August 26, 2015 · 2:12 pm
A moment’s pause in our day, just long enough to find something to say about Claire Fuller‘s intriguing picture prompt (the first image below) for the Friday Fictioneers. I still haven’t worked out what it is, but a couple of phrases sprung to mind from the picture and from those phrases came a story. I appreciate your honest feedback.
Row on Row
They stood row upon row. Uniform and yet unique. Brian stood out to me, because of the invisible umbilical cord linking us long beyond the real one, but I know he was just part of the blur of green to the mothers of the boys beside him, behind him and in front.
Perhaps they had mentioned him in letters; perhaps they were some of the boys he occasionally referred to when he wrote.
I stare again at them all. The other boys’ just part of the blur of white surrounding Brian’s cross: uniform and yet unique. Like all the rest.
US cemetery, Colleville-sur-Mer, Calvados, Normandy / Personal picture taken by user Urban, February 2005 (wikimedia commons)
August 19, 2015 · 3:45 pm
I nearly didn’t get to contribute something for C.E.Ayr’s FF prompt today. Although the boys gave me a hands-free naptime, I had to use it to mow the lawn and then the cat decided to take advantage too. Plus the prompt said a whole lot of factual stuff to me and not a lot of fiction. But eventually Pepsi decided it was time for a wash, so I started typing and this is what came out. My story is under the prompt – feel free to skip the random non-fiction musings that precede it. EDIT: Oooh, I forgot – language warning!
The first thing that sprang to mind from the picture was how much it fits the FF motto (from Henry David Thoreau) “It’s not what you look at that matters, it’s what you see”. I also wondered whether the mural preceded the dilapidation of the building, and whether it was put there as a sort of graffiti or an official attempt to prettify the neighbourhood. And I wondered why there aren’t more things like this around.
And then I went back to the Thoreau quote and I started thinking how what might be true for writing prompts isn’t necessarily true for everything. Take the Seaworld debate, for example, where what you see is an amazing and fascinating whale show, but what you’re looking at may (or may not, I’m not trying to open a wound here) be torture and animal cruelty.
Which got me thinking about the wider scope of that too. At the weekend we saw a snapping turtle by the banks of the lake where we happened to be walking. Jon and I were probably more excited than Sebastian, because he couldn’t really be expected to understand the novelty of the situation. He’s seen turtles in the zoo, roughly that close, and he’s never been on a lakeshore walk and not seen a turtle, so how could he know this was special. Even I don’t know how special it is – are snapping turtles a fairly standard occurence in Ontario’s cottage country? Or were we extremely lucky to find one? (Here’s what Ontario Nature says about that)
All of which ponderings didn’t lead me to a story. Luckily, the old “start typing and see what comes out” trick did. 😉
Behind the Facade
Isla smudged “mardi gras” across her eyelid and blinked at the mirror. Not a bad job, considering she hadn’t worn makeup in almost two decades. It wasn’t really her colour anymore; she might have felt more comfortable with a subtler shade. But comfort was for cowards and prisoners. Tonight, Isla was wearing a dress that came up too far on the leg, down too far on the cleavage, heels that said she wasn’t walking and mardi-fucking-gras eyeshadow.
“You can put lipstick on a pig,” said her husband’s voice, but she couldn’t hear him. Six feet of earth saw to that.
August 12, 2015 · 3:15 pm
In haste … two boys asleep and a million things Mummy should be doing 😉
Sorry for my lack of involvement last week – I posted my story but I’m still getting to comments and haven’t read more than a couple of others. I’m hoping for better this week, but I’m still getting used to this new life, so bear with me.
Your thoughts on this week’s story are as welcome as ever. I read and appreciate all comments, even when it takes me a while to reply. Prompt courtesy of Madison Woods (it’s an old one – my previous response is here.)
Windows To The Soul
It looked at her: unblinking eyes, piercing through the heavy parcel of air between them. Patience stared back.
“I see you,” she whispered. She wanted to turn away, but another body at her back held her in place. All around her, the half-light heaved with hot, hungry breath. They had entered this ship so many individuals, but already they breathed as one – a single mass of despair.
Except the eyes that bored into her. Those eyes held none of the panic, none of the fear, none of the pain that had filled them minutes before. The eyes were at peace.
August 5, 2015 · 3:18 pm
Long intro alert – skip down to the picture for my FF story if you prefer.
Last week’s Friday Fiction story prompted a lot of judgements about Wilf’s grandkids, so I thought I’d share another view of the cabin on the island – click here if you didn’t see it and would like to.
This week’s prompt is a repeater – my original story link is here. I decided to go ahead and write something new though, and that story is below the picture prompt (photo copyright Madison Woods). I hadn’t read / remembered my old story when I wrote this one, but now I have, I’m pondering the significance of the running theme, and smiling at the importance to me of the original post.
I couldn’t think of a fitting title this time, so your feedback on that, and on the story itself, is very welcome. My sincerest apologies and condolences if the loss of a baby is a sensitive topic for you. I found this article from Huffington Post / The New York Times incredible, and incredibly moving.
How many friends had warned her, “You won’t remember a time before you were a Mother”? Certainly, there was nothing before that moment when the doctor frowned, took Bea’s hand and said in whispered words that deafened her, “No heartbeat.”
But was she a mother now? A childless one, encircled by misery where there should have been diapers and toys, tiny fingers and too-loud cries. She picked up the plaster-cast footprint and held it to her heart, then pulled back the curtains to stare at the moon. They’d named her Celeste; another angel in heaven, another star in the sky.
August 1, 2015 · 3:44 pm
Many people seemed outraged by the behaviour of Wilf’s grandchildren on Wednesday, but anyone who has considered moving an elderly relative to a home knows that the decision is never straight-forward and rarely motivated by anything other than love and a desire to do what’s best. Pull the camera’s focus out a little, and cast your eye downstairs to the kitchen table conversation Wilf can’t quite overhear. (Also 100 words exactly).
Alice stared at the pirate ship Dad had carved into wall. It’d outlasted him already; would probably outlast them all. Not like her son’s youthful transgressions, long since painted over and forgotten.
“We can’t move him,” she said, thinking of Gramps upstairs: voiceless and toothless but strong. He’d outlast them all too.
“We can’t leave him here,” countered Ronnie. “It’s not safe.”
“He’d rather die here tomorrow than in some faceless home a decade from now,” she said.
“You’ve seen the offer,” her cousin added, “He could spend that decade in the Waldorf’s Penthouse with round-the-clock care and a butler.”