Fight The Battle

WOMEN'S SUFFRAGE CARTOON
In the United States, today is Women’s Equality Day — resulting from an act of Congress in 1971. It reminded me of something Susan B. Anthony said concerning battling for equality and rights. She said that sometimes a battle just needs to be fought, even when you know you can’t win it. Those words have come back to me more than once and given me encouragement when I was fighting battles that I felt sure I would not win on the first go-round. Regardless of the outcome, those battles needed to be fought.

It’s a truth that we would all do well to remember. There are times in life when the first time we fight a battle, we still lose, but the fact that we fought it to the end releases revelation and encouragement to others who will return to it in the future. And by the second, third, or fourth time that battle is taken up — perhaps even in another generation — the momentum gained has reached a level that ushers in the victory. If there’s something WORTH fighting for, don’t weigh the chances of victory or defeat — JUST FIGHT THE BATTLE.

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Friday Fictioneers – 8/22/14 — ‘Love Grows On You’

Friday Fictioneers prompt this week is this photo by Roger Bultot. (Sorry, there was no link for him.). My story is below the picture.

TRUCK - ROGER BULTOT

LOVE GROWS ON YOU

Virginia Creeper wasn’t beautiful and was generally considered a nuisance wherever she grew. But she had a kind heart, and when she heard sobbing out by the alley, she crawled over to investigate. She found Barney, the discarded garbage truck, soaking the ground with his tears.

Barney?”

I-I-I’ve been thrown away! Dumped here; no one wants me now. Dead motor. And everybody says I-I-I stink!” His sobs were heartbreaking.

Virginia gathered her strength. Stretching, squirming, she pulled herself to the unhappy truck. She reached up, grabbed his bumper, and curled around it, stretching higher and wider until she had completely embraced Barney in a comforting hug.

Don’t cry, Barney. I love you, and I’ll stick with you forever.”

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Join the fun over at Rochelle’s Place. Write your own 100-word story based on the picture prompt.

 

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Will I Know Him When I See Him?

It’s been a heavy-thinking day. This piece is just a little whimsy I engaged in to clear my head — although I have experienced something similar, as have others. Maybe you have too. Let me know.

TALL MAN SILL
Will I Know Him When I See Him?

Some enchanted evening, you may see a stranger; you may see a stranger, across a crowded room … and … you’ll know even then that somewhere you’ll see him again and again.” It does happen: you notice a person across a room. You’ve never actually met him. You may not know anything about him, or you may know who he is only in an objective sense. There’s absolutely no logical reason to believe that he will become an important part of your life, or that one day there will be a strong relationship between the two of you. But regardless of the lack of logic, you do know, somehow, that your destiny is tied up with his.

He leaves. You leave. Months go by, and you don’t set eyes on him; you don’t hear his name mentioned; you don’t even think about him except in the most fleeting way. Then suddenly, one day you hear someone talking about him, and everything in you comes to attention. You think, I want to know what they’re saying, because he’s special to me. He’s going to have a special place in my life. So you listen carefully. It isn’t anything particularly important … just words that included his name … but you made a mental note because you know he’s important in your life.

More months go by, and suddenly you see him walk into a store. You feel like you need to go up to him and say something, because, after all, he’s an important person in your life … but you don’t know him. He doesn’t know you. If you say anything, he will look at you as if you’re crazy. So you let it pass, but you feel as if you’ve missed something good. You go home a little sadder because you didn’t connect … even though you know you are connected.

A few weeks go by. There he is again, walking down the same grocery store aisle as you. This time, the need to say something is more than you can rein in. You still haven’t met. He’ll still think you’re crazy. But you speak. Something inane, but certainly non-threatening. And sure enough, he looks at you, and you can see the question in his eyes: “Who are you?”

And your immediate reaction is to answer, I’m the person who’s going to have a really important place in your life! Your destiny is tied in with mine! But, of course, you can’t say that. So you walk on down the aisle as if nothing out of the ordinary has happened.

Weeks pass. Now you’ve had an opportunity to talk to him briefly in the natural order of doing your job. It’s been fleeting, but at least there’s a connection. You don’t know why you want that connection. Most of the things about him are definitely unlike anything you have thought you might want in life. In fact, you aren’t looking for a new relationship at all right now. But it was important that you connected.

A couple more weeks pass. You hear from him. Again it’s related to your professions, but a door has opened a very tiny little crack. So you walk through it. Maybe he’ll still think you’re crazy, but you might as well take a chance. Chances like this don’t come often.

More weeks pass. You come to the conclusion that he has closed the door again and intends to keep you out. Oh, well. It’s probably better that way. You don’t really find him attractive, and you know you wouldn’t want a serious relationship with him. It’s just that there’s something … something … there is something special that’s supposed to happen between the two of you.

More weeks pass, and now you have managed to talk some sense into yourself and decided to let go of this screwy idea that there is something special between you and this stranger. You move on. You focus your attention on your work, your friendships – real friendships – and the possibility of other new relationships —- if you can ever get to the point where you are sure you really want a new relationship.

Months pass. You hear his name, and, even though you’ve convinced yourself that all of it was a figment of your imagination, your mind centers in on the words being spoken about him, and your heart tells you – once again – that your destiny is connected with his . . .

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Okay, I Give Up

HAND HOLDING I GIVE UP SIGNWell, once again, I have failed to post the next story for the Saturday writing challenges in August. My original plan, as those of you know who read the original post, was to write a story every Saturday in August featuring a man with a gun, and to invite my readers to do the same and share links to their stories.

However, as soon as I posted that challenge, my business and personal life got so busy that I have not been able to find time to sit down and write anything new at all for the past two weeks.

So I have to face the fact that this time around, the challenge is bigger than I am. I hate to say it, but I have failed to reach this particular goal. However, there are other goals ahead, and perhaps, when things slow down in other aspects of my life, I can get back to the fun of challenging myself and other writers as well.

If you’re reading this, and you wrote a story for the challenge, please go ahead and post your link in the “Comments” section of the original “Man With A Gun” challenge post.

Thanks a lot for your understanding.

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‘Man With A Gun’ Hits a Snag

SMILEY - SAD FACE - PEACHI am sending out my sincerest apologies to all who want to take part in the “Man With A Gun” Saturday writing challenge. I was supposed to have posted the next story this Saturday so that others could participate and post the links to their stories on my story. However, due to a major upheaval in our family this week (nothing tragic, but an event that required my undivided attention Thursday through Sunday), I was unable to post a new story — or do any blogging of any kind.

Any of you authors out there who had a story for this weekend, please forgive me, and please don’t give up on taking part in the challenge. You can feel free to post the link to your new story on last Saturday’s story, or you can hold onto it and post it with my new story this coming Saturday, August 16.

And if you haven’t heard about the challenge yet — or haven’t decided to take part — maybe this interruption will give you a chance to think about it more and jump in.

I Guess I’m Just a Book Club Dropout

MOBY DICK
People often ask me what I like to read, but almost no one asks me what I do not like to read. I wonder why? Well … of course, I know why. They just aren’t interested in what I don’t like to read, and I don’t blame them. I’m not interested either.

However, today I got to thinking about several authors whose works I do not like. Actually, the list is very, very, very long, but I didn’t have much time to post today, so I’ve narrowed it down to the ones that came to mind quickly. Now, my total lack of appreciation of these authors’ efforts does not mean that they do not have a talent for writing. It just means — simply — that I don’t appreciate their talent.

I do not like works by Nicholas Sparks, and I won’t go to the strenuous mental effort it takes to read Herman Melville or Victor Hugo. (At least, now that I’m out of school and don’t have to.) Stephen King and J. R. R. Tolkien are on my hit list, along with C. S. Lewis. And I absolutely despise works by Hemingway and Dr. Seuss.

When all is said and done, I doubt that there’s a book club anywhere in the world that wants me for a member.  

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‘Man With A Gun’ — Writing Challenge — Week 1

GUN - BLUEAt some point in my past, I read that Raymond Carver once offered advice to writers about what to do if their stories seemed to lag or hit a boring place. His suggestion was to have a man come through a door with a gun in his hand.

That idea intrigued me – much more than I expected – and, as a result, I decided to set myself a challenge — as follows: I am committing to write one story for every Saturday in August, in which – at some point in time – whether fitting or not – a man or woman does walk through a door with a gun.

During this exercise, I am going to do very little editing of my stories. Rather I will simply begin writing with whatever idea comes to mind and continue until the gunman appears on the scene. After that point, whatever happens ….

I’m hoping my readers will enjoy this experiment with me, but I also thought that some of you out there would like to participate and do your own “man-with-a-gun” stories.

If you do, please post the links to your stories in the “Comments” section of my story for that week. I’m posting a story today. If you write a story any day this week before next Saturday, please post your link in the “Comments” of my story that is dated today. If you want to wait and post only on Saturdays, I will try to have mine up each of the next four Saturdays by 12:01 a.m. – U.S. Central Daylight Savings time. That way, hopefully, many of my readers in other countries will be able to post at the start of their day if they choose.

I’m not setting any word limit, but if we try to keep them to 1500 words or less, I think we will have an easier time visiting each other’s blogs and reading everyone’s stories – that is if anyone else takes part. I hope you do.

Feel free to start this exercise at any time, or to write only one or two stories if you don’t have time for five. Frankly, I have no idea if I will meet the challenge or not, but I’m at least taking the plunge. And please remember that my blog does not post “R” or “X” rated material.

My first story is below:

TONY’S PROPOSAL

ENGAGEMENT RING CLIP ARTTony couldn’t wait to get to work and tell his colleagues about the lottery ticket. He had never won anything in his life, but yesterday his bad luck had turned to good. Granted, he had won a small game – the prize was just $300.00 dollars – but to Tony, who always seemed to be on the losing end of everything he took part in, this win had him sailing along ten feet above the ground.

As he opened the door of the book store, he saw that Marie, the secretary/accountant was already at work. “Hey, Marie,” he called from the door and then skidded up to her desk, “guess what happened to me last night.”

Hmmm,” she answered, only half paying attention as she pulled up the program she needed on her computer. “Let’s see … . Oh, I know … you won the lottery.”

She swung around and glanced at Tony when she said it, and noticed that he looked somewhat crestfallen. “That’s a lousy thing to guess,” he complained.

Why?”

Because that’s exactly what I did, and I was just sure you’d all be astounded.”

By that time the other two employees had arrived and were standing beside Marie’s desk. “You mean you really did win the lottery?” Randall asked.

Well, not the biggy, but —” he grinned at each one of them individually. “But I did win $300.00.”

Hey, congratulations,” Peter said, punching him lightly on the shoulder. “Way to go. Does that mean you’re treating us all to lunch?”

Tony hung his head for a second and then looked up at them sheepishly. “Well, to tell you the truth, I have it earmarked for something else already.”

I know!” said Marie, her eyes alight. “You’re going to buy Sarah an engagement ring.”

Tony looked at her in astonishment. “For heaven’s sake, Marie, what are you – a mind reader?”

Marie shrugged her shoulders. “Don’t blame me if I’m just super smart.” Then she grinned conspiratorially. “Want me to help pick it out?”

Tony lifted his head in what he wanted to pass for a look of sophistication, but which really made him look more like a schoolboy with a pout. “ I already have it picked out, thank you. It’s a little more than the $300.00, but I have a small amount in a savings account.”

Randall spoke up then. “So, when are you going to give it to her?

I think I’ll take her to dinner this Saturday and ask her to marry me while we’re at the restaurant.”

Sounds good. Where are you going?”

I’ll book a reservation at The Coral Reef – a table by the window so we can watch the sun set over the beach. I want all the romance I can get going for me because I’m not positive Sarah has marriage in her plans. She likes her independence.”

Well, that’s the perfect place.” said Marie, just as the bell rang over the front door. “Oops, time to get to work.”

But this customer wasn’t a regular. He had a large scarf tied triangularly over his nose and mouth, and he carried a gun.

All four of the employees froze, and without being told to do so, lifted their hands in the air.

That’s it. Nice and easy, and nobody gets hurt,” said the gunman. He looked at Marie. “Now, girlie, you just walk over to that cash register – nice and slow – and take out all the money and put it in this here bag,” he said, as he tossed an old cloth drawstring bag onto the counter beside the register. Then lay your purse down right beside the bag. And the rest of you,” he added, pointing the gun more robustly toward the three men, “start taking out your wallets; empty your pockets, and put it all in the bag.”

Tony sucked in his breath. He had cashed in the lottery ticket and had the $300.00 in his wallet. He couldn’t let this man steal the money for Sarah’s ring. “Now, wait just a minute!” he said, dropping his hands to his sides. The gunman jumped forward and pushed the gun to within two feet of Tony’s nose.

No funny business. Empty all those pockets!”

I will not! I have something important to do with my money, and you can’t have it.”

The gunman stepped even closer. “Look, Buddy, don’t be a fool. Empty those pockets before I get tired of waiting.”

You have no right to my money or anyone else’s!” Tony said, throwing his left arm toward the man on an angle – just enough to throw the gunman off balance and cause an involuntary reaction in his hand. His hold on the gun was broken for only a couple seconds, but it was enough for Tony to grab the gun and turn it on the thief. His friends dropped their hands, and Tony asked Marie to call the police.

The robber’s eyes were huge with fear, and before anyone could even guess what he was going to do, he had turned and made for the door. Tony shot into the air, hoping to frighten him into stopping. It worked, but only momentarily. The man didn’t look back. His intuition told him that if Tony had been going to shoot him, he would have done it the first time he pulled the trigger, so the man snatched the door open and hurled himself through it, falling onto the sidewalk and rolling several feet. But he jumped up and started running before the others could collect their wits enough to try to stop him.

Whew!” Randall said, and he knew he spoke for all of them, as they wiped sweat from their brows and upper lips and tried to get their stomachs to relax and their hands to stop shaking. Marie went back to her desk and slumped into the chair. Fifteen minutes later, the police arrived and took their statements – as well as the gun.

When the police had left, and the store was quiet once more, Marie looked at Tony. “You are the most romantic man I’ve ever known,” she said.

He looked dumbfounded. “I don’t think I understand.”

Why, you risked your life to keep from giving up the money to buy an engagement ring for the woman you love. You really are a gallant knight.”

Tony grinned. “Maybe I’ll be sure and tell Sarah the whole story before I propose. She surely couldn’t turn down a man who was willing to risk his life to give her an engagement ring.” He sighed. “And just think: I may owe my success with this proposal to that guy with the gun. I’m kind of glad I didn’t kill him.”

 

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A Mouse Is A Mouse — Or Is It?

I originally posted this poem about 2 years ago, but I got into a conversation last night which brought me face to face with the fact that I have never yet solved this dilemma. The experience reminded me of the poem, so I thought I’d drag it out of the archives and back into the light today.
MOUSE 3

Is it mouses, or is it mice?
I’ve asked this question more than twice.
As I sit before my monitor,
I’m quite sure I am just not sure.

When two computers I must use,
All the appendages come in two’s.
I shuffle keyboards, arrange them nice, 
But then I must hook up the … mice?

My only other choice is “mouses.”COMPUTER MOUSE WITH COLOR EDITED
My sensitive nature that arouses.
For an English teacher I’ll always be,
And “mouses” chafes and nettles me.

Surely “mice” should be allowed,
But then I start to laugh out loud.
Confound that name! How did it start?COMPUTER MOUSE WITH COLOR 3
Bill English and Doug Engelbart!      

It’s all their fault; they must admit.
And foolish names are such a hit.
And dictionaries help not at all;
They make it an individual’s call.

So back again to where I was,
More frustrated now because
As I struggled to name the counterfeit,
Its namesake from my sandwich bit.

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