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

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#JusJoJan – Jan 3 – My Blog

“My blog” is our #JusJoJan prompt for today and that makes me smile. Why? I never dreamed I’d be a blogger! I started this blog in April of 2016. I can’t believe it’s been that long ago. When I started it, all I knew is that I wanted a place to write. A safe place to write on a daily basis. I fully intended to write in the same vein in which I’d always written. Non-fiction. Most likely in my field of business and finance. I hadn’t written much for awhile and I was going to polish up my skills to start selling my articles again. I did, indeed, do that for awhile. A short while.

There were things that I didn’t know. I didn’t know I’d find a community of writers here on WordPress. I didn’t know I’d read other people’s really awesome blogs. I didn’t know I’d become interested in participating in writing challenges. Most of all, I didn’t knnow I’d become interested in writing fiction. Fiction? Me? I had just spent thirty years doing academic writing. Terse and restrictive academic writing. Non-fiction – big time. Writing by formula to some extent. How do you jump from academic writing to fiction? It turns out it was not easy.

I had started writing, and getting published, as a child and then as a teenager. Then life and the 30 years of academic writing happened. My initial efforts at writing fiction here on my blog were terrible. Just awful. I started reading everything I could find about writing fiction. I started reading some of these awesome blogs. I gradually started getting more comfortable. I’m still not totally comfortable with fiction, but I’m better. I can knock out a non-fiction article very quickly. Fiction is a different deal. It takes awhile, lots of effort, and letting myself feel. Something I’m not very good at doing. Fiction involves creativity which I had not tapped into in a long time.

So, there you have my journey here with my blog. I’m not finished yet. I still have fiction skills to build. I’m even moving into different genres that I’m finding I enjoy. Magical realism anyone?

#JusJoJan – Jan2 – Prompt: One Liner Wednesday

”Talk to the ones who can hear you.”

Have you ever talked to someone and, suddenly, you realized that person wasn’t really hearing you? At the very least, they didn’t understand what you were saying and were just being polite? If you’re going to talk, talk to people who hear you. Really hear you. Your words are wasted otherwise.

We all have different kinds of friends and family. Some are more casual. Some are closer. The only ones that can really be closer are those who can hear you. Hear the meaning and feeling behind your words. Otherwise, it’s a superficial relationship.

I’ll tell you what I usually do. I usually let the ones who can’t hear me talk to me. If they ever stopped to think about it, they would realize they know almost nothing about me. Nothing of any importance anyway.

If you try to talk to the ones who can’t hear you, you’ll just be frustrated and you’ll grow to resent them. It’s not their fault nor is it yours.

Happy New Year – #JusJoJan Jan1 – Looking Back at 2018

Welcome to the 2019 version of my blog! A new year! I”m starting this year with a challenge I particularly like. Linda’s #JusJoJan Challenge. You’ll see a post here, based on her prompts, every day of January. It will be fun. Today is just a brief rundown of 2018. In some ways, it’s a year I”d rather forget. More about that in a minute. In one very important way, it’s a year I’ll always remember. I want to share this with you.

When I was growing up, I really only knew one side of my family. I knew them and will love them always. I never had the opportunity to know the other side of my family, mostly, I think, because they were far-flung geographically from me. My dad didn’t talk very much about his family. He died young and I didn’t have the chance to ask. As I got older, I had to do some research in order to try to find my family. In 2018, I worked on my genealogy using Ancestry. About that time, coincidentally, one of my first cousins who I had really never known had been looking for me too. He found me on Facebook and we connected. It has been such a great pleasure getting to know him! Gradually, I’ve connected with most of my first cousins and then, through Ancestry, some of my second and third cousins. How fun it has been to get to know this big family I never knew I had!

Besides that, which has been the highlight of my year, it’s been a tough year and I’m glad to see 2018 end. I have some health-related challenges that are serious and just cropped up this year. Getting old is not for sissies! Because of that, I haven’t made as much writing progress as I’ve wanted to make. I have a novella and a novel in the works and only now am I starting to feel like working on them again. I am even feeling like taking a job again and may be working freelance for awhile.

At my age, you start to lose people in your life and I’ve also had deaths among my close circle of friends. It’s seemed as if there has been one funeral after another. On the upside of that, I’ve had a chance to reconnect with forever friends.

I’m ready for 2019 and am hoping that it will be a better year! Here’s hoping all of you have a wonderful year as well.

Haunted

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“It’s always darkest before the dawn.” That old quote popped into her head at 4 a.m. It wouldn’t be daylight soon this morning since the Earth was spinning toward the shortest day of the year. She was still awake at this ungodly hour, as she often was, yearning for the light.

She couldn’t sleep until it was daylight. The old dreams, the terrible dreams of her childhood, haunted her, and she knew she couldn’t sleep until dawn when they would subside. She remembered them when she awoke, screaming, but only for a few seconds. Only the light chased them away.

 

Thanks to Charli and the CarrotRanch!

The Stake Out

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“Don’t you think it’s obvious to rub the fog off in one spot, Stan?”

”No, Joe, I think it would be more obvious if he saw two guys sitting here in a car on a side street just hanging out,” Stan replied. “It would look like we’re on a stake out.”

”This guy is a nasty piece of work, Joe. Plus, he’s smart. He and his buddy had to have real smarts to pull off that bank heist.”

”How smart can he be? He’s covered in that red stuff from the marked money.”

The two men noticed a man in a business suit walking down the street. No car was around. It was many blocks to the business section of the city. The man kept looking around.

After the man walked a block up the street, Joe and Stan started the car and slowly followed him. He started to run. Joe jumped from the car and ran after him. He pulled out his gun, started to shoot, and Joe dropped to the ground.

 

Thanks to Priceless Joy for the prompt and wildverbs for the photo!

@Rosemary Carlson 2018

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

#Avenue – #writephoto

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Against her own will, she takes a different route than usual for her morning walk. It is bright and sunny outside. One of the first sunny days after a brutal winter. It seems that the weather has jumped from the dead of winter right into summer. It even seems hot. She vows to cut her morning walk a little short.

Then she sees a tree-lined avenue to her right. Its beauty astounds her. Her feet take her toward the avenue and she spots park benches all along the way. She craves the shade-lined portion of the avenue. She sits on one of the benches. Recently, she hasn’t enjoyed the sun. She feels the sun reveals too much about her. The tired face, the slumped posture, the aging. Those are private things. She doesn’t want anyone to look too closely. They might figure her out.

Beyond the shade is the wondrous sunny part of the avenue. It’s lined with cherry-blossoms. The scent wafts toward her and is sweet. People are meandering along the sunny avenue admiring the cherry trees. She doesn’t feel she has a right to the cherry blossoms, to the sunny portion of the avenue. That is for the young, the people with life ahead of them. Those who still have hopes and dreams. Not someone like her. Someone whose hopes and dreams have been stolen away.

She sits and enjoys the shade for a while. She pulls herself up and starts for home. That’s where she belongs. Behind the draperies. Where the sun doesn’t shine.

Thanks to Sue Vincent

Progress

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The announcement in the newspaper said to meet in the school if you wanted to help The Foundation raise money. A large group of students and community members met at the designated spot, by the old pay telephone. They had collected pledges of money from sponsors. The first three finishers in the race would donate to The Foundation.

When they finished the race, they were to meet back at the telephone and call a designated number.

Two hours later, John, Felicia, and Barb finished the race and dialed the phone. No one had remembered pay telephones didn’t work anymore.

Photo Credit to J. Hardy Carroll