What Pegman Saw – A Street Market in Tehran

“What Pegman saw” is a weekly challenge based on Google Streetview. Using the location provided, you must write a piece of flash fiction of no more than 150 words. You can read the rules here. You can find today’s location on this page,  from where you can also get the Inlinkz code. This week’s prompt is Tehran, Iran

WPS - A Street Market in Tehran 180630

Azadi Tower, Tehran, Iran © Avesta Naseri Google Maps

A Street Market in Tehran

The market smells of fruit and earth, onions and car exhaust as the rush of customers begins.

“Hello, Roxine!” I call. “The oranges are sweet today.”

“I want potatoes, Yegane. How much are they?”

“Thirty-four.”

“Too much!”

“As you’re a friend, thirty.”

“That’s a price for a friend? Well, okay.”

“Here they are. Would you like me to look after the kids tonight?”

“You’re a good woman. That would give me time to visit mum. Thank you!”

Her mum is very sick. I pat her hand. Already I’m looking at the next customer.

“Baigum! What would you like?”

“Cherries. And pistachios. And – are those strawberries fresh?”

“Are you a millionaire now?”

She just smiles. She’s wearing heavy make-up with her modest head-scarf.

Then it’s back to shouting, selling produce, sweating until two o’clock.

My husband packs up, while I go and tell the secret police everything I’ve observed.

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Friday Fictioneers – The Music Teacher

Every week, Rochelle Wisoff-Fields (thank you, Rochelle!) hosts a flash fiction challenge, to write a complete story, based on a photoprompt, with a beginning, middle and end, in 100 words or less. Post it on your blog, and include the Photoprompt and Inlinkz (the blue frog) on your page. Link your story URL. Then the fun starts as you read other peoples’ stories and comment on them!

FF - The Music Teacher 180627

PHOTO PROMPT © Rochelle Wisoff-Fields

The Music Teacher

She was an excellent flautist, with a string of diplomas.

Naturally she had to earn a living – at least until an orchestral post came along – so she taught by day, performed with semi-professional bands by night, and auditioned for every orchestral playing job she could.

She married, had children, auditioned in Cardiff, Stavanger and Tel Aviv, and kept teaching.

She taught good pupils to excel, she nurtured slow pupils; everyone caught the joy of music that she radiated.

Retirement came, but she kept on teaching.

I wonder how many hundreds of lives are richer for the life she has lived?

I’m on holiday!

For the next two weeks I am on holiday in Greece.

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I’m afraid that means I won’t be reading all the Friday Fictioneers stories, or the What Pegman Saw stories. I may post stories for both of them (I’m addicted, okay, I know that!) but if your reason for reading is purely reciprocation then apologies but I may not read your story.

Neither will I be posting about my progress on ‘The Dove on the Pergola’. I’ll be thinking about it, of course, but writing very little, so there won’t be much I can tell you! The next update will be on Monday 16th July, I hope.

If I blog anything beyond FF and WPS, it is likely to be a record of my holiday. Do feel free to join me if you wish!

What Pegman Saw – Swallows and Amazons

“What Pegman saw” is a weekly challenge based on Google Streetview. Using the location provided, you must write a piece of flash fiction of no more than 150 words. You can read the rules here. You can find today’s location on this page,  from where you can also get the Inlinkz code. This week’s prompt is Coniston Water, which is in the Lake District of England.

WPS - Swallows and Amazons 180623

Coniston Water, Lake District, England © Google Maps

Swallows and Amazons

Only six years ago!

It was a day just like today when the four of them set off up the hill. The weather forecast was set fair. The early morning sun sharply delineated every rock, every leaf, woke pastel shades of sage and lilac from the rocky crest.

How clearly I can see them! John at the front carrying map and compass and wearing his ‘responsible’ face; Susan with a rucksack containing their provisions – ‘pemmican’ sandwiches and lemonade, I think; Titty, looking to Susan for her example; and little Roger with his make-believe cutlass.

And now we’re at war.

Susan has just become a VAD.

Titty is still at school, but spends her spare time sending comforts to the troops.

Roger, thank God, is too young to fight; I pray this war will be over soon.

I look down. The telegram from the Royal Navy is blurred by my tears.

Friday Fictioneers – La Serenissima

Every week, Rochelle Wisoff-Fields (thank you, Rochelle!) hosts a flash fiction challenge, to write a complete story, based on a photoprompt, with a beginning, middle and end, in 100 words or less. Post it on your blog, and include the Photoprompt and Inlinkz (the blue frog) on your page. Link your story URL. Then the fun starts as you read other peoples’ stories and comment on them!

FF - Venice - 180620

PHOTO PROMPT © Fatima Fakier Deria

La Serenissima

Venice, my home, is stone, stone on wood, wood in water. I live in a half-world of aqueous reflections, stone in water, water on stone, a confusion of images.

Nowadays I only dare walk its streets in daylight.

As I cross the square, a boatman sings of sunlight on tranquil water.

The canal smells cold as an open grave.

I take a deep breath and immerse myself in the shadows of the street. My heels clatter, my heart races.

Here, two years ago, masked and cloaked in midnight’s blackness he snatched me, and in five frantic minutes stole my serenity.

The Dove on the Pergola – 18th June 2018

The Dove on the Pergola – progress 180618

This is my weekly blog post about the progress of my novel “The Dove on the Pergola”. The novel is about a young Indian woman, Makshirani, who has lived until she was sixteen years old in a village in Bengal, and who then moves to the big city of Kolkata.

The dove on the pergola 180618

Character and plot

I’ve been working on the storyboard this week.

One of the things I’ve learned from writing my previous novels is that it’s difficult to introduce substantive material at a late stage. The new material can create conflicts with previous material and putting them right causes further problems and – oh! (Throws up hands in despair!)

So, I want to complete the storyboard comprehensively before I start to write the novel itself. I have 900 words on the storyboard, and that takes me about a third of the way through the novel.

Mind you, I wouldn’t want to give you the wrong impression. Side by side with the storyboard I’m recording my insights into the characters and the way they interact to form the plot. There’s many more words here – about 3,000 so far. It’s leading to some interesting progress. Most notably, I’m finding that characters are starting to show that they have multiple roles to play.

For example, when Makshirani flees from her village to Kolkata, she turns to her Aunt Abhilasha for support and accommodation. It’s obvious that Abhilasha will influence the plot after Makshirani joins her – but how about earlier than that? Why does she live in Kolkata? Suppose she plays a crucial role at Makshirani’s birth? Her experiences then would help shape who she is, and therefore affect Makshirani later. And that’s one of the reasons why late additions of substantive content are so difficult; action and character are totally interlinked.

Despite my good intentions, though, I must confess that I have started writing the opening scene! I’m trying to achieve the intensity and focus of flash fiction in an extended piece of several thousand words. At the end of the opening chapter, I want the reader to feel emotionally exhausted – but eager to carry on reading!

If you have any thoughts on the way I’m tackling this, I would be delighted to hear from you. I will answer every comment.

 

What Pegman Saw – The dance of life

“What Pegman saw” is a great weekly challenge based on Google Streetview. Do join in!

Just use the location provided, and write a piece of flash fiction of no more than 150 words. You can read the rules here. You can find today’s location on this page,  from where you can also get the Inlinkz code. This week’s prompt is Taşlıçay, Ağrı, Turkey. Click on the blue frog to read other people’s stories!

WPS - The dance of life 180616

The dance of life

I stand in the square and watch.

Holding hands, bodies proudly erect, young men dance to the harsh, reedy yearning of the qernête and the repetitive, rhythmic throb of the daf. They are Kurds and proud of it. They fly their flags and get into trouble with the police. Some of them may go further; I wouldn’t know – but the smell of trouble clings to them like gun-smoke.

What good will a separate Kurdistan do us? This fertile land, this gateway from east to west, has been overrun by Assyrians, by Romans, by Arabs; even our own countrymen have made war against us. So many overlords. So much bloodshed.

I look over to the mountains, to snowy Ararat towering above. Once, many, many generations ago, my forebears and their flocks danced down that mountain following the slowly receding waters.

Our peaceful dance will live on forever, while nations pass away.