500 Words Plus A Sentence, And One More After That

No self-imposed word count this week kids, as the conversation required much more breathing space than that.

Here is week # 8’s submission for Master Class 2013, who’s twist involved two prompts* being used, one at the start, and the other at the end.

As always, I hope you enjoy.

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The past cannot be cured.

“That’s how you always lived dad, but that was on you, not me. And definitely not him.”

“I’m only saying, some day he’ll look back on the days of tramping around the house in your wife’s high heels, pretending to be a drag queen, and he’ll be mortified. He’s my grandson – I don’t want him to live in shame.”

“Now why would he feel like that dad? Again, please don’t attribute ‘your thing’ onto his life. You were the one who could never let go of your past, never feel good about who you were naturally. He’s a totally different being, a being of Light versus darkness. You and I, we’re the opposite of him. And dad, our family has had more than its fair share of our ilk, don’t you agree? Let’s give his approach a try for a spell, shall we?”

“You’re not listening to me. And you’re once again trying to fill the conversation with a whole bunch of flouncey words that don’t really mean anything.”

“Slew, dad.”

“What?”

“Slew. I would have chosen ‘slew’ over ‘whole bunch,’ dad.”

“Whatever, smartass. Listen, it’s a sin, OK?”

“No dad, it’s not OK. You see, I don’t recall anywhere in the Bible where Jesus busted on any of that. He DID, however, tell people not to judge others. He also told us to love each other, and He told us to live by His example, not Rome’s. No dad, there are all sorts of sins in this world, but my son’s orientation isn’t one of them, and it upsets me that you would feel that way.”

“But do you think I would actually feel that way? I mean, if I were alive to be there? If you recall, I was the one who bought him the Baby Doll he wanted. Do you think I would now choose my ideology over his? Would I choose myself over him?”

“I don’t know dad. I would hope not. I would hope that – like so many other times in your life – you would eventually change your mind for the love of your family, begrudgingly at first, and then in full-out abandon, to the point of being a public embarrassment. You know, like you usually did.”

“Hmmm, most likely. As we’ll never have this conversation, I suppose we’ll never really find out. Hey, are you going to tell your mother?”

“Are you insane????

“Heh, I didn’t think so.”

“Dad, do you think I’ll handle this correctly? I really don’t want to fuck it up.”

“Listen to that girl, what your friend Mary said – you won’t. You don’t give yourself enough credit, son. You’re much more a being of light than darkness yourself, you know. I’ve told you, you’re a good father. I’m proud of you.”

“Thanks dad.

Dad, I miss you.”

“I miss you too Troy. And I’ll be right here, waiting for you when you come over. But not just yet, not until many years from now, when you have entered the winter of your life.

•••

A note concerning today’s tune. It doesn’t have a direct link to the above per say, other than the fact that it is the song that has been stuck inside the heads of both myself and my beautiful, heel-hoofing darling boy as of late.

Don’t listen, unless you want it getting stuck in your head as well…

* The first quote was from “Shadow of the Night” by Deborah Harkness. The second, from “Winter Journal” by Paul Auster.

Happily ever after, in heels.

Listen, we deserved the break. Amongst all the issues we’re embroiled with currently, I felt we had earned just a little breather. So this Sunday last, C and myself got all gussied up (apparently a dying art, these days) before going downtown to catch the final local performance of “Priscilla: Queen Of The Desert.”

Click to learn more...

Click to learn more…

We had a blast, and I dare say that I never wanted it to end. Planning on making an evening of it, we were only slightly miffed when we discovered that our favorite late night restaurant is most decidedly not very “late night open” when it comes to Sunday. Catching the Wendy’s drive-through window instead, we settled onto the couch for a late night snack, before hitting the sack. As is her way, C went off to bed in order to sleep. As is my way, I went off to bed in the hopes that we would be doing any number of things, but sleep.

As is her way, C won out in the end.

I woke the next morning feeling odd, out of sorts, almost as if something were amiss. The songs from the musical played over and over on my mental radio, as I performed the tasks I daily perform to almost get paid, but they provided me with no real joy – nothing close to what I felt the night before. I couldn’t quite put my finger on what I was feeling, until the very second that the Daily Post’s prompt came stumbling across my email. Their prompt for the day punched me square in the gut, when they asked “Are you living happily ever after?” A question that the very core of my being answered immediately – and almost violently – with a “No. No I am not living happily ever after. No I am not even close to that. What in the hell is wrong with me?”

A valid question I think, to end an almost sinful assertion. I mean, what right do I have to not be living happily ever after? Just what more do I expect needs to be in place for this happiness to finally hit?

Well, I believe the problem is two-fold. First, I feel that “happily ever after,” is a bit of a cop out. One devised by early story tellers who just wanted to be done with the whole thing already, and no questions being asked, thank you very much. Secondly, I believe that much like the characters in my last Mash-up prompt, I sometimes (read: way too often) spend too much energy chasing a happiness that I think I deserve, instead of simply relishing in the Joy already bestowed upon me.

Listen, catching a good show can be fun, but one should never get so dragged into it (no pun intended) as to start to wish that that was what their real life was like. Real life isn’t that easy or free. Real life doesn’t involve people randomly breaking out into song. But that doesn’t mean that real life shouldn’t be appreciated or isn’t worthwhile. Indeed, real life is the only life to be lived, regardless of how many of us never do.

The Daily Prompt also asked us to explain how we would go about changing ourselves so that “happily ever after” could be obtainable. To that, I’ve no answer but one: I’m going to just get over myself. I’m going to stop being so damned dramatic, stop wishing for things I don’t have, start enjoying the blessings I do have, and realize every day that real life ain’t easy, but it’s worth it regardless.

That, and I’m also going to give this randomly breaking out into song thing a go as well. You may want to cover your ears.

150 Words Plus a Sentence

Getting my assignment in by the skin of my teeth, and fearing a solid C+ (at best) will result from this week’s efforts, here is my submission for week # 7 of Master Class 2013.

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Clever how the cosmos can, in a single portent, be ingratiating yet sadistic. Neither one of them would have said it in that fashion, of course. Hell, neither one of them would’ve known the meaning of words such as these.

No, to them it was just all about chasing Happiness. Looking for something that can’t be found unless it wants to.

You see, Happiness is a lot like Love in that it simply pops in unannounced, where and when it wants, only to leave again in a similarly random fashion. You can’t “find it” any more than you could summon a unicorn to do your bidding. Still, they both spent their entire shared existence searching vainly for it’s light. A search, that by it’s very nature, made what was sought after unobtainable. Hidden forever from them both.

The cosmos may have given them each other, but instead of basking in that Joy, they wasted their years together, merely searching for a lesser satisfaction.

•••

“This week, to keep things interesting, I asked Steph to choose the first line from the fifth chapter of any book of her choosing. She chose Three Junes by Julia Glass.”

~ Master Class 2013

Mash-up, Pt 2

Yeah, I’m going to try this again.

Partially due to an excessively busy, stroke-avoiding week. And partially because I feel that the two prompts fit so nicely together, they should almost get married and have kids or something.

So, for my second-ever writing prompt Mash-up, I give you my 100 word entry for both Friday Fictioneers and 100 Word Song. I hope you give them both a shot, and as always, I hope you enjoy:

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Copyright ~ Janet Webb

You could tell that for the better part of his days, Life had been slowly tearing at Earl’s hide. Fracturing his soul, bit by painful bit. Still, he wouldn’t back down.

He stood before us now, a mere shell of the man he once was. Slightly leaning, but still standing proud.

I asked him, “How’d you pull through? What kept you going?”

His response was telling, “Listen, eventually I’ll be gone. Worm food. I got just one life to make a mark – I’ll be goddamned if I don’t do just that.”

With that, he ambled off, his mark being made.

•••

This week’s song was chosen by one of my favorite 100 Word co-conspirators, Deb with: “I Won’t Back Down” by Tom Petty.

Into The Wild

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Courtesy of Bo Bartlett (click to view more)

Daddy, why did you leave the gate open? Why did you allow me to simply slide through and out?

Darling, I had to. There was no other way for you to test your weight, to find your way.

But daddy, I might have gotten lost.

Darling, I had no doubt that you would, and I wasn’t surprised when you eventually did.

Daddy, how then did I return? How did I find my way back?

You didn’t darling. You didn’t.

But I am here now.

You are.

How?

While I may have been lost to you, you were never lost to me. I watched you run, first with glee, then in confusion, and finally with pain. When your running ran out, and you collapsed at the curb of disillusionment, I brought you home darling. Just as I always promised I would, for I will not allow you to fade away.

Daddy…

Yes darling?

Will you leave the gate open again?

Yes. But next time, you will be stronger. You will find your own way. The confusion will dim, and next time, you will build your own home, instead of being returned to mine.

Just for now?

You first must build a home, before you can come home. So yes darling, just for now.

Good.

Yes darling. Good.

•••

Listen, I’ve no real idea where this came from, nor what it’s supposed to be leading up to. But I do know it’s what fell out onto my keyboard, when Fay Moore – the Writer who wants to be a writer – asked us to use the following as a song prompt.

I hope you enjoyed it.

175 Words Plus A Sentence

We’re getting a new professor over at Master Class 2013.

In addition, k~ asked me to this week refrain from writing about dead people or people seeing dead people – maybe even try something life-affirming for a change…

These modifications of course, make me nervous. So much so, that – as you probably guessed from today’s title – I totally blew my usually self-imposed 150-word limit.

No worries though, I’m still Times New Roman, double spaced and one inch margined, all ’round.

So, understanding that this week’s twist is fitting the prompt sentence somewhere within the body of the text (versus being at the beginning or the end) below is week six’s submission for Master Class 2013:

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Seeing her smile, he felt like a safe cracker who – partly by luck – had sussed out the first digit in a lengthy, arduous combination. She was more of a puzzle than she was a safe of course. But in the idea of locating the first two pieces to match, you just don’t achieve the same sort of satisfaction. Or so he imagined. Oh hell, he had no idea what he was trying to describe.

But that’s the way it was with love, now wasn’t it? He was unsure, as he had never felt this before. Not True Love at any rate.

He could hear his soul nudging him, “Shut up and talk to her already, you fool!”

Working up the nerve, he met her vacuous gaze while nervously scratching out a hello of sorts. All while his trembling body gave hint that – upon hearing her response – it might very well simply fall apart at each and every seam.

Before she could speak however, the gruff voice of the store manager intruded forcefully from behind, saying, “Sir, I’ve told you before – you frighten the other customers away, when you talk to our mannequins like that.”

•••

Shannon chose for this week, from Lev Grossman’s “The Magicians.”

Yeah, I just went there.

I didn’t

Today’s Friday Fictioneer photo prompt was difficult for me to write for. Some might say that, in the final analysis, I didn’t.

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copyright-David Stewart

Searching deep within the lines taut across his fear-filled face, I realized that the story had already been told.

It’s a story that no human should ever have to endure, though so many hundreds of thousands have. A tale of fear, welling up in your throat forcefully as you try desperately – and in vain – to outrun a Death that is larger, warmer, and oh so more quick than you will ever be; a Death that flagrantly belches itself out across the land.

Weeping gently, I placed my pen aside the unused sheet of paper. There would be no story today.

•••