Sunday Photo Fiction – ‘Colour Therapy’

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‘Don’t think,’ said Ella. ‘Just choose. Follow your instincts.’

It was difficult. I’d always been a glass half full type of person yet the glasses which were half full contained liquids with colours that repelled me: a washed out, insipid sort of yellow; the kind of yellow your undies might turn should an errant grey sock creep into the load; a deep burgundy that smacked of cheap 70s suits and a washed out pink; the colour of flighty candy floss.

My favourite colour was cobalt blue and yet the glass with that shade of liquid was virtually empty. It’s such a shame I thought. That glass should be full.

‘You’re taking too long,’ said Ella. ‘I can see your mind working. Use your heart instead.’
I couldn’t decide so I closed my eyes, reached forward and grabbed the nearest glass to me.

‘Give it to me, dear.’ Ella’s voice was so kind and encouraging that I tentatively passed it over to her and opened my eyes. The glass I’d selected contained the yellow liquid.

‘Oh,’ I said, really disappointed.

‘It’s the sun glass,’ she said. ‘Good choice.’

And as soon as she said ‘sun,’ I saw something different in the yellow. I no longer saw washed out underwear but positivity, optimism and a glorious future, and when Ella started the reading, I knew that things were about to change for me.

This post was written for Sunday Photo Fiction

‘The things that daddies do’ – FLASH FICTION FOR THE PURPOSEFUL PRACTITIONER: WEEK #21 – 2016

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The opening sentence for the May 19th Flash Fiction for the Purposeful Practitioner: “This can’t be that hard.” Please use this sentence (or this thought) somewhere in your flash.

The Things that Daddies do

This can’t be that hard. Daddy plays the piano every morning and he says it’s easy. He zips his fingers along the keys creating the most beautiful songs and music, and people clap and sing along and tell him how wonderful he is and what a talent he has. He tells me that I must take after him as my fingers are as thin and lean as his, and that that’s a sure sign that I have the gift.

I started lessons last week. With an old lady called Mrs Bradford, who says ‘good, dear,’ ‘more slowly, dear,’ and stuff like that. She gave me a piece of chocolate cake afterwards and said I’d done well.

I want Daddy to teach me, but he says he can’t as he’s my dad and dads don’t do things like that. Dads do things like take their boys fishing and climbing. Only he doesn’t do those things either. I’m hoping that if I practise and get as good as he is, then he’ll do those things that he says that daddies do.

Written for Flash Fiction for the Purposeful Practitioner: Week #21– 2016

‘Moving mural’ – FFfAW (65th challenge)

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This week’s photo prompt is provided by S. Writings.

The festival tickets were 200 each. Car rental 300.                                                   ‘Only 100 each if we split it,’ said Anna.
‘I agree,’ said Jane. ‘Imagine how cool we’ll look, driving there in that!’
The car she had her eye on was a moving mural, covered with bright images of bridges, houses and exquisite birds, and two against one, I had to agree.
On the day of the festival, we donned trilbies, sunnies and maxi dresses and headed off, basking in the admiring comments that accompanied us there.
‘Funky car.’ ‘Cool motor.’ ‘Love your style!’
‘See, told you!’ said Jane. ‘It was well worth the money.’
We parked up and took out the tent, but two hours later when the sun had set and the bands were playing, we were still putting up the tent, while our previous admirers ambled past sniggering.
‘Not so cool now, are we?’ I said.

This post was written for Flash Fiction for Aspiring Writers

Sunday Photo Fiction -‘The Town in the Wood’

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‘There used to be a town there, you know.’ Jim waggled his walking stick vaguely to the left, but didn’t stop.
‘You mean to say people actually lived there?’ It was hard to believe as the place was a mass of gorse, brambles and bushes, the only sound the plaintive call of a distant cuckoo.
‘Yep, that’s right. Take a look if you don’t believe me.’
‘When you say ‘town,’ what exactly do you mean?’ I had visions of a thriving little place with pizza restaurants and department stores, squirrelled away from civilisation in the middle of this wood.
‘I don’t know exactly but if you look hard enough you’ll find something. Not much left though.’
‘Do you mind?’
‘Sure, go ahead.’
So I ploughed my way through the entangled bracken, forging a path with my walking stick, and after a few minutes I reached a clearing, with nothing apart from a large box and an unhinged door. I poked around a bit and a black cat sprang out. It hissed at me and vanished, its tail swishing as it went.
‘Anything to see?’ shouted Jim.
‘Not much,’ I replied and began to retrace my steps, wondering how an entire community could have disappeared overnight like that.

This post was written for Sunday Photo Fiction

SoCS – ‘Children’

Your Friday prompt for Stream of Consciousness Saturday is: “apparent/a parent.” Use either one or both. You choose. Enjoy!

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My niece, Imogen and me

I’m not a parent and although I could say that on the whole my life has turned out pretty well and I’ve reached a stage where I can look back and feel happy about what I’ve achieved and the life choices I’ve made, one regret I can admit to is not having had children.I’ve always had maternal instincts. When I was younger I figured that having children would be something that would naturally happen when I got older, but when I had a real chance to settle down with someone wonderful that I loved (way back at the tender age of 22), I simply wasn’t ready. I was still restless and felt I had a whole life to live till I was.

When I reached 30 I went travelling for a year in Australia and the other day I found an old diary with a list of my future children’s names scrawled in red pen at the back that I’d compiled while sunbathing on a catamaran in the Whitsunday islands. At that time I still believed I’d have children, and in the years that followed, I dated (a lot), partly because I was panicking that I was running out of time. But I realise looking back, that I wasn’t terribly happy. I was dating compulsively and for the wrong reasons, and it was only once I reached 40 that I started to relax a little. I had nieces and nephews by then & I was tutoring children so that in part went some way to relieving my maternal instinct. I now have a cat and that helps further!

I will always want children but I think it’s just one of those things that I have to learn to live with. I manage to deal with it by focusing on other things that are important to me such as writing and friendships. I suppose I could have settled down with several different people in the past but it simply didn’t feel right at that time and that feeling of ‘rightness’ is what has always guided me in life and will continue to do so.

This was my post for SoCS

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‘Man on the Cliff’ – FFfAW (64th challenge)

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This week’s photo prompt is provided by momtheobscure. 

Man on the Cliff

‘Mum, there’s a man on the cliff; a big man.’

‘Quiet, love. I’m reading.’

‘But there is. Look.’

Anna glanced upwards, squinting as the sun caught her eye. But all she could see was a cliff.

‘Go and play, Max. I just want to finish this chapter.’

So Max picked up his spade and wandered nearer to the water. He looked again. From this angle the man seemed scary, as if he was about to pounce on Max, grab him and hit him over and over. But when Max took a few steps into the sea, he could see the man’s face. Now he looked sad and fearful. Not scary at all.

When Max saw this he ran back to Anna. ‘When can I see Daddy?’

‘Soon.’ Anna put down her book and wrapped her arms around her son.

This post was written for Flash Fiction for Aspiring Writers

‘Zest’ – #AtoZ Challenge

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Yay! Last letter of the alphabet and day of the challenge…

Every writer, and indeed any committed blogger must agree that in order to stick to writing, it is important to have a zest for it i.e. passion. It’s so damn hard otherwise. I feel I’ve always had some sort of zest for writing but I believe that provided there’s a seed of desire there in the first place, zest can grow, so the more writing you do, the more you actually want to do and conversely, the less you do, the less you want to do which can make any zest you had disappear.

What goes hand in hand with zest is discipline. You always need zest  but then you also need the discipline to sit down and write even when you don’t feel like it. I don’t feel like doing anything today. I’ve been sick all week – in bed with flu, probably due to the freezing cold temperatures we’re experiencing here in the UK, but I’ve still made myself write – not much to be honest; the blogging challenge and a couple of flash fiction competitions but at least I’ve done something. The zest is still there, even if it’s just a flickering flame this week, but the discipline hasn’t disappeared, not completely anyway. I’m hoping that I’ll return to normal tomorrow. It’s a new month after all!

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‘Yielding Control’ – #AtoZ Challenge

Y.jpgI’ve come to realise that most good writing (the first draft at least) is a result of yielding control i.e writing freely from your subconscious and allowing whatever’s there to emerge. I feel that when you think too much about writing, your true voice does not come out.

When I was doing NaNoWriMo last year, the best work I produced was during the word sprints. I’d set my timer for 20 or 30 minutes and write for that time. Usually I’d start off with only a very sketchy idea in mind and often this would develop into an interesting dialogue or scene. Sometimes I’d re-read what I’d written and honestly wonder where it had come from. I think it’s a case of trusting the process and knowing that once you start writing, something interesting is sure to come out.

‘Xanadu’ – #AtoZ Challenge

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(Okay, not anything to do with writing really, but I was struggling with X!)

When I was 16, I entered the sixth form at school. We were given our own teaching block and certain privileges such as listening to music on a record player, as that was the way we did it back then!
Xanadu by Olivia Newton John was one of the first songs that was played and it continued to be played throughout the year as everyone loved it. The song was old even then but it resonated with me. I found it so beautiful and positive and it made me believe that anything was possible. I found school quite difficult as I was living in my head a lot (I still am to a certain extent!), and this song connected with my hidden feelings.

The dictionary definition of the word, ‘Xanadu’ is ‘an ‘idealised place of great or idealised magnificence or beauty‘ so for it me it expressed a sense of ultimate possibility. I listened to the song just now and remembered exactly how I used to feel back then.

The reason I have chosen this word in connection with writing, is really to stress the importance of memories. For ‘D’ I talked about the diaries I’ve written over the years and how they’ve helped and are helping me with my writing now, and this is because they contain memories, many of which I would have forgotten otherwise. Those memories that haven’t been forgotten such as listening to Xanadu as a shy teenager can be used years later in stories or novel scenes. Nothing that has happened is wasted.

For the last couple of weeks I was taking a flash fiction workshop with Kathy Fish. For one of our assignments we had to intersperse dreams we’d had with actual events. It was a wonderful exercise as they all seemed to merge and you ended up with a kind of hypnotic mosaic of a story. I really suggest that you try this – it brought up a lot of things I thought I’d forgotten.