Friday, 24 June 2016

A Few Of My Favourite Things


SUN SHOWERS, PETRICHOR, AND TRAIN WHISTLES

            It came down hard, lasted only a few minutes and just as abruptly turned to a soft drizzle.  The sun shone bravely throughout and afterwards there was that smell, that earthy scent released into the air when rain falls on dry soil.  The name for it is Petrichor from the Greek words, petra, meaning "stone", and ichor, the fluid that flows in the veins of the gods in Greek mythology.
            When I was little, my mother would look out the window during one of these sun showers and say, in a sing-song voice, "the witches are getting married."  Depending on your cultural background, you may remember something similar.  The memory fills me with nostalgia and a longing I can't explain.
            "The witches are getting married," I tell Ben and he cocks is head to one side then the other.  After a long, contemplative look he assumes the usual position - head on paws, legs extended behind him like a furry frog.  Ben's a charmer and this is one of his most endearing feats.  I'm sure there are other dogs who can execute this display of agility, but Ben does it best.
             My house is a mile or so from the nearest train track.  On summer nights I lay awake listening for the sound in the distance, that plaintive noise of the train whistle.  I close my eyes as finally it wails by, lulling me to sleep.
            I need nothing but these simple things ... and to write about them.
            

Sunday, 5 June 2016

Thoughts On Blogging

I remember when blogging was about pretty pictures of my most recent renovation, or my latest Goodwill find, or attending 'parties' in the relentless pursuit of more and more followers.


My first blog, circa 2010

I remember lying awake at night stressing over my next post.  Would it be pictures of the garden, yet another DIY project, a recipe?  This went on for years until one day I just ran out of steam or interest, or both.

Goodwill find 2012

Today my posts are few and far between.  I'm more interested in living my life than I am in posting about it, and the only thing keeping me up at night is the occasional bout of insomnia.

Do you remember those good old, bad old days?  Has blogging changed for you?


Wednesday, 25 May 2016

Spring

Next to fall, spring is my favourite season.  Both are mellow and easy going ...


I think that if you could 'hear' Spring, it would sound like jazz ...

Friday, 13 May 2016

SETTING AND LOCATION

Assignment:  Look at a favourite painting and imagine yourself in it.  Using all your senses, let the reader experience every detail without being told about it.

Le Jardin de Monceau
Monet

CAMILLE

            "Claude is a clod," Helaine said.  "But as stupide as he is, you are even stupider, mon cher."  I could see her point.  What woman in her right mind would allow another woman to move into her home?  But what could I have done?  Monsieur Hoschede had lost everything and Claude had offered him and Madame refuge in Vetheuil.  Perhaps unable to watch any longer Monsieur had recently left.
            "But how was I  to know?" I asked her, "I had no reason to mistrust her.  Or him for that matter."   
            We were in Paris for the day at Le Jardin de Monceau with our usual circle of friends.  Gathered along the northern edge of the garden by the rotunda, we made small talk and exchanged pleasantries, the scent of late summer and betrayal permeating the air.  Helaine, my truest friend, had pointed out the long glances and easy laughter between Claude and Madame weeks ago.  What I had failed to notice before was now palpable.
            Madame Alice was Monsieur Hoschede's wife and Claude's mistress.  The Hoschedes had been collectors of Claude's paintings when Monsieur went bankrupt.  Helaine said it was scandalous.  I said it was tragic because I loved my husband.             
            "Merde!" Helaine hissed into my ear, "She's coming this way!"  Madame Alice was approaching with refreshments.  Her practised smile sent shivers up my spine but was no contest for my own.
            "No. Merci, Madame." I told  her, and she moved on.  Seeking council in my friend's eyes I found none.  
            "Je sais," I know, was all Helaine could manage. 
            The August sun was beginning to fade, exhausted of its duties as was I.  In the distance Claude charmed his audience under the shade of a leafy bower, constant adulation what he craved most.   Helaine was exactly right, Claude was a clod.        
            "Imb├ęcile," I said under my breath.

- You can find Bev, my writing instructor here at:  http://beyond-the-lamppost.com
She creates an atmosphere in which you can generate your own best work.  She makes anything seem possible.
It's a gift, a presence she has.

Thursday, 5 May 2016

MADDIE

Our assignment:  Write a character introduction in 250 words or less.

 NERVOUS LAUGHTER

            Maddie walks onto the front porch in her bare feet letting the screen door slap behind her.  It's one of her favourite summer sounds, right up there with the drone of lawn mowers and the shhhh-tik-tik-tik of water sprinklers.  She closes her eyes in order to hear better, and sighs.  It works every time. 
            Across the street little Nora Johnson is practicing cartwheels on the grass, her baby brother Danny, is riding his little red tricycle up and down the sidewalk.  Maddie loves children, has been blessed with a mess of  'em, eight in total.  Jimmy, her youngest came along much too late; a surprise when she didn't think there were any left.  The best for last, that's what she always tells him, "Jimmy, the rest of 'em was just leadin' me to you, baby."  
            Of course they're all the best in her eyes, every last one scattered now with lives of their own.  But Jimmy, well he just has that little extra somethin'.  Kindred spirits is what they are.  She knew it the minute she held him for the first time.  Jimmy's a dentist now, calls every day on his lunch break, "Hey momma," he says, "Ya winnin'?"  
            "You know it, honey!" she laughs.  Laughter is Maddie's saving grace.  She laughs when she's happy, she laughs when she's nervous, when she's scared.  When in doubt, laugh.  And she surely is scared now.  How will she tell him?  How will she say those words? 
            She's known for weeks but she's been selfish, protecting herself as much as him.  Because she knows that when she speaks the words, I have cancer, they will become real.  And she'll be stuck with them. 

Tuesday, 26 April 2016

Flash Fiction

This was written from a prompt in my writing class last week.  The subject is close to my heart, so I thought I'd share it with you!

The prompt was:  Before they could make any progress, they would have to get past that slobbering hound.

LUCKY SEVEN
            Before they could make any progress, they would have to get past that slobbering hound.  What was it now, mom's fourth?  Daphne, I think she'd said was this one's name.  But Abby was good with dogs and no sooner had she knelt down to the mutt's eye level than the bitch had rolled over on her back ready for a belly rub.  It was a hell of a thing to see and never got old. 
            It amazed Tom every time Abby worked her magic with his mom's dogs;  all hounds, all female.  His mother had a weakness for them and their numbers were growing.  Who knew when it would stop?  Daphne had replaced Carolina who passed away in her sleep three months ago at the ripe old age of 15.  They were destructive too, chewing on shoes, chairs, TV remotes, couch cushions, you name it.  But mom didn't care and they - all four of them  - slept with her in her king-size bed. 
            With access to the porch now and Abby well in control of Daphne, he placed the moving box on the threshold, pressed the doorbell and waited.  Daphne pawed and sniffed at the box, at the movement and whimpering coming from inside.  And then she lifted her head and let out a deep, prolonged howl; it was what mom called baying.  Mom came to the door with a wide grin on her pretty face and said, "Did you bring them?"
            "Have a look," I said.  "How many is that now, mom?"  She opened the box and let the little squirmers loose. 

            "Lucky seven," she said.

Tuesday, 5 April 2016

On Platitudes


I think gratitude is great.  If it is genuinly felt.

I don't think it should be a bandade on reality.  I think we need to acknowledge our boo-boos and then if we feel grateful, we just do.

Nobody (at least noboby I know) feels grateful all of the time.  On any given day we can feel a million different ways.  Minute to minute, hour to hour.  That's life.  That's the truth.

So no platitudes, please.  I will feel whatever is it I'm feeling and when I'm done, maybe gratitude will take me.  Maybe it won't.

Whatever takes me,  I can handle it.