Friday, June 21, 2013

injaynesworld we leave you "Up In The Air..."

Strong leg muscles, born of a lifetime of rigorous competition, launch her blades high into the air where they spin tightly – once, twice, three times – before coming apart, flailing to catch a landing and sending her tumbling across the unforgiving ice.

 “Again!” her coach yells, making no attempt to hide his impatience.  

She knows she needs that fourth revolution to secure her spot on the team, and that others wait in the wings eager for her to fail. 

Looking over at her parents watching from the stands, she sees the years of hope and sacrifice on their faces, and wonders at what point it had stopped being her dream and become theirs. 

Ignoring the pain now throbbing in her shoulder, she sets off across the ice once more, building speed and momentum, hurdling herself upward – ONE – TWO – THREE –

From the prompt “Blades” at Five Sentence Fiction. 

Sunday, June 16, 2013

injaynesworld it's "Father's Day..."

My father’s hands are missing from my life. 

My father’s hands did not hold mine, lift me when I fell, muss my hair or pretend to steal my nose, point the way or beckon me to follow.   They did not comfort me when I cried, make shadow puppets to make me smile, or applaud any of my achievements. 

My father’s hands never signed a card, “love, Dad.”

An elusive figure until his death in my teens, he would occasionally appear only to disappear again, teaching me to forever seek out others like him. 

A lifetime is a long time to be angry at a shadow and so I forgive, accepting and understanding that one cannot give what one does not have.  

And I allow myself to love him for the life I've been given.    

Happy Father’s Day.

Thursday, June 13, 2013

injaynesworld it's "A Writer's Dilemma..."

Good or bad, neighbors can always be counted on to provide fodder for storytelling.  Having spent the majority of my life as a city-dweller, I have had my share of noisy neighbors, from heavy-footed children running in the hallways, to sounds I can only attribute to the mating of wild orangutans in bedrooms above me.    Peace was elusive, but stories abounded.

Then I moved to the country.   Peace was abundant.   

I’m sitting at my desk this morning lamenting again that I have nothing to write about when I hear a strange, wild sound from outside.  I think it may be the cussing of a squirrel.    Yes, they do cuss.   My dog growls.   My cat slowly approaches the front door, a giant puffball of trepidation.    I decide to investigate.  

A wild turkey is in my front yard – if you consider the entire mountain top on which I live my front yard, and I do, despite wire fence lines that would argue otherwise.  It’s a female and she is calling, I presume, for a mate.   But what do I know?   I don’t speak turkey.  I have seen her around before, but not for a couple of months and figured she’d succumbed to the appetite of a hungry coyote.  Of course, I can’t swear that it’s the same turkey.   They all pretty much look alike.   By the time I could get my camera, she was gone, so you’ll just have to take my word for it:   I was visited this morning by a wild turkey.

Three nights ago, I was visited by a doe with two new babies at her side.  They were most definitely in my front yard.  Damn near on my front porch.   As much as I enjoyed their presence, I had to open the door and politely ask them to leave lest they decide to feast upon my young fig tree, for which I have great hopes.   I purposely planted salvia all around the fig tree specifically to ward off deer after being assured by the local nursery that they don’t like its taste, but some critter has been nibbling on them and I now suspect this trio may be the exception. 

As with any neighbors, peaceful coexistence is a trade-off.    I try to remember that they were here first.

Except for the steady flow of water from the small fountain just outside my doorway, the silence on my hilltop feels almost impenetrable.   The wings of a hummingbird buzz and retreat, as it dips to refresh itself.   A horse whinnies in the distance. 

And I sit here trying to think of something to write about.  

Thursday, June 6, 2013

injaynesworld it’s “High School, The Lost Years…”

And not only because I was wasted most weekends on Coors and Bali Hai...

I came away from high school with two things:  Salad tongs and a decent 60 words-per-minute typing skill, both of which would serve to feed me throughout the entirety of my life right up to the present.

Salad tongs?

Let’s just say I was not the most serious of students.    High school bored the bejeezus out of me.  I couldn’t wait to get out.   And college?    Why the hell would anyone actually choose to go to school if they didn’t have to?   

Good grades, while nice enough, were never stressed as particularly important for girls in my family.    I’m not saying an “A” didn’t warrant a smile and a word of praise, but a “C” or even a “D” didn’t come with much more than a furrowed brow and a “Try harder next time.  Oh, you want money for the movies?  Sure.  Have fun.”

And so I spent my three electives each year choosing bullshit classes with no homework, like sewing and crafts.    I did try a language in my freshman year.   French.   I thought it sounded sexy and sophisticated.  Who was I kidding?    It was hard and when was I ever going to France?  No one could accuse me of forward-thinking. 

You’d expect I would have been drawn to journalism or English classes, but I didn’t know I was a writer back then.  In grammar school, teachers would often comment on my report card that I wrote well and had good comprehension of story and character, but no one ever made a big deal out of it or encouraged me to go in that direction.   So it would take decades and a wildly circuitous route for me to discover it for myself.     

But back to the salad tongs.    In crafts, I was one of the few girls in a classroom of mostly boys, all of them destined for a future in waste management.   Little was expected of us other than to not slice off a finger with the leather carving knife or set the school on fire with the heating gun.    Why I chose salad tongs is beyond me.  We weren’t even big salad eaters in my family, but nevertheless… My memory of the actual process is vague.   I recall carefully drawing out the shapes on a piece of flat quarter-inch plastic, then using some sort of buzz saw to cut them out, after which the plastic was heated, bent to form the desired shapes, and then put into a small refrigerator to harden.  

To this day, people remark on my interesting salad tongs and I proudly say, “Thank you.  I made them in my high school sophomore crafts class.”   But the truth is, while it’s always a good story to tell and a sure source of laughter, I’m not proud at all.

Recently, I went to the high school graduation of a cousin.   Alas, he too is an underachiever, but I was a late bloomer and I’m hoping the same for him.    Most of the kids were going on to colleges – damn near all the girls.  They had decorated their caps with the colors and insignias of the universities they’d be attending, and as they marched up to receive the hard-earned diplomas that would open those doors, maybe it was the emotion from hearing “Pomp and Circumstance” played by the school band, maybe it was the joy and naiveté on their carefree faces, maybe it was just that they were all so damn young, but I wanted to be them.   I wanted a do-over.    

Every time I look at those salad tongs now I’d like to reach back in time and bitch slap the silly girl who wasted such important years.  And yet I keep them around.   Maybe as a reminder that time is finite and opportunities go to those who grab them.    

I can’t say that I’m dissatisfied with the way my life has gone, but I will always wonder what might have been.   

Pass the dressing…

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