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.
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.
Here is the Amazon.com link! The Hard Way – Amazon.com
And the Barnes and Noble link! The Hard Way – Barnes and Noble
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?
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,
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.”
“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.