Afar – #writephoto

After Ladd left home with the small man, Knowledge went back to her job for the day. She was in the spinning room that day with some of the other women. They were sharing cotton and wool fabric and making clothing for their families. After work, Knowledge couldn’t get her mind off her family, so she took a walk to one of the hills surrounding Farnsworth. She stared in the direction of London, where Ladd would eventually arrive. She wished she could see him from afar.

Her daughter, Mercy, was taking Ladd’s departure particularly hard. She saw the tears in Mercy’s eyes during their goodbyes to Ladd. She would speak with Mercy tonight. What she didn’t know was that Mercy had had a difficult afternoon.

Mercy, Ladd’s 12-year old sister, cried all day the day Ladd left for his apprenticeship in wizardry In London. The two children had been close all of Mercy’s life. Ladd protected her. They shared their food. Ladd even gave her part of his food when times were lean for the family. She felt lost without him and could hardly believe she wouldn’t see him for a year. She had to go back to work, and she walked slowly and tearfully toward the Lord’s gardens.

Mercy heard someone running up behind her and she stopped and turned. It was Smith, who she would soon marry. She collapsed on the ground, sobbing.

“Oh, Smith, Ladd is gone to the city. I’m fearful I will never see him again,” Mercy cried.

Smith grabbed Mercy’s shoulders and held her at arm’s length.

“Your father just told me about Ladd’s apprenticeship. He thought I could, perhaps, comfort you.”

“No one can comfort me, Smith. My brother is gone. For a year.”

“Mercy, your brother is a man now. He has to make his own way,” Smith replied.

Ladd’s family had discussed, before he left, that they would not talk to the other villagers about his actual apprenticeship in wizardry. Mercy didn’t know if Smith knew this since she and Smith had not yet married.

Smith walked with Mercy to the Lord’s gardens, trying to comfort her. Mercy’s tears flowed freely. Smith stopped along the path and gently stopped Mercy.

“Mercy, this is a difficult time for you. Let me make it easier. We are to marry. Let’s go ahead and create our union.”

Mercy said, “You will have to ask my father. He takes care of such things.”

She desperately wanted to say no to Smith, but it was not her place. Smith was not a boy, but an older man. She did not love him. She wanted to love her husband.

“I already have a hut for us. It’s much like your parents’ hut. It has two nice rooms. I will make it as nice for you as I can, and I will treat you as if you were the Queen.”

Smith’s statement made Mercy smile.

“I will miss my parents, Smith,” Mercy said.

“My hut is near Lord Percival’s home. It’s only across the village green. You can see your parents as much as you desire, Mercy.”

“Smith, you are very nice,” said Mercy.

Smith smiled. “I’m going to speak with your father.”

Mercy didn’t comment. She walked on to the gardens and went back to work. Now she was crying both about Ladd and about her soon-to-be marriage.

 

Thanks, Sue!

Glow – Walk Toward the Light – #writephoto

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The door of the hut where Ladd lived with his family faced east. Dawn broke soon after Archer, Knowledge, and Mercy left for work and Ladd still sat in the straight chair in front of the fire. He noticed Cat, with the red eyes, had come in and taken a seat in front of the fire. Behind Cat, there came a small man. He stood at the doorway looking at Ladd with the glow of the sunlight diffused behind him.

“Good day, Ladd,” the small man said.

“Hullo. Do I know you?”

“No, but you will. I was sent by the Grand Wizard.”

Ladd jumped up, out of his chair, immediately.

“You will be my apprentice in my grocery shop in London. There you will learn the trade of shopkeeping. You will also learn the craft of wizardry for the benefit of the citizens of this village to which you will return.”

Ladd studied the small man as he spoke. He didn’t look like a wizard. He had short gray hair and a gray beard, with sparkling blue eyes. The glow of the rising sun surrounded him. He was slightly built, not as tall as Ladd.

The small man continued, “I know you don’t want to be a wizard. What you don’t know yet is that your background made it your destiny. Now gather your things and we will go see your family so you can say goodbye for now. Have you had breakfast?

“Yes,” Ladd said.

“I am going to eat while you get ready. Do you have mead?”

Ladd pointed out the mead to the small man and started to gather his things. Ladd didn’t take very much. Shortly, the two of them left, along with Cat, to find his family so he could say his goodbye’s.

Ladd and the small man ran into Knowledge right outside the door of the hut as she returned from her talk with Healer. The small man told Knowledge who he was and that he would be leaving with Ladd to begin Ladd’s apprenticeship. Knowledge asked him to wait while she found the rest of the family so they could say goodbye. As she said that, Archer walked up.

“What’s going on here?” Archer asked.

Knowledge replied, “This man was sent by the Grand Wizard to pick up Ladd. Ladd will be his apprentice in London. He will learn to be a shopkeeper as well as receive training in wizardry.”

“When will Ladd be allowed to return to us?” Archer asked.

The small man replied, “Within one year, sir. He will then take up the position as the wizard in the village. He may also want to keep a small shop here.”

Archer said, “This will be a loss for our family. I go out on the hunt often. I rely on Ladd to protect the family while I am gone. He is helpful in providing food for the women.”

“I’m sorry, sir. I serve at the pleasure of the Grand Wizard.”

“Then I don’t suppose we have any recourse,” Archer said.

The family came together with hugs and murmurs of good wishes and love. In a few moments, the small man and Ladd walked from the village as Ladd turned around and waved to his loved ones. Cat jumped up on his shoulder to get a ride.

Dictate

A bright blue fall day prompts childhood memories. The summer in Kentucky has been long and hot with at least two heat waves that were more intense than most can remember. Until yesterday, we were experiencing a heat wave where the day. time temperatures were at least 20 degrees above normal. Even the animals seemed to breathe a sigh of relief when the temperatures finally dropped to something near normal yesterday. Perhaps the rains will come and wet this forest where I live. The few leaves that have fallen are a dry, crunchy brown.

The dry weather dictates whether or not we have a fire season this fall. It seems Mother Nature is going to err on the side of fire this year. This little area of the world has had no rain for many weeks. The Daniel Boone National Forest is so dry that you can even hear the raccoons walk. Frogs populated our deck last night because they know we water our flowers there. They came in search of water. We gave them an extra spray or two of the hose and they seemed to appreciate that. It’s disconcerting for me, at this time of year, to live in these woods.

Sitting on my deck last night, I remembered fall nights as a child at a home not far from where I live now. We would sit outdoors and listen to the whippoorwills. I haven’t heard one in years, even though I live in the country. Urban development has driven them away. I’ve only seen a few fireflies. My friend was usually with me on those warm autumn nights. I remembered him with such fondness last night. Eddie passed away recently and I so miss just knowing that he’s in the world. The Eddie I knew as a boy was good and the Eddie who was a man was even better.

Since Eddie left us, I feel fundamentally changed. It’s as if the last vestiges of childhood have slipped away from me. Without Eddie in the world, without the cousins I played with as a child, without my parents, the childhood I spent on that hill down the road seems very far away. A mystical, magical time that I must have dreamed. The hills behind our houses that Eddie and I explored together….those hills that are now red and gold in their autumn glory must have just existed in my imagination.

Is this what grief dictates? Does it strip away everything and just leave a shell? What is really left when your family is gone? Eddie was my family. When your friends start to go as well? Will those warm autumn memories of baseball in the backyard, cards in front of the roaring fireplace, and a warm feeling of friends and family ever wrap around us again?

Thanks to onedailyprompt.wordpress.com

Clouds – #writephoto

She doesn’t walk much anymore, but today, her dog needed to walk so off they went. He’s excited to be out and she hopes the walk will be good for her too. It’s hard for her to get outside her own head, but she looks around at the scenery and notices the beautiful, but darkening clouds ahead of her. She doesn’t think they look threatening, so she and her dog walk on. She tries to be in the moment mentally and he helps with that, smelling every smell along the way. It helps her to focus. As always, she’s thinking about many things while trying just to think about him and his joyous communion with nature.

The clouds are so beautiful that they cause an old song to pop into her head. She smiles as she remember Joni Mitchell’s original recording of “Both Sides Now.” The ultimate “cloud” song as far as she is concerned. She remembers lying in her parent’s backyard in the grass, looking up at the clouds as a teenager. She remembers the line “ice cream castles in the air.” As a young girl, she looked at the cloud formations and dreamed of such innocent and foolish things..

She and her dog stopped to rest. She gave him a drink out of his water bottle and he laid down to rest for a few minutes, looking around, drinking in the scenery. She watched the clouds as they moved overhead. As an older teenager, reaching adulthood, she still watched the clouds in the backyard, but the images became different. She remembers the words to the song. One stanza described her feelings at that time in her life, when she met a boy she thought she would marry.

“Moons and Junes and ferries wheels 
The dizzy dancing way you feel
As every fairy tale comes real 
I’ve looked at love that way”

She had fallen in love and she thought he was in love. Something terrible happened. He was not the boy, she had found out very painfully, that she would marry. She reached down and touched her dog’s head. He was her touchstone now if her thoughts drifted to a bad place.

They got up and walked on. The dog was anxious to see what was over the next rise on their walk.

2018 had turned into a year of reflection for her. She hated that and thought it was brought on by her health issues which seem to have blown up this past year. She had spent the year frightened and it had made her look back at her life. She liked to look forward, but she was facing serious life-threatening issues. Looking forward had become difficult.

She had looked at the relationships in her life. Not just romantic relationships, but all of them. Family, friends. She saw the folly in so many of them. She and her husband seemed to finally be at peace. She had amazing friends. Something wonderful had happened with her family. She had found family members she hardly knew existed and some she had not known existed and she was getting to know them. That had made her year. There were other family relationships that were gone. Gone forever. That had hurt her terribly.

Love. Romance. Did it even exist or like in the song, was it just another illusion? She had come to the conclusion that love was very rare, that it seldom existed if at all. As for the rest of her life, however long that was, she found the song to be very relevant:

“But now it’s just another show 
You leave ’em laughing when you go
And if you care, don’t let them know 
Don’t give yourself away 

I’ve looked at love from both sides now 
From give and take and still somehow
It’s love’s illusions I recall
I really don’t know love at all…”

They walked on home, leaving the cloud formations behind, to do whatever they had to do.

#weekendcoffeeshare – 9/29/2018

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Good morning everyone! Thanks for coming to my #weekendcoffeeshare. Please grab a cup of coffee or tea, your choice, and join me. I have some news for you today! I’m looking forward to sharing it with you and getting some of your comments.

If we were having coffee, I would want to know how each of you are doing? How is your writing going? Is the muse with you? That muse is sometimes hard to capture, isn’t she? I hope she is by your side and that you are doing well. When that happens, it is so gratifying.

I’ve not been blogging as much as usual. I’ve had a lot going on personally and I’ve been doing some dog training. My corgi, Tucker, is now seven months old and he’s been a difficult pup. Some days, I think he’s getting more difficult rather than less! But, seven months is a tough time for corgi pups, so I will be patient.

Now for my news. I’m going to be taking a bit of a break from this blog. I’ll be back off and on and will try to at least write this #weekendcoffeeshare on a regular or semi-regular basis. But, I’m going to dive headlong into a novel and I find, as I get older, that I don’t multitask as well as I used to. I just turned down a lucrative consulting contract because I very much want to write this novel. Writing the novel and taking care of the rest of my life is just about all I can handle at this point in my life. I may post some chapters off and on for you to read, but I won’t be blogging any flash fiction for a few months.

My novel, just to whet you appetite :), is historical fiction set in World War II. I’m lucky enough to have primary research at my disposal. It is romantic fiction and I honestly don’t know if it will turn out to be novel length or a novella. Publishing is changing with short fiction becoming ever so much more popular and serialized fiction even more popular. I’m not going to serialize this novel, but I may serialize my next book. Our audience is different than it used to be with shorter attention spans and busy lives. Instead of buying books, they tend to read on mobile devices.

I’d love to hear your comments as you are my writing buddies! This won’t be a complete sabbatical from this blog and I’ll hope to see you here on my #weekendcoffeeshare, but I will mostly be banging the keyboard on the novel. Please keep in touch. I would love to hear from you at any time at my email address which is carlson.rosemary@gmail.com. You can also reach me through my Facebook Author Page.

I wish all of you the best in your writing projects and life.

 

Rosemary

 

Thanks to eclecticali for hosting #weekendcoffeeshare!

#SoCS – 04/21/2018

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My writing muse spoke to me today for the first time in weeks. When I’m dealing with the intricacies of life, I’ve found that the muse escapes me. If there are situations in my life that demand my attention, I feel my creativity slipping away. Those mundane situations sap any creative impulses that normally motivate me to write. When I realize that is happening, it’s very disturbing to me. I’ve been writing since I was nine years old. It’s how I’ve always dealt with stress and stretched my mind.

Recently, I’ve been juggling a lot of balls in my non-writing life. I’ve been too busy to write. My day doesn’t seem complete unless I can write, but there haven’t been enough hours in the day. I’ve ended my days very frustrated because I haven’t written a word.

When I feel like this, I try to take a few minutes to do some writing-related tasks. I’m in the middle of a novel, so I do some editing. I also read. I try to pick books that, for example, are good character studies or have excellent plot lines so I can get better at both techniques. I want to write some short stories, so I’m reading the latest collection of short stories compiled by the “Pushcart” collection. I also read the Writer’s Digest magazine and other publications on writing techniques.

What do you do when the writing muse isn’t with you?

Dark #writephoto

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The stress that permeated his family was unbearable. There were no jobs. No way to make a living. He was thinking of leaving the small town in the Appalachian Mountains to find work elsewhere. He would try to come home on the weekends. So many in generations before him had done the same. Others had moved their families to cities, to other towns, where they could find work. Their families weren’t usually happy. The people of Appalachia were clannish. They loved their mountain life existence, their extended families, their neighbors. They didn’t want to go to a strange place. He was thinking of going it alone, sending money home, coming home when he could.

He walked before dawn at the foot of the mountains. Thinking. Pondering. It was so beautiful here. The sun was about to rise and he stopped to watch. He had seen this sunrise many times and each time it was more beautiful as it rose over the mountains. No wonder the family didn’t want to leave. People from the outside didn’t understand. They thought them lazy. That they were people who wanted to be on the government dole. That wasn’t it at all. Their culture was different from that on the outside. They knew they wouldn’t fit in out there. Their families and their lifestyle was important to them.

The coal mining jobs had gone away due to the movement toward clean energy. Farming had gone away because tobacco was no longer a cash crop and the corn and other crops had been usurped by the big corporate farms. Because they were geographically isolated, industry did not want to locate there. What were they supposed to do? Abandon the life that they had known for generations?

He had been a specialized machinist in the mines. He could get a job on the outside and had even interviewed with other companies. As the sun rose over the mountains, he knew he had to leave to support his family. He had to send his children to college. There was no place for his wife to work and both their parents depended on him. As the sun rose higher in the sky, he made his decision and started walking home to tell his family. He would not lose them or his connection to this beautiful place. He would drive home on weekends. He would give them the gift of keeping their lives intact.

Indelible – #JusJoJan 2018

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She was awakened this morning by one of her recurring nightmares. He was trying to steal her dogs again. She sat up quickly on the side of the bed. So many things that had happened in her first divorce from him had made an indelible mark on her psyche. Harper, her small dog, who was lying on top of her bed had been nudging her. Maybe that had triggered the dream from events that took place 25 years ago.

That divorce and the involvement of the dogs she had at that time hit her like a battering ram. He had tried to use anything she loved, or anything or anyone that loved her, against her. To hurt her. To ruin her reputation. She knew that, this time, this ending of the second marriage, he would do it again. The thought made her lose her breath and feel nauseous.

She let Harper outside and her mind drifted back to the custody fight he had started over her three dogs all those years ago. He had warned her that he was going to take them from her. He didn’t succeed, but he cost her a lot of money and worry in order to keep them. During their first divorce hearing, the judge ruled that she would have custody of the dogs, her precious corgis, even though they were legally considered property. But, he gave him visitation rights. Since he had two pit bull mixes at his house, she let him come to her house to see them. It was a nightmare and everyone knew he was there to see her. She was disgusted.

Over a year passed. She finally received a letter from his attorney. Extortion, she called it. He wanted money in exchange for the cessation of visitation rights. One of the dogs was her mother’s dog. Her mother was terminally ill and lived with her. The middle dog was crippled from birth and a rescue from a breeder. Then there was her precious Kelly. Her dog. There was no choice but to pay the ransom. $25,000. She paid it and kept her dogs. As she watched Harper in the backyard, running and playing, she felt, deep in her gut, that it was about to happen again.

She would not let it. She would take matters into her own hands.

 

This post is part of Linda G. Hill’s JusJoJan 2018 Challenge.

Room with a View – #writephoto

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The vines were growing up around her window. They were beautiful in their own, wild way. They were threatening to obstruct her view. She would send word to the gardener to trim them back, but only just a little. Not only were they pretty, but they gave her a modicum of protection.

The house was set back from the country lane, but her window looked out onto the lane. She had a good view. She could see her neighbors driving their cars, walking their dogs, walking with their children. They couldn’t see her because of the appearance of frosted glass. She liked it that way.

Her reclusiveness had started a long time ago and had worsened as she aged. Her house was wired so she could communicate with the outside world and do her work. She could order most of what she needed. She only had to get out occasionally. She enjoyed three friends she allowed to visit and she didn’t allow any family.

She became a recluse after she retired from her career. Back then, she still came and went, but only some. Then she stepped out of her comfort zone and allowed her husband back into her life. The worse things got between them, the more she cloistered herself. When he finally left her, her solitude was complete. Her embarrassment total. Her room with a view became her home forever.

Thanks to Sue Vincent for the #writephoto challenge.

Blue – #writephoto

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The old man ran up and down the streets of the village calling for everyone to come to their doors and look. The village was built on the edge of the ocean and, as the sun rose that morning, the old man saw something he had never seen before. He wanted to share the magic.

“Come, come,” he called, “You must see the sky and the waters.”

As he called out and the villagers gradually awakened, they came to their doors, then to the street, and looked out. Gasps could be heard up and down the street and they started spilling out their doors to go to the water’s edge.

The sky and the ocean water, right after sunrise, were the most brilliant blue they had ever seen. Both, the same vivid, compelling blue. The villagers started wading in the shallow water and they felt the magic in the water.

That was in 1960. The event was a legend in the history of the island village. The elders of the village told the young people how it had changed them. They were never concerned about material possessions again. They were forever after only concerned about the island and its people.