t know the story, Laura is a cripple who collects glass animals, and cleans them daily, living her life with the shiny objects as an escape from herself, her predicament, her disability. She can’t handle living in the world, in fact she feigns illness in order to hide from people and situations she can’t emotionally handle. Her glass menagerie is her entire world, the only world where she is comfortable. Tom, her brother, is her opposite. He longs to escape out into the world, detesting his home life so much he leaves every night to go to the movies, or so he claims, and returns drunk and crashes into his bed on the sofa.  The brittle and delicate nature of Laura’s cherished items is a microcosm of the family: each hardened into their ways, cold and indifferent to each other. Her favourite is a unicorn. The creature is at once unique, and yet one small fracture knocking the horn off makes him the same as the rest of the horses in her collection. So how unique is he, really? Television production of The Glass Menagerie starring Shirley Booth and Hal Holbrook.Perhaps we’re all unicorns, and to stand out with a difference is at once wonderful and painful. There isn’t a human alive who doesn’t want to be loved, to have friends, to be a part of a family and community. And to have a secure future. Even Laura dreams of love, hanging on to a silly nickname, “Blue Roses”, given to her by Jim, a young man in her High School class.  She had been at home ill, with Pleurosis. The well-meaning Jim christened her “Blue Roses” — which she has never forgotten– only to let her know that it wasn’t as devastating as she believed. And yet, he promptly forgot her, not even recognizing her years later when her brother Tom brings him to her home for dinner.Jim is the detached conscience of the play. He’s the levelling force to counteract Laura’s melancho

Source: The Fragility of Being Human