#WeekendCoffeeShare. Full Cup, Please!

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Welcome to my 9/15 entry for the #WeekendCoffeeShare, hosted by Allison at Eclectic Ali.  Please  bring the beverage of your choice, or enjoy a Gevalia Keureg coffee like I am having.  I know I am not the best hostess, but you’re here for the conversation, right?  😉

Thank God it’s Saturday!  It has been a busy week, with full cups of coffee daily!  Monday, I went to the chiropractor after my day of teaching, which is something I’ve been doing weekly for about a month. I went to a chiropractor before, but it has been three years. My only thought is, why did I put this off for so long? I always feel so much better after leaving there, except for my neck, which I have to hold steady and face it straight ahead for a few hours. The neck always seems to need adjustment and is much better the next day. So that is something for my health that I added to my schedule. Tuesday, I went to work in a skirt and sleeveless blouse for a morning meeting, then after work, I stayed and had a small dinner on-site so that I would be ready for Open House that night. This meant I was on-site at school for 12 hours that day, which is a little too much for me.  The rest of the week, I didn’t do much outside of the work schedule, partly because grades were due Friday.  I probably brought a little more paperwork home than usual. Ugh.  My wrists have bothered me for for a little over a week, and I really feel that today. I think it’s arthritis and/or my body is reminding me how old it is getting. Thanks, bod! However, I am making adjustments today so that I can write!

I have decided to bring out my Dragon headset again. This was a gift from my mom about four years ago and it lets me speak my thoughts into the microphone, and then edit later. I haven’t used it in a while, probably because of the misunderstandings it seems to have when I speak. Trust me, they are minor, and I have my hands crossed comfortably while this post is actually getting written. Perhaps Dragon will help me get a lot of writing done without much pain to my wrists. Believe me, I had really put off writing for a while due to the discomfort I had felt starting probably four or five years ago. However, when I look back to that time, I also realize there was probably a little bit of depression going on with me, and that can really paralyze one’s dreams and goals. I just kept thinking, this will only get worse with age; there’s no way I can keep working.  How can I write that book I want to publish?

At any rate, today I am thankful that I pushed past those feelings.  I think I hurt just as much now, but not as much inwardly.  My inner voice tells me, “Crap, it hurts, but I’ve got to get up and do as much as I can today, there are lots of people worse off than I am!”   Whereas, that voice used to say, “Why do I have to hurt so much? I can’t do this, I can’t do that….”  Well, now I’m doing it anyway.  Mind over matter.  I have heard that as we get older, we get more stubborn, and I think pain is all relative.  🙂  However, I realize I do seem to get cranky more towards others, or maybe I have less patience due to chemical/hormonal changes.  Well, it’s natural, and I do try to think before speaking.  Don’t get me wrong, I think I am pretty patient with my middle-schoolers; after all, they are middle-schoolers!

So, I didn’t get much writing done this week, but I got a student newsletter finalized for my Journalism class!  I am so proud of them and their work.  I got some beta reader notes for my short prequel story starring Milt and Tabitha from Detours in Time, so I hope to be working on that in just a few minutes.  I am working to make this statement come true:  “If you dream it, you can do it.”  I have so many writing ideas for the next few years!

On that note, I am off to editing land.  I hope you all have a great weekend and a great week, and thanks for stopping by!  Visit other Weekend Coffee Shares from the blogging community at Eclectic Ali.  Namaste and God bless!

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Side Character Sunday. Malachi.

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Photo credit, Pixabay.

On this Side Character Sunday, meet Malachi of Undercurrents in Time.  The nineteen year-old Malachi is a sort of actor hired on by an agency that is contracted by Professor Milt Braddock in his attempt to thwart a future disaster.  This post is a never before published background that I plan to develop into a novel of its own, followed by an excerpt from Undercurrents in Time.

Malachi’s Point of View:

I looked down at the notice in my hands.  It read: “Academic Probation.  Please report to your career counselor’s office to clear yourself of probation and enroll for this semester’s classes.”

Then there was the other notice:  “Notice of financial aid suspension.”  I didn’t even read that one.  I knew what it meant.  I’d been missing assignments left and right and failing most of my recent tests.  I knew I was failing out.  This meant I would have to prove myself or go through a lot of red tape to ever get financial aid again.  My pizza delivery job was not really paying for even my necessities.  I sat on the couch and chewed on a toothpick nervously.

Maybe I could ask them to increase my hours, just until I figured out exactly what I would do next.  I thought about picking up the phone to call my brother, Timothy, but thought better of it.  We hadn’t talked since I left for college, and here I was a year later, picking up the phone to talk?  He’d know something was up right away, and he’d certainly give me hell for it if I asked for money because of failing out of college.

A better idea came to mind.  I got up and opened the door to my apartment, peering across the hall.  Mr. Ackmen’s paper was still on the doormat.  Looking both ways, I stepped from the apartment and stooped to pick it up without making a sound.  Stealthily, I retreated back to my apartment and closed the door ever so quietly.  Classifieds.  There they were.  So many ads for sales that probably involved going door to door.  I did not own a suit.  Though I wouldn’t mind finding a decent paying job, buying a suit, and then getting a better job.  Finally, I found a headline that spoke to me.  “Put Those Acting Skills to Use.”  It read: Acting job.  Get your foot in the door. Tryouts Thurs., 11/04 at 10 a.m. at LLJF,  2033 Spindle St.

There was no phone number, so I figured I’d just show up.  I circled the ad, tore it out, and used a magnet to hold it in place on the refrigerator door.  At least now I had a plan, and with my social skills, I should blow away the competition for this entry level job.  Little did I know just exactly what this job would require of me.

Suffice it to say, there was no Shakespearean play, and Jack Fontaine certainly wasn’t scrreing candidates for commercials or daytime TV.  Still, it became clear I would be putting my acting skills to work, and the job actually did seem right for me.  I walked out of that office hoping I’d played my cards right and would receive that return call ASAP.  I was ready to be just about whomever Jack Fontaine needed me to be, and I knew I was just the right candidate for the job.

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

Excerpt from Undercurrents in Time (Malachi meets Dr. Milt Braddock):

Malachi made small talk; he definitely must have been an actor, Milt thought, briefly wondering what his real name was.

Jack headed off on his own, coat obscuring his camera, and Milt and Malachi continued their walk.  Without thinking, Milt tried the door to the Science labs.  Locked.  Of course.  Anyone working in there would have a key.  What would he do if Mahoney happened to walk out and bump into him?

He steered Malachi back down the path to the Health Sciences complex, watching the lab building the whole time.  There were lights on; he could tell. Exactly who was there and what they were doing, he couldn’t know.  He made a mental note to see if Jack could finesse his way into getting a building key.  Jack was able to do a lot of things Milt hadn’t foreseen, so maybe it wasn’t too much.  “So, Malachi, are you thinking of college yourself?  Or have you been in college?”  He forced a smile.

“Look,” Malachi retorted, “I didn’t ask you a thing about yourself, why you’re here, or what you’re doing in these hand-picked areas of the campus.”  He waved his hand toward the Science labs.

Milt was taken aback, not so much by Malachi’s response, but at his own carelessness.  He had let his guard down with a stranger.  Albeit, a stranger who was paid to be discreet, but still a stranger who might tell things for the right price.  Things such as, a man hanging around the Science department at MIT when the campus was all but shut down.  They were snooping around; that had to be obvious to Malachi.  Milt was usually good at compartmentalizing parts of his life, particularly scientific secrets; he knew there were some times you had to fib to avoid revealing them, but he was not used to this sort of stealth.  Still, it could be a matter of utmost importance in his attempt to stop Mahoney.

“Touché,” he responded.  “You know your job well.  I apologize.”  He added with a whisper, “I’m not accustomed to being so duplicitous.  But, you know, I must keep an eye on the competition.”  He then wondered if even that was saying too much.  Louder now, he added, “I’m just here because my nephew can’t decide between Chemistry or Health Sciences. “

“Well done,” Malachi answered, lightening up.  “I’m leaning toward Chemistry.”

“Okay, but we’ll view the Health Sciences area and buildings, just for good measure.”

“Of course, Dad.”  Malachi looked down, walking with his hands in his pockets.

“Uncle,” Milt corrected, looking straight ahead.

“Yeah, well, you’ve spent a lot more time with me than he ever did,” Malachi said, winking.

Learn about the Detours in Time series at Detours in Time on Amazon and read about the character, Malachi in its sequel, Undercurrents in Time.

Roam. Flash Fiction For Aspiring Writers.

This week’s photo credit goes to Jodi McKinney.

At dawn, she felt freer than ever.  The dew would dampen her hair, and her spirit could soar.  It had been this way since her youth.

This place was always her home, the one she hoped to return to again and again.  Now, she had done her time and run her race.  Given the world all that she could.

Her babies had grown and didn’t need her anymore.  Though she couldn’t run through the fields as she used to, she’d sit and imagine the blades of grass crunching beneath her as she ran.

Here she would retire, an old gray mare, but here, she felt the most beautiful of all, because here, her spirit could soar.

**Find out more about this weekly photo prompt challenge at Flash Fiction For Aspiring Writers

 

Weekend Coffee Share. BE YOU!

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Welcome to my Weekend Coffee Share, hosted by Allison at eclecticali.wordpress.com.  It has been a good week, but I am going to be somber for a moment.  I want to share my sorrow and respect for those killed and/or wounded in Jacksonville, Florida at the shooting last weekend.  A place I have frequented for art shows, music concerts, or just river gazing was shot up and turned into a danger zone.  It is a sad day and age when a sick individual can ruin a fun day over a video game tournament.  That others had to lose their lives or run in fear to safety saddens and maddens me.  It also fuels me as an educator.  Trainers and Admin. have been reinforcing that we need to establish relationship with students, and it has never been more important than in this day and age.  Just asking if they are okay when you sense something is off could make a difference.  I truly believe this, and I am trying to infuse it into my daily practice.  It starts young.  I can understand a child’s belief that society sucks, especially when hearing of such news events, but I never want a kid to think that there is no one at all who cares. It is a scary world we live in, and that means, even more, that we need to be a light in this dark world for others.

Dancegiphy You are beautiful.  Be you.

I do not intend for this focus of this week’s coffee share to be a shooting, or the village’s responsibility for an individual child, including our lone wolves.   I’ve previously written on this subject due to my experience with the lone wolf in my family whom I am still trying to encourage to be an active member of society and to develop bonds with those other than myself.  I am seeing hope there, though.  🙂  I want to say that “Lone wolf” does not mean a sick mind.  It could mean so many other things, besides the autistic or MI spectrums.  We are all individuals, and everyone deserves respect.  They also need love, whether they show it or not.

Having said all that, let’s come up for air.  I attended our middle school’s dance last night and was amazed and inspired by the diversity of attendees and the smiles on their faces.  Little sixth grade girls with pretty dresses, eighth grade girls with army fatigue pants or skinny jeans, dyed hair, braided or plated hair, hair brushed perfectly straight, kinky hair, me with 5 o’clock tired hair,  hoppers, dancers, chasers, and observors.  Booty-shakers and twisty dancers.  It was wonderful, because everyone that was there belonged there.

I look back to my youth and remember that I did not attend a single school dance in high school, though I wanted to.  Something kept me from going; I thought I didn’t belong.  I think I was depressed.  I also wanted to try out for cheerleading, baton, and something else, but I never did.  Somehow, I talked myself out of it just as I did with applying for jobs until one day I took a terrifying drive (that I almost talked myself out of) to my first job interview for my first job.  Things were hard for me at times.  I don’t know if I just needed to kick myself more often or if I needed a voice, a mentor, to guide me and push me, tell me I could do it, and if I didn’t make the team or squad, I could try for something else.  I joined a Pep Club and didn’t really speak up or participate much.  I just know what it is like to be growing up and to feel so terribly awkward.  I wrote poetry, which helped, but I hid it away from everyone.

I have also had a rough time in the last 5 years, dealing with family events.  Until one day, something wonderful happened and I got to see my favorite poet of twenty-five years speak in front of a group.  I felt special.  I thought, “Why did this happen?  Will I win the lottery now, win a trip to Italy?”  Was it a sudden stroke of luck?  No, it was God speaking to me right in the most special corner of my heart, where my love for Literature resides.  I was inspired to write, to produce, to enter contests, and ultimately to self-publish.  This was my route to feeling better about life, in addition to a lifelong reading obsession.  If I lost a contest, I kept writing and entered others or found another way to share my writing.  God gave me this, and sometimes the only reason I do it is to keep my mind and my heart whole, as the use of my imagination is the greatest high-on-life experience ever, but I can do a lot better for the world when I am in that state of mind.  My hope and prayer today is that those out there feeling lost will find that one thing that erases all of the negativity and embrace it.

Thank you for reading this far!  If you want to know more about my writing, please visit My Published Books which also contains a link to my Amazon author site.  You may also want to join the Weekend Coffee Share or see other shares: Coffee Share at Eclectic Ali , 9/01

 

 

 

 

Of Mitz and Mayhem. #FFfAW #flashfiction

Photo credit (c) Yarnspinnerr

Mitz was feeling fresh with newly dyed-electric-blue spiked hair.  Her friends knew better than to call her Michelle.  She was a new person.  Off to cause mayhem in all four corners of the world, oblivious to the chill in the air.

“What’s this place, do ya’ know, Johnnie?”

Johnnie spit on the ground.  “Must be a home for royals,” he answered in his cockney accent.

“No entry?  Ha!” Mitz exclaimed.  “Let’s go get a lemonade over there and come back when it gets darker.”

“I’m ready!” Johnnie replied.

She tugged his arm.  Thirty minutes later, she was refreshed and Johnnie had espresso fuel rocketing through his veins.

They crouched near the first lampost. Mitz stifled a giggle.  She grasped Johnnie’s arm, but fell back on the slippery ground.

“Right on your bum, there you go,” a deep voice bellowed.

“Oh, sh–” Mitz spat, then noticed Johnnie running away.  “Traitor, you are!”

“Come on, up with you,” the constable grasped her arm, pushing her into the car.  Mitz realized the door wouldn’t unlock.

**174 words**

To join in the fun, visit Flash Fiction for Aspiring Writers where a new photo prompt and writing challenge is presented weekly.  I love these things!  I think I have just introduced myself to a new character….

 

 

Character Background: Tabitha and the Professor. #pointsofview

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“Tabitha, Tabitha? Have you heard anything I’ve been saying?” Candace raised her voice to be heard, frustrated at her friend who was gazing out the window vacantly.

“Yes, yes. Of course I heard you,” Tabitha replied, a little too insistent.

“Okay, so what’s his name?”

“Um, Walter?” Tabitha offered.

“No. His name is Matt, and you are not listening! If you’re not really interested, just tell me. I don’t want to set up a meeting and have you disappoint him.”

“I guess I’m not really interested,” Tabitha answered.

“It’s been years, Tabitha! You’re thirty and you’re going to turn to dust!”

Tabitha snorted in laughter. “No, I’ve got some time left. Seriously, you exaggerate a bit much.”

“What’s going on with you and the doctor?” Candace asked slyly.

“Dr. Braddock? No, um, nothing. I mean, I have been working with Milt more lately.  Instead of just cleaning I’m also helping him organized his office, but nothing has come of it; it’s just work.”

Nothing had come of it, except learning that he was researching quantum physics and how to travel in time. Not that she’d ever tell anyone. When she came clean and told him what she had seen, he begged her to promise not to reveal what she knew. In fact, he confessed that he already discovered the secret to time travel. Tabitha couldn’t deny that they were growing closer. She’d proven herself indispensable when she created a filing system for keeping his lab notes in order. It was obvious he appreciated her. Despite the age difference, she found him intensely interesting. Still, they’d probably always just remain friends.

“We’re just friends, Candace. We work together well, that’s all. I’m really organized; he’s not. He’s totally brilliant; I’m not.” Even in her denial, she couldn’t forget the dream she’d had about kissing him. She shook her head to dispel the thought. “Just friends.”

“You don’t even seem convinced of that.  And–I noticed how you call him by his first name!”  Candace smiled deviously.

“That doesn’t mean anything, Candace. Stop trying to read my mind. I’m just not, I just don’t need a man right now. Is that all right with you?”

“Okay Tabitha, that’s all you had to say. And don’t knock yourself; you are pretty bright.” She glanced at her watch. “Oops, gotta go. I’ll call you tomorrow!” Candace blew a kiss on the air and grabbed her jacket as she jogged out of the cafe.

“Okay, later Candace!” Tabitha had someplace to be as well. Dr. Milt Braddock needed help that evening organizing his tax papers. I could use the extra money, Tabitha reasoned. That’s all this is about.

She strolled out of the cafe slowly, picturing the smile lines around Milt’s eyes.  Smiling, she walked into a young couple.

“Sorry!” she called as they laughed and walked on.

“Daydream much?”  one of them replied.

I have got to get a grip, she thought.

**Read Detours in Time and learn what Milt and Tabitha discover together in the future. Available in Kindle, K.U., or paperback. Universal link:   Detours in Time Amazon link

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Goodbyes and New Beginnings. #Flash FictionforAspiringWriters

This week’s photo prompt is provided by Ted Strutz. 

Upon arriving in Maine on a solo voyage, Kirstie rented a car.  It was beautiful and relatively mild here in the summertime.  She loved the local seafood and sights.

In two weeks Kirstie would marry a Wall Street stockbroker.  Of course, Richmond thought she was traveling with friends.  He’d intervene if he knew otherwise.  The longer she stayed in Maine, the more she loved the people, their accent, their attitude. Particularly that of Steven, the owner at Manford’s Clam Shack.  It was he who suggested she take a short jaunt to Nova Scotia, as she sat at the bar one night chatting.

“Only if you accompany me,” she answered. Then blushed.

He didn’t know she was set to be married.  When asked, Kirstie only said she was here to make a life change.  Steve pondered, realizing it was rare for him to take even a weekend off in the summertime.  This wasn’t the kind of thing he did.

“Deal,” he said, eyes smiling.

Days later, Kirstie sent a letter of goodbye to Richmond.

*A story 174 words long

 

Can you write a story with a beginning, middle, and end in 100-175 words or less based on a photo prompt?  It is challenging but quite a lot of fun.  Let your imagination fly!   Visit Flash Fiction for Aspiring Writers 

View other flash fiction entries and/or submit your own based on this week’s photo prompt!