Category Archives: Struggling Writer

Bullshit and Peas

“Have you always gotten your way?”

It was a bullshit inquire from a detective.

The man, Fred, I think he said was his name, sat opposite me in a white dress shirt that was too tight and stained. My guess was, he missed his mouth during breakfast, frequently.

An ugly belt hugged his hips keeping his stomach in check, like a dam keeping water at bay. I speculated what might happen if his belt broke loose. 

“Pretty much, according to my sister, but you know how sisters can be. She swore if Mom served peas, I wanted and got carrots. But she’s an incurable liar. Miss Goody-Two-Shoes is what she calls me.”

“Did you like peas?”

“Sure, the small itty bitty kind, the frozen package says petite. And they had to be cooked right, bright green and not mushy, I hated mushy. Mom wasn’t a good cook.”

“So, you were spoiled?”

“No, I’d have eaten the fucking peas. It wasn’t about the God damn peas. It’s about power. Isn’t it? You have the power to screw me, Mr. Hot-Shot.”

“Calm down, it’s small talk.”

“Yea, small talk? I’ve been here for hours, you asking the same questions. Mr. Hot-Shot, wearing that not to expensive watch.”

The DA twisted his arm and looked at his Mavado.

“I know how to play your game. You provoke me, I get angry. Like with mom. I’ll push the peas around until they get mushy than smash the plate in the sink, and listen to the garbage disposal make a noise like an electric saw cutting up a dead body.”

     “Why did you do it?”

     “Mush the peas?”

     “No, kill your mother.”

. . . Seriously Just Saying

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The Scowl

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The Scowl

He wore a scowl. A permanent look of discontent. He glared at no one particular, and rarely smiled, but if he did, the smile never reached his eyes, like a basset hound whose jowls scrapped the floor, there was no emotion.

We met years ago, although never introduced. In retrospect, the event might have been better labeled a stare down. It was a bitter and windy day. I had ducked inside a city coffee shop to escape the pelting rain and found myself sitting next to him.

“Yikes! It’s wet outside.” I said sitting and shaking my umbrella free of rain.

The stools were the old fashion metal type with no backs that were low to the ground. My wet coat added to the squeaking noises produced by my twirling in place and attempting to prevent more damage. The man looked down, studied the drips puddling on the floor then locked eyes with me.

“Sorry,” I said feeling helpless. I smiled and ordered coffee and a bagel. He said nothing.

“It’s good to get out of the rain.” I mumbled.

His forearms rested on the counter and he stared straight ahead ignoring me, although our faces were visible in the mirror adorning the back wall. After draining his coffee cup, he signaled for a refill and frowned when the hot java tip toed near the top. He was handsome.

“I’d ask you out if you weren’t such a jerk.” I said.

“I dare you.”  He responded scowling.

 

Seriously Just Saying

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Lonely in Volusia

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Lonely in Volusia

“Doris,” he said taking off his hat.

“Jim?”

We had arranged to meet at a local restaurant after chatting on a social media site.

He resembled a potato, and an image of an Idaho spud flashed through my mind as he sat. Worn pointed cowboy boots prevented his knees from sliding under the table. He angled the chair sideways. Its wooden legs scraped along the floor as he said, “Nice to meet you.”

(It took me about forty minutes to write, and edit the above paragraph, my attempt to write everyday, and for now is all I’ve got.)

. . . Seriously just saying

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Goodbye

Word prompt ; use the following words in a descriptive paragraph: needles, breath, river, touch, swallows, summer, humble, paper, simple, bend, beams, crowd

Write Every Day

The river bend cascaded into a water fall. The summer air was hot and heavy. Sun beams faded and a crowd of swallows flew in the distant sky. Like the pine needles that poked my bare feet, the simple paper note in my hand pierced my heart. I remembered your breathe, recalled your touch. The thin texture of the envelope reminded me of our humble beginnings. I didn’t have to read it to know you were saying goodbye.

* * * *

I started writing in retirement, about 12 years ago, as a past-time. It has been said that stepping away from writing is normal and part of the writing process. That is what happened to me. I no longer write everyday or in my head, probably because I attempted to write a bigger project other than my blog, got involve in a critique group and lost my creativity. I’m, however, attempting to get back on the horse and have made a commitment to write every day. I’m a member of Florida Writers Association, and recently I read a post about successful writers/authors and this is what I took away:

  1. Write everyday, set a specific schedule and be committed to that routine.
  2. Read
  3. Don’t edit as you go.
  4. Don’t have your work critiqued as you go.
  5. Stop self editing and just write.

* * * just saying * * * wish me luck

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Flash Fiction

woman standing by the side of a watercraft
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Lynn

    Lynn stood on the sidewalk and could not remember who she used to be.

    It was a horrible feeling.

    She strolled casually to a nearby bench and sat to quiet the feeling.

    The weather was mild. The sun strong.

    It was not the present that disturbed her.

   Having silly thoughts, she hummed an old Peggy Lee song, “Is That All There Is?”

    She came to buy Christmas gifts, or so she thought.

    Instead, she window shopped and tried on clothes in an upscale woman’s store; attempting to find a new identity.

    Norman Rockwell’s picture of the golden-brown turkey on a large platter surrounded by family flashed  across her mind.

    Her romanticized past was painful to watch.

    She had been the women wearing the plaid apron, trying to fulfill other people’s dreams. Okay, perhaps they’d been her dreams too.

It was hard to remember, things were different.

. . . just saying

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.

Perturbed

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How is your writing going?

The best way to describe mine is to say I’m perturbed.

Annoyed, upset, worried, stressed, discontent, all of these.

I starting writing in retirement, as a past time and was encouraged to write a blog (claudiajustsaying.com). Then I decided to go big and attempt a novel. After many many rewrites, and critiques; it is finished!

I think the story is ready for a beta readers or I could pay to have it edited. However my attempts have gone no where and everywhere I’m reminded of other writers mistakes. 

Learning how to navigate WordPress, Facebook, or Absolute Write leaves little energy for creativity. 

Do you share my frustration?

. . . Seriously, just saying

Flash Fiction

(The word pearl was a prompt given at a writing session. A strong female character came to mind and her story enfolded.)

Pearl

The last time I saw her, she was young; youth sparkled in her eyes. Now the sparkle is gone, the jade blue color diminished by time; her convictions etched in lines across her face. Her once narrow nose is broader, broken from standing up for others. Her chest sunken with anger, not there the first time we met.

“Pearl is that you?” I inquire.

She strains to turn towards me, her range of motion greatly compromised.

“Yes, I’m Pearl,” Her voice recalls dignity, and she pauses to ask, “Have I had your acquaintance?”

It was 1971; we got on the Concourse Avenue bus in the Bronx, each with a child in hand. She took notice of my bruises and we became friends.

I take the seat alongside her and gently touch her forearm, “Pearl, it’s me Rosa . . . . Rose, remember. . . .” I expect her to ooze with gladness, say, “Lordy, Lordy, Rose, how are you?”

Instead, she says “Rose? Can’t recall a Rose, refresh my memory child.”

If she remembers me, she would never mention beatings, and hiding in safe houses. I remind her of Bainbridge Park; how we would meet after lunch, let the children play in the sand box then walk them to sleep in strollers.

“I remember sunshine and playgrounds, how is your boy . . . ?”

“Danny, Dan, he’s at Fordham University; studying to be a lawyer.

Danny was five when I made the decision to leave the morning after a beating. I phoned my sister, asked her to get him from school, and left a note for John saying I didn’t want a divorce, and wouldn’t fight him for our son.

I worried about leaving Danny behind. Pearl said, “Don’t fret; your boy be fine,” and hooked me up with people.

John was a New York City Police officer and protected by his brothers, but the force would not ignore his beating a child.

Sill, I moved every four months with a new identity.

Three years later, the Richmond Virginia Newspaper reported the hunt for the killer of John McGill, a NYC Police Officer shot in the line of duty. I went home; stood next to his coffin, widowed with a pension; my eight-year-old son at my side.

John had never mentioned I was gone to anyone on the force.

Now Pearl dozes next to me, and her head bobs from side to side startling herself. “What was I saying?”

“We were talking about the time we brought the boys to the Bronx Zoo and rode the train around the park ten times. You packed potato salad and fried chicken; a stranger asked to buy your picnic lunch.”

The mention of potato salad crystallizes in her milky eyes, “I remember the day you left, bruised and wearing borrowed clothes; it broke my heart knowing I’d not see you again. How you been?”

“I never got to thank you, Pearl. . . .” She interrupts my attempt at gratitude and explanation of regret .

“Hush, Woman . . . tell me something that will make me smile.”

* * * just saying

(Originally posted on November 23, 2014)

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Memorial Day Ceremony

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Daily Prompt

Today our local paper’s feature story is about Hal Kushner, a U.S. Army veteran and the keynote speaker for this afternoon’s Memorial Day ceremony at the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Washington, D.C.

Kushner known from “The Vietnam War,” a ten-part documentary series aired last September is 77 years old, still works as Ophthalmologist, and was a five-year POW. I was pleased to see the News-Journal coverage of his story and several articles sharing other veteran’s stories.

Reminiscing,  Earl Tingle Jr. said ‘I wanted to go,’ ‘I feel a sense of tragedy’  Dr. Frank Farmer explained  and Neal Coates expressed gratitude saying,  ‘I was blessed to come back.’

Each tell poignant stories, however the caption, ‘This one will be different’ above Hal Kushner front-page picture struck a chord. He was referencing today’s ceremony and intrigued as to why his experience would be different continued reading.

Kushner says speaking has taken on a “personal difficulty” and he thinks as we age have less control over our emotions and are more emotional.

I cannot help thinking he is a lucky man and wish I was attending the ceremony.

.  .  .  .  Seriously just saying


<a href="https://dailypost.wordpress.com/prompts/ceremony/">Ceremony</a>

 

Daily Prompt: Captivating

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Alluring, irresistible, fascinating or at the least intriguing, is what she wanted to be, not this reflection in the mirror; a short chubby woman with bed hair, wearing a worn blouse, a large watermark decorating her breasts. In front of a Dyson hand dryer, she held the shirt up to watch the water stain shrink and wished she could too.

Once back at the sink, searched for styling gel inside her handbag then applied the right amount to bring some curl into her hair. Unbuttoning the top button on the blouse changed the too tight look to voluptuous .   .   .   .    applying hot red lip-gloss made her closer to  captivating.  

 

. . . . Seriously Just Saying

via Daily Prompt: Captivating

Silent Passenger

Daily Prompt

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I was the last passenger to arrive and quickly slid into the remaining seat on the bus. The driver closed the door, check both side mirrors for traffic then pulled out of the driveway of Betty’s Shuttle Bus Service. Although It was an eight-passenger van, there were seven of us. The man behind me took up two seats. I wondered if he had paid for two, making the fifty-mile trip to the airport express, or if we would be topping along the way to pick up a finale passenger. The girl next to him, a Laura Dern lookalike, squirmed in her thin body staring out the window.

 At 6:35 AM, the sun was just rising and promised a hot day.

In the way back was a teenager dressed in shorts and a t-shirt, plugged into his cell with an mostly empty backpack on his lap. Along side of him could be his girlfriend or sister. They pushed against each other with their arms in a familiar but not too happy manner. The passengers in the middle seat, significantly older, could be a couple; a man and woman about the same age looking like each other.

No one spoke as the radio blared Kenny Rogers’ song, “Know When to Hold Them.”

However, heads began to shake disapprovingly with a news report of President Donald Trump’s latest tweet. The lead in; Trump lashes out again at Morning Joe host.  

The elderly man in the middle seat removed his Yankee baseball cap, scratched his head, and turned to the woman along side of him, “What is wrong with that man?” he asked.

She crossed her arms around her thick waist and gave her breasts a supportive boost, “I don’t even know what a tweet is, but I’m embarrassed for him.”

“He’s a bully!” The Laura Dern lookalike stated emphatically.

The man taking up two seats wiped rolling down beads of sweat from his brow with a dirty cloth handkerchief with a grunt.

The kid way back removed his ear buds and called out, “Dudes, Trump’s cool, that’s what people do, no worries.”

I rummaged through my tote bag looking for nothing.

 

. . . . Seriously Just Saying