Elizabeth: Friday Writing Sprint

Happy “National Bacon Day” (if you’re reading this on the 26th).  If you’re feeling environmentally friendly, it’s also “National Skip the Straw Day” as well.

“In 2017, a group of teenage activists called the Coral Keepers established National Skip the Straw Day to recur every fourth Friday in February. Amid frequent and intense conversations about the state of the planet and the potentially fatal effects of plastic waste for creatures in the world’s largest oceans, these high school students from Whitehall, Michigan decided to establish the day in order to educate others about the many biodegradable alternatives to these small but potent cylindrical sippers.”

Whatever you choose to celebrate, I hope you have a good day.

Here in “feels like Springtime” California, I’ll be celebrating “Digging in the Yard” day.  The local garden centers are flush with new plants, just the thing I need to brighten up my yard, which is still looking a little winter-bland.  I’ve got some climbing roses and lavender plants that need to get out of their plastic pots and into the ground while they’re still alive and flourishing.

After I get my yard taken care of I  think I’ll take a break, grab my favorite notebook, and give today’s writing prompt and random words a try.

Care to join me?

For those of you working away on a story (whether a first draft or a polished version on its way to publication), if you’re not feeling random, we’d love to hear a bit – whether it’s a scene, a paragraph, or even a phrase that you are especially pleased with and would like to share.

If you don’t have a story in progress, or just want to work on something new, I hope either today’s random words or writing prompt will catch your creative fancy.

Ready?

Prompt:   Making a new start

Feel free to interpret the prompt any way you choose (or ignore it completely) and include any (or all) of the following random words:   

dazzling          distort              peepshow         feast

tiger                western            consultant        expose

destiny            mood                dramatic          faith

fountain          academic         driver               free

I look forward to seeing your stories in the comments.  If you’re not feeling in the writing mood today, or don’t have time, feel free to post suggestions you might have for future “what-if” prompts.  Ideas are always welcome.

Happy writing to all!

Elizabeth: Friday Writing Sprint

Happy “National Chocolate Mint Day” (if you’re reading this on the 19th).  If you prefer, it’s also “National Caregiver’s Day” as well.

“National Caregivers Day on the third Friday in February honors the health care professionals across the country providing long-term and hospice care.  The celebration recognizes caregivers who provide quality, compassionate care every day.”

This seems like an especially relevant celebration, considering the critical work of caregivers and other health professionals during what seems like the unending pandemic.  Cheers and hats off to all of them.

Here in chilly but lovely California I’ll be celebrating “Thank God I don’t live in Texas” day.  Frigid temperatures, power outages, and water outages too – what an awful, deadly combination.  I can’t imagine what the clean up and death toll will be once all is said and done.  Much of the rest of the county appears to be covered in a swath of cold and snow as well.  I feel the urge to put on another sweater every time I see the news.

Here in the writing castle where the trees in the backyard are beginning to bloom and the grass is green and growing, I’m still plugging away on home repairs.  The drywall in the living room and dining room have been repaired, and I painted the kitchen over the weekend.  Next up:  giving the kitchen cupboards and deep-clean and a bit of re-staining.  I’d hoped that my kitchen floor replacement would be complete by now, but the flooring contractor is currently missing in action.   I REALLY don’t want to have to install my own kitchen floor, so I’m hoping he reappears soon.

While I’m waiting for the reappearance, I think I’ll take a break, grab my favorite notebook, and give today’s writing prompt and random words a try.

Care to join me? Continue reading

Elizabeth: Friday Writing Sprint

Happy “National Plum Pudding Day” (if you’re reading this on the 12th).  It’s also “National Darwin Day,” though that doesn’t sound nearly as tasty.

“Darwin Day is a celebration to commemorate the birthday of Charles Darwin on 12 February 1809. The day is used to inspire people throughout the globe to reflect and act on the principles embodied in Charles Darwin”

Yeah, maybe not.

February 12 is also the day, in 1994, when four thieves broke into the National Gallery of Norway and stole Edvard Munch‘s iconic painting The Scream.  They hardly sound like “Darwin Day” award winners.

Here in rainy (oh, wait, now it’s sunny) California I’ll be celebrating “Wash Down the Kitchen Walls before Painting” day, having successfully made it through “Learn to Drywall Day” last weekend.  I spent days this week deciding on just the right shade of not-quite-white for the kitchen walls, to give it a brighter, fresher look.  Got a small paint sample, brushed some on the wall . . . and it looks just like what’s there.  How does that always happen?

Ah well, if nothing else the walls will be clean and spider-web-free, even if their color doesn’t really change.

While I’m waiting for things to dry, I think I’ll take a break, grab my favorite notebook, and give today’s writing prompt and random words a try.

Care to join me? Continue reading

Elizabeth: Friday Writing Sprint

Happy “Wear Red Day” (if you’re reading this on the 5th).  It’s also “National Shower with a Friend Day,” though that’s probably not the best of celebrations for a pandemic.

“National Wear Red Day, on the first Friday in February, is an annual campaign to raise awareness about heart disease in women. The national campaign urges women to learn their risk for heart disease and to take steps to lower their risk.”

Here in California, restaurants have been slowly opening up their outdoor dining, now that our numbers are starting to trend in the right direction and, after a bit of rain, the skies are blue and the hillsides turning green, so things are looking up.  I mowed the lawn over the past weekend and it looks like I’ll need to do it again this coming weekend.  I guess that’s what happens when you combine plenty of water, sun, and fertilizer.  Ah well, it’s totally worth it to be able to walk barefoot though the grass to the mailbox.  One of my favorite things.

Before I attack the lawn, it’s off to the home improvement store for the necessary supplies so I can do a bit of dry-wall repair.  I’m hoping all those how-to videos I watched pay off, otherwise, I’ll have to call in the professionals.

Somewhere along the line, I think I’ll take a break, grab my favorite notebook, and give today’s writing prompt and random words a try.

Care to join me? Continue reading

Elizabeth: Friday Writing Sprint

Happy “National Puzzle Day” (if you’re reading this on the 29th) or “National Plan for Vacation Day,” if you prefer.

“Studies have found that when we work on a jigsaw puzzle, we use both sides of the brain, and spending time daily working on puzzles improves memory, cognitive function and problem-solving skills.”

Our stay-at-home order has been lifted here in rainy California, but I’m pretty sure vacations are still off the table.  Fortunately, the puzzle shortage that occurred at the beginning of the pandemic, when folks suddenly had too much time on their hands and nothing to do, seems to have resolved itself.  Puzzles are plentiful at the stores/online, and I have two just sitting there waiting for me to be “in the mood” to open them up.

Perhaps today’s the day!

Or not.  Having finished “Buy a New Stove” day earlier in the week, I’m currently in the midst of “clean out the refrigerator/freezer” day, in preparation for “repair or replace” day.  There seem to be things in the freezer that I never remember seeing before.  Probably not a good sign, especially for things with a “best used by” date more than a decade ago.

Let the purging begin!

When I get tired of foraging in my refrigerator/freezer, I think I’ll take a break, pour myself a warm tasty beverage, and give today’s writing prompt and random words a try.

Care to join me? Continue reading

Elizabeth: Friday Writing Sprint

Happy “Celebration of Life Day” (if you’re reading this on the 22nd).  According to the National Day Calendar folks:

“Celebration of Life Day on January 22nd honors the children and grandchildren who bring joy to our lives. The day is a reminder that each child and each life is to be held as a precious gift with the highest respect and dignity.”

With all that’s been going on the world in the past year or more, taking a bit of time to celebrate life seems like a nice thing to do.

I recently finished celebrating our recent political transition of power.  It’s remarkable how comforting it is to feel like there are intelligent, competent adults in the room again.  We may not yet be in “nothing but good times ahead” territory, but now at least we seem to be heading in the correct direction.

Without constantly having  to worry about what horrible thing I’m going to see on the news, I foresee a bit more spare time in my future.  Today, I think I use some of that time to give today’s writing prompt and random words a try.

Care to join me? Continue reading

Elizabeth: Friday Writing Sprint

Happy “Feast of the Donkey Day” (if you’re reading this on the 14th) or “Strawberry Ice Cream Day” (if it’s the 15th).  Who comes up with these things?  Although strawberry ice cream does sound pretty good about now.

I recently finished “Laughing Hysterically Day” after I got cost estimates for doing a “refresh” of my kitchen cupboards and a “replacement” of my living room sofa.  It’s not that I’m not willing to pay for quality and for the value of worker time, but the quotes definitely outside of the realm of that.   Also, I’m pretty sure the kitchen-estimator-guy mocked my “that style is so yesterday” tastes, and who wants that.  I like to think of my tastes as “classic” or “timeless.”

Time for Plan B.

Youtube, here I come.  I may not be able to completely remodel my kitchen that way, but maybe I can at least learn how to repair the drawers (my biggest pain point) and install a couple of sliding shelves in one of the hard-to-get-to cabinets.  I’ll let you know how it all turns out.

In the meantime, I think I’ll take a creativity break and give today’s writing prompt and random words a try.

Care to join me? Continue reading

Elizabeth: Friday Writing Sprint

Happy First Friday of 2021.  I hope your year is off to a good start.  Of course, with the pandemic still raging in various parts of the world and the chaos here in the states, it has been a slightly rockier start than one might have hoped for.

Things have, at least, been fairly quiet on the day job.  Not everyone is back to work yet, and the calendars haven’t filled up with Zoom calls, so I had plenty of uninterrupted working time this week.  That won’t happen next week, so I made sure to take full advantage of it this week to get a lot of tasks taken care of.

Now, I’m looking forward to the weekend.  I have very little planned, other than packing away the remaining holiday decorations and giving the house a good sweeping/dusting, now that the repairmen are all gone for the time being.  It’s amazing how much dust is everywhere after more than a week of industrial fans blowing.  Who could have predicted that?

Whatever else I do (or don’t do), I’m going to make sure to give today’s writing prompt and random words a try.

Care to join me? Continue reading

Elizabeth: Friday Year-End Writing Sprint

It’s New Years Eve as I write this, so I have a few more hours to post one last writing sprint for the year.  Thanks to all who participated in our recent annual Short Story Challenge and our Friday sprints throughout the year.  I’m always amazed at how we can all take the same words / prompt and come up with such completely different results.

I’m sipping champagne as I write this post–having my own personal New Years Eve celebration.  The neighbors are apparently trying to make things feel more festive by shooting off massive fireworks from their backyard.  I’m hoping the rain kicks in before they manage to light the hillside or themselves on fire.  Mother Nature is also adding her two cents, with a 3.6 earthquake just a few miles away.   This has been the longest year ever.

I’m going to need more champagne.

And maybe some noise canceling headphones.

My house is currently sporting several massive drying-fans, thanks to a minor kitchen flood a few weeks ago.  I feel like I’m living inside of a jet engine.  Chunks of my hardwood floors–that took me forever to install–have been mercilessly cut away to get to the wet and mold beneath.  Ugh.  On the plus side, the insurance company has hired professionals to do the restoration.  Also on the plus side, there is now no more reason for me to put off the kitchen remodel that I’d been thinking about for years.  Fingers crossed on that. Continue reading

Jilly: George and the Dragon

Here’s my contribution to the 2020 8 Ladies Christmas Short Story Challenge. I think I got all the prompt words!

George and the Dragon

The winter sun was low in the sky as Georgina Albion moored her sailboat at Stack Aerie’s small dock and picked her way along the slippery wooden boards, ignoring the freshly painted PRIVATE PROPERTY sign and the new ones that said NO TRESPASSING and VISITORS BY INVITATION ONLY.

She raised her eyes to the scudding clouds, but her thoughts were directed at the reclusive new owner. How can I be be invited, if you never answer your post or open your email?

There was a painted steel circle beside the first step of the narrow stone stair that clung to the vertiginous cliff face, and another at the top. Stylized dragons with razor claws and fiery breath, contained within a red perimeter and crossed by a red diagonal bar. In case that wasn’t clear enough, the message was spelled out below: NO DRAGONS HERE.

George stopped for a moment to trace the image with a fingertip. “If that’s true, your Uncle Basil made a big mistake.”

From the cliff top it was a short walk to the futuristic glass-and-steel dome that perched atop the towering granite sea-stack. She knew from past visits that the bubble’s airy interior was comfortable but sparsely furnished. The temperature was always pleasant, the filtered light clear and bright, and the views out over the stormy ocean and back toward the mainland were breathtaking. The traditional rooms—a kitchen, dining room, office, bedrooms—were below, set within the rock. And far, far, far deeper, under the ocean bed, Bas’s treasure cave lay hidden.

The reinforced glass door was flung open before she could ring the bell. “What now?”

The man who blocked the entrance was tall—six and a half feet of long legs encased in dark jeans, broad shoulders snugly wrapped in black cashmere, chiseled features, and short, dark, spiky hair. The luminous eyes that glowered down at her were a distracting golden green color, with an unmistakable amethyst rim.

George blew out a breath. There was no mistake. Bas had chosen his successor. The rest was up to her.

Continue reading