Sarah Ann Hall

Reporting on writing in progress or, more probably, not; practising flash fiction.

OLWG#68 – Late Night Phone Call

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My creative brain is taking a holiday as practical matters take over my waking hours. I have struggled with all writing challenges this week. Thank you to Thom at the New Unofficial On-line Writer’s Guild for another great set of prompts, and apologies for such a contrived drabble in response.

 

Late Night Phone Call

‘Hello?’

‘Hello Mr. Charles?’

‘Who’s that?’

‘Billy Summers.’

‘Who?’

‘We think you know someone who can help us?’

‘What?’

‘Mom told us to call you.’

‘Who?’

‘Mary Summers.’

‘Oh. Why?’

‘Claire left.’

‘Right. I understand. So what do you need?’

‘Mom needs more sugar.’

‘Sugar? Sorry kid, you’ve lost me again.’

‘Mom said to call you. She needs more icing sugar.’

‘Icing sugar?’

‘The stuff you can’t get in the shops. The stuff that gives her energy; helps her sleep. The stuff she wipes around her gums. She ain’t moving, Mr. Charles.’

‘You sit tight kid. I’ll make the call.’

 


This week’s prompts are:

  1. Mom needs more sugar
  2. we think you know someone
  3. Claire left

 

Go ahead and dive in, set your imagination free!
Write something
Ready, Set, Go – you have 25 minutes, but if that is not possible, take as long as you need.

Have fun

 

 

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Written by Sarah Ann

September 24, 2018 at 12:09 pm

#FridayFictioneers – 21/9/18 – Ever So Helpful

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Every Wednesday Rochelle Wisoff-Fields publishes a photo prompt to inspire writers to write 100-words of flash fiction or poetry.

At any point during the following week, the Friday Fictioneers post their 100-word tales. Read the other stories by clicking below.

I looked at the prompt, showed it to hubby, and while I love the photo, nothing came to either of our minds. So I’ve taken my cue from those lovely brollies and twisted from real life this week for the below vignette. Having just finished painting a gunwale yesterday morning, an un-forecast shower chucked itself at my boat and I almost resorted to chocolate. Friday Fictioneers saved my tears, and my waistline.

Thank you to Rochelle for hosting and Dale for a great photo.

© Dale Rogerson

Ever So Helpful

(Genre: general fiction; 100-words)

‘You’re going to need a big brolly.’

I smile and attend to the leaf I’m painting. A stage set does not need so much detail, but the veining keeps me calm when passersby offer such useful comments.

The end of October might not be the best time for outdoor theatre, but that doesn’t mean we give in. It means we must be prepared for all eventualities. My set will be ready, the quick drying paint doing its job despite the wind and showers that attempt to thwart me. The audience will provide their own umbrellas. The show will go on.

 

Written by Sarah Ann

September 22, 2018 at 9:17 am

OLWG#67 – Folding Syndrome

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Thom created a word cloud for last week’s New Unofficial On-Line Writer’s Guild prompts and I tried to include all of them in my fantasy that follows. I think I’ve only missed out one. Thank you Thom for another great challenge this week.

 

 

Folding Syndrome

It is hard to conceive of the silence that followed the Folding Syndrome epidemic. After all the voices that rang out, the choirs that formed and lifted the roofs off churches. After all the richness and resonance that united the world, the quiet was startling. The development of a collective activity where people worked and sang together instead of taking to war should probably have sounded alarm bells. It was the opposite of usual human behaviour after all. But the harmonies and spontaneous a cappella movements were soothing, enjoyable, and lulled all into a semi-conscious state. When it stopped no one could have imagined that singing would finish forever.

The end began with a singer on a television talent show. She faltered on stage, restarted, couldn’t find her voice, and stumbled crying into the wings. It was no great shakes, nothing to worry about; amateurs overstretch themselves. When the whole series’ cohort lost their crooning abilities questions were asked, investigations made. What could be causing the sickness? Initially throats swelled up and some thought it could be anaphylactic shock. Had someone poisoned the coffee? It had tasted off, a bit sour. When the symptoms spread to the church choirs, so too did the scope of enquiry.

In most cases the problems started with a change in pitch – a minor tonal variation up or down before the voice was all over the place. It was almost like being tone deaf, only the singer could hear they were going wrong, and no amount of repetition straightened them out. For those with newly acquired voices, it was easy come, easy go. For more established songbirds, and those whose voices were their careers, a dose of Folding Syndrome was an arrow to the heart. They began to avoid public appearances in case it was catching, but no regular activity was ever isolated as causal.

With other observed epidemics there was a recognised cycle, a flow followed by an ebb as infection peaks were reached and medicines introduced to alleviate symptoms. But not this time. Standard over the counter pills, herbal remedies, electric shock treatments direct to the vocal chords, all were tried. None could stop the folding of the chords, the minute rippling that gave the syndrome its name. Six months into the crisis the minsters of health of the world made a joint statement: ‘You will all know someone who has been touched by this. To date it is only singing that is affected. No one has lost their voice completely. That said, our scientists are at a loss. Research is ongoing but there are no grounds for optimism a cure will be found. We haven’t worked out the cause yet.’ It was a sad indictment albeit an honest one.

Years later there is no known cause and no cure, or at least none spoken of. And there is no singing. There may be people in the world who still sing, in the bath maybe, but no one attempts it in public. There’s a belief that if one is not heard singing then the sickness cannot fall upon them. There are conspiracy theories that it was an untraceable disease put about by AI because it is incapable of the human trait of singing. There are seeds of an idea that it was a superfast evolutionary process – after all what use is singing other than entertainment and who needs entertaining with so much work to be done. Folding Syndrome remains one of life’s inexplicables, left for great scientists of the future to solve.

 

#FridayFictioneers – 14/9/18 – Tick Tock

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Every Wednesday Rochelle Wisoff-Fields publishes a photo prompt to inspire writers to write 100-words of flash fiction or poetry.

At any point during the following week, the Friday Fictioneers post their 100-word tales. Read the other stories by clicking below.

 

Thanks to Rochelle and for J Hardy Carroll for this week’s prompt.

© J Hardy Carroll

 

Tick Tock

(Genre: general fiction; 100-words.)

1/11/15

‘Dave, we’re not getting any younger. Can you please stop working so hard?’

‘After Easter. Start of the new financial year, I’ll reduce my hours.’

12/3/16

‘I’m sorry, Jan. I know I said I’d cut back, but Val’s announced she’s leaving. I’ll need to cover until a replacement’s found. Christmas, I promise.’

16/1/17

‘Yes, I know I said Christmas, but we’ve booked that holiday now and I want you to have plenty of spending money.’

27/7/17

‘Another month. I’ll go 4-days after my 60thbirthday. Promise.’

8/10/17

Jan, great news, I’m being made redundant. Jan, love, are you home?

 

 

#FridayFictioneers – 7/9/18 – The Sun’ll Come Out

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Every Wednesday Rochelle Wisoff-Fields publishes a photo prompt to inspire writers to write 100-words of flash fiction or poetry.

At any point during the following week, the Friday Fictioneers post their 100-word tales. Read the other stories by clicking below.

I feel my stories of late have been a little miserable in outlook, so I tried for something more joyful. I’m not sure I fully succeeded.

Thank you to Rochelle and Gah this week.

© Gah Learner

 

The Sun’ll Come Out

(Genre: general fiction; 100-words)

Tomorrow is going to be a good day. I can feel it in my water. That’s something Granny says to cover the fact she doesn’t really know stuff but is hoping hard. I’ve seen loads more of Granny since Tyler’s been in hospital. Granny looks after me while Mum and Dad and the doctors look after him.

Life’s been so weird since the accident: Granny moving in, me staying up late on school nights, no limits on screen-time or chocolate. Weird and fun.

They remove the sedation tomorrow.

Tyler’s going to be okay.

I can feel it in my water.

 

Written by Sarah Ann

September 7, 2018 at 9:17 am

OLWG#66 – Let’s Party

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Sometimes I look at the New Unofficial On-Line Writer’s Guild prompts and think they belong together. They could almost tell a story all by themselves. Hence my short and sweet offering of 100-words this week. Thank you Thom.

 

Let’s Party

‘I’m having a party and I’m inviting all my favourite people: You, of course, and Melissa and Josh and Pippa and Freddie and Lena and Charles and George and Dominque and Isabelle and Pete and –

‘When’s this party?’

‘Next Saturday. I’ve hired the bowling alley.’

‘You want us all to shoot pins all day?’

‘Well, that was the idea. Me and my bestest friends.’

‘You booked the venue already?’

‘Yep.’

‘You gonna phone or email everyone to invite them in time?’

‘Hell no, I’m posting to Facebook. Telling the whole world.’

‘Well, you won’t be able to tell anyone else.’

 


 

This week’s prompts are:

  1. you won’t be able to tell anyone else
  2. well, that was the idea
  3. all my favourite people

 

Go ahead and dive in, set your imagination free!
Write something
Ready, Set, Go – you have 25 minutes, but if that is not possible, take as long as you need.

Have fun

 

Written by Sarah Ann

September 6, 2018 at 7:47 pm

Project 10K (P10K) – September

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September is going to be another month of modest writing goals. With the air temperature becoming cooler, and hopefully more consistent, the boat maintenance that didn’t take place during the summer (or at any time during the previous two years because we were too busy lazy) has come to the fore. I will be washing, sanding, scraping and treating rust, and painting in any spare moments.

Setting out at the beginning of the month that writing has to take a back seat will ensure I don’t get upset about not getting much done. My brain is in the right place – I can’t do everything; sometimes the outside world has to take priority over my internal one.

I achieved most of my modest goals in August and the first three weeks went well, the last too a little awry. August was a long month and I got to see friends I haven’t in a long time as well as doing lots of walking and eating too much, so all was good 🙂

 

© Flights of Fancy

 

I realised last month that I need to focus more with my writing. I have a number of ongoing projects and need to concentrate on one at a time, rather than doing a bit here and there, to make progress. One of my September goals is to draw up the writing ‘to do’ list that I didn’t write in August.

I will stick with the August goals of participating in Friday Fictioneers and OLWG, and I want to commit to keeping up with Scribophile on a more regular basis. I also need to finish the Iowa University Moving the Margins MOOC. I have watched the talks, read the readings and contributed to the discussions, but I got a bit blocked on the last three writing projects. Ideas are bouncing around in my head. Hopefully during the next couple of weeks I will be able to get the ideas posted and receive some insightful comments from my fellow students who are also still finishing off the course.

 

Goals for September

  1. Contribute to Friday Fictioneers prompts.
  2. Post responses to OLWG Sunday prompts by Thursday.
  3. Login and look at Scribophile 1-hour/ week.
  4. Finish Iowa HWWF MOOC – submit last three assignments and read others’.
  5. Look for an editor for my WIP.
  6. Create writing ‘to do’ list and put on the sidebar/ a new page, to keep me on my toes.
  7. Have fun and not worry too much about low new word creation. J

 

Goals for August

  1. Contribute to Friday Fictioneers prompts – so I get one win. WIN
  2. Post responses to OLWG Sunday prompts by Thursday. Almost a WIN
  3. Keep up with Iowa HWWF MOOC. FAIL
  4. Have fun and gather thoughts for an autumnal push. WIN & FAIL. I had fun. The autumnal push has been postponed for a month.
  5. Put up goal measures/ to do list on the sidebar, to remind myself what’s to come, as I tend to mislay hardcopy versions. FAIL

 

Thank you to Gabrielle for hosting this challenge each month and keeping me planning.

Written by Sarah Ann

September 4, 2018 at 7:28 pm

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