Tag Archives: Friday Fictioneers

A return to Friday fiction

Hi there,

This blog has been quiet so long, I bet you wondered if I was ever coming back. I did too. But here I am, possibly for a one-off, possibly for a sporadic return to the fold. We’ll have to wait and see. Those little boys whose births were announced here 2.5 and almost 5 years ago are growing, and growing up and definitely keeping me busy. Here they are in a forest, up to some cute mischief!

But I’m really ere to share a story, to try my hand at getting back into the Friday Fiction party, and for that, I present to you a picture (Copyright Sarah Potter) and 100 words of story. I’m not happy with any of my current ideas for a title – feel free to suggest one if you are inspired. Either way, I welcome your constructive critique, I’m a bit rusting on writing, editing and what-have-you, so I’m sure there’ll be plenty to say!

For Sale: Baby shoes. Never worn.

The line flew unbidden into Alice’s head as she stared at Joey’s old boots, stuffed away and forgotten when summer called for sandals. She’d spent so much of their marriage cleaning up after him, it’d probably been her, but she couldn’t remember. Occasionally he’d swept through the house and made it look like she never put any effort in at all; annoying her even more.

A spider dashed out and shot across her hand.

“Oh Joey,”  Tears washed black spots onto the shoes again. “I wish you’d come back and piss me off again.”

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FF – Gilded Cage

Another post from afar, hence the lack of photo and the haste of writing / posting. You can see it at Rochelle’s FF homepage. Your comments and feedback are welcome.

Gilded Cage

It was a storyline that filled his wife’s shelves in the library: forbidden love. A girl of lowly birth who falls for the son of a Duke, but is forced to marry a blusterer while her true love enters a ‘proper’ marriage with a woman his social equal.

Teddy wondered if Diane’s sympathies for the lovers ever stepped off the page; if she ever thought of him and the gilded cage that she represented. He did, daily. And every time he read a story about Lois’ horse breeding business, he wondered whether his story would share the novels’ happy ending.

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A brief extroduction…

Our excellent prompt photo this week, courtesy of J Hardy Carroll, reminded me of a thought that’s been mulling about in my head recently regarding the British royal family: Prince Charles and Camilla really need a better spin doctor. Because theirs is a love story.

Years ago, ten years before he had even met Lady Diana Spencer, the young Prince Charles met and fell in love with Camilla. The match was frowned upon and eventually he was married off to Di while she was dispatched to Captain Parker-Bowles. Maybe they went willingly, maybe not; we can never know.

The story we have been sold is that that should have been an end to it: Charles should have accepted his lot, and with it his beautiful, upper class and appropriate wife, leaving the less ‘correct’ Camilla in his past. But love stories don’t run like that, and in fiction most of us don’t want them too. Furthermore, until really very recently, royal Princes weren’t expected to be faithful to the trophy wives chosen for them by ‘the machine’ – and the trophy wives weren’t expected to mind. Charles and Diana happened to live at a tough time for the royal family, when automatic deference was dead, but people still wanted them to be greater than human and without our failings or feelings. Under intense scrutiny and modern expectations, I suggest neither came out particularly spotless. I certainly don’t defend any party’s actions during their respective first marriages.

But Diana has been dead 20 years and Charles has now fulfilled the romantic, love story ambition of a happy ending. He and Camilla may not be innocent, or beautiful, or particularly easy to put on a pedestal, but I suspect they are better for each other than either’s first spouse ever was, and I for one , wish them all the very best in the final act of their love story.

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FF – Footprints

My photo this week, but I’m out and about so I’ll have to catch up properly in a couple of weeks. Also means I can’t add the image from here, but you can see it on Rochelle’s ff homepage.

 

Footprints

The years ticked past as she sat rocking baby after baby through the cries of hunger, teething and fearful dreams. Each one grew, learned to walk, then talk and then push her gently away.

They returned, when the pain or fear or joys heaped upon them by the world were too great for their broadening shoulders to bear. And she, faithful comforter and trusted confidente, embraced them each time anew.

Then one day her chair rocked empty. Gathered around it, they saw for the first time the grooves her feet had worn into the floor, as she had etched footprints on their hearts.

 

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FF – Painting Over The Cracks

With apologies for being a little late this week, here’s my story for the Friday Fictioneers. I was reminded the other day of an old favourite from a few years ago, so if you read this one and want more from me, click here.

For now, here’s the photo from Roger Bultot, that inspired today’s entry. Your feedback is always welcome.

roger-bultot-flower

Painting Over The Cracks

The view was dreary, so Mom picked dandelions to fill the apartment with colour and painted our rooms with cans the store threw out for being mixed wrong. Mine was “Resplendent Ruby”, but it came out green. When it snowed she showed us the beauty in each flake, and bustled us out on ‘adventures’ to scavenge the Clearance shelves for dinner.

For years, we bought it – credulous before our benevolent dictator’s relentless positivity. But even a kindergartener knows food isn’t good just because it’s in date. And that you don’t call Daddy “gentle” just because the bruises don’t show.

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FF -Stillness amid chaos

Thanks to CE Ayr, another picture for the Friday fictioneers to get our writing teeth into this week.  I’m a bit of a fan of Canadian railways myself, but the story took me a little way from the train lines. I would love to hear what you make of it, and if you read the tags afterwards, whether they come as a surprise…

ceayr3

Stillness amid chaos

Mimi paused in the middle of the bridge as she did every day. Far beneath her, the train yard was deserted. Stillness amid chaos. Her Grandma said it was something to strive for, that to be still was to be at peace.

Mimi hated stillness. That’s why she danced – to swirl away the thoughts that gripped the silence. Here in the city, dancing and parties, people and sounds could fill every waking second, so she stopped on the bridge in search of her Grandma’s stillness, knowing that she could find it whenever she wanted, sprawled on the concrete below.

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FF – Pillars

Friday Fiction again and this week a photo from veteran player, Sandra Crook. I think she must have been with us at least as long as me, right Sandra?

Your thoughts and critique of my writing are always welcome.

crook3Pillars

Edith took the news with a sigh.

“I know you don’t approve, Mum, but the marriage just isn’t working for us.”

“I remember when marriage didn’t work for you, you worked for it. Things got a little rickety, you propped them up. Added a pillar. Or you leant harder on the ones you had.”

“And when there’s no pillars left?”

Edith glanced over at her grandsons. “You’ve three great pillars right there.”

“I don’t love her any more.”

“Well. Love’s the weakest pillar of all. I haven’t been in love since the Great War. And certainly not with your father.”

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FF – Next Stop

Its Friday! And I’m catching up on Friday Fiction. This week’s photo is from Shaktiki Sharma. It was hard for me t make out the image on my little phone screen, so I went with the old “say what you see” motto and the story below was created. Your comments are welcome.

Whatever you’re celebrating at this time of year, even if it’s ‘just’ Friday, I hope it is happy and peaceful for you.

shaktiki-2

Next Stop

The view from the bus was uninspiring – leering neon as unappealing as the darkness. People loitered around the shadows, but she fought the urge to fear them. She was safer among these strangers than she had ever been with Mark.

She clutched Eloise’s weary hand in hers and strode across the street towards a flashing Vacancies sign. The room rates posted below it were hourly, with a discount for the whole night. It was no place for her, and certainly not for Eloise, but her shoulders lifted slightly as she stepped inside.

“Come on,” she whispered, “Our new adventure awaits!”

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FF – Story Seeking Title

Today’s post is another heavy one, and once again about motherhood. Maybe it says something about the mood I’m in at the moment (although this story is not specifically autobiographical), maybe it’s just the bleakness I got from Peter Abbey‘s fantastic photograph below. Either way, I couldn’t think of a title, so feel free to wade in on that, or the story itself.

peter-abbey11

Lisa rocked backward and forward, like a silent pendulum of motherhood. Ethan whimpered occasionally, his tiny fingers rhythmically scraping the tender skin of her other breast. Pain, loneliness and darkness seemed each to magnify the others into an eternity of agony, emptiness and night.

She could faintly hear another world, where her husband and parents breathed and showered and laughed.

Tears moistened Ethan’s hair. She daren’t move, so they fell freely.

When he finally dropped sleeping from her breast, she stood and touched her wet face to his. “I love you,” she mouthed as she laid him into his crib.

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FF – Mementoes

I’ll save my introduction for after the story, lest it count as a spoiler. Here, I will just say thank you to Rochelle for hosting, Claire Fuller for the photograph, and all the Fictioneers for cutting me a bit of slack at the moment, when I am struggling to read more than one or two submissions each week. My story (and then the intro) follows, and your comments and feedback are always gratefully received.

claire-fuller-8-1

Mementoes

Ella bought her first display cabinet when she was thirty-four. She’d never really been a collector; knickknacks always seemed like an expensive way to fill a house with nothing.

She chose a wooden, rugged-looking one, because Peter would have liked it. Pirate treasure wouldn’t have felt odd there. His treasures – hers now – fitted too: a piece of coral, seven rocks, a couple of dried leaves and a coin among the favourites. And then, in the final spot, the too-small urn where Peter himself could count them all forever. Her little Peter Pan, who would never grow out of boyish things.

 

Extroduction

I’ve touched on this subject before, but this week is Pregnancy and Infant Loss awareness week, and while Peter in the story is a little older than that technically includes, the grief his mother feels is certainly in the same camp.

I know all about boyish collections – our front window ledge and porch are cluttered with just the sorts of things Peter has left for his mother, and soon I will have a second little collector on my hands. What I can only imagine (and frankly, try not to), is the grief of a mother who has lost her child. The origins of Peter Pan, it has been suggested, are in just this sort of loss, and certainly when I read about a little boy who never grew up, the childish fantasy is edged with the adult fear. There is only one way to avoid aging, and very few of us would choose it for ourselves or our children.

I am thinking and feeling today for the Lost Boys (and Girls), and for the parents they left behind. I know this includes some of the Friday Fictioneers – my heart goes out to you all.

 

 

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FF -Tidy Mind

Today’s impressive photo from Amy Reese put me in mind of a few things – the line from My Own Private Idaho about “I’ve been tasting roads my whole life…”; that bit in Scandal with Huck; and lastly the massive amount of storage we now use in the West. I’ve read some incredible stats about just how much space and money we dedicate to things we no longer want in our homes but can’t bring ourselves to get rid of. I’m minimalising at home right now, and the purge feels good even though the decisions aren’t always easy.

Ultimately, my story isn’t exactly about any of these things. I hope it makes sense – it was one of those that would have appreciated 200 words, but hopefully still works as it is. Your thoughts are very welcome.

from-amy-reese

Tidy mind

Alice leaned on the box and taped it closed. Packing was always such a release. Tidy house, tidy mind, as Jack would say.
Steve arrived from Big Yellow and put it in his pick-up. “Alright, Mrs A?”
She smiled and waved. He was a nice boy was Steve; always polite. Make a nice husband for her daughter, she thought, if the girl would just smile.

“Where’s the cutlery gone, Mum?” Sarah asked that evening. “And my plates?”
“I’m decluttering,” said Alice, emerging from Sarah’s bedroom with a heavy bag. “You don’t want all this stuff kicking around when I’m gone.”

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