Tag Archives: Writing

Soapy Exit

 

When I poured shampoo into the kitchen sink, the squid blew bubbles. By the time the foam cleared, he was gone. I never saw him again.

squid

I am trying to do two challenges with this post. The first is Grammar Ghoul Press’ Shapefitting challenge where we are challenged to write a story in 26 words including the words “kitchen”,”squid” and “shampoo.”

The next is Linda G Hill’s One liner Wednesday. I hope neither of the challenge hosts objects to my trying to kill two birds with one stone (or two squids with one wash).

#1linerWeds badge by nearlywes.com

Just when I thought I was off the hook!

I have been taking it easy lately. I haven’t blogged for ages, I haven’t written anything for the writers circle and my book is sitting at chapter four where it has been since June.

Those of you who follow my blog will know that I felt called to write after a Christian writers’ retreat. A couple of months ago I contacted Valerie who is involved in  a project called “Books in Homes Africa” Their mission is to produce affordable books so every home can buy them thus bringing literacy to South Africa.  Val was excited about some of my children’s books, including “The Saddest Little Sugar Bowl in the World.” The upshot is I have donated my children’s stories to the project.

I thought that was it. I thought that was what the call was about. I enjoyed the freedom of not having to look after my blog, not having to try to find time in my busy day to write. I deleted without reading all the e mails from writers’ blogs I had subscribed to.

I might need to rethink! An interesting set of co-incidences happened this last weekend.

  • First I got an e mail advising me that there was a pingback on one of my blog posts. When I went to check it out, I saw it was the one about the writers retreat and how I had felt called to write, “Waking the Dragon”
  • Then I also got an e mail from Val after months. I hadn’t worried or followed up at all because I had released my books to the wider world and what happened to them was none of my concern. However her e mail encouraged me and I thought maybe I could write more stories for beginner readers.
  • We were on a motorhome rally at a lovely resort in Vereniging over the weekend and I had brought my Kindle to do some reading. My cheaper version shows adverts for books from Amazon as the sleep screen and as I took up my Kindle on Saturday to continue reading “The Girl on the Train”, this is what I sawSo now I am going to have to get more disciplined again and go back to my novel. I’ll have to read the first three chapters again just o see what’s happening. I am just going to have to believe that whom God calls, he equips (Hebrews 13:21) because I certainly don’t have the  perseverance to do it on my own. I can’t even stick to a diet for a week!

Book Worm

SoCS badge 2015

This post is part of Streams of Consciousness Saturday. This week it must highlight the word  “book”. Even though it is late on Sunday night, I can’t resist posting for this because, you see, I am writing a book. That is to say, I have started a book. I have finished two chapters this year. This is where the worm comes in. Worms progress slowly. Earthworms progress in curves and spirals and that is how I feel my progress is going.

I was encouraged to start a novel when my short story, “They call me Nothing“, won first place in the SA Writers Circle monthly competition. This is no great honour because only about 20 people participate. Nevertheless the judge commented that some of the stories would make good novels so I thought I’d give it a try.

It has not been easy fitting writing into my schedule but if I can consider a chapter as only a short story which I have been trying to do once a month, it is attainable if I just keep going. So you won’t see my book on the bookshelves soon, if ever. Chapter Three is almost finished and school holidays are coming up so I hope I’ll have time to finish chapter three and maybe chapter four by the middle of July.

If we were having coffee right now

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This is part of the Everyday inspiration course.

 

If we were having coffee right now, I’d tell you about my weekend. I’d explain how I’m running a Company of Girl Guides. We only have seven and they are all new Guides. They joined at the beginning of the year. I’d explain about the camp and how, because it’s almost winter and the expected minimum temperature was 3 degrees, I had organised to pitch a tent in the Brownie hall and spend the night indoors.You’d shiver and agree that it was a wise decision and that personally, nothing would persuade you to abandon your comfy warm bed to sleep on the floor. I’d laugh and tell you about my assistant Guider, who was fantastic by day but at night snored like a saw mill and how I’d hardly had any sleep and after each camp I run I always vow that that would be my last. And it never is.

You’d ask what we do on camp and I’d bring out my photos to show you. See them here

If we were having coffee right now, I’d tell you about the dog. How, during campfire, every time a parent came and we had to open the electronic gate, a black Scottie dog came in and how my assistant Guider kept taking him out again. She was getting quite irritated at having to jump up each time a car arrived at our gate. With all the opening and closing, the gate, which was rather rickety to start with, decided to come off the rail at the bottom, making it impossible to close. We couldn’t do anything about it then but at the end of campfire I grabbed a father who had come to collect his daughter and he was able to lift the gate and put it back on the rails. We saw the parents off, took the dog out again and closed the gate for the night.

If we were having coffee together, I’d laugh as I recounted in my Assistant Guider’s words. “There I was, still half asleep, come to switch on the urn and this giant black rat jumped off your camping chair. It was that bloomin’ dog again. I got the fright of me life, I tell you. I lured him outside with a rusk – I hope we’ve got enough. He must have found a way in.”

If we were having coffee together, I’d tell you about Themba, my smallest Guide. She is black and comes from Alexandra. When the girls were all up having hot chocolate and rusks, the dog came to join us again. Themba jumped into my lap, dropping her rusk into her hot chocolate. With wide eyes, she pointed to the dog.

“Don’t you like dogs?” I’d asked her.

“I’m scared of them,” she’d said, almost shivering in my lap.

If we were having coffee together, I’d tell you how the rest of the camp was spent trying unsuccessfully to block any access points the dog might have, then organising how to keep Themba and the dog apart. He was actually a beautiful dog with an expensive, beaded collar, but no phone number on it. He obviously loved people and some of the girls started making plans of how they could ask their parents if they could take him home. The end of camp came, however and everybody went home leaving me and the dog.  I had a choice. I could leave the dog where he was or take him.

If we were having coffee together, I’d explain how I was not a dog person but rather a cat person and how the property we shared with our daughter and son in law had two cats, a rabbit and several birds. Then I’d probably start crying as I told you how I imagined that poor dog, cold and hungry looking for his owners. I suspected that a dog with such a lovely collar would have a microchip giving details of his owner.  I had already phoned the nearest vet but got no answer – probably because it was a Sunday. I remembered an animal clinic  in a suburb on my way home that was open 24 hours because the vet had a house behind the practice so I decided to take the dog there and he could scan for a microchip and maybe I could contact the owner.

If we were having coffee together, you might tell me that you had read in the newspapers that the Animal Clinic in question had closed down. I would say that that was exactly what I had found and that I had sat in the car with the dog trustingly sleeping in the back and cried and cried because I thought I had made the wrong decision. I had been told that the SPCA only keeps strays for 10 days before they are put to sleep and I hadn’t wanted to take him there but it seemed to be the only option. At least they would be able to scan for a microchip. I would take him the next day when everything was open again.

If we were having coffee together I would paint the picture of how the dog chased one of our cats up the tree and how I felt I had betrayed the cat who had been coming to greet me after my absence. I would tell you how I had had to close the dog in our 4m X 4m back garden and how he had cried when I left him alone there. It was then that I was sure that I had made the wrong decision. I would tell you how I phoned my best friend to ask to come and get some dog food and how she had told me that the SPCA had an all night number and how it was the best place to take the dog because that is where everybody phones if they have lost an animal. I found out that after a 4 day stray period the dog could be adopted. I decided to send an update to all the Guides’ parents so that if any of them were willing to adopt the dog I could give the SPCA their number.

I f we were having coffee together, I would show you the message I got from a lady whose daughter was no longer a Guide and hadn’t been for six months. I didn’t know she was still on the Guide whats app group She had seen a post on her suburb’s Facebook community group about a lost dog. It gave a number. Unfortunately by then I had already taken the dog to the SPCA. However, I phoned the owner and he now knows where his dog is. I am expecting any moment to get a message to say that they have been reunited.

If we were having coffee together, you would say that was such an amazing co-incidence. What if I had managed to persuade somebody else to take the dog to be scanned? What if the lady in my group had removed herself when her daughter had left Guides? What if I hadn’t had at least two parents who were vaguely interested in helping if the dog didn’t find his owner and I hadn’t sent the update with them in mind. What if the dog hadn’t chased my cat and I had not realized that he couldn’t stay the night? I would reply that I can clearly see the hand of God in the whole story.

 

Orange

rainbow prompt 2

“I present to you….” the Colour Master paused dramatically, “ORANGE!”

He flung down a swathe of living, writhing colour onto the sea. Its brightness dazzled the assembled audience. Then, with large, theatrical movements he gathered it  with both hands, formed it into a fiery ball and flung it into the western sky.

This is part of the Grammar Ghoul Shapeshifting Contest.  The photo is “Chasing Lava” by Nick Selway and CJ Kale

Badge: Shapeshifting 13 #48Shapeshifting 13 Winner #48

Maximilian Kolbe

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Photo by http://clairefuller.co.uk/

I am trying our a new challenge. In response to Rochelle Wisoff-Fields  Friday Fictioneers challenge for this week, I would like to submit the following story. It is based on a true  story that I first found out about when I was doing the Alpha Course.

Maximilian Kolbe

I am the only one left. Ten men were chosen. I was not one of them. Three prisoners had escaped Auschwitz so ten had to die by starvation in the underground bunker. Two weeks without food, without water.  My last companion succumbed this morning. I am a priest. I held his hand. I gave him the last rights.

Why am I the last? Is it because I alone had a choice? When he was selected, Franciszek Gajowniczek cried out, “My wife! My children!”

I chose. I asked to die in his place as my Saviour did for me.

Testing my wings

I wrote a little while ago about How I got to start this blog. How it all Began Taking the course on Blogging 101 is a little baby step in the blogging direction. I still don’t know what I am called to write so from the fiction side I have joined The South African Writers Circle and am trying to submit work once a month.

The purpose of my blog is to help other people also to realise that God has a plan for their lives too. I know He has a plan for mine, even if He isn’t always very forthcoming with details. Sometimes I forget this fact, especially when things are going badly and I am feeling depressed. I would like to share encouragement and insight.

I would like to connect with other Christians and see what the rest of the body is up to.

I have a couple of other blogs. One is personal and not for sharing, one is about how I got to start a Guide Company in a disadvantaged black area and then subsequently took over another company as well and finally closed the first one. Now it is mostly photos of our activities. See  My Guide blog   One was started as a travel log when we went to visit my son and daughter-in-law in New Zealand and meet our new grandson. It then evolved to include other places we have visited. See My travel blog. My last blog was taken from a booklet I made for the Eskom Eta awards to encourage energy efficiency and is about saving energy while cooking as well as recipes to use a solar oven, hot box or combination. See Energy efficient cooking.

So now you know a reasonable amount about me. I am a mother and grandmother, wife, Christian, Guider and am excited about energy saving. I love to travel but usually can’t afford it.  I can add that I am a scientist working as a lab assistant in  a high school, I enjoy crafts, I am a chocoholic and love cats.

How it all began

Waking the Dragon

I thought writing was my dream. I was wrong. After spending about 5 years writing two novels and a children’s book, sending e mails to hundreds of agents and publishers, giving the books to friends to read, even I had to realize that I was not a writer. At least not a fiction writer.

Sure I can write sermons. At a retreat about 13 years ago Rowan Rogers talked about unopened treasures packed away in boxes right beside us. An image came into my mind of a pair of golden lips and a golden pen. As a result I became a Local Preacher in the Methodist Church where I was inducted in 2006 after two years of studying and practice.

My children’s book, “The saddest Little Sugar Bowl in the World” was written particularly for children who were somehow “different”. I got a better response for that one but still nobody wanted to publish it. Finally I published 50 copies myself and then went from bookshop to bookshop trying to get somebody to sell them for me. I sold some at work but still have 20 copies left, lying abandoned in a pile.

It was like I had a tiny dragon in my hand who could breathe the fire of a message. He had wings that could take the written word far and wide but after years of trying hard and repeated failure, his puff just got weaker and weaker. Finally his fire was no more than green smoke rings and then died out altogether. Eventually he just gave up, folded his wings and went to sleep. I put him in my pocket and forgot about him.

Why did I sign up for a workshop and retreat called “My Story for His Glory”? I am not quite sure but it became increasingly obvious that my God wanted me there. Run by Joan Campbell and Mandy Hackland in the beautiful Good Shepherd Retreat Centre overlooking Hartebeestpoort Dam, it was exactly what it promised, both a workshop and a retreat.

During the workshop I leaned more of the craft and techniques. I discovered that maybe, just maybe, I could write fiction.

On Sunday the retreat aspect of the weekend was highlighted. The reading I chose for my quiet time was John 21. “Throw your net on the right side of the boat.” In other words, do things differently. At my feet I noticed the most unusual stick I have ever seen. It ended in a spiral. It was a different way to do stick. That was my message, “learn to paint off the canvas. Find new ways of doing things.”

In our little worship service, Mandy spoke about a gold pen. I knew it was a confirmation of my previous calling. I realized that writing wasn’t my dream. It was my ministry. God called me to write. I was anointed with everybody else to write for the Lord.

So, in a way, the weekend woke my dragon and rekindled his fire – only, it isn’t my dragon. It belongs to God. The gift is His and He will send it where He wants to use it.

What next? I don’t know. Do I rewrite my fiction novels? Write and publish more children’s books? Write a blog? Write devotions?

Only God can lead me and that will be one baby step at a time. Writing this post is one little step. I will get a notebook. I will write 5 lines a week. The rest is up to the Dragon Master.

green dragon2