Flash Fiction: Paint

This week’s flash fiction prompt from Carrot Ranch was to write a story that involved paint.

This is what I wrote first:

I know it is hormones and heat causing my apathy but it is still scary.  
Scary to sit and not be able to think of a single thing one wants to do.  
Scary not knowing when one is going to get one’s self back again. 
 
Frustrating to desperately need sleep,  
going to bed knowing you aren’t going to get it. 
Frustrating knowing for a fact that one is going to be awakened
at least three times with bursts of heat.

Satisfying to look at the blank page of the sketchbook
and add a slash of color. 
Mindlessly?
Or
Mindfully?

This is not fiction. This is therapy. So often I find myself using the writing prompt to express my current mental state. This isn’t a bad thing but not my goal. So I tried a second time.

“Dream House”

She felt like Myrna Loy in “Mr. Blandings Builds his Dream House” as she recited paint colors to the contractor. 

“I am still figuring out my office”, she confessed.  It felt terribly important to get the color exactly right in the room she would spend the most time in.  

Since she couldn’t even narrow down a color family she was going by name now. She wanted something literary like ‘Writer’s Retreat’ or ‘Chapter and Verse’. 

She flipped through the paint chips and read ‘All Your Dreams’. The palest of pinks, more of a rosy cream.  Her future in paint.

I thought this was better but still has too much me in it. I’ll continue to work on that when I get back. I will miss the next two or three weeks as I will be on vacation and then having surgery.

P.S. I don’t know if those are real paint color names, I made them up. If I had more words I would have had the kitchen painted ‘Buttercup Yellow’, the hall bath ‘Tidal Blue’ and the master “Glacier Gray’. Turns out I like making up paint names. And I have a spot to use that skill in my novel!!

In the meantime enjoy your summer and have a safe and Happy 4th of July!

Flash Fiction: A Big Splash

This week’s 99 word flash fiction entry for Carrot Ranch.

“The Dream”

Jan worked on her novel off and on for years, decades. Long off periods: moves, jobs, babies, cancer. But she never totally gave up. She wrote and edited, wrote and edited some more.  On her 65thbirthday she decided it was finished. 

Jan left the book sitting on her desk, printed and bound by the local UPS store.  Her granddaughter found it, read it and self-published it on Kindle. Turns out it made a big splash in the mystery genre.  Meryl Streep played her heroine in the movie adaptation.

If only Jan had lived to see her wonderful success.

P.S. Maybe this is my dream. That means I have 13 more years to finish my novel. Whew, plenty of time yet. 🙃

May Madness: Muse

Muse: a source of inspiration

When I set this May challenge I had this image of myself sitting down each day and writing, “like a real writer”. I would compose thought provoking posts that people would find themselves mulling over all day. Or I would write something so funny they would snort with laughter and chuckle over it throughout the day.

I knew the reality would be much different. I knew there would be days I would sit in front of my computer with an empty mind. Good for meditation, not so good for writing. Most days I am doubtful that I am a “real writer”.

But I have surprised myself this month and the ideas have flowed. Okay, some were not the greatest ideas but I was able to write something. Perhaps not the great literary achievements I dream of but I have written. Today my muse seems to have deserted me. I guess I am lucky she stuck around as long as she did.

So is this enough for a blog post? I hope so because I really want to listen to the Cubs game that starts in a few minutes.

Oh the irony of the desert cactus being today’s picture! Not planned as I set up the pictures back in April.

Til tomorrow…

May Madness: Maple

Once again I am using one post to do double duty. (Remember? Lacking Motivation.) This weeks 99 word prompt from Carrot Ranch involved searching for trees, or at least one tree. So here you go.

“The Red Maple”

She bought the house in winter and didn’t realize the tree in the backyard was dead until spring.  She had it removed at the end of the summer and told herself she didn’t want to rake leaves anyway.

As the year progressed she thought the yard looked naked and found she missed raking leaves.

In the spring she wandered around the nursery feeling overwhelmed until she saw a six-foot tall red maple.  Her tree.

She took her home and named her ‘Betty’.

Thirty years later her heart still contracted with joy as she raked up Betty’s jewel colored leaves.  

We’ll just pretend this is a maple tree, okay?

Til tomorrow…

May Madness: Madness

Does anyone know how to disable the stupid tips that keep popping up when you go to write a post in WordPress? I tried clicking through them all thinking once I saw them they would stop. But no.

Clicking on disable tips only does it the one time. The next post they are back!

I have googled my brains out to no avail.

They are driving me to MADNESS!

May Madness: Morning

This whole writing a blog post everyday seemed like a great idea….back in April! Of course today I don’t feel like writing. So typical. When I was thinking about the logistics of May my first thought was to write my post right after I delivered small child to school. But of course I couldn’t do that today as I had a 9:30a appointment and then wanted to run a few errands while it was still relatively cool out.

And then there is the fact that I am not a morning person. Never have been. During my career I worked nights whenever I could. My motto was: “It’s easier to stay up until 5:00a then get up at 5:00a.” I sleep so much better during the day. I was thinking that at 1:30a this morning when I couldn’t get back to sleep. And then I started wondering if I would go back to being a night owl when my full time parenting duties are done. Hmmm.

Anyway, my other thing is not wanting to fall into a rut. So while I do a lot of the same things each day, a routine of habits if you will, I vary what order I do things in.

So I guess what I am saying is you and I will get to be surprised together about when I post each day.

Til tomorrow…

A morning shot of our saguaro blooming.


Flash Fiction (Exhaustion)

I had my idea for Carrot Ranch’s 99 word flash fiction topic right away but couldn’t quite get it right. I tried four different versions before settling on this one. Still not sure it conveys what I am trying to say. But I will be kind to myself this week and just go with it.

“The 36 Hour Day”

Last night’s game had gone thirteen innings followed by a long flight across the country.  A 5:00p first pitch the next day left no time for a nap. 

The radio announcer found himself giving an involuntary snort of laughter over the airwaves. An unexpected foul ball in the booth started the infectious chuckling.  The announcers couldn’t look at each other for fear of bursts of mirth escaping.  Their words came out strangled with laughter.

Punch drunk with exhaustion the radio announcers lost it in the seventh inning.  Baffled listeners were confused, not recognizing sleep deprivation when they heard it.

May Madness

As happens sometimes I have decided to shake things up a bit. I have been disappointed in myself with my writing of late. Worry over my menopausal issues, the transition to summer heat and greater demands on my parenting patience and energy and have left me feeling quite apathetic. I feel the need of a challenge. A challenge all my own. And so “May Madness” has been invented. I will write everyday this month. First opportunity I have each morning. In an added burst of insanity I have decided to only address topics that begin with the letter “M”. Why? Cause alliteration is cool? Because I am weird? To up the challenge a bit? Yeah, that last one sounds good. 🙃

In mid-April this seemed like a great idea. And then I wondered what to do about a photo. My site is set up in such a way I really do need a featured image. What to do? Learn something new! I spent an afternoon listening to Cubs baseball (a win!) and creating powerpoint slides, saving them as a jpeg and then adding them to my media library. I decided to keep it simple with clipart flowers. Flowers suit the month of May. I could have used my own flower photos but for whatever reason I felt like using drawings.

So tomorrow the potentially maddening mission begins.

Flash Fiction (Beggars Can’t Be Choosers)

I am not sure if I was inspired to write this from the photo of a cute Westie-ish dog on Carrot Ranch or my spouse who always says “no beggin’ dogs at the table”. (While Charli’s topic was meant to have a more serious bent on choices I felt the need for humor this week. So I chose light-hearted and fun. Charli is right, having a choice is always a good thing.) Either way my wonderful dog Sherlock is the star in this week’s 99 word entry for Carrot Ranch. (Sorry for the slightly blurry picture. I was too tired to set up “the shoot” again and most likely wouldn’t have done any better anyway. My subjects were not particularly cooperative!)

“No Beggin’ Dogs at the Table”

I couldn’t catch the rabbit no matter how fast I ran.  Darn, I was hungry.  My twitching paws woke me up and I looked at the clock but I had never learned to tell people time.  My stomach gurgled. I yawned and stretched and then trotted through the house sniffing for small child.  Ah, he was at the kitchen table.  He smelt of peanut butter and yogurt.  I licked his foot but found nothing tasty there.  I was impatient but settled on the floor under his feet where food was sure to be dropped.  I hoped it was bacon.

Flash Fiction (Fire)

This week’s prompt from Carrot Ranch immediately made me think of a campfire. My favorite time of year to go camping is in the fall. I suppose this is rather a riff on a “Good Things” post. I closed my eyes and imagined my family sitting around a campfire up at Aspen Campground on the Mogollon Rim. (Alas, the photo is actually from a spring trip to the Grand Canyon, the best I could do.)

Autumn Camping Joys

Crisp air

Achingly blue skies

Trees full of red and yellow leaves

Crunching leaves underfoot

Legs pleasantly aching after a long hike

Sizzling hot dogs over the fire

Laughter as yet another marshmallow bursts into flame

Smoke scented air drifting up

Hands stretched toward the warmth

Darkness falling

Stars emerging

Ghosts stories making you glance over your shoulder

Crackling logs

Steaming mugs of tea and cocoa

Sparks snapping

That drying leaves smell

Bursts of flames from pinecones

Snuggles under a fleece throw 

The hooting of an owl

 Moonlight shadows

Feeling the joy of togetherness under a vast sky

Contentment