Tag Archives: Motherhood

Friday Fiction – Untitled

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.


Filed under Friday Fiction, Writing

Friday Fiction – The Link

On this occasion, you will forgive  me, I hope, for one or two things: a little sentimentality, a couple of my favourite recurring characters, and an interpretation of the picture that is both incredibly literal and heavily metaphorical. Three days into my own mother-of-two adventure, I’ve somehow squeezed in time for Friday Fiction (thanks to Grandma who is ironing, hubby who is gardening and simultaneously-sleeping boys) not least because I want to thank Rochelle for her lovely message on the FF homepage.

For those who missed it, the announcement of Dominic’s arrival is here. I now have my very own Matty and Luke. Thanks to C.Hase for a picture that couldn’t be more evocative for this week. Now, though, a story. Of sorts. c-hase

The Link

Matty threw his arms out to the sides for balance, then jumped expertly to the next link on the old anchor chain.

“The slimy blackness of the serpent oozed up, then disappeared under the ripples for mile upon mile,” Luke intoned, studying the links undulating in and out of the sand.

I half-watched one, half-listened to the other and thought about two mornings, eleven and nine years ago when life-giving cords from me to each of them had been irrevocably cut, and replaced by something longer, stronger and invisible to the eye: a mighty chain stretching endlessly into our futures.


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Friday Fiction – Ouroboros

(No baby 😉 )

I hope photographer Douglas M MacIlroy will forgive me pulling the limbs off his pleisiosaur for the purposes of this story and Rochelle will consider it far enough from the picture to meet the demands of her dare!



“So what is it?” I asked. All I knew about snakes eating their tails was “The Greedy Python” at 3am, breastfeeding one child and comforting another.

“It’s an ancient symbol of circularity, or self-reflexivity,” Sadie replied. “Jung reckoned…”

I wanted to listen, but my phone demanded to be checked. We’d both escaped, of course, she from clients; me from fingers under the bathroom door – but at that moment I felt the more trapped.

“Either way though,” she laughed; my wonderful childless friend who knows these things because she loves my children, and me, “He’s going to swallow hard and disappear!”


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Friday Fiction – Sheffield Should Never Be Thrown

This week’s FF prompt comes from Jan Wayne Fields. My story is inspired rather than illustrated by the pic, so don’t be confused by the fact that it clearly doesn’t fit in the details. To be honest, there’s a lot about this story I’m not sure about, but time is not on my side this week, so I post it and anticipate your comments and critique. More (and less) polished responses can be found via FF HQ.


Sheffield Should Never Be Thrown (VERSION 2 – old version follows)

Tarquin has set the table immaculately: my Waterford glasses, porcelain dishes, Sheffield cutlery perfectly straight beside.

But the settings are wrong. Just two after our wedding, his birth added a third – plastic initially, then metal. Sheffield only when I was confident it wouldn’t be thrown. Then he grew and left us and we stared across the table again – conscious of the empty space on my left; his father’s right.

Two places again today: his own opposite mine. The Prince ready to accede. I cannot challenge him, so I remove the Sheffield from my own setting. Sheffield should never be thrown.


Tarquin’s set the table immaculately: my Waterford glasses, porcelain dishes, Sheffield cutlery perfectly straight beside.

But the settings are wrong. Just two before he was born, his arrival added a third – plastic initially, then metal. Sheffield only when I was confident it wouldn’t be thrown. Then he grew and left us and we stared across the table again – conscious of the empty space on my left; his father’s right.

Two places again today: his own opposite mine. The Prince ready to accede. I cannot challenge him, so I remove the Sheffield from my own setting. Sheffield should never be thrown.


Filed under Friday Fiction, Writing

Friday Fiction – Learning On The Road

I write this with a fractious toddler sitting next to me, demanding I find the one picture of Jack the Digger in his 400 page book of Thomas pictures. Needles and haystacks are less frustrating. At least by the time I found the needle, I wouldn’t discover the seamstress had lost interest and wanted a thimble instead. But I digress.

Happy New Year, my friends! I hope you find more to make you think, laugh and feel among the pages of Elmowrites in the 2015.

Friday Fiction is hosted by Rochelle Wisoff-Fields; today’s picture comes from Jean L. Hays. Your feedback is what drives me, please leave it honestly, and be constructive if you can.



Learning On The Road

“OK, listen,” Alice bent the guidebook back to read. “‘Route 66 has dwindled since the arrival of the interstate. The Main Street of America is now a side-road.’”

“Can we get lunch now, Mum?” Corbett whinged, uninterested.

“We just had breakfast,” said Lucy, sounding frighteningly like the voice Alice heard from herself sometimes: exasperated and impatient. It was hard to be enthusiastic with demanding children, to find excitement in the drudgery of motherhood.

’There are faster, more direct, easier to navigate ways from Chicago to LA, but none has the romance and wonder, twists and turns of The Mother Road.”


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Friday Fiction – The Smallest Piece of Big News

I decided I wasn’t going to do FF this week; I was going to share a different picture with you instead. And then I saw this week’s prompt and I couldn’t help it. Rochelle hosts, Douglas M MacIlroy provided the prompt photo. The words (and the second photo) are all mine. Apologies if you find the comparison of the two pictures distasteful!


The Smallest Piece of Big News

(Genre: Creative non-fiction)

“What’s dis?” Sebastian turned the print-out over and over in his hands and I hovered protectively, just as I will in 6 months from now when he’s holding its subject for real.

“It’s going to be your little brother or sister.”

He tried the words, “Brudder,” rhymed with udder, “Orsister.”

“It’s a baby,” I said. “You like babies, don’t you?”

“Baby on the bus, wa wa wa.”

“Yes, and this baby probably will go wa wa wa too,” I laughed, wondering how I was going to cope.

“Mummys on the bus, shh shh shh,” he added, answering my silent dilemma.


Author’s Notes:

In case that leaves any room for doubt, here’s a third and final picture, of Sebastian with his tiny piece of big news. And I can finally explain my appalling lack of blogging, reading, energy and involvement over the past few months by admitting that as well as NaNoWriMo, life and Christmas preparations, exhaustion and nausea have played their part in interrupting my ability to write!IMG_6455


Filed under Friday Fiction, Writing

Voice Week 2014 – 3: Charlotte

Friday Fiction will be back next week – in the meantime please enjoy Voice Week – a 100 word story each day this week.

Did you meet Brenda yesterday? Did you find her the same grumbling, middle-aged busybody, who discovered her neighbour in the trash a few weeks ago? Brenda was hard for me because I don’t know anyone quite like her in real life, but also because she is North American and I never manage to catch all the Britishisms in my writing. How did I do yesterday?

Today, it’s Charlotte’s turn and I feel like I’m on safer ground, but do le me know what you think about her.


And she’s gone. If I can just shift her slightly off my… Shit. Shhh, shhh, twinkle twinkle little star, how I wonder what you are … That’s it, back to sleep, sweetheart, shh shh.

Ok. Now, what was I was doing? Ah, the banana. I put it within reach, so I can lean over … yes!

Now. To peel it, one-handed, without moving. No, no. Shh. Rock-a-bye baby, on the tree top. Mama put you up there so she could eat a banana. Or have a nap. Or … no, Charlotte, don’t even think about a toilet break or you’re doomed.


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Voice Week 2014 – 1: Sebastian

Welcome! It’s Voice Week and my challenge for the week is to show you five different people, all eating a banana. I’m not sure exactly how that particular subject came about, but perhaps there’s a clue in the slice of life that is Voice 1.

Those of you who know me have a head start with this one, but the challenge for all 5 pieces is the same. How much can you tell about the character from 100 words centred on a banana? Are their voices distinct? I’ve delibately avoided description – do their thoughts alone tell you who they are? Because the characters in my head are pretty fixed, but only you can decide how well I’ve translated them onto the page. Leave me a comment today, or every day if you care to, and let me know. A brief explanation will appear the day after, on the next story.



Bastian banana! Maaamaaaa! Banana!

Climb. Bastian chair. Mama chair. Mama sit.

Noooooo! Bastian banana!

Yum yum. Mama chair. Mama sit.

What colour banana? Red. No. Blue. No. <Giggles> Red. No. Yellow. Banana yellow. Yellow!

Banana. Mama open? Mama open?

Noooo! No open. Mama no open! Bastian do it.

Bastian eating.

Mama do it.

Noooo! Bastian banana! Nooo! Mama no open!

Banana broken! No banana! All done. Gone.

No wash! Down! Down!

Bastian banana. Yum yum. Mama open. Yum yum yum. Mama eat.

No! Bastian banana!

Bastian banana. Yum yum.

Nice. More banana. More. Yum yum.

Banana all gone. Apple pie?


Some banana-free time!

Some banana-free time!



Filed under Uncategorized, Voice Week

Friday Fiction: The Fork People

Still no laptop. Still no word count widget, but I think this one’s 100 bang on. Photo copyright to Marie Gail Stratford, FF central is over at Rochelle’s. Enjoy!


The Fork People

“They come in the night: thousands of them, streaming in from the hills. They squeeze through the gaps under doors and around window frames.”

“Who, Mum?” His face was bright with excitement.

“The fork people,” I said, trying to keep the frustration out of my voice as I rubbed soap up my arm.

“The fork people?”

“Yes. The people who secretly replace all the cutlery you bury on your plate and then accidentally scrape into the bin.”

“The fork people?”

“Yes. Because there’s no way I’ve become such a drudge that I stick my hand elbow-deep into rubbish every night.”


Filed under Friday Fiction, Writing