Saturday 28 September 2013

Love Letter - You are my world

It might be too little, too late. But you have been around a lot longer than I have; I think you'll understand. You see, when we first met I wasn't sure about the love I would have for you. You've always been there and I guess I needed to grow up, find out more about myself, and more about you, before I could fall in love.

Now, I'm honoured just to be around you. Truly. To see you every day through my own eyes. To breathe your air, marvel at what you do. You confuse me and fill me with wonder in equal measure. But
I've learnt that it's OK. Perfection isn't something you strive for, you've lived too much for that. Peace, yes, like for us all, is a goal. It's not easy. There are always bumps in the road.

You shine at dawn and shimmer at sunset. You are so beautiful I simply sit and stare, wherever I am. Even in your darkest moments, stars shine. They can't help it. It's a way for us to move on. Life is for living; we always have to carry on.

There is nothing about you I would change. Only to know you more. And every day, I do. Thank you, World: my world, our world. You are amazing and I love you.


Photo Credit: 
The prompt this week over at The Queen Creative was that of a love letter.

We are told: Sometimes called a billet-doux, or a love letter, a love note is a personal letter to a loved one expressing affection.  The loved one does not necessarily have to be animate, human, alive, or known.

That was mine. Go HERE and read more. 

Thursday 26 September 2013

Flash fiction - Children's Ward

Julia, over at Julia's Place, is feeling a bit melancholy this week. I don't think my 100WCGU story is going to cheer her up. Our prompt is ...but there was still enough light... Let me know what you think and go and read other entries here.

Children’s Ward

Do you remember how the nurses left us in darkness, but there was still enough light to play cards? The stars twinkled through the blinds that summer, adding to the flashes on the monitors. It was enough. Do you remember the bottles of ketchup hidden under the bed? Your face was pure joy as you ate up those banned chemicals on that organic stuff Mum brought in. Do you remember the last thing you said
to me? Do you? It was, “Open the window”. Not long after that you flew out, leaving cards and ketchup and me an only child. 

100 words

Flash fiction - The Break Up

Over at Studio30Plus there's a new prompt. Actually, that's a lie. There's two. You can choose one. Or both. They are HURT and BUTTER. Here's my effort:

The Break Up

On the other side of the door, she sat. I assumed she was sitting because that's what I had always done. I would wipe myself down the back of the bathroom door and stay with my face buried in the half-wet towels. What would a few more tears matter? They were always dry by morning.

Different house, different times, Diane. Focus. "Darling? You OK?" I kept my voice light, though I thought afterwards it made me sound as if I didn't know that, quite obviously, she wasn't all right.

"Go away." The two words a mother ignores again and again. I will never go away, my child. Please don't ever think that I will. I won't. One day, you will go away: but I will never leave you.

"Darling, open the door. Talk to me."

My daughter played the same game I had with my mother until she died. I had always wanted to tell her everything, be her best friend; but I tried to keep things back, have those teenage secrets. In the end, she always knew and I always told. But for a while I would pretend my life was all mine and only mine. Shannon was better at it than I was. She held everything so quiet and close to her, I would only find out days, even weeks later. And she'd then treat it as if it was ancient history and I was a pain for trawling backwards. I wanted one moment in the now. 

"Come on, Darling. You can't stay in there all night. You don't have to come downstairs, let's just go to your room. You don't have to tell me. Just come out."

I heard my daughter thinking about it as the muffled sobs fought their way back inside. There was a beautiful silence before the taps ran and, then, slowly, she opened the door.

That angel's face, blotched with the hurt of a young love that in such a short time will mean very little. I stepped forwards and wrapped her hunched and unhappy shoulders into my own being, wanting to push my heart into her chest and take out her shaken one. 

I didn't expect it, but she collapsed right there and then on the landing. She shuddered heaves of tears onto my cardigan and pressed her elbows into my hips. It felt wonderful. Not since her excitement of her cross country win in middle school had her touch been so meaningful.

Later, in bed, my husband said, "She'll have to have breakfast. She can't not eat and turn into the Turners' girl."

I looked at him and smiled. "I know. She will. It will pass."

"Your first broken heart isn't nothing, Di. But it's good she talked to you."

My face must have misted up for he put his book down, turned to me and said, "I think you quite enjoyed it really."

I did. Oh, I did. 

Saturday 21 September 2013

Perfectly Me - approach-approach conflict in poetry

This week over at Prompts for the Promptless there's a conflict on the horizon. But don't worry, it's a one of those comforting conflicts where everything will turn our happily ever after. We think.

We are told:
Approach-approach conflict is the psychological conflict that results when a choice must be made between two desirable alternatives.

I've tried some poetry this week. It just spurted out. No conflict there, then. But I hope it captures the prompt.

Perfectly Me

Should I stay or should I go?
I don't know.

Staying is yellow and moonlit and beautifully strange.
Going is rusty adventures in daylight orange.
Staying is knowing, turning well-worn pages.
Going is jumping, leaping across new stages.

Staying is finding more.
Going is finding out.
Staying is being sure.
Going is wondering about.

Is it all or nothing or neither or both?
Is my decision final, or mirrors and smoke?

When I am happy as I am right now,
How can I walk away?
Yet over the fence is another rainbow
And more freedom to play.

Two halves of two wholes
That fit together perfectly.
All I must decide, or not,
Is which half is perfectly me. 

Check out other offerings over at The Queen Creative this week. Go. Or stay. Either way is OK.

Friday 20 September 2013

Flash fiction - Patience

This week over at Julia's Place we've got a prompt which we're not allowed to use in our writing, but our piece has to signify it. That word is HARVEST. I was inspired by the many fields around where I live. Surely I am going to see this perfectly yellow sweetcorn in the local shops soon? Please..?


The sun burnt everything at the edges, sharpening nature’s outline. September with its autumn promise was trying to dull the effect, coating silhouettes in its brown hues, bordering fields in softer yellows. This way, the villagers would know it was time for their last days in the field. They always enjoyed the last crop: sweeter, full of summer. 

Millan ran along the rows of corn; she couldn’t smell it yet. Her father was impatient, but he would have to wait. It would be worth it. Her bare arms brushed her family’s income as she ran shouting, “Not yet! Not yet!”
100 words

Check out more writing at the 100WCGU by clicking below

Sunday 15 September 2013

Onion: honne and tatemae

This morning I discovered For The Promptless which is dedicated to "sharing perspectives and expanding minds". My mind needs a little expanding today. I am putting all my CDs (and I have a lot of very old school CDs) on my computer in order to prepare my snazzy, new, green iPod with... well, all that old music. I am a CD-ripping monkey. My mind needs expanding.

We are told:
Honne is a Japanese noun referring to the behaviour and opinions someone truly believes in - often displayed with one’s closest confidants. It contrasts with the behaviour a person displays in public - called Tatemae. 

There was a man standing outside the train station. I didn't understand what he was saying because I didn't speak his language, but he was waving a book in his hand. He was shouting, violently, passionately, spit flying out of his mouth, arms flapping. He believed in what he was saying so much, he might have taken off at any moment.

I sat having tea with a friend of a friend of a friend. She spouted on about shopping and people and languages and children and travel. A lot of nonsense. I drank my tea and said nothing: the patient, absorbing ear, desperately wanting to find another wavelength.

The team had terrible ideas, but at least they were usable. More than our managers' ideas, which were stuffy, self-congratulating (for what?) and boring. It's not a dictatorship if you're allowed to answer back and protest. It feels like it when the sublime and ridiculous grace the pages of your work. It is not your work, but nobody knows that and they smile and say Good job!

I have been called argumentative recently, by my husband and my dad. I disagree (you knew that was coming, right?). I'm not argumentative per se; it's more that I simply have a different opinion. And I need to express it. These are two people I can do that with. Or is the cultural space of my parents' house a Honne-Tatemae zone, with carefully drawn invisible lines? Can my husband defer my Honne to the outside world and compare me to other mortals, just because he is the nicer person?

The Queen has to make a speech about the difficult year, pulling together as one nation, the bravery of troops, recovery. She really wants to throw the speech out of the window and tell everyone what a joy it was working with Daniel Craig and making the nation laugh. Her heart likes that.

On a small island nation that needs help, its leader stands before his people. For centuries they have misunderstood what they have to do. They have been lazy, relying on their neighbours, always turning with their hands out in front, palms up. It is time for action, control of their own destiny. He sees only one way of doing this. The army rolls in.

I peel an onion and it makes me cry. There are so many layers, each with their own tears. It is the onion that makes me cry.

Isn't it?


Wednesday 11 September 2013

Flash fiction - Valley Girls Episode 4798

Greetings Trifectans and fellow readers. It's a perfect writing day today - grey and drizzly - and I thought it was time to post once more over at Trifecta. They give us one word, its third definition and 332 other words to write. Go over and have a read of the other entries. There are some brilliant writers over there: 

This week's prompt word is MASK:
3. a : a protective covering for the face
    b : gas mask
    c : a device covering the mouth and nose to facilitate inhalation
    d : a comparable device to prevent exhalation of infective material
    e : a cosmetic preparation for the skin of the face that produces a tightening effect as it dries

My effort is called Valley Girls Episode 4798.

Valley Girls, Episode 4798

The adverts arrived. That would have been 15 minutes, Doris decided. She tucked her thick, white nails under her chin and slowly, carefully, started to peel away. She wanted to keep the mask intact, like a peeled apple skin that winds back into the perfect fruit. 

Ralph glanced over and huffed. He felt giddy watching his wife taking off that thing – it made her a ridiculous mannequin, dead except for the eyes. She would usually have commented on Jean’s terrible behaviour in Valley Girls – Jean was always trying too hard – but Doris couldn’t speak. So Ralph had said something. It wasn’t right. He sighed. He didn’t like change.

Doris felt the flaky paper pull away. She hooked it around her jaw, up her cheeks. She imagined her wizened face being gently lifted away, leaving something wise and worn, but smooth and elegant. Valley Girls started again. She kept creeping her fingers underneath, keeping her old, ancient face whole. She listened to Jean from Valley Girls. She was behaving terribly again. Marcus the painter was never going be with her. She was being a fool. Poor Jean, suffering the same as every woman. Doris should be kinder. 

Ralph said, “Are you watching this or not?” His voice was low and faraway, childlike. He didn’t look at her. 

Doris laid her old face on her lap. It was creepy, staring at the dirt and little grey hairs. Doris patted her own face with her fingertips. Yes: plumper and firmer. Softer. She hadn’t expected that. She settled back smiling and finished watching Valley Girls. She didn’t comment on Jean’s silliness.

When the credits rolled, Ralph groaned out of his chair and shambled over to his wife. Already bent, he slid his glasses up his nose for inspection. Doris closed her eyes. 

“Well. You look exactly the same.”

Her eyes shot open. “No change at all? Oh, Ralph!”

Ralph shuffled towards the kitchen. “And that’s the way I loved you yesterday and will tomorrow. Tea?”

332 words

Monday 9 September 2013

Flash Fiction - Señor Perito Moreno

There's a new prompt over at Julia's Place today for those of you after some flash fiction inspiration. You've got 100 words to play with and they have to include ...but where did the noise come from...

My own piece below is dedicated to a friend who saw her first glacier this week. She'll know who she is. I hope you enjoy and if you do or don't, comments welcome!

Señor Perito Moreno

In the silence that followed everything before, condors swayed above and the great turquoise grandpa reclined in front of us. We dared to breathe the biting air, bright with sunny crystals. The dark, mountainous arms of his rocking chair pointed to a world with even greater silence. His back rose into a cloud of history, born with his every passing inch. The silence was broken by a long, handsome groan. But where did the noise come from?

We watched his bones creak wickedly as he tried to get up, but crashed piece by piece into the calm, cyan waters below.

Glacier Perito Moreno, Argentina.

Glacier Grey, Chile.

Parc Nacional de los Glacieres, Argentina.
Please go to Julia's Place to read more writing challenge entries, or try it out yourself.

Thursday 5 September 2013

Strike, a little late

Moving house does two things. It makes you forget all about the other world - that virtual space you occupy. And it makes you wonder about the real space you've created around you. Why do I have so many mugs? How am I going to find a place for that? It's both refreshing and frustrating.

So, after moving to our house by the river in Wasserbillig, Luxembourg, and realising what a wonderful decision we made to live there now that we have a lovely new bed to watch the swans on the river from, Forest Bird is back. 

I've missed writing my flash fiction pieces, for Trifecta and Julia's Place. However, last Monday as I was waiting for my husband, parents and truck to arrive from England with all our things, I checked the week's prompt on my phone and set about writing something on my lap top, sitting on the window sill. I got about 80% of it down before they arrived and then the computer wasn't opened for another eight days. I finished it yesterday. 

Last week's prompt was turkey. The definition: three successive strikes in bowling.

Here is what I wrote. 

Dirty War

Act 2, Scene 3: Bar Wasserbillig, 1969.

Marta, older but still beautiful, is behind the bar. Wilhelm and Kristian are sitting at a small table. Stage right is an old jeux de quills. Wilhelm has just told a story. 

Kristian: [Laughing] Dear friend! I had forgotten that! Though I think you take advantage of my bad memory to make your stories end with you always winning. Isn’t it?
Wilhelm: Drink up. Let’s play. Once before my train.
Kristian: You’re going back? No! Stay! What, at this age, do we have to rush for? We must catch up. [Quieter and more serious] Properly.
Wilhelm: [Looking at Kristian] I know.  

Wilhelm goes to the bowling alley and starts putting the skittles in place. Marta looks at Kristian and smiles, raising her eyebrows towards Wilhelm as he struggles. Kristian nods, mouths thank you and goes to help Wilhelm. 

Kristian: Youngest first, am I right?
Wilhelm: Well then…

Wilhelm takes a ball and steps in front of his friend to bowl. It’s a strike. Marta claps and resets the skittles.

Kristian: As always! Beginner’s luck! 

Kristian takes a ball and does the same. He turns around celebrating.

Kristian: You have the pressure. Remember the last tournament of the war? 

Wilhelm smiles and throws. Another strike. 

Wilhelm: I do. Let’s see what you’ve got. You always surprised me somehow. [Whispers] Always. 

Kristian takes a ball and throws: no strike. 

Kristian: I tried…  He pats Wilhelm on the shoulder.

Wilhelm: I go for a goose.

Wilhelm makes another strike. Kristian claps loudly.

Kristian: You mean turkey.

Wilhelm: What? [He seems distracted and looks at his watch.] I am afraid I must go. It’s late and… Anja will be worried for me.

Kristian: Stay. They look intensely at each other.

Wilhelm: I… can’t.

Wilhelm bids farewell to Marta and Kristian follows him off stage left. You can hear short goodbyes. Kristian enters and sits on the first chair wearily.

Marta: Was that..?

Wilhelm: Yes. The love of my life. 

You can read other entries and winners from last week and check out this week's challenge by clicking here: