Monthly Archives: October 2014

Some more serious microfiction…

Last week, in 100 word humour, I shared some old 100 word stories that I’d forgotten about. I tend to write more serious pieces so it was nice to share some light relief and remind myself that I can be a bit funny sometimes…!

In my last post, I asked you to comment if you’d like to see the more serious stuff and you did (well, Miriam and Tim did)! So, as promised… Please find below my more layered pieces. Hope you enjoy!

An angry salad

Melanie silently stabbed a tomato with her fork.
Jon sighed. “What’s wrong?”
She looked up at him and considered her words carefully.
“This tomato… is angry.”
“The tomato…? Oh, ok… and how about the cucumber, Mel? How do you think the cucumber is feeling?”
“There isn’t any cucumber,” Melanie frowned.
“There is. You just can’t see it under that mountain of rocket and tomato. You don’t even know what the cucumber brings to the salad, do you?” Melanie looked down.
“This salad…” she whispered “…has become too angry.”
“Yes. Yes it has. Well, perhaps you should have ordered the steak.”

Tattoos and Tainted Toasters

She lay, studying the tattoos that, uncensored by clothes, complimented the contours of his body as he prepared breakfast. She wondered at the insecurities that had led him to adorn his body this way. Why not revel in unmarked nakedness, as she did?

Sunday morning sounds gently roused her; the low rumbling of water boiling, the sizzle of fresh bacon under the grill and the Tattooed man, gently humming to himself. Then the toaster popped, mocking her reverie.  It reminded her of that night, made her skin crawl…  Her tattoos were on the inside and she wore them without pride.

Brazen and Bittersweet

Santa,

I want a word. Gran thinks this is a thank-you email but it’s not. Optimus Prime was a cool Xmas present, but NOT what I asked for. Gran said I could ask for anything, so I did. But you ignored my letter and just got me toys. Good ones, but toys all the same. I don’t WANT toys this year, Santa. I just wanted my parents back. So, if I send everything back, can you send Mum and Dad back? Please? Turn back time, or whatever, but that’s all I want. Everything else is just… stuff.

Thomas G, 7¾

Miriam also set me the challenge of writing 100 words with her title, ‘The Mystery of the Missing Door.’ Coming soon! More challenges welcome and I’ll write each piece in the order requested and email or tweet you when your story is published.

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100 word humour

I’m going back in time a bit today…

Back in 2009, there was a microfiction website that was getting a lot of coverage… It was called Name Your Tale (the website is no longer active) and the concept was simple: People would submit random titles (the stranger the better) and a group of writers would create 100 word stories to fit those titles.

I was one of those writers. I loved the challenge of creating the short stories to fit the crazy titles and found that although my usual response to writing prompts is pretty deep/serious, when under pressure I can actually be a bit funny. Sometimes. Recently I was looking through some of my old work for a particular story and found my submissions to Name Your Tale. I had forgotten all about them and enjoyed reading them again so thought I’d share some of them here. Hope you enjoy!

Roll the Dice

“Your turn…”
“A six… and a four!  Woo Hoo, I get Mars!”
“Wait, Mars is mine!”
“No, not any more it’s not!  Ha ha, you’re just left with Pluto now, and that’s not even a planet!”
“You’ve got it wrong…”
“No I haven’t, Pluto was reclassified as a dwarf planet by the people of Earth back in 2006.  Some of them were quite upset about it all. They are funny creatures, humans…”
“No, I mean you’ve got the co-ordinates wrong.  That’s not Mars…”
“Isn’t it?  Shit.  I really thought I’d won then.”
“Hold on… Yeah that’s right, it’s… Earth.”
“Oh.”

He’ll Always be a Coward

She sat with a thoughtful look on her face, her spoon hovered over the cream as it slowly melted into her hot chocolate.
He was still talking.
“So… um, I’m sorry, it’s just… well… this isn’t really going to work anymore…  it’s not you, it’s…”
She dipped her spoon into the cream, licked it slowly and looked at him, really looked at him for the first time in months.
“Yes, I agree”
“What?”
“I agree.  It’s not me, it’s you.  Now fuck off and stop bothering me.”
It was the third time that week he had tried to fire her.

You won’t get it, gerbil girl!

Ratwoman looked at her messages and sighed.  It was the undersized gerbil across the road asking whether she needed an ‘assistant.’ Again. Well yeah, would be the immediate answer.  She could do with someone to answer emails and keep her website and twitter stream up to date, but that’s not what Georgie was asking.  What she wanted was the position of ‘sidekick,’ a sexy little costume and the adoration of the public.  The thought of actually fighting any crime hadn’t even occurred to her. Ratwoman considered her response, then typed slowly, deliberately: @gerbilgirl – I told you, I work alone.

If you’d like to see the more serious stories, comment below and I’ll share them in my next post. If you’d like to challenge me, comment with random title and I’ll create a 100 word story, just for you. I can’t promise to be funny though. 

Beautiful

Having a good hair day? Feeling strong, sexy, confident… Beautiful? Great!

This is for you…

Having a bad hair/face/body day? Feeling like you’re not enough…?

You. Are.

Beautiful

Listen*, this is for you…

 Just Be.

Just Be You.

Just Beautiful…

 

*Words by me. Voices are me and Rachael Black. Apologies for the poor sound quality!

Getting out from under the crap cloud

Earlier this month, I received an invitation from fellow coach and writer Christine Livingston. A while ago now, Christine helped me start to recognise when I really need to ‘show up’ to get results and when I really just need to (in her words) ‘give less of a shit.’ This might sound a little unorthodox but it’s what I needed to hear at the time. I can’t tell you how much of a difference it’s made for me to stop when I’m getting caught up in unhelpful thought patterns and think ‘but do I really give a shit?’

Not your average networking breakfast

Anyway, I digress. My initial reaction when I saw Christine’s email was ‘urgh, networking.’ I got curious about my reaction and realised that it was the image that this word conjures up for me. A bunch of people thrown together with the often tenuous link of being in the same (or similar) profession, many of them bringing only their personas and not really being present (myself included – what if they don’t like the real me?) and plenty of awkward small talk.

But Christine is not your average host.

Even though we’d never met in person until last week, we met on social media some time ago and had spoken, so I knew that the image I had conjured up for myself was not the sort of event she would run. On reading the email properly, I could see that. The breakfast was to be a small gathering of what Christine called ‘VIPs’ (including me, really?) having a discussion around a particular topic:

Are business success and wellbeing mutually exclusive?

Having recently launched my freelance business and still working out the balance between getting it off the ground and still taking enough time to take care of myself, this was definitely a subject I am interested in exploring. I was still very nervous that morning, thinking about how I hadn’t had time to really prepare (what? A deck of flashcards with my thoughts? How authentic would that be?). As I stepped off the tube, I took a moment. What did I really need to do, to get the most out of this? Then it came to me. A reassuring voice (the one in that bubble I told you about last week), saying ‘Just Show Up.’

Be Present

That’s it. Show up. Be present. Listen, really listen and speak up if you have something to say. So I did. I was still nervous, but less so as I focused on what was in front of me and let go of any notions of what others might or might not think of the fact that I was late, barely spoke, and was hesitant when I finally did share something. And of course, I got so much more out of the morning than I otherwise would have.

I took away so many things from the session but I’m just going to share two today. One, I have already shared, sort of…

Be yourself

This is what I mean by Show Up and Be Present. After the session I was heartened to read that Christine also has an internal struggle with allowing herself to be vulnerable in this way but that that there is a hidden power in allowing yourself to be fallible, to be human. She says, ‘Drop the need to anything other than who you are. In fact, see how it doesn’t serve you to try molding yourself to someone else’s version of what good looks like’ and concedes that this is not easy!

Mindfulness vs Mind Fullness

mindfulness-graphic

I couldn’t find the original source of this image. If it’s yours, please get in touch so I can credit you!

There was an interesting discussion on what it means to be mindful and suggestions ranged from just sitting with one’s thoughts (as in sitting/silent meditation), being present in the body during exercise (which raised the question of whether a high intensity workout could increase cortisol levels – and therefore stress – as opposed to say, yoga or pilates) to a complete focus on the simple act of sitting and eating a chocolate coin. The actual word itself became a talking point too, as someone got up and wrote Mindfulness vs Mind Fullness on the flipchart and explained explained that he had recently attended a conference where mindfulness was a topic and halfway through, it became clear that half of those present thought they were discussing the latter word. A different conversation entirely!

Getting out from under the cloud

I know I only said I was going to share two things but as this relates back to mindfulness it counts as part of the second (stay with me!). We talked about the ‘cloud’ of negative self-talk we all have. Not sure what I’m talking about? Well, here’s a glimpse of what mine was like that day in the moments I let my mind wander (staying present takes work!):

The CRAP cloud

CRAPcloud

Click to enlarge

And here’s what it was like when I Just. Showed. Up.

A crappy picture, yes. But there’s no crap in this cloud.

A crappy picture, yes. But there’s no crap in this cloud.

How often do you really show up, especially when it comes to work? What’s in your crap cloud (‘cause that’s what it is – just crap. It’s not real) that’s stopping you from showing up? Do share in the comments below, let’s crack these crap clouds together!