“Reason” -Flash Fiction for Friday Fictioneers

This story was written for Friday Fictioneers, hosted by wonderful writer, Rochelle, on her website, Addicted to Purple.  Each week, she provides us with a photo prompt and her own story, and we have 100 words to respond with out take.  Anyone is welcome to participate–just give credit to the provider of the photo prompt (this week, thanks to Liz Young!), write your own story, and click on the blue frog below to read others’ work and add a link to your own.

PHOTO PROMPT © Liz Young

Photo Prompt – Copyright Liz Young

Reason

(99 words)

“I wish you’d known her,” Paul said.  “I mean—the way she was.”

Amy sighed.  Since they started uploading personalities to robotic simulacra, everyone blamed “the process” for their loved ones’ shortcomings.

“Honey—don’t hate her.  She loves you—she always—“

“She must’ve been an alcoholic before,” Amy said.  “They say the bodies don’t crave—it’s the memories.”

“She—“

“And there’s a reason she keeps doing this.”

Paul was still cradling the familiar head.  This time, when Mom had destroyed herself, part of the face came off.

“We’ll get her fixed,” Paul said.

“We can’t,” Amy said.

Trying.  Tired. 

Trucks pass, TV’s on 

downstairs.  A candle flickers.  

Feet cold. Try to sleep. 

*

The sound machine in 

her room breathes ocean waves through 

baby’s monitor. 

*

The day clings ’round my

sternum, brushing heart and lungs,

burrowing there, though

I try to pry it

loose, humanely. 

*

You arrive. 

The house is darker,

quieter, heavier,

and I try to let the heaviness

blanket me, 

or to float off

into light nothing.  

I’m trying to sleep. 

The Wonderful World of Podcasts for the Stay-At-Home Mom (or Anyone!)

In my new life as a stay-at-home mom (at least until my sabbatical year is over and I return to teaching), I’ve found that podcasts have been indispensable.  It’s not that there’s not enough to do–my daughter is walking now (and dancing, quacking and mooing) and as she interacts more and more with me and the world, we’re having a lot of fun together.  But early on, when there was a lot more quiet, still time, and even now, when she’s asleep and I’m catching up on chores, I find that podcasts are a great way to let my mind play while I do something else.

Here are a few that I’ve been enjoying, in no particular order.  All of them are available through iTunes.  I’ve been using the Apple podcast app.

  1.  Selected Shorts – short stories read aloud by celebrities – perfect for the writer on the gowho needs to read!  A lot variety in the stories, but all great!
  2. The New Yorker Fiction Podcast and The Writer’s Voice – The Fiction podcast has a previously featured creative writer choose an archived story, read it aloud, and discuss it with the fiction editor of The New Yorker.  In The Writer’s Voice, the writers of current New Yorker stories read their work aloud.
  3. Dear Sugar – An advice podcast from Cheryl Strayed and Steve Almond where they practice “radical empathy.”  Binge-listened to all of these when I found this podcast.
  4. Mental Illness Happy Hour – Comedian Paul Gilmartin interviews people about their mental health struggles and stories with a lot of humor and compassion.
  5. Unexplained and Lore – similar in tone, these two podcasts explore strange, mysterious occurrences in history that often seem like they could be tinged with the paranormal
  6. Real Ghost Stories Online – Just starting to listen to this one, but it’s interesting.  People share their ghost stories with the hosts.
  7. Serial and Undisclosed – The first season of Serial is the story of Adnan Syed, who was convicted of the murder of his girlfriend, Hae Min Lee.  Serial seeks to explore whether Adnan could be innocent.  I will confess that I did not listen to the second season.  Undisclosed seeks to show that Adnan is innocent.
  8. Up and Vanished – This podcast is investigating the disappearance of Tara Grinstead
  9. Harry Potter and the Sacred Text – Vanessa and Casper, Harvard Divinity students, explore the series, chapter by chapter, through themed lenses, seeking meaning and connection in the texts.
  10. Imaginary Worlds – Exploration of comics, fantasy, and sci-fi worlds, their elements, and how they are created.  Very interesting, even though I’m not quite the aficionado of Star Wars or Star Trek, I get a lot out of each episode, even those that cover topics I’m less familiar with.  Pat Rothfuss even appeared on this one, and what’s not to like about that?
  11. Hidden Brain and the Ted Radio Hour – Learning new things with NPR
  12. Modern Love – True stories of all types of love (romantic, familial, etc.) originally published in the New York Times “Modern Love” column read aloud by celebrities

Are you listening to podcasts, too?  What are your favorites?  Have you listened to some of these?  I’d be happy to hear your thoughts!  I hope to get back to being more diligent about my blog now that the baby is sleeping through the night again (Hallelujah, and please don’t let me jinx it!) and the holidays are over.  I’ve been tutoring privately during my extended maternity leave, and my tutoring schedule has been really busy too, but that is a good thing!

Poem for Enjoying Raffi Music with My Daughter

So I’ve been too long absent from my blog.  My daughter (almost one year old!) has been teething for about six weeks straight (I think–I am losing track of time–maybe it’s been two months?  Maybe it’s been forever?), and while I am content overall, I have not been getting as much writing done as I’d like.  She’s been up once or twice in the night most nights, and has been racking up the teeth!  At least I hope she can take some solace in her dental progress, though I’m not sure that’s her focus.

Though I still feel passionately about being a teacher, I’ve been settling into being a stay-at-home mom, and feel pretty happy in this role.  I have also been tutoring part-time, mostly when my husband is home in the evenings, but my mom has also helped out.  Life is a lot different for me this year compared to last year and then again the year before…

One of the things I’ve been really loving is singing, dancing, and moving along with Raffi.  Anyone else remember him?  His tender, creative, folk singing was a staple in my childhood, and I’ve learned that he’s still performing, and I now follow him on Twitter.   Here’s a link to one of his songs on YouTube.  We have one of his concerts on DVD and an album to listen to, too.  My daughter LOVES him.  She is entranced by the music and bounces up and down, sitting or standing.  We clap, we stomp–she attempts to snap.  We have maracas–it’s a good time!  So, while I may not be sleeping as much as I’d like, I wanted to rejoin my blog with a little poem celebrating something awesome.

*

Poem for Enjoying Raffi with My Daughter

Bouncing, face alight,

she shakes her maraca, claps–

checks that I’m dancing, too.

*

On another note, for those upset about what we’ve been seeing in Syria, one of the ways to help is to donate to the White Helmets.  I did, today–here is the link to their site: https://www.whitehelmets.org/en.  The area for donations is near the bottom when you scroll down.

“Love” – Flash Fiction for Friday Fictioneers

Sorry for some of my late replies last week.  That election was a shocker.  (By the way, if you’re interested, I had a story, “The Magic,” inspired by current events recently published with Necessary Fiction–please feel free to check it out.)  And it didn’t help my writing that my little one has been teething something wicked–but still feeling lucky and happy to be home with her this year (and tutoring part-time) before going back to work full time next fall.

This story was written for Friday Fictioneers, hosted by wonderful writer, Rochelle, on her website, Addicted to Purple.  Each week, she provides us with a photo prompt and her own story, and we have 100 words to respond with out take.  Anyone is welcome to participate–just give credit to the provider of the photo prompt (this week, thanks to Bjorn!), write your own story, and click on the blue frog below to read others’ work and add a link to your own.

PHOTO PROMPT © Björn Rudeberg

Photo Prompt copyright Bjorn Rudberg

Love

(99 words)

Before Jodie was one, she shouted, shook maracas, and banged on every surface.  She bounced when music played, clapping and smiling her gummy smile.

When she was seven, she played the guitar by the pond, and the fireflies hovered around her, bobbing gently with the music.

At ten, she played a trumpet solo that filled everyone in the audience with confidence.  The principal had her play during the morning announcements, to dispense daily courage.

When she fell in love, she snuck into the church and played her cello.  Light gathered.  Momentarily, everything in her and around her was holy.

“Stolen Collection” – Flash Fiction for Friday Fictioneers

This story was written for Friday Fictioneers.  Each week, Rochelle gives us an image and 100 words to tell a story.  She also inspires us with a story of her own.  This week’s prompt image comes from Jean L. Hays – thanks!  Click on the blue frog below to read more stories that correspond to this prompt and to add your own.

By the way, I’ve been having trouble trying to comment on Blogger or Blogspot blogs…maybe something in my privacy settings?  I will try to investigate.  I keep pressing the “publish” button, but it won’t publish; the page just refreshes with my comment still pending.

jean-l-hays

Photo Prompt Copyright Jean L. Hays

Stolen Collection

(100 words)

“Really?”

“Come on—adventure!  Local color!” Ben said, steering Janice into the little store by the highway.

Merchandise was piled against the windows.  Ben started explaining their unorthodox honeymoon to the silent owner.

Then she saw it—an unremarkable green plaid shirt—yet her heart swung toward it even before she saw the pink heart patch she’d sewn on the elbow twenty years ago.

It was quiet.  Ben was staring at a locket, mouth open.

“How—” Janice said, holding the shirt. “My dad?”

“Things find their way here,” the owner said, sitting back.  “People, too.  What’s your memory worth?”

If you have a moment and the interest, I hope you’ll check out my story, “The Magic,” published with Necessary Fiction today.  : )

Short Poems for Halloween

 

Poem for Little One’s First Halloween

Warm, fleecy unicorn

watches trick-or-treaters

and her silver horn

in the dark window.

Playing with Papa,

admiring Grammy’s light-up earrings,

waiting for her cousins.

Next year, she’ll walk with them,

taller, faster, in a new guise.

*

Haiku for an Empty Candy Bowl on the Porch upon Returning Home

We were not home, but

left candy out, knowing that

one child might take all.

*

Haiku from my Dog on Halloween Night

Too loud, too many–woof!

Or let me out to play–woof!

I’ll run wild, like you!

“Long Shadows” – Flash Fiction for Friday Fictioneers

This story was written for Friday Fictioneers.  Each week, Rochelle gives us an image and 100 words to tell a story.  She also inspires us with a story of her own.  This week, she included an excerpt from her forthcoming book, As One Must, One Can.  This week’s prompt image comes from Peter Abbey – thanks!  Click on the blue frog below to read more stories that correspond to this prompt and to add your own.

Friday Fictioneers–those of you on Twitter might also like participating in the daily #VSS365 prompt from @FlashDogs!  Tweet a story inspired by the prompt and include the #VSS365 hashtag!

peter-abbey11

Image copyright Peter Abbey

Long Shadows

(99 words)

Hannah walked Josie home using the footbridge over the river.

Hannah pointed at the graffiti.  “From the H-C Gang.  Don’t come here without me—they might get you.”

Josie stared, silent.

“See the chain-link sides?” Hannah added. “They’re to keep people from jumping.”

Josie didn’t understand, but her dreams were full of black paint and people jangling the chain link, trying to get out, to jump.

Years later, Josie stood on the bridge, pulling her sleeves down over her wrists.  She knew there probably hadn’t been an H-C Gang in their little town.  Some dangers, though, were real enough.