One thing I’m grateful for…

This morning, after replying to the Ragtag Daily Prompt, I decided to look around and check out other writing prompts on the Internet. Which brings me to one of my peeves and its flip side, something I’m very grateful for.

The Discovery prompt for today was GRATEFUL. There are so many things for which I should be grateful, and here I am griping about one small oil slick in the sea of life.

WordPress may not thank me for this, but I dislike ads, especially those flashing ones, and even worse are the pop up ads that totally clutter up a site. Conversely, I’m so grateful for blogs with no ads.

Back to my wanderings this morning. Writing Generators, the one site I checked out had a rally good prompt generator in the center of their blog screen. You hit a button and two to four words surface. For example, I was given the words ANGUISHED and FLOWERS. Alas, there were so many pop-out ads and regular ads in the sidebars; thankfully you can click them and they’ll disappear.

Another site,  ArtJournalist, had a promising list of words a person could use for art &/or writing prompts — interspersed with various ads. At the site Become a Writer Today, you’ll find a download-able list of short-sentence prompts — and read ads tailor-made for your area. At least mine flashed ads for well known Saskatchewan auctioneers. Sigh…

I learned an interesting fact reading an online article yesterday: the person who invented the pop-up ad wishes they hadn’t. I do, too!

Perhaps you also saw this list of things the inventors thereof regret, like the atom bomb and the AK47. And coffee pods, of all things! Although that inventor seemed rather ambivalent; it’s not that he really regretted developing his idea, but wasn’t impressed in the long run with the instant-ness of coffee pods. (Sad all the way to the bank?)

Now that April is over I suppose the Discovery prompts will cease, but when I googled “one word writing prompts” dozens of pages of lists showed up. No lack, fellow writers! But I’ve wandered enough for one day.

Words. Narciso1
Image by narciso1 –Pixabay

The King’s Rousing Speech

The Ragtag Daily Prompt this morning is Abstract in Black & White

I’m not sure exactly how to demonstrate this, so I’ll respond with a bit of whimsy.

          Image by Felix Mittermeier — Pixabay

The King’s Rousing Address to His Pawns

All right you pawns, listen closely! I am the King. I’m the Leader, Monarch, Head of State, Supreme Ruler and all that. My job is to direct operations here and tell you what to do. Your job is to obey my orders implicitly, never doubting my wisdom. Got that?

I may be limited in my movements, but any remarks about “the lame old King” shall be treated as any other treason. Likewise, though Her Royal Highness the Queen may fly around freely, any comments about her being domineering or solipsistic will be punished. She does her part in the battle and has many captures to her credit.

As we head into the battle your duty is to prepare the way and, whenever necessary, encircle your King. You must be vigilant at all time to protect me from capture, defending me at whatever cost to yourselves. Should this involve the noble act of dying for King and country, fear not. I shall duly reward you with a medal, presented posthumously.

It’s also your duty to defend the Royal Family from any opprobrium on the home front, demonstrating unquestioning loyalty at all times. This is a monarchy, not a democracy — remember that — and critical speech will not be tolerated. Should the town criers report anything uncomplimentary about any member of the Royal Family, the offenders shall be silenced promptly. Should any peasant, or peasants, suggest that your King is conceited or lacking intelligence, or mention that the Queen is chasing after fair knights and bishops, the accusers shall be skewered and thrown to the sea monster in the moat.

Go forth now with the blessing of your King, who’s counting on you to perform your duties with vim and vigor. If any messengers have anything to report about the battle or specific casualties, I shall be in the counting house, counting the national income. Thus shall I do my best to ensure that you all receive your proper wages. Her Royal Highness shall attend to the packing of the royal household, lest a sudden castling prove necessary.

Rowan Lane Cottage

The Ragtag Daily Prompt today is DANCE

And Crimson’s Creative Challenge is this quaint little cottage:

Every week the challenge is to post…

  • An answering photo
  • A cartoon
  • A joke
  • A caption
  • An anecdote
  • A short story (flash fiction)
  • A poem
  • A newly minted proverb, adage or saying
  • An essay
  • A song—the lyrics or the performance

You have plenty of scope and only two criteria:

  • Your creative offering is indeed yours
  • Your writing is kept to 150 words or less

So here’s my response:

Rowan Lane Cottage

Here we are. Rowan Lane Cottage, aka ‘Home of the Slashers’. Are you ready?”

Linna cringed, picturing blood red splashes throughout the house. “You’re scaring me.” She clutched Chapter One to her chest.

“Bwahaha! At these meetings we’ll toughen you up, gal. Our group is good at that.”

“Surely they go easy on newcomers,” Linna asked, fighting the urge to flee. “Encouragement builds confidence and all that?”

Tannis patted her shoulder. “Don’t worry. We’ll be merciful. But today’s editors don’t dance attendance on writers; manuscripts have to shine from the first line or they won’t get past eagle-eyed gatekeepers. If you want to be a published author our group can help that happen, but it may be painful. We’ve some excellent writers attending and you’ll get a good critique. Believe me, your work will be better for it.”

Linna straightened up. “Yes, I’m ready.”

The door swung open.

Quarters For Thoughts

The Ragtag Daily Prompt this morning is QUARTER domainThis prompt could take one’s mind in several directions, but I recalled the old saying, “A penny for your thoughts?” Actually I thought of a millennial comeback for that one:
There’s no point offering grandchildren a penny for their thoughts when our “penny candy” costs a quarter apiece now.

So I’ll just give my thoughts freely this morning. You can decide if they’re worth a quarter. 🙂

The Word of the Day prompt this morning is UNDERSTAND.

There’s no sense to most dreams; you gain nothing by trying to understand them. But just before I woke up I had an interesting one, a hodge-podge of several flash scenes I’ve lived or read about:
A friend and I were going to a mall outside Edmonton and I was driving, but didn’t know the way. So a kind lady who was going there herself showed us the way.  Turns out she managed a store there, so she led us from the parking garage into the mall and we followed her into her store.
It was a shoe store, and we’d just started looking at sandals when they started shutting out lights. We were dismayed to find we’d just got to the mall in the last few minutes before stores closed for the night. Worse, we’d just followed her in, and now had to find our way back to our car in that huge parkade.

This dream reminded me how some streams of thought work. You start thinking about something — often something you’re not happy about — and your mind follows the flow, rehearses all the wrongs, etc. But when you get to the conclusion that something just HAS to be done, you realize nothing can be done at this moment. Right here, right now, you can’t change a single thing. You’ve taken a road to nowhere.

Yesterday evening I was thinking about some people’s attitudes that really annoy me. Finally I had to admit that, yes, it irks me, but there’s absolutely nothing I can do this evening to change everyone’s attitudes. So I just shut down those thoughts.

There’s no point stirring up all the mud in the lake when this is the only water you have.

Here’s another example I think everyone can relate to:
Let’s say I’m unhappy with the way our government is running things, or the way they’ve responded to COVID-19. I might be certain this govt should be ousted before they bring the nation to ruin, or we all die like flies.
So what can I do on a quiet Sunday evening at home to force a vote and change the government? Nothing. Zip. What can I do to change the way the govt — or society — or health care in general — has already responded to the virus? Nada. Pursuing this stream of thought is like getting to the mall and finding stores all closed for the night.

There are better things to think about. My home. My family. My Father in Heaven and his thoughts toward me.

So now that I’ve shared my morning thoughts, I shall occupy my mind with making my home a neater place to live. When I can, I will do what I can for situations that need changing, but for today the world will just have to run itself.


Fussy Birds!

The Ragtag Daily Prompt this morning is STICKLER

I was wandering around the yard yesterday and thinking it’s time to get the bird houses cleaned up and hung in the trees again. As most bird-lovers know, birds can be very particular about their nests when it comes to size and location. Three years ago I downloaded plans for a “proper” tree swallow nest box and had a friend build two. I don’t know why, but our tree swallows have shunned them all this time. They check the place out, but they won’t nest there. Sigh.

Birds are fussy about neighbours, too. The feisty little wren chases off all its neighbours. They pick their own place, then fill all other potential nests around them with sticks so no other birds can use them.

In this poem Edgar Guest tells us what sticklers the martins are.

The Martins

The Martins are peculiar and whimsical at best:
they’re very charming tenants if with you they choose to nest,
but though the house you build for them may perfect seem to be,
you cannot coax them into it if something wrong they see.

I do not know precisely what the Martins ask from men;
I only know they like a house with rooms for eight or ten
and it must stand above the ground full fourteen feet or more
with unimpeded space about for them to wheel and soar.

The neighborhood must suit their choice; the gardens must be neat,
nor will they stay to raise their young along a noisy street.
And many a man has built a house their fellowship to win,
which, for some cause to him unknown, they would not enter in.

The scouts come on in early spring to look the houses o’er
and if they do not like the place you’ll see their charms no more,
but should your home their fancies suit, within a day or two
the Martins will arrive to spend the summertime with you.

From his book Collected Verse of Edgar A Guest
© 1934 by the Reilly & Lee Company