Memories of an Apron

Good morning everyone,

As I look out our window this morning I’m reminded of the line of an old song: “When I needed sunshine I got rain.” (Prize points to you if you can name it!)  We are longing for sunshine and spring, but we’re getting snow and more snow. The air’s full of lovely, fluffy white flakes now, but this is supposed to change to freezing drizzle later.

“It’s an ill wind that blows no good.” And “Every cloud has a silver lining.” I took advantage of the below-freezing temps overnight to defrost my upright freezer. It’s handy when you can set things outside in a tub and know they’ll stay frozen.

We have a lovely list of prompts this morning. Even if the weekend’s past, I’m going to dedicate this post to Sammi’s weekend writing prompt:

It’s a real challenge to write an actual story in 49 words; you don’t have enough words for more than the opening lines to a proper story. But here’s my response:

“It’s a keepsake from Grandma, I guess.” Anita displayed the faded apron her mom sent.

“Does she think you’re going to become domestic…baking cookies and all.”

“I remember Grandma gathering eggs, making a basket of this apron.”

“Fabulous! I’ll call the hatchery. Since we’re staying home these days…”

Maritime Morning

The Ragtag Daily Prompt word for today is GOODBYE.

I wrote this short story some years back, but I think it will be a suitable response:

Maritime Morning

It was the perfect day for sorrow.

Grey veils drifted across the sky and mist blanketed the sea, a reflection of the murky future. Only the tiny waves rippling toward the shore disturbed the ocean’s dark surface; only a gentle rise and fall bore evidence of the giant sleeping below.

A small row-boat bobbed up and down ever so slightly with each swell, its docking rope barely pulling at the mooring. The big fishing boats were still at rest, shrouded in the mist, waiting for the fishermen to fire up their engines and point them seaward. The sailors were still at home, lingering over their morning coffee, waiting for the fog to lift.

All was silent except for one old horse that plodded along the gravel road, still half asleep. Some farmer riding out to check his fields; saving gas and trusting his horse rather than his battered old truck. No danger of him losing his way in the gray mist; habit had mapped the route indelibly in the old horse’s brain.

Down at the wharf a boy sat all alone on the lower dock, legs dangling over, toes not quite touching the water. He gazed over the sea, recording the muffled cries of invisible gulls and sandpipers as they scavenged along the shore and the far off droning of some foghorn. He studied the small seabirds as they paddled on the water’s surface, appearing and disappearing amidst patches of fog. He strained his eyes to define the that elusive line where water met sky.

From his small space in the universe, he contemplated the power of the sea. That great expanse that fed them, that bobbed them up and down from one shore to another, that challenged and tested their mettle. One day it held them so gently on the palm of its mighty hand; the next day dashed and crashed them from towering peaks into deep green troughs. Troughs that could swallow a fleet of ships at a gulp, the old-timers said. He’d seen the tails of those big waves lashing these docks and he right well believed it!

The subject of his contemplation was at this moment as docile as a lamb. The expanse of sea was as gray as the sky overhead, as gray as the fog that blanketed the shore. The only variation he could see as he looked around was a thick dark line away beyond the clearing behind him; the woods were too big to hide completely in the fog.

Somewhere on the eastern horizon a red sun would be peeping over the ocean; his watch told him so, though not one beam penetrated the cotton batting that wrapped the small town. Yes, this was a perfect day for sorrow and regret, for leaving the people and the home you love.

He stood to say a last goodbye, looking around at every familiar thing, taking mental pictures, wanting to have these scenes filed away for the lonely days ahead. He wanted to drink in as much of his home as he could before the ferry left at ten.

The sea. Would he ever see it again?

I Saw Myself

I haven’t done any writing prompts for awhile, but when I read this one — Prosery #2 at dverse poets — it connected in my mind with one character in a story I just finished, and also called to mind a real-life situation I once observed. Sadly, some people just can’t be loved out of their bitterness.

So I’m going to try working “I dreamt I was the moon” into a 144-word story.

I Saw Myself

I saw myself as the sun, drawing you into the light. I dreamt I was the moon, touching your emotions, awakening your desire to love. I imagined myself your guiding star toward a richer life.

I believed all your excuses, furious with those who’d wronged you. But instead of drawing you into the sunshine I was sucked into your gloom, not understanding how impenetrable — how willful — your darkness.

Hooked on you, I gave and gave…until our relationship broke me and I became just another burnt-out star in your black hole. I never foresaw the pain, the frustration…or that you’d leave so much darkness in me.

My father says, “Good thing he’s finally gone.” My mother sighs. “Now maybe you can start enjoying life.”

But I’ve been in the darkness for so long; it may take ages for my light to brighten again.

Writing Prompts

Good morning everyone! Lovely sunshine today…when I’d rather see rain. How’s that for perversity? But we did get a sprinkle yesterday and it froze last night, so there’s front on the grass this morning.

The cats have already gone in and out, in and out, in and out. A very short train has just chugged by on the track not far from our yard, headed south with a dozen or so empty gravel-hauling cars. I’m not sure where the gravel comes from, but they use it to build and maintain track north of us.

I learned a few things about my writing, and about you, dear readers, when I did a search for my most popular blog posts two days ago. One of the rules of the Mystery Blogger Award as to list your ten most popular posts and I discovered that my MOST-VIEWED post of all time was this one:
WRITING PROMPT SOURCES

I wrote this shortly after WordPress discontinued their Daily Prompt. Since I was never very devoted to following the Daily Prompt, I haven’t really missed it, plus other sites have stepped in to fill the gap. So I think it’s time I update my data, for those who are interested in writing prompts.

If you’re looking for a daily prompt WORD, check out the following:
RAGTAG Community
Word of the Day
Fandango’s FOWC
Your Daily Word Prompt

The following sites offer a weekly photo prompt, and would welcome new contributors:
What Pegman Saw
What Do You See
Friday Fictioneers
Crispina’s Crimson Challenge

The 50 Word Thursdays prompt, cohosted by Kristian and the Haunted Wordsmith, offers both a photo and a line you’re supposed to use somewhere in your story, plus the story is to be written in multiples of 50 words.

And  Sammi Cox offers a weekend writing prompt. She gives participants a WORD, plus a specific word-limit. This week it’s 77; last week it was 47.

I’m sure there are more but I think I’ve put enough links in this post. If you’re looking for ideas and topics, the sites I’ve listed could keep you writing all week long. 🙂

Fire: A Fierce Foe

Aspiring Author Sammi Cox offers her Weekend Writing Prompt HERE.

I haven’t done one of these before, but Dale’s post got me enthused. The challenge is to write a seventeen-word story using the word IGNITE.

Such a short story is the tip of an iceberg, where you know there’s a whole chunk hidden under what you see on the surface. Here’s my offering, and I hope you get a glimpse of the larger story.

“We think a tossed cigarette ignited the ditch grass.” The despondent farmer watched as his wheat blazed.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

This is a very real threat in dry years here in the western prairies. Our son-in-law is one of the volunteer firemen and has been called out different times to crops and hay fields ablaze. One Sunday morning half a dozen of our younger men left in the middle of the church service to go fight a fire.

Not a reality: You wouldn’t see a farmer standing there watching while his crop burned. The local farmers and volunteer firemen are out with tractors and loaders, working for hours, plowing or scraping fireguards to contain the blaze to one field.

This summer was so dry our municipality put a ban on ALL fires, including all outdoor BBQ pits and such, in case a stray spark would ignite a blaze. One of the main causes of fires in our area, however, are the sparks that fly from passing trains, igniting the long, dry grass along the train tracks.

Flashes of Fantasy

The grass was white with frost this morning, but the sun’s still warm enough to dry it up fast. The temp today is supposed to reach 12 C. Nice!

Re: Techno-troubles I mentioned yesterday

Same story, sad to say. This morning Fandango’s blog came up squashed left, but a click on the title brought it back into normal focus. Word of the Day prompt came up just as it always does. Clicking on the Ragtag Community e-mail got me nothing. The link appeared in my browser strip, but a blank screen. I tried three different ways to access it and got a blank screen each time. Just now when I clicked on the e-mail notice again, the blog came up fine.

So I never know whether Word Press and my computer will cooperate or not. I’m thankful I can still post, but this situation may well require a trip to some t-expert for an internal exam.

Of Flash Fiction and Fantasy

As I mentioned before, I’ve been working at compiling a book of flash fiction stories. But perhaps I’m laboring under a false ILLUSION that my JOVIAL, “happy-ending” stories will sell in today’s market? To study the competition out there, I’ve downloaded several e-books of short stories and read a number of flash fiction tales online. Judging from what I’ve read so far, I’ve concluded:

— Flash fiction stories today are, for the most part, NOT upbeat.
Yesterday I read one tale about a ragged, grizzled fellow sitting in a bar mumbling to an imaginary friend. (Himself in the mirror, I guess.) He rehashes his guilt because he’d ignored his father’s middle-of-the-night moans — the dad was often moaning — and the father died. He sits there until the bartender tells him to go home, so he goes back to his empty apartment. The end.

—Endings are often tragic. Sweethearts walk away. A loved one dies.
Like the one about the guy sitting in a café half-listening to the general BURBLE around him, when he sees a woman walk past the window. There’s something about her… It’s love at first sight! He follows and catches up to her just as she’s standing in front of a store window. She turns and smiles. He smiles back. A terrorist bomb explodes. He comes out of it with minor injuries; she’s killed. It ends with his wondering “Why do things happen this way?”

—There are often fantasy or supernatural elements.
This is getting to be quite common all across the board. Like someone in a coma after an accident, sent off in body (and perfect health) to accomplish some goal. Strangers/angels appear and disappear. That kind of thing.

—There’s often a reverse twist to the tale.
A technology wizard is feeling bored one morning, so he finds an ingenious way to hack into the city’s traffic signals system. He turns all the lights green and is entertained by the resulting chaos. After awhile he finds the repetition of car crashes and sirens so boring.

A fellow driving home from work sees a beautiful rainbow and thinks of the old story of “a pot of gold at the end of the rainbow.” He pulls out his phone to send his wife a quick picture, loses control, his car crashes and he dies just a few feet from a shining pot of gold. Talk about heartbreaking!

My Well Dressed Hamburger’s Adventure

This morning my mind’s been spinning out a story that will incorporate a lot of these elements. Because I’d rather see upbeat endings for people, I’ve been working on a tragic ending for the “well dressed hamburger” I mentioned in my last post. A lachrymose tale indeed! (For those who like obscure words.)

Yes, total fantasy — but it’s given my imagination a good workout. Plus, no people have been injured or depressed in the weaving of this tale. Mind you, some younger folks may find my sense of humor deplorable or laughable. (Pardon the pun.) 🙂

Have I made you curious? Another element of flash fiction can be an unsatisfying ending, one that leaves you hanging, not knowing how the situation turns out.

Fandango’s Prompt: ILLUSION
Ragtag Daily Prompt: BURBLE
Word of the Day Challenge: JOVIAL