Monday, December 30, 2013

Visit Me At My New Site

Hello, Friends and Readers.

I'm making some changes in my blogging as of January 1st. This site will no longer be active, in the sense that I will not be posting new material here. I will not delete the blog, because there is a great deal of material here that can, hopefully, still offer entertainment and various blessings to those who come by. 

However, I am moving my attention and my active blogging to my WordPress site: 
In Love With Words.

I will also continue to post some of my original stories on the new Blogger site:
Stories, Nothing But Stories

Please visit me at WordPress and at the Stories site. Read a while and comment if you'd care to do so. I really do appreciate your comments.

Thanks for visiting here. Hope to see -- and hear -- from you at the new sites.


Saturday, October 19, 2013

I Drank From the 'Colored' Fountain

(Throughout this article I will be referring to people of the Negroid race as Negroes or black people. I do not use those terms in any derogatory manner. It's currently considered “politically correct” in the U.S. to refer to people of this race as “African-Americans,” but, to me, that is a slap in their faces. To separate these people with darker skin color into a “segregated” group and label them AFRICAN-Americans rather than AMERICANS just like the rest of us is a terrible insult. 
I have always and will continue to use the proper name for their race: Negroid -- and the proper name for my own race: Caucasian.  But since we have for generations considered it acceptable to shorten those formal race identifiers to simply “black” and “white,” I see nothing discriminatory in continuing to use those less formal terms. I believe that my words (labels, if you will) show more respect for the race than does the term that labels all black Americans as “Africans.” 
Should anyone reading this article feel required to take offense at my terminology, feel free to stop reading at any time. I am not a “politically correct” journalist, nor will I ever be one. But I will continue to write honestly and passionately about what I know, what I believe, and what I feel.)
I Drank From the 'Colored' Fountain
I was 10 years old. My parents, my little sister, and I had moved to Nashville, TN, from a little town in Southern Illinois the previous year. We were on an adventure, and everything – but everything! – was different.
Most of those differences were good and wrapped us in happy experiences and precious memories. The people were warm and friendly – eager to help in any capacity at all. We began making instant friends from the very first day, and many of those friendships lasted far into future years. In fact, I can honestly say that my greatest disappointment when we eventually moved back north was that there was absolutely no answering friendliness or help coming from the people in our new hometown. And developing genuine friendships when back in Illinois again seemed very hard.
The schools in Nashville were different as well. They seemed to be much more education oriented, with no 'playing around' like that allowed in our schools back in Illinois. Structured lunch periods, structured recess (for only one half hour each day), and intensely focused academic work at every grade level were the earmarks of the Nashville school system. In fact, when we returned to Illinois, my sister and I were almost one whole year ahead of the students in the same grades in our new school.
And then, of course, there was so much more to see and do than there had been in our former hometown. The all-night convenience stores had never even been dreamed about in Southern Illinois back then, but they were prolific in the big city and its suburbs. There were multiple museums, libraries, movie theaters, restaurants of every conceivable sort, lovely little independent bookstores, and huge department stores.
Our favorite department store was right in the middle of the city. It was the epitome of the department store of the 1950's. Everything you could possibly want in the way of clothing, furnishings, appliances, entertainment equipment, and tools could be found under one roof. Prices ranged from exorbitant in some of the departments to modest when customers shopped the “Bargain Basement.” But everyone shopped the basement as well as the rest of the store, and it wasn't unusual to see one of the big stars in country music purchasing petticoats in the basement right beside “ordinary folk.”
There was an exquisite restaurant on the fourth floor, with food and service that made guests glad they had “dressed up” to visit. But there was a “Lunch Counter” in the basement, and that was just as much fun in its different way. The counter was shaped in a huge square that wrapped around the center area where the food prep was done. Most week days, it was so crowded at the middle of the day that there were people standing and waiting their turn to sit down and order.
I loved that department store, and it was in that very store that I experienced a strange and disturbing epiphany. It was there that I first came face-to-face with the one difference in lifestyle that was not good – not good at all. Strange and disturbing as it was, though, I welcomed it and have been grateful for it ever since. The experience was not one that took place in a split second, as epiphanies often do. This experience developed within me over a period of time, mainly because I was gradually accumulating data and meditating on all of that data, examining my own emotions and my responses. And let me hasten to add that this one department store was not the only place where the situation I'm addressing could be found. In fact, it was in every public place throughout the city – throughout the south. And years later, I was to learn that many places in Illinois and other northern states had their own version of this problem, but it was not emphasized quite so publicly.
My epiphany began one seemingly inconsequential day as I stood in the midst of that department store and realized I needed a drink of water. Mom found the water fountains. There were two. One was labeled “White.” The second was labeled “Colored.” We were busy, so mom directed my sister and me to drink from the one labeled “White,” which we did and hurried on our way.
But the next time I was in that store and wanted a drink of water, since I knew where the fountains were located, I went on my own. I stood in front of those two fountains and read the signs and wondered. The question rolling through my 10-year-old mind was “Why would one have colored water?” And, naturally the next question was “Why couldn't I have some of the colored water?” But because I had been admonished to drink from the one labeled “White,” I did so and went on my way.
Now, a handful of readers might possibly surmise at this point that I was lacking in normal intelligence. So just to put those ideas to rest I will tell you that I had been reading from my toddler years and had taught myself to write in cursive before I ever crossed the threshold of a schoolroom. I frequently carried on conversations with adults and held my own. So, no, the explanation for my confusion does not lie in the level of my intelligence -- but rather in the fact that I was fortunate to have Godly and wise parents.
My parents had never, in all my 10 years, hinted in the slightest manner that black people were unequal to white people. They never talked negatively about black people, nor did they treat them any differently in business or social activities. In fact, my dad, in later years, told us about a Negro gentleman who had been a great friend to my grandfather in the years before I was born. Moreover, my mother was descended from the Cherokee nation, and that being an altogether different race as well, we knew that our blood line was mixed. However, the point never seemed important to us, nor did it ever come up in conversations. There had not been a great many Negroes living in the Illinois town where we lived, but I do remember one or two people of that race who crossed our paths occasionally, and I don't recall having any feelings about them that differed from my feelings for white people.
In short, I was totally ignorant about racial prejudice and discrimination. To any readers who do not believe that racial prejudice must be carefully taught in order to be carried on from generation to generation, I will tell you that I am living proof you are wrong. I honestly did not know that it existed. And having absolutely no frame of reference for discerning the meaning of those labels on the two water fountains, I had no choice but to believe that the labels referred to the water itself.
So I continued to believe that the water fountain labeled “Colored” held colored water. And finally one day, as I stood alone before those fountains, preparing to get a drink, I took my courage – or my rebellious nature – into my own hands. I had been instructed that the store did not allow me to drink from the “Colored” fountain, so I assumed the store authorities would be watching to make sure I did not. But I just had to sample that colored water. So I looked around to make sure no one was watching. Not a sole was looking my direction. In fact, no adult was even within speaking distance at that moment. So I hurried up to the “Colored” fountain, pressed the lever, and waited expectantly.
It's difficult to describe my level of disappointment. “Why it's just plain water – just like the other one,” was my obvious overt reaction. But I drank anyway, hoping maybe it would taste different. Again, disappointment. But inwardly, I was more than disappointed. I was thoroughly confused.
That confusion stirred me to the point that I was willing to face punishment for my “crime” in order to get my curiosity satisfied. So I confessed to my parents that I had drunk from that fountain. “But the water wasn't colored at all,” I complained. “It was just like the water in the “White” fountain.” When my parents confirmed that they had known that fact all along, I asked. “Then what does that sign mean?”
They explained the situation the best they could to a 10-year-old, emphasizing the fact that they did not agree with the practice, but that it was the law in that state. I was just flummoxed. Never, even in my inordinately active imagination, had I ever dreamed that people were treated this way because of the color of their skin. And for the first time, I think I realized that I should give some serious thought to who black people really were.
Adding fuel to that decision was another peculiar phenomenon that I became aware of during the same time. When we went into the store's public restroom, which always had a black lady in attendance, we found that there were two stalls with unlocked doors, and one locked stall that required the person to pay in order to use it. By asking insistent questions, I was finally able to ascertain that no black people were allowed to use that pay stall, and white people who wanted a stall that they “believed” to be “cleaner” were required to pay for that advantage.
Now, my parents were not paupers, and paying a nickel to use the toilet would not have affected their financial standing at all, but my mother never chose to use the pay toilets – except on the rare occasion that the restroom was packed with a waiting line, and we were rather desperate to go. On such occasions, she would acknowledge that wisdom dictated using the pay stall and getting the job done quickly. But my point here is that my mom never even considered that the restroom used by black people was any less clean than that used by whites. Again – I had no frame of reference for racial prejudice.
I cannot adequately describe how troubled I was as a result of those experiences. There was a heaviness and a sadness in my heart every time I thought of it from that time forward, just knowing that one group of people treated another group so shamefully. I had been taught the Word of God all my young life, and I believed it in my own heart. And, try as I might, I could not rationalize that holy Word with such unholy treatment. Yes, those two experiences dealt with seemingly minor issues, but they were just the tip of the iceberg – the surface symptoms of a raging internal disease. And the injustice of all of it weighed heavily upon my heart.
When I returned to that store, I wanted to stand by those drinking fountains and announce to people, “Hey, I drank from this “Colored” water fountain, and everything's fine! We're all the same! There's no reason to separate us! You can take off the signs!” There wasn't anyone around who cared to know, of course, but in my own 10-year-old heart, I was so glad that I had drunk from that fountain and could testify that we really are all the same.
My mind turned to the problem frequently during my growing up years, and the sadness grew as my understanding grew. I am now 50-plus years past those experiences, which initiated me into a level of man's inhumanity to man that I would not have dreamed up even for a piece of fiction. Unfortunately, the years that followed would teach me much about that inhumanity and how painfully real it was in this world – not just for blacks, but for all the American Indians as well.
I want to think that some few things I've written, or said, or prayed over the years have made a difference. And most assuredly, the Lord has brought into my life an enormous number of Negro brothers and sisters who are believers and have become part of my family in the Lord. Those precious saints have enriched my life so much, and I can't bear to think that they could be subjected to such treatment as that which has stained our past history. I do want to think – and believe – that the prayers and actions of each one of us individually – just like those of a 10-year-old child – can make a lasting difference.
I never freed a slave. I never took part in a civil rights march. My name won't be found on any of the legal documents that gave black people the right to vote or that ended segregation in this nation. Nor am I listed in any roster of heroes of the Civil Rights Movement. And, no, I still have never been forced to pay for the privilege of using a public restroom. Nothing I did will seem the least bit important to anyone else, and there's probably no one who would credit what I did as having any significance in the battle against prejudice and inhumanity in our society. But I know. And that's enough. I drank from the “Colored” fountain, and I was so glad that I had done so. And it matters to me that, in the depths of my 10-year-old heart, I took a stand against those evil forces.
The signs are gone now from the water coolers. And all the doors on the stalls in the ladies' bathrooms have swung free for years without the deposit of any coins. But the echos linger. Every time I remember, tears fill my eyes. And even though thousands of us honestly felt no prejudice whatsoever, I still feel some faint sense of guilt on behalf of all of us who called ourselves “white” back then. And I worry sometimes – plagued by the hints I see and hear every now and then – that the prejudice and inhumanity are not really gone from our land. But I pray: “Lord if, in the future, we ever face another time like that time – in which we dehumanize our God-created brothers and sisters for any reason -- please give me the courage once again to deliberately drink from the 'Colored' fountain.”
(The photo is the personal work of photographer Gordon Parks, whose photographs were well-known by readers of Life magazine. His works have been published in a collection by Steidl, and can be found at this site:
More information about Parks and his work can be found at the Gordon Parks Foundation site:

Sunday, August 11, 2013

A New Day


Tuesday, July 2, 2013

'As I Sat on the Bus' Writing Challenge - Week of 6/23/13

Photo courtesy Wikemedia Commons
As Cody sat on the cracked seat at the back of the bus, jostled by the jerky movement of the nearly worn-out vehicle, he couldn't get her off his mind. He kept seeing her smile, hearing her throaty laugh at his flimsy excuse for jokes. He could still feel the softness of her fragrant hair and feel the warmth of her in his arms.
But mostly he could see the hurt in her eyes – the confusion and – yes – he was sure it had been fear. He shook his head now at those memories. He shouldn't have taken off like that. He shouldn't have given up so easily – shouldn't have left her in the clutches of that family of vipers!
He'd known what their attitude would be towards him. He'd grown up in the gypsy caravans – no confirmed lineage as far as a father was concerned – and the best he'd been able to do for work was traveling tool salesman for the local company. He knew as well as her relatives that he didn't deserve someone like her. Of course he didn't. But then who did deserve someone as wonderful as Tess?
Besides, deserving didn't have anything to do with it. It was love that mattered, and there wasn't another man alive who could love Tess Montague better than he did!
But she had to make the choice. He couldn't choose for her. And she had lived almost 30 years doing exactly what Mom and Daddy – and Granddad – told her to do. They held the purse strings, but that wasn't what put the pressure on Tess. He knew that. No – it was the emotional stranglehold they had on her. That guilt trip they always laid on her any time she wanted to be independent in any way at all. He shook his head again. He knew she wasn't strong enough to get free from them by herself. Why had he given up?
Well, for one thing, she had held back when he asked her point blank if she loved him. He'd confessed his love for her repeatedly for weeks, but she'd never say it back to him. She looked at him with love in her eyes. And goodness knows, the woman kissed him like she couldn't get enough of him! But she wouldn't say the words. And it would take words to make her his wife. It would take words to tell that lordly Brewster Harrison, Jr. that she wasn't going to have him as her husband, regardless of Granddad's threat to disinherit her if she didn't marry Brewster.
But if he had stayed a little longer …. He couldn't help but wonder if it would have made any difference.
He shifted his position sideways and stretched out his legs since the other half of the seat was empty. He sighed and leaned back thinking that his staying wouldn't have helped. Tess just didn't have the strength to choose him over all the rest. As the last thought weighed him down in spirit, he glanced to his left to look outside the rear window of the bus.
What the …! What was he seeing? He blinked … rubbed his eyes … strained to look again.
Was it …? Could it be possible …? Running after this bus for all she was worth …?
By golly … the woman did have the guts to do it!
He jumped up and stalked down the narrow aisle of the bus to the drivers seat. “Hey, buddy, I gotta get off!” The driver glanced in the rear-view mirror to get a look at him. “I gotta git off NOW!”
I can't make a stop out here in the middle of the road, mister!”
You got to. The woman I love is runnin' down the road after us, and I gotta go to her!” As he spoke the last words, he was already standing on the steps with his hand on the automatic door. “If you won't stop, I'll force these doors open and jump!”
The driver spared him a disgusted glance and saw more determination than he could fight against, so he put on his flashers and pulled over to the shoulder, shocking the other passengers into voicing their irritation. “You better get off quick, 'cause I can't sit here!” he ordered.
Cody punched the air with a “thumbs-up” sign, and the second the door opened he and his suitcase were on the ground. A quick salute to the driver was all he managed before the bulky vehicle lumbered away, with all gears grinding and a thick cloud of exhaust fumes burning Cody's nostrils.
But he didn't really notice. Because as soon as the cloud of exhaust cleared enough for him to see through the haze, Tess was all that filled his mind. She had run until she had collapsed to her knees, and she obviously had no breath left to speak. But she was beautiful. And her eyes told him everything he needed to know.
If you enjoyed this story, you might like the companion story -- Tess' side of the story -- which I wrote for the Friday Fictioneers challenge this week. Here's the link to the story from Tess perspective: "Racing for a Second Chance"

Sunday, June 23, 2013

In Memorium: Vince Flynn

Image courtesy of Vince Flynn website
I learned some exceedingly sad news this week. One of my favorite authors passed from this life four days ago, at the age of 47 and at the height of his writing career. Vince Flynn, an American author whose books have sold over 15 million copies in the U. S. and millions more worldwide, has been an encouragement and a challenging example to me personally in my endeavors to reach out to the world through the written word. 
I cannot put into accurate words the sadness I feel at learning of Vince Flynn's death. He was, without a doubt, one of the most talented and most morally responsible writers to grace the halls of American literature in this generation. He was a true patriot and, through his work, shared that love of our nation and all it stands for with his millions of readers.
He also stands as a beacon of personal commitment to a goal -- and as a beacon of ingenuity and enterprise that is offered to citizens of this nation -- in that he was determined to succeed in getting his words to the reading public and would not take 'no' for an answer. Although diagnosed as dyslexic during his school years, he did not let that problem deter him from reaching for his goal. Although turned down my the Marine Corps because of a physical problem, he sought for and found a way to serve this nation through his writing.
As an author who self-published his first book -- after scores of rejections of the same --  he went on to become one of the best selling authors of this generation. He is a powerful encouragement to others to pursue their dreams and never give up. My heart goes out to his family, and I do share their grief at losing such a valuable man.
A couple of years ago, I wrote a newspaper column concerning books and their lasting value in our lives. I also shared some of my personal experiences as an author who has enjoyed hearing from people who have been profoundly touched and moved by my stories. In connection with that experience, I wrote about Vince Flynn – in a rather light-hearted way – but my words were totally honest. In memory of this gifted man and his work, I'd like to share those words again right now:
"I'm a Vince Flynn fan. In my opinion, he literally "wrote the book" on high-concept political intrigue.  Now, of course, when I'm in need of something warm and fuzzy to read – something that will allow me to escape this cruel, cold world – I definitely don't run to Vince. But when I want something I can get my teeth into – something that involves every bit of me in the story – he's my man.
"Every sentence is packed, and for that reason, I find it almost impossible to put his books down once I start reading.  I look at the clock at 1:00 a.m. and tell myself I'll read just to the end of the chapter. Then at 2:00 a.m. I reassure my conscience that I'll read just one more page. And I do. Then I read one more page … and one more page … until I find myself at 3:00 a.m., facing an unforgiving alarm clock that's set to go off in three more hours.
"So I've been thinking: Perhaps I'll set another goal for myself that will help me measure my success as an author – as I see it. I think I'll aim for writing a novel that will keep Vince Flynn up until 3:00 a.m. and make him feel guilty. Yes. That sounds like a good idea. I'll start right now – if I can just stay awake …."
Sadly, of course, that goal is no longer achievable, since Mr. Flynn has left us. But personally, I will still hold onto that thought, and although I will see it through tears, I will nevertheless see it as a beacon and a challenge that leads me in my efforts to write stories that will get hold of people and not let go. I believe I have something important to say in the stories I write -- as did Vince Flynn -- and I am enormously grateful for his example that remains here with us in all of the masterful work he has given us.

Thursday, May 16, 2013

A Free Spirit

This photo is of my grandfather on my mother's side. His name was Elmer, and he was truly a “free spirit.” Sometimes he could be short and cantankerous, and I'll have to say he did not get along with everyone as well as he did with me, but I loved him and his unique personality. He was a serious Christian, as was I, but we saw a number of things differently, and we had many a strong discussion over the years. Sometimes now I think about one particular thing on which we disagreed strongly. In later years – after he went to be with the Lord – I came to realize that he had been right about it all along. Many times I've thought, “My, I wish Grandpa were here so I could sit down with him and talk about this again – now that I can see what he was really saying.”
He had a real knack for taking things apart and putting them back together. And he loved doing it. There was something in him that just had to see what made things work. So at nearly any time, he could be found with some piece of equipment or machinery lying spread out in parts, waiting to be reassembled at Grandpa's leisure. I even have a photo of our huge family celebrating Christmas – everyone passing around gifts and opening them – while Grandpa sits in front of the TV set with his flashlight and screwdriver, doing his own thing.
In his forties, he developed lung cancer and had surgery to remove part of his lung. That was back in the days when that kind of surgery was extremely rare, and there was not much in the way of treatments. People pretty much fended for themselves, and they either made it, or they didn't. But since Grandpa believed in God as a healer, he had that extra Power to rely on, and he did make it. In fact, he lived more than two decades beyond that.
He spent his life farming and doing factory work, but by the time he was in his 60's, that kind of work was beyond him, and he looked for something else to fulfill his work ethic. Our town had one Dairy Queen and another ice cream stand that was open during the summer only, but we had nothing like an ice cream truck that went around the neighborhoods offering treats. So my grandpa, innovative "free spirit" that he was, decided that, instead of growing old and run down, he'd start a brand new career. He created himself an ice cream wagon.
He bought a Cushman motorized cart (electric motor), mounted a freezer unit on the back and filled it with ice cream treats. He had to keep it plugged into an electric outlet overnight in order to charge the motor. He also mounted bells and a cassette tape recorder, from which he played children's songs along the routes. From that point on, for many years, from May to September, he could be seen all over town spending his days with the kids, who affectionately called him “The Ice Cream Man.” 
It was also during those years that he decided to take up the guitar – not learn to play it – just take it up. His youngest son was actually a musician with a band in northern Illinois, and the photo above shows Grandpa playing around with his son's guitar. Though very old and worn, this photo is one of my favorites of my grandfather. It shows him at a big family picnic – looking again like the farmer he used to be – in his undershirt, suspenders, and hat – “goofing off” for his kids and grandkids. I personally think that this photo shows a man who refused to be bound up by a lot of social rules, and who lived his life as a “free spirit” to the best of his ability.

Sometimes You Have To Take A Chance

I wonder if I should stick my toe in first.”

Thursday, May 9, 2013

Let The Challenge Begin: Flash Fiction Writing Challenge - 5/9/13

Okay, I just can't resist this. I love writing challenges, even though I don't get to keep up with all of them.  A couple weeks ago, I began thinking about one particular piece of graphic art done by a friend that should spark several good ideas for stories. But, of course, no one else is going to use that photo for a challenge, so I decided I might as well do it myself.
Now, many of my blogging friends are involved in so many of these kinds of activities, they may not have time to add another -- and that's okay. Believe me, I do understand. However, for any of you out there who are looking for one more little adventure in the world of cyberspace writing, I'm going to offer this challenge.
For this time around, I'm suggesting you post your story on your own blog and then come to my comments section and post the link to it -- with any other comments you want to make. If this should develop into something regular with a lot of people taking part, and it starts to get too crowded, I'll FORCE myself to get more sophisticated and sign up for the "inlinkz" system or something similar. But for now, if you want to share your story, just post the link in the 'Comments' section below the challenge post.
Now for rules:  Uhhggg!
Only two rules:
1. Write a story inspired by the picture -- 100 - 500 words   in length.
2. I host a "G" rated blog, so please be sure your story is clean and wholesome enough to be read by any audience -- in other words -- Rated G.
No time limit. If you're inclined to take part, take your time and have fun.
And if it should transpire that no one is eager to take up this challenge, there's no harm done. I'm just feeling a little whimsical this afternoon, and this is the result.  If we do have a good turnout of stories, perhaps I'll post a new challenge each month, but I'll wait and see how this one goes.
Now for the picture: Some of you will recognize this work from a previous post on this site. It is by Terry Valley, a professional photographer and graphic artist friend in the U. S.  It clearly lends itself to a science fiction theme, but please don't feel constrained to stick with that. I don't doubt that many will be inspired to go a different route all together.
TERRY'S GREEN PLANET 2 - resized, credits
My story based on the picture is below:
WHAT  IF  ...?
What's the latest report?” Oneida asked Tron.
The planet Verdure is still in a state of internal combustion,” he replied, his face pinched. He looked at the camera relay screen. “Watching that planet disintegrate right before my eyes and knowing I can't stop it is tearing my guts out.”
How long do we have?”
I'll know more when Beryl and Oma return. They're out measuring the light levels in the power garden.”
That red gas is our main enemy?”
Yes, as our energy pods absorb it, the light energy that holds this planet together is drained off.”
He panned the camera across the power garden of mushroom-shaped growths from which the planet drew all of its life. “See, how many of the healthy purple pods have absorbed the gas until they have turned red and shrunk to half their original size?”
He panned to the pod where Beryl and Oma were still at work. Oneida spoke. “Look, Oma's starting to descend. Maybe they'll be back with their report soon.”
Yes, but I'm not sure I want to hear it. Sometimes, I think we should turn off all the surveillance equipment so we can't see it all happening one step at a time. Perhaps we should all just gather in the communal hall and do our best to comfort each other until it comes.”
Until the end comes, do you mean?”
Of course! What else?”
She looked at him gravely. “I've been thinking ….”
Yes …?”
Well … I've been wondering … Did we just happen?” Tron looked at her quizzically. “I mean … well ... I find it hard to believe this whole planet of Mushroom just happened – and that all of us who live here were non-existent one second and then – bang – here we were!” She looked at him hopefully.
I don't think I'm following you. What does it have to do with Verdure's decomposition and destruction of everything within its electro-magnetic sphere?”
Don't you see? If we didn't just … happen … then someone or something more intelligent, more creative, more powerful than ourselves had to have created us. And if that someone cared enough to make us, then wouldn't it – or he – care enough to save us?"
Tron's eyes grew large. Oneida could see that it was a concept he'd never imagined.  But now ... with no other possible avenue of hope ... perhaps even he thought it was worth considering.
She continued. “I guess I'm wondering if we were to look back in all the records of Mushroom – especially the copies of those old black books the leaders buried underground last century ...."
"You mean you think there might be answers to our origins in those books? But the leaders insisted that they were lies and made it illegal for any citizen of Mushroom to read them."
But what if we could find out … and find a way to connect with our … creator ---”
That's impossible!”
Is it? Our survival is impossible as we are now. But, just think, Tron … what if ….”

Friday, May 3, 2013

Friday Fictioneers - 5/3/13 -- 'Beauty Is in the Eye of the Beholder'

I changed computer systems not long ago, and I realized recently that my system counts ellipses marks and quotation marks as words, so now I have to count my words by hand. Good thing we have a low limit.  (Anybody else out there old enough to remember the old days of journalism when every five letters or spaces counted as a word? And there were no typewriters with built-in "word count."  A writer's life was hard back then.) This week, though, I've evidently used only 97, so if any of the rest of you need three more, feel free to take them with my blessing.
This week's prompt comes from a photo by Kent Bonham.  All of the stories I've read so far find great beauty and genius in this structure. But I have to be true to myself and write what the building calls forth from me. 
Okay, you can open your eyes ....
"Well ... what do you think?”
What do you mean, what do I think?”
My surprise!”
This ... this ... MONSTROSITY!!??”
It's a famous landmark!”
You mean you invested ALL our money in THIS?
It will make a grand hotel; you'll see.”
No ... I won't see! I'm going home!”
But ... I thought you knew ...”
Knew? ...
His heartbeat doubled; sweat beaded on his forehead and trickled between his shoulder blades.
Well ….” He licked his lips to relieve his mouth that felt like cotton. “Well … of course … I had ... to ... sell ---”
He stopped talking and ran.
The link tool that will allow you to add your story to the list closes on Tuesday afternoons.

Friday Fictioneers - 4/26/13 - 'Entrusted'

This is my Friday Fictioneers story from last week. The prompt came from a photo by Claire Fuller.  As usual, the instructions were to write a 100-word story based on the prompt. My story is below the picture. When I do a word count, my computer counts my ellipses marks as words, but the actual word count is exactly 100.  I'm going with that.
Copyright-Claire Fulller
Oh, Donovan! Am I dreaming?”
No, they are very real.” He caressed book after book, counting each stack again.
How … ?”
Right before his arrest, Father called me to his library. His face awash with tears, he told me the new government police were confiscating and burning every book they could find. He begged me to help him bury his 1000 books.
"We worked all night, and when they came, they found all the shelves bare.  He wouldn't tell them where … so they executed him.”
But you ….”
I couldn't betray his trust …. ”
Look for next week's prompt at this site:

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

100-Word Challenge for Grown Ups - #86 -- 'Decisions'

This week's 100-Word story challenge from Julia is the following phrase:     " ... the queue was so long ..." 
We have to create a story with 100 words, plus this phrase. To join the fun visit Julia here:
My story is four words over the limit, but you will find it below:

The queue was so long!  I was already doubting my decision.  
If I stood here much longer, I might change my mind. I didn't want to change my mind.
I knew Roger loved me, and our life was good.  He'd begged me not to go.  But I couldn't stop wondering ... what would have happened if I'd made different decisions?  What life would I have ...?
And when Dr. DeCamp taught the class on alternate lives -- and explained that those lives were actually running concurrent to this one -- and that there was a way to transfer into those lives -- I decided.
But ... now ... every minute in line required a NEW decision!

100-Word Challenge for Grown Ups # 85 -- 'Wendell's Angel'

I'm running behind (no pun intended), but I was so swamped with other work last week that I didn't get a chance to check out the 100-Word Challenge at Julia's Place. But when I was there yesterday and saw the photo from last week, I just could not resist writing a story for it. So I'm offering it a week late, but none-the-less happily written.  Here's the photo, and my story is below. 
Angel #47,000,000 smiled at Wendell lumbering through the museum. #47,000,000 had been Wendell's guardian since birth. And what a ride it had been!
Wendell loved life! Though heavy and awkward, he liked doing everything, unaware his large frame could be dangerous when he wasn't careful.
Even today, just visiting the museum: #47,000,000 had already rescued a $60,000 sculpture, a $1,000,000 clock, and a case of rare jewels Wendell had bumped with his rump. The alarm had blared; the museum doors had locked down.
After things settled, Wendell wanted just one more picture, so #47,000,000 started to relax.
Wendell bent for a close-up.
Ming Vase going down!
Once #47,000,000 got Wendell home, he was asking God for a raise! 
To join this current week's fun, hop over to Julia's blog: