Friday Fictioneers – One family

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!

An Apology!

I may not have commented on your Friday Fictioneers post last week. I have had trouble with my internet which has made it difficult to read stories, and next to impossible to comment on them.

If I have failed to read and comment on your post, I am sorry and I will try to do better this week! Many thanks to all those of you who read my story despite my lack of reciprocity.

FF - One family 180822

PHOTO PROMPT © Carla Bicomong

One family

I scoured market stalls selling lanterns decorated with images of dragons, of cash, of storks, until I found one bearing the image of a dove.

Under the trees at the lakeside, with a thousand other people, I waited until the last bird had finished her evening song and then I lit the candle in my lantern. I launched it and it drifted into the indigo twilight.

At first I could identify it, but after five minutes I was no longer sure, and after ten minutes mine was just one gleam of light among many.

I sighed, content and at peace.

Advertisements

Friday Fictioneers – Fulfilment

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 - Fulfilment 180613

PHOTO PROMPT © Jean L. Hays

Fulfilment

A peacock screeched.

Inside its pupa, a damselfly larva stirred.

Alice dabbled her hand in the pond, gazing through a haze of reflections at the coloured pebbles on the bottom.

“You look thoughtful. Not worrying about tomorrow, I hope?”

Alice smiled.

“Just nervous, Frances, that’s all.”

Frances hugged her sister.

“Silly girl! Everything will be fine.”

The damselfly’s pupa began to split.

Next day the church was full. Alice stood beside Matthew and wondered whether it was possible to feel any happier.

“I now pronounce you husband and wife.”

Beside the pond the damselfly’s wings flashed. The peacock screeched exultantly.

What Pegman Saw – Evergreen Memories

“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 Bristol in the UK.

 WPS - Evergreen Memories 180127

Evergreen memories

College Green was our special place, wasn’t it, Peter? We often met here between morning lectures and afternoon practical classes. We sat on the grass and watched the gulls hover, soar, dive, brilliant white against the blue sky. We shared our lunch, our stories, our laughter; especially our laughter. We laughed a lot, at people, at things that happened, but mostly simply for joy at being alive and together.

Then one day you weren’t there. Nor the next day, nor the one after. You weren’t in classes either. You’d never told me your home address or phone number. I asked the University what had happened. “He left us voluntarily,” was all they would tell me. No address, no phone number; I wasn’t part of your family.

I still come and sit here occasionally, and remember, quietly.

A shadow falls on me.

“Annie?” The old man’s voice is tentative, disbelieving.

“Peter!”

What Pegman saw – A beautiful world

“What Pegman saw” is a weekly challenge based on Google Streetview. You can read the rules here. You can find today’s location on this page,  from where you can also get the Inlinkz code. I found this week’s location so stimulating that I wrote a second story, and here it is!

WPS - puerto rico - 170909

 The sun warmed José as he sat on a bench overlooking the sea in the main plaza of the old fort. Dazzling white birds swooped above the ultramarine water. José, listening to their plaintive voices, could imagine them diving, seizing silver fish, swallowing them whole.

He heard the stranger approach, but didn’t turn; he had no wish to be disturbed.

“Señor, good day! May I join you?”

José grunted, and the man sat down.

“Cigarette?”

“No, thank you.”

“Do you mind if I…?”

“Go ahead.”

They sat in silence for a few minutes. Jose seldom indulged in a cigarette, but he enjoyed the smoke that trickled to him on the breeze.

The clock struck eleven. Time to go. Acindina would nag him if he were late for his midday meal.

“Isn’t the view beautiful?” exclaimed the stranger.

José turned to the man, smiled at him.

“Good day, Señor,” he said.

He rose and walked away slowly, tapping the pathway before him with a white cane.

 

A Chance Encounter

A Drabble is a piece of flash fiction that is 100 words long. The subject of this Drabble came to me as I was enjoying lunch in Café Kentrikon in Syntagma Square, Nafplion. Full of beer and tuna sandwich, I knew that all was well with the world. Life was good. Don’t read too much into the story, though; it is fiction, after all!

WP_20170713_20_37_15_Pro

The warm breeze caressed me like a lover. I settled comfortably into my cushioned seat at the café under the plane tree, and gazed across the marble square. I thought of my grandchildren playing there sometime soon.

He was tall and instantly recognisable, despite grey hair; my former boss, the man who had fired me. It had not been an amicable parting.

I waved. He squinted at me, did a double-take.

“Penny?”

“Adrian! How are you? How’s Joy?”

He shrugged.

“She wanted kids. I didn’t.”

“You made it up the corporate ladder though?”

He shrugged again.

“For what it’s worth.”

In the moment – power to choose

Let me start this week’s post with a “Health warning”; it’s not written for those suffering from clinical depression.

There are some effective therapies for clinical depression. If you suffer from persistent, long-term unhappiness, please seek medical advice.

WP_20170614_13_59_19_Pro

What are you feeling at this precise moment?

Stop reading, and feel.

Okay.

Are you feeling happy? Sad? Bored (oh, I do hope not!)? Frustrated?

If you have a negative feeling, ask yourself the question, “Do I want to feel like this?”

Don’t misunderstand me. Feeling negative is okay – when there’s something to feel negative about. But we often persist in negative feelings for much longer than we need to, and this can become a bad habit.

What we feel is, to a certain extent, our own choice. We can choose to feel happy rather than dismal. We can choose to feel tranquil rather than worried.

When you recognise that you have a negative feeling, the first thing to do is to relax physically. Take a few deep breaths and let your tense muscles relax on each exhalation. Let your shoulders drop. See how the simple act of relaxing has made you feel better?

Now that you’ve relaxed, ask yourself why you have a negative feeling.

Often there is a specific reason. For example, perhaps somebody has been thoughtless and rude, leaving you feeling angry. Or you had a row at breakfast with a family member, and you’re feeling fed up.

If you can identify the reason for the feeling, ask yourself whether there’s anything you can do about it. Doing something positive helps deal with the negative feeling. Can you forgive the person who was rude, for example? You’ll feel much better if you do. Can you, perhaps, plan a shared treat with the family member with whom you had a row?

Sometimes there’s no obvious reason for a negative feeling. That’s okay. It’s not a problem.

Whether or not you know the cause of the negative feeling, the next thing to do is to accept it. Don’t try to push it away, imagining you’re strong and can overcome it. There is no shame in having negative feelings. It is emphatically not a sign of weakness. Accept it; recognise it; it’s your feeling, and you own it.

But do you want to go on experiencing it? No. And you don’t need to. You’ve recognised and accepted it, and that gives you the power to make a choice. You can choose to feel positive. So you might choose to replace frustration during a difficult day with acceptance that some days are like that – and in any case the evening will be pleasant. Or you might choose to replace anger with forgiveness – and, hey, let’s get on with the day!

Then relax again. A few deep breaths. Drop the shoulders. Let the muscles of your back relax. Let the new, positive feeling have space. And then move on, in a happier state of mind.

Have a good week!

In the moment – change the world

In the moment – change the world

When I was young, I wanted to change the world. Probably you did too. Young people do, don’t they?

In the moment - Gandhi 170626

A few people do indeed grow up and change, if not the world, at least some part of it. Nelson Mandela comes to mind. What a wonderful man! Twenty seven years of brutal imprisonment borne with courage and without bitterness, after which he became an inspirational leader to his nation.

One of the most notable of those who changed the world was Mahatma Gandhi, the architect of India’s independence, and a thinker who wrote many books. He said this:

“You must be the change you want to see in the world.”

This teaches us several things.

  • It is a call to action. If you want something to happen, play your part in bringing it about. For example, while few people can go to Syria to help people suffering in the civil war, we can all donate to Médécins sans Frontières, whose brave volunteers risk their lives to provide medical care.
  • It is a call to set an example. If you want a world that is free of war, live a life that promotes peace within your own community. Take every opportunity of showing caring love to those around you. The effect of a good example is very powerful.
  • It is a guide to good mental health. To have good mental health we must accept the nature of the world as it is. If we don’t, we will always feel conflict. We will feel that the rules by which we live our lives are being broken by other people.

We need to accept the world as it is, and people as they are, and that can be difficult. When I was being treated for anxiety, I was encouraged to develop a mantra that was specific to my needs. After much thought, I chose “I will live my life with joy.” I repeat that and reflect upon it several times a day, and it’s made a big difference.

The world is flawed, yes; mankind struggles to live together in harmony, certainly; but it’s such a beautiful world, and many, many people are good, and loving, and courageous.

For those billions of us who are little people, whose actions will never have a dramatic effect, Gandhi had an encouraging piece of teaching:

“Whatever you do will be insignificant, but it is very important that you do it.”

Nobody else can do it. It’s our task. We are each uniquely qualified to care, to nurture, to love those around us. Even if it’s as small a thing as a hug for someone we can see feels troubled, it’s our hug that’s needed, and our hug that will make a difference.

And, finally, as we live like this, in the realisation and acceptance of our own uniqueness, our own weakness, our insignificance for the world at large but our significance for those around us, we will know the truth of this saying by Gandhi:

“Happiness is when what you think, what you say, and what you do are in harmony.”