‘The smell of spring’ – FLASH FICTION FOR THE PURPOSEFUL PRACTITIONER: WEEK #15 – 2016

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The opening sentence for the April 7th Flash Fiction for the Purposeful Practitioner: “What is that peculiar smell?” Please use this sentence (or this thought) somewhere in your flash.

The smell of Spring

It had been a while since they’d ventured outside – the winter had been particularly gruesome this year and neither meerkat cared much for rain, so when the dark clouds finally dispersed and blossom appeared on the trees, they were relieved.

‘What is that peculiar smell?’ said Toby.

Reginald stuck his little brown nose skyward and sniffed. ‘I’m not sure. It’s kind of familiar but I couldn’t tell you what it was.’

‘Hmm,’ said Toby. ‘It’s peculiar but not unpleasant. I would even say it’s verging on nice!’

And when Toby said that, Reginald looked at him in surprise as Toby seldom said anything positive. The two of them sat there for a while thinking, watching the clouds drift lazily across the sky until a perfect azure sky remained, and in that sky a shining golden sun.

‘The smell is stronger now,’ said Reginald.

Toby nodded and there was silence as they absorbed the new season; the warmth of the sun on their fur and the bright light of the heavens above.

‘Got it,’ said Reginald eventually. ‘It’s the smell of spring. It’s finally here!’

‘I think you’re right,’ said Toby and a big smile spread across his face.

 

Written for Flash Fiction for the Purposeful Practitioner: Week #15 – 2016

‘Something sinister to hide’ – FFfAW (60th challenge)

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This week’s photo prompt is provided by pixabay.com.

The house was like a head, with its crop of scarlet and green ivy hair, rectangular windows for eyes and teal door for a nose, while the walls, its cheeks, were covered in a mass of red leaves producing a bushy beard-like effect. It was like something out of a children’s book and we imagined a Willy Wonka type character living there.

Unfortunately, the man who did live there was morose, laconic and dark; dark in the sense that he wore only black and had a weird heavy energy. We soon lost interest in the house – the exterior brightened up the street somewhat, but we simply couldn’t equate its vibrant appearance with its miserable occupant, and when the woman, his slave emerged from its cellar after years of being locked away, everyone was gobsmacked, yet it kind of made sense. There was no way a man like that could live in a house like that without having something sinister to hide.

This post was written for Flash Fiction for Aspiring Writers

SoCS -‘Be’– #AtoZ Challenge

Your Friday prompt for Stream of Consciousness Saturday is: “be.” Use it as is or at the beginning of the word you decide to base your post on. Enjoy!

Being rather than Doing

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To be or not to be? In the past it was ‘not to be’ as when I was younger, life was all about doing. I travelled constantly, ran hard every day, enrolled on course after course, dated obsessively and generally tried to cram my life with as many activities as possible. I felt that if I wasn’t doing something then I wasn’t truly living. Now, however things have changed a little. Although prone to the odd bout of apathy (see previous post!) when I have a tendency to beat myself up for not accomplishing anything of note, I’m more able to recognise the value of simply being, without feeling the need to ‘do’ anything. Take today for example. I had plans, lots of them. I was going to go for a long bike ride, I was going to work on my novel, I was planning to tidy my flat etc. etc. but that was before I went out last night.

Last night was relatively unplanned but I ended up having a beautiful evening with one of my best friends and her boyfriend. We went to a lovely little cafe around the corner, where we ate tapas, drank wine and danced to Spanish music. I hadn’t planned to drink much but .. today I woke up with a hangover and a feeling of general laziness.

It’s a gorgeous day here so all I feel like doing is chilling out and enjoying the sunshine – my plans have changed, but I feel fine with that. Being present to the moment is all about focusing on what is happening right now, without worrying about what you feel you ‘should’ be doing. I might try a little meditation later and luxuriate in the fact that I don’t have to do anything today if I don’t want to.

This was my post for SoCSB.jpg

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‘A strange name for a disco’ – FFfAW (58th challenge)

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This week’s photo prompt is provided by Uday, with the blog, Udayology.

The paint was scuffed and the place deserted but the entrance remained as I remembered, with its keyhole-shaped door and bold white letters above. It was years since I’d been there – a relic to my teens. I tried the door; it was locked, but I peered through anyway. A big disco ball was hanging from the ceiling and chairs were stacked up along the side of the room. Little had changed, from what I recalled.

We always wondered why they called it the ‘Photo Centre,’ a strange name for a disco, yet it was memorable. I remembered the day it closed down for good. It had been threatened with closure for a while – underage drinking, then drugs were to blame. I secretly liked the notoriety, but soon even my hippy parents said enough was enough. Just after that came the rape; my best friend, Rosa. She never spoke about it and later moved away, but it entered my list of bad 80s memories, one of those things I would rather forget.

This post was written for Flash Fiction for Aspiring Writers

‘The wrong kind of steepness’ – FFfAW (56th challenge)

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This week’s photo prompt is provided by Louise with The Storyteller’s Abode.

Once you’ve ascended the steps, there’s a fabulous view of the village. The walk up can be difficult though. The steps are the wrong kind of steepness, the type that make you wince at the lactic acid shooting through your legs, and make you wish you’d said no to that beer the night before.
We always went there but this time it was my suggestion.
“Let’s stop by that nice cafe,” she said, “Our treat on the way back down.”
I readily agreed; figured it might be easier somewhere like that. Might cushion the blow; make what I had to tell her easier to bear.
But then I saw her. She was blowing on her hands, looking around for me. She seemed so happy, expectant almost. I couldn’t do it to her, not today at least. So before she caught sight of me, I turned around and ran. Back down the steps and back to my safe, little life. Descending was always so much easier.

This post was written for Flash Fiction for Aspiring Writers

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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Make a Prompt Personal

This month I’ve been following the Blogging 101 course run by Word Press. I was kind of on top of things until last weekend when I suddenly succumbed to the flu. Thankfully I wasn’t working but all those writing related things I’d intended to do went by the wayside, including my daily Blogging 101 lessons. This task was for Day Eleven: ‘Make a Prompt Personal’. I picked out a prompt from ‘A Writer’s Book of Days,’ by Judy Reeves. This is a fabulous resource, which includes not only prompts for each day, but also tips, suggestions and encouraging ways to improve your writing. Anyway, today’s prompt was ‘When she looked up.’ Here goes…

When she looked up

When she looked up all she could see was the sky which was heavy with sadness and dark with overwhelming grief. She had to look away yet she couldn’t escape it. This too will pass, she thought yet the next day when she looked up, it was just the same, and the day after that too. The colours changed daily. It was England after all, and as it was January, the colour was often leaden, although once in a while it was a lightish turquoise as though diluted with a bucketful of water. But regardless of the colour, the sky always seemed the same to her.

th-1.jpegThe first thing she’d do when she got up was open the window and stick her head outside. Then she’d raise her eyes and gaze into the sky. It’s still the same, she’d think and sigh. This continued for a month, and then another month. She eventually became used to it so it didn’t hurt as much after a while, and then one day she forgot to look up at all. Instead she shoved her book and towel in a bag and wandered down to the park. It wasn’t far away, ten minutes on foot, but she’d forgotten it existed, at least since the accident. On this particular day she remembered though and when she reached the park, she spread out her towel, lay down and then looked up at the sky. It was as turquoise as before but light with happiness and optimism. This was the day that things started to change.

Reason to believe in prompts

I have every reason to believe in the use of prompts as ever since I picked up a copy of ‘A Writer’s Book of Days’ by Judy Reeves, the practice of writing in response to a prompt has greatly improved my writing.

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I’m currently doing quite a bit of reading on the subject of mindfulness and I’d strongly recommend ‘Mindfulness for Creativity,’ by Dr Danny Penman.
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In this book he says that mindfulness helps you to

observe how much of your life is controlled by habitual ways of thinking and approaching the world

and he suggests the practice of ‘habit breaking’ which will

broaden awareness, spark curiosity and open the doors to serendipity

I believe that this can be the case with writing. We very often write about topics which we feel we know well, and it could be that the end result is jaded and unimaginative. Writing on a prompt about which you (believe) you know very little can trigger your creative mind into producing something which you might never have done were you to sit down and write about a familiar subject.

I have to agree with Lisa Kraft’s comment,

Prompts are both joyful discovery and intense frustration.

https://rainbowhillmeanders.wordpress.com/2016/01/18/writing-prompts/

However, I’m now inclined to think that the ‘joyful discovery’ generally outweighs the ‘intense frustration’, and because of this I strongly recommend the use of prompts as a aid to creativity.

This post is in response to The Daily Post prompt: Reason to Believe