Hope, courtesy of a birthday

abe

Timehop’s Abe wished me a happy birthday! (He forgot the comma, but that’s okay – he’s a dinosaur.)

I like birthdays. They are unique celebrations of an individual. Every other holiday and anniversary we share with one or more people, but a birthday is often for one person alone. Twins – or family or friends who otherwise share the same birthday – have a slightly different perspective, but there is still a uniqueness to a birthday, encompassing specific wishes for good health and good fortune for a person.

googlebday

Google got in on the action, too.

I wrote for my birthday, as a kind of a gift to myself. While I didn’t write about an actual birthday, this time, tapping out that short story made me think about all of the birthday scenes and chapters I have written over the years. Turns out, there are quite a few:

  • Peter, in 2007’s NaNoWriMo “Sixes and Sevens”
  • Larry (and Sally, too), in the Doctor Who-Lite Songbirds series short story “Slave Girls and Shining Knights”
  • Yousuke, in 1 More Chance! chapter 22, and Chie in chapter 25
  • Rob, in the “Finding Mister Wright” series short story “Thirty-Nine”
  • Ross, in chapter 19 of Fearless (a somewhat do-nothing chapter but which I’m loathe to lose all the same, for its lightheartedness among the rest of the story’s heavy emotional weight)
  • and Hell, in the Borderlands short story “Whack”
twitterballoons

Not to be left out, here’s Twitter’s note.

Birthdays represent hope. Thinking back on it, all of those chapters and short stories were about life and the role hope plays within it, whether it’s hope for the future, hope to be a better person, or hope simply to share more days with the people we love. It’s a toss-up whether any of those stories actually worked the way they were conceived to do…but the joy of writing them gave me purpose, at least for a little while.

I hope good things for you, dear reader, today and every day, especially if you, too, are a writer looking for purpose. Because why wait for a birthday to share that?

Do you like writing birthdays in your stories? If so, do they tend to be happy events, or sad ones? What present did you give to yourself on your last birthday? Let’s all have cake!

Alternate Realities

No new original fiction, this week. Instead, an older 100-word post I did on my own, for my Songbirds.

“Alternate Realities”

Armed with an arsenal of books, pamphlets, and websites, Larry thought himself ready for anything Katie might throw at him: from the logistics of gender possibilities and a tidy explanation of where babies come from, to gentle assurances that nothing or no one could ever usurp the love and devotion he and Sally felt for their soon-to-be elder child.

Throughout his entire rambling explanation, Katie sat quietly in his lap, until he paused, smiled, and asked, “Do you have any questions, about the new baby?”

To which his daughter thought, and blinked, and said, “Can I have a puppy, instead?”

Smiling Dog Face

By Sam, Photos8.com [CC-BY-2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)]

I adore the relationship between parents Larry and Sally…but I also really enjoy examining the relationship between their girls, Katie and Billie. I think because the Nightingale family gives me an opportunity to reflect on and remember my own life, while still keeping a touch of fantastic silliness and adventure so integral to their universe.

I’ve been lax with picking up prompts these last few weeks. I think they must be designed more for writers who want to write but don’t necessarily have any larger projects on which they need to concentrate. But, I’ve got two Works in Progress which I want to complete/edit/perfect. I don’t necessarily feel bad neglecting the prompts to work on my larger projects, but I do want to keep some semblance of regularity to this blog.

So, for any of you out there looking for a writing challenge, below are a few good ones I follow. I’m sure there are more out there, too, if you just poke around a bit.

And, for those of you busy concentrating on your own long projects, here’s to a good wordy weekend!

100-Word Challenge: A Deeper Reflection

100 Word Challenge for Grown-UpsOnly one prompt this time, for 100-Word Challenge for Grown-Ups. This week (76), Julia’s prompt is:

…beneath the surface…
We are to “keep to the 100 words plus the 3 above,” giving us a total of 103 words to tell the story.

This one came pretty easily to me, as I cranked it out in about an hour. But, then, I think this is likely a situation close to many of our hearts, not just my own….

“A Deeper Reflection”

deeper-reflection-by-bonusparts

Doodling the bod

Fixing her gaze on her disrobed reflection, Sally sighed.

What lay beneath the surface was more important, she knew…but, what had happened to that surface? The flat belly, high breasts, slim hips – where had they gone?

The creak and click of the bedroom door, signalling Larry’s return, made her scramble for pants and bra.

His warm, damp embrace stopped her. “Just a mo’.”

Cringing from his tickling hair, she laughed, despite herself. “You’re wet!”

“You’re gorgeous,” he replied, nuzzling her neck.

She hummed. “You think?”

He plucked her clothes from her hand; they fell to the floor with his towel. “I know.”

I have some writerly friends who can use this short form of storytelling to weave tales of excitement, danger, whimsy, and mystery. I can manage that, on occasion. Mostly, though, these prompts tend to lead me to more mundane places, such as Sally’s fretting over her aging, motherly body…and Larry’s still-full love of the same.

Writing for these Songbirds often feels like writing my own life (sans the fantastic timey-wimey stuff, of course). Maybe that’s why I keep coming back to them. I suppose I should feel blessed that my life and loves are basically happy. And, I certainly am. It doesn’t exactly make for riveting storytelling, though.

How did you look beneath the surface, this week? Let me know!

100-Word Challenge: Shattered Silence

It’s Week 69 for the 100-Word Challenge for Grown-Ups!

This week, Julia is being particularly timely, with the prompt of …Bah Humbug!….

I’ve been writing plenty of 100-word stories for the Nightingales, but this one struck a familiar chord in me, as it’s based on a true story. I hope you enjoy!

“Shattered Silence”

Despite the danger of discovery, Sally let herself whine. For so much sweeter than any cinder toffee was the taste of his shoulder, so much more warming than any port was his breath against her neck. Even all the wrapped, ribboned prizes tucked beneath the tree in the parlour – she’d trade them all for just a few more minutes clutched in his strong, stolen embrace…!

But Katie’s shriek – “It’s Christmas!” – followed by Billie’s less articulate echo after, shattered the moment like a delicate glass ornament.

Larry groaned. “First thing tomorrow,” he muttered, “I’m arranging for a vasectomy.”

Happy, safe, restful holidays to you all!

100WCGU: Fade to Grey

It’s Week 68 for Julia’s 100-Word Challenge for Grown-Ups! This week, Julia gives us the prompt of:
GREY

We’ve got 100 words to use to interpret the prompt, so, here’s mine:

“Fade to Grey”

“I made this,” Billie declared, as she sorted through ornaments. “And this-”

I made that,” Katie corrected, snatching at the yarn doll.

Chuckling, Sally turned, to catch Larry’s reaction. He wasn’t watching the girls, though, but staring at his reflection in a tiny glass ball.

“What’s wrong?” she asked softly.

He ran his fingers through his fringe, frowning. “I’m going grey.”

Sally hummed. Growing old didn’t appeal to her, either. Although, the idea of growing old with him charmed. So, pulling at one pale strand with a grin, she teased, “I made this.”

Larry blinked, then laughed. “You certainly did!”

 

Let’s admit it: no one really wants to get older, see those lines and fading colors in the mirror. But, when you find someone worth the time and effort, it makes the changes seem not quite so terrible as they might otherwise be.

George Clooney and Helen Mirren: proof you can go grey and still be awesome.

This story is one rather close to my heart, as today marks the fifteen-year anniversary of when my husband and I met. (Fifteen years! Oftentimes, it feels more like fifteen minutes. …underwater. No, no; just kidding!)

Personally, I see more grey in the mirror every day. But, like my Songbirds above, I’ve managed to find someone with whom the prospect of growing older doesn’t seem so scary.

What does “GREY” mean to you?

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