My Treasure Writing 101

It’s difficult for me to choose one thing and say this is what I treasure the most, mainly because what I treasure the most are my children and my family.

There is, however, one thing that is very special to me even though it probably doesn’t have any monetary value.

My husband and I had purchased a small farm in a little town in Colorado. The house was an older two story home.

While we were moving in I went into our bedroom closet to make sure everything had been cleared and way in the back of the closet was an old print of the famous oil painting, “The Guardian Angel,” painted by Lindberg Heilige Schutzengel.

I immediately had the print framed to hang in my son’s bedroom. Shortly after finding this old print, I became pregnant with my daughter. The painting is of two children, a boy and a girl crossing a rickety old bridge during a severe storm. Several years later, we faced some very rough life storms. I often thought of the angel in the painting as helping me get through them.

This print reminds me of when my children were very young and when my life was happy and fairly close to wonderful. My treasure is more about the memories I treasure rather than about the print itself.

To this day, this treasure hangs in a place of honor in my home and in my heart.

Today’s Writing 101 Prompt: Tell us the story of your most-prized possession.

It’s the final day of the challenge already?! Let’s make sure we end it with a bang — or, in our case, with some furious collective tapping on our keyboards. For this final assignment, lead us through the history of an object that bears a special meaning to you.

A family heirloom, a flea market find, a childhood memento — all are fair game. What matters is that, through your writing, you breathe life into that object, moving your readers enough to understand its value.

Today’s twist: We extolled the virtues of brevity back on day five, but now, let’s jump to the other side of the spectrum and turn to longform writing. Let’s celebrate the drawn-out, slowly cooked, wide-shot narrative.

 

Day 19 Free Write

For those of you who would like to continue writing after this class has ended, I would like to introduce you to several “Flash Fiction Photo Prompt” challenges on WordPress. There may be more of these, but these are the challenges that I know of. The host of each challenge sends out a photograph once a week and challenges those who are following the challenge blog to write a story about the photo in 150 words or less (each challenge has their own word count maximum). It’s a lot of fun and it’s addicting. It’s also a great way to practice and improve your writing.


https://flashfictionforaspiringwriters.wordpress.com


https://sundayphotofictioner.wordpress.com


https://mondaysfinishthestory.wordpress.com – this challenge also supplies the first sentence to your story.


Check these out and give them a try. You might find flash fiction is a fun weekly challenge and give you the opportunity meet many new and established writers.



 

Worst Fears

Today’s Writing 101 Prompt: We all have anxieties, worries, and fears. What are you scared of? Address one of your worst fears.

Today’s Twist: Write this post in a style distinct from your own.

—————————————

I don’t talk about my worst fears. My worst fears is writing about my worst fears. Why aren’t we writing about our dreams instead of our worst fears? God forbid we forget about our worst fears. Holy Moly, I can’t wait to read all those articles of people writing about their worst fears. Do people actually spend time thinking about and dwelling on their worst fears? Hopefully, I have run those two words into the ground. If not, here they are again, isn’t this your worst fear?


I also hope I wrote in a style distinct from my own.

Lost and Found Part 3

Today’s Writing 101 Prompt: Imagine you had a job in which you had to sift through forgotten or lost.

For inspiration, ponder the phrase “lost and found.” If you’d like to continue our serial challenge, also reflect on the theme of lost and found more generally in this post.

In your “lost and found” tale, tell us something larger — a life lesson, perhaps — about finding and losing .

————————————————————————

For the previous two installments of this story click on Part 1 and Part 2.

My illness wasn’t solved by one hospitalization. It took several more hospitalizations and then, to finally find the right medication.

Making it more difficult for me to heal from my mental illness was the fact that I did not have the support of my family. Some of them believed I was faking it, all of them were ashamed of me, and a few thought my depression was merely me feeling sorry for myself. That was a lot of baggage to place on me when I was already severely unstable. This type of treatment by family was one of the worst things they could do to me because it practically guaranteed I would not be able to heal or if I were to heal it would take much much longer.

All of my hospitalizations seem to “melt together.” I remember two women introducing themselves to me,

“I am Mary had a little lamb whose fleece was white as snow.”

“I am Merry Merry quite contrary, how does your garden grow?”

I remember the young man that had fried his mind using the drug, LSD, who now could only sit in a corner all day and play with himself. I remember the young woman that stayed in her room all day and made herself “feel better.” I remember the young lady who couldn’t talk anymore. I remember the friends I made while being hospitalized.

I also remember the “camping trip therapy” that I attended with my two besties from the hospital.

They took us somewhere in Utah and gave each of us a gallon of water, a tarp, and a sleeping bag. That was it. We were to go off by ourselves and set up a camp and sleep there all night (alone). I set up my camp in close proximity of a very old Anasazi Indian ruins, so the Indian Spirits would keep me safe all night. (The Anasazis are an ancient Indian tribe that have gone extinct. They built their homes on the sides of very high cliffs). I also made sure I could see the two camps of my two friends. I remember being afraid that bugs would get into my sleeping bag and wasn’t able to sleep because of that fear.

The next morning we all stumbled back to the main camp for that “much desired” cup of coffee. I remember how good it felt to make it all night sleeping alone in the wilderness. And, I remember how how hungry I was after not eating for 24 hours.

The purpose of this camping trip was for us to get in touch with our spiritual side.

I remember on our way back to the hospital and all of us campers being very tired because none of us were able to sleep. We stopped at a cafe on the way to take a break. There was a shiny black car parked in front of this cafe. We could see ourselves in the shiny black paint and our bodies appeared grotesquely distorted. We all laughed until we cried at our distorted images in this car.

Finally, my biggest breakthrough from my mental illness came during my last hospitalization and my psychiatrist put me on anti-depressant medication. Once we found the right dosage, I could finally see an end to my suffering. Although I couldn’t understand why my previous doctors had not put me on this medication, I was elated to find a medicine that could actually help. Sure enough, it was a chemical imbalance and we had found the right medicine to solve that imbalance.

After years of suffering through this painful mental illness, I finally reached the light at the end of “my” dark tunnel. Finally!






 

Assignment #15 – Voice

Today’s Prompt: Think about an event you’ve attended and loved. Your hometown’s annual fair. That life-changing music festival. A conference that shifted your worldview. Imagine you’re told it will be cancelled forever or taken over by an evil corporate force.

How does that make you feel?

——————————————————-

For some reason, this assignment has given me absolutely no inspiration. I have racked my brain trying to think up something to write about that might show me my voice. I am curious, I want to know what my voice “sounds” like. I also want to know what it “sounds” like to those who read my stories and posts?

Do I come across harsh, negative, and abrasive?

Do I come across wishy-washy and fake?

Do I come across as a know-it-all?

Since I cannot think up something to write about that will reveal my “voice” to me, please tell me what my “voice” sounds like to you?

 

Freckles – Writing 101

Day Fourteen

Today’s Writing 101 Prompt: Pick up the nearest book and flip to page 29. What’s the first word that jumps off the page? Use this word as your springboard for inspiration. If you need a boost, Google the word and see what images appear, and then go from there.

Today’s twist: write the post in the form of a letter.

*******************************************************

Dear Freckles,

When I was small you were sprinkled across my nose and I didn’t like you. I thought you made me look ugly. People tried telling me that you were tiny kisses from the sun, but I didn’t buy it. I knew you were a gift to me from my beloved grandmother, but I wasn’t pleased with her gift.

When I was a teenager, I tried to cover you up and make my skin look flawless. I even tried to get tanned so my skin would all be the same color, and you would disappear. I tried everything to get rid of you.

As I got older you seemed to go away on your own, and in some ways, I kind of missed you. After all, you were part of my youth. You were tiny kisses of sun. You were sprinkles of love from my grandmother.

My sweet granddaughters have little traces of you scattered across their noses and I’m happy that you haven’t really disappeared and have remained in my family. I hope my granddaughters are pleased with their little sprinkled gifts from me.

In Loving Memory,


Your Face





 

Serially Lost Part 2

Writing 101 Assignment: Serially Lost Part 2

Part 1 can be found HERE.

My depression became so severe that I had a psychotic break, where my mind lost touch with reality. I was taken to Albuquerque, NM to see a psychiatrist and I was in full-blown paranoid psychosis/depression. She had me hospitalized immediately in a mental health facility. I was placed in the restricted ward of this hospital so I could be watched more carefully. This is the ward that suicidal patients were placed. Surprisingly, there were quite a few patients in this ward.

My bed was in a large room which was shared with about seven other women. The first thing the nurses did was make me strip down so they can count and note all my scars. They take away all possessions, including shoe strings. I wasn’t allowed to have anything.

As soon as I finished my incoming check with the nurses, I started pacing, back and forth – back and forth. My mind was filled with extreme worry. It felt as though the entire world was on my shoulders. It was an extremely terrifying feeling.

After a time of pacing, one of the nurses on the ward joined me and began pacing with me. At first, she said nothing, just continued to pace with me. After awhile of our silent pacing, she asked me, “What is wrong?”

I replied to her, “I can’t tell you.”

Somehow, she was able to get me to sit down at a table with her. She asked me again, “What is wrong, please tell me what is wrong.”

I answered her with what I believed, “I can’t tell you. If I tell you it will come true.”

She responded, “No, it won’t come true. I promise it won’t come true.”

I knew I had a choice, to either trust her or not trust her. I had lost trust in everyone at this point but for some reason, my inner voice told me to trust her.

“It’s the end of the world.” I said with trepidation, hoping and praying that the roof of the hospital wouldn’t fall in for saying it.

She softly answered, “No. No, it’s not. It’s not the end of the world.”

I quickly realized the world didn’t end. At that moment, I finally began my long process of healing.

The Conversation from Hell

Assignment #12 Writing 101


Today’s Prompt for Writing 101: Write a post inspired by a real-world conversation.

Today’s twist: include an element of foreshadowing in the beginning of your post.

*******************************

The good news is, she lives 6 hours away from me right now. The bad news is, she is moving back to my area in three weeks. I am referring to my sister. She is like a walking, living, breathing human tornado that destroys, or tries to destroy everything and everyone in her path. (I wish I were joking).

I answered the telephone this morning and the voice on the other line automatically put me on high “red-alert.”

My sister, Chauna is on the other line and she immediately informs me, “These people here are trying to declare me incompetent and take all my money away from me. They are all trying to steal from me.” (These people = her daughter, son-in-law, brother, mother).

Because I don’t believe one word of it, I say, “No, I don’t believe that. They have no reason to steal from you. Why do they need to steal from you Chauna? They have plenty of their own money.”

“Well,” she says, “I can’t explain it but they are and I’m getting the hell out of here.” (Big City). She starts whining, “They tried to steal my RV from me and now I can’t get it out of the consignment place until May 8.”

I remind her, “They put it in the consignment place because you told Rex to handle it for you because you wanted to sell it. He is just trying to sell it for you!”

Now she begins barking, “Well he didn’t ask me if he could put it in the consignment shop and now I can’t get it out until May 8. He should have asked me if he could do that. I would have told him I would only put it in the consignment shop if I could get it out anytime I wanted to.”

By this time I am getting very frustrated, “How was he suppose to know you wanted to be able to get it out anytime you want to. You don’t even have a truck to pull it with.”

Then she immediately states, “Well I might have wanted to get it out and he didn’t ask me if he could put it in there and I’m madder than hell at him.”

I ask her, “So this is all about control not really about the RV?”

“Well, maybe.” She stated, then adds, “I should have had control of that RV not Rex!”

(This horrible conversation continues for 15 more minutes then turns to something else).

After listening to her barking for 20 minutes I am really getting exasperated. She begins to tell me, “He (her daughter’s husband) has declared my daughter incompetent and has taken over all of her money.”

I am stunned, “What? Why would he do that? That doesn’t make sense!”

She further tells me, “She says that Rex will not allow her to see me anymore unless I hand over the control of all my money to him.”

I am shocked. “What?! (I highly doubt this is true). Why would he want to take control of your money? I just have a hard time believing that.”

“Well he did!” She states matter-of-factly, ” I can’t stand him. He’s a snake and I can’t stand him.”

I am really wanting this conversation to end, “So this all about the fact that you dislike Rex so much you are willing to give up your own daughter?”

“Yes, I am.” She informs me, ” I am not having him control me or take control of my money.”

I inform her, for the thousandth time, “Chauna, you have GOT to go to the doctor and get on some medicine.”

“No I don’t.” She barks, “I don’t need medicine! I need to get the hell out of here!”

“Yes, Chauna, you do.” I further remind her (once again), “You have a chemical imbalance and you need medicine to control it.”

She starts her barking again, “Everybody thinks the world’s problems can be solved with a f—ing pill!”


(OMG, Help ME! And she’s going to be here in 3 weeks)


* Names have been changed. I am not exaggerating this conversation. If anything, I have tamed it down and removed all but one of the curse words.








 

Where was Home?

Today’s Writing 101 Prompt: Where did you live when you were 12 years old? Which town, city, and country? Was it a house or an apartment? A boarding school or foster home? An airstream or an RV? Who lived there with you?

**************************

When I was three and four years old we lived in house in a small town in southern New Mexico (United States). The house seemed huge to me, but I was small, so the house would now be considered small. There were several neighborhood children to play with but my best buddy was Rodney, and Rodney and I were both little three year old partners in crime.

I distinctly remember our neighbors across the street had a beautiful flower bed. What does three year olds do? They pick the flowers. The woman of the house caught me picking one of her flowers and demanded that I go straight home and tell my mother that I had picked her flower. She was an elder so I was obliged to mind her, so, I literally marched myself across the street to the back of our house, where the water heater was housed, and confessed my sin to the water heater. Then, I happily ran off to finish playing.

One beautiful summer day Rodney and I were outside playing and it was our good fortune to find a ladder standing up next to the side of the neighbor’s house. Because we were both little climbing monkeys, we climbed that ladder to the top of the house. Our mothers were outside and across the street visiting . They just happened to look up to catch sight of their 3 year old children walking all over the top of a neighbor’s roof.

I received a LOT of spankings when we lived in this house. Seems like every single night my mother would bark orders to my dad that I deserved a spanking. He would take his leather belt and slap it across my bare bottom three or four good whacks. Then he would go to the piano and play what I considered sad music.

Nevertheless, it didn’t change the fact that I continued to get whacked with a belt every single night. My mother said that she finally told my dad that they were going to have to stop beating me because it wasn’t doing any good.

I think my parents made the mistake of thinking that I had the same knowledge as they had in matters of right and wrong. They knew it was wrong to climb a ladder to the roof of the house at the age of three years old, therefore, I must know that too. I was only three years old! I had no experiences or knowledge imparted to me of the ways of the world and they were wrong in assuming that I did. I was a very curious and adventurous child and learned my lessons of right and wrong from the wrong end of a leather belt.

 

 

Heaven is Cocoa and Toast

Today’s Prompt for Writing 101: Tell us something about your favorite childhood meal — the one that was always a treat, that meant “celebration,” or that comforted you and has deep roots in your memory.

Free free to focus on any aspect of the meal, from the food you ate to the people who were there to the event it marked.

Today’s twist: Tell the story in your own distinct voice.

—————————————————————————————————————————————————————————–

Although I have written about this before, for lack of anything else that made such an impact in my childhood memories regarding food, I introduce you to my favorite meal as a very small child, hot cocoa and toast.

My earliest memories of my childhood have this beloved breakfast memory imbedded in them.

During my childhood years there were no such things as “instant” cocoa or ready to buy, chocolate milk. “Back in those days”, it was a labor of love to make hot cocoa.

When I think back to these early childhood memories, I search for any memory that would confirm that my parents lurred me to bed at night with the promise of “cocoa and toast” in the morning. I think I might have dreamed of hot cocoa and toast all night because 5:00 am found me waking my mother up to make me my favorite breakfast, hot cocoa and toast.

I watched her as she poured the milk in a pan, added the tablespoons of cocoa powder and sugar and stir the mixture while it was heating on the stove.

I watched her as she carefully buttered the bread, then put the bread on a pan placed in the bottom of the oven until they became nice and “toasty.”

Finally, my delightful and much anticipated breakfast would begin. I would dip the crunchy toast in the hot cocoa until the bread was soaked with cocoa and with each bite I took, the cocoa would joyfully dribble down my chin.

At that young age my little mind had no concept of heaven or what heaven might be like. Yet, if you told me heaven was like eating cocoa and toast, I would completely understand.

Even now, thinking of these memories takes me back to that time in my life where life was safe and warm and my happiness was so easily achieved merely by making me a breakfast of hot cocoa and toast.

—————————————