Thursday, June 28, 2012

Embrace your inner Chicklitter.

I have not been blogging regularly of late mostly due to time constraints.
The routine that the school year gives me helps me schedule in writing time
at the same time each day.
Now that we are out of school I cannot find a regular slot to sit and think
each day.
I can't even get the laundry and house work done either.
My days end when the day ends.
D'ya follow?
Or to put it another way its light some evenings until after 10pm and
that's when we get home.

In the beginning I created this blog to act as a tool to take part in
writing exercises such as Chuck Wendigs Flash Fiction and anything else I
came across.
It also allows me to comment on other peoples blogs and get involved in
discussions online which I feel strongly about.
So I am really happy I started this blog. It was like my own personal
commitment to my need to write.
And I must stop neglecting it. (Bold! slap on the wrist for that)
It has become clear to me that even though I get stuck in to the CWFF
challenges every week (I don't post if its not finished or total crap)
I write Chicklit!
Not horror/fantasy/science fiction or young adult fiction.
Nope I write about relationships.
What I write is a little different from the other CWFF participants.
So perhaps I don't really belong there.
(But I must add all the people from that writing arena have been incredibly
kind and supportive so for that I am truly grateful).
Eventhough my characters don't lose limbs and end up in alternate universes
we were still welcome at the CWFF shindig.

I was a little down when this thought first popped up.
I didn't want to give up writing because I really enjoy it.
I enjoy the process very much.
Perhaps if I ever get to the publishing stage I will not like that part so
But at the moment as a writer I am my own boss so I have enormous artistic

I guess I felt down because so much of the stuff in the Chicklit world is
packaged in pink and to be honest badly written.
But then I started thinking about writing I really like and would they be
called Chicklit or literature.

Fried Green Tomatoes at the Whistle Stop Cafe - all about relationships is
it Chicklit though?
Rumour has it - funny witty silly definitely Chicklit
Perhaps I'm just a snob?

Folks its time.
Time to embrace my inner Chicklitter that is.

Monday, June 18, 2012

The Crooked Tree

Chuck Wendig Challenge - write a story inspired by this photo taken by Chuck Wendig.

Its a beautiful haunting image and makes me remember my father who passed away 18 years ago.
All my education about trees came from him.
His favourite was the Oak tree he liked their majesty.
This is less a work of fiction than a reworking of old memories.

The Crooked Tree.

My father planted trees when he was a young man. Before he married my mother and began that battle of wits called marriage. And before I or my siblings came in to this world. He planted majestic Cupressus Macrocarpa (Monteray Cypress). We always called them by their latin names because we didn't know they had another name. To us they were always there, tall, dark and brooding like Heathcliff. But where he planted them the soil was shallow and one night a storm tore one of them from its anchors and it stretched accross the rock and out into the air horizontal like a giant green arm pointing to the sea.
The tree had been planted to give shelter from a sharp south west wind that ran along the mountains and landed against the westfacing wall of our home. Severe gusts would make the lino rise and that bubble of angry air would run along under the floor covering making us all squeal and think of ghosts and banshees.
I think it was an excuse for my mother to scare the living daylights out of us. But usually it backfired cause no one would venture up the stairs at bed time when all the light and heat was downstairs by the old stanley stove.

That west wind could be very determined driving rain in horizontal sheets into the walls of our house so that eventually it would find the crack on the chimney. Then it would gather soot and travel down and in the morning before breakfast a river of black water would be running across the kitchen floor. Those mornings my mother resembeled a banshee more than any rogue wind travelling in under the floorcovering.
She would get old rags and cups and bail the black strong smelling water into a dish all the while keeping up a monologue of how awful her life was. As kids we knew how to act out our parts "say nothing and argue nothing"
Aren't kids amazing!
They just know how to be invisible when they have to.

One day when I was collecting the calves from a field near our house I notice initials carved into a tree. They were the same as my brothers so I assumed it was his handy work but when I mentioned it to my father that evening he smiled and said no "if you look again you will see 1938" is carved next to them". Well I was none the wiser so he said his brother my uncle had carved his initials there before he left for the states. He went to live in Boston and he never came back to Ireland.
He died some years back.
I never met him.
I often wonder what he was like.

Monday, June 11, 2012

Aisle nine at the grocery store.

Chuck Wendig Flash Fiction Challenge.

I don't know what goes on at your store but in my local giant grocery store
they keep all the really neat stuff on Aisle 9. Stuff like jewellery and
lingerie and you can get perfume too. Oh and chocolates, beautiful
handmade ones. Everything close by so no chance of a guilty conscience
stopping you.
Aisle 9 is also where all the best marks go.
They're usually businessmen buying stuff for their girlfriends. Things
they don't want their wives to know about so they always carry cash.

I work in the local library its good steady work with a good steady income
but there's very little left over at the end of the week for any little
extras. And besides it's dead boring. Aisle 9 allows me to indulge in a
little harmless action and no one gets hurt well no one I care about.

I have a wire supermarket basket on my arm and I've put a really slushy
romance novel on it, it's to match the summer blonde I've been dying my
hair for the last couple of years. Makes them think I'm blonde and stupid.
Men love that.

I swing from Aisle 10 stationery and magazines into Aisle 9 and I spot a
couple of likely marks. One is older and tanned and wearing gold
cufflinks. I dismiss him instantly. Anyone displaying his wealth so
obviously is either broke or used to being a target so very cautious. The
second one is younger and definitely nervous. His hair is blonde and cut
quite short. He is looking nervous. Nervous is good. Nervous men make

I decide to make my move. I saunter past him and stop at the chocolates
checking out the ingredients on a pack of Lily O'Briens hand made truffles.
they look delicious but I know they are too expensive for my salary. I
drop them in my basket. With a sigh I notice my ankle strap is undone. I
drop my basket on the shelf and slowly run my hands down my leg to fiddle
with the strap. As I bend down my soft summer dress rides up and exposes
more thigh than is really in good taste. Mr Young Mark is lapping it up.
I can just see him change his stance so he can watch without being spotted
on the CCTV. Dirty boy!
Maybe I should drop something next to him and give him a flash of soft
curving breast? But no I think that would be over doing it.

Time to move in for the kill.

I straighten up and suddenly get very interested in the perfume in the
shelves where I rested my basket.
Mr. Young Mark is trying not to look at me but he can't resist shooting the
odd look at my legs.
I mean come on he's only human he's just had an eyeful of my thighs. And
they're good. I know because Rose keeps telling me how beautiful they are.
She's here now working on the till.
I lean towards him to take a bottle of scent off the shelf I know he's able
to smell my body so close to his.
I stand just behind him so when he turns he bumps into me not the other way
He looks confused and embarrassed.
I act as though I can't even see him. I have his wallet and while he is
apologising I rifle the cash and drop kick it under the display of fancy
He is still apologising.
I wave him off as if he were a nuisance mosquito.
'what ever' and I turn and and walk off up to aisle to the jewellery.
When I check his cash all I got was a fifty!
Lousy waste of time.
Only a cop would carry such a paltry sum.
It's marked.
Quickly I drop the money into the bag of an old lady walking past.
Seconds later Mr Young Mark and the shop security officer arrive.
The security officer asks me to accompany them to the office.
I flick back my summer blonde hair and look all puzzled.
I make sure my chest is almost in their face. This little dress I'm
wearing doesn't leave much room for hiding things.
'We just need you to accompany us to the office'
'I'm not going to any office with you boys get a female member of staff and
I'll think about it.'
Mr Security Officer arrives back with the old lady from Aisle 9. She is
holding a fifty euro note with a red X on it in the air like a flag.
'I think you dropped this dear'
Rose walks past then shaking her head.
She always said one of these days I'd get caught.
But hey that's half the fun. Isn't it?

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Chuck Wendig Flash Fiction Challenge.

This is a piece inspired by Chuck Wendig Challenge to use the words

I used (chain)saw, flowerpot and milkshake.

Impending Storm
A storm is promised from the west coast tonight. It is August and the sun is very bright. The air feels cool because it is moving so fast. Katie is sitting on her haunches, using the north gable of the farm house for support. She is watching the clouds draw shapes on the blue waters of Kenmare Bay. Her sweater will be chalky when she moves away but she doesn’t care. It is the only place where there is some reprieve from the incessant high pitched mewing of the chainsaw.

The constant noise has whipped the dogs into a frenzy chasing each other and any cat or bird that strays into their path. They swoop past Katie pausing only for the briefest of pats.

Ann is in the kitchen washing lettuce. There is a neat stack of tomatoes glittering on the draining board. She is watching through the window as she works. It is south facing and when the sun rises above the valley rim it gleams harshly off of the stainless steel sink. She is watching Sam working with the chainsaw under the ancient oaks.

Even though the noise from the saw is almost unbearable here so close she doesn’t leave her vigil. Sam who is manning the saw is wearing the only pair of earmuffs. They are bright orange and sit slightly crooked over his soft cloth cap. He is cutting logs for firewood with an old Stihl saw that had been his fathers. Great arcs of saw dust fly through the air and a small mound is growing at his feet. The dogs dart past him at a furious rate, careful not to get too close, the small mountain of saw dust remains untouched. Logs tumble in to a rough pile right and left of his work area.

A great axe lies against the wood shed. The wood shed is already half full of logs split that morning. He will chop these after lunch.
Ann picks up a milk shake and moves towards the door: it is time for lunch. The wind has blown all the petals off the geraniums in the flowerpot on the window sill. She notices the great oaks behind Sam are swaying their leaves turning back to reveal their paler underneath.
An omen of the gales that are to come.