The Pebble

Daily Prompt: Weaving the Threads

Draft a post with three parts, each unrelated to the other, but create a common thread between them by including the same item — an object, a symbol, a place — in each part.

He couldn’t take it anymore; he had gotten through depression because of her and had stopped cutting because of her. He was a new man because of her. And she’d said no. How could she? She’d told him he was an amazing person, and that anyone would die to be with him, and he’d believed her; believed her thinking she was indirectly saying something to him. Well, it turned out all women were the same. Actually, all people were the same. They kept the good ones around, the funny ones around, and the ones that made them smile, but always as a friend. Nothing more. The perfect ones, on the other hand….they didn’t even have to bat an eyelid or say a kind word to be thought perfect romance material. What did she see in him anyway? Neal reached his favorite pond-side spot beneath the willow and kicked a smooth, round pebble into the pond, and stared at the ripples until they faded out.

x

The pebble hit his head with a thonk. Sammy, annoyed, flicked the tail of the tadpole closest him. “Ow, that hurt!”

Doubled over with laughter, Rick yelled back over his shoulder, “Wasn’t me, mate!” He shook his head, grinning, and swam ahead, joining the others in their race to Algae Cave.

Sammy scowled, falling to the back of the race. He jetted down to the bottom of the pond to get a closer look at the culprit.

The pebble was smooth, round, and whiter than any rock he’d ever seen – even whiter than the one Marty had shown them in show-and-tell last week, calling it the whitest rock around. Well, he’d show Marty.

Just them, he thought he heard a faint whisper. He looked around, but didn’t see anyone there. He frowned and checked once more; still no one. Just as Sammy gave up and turned to leave, he heard the same whisper, only louder – it was coming from the direction of the rock. He swam back to the rock and circled it. On the other side, half buried under the rock, was Katy, the cute goldfish from school.

“Katy!” he exclaimed, and ran to tug her out.

“It’s no use Sammy,” she sighed, tears in her eyes. “It won’t budge.”

“Well, I’ll make it,” retorted Sammy, setting his jaw in determination. After a few fruitless tugs, he looked around for something, anything to use.

“Don’t leave me here!” Katy pleaded.

“I’ll be right back,” Sammy promised, and swam back, true to his word, with a bit of bark he’d found buried in the mud. Using it as a lever, he put all his weight on it and, inch by inch, lifted the rock up enough for Katy to struggle her way free. Sammy shrugged. I guess Pond Physics 101 really wasn’t a waste of time.

x

“Oops, sorry Ver,” Mark muttered, as Veronica’s favorite bracelet went flying through the air into the pond they’d been picnicking by.

Veronica’s eyes widened in shock as her favorite bracelet sank to the bottom of the pond. “Mark! How could you?” she cried, running to the edge of the pond and kneeling, desperately trying to peer inside and find the bracelet. “Go get it!”

“C’mon, you know I don’t like water,” Mark said coolly. “It was just a bracelet anyway. Didn’t whatsisname, your friend, give it to you? I’ll buy you another one; now come on.” He turned to leave. “I’m gonna go start the car.”

Veronica’s eyes blurred with tears, remembering the day she’d recieved the bracelet. “…not for anything, really. It’s just….it’s been a year since I met you, and I’m who I am now thanks to you, so….I wanted you to have this,” he’d said, smiling at her with that smile only he had that lighted up his eyes. She turned her eyes to the pool, but held back. She couldn’t swim, never had been able to. She looked back to the pool, it seemed leagues deep and really scary; who knew what lived inside? But her mind conjured up an image of him giving her the bracelet again, and she knew she couldn’t turn away.

Taking a deep breath, she plunged in. Fighting for breath, she searched the muck for her bracelet. Her lungs were constricting now and she prayed for help. Just then, her fingers bumped against something hard. Out of breath, Veronica grabbed the fistful of muck around it and came up, struggling for breath. Breaking the surface, she bobbed with the water and opened her fist. She saw a pebble in her hand and almost cried in frustration. Then she saw the bracelet, somehow twined around the pebble; the pebble had kept the bracelet anchored. Just like Neal always kept me anchored. She climbed out of the water and headed for the car. She had an announcement to make.

In response to:

http://dailypost.wordpress.com/2013/05/30/daily-prompt-weaving/

His World

The First Thing
 
Write out a person’s day in terms of the first things he or she does. An example is provided below:
The first thing she did each day was stretch her toes over the edge of her mattress. 
The first thing she saw was her reflection in the pink vanity she’d gotten when her career aspiration was “princess.”
The first thing she ate each morning was an English muffin, pooled with melted butter.
The first thing she put on was her silver locket.

The first thing he did on waking up was to give that baby dinosaur screech-grunt, stretching as if to make his 6’ 6’1”.

The first thing he wore was his gleaming wristwatch, a reminder of paternity and duty.

The first thing he did after leaving his room was to wake his kindergartner up with a kiss on the forehead, reminding him of happiness.

The first thing he ate was a bowl of Lucky Charms, an unshakable habit since age six.

The first thing he saw when he left the house was the world; and when he came home: his world.

Link to my story on Figment:

http://figment.com/books/647890-His-World

Breathing Vortices

Your Daily Theme for 5/28/2013
 
Opening Line
 
She sat at the window, nose pressed against the glass until it was numb with cold. She imagined her breath brought frost and her blinks brought rain. From inside her tiny room, she controlled every element of the world outside.
 
Use this as inspiration for a short story or poem.

 

She stared out into the window

Rapidly firing blinks

Like water bombing from a watergun

Or torrents from a thousand sinks

And breathed, through the glass,

Wilfully into the world outside

Creating a universe of Ethereal Beings

In the gloom and darkness to reside.

Faster, faster, first they walked, then ran,

Moshing in a great Wall of Death,

An uproar that even the Heavens noted

With jagged spotlights

Drawn into the maelstrom, coated

With a layer of the ground.

Spiraling out of control,

The vortex turned upon itself ‘round,

And vanished into the sky whole

With but a glimmer.

 

Link to my poem on Figment:

http://figment.com/books/647243-Breathing-Vortices

Brave vs. Beauty

I read in this morning’s newspaper that Disney’s been taken to task about “touching up” their Merida (princess in Pixar’s “Brave”) doll in their new toy line. Apparently the doll is curvier and more conventionally pretty and “princess-like” than the character from the movie.

This, of course, sparked off the whole debate about beauty being something from within, and not what society sets as an ideal. Disney was also blamed for perpetuating stereotypes and setting impossibly high and narrow standards of beauty for young girls to aspire to.

Although technically the point is correct, I feel the need to ask when toys became such an important focal point in the war on stereotypes. When I was a child, a toy may have initially influenced my ideas about beauty, but it definitely is not the root cause for my insecurities. It seems to me that the people fighting this war are focusing on the little things and blowing them out of proportion, rather than spending time fighting the more important battles that they seem to think they can’t win, such as the popularity of body slimming commercials, hair bleaching and skin lightening commercials, consumer plastic surgery commercials, and many more. (Although I think everyone has the right to look the way they feel most confident, the popularity of this begs the question of why so many people all feel beautiful looking a particular way.) Women’s magazines, with all their skin-and-bones, 5’10” Caucasian models aren’t any less to blame either. In fact, neither are you, for admiring and attempting to emulate “beautiful” people. Or chasing after them.

The debate about dolls reminds me of a saying I heard somewhere a while back: that creating a debate about something, or attempting to disprove a discriminating stereotype, usually only ends up perpetuating it. The saying was originally used in conjunction with an article about a study which “disproved sexist stereotypes regarding intelligence”, but it works in this scenario just as well.

One way to fix this? Start by opening up your mind to new, wider definitions of beauty first. Then expose others around you to your new views – if you can’t convince those closest to you, how can you expect strangers, making money off of our insecurities, to listen?

I admire celebrities such as P!nk (“Stupid Girl”) and J. K. Rowling (http://www.goodreads.com/quotes/454548-fat-is-usually-the-first-insult-a-girl-throws-at), who speak out against society-imposed ideals of beauty, and although they, you might say, don’t need their looks to earn either love or a living, the point remains that neither do we.

Perfect Weather

Your Daily Theme for May 24, 2013

 
Photo prompt: Write a poem or story inspired by the scenario in this image.
 

Ice-cold, crisp weather,

Perfect  weather

For the mood I am in.

Looking at the four lines etched out behind me

And the past few feet, just one;

The white expanse ahead of me

suddenly longer.

The milestones suddenly seem insignificant;

A jumble of numbers and words

In a different tongue,

In a different time.

The safety of the fence just behind me –

I can turn back still,

Except I can’t.

I wonder if they will

Keep a light burning for me

As long as they will for each other.

Ice-cold, crisp weather,

Perfect  weather

For the mood I am in.

 

Link to my poem on Figment:

http://figment.com/books/644705-Perfect-Weather

Mary-Sue, Anti-Sue and Me

Your Daily Theme for 5/23/2013
 
Mary Sue
 
A character is referred to as a “Mary Sue” if she is either improbably perfect or powerful, if his flaws are superficial and are just used to make him a more attractive character, or if she is a stand-in for the author.
Write a fictionalized version of yourself. Make him or her as powerful and perfect as you’d like. Then, write an Anti-Sue: Yourself at your worst. Finally, fictionalize yourself, focusing on your real quirks, beauty, and failings. Which character would you most like to read about?

They met only once – at the airport, outside terminal 44A. Slipping her smartphone into the pocket of her well-tailored corduroys, she smiled warmly and made way for a woman passing the other way. Flurried, tires bulging through her t-shirt, the woman avoided eye-contact, accidentally knocking a passerby down.

Sighing in frustration, I picked myself up, dusted off and looked up at the faces of two women – one red-faced, apologetic, and the other full of polite concern. Twisting my hair back into a bun, I half-smiled, deciding to let it go. The weather was perfect outside. I grinned, waved, and walked on.

Link to original posting on figment:

http://figment.com/books/644163-Mary-Sue-Anti-Sue-and-Me

Feeling Supplanted

Daily Prompt: Green-Eyed Monster

Tell us about the last time you were really, truly jealous of someone. Did you act on it? Did it hurt your relationship? 

Photographers, show us something GREEN.

The first definition I found of the word ‘jealous’ online may not be the best, but it describes what it means to me perfectly.

Jealous: Fearful or wary of being supplanted; apprehensive of losing affection or position.

It’s a difficult thing to find people in this world to love and who love you in return. I had recently connected with someone on a very deep level; I felt almost as if we were one person. My best friend was going through her own problems at the time and was very lonely, so I started taking her along on outings with my new friend to make her feel better, and it worked. But it worked a little too well. Soon she started spending more and more time with us until, one day, I called my best friend, only to find that the two of them were hanging out alone. Meanwhile, my new friend had developed a crush on my best friend. Talk about feeling supplanted.

My best friend is a wonderful person. She is beautiful on both the inside and outside, and is smart and caring and funny and a good conversationalist, things I had never really had cause to be jealous of because I had my own little refuge – my group of friends, including my aforementioned new friend. However, current events caused me to feel like my tiny bit of territory was being encroached upon, and that gave birth to an acidic jealousy.

I did nothing. I told myself that as a friend, if I really loved either of them, my duty was to help them grow and make new friendships – not cut down the ones they managed to form on their own. So I said nothing and waited, which prevented my relationships from coming to harm, but burned me. Slowly, however, the situation improved. I still have all of my friends in my life. And even though I sometimes still feel that familiar feeling of jealousy welling up within me, I manage to suppress it, because I know that what I might gain by giving it expression would be less than what I’d lose – two of my best friends and a lot of love.

http://dailypost.wordpress.com/2013/05/23/daily-prompt-green-eyed-monster/

Me

In response to Meet Your Fellow Trifectans at http://www.trifectawritingchallenge.com/2012/01/meet-your-fellow-trifectans.html :

  1. What is your name (real or otherwise)?  windandlaughter
  2. Describe your writing style in three words. first-take creative surplus
  3. How long have you been writing online? just over a month
  4. Which, if any, other writing challenges do you participate in? 1.Daily Post’s “Daily Prompt” and “Weekly Writing Challenge”   and 2. Figment’s “Daily Themes”
  5. Describe one way in which you could improve your writing. Probably by excising out the redundant bits.
  6. What is the best writing advice you’ve ever been given? Charles Bukowski’s “So You Want To Be a Writer” http://allpoetry.com/poem/8509537-So_You_Want_To_Be_A_Writer-by-Charles_Bukowski
  7. Who is your favorite author?  J. K. Rowling
  8. How do you make time to write? I stay up late; it’s the perfect time to write – you can write undisturbed, and you never feel bad sacrificing sleep to your passion.
  9. Give us one word we should consider using as a prompt. Remember–it must have a third definition. art art
  10. Direct us to one blog post of yours that we shouldn’t miss reading. https://windandlaughter.wordpress.com/2013/05/21/walking-in-beauty/

Plants vs Zombies

After months of waiting, I finally got to spend some time bonding with my brother recently. And what better way to bond with a brother than Plants vs Zombies? Drafting up plans of attack while consolidating our three main lines of defense, we watched with bated breath as the pedantic zombies were beheaded and fell to the ground with the grace of artists, lacking the imagination to change their straight-on attack strategy(?).

Three days and several hard-won battles later, we have finally won the war, thanks to the never-fading vitality and potency of peas. And maybe of our relationship as well.

In response to Trifecta’s weekly writing competition:

http://www.trifectawritingchallenge.com/2013/05/trifecta-week-seventy-eight.html

Creativity, Georgia

Figment’s Daily Theme of the day:
Your Daily Theme for 5/22/20
Despair, Nevada
 
There are so many cities in the world, and a nearly infinite number of fictional towns in addition. Pick an intangible noun (think “hope,” “friendship,” “fear,” “loathing,”) and write a short scene set in a town with that name.
Creativity, Georgia

Ethan walked past Contraption Row on his way home from school, dragging his feet. He’d just managed to skip Creative Theory 101. What was so great about uniqueness anyway? Or even creativity? Why not just do whatever you want to, without bothering about the result? Why care about differentiating it from everything else? He kicked a rock in frustration. His eyes followed it as it rebounded off the signpost for Originality Lane and rolled to a stop near a broken mirror fragment, diffusing the reflecting sunlight. Thinking back to Haiku 101, he scribbled,

“Stolidly settled rock-

Softening sunbeam.”

He smiled.

 

Original Link:

http://figment.com/books/643574-Creativity-Georgia