Featuring writing and artistic creations from the studio of
Leann Marshall
Welcome back to those familiar with my old site, and welcome to those who
never had a chance to find it.

I loved my site
, "The Book Mark" and what I came to consider its best feature,
"Sketch Notes," simple entertainment, usually seasonal, filled with writings
and pictures and games and fun--a real little treasure that didn't want anything
out of you except to be enjoyed.

Life happened and I let it go in pursuit of other creative outlets, which requires
absolutely no apologies. But I have missed it!
I'll share my endeavors here in this new venue I call Crescent Hollow after my
studio, and along with the news and revitalized links I'll also breathe a little life
back into a new version of Sketch Notes.
And, just like the original that existed for several years, it simply is what it is.

I'll start off with an ode, odd but not totally odious, that is sort of a poke at
myself and my fear of certain creepy crawlies. And before you start, I must say
that the things used in the story to deter them are absolutely effective. If you
don't believe me just Google it. I wouldn't steer you wrong.

                                          ~Leann Marshall

P.S. These are the bare bones of my new site. When I get around to it I'll add
other interesting stuff including a link to my Etsy shop and my books. But for
now, Find a cozy dimly lit (except for an appropriate reading light, of course)
corner, sit back with a cold cup of cider and enjoy the adventure, "Finding
Chaos."
Finding Chaos
By Leann Marshall

Grampa Wizzle's not right in the head
I ever tell you that scary story? he said

(I've already heard it twice today
But he's going to tell it anyway...)

Well I'm mindin' my own business like I always do
Walkin' home from town one Tuesday, 'bout two

Prettiest Fall day you ever did see
World was just right like it s'posed to be

Bees makin' honey an' birds makin' song
An' I'm whistlin' tunes an' jus' strollin' along

I'm thinkin' of partick'ly nothin' you see
An' nothin' is thinkin', partick'ly, of me

An' that's how I like it, that's how I live...
Don't take nothin' and jus' as rightly don't give

Fact is, if a body gets all messed up with others
Puts a right big damper on all your own drothers.

Got my own wants and got my own needs
Like a daisy in dirt's got no use for weeds

It ain't that I'm onery, selfish or mean,
I jus' like things simple, an' easy, an' clean.

Well jus' as I neared ole Shoe Creek Knoll
I thought I heared some thunder roll

So strange to hear with the sunshine ashinin'
That the birds stopped cheepin' and the dogs started whinin'.

An' bein' as I ain't no genteel fella
So seein' as I ain't never owned no silly umbrella,

I looked around as again I heared thunder
To find somewhere's close by to hunker down under.


Clouds moved in an' the sky got real dark
wind whipped up an' the dogs start to bark

Well, I might be one to rib
now and then
And maybe tell a tiny fib
then n' again

But what I'm gonna tell ya is as genuine true
As me sittin' here looking right over at you

Well just as I thought I'd be soon gettin' dowsed,
I spotted an ol' run-down dried up well house.

With lightnin' aflashin' and thunder aboomin'
I couldn't be choosy bout where I was roomin.

I hightailed myself through a big empty field
With intentions of usin' that well as a shield.

It was old and dirty and musty outside
But much worse than that when I  squeezed on inside.

Cause I knew there was spiders and mice everywhere
Couldn't see 'em, you see, much  too dark in there.

So I hunkered, all right, and I pledged to sit tight
While that storm seemed to rage all 'round me all night.

I musta awoke 'bout six thirty or so
(Kinda hard to tell time without no window)

There came a vibration, a tremor, a shake
An' a scrapin' on stone like the tines of a rake

Where it was comin' from I couldn't tell
Cept' that it was with me, right there, in my cell

The noise was so awful my hair stood on end
I took out my knife and I think I broke wind.

Now I could'a got out of there, I could'a been gone
Cause it had stopped rainin' and it was nigh dawn, but

They say curiosity's what  killed the cat
An' Lord help me, that's just where I think I was at

Though my teeth was a clackin' and I felt weak in the knee
I wanted to know what was in there with me.

I crawled to the door, pushed it open a crack,
To just let some light in and then I looked back...

I once had a nightmare so scary and bad
That I piddled the bed and I wasn't a lad.

But what I saw now was a lot worse than that
And I wished I could strangle that *&#@%$ cat

I tried standin' up but couldn't, an' fell
When I saw what was comin' up through the well

It came out a'scramblin'  with a deafnin' buzz
An' as soon as I saw it I knew what it was

Ain't no stoppin' Chaos when it rides up from hell,
on a big black bug, with a whip an' a bell

Eyes like saucers an' big pointy teeth
Hair flyin' 'round it and hooves tucked beneath

Chaos wore a black cape that just seemed to float
An' the cockroach it straddled was big as a goat

The claws on its legs was what I had heared--
That scramblin' and scrapin' on stone I had feared

That bug waved its feelers and flexed all its legs
A hideous sight to behold from the Dregs

My pocket knife fell and my fists were drawn up
And I stared like a idiot confounded fool, Yup

Was the scariest thing I ever did see
So I screamed like a girl, but--it kep' comin' at me

Mouth pulled to a grin, its breath was hot
Still I couldn't move, bein' froze to the spot.

An' then seein' no kinda alternate plan
I shouted, "Stop right there, I'm a reasonable man!"

The confusion that came into Chaos's eyes
Was mirrored somehow in my very own guise

Cause I'd blurted it out without so much as a thought
To the want of definitive proof I'd just wrought.

But it bought me a jiffy from there at  the brink
To give me a second to reason and think

Peerin' through fingers in front of my face
At the demon brigade still stompin' in place

After considerin' what it was I'd say now
I stood up straight and then bent low in a bow

"I can see you must have some business at hand,
An' I'm Frederick Wizzle at your command.

Won't  it seem easier, won't it be grand
To have someone to help with the dealings you've planned?"

Though my heart was a hammerin' loud in my ears
I must've  managed to hide my worst fear

For Chaos at last held the big bug at bay
And opened his toothy maw up to say,

"I bring disorder, bedlam, confusion--
Turmoil and madness and disillusion

'Why should I think that you could help,
You ugly, skinny, dim-witted whelp?

'Your son calls you cold, your wife calls you lazy
The folks around here think you're just plain crazy.  

'You always insist that you're in the right
'Yet you back down from the easiest fight

'You, assisting in such significant strife
When you can't even handle your own pitiful life?

'Why, even the dogs want nothing of you
What effect could you have? What on earth could you do?"


Then he laughed, with jaws opened wide as a snake
An' I figured  I'd made a real awful mistake.

As Chaos guffawed and the cockroach flailed
I thought about what all his cruel words entailed

Was I near as bad as he'd made it all seem?
Lord, was this the big chance for me to redeem?

Or was I a failure, a letdown, a fraud?
If I was done in would the whole town applaud?

"Well if I'm so unimportant," I finally broke in,
You'd be wastin' your time here by doin' me in.

'In fact, was everyone happy to see I was gone,
You'd be doin' a service instead of a wrong."

Now that stopped the hands on the clock face of Evil;
Chaos lashed out his whip to still his foul weevil.

"Hmmm," he said, "What you say is true.
But then what in hell will I do with you?

'The only real use you've ever had
Is to help me get out so I can do bad.

A spell was put upon that door
To keep me down under that cold stone floor.

'I've  waited a century trapped in this hole
When I get outside I'll be in total control

'I can't take you with me, I can't let you go,
They probably don't even want you below.

'No, my final decision is, I believe:
You'll just have to stay here and not ever leave.

'I've chaos to cause, and havoc to wreak
Ogling, leering, and bad words to speak

'So you'll open the door and I'll let you alone
In return you'll remain in this hovel of stone.

But then as I stared into his red-hot coal eyes
I knowed it was nonsense-- his words was all lies

That mercy's not something he could or would give
He'd never see fit t' let me live.

An' even though I surely ain't no angel
I began to see things from a slight different angle

The world was already too full o' bad;
Of awful an' dreadful an' shocking an' sad

I never thought much of gangsters and thugs
Much less of a Demon who rides on a bug

I slapped my thigh. "It's a deal," I grinned
"Seein' as how we both would win;

'You let me live, I let you out
To spread your evil all about

'In a way, you'll have set me free
Cause what did those folks ever do for me

'Cept to criticize an' disapprove
'An frown upon my every move?

'They'll be the ones to bear the brunt
While I'm safe and sound--yep, that's what I want."

"Enough!" Chaos boomed, "No more yackety-yak!
Just open that door before I take it all back!"

Now all the while I was filled up with dread
I'd been thinkin' on somethin' peculiar I'd read.

Cause if them words was bona-fide
I might jus' be fixin' to save my own hide.

So I felt in my pockets, my pants and my shirt
An' come up with a prize 'mongst the coins and the dirt

My heart was a thuddin' right out of my chest
I'd be bettin' my life on this stupid test

If what I'd read was a out n' out lie
Then it was all she wrote. I was gonna die.

But I held my breath an' the cockroach hissed
An' I opened the door with a turn o' my wrist

The bug's stinkin' breath fell hot on my face,
Then with all them disgustin' legs apace

It lunged at me to mow me down
But not before I turned around

An' held my secret weapon high
My knees a'knockin', my mouth parched dry

Right there in the middle of that assault
That creepy crawly screeched to a halt

Its feelers thrashin' at the air
His master's nostrils began to flair

"GET HIM!" Chaos raged, "GO ON!" he repeated,
But with each sting of the whip the bug only retreated

Scramblin'  away with a hiss and a wail
Legs flailin' like sticks thrown around in a gale

The scrapin' was awful, the cussin' was bad
I could scarcely believe the effect it'd had

For Chaos was utter an' total confused
At the defiant bug he now flogged an' abused

All of a sudden it pitched into a lope
Blood drained from my head as I 'bout gave up hope

But it leapt through the air o' that miserable shack
With the demon still glued to its revoltin' back

An' like a hole-in-one on a Putt Putt course
They fell through the mouth of the original source

Scarce brushin' the moldy stone walls of the well
They  plunged right  on down to the depths of Hell

I musta stood there a hour, clean froze
But there weren't nary a sound an' they never arose

So I slid the cap over that vile hole
In hopes that it would fill its role

But just to make certain, just in case
Bolted seven steel  locks to the door of the place

One for a demon come up from the dregs,
An' six more  for each one of that damned roach's legs.

And now is the time that Grampa falls quiet.
And now is the time I pretend to buy it.

But he's not really finished. He's not really done.
And I'm expected to ask since I'm his loyal Grandson:

"But Grampa Wizzle," I eventually emote,
"With what weapon was that horrible insect besmote?

'You thought you were history, you thought you were done;
And you had no sword, or crossbow, or gun.

You had no bludgeon, or javelin or mace;
So what in the world did you shove in his face?"

I wait while he stalls and he hems and he haws
A much grander effect than a short little pause

And finally he breaks out with an ear-splitting grin
Does a little jig and slaps his shin.

Funny you'd ask about that, my boy
It was quite a brilliant tactic, a remarkable ploy

I once read somewhars in some publication
About almost this very same situation

Where someone was plagued by a bevy o' bugs
They was in the floors, the ceilings, the walls an' the rugs

They crawled in his food an' they fell on his head
They drank up his coffee, they slept in his bed

He kept watch by day and at night held patrol
Shot bugs till his house was plum full o' holes

There weren't nothing he did that seemed to work
He thought he was doomed to go clear berserk

But then one day that man he heard tell
There was one thing a cockroach can't bear to smell

Sounded peculiar but Lord, he was tired
So he went down to the store and got what was required

Then he settled right down for a nice long nap
But with one eye open, cause  it was really a trap

One by one, they scuttled on out
From the pipes and the cracks and the coffee pot spout

He waited until they all had him surrounded
Brought out his hand and--they all rebounded

Never before had they darted so fast
And they never came back; it was good riddance at last

Now what was that secret, most dreaded scent?
Why nothing more than a peppermint.

Cockroaches can't seem to stand them at all
An' that there, my boy, was the big bug's downfall

Now ain't that a hoot? Ain't it a dandy?
I overcome Chaos with just one little candy.

There's redemption in peppermint I got no doubt;
To this day you won't find my pockets without

Got mints in my shirt and mints in my pants
An I'm ready if needed to take a new stance

But I have this odd feelin' Chaos didn't quite lose
Whenever I take a quick glance at the news

I don't think he's worried or even concerned;
See, there's somethin' he knows an' there's somethin' I've learned:

It's that even though Chaos is gone it's been shown
Folks seem to stir it up plenty fine on their own.

And then with a wink and two clucks of his tongue,
I can see Grampa Wizzle, for now, is all done

But I can't stand to hear that dull story again
So before he can say anything more I break in

"That's amazing, Grampa, that story's a winner
But I've got to get going and pick up some dinner

My stomach is empty and starting to growl--
I'll just swing by Joe's Diner and grab some chow."

And I tell him goodbye and start off for home
'Cause it's looking a lot like we're in for a storm

I stop at the diner, get a burger to go
And set off in a hurry, bag of food in tow.

Before long I wish I hadn't made that stop
For lightning now sizzles and thunder now pops

Only shelter between  me and home is that well
And it's been bolted shut, as in Grampa's dumb tale

It's getting real dark and the wind is a blowing
I'm panting hard and my blood is a flowing

I run down that road that seems infinite
Toward that old field and evil well house that's in it

I know Grampa's story, of course, is a lie
And now thunder's booming--lightning's way too close by

The rain begins raging and falling in torrents
And I'm set to do anything now that it warrants

To break inside that dangblasted shed
Before I can be struck down totally dead

I kick at the door but it doesn't budge
(Should have eaten my Wheaties instead of that fudge)

I run frantic in circles to find a way in
Like a fox at a henhouse who knows it can't win

And luck of all luck I'm quite taken aback
When I suddenly spy a big, long, wide crack

Years of bad weather have taken their toll
On this ancient and musty old water hole.

I kick at the fracture until the wood splinters
(No doubt the influence of innumerable winters)

And to my relief I'm suddenly inside
Most thankful not to have died or been fried

"Uh-huh who's the man?" I maniacally rail
The brains of the family to my  own avail.

The triumph in my voice was a little bit queer
Since there was no one else around to hear

So I settled down quietly assessing my state
And decided I'd be a lot better off if I ate

Now the bag that I'd flung around earlier had burst
And of course I had lost the most vital thing first

The quadruple cheeseburger was nowhere to be found
And I pictured it out there in the mud on the ground

If I knew what a crest was it then would have fallen
If I had a smart phone I would have been callin'

But I always considered cell phones wasteful and bad
And now I was crestfallen, soaked, and quite sad

I had lost all assurance with the loss of my prize
Until I remembered--I had ordered French Fries!

Not just one bag, no, that wouldn't do
I'd ordered the big size, and not one but two!

Sure enough, as I explored the wet bag once again,
My fingers closed 'round the first precious julienne

I fell to the floor in ersatz liberation
Of my quasi-claustrophobic situation

What a rebirth of courage, my spirit rebounded
My depression grown groundless, my displeasure unfounded

I laughed out loud to think food brings such  joy
Once again I felt as blissful as I had as a boy

I dined right there just like it was the norm
To be supping on a filthy well house floor in a storm

But alas, contentment--it never lingers
'Cause as I lay bloated, still licking my fingers

I began to perceive an unpleasant sound
That seemed to be coming from under the ground

I lifted my head and cocked an ear
The buzzing and scraping came  a little more clear

It occurred to me then, about Grampa's fable--
That "LIE" as I'd always found it so easy to label--

Maybe that ridiculous tale wasn't so tall
Maybe it wasn't so far-fetched after all.

I sat up fast and tense and straight
All I could think to do was to wait

The walls shuddered as the storm still raged
And I felt for all purposes trapped in a cage

I felt in my pockets for anything handy
Be it a crossbow, a sword, or a peppermint candy

But no, although I turned them both inside out
I was alarmed to realize I was completely without

Funny how now I can value their worth
As those awful vibrations come up through the earth

I gather my poor tattered bag to my chest
In hopes that the end might be quick, at best

I shrank to the wall in such horrible dread
My heart skipped a beat, my eyes bulged in my head

And just like as in Grampa Wizzle's account,
I knew I'd soon see that wild fiend on his mount

Although I'd considered myself to be bright
I'd never been wronger--Grampa had been right

'Cause there's no stopping Chaos when it rides up from hell,
On a big old rat, with a whip an' a bell

Eyes like saucers an' big pointy teeth
Hair flyin' 'round it and hooves tucked beneath

Chaos wore a black cape that just seemed to float
An' the rat that it straddled was big as a goat

He yanked on the reins to hold his vermin mount steady
My mouth tried to yell but my brain wasn't ready

The demon said,
"I bring disorder, bedlam, confusion--
Turmoil and madness and disillusion

'I've chaos to cause, and havoc to wreak
Ogling, leering, and bad words to speak

'I've gotten all sorts of destruction to do
But I've certainly got no reservations with you

'So you'll open the door and I'll let you alone
In return you'll remain in this hovel of stone."

This left me feeling a little perplexed
I'm a coward, it's true, no more brave than the next

But hey I've got scruples somewhere real down deep
And I didn't just want to cow down to this creep

He took it for granted I'd bow to his whims
And his teeth and his rat and his claw-endowed limbs

Deep down inside my lard-ridden gut
I felt it my duty to defend that old hut

But how was the magical question at hand
I had no weapons--I had no plan

"Well?" roared the demon. His rat gnashed its fangs
The whip lashed out and Hell's bell rang

"Are you just going to stand there, or open that door?
Get going before I get really sore!"

I thought, Okay Grampa I finally relent
I wish I'd brought one of your damn peppermints

If you can hear me, won't you bring one on over?
But Grampa's not psychic. He's not even sober

I'd run out of options--my fate all but sealed
Then I looked down at my bag and thought of my meal

Then it came to me--although I had no mints,
I did have a small supply of condiments

Maybe the secret weapon was not that I lacked it
But it laid in plain sight in some complimentary packet

Had I just gotten inside Grampa Wizzle's brain?
If so, I acknowledge I'd gone quite insane

So before I could reap the ire of Chaos' bad temper
I reached down in the bag and pulled out the pepper

"Stay back," I yelled. "Or you know I'll use it!"
Chaos laughed and I thought then and there I would lose it

He cackled, guffawed, and ranted and bellowed,
"You're an idiot, a dolt, one stupid fellow,"

"Do you expect to make me sneeze?
Is that all you've got? Then do it please!"

I stood up tall and faced my fears
Something I'd never quite done in all my years

Granted, though it probably would never work
This last big test I wouldn't shirk.

"You've met my Grampa Wizzle, I've heard
And he sure made you sound pretty doggoned absurd

'Riding around on some stupid old bug
Acting all macho and wicked and smug

'When all along you were some immature dandy
Put back in your place with just one little candy

'So now you're back up here riding around on a rat
What kind of malevolent presence is that?

'You can't bring about bedlam without a sidekick pest?
You've got no style at all. No sense of finesse.

'For a demon in your position, so named;
Why, if I were you I'd be plenty ashamed."

I've never seen such a shade of red
That turned to violet there on his head

He tried to speak but could only spit
I heard myself muttering "Oh holy $#!*!"

He tried to get down but the rat started to scurry
Chaos lost his balance but got back on in a hurry

Apparently the overgrown rodent was bored
And wanted to eat me--his hard-earned reward

And didn't much care for his master's raging
And had no clue to the war I was waging

He didn't know Grampa, didn't know any better
To him I looked just like a big hunk of cheddar

He leapt rapidly toward me but I was quick on my toes
And stuffed that whole pack of pepper right up that rat's nose

And almost as though he'd been hit with an axe
He reared up and halted right there in his tracks

Chaos was screaming and lashing his whip
While the rat pawed frantically at his own upper lip

With a piercing shriek it began to retreat
Threatening the demon's rule to unseat

And after much lashing and gnashing and mashing
and bashing, and trashing, and splashy dispatching

That very odd couple leapt right down that well
With a fresh bout of cursing and the faint sound of Hell's bell.

Well, the storm had gone, the ground was all soaked
I prayed my thanksgiving and cried 'til I choked

It took me an hour to gather the brawn
To slide that well's heavy lid back on

And do you know that as of today
I still haven't the nerve to face Grampa and say:

"I'm sorry I doubted your peppermints
It's just that it made absolutely no sense

But now that I've been there, now that I've seen,
I'm sorry that I was so awfully mean

'I've repaired the damage on the well house wall
And I have no remaining doubts at all

'I believe in your story. I'll no longer mock it.
I'll carry mints in all of my pockets,

And pepper and mustard and any old spice
And mustard and mayonnaise and flour and rice

And not only that--I'm a reasonable fella--
I'll never ever again forget my umbrella.


~The End~