creative writing

Staying in Focus: Daily Prompt:Verbal Confirmation: To Be or Not, I Think

Daily Prompt: to be, to have, to think, to move — which of these verbs is the one you feel most connected to? Or is there another verb that characterizes you better?

“To be or not to be,” wrote the British bard, so perhaps that is the answer to the question. Then again the French philosopher Descartes said, “I think, therefore I am,” making thought a key to existence. However, his quote includes I am, a form of the verb to be, so it is hard to choose which one, to be or to think, takes precedence.

Certainly, from a mindfulness point of view to be is the goal. Not to have this or that, not to have our minds mired in thought, or to move aimlessly about, but to be in the moment, aware of the now, present and accounted for. To be one with creation, with the universe, with all there is. To be alive certainly beats non-being. In fact, recently, my son and I had a conversation about not-being. He said he really couldn’t fathom that state – what it would be like not to be. It’s not something we care to think about so, “to be” seems a likely choice as the verb that I’m most connected to.

That is not to say that to think lacks importance as a characteristic. It’s just that we have to achieve the state of being, before we can think, have or move. At least, I think so? 🙂

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Staying in Focus: Daily Prompt: A House Divided

Dai;y Prompt:

Daily Prompt: A House Divided

Pick a divisive issue currently in the news. Write a two-part post in which you take on two personas and approach the topic from both sides. Bonus points for a creative format (roundtable discussion, debate transcript, etc.).

She gazed out the window at the bright green lawns, rolling toward the shore beyond. At the water’s edge if she stretched her neck far enough she could see the children playing in the surf. Faintly , their laughter carried on the breeze, like  the tinkling of wind chimes.  That is how life should be for children, she thought. Despite her medication, her mind traveled back to that terrible day the man lost his mind and fired his gun into a crowd . She was there. She couldn’t control him. She failed to stop him. She remembered the arguments she and Jonathan had over gun control. She argued for  total gun control, no guns at all. because once you had them, the temptation to use them in the heat of a moment was too strong.  He argued for the polar opposite , total freedom to bear arms as stated in the constitution. But she had studied the constitution and its intent that  one had the right to bear arms within the ranks of a militia. The Founding Fathers never envisioned AK 47s,  she’d told him. She had recently been to Ireland, where not even the police had guns,Their country seemed to be fine with it. Of course, she knew it would be impossible to rid the world of them, now she longed to just be able to dispose of those under her control. But that was the problem. As she and Jonathan  grew older, her control over him was weakening. Even now, she could feel him growing stronger. She closed her eyes.

“‘Don’t try that trick with me. Jackie. I know you are awake.”

“Please don’t  start a fight with me today, Jonathan. I don’t have the strength to argue with you.”

“Argue about what?,” he asked.

“About the guns,” she said, “as we  always do.”

“I will not argue, but I will say this,” he said.” You know my feelings about it. Without our guns, our government or some other one, can take over faster than  you can say “second amendment.” You told me about the book remember? How one day the women woke up to find all their financial accounts frozen, and soon all their civil rights as well. It was you who was so afraid back then, of losing your rights and access to your money like the women in that book.  You were so afraid you asked me to get the guns. It was all your idea, Jackie. In fact, everything that happened – it was all you.”

She heard the lock being opened on her door.

A single tear slipped from her eye.

The doctor and nurse came in. “Have you been talking to Jonathan again, Jackie?

She nodded her head.

“Well, we will just increase your meds a little, he said, “and that should take care of Jonathan.”

,

 

Staying in Focus: Weekly Writing Challenge: The Recipe Of Me

Weekly Writing Challenge: A Pinch of You

The Recipe of Me

take a cup of optimism

sprinkle with  enthusiasm

add a pinch of humor

and a hand or two of tremor

mix well

 

beat in 8 lines of poetry

and layer between photography

wrap in creative writing

and spice with flower gardening

and a dash of rock and roll

and place within a casserole

top with something nutty

and that’s  the recipe of me!

Staying in Focus: What If The Story had Started Like This?

This is creative writing exercise I recently  completed.  I had to find ten unfamiliar words, to include in the story, and then pick a character from a list to be the protagonist. How could I pass up Scarlett O’Hara? Length of passage 1,000 words.

ten new words:

1. bumptious   adj.   brash

2. horology n.  art of making timepieces

3. lavabo  n.   a basin holding water for washing

4. moire n.  watered silk or wool fabric

5   jass  n.  a card game for two

6. panatela   n. a thin cigar

7. ratafia n. an almond flavored liqueur

8. soidisant  adj.  so-called

9 .theorbo  n .  a 17th century lute-like musical instrument

10. nixie   n.   a female water sprite

Character:  Scarlett  O’Hara

What if the story started like this?

Scarlett O’Hara sat primly on the cushioned bench, folds of moire billowing around her.  She loved the way the forest green, watered silk material seemed to glow in the afternoon light. The forest green accented her emerald green eyes, which sparkled with delight as a horse and buggy made the turn onto the tree lined drive that lead to Tara.  Ashley had come as promised, to whisk her off to a day of visiting friends at neighboring plantations.

“My, my, Scarlett, you do look pretty today,” Ashley said as he brought the buggy to a halt.  “Quite the nixie, you are my dear.” The horse nickered softly as Ashley stepped down from the buggy and handed the reins to Jeb, one of Tara’s darkies charged with watering the horses of visitors to the plantation.

“Oh, Ashley, how you do go on with those words you find in all those books you read!  You confuse me with such talk!”

“A nixie, my dear, is a water sprite of the forest. An enchanting, elusive creature, one must treat with the utmost delicacy,” he explained, as he took her gloved hand and kissed it gently.

Scarlett missed most of what he said, trying to still her rapidly beating heart, lest Ashley hear it pounding so. To distract him she asked, “Ashley, before we depart, can I have Prissy bring you a ratafia to refresh you?’

“Ah, that would be most welcome, dear Scarlett.   May I also request a laveboto wash off my dusty hands?  It has been a dry and dusty summer.”   Ashley sat down next to Scarlett, as she motioned to the waiting Prissy to procure the requested items.  As Prissy turned to enter the house, Ashley drew a slim box out of his coat pocket, and handed it to Prissy.

“For Mr. O’Hara, with my regards, “Ashley said.  Scarlett knew the box contained panatelas, her father’s favorite cigar.

“Ashley, you are so thoughtful to remember how much Pa favors those cigars.”

“Well, I wouldn’t want your pa to think me a bumptious fellow,” Ashley replied.

Scarlett sighed.  She wished Ashley would use the same words everyone else used. She turned to him and asked, , “How do they fare at Twelve Oaks, Ashley?”  Scarlett loved Ashley’s home.  Though she also loved Tara, Twelve Oaks had a grace that the more rustic Tara lacked.  Scarlett wasn’t really concerned about the other folk at Twelve Oaks.  She just wanted to be sure that Melanie Hamilton, Ashley’s cousin, wasn’t visiting again. Scarlett did not like the way Melanie blended in with the family and the plantation.  It was as if she belonged there.  And if anyone was going to marry Ashley and move into Twelve Oaks, it would not be that mealy-mouthed cousin.  Scarlett had chosen Ashley for herself.

Prissy arrived with the basin and the liqueur.  Ashley rinsed off his hands and toweled them dry, then accepted the thin glass of ratafia and took a slip. “It has been a busy week. We learned to play a card game called jass from an associate of my father’s,   a gentleman from Charleston. We also welcomed a fascinating gentleman from Savannah who is a master in the art of horology.

Seeing the confused look on Scarlett’s face, he explained, “He is a maker of timepieces, the finest I have ever seen.” Ashley’s family seemed to be overly concerned about time, Scarlett thought.   In their garden they had a sundial on which was inscribed, “Do not squander time; it is the stuff life is made of.” Scarlett thought, however, that the Wilkes squandered time more than anyone, spending hours reading books and reciting poetry.

Ashley continued telling her about the events of the past week, but as Melanie’s name was not mentioned, she became lost in her own thoughts.  How to get Ashley to become a more romantic companion was the question which perplexed her the most.  So far he was ever the epitome of a proper southern gentleman, but Scarlett craved more than a kiss on the hand. She had to move things along somehow, without compromising her virtue, of course.

Scarlett realized that Ashley had finished his drink and one-sided conversation. She turned to him, smiling prettily, her dimples accenting her smile.  She put her hand gently on his arm.  “Well, shall we be about our business, Ashley, and pay some calls on our friends and neighbors?”  Scarlett didn’t really care about these friends and neighbors either, for to tell the truth, none of them liked her very much. She imagined it was mostly due to jealousy. Ashley was, after all, the catch of the county.  But she endured these visits because it gave her more time with Ashley, and she liked to rub their noses in their jealousy by seeing her in constant company with the dashing Ashley Wilkes.

Scarlett put on her bonnet, tying the bow securely beneath her chin.  Perhaps she could convince Ashley to give the horses some proper exercise, and let them run full out.  Jeb brought the horse and buggy around from the stables in back of the house, and Ashley assisted Scarlett into the vehicle.  As he took the reins, he filled her in on their destination.

“I have a surprise for you, my dear.  Please forgive me the subterfuge. We are actually going to Twelve Oaks.  I have arranged for several friends to meet us there.  My cousin, Melanie, is coming in from Atlanta, with a group of musicians who play theorbos. They have agreed to provide us with a concert during lunch.

Scarlett tried not to show her disappointment.  “What is a theorbo,  Ashley?”

“A theorbo is a lute like instrument, from the …”

Scarlett could contain herself no longer.  She felt her vision change to red.  With a shout of “Whoa” to the horses, she grabbed the reins from Ashley’s startled hands and said, “Please forgive the subterfuge, Ashley, and vacate the buggy.  You see, I am an actually a bumptious woman wearing a moire frock and not a proper soidisant southern belle. I like a nice glass of ratafia now and again, maybe even a slim panatela.  And I do not plan to squander time listening to theorbos all afternoon.  She gave Ashley a little push, and he climbed down from the buggy.  He stared at Scarlett, speechless, as she cracked the whip and let the horses run full out, the ribbons of her bonnet trailing in the wind.

She saw a rider ahead, riding toward her, a tall man in a black coat riding a black stallion. He doffed his hat to her as she raced by. Scarlett turned and blew him a kiss…

Word Count : 1,117