Miss Pelican's Perch

Looking at my World from a Different Place


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The Write Time, Day 14: An Assessment

Here is an assessment of my experience  with The Write Time Challenge  for the last two weeks.

1)  I need the discipline of a daily writing routine.  If I don’t have it, I will just waste time screwing around on Facebook and web surfing.  It is not enough for me to be a part of the “peanut gallery”.    I need to work.
2)  I need accountability.  I can’t and I won’t write just for the sake of writing alone.   Writing for the sake of itself is a lovely idea but it is not reality for me.
3)  I am more likely to write something “good” if I have a deadline.   I would never have thought I worked better under the pressure of a daily deadline, but I do.   Not everything I posted in the last two weeks is over the top, but I am quite pleased with several of the flash fiction stories I wrote.
4)  I learned that good chemistry is highly important when you work with a group.  I used to feel that I could only work alone because of all the stupid divisiveness and petty  jealousies I have experienced in online group settings in the past.  Not so this time and the only reason I can see is that there is good chemistry with the group that participated in this project.

So, this was a highly productive and quite stimulating two week activity.   I look forward to the next time.

Thank you to all who wrote positive and encouraging comments during the past two weeks.

Miss Pelican

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The Write Time, Day 13: Life and Cabbages

Life and Cabbages

They say when life hands us lemons, we should make lemonade, so it stands to reason if life hands us cabbages, then we should make sauerkraut.

Sometimes the circumstances that life throws at us cannot be made into anything so sweet and refreshing as lemonade.  No, sometimes life situations are so bad and so filled with sorrow that we cannot make anything immediately good from them.

When life throws us cabbages instead of lemons, we should take out our sharpest, most wicked kitchen cleavers and start hacking the daylights out of those cabbages.  Then we should gather up the shreads of cabbage and stuff them into thick earthenware jars.   If someone has thrown salt in our wounds, we should take some of that salt and toss it into the jars along with the cabbage and shove it all into some dark corner of the cellar.

And then we should go away and leave them for a while.

Usually, when we shove the painful situations of our lives into the dark recesses of our souls, they ferment.  Eventually, we realize we have to deal with those situations, and we pull out our memories of them, like those earthenware jars, lift off the lids, and get hit in the face with a bad smell.

But when the air clears, we realize that what we thought were nasty, rotted cabbages have actually transformed into something that is quite good for us — something even more beneficial than lemonade.

Sauerkraut is a little like wisdom in that respect.

Now let’s grill up some brats to go with that sauerkraut.

ljg (c) 2013


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The Write-Time, Day 12: Breaking the Rules

homegirl cafe angelas green potionThe prompt:  Write less than 500 words incorporating the theme of “breaking rules.”  

Breaking the Rules

Raelyn Bradford was considered by her colleagues to be something of a goody-two-shoes.  The worst thing Raelyn ever did was to get a speeding ticket. She kept all the rules and all the deadlines at work.  One person told her that she needed, for her own good, to be more of a rebel and disregard the rules.

Raelyn knew otherwise.  People may say they like rule-breakers as long as the rules being broken are not their own.  People don’t like rulebreakers when they are the ones making the rules.

The rulemakers say that everyone must have a “career”.  Well, Raelyn had a job that paid the bills and she was very good at it.  Didn’t matter, though.

The rulemakers say that everyone must have the right education.  Raelyn had put herself through school at night and got several degrees.  Didn’t matter either.   Her degrees were in the humanities, not business, not technology.

The rulemakers say that to be successful one must work sixteen hour days to make the money to buy the things that successful people have.  Raelyn had enough, thank you very much, and happily worked an eight-hour day.

Raelyn heard the snickers when she said she liked to spend her time writing and making art.  Or that her idea of fun was taking the train somewhere with camera and notebook in hand to gather inspiration.

She saw the looks of confusion and concern in the faces of people when she said was a blogger.

You see, writing and art-making and, above all, blogging were against the rules — unless, of course, you were a famous writer or artist — that was different, of course.

One day, a co-worker told Raelyn that she was “avocational” when Raelyn mentioned that she was a writer.    Raelyn had to look that word up (because that’s what writers like to do).  She read: “Avocation–  Pertaining to a hobby or minor occupation.”   Her co-worker thought her writing was a minor occupation.  She was not surprised.  It was the kind of remark to which she had grown accustomed.

But Raelyn felt compelled to looked up the word “vocation” which meant “a strong feeling of suitability for a particular career or occupation”.     Her colleague thought that writing and arting was something minor.  Raelyn, though, learned that day that her strong desire to write and make art was her vocation, her life’s dedication.

So, the next time someone suggested that she was a goodie-two-shoes, afraid-to-break-the-rules type of gal, Raelyn would smile and walk away from her desk at 5 pm with her notebook in hand.

She was beginning to like breaking the rules.

ljg (c) 2013


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The Write Time, Day 11: A Knock on the Door

The Challenge:  Late one night a neighbor knocked on the front door and asked……….

The Knock on the Door

It was late when I heard the knock on the front door.  After glancing through the window and seeing it was my neighbor from across the street, I opened the door.

“Mr. Maxwell, is everything okay?”

“No, it is not!”

Old man Maxwell spent the next five minutes in a rant about my kids.  Apparently, they routinely have been making faces and catcalls from the upstairs windows at any one who walked or drove down the street.  The final straw had come a few minutes ago.

“The Missus went to put the trash out and your kids were hanging out your upstairs windows flipping the bird and mooning her.”

I did a face palm and shook my head.   “I am so sorry Mr. Maxwell.  I’ll take care of this.  I promise it won’t happen again.”

“It better not,” he said as he huffed off my front porch.

I closed the door and headed to the stairs.

What was I thinking to take in these kids?  I knew when I took them in that they had all come from difficult backgrounds and had faced things in their little lives that no child should have to.  But was I really equipped to take care of them?

I stomped up the stairs and when I got near the door to the front bedroom, I heard raucous laughter, giggling, and the sounds of tussling.    Just as I got to the door, I heard a loud bang.

“Hey!  Knock it off in there.”

I took hold of the door knob, but it was locked.

“Hey!  What did I tell you about locking doors around here.  Unlock this immediately.”

I heard muffled giggling and shuffling around.

“What you did to Mrs. Maxwell was not funny.  I had Mr. Maxwell on the porch in my face.  He is really p’o’d.  I don’t want you doing that again.  I can’t afford to have trouble with the neighbors.   Do you hear me?”  I banged on the door.

There was more shuffling and giggling.  I jiggled the door knob again.

“Open this door NOW!”

Then I heard the juicy sound of a raspberry.

That was it.  I swore I would never use this as a weapon against my foster kids but I had no choice.  I could not have them continuing to act like little hellions.

“If you don’t shape up immediately and behave yourselves, I am going to have to arrange for you to go somewhere else.  Now open this door.”

The sounds ceased and I heard the door knob snap.

I took hold again and the door opened.   I walked into the bedroom.

I looked around the room.  It was completely empty and totally silent.

“Now that’s better.  Thank you.”

I shook my head as I turned to leave the room.   Good grief, what kind of ghost whisperer am I when I can’t control them in my own house.

ljg (c) 2013


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The Write Time, Day 10: The Urn

The Prompt:  At a garage sale, your character buys an antique urn which she thinks will look nice decorating her bookcase. But when she gets home, she realizes there are someone’s ashes in it….

—————-

The Urn

I felt something rattle in the urn as I placed it on my bookcase.  I took it back off the shelf and opened the lid.  Inside was a canister and I immediately knew what it was.   I carefully pulled the canister out.  On the end was engraved:  “PFC William Reynolds, 1950-1969”

I immediately put the canister back into the urn.  I marched back to the garage sale at the house around the corner from me.  The man and woman running the sale were starting to pack up.

“Excuse me.”

The woman glanced up at me and seeing the urn cradled in my arm, she said “All sales final.”

“But there are ashes in here.  This is someone’s funeral urn.”

The man waddled up.  “You don’t say.  That must be Billy’s ashes.”

“Billy?”

“Miz Reynold’s boy, only son, killed in ‘Nam.  Kept that urn on her mantle till the day she died.”

“So, she’s gone.”

“Yeah. ”

“Wouldn’t her relatives want this?”

“What relatives?  If we could find any, we wouldn’t be doing all this work,” said the woman.

“Yeah, took forever to get all the court stuff straightened out so we could start cleaning out her place for the next tenant.  Anything not sold today is going in the trash.”

I looked down at the urn.

“Uh… if you want, we’ll take care of that for you, ” said the man nodding at the urn.

“No… like you said, ‘all sales final.’

“Suit yourself,” he said as he pitched a couple of framed photographs in a dumpster.

I walked home.   When I got there, I dusted off the center shelf of my bookcase and polished the outside of the urn.  I placed  in the shelf and stepped back.

“Thank you for your service, Billy.”

ljg (c) 2013