Wednesday, 29 June 2011

Writing Prompt #6: Write about high tide

Back for some more.
Believe it or not I actually enjoy doing this,
even if I am writing into the vast darkness. ;)
Today's prompt is "Write about high tide."
No editing.
Just writing. :)
Let's see what I can come up with.


The world felt darker today.  As if a thousand candles had been snuffed out all at once.  I stood at the window while the wind howled and the sky wept at the loss. 

Glenda was a woman of the world.  A world that had turned its back on her.  Once, she had been surrounded by friends and family.  But now only her collection of old newspapers and pop cans kept her company.  She lived by herself in a cardboard box by my house.  I never saw it--but visitors told me.  The would sit on the one stiff wooden chair in my room trying hard not to look at the tubes that entered and exited my body like some sort of symbiotic lover.  When I asked about the woman who walked along the beach every day at the same time they would begin to fidget and stare intently at the yellowing wallpaper.

"Oh, you don't want to know about her..." they would say and quickly turned the conversation to the church bingo or the latest funeral.

But when I watched her walk along the beach, her dirty rags of vibrant colours blowing in the wind, I could sense her peace--her freedom.  Often she would stop to watch the sun as it hovered like a red cough drop right about the horizon.  She would leave her mark on the wet sand--footprints that looked tiny from my window.

I saw her again last night.  It would be the last time. Edna, who always visits me on Fridays, was the one who told me the news. She clasped my frail blue veined hand in hers like a vice grip.  Glenda had died in the night--most likely the years of living on the streets had done it.

Still it did not stop me from shuffling my ancient body over to the window.  Looking out once again on the vast stretch of sand and sea.  As I watched the tide come in I imagined those tiny footprints, that had left an imprint on my heart, being erased by the dark waters.

Sunday, 26 June 2011

The LORD knows me...

Here's another story with my protag Milly. :)
It's based on Psalm 139.

                 Milly has no sisters.  So when she heard that Auntie Jess had a baby girl she was excited.  She made a card with red flowers, purple butterflies, and the words “Welcome baby Anna” in big letters across the top.  She hopped down the stairs, out to the van with her family, and even through the parking lot to the hospital.  Stopping only when her father said that inside the hospital might not be the place for bouncing up and down.  When she finally met Anna she was amazed.  She had ten perfect little fingers and ten perfect little toes.   She lay there sleeping her chest rising and falling; her pink rosebud lips twitching into a smile.  And when she finally opened her eyes they were as blue as the sky.  Milly was in love.
                Leaving the hospital she chattered nonstop about how much fun she and Anna were going to have. 
                “...and she’ll play with my barbies, and I’ll teach her ballet, and I can paint her nails...”  Milly continued as she looked out the window at the passing cars.
                “Could you stop talking?”  Eric, her older brother asked.  “I can’t even hear the radio.”
                “But aren’t you excited about Anna?”  Milly asked as they drove down their street.
                Eric rolled his eyes.  “Nah, she’s just a silly, stinky baby.  Why would I care?”
                Milly’s eyes grew wide with shock and then narrowed in anger.  “She’s not silly—you are!  And—and I wish you had never been born!”
                “Millicent, you apologize to your brother right this minute!”  Her mother said as they pulled into their driveway. 
                “Fine!”  Milly yelled.  “I’m sorry!”
As soon as the van stopped she jumped out, stomped up the stairs, slammed her bedroom door and threw herself on her bed.  It was only a few minutes before she heard a knock at her door.
                “Come in,” Milly said.
                “Milly, we need to talk.”  Her mother shut the door behind her.
                “I don’t wanna talk.”  Milly stuffed her face into her pillow.
                “Listen, what your brother said was wrong.  The Bible is very clear that we are all wonderful in God’s eyes—precious because He created each and every one of us.  Eric felt sorry for what he said and apologized.”
                I already apologized to Eric.”
                “Yes, but I don’t think you meant it.  You know in that same part of the Bible, Psalm 139, God also speaks about God knowing everything about us—even our inmost thoughts.  God knows whether you have truly forgiven Eric and whether or not your apology is sincere.”
                Molly sat up her eyes big with fear.  “That sounds scary...God knowing everything about me.”
                “I think it can be...when we are running from Him.  But for those who believe in Him it is a comfort.  There is nowhere you can go or nothing you can do that God doesn’t know.  He is, and always was present.  Even when Anna was inside Aunt Jess God put her together and knew everything about her.  He even knows what is in the future for both her and you.”
                Milly thought about this, her legs swinging over the side of the bed.  Finally she asked softly, “Mom, if God knows everything, do you think He knows that I felt bad even as those mean words about Eric came out of my mouth?”
                “I’m sure He did.”

Wednesday, 22 June 2011

Writing Prompt #5: Write about a letter

So here I am.
Ready to start another writing prompt.
Actually,...excited to dig into some writing. :)
Today the prompt is:
Write about a letter.
You get ten minutes,
no takesy backseys,
just writing. :)


It was February.  That dreadful month which seemed to last forever.  Outside the classroom window snow clung to everything in a beautiful tableau.  But I didn't care.  Neither did my students.  I sighed before writing another name on the chalkboard.  The white loops of Andrew's name stood out stark against the green.
"And if I catch another note again," I said looking over my eyeglasses.  "I will not only read it out loud to the entire class but I will hang it on the art wall so that all the visitors can see it."
There was a collective gasp and a few of the more studious children blanched at the thought.  Shy little Suzy tugged on one of her pigtails.
Next it was math and I began explaining (for what seemed like the hundredth time) how to properly show your work when doing long division.  That's when I saw it.  So white it practically glowed as it was passed in the second row of desks to shy little Suzy.  I should have known.  My anger burned in my stomach.  My hand gripped the chalk tightly.  I watched out of the corner of my eye as Suzy, little Miss Attentive, carefully unfolded the piece of paper.  Like a tiger I pounced.
"What do you have there?"  My voice cracked as I walked towards her desk.
Her face was red as she tried to hide the incriminating note between her knees.  I didn't trust my voice, merely held my hand under her nose.  Her eyes were as big as quarters as she handed the note to me.  I almost believed that she was close to tears.  Then I looked down at my plundered treasure complete with a picture: a pig with pigtails.  I gasped as I whispered the words out loud:

"Suzy is a snot nosed pig and I can't wait to see her portrait hanging on the wall."

Sunday, 19 June 2011

The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly.

I know that you have been waiting,
with bated breath for my return. ;)
(this is a long post,
bear with me!)

The conference was amazing!!
My hopes were to do some networking--
it was an opportunity to meet publishers, editors, and of course writers.

I was rewarded with so much more.
First, I was spiritually renewed,
with the times of worship.
Second, I was refreshed creatively,
so that when I came home I was inspired to write.
Thirdly, I was challenged intellectually,
through the many workshops.

But the best gift of all,
was that on the first day I had a critique meeting,
with a publisher.
He had looked at the first chapter of my work,
and thought that I was close to the mark.
After, pointing out ways to tweak my work,
he said...
once I had finished editing my work,
that he would like to see the first portion.
I was exhilarated!!

The next day I met another author to assess my work,
who was also impressed.
I was on cloud nine...
even if neither ends up taking my work,
it is affirming to know that I am going in the right direction.

The final day I met with another publisher,
(who does not publish fantasy,
rather children and YA fiction/nonfiction).
When she heard my idea,
she was intrigued enough to ask for the first chapters,
stating that she might know someone who would be interested in it.

I was on cloud nine. :)

But as the conference wore on,
another feeling gnawed at my belly.

What if I don't live up to their expectations?
What if I can't apply their suggestions?
They think I a writer,
but really I am a fraud.
Words come out on the page,
but I don't actually craft them.
I'm fooling everyone...

I took today to recoup from the information overload.
Tempted to start in on some rewrites,
but leaving it alone.
I checked the critique site I use,
Scribophile, later this afternoon.
Where I got a very thorough and rigorous crit of one of my first chapters,
which seemed to bring me to another low.

Why is it that us authors beat ourselves up in this manner?
It is like a roller coaster of random emotions.
But in my mind I know I cannot act on these destructive thoughts alone.
I believe in my heart that this is what I'm called to do.

...a good night sleep and some prayer,
should make this world seem a little brighter.
And tomorrow?
Back to the page and the pen.
Back to sifting through words.
Back to me.
(I promise I won't be as depressing!!)

A big thank you, thank you, thank you,
to those who have supported, critiqued, and listened to my random rants.
I couldn't have gotten as far as I have without you. :)
Thanks for believing in me,
even when my own belief falters.

Even now,
as I finish writing these words I feel better.
Like having a cup of tea with a good friend.

Thanks. :)

Thursday, 16 June 2011

Brief sabbatical

I am not posting this week,
as I am attending the Write! Canada writer's conference.
I will be back next week,
with loads of input about my novel.

But right now...sleep. :)

Thursday, 9 June 2011

Mama Says

I have some pretty vivid memories of having my hair "dealt with" as a child.
I was inspired to write this short poem tonight,
as I did my own daughter's hair.
I hope you enjoy it. :)

Mama Says
Mama says
It’s time
Drags me to the kitchen chair
Tsks at the sight
Of my unruly hair

Mama says
Everyone is looking
At my nappy hair
Still I scream
I just don’t care

Mama says
Quit your tears!
My brothers stare
As she pulls
On my naughty hair

Mama says
I’m all done
I flee the chair
With stinging scalp
But beautiful hair

Mama says
Some day
I’ll thank her.

But I
don’t care
what Mama says
As I hide
Beneath the stairs
Clutching doll
Sucking thumb
                Beautiful hair

Wednesday, 8 June 2011

Writing Prompt #4: This is the voice of my body.

so today's prompt feels...poetic to me:
This is the voice of my body.
If I was listening to my own body today it would be saying,
"Man, is it ever hot!" LOL.

I may try something different though.
Here goes,
free writing for ten minutes,
absolutely no editing. :)


Every night as I find my spot and I look out the door to see the moon scraping the sky I feel light like a balloon.  As if my desire to run and explore could lift me in the sky like a kite made of rags.  Then I feel the car move beneath my feet as the engine starts moving forward--this one is going west.  I like west.  Anywhere but right here is good for me.  I pull down the brim of my grimy cap and sit with my legs dangling over the side.  The rails seem to slide beneath my feet and before I know it the railway station is far behind me.  Trees loom around me looking like pale skeletons in the moonlight.  Deep in the pit of my stomach is a memory of being pushed on a swing.  The feeling at the top of my arc like I am weightless.  Flying over the land as the train eats up the distance I feel just like that.  If I close my eyes the thrumming of the engines seems to ooze into my bones--urging me onwards.  Thrum, thrum, thrum, my heart sings as the wind whips past me.  The train seems to sing just for me--it can no more stay in one station then I can stay in one town.  I can no longer sit in the open door as the train is moving fast.  I lift my eyes to the sky one last time, which seems to be the only stationary thing, unwilling tears forming at the corner of my eyes.  What was the song Mama would sing about flying?

Ah yes.
Just a few more weary days and then,
I'll fly away;
To a land where joy shall never end,
I'll fly away
I'll fly away.

I whistle the tune with a smile as I unroll my bedroll and prepare for sleep.  The movement of the train rocks me to sleep.

I'll fly away.

Thursday, 2 June 2011

Writing Prompt #3: Write about a silence.

so yeah,
I'm well aware that it's not Wednesday.
But give a girl a break,
I was so sick yesterday,
that I was sobbing uncontrollably at a Disney (copyright) movie
(although the stallion, Spirit, had a pretty rough life,
and still managed to beat the odds and find his way back home...sniff).

enough of my snivelling,
and on to the writer's prompt. :)
Writing about silence today.
No editing.
Just writing.


It sat between them like a wall of ice--impenetrable, formidable.  The man rubbed his hands together before placing them on the steering wheel.  The woman stared straight ahead her eyes fixated on a tiny crack in the glass before her.  Despite the heat she was wearing a heavy shawl that made her look far more elderly and frail then she actually was.
"This will be fun," the man said plastering a smile to his face.  The woman didn't even bother to look over as he put the car in drive and pulled away from their house.  She looked out the side window at the tulips and daffodils that were thrusting their colourful crowns at the spring sun.  She wished she could spend the day with them dipping her hands into the rich soil, finding the hidden worms beneath the loam, and feeling the sun warming the back of her legs.  Instead...
"My mother really appreciates us coming to visit her."  The man said, a tapping his fingers on the wheel as they waited at the stop light.  The woman couldn't help but look over at him one eyebrow raised like an exclamation point of anger.  His smile faltered under her glare--he was relieved when the light turned green.  The woman thought about his mother, seemingly so cheerful when her boy, her only son came to visit her in the home.  She chatted so willingly and told him all about the friends she was making.  How he had made her so proud.  But when he left, the mother would fill the room with an awful silence, thick and heavy with hatred.  For that hussy who had stolen her son from her.  No one deserved to be with her boy...even after ten years of marriage, that girl was still not worthy.
"Hey, you should have brought some spring flowers from your garden.  She would have loved that!"  The man made one last desperate attempt.  The woman shook trying to control herself, but it was too late.  She sighed and out came a rant so violent that the man wondered if his ears looked singed.
...perhaps the silence had been better after all.