Showing posts with label Prompt. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Prompt. Show all posts

Sunday, 29 October 2017

The Way You Make Me Feel

Hello! Here I am with a rather late last minute link-up offering for Friday Reflections. The prompt was this: put your Ipod on shuffle/turn the radio on. Write a post using the song as your prompt. 

The song I heard was Michael Jackson's The Way You Make Me Feel. So I made up this story and called it... The Way You Make Me Feel. Just for the good old obligatory Captain Obvious. Done.

Here it is: 


THE WAY YOU MAKE ME FEEL





I was standing at the sink when Ben came in and turned the radio on. The infectious beat of Michael Jackson's The Way You Make Me Feel filled the room.

"Turn it off!" I snapped. 

"What's wrong with you?" Ben frowned. 

 I still couldn't hear that song so many years later. It had been one of her favourites. Ben poured himself coffee and made toast. I took slow breaths and tried to stop shaking. The flashbacks were happening again. I'd never told Ben what had happened. 

We were getting married soon. It was time. I couldn't keep this from him. Stephanie should have been here, helping me prepare for our upcoming wedding. She would have been my bridesmaid and closest confidante.

She would have helped me plan a hen's night and choose the dress. Just like I would have helped her. Although Steph had always scoffed at the idea of settling down. She'd wanted to travel. Now she would never get to do any of it. Because of me. 

I don't know how long I stood there before I realised I was crying. My knees gave way and I sunk to the ground. 

"What's wrong?" Ben was alarmed.

"I have to tell you something," I mumbled. 


Ben's eyes clouded, his expression wary. "Okay."

"I killed some one." 


"I'm sorry," Ben laughed. He clearly  thought I was joking. 


"I killed someone." This time was louder.

"I don't understand." Ben had crouched beside me. He sunk onto the floor. I told him everything. 

I told him about that rainy day so many years ago. I was only seventeen and a cocky P-plate driver. We'd gotten into the car to go on a road trip to the coast. We were so full of joy. Carefree, young. Having our first taste of freedom. We'd been laughing and listening to music. It started to rain but that certainly didn't dampen our spirits. 

Then the song came on. 

"Turn it up!" Stephanie urged. I obliged. We both joined in to the chorus like over eager drunken karaoke participants at a pub. To this day I still don't know what happened. I wasn't speeding. I hadn't been drinking. I just lost control of the car. One minute were singing along in jubilation, and the next we weren't. I woke up in hospital. Stephanie didn't. It was a miracle I was alive. That miracle hadn't extended to my friend. I'd killed her. 


I would never forget the pinched haunted faces of her parents at her funeral. I knew what they were thinking. I thought it too. Why her and not our daughter? In the months and years that followed, my life unravelled. I quit driving. It was impossible. I couldn't imagine ever driving again. It was only because of my parents unwavering support that I eventually finished university and began working. I'd met Ben through mutual friends, and life suddenly seemed sweet again. Until I heard I heard a damn Michael Jackson song and it all came rushing back. 

"Babe, it wasn't your fault," Ben regarded me with those magnificent blue eyes that had made me fall in love with him. "It was an accident." I sobbed in his arms. 

Some weeks later I knew what I had to do. I was shaking as I rang the doorbell. Ben squeezed my hand.


"Claire!" Stephanie's eyes gaped at me. 

"Hello, Mrs Carlson." 


She ushered us in and I introduced Ben. Mr Carlson shuffled in from the backyard and shook Ben's hand warmly. The picture in the living room momentarily halted me. Stephanie and I were smiling from inside the frame wearing our formal gowns.  Mrs Carlson caught me looking at it and we exchanged glances before she excused herself to make coffee. 


We finally sat down with steaming mugs for sustenance. "I suppose you're wondering why I'm here," I began. 

"I'm just glad you came," Mrs Carlson replied. "We never see any of Steph's friends. It's...like she didn't exist..." she trailed off.

"The thing is," Mr Carlson continued "we didn't handle things very well at the time."

"Neither did I," I admitted "I'm so sorry..."


Before I could go on Mrs Carlson shook our head. "We realise now that it wasn't your fault."

We all had tears in our eyes and the atmosphere was charged.

"I've always wanted to ask you something." Mrs Carlson broke the silence. "Do you remember her last words?"


I nodded through my tears. "We were singing The Way You Make Me Feel. It was on the radio."

Mrs Carlson managed a winsome smile. "She always loved that song." 


"Yes, she did."

Once we started talking about Steph, we couldn't stop. I felt her presence. My funny, amazing, beautiful friend with her red gold hair and crooked nose. We remembered her love of 80s music, animals, the beach. Her offbeat sense of humour, her kindness. It felt so good to talk about my friend again. Before we left, I handed Mrs Carlson an invitation to mine and Ben's wedding. "I'll understand if you don't want to come," I said.


"We wouldn't miss it," she insisted. "Thank you." 

We walked to the car and Ben looked at me. "Proud of you," he said and handed me the car keys. "You can do it." 

I got in and turned the key in the ignition with shaking hands. Slowly, we drove away. 

Saturday, 14 October 2017

Bated Breath


Greetings and salutations, lovely readers! How are you all? I keep pretending that there are so many of you. Why not? It's a lovely little game called Being Delusional that I like to play. No harm done. 

So just for shits and giggles I wrote a little made up story for Friday Reflections inspired by the prompt: Bated breath.  Of course I didn't get around to posting, linking and sharing it until Saturday evening, but, as I like to say, details! Besides, that's just how I rock a Saturday night! So anyway, here it is...



BATED BREATH


Adrenaline pulsated through me as I approached the counter. Every nerve ending was tingling. It happened every time. It was equal parts thrilling and gut wrenching. Yet, I couldn't stop. 

"How are you today?" the teller flashed a flight attendant smile. Her eyes were warm behind her designer frames. I glanced at her name tag. 

Louise. 


"Good thanks," I replied, matching her smile. I couldn't be sure if it reached my eyes. Mentally I summed her up. Her ash blonde bob and manicured nails spoke of regular trips to a salon. Her trim physique suggested an expensive gym membership.  Louise was thoroughly middle class. She probably had an immaculate brick home in a leafy suburb. A husband. Kids. Just like me. 

Except I was different. I had to be.

"How can I help you?" Louise asked.


I slid the cheque across the counter.  "I need to deposit this," I handed her my key card. My hands were steady. I had become skilled at pretending that depositing generous cheques was common place for me. 


"No problem," she swiped my card and efficiently tapped away. 

I waited with bated breath. My exterior remained placid, inscrutable as my heart beat a crescendo in my chest. Any moment she might say something. Louise's pleasant features would suddenly look puzzled. An eternity seemed to pass as I willed my heart to slow. 


How many similar cheques had I deposited in the past few months? I'd lost count. Each time was the same. The trepidation. Exhilaration. Bated breath. 

"Done!" Louise beamed. It was too easy. "Have a great weekend," she added, handing me back my card. 

"You too," I exhaled, then strode out past the security guard. Maybe I wasn't safe yet. He might tap me on the shoulder. I would be cornered. Found out for the absolute fraud that I was. I lived in perpetual fear of being discovered. When I wasn't, elation replaced fear. 

The guilt always evaporated when I walked out into the busy shopping mall. I felt alive. Energised. Euphoric. I was living a double life and I loved it. Time to go shopping. 

Travis would have picked Ella and Max up by now. He'd be at home, patiently helping with homework and preparing the evening meal. He'd taken on the reluctant role of house husband since he'd been made redundant a year ago. 

Meanwhile, their bills were piling up. Travis couldn't find another job despite applying for many. He sank into depression. I'd had no choice. I was the breadwinner now. 

I lingered near one of my favourite boutiques, lost in my thoughts There was only one way to stop these intrusive worries. Shopping. My card was never declined these days. That hadn't been the case some months ago. 

"We'll have to sell the house," Travis had told me. He was flat and defeated. 

"NO!" I couldn't bear it. It was our dream home, minutes from the beach. We'd been living the good life and I wasn't ready to give it up. 

"We just can't afford the mortgage repayments," Travis argued.

"I'll be getting a promotion soon," I said "we can make it work."

In the end he gave in, too bogged down in his depression. He already felt like a failure for losing his job. Now his wife was taking care of him. He'd always been so driven. We both were. There was no way we could just give up on our lavish existence. It would be humiliating. I was too proud.


Sure, we could sell the house, but then what? We'd had have to live somewhere. Imagine having to leave their prestigious suburb to move to bum fuck boganville. I'd worked too hard to get out of there. I couldn't go back. I'd have to take Max and Ella out of their expensive schools and send them to the school I'd gone to. There was no way I'd ever do that. So I made my decision.

Though in some ways it seemed like it was made for me. My role at the major insurance company where I worked involved drawing and cancelling cheques. On that fateful day I was there early. 




There was a tap on my office door. "Coffee!" my assistant Veronica trilled.

"Thanks," I took it, smiling. Veronica was a decade younger than me and I'd taken her under my wing. She seemed to have something of 'girl crush' on me. I knew she aspired to be where I was eventually. 


"I'll leave you to it," she said, closing the door. Then I saw it. A returned cheque. The customer was no longer at the address.

Ms Sarah James.


I couldn't believe it. I knew I was meant to cancel it. Instead, I put it in my top drawer and locked it. I tried to forget, but it was burned into my brain. When I left the office, darkness was descending. In more ways than one.

"See you tomorrow, Sarah," Veronica said. She eyed my Prada suit with open envy as I sashayed to the lifts. 


At home there were more bills. Final demands. The next day I banked the cheque. It was fate that my name was the same. Didn't everything happen for a reason? 

As the weeks went on, it became an addiction. I would draw another. Just one more, I told myself. To get myself out of this predicament, give me more time. One more became two more, and eventually I lost count. 

"It's exquisite, isn't it?" The sales assistant startled me out of my ruminating. "Would you like to try it on?" 

Before I knew it, she'd ushered me to the change rooms. The dress hung perfectly over my lean frame. Stress and long hours had made me too edgy to eat much these days, though I managed several coffees and wines each day.  The liquid and embezzlement diet certainly paid off, I mused.

"I'll take it," I told the sales assistant. I could always leave the tags on and return it, I told myself. Besides, it was an exclusive label, so it was practically an investment. I could already picture the likes and envy on Insta.

 And anyway, I deserved this. I had to carry the entire financial load while Travis was at home with the kids. I would need more wine. I made a quick detour to the bottle shop. 

I walked into work the next day with a sense of foreboding. I shook it off. I saw my reflection in the elevator mirror. I looked sensational. I was winning at this thing called life.

"Good morning!" I greeted colleagues who refused to meet my eyes. Outside my office, Veronica was absent. She was always there early. My stomach dropped. I glanced at the gold lettering on my office door.

SARAH JAMES 

Financial Manager

Then I saw them. My boss was approaching me with a subdued Veronica at his side.

I froze. Bated breath. It was all over. 


"You will do jail time," I was told. When I rang Travis he was livid. He was taking the kids and going to stay with  his parents. My whole world was crumbling around me. 


The last thing I remembered as I cleared my desk was Veronica's cold stare. 


THE END.

What do you think about silly old Sarah?

Do bills give you bated breath?


Friday, 24 March 2017

Page Twenty-Seven

Hello again, lovelies! I'm back to moan about the weather. At least I am consistent with SOME things. Related: I am totally over this piss rain/become humid rinse/repeat thing.  That is what is happening in Sydney, anyway. I long for warm autumn days with crisp evenings... 

Well, I am glad I got that little whinge over with. As expected, it didn't change a thing. Funny about that. This would seem to confirm that there is simply no point or purpose in complaining about things you cannot control nor change. This won't stop me from doing it again, I expect. Like I said, consistency is key!

While I am here, I may as well join in for Friday Reflections. At any rate, it will stop me from whinging. 

This week I have decided to go with the prompt: 

  • Pick up the book you are currently reading, go to page 27 and write a post starting with the first line on that page.
Okay, if you insist. 

Dutifully, I pick up a book I have already read and am re-reading. It's a non-fiction book called Use Your Words: A Myth-Busting No-Fear Approach To Writing by Catherine Deveny. 

Upon flipping over to page 27, I discover these words:

After a quote attributed to Dorothy Parker:  
"I hate writing. I love having written". 

Then, the first complete sentence is this: 

I tell my Gunnas: 90% of writing never sees the light of day. But 100% of writing makes the writer feel better for having written it. 

Oh, how I love this sentence! In fact, I really love this book. This is coming not long after I had written a post proclaiming that I didn't think books about writing were helpful.  I've changed my mind after reading this book. It's tremendously helpful. I recommend it, especially if you are feeling stuck about writing in any way. 

I definitely relate to the above sentence.  You see, this is really the main reason why I write and have a blog. It just makes me feel better. I liken it to exercise. I'm actually inclined to be rather lazy, easily distracted and a procrastinator. Not very palatable to admit, but there it is. The truth hurts. OUCH.

There is never any day when I wake up bursting with inspiration and/or motivation to either a) exercise, or b) write. But boy, when I make myself do these things, do I feel better. SO much better. So, if nothing ever comes of my word vomit, and nothing ever has, it's worth it just for that. 

By the way, Catherine Deveny runs a writing master class which she calls "Gunnas", so that's what she is referring to. 

She also notes elsewhere in the book that there is no forced sharing in these groups. The reason behind this: it doesn't matter what anyone thinks of your writing. It doesn't even matter what YOU think of your writing, the only thing that matters is that you write. Genius! 

I expect writing makes me feel better because I can express myself better through writing, not talking. For some one who has considerable anxiety, it's a calming activity. Scribbling or tapping away is comforting for me. Furthermore, it's something  I can do with my hands besides shoving food into my mouth. Ahem. It also allows me to connect with others in a way that I'm unable to do in person. I'm introverted, shy and autistic, so people skills are not my forte. 

Often, if I'm over thinking, the very act of 'writing it out' and brain dumping helps tremendously. I don't necessarily need to share it. I have so many notebooks scattered everywhere about the house. They would make for very tedious reading if anyone got a hold of them. However, notebooks are so much cheaper than therapists!  So I'll call that a win. 

And with this bloody weather, what else can one do? Whoops! I'm whinging about the weather AGAIN. Time for me to go and do some more scribbling I need never share! Over and out. 

Do you agree? Do you think most writing isn't shared, but still makes the writer feel better?

Saturday, 4 March 2017

Imagination



With my imagination I can behold
Mysteries, stories, tales to be told

Search through the archives of my mind
Ask probing questions, transcend time

I'm sitting, just staring, so it would seem
Dreaming things that make my eyes gleam

Thinking up magical words to create
Making up characters, deciding their fate

Lost in the wonder of words I discover
Finding a rhythm, then writing another

Sitting in bed, pen in my hand
Come to me now, dear words, I command

When I have written, I like how I feel
Something shifts and inside I heal

In a quiet corner where my books all reside
Another notebook, words jumbled, I've tried

With a laptop and imagination, I tap away
Contented and happy in this simple way

Flying away in both heart and mind
Along with the wind, to see what I'll find

Past houses, trees and curious people
A windswept beach, a sombre church steeple

Thinking of questions, pondering answers
Daring to dream, take further chances 

To ancient lands of haughty queens and kings,
Creatures and serpents and sinister things

Grotesque visions that make your heart lurch
Yes, imagination is the highest research!

Outside the window, the rain starts to fall
I'm lost to my imagination's beckoning call

I weave my words, unaware of the time
Oblivious to the washing, now wet on the line!

Suddenly I see my dear Mickey Blue Eyes

Who looks out, aghast, and hastily cries

"Didn't you hear it?"I give a sheepish no.
 It's hard to believe I didn't, I know.

I said it before, but one more time...
Imagination is the place you will find

The research for all the things you ponder
True glory and hope, visions of wonder

Of course imagination is the highest research
It's always a blessing, but sometimes a curse!

Abruptly I have to crash back to Earth,

Be present and focused to prove my worth

So I must explain, I often feel misunderstood
I'm a wistful dreamer whose intentions are good

Although imagination does take me away
It's how I express the things I can't say

It's not laziness that you think you see
This is the magic of imagination for me

I'm sitting, just staring, so it would seem
Dreaming of things that make my eyes gleam

With my imagination I can behold
Mysteries, stories, tales to be told...



Linking up for Friday Reflections with a poem that is inspired by the following two prompts: 


 “Imagination is the highest form of research” – Albert Einstein. Use this quote in your post or as an inspiration for one.

 What’s the one thing you wish others understood about you


Do you think imagination is the highest form of research?

What's the one thing you wish others understood about you? 

Friday, 23 September 2016

If Toys Had Feelings







It's another fabulous Friday! I'm joining in again for Friday Reflections with a lovely little poem based on the prompt:

If toys had feelings. Write a post or story and get creative! 




IF TOYS HAD FEELINGS


If toys had feelings, they'd hate the toy box
Barbie would emerge, shaking her blonde locks
"I'm free!" she would shout triumphant, and then
March off, leaving behind bland old plastic Ken

Toys DO have feelings, that delightful doll house
The complex jigsaw puzzle, the cute cuddly mouse
Huggable, lovable teddy bears sit all in a row
Their expressions hide all the things they know

If toys had feelings they'd be alive
Full of adventure, daring to strive
Round marbles gleaming ethereal hues
Ballerinas perched in glittering shoes

If toys had feelings, the little Lego Man
Would bustle about his magic Lego Land
Suddenly it's clear there's more than you can see
You'll fly the wishing chair, climb the faraway tree!

Toys have feelings, I believe they do!
Just open your mind, you'll see it too!
The rusty toy truck forlorn and dejected
Mr Five has left him alone and rejected

Building blocks scattered with abandon and glee
Played with by all day by creative Miss Three
A train set whirs along the track, chug-a-chug-chug
Match box cars weave around the pattern on the rug

Toys have feelings? Why yes, of course! 
See the quirky grin on the quaint rocking horse?
The rocket ship that blasts boldly to the moon
 A music box moves us with a melancholy tune

Dainty cups on jaunty saucers, a tea party for two
Don't hurt their feelings, whatever you do! 
Sip the pretend tea and sigh in sheer delight
Cherish those toys with all of your might!

Toys DEFINITELY have feelings, I have decided
This fanciful thought must not be derided
Toys recall the feelings we didn't think would last
Joy, innocence, childhood memories long past

Toys remind us of the playful side of life
To make time for laughter, cast aside strife
Enjoy those toys like you are still young
Their magic and mystery has only just begun!



Linking up for
 Friday Reflections and FYBF. 






What was  your favourite childhood toy? 


Do you make time to be playful? 

Friday, 9 September 2016

Friday Reflections: Careful What You Wish For


Hello there shakers and groovers!  It should probably be groovers and shakers, but I thought I'd mix it up a bit.  Isn't it great to wake up and realise it's Friday? Until you remember that you're a parent and Fridays mean nothing anymore. NOTHING! No weekends off from this parenting gig. How rude! 

Anyway, today is exciting because I've decided to join in with the gang for Friday Reflections. 

Just for fun and something different I wrote a short piece of fiction based on the following prompt: 

Write a story or poem that begins with a character throwing a coin into a fountain.

Please note: I am not wonderful at writing fiction, but for the sake of pushing myself out of my comfort zone I gave it a go. I haven't written much of it since high school. So I probably write like a pretentious fifteen year old. But it's fun. So why not? 


Anyway, here it is:



BE CAREFUL WHAT YOU WISH FOR


She'd only closed her eyes for a nanosecond. The coin splashed. A wish was made. She immediately felt foolish. Ordinarily she didn't believe in such fanciful things.  


They strolled through the park at least twice a week. Every time they passed the fountain Ava would squeak "Mummy! Wish!" 

She  would shake her head "No." As soon as she agreed, that would be the end of it. It would become a ritual. They might as well save their coinage for something else.

Somehow today had been different. Spring had arrived,in all it's bewitching brilliance. Manda felt relaxed for the first time in ages. She wanted to make an effort to wander and linger. To be present with her daughter, instead of rushing to the next thing on her to-do list.  She paused near the fountain in the afternoon sunshine. 

"Let's make a wish." 

Her daughter's eyes lit up. Maybe she'd been wrong in denying her this moment of joy, of blind faith. It was only a coin. When she opened her eyes, the smile dissolved from her face.

Ava was gone. 


She scanned the park, her heart wild.

"Ava!" She tried to stop her voice from shaking.  She stepped closer to the fountain.
 Don't faint! She told herself. The water glimmered and gushed. Coins littered the bottom of the fountain. Nothing else.  
"AVA!" Stronger this time. Louder. Shrill. She headed back towards the swings, almost stumbling in her haste. People were staring. 

"Did you lose your daughter?" A man asked. 


No shit, sherlock! The thought slapped her. She didn't have time for pleasantries.

Racing towards the swings, she was hysterical. She was shouting now, uncaring about the perplexed stares of strangers. Ava was nowhere to be seen. She wasn't on the swings, the slide, or caught inside the complicated jungle gyms.

The wish Manda had whispered to herself just moments earlier lurked in the back of her mind, taunting her.

Selfish bitch, her mocking inner voice told her. See? Be careful what you wish for! 

But all I wanted was some quiet time! She wailed back inwardly. 

All she wished for right now was to see her daughter safe, unharmed. That was the only thing that was important. 

A crowd had gathered now. "What did she look like?" 


Shakily she pulled out her phone to display a photo. It was taken last month. What kind of mother was she? She didn't even take photos of her own daughter. 

In the minutes that followed, a million thoughts flitted through Manda's mind. Each one more horrifying. More frantic searching and shouting ensued, but still no Ava. 

"Maybe we should call the police?" A woman suggested. 

"Mummy!"  Ava was running toward her. "You left me!" 

A sheepish young woman with a dog on a leash gave Manda a nervous smile.

"She came over to pat my dog. Then we couldn't find you," she explained. 


Manda was in tears. Relief washed over her. She hugged Ava, but she struggled free. Clearly she thought the whole kerfuffle was Manda's fault. 

The crowd dissipated, losing interest now. The sun was starting to disappear behind the clouds. Manda thanked the young woman and began the slow walk home. Her most important wish had been answered. 


Linking up with Sanch for Friday Reflections.





Do you believe in wishes?