All good things must come to an end! Our summer of respite is over, and Rochelle has launched us back into new stories with this picture from Vijaya Sundaram. It took me to an idea you’ll see in my story, but the story itself comes from an article I read recently. I have linked the article at the end.
Meantime, real life is about to take a big change. Sebastian starts school next week, full time into Junior Kindergarten. On a day like today, when Dominic had me up through the night, the cat has thrown up twice and Sebastian decided he needed to make a wading pool on the kitchen floor, I can’t wait! But I’ll miss him too, of course.
A quick reminder, if anyone would like to sponsor us for our walk in aid of the wonderful Sick Kids Hospital, we would be grateful for whatever you can spare.
You think you know me, doncha? Small-town Southern upbringing; little league baseball and climbing the water tower with a bottle of hooch on the fourth of July. I’ve seen those movies too. There’s nothing new under the sun.
That there’s no headline either, is it? Alabama man quotes Bible verse.
Here’s what you don’t know. Alabama man didn’t play little league, he was in beauty pageants. Alabama man didn’t climb the water tower, because he knew if he did, he’d jump. If he wasn’t pushed.
Alabama man grew up Alabama girl. But that’s not new either; that predates the Bible.
The link is here.
Home alone with two boys this week, and so far we’re all fed, no-one dead, so I’m counting it a success! There’s still time for it to go horribly wrong though…
On a more reliable front, this week’s FF picture comes from Dee Lovering via Rochelle. I hope you enjoy my offering, your feedback is encouraged.
The Crazy All-Weather Ice Cream Man
Georg knew people laughed; it wasn’t as though they were subtle about it. Youths would shove each other over, pull down scarves or shout through fur-lined collars.
“Chocolate cone with raspberry sauce and sprinkles please,” or “Extra ice in my lemonade, buddy.”
He wasted a lot of stock when they scampered off through the snow, laughing.
But Georg came anyway. On good days, she walked past, he might even hear her voice, chattering to her friends about the crazy all-weather ice cream man; on the best days, she bought something and he could search her face for his own reflection.
Turns out that whilst having a newborn is enough to stop me FFing, the internet going down is. I was in the dark ages for 48 hours, but now I’m back, folks! A literal interpretation this morning. My excuse is I’m too hungover (exhaustion not alcohol, I should add) from the Canada Day picnic & fireworks to be clever 😉
I welcome your honest feedback.
Jack watched the corners of Fiona’s mouth twitch. Fifteen years ago, she’d have smiled, made some understated quip, like ‘that’d be tough to explain’. They’d have laughed together for a few miles and enjoyed the journey all the more for the strange sight of three cars deliberately half-buried in a field.
But they weren’t kids anymore and Fiona wasn’t that Fiona.
“What a mess!” she scowled. “You’d think the council would have them take it down.”
“What, and deprive you of the chance to bitch about it?” Jack snapped, wondering not why he’d married her, but why he hadn’t left.
Thank you for so many lovely, supportive comments over the past couple of weeks. I continue to have my hands literally and metaphorically full with the boys, but I love writing and your support means a lot. Today’s FF picture is Rochelle’s own; the words are mine and come with a slight language / blasphemy warning.
A Spiteful God
Janey was superstitious about them things; went f’in’ crazy if I said anythin’ was good.
“Nice weather, eh, Janey?”
“Don’t spoil it,” she’d say, like God might hear an’ send rain just t’spite me. I thought she was being soft.
It was her what said it in the end. “Job for life,” she said when them toffs took ‘er on to clean house. “Just the lights’ll take a decade,” she said.
“Aye, life,” said God, rubbin’ ‘is hands at catchin’ ‘er out. Eight days on, she’s up a ladder polishin’ one minute, stone cold on the marble floor the next.
In recent weeks, when I’ve written to FF prompts, I’ve tried to steer away from illustration in favour of inspiration. This week’s story is a bit of both. There is a literal element to it, but that’s not actually where the story came from. It started with a line from John Donne (via Bon Jovi, which I’m not ashamed to say is where I first heard it!) and a bit of philosophising on our species’ behaviour and then cycled back around to the picture mostly by accident. What a strange beast the brain is.
Thanks to Marie Gail for the picture, and to Rochelle for her ongoing leadership of our little archipelago.
“Boss calls ‘em Ozymandian,” Rufus directed his apprentice to the remains of a solitary tower.
“What’s that mean?” said the boy, “Hermit?”
Rufus kicked a stone block so his foot would hurt more than his head. He hated when the kid used brain even more than when the boss did.
“’Parrently they had this saying: no man is an island, entire unto hisself,” he said, quoting her and hoping the boy wouldn’t ask any more, “But then when The Wash came, everyone took off on they own.”
“Maybe an island’s easier to defend.”
“Jus’ get on wi’t job,” Rufus snapped.
It’s Wednesday and recent photos make me suspect that Rochelle is as much over the winter as I am. This week’s greenery comes from Rachel Bjerke.
My story is an attempt to veer back into ‘proper’ fiction and as always I’d love to hear what you think. I am stuck for a title, so suggestions are welcome on that front too. After writing it, I was researching green for something that might work as a title when I came across this bit of slang. I suggest you read the story before clicking on that link, then you can decide whether it changes your reading of the story or not – it kind of did for me!
Happy Spring (on Friday, apparently)!
Exhausted, she leant against the stone fountain. The surface, polished lifetimes ago, was made smoother still by a slime of moss that covered everything. She knew it was staining her nightdress and skin with the evidence of her flight.
She’d once loved green – the colour of life and vitality, of new beginnings – a longed-for sight after bracing white winters washed away colour and hope.
But today, it was another wall in her prison. She had fled the house, only to find the forest never-ending, and this abandoned oasis further evidence that she was still within his territory. And his grasp.
Normal service resumes, folks. I am home, I am sane, and I am writing fiction with a dark side (SPOILER ALERT: someone even dies)! I hope you enjoy this story, and I welcome your critique and your interpretations, whether good or bad.
This glorious photo, courtesy of Sandra Crook, goes to show just how much the bitterness of winter can also be its beauty. Toronto is finally warm (by which I mean positive temperatures. +2 feels balmy after a few months of -20somethings) and sunny, the snow is melting and we can walk down the street without having our faces ripped off by the wind. I am fortunate not to suffer from anything as extreme as SAD, but the Winter definitely takes its toll on my mood, and I can’t wait for Spring to get its boots on and come out to play.
Beyond His Shadow
When the dust settled, everything was almost as it had always been. Life revolved around the gaping hole where the old man used to stand as though a real dust, an embodiment of his presence, coated everything. I went shopping and felt his hand on my arm; I heard his voice on the train, on the phone, in my dreams; I lay awake in bed, waiting for his hand on the doorknob.
My father’s grave weathered seasons of frost and rain, tenacious weeds and beating sun. And I weathered grief and relief by turns, learning to live beyond his shadow.