Tuesday 26 March 2013


The prompt for this flash fiction was 'Looking at all that chocolate...'


Steamy windows; noses pressed firm. Watching the bucket swivel and swing along the wire and… wait… The chickens sing, beaks yellow against the painted blue sky. “Happy Easter!” they coo. Their heads bob up and down as the bucket swings past. Plop, plop, plop!
Then suddenly it stops and turns upside down. Coloured eggs roll along slides in front of the window. Shiny foil full of promise. They keep coming! Expectant eyes cling to sweet hope.
Looking at all that chocolate, Mary wondered if Nathan believed it came from chickens. He’d learn. There ain’t no golden egg to help them this month.
“Sorry, Nathan. Come on.” 

100 words + prompt.

See Julia's Place blog for more prompts and other 100-word stories.

Sunday 24 March 2013

Bridge Jump - A 100-word story

Water crushing me. Bubbles brewing around my face. Limp seat belt floating, but me, stuck.
This is what dying is like. Musky green darkness, light fading while sinking to the bottom of the world.
Silence. Slow motion and yet… I wanted to live. I had to. Frantically pulling, yanking, trying not breathe, kicking and then…
Freedom. Pale blue sky overhead. Shouts, flashing lights. A boat and blanket, grey and warm.

I woke to machines beeping. Despite the pounding in my head and heart, I could hear him yelling at me it was over. I hadn't been alone in the car.  

This was prompted by Julia's Place last week. I had started it, but never got around to finishing and posting there. But I like it, so here it is here. I had to include the words 'despite the pounding in me head'. 

Saturday 23 March 2013

Put a smile on your face

I was standing in my classroom this week waiting for the next group to arrive, a mere ten-second pause in the day. I was tired and in a slightly cranky mood as one of my year 9 pupils had really annoyed me by lying to my face. A thought occurred to me. I could stay fuming or I could smile.

So I grinned the biggest, most ridiculous grin I could muster, pushing up all my facial muscles, and widening my eyes. If anyone had been looking through the window they probably would have called for some help from the school nurse; but in those few seconds the tension I had felt seeped out and I walked out to greet my next class happy and smiling (normally).

Evidence has shown that having feel-good experiences every day is beneficial for us, both mentally and physically. And they can be ones you create for yourself, even force on yourself as I did this week. That grotesque grin turned my mood around and my approach to my next class and those after gave me a week's worth of happiness points. Points in the bank to use up when things take a tumble.

I also use this approach when doing something physically tough. Telling myself "This is brilliant!" as I run into gale-like winds or smiling strangely at dog walkers as I battle a hill make the whole experience that much better, easier... and happier.

Another thing to ease rampant minds and get a lot of perspective in a little time is having some powerful thoughts. These, like moments of joy and happiness can be built up. They work for me by distracting me to greater, more wondrous or perplexing things. They take my mind away from the (often) petty now that is preoccupying me to something my mind can't quite grasp, so that it sits and ponders in awe. They are things I have read and remembered for this very reason: the how, the why, the wow, Wow, WOW.

I'll share a few of the types of thoughts I wonder about, but before I do I am reminded of a line from my favourite Shakespeare play, Othello. Even if you've lost, you still have your smile.

"The robbed that smiles, steals something from the thief."

Some of my Helpfully Distracting Thoughts

  • Every single one of those snowflakes falling outside is different, like a trillion fingerprints flying through the sky.
  • Forty years ago there was over 70,000 elephants in the Central African Republic. Now there are just 200 individual survivors.
  • The sun is "middle-aged" at 4 and half billion years old.
  • Sitting at the ruins of Winaywayna along the Inca Trail was one of the most peaceful and spiritual moments in my life.
  • Most of the Kyrgyz nomads of the Wakan region in Afghanistan have never and will never see a tree.

Saturday 9 March 2013

The bird and the golden egg: Yasuní ITT Initiative

I am a small, but incredibly beautiful hen, sitting in the middle of the world. In fact, I am a one-off. My feathers are all the shades of all the colours in the world. I sing like no other bird. If I leave, you will never get me back. I am the ancient past; I am the beautiful present and; still sitting here, I am the prosperous future. 

And I'm sitting on a golden egg. This golden egg can heat your food and move things around your world. It can get you from A to B and back again. It can keep you warm.

The trouble is, my golden egg isn't actually very good for your world. It makes it cough and splutter. It makes it less green. But people clamour for it and pay more and more for it. Someone's recently counted and there are less and less golden eggs in the world. Other, different birds, sit on those golden eggs: stubbornly they do so, but only because they, too, are unique. If we all left, your world would look very different. We are protecting it - protecting ourselves.

Yet people still want my golden egg. It's worth a awful lot to a huge amount of people. But others prefer me: they prefer beauty, nature, history and peace. These people are doing all they can to keep me in place, sitting on my golden egg. Let the golden egg be, they say. The bird, our bird, is so much more important. Without it, our world is less.

Less pure. Less pure for everyone, not just those who get to live, work and marvel at me all day. Those that live and work around me: some have been here for a very long time. Others are newcomers. They see me and coo at how different, full of wonder I am. Then they stay. They want to protect me and keep me shiny and my birdsong loud and clear. 

But there are other noises and others who dirty me to get to my golden egg. They push under my belly and into my feathers. I sit tight, I squeeze down. The helpers tie ropes to me to keep me in place. Without them, already I might not still exist.

But they too need help. Having a golden egg is a Catch-22. They don't want to use it, but... it's a golden egg. It's worth a lot. And around me there are people with nothing. The golden egg could provide more, so much more.

What's more important? Everyone must decide for themselves. As the bird, I say keep me. You will never get me back. Your children and your grandchildren and your great grandchildren will never know me as I am today - mostly in tact. But if I stay, if all us birds can stay put on top of our golden eggs, we will give you a future: a green future full of birdsong, whale cries and the sounds of all animals, from polar bears to tapirs.

And yourselves included.

For more information on Yasuní National Park and the Yasuní ITT Initiative or to donate visit:


Sunday 3 March 2013

Flash Fiction - Happy Birthday

Happy Birthday

“What now?” groaned Donald, tipping over the mower.
These knees aren’t for bending down these days. What’s this? Ouch, wait… His hand felt for and teased out the culprit.
Her writing shed key: shining silver against his wrinkly palm.
Happy Birthday, My Love.
Oh, just want I’ve dreamed of! Thank you!
You deserve it, Darling.
Judith really had. She hadn’t deserved leaving without having written a word in it.
Donald wrapped the key in his palm and took a breath.
With all his strength, he threw it over the fence; last saw it flying in the sunshine. 

100 words, excluding title

This story was written from the prompt at Julia's Place and her 100-word writing challenges. This week's prompt was the above photo.