Stardate

Here is this week’s response to 1st Write’s See*Photo*Write Challenge:

Stardate

Why didn’t I listen to my mother? She always told me: “Whatever you do, no matter how tragic your dating life seems, promise me you will not go on a reality dating show.”

Yet here I am at the north pole of a planet called Earth for a picnic at sunset –my prize for winning 1st place on Stardate. The temperature is freezing and there is nothing interesting in sight. The picture the producers showed us promised a remarkable sunset, but there is nothing remarkable about this place.

Ironically, there is nothing remarkable about my date either. During the show, Troy seemed intelligent and fun, but apparently nothing on Stardate is as it appears.

“Can you believe this?” I asked Troy. “They completely tricked us with a phony photo.”

“Yeah.” Troy agreed. “I mean, like, where are the reindeer and elves, man?”

Ah! A mother’s revenge is sweet.

100th Post

This is my 100th blog post! *throws confetti* 100 posts in six months –I don’t know if that’s something worth celebrating, but I felt it was worth a brief mention.

Now on with the post! Here is my response to this week’s See*Photo*Write Challenge at 1st Writes:

The Lonely Mist

Veronica felt as bleak as the lake looked. Summer was over. Everyone had gone home -everyone but her. Living near a popular summer vacation spot wasn’t so sweet when fall rolled in like the voluminous veil of vaporous haze swirling above the water’s surface, shrouding the lake and Veronica both in melancholy.

The longer Veronica sat, the more expansive the fog became until Veronica could no longer see the rock beside her — a big problem when Veronica suddenly felt trapped within wispy walls of soupy clouds, as if  the mist was alive, breathing, throbbing and pulsing with energy, feeding off of Veronica’s loneliness and desolation.

Inspiring Creativity — Imagination Sparks Blogfest

When my niece Zoey came over this afternoon, Monkey greeted her at the door ready to play.

“Let’ play. You be the princess and I’ll be the doctor,” Monkey ordered.

“Doctor?” I questioned because Monkey has never pretended to be a doctor before.

“Zoey plays doctor,” my future brother-in-law explained. “She’s got like three stethoscopes and goes around the house checking our heartbeats and her dolls’ heartbeats.”

“Oh, so that’s where Monkey learned it!”

“Yeah. Today Zoey was a princess and I was the pirate. I don’t know where she got the pirates from.”

I laughed. “Oh, that’s Monkey. She watches The Neverland Pirates on Disney.”

Children’s imaginations are often inspired by one another. It’s the same with writers. This week Charmaine Clancy @ Wagging Tales is hosting Imagination Sparks Blogfest. During this blogfest, we are sharing our favorite writing exercises. Seeing how other writers spark creative ideas is a great way to inspire our own imaginations.

My two favorite blogs for writing exercises, inspiration and encouragement are:

Pictures are a great way to fan the flames of creativity. 1st Writes offers a weekly photo prompt. It’s always fun to read the different perspectives on the same photograph.

Whether you choose to write about a photograph or to try a writing exercise from Alana or Dawn, my suggestion is to set aside a specific amount of time, like 15 minutes, to do the writing exercise. We do this in our writers’ group and I find it helps me focus and not dwell on perfection.

See*Photo*Write Challenge Response

A few captions popped into my head when I first saw this photograph:

  • Garfield vs. Nermal
  • The first rule of fight club is don’t talk about fight club.
  • Furry Tale Theater presents David vs. Goliath

A different dialogue developed as I looked more closely at the photo.

“Hey, buddy! Long time no see!” The orange tabby cat stood on his hind legs and opened his fore legs wide in a welcoming gesture.

“I know it, brother!” The smaller gray tabby kitten rose up on his hind legs and spread his tiny paws. “Where you been hidin’?”

“Oh, you know — here and there.” The two cats quickly hugged, well more like bumped chests, and dropped down to all fours.

“Not goin’ to give up your sweet spot, uh?”

“Not a chance.”

See*Photo*Write Challenge Response

Say to those with fearful hearts, ‘Be strong, do not fear; your God will come, he will come with vengeance; with divine retribution he will come to save you’ (Isaiah 35:4).

“Here, crabby! Crabby!” Justin called, cautiously leaning in for a closer look at the interesting animal crawling alone on the dry grass. Toes curling in his blue flip-flops, he bit his bottom lip and watched as the crab waddled slowly forward.

“Where’s your mommy at?” Justin looked around but there were no other crabs in sight. “You shouldn’t wander off from your mommy, Crabby,” Justin scolded. The wind lifted the tails of his plaid shirt. “Your mommy is going to be mad when she finds you,” he warned. But the crab merely continued to waddle aimlessly ahead as if he hadn’t heard a word Justin said.

Tiring of the crab’s unresponsiveness, Justin sighed and turned away. “Uh-oh!” Turning his head left and right, Justin searched for the sight of his own mother, but couldn’t find her. His belly bubbled with panic and his eyes filled with tears. “Mommy! Mommy!” Justin screamed and spun in circles.

Justin had never been so scared before in his entire life! Suddenly Granny’s voice whispered in his ear, “You are never alone, sweet boy. God is always with you. When you’re scared, just pray and God will help you.”

So Justin prayed, “God, I’m sorry for wandering off like Crabby. Please let me find my Mommy and I promise not to do it again.”

Then Justin heard the best sound in the whole world -his mommy’s voice calling his name. He spotted her in the distance and took off running in her direction. She saw him and also started running. Their bodies crashed together and they embraced in a tight hug.

“I was so worried about you!” Justin’s mommy cried tears of relief.

“I’m sorry, Mommy!” Justin wiped his nose on his mother’s blouse.

“Just promise me you won’t wander off again,” his mother pleaded. “You scared me!”

“I was scared too, Mommy, until Granny told me that God was with me and as soon as I prayed, I found you!”

“Granny told you?”

“Yep.”

Adrenaline and relief flooding her senses, Justin’s mother felt a skip in her heartbeat at her son’s words. Granny had passed away when Justin was only 6 months old! How could he possibly have recognized her voice?

Rained Out

The following is my (late) response to the See Photo Write Challenge hosted weekly by 1st Writes:

“This sucks! Can we go home now?” The rain had been pouring for at least an hour. Not that I minded getting wet while running and splashing through puddles. But the stupid thunder and lightening made that impossible.

There obviously wasn’t going to be a cookout today, so why were all the grown-ups standing around like a bunch of weathermen talking about whether it would clear up or get worse.

Well, things couldn’t get worse for me! I’d only come along with my parents so I could go swimming. Now that was definitely out of the question. I paced back and forth under the pavilion kicking little stones out of my way with the front of my flip-flop and sending dirty looks at my mom’s back.

When that failed to get any attention, I sighed loudly and plopped down at a wooden table. Propping my chin in my hands, I watched the rain and imagined having cool parents who went to yacht parties instead of picnics. I bet when it rained at a yacht party, they still served food. And fancy food too, like caviar and pate.

Finally my mom came over to tell me we were leaving. “It’s about time!” I stood up fast and took off running to the car, not giving her a chance to say ‘one more minute’ and not caring when the rain drenched me from hair to toes. It felt awesome!

 

A Flash of Fiction

Dear Mama,

The explosion made the ground shake and blinded me like the fireworks on the 4th of July, but do not worry, Mama. I am not in pain. My chest is tight and it’s hard to breathe, but I feel no fear. The light on my helmet still works; though I can barely make out my hand and the paper I write on.

I don’t know if Father managed to make it to the outside. I cannot see or hear anyone else around me. Perhaps they perished under the crushing rock. I was spared, but it’s some powerful bad air in here now, Mama.

Tell Miss Rosemary that I’m sorry for causing a ruckus in Sunday school. Putting that snake on her chair was stupid. I didn’t figure she’d faint dead away or that Felix Miller would pick the snake up and chase all the girls with it. Tell her she was right all along. There is a God and he is with me now. When the stone is rolled away from my grave, do not grieve – for I have risen like Jesus. Someday Mama we will be together again in Heaven.

Air is running out, Mama. I think I should panic, but I feel only peace. Soon I will be free from this cold, dark tomb. No more laboring for hours underground. No more days shoveling coal. No more working for the Company. Do not mourn for me, dearest mother, celebrate instead. For today is my Independence Day.

Your boy,

John