The Broken Fence

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Every morning when she took her walk, she passed beside an old, weathered board fence. It didn’t seem to hold anything. No horses, no other livestock, not even a house. Every third or fourth board was missing.

She didn’t know why she came this way. She thought of her family each time she saw that old fence. The family that didn’t want her anymore. The family that was gone, that had left her alone. The family that didn’t care now.

Her feelings for them were gone. They’d slipped away like the wind slipped through the gaps in the fence.

 

 

 

Carrot Ranch prompt:

July 12, 2018, prompt: In 99 words (no more, no less) write a story about a broken fence. You can mend it, leave it, or explain its place in a story. Go where the prompt leads.

Hemingway and the Sea – #SoCS

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The “Old Man and the Sea.” One of my favorite books by my favorite classical author.

This isn’t a book review. Far from it. Who could review Hemingway? I wouldn’t presume to do so. I’ve re-read “The Old Man and the Sea” recently and I just want to make a few comments about the book and about Hemingway.

One reason I like Hemingway as a classical author is because of his writing style. It is concise, succinct, and spare. He writes in short, declarative sentences. There is nothing flowery about his writing, unlike some of his contemporaries. He keeps many of the adverbs and a large number of the adjectives out of his writing. That lets the reader see the real story. The succinct story.

The book is, quite simply, about an old fisherman and his struggle with his last big fish. Most readers will draw the conclusion that the book is about a man’s struggle to prove himself one last time, in his old age. Hemingway didn’t feel the need to clutter up his story with descriptive adverbs and adjectives. He just wrote the story clearly and sparely. It’s classified as a novella, a form of literature which is back in style in publishing today.

His writing style must have worked. Hemingway won the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1954 for the “Old Man and the Sea.”

July 10: High Summer

 

A pictorial of high summer around northeastern Kentucky, on the fringes of Appalachia. The middle of July is definitely seen as mid-summer. Another few weeks and the “dog days” arrive, which mean the end of the summer is approaching. It’s been an extraordinarily hot summer here. 90s almost every day and high humidity. HIgher than usual. As I sit at my desk typing, it’s 91 degrees. Tucker, my puppy, refuses to go out in the afternoons. The deck burns his paws, so I have to carry him.

I have very few flowers blooming this summer, even though I live in the middle of the forest. It’s just been too hot for them.

It’s a slow day here at my house. Tucker and I got in some outdoor time very early this morning. I sat on the deck with him while he played a little and chewed on his bone. I like slow days. I don’t have many of them. They give me time to relax a little. More importantly, they give me time to reflect on my writing. What direction do I want to take with my current writing projects? Are there new projects I want to undertake?

I write a little about Appalachia. There is a book some of you may have read called “Hillbilly Elegy.” A bestseller. J.D. Vance is the author. I saw J.D. on television recently. On a news station giving his opinion, which I thought odd. I grew up here and even though this book is a bestseller, I don’t agree with most of it. I have been pondering my own version of Vance’s story of Appalachia. His family migrated from the area. Most of my family stayed here. I don’t like the picture he painted.

Have any of you read “Hillbilly Elegy?” What do you think?

The photos are the area around where I live. My property has been declared a National Wildlife Habitat. Enjoy!

 

Jonathan Livingston Seagull(s)…Perhaps?

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A comment. Seagulls remind me of my mother. Even though most people see them as the birds who clean up garbage on the beach, my mother saw their beauty. When I was a very young adult, she showed me their beauty in the series of short stories published by Richard Bach about a seagull who seeks life outside the typical and flies off to seek self-actualization.

Our family took a trip shortly after that to Isle Royale National Park in the northern part of Lake Superior in Michigan. A seagull spent the week we were there sitting on the window seal of my mother’s motel room. No one else’s room. Just her’s. It was the time she was heavy into reading the “Jonathan” stories and books. Coincidence? Perhaps. I’ll let you decide.

I read the Jonathan stories even now. They help a non-conformist like me. Try them on for yourself! You can read about them here,

 

Thank you Priceless Joy for the wonderful prompt!

Photo Credit to wildverbs

Love and War – #sundayphotofictioner

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It was 1943 and World War II was raging. His Destroyer Escort had docked in New York City after a long stint in the Atlantic. She was a girl from Appalachia who had left home for the first time. She had traveled on the train to the City to meet him, her new husband, when his ship docked. They had three weeks together to look forward to. He had rented a tiny apartment.

It was her first time out of the hills of Kentucky. The bright lights of the City astonished her. Her husband and his Navy buddies pooled their money and decided to treat their wives, who had spent months not knowing if they were dead or alive. They bought tickets to see The Rockettes.

She thought the show was the best she’d ever seen. Afterwards, clutching her new husband’s hand, they all went to a club and danced the jitterbug. She was star struck.

They knew their happiness was fleeting. The ship would soon pull out again to go back to war. They returned to their apartment and made the most of their time together, knowing it might never happen again.

 

Thanks to Susan and #sundayphotofictioners for the prompt!

Photo credit to Susan Spaulding

Wave – #writephoto

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The Native Americans called it Gitchee Gumee. The lake that seems as big as an ocean. Lake Superior that straddles the Michigan-Canadian border. With its rocky beaches and big waves. She walked along the beach and climbed over the rocks where she had to. It had been twelve years since she’d been here. Since she’d been home. It was a summer day, but the water was cold and the wind was brisk. She loved it.

She could be at home in Kentucky. At the island in Florida. Nowhere was she more at home than at the big lake. Do we have cellular memory? That’s the only explanation she had for it. This is where her roots were. She’d never spent much time here. Her father left here before she was born and her family seldom returned. Every time she came back, she knew this was where she was supposed to be. When she saw the relatives she had left here, it felt right. They seemed like she felt. She felt at home with them even though she didn’t know them well.

Her bond with her father, who was from this vast, sparsely populated, beautiful region, had been strong. Every time she came here as a child and later, as an adult, that bond extended to her relatives and the population here, as well as to the big lake. She had tried to write when she was on the island at the ocean. She tried repeatedly. It never worked. There was something wrong there. Something missing. There was no inspiration.

Here, there was an utter solitude and she was always better alone. She could hear the muse singing in her ears, touching her skin. She could see it with her fading vision, flying over the big lake, touching the pictured rocks, raising up the big wave, giving her the inspiration she craved. She felt she could write forever.

The Native Americans thought Gitchee Gumee was magical. They had been right about so much.

Why the Donald Trump Presidency is Dangerous

A friend recently pointed out to me that I am irrational about my vehement dislike of the Donald Trump Presidency. I don’t think I’m irrational, but I am afraid. Allow me to explain my reasons,

I can remember presidencies since the John F. Kennedy Presidency beginning in 1960. I have studied many other presidencies. This is the first U.S. Presidency that I can remember or know of where the people who support Trump, his base, take his position on issues whether they believe in that position or not. For example, the issue of family separation that has been happening at the U.S. southern border. Good people who never would have been in favor of any child being taken away from its mother support that Trump policy (which has since been repealed) even though they would never have thought of such a thing before Donald Trump.

Other examples are farmers in the midwest who supported and still support Trump even though he is imposing tariffs affecting their own products and individuals in poverty-stricken in Appalachia supporting Trump even while his policies lean toward reducing benefits such as Medicaid.

Such blind loyalty to a President is a dangerous thing. We can’t just say that Donald Trump is all-knowing and will do the best thing for us. We have to think for ourselves. Once we turn over our free will to a mere man, we are lost. We are lost to our democracy becoming an authoritarian regime and all the corruption that goes with it. We are lost because our votes will no longer count. We are lost because no one man knows what is best for us.

America is lost.

Appalachia: Pearl Harbor – #100WW

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The news ran up and down Burning Fork and Birch Branch roads in Magoffin County, Kentucky faster than the water in the creeks. The family ran into the house to turn on the radio, their only means of communication with the outside world. The address by the President of the United States was playing. The Japanese had bombed Pearl Harbor in Hawaii and the U.S. had entered World War II.

The young man from Michigan enlisted in the Navy. He was to be sent to Kentucky where his fate would intertwine with that Appalachian family because of this Great War.

100 words

Picture credit to @Bikurgurl

Turrets – #writephoto

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How did he ever convince her to visit this God forsaken castle in Turkey, of all places, Rebecca wondered to herself as she and Patrick stumbled down the crumbling, stone steps in the portion of the medieval castle that was still standing.

This trip to Europe had been filled with difficulties. Patrick was determined to make this one last stop in Turkey and she saw no reason, cultural or otherwise, for it. The ruins weren’t particularly noteworthy. The tour group was small. The surrounding area contained little of historical significance. It was also completely off their tour route. She didn’t understand why they were there and Patrick seemed unable and unwilling to explain. He’d hardly even spoken to her as they toured the ruins.

He was walking far ahead of her down the steps when she felt herself stumble. There was nothing to grab onto. She started to tumble down the stairs and landed at the bottom. The remaining two people behind her rushed to her, but she assured them she was fine. They wandered off.

She wasn’t fine. She’d turned her ankle and as she tried to get up, she found she couldn’t put her weight on it. By then, the two other tour group members were gone and she was alone. She called out for Patrick, but after waiting a few minutes, it was clear he didn’t know yet that she’d been left behind.

Rebecca suddenly heard a woman laugh, an evil-sounding laugh. She looked up and on the stair rail stood a creature. A female-looking creature with piercing blue eyes and a long black robe. Rebecca started scooting across the floor away from it.

The creature spoke and said, “My name is Ramona and I am the Dark Fairy.” Then it just tapped its toe on the stair rail.

”I’d make you my pet, but it would be more fun to make that man you’re with my pet.”

Rebecca finally found her voice and said, “What are you talking about?”

”Don’t you know anything? Dark fairies make humans their pets and the humans do our biding.”

Rebecca felt herself jerked up, her ankle painless, and the Dark Fairy fluttered beside her.

”Now get up. We’re going after that gentleman friend of yours. He’s been trying to do you harm.”

#SoCS – 5/19/18 – Stories of #Appalachia – The Postman and the Dog

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Up until I was in my 20s, my uncle lived deep into the Birch Branch hollow  (pronounced “holler” in the eastern Kentucky dialect). He lived in a cabin and with him lived his female Doberman Pinscher, Gertrude. For awhile, he also had a male Doberman Pinscher named Sue, after Roger Miller’s song, “A Boy Named Sue.”

But this story is about Gertrude. My uncle was a postal service worker in Magoffin County, Kentucky. He delivered mail and Gertrude accompanied him. Mail carriers in rural areas tend to drive slowly between stops and my uncle certainly did. One reason he drove slowly is because of where Gertrude rode in/on the station wagon that he drove. She rode on top of it. My uncle and Gertrude were something of a legend in Magoffin County because this was quite a sight to passers-by.

My uncle passed away in 1974 and left poor Gertrude behind. She was old then and very bonded to him. She lived the last years of her life on my cousin’s porch, in a cushy dog house, undoubtedly grieving for my uncle. She was bonded and there was little to do for her although my cousin certainly tried.

A man and his dog.