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?

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:   Moving to a new house

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

downtown        lemon              barbarian           attic

wreckage          abilities          juvenile               chaos

grape                 horseplay       ballroom             essential

drench              granite             picnic                   industrial

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 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

Elizabeth: 7th Annual Christmas Week Short Story Challenge!

© Eldridge Photography

Long-time readers of the blog may recall that around this time of year we tend to take a break from talking about writers and writing and do a little storytelling instead.  It’s like a multi-week version of our regular Friday Writing Sprints.

We’re kicking off this year’s Christmas Week Short Story Challenge today and several of the Eight Ladies will be posting their stories during the next few weeks.  All of you blog-readers are welcome to participate as well.  You can post your own story (or a link to your story) in the comments below on this post or on any of the upcoming Short Story posts.

The rules of the Challenge are simple – write a short story based on the specified theme and include at least three of the random words on the list; extra points for including more than three words and extra points with sparkles for Holiday references.

Theme:  . . . and they all lived happily ever after

As always, feel free to interpret the “Theme” any way you choose (or ignore it completely) if your story-muse takes you in a different direction.

bucket          actress                 escape            feast

blaze             determined        bubble            moan

royalty          leather                color               warning

puppet          freezing              amethyst        luminous

Whatever length story you want to write – that’s exactly the length we’re looking for.

While you wait for this year’s stories, feel free to get in the mood by checking out some of our previous entries:

Even better, try your hand at today’s words and post your results in the comments for all to enjoy.

Let the challenge begin!

Elizabeth: Friday Writing Sprints

Welcome to one of the few remaining Fridays of this year.  I don’t know about you, but I am surely ready to call it a wrap for 2020.

I was happy to see the UK and Canada both approve one of the new Covid vaccines this week and to see the news clips of Margaret Keenan of Coventry getting her jab (and following it up with a nice cup of tea).  We seem to be close to getting on the vaccine train here as well, but that will do little to slow the people who are already infected and it is expected that it will be at least next fall before we are close to fully vaccinated.  Death tolls here in the US have been between 2,000 to 3,000 per day for the past few weeks and that is projected to continue for quite a while.  I shudder to think what January is going to be like.

In a more positive vein, the end of the year means it’s time for holiday celebrations.  Sort of.  For our virtual celebration at the Day Job, my team voted on whether we all wanted to order food delivered (individually) and have a virtual holiday lunch or receive a gift (of our choosing).  I thought a virtual lunch could be fun, but the gift idea won out.  For my gift, I chose a $50 donation to Heifer International toward the purchase of a goat.  Seemed like a good idea.  I’m sure the recipient is more likely to need the goat than I am to need some random gift.  Plus, there is nothing to wrap, although I did see an amusing video just the other day on “how to wrap a goat.”

Now that that is all settled, I think I’ll pour a delightful warm beverage, cuddle up here on the couch in my fuzzy robe, and give today’s writing prompt and random words a try.

Care to join me? Continue reading

Elizabeth: Friday Writing Sprints

Happy Friday and congratulations for making it through another week.  Mine has been a very short work week, since Monday and Friday were both days off.  I’d like to say I took that free time to knock a bunch of unfinished tasks off the ToDo list, but that would definitely be a work of fiction.

I did do a little bit of clearing out in the garage, but my efforts were stymied a bit when I got to the local charity drop off with my bags full of items to donate and found that they had instituted a 2-bag limit.  Ah well, at least I got rid of few things, so that’s progress.

With my clearing-out efforts stalled, I moved on to the holiday decorating portion of my time-off program.  This whole year has been crazy and challenging and not a little scary, but having a big tree next to the fireplace, covered in colorful lights and shiny garland provides the promise of just a bit or normalcy.  The pillows and afghans on the couch have made their annual transition from blue/white to red/green, the holiday flannel bedding is in place, and there is a Merry & Bright welcome mat outside the door (not that anyone will be actually using it).  Sometimes it’s the little things that brighten up the day.

The tree might have an angel perched on the top, but there are no ornaments yet.  The Hanging of the Ornaments is something my son and I have traditionally done together since he was a toddler.  This year it may be an odd socially-distant-ornament-hanging-dance, but we’ll do our best. Right now I’ll just enjoy the sparkly lights and pretend those dummy boxes under the tree are filled with wonderful, magical gifts.

In between my gift fantasies and possibly an afternoon nap, I plan to give today’s writing prompt and random words a try.

Care to join me? Continue reading

Elizabeth: Friday Writing Sprints

Happy Friday and, for those who celebrated it, Happy Thanksgiving.  As I’m writing this, the cooking is finished, dinner has been eaten, and the dishwasher is running.

It was not quite a typical Thanksgiving day but there were dog walks in the park and socially distant family cooking in the kitchen, all wrapped up with a delicious apple-pecan-streusel pie. As a bonus, there are plenty of left overs, so I won’t need to cook for days. 

Though we were unable to be together in person, my siblings and I holiday Zoom call.  I’m guessing many other families did too.  Not quite the same as sitting around the same table for a meal, but a nice alternative.

Now, rather than sneak into the kitchen for “just one more” bite of apple pie, I think I’ll give today’s writing prompt and random words a try.

Care to join me? Continue reading

Elizabeth: Friday Writing Sprints

Happy 20th day of NaNoWriMo or, as others call it, Friday!

I hope your week has been a good one or, failing that, at least not a bad one.  Mine was a 4-day work week, to be followed with a 3-day weekend, so that’s good.  However, the refrigerator sprang a leak the other day, and I didn’t discover the fact for a few days, so that’s not so good.  

Who would have guessed something as simple as water could cause so much trouble.  Looks like that kitchen remodel of mine that I’ve been thinking about and putting off for years is about to become a reality.  If nothing else there is a new floor in the works since water+wood is not a good combination, especially when the wood is particle board, which soaks up water like a sponge.

I love the freedom of having my own house but . . . sometimes . . . it’s not as delightful as one would like.  Ah well, now I have an excuse to browse through all of those kitchen remodeling magazines I’ve accumulated over the years and a reason to drop by the local home improvement center to look at options–in a socially distant way, of course.  

Between browsing magazines for ideas and waiting for the insurance agent to call back about my claim, I think I’ll give today’s writing prompt and random words a try.

Care to join me? Continue reading

Elizabeth: Friday Writing Sprints

Happy Friday!

Hope you all have had a good week.  Things here have been hectic, but now that the election results are in, it is at least safe to turn on the television again.

What it isn’t particularly safe to do is to go out in public and hang around other people.  I don’t know about where you are, but it looks like most places are in the midst of a “weather is cooling down, Covid is gearing up” scenario.  My area is increasing closures again in an attempt to stop the rise in cases before they get out of control.  It’s looking like it will be a very socially-distant Thanksgiving this month.

I wasn’t planning on going to a sit-down restaurant or heading to the local bowling alley any time soon, so the impact of the new closures is minimal.  As long as I can get to the grocery story every week or so, I’ll be fine.  We’re supposed to be seeing a bit of rain today/tomorrow, so that is extra incentive to remain safely at home.  Fortunately, I have plenty to keep me busy, even though I will be off work for the day.

My version of NaNo is starting this Sunday, so I think I’ll warm up by giving today’s writing prompt and random words a try.

Care to join me? Continue reading

Elizabeth: Friday Writing Sprints

Welcome to the end of a week that feels like it has lasted for an eternity.  I haven’t watched the news or even turned on the television set since the election started here in US.  The brief results I heard from friends or via Facebook posts I didn’t scroll past fast enough left me feeling heartsick about my country.

The ongoing pandemic, which is surging ever onward and upward, isn’t our only sickness.  Racism.  Hatred.  Greed.  Ignorance.  Gaslighting.  A me-first attitude (and screw everyone else).  The country has those diseases too, and there isn’t a vaccine, let alone a cure, on the horizon.  I knew those things all existed, but I thought they were in ever shrinking pockets of people, and on the way to extinction, rather than flourishing and growing.  The tunnel vision of privilege combined with wishful thinking.

I spend the time in my day job working on issues of equity, diversity, sustainability, and inclusion.  Looking at the way my fellow citizens have voted on the issues and people put in front of them during this election, I feel like I’ve been working on a completely different planet.  Thus, I’ve skipped watching the news and tried to remind myself that the arc of the universe does tend toward justice; that there are good people out there doing good things; and that life is a marathon, not a sprint.

NaNo started on Sunday, but I just haven’t been able to face putting words on the page.  Instead, I’ve read my way through Golden Age mysteries like they were going out of style, watched amusing animal videos, and crocheted one blanket and started on another. 

My 30-days-of-NaNo will start on the 10th.  In the meantime, I’m going to do my best to focus for just a little bit and give give today’s writing prompt and random words a try.

Care to join me? Continue reading