Admitting Denial

DzdgFAeXcAAiTMq.pngIt’s funny because it’s true. If you agree it’s because you know.

If we were to talk about the elephant on the page, what color would it be? The funny truth so succinctly portrayed is that writing is a consuming obsession.

The man in the picture may have at least two obsessions, two powerful habits that impact his life and perhaps those around him, but why is it that only one of them is generally acknowledged as a bad habit? Only one of his habits has a tried and true twelve-step program that has been adapted and adopted by other quitters of other bad habits and depravities. Yes, he can find support and counseling for his addiction to alcohol and even his compulsive gambling. But his compulsive writing? All bets are off.

His inclination, (he might say destiny) is to seek other writers, (some might say enablers). Unlike the group he met with over his other addiction, this group is not at all alarmed for him when he admits to voices in his head. “Write on!” they say. They are not concerned when he admits to not attending fully to his day job, the pay job, because of his preoccupation with writing. They nod and smile knowingly when he talks about a recent all-nighter when he wrote pages and pages of gibberish. “There’s some gold in there,” they encourage. “Glean it, spend another night or any stolen time and revise it. Write on!” They all joke about their wild antics, writing on napkins in restaurants, about looking as if they are taking notes in meetings when really they are drafting a novella that just came to them. They all know first hand that writing is a distraction to the lives they used to live and are expected to live; they know that it is highly unlikely that writing will ever improve their finances. Yet they applaud our pictured writer when he admits he’s thinking of leaving his day job (the pay job) so that he can attend more fully to his writing addiction. “Yes! Go for it! Write on!”

I ask you, dear Writers, why are writers not taken in hand by their loved ones and committed as other addicts might be, for their own good? I imagine you’ll tell me something about discovery versus recovery, but please do tell me.

 

Parts

working-template-for-ff-challenges106.pngThe February 14, 2019, Carrot Ranch prompt: In 99 words (no more, no less) write a story about valentines. It can be Valentine’s Day, the exchange, love for another, romance, or friendship. Have a heart and go where the prompt leads!                              The prompt led to the expanding group of friends who often end up at Ernest and Marge‘s place. The long version, 613 words, is on the Ernest and Marge page, way down near the end.

 

 

Parts

“S’up Nard?”
“Marge. Ernest. Was at the auto parts store; thought I’d stop by.”
“You’re shop foreman now, why’re you the one always running to the parts store?”
“Good to get fresh air.”
“Ha! Who is she?”
“Nard’s blushing,” Ernest noted. “There is someone!”
“There is. Can Kris and I join you and Ilene and Lloyd tonight when you go out for dinner?”
“This Kris must be special; you’ve never introduced your lady friends.”
“Yeah. One thing to know though…. Kris is the new parts man. Kristof.”
Ernest recovered first. “Does he make you happy?”
“Yes.”
“Nathan’s Grille, 6:30.”
***
“Nard. Kris? Hello. Take a seat.”
“Leonard,” Ernest corrected Marge.
Kris laughed. “I call him Lenny. I guess this is a surprise?”
“I’ll say. At the dealership Nard always joked around insinuating that Lloyd was gay when all this time it was Nard trying to get his motor running with the wrong parts.”
Kris snorted, choking on his beer. “That’s what I told him!”
Clearly hidden, behind walls of glass—”
“Lloyd, let me finish this poem! I know a rhyme.”
“Don’t, Marge. This is a family friendly place.”
“And this is our family. Welcome Kris. Congratulations, Leonard. Cheers.”

rwr-1.png

Agitation

Agitation,    by D. Avery

“Okay, I really need some cream. I can’t believe I didn’t get enough the last time shopping and now I’m right in the middle of five different baking projects. Take the car but take it easy.”

They lived rural, but not so rural that there was a cow around. They lived on a back road, but not so far back that a trip to town and the store was really anything more than an inconvenience, an expenditure of time and gas, but a trip that delighted the newly licensed teen, who was always looking for wheel time.

“Listen, I don’t need this cream so badly that you need to speed, so just take your time. Drive carefully!” she yelled after him as he gleefully raced out the door waving the keys overhead.

“Of course, Mom!”

He went straight to the store and because he managed to arrive in record time, he had extra time to further hone his driving skills on the return trip. No small feat of navigation, the return trip involved a network of back roads that eventually linked back to their back road. Some of these back roads were further back than others; some were quite twisty, some quite bumpy, and all were washboarded, so that going straight, even on the straightaways, was a challenge at the speeds he attained. At the four corners where the last long back road linked at long last with their back road he found there was space enough to blow some donuts. And having at last come full circle, his route finished, chore complete, he coasted though the last corner then turned quite neatly and slowly into their driveway. He parked the car expertly and precisely in its spot, walked into the house, and hung the keys on the peg.

“Where’s the cream?”

“Oh yeah.”

He returned to the car and picked the carton of cream up from the passenger’s side floor where it had somehow tumbled. He meticulously wiped the carton clean with his shirttail before parading it ceremoniously in to his mother, who opened it immediately. When she tipped the carton of cream into her mixing bowl nothing poured out. Opening the carton up wider she discovered butter.

He could not explain how the carton contained butter. Picking up the opened carton, he examined its thickened contents as well as its boldly printed label, which clearly said cream.

“Huh. Do you want me to go back to the store?”

***

This 410 word story has been revised and reworked from an earlier six sentence story. I am republishing it because it is new and improved and because I am linking it to Stevie Turner’s “Share Your Story” contest. Yikes.

 

Fixed

This is the third, the first being Crunch, and the second being six sentence story copy.jpgPlugged, all written as Six Sentence Stories, the weekly prompt hosted by Denise at GirlieOntheEdge. Head on over to share  your six sentence story that uses the word ‘milestone’. 

 

Fixed                                                                    

Mom never said too much when we were both boxing, especially when we fought against one another, but now she’s practically my publicist, promoting my matches so she can promote my brother, updating the press and the fans as to his condition, telling them, “He’s off the respirator, breathing on his own, a milestone, but still in the fight of his life.”

The papers loved her and her unwavering faith that my brother would emerge from his coma, her belief that he would recover, but they also loved the story of how he got there, beaten unconscious by his little brother in a boxing match.

Mom downplays that as much as she can, says things like, “He used to fight with his brother, now he fights for his brother,” and I go along with Mom’s brotherly love story, get in the ring as often as I can to try and help out with the medical bills.

My matches sell out, packed with people hoping to see me lose my temper again, hoping to see me beat another man almost to death, but the fans have been disappointed. I, who was leading in my division, am fighting like a third rate amateur, not hitting hard enough, letting my guard down; I haven’t won a match since putting my brother in the hospital.

Mom listened to the fight in my brother’s hospital room, but she doesn’t say anything about my latest loss; she’s too full of news about him, claims he smiled, another milestone.

Loosed (quadrille #73)

dverselogo.jpg

It’s the Monday before Valentine’s Day, so Quadrille #73, the d’Verse offering brought to us by De Jackson (aka WhimsyGizmo), is entitled  A Prelude to a Kiss. The poem must be exactly 44 words and must include the word kiss. Eww, romance. Here goes.

 

Loosed

Oh, how the drunk slip

unmoored, three sheets,

loosed lips finally admit

love for you with sloppy kiss.

 

Lying silent at retreat of night

awash in dawn’s rising tide of light

sober scared, lips clenched tight.

You turn to me, and kiss me right.

 

 

Have a Great Fall

“Mom, I’m going to Tommy’s.”working-template-for-ff-challenges101.png

“Destiny looks uncomfortable driving that Tonka bulldozer. And what’s that sign she’s holding? What are you two up to now?”

“We’re gonna protest. Tommy and his GI Joe built a humpty-trumpty wall out of snow.”

“Marlie, I’m sure GI Joe is just following Executive orders.”

“That’s what Tommy said. But I don’t like walls like that.”

“It’s cold out. Wear this hat.”

“Tommy’s dad does not like this hat. At all.”

“I know. Here. I made a little one just like it for Destiny. And here’s one for GI Joe too.”

“Awesome! Thanks mom!”

 

rwr-1.png

Another take on Charli’s Carrot Ranch February 7, 2019 Flash Fiction Challenge to in 99 words (no more, no less) write a story that includes a sign. It can be a posted sign, a universal sign, a wonder. Go where the prompt leads. Check it out.

Squanto

The Carrot Ranch February 7, 2019, prompt is to working-template-for-ff-challenges101.png“in 99 words (no more, no less) write a
story that includes a sign. It can be a posted
sign, a universal sign, a wonder. Go where the prompt leads.”  The prompt led me back to those giant birds from last week’s mythstorical retelling of Maushop in “Thar Blows”

 

 

Squanto

Massasoit keeps me close; he does not trust me who has been carried away and back by the giant birds, which have been preying along the coast.

I learned the words of the English in their country. The giant birds are ships. After five springs I followed the sun back to my country in ships, finally returning to Patuxet where chill winds rattled through empty fields littered with the untended bones of my people.

Another ship has come. English families are building in Patuxet. Massasoit gathered the shamans in the swamp, looking for a sign.

These are uncertain times.

Six Sentence Smackdown

six sentence story copy.jpg

It is Six Sentence Story time again, and this week’s prompt word is vessel. Last week our host prima prompter Denise wrote a poem. SSS regular Clark of the WakefieldDoctrine made the comment that poetry was for girls. This girl challenged him to write a poem.  Do click over to see Clark’s admirable response to my challenge. My six sentences are a Sicilian sestet poem.

 

Averse

Was a man, I know not his name- was it Roger? Clark? Or Scott?

Whomever ‘twas, he wrote prolifically, his prose was something special;

but found adversity in verse, you see, but this week we’ll see just what he’s got.

Poetry was not the ship he sailed, to carry words it was not his favorite vessel;

but he talked smack, no takin’ back, so here the battle of poetic form is fought.

Fighting with gurrls, making a switch to ferry from ship, with his manly words he’ll wrestle.

 

Now it’s coming back to me, yes the man is our own dear Clark

he’s stood up and laid a poem down despite discomfort and feeling nervous.

He says he’s averse to penning verse, yet his pen has found its mark,

perhaps in goading him to act on this whim I’ve done him and his readers a service.

And it goes to show that you never know what good may come of a lark;

poems is for girls he said then took me on and wrote beautifully in versus.

Thar Blows

workingtemplateforffchallenges289929.pngThe giant Maushop shared whales and fish with the people. Only Maushop could stop the monstrous bird that ate children. The people showed thanks with gifts of tobacco. With ashes from his pipe Maushop made a second faraway island. The fog from his pipe shielded for a while but was not enough.

Then the people took the others’ god. The others said he was the devil; Maushop obliged. He turned his children to fishes and his wife to a stone before taking to farther seas. They’d see him again, misty smoke now urgent spout of a great white whale.

***

The ‘sea mist’ prompt had me thinking about Maushop, the once gentle giant whose smoking habit is the cause of the pervasive fog of Nantucket. The above 99 words is a distillation of some of the Maushop stories and theories. Maushop is a tragic character who couldn’t find an island far enough away to escape the Europeans and the rapid changes wrought on Native culture and economies in the 17th century. The Maushop stories can be interpreted as historical narrative as much as myth and continue among the Wampanoag today. Nathaniel Philbrick says of his book Abram’s Eyes, that it “looks to Maushop as a way to recover an understanding of how native Nantucketers experienced their world.” He suggests that, “to appreciate legendary giants such as Maushop for who they really are, we must enter a universe where myth is more than mere fiction; it is a higher reality” and to accept “the Indians’ legends as flexible and renewable truths”. Which all means that the myths are not fantasy; they were and are told by real people who really experienced what is portrayed. I hope that Maushop is still around in whatever form he may have taken for our times.

 Informed by:

 Philbrick, Nathaniel, Abrams Eyes. Mill Hill Press, Nantucket, Massachusetts, 1998.

 Simmons, William S., Spirit of the New England Tribes: Indian History and Folklore, 1620-1984. Hanover, New Hampshire; and London, 1986.

Figurehead

Figurehead workingtemplateforffchallenges289929.png

With Destiny tied to the bowsprit branch, Marlie took command of her tree fort. She steered the pitching ship into the roiling sea of fog-drenched backyard, the surf of snow rising underneath the plunging bow. Over the howling wind she barked orders at her frightened crew.

“Should they really be out there in this weather?”

“They’re dressed for it and they’re under cover in the tree fort. Tommy will let her know when he’s had enough.”

“Maybe. Oh, here he is now. Tommy. Are you okay?”

“I had to walk the plank.”

“There’s hot chocolate in the galley, Mate.”

***

The January 31, 2019, Carrot Ranch prompt: In 99 words (no more, no less) write a story about sea mist. How does it create an environment for a story? It can set the stage or take the stage. Go where the prompt leads.

I was led back to Marlie and her Destiny Doll . You may remember her as the prophetess or maybe even as a Warrior

rwr-1.png