Miss Pelican's Perch

Looking at my World from a Different Place


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


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


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


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


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.”


“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


The Write-Time, Day 9: Bump

The prompt I tossed out for everyone is from Your First 1,000 Days in Writerspark:  One Thousand Tight Writing Exercises, by Bill Weiss.    It is:

“Bump.  That’s all you get for this one!.  Write 100 words or fewer that use the above word as a proper noun, noun and verb all in the same work.”



That one word could evoke a lot of stories. But the image that comes to my mind is this:

Venice High School
The Home of the Mighty Gondoliers
Gym class
Friday afternoons
And we could dance anything we wanted….

So it we bumped the Bump

Sometimes we ended up with a lot of bumps so once in a while we did the Hustle.

And let us not forget the Funky Chicken… well, maybe we should forget that.

But my personal favorite was just plain boogeying…….


The Write Time, Day 8: The Wedding Cake

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAToday’s prompt: The Wedding:  You attempt to cut the cake, but the knife slides into something else. The crowd looks on, and forks start clinking against glasses.

The Wedding Cake

I can explain everything.   I work at a bakery, and my boyfriend, you see, he’s been kinda under the weather for a while and with his being cooped up and all, I  decided I needed to bake him something special, something on my own.  I whipped up the batter and added all sorts of his favorite things to it: chocolate chips, mini peanut-butter cups, and other interesting things.   When my boyfriend’s cake came out of the oven, I set it on the cooling rack.  I was a little lumpy in one spot but that’s okay.  My boyfriend will still like it.

I went about my business with my fellow bakers getting other cakes baked, cooled, frosted and decorated.  That day we had three weddings, two bar mitzvahs and a birthday party for a celebrity.   We were hopping.

A few hours later when I had a few minutes to myself, I decided to frost my boyfriend’s cake.  I went to cooling rack.   My cake was gone.

“Mavis, do you know what happened to the white cake here?”

“Oh, it went into one of the wedding cakes, the second tier I think.”

I was horrified.  “Whose cake?”

“Um, I think it was for the Wilson/Abernathy wedding.  Why?”

“Nothing.   Hey, look, it’s almost time for my lunch break.  Do you mind if I take off?”

“Nah, see you when you get back”

“Thanks.”  I raced out the door, hopped on my bike and rumbled off to the Maxwell Hotel, where the wedding reception was due to start any moment.  I had to do something about the cake because…. well, I would be in big, BIG trouble if I didn’t.

I parked in back next to the hotel’s kitchen dumpsters and tried to make myself look like I belonged there.  I slipped in the back door and looked around.  There were some lockers to one side and a blue shirt with the hotel’s name patch on the front was draped over the back of a chair.  I grabbed it and put it on.   Then I walked into the kitchen.   A busboy was busily loading plates into the dishwasher.

“Hey.  I need to put some final touches on a wedding cake.”

The bus boy motioned his head towards the door.  “It’s already on the floor.”

Great.  “Thanks, man.”   Just what I was afraid would happen.   As I walked toward the kitchen door, I noticed an empty plastic container and lid on the counter.  I slid it off the counter and under my arm.

I headed to the ball room.  I heard a mic-d voice speaking followed by a lot of laughter.  I poked my head through the door and saw that a man in a tux, probably the best man, was chortling on about the lucky couple.  Good.  They were all focused on the front.  The cake was to the side away from the dais.  I eased myself over to the cake and started looking around.

There!  I saw a familiar lump in the side of the second tier.  I popped the lid off the plastic container and picked up the cake knife.  I started cutting into it.  Then I heard a thunk.  Gotcha!  I starting lifting a wedge of cake out of the tier when all of a sudden I heard clinking.  I looked up.  Everyone in the room was staring at me and tapping their forks against their glasses.

The lucky couple were heading over my way.  The groom had a confused look on his face, while his new wife looked like Bridezilla ready to pounce.

“What are you doing?” she hissed.

Suddenly, out of my mouth came the worst eastern European accent.  “My babushka… she always say ‘Is bad luck for the bride and groom to make the first cut.  I do it for you.  Is okay?'”

The groom smiled and nodded his head.  The audience muttered in agreement and began clinking their glasses again.  I was afraid the bride would not buy any of this but after looking around at the crowd, she nodded her head towards me.

I quickly scooped the piece I had just cut into a the container and was heading towards the door before I even had the the lid tightly in place.

I raced through the kitchen, out the back door, and was on my bike faster than a fart.  I was soon heading down the street and back to the bakery.

Before I got there, though, I pulled over to curb and tossed into a trash can the container with the cake slice and the file I had baked into it.

I’ll take my boyfriend another cake next week on visiting day.

ljg (c) 2013


The Write-Time, Day 7: 7x7x7x7

Heather offered up a link to a variety of prompts.  I chose the first one which is “7x7x7x7:  Grab the seventh book from your bookshelf. Open it up to page 7. Pinpoint the seventh sentence on the page. Begin a poem that begins with that sentence and limit it in length to seven lines.”

A Wilderness of Color

The whole country, full of weeds and thickets,
presented a wild and savage hue.
Overwhelming in shades of pine
and fir, and cornflower blue.
Ochre, dark goldenrod, and olive green
To the wordsmiths’ pens and painters’ eyes
It shows a world rarely seen, and one that never lies.


The first line, ...the whole country, full of weeds and thickets, presented a wild and savage hue, was written by William Bradford, a passenger on the Mayflower and was his impression of the Massachusetts wilderness when he first encountered it.  This is a quote used by the author of the preface of The Harper American Literature Anthology, Volume 1, p. 7.  



The Write-Time, Day 6: Click Here to Continue

Today’s prompt, from Jane, is “Next time you’ll think twice before you “Click here to continue.””


Click Here to Continue

I walked into a store in Hollywood, a place that sells vintage collectibles.  On a table in the corner, I saw a pair of ruby red slippers.

“It can’t be”  I said.

“But it is,” said the proprietor.  “Would you like to try them on?”

“Can I? You bet!”

I slipped off my ratty sneakers and put on the sparkly shoes.  A perfect fit.  I noticed something written on the side of each heel, and I took a closer look.  It said: Click Here to Continue.

I shrugged my shoulders.  I closed my eyes and clicked the heels of the ruby slippers together at the precise point where these words were written.

Guess what happened when I clicked there?

Coming to theatres this year.