About trishsplace

Australian wife and mother, born in Dublin, Ireland. Wishful writer (that is, I don't work at it enough!). Light and conversational tone. All thoughts my own.

Friday Fictioneers – Storm before the Calm

Photo prompt by Dale Rogerson

We hold on tight, bodies taut with fright
The world around us shakes
Buildings scream, while wrecking wind walls rupture
Trees spear windows, glass detonates
The world shakes
The storm, it blasts and pounds, and rages, destroys
Homes are lost, cars crushed, detritus piles high
People crawl and hunker in basements, calling for mothers
The world erupts
Heavenly banks burst, demons let loose, hysterical fear abounds
Never-ending terror, noise.
We cover eyes and ears.
Who will stand at the end? Who will survive?
The world calms. Quiet returns.
We lift our eyes. And wait. (94 words)

Thank you Rochelle Wisoff Fields for continuing to set this 100 word or less challenge. It is certainly a commitment appreciated by many. Other 100 word stories can be read here.

Three Things Challenge #476

To join this writing challenge, check out pensitivity101 for the “rules”: https://pensitivity101.wordpress.com/2021/01/12/three-things-challenge-476/

Your three things today are:

MISTRESS
EXPECTATION
ANYWHERE

My wildest dreams could not compete.
For such promise to come anywhere near bespectacled, bow-legged, book nerds such as myself, impossible.
I found her in a book. At least, I found the spell, temptation.
When I began to gather ingredients, it wasn’t serious.
Preparing the room was a laugh. Expectations were non-existent.
But there must have been a seed of hope. Otherwise, why did I take such care. Reading and reading again the words. Setting everything up, just right.
Candles fluttered, and curtains flapped in jerky, convulsive shudders.
Then, centre of the pentagram, there she was. Resplendent! Magnificent!
I squealed like a girl, danced on the spot, spinning, and spinning, hands to my face.
The spell promised a friend, confidante, love, and wealth. In one fair bundle.
A glimpse in the mirror as I spun past and I stopped.
Reflected back was not that  beautiful, statuesque woman, straight out of Vogue.
This was a withered hag, thin and grey, straggly hair, and toothless face, grinning at me.
Mistress,” she croaked, a spider crawling from her mouth.

#3tc; #TTC; #pensitivity101

Take Seven – 8th January

Take Seven 8 January 2021 by Pensitivity101

Words: Add All Basic Being Bit Determined Hidden Knew Lean Lurking Measured More Show Sneer Started There Tin Tired Treat Wobble Work

My effort below

I’m tired of feeling rejected.

The lurking depression, basically hidden but measured by how easily I feel hurt.

It all adds up. No matter how determined I am to show strength, I wobble.

I’m not alone. Many of us feel this desperation; if people only knew.

They say, it is not about you. We don’t treat you any differently.

You look at me, at my cushy world and sneer.

You don’t understand how much energy it takes to overcome the negative self-talk.

At work all you can see is how unreasonable I’m being because I’m tough. My expectations are high, of us all. Not just you.

Bit by bit I need to prove there is more to me than the lean offering I share.

I wear the tin badge of self-appointed sheriff, started so long ago; first line of defence.

Friday Fictioneers – wasted

Friday fictioneers stuff

Photo prompt @ Jan Wayne Fields

Every time I glimpse the stuff it pains me.
I quiver with resignation of the writing dream.
Tucked away in a corner, dreams put aside. Hopes doused.
Mountains of ‘how to write’ books.
Stashes of notebooks. Such cute covers, always another one.
The many quality pens presented to ‘the author’ as hopeful gifts. Perhaps this would be the golden pen, the one that writes the bestseller.
The detritus of dreams. Corkboard, thumb tacks, paperclips. The laminator!!!
Collecting all this and not doing the work.
Reality bites. No matter how much stationery I collect, the words won’t write themselves. (98 words)

Friday fictioneers is a weekly challenge set by Rochelle Wisoff Fields to write a story in response to a photo prompt – in 100 words or less. You can find other stories here.

Three things challenge #470 – Friendship

Three Things Challenge #470. Today’s three things are:

LURKING, STARTED, THERE

***

I saw you lurking there, every day as I passed the tube station entrance.

At first, I was nervous. Were you a danger, I wondered?

I became curious and would glance your way a little more each time.

My curiosity gained strength. I made excuses to pass your way.

I’d Benny out for a walk. He was an excellent judge of character.

He loved you immediately. You loved each other. It made me smile.

We began to nod in recognition. Smiling at the friendship.

One day I stopped and said hello.

You shook my hand and I asked, “Do you need anything?”

“A little food, now and then. Friendship.”

Friendship was easy and food was plentiful.

We started a kerbside family, with hotpot from home, occasionally fish and chips from the chipper down the street.

You brought me out of myself, away from my own small worries. You gave me purpose other than work, bills, weight to lose.

Then one day, you had gone. Nobody knew where. I never found out.

Friendship found, then lost. Loneliness threatened.

But I looked up at the sky underneath we shared so many happy times and knew that I would be okay. I could be as lonely or as involved as I chose.

Benny and I had learned awareness and now looked outside ourselves for happiness. (222 words)

***

#3tc; #TTC; #pensitivity101https://wordpress.com/read/blogs/57168971/posts/63039

Simply 6 Minutes – the Rascal

Simply 6 Minutes 5Jan21

I thought it was love.

He thought I was dinner.

I’d been nurturing a friendship with the little beastie for several weeks. Leaving food out, little tidbits of apple, pear and sometimes banana. Chestnuts if they were available, sometimes walnuts or brazils.

Gradually we began to move closer together until the day that I sat in the forest and he took from my hand. We kept this up for two weeks.

I would generally bring my lunch down and my sketchbook.  I’d eat and draw, and he’d sneak closer and grab whatever I’d left down. This would happen several times over a couple of hours.

The day came when he climbed into my lap and then the day that after eating out of my hand, in my lap he stayed for a nap. We were buddies. We were pals.

Then I thought this was going so well, I’d try offering from my own mouth. He wasn’t too sure about that one. He wasn’t confident about being on his hind legs reaching up to my face. He’d try but get shy about it and wander off.

But he kept looking over his shoulder and circling. He was clearly pondering the problem.

At last, he made a decision and climbed into a tree, hanging on to a low branch. He screeched until I came over to see what he wanted. I stood there talking and trying to calm him. He kept at it, until I came closer still. I kind of got what he wanted (I thought) and put the nut between my teeth.

He quietened. Then reached slowly forward, getting closer to the nut, being held in my teeth.

Then he jumped onto my face and began biting and scratching and screeching. He held onto my nose with his tough little teeth.

I was screaming like an animal in a trap, which effectively I was. Running around and screaming and pulling the little ratfink away from my face, but he just held on. Then I grabbed a boulder.

Guess the rest! Yes, squashed little buddy and yours truly with a broken nose and bleeding face.

And I will never again trust a cute and cuddly woods creature. (6 minutes)

  1. Set up a timer or sit near a clock so you can keep track of the six minutes you will be writing.
  2. You can either use one of the prompts (photo or written) or you can free-write.
  3. Get ready and write for 6 minutes, that is it! Can you write a complete story? Can you think of a new Sonnet? Can you write 400 words? 400? 500? There are no restrictions on what kind of writing you do, but you should try to be actively writing for six minutes.
  4. After you are done writing, include your word count and then post back to this page #Simply6Minutes or include your link in the comments section. Pingbacks are enabled.

Three Things Challenge #461

The three things today are:

BRING, GAVE and CONTRIBUTION

*** *** ***

Bring home the bacon. There’s a designation of duty well established.

I gave, and I gave, and I gave … designation of another sort. Remarked and reflected upon.

With many a maligned partner asking, “what has your contribution been to this relationship?”

If I’m honest, my generational biases could come into play if I were the reader, and not the writer. At first glance. Before further analysis.

I might assume that …

The husband is the bacon bringer

His unappreciated wife, the giver; and that

Either of them could be the whining and unhappy partner. The supplier of the ingredient, or the one cooking said pork.

Whichever is the provider.

I reflect on how easy it is to disenfranchise and discriminate by pigeonholing people, stumbling into an abyss by misuse of language, by interpretation.

Filtered by perception, generation, gender, colour, circumstance. Country of birth.

Through eyes of the child.

Words should bring clarity. They often bewilder. Obfuscate.

Even with the best of intention.

Three Things Challenge

A Christmas Letter

Bollocks to 2020, said everyone to anyone they met during the Christmas season. Or whoever they spoke to by phone or via internet connection because their town, locality, region, country was in lockdown – again! Or still.

Before we could get around to smelling the roses, seeking the silver lining, gilding some lily, we had to get past the bah humbugging of the year that was.

January brought trickling news of a mystery virus within  China. For some, antennae were raised, radars began to scan, and higher senses engaged in keeping an eye on things.

For others, it was something happening to somebody else. In China, no less. Who cared!

By March, if you lived in New Zealand or Australia (to name only two such countries) you were locked in – and everybody else was locked out.

And that has been a triumph! Yes, we have sick. Yes, we’ve had dead. But on such a small scale, it has barely blotted the landscape compared to the rest of the world.

From the microcosm of Australia, it has been an anxious year for many reasons. We walked into the pandemic from the terrible stress of a traumatic (for many) bushfire season. Even those of us who weren’t in the line of fire, didn’t have homes destroyed, lives threatened, livelihoods erased – we lived with constant smoke, sometimes from fires several hundreds of kilometres away. The fires were close enough that if your house was older and therefore more flammable,embers floating into town were a perceived danger, even in large regional centres.

In the relative safety of a city or large town, you still felt for everybody else. How could you not, and be a thoughtful human being. If you were financially able, you donated. If you were physically and personally able, you volunteered. In our large town, we weren’t in any real danger but we had a go-bag packed, the car fuelled up, ample spare water, devices always charged, and important papers or valuables to hand.

From her Facebook account, Celeste Barber (Australian comedian) managed to raise over $51 billion from approximately 1.3 million donors from around the world. Huge sums came from those celebrities who could afford it.

What a triumph of human spirit and goodwill.

But as Celeste nominated the NSW Rural Fire Service as the recipient and their Trust Deed limits what donated funds can be spent on, the money couldn’t be used to help those who had lost everything – for relief, rebuilding and to help injured wildlife; a particular image that captured hearts around the world.

The NSW RFS can only use the funds for machinery and training (and as decided through court action) to assist injured firefighters, to support families of the injured (or killed) firefighters and trauma counselling.

The funds can’t even be used for other state firefighting services (only NSW). And definitely can’t be used to help the everyday people in the community who had lost so much, as was the intention.

To me, the inability to overcome the legal limits of the Trust Deed even though pursued in court (it requires NSW government legislation to overcome) highlights the craziness of 2020. We had deadly bushfires (Australia and the US) Brexit, Trump, that explosion in Lebanon and the Covid-19 pandemic. And I’m only naming some ones obvious to me. Depending on who you are and where you live, there will have been other priorities.

For a moment, the world came together. Strangers reached out with a helping hand. And the aid was caught up in bloody red tape and bureaucracy. What a tragedy.

And so to a degree, we were already in ’emergency mode’ when the pandemic triggered panic buying and hoarding. We were already plenty stressed and ready to react to this perceived (and ultimately real) threat.

DO NOT HOARD, said the government. DO NOT PANIC, they cried. WHATEVER. YOU HAVE GOT TO BE JOKING, decried the people.

People were scared and it makes sense that the poorest and most marginalised people in the population were not going to listen to that patronising advice. They live in fear and stress all the time. They know to react to real danger. They know not to wait. People used to security, even if only modest wealth, might take longer to react and perhaps look down on those poor fools buying up toilet paper, pasta, rice and sugar. Those people who could least afford to be lost reacted to survive, as they knew to. In a very real catastrophe, they at least would have supplies to keep them for a while, as businesses closed, jobs were lost, people began to sicken and die.

Typical Christmas family gatherings include hopping from home to home, sharing food and anecdotes. Cheerful one-upmanship. The sharing of successes and ordinary disappointments. Shared food, shared hugs, shared kisses, hand shaking, leave taking, memory making.

Inevitably (of course) there are the years when people suffer serious losses that lead more to reflection and inflict unnatural darkness upon the event.

A normal Christmas for us is to share our travel adventures, to connect with our family around Australia, to rejoice at the births, weddings, graduations and new opportunities of friends around the world. Covid spread its evil shade over everything and tainted the seasonal celebration of life, love and the joy of giving.

I assume the majority of us were tired and dispirited by Christmas 2020, praying for miracles, wishing for a Happy New Year and a return to ‘normal’. The new ‘Covid-normal’ we’re getting used to saying.

While my husband and I celebrated a quiet and safe Christmas, without our children who live in another state, we remembered those in the world who can’t celebrate anything like a normal Christmas season. People who are still locked down, afraid and threatened by the invisible enemy, and by those who won’t harken the call to unselfishness. To listen to the guidelines, to stay indoors, to mask up and take it all seriously.

We all imagine and pray that 2021 will bring an ease, an erasure of the virus, a return to normal-normal. Unfortunately, at the time of writing 2021 is only days away and although vaccines are now in the wider community, and promised here in Australia by March, I don’t see them  as golden tickets out of the pandemic.

So …. I normally write a happy Christmas letter to my family and friends – but what was there to write about that hasn’t already been said BY EVERYBODY! There was nothing fresh, no particularly joyful anecdotes. For us, our children didn’t marry, have babies or celebrate milestone birthdays. Our nephew’s planned wedding became a covid-closure event.

We continued to work (often from home) and watched too much TV. I read even more books than usual. For the first five months, my husband and I walked heaps but somehow, by July, fell out of the habit. We spent too much time in front of the computer, particularly with the upsurge of Zoom and Team meetings.

On the bright side … I’ve worked on my writing dream. Enrolled in writing courses, attempted to participate in more flash fiction opportunities, and seriously tackled one of my work-in-progress novels.

I woke up post-Christmas and decided that 2021 was the year I would present a finished and polished manuscript to publishers. Publication is not a given, of course, but I’ve been inspired by feedback so far given in the Write Your Novel course I’m involved in. So, bring it on.

Note: Apologies for the dreariness and overall depressing nuance of this article.

Cheeriness in photos!

Three Things Challenge #456

The three things for today are: CLOCK, SNORE, TREE
*****

I was caught by surprise, snoring on the job.

The radar clocked him flying past at 140km/hr.

I woke up fast, flipped the flashers, turned on the siren.

And pulled out of the highway rest area, throwing up gravel as tires grabbed dirt.

He had a significant lead. Was barely visible ahead.

My patrol car was built for the chase, and I was gaining every second.

Then a bang. An explosion really.

And there was smoke, and debris blasted over the bitumen.

Then the mangled car wrapped around the tree.

Three Things Challenge

Friday Fictioneer – Gone

Gone Trish Nankivell

Photo prompt @ Trish Nankivell

“They were never seen again,” drawled our loquacious guide, pulling up to the homestead of the abandoned cattle station. The hottest spot for paranormal activity in the southern hemisphere, so said the brochure.

“GONE fishing, GONE troppo, GONE to God. Take yer pick,” he continued. “Never seen again. The locals put it up. The sign. In memoriam, like.”

Twenty-five ghost hunting fanatics stagger from the steaming minibus, dodgy aircon still cranking, every one covered in red dust.

“Inside, cold beers and iced water. In yer go.”

The last to enter the house, I watched him drive away.

Friday fictioneers is a weekly challenge set by Rochelle Wisoff Fields to write a story in response to a photo prompt – in 100 words or less. You can find other stories here.