Writing 101….day 20….Grand Finale

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.

So I have in the past few weeks on writing 101 mentioned that I found so and so topic challenging or the task given had left me feeling short of suitable written material etc etc. All that is nothing as compared to the surge of emotions I now experience as I researched for this particular topic.

I have over the past couple of days been sifting through my wardrobe, my so called prized material possessions and my boxes of memorabilia trying to figure out which one of these could I term as my most prized possession.  I will confess for a (mild) hoarder like me …..this can prove to be additionally challenging.

Should I write about my childhood doll? That one doll (the only doll) I had, her long golden hair, her lovely outfit, her so real shape (in comparison to certain famous unrealistic cousins of date), her blue eyes, all fascinated me as a child. I spent hours imagining that one day I shall grow up to look exactly like her. I wished to own a pair of dungarees just like what my doll wore.

But given the opportunity to make my own fashion choices I instead opted for a pink extra frilly long gown for one of my pre- teen birthdays. I forget which.  I do however recollect that dress so clearly. Thrilled as I was to find just the right shade of candy floss pink. The dress bore layers of taffeta frills and pink beads and bows. I will admit it now that it was a nightmare of an outfit, but at the time I was mighty chuffed with my special princess gown. Fortunately I am no longer in possession of the said gown today.

Should I instead vote for that beautiful blue scarf of mine, that one which magically seemed too match nearly all that I wore during my teenage years? It even served as a hair adornment on some occasions. I felt so feminine, floaty and fashionable with that scarf as part of my ensemble. It may have lost its lustre over the years but its soft material and flowing colours still make me feel so good even today.

Then I caught an old photograph, in which I sat smiling proudly atop my first scooter. A gift from my dad, I loved the independence that two wheeler offered me. I enjoyed the feeling of zipping around on that vehicle. I would park it as prominently as I could and walk up with a swagger swinging those keys. In my mind it was a Harley and a Ducati all rolled into one. In reality it was nothing more than a simple Kinetic Pride!

By this stage my entire family was very much involved in this so called research of mine and they were all sifting through my things now. They opened an untouched precious bundle which lay all wrapped up in muslin and protective covering far at the back of my wardrobe. My wedding outfit. It was like opening a long forgotten but very precious piece of jewellery, all silky, white with a hint of gold. The memory of the day, how special I felt, how beautiful I felt, how unexpected circumstances had led me to meet with this man, how loved I felt, the look on my Parents faces…….all irreplaceable memories.

Not really feeling it with any of these (re)discoveries I decided to pack all these things away and put them back in store.

I tackled my more recently hoarded treasures.  

The pair of porcelain blue and white clogs. With the words Amsterdam in italics written on it. A beautiful holiday that was, lovely weather, beautiful city, scenic locales. Just the two of us strolling around the streets of Amsterdam. It was bubble wrapped alongside my beautiful snow globe. One shake of the globe and the little white pieces floating within brought back vivid images of Salzburg in winter. Christmas markets, freezing temperatures, sipping Gluehwein gorgeous mountains in the background, families enjoying the festivities, bundled up rushing to Church. By far one of the most idyllic holidays we had as a family.  

I found my wedding photo album too. Seriously was I that skinny at any stage in my life? I had forgotten all about that. UGH that’s just depressing. Away with the album then!!

Neatly packed in a sealed bag was a bunch of tiny clothes. My child’s infant clothes. Still soft, still smelling slightly of that distinctive babies smell, talcum powder and freshener.  Of no use now to us, I continue to hold onto these baby clothes because I couldn’t bear to part with them.

Left at the bottom of the box but by no way a reflection of this memorabilia’s importance in our life was a small zip lock bag. Holding within its confines a tiny pink hospital name tag from the day my child was born, a piece of umbilical cord and the first tooth sent to the tooth fairy.

As I sat there reminiscing holding onto this bag, it struck me that it is not so much the actual tangible material possession that I hold dear. In every case it is the memories associated that are of value to me.

Small pieces of paper with childish drawings, scribbled pictures, petals from a valentine’s bouquet, stubs of concert tickets, photographs, small gifts all these insignificant in actual monetary value but priceless in reminiscence value.

Memories of each stage in my life, memories of each significant happening in my life, memories of the blessings bestowed.

I would now have to say this to me is to be termed as my most prized treasure, my most valuable possession…… the pictures in my mind, the emotions attached to those memories, the significance each one of those memories have had in my life. It is intangible, may well be considered insignificant to someone else but to me these memories are my most prized possessions.

Writing 101………….day 19 Day Nineteen: Don’t Stop the Rockin’

Today is a free writing day. Write at least four-hundred words, and once you start typing, don’t stop. No self-editing, no trash-talking, and no second guessing: just go. Bonus points if you tackle an idea you’ve been playing with but think is too silly to post about.

There is no greater agnoy than bearing an untold story inside you….Maya Angelou

Have you an untold story inside you? Words left unspoken? Is the story a family secret, is it your little hidden aspiration, is this something you look back upon and wish you had shared at the time, but maybe now the opportunity for it has long passed?

Is there a story in your life that needs telling? Or a story that would be best left buried. Maybe a story of courage, of love lost, of pain, of courage, of deceit and treachery? Or perhaps a simple story yet in the making, yet to find its path, with chapters yet untold.

Personally I have no such exciting real life stories to share. Been rather a mundane but happy existence so far.

The quote from the great Maya Angelou however got me thinking about ‘The unspoken word’. I have been mulling over this topic since long but had never put thought to paper since was unsure of the subject matter.

Definition of unspoken (adj)

  • not mentioned: not uttered or talked about, although thought about

 

Almost as important in its significance as it’s more popular and heard of twin…the unspoken word. Often I wonder what it would be like if we had the special powers to hear the unspoken word along with the spoken. I’m quite sure that there is a movie along these lines…the name evades me now.

But if we actually could opt for such powers would you? The power to hear what has been left unsaid, almost like a cartoon speech bubble visible only to you. If we had the powers to hear the unspoken word, this could work both ways. Our unspoken word may be heard out loud too by others.

We could well be talking to someone but somewhere within the deep recesses of our mind be thinking “what a bore”. Do you really want the other person hearing this?

How often have you passed a good looking man/ woman on the street and visually checked them out. I know you don’t want your thoughts articulated then.

But then there are situations when I wish my thoughts had formed audible words and left my lips. Not being one for confrontations I usually take the easy way out and either adjust or accept so as to keep the peace. I know that there are many who do similarly. Don’t you wish on some occasions that the words you were actually feeling then had left your mind in loud audible words?

Many times I come away from a situation thinking I could have said this or should have said that. But at that moment in time my courage had failed me. I come away unspoken.

Most broken hearts are caused by unspoken words I read somewhere.

But then there are occasions when courage is – leaving some words unspoken. Leaving some words unsaid. Those words once uttered may do irreparable damage. Physical hurt and damage can always heal or be replaced. However emotional hurt caused by sharp words may never heal. These words once uttered could result in invaluable damage.

Hearts may well be broken by words left unsaid. Hearts however can also be broken by words that should have been left unsaid.

Then there are situations when some thoughts absolutely must be unburdened. Left unsaid they fester and grow putrid spreading their poison amongst all your thoughts and reach out into all aspects of your personality. It may be cathartic then to share those thoughts if not with the person they were intended for but at least with a friendly sympathetic ear. An intense cleansing of the soul of sorts.

Coming back to my hypothetical…..Would I personally want to have the powers to hear the unspoken word. I am going to have to give that a pass for now. I’d rather not have my unspoken word heard and rather not hear what others don’t intend for me to either.

I am unsure if my thoughts today as put on paper have been coherent or comprehensible to you. But the challenge today did state no editing no second guessing. I am going with the flow of thought as of now.

What is your take on this topic I would love to know? Share them with me telepathically or otherwise….. 🙂

Writing 101…day 18…Hone your point of view

The neighbourhood has seen better days, but Mrs. Pauley has lived there since before anyone can remember. She raised a family of six boys, who’ve all grown up and moved away. Since Mr. Pauley died three months ago, she’d had no income. She’s fallen behind in the rent. The landlord, accompanied by the police, have come to evict Mrs. Pauley from the house she’s lived in for forty years.

Today’s prompt: write this story in first person, told by the twelve-year-old sitting on the stoop across the street. Today’s twist: For those of you who want an extra challenge, think about more than simply writing in first-person point of view — build this twelve-year-old as a character. Reveal at least one personality quirk, for example, either through spoken dialogue or inner monologue.

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“It’s an absolute shame I tell you. Just an absolute shame”

Mum was banging pots and pans about angrily I could hear her as I came downstairs. Pa was sitting at the breakfast table burying his head into the papers knowing better than to interrupt Mum when she was in such a mood.

“Six boys no less…SIX….and not one spineless fellow able to come forward to take care of their widowed Mother? Poor Mrs. Pauley.” Said Mum.

“Ummm hmmm” Dad acknowledged

“G-g-good morning Mum Dad” they barely even acknowledged me.

“You know Stan I blame them…Mr & Mrs. Pauley entirely for this” Mum said emphatically. “They pampered those boys so much. Over indulged each and every one of them. Never asked them for anything, that’s why today not one of them feels any sense of responsibility towards their mother now”

“Darling it’s not as simple as that and you must remember its only four of them now….Jack Jr. is six feet below and Cody well last I heard he was in rehab….alcohol I’m told. The youngest twins are in college themselves. So technically just two I guess left”. Dad had given up on the paper entirely now.

“Well you can count out Justin too, I met his wife at the block party last summer. Safe to say that we know who wears the pants in that house. I don’t know what the other boy’s excuse is. What was his name now?” Mum scrunched up her eyes the way she does when trying to recollect something.

The clock clanged 9 and I jumped up. “B-b-bye Mom….I’m off n-n-now”

“Make sure you bundle up honey….” Mum was calling out after me.

I crunched down the snow covered lane hurriedly my mind filled with thoughts of Mrs. Pauley. All of us liked her. I remember as a young child my friends and I loved trick or treating at their place. Mr and Mrs. Pauley always had the biggest and the best candy on offer. Even at Christmas they had the nicest decorations on the block with fireworks at New Years always.

Then recently everything seemed to change very suddenly. Mr. Pauley died in his sleep. All of a sudden there were so many official looking cars and people driving back and forth their driveway. There were so many people big yellow tapes all around. Their beautiful black car, that long one like the movie stars ride in? Well it was taken away. I kept hearing the words IRS being discussed in urgent whispers by Mum and the book club ladies.

All I know is that all of a sudden Mrs. Pauley didn’t look quite so much like a queen anymore. Her eyes were sad and watery, the house no longer bore its festive happy look. I missed the fireworks this year over New Years eve.

Mum told me that Mrs. Pauley now was so short of money that she couldn’t afford her house anymore. I saw the angry looking gentleman when he came last week. They had stuck an official looking notice on her door. Sitting on our front door stoop, I had seen the curtains move ever so slightly and I caught a glimpse of terrified eyes.

I had decided to help her. My savings a total of 56dollars that should be of some help. Also the money I shall earn today walking Mrs. Bingley’s dog too. Maybe I should include the money Grandma gave me for my birthday? She did say I could do with it as I pleased. I’m sure it will help. I had overheard Mum saying that the people were coming today, to send Mrs. Pauley away to take her house. That’s why Mum was so upset this morning. They wanted her house. I never knew someone could take away your house.

“G-g-good morning Mrs. Bingley…hey f-f-f-fifi…ready for your w-w-walk?”

One hour later I rushed home and broke open my money box. I loving stroked the giant Harry Styles poster over my bed. “You’d be proud of me H-h-harry” I smiled.

Collecting all my money I rushed over to Mrs. Pauley’s place. Knocking on her door I looked around. There was no response. I walked and peeked in through the front room window. “ M-mrs. Pauley?” I called out. I walked around to the back of the house. Gingerly I swung open the back door it was unlocked. I could see Mrs. Pauley sitting there on her rocking chair by the fire her back to me. She had a blanket over her legs. She seemed to be asleep. It was then that I noticed the orange and white bottles lying opened on the table beside her. So many of them next to an empty glass of wine. Going around to face her I noticed for the first time how disturbingly peaceful she looked. Asleep and so pale so very very pale.

“M-m-m-m-mrs…” the words choked up in my throat my lips forming inaudible words.

Writing 101, Day Seventeen: Your Personality on the Page

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 distinct style from your own

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The task asks us to write about our worst fears in a style distinct from our own. So here goes my stab at it…

I am however going to list all possible fears. I fear if I emphasise only one it may have a lasting psychological effect. 🙂

“Love is what we were born with. Fear is what we learned here”

Spiders and snakes and other creepy crawlies,

Rats and bats and even bees with honey(s),

Cockroaches and bugs which cling to the rug

These are the few of the things that I cannot accept with a shrug….

Dark corners and closed spaces are some of my worst fears,

Filthy bathrooms and soiled sheets bring me to absolute tears.

Claustrophobia and Acrophobia they may ascribe me,

Verbophobia however has fortunately eluded me,

Living alone, losing my loved ones, being left behind,

Are sorrows I fear I may never be able to survive.

Having a friend that’s fake, hypocrisy to my face, should these come my way

With fortitude I may be able to withstand I pray,

Battling to take over what’s inside, are the demons in my mind,

A higher power protecting me like a child

Getting to the pearly gates one day

I fear having nothing achieved to eulogise

And it is this anxiety that drives me day and night.

Writing 101, Day Sixteen: Serial Killer III

Today, imagine you work in a place where you manage lost or forgotten items. What might you find in the pile? For those participating in our serial challenge, reflect on the theme of “lost and found,” too.

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Working a night shift again!! I really must learn to say no. This is the third time this month I am covering someone else’s shift. No one really wants to do the graveyard shift here. I had been willingly taking on double shifts of late. Ever since my break up, long evenings at home alone were something I consciously made efforts to avoid. .

The phone trilled and commanded my attention just then. “Lost and found **** airport terminal 2, how may I help you?”

Hanging up twenty minutes later, I was really hoping to have a quite night tonight. I sighed as I sat there surrounded by rows of lost, unclaimed baggage. Big boxes, small boxes, hard cases, leather suitcases, cartons some damaged, some stuffed to the brim. My table was stacked high with papers and claim forms. Forms to be verified, processed and to be compiled. Time was of essence here, distraught passengers looking to be reunited with their possessions, with their precious belongings can often be very aggressively anxious.

I walked down the aisles of baggage making a note of serial numbers and cross checking against my list. As I inspected the shelves, a glint suddenly caught my eye. Moving aside the boxes, piqued I leaned in to get a better look and there it was a beacon of light in the dark shelves, a shiny golden urn. Sitting there in the darkness unclaimed, neglected almost unloved there seemed to be an ethereal quality around that urn. The image of the urn sitting there shining in the darkness, is something that I can never erase from my mind. It shocked me, it moved me and seemed to call out to me. I picked the urn gently and inspected it for any markings or name tags. None seemed to be there. All there was carved on its side were the alphabets A.R in neat italics.

I was intrigued. Who could this belong to? Is this someone’s Father, someone’s Mother, someone’s child? How could someone lose an urn? Who would be irresponsible enough to do that? Is someone looking for this? How long had this urn been languishing here on these shelves?

For some inexplicable reason I was incredibly drawn to the mystery of this urn. I had to piece it together; I had to return it, this person I felt deserved to be put to rest. No one should be left in limbo like this.

Putting all other tasks aside I sat at my desk urn at my side, scouring through all the records on our systems. Checking names under A, under R, under category, starting with most recent to older claims. Nothing came up. All searches drew a blank. Once again I picked the urn willing it to give me some clue, inspire me to find its owner. Minutes turned into hours and I hadn’t realised that my shift was almost to an end. The sun was up and sounds of life from the offices surrounding began.

I was frustrated and exasperated. Blindly I clicked on my screen speed reading through contents and items on various claim forms. As the columns scrolled past at speed, the words ‘ashes’ suddenly caught my eye. I backtracked and opened up the file online. Sure enough there it was, innocuous enough a claim form, bearing amongst others the words gold vase container inscription AR, human ashes.  

I couldn’t believe it. The form was recent enough; bore a local address on it too. Deciding spontaneously I quickly noted down the address and picked up the urn. Shrugging on my coat I punched in my id and left the office. Back of my mind a voice reminding me that I should ideally follow protocol and follow the system to return this to its rightful owner. But uncharacteristically I decided to take the risk and break the rules just this once.

It was a lovely house on a quiet street. I double checked the address once again against my records. Holding the urn close to me I walked up the path. A young dark haired man answered the door bell. He looked sleepy and tousled as he opened the door. One look at me clutching the urn and standing there at his doorway, his face paled. Tears began to stream down his face. A surreal experience followed, I walked in behind him. From his almost incoherent babbling interrupted constantly by his sobs, I understood that AR was his wife. She had been taken away by disease and it was her wish that her ashes be scattered under their favourite tree in their back yard. The young widower gripped with fatigue and sorrow on his flight back home had consumed slightly more than his exhausted mind could handle. He had unintentionally walked out of the airport and returned home. Only to wake up the next morning and realise his colossal blunder.

A year had passed to that incident. Shane and I had been in touch regularly ever since that morning when I returned the urn to him. I had grown to count him as a close friend now. He is kind, patient and a good friend to me as of now. We had not met over the past year but spoke often telephonically. Last week he suggested that maybe we should reintroduce faces to our names. We were meeting for drinks and then dinner.

For once I refused to cover the graveyard shift. Something tells me that I may want to avoid them altogether in the near future.

Writing 101….day 15…Your voice will find you

You’re told that an event that’s dear to your heart — an annual fair, festival, or conference — will be cancelled forever (or taken over by an evil organization). Write about it. For your twist, read your piece aloud, multiple times. Hone that voice of yours!

 

It took me a while to actually get down to writing this post.

Hone that voice you say?  For once I am left speechless.

An event dear to your heart…. once again stumped.

I love all festivities,  I love to celebrate, I love a good party. Which one can I pick in particular that if taken away would seriously affect me?

BIRTHDAYS!! Of course!!!

As a child my enthusiasm and the 12month countdown to my birthday was accepted with good humour and a lot of loving indulgence by my parents.

As a young adult once again my family and friends found it silly but kind of cute my childish enthusiasm for the annual event. I was always excited with anticipation to see what surprises the day would hold in store for me.  Take my friends out for lunch, come home to find special treats, gifts and all the family gathered around invariably a home baked cake.

As a ‘mature’ adult (I refuse to call myself anything else) now my obsession with birthdays could well be called downright ridiculous. Now my annual countdown includes all my family birthdays too. So as you can well imagine I spend a fair bit of my time looking forward to some birthday or the other.

I am often caught up plotting and planning a special theme for my kid’s birthday or a special surprise for my husband

In my enthusiasm to have the day’s celebrations reach my standards of exactness sometimes I will admit that maybe the fun aspect of the day is slightly diminished for all around me in my quest for perfection. I wonder if maybe not everyone shares the same eagerness for their special day as I do.

Does the birthday person actually want what I have planned for them? Would they have rather spent a quiet day at home or doing something else…. perhaps at a spa being pampered? One will never know will we, since I road roller the day entirely. 

Blessed however I am to have the blind love of my family, such that they only seem to appreciate my efforts and go along with all my plans. This could well be attributed in equal parts to their indulgent love for me and for their own sanity too.

There are many who dread a birthday. Another year, growing older etc. Many for whom that this annual event forces them to reflect upon their achievements, life goals and endeavours. Stirring deep emotions and fresh resolutions.

To them I say ……. Honey nothing that a good chunk of cake and a party cannot solve!

 

chickenbirthday

Writing 101….day 14…..To Whomsoever It May Concern

Writing 101….day 14…..To Whomsoever It May Concern.

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.

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To whomsoever it may Concern (*cough –.Mr. Freud – cough*)

Dear Whomsoever,

Trust that you are well and that this letter finds you in good health and humour. Not being one to beat around the bush please permit me to get to the task assigned without further ado.

“I am very middling” ….. ..

What are the odds of picking up the nearest book beside me and not just the word Middling but the statement I am very middling should jump out of page 29 and command my attention.

Really!? Seriously who uses such terms anymore? Who admits to such shortfalls so boldly? More importantly why do I own a book which speaks in such archaic terms?

I suppose you sit there and snigger as you read this letter, thinking well there’s a Freudian slip if any. I however now need your help to figure this out.

This is very disconcerting. It has me worrying. Did I subconsciously pick this phrase out, is this some deep seeded insecurity raising its ugly head? Or is this the universe and all its forces coming together giving me a clear message.

If this is a message what am I to do with it? Accept my middling qualities and resign myself to its fate? Or use this as a driving force to achieve some well un-middling qualities (if such a word exists)?

Just when I thought that life was getting on fine. Just as I had begun to get complacent with where I stand in my life, the universe has thrown me a middling!

Somehow I had the deluded notion that I was quite the opposite. Well maybe not entirely but I have my finer points or so I thought.

Confused, muddled and now second guessing everything both past and present I write to you asking for guidance. I need clear concise responses. Don’t go all Mr. Miyagi on me now. Sending me clues and suggestions…..just tell me what to do.

Yours questioningly,

Kblah

Image

 

Definition of Middling

  1. a. Of middle rank, state, size, or quality; about equally distant from the extremes; medium; moderate; mediocre; ordinary.