Weed Killer


It’s that time again when we Friday Fictioneers are sharpening our wits and our pencils, trying to come up with a suitable story to satisfy our dynamic leader, Rochelle Wisoff-Fields (she who must be obeyed).  Great photo this week courtesy of Roger Bultot.

I may miss the ‘Call for Submissions’ next week as we are taking a family holiday in Majorca. I’ll miss you and will do my best to catch up. Take care of yourselves x

 22 AugustGenre: Fiction

Word Count: 100

Weed Killer

‘Can’t we have something other than weeds?’

‘I like weeds, they’re different’

‘I’d like some flowers Charlie’

‘Weeds are easy to grow; flowers aren’t macho’

‘And weeds are?’

‘I trim them, keep them in check’…

Sally went indoors.  They’d had the same argument for months, Charlie wouldn’t listen and she’d had enough.

She picked up the phone, it really was the only way to stop him.  And besides, neighbours had started complaining about the sickly smell emanating from the shed whenever he and Joe were in there, having a smoke.

She only wanted a few flowers.

Not much to ask.

 

More stories to delight you here –

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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.

 

 click for more stories

 

 

 

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.’

 

 

 

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 

 

Moonlight on The Ebro


I thought I wasn’t going to make it again this week – apologies to Doug for missing his very intriguing photo prompt last week.  I have been attending a conference in Italy – no, it was not lovely, nor was I lucky.  The trip went something like this – 2 hour drive – 2.5 hour flight – 2 hours on a bus – 3 hour conference – half hour bus ride – 3.5 hour dinner (no time to change after arriving) 1 hour to hotel – 6 hours sleeping – 1 hour working breakfast – 3 hours of meetings – 2 hours on a bus – 2.5 hour flight back – 2 hour drive back home.

Are you exhausted?  I was!

Thanks this week to Bjorn Rudberg for the photo prompt and as always to Rochelle for brilliantly shepherding the Friday Fictioneers into some semblance of order each week.

24 April

For some reason, I saw Spanish Civil War…

Genre: Historical fiction

Word Count:100

Moonlight on The Ebro

I remember.

The Ebro shimmered in the moonlight, unimpressed by our consuming passion. We lay holding each other so tight, we could scarcely breathe. The Brigade left quietly, at daybreak.

I taste the saltiness of tears and open my eyes. The music of the street floats in through faded shutters, it stirs memories of ‘Viva la Quinta Brigada’ your anthem, our song.

I am old, tired. I’ve waited a lifetime for my passionate fighter, mi amante.

In the cool evening air, I feel again the pressure of your strong arms. I fall freely, as I did all those years ago.

—o—o—o—o—o

 

For more information on the Spanish Civil War and of the men who went to fight against fascism in Spain –  The International Brigade

 

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A Silent Star


Hello fellow Friday Fictioneers, hope you’ve all had a good week.  Mine has been hectic, got back from holiday last week (will post about it soon) to a pile of emails – do emails pile? Anyway, there were quite a lot of the little devils waiting for an answer…

Today, once again we bow to the summons from  Madame Rochelle – thankfully she is still in charge of the proceedings, and to the photographic skills this week of Kent Bonham.

100 words are what is required to enter the world of Friday Fictioneers, what are you waiting for? Join us, we are quite normal – most of the time…

Copyright Kent Bonham

Copyright Kent Bonham

Genre: Historical Fiction

Word Count: 100

A Silent Star

Nora wanders onto the dimly lit set.  Everything is different now.  She falters then sees the lights. Standing in the bright spotlight of her memory she laughs, remembering heady days of stardom, the fawning of countless suitors.

Eyes wide, she strikes a pose for imaginary cameras, blowing kisses to imaginary fans.

‘My darlings, I’ll come back to you soon,’ she shouts to the empty space as the light fades.

‘Nora, the visit is over, time to go. Come along quietly. Look, your fans are waiting.’

‘They still adore me.’

She darts away, her high-pitched laughter ringing through the building.

*-*-*-*-*-*-

A nod to ‘ Norma Desmond’ the ageing silent star, played superbly by Gloria Swanson in the film “Sunset Boulevard”

Thanks to Rochelle, the Norma Desmond send up, by the brilliant Carol Burnett

 

 

Writerly Reflections


I realised years ago that I wanted to write.  My first attempts at short stories ran to three handwritten pages or so, and I would make my sister sit and listen, along with an audience of soft toys and dolls. She got quite bored with my tales of princesses lost in woods and toys that would come alive at night when their owners were fast asleep.

I moved on to bigger projects when I was about nine or so.  I announced that I was writing a play entitled “The Little Bull” and would be happy to let my parents read it when it was finished, which I confidently announced would be in a week or so.

A few weeks later, after losing my way with the plot, I threw away all the pages I had written and started again.  The play would still be about the little bull, an antique milk jug spotted in the window of a little shop in town, but this time I had a definite idea how the play would end. I made the mistake of mentioning the play to my teacher who got very excited and asked me every day how things were going, until I handed in the finished pages.

I must be honest here and say that I did expect some modest praise for my efforts.  My parents told me how good they though the play was and thought perhaps the school may want to put in on at the end of term. My teacher had other ideas.

She gave me what I am sure she thought was a fair critique of my play; at nine years old you are not ready for talks about directions, or voice, or sense of place or even a timeline. She lost me.

I didn’t attempt to write anything for a long time.  Then in the last year in high school, the English teacher mentioned a short story competition and urged as many of us as possible to ‘give it a go’.  I wrote furiously about a girl who finds some letters written to her grandmother years before she was married, obviously from a lover.

It was all going beautifully, until the boy from the local bank asked me out on a date. I had fantasised over him for months …

Over the next few years, I married (not the banker)  – moved to Scotland – moved back – had a child– got divorced and wrote nothing.  Years rolled by and still I wrote nothing, although I was sure that I could write something.  Sometime.  Perhaps.

I read everything I could find about writing and successful writers; about skill with words and plot, about voice, a sense of place and dedication to their craft.  I joined a creative writing class a few years ago, with eight other women and two men.  Towards the end of the first term, Arthur who wanted to write a book about fishing, disappeared.  He never returned to the class.  Tristan our tutor, ‘who had been published’, tried in vain to find out what had happened to him. Tony, now the only male in our class, decided to put this strange happening to good use and wrote a short story about ‘The Disappearance of Arthur.’ It did nothing to shed any light in Arthur’s disappearance.

I stayed the course and received my fair share of honest criticism and some praise too I might add, but found the experience stifling.  Although I enjoyed our discussions about Hemingway, Carter, Chekov et al, and no doubt gained a lot more than I thought I had, when the class decided to move on to studying poetry the following year I decided not to join them. I made some good friends and we keep in touch.  None of them has as yet finished the novel they began in the classroom, but they are all convinced that they will finish them one day.  And I wish them well.

Since starting my blog I have met lots of good writers. I look forward to reading their posts and stories.  I’ve found that a lot are waiting for that phone call or email from an agent telling them The Good News, whilst others are happy just to write when they can and entertain the people who follow them.

I find that life has a habit of interfering with my writing, perhaps that’s as it should be; perhaps all other writers and bloggers experience the same thing and I am not just as organised as they. I would like to write more and do find it frustrating when I can’t. I read most all of the Daily Post hints and tips on blogging, feeling that I am missing that vital key to unlock the blogosphere.

Perhaps I am thinking too much about the why and should just get on and write.  Perhaps as Hemingway put it:

‘We are all apprentices in a craft where no one ever becomes a master.’

ERNEST HEMINGWAY, New York Journal-American, Jul. 11, 1961

 

Rewritten for Weekly Writing Challenge: Writerly Reflections.

 

The Games Children Play


An early prompt this week, thought I was still caught up in jet-lag-holiday-mode.

Once again, Queen Rochelle gathers her workers about her with a new prompt, this week the photograph is courtesy of John Nixon. I love the wizened looking trees and twisted roots, and guess the photo will provide the usual brilliantly inventive stories from the other Friday Fictioneers. You can read mine below the photograph.

Copyright John Nixon

Copyright John Nixon

 Genre: Fiction

Word Count: 100

The Games Children Play

‘You abducted him, admit it’

‘No!’

‘You say you know where he is’

‘Sort of’

‘So you took him?’

The world slows, the mist comes.  I see a blindfolded child standing in front of a tree; five older boys are running away.

‘I can see him, in a wood’

‘You can see him in a wood, what sort of crap is that?’

‘I came here to help. I see things. I didn’t take him, but I can see him’

‘You see things?  Then I guess you know what’s coming! Lock him up Ben’

I see the bough break.

And fall.

 

You can read more stories here