Coronan the Barbarian


Muscles flexing, sweat and wet in the  midday sun, he trots, then canters, then gallops astride his steed with alarming speed, brandishing a terrible swift sword, the lieutenant who is only following orders of the Grim Reaper.  Coronan the Barbarian.  He slices a six-foot swath between us. The magnet and iron of our attraction to one another fails us, and we are thwarted by fear and prudence.  We obey, and keep our distance. But we plot.

Do we fear because we are helpless, or helpless because we fear?

We are not helpless.

We are a disciplined army with a proven arsenal of defense: inspiration and faith.

We keep a physical distance, but not a social one.  Think back.  How many of you have sworn that the relationships you have made on line are just as real, just as enduring as anything face-to-face? I am certainly in that number. For ten years, though it has waxed and waned, this site has been forging unbreakable relationships replete with all of humanity’s best elements: compassion, curiosity, love, respect, and expression of self in a trusted and trusting on-line environment. Love of the written word, and in awe of its ability to connect us to one another.

So let’s put that to use now to combat Coronan the Barbarian. His latent gift is to restore our resolve to communicate openly and frankly with one another regardless of any isolation his presence imposes. As our friend Victor Villaseñor has said: “Everyone should write, because the opposite DEpression is EXpression.”

“If you’re feeling contempt, well then you tell it.  If you’re tired of the silent night, JESUS, then you yell it!” (Joni Mitchel)

We are putting our contests on hold, but A Word with You Press would like you to send any stories at all about how you are navigating this difficult time, or simply send us the stories that were allowed to germinate with the sudden gift of confinement. We’ll share your stories on line with kindred spirits, the 750 people on our exclusive mailing list.

We are all conformists, but the difference among people is whether it is to their fears or their desires that they conform.  Remember, being alone does not mean being lonely.  Let’s hear from you. Send your stories to  AND RESPOND to the stories we post.  People want to hear from you, and be acknowledged.

Being helpless is for many of us a choice.  How do you choose?

8 thoughts on “Coronan the Barbarian

  1. Diana Diehl says:

    Wonderful writing prompt, Thorn! Although the opening verbiage, “…Muscles flexing, sweat and wet in the midday sun…” does tend to sway the imagination in decidedly non-distancing directions. But that’s Thorn All Over, am I right? I hope your request sparks an influx of imaginative stories.

  2. Kristine Starr says:

    I love this idea Thorn! What a lovely way to invite all of us to stay connected and appreciate each other.
    Sending all the love to the entire community!

  3. Ed Coonce says:

    I’ll start working on it right away. However, I’ll be listening to Herbie Hancock’s “Joni Letters” (his take on the Joni Mitchell repertoire) whilst I scratch the parchment, and anything else that needs a good scratch. Or a rub, aye.

  4. Thornton Sully says:

    Hmnnn. My responses don’t seem to align with the comments. May my comments are social distancing. Which begs a question: If you insult someone from six feet (1.8 meters) is that social diss tancing?

  5. Wendy Joseph says:

    My feline god and I have said to hell with the six foot rule, or gloves or masks (he wouldn’t wear one; it was a hellish attempt which left me scarred for life, there was blood everywhere, I needed six transfusions), and we are happily everaftering in the shelter I was fortunate to find, where they were dumb enough to let me in. They even let me out once in a while.

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