Either. #FOWC

Poem by Pamela Schloesser Canepa, (c) 2019

Either you walk out the door,

Or you stay in

Either the problem is someone else

Or it lies within.

Either you’re just aging

Or drastically sick

Either you break free

Or get beaten with a stick.

Either you’re plowed under,

Or you rise above

You are either the war monger

Or the peaceful dove.

I mean this, my child, please listen to me.

Either you choose,

Or you cease to be.

There’s no half-existing, you see.

Either is a word, that is dear to me.

-Mother to Daughter

If I had a daughter…I’d hold nothing back.  I’d tell her the truth, so she’d live better than I did.  I have had a son.  He knows the unique history of women; he would never hurt a woman. I’ve shown him to respect a woman and treat her as an equal.  I have done my best. (Photo found at Pixabay).  

*Posted in response to Fandango’s One Word Prompt found at https://pamelascanepa.wordpress.com/2019/12/13/either-fowc/

Into the Deep..#RDP #flashfiction

“Onward,” Filliburt commanded. “We’ll find their hideout soon enough!” Deeper into the cave they went.

“Hark!” Rexi called, then turned to Filliburt.

“I believe I hear the gentle cry of a banshee,” he whispered.

“Banshees don’t gently cry, that they don’t!” Patterson scolded in his English brogue.

“What do you know , Patterson! You’ve just never met a vulnerable banshee!”

“Cut!” Marson choked through a laugh. Where did these role-players come from? The studio must have been pretty desperate this time around. If he if he had to listen to one more argument about fictionary beings…he just might lose it.

*** Posted in response to the word of the day at http://ragtagcommunity.wordpress.com

“Take a Hike.” #RDP #amwriting

(c) Pamela Schloesser Canepa

John had been through this before.  No one understood how he processed things.  This was his third foster home in a row.

His foster dad, Mr. Biggins, spoke in a strange way., but John really wanted to know the workings of this new household and had a lot of questions.

Mrs. Biggins had shown John to his room.  There were two smaller children in the home, but John got his own room.  Mrs. Biggins was busy cooking dinner one day when John asked why there wasn’t much toilet paper.

“Oh, we try not to use too much paper.  It’s Mr. Biggins’ rules, you know.”

John went to ask Mr. Biggins, because sometimes he needed a lot more than what was rationed to him each morning.

“Take a hike,” Mr. Biggins said.

“But, but, that doesn’t answer my question.  Sir,” John added politely.

“Learn to use less.  Conserve.  Now, I’ve answered you.  Go take a hike.”

So, being a person who tried to do just as he was told, John did.

John suffered for a year in that home, with people who did not understand his needs.  Finally, he was adopted by a loving family.  The Servos lived in the big city.  John looked down at his hiking books.  No woods to explore as he used to do for hours when living with the Biggins, where no one cared that he was gone for hours as long as he was back before dinner.  He disliked Mr. Biggins moodiness, but just kept to himself most of the time so as not to disturb the man.  Hiking had been his solace, and summers had provided a lot of education in nature.

“Would you mind if I take a hike?” John asked Mr. Servo, longing for some movement and fresh air.

“Well, that’s an interesting thought,” Mr. Servo replied.  “There’s this place a couple blocks away with excellent gyros.  And the doc said walking would good for my heart. Come on!  We can talk on the way.”

John smiled.  He wasn’t sure he wanted to talk much, but Mr. Servo had a friendly, loving aura about him.  It might be nice for once not to have to walk alone.

***The Ragtag Daily Prompt is given daily in the form of one word.  Writers take it from there.  This story was just short of 300 words.  I hope you have enjoyed it!  See other responses or learn about this challenge at https://ragtagcommunity.wordpress.com/2019/07/12/rdp-friday-hike/

 

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Photo by Lum3n.com on Pexels.com

Friday Fictioneers. Observations at the Theater. #amwriting

PHOTO PROMPT © Ted Strutz

All writing © Pamela Schloesser Canepa

“You know, if aliens were studying us, they could learn a lot about us from our viewing habits,” Roma claimed.

Billy shrugged. “You’ve got some weird ideas. I’m just excited for the tenth installment of ‘Halloween!’

Roma stopped at the snack counter. “Let me get some popcorn to calm my nerves.”

Minutes later, they were claiming their seats. Roma cringed during every tension-filled moment. The audience screamed; Billy just laughed.

That is, until Billy noticed the strange man on the left of the theater staring at him. Every time he turned, the man stared. Billy cringed…Someone was watching.

-99 to 100 words in response to the photo prompt given for the Friday Fictioneers Challenge at http://rochellewisoff.com 

Letting My Characters Speak. Giving Inspiration the Driver’s Seat, #amwriting

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A representation of Malachi.  Photo via Pixabay.

All writing © Pamela Schloesser Canepa, 2019.

There comes a time when a parent is no longer shaping and molding her child, when she/he must simply take a step back and observe, when everything you say or advise seems to be a reiteration of things you’ve already taught them.  That’s when it’s time to stand back and listen.  Well, it’s the same with our main characters. This has been coming into play with the writing of my current manuscript, tentatively titled, Malachi.  Malachi goes through some interesting experiences, and seeing them through his eyes was a whole lot of fun!

“I came to this job through an ad in the newspaper.   It read:  Acting job.  Get your foot in the door.  The tryout was basically an interview, and I didn’t get a call back until a week later.  Probably enough time for a background check.  I should have known right away that salty old guy in jeans was no director.”   –Malachi, work in progress

In undertaking this novel, I knew that I wanted to see things through a different point of view.  This book is in first person, and I know some people either prefer to read first person or totally shy away from it.  However, it does really place you in the character’s shoes.  Writing this novel for sure put me in this character’s shoes.  Why did I want that?  Well, Malachi is an interesting character who surfaced in my novel, Undercurrents in Time, because Cr. Milt Braddock has his fingers in something he knows nothing about handling.  Malachi is one of those hired to help him deal with it.  We don’t learn much about him, where he’s from, who his family is, who he relies on in times of distress, or why he does what he does.  He has what we would call an interesting job, and he is good at it.  That was apparent in Undercurrents.  He is a twenty-year-old kid who has the skill of flying by the seat of his pants, answering hard questions on the fly, and concocting a story to help him get through any situation.  He also failed out of college.

I found that, in putting myself in his shoes, I really wanted him to succeed yet understood the pitfalls he encountered.  (I was once young, myself, you know). Why was he so lonesome even when he was successful?  Maybe it helped that I am the mother of a son who is in his early twenties, whom I have seen flounder through a few years not knowing his direction, who has changed his path a few times.  I love writing the story though, putting myself in a character’s shoes and helping him while at the same time, putting some huge mishaps on his path.

Most of all, what I have enjoyed about writing this story in first-person-point-of- view is the listening.  In the morning, I get up and go to the kitchen.  I think, what would Malachi do first?  Then, I suppose I listen.  What would be going through his head?  Then I try to think like that.  On that note, what would be in Malachi’s kitchen cupboard?  Evidently, not much!  Remember, I was once young too…

Malachi’s story will likely be published in the spring or summer of 2020.  I am just getting to the end of the first draft, and will begin the process of editing, revising, and all of that fun stuff.  Malachi appears in the second book of the Detours in Time series.  If you haven’t yet, you can start the Detours in Time series today: https://www.amazon.com/gp/bookseries/B07F5WPK72

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Caring for Your Psyche. #amwriting #fiction

 

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Photo by Anthony on Pexels.com

By Pamela Schloesser Canepa, (c) 2019

“We are all given a psyche.  You must think of your psyche as its own living thing.”

This was an interesting class Cassie dragged me into after my divorce.  The instructor was a little wacky, though.  Lots of college kids were there.  Were they getting college cred?  I sure wasn’t.  Continuing education?  Hmm.  Some blond, New Age hippie named Ashbury sat to my right.  Much to my relief, he smelled of Irish Spring.

The instructor continued: “Imagine your psyche as a living being…and draw it.  Then, label it.  Your last instruction, is to start nurturing it.”

I started with paws, and a belly, then decided to step out for cigarette before finishing.  I was sick of always doing what I was supposed to; it got me nowhere in my marriage except mismatched with a narcissist.  Plus, I had no idea how to picture my psyche.  Some air might help.

Ashbury smiled at me. “Are you stuck?”

“Yeah.  Shhh, don’t tell anyone.  I might be the failing student here.”

A smile spread across his face.  “You can’t fail if you took the first step.” He pointed to the half-hearted drawing on my paper.  “What will the rest be?  I wonder.”  He tapped his pencil to his forehead lightly.

“Right now, I wouldn’t care if you drew something on there.  Something radical, horrible, I don’t know.  I’ll be right back.”

Ten minutes later I came in , apologizing to the instructor about a stomach issue.  Sitting down, I saw a baby dragon staring up at me…and Ashbury smiling at me. There was a lovely orchid on his paper.  I chuckled.

“Mine looks like ‘Puffin’ McStuffins’!  Well-done, Ashbury!”  This man had sized me up and done my homework for me.  Could I nurture Puffin in all of his adorable imperfection?  You bet!

“So now you have a name, too.  I think you’ll pass.  How do you think we could nurture an orchid and a baby dragon together?” he asked, one eyebrow raised.

“Passion-fruit tea?”  I said through a smile.

“Yes, let’s go!”

He walked out first with his drawing, and I followed moments later.  The instructor just looked up at us, defeated.  Or maybe he knew I was beginning the process of nurturing my psyche?

*Posted in response to the prompt at https://ragtagcommunity.wordpress.com/2019/06/06/rdp-thursday-nurture/

I hope you enjoyed my story. I’d love to hear your comments or your experiences with this topic!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Where were you on 9/11/01? #amwriting #timeline #fiction #setting

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I know this is not timely, but I have come to a point in my current work in progress where the character is living in D.C. around the early 2000s, and it is impossible for me to skirt around this subject. However, it is not an easy subject. Still, let’s face the fact that 9-11 changed or totally upset all of our lives. I have an idea how I will incorporate it based on what I know. Even though I have lived in Jacksonville, Florida for forty some years, I was affected by the events of 9-11.

Where was I? I was at school, getting ready to teach my seventh grade class. Students were filtering in, as class started at 9:15. There were always a few students who would be late. One girl, a highly emotional girl on any given day, said “Ms. Canepa, an airplane crashed into the World Trade Center. It’s terrorism. We’re all gonna die!”

I told her, “No. We are not all gonna die. Please calm down. If it was terrorism, they will stop it. If we were in danger, we would have been warned by now.” It’s sounds sort of heartless, but I felt vulnerable and worried about my son who was in kindergarten, as well as sortvof surorised that I heard it first from a student. Would something else be targeted next? Evidently this news was all over the radio, because I heard it from a few other people in the next few hours. At lunch, the TV news was on in our teacher’s lounge. Everyone’s faces were grave. Students were getting checked out early all day. I texted by ex-husband who worked on a military base, wondering if they had beefed up their security. He asked about our son. Inevitably, I checked out my son a little early from his school as well. Although Smart phones were not as popular back then, people undoubtedly were getting footage, it was shared on the internet, and every TV station had constant updates or had suspended all regular programming, because we really needed to see those images on repeat on the hour. Sarcasm intended. It was nightmarish, but even worsened when I picked up my son.

I got my son into the car and asked him how his day was. He said “I saw on TV. Two airplanes crashed into a building,” in a hushed tone, knowing it was real–life and not some high-tech movie, because either he was smart or they, of course, would not show such a movie in school. It also seemed like he realized it could have happened to any of us.

“Where did you see this on TV?” I asked, knowing the answer.

“The TV in the classroom.”

While I was livid, I held that all in and hugged my son, telling him everything would be okay. It was over. Yes, his teacher had evidently been sucked into the media frenzy and had to get every detail. Or maybe watching the news was a regular part of their morning routine? Unlikely for kindergarten, though. All I could do was focus on trying to make him feel safe with me, in our own home.

Sadly, I knew this became the day I discovered I could not shield my child from the evil in this world. It had already been played out before his eyes before I could even comfort him or explain what had happened. He still remembers it to this day, though he seems detached from whatever he had felt that day as a small five-year-old.

Straight out of my 2001 journal: “Evil just reached a hand in and put a strangle-grip on our world. And we still don’t know who did it. It leaves me with quite an insecure feeling. Reminds me of what really matters, and what doesn’t….” He became a little more emotional in the next few months, and some of his behaviors surprised me, but we dealt with it. I can not imagine what it was like for those living in New York or who had family that lived there; many lost their loved ones.

What were you doing the day 9-11 occurred?

Character visualization and WIP, Detours in Time Series. #amwriting #scifi

Image (c) Enrique Meseguer via Pixabay

I’m playing with visualization as the character of Ellie grows stronger in my mind.
Ellie appears across several timelines in Undercurrents in Time (Detours, Book 2), shows up in my WIP, “Malachi,” (2020) and will feature in an upcoming novel (2021?). Who is the mysterious Ellie?
Start reading the Detours in Time series today and get to know the intriguing cast of characters! Available in Kindle, print, or Kindle Unlimited: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B0711ZW6XF
Photo Credit goes to Enrique Meseguer via Pixabay.

 

Series link:

https://www.amazon.com/gp/bookseries/B07F5WPK72/kindle/ref=sr_bookseries_null_B07F5WPK72

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Bridging the Transition. #FridayFictioneers #FlashFiction

PHOTO PROMPT © Dawn M. Miller

Desmond starting signing the song, “Bridge over troubled water.”

“I hate bridges,” Chastity interrupted.

“It’s getting us to the other side.  Be thankful.  What if you were alone when that old car broke down?  Out here in the middle of nowhere.”

“Just know, Desmond, when we get to civilization, we go our separate ways. I didn’t leave John just to be harnessed to another guy.”

“You are quite progressive for 1972.”

“Better late than never,” she mumbled, missing his point.

Desmond had no tricks up his sleeve.  Is that why she enlisted his help?  He braced himself for goodbye.

~98 words (story only)

Friday Fictioneers is a weekly prompt challenged presented at rochellewisoff.com

I encourage you to visit and read other responses.  Consider joining the fun!

 

 

#WeekendCoffeeShare. Who Says I Can’t Still Vacation? #amwriting

cappuccino-1149061_1280 Images via Pixabay.com

Welcome to the #WeekendCoffeeShare, hosted by Diana at parttimemonsterblog.com!  If we were having coffee today, on 8/13, I’d tell you…

Summer’s over, but I can still visit Endless Summer in my mind!  I’ve been back to work this past week, getting ready for the new school year, trying to stay on the positive bus.  I know how to do it, so I’m going to try.  For me, it certainly involves relaxing, getting away (even if only in my imagination), and to avoid workplace negativity/ burnout or dwelling on national and world news (Ugh).  So, this morning for coffee, I’m visiting Italy with a dark roast and a bit of almond milk with sweetener.   Yes, it’s 11 a.m. and I’m still working on my coffee. Don’t judge! I like where I am.  So, in my imagination, I’m sitting, sipping my coffee and staring out at this.  Ahh.

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In reality, I’m sitting here choosing that as my reality by using my words and my keyboard.  You see how this writing thing works?  It has saved my life on occasion.

I must confess, I’m drinking coffee late because I slept in due to being out last night dancing with friends.  One of them was in town so I knew I’d see her and a few other mutual friends.  My boyfriend and I met them.  It was a great escape, talking about non-work stuff, watching a crowd of people I don’t know, who all seem impossibly younger than I but not caring or worrying that I look a fool when I hear a song I’ve got the nerve to dance to.  I  know, that seems like a run-on sentence, right?  I’ll leave it be this time.  Anyway, wearing sneakers helped a lot.  I’m at an age where comfort is key, and a t-shirt, sneakers, jeans combo is my go-to attire.

Funny, I was going to mention how I am empty in the writing area lately, but it is doing me right today.  I don’t know if you like it, but I like where it’s taking me.  Yes, my thoughts seem a little disorganized, and I apologize.  Summer left me unfocused, but I really needed to relax.  The writing I’m doing right now is helping me keep my state of mind positive.  The purposeful writing that I need to do to get my ideas channeled into writing projects will likely come when it truly feels like fall.

Since summer’s over, and fall is on its way, let me share my letter to fellow teachers.  I see an epidemic with new teachers and some veterans that leaves them with little personal life, children who long for them to come home, or neglected friendships and relationships.  Some of them work during the summer to set up a room, only to find they were re-assigned to a different school.  Others are just so tired that they take it personally when kids don’t respond to them (the latter is me; I did that).   Really, those long days will happen in the fall, when you have to reach a parent right away or some other urgency occurs.  Right now it is too soon to stress out.  So, here it is:

 

Dear teacher,
Yes, your classroom looks good enough. Go home! Yes, you’ll likely forget some little detail. It means you’re like the rest of us. Go home and remember you’re a human being with friends, family, hobbies. Relax. It will make your first day smile much more genuine when you meet those kids.
Signed, 
A 17 year veteran teacher who has been there.

 

I plan to be the teacher who is all about positive energy this year, and it will happen because my brain is calm and relaxed.  That’s my goal.  I’m also planning on things going smoothly with the family, so that my brain energy is focused on being all that I can be for myself and for the needs of others.  Yet, if someone in my family needs me, this calm state of mind could only be helpful at that point, as well.

Have a great week, everyone!

**Please visit Diana’s blog at parttimemonsterblog.com to check out other Coffee Shares or to share your own by clicking on the blue linky button.  You may also feel free to leave me a comment about your week, your taste in coffee, vacation experiences, writing progress, etc.