Beachcomber Finds

Merriam-Webster’s word for today is Aggregate

Which they define as:

Formed by the collection of units or particles into a body, mass, or amount:
such as a clustered in a dense mass or head, an aggregate flower
Formed from several separate ovaries of a single flower, as aggregate fruit
Composed of mineral crystals of one or more kinds, or of mineral rock fragments

Taking all units as a whole, as in aggregate sales

It’s quite closely related to conglomerate, defined as:
made up of parts from various sources or of various kinds
Synonyms: full amount, sum total, totality, collection, as a whole, the lion’s share, the whole kit and caboodle.
Beach sandals
Image courtesy of Chezbeate at Pixabay.

I Witness A Mugging

Since my other domain is about to expire and I’m not sure what will happen when it doe or how my other blogs will be affected, I’ll re-post a few past stories. This was initially posted on March 25, 2012, the year I started blogging.

I Witnessed a Mugging Today…
…And Rescued the Victim With My Bare Hands!

One day fellow blogger Apronhead Lilly wrote about witnessing a murder: she saw a Cooper’s Hawk kill a blackbird in her back yard. I know that the cruelties of nature play out around me every day, but I’m so soft-hearted: I do sometimes intervene to prevent the slaughter of some helpless creature. The next day I had the chance to do just that.

I woke up from my afternoon doze in the recliner and found the living room quite warm, so I went out sat on the side deck — not a deck, exactly, but a corner platform where our steps come up to our side door. Because it was sunny and mild I left the door open in case one of the cats wanted to join me, and Angus did a few moments later. Then, bored with my inaction, he went to snoop under the stairs to our main entrance.

Suddenly he dashed into the house and I decided to get up and shut the door. Then I saw him inside — with something hanging from his mouth. He’d snagged a mouse? “Outside!” I insisted several times, but he just stood there looking at me.

Closer inspection revealed that what he had was a little junco. He had it by one shoulder, but it was still twitching. Likely he’d brought it in to play with and here I was, being such a wet blanket. I ordered him outside again, fearing he’d let the thing go and we’d have to chase it all over the trailer. When he didn’t budge, I picked him up and carried him out, thinking he’d let go of it any second, but he was still holding the bird when I dumped him on the deck.

Then I reached down and pried his mouth open. Unmugged, the bird flew away–showing no sign of injury. He dashed after it, but it settled in the caragana hedge and he never did catch it again. I tried to impress on him our “NO BIRDS” rule; I doubt it sank in. To him a bird is a toy and that’s that.

Anyway, now I could say that I prevented a murder today. 🙂

I wrote a story once about a little elephant that finds a child and sort of befriends it. Later he sees his child friend asleep and a huge snake is about to swallow the child, so the elephant intervenes: he stomps the snake flat.

“No, no, no!” said my writing school instructor. “You can never have your main character commit a murder!”

“But it’s a snake! All children know that being swallowed by a snake is bad.” No dice. I had to cut out all the violence. He could chase the snake away, but not stomp on it.

I figured a child reader would identify with the little elephant, but I hadn’t considered that a snake would be seen as an animal — and of equal value, too. In my books, a snake is a reptile. I suppose you couldn’t have the family cat, if it talked, catch a mouse and eat it, either. Life gets complex in the world of “correct” children’s literature. We never thought of all this back in the days of Sylvester and Tweetie Bird.

The Project

I’ve decided to try the 50 Word Thursday Challenge #31, offered this week at Tales from the mind of Kristian.

You are to write a picture to go with the following image. Your story must be between 50 and 250 words, in 50 word increments. (so 50, 100, 150, 200 or 250 words). Mine is exactly 200. And you must use the following line in your story:
“If you dare nothing, then when the day is over, nothing is all you will have gained.”
― Neil Gaiman, The Graveyard Book

DSC07310.JPG

 

THE PROJECT

“Can’t you just see it?”

“Nope. Nope. Never.”

“Hey, where’s your fighting spirit? This site would be perfect.”

“Do you have any idea how much opposition we’d face?”

“It may not be as bad as you think. Listen, Ashton, if you dare nothing, then when the day is over, nothing is all you will have gained.”

“And moving all these graves… We can’t just pave over them. The descendants will howl.”

“I don’t know about that. People are tired of this old mess — they’d be delighted to see something attractive. We’ll set the stones along one edge and this can be the new Fifth Street Park.”

“Well, that’s one option… And the church would be easy enough to knock down. Someone’ll be delighted to salvage the beams and windows.”

“Now you’re talking. I’m positive that if we offer the City Council a high-rise hotel here, stressing the revenue potential, and throw the promise of a park, they’ll get on board.”

“Okay. I’ll draw up a plan and get an architect’s rendering to present. But you’re the spokesman for this project, Lance. You deal with hostile descendants, reporters, and feisty seniors from the Historic Preservation Society threatening us with their brollies.”

Of Bugs & Bucket Lists

I’ve been thinking LOTS but writing little, owing to feeling down in the dumps lately. It’s a type of writer’s block: you know that lingering line: “Why should I bother who cares anyway?”

This started a few days ago as I was reading and admiring a number of online haiku verses. Such talent! A wave of blue (green?) swept over me. I’ll never be able to write meaningful haiku with clever twists of phrase. Here’s a sample of mine:

grasshopper munching
the eye of my daisy
instant mashed

(Historical note: I’ve observed that grasshoppers just love to munch the tender eyes of coneflowers like rudbekia. Justice is dispensed speedily.)

I read a quote by fellow writer “Biff” that made me smile; I think his words will resonate with writers everywhere:

The only item on my bucket list is to someday be satisfied with something I write.

While this quote is part of his reply in the comments, the article itself is something all writers can relate to. Do take a moment to pop over and read his post: A Writer’s Lament.

On the cover of the latest issue of FellowScript Christian writers magazine I read the question, “Should You Write For Free?” And my obvious answer is, “Of course not! I should be getting thousands of dollars for what I write.” Okay, hundreds. I’d even welcome tens.

Do what you love and the money will follow.

Ha!

I’m somewhat cheered today, seeing the haiku I submitted to Troutswirl, the Haiku Foundation’s blog, has been published. Also, I accept that, even though I don’t ever earn a penny, I have the complete freedom to write and post on my blog.

But now that I’ve shared my ups and downs with you, I’d best get back to digging my flower bed in preparation for some pretty blooms.

ducky digging in the flowerbed
trying to win it back
nary a feather to be seen
but sure no lack of quack
🙂

A Week in Review

Good morning Everyone,

All my life I’ve thought of Sunday as the last day of the week but the calendar persistently corrects me. How about you? Are you mentally beginning the new week this morning or will you start it tomorrow?

Here where I live, this week is starting out with some of rain and frost. Yesterday we had enough rain to settle the dust and water the lawn; by afternoon the scenery looked a lot greener. A bit more rain fell in the evening — only a shower, we might say, but after a couple of weeks of nothing, we’re glad for whatever comes.

I was up at 5 am this morning and the garage roof was white. I checked the dish of water I’d set outside on the deck for our cats and there was a thin layer of ice on top, so I’m very glad I took in the one bedding plant my daughter gave me a few days ago. It’s a gerbera, rather tender, and would have been limp today if it had stayed out.

Doing a quick recap of LAST week, starting with Monday’s trip to Moose Jaw:

We first dropped in on my husband’s cousin and his wife and had a nice visit with them. They’re into bird-watching as well and have feeders up, so we had that in common to visit about. Also the Family tree info, since they’ve done the DNA test, too. No surprises, as they already have the Goodnough history back to England circa 1620 and records on the Letkeman side go back many generations as well. Bob and his Goodnough cousins share the same genetics, as their fathers were brothers and their mothers sisters.

Seeing my sisters was the main reason for this trip. We took my sister Donna out for dinner and caught up with each other’s lives. It’s been a year since I’ve last talked with her — shame on me!

Two weeks ago I called my sister Rose, who also lives in Moose Jaw, and she told me about her bout with lung cancer last winter. She had chemo and radiation in January; also, her husband was recently diagnosed with cancer and has started chemotherapy. Rose’s husband wasn’t feeling well enough to come, but we met her for afternoon coffee at a Tim Horton’s and did some catching up.

We’d left early in the morning, done our visiting by 5pm, and managed to get home again before dark. I’m so thankful for these long prairie evenings!

Tuesday I made both meals at the Villa, which took up most of my day. Wednesday we went into the city. Among other things I bought a couple of bird houses and hung one up for the tree swallows when we got home. Didn’t take them long to find it and by the next day one pair had claimed it for their own.

We had a pair of barn swallows return to our garage and start to set up house, but something happened to the one. Now I see the other sitting forlornly on the yard light post during the day. He has come to the aid of the tree swallows when they’re being menaced by English sparrows.

Thursday morning found me digging my flowerbed in the front, trying to reclaim it from the ever-encroaching quack grass. The dirt was like powder, a bit of moisture about 6″/15 cm down. I managed to “discover” two of the three peonies, dig out the quackgrass and water them, so they will get the full benefit of yesterday’s rain. In the afternoon I painted a wren house and hung it in the Russian olive out back; the next morning a pair of wrens were busy furnishing it.

Apart from that I’ve done a bit of general housework, some blogging, reread a book, The Face of the Earth, by Deborah Raney. I found it just as great the second time around, well written and the tension maintained throughout. I’ll do a book review in my next post.

Friday evening I was helping a friend to get her life story down on paper for posterity. Yesterday afternoon I wrote and polished the story I posted yesterday, The Abduction. In the evening I had a long visit over the phone with a cousin in Saskatoon, someone I also haven’t connected with for awhile. How does the time slip away?

And now it’s 7:30am and I must get ready for church and whatever else this new day holds. I hope you’re all having an enjoyable day of refreshment and will be ready to face the first day of a new work-week tomorrow. 🙂

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. 🙂