Two SoCS musings on the prompt, ‘ball’

Your Friday prompt for Stream of Consciousness Saturday is: “ball.”

Hockey ball

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When I was 11 a hockey ball hit me on the nose. This was before dangerous hitting was banned (a long time ago!) – now there are more rules. I used to love hockey but I had a tendency to daydream and this particular match was clearly no exception. The last thing I remember is Claire Fairbairn whacking the ball high up in the air. I then found myself lying on the ground, and looking up to see a bunch of people around me asking if I was okay. My nose was pouring with blood and very sore. Somehow it hadn’t broken but it had moved slightly and was slightly squint. Thankfully my mother had the foresight to demand an operation in order to bang it back to how it had been and it actually ended up even more beautiful than before (!)
I continued to play hockey and even represented my university when I was older, but I’d lost the fearlessness I needed to excel at it, which was a shame really. I now prefer safer forms of exercise such as cycling and long-distance running.

Keeping the ball out of my court

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I always make sure that the ball’s never in my court. I’ve become pretty damn good over the years at whacking it back over the net so that the other person has to deal with it, in theory at least. But that person, whoever he happens to be, seldom does. Usually, he either allows the ball to disappear into the brambles at the side of the court, or when he thinks I’m not looking, picks it up, shoves it in his pocket and conveniently ‘forgets’ that it’s there, so if I have the audacity to yell over to him,
‘Oi, the ball’s in your court. Make a flaming decision!’ he says, ‘No, it isn’t. It seems to have disappeared. Funny that, isn’t it?’ (Well, he doesn’t say that, but his look conveys the emotion nicely.)
The great thing about lobbing the ball away from your side of the court is that you can travel pretty lightly. You haven’t got that annoying burden weighing you down, so you can happily get on with your life. So my advice to anyone with the ball in their court is to deal with it head-on, not by allowing it to be absorbed by the bushes or by pretending it’s not there. They’re short-term solutions and in so doing, you may create a long-term problem.

That was my post for SoCS

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‘For you, Mama’ – FLASH FICTION FOR THE PURPOSEFUL PRACTITIONER: WEEK #10 – 2016

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I know it’s only been three weeks but it’s killing me. I wandered up there this afternoon; I needed to get a glimpse of where she was working. Thought it’d make me feel better, but then I saw her.

At first I wasn’t certain it was her, I was standing so far away; but when I ventured nearer, I saw her small, pale face framed by the rough plaits I tied myself only this morning. She was gazing out of the window; tears running down her cheeks. That look in her eyes was one of pain, the pain that comes only with experience. She was too young for that look and I had to turn away.

“I want to help,” she told me yesterday, but the work, the hours she has to do… My heart bled to see her.

“For you, Mama,” she said last week, her hands clinging to the money she’d earned. I unfurled her fingers to discover a few dirty pennies. Her eyes were bright and loving as I pulled her into my arms for a kiss.

“Your papa would be proud of you,” I said.

But now I think he’d just be sad.

Written for Flash Fiction for the Purposeful Practitioner: Week #10 – 2016

This is the day

Your Friday prompt for Stream of Consciousness Saturday is: “this and that.” Talk about this, talk about that, talk about this and that, but here’s the catch: make either “this” or “that” the first word of your post. Bonus points if you can end with “this” or “that.”

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This is the day when I was woken up at 6 by my kitten, Polly who never seems to know when it’s Saturday and I want to sleep.
This is the day when the sky is clear, the air is cold and the birds are singing.
This is my favourite day of the week. It’s a day when I don’t have to work, I can do exactly what I want to do and at 8 am I feel I have a long stretch of glorious time ahead of me.
This is the day that my friend Andy was born. We met 24 years ago in Japan and I’m thankful he lives in the same city as me.
This is the day that he’s having a party to celebrate, a boozy one starting at 1 pm in his flat. Can’t wait!
This is the time that I’m starting to feel hungry and I wish I’d been shopping last night. This is also the time that I start considering whether to go to the gym or not as I don’t feel like it and would rather lounge around in bed, reading and writing.
This is the day when I’m experiencing a mixture of emotions. Happiness as I’m free to do what I like and sadness as I just read about Joey Feek who has died of cancer at the age of 40.
This is the day that I’m consequently feeling grateful for the incredible life that I’ve had and continue to have.
This is the morning when I began to write a short story on an interlining trip I took with my sister around Europe in the early 90s. I found an old diary last night from that time and this is the day I remember having to hitch from Athens to Thessaloniki as there was a state of emergency in the country and no trains were running.
This is the morning when I remember almost being attacked by the lorry driver who picked us up, and it’s the morning when I think about all the lucky escapes I’ve had in my life.
This is the time when I can hear my cat miaowing and my clock ticking telling me I need to get on with my day.

That was my post for SoCS. So that’s that!

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Ad Hoc Fiction – ‘Chalk and Cheese’

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I’ve recently been spending a little more time on flash fiction, or rather trying to improve my ability to write it. In so doing, I’ve begun to realise just how difficult it is to get it right. I think it helps to either be a poet or have an interest in poetry as choosing the most optimum word is even more important in a story consisting of fewer than 500 words.

One great way to practise is to participate in several of the many weekly competitions on offer online and one I’ve recently discovered is Ad Hoc Fiction which is a free to enter flash/micro fiction competition run by the Bath Flash Fiction Award.

You have a week to write a 150 word story which must include a given word. A long list is published and you can then vote for your favourite. The winner receives a free entry to the Bath Flash Fiction Award.

The given word this week was paste and my entry for this week is Chalk and Cheese (below)  

You can vote for it in the Read and Vote Weekly eBook, but give it a go next week. It’s fun!

Chalk and Cheese

For packed lunch Lucy had cheese and piccalilli rolls neatly wrapped in foil and tucked away in a Tupperware box; I had fish paste sandwiches held together with cling film. 

Lucy had a can of Fanta and Monster Munch crisps; I had a bottle of water and a Granny Smith apple. 

Lucy had a four-fingered Kit Kat; I had two custard creams.

Lucy was allowed to grow her hair long like Boy George: I wasn’t. 

Lucy could go to the school disco on Saturday night; I couldn’t. 

Lucy studied her arse off and got four A’levels; I studied my arse off and failed. 

Lucy met Michael and got married; I met men and stayed single. 

Lucy had two beautiful daughters; I had a neurotic rescue cat. 

Lucy was the chalk to my cheese. 

Lucy got cancer; I cried at her funeral.