Writing Prompt – Stan’s story the conclusion

Bud had a hard time sleeping last night, but knew he needed to tell his friends what he did. They decided to meet for coffee at Stan’s house at 10:00 AM. Annie left last night, so they could check it out without her knowing anything about what he did. Bud was a bit relieved he could confess to just the guys. He hoped it might make his confessing easier.

Continue reading “Writing Prompt – Stan’s story the conclusion”

Writing Prompt – Stan’s Story part 3

This has been a fun prompt! It has turned itself into a short story. I have found in many of my writing experiences you just never know what adventure a story line can take you on. During the week, I did some thinking about where I thought the story should go and decided I would just start writing and see where it actually goes.

****

Bud didn’t know what to say to his wife. He was ashamed to tell his friends what he did to the time capsule. Not only did he take their chosen items out, but he put a gag gift back in. At the time, he thought they would never see it again and if someone did find it, they would get a good laugh out of the joke.

“They will be really mad. Annie put a couple of her prized possessions at the time in there. She is probably looking forward to seeing them again.”

“You are going to have to tell them. Otherwise, you will have to live with the guilt of what you have done. Just come clean with it honey. You will feel better about it.”

“I don’t know. I’ll have to sleep on it. I’m heading up to bed. Are you coming?”

“I just want to watch my show. I’ll be up after.”

“Ok,” Bud replied, and walked toward the stairs to their second floor. He turned back towards Helena and started to say something. He stopped and turned towards the stairs to bed.

#

After a night of tossing and turning, he woke up an hour before the alarm was scheduled to go off. He looked over at Helena still asleep and decided to head downstairs and make some coffee.

While he waited for the coffee maker to finish, he figured he would have to tell the guys what he did. Maybe Stan could help him talk Annie through it if she was upset. He nodded. He would meet up with the guys on Saturday at Stan’s house.

#

It was hard to get through the rest of the week. He was afraid that his friends would get angry and that Annie would be disappointed in him. In a small town like Stanley, having friends mad at you could eventually have the whole town mad at you. News spread really quickly here. Waiting was making him feel worse. He didn’t know if he was going to be able to do it.

He continued to have problems sleeping throughout the entire week. When his daughter and her family came on Friday to stay the weekend with them, he was having a hard time staying awake. He was happy to see them, but distracted by what he had to do. He needed to get this over with and was glad he would tomorrow.

****

Be sure to stop by the Monday Morning Blog next week for the final installment of Stan’s story. Adding my little book promos at the end of the post feels like a commercial after the show is over for the night.

And now for the book promo…

Looking for a good middle grade early teen read? Be sure to pick up a copy of The Hard Way! It is available in e-book format on Amazon.com and in paperback on both Amazon.com and BarnesandNoble.com.

The Hard Way Thumbnail

Here is the Amazon.com link! The Hard Way – Amazon.com

And the Barnes and Noble link! The Hard Way – Barnes and Noble

 

Writing Prompt – Stan’s Story continued

And the story continues…

All three men walked out of The Kasino Club and into the parking lot together. Bud walked over to his grey pick up truck on the far end of the lot. They decided to get together on Saturday to open up the capsule. Bud hoped they would never open it.

He drove to his house and parked his truck in the driveway. He sat there for a minute and took a deep breath. He didn’t know what he was going to do about Saturday. He may have to make up an excuse and not show up. Maybe his wife Helena had plans for them on Saturday. He could only hope.

Bud walked in and saw Helena sitting in her recliner watching tv.

“How was you guys night?” Helena asked.

“It was ok. Same as always.”

“I thought you liked getting together with them?”

“I do. We were talking about the past tonight and it made me feel a little bit weird.”

“Why?”

“It goes back to high school honey, you may not understand.”

“You always say that after you get together with them. I was in high school once. Maybe not at your school. We did some of the same things you did. I may just understand.”

Bud thought about what she said. Maybe it would make him feel better to talk to her and get some advice on how to handle it with the guys.

“OK, maybe you can help me. Before we graduated, we created a time capsule.”

“A time capsule? That sounds kind of neat.”

“Annie spearheaded the whole project. Stan and Harvey played a long.”

“What about you?”

“Honestly, I thought it was kind of dumb, but I contributed a couple of things to it.”

“This all sounds good to me. What would make you feel weird?”

“I did something to the time capsule.”

“What did you do?”

“I took everything out of it and replaced the items with something else.”

“What?” Helena replied, “why would you do that?”

“I thought the whole idea was dumb. And I decided to make a joke out of it. I didn’t think Annie was going to get it from Madison Lake and keep it in her attic.”

“What did you put in there instead?” she asked, “Did you keep the other stuff someplace?”

“I don’t think I can tell even you what I put in there. It is pretty embarrassing. I can’t remember what I did with the stuff we originally put in there. I want to say I put it in a bag and hid it at my parents’ house. If I did, well, we know what happened to their house.”

“It burned down.”

“Yep.”

“What else could you have done with it?”

“Maybe thrown it away in a dumpster?”

“Oh Bud.”

“I know. I’m not feeling good about it now. I wanted it to be funny.”

“Well, it won’t be funny. That’s for sure. What did you put in there?”

“Can’t tell you.”

“I think you are going to have to Bud. It may be the only way that we can figure out what to do about it.”

Bud sat on the sofa and shook his head.

“I can’t Helena.”

“Well, they are going to find out when they open it. When are you going to tell them?”

“I was thinking we could got out of town this weekend and go see Mandy and the kids.”

“And not be here when they open it, right?”

“No, I want to go and see my daughter and grandkids in McCall.”

“Bud, you are going to have to tell them.”

“Can’t I just let them open it? Think someone else changed out the items in it?”

“You want your friends to just find out like that? When you know you did it?”

“I don’t know if I can face them with what I did, Helena. It happened a long time ago. I thought they would have forgotten the whole thing.”

“I can understand your feelings, Bud. But you are going to need to come clean with what you did.”

“What if I don’t want to?”

“Bud! Are you seriously telling me that you wouldn’t tell your friends what you did?”

****

Be sure to stop by the Monday Morning Blog next week to find out what happens next in Stan’s story.

 

And now for the book promo…

Looking for a good middle grade early teen read? Be sure to pick up a copy of The Hard Way! It is available in e-book format on Amazon.com and in paperback on both Amazon.com and BarnesandNoble.com.

The Hard Way Thumbnail

Here is the Amazon.com link! The Hard Way – Amazon.com

And the Barnes and Noble link! The Hard Way – Barnes and Noble

 

Writing Prompt – Stan’s Story

Happy Monday! Hope you all enjoy your Labor Day holiday!

As I was walking Maddie in our neighborhood after I posted last week’s post, I started coming up with a possible answer to what Stan wanted to share with Bud and Harvey at The Kasino Club.

“Let me tell you a story,” Stan replied.

“Ok,” Bud said.

“You guys know Annie, my wife. Of course you do. She was remembering the good ole days when we were in high school. With the 50s music, poodle skirts and dances.”

“Those were some fun times,” Harvey replied, nodding his head.

“She went up into the attic and pulled her hope chest out of the dustiest corner of the room. Guess what else we found back there?”

“What?” Bud and Harvey asked in unison.

“The time capsule that Annie made us put together after high school graduation.”

“You still have that thing?” Harvey asked, “I forgot all we did that.”

“After we got back from our honeymoon, Annie went and got it from the place in the woods where we buried it. She wanted to make sure we kept it in a safe place. Do you remember where it was buried?”

“Out by Madison Pond. By the fourth tree away from the lake.”

“Good memory Harvey.”

Bud looked down at the table. He couldn’t make eye contact with anyone.

“What’s wrong with you?” Stan asked Bud as he took a big gulp of his beer.

“I’m just not as excited about the time capsule as you two are.”

“O.k,” Stan replied, “so when should we all get together to open it?”

“Shouldn’t this be something the wives should schedule? They always undo our plans and redo them with what works for them,” Harvey stated.

“I was thinking of taking a look before we all get together.”

“Annie will be mad Stan.” Bud finally said.

“He speaks!” Harvey exclaimed.

“They can’t be mad if they don’t know. Annie is going to be at her mom’s this weekend, so we’ll have the house all to ourselves.”

Be sure to stop by the Monday Morning Blog next week to find out what is in the time capsule.

And now for a book promo…

Looking for a good middle grade early teen read? Be sure to pick up a copy of The Hard Way! It is available in e-book format on Amazon.com and in paperback on both Amazon.com and BarnesandNoble.com.

The Hard Way Thumbnail

Here is the Amazon.com link! The Hard Way – Amazon.com

And the Barnes and Noble link! The Hard Way – Barnes and Noble

This week – A Writing Prompt

Happy Monday!

When trying to come up with an idea for this week’s blog, I tried to brainstorm something different to write about. I have been writing a lot lately about my self publishing experience. I really haven’t had a lot of time this week to read a book for a review. So, I decided to pick out a writing prompt from the book 642 Things to Write About. So, here we go…

The Prompt: Write about a scene at The Kasino Club, the only bar in Stanley, Idaho, on an ordinary Tuesday night. Stanley’s population is just under five hundred and it is best known for being the coldest place in the lower forty-eight.

Harvey Nickel pulled up to The Kasino club in his 1978 Ford pickup truck like he did every Tuesday night after dinner. He met up with his friends Bud Lincoln and Stan Plank. They had all grown up together in Stanley, Idaho, playing football and baseball in high school. Tuesday night was their designated “boys night”. While they were out doing their thing, the wives got together to either play cards or work on their quilting project.

 The women at the church were working on making quilts for the people who lived on the north side of town, called Terrance. The people in Terrance lived in the poor side of the town and the ladies of the church tried to take those families under their wing. Stanley was the coldest place in the lower forty-eight states, so who couldn’t use an extra quilt to keep warm?

Everyone in Stanley knew each other. What would you expect with a town of only 500 people? As Harvey walked into the club, he waved at the familiar faces and saw Stan sitting in their normal place, the round booth in the corner. Stan’s parents had named him Stan after the name of the town. It wasn’t known for sure if they meant to do it, or just couldn’t come up with anything else. He got teased a lot growing up about being the mascot of the town.

“Hey Harv,” Stan said and raised his glass to him.

“Good to see you Stan. Is the tap any good tonight?”

“Dave said that this week’s brew came all the way from Boise.”

“I’ll go and get me one. Do you need anything?”

“No, I’m fine with the one I got.”

The club only got beer shipments once a week. Dave, the bartender, asked the delivery guy to bring a different kind each time so he could keep his customers happy. They were still all tap beers and Harvey couldn’t really taste much of a difference between them. As he walked back to the table, Bud was coming in the door. He made eye contact with Harvey and walked over.

“Looks like we are all here.”

“Like we always are,” Bud said as he laid his jacket on the seat and looked over at Stan, “let me get a beer and then you can tell us your big news.”

“I won’t say anything until you get back.”

Harvey laughed, “it will be the quietest five minutes tonight.” 

Stan just shook his head, but stuck to his word and didn’t say anything until Bud sat down with his beer.

“Ok, so I have some great news.”

“What is it?” Harvey asked.

I thought about what would be a clever thing for Stan to say. Maybe he is moving or he is becoming a grandpa. Those would both be big news items for our small town setting. What news would you have Stan give to his friends?
 

Daily Prompt – Twinkle

Daily Prompt – 9/7/16

I decided to try the WordPress daily prompt today and try and get my feet wet in the community pool.

The first thing that comes to mind when I see the word twinkle is the song Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star. I think about looking out of my bedroom window as a child at all of the stars in the sky, wondering where they are.

How many love songs were written about both people in a love sick couple looking up and wishing on the same twinkling star in the sky?

I have always been intrigued with things in the sky. Laying in the grass looking up at the clouds. Trying to figure out what they were as they floated by. At night, trying to figure out what the multiple shapes the stars were forming. They are called constellations. Funny thing about the word constellation, in grade school we had to pick a spelling demon word, learn how to spell it and know what it means. I picked constellation.

As a pilot, I have to look up into the sky when planes fly by. Most pilots can identify the type of plane it is. I just wonder how they are ever able to get those big machines into the sky. It is a thing of beauty and wonder for me.

Just like stars twinkle, people can also carry a twinkle in their eye. I love to see that twinkle. Santa Claus has one in The Night Before Christmas poem. Sometimes it is a twinkle in a good way, sometimes it is a warning that they are up to no good. I think in Santa’s case, it was a twinkle created by the good feeling he was receiving from delivering the gifts to all of the children around the world.

So, in a short blog post, that is what the word twinkle means to me. And this is my first stab at the daily prompt.

Writing Prompt #4

Back at it again. I decided to pick another prompt from the book 642 Things to Write About. Here is the one for this week.

Write an anonymous letter to a stranger detailing the things you have you’ve learned about life.

To Whom It May Concern,

My name is Selma and I have been on this earth for almost forty eight years now. When I received your question about what I’ve learned about in life, I thought about the many things I have confronted and observed in my life so far. There are many simple lessons learned, but here are a few of the bigger ones and my thoughts about them.

My right is not necessarily someone else’s.

We all place judgement on what we see. To me the color may be blue, to you it may be teal. We do the same thing with people, even though we don’t think we do. We see things through our own life colored glasses. The how and why we do something is based on historical knowledge and present facts. I’m the type of person who grew up always doing the right thing. I think I did it to impress people, but also so I wouldn’t get into trouble. From that angle, I think I learned that the right thing is always right. Other people have gotten to the same place I am on a different road. What was right for them may not have been right for me. And that is o.k.

Teenagers are going to make bad decisions.

As much as we want to direct them to do the right thing (or what we might have done), they are going to make bad decisions. Decisions are made from life experience. Most teenagers haven’t done much living to have a base to make their decisions from.We can all look back on our lives and see things that we could have done better or smarter. Sometimes when these things are done, we don’t have the life experience that we need at the time to make the best decision. Teenagers aren’t necessarily the only ones who suffer from that problem.

Accept and appreciate each other’s differences and what they have to contribute.

This is one is really showing itself in how we relate to people today.  I struggle with what slavery did to the black and poor endured servants. Even though we may have different colored skin or more money, doesn’t mean that anyone is better than anyone else. I see that the blacks in American experienced what most people shouldn’t be put through. Most of them were brought here as slaves and treated badly by many white slave holders. I think this has created a feeling of retribution and anger that we still feel today.

I wish that we could start talking and listening to each other more. Hear what bothers us and others and see what we can do to fix it. Instead, people are reacting to and perpetuating this anger. For example, when it seems that someone is killed just because they were  black, and not because they did something to be shot, the anger is only seeing one side of what happened. Or, innocent families are being killed because of this anger and the killer just wants to make them pay because they happen to be the other color. Not everyone feels this way. There seems to be a minority from both sides perpetuating this negative view of the other group out of anger and retribution. By talking and listening, I think we can try and make this better.

People can be mean.

What people say to one another can be hurtful. Kids and teenagers do this to each other all of the time, since they don’t have the nuances on how to say something yet or they think it sounds cool. There’s even a movie called Mean Girls that shows how this phenomena has been happening in schools. I was teased in high school and even shunned by my friends because they decided that they didn’t want to be around me. They judged me to be a lesbian, even though I wasn’t. They carved the word “IT” into my band locker door so that they could show the world what they thought of me. Were they trying to be funny? Maybe in some ways, since they didn’t know how this would eventually affect me. It happened during my senior year and forced me to find new friends to hang out with just before graduation. It changed the whole way that I thought my high school career would end. On a sad note. They came back to me a year later and wanted to hang out. I didn’t do it, I couldn’t figure out why they would want to. Guilt I’m sure. This is the same kind of story that goes on in kids lives everyday, and in some cases have led them to commit suicide. I still deal with abandonment and trust issues to this day because of what they did. It made a major impact on me and the way that I am today.

All of these lessons have something to do with how people are and treat others. I’m the kind of person who has gotten hurt by people by being too nice, not setting enough boundaries, and giving too much benefit of the doubt. I’ve kept the hurt to myself so that I don’t make others feel bad and out of fear that they will walk away from me, like my friends in high school. I don’t think that I would change the way that I am, but I wish that people would be able to communicate with each other, find out what is wrong and try to fix it. Don’t be mean just to prove that you can. And don’t be afraid to ask for help when you aren’t sure what to do.

We all walk on different paths in life. The choices that we make and the things that we do are determined by our experience. We can make changes to make our experience either better or different. Don’t be afraid to do it if it can make things better.

Hope that this letter helped to answer your questions. Please let me know if you have any additional questions.

Have a great day,

Selma

Writing Prompt #3

Just an everyday writing prompt

So far this month, I’ve been using my own unfinished ideas and moving them forward for writing prompts. By developing those ideas, I may be able to add them to other ideas to make another story or a novel down the line.

Other writing prompts that are out there to give writers ideas to free write about. They come in the form of written statements, description of a scene, pictures or even songs. These ideas are found in books, online or in daily postings. These can be used as practice exercises or the start of something bigger. On some of my Facebook writing groups they are also referred to plot bunnies.

Writing Prompt – Writers Unite!

One of the Facebook writing groups that I belong to is Writers Unite. This is the paragraph that they created to introduce a writing prompt for the group. Usually it is in the form of a picture and it is used to start the creative juices going.

“We don’t put up prompts expecting a novel or even a novella. We put them up to get the creative juices flowing. All we ask is a paragraph or two to extend the prompt to what you see as the next step or the quick conclusion. Your imagination is like a muscle. The more you use it the stronger it gets. So… give it five minutes and tell me what your mind comes up with.

This image is being used simply as a writing exercise and is not free to use for any professional purposes at all since we do not have the rights to this picture.”

I have a book on my writing shelf called 642 Things to Write About by The San Francisco Writers’ Grotto. I think I’ll pick that one up and randomly pick something and use it as a writing prompt. Here’s the writing prompt that I picked for this blog entry from 642 Things to Write About.

You wake up by the side of the road lying next to a bicycle with no memory and no wallet. What happens in the next hour?

Gingerly getting up from the ground, she looked around the ditch she was sitting in. She didn’t know where she was or how she got there, but it was on the side a two two lane country road. She brushed herself off and noticed some road rash on her shin. Had she swerved to avoid something? How did she end up in the ditch? She didn’t remember, but got up and picked up her bike.

As she pushed her bike back up onto the road, she was trying to decide which way to go. She looked both ways and saw a sign to her right that said Smithville 5 miles. She decided that it was a doable ride to get there, so she got on her bike and started to pedal. She looked at the area around her and still didn’t recognize anything. She hoped that once she got to Smithville that she would.

After about a half hour on the road, she saw the city limits sign for Smithville and a gas station just beyond it. She decided to stop and ask for some information. She was hoping that someone could help her with who she was since she didn’t seem to remember that either.

She pulled into the gas station and parked her bike in the bike rack. This place must know something about riders to actually have a bike rack. That made her feel a little more confident about all of this unknown around her. Walking into the gas station she headed right to the bottled beverages section, feeling the need for a bottled water. She didn’t know how long she had been laying in the ditch before she came to. As she walked up to the register to pay, she reached for a couple of dollars that she carried in the pocket of her biker shorts. She found it odd that she couldn’t remember where she was, but she knew where the cash was.

“Will that be all for you today?” the clerk asked as he took the money from her.
“Where is Smithville?”
“Why do you ask that? Don’t you know where you are Wendy?”
“My name is Wendy?”
“Yes, Wendy Wilson. Did something happen to you on the ride?”
“I must have swerved to avoid something and hit my head. I woke up and didn’t have any idea of where and who I was.”
“Are you ok? Do we need to call a doctor?”
“No, I just have a little road rash on my shin. I should be able to bike home. Where do I live?”
“You live in Smithville. A little place out by the lake. Been in your family for years,” the clerk replied, “let me take you there. I can put your bike on the back of my truck.”
“This is going to sound like a crazy question, but do I know you?”
“I’m Ian. I’m your cousin.”
“I’m sorry. I must have hit my head pretty hard, but I don’t feel any bumps.”
“Maybe something else happened to your memory. I’ll be able to take you home in about twenty minutes. I’ll be done with my shift. Can you wait until then?”
“I probably should anyway. Since I don’t seem to know where I am.”

She took a seat in a little eating area that was located next to the deli. She was relieved to learn that she was close to her home. It would have been harder to deal with this if she were farther away where she didn’t know anyone. Wendy was glad that she found Ian here, he seemed nice. She sat there drinking the water wondering why she didn’t recognize anything if she did live here. She smiled as Ian walked over.

“Are you ready?”
“Yes, let’s go and get my bike,” Wendy replied as they walked out of the store together.

They walked over to the bike racks and unlocked her bike. She followed Ian as he rolled her bike over to his truck where he put it in the cargo area in the back. After closing the tail gate, he walked over and opened the passenger door for her.

“Here we go,” Ian said and started the truck.

He pulled out on to the same road Wendy had come into town on. He ran through the middle of town and took a left where the road ran into a dead end at Lake O’Brian.

“What a pretty lake,” Wendy said.
“Yes. It’s a beautiful place.”
“Is this the lake I live on? You said that I live on a lake.”
“It is Wendy. You live there with your husband Joel.”
“I’m married?”
“Yes, you have been married for a long time. You guys just celebrated your fortieth anniversary last month.”
“Wow. I can’t say that I remember that. Now I feel kind of sad.”
“We’re almost to your place. You’ll get to see Joel in a minute.”

Pulling off of the road and turning to the right, they drove onto a gravel road. After a couple of curves on the path through the woods, a two story log cabin appeared ahead of them. There was a man walking out of the house towards the spot where Ian’s truck stopped. Joel walked over to the passenger side and opened the door.

“Did you go out on a little adventure honey?” Joel asked her.
“I guess that I did. I don’t remember where I was, but I made it to the gas station and found Ian.”
“I’m glad that you found him, I was a little worried about you.”
“Why don’t I remember?”
“You are suffering from the onset of Alzheimer’s. You can remember things great sometimes and then times like this happen and you lose your train of thought or memory for how to get back home.”
“When did this start?”
“About six months ago, with smaller things. This is the first time you’ve taken the bike and not come back on your own though.”
“Do I like to bike?” she asked and started to cry.
“Yes, you do,” Joel replied in a very patient voice as he put his arms around her, “You love to bike all over.”
“Why can’t I remember it?” she asked through her crying.
“It’s a terrible disease that takes your memory from you. I’m sad about it too.”

And that’s how a random writing prompt works. I was able to come up with a short story that took this prompt on my own writing journey. Some of the inspiration for this was based on a book we just read for book club last month called Still Alice by Lisa Genova. And some of it is from a tough time that a good friend of mine is currently going through with her Dad and his dementia. She’s on my mind quite a bit lately, so that probably played a part in my experience with this one.

Writing journeys can definitely be affected by what is going on or has happened in our lives. It’s the experience that we can write from that can make our words more meaningful to us.

Writing Prompt #2

Snow White

Research for writing projects can become an interesting learning experience. Just like the act of looking something up on Wikipedia can turn into a two hour long journey starting with bears and winding up reading about Alaskan Explorers.

We are all familiar with the Disney movie, Snow White. I remember pulling the VCR tape out of the white box with her picture on the front. I wasn’t aware that it started off as a written story modified into a fairy tale, then into a Broadway Play and then into a black and white silent film before it even became the movie that I loved as a kid.

So, when I started looking into Snow White a little deeper, here are some of the interesting historical facts that came up. According to Wikipedia,

  • The original story of Snow White was published 1812 but the Grimms revision to make it more of a fairy tale came along in 1854.
  • The Broadway Play debuted on October 31, 1912 at Little Theater. Marguarite Clark played Snow White.
  • The seven dwarves were originally called Blick, Flick, Glick, Snick, Plick, Whick, and Quee, who was the youngest boy with a thievery issue.

When the story hit Broadway, Snow White was played by Marquarite Clark, an American stage and silent film actress, who made her Broadway debut in 1900, but her lead role in Snow White ultimately defined her persona as an actress. The first film version of Snow White was released December 25, 1916 as an American silent romantic fantasy. Walt Disney was fifteen when he saw the Broadway show in his hometown, Kansas City, and made it the subject of his first feature length animated film in 1937.

Digging a little bit deeper into the subject, I started looking at Clark’s personal life outside of the movie industry. She married Harry Palmerston Williams on August 15, 1918. Once I started on this path, I found out that not only was her life and career interesting, so was her husband’s. After closing a lumber company he had owned, he was looking for other interests to pursue. First it was fast boats, and then it was airplanes. He was prompted by Lindbergh’s solo flight across the Atlantic to buy a Ryan Monoplane from Jimmy Wedell, who he wound up going into the aviation business with.

Her husband’s company built air racers along with other aviation enterprises.  Her last film in 1921 was called Scrambled Wives, a silent comedy film which she took part in directing. After which she retired to her husband’s plantation.When her husband died in a plane crash on May 19, 1936, she became the sole owner of Wendell-Williams Air Service Corporation. Ironically, the other owners of the company had died in plane crashes before Harry. She wound up selling the company in 1937. The assets from the commercial airline piece of the company (the New Orleans to Houston air routes) wound up being the founding pieces of what would eventually become Eastern Airlines.

She died in 1940 at the Leroy Sanitorium of pneumonia.

Wow! And their story is a part of the Eastern Airlines story. Never knew that there was a connection between Snow White and an airline did you? Funny how life works out.

I’m trying to remember how the research got started about Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs in the first place. Was is on purpose? Or was it something I stumbled upon while looking into some other topic? Whatever the reason, it ended up netting me some great information to start writing about. As I look back at my notes, the Snow White information that I stumbled onto was originally going to become some additional family history for Mrs. Stockton, a character I have written stories about in a previous blog. She was the main character in an episode story that I created in July and August of 2014. That blog story became the inspiration for a short story that I wrote called  Mrs. Stockton’s Journey

The rough draft I started with those notes, talks about Shirley Stockton and her Grandmother’s love of Snow White. Her Grandmother had gone to New York City to see Clark at the Little Theater in 1912. At that show, she received a Snow White figurine from her mother.This figurine was handed down through the family and now sat on a shelf in the office in Mrs. Stockton’s house. She had placed it next to a picture of her Granddaughter Shelby when she had been Snow White for Halloween. She knew in her heart that Shelby would be the one to get the figurine when she passed away. With this draft, I even went so far as to figure out what years would work for my characters to be able to see the Broadway show for Shirley’s Grandma and the animated film for her Mom. The 1937 Disney Animated film was the one that she would have seen to make my timeline work for that part of the story.

On some other notes I found with with this same theme, I started a story about an elementary school English teacher, Mrs. Abbott. She was an older lady that lived outside of town. She was a cat lady who owned seven cats that she named after each of the seven dwarfs from Snow White. Mrs. Abbott named her cats after the original characters to stay true to the original story. She, like Mrs. Stockton’s Grandmother, had a love for Snow White and her class even made it her nickname.

Not all creative ideas are destined to take off into a story right away. Some of them just provide writing practice to see where the writer can take them with their current creative flow. And some of them will take on a life of their own at a later time and place. My writing mentor who passed away six years ago told me that sometimes the first manuscript that you write, never gets published. It winds up being a practice one for you to hone your craft with. It kind of shocked me when she said it. She saw the look if surprise that I must have had on my face and said,

“It isn’t a bad thing. It only helps you to become a better writer.”

I still have my first manuscript that my mentor refers to. It isn’t the one that I’m getting ready to have edited in a week. That one sits in a binder on my shelf with some good practice in it.

 

Writing Prompt #1

Happy Monday! For this week’s blog, I wanted to do a creative writing exercise, so I decided on a writing prompt. For those of you that don’t know, a writing prompt can be a statement, idea, picture or even a word that is picked and you just start writing about it. It is a great way to practice writing and to get the creative juices flowing in your head. I looked through a file of my own started story lines and picked one to work with. This one was titled Farming in Nebraska and was about a young girl wondering what happened to her Grandpa Harvey. This is where I took that idea for today’s blog.

Harvey

Harvey Knowlton was born and raised as a farmer. His father was a farmer and his grandfather was a farmer. Even though farming was the family business, Harvey’s son, Jacob, went to college in Lincoln, Nebraska and he became a banker. Harvey had hoped that his only son would want to be in the family business so he could hand the farm down to him to run. Jacob has two children, Robert and Samantha, so Harvey at least had hope that he could keep the farm in his immediate family.

Lately, he felt his body starting to wear out. He ran the farm with a couple of men he hired from a 4H event he attended just after Jacob went off to college. Working with Jack and Kurt was just like it had been when he was growing up. Harvey and his six brothers worked the farm together under his father’s supervision and it ran like a well oiled machine, his Grandfather made sure of that when he bought it and set everything up.

Ever since his wife Olivia passed away, just after Samantha was born ten years ago, Harvey had breakfast almost every day at Dolly’s Diner. He drove his light colored truck down the gravel road leading away from the farm, with the familiar sound of the crunching rocks under the tires. The truck always had a thin layer of gravel dust on it, which was never washed off.

After turning onto Main Street, he drove a couple of blocks down and pulled into Dolly’s. The parking lot was pretty full every morning, since it was the community meeting place to catch up on the daily West Branch gossip. He got out of the truck and headed into the diner and saw his long time friend Virgil Potter sitting in his normal spot at the counter. Virgil owned the gas station couple of blocks down Main from Dolly’s. It was handed down through his family like Harvey’s farm was to him. Virgil waved and Harvey acknowledged him with a slight wave in return and walked over to take an empty stool next to him.

“How are things today Harvey?”
“Good, Virgil. How are things with you?”
“Peachy, just peachy.”

That was the same greeting that has been exchanged between them every morning for years. Peachy was something that Virgil’s Dad, Stuart, always used to say.

“Coffee for you today, Harvey?” Claire asked Harvey, from the other end of the counter.
“Yes, please. Thanks Claire.”

Claire had worked at the Dolly’s since she was a teenager. She had grown up in West Branch, married her high school sweetheart, bought a house and raised kids here. Harvey liked the routine in West Branch, but was thinking it was getting a little bit boring. Or, maybe this was a part of why he was feeling tired lately. When Jacob announced that he had been accepted to the University of Nebraska, Harvey felt a little jealous. He had a great life here as a farmer, but hadn’t done much else or been many other places.

“Something the matter Harvey?” Virgil asked, “You haven’t heard a thing I’ve said to you.”
“Sorry Virgil, what did you say?”
“I was saying that the corn growers association meeting was really interesting last night, where were you?”
“I went to sleep right after dinner. Sorry I didn’t let you know.”
“No problem. I just wanted to make sure you knew that our farm rep was going to bring a couple of new seed samples before next year’s planting.”
“Thanks.”
“Is there something wrong with you?”
“No, I feel fine. Just doing a lot of thinking lately.”
“Well, you are coming to the Tractor Show on Friday, right?”
“I’ll be there to help you out Virgil.”
“I hope so, whenever we do the tractor parade there are a lot of people milling around. Another hand with the security detail sure does help out.”
“Glad to be of help. What time do you want me to be there?”
“Let’s meet at the Fairgrounds at 3:00.”
“It’s a plan.”

They continued the conversation over their normal breakfast selections, Virgil had the special and Harvey had ham and eggs. Afterwards they walked out to their trucks together and they each headed home to start on their daily farming tasks.

Harvey drove out of town and onto the gravel road back to the farm. He couldn’t explain how he was feeling right now. He felt very calm and reflective in thought. He was typically an easy going man anyway, but lately he has felt an additional level calm.

When he pulled the truck in by the barn, Kurt was walking out. Then as he saw the truck pull in, he started walking towards it. Harvey got out and started walking towards him.

“Good Morning!”
“Good morning Kurt. How are you?”
“Good. Did you just get back from town?”
“Yes. I just had breakfast at the Diner.”
“Sounds great. We finished tuning up the big tractor. And should be able to run it through the fields today.”
“Are you and Jack going to be able to get that done?”
“Shouldn’t be a problem at all Harvey. Did you have any thing else planned for us to get done today?”
“You know how it works around here, Kurt. But thank you for asking.”
“Then we’ll get the fields tilled. And meet you at the house for dinner tonight.”
“Sounds good. Are you guys planning on going to the Tractor show Friday night? Virgil needs help with crowd control and I’m sure he would love the extra help.”
“Yeah, I was planning on it and I think Jack was too.”
“I’ll let him know. See you at dinner tonight.”

Kurt went around the backside of the barn while Harvey walked back towards the farmhouse. He stopped in front and just stared at it. It made him smile as he remembered bringing Olivia to the farm the first time after they were married. His parents built a carriage house for them to live in until they both moved to the retirement home. Being the oldest, he was given first right to take over the family farm. His other brothers all moved out to their own farms or their wives family farms.

Harvey continued to stand there now remembering the day they brought Jacob home from the hospital, when he started to feel sharp pains in his chest. As he raised his hands to grab at his heart, he fell to the ground. When Kurt and Jack came in from the fields for lunch a couple hours later, they found Harvey laying on the ground looking up at the sky smiling.

|*|

Samantha couldn’t believe what had happened to Grandpa Harvey. He had been standing on the front porch the last time she was there and now he was gone. Her family had come back to the farm to bury him.

She wondered how was she going to find out where the keys for the truck were now? He would always ask her where they were and she would point to the pocket of the dark green overalls she remembered him wearing. While her Dad talked to Jack and Kurt, she walked into the farmhouse. As she walked through each room looking for the keys, it made her sad thinking that she had never met her Grandma. After walking back through the kitchen, she finally found the keys on a hook by the backdoor. Must be where he kept them when she wasn’t there. That is a memory of him that she will always hold dear in her heart.

Then she looked out the back door and down the gravel driveway and remembered how much fun it was running down it to the mailbox to pick up the mail. She would race with her brother Robert and he would win about 90% of the time. But the few times that she did beat him, felt great.

Her Grandpa Harvey lived and died in the place where he was born, West Branch, Iowa. He had never left the town except for a couple of trips to the Iowa State Fair for 4H, but she noticed that he always seemed happy here.

I don’t know whether this was the idea I had in mind originally, but this is the journey the writing prompt took me on today. Either I did learn a little about Harvey, or it was a story about him that was written today.