Friday Flash Fiction

JHardyCarroll

Photo Courtesy of J. Hardy Carroll

These benches tell a story – of the people who’ve come and gone, the talented hands of the person who made them, their silent watch over time passing by. This reminds me of Ellis Island, or a train station – some place from the past, where life passed through and time has passed by.

Word count: 99

Waiting at the Station

Passengers streamed off the train, waving at their loved ones. Reunions took place on the platform — kisses and hugs, handshakes and hellos, chaos and commotion.

Sarah waited patiently. He’d be on the train. Watching the joy on the faces around her, she smiled to herself. A mother greeted her returning soldier with tears of joy. Sarah felt her own eyes well up. So much joy.

After the rush, she made her way to the luggage car where a black draped coffin waited on a cart. She let her tears fall silently then. Her love was home at last.

To see other stories, please visit the Rochelle Wisoff-Fields site here.
© Erin Leary

Friday Flash Fiction

Ceayr

Photo Courtesy of C.E. Ayr

A spaceship? An arena? Whatever it is, it looks poised to take off. And so my story follows…

Word count: 100

Bluer than Blue

The reflection of the stadium was momentarily mesmerizing. A blue wash across the water, shimmering in the night. People inside were having fun, cheering the game on, their roars rolling across the river.

Eliza knew other people were happy. She just didn’t know how to get there. Bluer than blue, sadder than sad had been the theme song of her short life.

She stood shivering in the night air, concrete at her back. She relished the chill on her skin, knowing the water below would be colder than cold, darker than dark. Closing her eyes, she stepped into the black.

To see other stories, please visit the Rochelle Wisoff-Fields site here.

© Erin Leary

Friday Flash Fiction

Ted T
Photo Courtesy of Ted T

Beauty in the most unlikely places – this picture is all sorts of interesting. ‘Why?’ is the big question that comes to mind. ‘Why not?’ is the most likely answer. Sometimes you just don’t get to know. You just get to live it.

Word count: 99

Pottyville

Momma always said ‘bloom where you are planted’. She had no idea what that really meant.

Living on the streets as long as I have, I make my home wherever and however I can. Sometimes I imagine a place all mine, with windows and a garden and walls that don’t let the wind through. Dreams come easier when it’s dark and I can’t see the edges. Daylight brings it all back.

So I look at my garden and smile. The pansies dispel the gloom in spite of their unorthodox placement.

Momma would just love how I’ve embraced her motto.

To see other stories, please visit the Rochelle Wisoff-Fields site here.

© Erin Leary

Another year of blogging

This post has been percolating for a full month. I meant to write at the end of December. I meant to write at the beginning of the New Year. But we went to Costa Rica for a week and it was so lovely there, I put it off.

IMG_20160110_060808_hdr

Sunrise from our place in Costa Rica

I’m finally writing on the second to the last day of January. Which means, I’m slacking. Or I’m busy. Take your pick.

For those who know me outside my writer persona, I have a full time career in technology. I enjoy my work and have been lucky enough to have had a career that has been both satisfying and challenging. Lately, it’s been time consuming. It doesn’t appear that’s going to get much better this year – as I map out the next eleven months, busy just seems to be a norm. I’d better get used to it and not use it as an excuse to NOT write. Or I’ll stop being a writer and just be someone who talks about writing.

I’m a storyteller. It’s what I do. This has been a part of who I am since I was very young. I tell myself stories all the time and some of them I like enough to turn into writing. Some are just to keep me from losing my mind when I’m stuck in an airplane aisle way waiting to deplane.

This past week, I was invited to present at a technology conference in New York on the work my organization is doing around Digital Transformation. It felt like a daunting task – until I remembered that I’m a storyteller and that I knew this story better than anyone else did. So I crafted the story and told it, adapting it on the fly for the audience. It was fun and I loved doing it. (If you want to read some of what I shared, it’s here)

Digital Transformation

Digital Transformation

I’m an accidental technologist. I didn’t set out to be in Information Technology. I stumbled into it. I took one programming class in my senior year of college to fulfill a science requirement. I learned enough to write some simple scripts and see how logic applied to the commands. My first job as a professional was as a manager for a group of people who managed the telephone lines and numbers in the Network organization for a local telephone company. They pulled reports from a large database and had to do the same commands over and over. I figured I could write a simple script to automate that process for them. I did, it worked, and I was suddenly a wunderkind who was highly technical. Ha! I was anything but, but I did know how to solve their problem. The rest, as they say, is history.

So today, when I talk about technology, I always try to approach it from the “why does this matter to the business?” angle. I like to think that I have been a translator from the bits and bytes to the dollars and cents – using technology to make business run better, faster, and more efficiently which turns into a stronger bottom line. That’s what keeps the business running, after all.

Day jobs – writers have to have them. Luckily I like mine.

But back to blogging. In my rather cursory year in review, I find the following:

  • I hit 67% on Friday Fiction – not bad, but could be better
  • I didn’t get anything published
  • My novel is stalled following the last review by an agent with more revisions needed
  • I completed another novel but haven’t gotten back to it to polish it or even begin to query it
  • I started another novel and am about a third of the way into what I think is an interesting story, but need to get my fingers back on the keyboard

In short, I fell short. But that’s OK. Because I haven’t given up hope nor have I stopped. I’m just in a bit of a lull – regrouping, perhaps – refueling.

Things that I have been doing that are more positive:

  • I’m still reading for a literary agency
  • I attended a Meetup for local writers and had a lot of fun talking with them
  • I met in person one of the Friday Fiction writers (Hi, Dawn!) and participated in a Bloggers Unite posting on gratitude
  • I remet a writer friend from Salt Cay (Hi, Anne!) and we’ve been working on some business ideas together as she shapes her plans
  • I read and helped advise on an autobiography for a lovely woman in her nineties who is an alumna from my university
  • I met another writer whose work is fun to read and have my fingers crossed that her book, which is now represented by a wonderful agent, is published soon

All of this means I’m still out there, still trying and still hopeful.

My blogging stats show pretty much what I’d expect – most of my posts were my Friday Fiction and most of the readers came just for that. One post that came in first is a bit surprising – it had the most readers but zero comments. I’m not sure why that is. Talk to me, people!

Capture

Zero comments? Really?

All in all, 3,000 visits from people in 57 countries. I feel pretty good about that.

Here’s to 2016 and continuing to silence the little voice in my head that says I’m not a real writer. I’ll just keep plugging away until I believe it myself. Happy (belated!) New Year to everyone!

50 Happy Things for 2015: Bloggers Unite in Flood of Gratitude

Me, at the beginning

Me, at the beginning

Me, today

Me, today

 

 

 

50 Things I’m Grateful For

LIFE
1. For the gift of life itself, thanks Mom & Dad!
2. Being alive – for my health
3. For learning to live with my limitations but not being defined by them
4. Being loved and loving others
5. My senses – being able to smell, see, taste, touch and hear all the wonders around me
6. My heart – for feeling things, for beating every second of every day
7. Freedom to choose my life’s path
8. Being told I could be anything I wanted to be and believing it
9. Taking the time to relish simple and pure moments
10. Safety – I don’t take that for granted
11. My home – and for feeling warm and cozy on a cold night.
12. My garden – for healing my wounds when I need it mostgarden
13. For learning when to say enough; for knowing when to keep trying.

 

 

 

FAMILY & FRIENDS
14. For my parents again, for being wonderful examples of how to live a good life
15. For my brothers and sisters – my first tribe and my support system
16. For my children, for being my heart and soul3 Amigos
17. For my first husband, for the gift of our two oldest children
18. For my husband, for staying the course and working toward true partnership; for our shared history
19. For my very best friend in the entire universe (the world just wasn’t big enough), Lori. You know why.
20. For my dear friends who hold me up and smack me down when I need it most. Thank you all.
21. For the family I’ve created along the way – those people who are a part of my life and history
22. My pets. My life is enriched by them daily, in spite of the shedding, the puking, the scratching – they are true and loyal and pure love
23. For my memories – all the people who have come and gone from my life, leaving behind their imprint, some large and some small. My life is better for having known them.
24. For our family reunions each Labor Day – they are an anchor in my life and my story
25. For becoming more compassionate with age and knowing how much each of us carry with us as we go through life

EXPERIENCES
26. My upbringing in a chaotic, action packed household – it shaped me and made me resilient.
27. My education and love of learning – I can’t imagine what I’d be like without that
28. Spending four years at Stanford. What an amazing place and what amazing people I met while there. I am still pinching myself about that time.
29. My time as a mother – something I thought I wasn’t going to be very good at, but the single thing that has made me a much better person.
30. My work – my accidental career in technology, as an entrepreneur, and mostly as a mentor to others. I have enjoyed it more than I ever imagined.
31. Living in the Northwest surrounded by some of the most beautiful places in the whole world. How lucky is that?
32. Learning to arrange flowers – who knew this would be a passion?
33. My recommitment to being a writer and the courage to say it out loud.
34. Travel – what a joy that has been – seeing the world, being in places I’d only dreamed of being.Slano
35. Sports – I can’t go through this whole list without that! They are a central part of my life experiences, as a player, as a coach, as a fan.
36. Reading – this is my daily vice; I can’t imagine a world without books to read.
37. Helping others. Nothing makes me happier than when I put others first to be of service.

MISCELLANEOUS

38. Coffee…it is a daily pleasure
39. Chocolate…no longer daily, but still something to savor
40. Creating things – food, art, a garden – these are the small creations that make life a joyIMG_00000425
41. Seeing the sunrise or sunset and being reminded that beauty is everywhere
42. Taking the time to walk barefoot in sand or grass and remembering the miles I ran barefoot as a child
43. Seeing a smile on a relative’s face who has become the spitting image of my grandmother or aunt who are no longer with us
44. Continuing to learn and stretch my mind
45. Relaxed moments of companionship, whether with people, a good book, or my furry friends
46. For the rain and the good it does the earth
47. For the sun, which is so welcome after the rain
48. For the ground, for what grows is both beautiful and essential to life
49. For believing that miracles can happen and that sometimes the impossible can be achieved.
50. For Life. I’ve now come full circle.

Thanks to Dawn Quyle Landau at Tales From the Motherland for initiating this!  You can find other bloggers’ posts here.  To participate, follow these rules and then click on the Blue Frog Guy below.

If you’d like to join in, here’s how it works: set a timer for 10 minutes; timing this is critical. Once you start the timer, start your list (the timer doesn’t matter for filling in the instructions, intro, etc). The goal is to write 50 things that made you happy in 2015, or 50 thing that you feel grateful for. The idea is to not think too hard; write what comes to mind in the time allotted. When the timer’s done, stop writing. If you haven’t written 50 things, that’s OK. If you have more than 50 things and still have time, keep writing; you can’t feel too happy or too grateful! When I finished my list, I took a few extra minutes to add links and photos.

To join us for this project: 1) Write your post and publish it (please copy and paste the instructions from this post, into yours) 2) Click on the blue frog at the very bottom of this post. 3) That will take you to another window, where you can past the URL to your post. 4) Follow the prompts, and your post will be added to the Blog Party List. Please note: the InLinkz will expire on January 15, 2015. After that date, no blogs can be added.

Please note that only blog posts that include a list of 50 (or an attempt to write 50) things that made you feel Happy or 50 things that you are Grateful for, will be included. Please don’t add a link to a post that isn’t part of this exercise; I will remove it. Aside from that one caveat, there is no such thing as too much positivity. Share your happy thoughts, your gratitude; help us flood the blogosphere with both!

May your holidays be filled with happiness and gratitude!

http://www.inlinkz.com/new/view.php?id=592585

 

Friday Flash Fiction

sandracrook
Photo Courtesy of Sandra Crook

Time, wind, water – all enemies of a cliff like this, made of sandstone – a soft rock rife with ancient seashells. Living nearby means living a watchful life, waiting for the next big storm and wondering what will still be standing come morning.

A big thanks to Sandra Crook for her lovely photo this week!

Word count: 100

Of Sand and Civility

When had boys gotten so rude? Mabel dumped her sodden bags and shrugged off her Shetland sweater, rain drops beading up on the wool.

Once, they’d have helped her up. Kicking her groceries was brutish to say the least. The world was a different place today. Back then, they’d watch her walk by with a sparkle in their eye. Today, she was old as the hills and almost as decrepit.

The rain beat a pattern on her roof, wind kicking up along the strand. Mabel gazed wistfully at the sentinel down the beach, as she readied for the next storm.

To see other stories, please visit the Rochelle Wisoff-Fields site here.

© Erin Leary

Friday Flash Fiction

CEAYR
Photo Courtesy of CE AYR

This photo is likely to generate a lot of Cinderella stories this week. It is indeed a rough night when you lose a shoe and it ends up in the gutter. Or maybe it was a throw away all your worries and dance barefoot in the streets kind of night. In the harsh light of day, the mystery remains…what really did happen?

Word count: 100

Told You So
Cindy pulled her head down into her ratty fur collar, trudging home. Black thoughts roiled in her head as she contemplated life’s injustices. Last night was just one more.

He’d liked her best, she knew it. Then along came that floozy and he was gone like a wish at midnight. Her step-mom warned her not to get above her station.

Gait uneven, she rolled along like a peg-legged pirate, her stupid half-shoe lost as she chased Mr. Dreamy out of the club. After a night in lock-up, a missing shoe was nothing. And assault was such a dubious term, really.

To see other stories, please visit the Rochelle Wisoff-Fields site here.
© Erin Leary