Saturday, October 31, 2015

Writing prompt #12 Which door?

Writing prompt #12: Four doors exist: Disappointment, Delight, Frustration and anticipation. Which one do you walk through?

"I'll be fine. Fine." I tell myself over and over. Forcing myself to be positive. This is no big deal. But maybe it is. Maybe your life is going to change today.


Positive thoughts yield positive energy. No big deal.

I'm in the small waiting room of the doctor's office. Nondescript music wafts through  from the receptionists area. Three-month-old magazines lie scattered on a bleached wooden coffee table. My youngest daughter plays quietly on my phone next to me. She woke up with a slight fever and cold. She had to miss her very first day of 3rd grade and grandma didn't answer my call about watching her, so she's here with me. She has no concept of my journey to this point. The endless blood tests, ultra sounds, MRIa, and the waiting. The wondering. The unknown. Oh, the unknown. It can take years off a life as fast as the six-fingered man's contraption in The Princess Bride.

I ruffle through my purse. Aimless fingers. Anything to distract me. They call my name.

"He'll be in shortly," she says after taking my blood pressure. I wonder if it will be super high from nerves. But it's normal. Maybe those forced positive thoughts helped.

I smil at my daughter. She's as quiet as a mouse in such unfamiliar surroundings.

A small knock and he's inside. He shakes my hand and asks how I'm doing. "Fine," I reply. But I'm really just waiting for him to tell me how I'm doing.

"The spots on your liver are hemangioma." I have no idea what that is. Am I supposed to be relieved or worried? He continues, "They aren't uncommon and absolutely nothing to be worried about. Follow up with your primary care doctor in about 6 months, but there is no need to see an oncologist anymore. You are free to go!

Free! I float down off the exam table. I can't hide my smile as I take my daughter's hand and we walk, no, glide out the door called delight.

Thursday, October 22, 2015

Prompt #11: After the happily ever after...

I, Jennie Blaser, promise to uphold my prompt posting pledge.

Writing prompt #11: Start writing a sequel to a fairy tale...

July 1, 2013

Happily ever after? As if! The music stopped playing a week or so after the honeymoon. Then Eric was whisked away to meet with foreign dignitaries and religious leaders to haggle about boundaries and rules and cargo and land, land, land.

I love my legs, but they sure get tired. I can't just swish my hips and get from here to there. I have blisters all over my new toes from those awful shoe things. As the princess, I'm supposed to wear a different pair with each outfit. No time to get used to them! And my hand maid gives me no sympathy. I swear she purposely tightens the straps over the rawest blisters. She isn't fond of me, I can tell. I ask too many questions and need too much help.

I never realized being married to the man of my dreams would be so lonely. I can't really open up to him about how much I miss my sea legs, my tail, or all my friends. I don't want him to think I regret my decision to become human, because I don't. At all. It's just hard to adjust. A lifetime turned upside down in weeks and not a single face from my old life is present in my new one. Well, unless you count tonight's entree.

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Prompt #10: A Different point of view

I, Jennie Blaser, promise to uphold my prompt posting pledge.

Writing prompt #10: Write about a character you cannot relate to -- someone very different
(Please note -- this is fiction and I tried to come up with a character that was as far from someone I could relate to as possible)
June 17, 2013

They always plead to their God. Begging me, snot running down their noses in a pitiful attempt, to not do my job. Ten years and God had never interceded. Once my cartridge jammed. The look of reprieve on his face when he heart the muffled click and then felt nothing -- as he slowly unscrunched his eyes was laughable. It took me fifteen seconds to clear the channel. If His God had intervened, it was only to hiccup. His body joined the others at the bottom of the lake. Maybe the God of fishes heard his prayer. Made him useful.

These men and women are nothing more than a pile of papers that need to be filed. Memos weighing down my inbox. Waiting to be properly re-categorized. Money borrowed, never repaid. Secrets divulged. Used-up affairs with too much knowledge. I hardly bothered to ask why anymore. The man who paid my bills, with which I put food on my table and drink down my throat told me to. It was my job. I didn't enjoy it. But who really likes their job these days? I haven't met someone who was actually happy for decades.

My mom was happy. But then a stranger came in that night with the gun. I hid under my bed and prayed to God. But He didn't intervene. He never does.

Sunday, October 18, 2015

Prompt #9: What do you carry?

I, Jennie Blaser, promise to uphold my prompt posting pledge.

Writing prompt # 9: Write about the things you carry around.
May 2013

Physically, I carry a phone, almost always now-a-days. Now that I have a smart phone, that is truly smarter than me and can get me safely to the nearest hardware store or save me from even four minutes of boredom should I have to wait in a line anywhere.

And sunglasses. I live in the Valley of the Sun, where it is, well, sunny. An optometrist once told me my irises were so devoid of something I should never be without sunglasses. I've turned back home if I've forgotten my sunglasses. Not so if I've forgotten my phone, even the smart one.

And a hair tie. Even if I've done my hair all nice and neat, I need a hair tie as my crutch. In case I want to be more comfortable, even in the middle of a black-tie dinner.

I guess I need to feel safe, smart, and comfortable, at all times. Probably to make up for the burdens I carry around figuratively. Burdens of actual, Live, Personal knowledge that this life is not safe or comfortable. That car crashes do kill people. That best friends and family members are those one in eight that get breast cancer. That I'm that one mental check away from my next panic attack. That babies will drown in swimming pools and that young friends can be taken from a heart attack, even on Christmas morning.

No, life is not safe and not comfortable. There are no sunglasses that I can carry around to block out that fact. No hair tie of convenience to allow me to unknow what I know.

But the most precious knowledge I carry around with me always is like a big beautiful pair of rose-colored, no... heaven-colored glasses, letting me know, it was all be -- eternally -- just right.

Thursday, October 15, 2015

Prompt #8: A shoe on the road

I, Jennie Blaser, promise to uphold my prompt posting pledge.

Writing prompt #8: You see a shoe on the road... why is it there?
April, 17, 2013

The leaves danced across the road, echoing my joy at the successful conclusion of another day completed. My factory-issued off-white jumper hung a little too much off my hips. The meter would notice I hadn't been eating my entire allotment. But I could only stomach so much compound a day. It was tasty, but so, so colorless. The leaves seemed on my side, showing off their vibrant colors, even as they had shed their master life source and trickled away to end up as concrete chatter. They had colors, why couldn't our food, or our clothes. What was so wrong with color?

As if in response to my thoughts, a burst of unreal color peered out underneath a pile of patterned leaves. It was the color of the sun, but with more of a grassy hue. I peered around me, making sure no one was watching as I deviated from my scheduled route home. I bent over and picked up the object. It was pliant, yet hard. Worn, yet vibrant. I turned it over and over. One side had a pattern on it. It had been white, but was now mostly the color of earth. The other side, the colorful side, had stripes and metal holes all over it. A thin, frayed rope was laced through the metal holes, as if to hold the thing, or some thing trapped inside it.

I put it up closer to my face and accidentally inhaled. Phew! The smell was like a rotten egg.

(My scene takes place in a futuristic world w/o shoes apparently)

Tuesday, October 13, 2015

Writing prompt #7: Just the conversation, ma'am

I, Jennie Blaser, promise to uphold my prompt posting pledge.

Writing prompt #7: Write for 10 minutes using only dialog. (Conversation between two people, one in italics for easier separation)
March 19, 2013

"What do you mean?"
"Exactly what I said."
"But, but, that's not possible. No."
"The signs were there all along. The bouts of disappearances. The glazed over gazes. The food that was just moved around and never actually consumed. I can't believe it took us this long to figure it out, actually."
"But, but what about the scar?"
"High quality stage makeup."
"I found the bottles in the trash this morning."
"The stories? The trombone? How could those be..."
"He must have read his journals. It wouldn't surprise me. As far as the trombone, it could have been purchased anywhere. The dings and scratches re-created."
"I don't believe it. I mean, I don't want to believe it. What will we tell Nancy? How will she ever recover?"
"I haven't got that far yet. I'm still reeling in the news myself."

(P.S. I ran out of time.... not sure where this one was going -- what do you thing they had discovered?)

Sunday, October 11, 2015

Death is a love song

A few months ago, I had a health scare. Fortunately, it turned out to not be what the doctors thought it was, but for a week or two, I thought my body was harboring an early expiration date. During this time, I also reminisced on the 10th anniversary of the premature death of my best friend, Trudy Barrett, who was killed in a car accident. One night, I couldn't sleep, and lines of a poem traversed my wakeful brain. So, I got out my ever-near laptop, and wrote this up. With very little editing, here it is:

Death is a love song
by Jennie Blaser 7/2015

Death is a love song,
plaintive and true.

Knees hitting floors 
in a constant beat
Hands stretched in service, 
a ballad so sweet.

arms ‘ere enfolding,
never alone, 
wishes and gratitude
harmony of hope

and memories,
and laughter,
and more of the same.

and what-ifs,
and miss-outs,
and tears without name.

Fears and regrets
tempt to devour.
Faith’s steady rhythm
displays its power.

Family, oh! Family,
the chorus swells.
Friends left with legacies,
stories to tell.

and worries,
and achings,
and notes strive to mend.

and last walks,
and last talks,
and see you agains.

Parts where no lyrics
could hope to convey
wills given over,
plans to obey.

With flowers that grow,
and are cut premature,
their comfort, their wisdom
adorning the earth.

Death is a love song,
plaintive and true.

Saturday, October 10, 2015

Writing prompt #6 "What's inside the old box?"

I, Jennie Blaser, promise to uphold my prompt posting pledge.

Writing prompt #6 "You see an old box. What is on the inside of it?"

May 15, 2013

Only the edge of the box is visible, but the color is enough to draw my attention. It's a deep burgundy, a sort of velvet texture; letting me know this box is meant for something extraordinary, special, unique.

I move the pile of magazines on top of it to the side and squat down, wiping off what must be decades of dust. No price tag is visible. I gently prod the square lid off, freeing more dust as I do.

I peer inside and see a large heavy book. Leather-bound, ornate scrolling on the spine. I tilt my head to the side to read it. It's not English. It's not even the Roman alphabet. I set the lid down gingerly and cradle out the large book with both hands. It's heavier than it appears.

I'm about to stand up and look for my elderly neighbor, the one whose estate sale this is -- when she appears at my side.

"Marvelous, isn't it?" she asks, staring at the book.

"Ye," I reply, "But what is it? Where is it from? What language is that?" I ask, pointing to the lettering that is engraved in the leather cover with what appears to be gold-infused ink.

"Oh, it's no language you've ever heard of," she says, "Come, bring the book and the box inside." She asks her daughter to stay outside with other potential shoppers and clears a path to her study. She turns on a copper floor lamp, but it barely registers with the sun leaking through the partially opened blinds.

"I'm so happy you found the box and the book," she says, motioning me to sit down on the couch crowded with piles of books and papers. "It means you've been chosen."

"Chosen?" I say, half-smiling at her odd choice of words.

"Yes, dear. Chosen. That book is only visible to those chosen. For, you see, you have the gift. This book is written in a dying language, but not a dead on. It's written in pure magic."

Thursday, October 8, 2015

Writing prompt #5 "How do you want to be remembered?"

I, Jennie Blaser, promise to keep my prompt posting pledge.

Writing Prompt #5: "How do you want to by remembered?"
May 1, 2013

At my funeral, if people simply say, "Jennie was kind." I'd be satisfied. I'd stand up in heaven and smile and sigh with relief.

The word 'kind' is so simple, yet so profound. It means so much more than just nice. It carries more weight: that real thought and emotion was put into an action.

I didn't always feel this way. I used to strive for greatness. I'd pile up acheivements and adventures like notches on some grand comparison scale, ready with an impressive personal anecdote for any situation. Then I got sick. My body betrayed me. My mind betrayed me and I was left a shell of my former self-imposed glory.

During one of these rock-bottom nights, a timely phone call from my father started me down a new road.

"I don't know why the Lord is allowing all these things to happen to you," he said, "But I know He needs compassionate and kind people -- as many as He can get in this world. And if this it how He gets you to become one, than maybe it's all right."

His words sunk like stones -- no line an anchor I didn't realize was missing -- into my should. Compassion. Kindness. That is what the Lord needs. Not achievement and action-packed anecdotes. Kindness.

So that is how I live my life now. And the great thing about being kind, at least I hope, is that it never has to end. Ever.
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