Other Side of the Bars

Today’s Ragtag Daily Prompt word is KNACKERED.

I’ve been feeling a bit like that myself lately. 🙂

Actually, this is a word I’ve rarely heard here in western Canada, but have come across it in books by British authors. Enough that I get the picture.

Panda.Andrea Bohl
Photo by Andrea Bohl — Pixabay

The Other Side of the Bars

Oh, don’t those creatures wear me out! A constant stream of them parading past my part of the forest all day long making weird noises, snapping fingers, coaxing me to do tricks as as if I were a monkey! They litter my cage with peanuts and popcorn, as if I’d eat the stuff they eat. The short ones are the worst for squealing and wailing, especially when they come in big groups, guided by a few big ones.

By mid afternoon the sun is so hot and I’m so knackered I want to sleep for hours. But the gawkers keep calling and whistling at me. Thankfully, towards evening all those creatures disappear and a blessed hush falls. Even those noisy hyenas shut up for the night. I can finally relax, munch some comforting leaves, then stretch out and have that sleep I’ve been wanting all day.

Tomorrow morning it’ll all start again. What a life!

Words Hard to Work with

The Ragtag Daily Prompt word today is Imperceptible.

This is an interesting word, but a poor choice for a writer’s tool box. Imperceptible means not perceived, neither by the senses — like something no one can see, smell, hear or feel — nor by the understanding. Something sort of “not-there-but-hovering somewhere-awaiting-some-reveal.”

It’s a word writers tend to work around somehow, seeing they have to show in some way, or let their character sense, the emotion or object. Our hero can’t go out in the rain and not see, smell, hear, or feel it, and still somehow know that it’s raining. Likewise they can’t sense a frown or a sneering tone. So authors are inclined to tack “barely” and “almost” onto the word:

 “We expect you gone by sundown, stranger.” Kid Goodson caught the almost imperceptible menace in Black Bart’s tone.
A frown, barely perceptible, darkened the Kid’s brow. “I’m not leaving until I find out what I want to know.” He tossed the bartender two silver dollars and walked out. His ear caught the almost imperceptible sigh of Sally Saloon-Wench.

The thing is, if no one perceives the whatever, there’s not much point in mentioning it, either, unless as a narrator-to-reader aside:

 Indignation, as yet imperceptible to Kid Goodson, was simmering in the bosoms of the town folks. Looks were exchanged and heads silently shook as unspoken sentiments were shared by the listeners. They weren’t going to stand for a show-down in their streets.

No, imperceptible isn’t a word story writers are apt to employ very often. News commentators, on the other hand, may use it at times.

Initially the jury seemed completely swayed by Slick Lawyer’s defense presentation, but at some point an imperceptible shift took place. When the jurors returned from deliberation the defense was shocked to hear their unanimous. “We find the defendant guilty as charged.”

 “While Governor Lord ruled the state, the majority of voters seemed quite content to let him. However, when his successor Tyson Rant took office, an imperceptible grassroots discontent soon began to make itself felt.”

Like smouldering coals, feelings aren’t usually unperceived for very long. Sooner or later Ty Rant is going to see signs of that grassroots discontent.
 “One day the Governor found a dozen dead ducks on his doorstep. The next day university students staged a sit-in on his lawn. A week later farmers blockaded his driveway with hay bales while old ladies carried protest signs and boys pelted his house with rotten tomatoes.
 “Slowly, almost imperceptibly, he became aware that his constituents just weren’t happy with him.”

And thus ends my discourse on this unusual word.

Poor Planning

Ragtag Daily Prompt word today: ARCHITECT

Poor Planning

He hired a trendy architect to design a beautiful, large house with an open floor plan and lots of windows, for he loved the sunlight.

Architect

The crowning touch was his spiral staircase winding up to a brilliant skylight.

A Spiral.stairs (2)

Yes, it was a house anyone would be proud to own, and delighted to live in. His guests oohed and ahhed.

The only thing he never factored in was the weather. He built his house on the Canadian prairie and the very first winter the thermometer dropped to -40F/C and hovered there for ten days. January was warmer, -30 C. By the end of Feb is was all the way up to -20 C and by April 15th it hit 0 C. On June 1st, after he paid his heating bill, he was bankrupt.

Images courtesy of Pixabay.

In actual fact we do have some very nice houses and office buildings here, but serious consideration is given as to how we’ll keep them warm in winter.  🙂

Writing Prompts & Asteroids

“Hey, Nix.” Tanner watched his brother punching the keyboard with his index fingers. “Finally working on that bestseller?”

“Nah. Just doing a bit of writing exercise…in preparation for the day. I googled ‘writing prompts’ to see if I could find one that would light my fire.”

“Well, miracles still happen, they say.”

“Talk about overload! Here are eighteen pages of writing prompts. A few sites give 365, one for every day. And here’s another with 101 writing prompts. Some are specifically for fiction, some for journal, some to use as story starters. Hey! There’s even one called ’40 really awful writing prompts that no writer should use.’

“Cool! Everybody’s gonna want to check those out. So, what do they call a really awful writing prompt?”

Nixon clicked on the site and scrolled down. “These were written by Kim Z Dale and they are…yeah…some are pretty awful.

“Like?”

“Here’s the first: Write a story set on another planet exactly like our own. Call that planet “Earth’.”

Tanner moaned. “Okay. A definite lack of imagination. But you could embellish it, right? Make it Earth, but have everyone get along, people all bubbling with goodwill. The Fountain of Youth has just been discovered and the world is full of happy, smiling faces.”

“That would be a mega-miracle. I think this is supposed to be a regular Earth with everyday people living normal lives, going to school or rushing off to work, roaring along the freeways, pushing and shoving for bargains and fast foods, eyes glued to their phones.”

“How boring is that? You need some high adventure, some major catastrophe. Hey, I know. You could have a regular Earth, with normal people doing their stuff, then they find out a giant asteroid is streaking toward the planet and it’s going to blow the world to smithereens. People all over the world stop to watch the skies.”

“Um…technically only half the world would be able to see this at any given time,” Nixon reminded him.

“Spoilsport.”

“Anyway, they wouldn’t just stand there watching the skies for months. From the time we first knew it was coming, it’d take at least half a year to get here. We’d have months to get ready.”

“But what else would we do? No point working, buying stuff, putting money in the bank. No point planting a garden or anything if the planet was going to blow up. Maybe a great time to travel. See the world while it’s still intact.” Tanner chuckled, then thought for a moment. “I suppose religious folks would spend the time praying the world would be spared.”

“Hey, I’d be joining them!”

“And some folks might decide to make peace with their relatives. Write about some guy making peace with his family because they’re all about to be wiped out.”

“That’s an idea. ‘Sorry I’ve been such a pain, everybody.’ Lots of hugs and kisses. Nah, too intense.”

“Hey, it sells. People nowadays love intense.”

 “But you know, Tanner, the government would be saying ‘Not to worry, folks. We’ve got this.’ Calming everybody down, and NASA would be figuring how much to hit it with, long before it gets here.”

“Right. Most people would expect to survive somehow, though they’d be stocking up on survival rations, just in case. That’s what I’d do, trusting this would all blow over but ready for some fallout.”

“Yeah, a lot would say ‘It’ll never happen.’ After Y2K, when all the electronic and financial systems in the world were supposed to crash and things carried on like always, people have become cynics.” Nixon shook his head melodramatically.

“So are you gonna write about all this?”

“I dunno. It’d take hours. I see the Ragtag community does a prompt and their word for today is Embellish. And the Word-of-the-Day challenge is Miracle. Maybe I’ll try one of those and keep it short.”

😉

To Have Seen!

The Ragtag community’s word prompt for today is VAST. And here’s a perfect example: Mount Kananaskis in Alberta, Canada. Photo courtesy of Akiroq Brost at Pixabay.

mountain-1429860_640

Oh, to have been there!
To have seen the heave,
the earth’s breaching,
like that of an immense whale,
to have heard the roar
of that rending and buckling
when the mantle rose
to meet the boiling clouds!
To have watched the creation
of this vast behemoth
that makes us all
and all our works
smaller than ants.

 

Bravery

Good morning everyone. A bright Monday morning, the beginning of another week and also Remembrance Day here in Canada.

Folks who are planning outdoor celebrations this morning will have to be brave to face the chill that’s settled across the prairies. We had a fair bit of snow Saturday, and now it’s seriously cold. At 7 am it was -22̊ C. Add wind gusts up to 28 km/h for a wind-chill factor of -31̊ C.
For our American friends that’s -7̊ F and with wind gusts up to 17 mph, which gives the feel of -24̊ F if you’re outside for very long. I let our cats outside first thing and they were ready to come in about three minutes later.

So it’s the perfect day to stay indoors and work on my sewing projects, but I will be cooking at the Villa today, both meals. Thankfully I can slide my car into the heated garage there. Dear hubby will have to get up and help me open the door of our unheated garage because at this temperature, the mechanism doesn’t want to work.

Like most people who are classed as “brave”, I’m not particularly courageous or eager to face the elements, but I have a job to do and will do it regardless of the externals. I don’t think any soldiers were enthused about facing enemy guns, but they were given the job, the goal was held forth, and they gritted their teeth and complied, hoping to make it out alive.

Ragtag Community’s word prompt for today is BRAVERY, quite understandable considering this special day. At the 11th hour dedicated folks all over the world will pause for a few moments of silence, remembering those lost in war and wishing, praying, violent conflicts will cease forever.

I hopped over to Pixabay and checked out images of ‘Bravery’; it’s very interesting what they all show. From a dandelion daring to bloom in parched clay to bungee jumping to Rosie the Riveter to Super heroes. Here are a few illustrations of bravery:

Fire.skeeze
Skeeze.Pixabay
Soliers.johnrocks888
johnrocks888.Pixabay
Rocket.WikiImages
WikiImages.Pixabay
surgery-1807541_640
Sasin Tipchai.Pixabay

But some things that people think are brave, like death-defying stunts, I’d class in the realm of… well…a lack of good sense. All in one’s perspective of bravery, I suppose? Like, why on earth would you play with a snake or fling yourself off a cliff if you don’t have to? Different strokes for different folks?

Matador.memyselfaneye
memyselfaneye.Pixabay
bungee-jumping-3164249_640
wfff.Pixabay

Anyway, wherever you are today, I hope you can have a day of relative peace and safety. Let’s all take time to appreciate all the folks who have sacrificed—and are working today—to give us security and a better quality of life.