July 13, 2016 · 8:57 am
This week’s rerun is one I suggested. Reading through my previous contributions, I felt this was a favourite. It’s a lot less intense than a lot of my stories have been over the years; I suspect I’d recently watched a romcom to put me in this mood, but who knows? It’s also a happy example of when I’ve managed to wander a decent distance away from the prompt photo, although the title still links it.
The story is here.
While I’m here, and in a rather tangential link (rerun – run – walk), if you would like to sponsor me and Sebastian for a walking challenge in aid of Sick Kids, please wander over here. It’s a great charity, doing lots of great things for children’s health in Canada, and although we have been fortunate only to need their telephone helpline (so far, touch wood), I am very happy to know that a fantastic children’s hospital is nearby if my kids ever needed it. No expectation, but thank you if you do!
June 29, 2016 · 8:12 am
No rerun for me this week; if you went back to Rochelle’s original post, you’ll know why. Five days into motherhood, apparently I didn’t put writing first ;). Three and a half years on, it’s still a challenge to fit in a weekly burst of writing, but sometimes we need to rise to challenges…
Kent Bonham recommended the rerun; the picture is Rochelle‘s own.
Mrs Mwanna says he won’t bring Mummy home in this. She says it loads, like each time she looks out, the sun will be shining, the ice will have gone and the car will have pulled in.
She looks more often than I do, but they don’t come.
It’s too cold to take Mummy outside. She’s too frail to walk and it’s too slippery for the wheelchair. Too far for me to visit. Too early for us to phone.
We hold hands and watch through the frost for the car that won’t come. He won’t bring her home in this.
June 8, 2016 · 10:32 am
When Rochelle asked for our favourite stories from back in FF history, I had an enjoyable morning reading back through my old contributions. I found some I remembered being proud of that didn’t chime so well this time around, some I’d forgotten entirely, and a few that I still love. One of the last category was this one – His World. Interestingly, it continues the grandparent theme of recent weeks.
I’m grateful to Rochelle for the opportunity to look through, and to rerun this one.
May 25, 2016 · 5:03 pm
This week’s FF story is a special one to me. During my recent absence, I lost my last surviving grandparent: my Grandma. She was a wonderful woman who wore her heart on her sleeve and never let any of us forget how much she loved us. She follows my Grandad, with whom she had a long and loving marriage of over 60 years and who I know she missed every day since his death. Although I don’t know what is on ‘the other side’, I am certain that her grief is over. Either they are now together or else it doesn’t matter.
When I saw Rochelle‘s picture, this story is what came to me. I hope you like it; I welcome your comments.
The Greatest of These
The noise lapped over her in waves: hushed voices, a reading from Corinthians, a baby crying and quickly quieted. There was a weight to the sounds that wrapped them around her like an embrace, though she could see, hear, and feel none of it.
From a distance, and across a gap both wider and narrower than the physical one, she knew nothing of the details. Sight, sound and sensation were lost to her. Where she was, only love remained – from those near and far, surviving and already departed. It was love that flowed both ways, and would never end.
Of all the photos from my wedding, this remains one of my favourites.
May 18, 2016 · 7:51 am
Apologies for the long period of silence, enforced by a combination of illness and traveling. Thanks for your patience!
It’s been so long since I last posted, that the Friday Fictioneers are on another photo prompt from the same contributor, J Hardy Carroll. This picture reminded me of the nonsense poem, “One fine day in the middle of the night,” and the line “back to back, they faced each other.” Beyond that, my story reflects a deeper feeling I have about the way we behave as humans, but that wasn’t my original intent. Your feedback is welcome, enjoy!
The Valley of Death
There they stood. Line upon line of them; back to back like the school desks of naughty boys caught cheating. Each man could feel the warmth of another against his spine, but he could see only desperate, calculated cold in the eyes ahead.
An army, weaponised by their enemies, bent on self-destruction, this was to be their end.
What they could have done if all had moved as one, turned together and risen up against their oppressors. But here, on this field of death, they could think of only that the man opposite must die.
A distant bell chimed once.
April 6, 2016 · 1:55 pm
My story for J Hardy Carroll’s intriguing picture follows it. Jump straight there if you don’t want to read some of the musings that almost certainly fueled its creation.
This parenting lark isn’t easy. Sometimes it feels like a constant weighing between immediate gain and long-term gain – taking a toddler to the park is nice, but wrestling a toddler out of the door to go to the park, then out of the park and back home, means you spend roughly as long cajoling / arguing / negotiating (and therefore making him unhappy) as you do playing (and making him happy). Is it worth it? Equally, when a baby can’t sleep because his teeth hurt, or a preschooler can’t sleep because it’s so much more fun to recite endless stories / TV shows, you can spend as long, and as much energy, persuading them to lie down and rest their poor tied body as they get back from the eventual sleep. But if you don’t, you have a cranky child making both of you miserable for the rest of the day. Is it worth it?
So I’ve been thinking about the long-game and the medium game, and the immediate game, and I still have no idea, but when you read my story, I think you might get a sense for how I feel deep in the jungle!
Forget the wood, focus on the trees
Stepping onto the path, she looked ahead, then tightened her grip on the little hand that rested in each of hers. Beyond the trees, a thousand uncertainties away, their destination was invisible and unknown. Some said it was a restful place they would enjoy together; others that they would be separated; and still more that there was nothing there at all.
Whatever the truth, for now, she had only the path. The path, and two little boys clutching her hands in the sure and certain belief that she would guide them, help them, carry them through whatever it might hold.
March 30, 2016 · 9:54 pm
No time, no time, muttered the rabbit. Tomorrow, I am giving a public reading of a 1000 word story and I either haven’t chosen it yet from my existing repetoire, or haven’t written it yet if I need something new. But FF is an addiction, and this story wanted to be told, even though I had to beat and crowbar it to make it 100 words. I’d be interested to know if you think it feels overworked, and if the character I was trying to draw still came across after the edits. It’s inspired by Marie Gail Stratford’s picture below, in in particular by the juxtaposition of two words on the picture. I wonder if they both stood out to anyone else.
Always use protection
Angie reapplied her gloss. It was an unlikely place to meet the man of her dreams – especially when he’d be busy wowing the conference bar across the street – but a girl should be ready.
Trying not to think about her boss, she reordered and found guilty pleasure in the barman’s flirting. It was a long time since anyone laughed at her jokes.
Of course, he’s just playing for tips.
Any longer and she risked liking him, then disappointment when nothing happened. Angie dropped a couple of extra bills on the bar and walked away from a half full glass.
March 23, 2016 · 12:05 pm
Another week, another picture. This time from Ted Strutz. I’m over 200 stories now, that’s more than 20,000 words in 100-word chunks and enough for a novella! Your feedback on this one is welcome. No offense is intended to either of the locales mentioned; everywhere has its good and bad parts, and its good and bad people.
The Best Soil
Her brothers, who’d never been further than Romford, described India as ‘the toilet of the world’, but Stacy liked the idea of endless curry, and helping people who had even less than her. Being thousands of miles outside their shadows wouldn’t hurt either.
The curry was a disappointment, tasting nothing like the real stuff back home, and some areas did smell terrible. But three weeks in, she found herself not minding. The love of the children she taught made it all worthwhile, and Stacy, against all her brothers’ warnings, found India a fertile place to plant some roots and grow.
March 18, 2016 · 3:12 pm
It is Friday, after all. So, better late than never, here’s my story for Rochelle’s own picture prompt this week.
It’s arguably not a story, but it came to me all at once, and when I typed the last word you see below, I noticed it was 100 words exactly, so I couldn’t resist the feeling it wanted to be posted as is. Apart from changing one adjective that didn’t seem quite in keeping, I haven’t changed it at all, but I welcome your feedback.
Everything in Grandma’s house was old. Grandma herself, obviously, had been alive long enough to remember black and white television, Nixon and the Civil War, and she had a telephone that plugged into the wall and you had to stand right there in the kitchen if you wanted to talk, because you were tethered there like a goat.
But the oldest thing in Grandma’s house was the golden clock. It never moved. Uncle Joe said it was right twice a day, but Grandma said it told the time she met Grandpa and was always right. I liked Grandma’s version better.
March 9, 2016 · 2:48 pm
Well, this story really didn’t go where I thought it was going. Consequently, it really has nothing to do with the photography from Emmy L Gant that officially prompted it, unless you count a general colour scale, but that’s coincidental. Still, I offer it to you, for your thoughts and feedback. If there’s too much confusion I’ll try to post an explanation as and when time and children permit.
V saw the girl immediately: wearing black and slouched in a corner as if she could somehow disappear there. Classic emo. She’d see V’s scars and say “Me too,” then she’d flash a few of those deep-enough-to-look-good-but-not-really-hurt scratches on her forearms and pretend they were the same.
V headed for the opposite corner, dropped her bright yellow backpack and pulled out a jotter plastered with smiley stickers. She started sketching butterflies around the first page and hummed Justin Bieber loudly.
“New school, new beginning,” Dad had said. “And none of that misery nonsense goes with you.” Like emotions respected walls.