Brother John

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

John’s words startled the serenity surrounding the Sieur de Monts Spring. “Now that Mother is gone, I can finally put you where you belong.”

Elizabeth’s attention was elsewhere as it usually was. John had spent a lifetime dealing with his sister’s flights of fancy. For years John had suffocated under the weight of caring for his mentally ill sister. In a few hours, he’d be free; he’d finally be able to breathe.

Bull frogs along the bank croaked; crickets chirped; insects buzzed. A luminous fog veiled the water’s surface. John had been waiting for the opportunity to commit his sister to a mental institution. Now that the moment had arrived, he felt no reservations.

“Are you sleeping? Are you sleeping, brother John? Brother John,” Elizabeth’s childlike voice singsonged.

Despite the heat of the day, John felt chills creep down his spine. Before he knew what was happening, Elizabeth swung her parasol at him, knocking him into the water. Sputtering and choking, he rose above the surface only to be pushed back down by his sister’s surprisingly strong hand.

“Morning bells are ringing; morning bells are ringing…” Were the last words John heard before his lungs filled with water.

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.

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!


Loving your Main Character

This is a writing exercise from my friend Dawn’s blog The Write Soil

To learn more about your main character write about his/her childhood memories.

The following is from my main character’s point of view:

My first imaginary friend was named Teddy. I met him at the park where my dad played softball for his company’s team. Although I don’t know why they should call it a park when there were no sliding boards, swings, teeter-totters or monkey bars. My daddy said I could be in the Olympics if monkey bars were an event. But the only things to play on or slide down were the hills of dirt surrounding the baseball field.

The ground was all dug up because they were clearing the land. Monster dump trucks and bulldozers were parked all over the place. Just like the Tonka trucks scattered higgily piggily on Miss Hazel’s front stoop. Her boy Bradley never played with them anymore. He just sat in his daddy’s Lazy Boy playing video games all day.

Bradley never wanted to do anything. When I first met Teddy I dared him to climb up on one of the bull dozers and he did it! I knew right away Teddy and I would be friends.

Teddy and I would sit at the top of a hill the color of a dried mudpie and slide down on our butts, getting the seat of our pants all dirty and making my mama shake her head and cluck her tongue. Six was a good age to slide down dusty hills on your butt.

Teddy was shorter than me even though we were the same age. He had dark eyes and dark curly hair. I wished my hair were like Teddy’s. We would sometimes fight about his hair I was so jealous.

“Boys shouldn’t have such curly hair,” I told him while we were sitting in the dirt drawing pictures with long sticks.

“Watcha’ want me to do about it? God made it that way.”

“Tell your mama you want your hair cut short; tell her you want it buzzed like an army man’s.”

“I don’t want no army man’s hair!” Teddy pitched his stick and we watched it land softly at the bottom of the hill.

“So just get it cut, then. Geez!” I pitched my stick and grinned when it landed farther than Teddy’s did.

“I don’t wanna get it cut. My mama likes it.”

“What are you? A mama’s boy?”

“I ain’t no mama’s boy!” Teddy stood up and put his hands on his hips.

I stood up too and did just like Teddy. “Are too!”

“Are not!”

“Are too,” I shouted and pushed Teddy causing him to fall down the hill.

He got up and ran away. I just about cried I hated myself so much for what I did. We didn’t play together for a week.