Saturday, July 31, 2010

A Smile for Ula - A Saturday Centus


Jenny Matlock

We’ve come to the 13th week of Saturday Centus, that inspired writing meme hosted by Jenny “Jen Jen” Matlock, a former Playboy bunny wonderful writer, friend to chickens and blogger extraordinaire at her blog, Jenny Matlock, off on my tangent….

And speaking of chickens, I would like to welcome Lissa from Why The Chicken Crossed the Road to our little literary soiree. Besides being my daughter, she is also a wonderful writer who is taking a brief break from writing screenplays to play with her dad on Saturday Centus. Welcome Lissa! Go check out her blog if you haven’t already.

The superstitious amongst you might be worried about posting a story this week, but be not afraid you triskaidekaphobiacs, for the Centus will not harm you. Unless of course you are the 13th to submit a story, in which case I hope you have your affairs in order. Those of us who survive this week will be sure to memorialize our fallen comrade in a special SC dedicated to them, maybe even one with a gangsta rap themed prompt! (Fo shizzle, my nizzle, dog!)

The participants in this meme, we’ll call them the Centusians, are given a prompt (sometimes it is short and sometimes, God forbid, it is long) that they are challenged to fashion into a fun and creative story. Sounds easy so far, right? There’s a catch, though. To make the meme even more demanding, you are not allowed to use any vulgarity in your stories.

“But that’s just &$#@!!,” I hear you say. I know!  But that’s the point, challenging you to write great stories even without the benefit of filthy cuss words! It’s not as easy as it sounds. Many Centusians have tried and failed and had to post their Centus stories at online erotica sites instead.

One other thing too, and this is kind of important, and that is you are only allowed to use a total of 100 words not including the prompt.

“Only 100 words? That’s easy; everyone can do that, give or take a few dozen words, anyway.”

Right. Well good for you, I think.

After the Centusians complete their written exercises, they link them back to Jenny’s Saturday Centus meme post (aka The Mothership) so that the participants can check out each other’s treatment on the prompt and post comments on each other’s blogs. Then we sit around and an older participant, commonly known as a Centusaurus, tells us stories about what it was like way back in week one.

If you haven’t joined us by now, what are you waiting for? Are you saying that you are unable to write 100 words? Really? Then you must have stumbled on this site whilst looking for some kind of right-wing extremist website or a website of one of their congenital idiot talking heads (Beck, Palin, Limbaugh, ad nauseum).

But seriously, you need to give it a try because it’s fun and you will be impressed with what you are capable of writing.

Not only that, but like the saying goes, “Once you go Centusian, you never go back.”

Here is this weeks “unlucky” prompt brought to you by one of our very own contributors who has decided to remain anonymous:

"That's why it meant so much...

And here is my effort this week. I call it:

A Smile For Ula

For generations life for the Dudek clan had been a bitter pill washed down with the tears of grief, poverty and torment.

Growing up in a small village in Poland, my grandmother Ula watched helplessly as friends and family members were executed before her eyes by the Nazis.

Eventually she came to America, married and had children, but life with a drunk, abusive husband offered no respite to her weary soul.

It’s graduation day.

Accepting my doctorate degree, I glance over to where she is sitting.

She is smiling.

That’s why it meant so much to me.

For once, her tears were tears of joy.

Jenny Matlock
Don't be a foppotee! Join in the fun!


  1. Not your usual zinger at the end but I think this might be one of my favorite Centus' ever that you did. Truly beautiful and heartfelt Tom. This was a really an unexpected take on the prompt. Good job ;-)

  2. Ah, how precious to see that smile on Ula's face!

  3. Lovely and touching story here...liked it!

  4. There are some family members who should really be renamed Murphy, for all the things that go wrong with annoying regularity.

    I'm glad Ula finally had something go so very right!

  5. I liked your story. A lot.

    And "once you go centusian.."

    Ha! LMBO!

  6. A beautiful and touching story. Great job, Tom!
    And btw, "triskaidekaphobiacs" was a nice move too, heheh. :)

  7. You have a hard time keeping it to the damned 100 huh...(I can cuss on here!)So that's why you write such a lavish into. I love it!

    And the 100 that you wrote this week... touched this old heart. Some truth in it?

    Gotta go meet the daughter...

  8. CRAP, forgot the R in into...aka INTRO! That's what happens when you're stuck in a dorm room on a Saturday...

  9. Oh, I do like it. Reminds me of my great grandmother and her sacrifice during halocaust.

  10. Hum....Centusian. Aren't they those creepy huge villains on Doctor Who?

    Oh sorry. No. That would be Sontarans!

    Nice gift for Ula!

  11. Aah, this is very moving and kind of gives me goosebumps. Nice job, Tom.

  12. Nice piece Tom, I have to say I felt the shivers - was it true? And you're right it's not easy to limit it just to 100 words - although I am finding it easier!

  13. So well written, it made my throat tighten. Hey, and "Ula" is one of my family nicknames. How many people can say that?!

  14. This is my favorite of all you've done as well. Such a big punch packed into 100 words. Terrific.

  15. Fabulous! Really wonderful descriptions of the past & Granma!

  16. I loved this one so much. I got a lump in my throat reading it.


  17. Lovely piece, Tom. And I visited Lissa's blog, too. Clearly, the talent apple doesn't fall far from the tree.

  18. Nicely done. Visited your daughter already, she was great! I liked how you packed emotion into this, and you did it in very few words...unlike your famous intros. I can't wait to see what you come up with next week...

  19. aww poor grandma but loved the happy ending.

    as always you made my laugh with your into. good pitch on trying to get more Centusians to join us. you would make jenny proud! ;)

    Tina from
    Mummy Diaries
    Gossip Avenue
    Travel Shack
    Game FreakZ

  20. Wow, nice and heartfelt. Truly moving.

  21. This one sounds true too.
    If so, smooch that granny.
    Great story.

  22. a nice message. I'm not sure Ula is a Polish name, it's more of a Scandinavian/German name.

  23. Wow, so sad. You really were able to squeeze so much about this woman's life into only 100 words. Good job! It really made the last sentence all the more powerful.

  24. "Are you saying that you are unable to write 100 words? Really? Then you must have stumbled on this site whilst looking for some kind of right-wing extremist website or a website of one of their congenital idiot talking heads (Beck, Palin, Limbaugh, ad nauseum)." HA,HA,HA! Thanks for setting things straight!

    Now, about your story...
    Awwwwwwwwww! That was absolutely beautiful! How much truth was in this story? It was written so well, I totally believed it to be true! So give me the scoop. Fiction or fact?

    I just posted my tardy contribution for the week. Hope you will stop by and read!


  25. Tears of joy, for real...oh the feeling. If only. I am antsy to get to Lissa's place...maybe I was already there and didn't know it but I am antsy anyway

  26. Aw, such a beautiful tale, and so well told - you never disappoint!

  27. Tom, even though you betrayed my confidence to you about my playboy bunny days I am willing to overlook that because...


    Do you have words flowing through your veins? Seriously? Do you just scratch the surface and pithy phraseology and poignant word pairings flow out like blood from us lesser writing folks?

    Tom Goette.

    You are an amazing writer.

    You make me strive harder to hit this level of evocative perfection.

    Oh yea.

    And I liked it, too.


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