Weekly Writing Challenge: That’s Absurd

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The Challenge:

  • Write a fictional piece that incorporates the everyday life we’re familiar with — work, family, errands — and add a surprise twist through an imaginary character, absurd turn of events, or Sci-Fi-esque setting.

As I told my husband about this little story this morning over coffee, he laughed.  I’m not sure what we will ever do about the snoring, but I am hoping I just learn to sleep through it 🙂

It was one of those nights where the tiny sliver of moon that existed, stayed nestled behind the clouds.  I sat up in bed, surrounded by a blanket of darkness, then stood and groped my way to the bathroom.

As I returned to bed I remember wondering if I should just continue on to the couch or the spare bedroom.  My husband’s snoring had awakened me multiple times already and there was no sign of that ceasing.  All the frustrated grunts, pillow punching and cover jerking had provided only temporary relief from the incessant noise.  My annoyance had reached colossal proportion.

I looked up as a flicker of light from the lampshade on my bedside table caught my attention.  We never see lightning bugs here, so what in the world was going on?  Did my phone go off?  Or worse, was there someone outside with a flashlight, intent on coming in?

Then I saw him.  Had he not been so tiny, I am sure fear would have gripped me.  He was about an inch tall, standing there as bold as you please on my alarm clock.  He was dressed like one of the seven dwarves and sporting a beard as long as his body.  He looked very old, but was also very spry.

As I sat down on the bed to have a closer look, he exclaimed in a high pitched voice, “Hello, my name is Snuffer!”

“Where did you come from and why are you here?” I asked in a whisper, trying not to disturb my husband’s sleep, for reasons unknown to me.

He said, “When someone like you reaches a certain level of frustration with a snoring spouse, I come to snuff their breath!”

“Excuse me?  Snuff their breath? Do you mean as in stopping their very breathing?”

“Aha, you are a quick study!  “Yes, exactly”, he said with a smile.

Now, I began to panic.  “Oh no, you can’t do that!”  Then we began a dance of sorts, as he tried to get around me to get to my husband.  He was much quicker than you would imagine and I finally screamed, “Stop, you horrid little man!”

With this, my husband snorted, sat up and bed and asked me who I was talking to.  I looked up from my horizontal position, my head lying on the pillow at the darkness all around me and quietly said, “No one.”

Weekly Writing Challenge: Writerly Reflections

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This week the challenge was, “tell us how you fell in love with books and writing”

As for exactly when my love affair with books and writing started, I don’t remember.  My earliest memories have me snuggled up in the lap of whatever adult I could cajole into reading to me.  Thankfully, I was surrounded by them.  I was also the firstborn child and first grandchild, so yes, they were quite willing.

The first thing I remember reading myself were the old “Dick and Jane” primers.  One of my other early favorites was Amelia Bedelia which I loved to hear my granny read because she was very dramatic and made me feel like I knew the characters personally.  Curious George and the man with the yellow hat took me on many adventures and Dr Seuss always made me smile.

When my brother, my sister and I were still quite young, my mother made what, in my opinion, was a glorious decision.  She signed us up to receive Childcraft books!  Oh, the thrill!  They were to arrive monthly and at the end of our subscription, we would own a full set.  We already received Highlights magazine, so the trips to the post office were going to become twice as exciting.

As I grew, it was Charlotte’s Web, all the Judy Blume books, Little Women, Tom Sawyer and Huckleberry Finn, then Anne of Green Gables, Hardy Boys and Nancy Drew.  There was Watership Down, The Hobbit and Lord of the Rings, Gulliver’s Travels and The Outsiders.  Although I wasn’t as enamored with it then as I am now, I read the Bible frequently also.  The Hiding Place by Corrie Ten Boom and The Cross and the Switchblade by David Wilkerson were two books that touched my life deeply.

Reading was my favorite pastime and I was often called bookworm by my brother and sister who didn’t share my passion.  My love for the written word inspired me to write as well.  I still have the first story I remember writing; it was a short story about a family during colonial times and I believe it was an assignment for what was then called Social Studies.

I always kept a diary and keep a journal to this day.  As life moved on, I failed to record as much and couldn’t seem to find the time to write, but it was always there, bubbling beneath the surface.  I think we are all born with gifts and callings and it is our role as parents to encourage those gifts.  As individuals, when they begin to resonate within us, we should introduce them to this world and practice them to perfection.

My writing resumed its former importance when my children arrived and I felt compelled to leave a record of things; something they could refer back to and remember me by.  I treasure a book of poetry left to me by my mother.  It shares a part of her that most didn’t know and when I read a selection, it is her voice I still hear.  It brings me comfort, so I feel I can leave something similar for them.

Blogging began for me a little more than a year ago and originally was born out of a desire to become a better writer with the end goal of published inspirational fiction.  As I see how much I have learned and grown in the past year, I am content to continue to stay on the same course until I am ready for bigger things.  Maybe it will only serve as a journal of sorts for my children, but if I can occasionally even touch one person with my writing, by either causing them to think or reflect, or maybe feel better than they did before reading it, I will have accomplished something.  To touch a life, even in a small way, really is a big thing.

Lastly, writing is just something I have to do.  It doesn’t appear to be a choice.  Sometimes it may seem buried in the chaos of this life, but there are days that I must write, or I feel like I will burst.  I truly feel like reading and writing are both absolutes for me; they have been and will be a part of my life forever.

Weekly Writing Challenge: Power of Names

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This week’s challenge was to explore the power of names.  My offering is a silly poem about all of my names and who uses them.  Hope you enjoy!

My given name is Lisa which I’ve answered to since birth

My mom and dad selected whilst I still enlarged her girth

Although they thought it so unique, there are thousands with the same

But even though quite common, I rather like my name

The next name I remember, my sister gave to me

I guess Lisa was difficult so she settled on sissy

To this day she calls me sissy, and it always makes me grin

I guess it has the power to transport me way back when

My grandparents all called me sugar, which I thought was pretty sweet

My mom teased me with Liza Jane, I begged her, “don’t repeat!”

Granny Goff sometimes yelled Lee-Si-O when calling me inside

No one else used that name and for that I’m much obliged

The first time I heard mommy, my heart likely skipped a beat

Then there were days when mommy seemed to be stuck on repeat

My husband mostly calls me babe, or love, or just “my wife”

He’s careful, which is good because I am keeping him for life!

The only name that I’ve left out, I’ve struggled with til’ now

My youngest and her friends call me Moo.  Yes! Just like a cow.

Actually, the names I’ve shared with you, the ones in lines above

Are fine with me because I know they’re spoken with true love

Weekly Writing Challenge: The Golden Years

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 I am just now submitting last week’s Weekly Writing Challenge, which said, in summary, “to explore what age means to you”.

In a mere one year and seven months, I will be as old as the cassette tape.  How old is that you ask?  Well, that would be a half-century, fifty years old, and a milestone.  I have heard it called the youth of old age.  Currently, I am hanging out in the old age of youth.

When I was a mere youngster, I viewed the elderly with wonder.  I could often make them smile with my antics and as I have mentioned before, I coveted attention.  My wrinkly friends were interesting with their silver hair and glasses, and their candy producing pockets.  I remember shrieking with delight as they stole my nose, or tickled my tummy.

Although I was certainly raised to have the utmost respect for my elders and always have outwardly, my thoughts were not as kind as I approached my teen years.  I lost interest in what they had to say and misinterpreted their unsolicited advice as intrusive and somewhat provincial.  I misread love and concern for fault-finding, dismissing their opinions as I would an unwanted suitor.  After all, what could they possibly know about my situation?  I sometimes lacked patience with stories I had heard countless times and became frustrated by their slower gait or by having to repeat myself.

As I faced my own trials in life, I often failed to listen to and learn from those possessing that hard-earned wisdom.  I could have saved myself so much pain and I could have gleaned so much!  But, my story isn’t a new one and I have been on the other end of that kind of stubbornness and know-it-all mentality myself now.

I don’t recall exactly when fresh waves of realization began to hit me regarding the need to learn from those above me in age and wisdom, but it may have been around the time I lost my mother, before she ever reached the 50-year milestone.  Life as I had always known it was forever altered.  The old adage, “you don’t know what you have until it’s gone” resounded in my soul, no longer shrouded by unfamiliarity, but suddenly crystal clear to me.  Her death left me questioning everything and angry that she wouldn’t be here to continue being “Nana” to my 6 year old or the baby I was carrying.

Not too long after her death, I made my peace with God and found solace in His embrace.  As a result, I began to re-think a lot of things.  I noticed the elders of the church and realized their steadfastness, through trial and hardship.   Their examples were an inspiration to me and I began to feel a deep sense of gratitude for their prayers.  No longer were the “stories” taxing my nerves.  I began to appreciate the experience and knowledge their lives had rewarded them with.  My respect and love for them was once again freely given.

Now, as I ponder the approaching “golden years”, I already have a taste of what being older brings.  Some things, like achy joints and not so perfect vision, are annoying to say the least.  But some of the other things, like wisdom and experience and a new found freedom to be just who you are without fear, are priceless.

I am not afraid of death and what is on the other side of life, but if I am transparent, sometimes, I admit, it’s the aging that scares me.  I think I am more afraid of being alive when no “life” remains.  I know many people feel the same way.

My prayer is that for the remainder of my life on this earth, I will be a wise mentor; that I will share faith. hope and love and be a confidante and friend to those younger than I.  I am blessed to have known many wonderful “golden age” people and it’s my turn to press forward, bravely, on the path to being one of them.

Weekly Writing Challenge: The Sound of Silence

The Weekly Writing Challenge was to take the theme of silence and explore it in your own way.  I used a fictional story and I hope you enjoy!

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Mr. Rogers yelled, “Silence!”, and then in a more subdued voice said, “I don’t want to hear one noise out of you until everyone has completed this assignment.”

As I hear the sound of a pencil case unzip and watch a well-manicured hand plundering around for the right #2, I smirk at his choice of words.  The football player who had been leaning back in his chair picks that moment to let it slam to the floor so he can get busy.  The sound is magnified in the hushed room.  So much for silence.

Next, I hear pencils dragging across papers and tapping on desks and a student who suddenly reminds me of a beaver, is attempting to chew his in half.

More noise ensues as the instructor settles his large frame into his chair and rolls it under the opening in his desk.  He toys with his watch for a moment, and then he turns his attention to the stack of papers on his left and begins shuffling through them.  I’m still waiting for silence.

Someone is popping forbidden gum inside their mouth, a skill I have yet to master.  The round, black rimmed, school issued clock ticks away noisily reminding us that time is running out.  My own stomach growls loudly enough for me to try to quickly cover it up with a fake cough.

The instructor pulls open his squeaky right desk drawer and draws out the ever-present tin of altoids.  He opens it, selects two, pops them in his moustache rimmed mouth and immediately begins crunching them.  As I suspected, this action is indicative of his imminent stroll around the room to discourage would be cheaters.

Seemingly unaware of his approach, the girl in front of me begins humming and as he reaches her desk he raises his index finger to his nose, to dramatically shush her.  Spittle flies everywhere and I think I see the white flecks of undissolved altoids too.

He repeats the command to silence and I am more certain than ever, that his wish will never be granted.

Soon, papers start shuffling and chairs slide back against the floor as the first students to finish begin turning in their short stories.

I look down at my paper, pleased that I have satisfied the requirement to spend the last half hour of class writing about silence.  I title mine, “Silence is elusive” and turn it in.

Weekly Writing Challenge: Leave Your Shoes at the Door

love is

The writing prompt at The Daily Post, said, “This week, we’re asking you to consider things from a different point of view — to walk a mile in someone’s shoes.”  If I understood correctly, we are to write from the perspective of someone else.  Here’s my attempt:

“Honk, honk, honnnnnnnkkkk”.  The young man slowed as he came alongside and looked at me angrily and mouthed what appeared to be obscenities.  He continued pressing his horn as he sped by me, my hands gripping the steering wheel securely at the 10 and 2, just like my dad taught me.  Maybe I was going too slow, but better safe than sorry.  The honking incident hadn’t done much in settling my nerves today.

Moments later, my blinker flashing, I carefully turned into the grocery store and found a spot up close.  That walk isn’t as easy as it used to be and although I’m not ready for a handicapped space yet, the closer the better.  Before I opened the door, I plundered in my pocketbook for an elusive tube of lipstick.  I feel like I need some color, but I’m careful in my application.  I don’t want to look like those old women who miss their lips and color outside of them.

Getting out of the car, I glance down at my Dr. Scholl’s walking shoes and have to remember to be thankful I can still walk instead of wishing I could still sport high heels without pain or injury.

Entering the store, I walk toward the long line of carts and immediately sense the impatience of the sharply dressed young lady behind me.  She is obviously in a huge rush, so I hurry to get out of the way and feel grateful when the cart comes apart from the others easily and all the wheels work.

As others pile into the store, I again feel the pressure to move out of the way, to get through the front door and move to the side.  Tears well up, as I realize I’m considered an obstacle or a bother once again.  I long for my love, my soul mate to be here with me, by my side.  His hand would always guide me and his presence gave me comfort.

In the aisle for baking goods, as I struggled to read the ingredients on a jar, another woman, this one large and more interested in talking on her cell phone, than paying attention, almost knocks me over.  I overhear something about “the old fool” to her friend on the phone.  I am older now, but I still have feelings and ears.  What happened to respecting the elderly?

I look at the cases of water, and would love to get some, but I’m not sure I can grip and lift, and then I would have to also get it into the car, and then into the house.  The cart is heavy even without the water, but I manage to get the few items I came for and make it to the check out.

The young man operating the register asks, “paper or plastic?” in a frustrated tone, like perhaps he’d already asked me before, so I answer him and begin to arrange my items on the belt.

Behind me, I notice a beautiful young woman, maybe barely in her twenties, wearing a big smile.  She says, “Ma’m, could you use some help?” I looked at her with damp eyes, her kindness griping my heart.  Before I could answer, she was at my side, unloading my groceries.

Her only purchase was a gallon of milk, so she quickly caught up with me before I made it to my car.  She insisted on helping me put the groceries in my car, told me to have a nice day and carefully closed my door, when I got in.  With that big smile and a little wave, she was gone.

This young lady had no way of knowing it, but this was my first shopping trip ever without my husband by my side.  He passed away just last month and after all the affairs were settled and the family all back to their homes, I found myself alone, with empty cupboards.

My emotional state was fragile and this girl showed me attention, respect and kindness, asking for nothing in return.  I felt the corners of my mouth turn up and into a genuine smile for the first time in a long time.

Weekly Writing Challenge: Dialogue

Poppy and Granny with Ashley (my youngest)

Poppy and Granny with Ashley (my youngest)

“Lee-see-o, Where are you?” I could hear my grandmothers voice growing louder the closer I got to her back porch.  Granny, complete with silver bun and glasses, was easygoing and lenient, but when dusk fell it was time to go inside.

 “Coming, Gran”, I would yell back as I begin to say my goodbyes as my friends also turned homeward.

Inside?  Already?  After all there were more cartwheels and handsprings to be attempted, games of tag left un-played and more stories to hear and to tell.  Who wanted to go inside with two old people who didn’t own a television?

Well, I did.  I could spin a yarn about how I hung my shoulders down and stuck my bottom lip out and lamented my horrible fate.  But, it’s just not true. 

I remember it more like this.

“Hey Granny!” I would say with a big grin spreading across my dirt-stained face.  “Hey, doll baby, what did you get yourself into?  Come on inside and let’s get you washed up”.

Poppy would be in his favorite chair, reading the newspaper, relaxing after his day as a fishing guide and tending to his garden when he got home.  He didn’t talk as much as granny did, so all I would hear from him for a while was likely to be the rustling sound, as he turned the pages of his paper.

All clean and in my pj’s or jammies as we liked to call them, I would come back into the living room and Poppy would make some funny comment.  He loved to tease his grandkids. 

“Granny made chocolate pie”, I would her say in a sing-song voice from the little kitchen.  She would cut me a hearty slice and we would begin to talk about my day.  Granny always listened more like another kid instead of an adult.  She looked at me, right in the eye, when I was speaking and she didn’t interrupt.  She listened with seemingly rapt attention to every detail. 

Of course, I didn’t realize as a child, how much adults can glean from our ramblings if they just pay attention.  Yes, as I shared my heart, Granny was listening because she loved me, and also so she knew how to pray for me and others.  When I reached my tumultuous teen years, I sometimes resented that she actually had a use for my freely given information, but her motives were always for my good.

Poppy, already having enjoyed his pie right after supper, would get up and give me a hug and a kiss goodnight to meet his early bedtime.  As silly as it sounds, I can still feel the roughness of his cheek and smell that sweet, distinct smell of Poppy.

Oh what I would give to spend one more quiet, pie partaking, newspaper rustling evening with them.  I crave the quiet, the conversation uninterrupted by various electronic devices, sharing the Sunday funnies, the hot tea mornings with toast and jelly.

Poppy is gone now and Granny’s mind isn’t what it used to be, but I treasure all the time I spent with them and the memories that seem like yesterday.  I was blessed to have them and I pray that one day my grandchildren look back at time spent with me and my husband with as much fondness.

 

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