This week’s 99-word flash fiction challenge on Charli’s Carrot Ranch, will be presented to Sue Vincent as part of a celebration event for Sue and her writing.
Sue is a much-loved member of the blogging and writing community. At the moment she is facing a battle with her health and all the writers at Carrot Ranch are coming together to support Sue through their stories. You can read about Sue HERE!
The prompt for this flash is; In 99 words (no more, no less), write a story about life as a river of consciousness.
Through the Rough
As a young girl, under the watchful eyes of my father, I paddled with the minnow in the shallow part of Dundragon River. The safe part, where the water flowed gently across a million pebbles.
As years passed, I ventured further up the river. Deeper, muddier waters, where I learned to trust my own judgement in the absence of my protector. Tread carefully or be swallowed.
Keep my head above the water and prepare for the inevitable ripples. When the dam breaks, keep swimming, knowing that those watchful eyes will guide me across the rough, to gentle waters again.
We judge people all the time. We decide who we want in our lives and who we want as our friends. Of course we do! The people in our lives are important to us. They help us along. They have be compatible with us. It’s not always easy to find these special people.
We meet people in so many different ways. Through those we already know, our friends and family, through work or just by chance. We silently check them out. We look them up and down, listen to their views, work out whether we like them or not. Did we click? Will we be friends? Rivals maybe?
Do you rush into relationships with people or do you sit back and let the universe decide?
I have always given people the benefit of the doubt down through the years. It hasn’t always worked in my favour though. But I do believe that the unfavourable souls I’ve encountered have helped me to appreciate the more harmonious people in my life. These days I’m more inclined to let the universe decide for me. It’s easier!
However, I still can’t stop talking to strangers, but I do keep my distance—physically and mentally.
For Charli’s 99 word flash fiction challenge this week, she prompts us with Avocado Toast. (I almost did a bold thing and feigned a sickie) But I slapped my own butt and got out my favourite fat pen and picked my own brains.
George is my Friend
I often passed him by; the man sitting at the lake in a black shabby coat, and tattered old cap. Today I stopped.
‘I’m George. I’m 79 today,’ he smiled. He told me about himself. He offered to share his special birthday picnic with me. I declined, as I watched his dirty hands lifting the lid of his lunchbox.
‘Actually…yes please,’ I blurted.
He cut his avocado in half. He handed me my share, and a tiny wooden spoon.
‘A birthday toast to you George.’
When we bumped our avocado halves together, I knew I’d made a new friend.
It’s all about the Covid-19 these days, isn’t it? Oh…and the US elections, but I’m saying nothing about that.
I decided at the beginning of the pandemic that I didn’t want to blog about it, because it was everywhere. All over social media, on television, newspapers, so there was no point in me adding to the assemblage.
I contracted the virus in April, and I didn’t write about that either. I hadn’t the energy or the motivation to write very much at all. It took me months to get back into a proper writing routine. My summer was quiet, like everyone else’s. My mood was low and my energy levels were up and down like a yoyo.
However, I wasn’t the worst off, thank God. It’s been very difficult for a lot of people everywhere. People’s mental health is suffering now more than ever, for so many reasons. Financial worry and uncertainty for the future is a huge factor. Domestic abuse is another. And loneliness. It really is a terrible time for so many. How long will it take to fix the carnage? All we can do for now is our best. Make the best of what we have.
Lessons are being learned too. People have become more appreciative of their time and their families. During the first lockdown I realised the true value of school. My child missed the social aspect of the school environment, and I missed the routine and the discipline that school teaches them when it comes to doing their work. Home schooling began as a novelty, but I got frustrated with the maths. Was never my strong point! And I have to admit, I missed not having those few hours all to myself because it’s the best part of the day for me when it comes to writing. I need quiet and zero distractions.
I was glad when the schools re-opened in September. Although Little Miss Nine didn’t settle back in as easily as I expected her to, she’s okay now. My novel is once again the prime focus of my day. That’s my joy you see. It’s the first thing I think about when I wake up in the morning and often the last thing I think about when I go to bed at night. It gives me meaning and pleasure. I’m hopelessly in love with the art of creative writing.
What do you do every day that brings you joy? Even amidst all the upset and stress, you need to find something that will bring you joy. It doesn’t have to be complicated. It can be walking, cycling, painting, reading, listening and dancing to music…the list is endless!
Someone once said to me. ‘Find your joy and joy will find you.’ I had a good week with my joy. Last week was a frustrating one because I spent all of it on research – just for one scene. It was worth it though. I’m satisfied that I got this one scene finished and the plot is where I need it to be. I’m satisfied that I gave enough of my time to my family – face to face or by phone – who are of course all a joy to me too. And I’m sure you’ll say the same thing. But don’t be afraid to find a different kind of joy. That one thing that’s for you and no one else. Something that your mental health and well-being will benefit from at all times. And even if your joy might bring you frustration now and then, that’s okay. Your joy may be some sort of a challenge, and we know how challenges can frustrate us sometimes. And look at how good you feel when you complete a challenge.
Part of my writing routine involves a simple challenge that Charli Mills at Carrot Ranch Blog sets every Thursday. She gives a prompt that we have to use it in a 99 word story. You can find out more about that HERE.
I usually post my flash fiction over on my other blog. Tasheenga Writes Here (Yes, she’s Indian and she’s my alter ego)
‘Get Your Shit Together’by Ruth Field, is a no-nonsense approach to sorting out all that stuff in your life that always has to get done in the end anyway. The crappy things that wreck your head and holds you back from doing all the things you WANT to do – the things you enjoy.
I was attracted to this book by the title and because it promised to show me how to get more things done in less time. I was having one of those muddled up weeks and nothing was getting done. The prescription for a simpler life is learning how to release your ‘inner bitch’ (apparently, we all have one) and become a fearless superwoman.
It urges you to take a good hard look at how you deal with life’s challenges and unexpected events. And just as importantly, the simple stuff that some of us turn into problems by not dealing with them early on. By her tough talking attitude, Ruth Field will have you shaking in your boots! If you have even a hint of laziness in your bones, she’ll shame you into getting off your butt and just doing whatever it is you whinge about never being able to do. She doesn’t listen to excuses folks, and it’s hard not to agree with a lot of what she writes! There are various little exercises throughout the book that can help you organise your time and get motivated. Don’t skip the very valuable exercise on page 148!
Our healthy state of well-being is constantly being challenged by different aspects of and experiences in our lives. The key to health is to understand ourselves, so we enhance our strengths while minimising our weaknesses.
Through relaxation a person feels more at ease, secure, and can become open to positive change and better equipped to deal with life’s challenges.
It was while dealing with one of my own challenges in life, that I discovered the Feldenkrais method.