I listen to these songs when I write my Bancroft Responses- I wonder how much they’ve influenced me so far?
I listen to these songs when I write my Bancroft Responses- I wonder how much they’ve influenced me so far?
Even though they are not my favorite foods, I have decided to open up a little gift I found in the achieves at the Soul Food Café.
It’s a great series of creative prompts called ” The Chocolate Box “
The first chocolate I clicked is called ” The Artists’ Party ”
There are a lot of ideas in this prompt that you can use to create a mood or a story or a painting or even a photograph.
I decided to go through my photo journal to see what kind of pictures I have taken of trees- did I hug the tree as suggested by the prompt.
I probably should have because the trees I had taken pictures of seemed to be telling a story, or maybe I caught them in the middle of an act or just thinking about whatever it is trees think about.
In other words, we shared a moment.
That was a gift, no matter how you look at it.
Salina was putting the finishing touches, with a little fortification from what was inside of her champagne glass with ” Groom ” stenciled along the side in frosty script, on her newly renovated garden when her neighbor trilled ” Toodles Girlfriend!” at her from the street.
” I thought I’d pop on by and see how you’re doing.”
Cally was the neighbor that inspired the eight foot tall fences and large black dogs ins spike collars to patrol them and at the moment she appeared at the edge of Salina’s property, Salina’s lovely Spring afternoon came to a crashing fiery mess all around her.
” I’m doing fine, I’m right in the middle of-”
” How did you do it, how could you cope with your world just, ” Cally threw her hands and tipped with her long bony fingers out to her sides ” exploding like that? You know. I get it. Men. Right? That’s what they do. It’s a shame though. I mean you were with him for 25 years. ”
Cally did not sound sorry at all. Cally sounded light and bubbly and slightly frantic.
Like a cheerleader on crack.
Salina took a breath and rolled her eyes so far back up into her head she would swear to you she could see her brains. ” I’m getting a dog. ”
Cally raced on just like Salina thought she would.
Salina could have said ” I’m getting a hit man and he’s going to take you out because right now I cannot take your crazy on top of the insanity that took up residence in my life before you opened your mouth” and Cally would have gone on babbling like a toxic river running wild after the sketchy factory squatting on it’s banks hocked up all of it’s guts.
” Well. Here’s the plus side, now that he’s gone you can get in touch with your inner Crone. Now you can be the woman the Goddesses intended you to be.”
” Yeah. The Goddesses.” Salina said biting her lip.
It was an odd enough response from Salina to get Cally’s attention for about five seconds. Not liking to be caught looking clueless or unawares for even one second let alone five she wondered if Salina was about to laugh or cry.
When one is in such a delicate state, one can never tell Cally knew.
Cally watched Salina hopefully, if not a little hungrily as she put her glass of champagne down on her potting bench and reached for her shovel. “Well. I’ve got to get to back to work, I have a few things left to do and then I’m finished so-”
Cally actually shut her mouth and her thin pale lips turned up in her version of a smile. ” You know, ” she said sounding surprised, ” Your flowers and herbs really do look nice. Especially around that- what is that? ”
” It’s a hitching post, it’s a horse’s head. My Great Grandfather brought it with him from England back in the early 1900’s,”
” Oh.” Cally said with the same kind of practiced smile that most mental health practitioners mastered before the ink was dried on their degrees. Not that Cally had one of those, she was just familiar with Mental Health services in general.
” Did he? You say he brought it all the was from England. ” I see ” Cally said as she made a beeline towards the recently deemed ” maybe ” hitching post.
” Hmmm, are you sure it’s a horse? Say, what is that smell? I smell, what is that? Apples. You don’t have apple trees do you? Where is that smell coming from? ” she stopped mid stride.
” It’s chamomile. See? I put enough down to carpet this area. When you walk across it, it gives off that smell. Nice. Isn’t it?”
Cally smiled her tight prissy smile. ” Yes. It’s very nice.”
” I must say” Cally said. ” You’ve done so much since your husband ran out on you Salina. That must have been hard. It must have been worse being he ran off with someone else.”
” You know what was really hard Cally? ” Salina dropped her shoulders, her hair fell into downturned face heavy with grief and pain. She even hiccupped a couple of times.
Cally drew herself up and smiled with sunshine literally streaming from her eyes.
She put her hand on Salina’s shoulder and then she patted it. ” No. What? What was the hardest part? I can imagine how terrible it was. I thought you were the perfect couple.”
Salina swung the shovel up and brought it down with enough force on the top of her head to bring Cally to her knees. ” The hardest part was digging that grave in front of the hitching post deep enough for two bodies. That was the hardest part Cally.”
Salina strolled back to the potting bench dropped the shovel against it. Then reached for her glass and with her face turned up to the now clear and not fiery blue skies she threw back the last few drops of her champagne cocktail.
When she was done she walked back to where Cally was crumpled up- and then a thought hit her.
A very important one.
What was that drink called again, Salina asked herself as prodded a clearly recently deceased Cally with her toe. Damn. What was this stupid drink called. She pulled her phone out of her back pocket and checked the app where she had found the recipe.
There it was.
That’s what it was called.
Death In The Afternoon.
Inspired by The Daily Addictions Prompt: Cope
This is my dog Hamish Macbeth.
This isn’t the greatest picture in the world but it’s the only picture I have of him and his little toy pig- who I will call Jodi.
Jodi, if you are a horror film fan know that it is the name of demonic character who took the form of a pig in film The Amityville Horror.
Hamish would approve of the name ” Jodi ” for a few good reasons.
Hamish and Jodi had an on and off again relationship.
Sometimes Hamish liked him and most of the time he pretty much hated Jodi because I used Jodi as a training aid. Jodi squeaked when you squeezed him and I used that squeak to get Hamish’s attention. So when I was starting to really work with Hamish on his off-leash recall, Hamish got to really hate Jodi.
Whatever fun thing Hamish was doing- running around sniffing things, playing in the bushes, chasing bugs eating snacks he stole out of my backpack, he had to stop and come forward and sit.
Hamish was good at it, but he started to really, really hate Jodi The Squeaky Pig.
One day I went to the cupboard where I kept Hamish’s training kit- his lead, his reward treats and Jodi.
The treats that Hamish loved were all there. The lead was there and oddly enough one of Hamish’s favorite toys, which I never kept with his work kit was there.
But Jodi was gone.
Hamish was behind waiting for me to get his stuff out so we could go outside and when I turned around with his toy in my hand he looked very happy- ” Good girl! ” that look said to me.
I thought maybe I had forgotten to put Jodi away and Hamish got him.
Last Summer- just about a month after Hamish Macbeth turned three years old we moved and when we got to our new place I was in my new office doing some work when I heard a little squeak.
I turned around and Hamish opened his mouth and dropped this on the floor next to my chair:
You know, I like the movies about cursed toys- but they are always spooky looking dolls or something.
I don’t think there’s one about little squeaky toys that got into some weird battle of the wills with a dog.
I’m not sure who won the battle in this case, but when I took Jodi out to take his picture this morning I gave him a little squeak and Hamish trotted to my side, sat and when he thought I wasn’t looking he tried to eat Jodi.
I picked Jodi up just in time and put him on the top shelf of my closet.
I think he’ll be there when I get home today.
Inspired By The Soul Food Café Prompt: Hatred Smoldering In The Hills
Is anyone down there?
Is anybody home?
Are you dreaming?
Are you asleep?
I will call again
Is anybody down there
Inspired By The Soul Food Café Prompt: Manhole Covers
I have nothing to say today, so why do I bother to write?
I’m not feeling inspired today, so why should I bother to create a painting, a drawing or take a photograph.
I used to let myself take a creative pass until I realized how fast time was moving, that the best days I’ve had finished with me in front of my laptop writing a poem, a story or a post or looking through my camera to see what pictures I took that day.
At the end of the day I might not end up with the best short story in the world or the next great novel but if I can end the day with the thought, ” I created something today ” or ” I read something wonderful today ” then I have fed my Muse, ( or my Beast as I call it ) and I know that tomorrow we are going to be able to get closer to that place where the words will come together like magic and we will walk through that forest of words where ideas will explode from the vines and burst from the trees with their sweet, luscious fruits.
And we will feast on it all.
I was inspired by the Dig Tree Prompt today to sort out how I find my ideas for stories-my record of my creative journey ( so far )
I travel to places that have an air of mystery about them- like New Orleans for Halloween. I explore my neighborhood- I look for the small things like forgotten yard art, sidewalk art anything that said, ” I was here.” I explore cemeteries and I spend dedicated time to reading and listening to music. Most important I look as close to my own world and the things I love that inhabit it as I do about the Stars and Planets that I am challenging myself to learn about now.
These are pictures that I took and small notes about why I captured that moment in particular.
An unbearable story written in stone.
I saw this in my neighbor’s garden- was it art, were the flowers art? Did they even remember it was there?
My favorite type of storytelling- music.
I took this picture at the Royal BC Museum in Victoria BC.
I was in Victoria to learn Ghost Stories, but when I’m in Victoria I dedicate a day to the Museum. Who wouldn’t? That’s where I saw this wonderful machine.
I wondered what it sounded like when it was played and how much people enjoyed it.
The garden was beautiful but it is meant to be explored- I’d like to go back and just wander around with no plans on what to see or do when I’m there. The Garden was created by Jennie Butchart .
Some people are born story tellers- this is Jenny, a tour guide on a ” Haunted History Tour ” I took in New Orleans. This picture was taken on Halloween.
This is a picture of my puppy that I took three years ago and I believe he was about 12 weeks old. I was looking at him through the lens and I thought:
” The Universe is 13 Billion Years old and it is infinite and here you are little guy. You’re part of that history.
Each of the experiences, the feelings of I had when I took trips alone, when I took a picture of one thing and found the story wasn’t the one I thought I was capturing ( and that was okay ) were all pieces of beautifully colored broken pieces of glass that could put together in a million different ways. Each of those patterns told a story and I am so glad I was there to see it happen.
Dig Tree Activity#9
On Christmas Eve I bought a gingerbread train kit because I thought it would be fun to put it together- well, I thought it would be fun to watch my nieces and one of my sons put it together.
All three of them are very artistic- so I had this idea.
Would they do a bang up job because they’re all artists? Or would they not do a bang up job because they’re artists?
It started out well enough- though I did notice that they weren’t paying attention to the directions ( which are on the back of the box as you can see here). They seemed to be taking direction from the picture on the box. They’re all visual, so that made sense.
They divided up the tasks and sort of organized the pieces of gingerbread. They were off to a good start.
My dog, Hamish didn’t seem to be interested in the gingerbread or the candies. I took that as a sign and made a note to myself not taste anything.
Somewhere in this directed creative process, my artists went off the rails- they started to have fun. They started to play with the royal icing, they tried played with the pieces of gingerbread and fit them together because it looked right and they didn’t use the tray that would have pretty much made them build the train in one direction and one direction only.
They joked and laughed they had a great time with each other and we had a great time watching them.
So how did it turn out?
I wanted the little heart design and I got it.
This is what I learned.
My family has a great sense of humor.
I guess what I wanted to share here is that creating your art should be an experience- so we botched up the train- except for a few pieces. But this sad little train that my dog wouldn’t eat, this poor little train whose whereabouts are unknown ( only because ‘landfill’ covers a massive area in our neck of the suburbs ) is going to live forever in our family lore.
Our story won’t be, ” We built a gingerbread train and everyone liked it so much we hated to put it away. ”
This story is going to be epic- it’s going to grow in telling every-time we build gingerbread houses or decorate Christmas cookies.
That’s what being creative is all about.
It’s a process, it’s a story, it’s a journey.
It’s also a lot of fun, if you’re willing to go there.
Writing short stories is an art form and it’s not easy to do.
Some short stories are dense- like Pound Cake- because some writers think short stories are novels packed into less then 3,ooo words.
I think they’re more like snap shots.
When you do it right they’re superb little bites.
When you can tell a story in film in 15 seconds you’re a story Ninja.