Sarah Ann Hall

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

Posts Tagged ‘family

#FridayFictioneers – 25/5/18 – My Precious

with 26 comments

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.

With thanks to Rochelle for hosting and the photo this week. Although… it’s one of those prompts about which I quickly knew what I wanted to write, but it took a while for me to get the words.

It’s another school holiday week in the UK and I’m all over the place, geographically as well as inside my head. Apologies for late reading and replying to comments.

 

© Rochelle Wisoff-Fields

My Precious

(Genre: general fiction; 100-words)

Rock crystal.

Almost as hard as steel.

Prized for its strength and clarity.

My grandmother had a tiny rock crystal bowl.

Priceless.

Rumoured to be of Roman origin.

It fitted in my pocket.

Its antiquity and provenance were unquestioned; its dimensions recorded in numerous museums where it occasionally sat on view.

It was the one thing that survived disease and travel when our family became refugees.

Precious.

It didn’t survive me.

I preferred a different kind of crystal, a different type of rock.

Pawned and unredeemed, my grandmother’s bowl disappeared.

International investigators searched for it for years; never for me.

 

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Written by Sarah Ann

May 25, 2018 at 12:24 pm

OLWG#50 – Sage Advice

with 8 comments

It always surprises me where a prompt or character can take a panster like me. If I could plan ahead, I’d be more in control of my stories, I’d know when the finish was near, and might even write a decent ending or two.

The below is more backstory than story, and doesn’t really end, but then nothing ever truly ends. Or is that what I tell myself in order not to try harder? And it includes only two of the prompts, so I’m telling myself off.

Thank you to TNKerr for this week’s thought provoking On-Line Writer’s Guild Prompts.

 

Sage Advice

Like every other night of the week, Edward sits alone, looking out at the streetlights, watching his neighbours come and go. Halloween passed with no contact; another Christmas approaches. Too much water has flowed, the blood ties to family diluted to cordial. It hurts that he is shunned and cut off, and doesn’t matter the woman his family dumped him over is also gone. He can’t say he wasn’t warned.

‘She’s one of them,’ his mother had hissed the day he took Maria to meet his parents.

Maria and Dad were in the sitting room, chatting over canapés, while Edward helped Mother with lunch in the kitchen.

‘You have to get rid of her,’ she said with a pinched look, ‘for the sake of the children.

‘Mother, we’ve just started dating. We haven’t even spoken of marriage let alone children.’

‘It won’t work. It can’t work,’ she said, thrusting cutlery at him and pushing him towards the dining room. ‘Mark my words.’

Ed had listened without taking it on board. He knew their country’s history ran deep within his mother’s veins, but the civil war was 200 and more years ago. The petty squabbling of the kingdoms was ancient history to most of the population, unfortunately not to those brought up with a rose-tinted view of the past, albeit a fatalistic one. Mother and Dad might have let go of the traditional monikers of mama and papa, but there was no forgetting Edward was a mainlander and Maria from offshore. Stereotypes and superstitions still ruled his parents’ hearts.

‘What goes around comes around,’ had been one of Edward’s grandmother’s favourite sayings. His mother’s mother that was. On his father’s side things were more open and accepting. ‘Your journey is your own,’ his nona had said the day he told her he wasn’t going to be a doctor. ‘Your parents, your mother, will wail and spit, but you have to make your own way. You are the one living your life.’

Edward had disappointed his parents, his mother, with his choice of career, choosing teaching as something more worthy. His mother had always envisaged a high flying doctor in private practice – the discipline wasn’t important to her. A son who chose to teach the masses was something of a slap. And when he brought home an islander as a prospective daughter-in-law, his mother could see only disaster, and everything she had taught and hoped for being thrown back in her face.

Edward had met Maria at school. They were teachers to the same year group; him Maths, her English. It was easy and convenient and they liked each other from the off. His mother was right in one way; it would have been impossible for them to have children. Their progeny would have hated their parents when they were permanently teased about having teachers at home to help them with their homework, never being credited for achieving anything alone. But it wasn’t to be. Their relationship was fun for a year after the ‘meeting the parents’ lunch, before it fizzled out, both of them deciding they weren’t the other’s soulmate. They remained solid friends, more especially since Maria had moved away to take up a promotion.

Edward’s refusal to give up Maria was the last straw for his mother. There were no more invites to lunch. There was a small, perfunctory Christmas card containing entreaties to return to her bosom. By his birthday, the card was signed, Mama and Papa, with no love or luke warm best wishes annotated, as they clung to a more disciplined and understandable past.

Edward stands, moving away from the window, the street empty at last. His family is lost to him, but he still has Maria’s warmth and friendship. For every loss there is a gain and, as his nona always told him, it is better to spend time with those who love and accept unquestioningly, than to try to live up to the expectations of those who will never be happy.

 


This week’s prompts are:

  1. She’s one of them
  2. your journey is your own
  3. Double jeopardy

 

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

May 18, 2018 at 5:00 pm

OLWG#48 – Taking Stock – #amwriting

with 5 comments

Thank you to TN Kerr and The New Unofficial On-Line Writer’s Guild for another set of inspiring prompts this week. I’m not sure my story below works, but I had fun running with the second prompt and then incorporating the others.

 

Taking Stock

Dad was a great guy. Or so I was led to believe. I never met him, but I knew a lot about him. Or was told a lot. Mum said he was a champion at tiddlywinks, loved baseball, hated politics, ate all meals with a spoon, could tell a whisky’s country of origin by smell alone, and that he looked a million dollars. Her eyes would twinkle as she remembered what a dreamboat her travelling salesman had been. I wondered how he made his way if he could only eat with a spoon; maybe he never wined and dined clients? He died in a plane crash just weeks before I was born. He was a soldier coming home from the front line, a hero. On other days he’d been a cowboy and there was a family ranch somewhere waiting for me to claim.

I was almost a teenager before I realised my mother was a born liar, and when I did I moved to live with my grandmother, for my sanity and her peace of mind. She described my ever-present-absent father as a ladies’ man from Texas. That made sense: my mother was easily charmed and incapable of taking responsibility for many of her actions. Her relationship with reality was as tenuous and fragile as were her relationships with people. I sound hard and heartless when I’m just old and tired. It won’t be long now before I meet them again, and maybe my pa for the first time. I wonder if our extended family we’ll hang out as a new constellation. Or are extinguished souls randomly allocated to positions in the sky?

 


This week’s prompts are:

  1. Hanging stars
  2. a ladies’ man from Texas
  3. tiddlywinks

 

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

May 3, 2018 at 7:15 pm

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#FridayFictioneers – 4/5/18 – Outback

with 37 comments

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 couldn’t come up with any ideas from this week’s photo so I showed it to hubby and he saw the building at the top, which I’d completely missed, and mentioned hermits. Then I remembered the conversations I’ve had this week about attitudes to aging and a story was written. However, an appropriate title is still elusive.

With thanks to Rochelle for hosting and Karen Rawson for this week’s prompt.

 

© Karen Rawson

Outback

(Genre: general fiction; 100-words)

Ancient sisters share an isolated log cabin divided in two. Rosie travelled and worked abroad, returning to her parents’ home to see out her years. Rosetta never left and raised her family there.

Every morning Rosie stands tall and stretches before treading carefully down uneven steps to fetch stream water to wash in. She’s up with the lark and roosts with owls. Her face is shrivelled by sun and smiles.

Rosetta shuffles about in her too small house, bent double by burdens, face crumpled with worry. She doesn’t like noise, outside, people, and sits waiting for her children to visit.

 

 

OLWG#47 – Love is not love… – #amwriting

with 4 comments

This week’s New Unofficial On-Line Writer’s Guild prompts guided me to taking my title from the Bard himself.

I’m not at all sure if the below works as a story, and I don’t know where this little character came from, but I’d be happy to meet with her again.

As ever thank you to TNKerr for hosting this challenge.

 

Love is not love…

Susie has never been good at taking orders. She would rather fall over her laces than be told to tie them. She wears her clothes inside out when the mood takes her, refuses to brush her hair, and relishes in being an oik, nutter, dozy cow and other things she is labelled in school. She will never be a plastic. Being different is cool.

Susie knows that without love she wouldn’t be able to be the child she is. Without acceptance from her family that she’ll grow out of it eventually, she would be buffeted by demands to change, demands she would have to ignore. But it’s true to say Susie’s inability to tow the normal line infuriates some members of her family more than others. Grandpa and Grandma give her all their love and let her be. She goes to their nondescript flat in the middle of the block most days after school. She sometimes turns the place into a riot, and her grandparents smile at the attention she brings their way. Because some attention is better than no attention.

When Grandpa opens to door to Susie in her get-up of dungarees and pigtails, he asks if she has come to paint his ceilings. ‘Or is it mufty day at school?’ Susie scowls then jumps into his arms grinning. Grandpa understands her need to be different, her need to be her.

The three of them make hot chocolate, Grandpa, Grandma and Susie. They huddle together in the kitchen and melt 70% chocolate drops into Guernsey milk. They sit around the table and each holds his or her mug with two hands, supping in silence. Later they watch TV and Susie scans the sitting for anything that has changed since yesterday. She will notice a book removed from the bookcase, or a wilting flower. Her observation skills are acute. Perhaps they come from being watched and pointed at all the time. Today her eyes are drawn upwards and soon they are all watching the spider high up in the corner as it spins its web, extending its home. A plastic would jump and scream behind her hands until Grandpa dealt with the monster. A boy might swipe web and spider away. Susie and Grandpa and Grandma sit and watch silk spun into beauty.

When it’s time to go, Grandpa and Grandma walk Susie home, handing her back to her parents in time for an early night. They group hug on the doorstep, five of them stroking cheeks, patting hands, rubbing shoulders, waiting to do it all again tomorrow.

Susie finishes her homework without needing to be told. She cleans her teeth then backcombs her hair before getting into bed. She reads for a little while before switching off the light. A girl needs her sleep if she is to keep up being different. And there are degrees of different, some more acceptable than others.

 


This week’s prompts are:

  1. playing dress-up
  2. watched the spider high in the corner
  3. in the middle of the block

 

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

April 25, 2018 at 2:11 pm

OLWG #37, 38 & 39 – micropoetry

with 4 comments

I seem to be stuck in a blackhole where time keeps racing away from me, which is a fancy way of saying I’m as disorganised and behind as ever. In this post I’ve address three week’s of On-Line Writer’s Guild prompts. In order to make sure I take part before Easter, I’ve opted for haiku, tanka and American cinquain, admittedly focussing on syllable counts and none of the stresses.

Thank you to TN Kerr for hosting and making me word hard.

 

haiku

 

not today, thank you 

come back after the weekend

might have more time then

 

need more life lessons

don’t know enough about it 

forever learning

 

bedtime, go to sleep

hush baby, lay your head down

will you just shut up

 

 

 

tanka

 

mechanic struggles

to remove dent in car door

frustrated, chucks wrench.

‘I have extra suction cups’ 

offers helpful colleague, late.

 

a long black car streaks,

travels at speed along lanes

through the inky night.

excited driver hurries;

opportunities await.

 

ugh, did you see that?

granny pokes mother pokes child,

enjoy dinner out

people watching, commenting

casting views liberally

 

 

 

 

American Cinquain

 

Memoir.

It’s mostly true.

Only made up some bits

To add some interest and vim.

Novel.

 

 

Lovers.

Married for years.

Happy and contented.

‘We don’t make much sense together.’

Over.

 

 

Workplace

presentation

elicits derision.

Time to consider position.

New job.

 


 

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

March 1, 2018 at 12:46 pm

#FridayFictioneers – 19/1/18 – Indubitable

with 47 comments

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’m not at all sure about the below story. The idea is sound; I feel I failed in the execution as I’ve not had the time to edit I’d’ve liked. Critique away.

© J Hardy Carroll

 

Indubitable

(Genre: general fiction; 100-words)

Adele was born ten minutes before Sue.

They shared school, friends, clothes, growing pains, boyfriends.

Love and marriage divided them when job and husband took them to different ends of the country. Post and phone united them as they relayed new experiences in food and music. Some believed they communicated telepathically, which explained how Sue knew Adele was pregnant before she did.

Throughout life they found it almost impossible to argue, always knowing what the other thought and why.

Now, as Adele holds Sue’s hand, watching her fluttering eyelids, she wonders how she’ll survive when Sue’s chest ceases to rise.

 

Written by Sarah Ann

January 19, 2018 at 8:39 pm

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