Coffee Share 200815: Visitor & Ayem Reprised

This is a Weekly Coffee Share Essay. I’m part of a small group of bloggers who stay in touch and chat about blogging, writing, or just about anything else that might be of interest.
Link to This week’s full list
Link to my Story Blog:  Table of Contents.
Greetings, Are you sure you want coffee today?  It’s already pretty hot out and were heading for the mid 90s here today.  I can offer you coffee, but I can’t do the same with AC.  The air is the air and the shade of a redwood tree is the best I’ve got . As my title suggested, we had a visitor this week.  It wasn’t that beetle monster in my title photo.  Him I had to deal with as a high school student doing a late night job as a golf course maintenance worker.  This guy landed on my arm while I was driving the tractor one foggy night when I could hardly see.   Here’s that story.  That beetle nearly scared the life out of me and almost caused me to crash the tractor. Our visitor, if he had surprised me, in the dark and cold with limited light certainly could scare the calories out of a person.  What is it about some bugs that look so bizarre that they trigger a fight or flight response on first sight?  Our visitor is one of those bugs who look like they should be dangerous, even lethal, but are harmless–at least to us. We don’t many dragonflies around here because they like to stay near fresh water where the bugs they like most are found and any predatory bug that prefers other bugs to me is welcome to my home.  I’m sure you’ve seen some yourself, but were they dressed this fine? 20200810 dragon 2 I was taking care of the new cherry tree.  It too is suffering with the heat and is still trying to get over my transplanting it.  But turning back, I glanced up into the plum tree and wow.  Here was our visitor.  He was almost 5″ long, nose to tail-tip. He was very composed, calm and just hanging out I guess.  He was completely unconcerned about my photographing him, so I zoomed in for a close up.  Focus is always a challenge with my magnification app, but I think this one turned out pretty good. Have you ever seen such amazingly blue eyes? Forget that they look more like helmets.  These eyes have ~24,000 optical units named ommatidia each.  I don’t think we can begin to imagine what the world looks like to them. 20200810 dragon 1 This past week I was determined to complete an expansion of the story I released the previous week. Folks from this coffee group and several other groups gave me some wonderful feedback and I decided they were right.  It was surprising to be told that my story was too short.  I can think of several full books that I wish were longer, but a short story (?) I don’t know that I’ve seen that more than once or twice.  But my reviewers were clear. This one had to be longer. I already know, you just don’t argue with readers.  They know what they do and do not like.  Trying to please them has made me a better writer. They told me that this story had more potential than I allowed with 3000 words so I took it to 4000 and am very pleased with the result.  My main concern is that the longer a story is, the more readers tend to not even try it out.  This is part of the reason my original project had the 2000 word limit.  If I’m only asking for 10 minutes – most readers need little incentive to give it a try, but as the word count goes up, my experience is that readers quickly begin to move on without trying it. What do you think and what’s your experience with story length? If you enjoy stories where the end result is encouraging rather than dark, this might suit you.  If you read it already, please check back with Ayem and Havilah for a second read and let me know if you agree that they did a better job of earning your time.  If you already gave me feedback on the first version, I hope this more detailed ‘director’s cut’ resolves your points.

  Here’s the link. – – – Ayem Notthymn

Thanks for stopping by.  Stay cool out there.  I’ll be around to your Coffee Share real soon. Blessings.
GW bio card 4

20 thoughts on “Coffee Share 200815: Visitor & Ayem Reprised

  1. Dragonflies were very common where I grew up,and I still see plenty. Very cool bugs. The tiny damselflies are also pretty cool. A lot of stories I post on my blog are just thumbnail sketches. Most are throw away, others work fine as those sketches, others need to be expanded. A big part is what you are after. It is hard to build a good, relatable characters that experience growth in a couple of thousand words, but sometimes that isn’t the intention… Anyway, have fun with the writing! And have a good rest of your weekend.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Exactly Trent. Building vivid and compelling characters is a skill I’m working at. So far, Ayem and Havilah are among my best (IMHO) and I’m learning techniques to do it in the fewest words possible. The reader pool I have access to who will read 4000 words is pretty shallow so I’m trying to both stay where I have readers while learning how to earn more readers who will take the time.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Love your dragonfly photos! Bugs and I usually don’t get along but I make and exception for ladybugs, fireflies, praying mantis and dragonflies. I was kayaking once and a dragonfly landed on the boat in front of me hitching a ride. He stayed there for quite sometime. He was no where near 5 inches though. Hope you have a good week.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks Nancy. This guy was hard to photograph but I got a few decent shots. They are amazing critters and I’ll bet yours made a pretty cool masthead for your kayak. That would be fun.
      I’m so glad you stopped by for a visit.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. And about the short story length. Over the decades, I have seldom cared for short stories because they are so short. They just go by too fast, and then…nothing left. I do a lot better with novels and novels in a series. Your story turned out well, and I did enjoy and appreciate it.

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  4. Beautiful photo of that stunning dragonfly. I don’t think I’ve seen one with such vivid blue hue. Sadly, you don’t really see much of them in the city. When I was working in the rural areas, they would usually come out before sunset and found out later they are out to eat mosquitos. Nature has it’s process. I’m curious as to the size of that beetle monster you had to deal with, I would certainly go into a panic attack. It looks quite beautiful though with it’s stripes. I will have me a look around your blog and your stories soon. Thanks for the coffee and the sharing.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi Claire. First, thanks for stopping by and spending some time with my coffee share.
      I agree, it would be unusual to see a dragonfly in a city because they really prefer to be near bodies of water large enough to support the insect population they feed on. But about that beetle monster – I’m embarrassed to confess that it was less than 2″, but I’d never seen anything like it and when I did he was on my arm about a 10″ from my face while I was focusing on driving the tractor during one of the scariest nights of my life. So yea – I had a rare panic attack over this thing. If you want a pretty good laugh at my expense, follow the link to the story. It’s a 10 minute read but still makes my skin crawl.
      I’m so glad you stopped by. I checked out your blog and will circle back so spend some time enjoying your posts.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. 2 inches or not, a beetle that looks like that is still a creature you don’t see too often. I, too, can get jumpy when faced with little bugs and wormies (roaches, millipedes and spiders top the list), but I can’t imagine being surprised like that while driving. God knows what could have happened if I was behind the wheel. Good hand control though. I will certainly check out that story soon.

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      2. Ha! When it landed on my arm that night – it might well have been 6″ big as it scared the life out of me and I don’t really scare that easy.
        Thanks for giving some of my work a read BTW. I do love sharing it.

        Liked by 1 person

  5. That sure is a pretty visitor you have there! We have plenty of them at the lake. We had breakfast there this morning admiring them. it is really hard to capture them with the camera, I have never succeeded. How is all your spaghetti squash?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you Moumita. I would expect that you have dragonflies in Singapore, but I’m not sure. They are pretty chill about their wanderings almost as if they are unafraid of people. Of course, few would welcome such a wild looking bug landing on them.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Dragon flies are amazing. We get a swarm that fly through along the shore like a dark cloud every few years. STay cool.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. I remember when I was younger we used to catch dragonflies and then put flies on their abdomen or is it thorax hahah and pretend they were going on a helicopter ride and tried not to think about if dragonflies eat ants and if we were not ferrying them to their doom like the insects we used to catch and throw onto spiderwebs pretending they were villains caught by spiderman….
    as for story length I guess depends on the time like now when I am browsing through coffeeshare articles going through a ten minute read might be not on my list unless I find it compelling but when its during downtime with nothing else clamouring for attention I can sit down and read very lengthy articles and stories
    ~B

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    1. Ha! I had not thought of smaller bug transporter duties for dragonflies. That’s pretty funny. I can see it and I would have been right there with you given the chance.

      On story length, I know you and I have different writing projects in mind, but I do envy your audience. You have built an admirable collection of readers. I hope someday to deserve such a following, but it’s a challenge. I thought Ayem was one of my better works but the Facebook groups I shared it with got minimal response. I’m getting more reluctant to use Facebook because most group member there seem to be from the meme generation and I have little use for meme’s. I want my thoughts (read or written) to be better developed than 1-2 short sentences. Meme’s can be clever but they are rarely deep or memorable. I want to write memorable. Keep leading the way brother. I’ll keep reading and learning from you.

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      1. I used to be in some FB group and yep I noticed what you mean by the meme generation..
        So I hardly share on FB and even if I post to my page it seems the facebook algorithm throttles the reach unless I pay them to sponsor the post and keeps suggesting I do that every time I log in…
        ~B

        Liked by 1 person

  8. Hi Gary,
    I’m a bit late for coffee, but perhaps you run a 24/7 establishment and still have something left in the pot. That dragonfly is beautiful and that bright blue quite stunning. I never cease to enjoy and marvel at the beauty of nature.
    It is almost Spring here and the sun’s out, although the August winds are here and pretty strong. Geoff was going to go sailing but they called it off.
    Hope you’ve had a great week.
    Best wishes,
    Rowena

    Liked by 1 person

      1. Food? I’m in. I have some banana muffins with macadamias sprinkled on top. Aldi donated two boxes of browning bananas to the church food drive and knowing I bake, they rang me. I only took a quarter of them but we’ll be having banana muffins for awhile and plenty to share.

        Liked by 1 person

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