No Forks Needed


I’m pleased to say we are having a mini heatwave here in Wales; it happens so rarely I feel completely justified in revelling in it. It is also the week of the Royal Welsh Show, last year both exhibitors and visitors were up to their armpits in mud, slush and mire, so I am really pleased they can enjoy the sunshine too.

Glad to be able to submit an FF story this week and my thanks to our top chef Rochelle for selecting such an unusual photograph to tempt us with.  Thanks also to Marie Gail Stratford for taking it.

25 July 2014

No Forks Needed

Genre: Crime

Word Count: 100

Mary sat at her usual table, her laptop open and ready. The story she was writing was going well, but now she was stuck. Did she kill off the character giving her problems, or try to rework the plot? She was watching the street, waiting for her muse to return, when two strangers came in.

One man went to the kitchen. She heard a blood curdling scream and saw Wu Tan stagger out, clutching the knife embedded in his chest. The men ran into the street and disappeared.

Mary stared at Wu and flexed her fingers, her muse was back.

 

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We’ll Meet Again


I have been AWOL for a few weeks, I hope some of you have missed me…..

I have been busy working on a tender document which has proved much more difficult than I ever imagined when agreeing to do it. I mean, three weeks of my life is too much to spend on writing something that I didn’t enjoy. It has been submitted now, at 11.45 am to be precise so I’m free now to write something I do enjoy enormously…

Thank you to Rochelle for everything, loved your post and photographs about the Friday Fictioneers get together, so lovely to see you all in the flesh, so to speak!  Thanks also this week to Kelly Sands for the photograph.

11 July

 

Genre: Family History

Word Count: 100

We’ll Meet Again

Eight year-old Sheila skipped alongside her mother, so excited to be going on this adventure. They met other families on their way to the station. Some mothers were crying, Sheila idly wondered why.

Her mother, never one for showing much emotion, kissed her as she opened the door to the special carriage on the train.  She checked the gas mask was in its box and Sheila’s name tag was securely fastened to her coat.

‘Be a good girl. Say your prayers and do as you’re told.  I’ll see you soon.’

It would be four eventful years before they met again.

xoxoxoxoxoxoxoxo

Notes:

Sheila is my aunt.  At the outbreak of WWII almost all the children of the city of Hull were evacuated to safety. Everyone knows how badly London and other cities were bombed, but for reasons explained below, the bombing of Hull was kept off the newsreels and out of the papers.

http://www.mylearning.org/the-hull-blitz/p-3047/

 

 

 

The ‘why’ is the easy bit, the ‘what’ a little harder to understand


I have been following the recent WordPress challenge ‘Writing 101′ – you note that I say ‘following’ –  it should actually read ‘participating  in’ but I confess I have only added two posts instead of the intended post every day. (Sorry WP staffers, I fell by the wayside).

At the start, I really wanted to take part and answer the prompts with well thought out posts and if I can’t manage to get a post out there every day, what the heck am I doing joining up in the first place? But in my defence I also have a full-time job and the husband you will read about later. So a point for good intentions at least?

This started me thinking about blogging, why I do it and what I am hoping to achieve. The why is easy, I want to write, I have things to say,  having a blog is a way of getting my work and my thoughts out there, the second question I find harder to answer.

I started my blog exactly five years ago this weekend.  I had been thinking about retirement as my husband had taken early retirement and wanted me to do the same.  I had read reports in the press of the increasing numbers of people approaching retirement age, who wanted to carry on working, in some cases they just had to.  I wasn’t ready to retire then and I’m not now, but I thought that I would share my thoughts on my blog.  So my first post went out there ‘Some thoughts on retirement’.

I  thought it was a reasonably interesting subject and looked forward to a response from the blogosphere, but zilch – zero – nought – nix – nothing.

I was disappointed, realising  that I cared more than I thought I would about the fact no-one had read my blog. I thought about this ‘rejection’ for a while, then reasoned that obviously there must be a lot of other bloggers on WordPress discussing more interesting things than retirement. (Yes, I was that naive)

I carried on blogging.  But it wasn’t until towards the end of the year that one kind person clicked the ‘like’ button, and it was well into 2010 before my blog started receiving a few regular visitors. I analysed the posts and found that when I followed a photography challenge for instance, I had lots of visitors, but my normal posts carried on receiving little attention.

Undaunted, I carried on with a mix of photo challenges and ordinary posts.  Late summer of 2012 I was invited to join the Friday Fictioneers group.  I read a few of the posts submitted by some of the other writers and felt very dubious about attempting to join them. Their writing was of a very high standard – in my opinion it still is – and the idea of writing 100 words inspired by a photo prompt was huge a challenge, something I had never attempted before.

I took a deep breath, then submitted my first post ‘Shrouded‘. I was amazed by the almost instant feedback from the group. They were very welcoming, supportive and kind to a newcomer. When I faltered they urged me to continue, their criticism was always constructive and their support invaluable. Nowadays, we still share our stories but consider each other more as friends and the comments certainly reflect that – illnesses, family problems, travel plans have all been mentioned and shared.

Since joining the group two years ago, the visitors to my blog have increased, mainly through the other writers as we comment on each others’ stories, but also from new followers, who have found something they like and have stayed. And I thank them sincerely.

I’m delighted when someone leaves a comment, I enjoy responding and then reading and commenting on their work.  It’s a bit like building a pyramid, thankfully it hasn’t taken as long as the ones at Giza!

When I read the stats in a Daily Post, about the number of bloggers using WordPress – like several million – and the number of posts published each and every day – several more million –  I am doubly grateful that my posts have attracted any readers at all.  I am also pleased that my work is not just disappearing into the ether, nor am I talking to myself.

So, what do I hope to achieve? I think the answer has to be to just enjoy doing what I like doing, not worry too much that it’s not perfect, or going to set the world on fire. After all we can’t all be racehorses, there have to be some plodders farther down the field!

 

 

A change of style and a twist


I haven’t taken part in many of the Writing 101 prompts, to be honest I haven’t written very much at all just recently.  I did take a weeks’ holiday, but mainly it’s work that has just got in the way of me enjoying myself – I’m going to have to either get more organised or magic up some days with a few more hours in them!  I found the latest prompt very interesting however; my post is not really about a fear, although I have always shied away from writing about crime, sci-fi etc –  genres I find difficult for my style of writing, it was more the idea of trying to write in a completely different style that appealed to me, so here goes…

————–

I’m waiting at the station. Penny is late. We agreed to meet at 10.00 the train leaves at 10.15 and it’s now ten past. I fiddle with the strap of my overnight bag, I do not feel comfortable waiting here on my own, but it is something I have had to get used to. Being on my own. I thought Penny was different from the rest, she is such a good listener and always says the right thing.  She bolsters my confidence in a way that makes me feel good, wanted, desired even. Sarah started out like that and we had some great times together, but she ended up like all the others, her needs were more important than mine. Her and her perfect skin, no blemishes or imperfections, no acne scars to hide away under a generous helping of Max Factor. I could have forgiven her looks, if she had remained true. The train is here and no sign of Penny. I find it hard to believe that she has changed her mind. At least Sarah told me face to face, that was something at any rate. Not that it did her much good. My mother always said that everyone gets their comeuppance in the end and it was only fair that Sarah did too. I get on the train and take a seat by the window. There are a few people running down the platform, but no sign of Penny.  The guard takes out his flag and puts his whistle to his lips, we will be off in a minute and I’ll have to make new plans. Shame about Penny, the one that got away, that’s what I’ll call her. Why doesn’t the guard blow his whistle we are going to be late. There’s a sudden movement at the other end of the platform. Oh it’s Penny, she is here after all.  She is walking towards the train and stops outside my window. She is pointing at me and I wave;  for goodness sake get on the train, I shout through the glass. She is holding up something for me to see. It’s a newspaper showing a photograph of someone who looks a bit like Sarah. I get up to go to the door, to get Penny, but my way is blocked by two large policemen.

 

You can read more about the Writing 101 challenge and this prompt here

 

 

The Unreliable Narrator – it’s been playing on my mind


Well actually that’s not strictly true, but I have spent quite a lot of time wondering about it. Does the author deliberately set out to lie, mislead, or be economical with the truth, or does she/he get caught up in the story and forget what they have written a few chapters earlier?

When I read a book, I usually always trust what I am reading. I don’t think I am alone in this, and one of the most important things we have to learn in life, is to be able to work out the truthfulness of what we are being told, either by voice or in print or even face to face.

After all, we do this all the time in our everyday lives; when we go shopping for a new gadget, meet someone new or watch the news on television. We are constantly assessing the information we are receiving and working out whether what we are being told is true. So how easily do we recognise the unreliable narrator when we come across one? Do we read and then question every act, dissect every paragraph, constantly review what has gone before?

I have written several short stories; not really sure what I will do with them, probably re-line the drawers in the chest in the spare room.  Sometimes it has been a memoir, sometimes I have made up the whole story, after overhearing a comment whilst waiting in a shop or on the train, but I have always been truthful. It has never occurred to me to be otherwise.

I have enjoyed writing them, but have to admit to sometimes losing my way with the plot.  At this stage perhaps I should have thrown in a few red herrings and gone off in a different direction, but how would I then have brought all the loose ends together?

I am not a good enough writer yet to do something like this, but then again, how do you know what I have told you so far is true?

writing-101-june-2014-class-badge-2

 

 

 

 

 

 

Written for the Daily Post writing assignment -http://dailypost.wordpress.com/dp_assignment/writing-101-day-one/

Memories of Another Life


I am feeling rather pleased with the fact that I have managed to post something BEFORE Friday.

I also have a question that I have been meaning to ask for some time now. I notice the times that comments and stories are posted and it makes me wonder just where in the world all you  Fabulous Friday Fictioneers are; it would be really nice to know. I’m in Wales, land of song (allegedly) and rugby (definitely) and laver bread… but that’s another story altogether.

Moving on – thanks as always to Rochelle for keeping us all focused and this week, thanks also to Jennifer Pendergast for the lovely photo.

Copyright Jennifer Prendagast

Copyright Jennifer Pendergast

Genre: Historical Fiction

Word Count: 100

Memories of Another Life

The Guardian watches us.

I slip through the gate unobserved; a delicious taste of freedom, though confrontation will follow.

Fading memories of childhood brought hope to years of waiting. There was love and laughter in that other life I lived.

Did they ever stop searching for me? Did they ever forget me?

I will never know.

I hear the running footsteps and the loud cries ‘Valide Sultan, nerdesin?

‘I am here.’

Silence falls.

My son confronts me. Conceived by force, taken from me at birth, I fall to my knees prepared for his wrath.

Only death will set me free.

 ____________________________________

I have just finished reading ‘The Aviary Gate’ by Katie Hickman, for the second time.  Due to the mixed reviews the book received, I thought I would do bit more research on life in the harems of the great Sultans. I came across the story of Aimee du Buc de Rivery and wondered if this incredible life were true. The photo this week let my imagination wonder a bit more.

 

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An Uncertain Future


Our fabulous group achieved recognition by WordPress – the comment I liked best- We love Friday Fictioneers as much for the blogging bonds it cultivates as for the range and power of the stories it inspires.’

If you missed the post you can read it here. So pleased for Rochelle and for the whole group too, as it is always a good feeling when your work is admired.

Back down to earth now, my story this week follows the lovely photo by Erin Leary.

Copyright Erin Leary

Copyright Erin Leary

Genre: Fiction

Word Count: 100

An Uncertain Future

She waits outside the door, listening to the conversation between the doctor and her husband. Her nails dig into her palm, the discomfort a distraction.

‘Last question, do you know what day it is today Daniel?’

‘Yes, of course I do.’

‘Can you tell me?’

A slight pause, ‘you know it as well as I.’

‘I’m not sure, will you tell me?’

Silence

Sadness envelops her; her worst fears confirmed.

Later when they leave he holds her arm. Safe again, he looks at her with shining eyes, and wide smile.

She smiles back at him, immediately recognising her new role.

 

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Dementia is a cruel and unforgiving thing. This story came to mind as soon as I saw Erin’s photo. It is based on a close friend and her husband – a former accountant with a brilliant mathematical mind. She always described his illness like  ‘a mist that slowly descends until the way becomes totally obscured.’

 

 

 

Into The Blue


I have been unable to post anything as my account was suspended by WordPress. I don’t know why this was and they haven’t told me why they did it. There was just a message saying my account was suspended when I tried to log on. I sent an email complaining and have not had a reply, but magically the account seems to be working now. Thank you WordPress!

So, with haste in case they change their minds and banish me again, here is the story you should have seen last week.

Copyright BS

Copyright B.W. Beacham

Genre: Memoir

Word Count: 100

Into The Blue

“It’s deep blue, just like your eyes”, I say,

He continues to read the paper barrier between us.

“My outfit looks good, what will you wear?”

There is no answer.

He turns a page.

Seemingly all communication has ceased,

His silence is slowly suffocating me.

I walk onto the terrace.

I forgave his betrayal,

I should have let him go

Not clung to him in desperation,

Fearful of a life without him.

I watch the flotsam in the bay, subject to demands of an indifferent tide,

Like me.

I dress for the party and leave,

Travelling hopefully, towards new horizons.

xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx

Thanks as always to Rochelle and to B.W. Beacham for the photo last week.

I have not been able to comment on any stories, I promise to make amends this week – WP permitting of course!

 

Seeing the light


Hello, it’s great to be here early for once instead of rushing around at the last-minute. I hope you’ve all had a good week. I’m looking forward to the Bank Holiday weekend and Monday off, when I will try to catch up on some of my writing projects (she says with fingers crossed)

Thanks to Renee Heath for the photo prompt this week and a special thanks to Rochelle Wisoff-Fields for her continuing support, diplomacy and encouragement.

Copyright Renee Heath

Copyright Renee Heath

Genre: Historical Fiction

Word Count: 100

Seeing the light

Frederick watches the crowd gathered on the pavement.  They are getting restless. Some shout concerns, about their safety, loss of their livelihoods. Not many seem supportive of his demonstration.

‘You’ll blow us all to kingdom come, you mad German!’

‘It’ll never work!’

‘What about the poor candlemakers?’

His wife tightens her grip on his arm.

At 9pm the gas is turned on. Pall Mall is lit up from end to end; the crowd roars approval, some even come to shake his hand.

‘Listen to them now liebling, no need for your fears.  You should have more faith in your husband.’

Artist unknown. Courtesy of National Gas Museum

Artist unknown. Courtesy of National Gas Museum

and now for the history bit…

In 1807, Frederick Winsor, a German born entrepreneur, demonstrated the use of gas to light streets, in London’s Pall Mall. Fifteen years later almost every large town in Britain, as well as Europe and North America, had a gasworks. The company he founded – The Gas Light & Coke Company, continued to supply most of the gas in London, until the industry was nationalised in 1949.  Read more at The National Gas Museum website.

For more stories click on Mr Frog