Saved: Dragonflies vs. Gnats–No Contest!

One major difference between the hot, dry weather of a desert (Tucson, AZ) and the hot, humid weather of the Gulf of Mexico (Ft. Myers, FL) in July is the number of human-eating insects. I was reminded of this recently. As I obtained my parking permit from the machine at the beach, a cloud of gnats descended upon me. I flailed my arms and wiggled my body as I waited impatiently for the printer to finish. I grabbed the receipt and dashed back to the car.

Unfortunately, my bug spray was back at the house. I would have driven home for the spray, but the parking is timed, and I needed my beach walk to stimulate my creativity. I approached the beach with determination and the expectation of a rapid walk with lots of arm movements and pulling up the back of my t-shirt. Gnats are called no-see-ums, because they look like black specks, but they have a very painful bite.  Nothing subtle about gnats. They strike fear in the boldest of people. In fact, I wrote a spoof horror audio theater script, In the Swamp, No One Can Hear You Scream, about gnats.

photo of dragonflies around the beach

I approached the beach path at a brisk pace when I saw my rescuers, waiting for me in the sea oats. Dragonflies, a swarm of dragonflies! I walked confidently forward, believing that these predatory insects, symbols of awakening and transformation in Native cultures, would consume the tormenting gnats.

As I walked along the beach, the dragonflies accompanied me. I was confident that they were protecting me and they did. The swarm of dragonflies was present the entire length of the beach, rising from their perches as I went by.

photo of dragonfly on sandThank you, aerial protectors. And, it’s always the right time for awakening and transformation in my book.

I’m not certain of the dragonfly species (see pictures), but it may be Tramea onusta, common name Red Saddlebag.

cover of script

Book Note: Before I was launched onto my writing children’s fun-science books career, I had written several performance scripts (being an actor myself), including In the Swamp, No One Can Hear You Scream, as one of two scripts included in Mayhem in Swamp and Snow.
Do you participate in a performance group? Check out my scripts on my author page—performance rights are included with the purchase.

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A Writing Prompt with Malice

I was experimenting with a writing prompt for mysteries. The prompt was to write about a common object in a mysterious way. I looked at my pepper grinder, a device that pulverizes hard objects. All the multi-colored peppercorns are ground into indistinguishable pieces. How terrifying it must be for the peppercorn to be crushed and chopped into little pieces! Fortunately, they are no longer alive and can’t feel pain, but it does provide an example of how mundane objects can be turned into objects of malice. In addition, it got me wondering about how peppercorn grinders were invented.

I was surprised to find out that the grinder was invented by Peugeot back in 1842. Prior to its production, people used the mortar and pestle. The grinder was much less labor intensive! Stainless steel is the desired material, since it is durable and crack resistant (some of those peppercorns fight back!) Zinc alloy, ceramic and acrylic have also been used.

The instrument of destruction of the above peppercorns.

 

photo of ground pepper

The results: releasing the delightful pepper flavors.

The next time you want to stimulate your creativity, look at some innocuous item in your house and make it into an object worthy of a murder mystery! I know I’ll never look at my peppercorn grinder the same way.

Book Note: I am a mystery lover and have several murder mysteries in progress. I have also written and published theater scripts in the mystery genre. You can see them all on my Theater Scripts page.  Interested in the Performing Arts? Click on any of the book covers to buy them at Amazon–for your own practice as an actor, or for your performance group. They’ve been performed back East and are a lot of fun!

cover of theater script Mayhem in Swamp and Snow
Danger can be found anywhere, in a mangrove swamp or on a highway in a snow storm.
Performance rights included with the purchase of this script.