Fairly Tragic, Writing 101, Day Fifteen

Writing 101, Day Fifteen: Your Voice Will Find You
Our assignment: 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!

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One of the most painful things for me to deal with is a missed chance or opportunity, so when I heard that the Fest would be permanently cancelled my heart sank. That feeling of no more. It’s so final. It sits in my middle like a bee sting. All those times I wanted to go but didn’t because there was too much laundry to do. Or my budget was stretched too far. Now it’s not even an option to go.

We had a lot of good times.

The food! Giant turkey legs, soup in a breadbowl, corn on the cob — sometimes I think we went just for the food. We can cook most of those things at home, except the turkey legs ’cause they’re smoked, but it’s just not the same. One time a puppet crafter told me that the giant turkey legs were really emu legs. I wouldn’t mind emu. But I googled it when I got home. Turkey. Probably from really big turkeys. But turkeys. The emu thing is kind of urban legend. Emu legs would be about eight times the size. I could really go for one of those giant turkey legs about now. I could even go for an emu leg if it tasted like one of those turkey legs.

We got some of the most adorable photos of my daughter wearing one of those flowery garlands on her head and when she first got her wooden sword. There was that extra-awesome time when she won at medieval pinball multiple times and this big burly guy who went after her got nothing. It was fascinating to people watch. There were shows with sword swallowing, juggling, comedy. There was that climbing wall with a dragon on top. Pirate ship. The wooden slide.

Once, on the way out, we bought a rose and a week or so later it started growing some new leaves. It was beautiful. With it sprouting like that, it was as if all the energy we had from that nice day brought the rose back to life. I know it’s probably dorky to think of it that way. ‘Course it shriveled and died eventually too. Oops.

Most of all, we had lots of just plain fun being outside together. It was like we were in some other world filled with artisans and pretty things. Entertainers. Exotic people.

We’re not even big fanatics. We almost never dress up. Some folks have entire wardrobes and get season passes. I always thought they were kind of, maybe, a little weird. On the other hand, they may have been on to something. They really got to enjoy it while it was there. Maybe they’ll miss it even more than we will though. Who knows. It seemed like it would always be there. It made for a lot of fun. Just can’t believe it.

So Behind On Writing 101, Ack!

I did not plan to let myself get this behind. This is the end of the school year, and there are about a billion extra activities going on. Yes, a billion, okay.

Add to that the fact that I only really pledged to write for ten minutes a day. That’s doable. But ten minutes is hardly enough to actually finish anything with the exception of finishing my goal to write for ten minutes.

So I’ve started almost all of the recent assignments. But finish? No. Between bites of my PBJ lunch, I did just manage to finish one. My house when I was twelve.

And I’m behind on reading much of anything too. There are so many good posts. I love to read what other people come up with when given the same prompt.

Still hoping to get caught up! On all of it. (Well, most of it anyway.)

Of Views and Berries

Writing 101, Day 11: Size Matters
Write about the house you lived in when you were 12. Vary the lengths of the sentences.

When I was twelve my mom remarried, and we moved from a bustling suburb of Chicago to a suburb of Nashville, Tennessee. I wanted to run away. It wasn’t that I didn’t like my new step dad – he was great – or that I didn’t like the house – it was quite nice.

When you’re twelve you may not think there would be so many differences from one suburb to the next. But 40 miles outside of Chicago and 40 miles outside of Nashville were a world apart. At the time, Mount Juliet, Tennessee, was more country than suburb.

The downtown had about two stoplights. I had a 45-minute school bus ride that passed nearly every type of home imaginable. Everyone talked with an accent and quite a few called me, “Yankee.” Some asked if we were from Canada. It took time to adjust.

Our house was walking distance to a pick-your-own peach orchard. It was a hilly walk with uneven blacktop warped by the sun. The closest store was a bait shop.

We had one of the most amazing views in the four-county area. The hill was so high that military and civilian helicopter pilots used it as a landmark. Sometimes they hovered level with our windows. The whole house shook. Once a pilot waved at us from slightly below our eye level. Ultralight pilots buzzed over the treetops too.

Along with my stepdad’s job being pretty decent, real estate prices differed significantly between the two locales. We were able to get a nice house. So nice that it was rumored to have been built by Burt Reynolds for Dinah Shore back when they were a thing. Don’t know if it’s true. The house was lovely but never struck me as Hollywood celebrity caliber. The view, however, was worthy.

The exterior of our house was made of stone and rustic wood. Against the view, it looked like it was pasted onto the hillside with a scenic poster behind. I had nightmares of it sliding right down. But we could see for many miles – trees, tiny houses in the distance, wee boats in the sections of Old Hickory lake that popped into view through the trees. It was breathtaking.

Chunks of stone covered the bottom about two feet up in the front and the entire back of the walkout basement. Rough, gray wood stretched to the roof which was much higher in the middle and, after a steep slope, spread gradually out from the left and right.

The great room, as they call it in those parts, was smack dab in the middle of the house and had a high “cathedral” ceiling. In Chicago we called it a family room no matter how high the ceiling. The kitchen, dining room, and formal living room formed a section to the left. The bedrooms and bathrooms were on the right.

The kitchen was huge. It was large enough to feature a two-level island in the middle which had space to eat, room to prepare food, and several cabinets and drawers for storage. The island alone had more surface space than our entire kitchen table in Chicago. There was a built-in desk to one side of the kitchen and room enough for a full family-size kitchen table.

The dinning room was nice, but hopelessly overshadowed by the kitchen. I think we used it all of three times. Same for the living room. Our cat liked to play there. A stash of cat toys was regularly trapped under the coffee table just out of his reach.

Windows stretched from the floor to almost the ceiling in nearly every room. It was full of light.

At the bottom of our yard we grew tomatoes. Blackberries grew wild in the rough at the edge of our lawn.

The house was both rustic and beautiful, but once I got over being quite so homesick for Chicago I liked going to my friends’ houses too.

My friend Julie’s in particular was fun. They had a whole playroom above their garage complete with board games, a pool table, craft and sewing supplies, and a record player. Their house wasn’t huge, but their backyard was flat as a pancake. Great for playing! And every growing season they had a garden with the best strawberries I’d ever had. It’s still hard to beat those strawberries today.

M is for

The path was still muddy from Wednesday’s derecho when I tripped on a tree root. An envelope caked in thick mud stuck to my hand. I carefully unfolded the letter inside. It read:

Anna, Meet me Friday at 3:00 at the burger joint on Madison and Elm. I’ve waited for this for so long! I miss you terribly. Have you thought about my question? If I don’t see you there, I’ll know your answer is no, and you won’t hear from me again … All my love, M.

I flipped the letter over — nothing.

Today is Saturday. Too late. My heart sank.

First Writing 101 WordPress Assignment

Here’s my blog entry from yesterday’s assignment:
WordPress: Writing 101, just write for 20 minutes and for a twist actually publish it. I did actually publish it, but technically not until this morning, Tuesday morning. I started it on Monday, so when I published it the date is Monday. It’s interesting to know that WordPress does that. Maybe because I started it on my phone? I completed it within 24 hours of the assignment, though, so I’m counting it for now.

Of note, I’m probably going to have to write most of my entries in evenings and nights with possibly carryover to the next morning. So yeah.

That Option Not Available on Mondays

So I’m trying a WordPress: Writing 101 thing to write every day which was my original New Year resolution this year. We know how that went. The first W101 assignment is to write for 20 minutes. Just write. I hate to say it but that option is not available on Mondays between the hours of 6:30 AM and 10:30 PM.

I mean are we talking twenty minutes all in a row or can I break that into smaller increments? Because smaller increments are a lot more likely to happen. Twenty minutes in a row of writing on a Monday? I’ll be lucky to make midnight. Oops, see that, I shot directly past midnight and slid right into Tuesday morning. So I’m going with 20 minutes within a 24 hour period of the assignment. 20 minutes not in a row, but I am trying too keep track and make this an actual 20 minutes with the last section being a large chunk of 10 whole minutes in a row. This may or may not be breaking the rules. But, generally speaking, Mondays are crazy days.

I work full time out of the home, and I’m a mom. And I’m the only driver in our house which is probably a whole ‘nother story though not nearly as interesting as it may sound. But, hey, Ray Bradbury didn’t drive either. And I remind myself of this so that I think it’s somehow cool and exotic when I’m feeling the pains of being the only driver in the house.

On Mondays, I take a late “lunch hour” from the office to pick my daughter up from Chess Club and drive her to her dance classes then drive back to work for about 1.75 hours when I turn back around and pick her up again.

Then we’ll need to manage to eat dinner which is usually going to be something quick because by dinner time I’m pretty well starving, and I don’t usually feel like cooking. Though I recently discovered these Meal Bars that have made the process a bit more tolerable. Oh, I do a lot of my writing on my phone or old iPad because I can’t always sit in front of an actual computer, but it is pretty slow going that way because I make a lot of very small typos.

And now I’ve lied because I got interrupted and these last 10 minutes are not, in fact, all in a row. But, hey, I tried.

And … time!

Editing to add:
I originally just started this post on my phone on Monday, but didn’t finish it until Tuesday morning. Once published, it appears that I published it on Monday.