Monthly Archives: March 2014

Friday Fiction – The Drifters

When I saw this week’s FF picture, it reminded me of a prompt from many moons ago, but it also sang out loud and clear what I wanted to write for it. I hope it works for you – please do share your thoughts and feedback.

Rochelle leads the FF charge with a photo this week from Adam Ickes – who is not only a great long-term Fictioneers, but has recently published a collection of his 100 word stories in print and Kindle format. I haven’t read it yet, but if his FF entries are anything to go by, I’m sure I can recommend it. Stop by his site for links to his amazon pages to get hold of your own copy. Reminds me I would love to do the same thing sometime – well done Adam for setting a great example!

In the meantime, my FF story for this week…

adamickes-boardwalk

The Drifters

We lie wrapped together and I am falling in love, but his storm-blue eyes hold a baser desire that I ache to meet. From the park, I can hear the carousel and almost taste hot dogs, fries and onions, but only I can sate his hunger and must learn quickly how.

Because of him, Father has forbidden me my home and Mother – shocked but still Mother – could smuggle me nothing but a brief embrace and her warmest blanket. He begins to cry. Under the boardwalk, down by the sea, on a blanket with my baby is where I lie.

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Let’s Pretend This Never Happened – Book review

Recently, the book for my budding Book Group was Jenny Lawson’s “Let’s Pretend This Never Happened.” Lawson, known as “the Bloggess” is a Texan who has come to fame in the blogosphere, in a way many of us would no doubt love to emulate. Let’s Pretend This Never Happened is her first book, and is made up of what she calls a “Mostly True Memoir” about her life.

In places, it is heart-wrenchingly sad, but for the most part, the book is a light and humorous tale of her life and experiences. I believe newspaper reviewers would call it a “romp”, but in the funny sense not the sexual sense.

Did I enjoy it? Yes. In places, it’s laugh-out-loud funny, and it’s certainly nothing like anything else I’ve ever read.

Would I recommend it? I’m not sure. Reading this book was a bit like watching the trashiest of trashy TV, – you enjoy it at the time, but you come away feeling a little dirty, knowing that you have sort of wasted your time and you’ll never get that time back.
So, it depends. I’m more a serious drama sort of a girl. I don’t mind whether the book is based on a true story or not, but I like a bit of character and plot. It’s the same reason I would prefer to see a play than watch stand up, although I do enjoy a bit of comedy here and there.
I supposed I’m not really a laugher. I enjoy laughing with my friends because of the bonding experience it creates, rather than the jokes themselves, but sitting in front of the TV or reading a book and laughing always feels a little bit empty to me – laughter is something I prefer to share.

But if you need a good giggle and don’t mind doing it alone, this is the book for you. And let’s face it – don’t we all want our blogs to turn into successful first-time publications? Sign me up for that one!

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In Mon – Talk to Strangers

What a fantastic crop of InMon prompts this week. I want to use them all … but not in the same story. However, Melanie’s been playing in my head again, so she’s taken the front slot and here’s another snippet from her. And I’ve ended up nodding to two of the prompts.

If you’d like to see more, search “Melanie” to see other parts of her story, although this scene is intended to stand alone.

* * *

Daddy’s instructions had been very clear: “Take Mummy’s prescription to the counter, get the pills from the Pharmacist, pay, leave. Don’t get waylaid.” But Melanie liked getting waylaid; there was always so much to see and do when you got waylaid. And sometimes you got waylaid without meaning to. Like today, in the pharmacy, there was an old lady waiting in the next seat. And Melanie wasn’t really getting waylaid, because she was waiting for the Pharmacist to get Mummy’s pills ready.

“You’re a bit little to be here alone,” said the old woman. “Where’s your Mum?”

“At home,” Mel said, wondering if it was OK to talk to strangers if they were at the pharmacy.

The old woman looked kind, like Mrs Mwanna, only not black. She put her handkerchief in front of her eyes to blow her nose. “You came by yourself?” said the voice behind the handkerchief.

“No. Daddy’s waiting outside, only he couldn’t come in because he’s on the phone.”

“Ah.” The lady came out from behind her mask again. “That’s the problem with these mobile phones. Everyone is always on them. No time for anything.”

Melanie nodded and looked up at the pharmacists’ heads, bobbing behind their high screen. She wondered how long the medicine was going to be, because she was nearly late for school and she didn’t want to have to go and see the Head again to explain.

“They take their own time,” the old lady said, reading her mind like Mrs Mwanna could do. “I’ve been waiting for twenty minutes.”

Melanie wondered how long she’d been waiting. Not twenty minutes, because the old lady had got here first, but it felt like forever.

“Do you go to St Bartholomew’s?” the lady said.

“Yes,” Melanie replied. And then she thought about it and wondered if the lady meant the church, which she did go to, or the school, which she didn’t because she was a big girl now and went to the big school, but it was too late to ask, because she had already answered.

The lady tutted. “I thought they had a uniform. I don’t go in for this modern idea of no uniform days. Supposed to be for charity, but it looks very scruffy and you can’t tell one child from another. In my day you knew exactly what to expect just by looking at the child.”

Melanie tried to count the bottles of Calcium tablets on the shelf beside her, but the numbers kept getting themselves confused whenever she listened to the old lady. She wondered whether to explain about the church and the school, but it wouldn’t really help, because her school did have a uniform and it wasn’t non-uniform day, her uniform was just in the wash because she’d forgotten to put the load through and Mummy had said she’d do it yesterday but then hadn’t been able to get out of bed, and so Daddy had said never mind he would write the Head a note. Only, thinking about it, Melanie remembered that he hadn’t given her a note and she would have to ask him when she got back to the car.

“I suppose you go to the church there as well?” the old lady said.

Melanie nodded.

The old lady tutted again. “Not my cup of tea,” she muttered. “I prefer a more shall we say enlightened communicant, if you know what I mean?”

Melanie nodded, although she didn’t.

“A little bit more forgive us our trespasses and a little bit less mine be the kingdom.”

“Ms Santori?” The lady pharmacist’s head appeared from behind the screen and the old lady stood up.

“Well, that’s me. At last,” she sighed. “You watch out for that priest of yours,” she added. “He’ll fill your head with fire and brimstone and leave no room for God’s love.”

Melanie nodded again and went back to counting the Vitamin bottles. It was easier now that nobody was talking to her, and she’d got all the way to two hundred and forty-seven when she heard Mummy’s name being called.

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Friday Fiction – Preserving Beauty

Wow, FF hasn’t been this difficult for me in a long time. The picture from Danny Bowman is so bleak and yet stunning, I wanted to do it justice with my story, but the ideas clanked out slowly and the resulting first draft was much too long and pointless to be worth sharing. Sometimes, the muse just doesn’t want to get out of bed – I know how she feels!

But here, at last, it my offering. I hope it’s worth the wait.

lengai_summit_from_crater-danny-bowman

Preserving Beauty

Marie nipped the flower from a crevice in the rock and into her book. She glanced around and sighed. In preserving beauty, she had crushed the volcano’s only hope of bearing life.

Tears blinded her as she stumbled back to the Observation Station. She and Louis had shared a hope once, but she too was barren wasteland.

“I ruin everything,” she sobbed.

“Another quake,” he whispered. “We need to evacuate.”

Blackness seeped into the crevice, scorching roots and stem as the research team retreated. Tucked away, the hope of the mountain survived: pollen caught in the leaves of a sketchbook.

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The Challenge of Challenges

I love a challenge as much as the next person, and I’m always a fan when my friends take them on, whether it’s read a book a week, run a marathon or write a letter every day for a month. I often want to join in – I’d love to read more, write more letters and post a photo every day about how thankful I am (I’ll live without the marathon, thanks, although I have started going to the gym more often). And all of these things are possible – I’ve done nanowrimo; I know there is time in every day you never thought was there.

But it’s not possibly to do ALL these things at once – you have to pick your priorities. I don’t like picking, so I’m trying a gentler version of a lot of things…

I have recently joined a book group and although we spend more time talking about jobs and babies than the book, it’s encouraged me to read more, which is fantastic. But if I read a book a week, something else would have to go.

I am trying to be more thankful – that’s always a good mood booster and mood boosting is always a good thing – but I don’t think I’ll subject anyone to photos of it.

There are lots of people I only seem to contact at Christmas. I’m not sure about a letter a day, but I’d certainly like to keep in better contact with the people I love.

AND I’m writing more too – I got into a bit of a slump post-November and have settled on my haunches a bit. I’m keen to get back to writing more than just what appears on this blog. I’ve got plans for next year’s NaNo novel, which will take a lot of planning and research, so I need to start early, and for some short stories. Plus I always welcome prompts – on Saturday I wrote 500 words about dogs taking over Toronto post-apocalypse on the whim of a friend I was chatting to that morning. It was a lot of fun.

What’s your latest challenge? Should I be adding a watered down version of that to my life too?

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