Six Sentence Stories – Losing Ground

Jack padded barefoot into the kitchen, still wearing the jeans and flannel shirt he had on three days ago, and poured himself a second cup of steaming motivation – or what he hoped would be, at least. He took a long slug of the black stuff, letting it burn his throat as it slid down, warming him from the inside but failing to take away the chill left by her absence.

A drag on a cigarette is probably what I need, he thought as he looked out the window over the sink, or a good stiff drink to start the day – hair of the dog and all. But Jack wasn’t a smoker or a drinker; never could get the hang of the damn things and besides, he was too focused on his long-range plans to give in to any kind of addiction, not even her.

The image reflected in the window told a different story, though, as the man in the dirty shirt stared back at Jack with bloodshot eyes, yawned as he ran a hand through his hair, then scratched at the growth on his face that threatened to become a beard. “Jesus,” Jack said out loud, as he realized for the second time in as many months just how far down the hole he had fallen and how desperately he needed her back.

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Want to know more about Jack? Read the beginning of his story, “The Lie” here

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Each week, the lovely and talented Ivy Walker hosts a link-up challenging writers to spin a tale in six sentences – no more, no less. 

This week’s cue is SECOND.

Click on the link right here to link your own post and read more Six Sentence Stories from some wonderful storytellers.

 

Six Sentence Stories – Beneath the Surface

She stretched herself out and waited to feel herself floating, noticing the fading light and the chill of the light breeze skipping across her skin.

She began to sink slowly, the breeze and all sound disappeared as the surface broke, then closed again overhead.

Darkness grew ever closer, rushing up from below to meet her even as she could still see the light above slipping further and further away. Her arms felt light at her sides and her hair floated in delicate tentacles in the space around her head while fragments of scenes from her memory drifted through her mind.

The images passed by and disappeared with the waning light. No longer able to reach the conscious world, she stopped trying, then turned over and welcomed the dark.

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Each week, the lovely and talented Ivy Walker hosts a link-up challenging writers to spin a tale in six sentences – no more, no less. 

This week’s cue is SINK.

Click on the link right here to link your own post and read more Six Sentence Stories from some wonderful storytellers.

The Bakery

The smell was exactly the same as it was forty years ago – the doughy comfort of freshly-baked bread and crescent rolls mingled with the sugary sweetness of coffee cake, shoo-fly pie, and the best cream or jelly-filled doughnuts ever made.

Instantly transported through time, I was seven years old standing with my cousin, noses pressed up against the glass of the display case where they showed a birthday cake with a menagerie of decoration options. The circus train at the edge of the cake passed by ballerinas and baseball players, a zoo’s worth of animals frozen in motion, laughing clown heads, tiny pink and blue baby bassinets, and a comparatively large bust of a graduate stuck smack in the middle of it all as if overseeing the celebration.

The display cake was long gone, but the rest was unchanged; the same tiles still shone on the walls and under our feet, the same glass cases offered the same baked goods of my childhood, and the same smells wrapped around me in a blanket of memory.

My daughter breathed deeply, taking in the smells and, I suspect, a taste of the history as we made our selections and I remembered aloud late Sunday suppers of baked goods and coffee or milk spent with family around my Grandparents’ table.

I was certain I saw my Grandfather standing there beside us just as alive as he was when he brought my cousin and me here…

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Each week, the lovely and talented Ivy Walker hosts a link-up challenging writers to spin a tale in six sentences – no more, no less. 

This week’s cue is BREAD.

Click on the link right here to link your own post and read more Six Sentence Stories from some wonderful storytellers.

 

 

Hello. It’s Been A While. (A Ten Things of Thankful Post)

It’s a good thing I didn’t make a New Year’s resolution to post here more.

Somehow I got out of the habit of delivering any finished product to this page. It’s not for lack of ideas or inspiration; I have a ton of things drafted and scribbled in my notebooks. They somehow just don’t make it to the page. If a messy desk is a sign of genius, I should be producing a whole lot more brilliance.

 

 

 

 

 

 

I think it’s probably more that I got distracted (not that distraction is new for me). It goes without saying that the headlines of late have been pretty overwhelming and that has definitely affected my state of mind. I had to back way off of the Internet and social media. So if I seem absent…I am. On purpose. Let’s call it self-care.

I’ve also been distracted by my physical state lately. There is no question that for the last week I have been in the throes of an active RA flare with a whopper of an eczema flare thrown in for good measure. A result of stress associated with the news? Maybe. Hard to say. At any rate, I’ve been trying to focus on what my mind and body need to be more at peace. It’s only fair to say here how thankful I am that my Hub and Zilla have been more than understanding, even though I’ve been pretty horrid.

So what else has been going on…?

Well, I guess my biggest news is probably that I entered a writing competition. Yup, I did it. I just put up a post about that experience if you want to check that out. If not, then keep moving along…

I actually have been doing a bunch of writing, but so far most of it has been for my eyes only. What will become of these efforts is yet undetermined. But the writing feels good. I have started a ton of things to join my semi-usual link-ups – Six Sentence Stories, Finish the Sentence Friday, and Ten Things of Thankful. But despite those efforts, I haven’t managed to join. I plan to remedy that moving forward.

I’ve also been reading a lot more lately than I have in recent months. More self-care, I suppose. That feels amazing. I read three of Bradbury’s books in a row – Dandelion Wine (a re-read), Farewell Summer (stunning), and Something Wicked This Way Comes (completely creepy in an awesome way). Right now I’m working on finishing The Martian by Andy Weir (loved the movie – book is even better) and I have about five things queued up to hit next.

Absorbing others’ words has been good for my mind and my soul. I’ve joined a couple of writing challenges for 2017 and choosing books for those has been fun and also helped me continue to take advantage of the offerings at my public library. I’m doing a handful of reads for folks I know who have published their books and I’m thinking maybe I’ll review those here on the blog and introduce you to to their work. Stay tuned.

What else?

Thanks in part to the accountability factor provided by the Graviteers, I’ve managed to hit a weight loss goal (again) so I think it’s safe to say that I am steadily working toward my weight loss and health goals. I’ve been walking more regularly and upping my number of steps each day (insert eye roll). That feels good. Next stop: The Bowflex machine. I’m laughing just thinking about it, but sure enough one has joined the team in our basement next to the treadmill and I’m planning to get on there regularly. Weight-bearing exercise is important for women, especially as middle age creeps closer on the horizon. So I’m pretty excited about that.

Kidzilla is kicking butt and taking names with her school work and all related sub-topics. That little girl works so hard and loves learning so much. I love that she sees hard work has tangible rewards. And speaking of school, the Hub is back in school working on a new degree – one more step in this journey of career change that was forced upon us. He’s also doing a fantastic job and just a few weeks in is already ahead of his projected timeline for this term. I am so proud of both of them. Shameless gushing. <3

I’m happy to report I’ve found my groove again in the kitchen. I don’t know what happened, but I feel like I pulled away from cooking anything decent at home and we resorted to bring-home or go-to options far too often over the last several weeks. Granted, the holidays are a strange time and then we were all so sick during and right after Christmas and into January, so maybe that’s just it. But even with my flares lately I’ve been happily tossing pots and pans around in the kitchen again. We’ve tried some new things and I’ve gotten back in my habit of rolling leftover parts of one meal into the next.

We’ve had pinto bean tacos with cabbage slaw, oven-baked lime butter cod served with the leftover slaw, some awesome Mexican street corn as a side – that was delicious. We tried mujadara – lentils and brown rice with caramelized onions – which is a new favorite here. Red beans and rice are always warming and satisfying, Salisbury meatballs were a hit for my meatball-lover daughter. Up tonight is a basic roast chicken because I’m out of chicken broth and need to make some. So I’m out to get that little bugger in the oven. Besides, I think I’ve rambled on here quite long enough.

I haven’t counted or numbered, but I’m certain I have at least ten things in here. For these and for so many more…I am thankful.

I’ve missed chatting with all of you here. What’s new and exciting in your life? What have you been doing the last few weeks? How are your self care habits? Talk to me…

 

So I Did a Thing…

I did it.

I entered a short story writing competition. Yes. I. Did.

I’m not sure what I was thinking, exactly, other than maybe “why the hell not?” And so I did it. At the last possible second, of course, right up against the deadline. But anyone who knows me at all will not be surprised in the least. I’ve always claimed that I work better under pressure. (Whether that is true or not remains to be seen.)

So what was it like?

Excruciating.

Of course I drew the genre that I absolutely did not want – political satire. Yes, I’ve read it. Yes, I know what it is. Heck, I’ve even dragged students through it in my other life as a high school English teacher. No, I do not particularly enjoy reading it and no, I most assuredly did not want that to be my first foray into competition writing. But whatever. I sure as hell wasn’t going to waste the entry fee and submit nothing. Even if I get knocked out of the game right away, at least I did it.

The process of writing was…difficult. Seriously. Trying to fit my story into a neat little package of assigned genre/topic/character in 2500 words or less was no easy task. But I wasn’t completely intimidated – except by the satire genre. That just sucked.

I’ve been writing Six Sentence Stories and other short fiction – mostly to a prompt – for a number of months. I’d like to think the experience of doing that helped me to feel at least somewhat prepared to tackle this contest. I don’t think I really got nervous until I realized I was hyper-tinkering with some edits at 20 minutes out from deadline and started to get worried that I’d miss the deadline. I had to finish title and synopsis 1-2-6 and get that baby uploaded. I made it in with literally less than five minutes to spare. So if it stinks, too bad! It is what it is now…

And now we wait to hear the results of the first round. Until March 20th. (I know – forever.) In the meantime, I plan to do a whole lot more writing and hopefully some of it will actually make it onto the blog here.

What about you – have you ventured into the world of writing competitions? Share your experience with us here? I’d love to know your thoughts. 

 

Reveille – A Six Sentence Story

There would be no battle today.

Try as he might to muster the troops, they were slow to form this morning and did not show face; they knew there was no real penalty for showing up late, aside from the steep one he would impose upon himself for failing to make them comply. But that was his problem, not theirs.

Minute after hour he coaxed, forced, and cajoled until finally they assembled, falling into haphazard ranks and files, letters becoming words, sentences, paragraphs, working in concert and flowing freely from his pen.

Still, they were in no condition for battle. The only battle fought today would be the one to save himself.

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Each week, the lovely and talented Ivy Walker hosts a link-up challenging writers to spin a tale in six sentences – no more, no less. 

This week’s cue is RANK.

Click on the link right here to link your own post and read more Six Sentence Stories from some wonderful storytellers.

The Market – A Six Sentence Story

Walking into the market always felt like coming home.

As soon as she stepped through the swinging double doors, her feet knew precisely where to go. For the last fifteen years, they walked the same path, stopped at the same favorite vendors, and never really wondered why – maybe her mother walked the same path with her as a child and the memory was etched somewhere in her subconscious.

The market has a particular aroma. It is the scent of each individual offering drifting across the aisles and mingling with the scents coming from other stands. Individually, each is a perfect solitary experience, but combined, they make up the smell of the market – a hearty, briny, heady mix of life and memories.

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Hitting the cue “cheesy” was a bit of a stretch perhaps. I was really stuck on this one, but as I walked the market for real last week, I got my inspiration as I passed the cheese shop and was thinking about the particular smell and feel of the market. So, truth – that’s where my cheesy inspiration struck.

Each week, the lovely and talented Ivy Walker hosts a link-up challenging writers to spin a tale in six sentences – no more, no less. 

LAST week’s cue was CHEESY. I wrote a post, but never linked. So here it is.

Click on the link right here to link your own post and read more Six Sentence Stories from some wonderful storytellers.

 

The Scent of Change – A Six Sentence Story

She hated the smell of Christmas.

Once upon a time, though, that wasn’t so. Christmastime had always provided a heady mix of memories, happy evenings spent listening to the pop and hiss of the fire as it warmed the room and all within it, breathing in the woodsy outdoors of a sledding day brought into the center of the room on snowy branches turned green and sparkling with lights and ornaments that reflected the crackling firelight.

Like her memories, the ornaments were a jumbled mess of handmade expressions of love and the store bought kind she always thought of as “fancy,” the pastel sugar-frosted ones with cut out spaces for Santa, snowmen, and angels. Christmas was always like this – a collection of perfect moments captured forever in their annual certainty.

But now, Christmas was different – still filled with the sights, sounds, and smells of years past yet empty in the moments where their smiles belonged, cut out spaces filled only with the certainty that Christmas would forever be changed.

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Each week, the lovely and talented Ivy Walker hosts a link-up challenging writers to spin a tale in six sentences – no more, no less. 

This week’s cue is PINE. 

Click on the link right here to link your own post and read more Six Sentence Stories from some wonderful storytellers.

Six Sentence Stories – An Unkindness

It was the grayest kind of day.

It was the kind of day when the sky presses low upon the earth, urging its denizens into attentiveness – every sound just a bit louder, a bit closer, the outlines of the everyday carved into distinctly sharper focus against the backdrop of something…unfamiliar.

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A ceiling of clouds hung close and heavy, locked in the restless wind so it had no escape, the tortured air twisting, wrapping, weaving its witchcraft around the physical world, drawing life and breath in closer…closer…until that darkest cloud of anticipation fell.

The peal of a bell forced its way through the choking thickness. Neither the happy expectation of a doorbell nor the warm beckon of a church carillon, its song a strong and persistent welcome home nonetheless.

One lone raven streaked silently across the sky.

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Six Sentence

Each week, the lovely and talented Ivy Walker hosts a link-up challenging writers to spin a tale in six sentences – no more, no less. 

This week’s cue is HOME. Last week’s cue was CRAFT.

Click on the link right here to link your own post and read more Six Sentence Stories from some wonderful storytellers.

 

 

 

Six Sentence Stories – First Draft

A half-balled wad of paper sailed across the room – whoosh – into the can.

The sun moved with purpose past the windows of the room and as the light waned, so did his confidence and page by page, chapter by chapter, words sailed across the room, the tightening wads a clear indicator of his mounting frustration.

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He looked at the clock; bloody hell, I’ve only got an hour.

He rolled his chair across the room and began reclaiming the discarded prose from the trash can page by page, chapter by chapter, lovingly smoothing and stacking each one in its proper place and collecting them with a black shoelace.

A sharp knock and a voice at the door: “Sir? I’m here to pick up your draft, sir.”

He opened the door, thrust the wrinkled stack at the messenger and sighed, “Here – tell them to start with this.”

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Six SentenceEach week, the lovely and talented Ivy Walker hosts a link-up challenging writers to spin a tale in six sentences – no more, no less. 

This week’s cue is DRAFT.

Click on the link right here to link your own post and read more Six Sentence Stories from some wonderful storytellers.