Tag Archives: Writing

100 Word Challenge for Grown Ups Week# 126

 

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Julia says, ‘The prompt this week is:

…Family…

You can take it anywhere you like but only use 100 words.’
Here are mine.

Meeting Uzo

The familiar smell of coach station enveloped me and I pressed my nose against the window hoping to see another self. Nothing. The little belly flutters shifted up a notch, more like a train in a tunnel now. I realised I had to move from my seat, I was last.

There were many black faces in Birmingham coach station, but one stood out.

‘Sis,’ said the big black bear as he wrapped me up. I felt shy as I raised my eyes to meet his, but there was the mirror I’d waited so long for, in the eyes of my newly found brother.

http://jfb57.wordpress.com/2014/03/24/100-word-challenge-for-grown-ups-week126/

 

The Offie

This morning I read a prompt from Oloriel at ‘We Drink Because We’re Poets’. It’s about remembering a place from your past and she said
‘This week I would like you to share with me a poem about a place – a place that was dear to you, but is no longer there. It can be a bar, a museum, a library, bookstore, your old school – anything. I invite you to tell me what changed, what got replaced and how did it make you feel. Form, length, rhyme, all is optional.’
Me, being me, read the prompt entirely wrong. Why I would read a prompt on a poetry blog and not catch on that I was supposed to write a poem I don’t now, but I’ve only just caught on. I’m posting anyway because the little memories were special for me.

The Offie

Sparkling white art deco instead of grubby cream. Now the future homes of well-heeled, aspiring middle class, first time buyers. Curved windows that will forever be a problem to curtain well, high ceilings that will keep the fuel bills high. I used to peep through those windows to see who was sitting on the curved seats inside them, all the time wondering what it would be like to sit there. By the time I was old enough to sit there, it was the last place I wanted to sit, not trendy enough for me, filled with old men and Laners have a night in the posh one instead of the Flying Horse. Me, I preferred the club scene, even if a Babycham was twice the price.
I wonder what happened to Ross, Mr Whitaker. He always had a soft spot for me and watched me grow from a toddler to an eighteen year old, who thought she was sophisticated. In the beginning it was Spangles, Maltesers or if I got lucky a big bar of Dairy Milk. Crisps were Smiths, and the salt came in a little blue paper twist, that you had to reach to the bottom of the bag to find. It was never enough to make the whole packet salty! I loved the salted peanuts as well, until a connection was made between eating them, and waking up an hour after bedtime with vomit in my hair.
The entrance was on the side, in, turn left, no dawdling to see what was up the corridor – barrels, boxes and a pay phone and then a choice of two doors side by side. I was only allowed in the first, the second was for adults. It was years before I was tall enough to lean on the tiny counter to ask for my own sweeties or bottle of fizzy pop. At weekends it was rowdy and when I stopped being a little girl, I’d get yelled at by the blokes who could see me from the other side, the dark side.
Years later I learnt that Ross and his wife had moved back to London. I felt sorry for him, she was a miserable old boot. I rarely went that way and when I did it had deteriorated badly, windows and doors boarded up and generally going to wrack and ruin. Rumours were that it was going to be demolished. Then last year, I was stuck in traffic at the bottom of the road, craning my neck I saw the dazzling white paint. The St Loyes had been converted into apartments. I wonder if there is any trace of the art deco left inside. I wonder if the beery, cidery, smoky smell has ever left the pub and if the Off Licence is someone’s bedroom.
If you’d like to check out the prompt and use it properly, it’s here.

http://wedrinkbecausewerepoets.com/2014/03/17/poetry-prompt-2-the-places-we-are/

Falling for A Quiz!

And finding it surprisingly accurate. Except for the fact that I’m too lazy. I wonder how many of you have a half written novel – or ten, stashed somewhere. I have, maybe one day I’ll finish it, but that will mean focussing in tightly. Trouble is I love life and I’ve got my finger in too many pies. What’s your excuse?
Perhaps it would spur you on if you tried the quiz, It’s here, http://www.playbuzz.com/morganf10/what-genre-of-fiction-should-you-write and this is the answer I got.4100b600-69b9-4037-844e-1b76c5cfa92d

I’d love to know your result, please share!

The Crescent Moon Bear Says No

Julia’s 100  word challenge this week is to take a fairy story and re-write the ending.  I’ve chosen a Japanese folk tale that I love,

The Crescent Moon Bear

‘But the wise woman told me to bring a hair from your throat,’ said Harumi, shaking with fear.

‘She always does,’ the Crescent Moon Bear roared, ‘now clear off.’

‘My husband will die, he’s been fighting wars for years and he’s . . .

‘Traumatised, yes, I’ve heard it a thousand times.’

‘So you’ll help, please? I’ve brought food.’

‘Look, plucking my hair hurts, I know you’ve been through hell to get here, it’s a test. Just be patient and loving. Eventually your husband will get better. GO!’ he shouted so loud that Harumi jumped, ‘leave my food behind, or I’ll eat you.’

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In the original, the bear gives the woman a hair from the crescent moon on his throat. When she arrives back down the mountain the wise woman throws it away and tells her to be patient with her husband.

Join in at http://jfb57.wordpress.com/2014/03/03/100-word-challenge-for-grown-ups-week124/

 

I could disappear at any minute

but if I do please forgive me and hang in there, I will be back!

For a couple of months my PC  has been very poorly, you wouldn’t believe the number of hours I’ve spent fixing it, in fact I’ve lost whole days that I really can’t spare. The problem is that it’s just aging and I’m trying to make it last a little longer - because I’m poor!

I’m a very heavy computer user, it goes on with the kettle as soon as I’m out of bed and most evenings it goes off just before my bedside light.

I’ve been looking at possible replacements and can’t make  up my mind whether it will be another desktop – I read recently that they are going to be extinct soon, or a laptop. I spotted a very gorgeous HP laptop, available in purple and affordable but I’m not convinced that a lappy is heavy duty enough for my writing and photo editing etc. It would be nice to free up desk space and to stroke the luscious little beastie though!

Also a friend has recently bought a laptop with windows 8 and has struggled getting used to the changes, I’m using vista on my PC and windows 7 on a rarely used netbook.  The other issue is the time involved in getting set up again, transferring files and programs, and I’ll have to buy a new version of office. That means decisions about cloud storage, paying an annual subscription,  do I want to send my hard written documents off into the ether?

I’m intrigued to know what device YOU use for blogging, laptop or PC? phone or tablet?

Any comments or thought would be welcome, I actually can’t decide what would be best.

I also have a tablet, it’s a great toy and if my PC dies I’ll be using it to pop in to visit you as much as I can. I do find it limiting though, great for quick answers but nothing too serious.

Hope to see  you soon :-)

 

100 Word Challenge for Grown Ups Week# 123

Julia’s prompt is related to a TV programme this week, but I’ve never seen it so I’m rambling off on my own with non-fiction instead! The words she gave us are . . . but surely it is pointless

100wcgu-7 Not the End of the Line

160 years ago Isambard Brunel engineered the South Devon section of the GWR, a bold construction, four miles of which runs between cliffs and the open sea. Who knows if climate change has caused the tide to turn, hurling that ocean across his railway, battering the cliffs and everything in between, but surely it’s pointless to try to defeat nature?

The journey is beautiful; thankfully Dawlish is getting its heart back. Why not make the line a tourist and leisure route? Billions will be spent either way, but it’s time to build a brand new inland route, to ensure that the South West’s infrastructure is fit for the future.

If you live in the UK, you’ll know what I’m talking about, if not,

http://www.exeterexpressandecho.co.uk/Pictures-Network-Rail-offer-scenes-glimpse-work/story-20710605-detail/story.html

and here in an earlier post , some views  from part of the South Devon railway journey, http://lucidgypsy.wordpress.com/2013/06/07/fleeting-a-minute-from-the-train/

To join Julia’s challenge this week, http://jfb57.wordpress.com/2014/02/24/100-word-challenge-for-grown-ups-week123/

Staying in the shadows . . .

. . . Not any more, these days I’m far more confident about sharing something I create. A few years ago, I began the first of several creative writing modules with the Open University, and I was petrified about sending my work off to a tutor for assessment. I was convinced she would hate it, that it was hopeless and nothing that I could write would ever be worth reading.

It wasn’t hopeless though, apparently it was rather good and so were my grades. Slowly, slowly I started to believe in myself, not everyone who read my work could be humouring me with compliments could they, why would they bother?

Now, my writing might not be the best, I’m not fortunate enough to be able to invest the time I’d like to improve it yet, but those days will come. Meanwhile I’ll send little bits of poetry, flash fiction and scraps of real life out into Lucid Gypsy’s world, and that gives me great pleasure.

I’ve always been a creative, as a very small girl I’d collect any odd pieces of fabric I could to make dolls clothes. I treasure the memory of my grandmother letting me sit at her treadle sewing machine, trying to reach with my little legs and sew a straight line. A little later she acquired a Singer hand machine and then at ten years old I made my first dress. I remember choosing the pattern and fabric, a white cotton covered with little blue flowers, and proudly wearing it to school that summer. By the time I went to high school, needlework classes  were really easy for me.

For a whole lot of reasons I stopped sewing a good twenty five years ago, but I did a little crochet and knitting at times. At evening classes I tried making Honiton lace – too painstaking and slow – pottery – too many people in the class to learn anything and even water colour painting! I am not enthusiastic enough about painting and drawing though, and even if I put in enough practice I doubt I would achieve the results I’d like.

So am I a perfectionist? No, far from it, attention to detail is a weak area in many things I do. I think it’s more a question of wanting to try to learn many, many things. Recently I’ve craved textiles, I yearn to buy yards of gorgeous material and yarn, to run my fingers over it, to see how it drapes and falls. I’ve restrained myself because when am I going to find time?

Myfanwy Hart is a lovely blogging friend that I’ve followed for a couple of years. She posts about her work, creating stunning art with fabric and yarns that she has dyed by hand. For 2014, she has begun a project to inspire others to create, even if it’s for fifteen minutes, and this weekend she is posting prompts to help us along the way. This post is the result of one of her prompts, number 14, which she concludes by telling us that everyone’s work is good enough.

            I wish I’d been able to believe that way before I did!

 

If you’re looking for some inspiration go and visit Myfanwy here, http://createaday2014.wordpress.com/ and you will also find a link to a Facebook group, where we post our creations – if we’re brave enough!

100 Word Challenge for Grown Ups Week #117

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‘It’s winter here in the UK and we need comfort!’ Tea, coffee, hot chocolate or . . .

Quite right Julia we do. Here is my response to her prompt.

Spiced comfort

‘Tea, coffee, hot chocolate or?’ these few words uttered by the softest voice were a pleasure to his ears. He chose hot chocolate.

‘Milk, dark, white, with marshmallows, cream on top?’

He frowned, ‘Just dark please.’

‘Mint, mocha?’ he was getting irritated, since when did a hot drink become so complicated?

‘No thanks,’ he sank into an armchair to wait.

She called across, ‘Spice? Ginger, chilli?

His mind whirled, spice? hang on, I remember now. . .

‘Don’t suppose you’d have cardamom?’

She gave him the thumbs up, ‘Two minutes.’

The rich, fragrant liquid permeated his senses and he relaxed.

Ahh, now I’m home.

Join in at http://jfb57.wordpress.com/2014/01/13/100-word-challenge-for-grown-ups-week117/

Weekly Writing Challenge: Snapshot

Today Erica at the Daily Post said,

At a concert. Snap. At a restaurant. Snap. Watching the sun set. Snap. These days, everything feels like a Kodak moment. What happens when you stop taking pictures, and use words to capture a moment instead?

This is what happened when I didn’t snap today.

Snapped Flags

A windblown flash of colour caught my eyes. He turned, dropped a stub of fire to the ground and rubbed the heel of a Nike trainer into it, pressing the pavement like a dog leaving its scent until it was extinguished. The colour flashed again. He swept aside green fabric with a white cross emblazoned on it, the flag of Devon, revealing scruffy denim with frayed edges.

Intrigued, I looked up; two people were ahead of him as he waited to get on the bus. I stopped, fumbled for my phone camera but changed my mind, what if he saw me . . . Instead I acted as if I might just get on the bus. He was wearing a letterbox red gilet, somewhat effeminate, over a bold shirt with a large black and white check pattern, below a crown of orang-utan hair.

As he moved up the queue I took my eyes off his hair, and his garments became clearer in the light of the bus. He bent to pick up a bag, stooping from the waist down, releasing more fabric, dipping onto the damp path at the front. It looked like he had a dozen or more oblongs of bright silk attached to his middle. How? Tied to a belt? Made into a silk version of a grass skirt?

No-one else seemed to notice him; if they did they weren’t acknowledging him in any way. I was blocking the way and had to move aside and I nearly missed his ascent of the steps. Before the bus protected him, a final small gust of breeze caught him, bright as a Morris Dancer on amphetamines, blowing first a Union Jack,  next, a red flag with a star and a crescent moon, I hunted back through my memory Turkey, yes that was it, Turkey. Stripes of black, red and yellow, another blue with a small Union Jack in its corner, and a Star Spangled Banner, bold as it should be. The door closed behind him, narrowly missing blue with yellow stars in a circle, familiar of course, the EU flag.

It is a public building, but not in the centre of town, and there were no events taking place, no festival, although he wouldn’t have looked out of place at Glastonbury. Perhaps I’m just dull; I wonder how I would look in a flag skirt. Maybe if I were younger I could get away with it. I didn’t even get to see his face, but I could tell that he was middle aged and happy in his own skin. I suppressed a laugh, people never stop surprising me.

Does this seem real? well it is, I actually did see this today. What have you seen today that made you smile? You all know how hard it is for me to not take photos, how about you? If you care to share go to . . .

http://dailypost.wordpress.com/2013/12/02/weekly-writing-challenge-snapshots/

Wondering about Bill

At the top of my road on my way to work this morning, I spotted Bill, he’s a lovely old guy who I told you about here http://lucidgypsy.wordpress.com/2012/03/19/a-contrast-of-elderly-men/  and here http://lucidgypsy.wordpress.com/2013/01/12/january-small-stone-twelve/

Once again I hadn’t seen him for a couple of weeks and I dashed up to him with a smile.

‘How are you, it’s lovely to see you?’ then up close I noticed his face, and knew he wasn’t well.

‘Not too good’ he said, ‘I’ve been coughing all night and sick with my stomach as well.’ He looked grey and didn’t have the energy to flirt with me, as he does with all the ladies. He was walking home from the local shop – about two hundred metres – with a loaf of bread and some milk, leaning heavily on his stick.

‘It looks like you should go home to bed today dear and take it easy, give yourself chance to recover.’

‘I can’t do that, I’m going to see my friend.’ He has a lady friend who lives about a mile away and it isn’t on a bus route so he walks it.

‘Maybe wait until tomorrow and just take care of yourself today, it’s a bit of a walk’ I said gently.

‘I’ve got to walk my legs will go otherwise, got to keep moving like Felix,’ his first smile.

‘Felix who?’

‘Felix the cat keeps on walking, so I’ve got to else I’ve had it, I’ll be stuck in my chair!’

‘You stubborn so and so! well just be careful’ I watched him walk on slowly.

I know that Bill’s daily trip to the shop stops him from being lonely, because he speaks to everyone. Apart from seeing his lady friend weekly, I don’t think he has anyone around. He is a very private person and doesn’t know that I know his name even, hopefully the shop keeper would notice if he didn’t show up.

The last time I saw him he was dispensing advice to some students whose car wouldn’t start and he was very perky and cheeky. I really want to see him bounce back quickly and keep on walking like Felix.

Felix keeps on walking, keeps on walking still.
With his hands behind him,
you will always find him.