Mondays Finish the Story Challenge – Just Curious

In response to Mondays Finish the Story Challenge.

© 2015, Barbara W. Beacham

The cemetery spread along the area known as Devils Abode. Sam didn’t know how it had gotten that name. Probably some teenagers or kids from a few generations back. She always made sure her sunset jog made a loop around its perimeter. To her, it was the most peaceful spot in town.

That evening as Sam ran past the wrought iron entryway, she spotted a woman kneeling in front of her father’s tombstone, placing a bouquet of delicate white roses. Curious, she approached her, dried leaves and dead flower petals crunching under her sneakers.

“Did you know him?” Sam asked.

She turned to her, wiping her wet cheek. She spoke in an exotic accent. “He was my father. I never met him.”

Sam stumbled backwards, gripping the stone to steady herself. The woman looked at her strangely.

Composure regained, Sam extended her hand and declared, “I’m Sam. We have a lot to talk about.”

Click here for Pt 2

FFfAW-Week of 08-25-2015 – The Bridge

Photo credit to Dawn Miller

My first time trying the Flash Fiction for Aspiring Writers Challenge!

It had been their meeting place for months.  Everyday under the bridge at 4 o’clock.  He always brought a blanket.  She always brought her notebook, poetry scribbled inside.  It was all they had.  Her marriage had been arranged long ago, to a boy she didn’t know.  If they were caught, her family would disown her.

He’d decided to end it.  She’d never defy her family.  He had a date with another girl that night, someone from work.  A fun, giggly little thing.  No rules, no drama.

But, when he arrived at the bridge, she was already there.  “I told them.”  She dragged a suitcase behind her.

She jumped into his arms and he held her, saying nothing.

16 Things Unemotional Women Will Understand

My life. I am an emotional person, I’m just selective about revealing them to others.

Thought Catalog

Parks and RecreationParks and Recreation

I think we all have those moments where we take a serious look at our surroundings, examine the people in our lives and go ‘what the fuck is wrong with me? Seriously.” Those strange moments where we’re sure we are some sort of alien species barely resembling the other well adjusted humans around us because everything we do suddenly seems off kilter. Okay, maybe I’m exaggerating a bit, but the point is that I think we all feel different and alone at some point in our lives (the reality being that we are neither different nor alone, of course).

Growing up, riddled with the female stereotypes of prior generations, I seriously thought I was emotionally broken. I felt like I was lacking some key sensitivity gland or brain wave because I had a hell of a hard time relating to the other girls/women around me. Contrary to…

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Serial Scribblings Part 2- Dear Dad

LEELAH

One year ago…

Dear Dad,

I’m not going to mom’s memorial.  I don’t see the point.  She won’t be there.  She’s the only one I want to talk to.  No one knew her but me.  I hope that doesn’t hurt your feelings.  I know you love her.  Loved her.  

Writing those last two words take the wind out of me.  My head fills with water.  My legs disappear.  My heart throws itself against my chest as though it wants to be free of me.

Bracing myself against the wall, I fold the short note in half and put it on the table next to the master bedroom door.  My dad was behind that door, quietly preparing to bury his wife, thinking I was doing the same.  I picture him looking at himself in the mirror, stoically pulling on a black suit jacket, the few wrinkles on his bronze face deepening as the weight of the day settled on his shoulders.  

If I were a normal girl, I would feel a wave of compassion, then guilt for expecting my father to face this day alone.  But I’ve never been normal.  With or without a mother.  Instead, I sink to the floor and drag myself to bed, sliding along the carpet like a snake.  My legs are still useless.  My bony arms quiver as I pull myself up.  I collapse on the bed, breathless, wearing the pink floral pajama bottoms and old concert t-shirt that had been my mother’s.  I’d worn them all week.

All I can do now is miss her.  Or try to forget.

The worst part was right after I remembered again, the fresh pain red and sharp.  I couldn’t sit at Nic’s memorial as pieces of me were hacked away and everyone just watched, the rubberneckers who were just there because of the mysterious tragedy that had been my mother’s life and death.  

I hate them all.

I hear the master bedroom door open and I pull the bed covers over my head, anticipating my father’s stern knock at the door.  I think maybe if I close my eyes and stay perfectly still, I can convince him that I’m in some sort of fugue, catatonic state.  It’s almost true.   I hear his footsteps pause right next to my bedroom door, imagine the furrow of his eyebrows as he pauses to read.  Then I hear the footsteps again, getting farther and farther away as they head down the the hallway, then the stairs, then out the front door.  Headed to my grandmother’s to gather with the rest of the family, a long day of pointless rituals ahead.

I turn my body to face the wall. I stare at a tiny speck of dirt on the cream-colored paint until I fall asleep.

The Middle Table

In response to The Daily Post’s writing prompt: “Middle Seat.”

coffee-shop-in-black-and-white-1482221-640x480

My entire body relaxed as I entered the cool quiet of the coffee shop.  The electricity that crackled in my brain as I’d navigated busy city traffic at lunch hour began to subside.  The tension in my shoulders eased.  Unplugged.  I sought out this quiet, out-of-the-way place because very few people knew of it.  I’d just happened to stumble across it one day; the way I’ve found most of my favorite places.

The owner and employees kept to themselves, the decor was simple, long dark tables, plain white chairs, little art work.  Classic jazz played softly through the speakers.  Plus the coffee was outstanding.  Not trying too hard like the uber-trendy place down the street with bright art work clogging the walls, loud top 40 movie blaring, teeming with hipsters and teens.

I ordered my usual, then settled at in a dark corner in the back with my laptop.  I needed to write.  I was taking a creative writing course and had an assignment due that evening that I hadn’t even started.  A 200 word short story.  As soon as I opened my laptop and took a sip of my cappuccino, the door swung open.  I looked up briefly, expecting to see another regular customer, but an unfamiliar woman stood in the doorway.   She was tall, thin in a fashionable way, wearing all black, a shift dress with expensive boots, minimal jewelry, black hair sleekly blown out.  She could have been a model.  It was obvious she wasn’t a native Atlantan, and that she was probably lost.  She looked like someone who would be more comfortable at the coffee shop a few blocks away.

Her phone bleated loudly, causing the peace-loving owner to look up from her paper and stare her down.  She didn’t appear to get the message since she answered it loudly, clomping over to the front counter.  If she actually was a model she clearly didn’t work the runways like Gisele.  After going through every item on the menu and asking the owner the describe every ingredient in excruciating detail, in between screaming into the phone, she decided on a vanilla latte.

I popped in my earbuds, even though there was no sound coming through them at the moment, and pulled my hoodie over my hair.  It was the universal signal of writers and introverts everywhere.  Don’t talk to me.

Still, despite the fact that it was mid-day during the work week and the cafe was vastly empty, she chose the table next to me, continuing her excessively loud conversation with a person I assumed was her boyfriend.

“Where are you!”  she screeched.  “My feet are killing me.  I’ve been walking all over the place, I can’t find the restaurant!”

“What do you mean!”

“I flew all the way here just to see you!  I took the week off!”

“I don’t want to wait until tomorrow!”

“Your mom!”

“I knew that woman didn’t like me!  She planned this on purpose!  She’s probably not even in the hospital!”

“Well take a picture of her and send it to me!”

“Why not…”

It was at that point that my mood changed from annoyed to inspired.  And I remembered one of the greatest tools at my disposal as a writer – people watching!   My fingers began to tingle as I poised them above the keyboard, a story forming in my brain.  A long-distance romance between a feisty Italian model and mild-mannered photographer gone awry.  Maybe won’t be a masterpiece, but at least I would have something to turn in when I got to class that night.

I turned on some music and started to write.

When I’m Sixty-Four…

In response to this blogging event: http://www.maddyathome.com/when-im-sixty-four/

I am now 36 years old, I will be 64 in 2043.

When I’m 64 I honestly hope that my life isn’t much different than it is now, just a better version.  I hope to be more spiritually grounded, to have an even stronger relationship with God.  I hope to still be writing, maybe professionally by then.  I hope to be a little more traveled, with stories of many adventures, and not to have lost my wanderlust, still planning trips to faraway places on the globe I haven’t yet discovered.

I hope that I’ve become a mother by then, with an adult child that I also count as a friend.

I hope to celebrate my 35th wedding anniversary surrounded by close friends and family, and I hope my parents are at my side.  I hope to still have my optimism, to not have grown so cynical that I can’t laugh myself into hysterics with my friends over a glass of wine or enjoy a goofy comedy.  I hope I have the same friends I do now.

I hope to have lost my sometimes crippling fear of failure.  To speak my mind and not worry who’s listening.

I hope my husband and I will have finally found the dream home that we can see in our heads, lived in, slightly messy, with my notes and ideas for new books stuck on post-its all over the walls, overflowing bookshelves, memories of raising our child and our many animals, with lots of land for our current pets to roam.  A bedroom for our son or daughter to come back to when they visit that makes them feel happily nostalgic and safe.

Most of all, I hope that if I stumble across this blog somehow in 2043, I laugh or cry tears of joy and not sadness.

Lewis Carroll

Sometimes I’ve believed as many as six impossible things before breakfast

– Lewis Carroll

I’m sure someone has used this quote before since it’s so deliciously whimsical, but I’m new to this feature so I’ll pretend I’m the first!  🙂

Six Things I’ve Been Told Are Impossible…but that I have faith will happen…

1.  That one day I’ll make a living as a writer.  Maybe not a Stephen King/James Patterson kind of living (though that would be nice) but be able to write exclusively and actually eat everyday and have a roof over my head that doesn’t belong to my parents.  I have my own roof and paid for all the food in my refrigerator, thank you very much, but definitely not from the $5 or $6 I’ve made through my writing.  🙂

2.  That one day, ALL women, but particularly black women, will unite in boycotting the things that degrade us, specifically offensive music created by men who have no regard or respect for our dignity, our safety, or our bodies.  I don’t get women who gleefully hand over their hard-earned cash to basically be verbally abused over a beat.  And no Dr. Dre, I don’t accept your apology.  I’m not a fan of revisionist history.  Make a donation to a battered women’s shelter and maybe I’ll consider it.

An Apology from Dr Dre is not Enough

3.  A little random – but I hope that Anna Duggar will leave her husband, get an education, learn she can support herself and her kids without a husband or her father, and that she can breathe fire!

Blog about Anna Duggar by Georgia Mom

4.  That one day I’ll posses a pure, childlike happiness, not just a dumb happy, all on my own.

Dumb Happy

5.  That I can take a completely solo vacation, sans travel companion or tour guide.

6.  That my dog and I have our own language!  I know she can understand certain words I say.  Like when I warm up her food (don’t judge me!) and I tell her it’s hot, she knows to wait a few minutes before eating.  Seriously guys, she knows.  And I understand her whines, which ones mean I need to go out, or I want to cuddle, or get off your butt and come play outside!  She understands mine too, I’m happy, I’m sad,  I need to be alone, I can’t get out of bed.  She’s been known to nudge me from under the covers and wipe away my tears.  Don’t know how I’ll prove this one!

Quinn

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BONUS:  7. That I’ll finish a half marathon.  I specify HALF and not full because even I can’t dream that big.

Cheer me on!

Six Things I Told Myself Were Impossible…but actually happened…

1. Becoming vegetarian.  A lifelong dream since I was a kid and found out the beef patty on my beloved McDonald’s cheeseburgers once belonged to a living breathing thing.

2. Finding true love.

3. Figuring out that I’m pretty awesome.

4.  Finishing and publishing a book – how I earned the aforementioned $6.  That footlong at Subway was beyond delicious!

5.  Sharing some of my darkest thoughts, innermost fears, and fictional stories on a blog.

6.  Putting my feet in the Pacific Ocean.

http://silverthreading.com/2015/08/26/writers-quote-wednesday-pure-inspiration/

Alicia Keys – A Revelation

image1

Great read about her evolution from scared young girl to confident, strong woman.   I think many of us can relate.  I’m such a fan of hers.

An excerpt:

“For as long as I can remember, I’ve hidden myself. It might have started in school when I realized that I caught on to things a little quicker, and teachers started to show slight favor to me, or use me as an example. I remember feeling like my friends would make fun of me or look at me as if I was different from them and so… I started hiding. Not intentionally, I didn’t mean to, but I did. Little pieces at a time.


I definitely started hiding when I got old enough to walk down my NY streets alone. I started to notice a drastic difference in how men would relate to me if I had on jeans, or if I had on a skirt, or if my hair was done pretty. I could tell the difference, I could feel the animal instinct in them and it scared me. I didn’t want to be talked to in that way, looked at in that way, whistled after, followed. And so I started hiding. I chose the baggy jeans and timbs, I chose the ponytail and hat, I chose no makeup, no bright color lipstick or pretty dresses. I chose to hide. Pieces at a time. Less trouble that way.

I remember feeling that same way when I first started to get recognized as an artist. I had the baggy/braided/tough NY tomboy thing mastered, that was who I was (or who I chose to be) and I felt good there. Then, because of the way I spoke or carried myself, people started calling me gay and hard and I wasn’t gay, but I was hard and although I felt comfortable there, it made me uncomfortable that people were judging me and so slowly I hid that side of myself. I put on dresses and didn’t braid my whole head up, so people could see more of the “real” me, even though at that point I’m sure I was more confused then ever of what the real me was.

I remember one interview I gave had strong social thoughts from a book I just read. The writer misunderstood me and wrote something that I didn’t say. I felt judged by those reading it. Out came the shell again and me under it. Hiding, piece by piece. Little by little. More and more.

I became comfortable hiding, my intelligence, my physical appearance, my truths, my thoughts, myself.

To this day, every time I get out of the shower to get dressed, I swear the first thought that comes into my head is, what can I wear that won’t cause too much attention when I go pick up Egy, or head to the store, or go shopping, or visit a friend etc.

And just the other day it hit me! OMG! Alicia!!! Why are you choosing to be that person?? That is so old and outdated!! STOP!!

You are allowed to be smart
You are allowed to be beautiful
You are allowed to be radical and have strong thoughts that others might not agree with
You are allowed to be tough
You are allowed to be sexy
You are allowed to be bold
You are allowed to be shapely
You are allowed to be kind
You are allowed to be yourself!!”

I’ve finally stopped hiding and being scared of who I am as a fully realized woman and it feels so awesome!  Finish reading here…

http://www.aliciakeys.com/a-revelation/

Start Writing Fiction – 2.1 Setting as antagonist – Activity 18

List 6 objects found in a character’s bedroom, office, garage, or other semi-private space. Be specific. Name them, for example:

    plants
    books
    magazine

Describe them, for example:

    clothes
    snacks
    photographs
    detritus

In 200 words, describe the character’s space in a way that provides clues to character. Now consider: could any of these objects lead to a larger story? For example:

    Is there a shameful or glorious memory attached to one of them?
    Do any of them belong to someone else?
    Is one of them being hidden on behalf of another character?

The walls were a soft pink, the paint chipping around the edges. It hadn’t been changed in a decade. There was a wrought iron bed topped with a lacy white coverlet.  A dresser, white and with painted pink roses and carnations, matching the walls, with a simple, matching white-framed mirror was pushed against the far wall.  On it sat a framed picture of a mother and a 10-year-old daughter. A generic one taken at some soulless department store studio. They both smiled, but not really. The mother’s hand appeared to rest on her daughter’s shoulder.

It was a room for a little girl.  No one would have guessed that it belonged to a young woman of 21. Not unless they lifted the spotless white coverlet and saw the jagged piece of metal between the mattress and box spring, brown with rust and spots of dried blood. And deep in the darkness underneath the bed lay a pristine suitcase that had only seen daylight once, yet to be unpacked. Yes, if you lifted the bedspread you would finally understand, the girl who lived here was trapped.