Sunday, May 29, 2011

Gone But Never Forgotten, A Saturday Centus


Jenny Matlock

We've arrived at week 56 of Saturday Centus, that madcap literary free-for-all where writers of every ilk convene each Saturday to get the prompt for their weekly writing assignment. 

Hosted by Jenny Matlock at her blog off on my tangent, we are challenged to write a short story or poem using the prompt as given and no more than 100 words not including the prompt.  Sounds really easy, doesn’t it?  But coming up with a story and trying to develop it within the confines of only 100 words is more difficult than you might imagine. 

You reach your word limit before you know it.  (106 words.)

See?  It’s not so easy!  If you want to stretch your brain a bit and give it a go, you are welcome to try it and then post your link to Jenny’s meme post to share it with your fellow Centusians this week.  The only rules are keeping it to the 100 word limit, no vulgarity, no pictures and no altering the prompt.

Give it a go and have some fun with us this week!  In honor of Memorial Day Jenny has given us the prompt, "The legacy of heroes..." from which to base our stories or poems.  I have entitled my contribution this week:

Gone But Never Forgotten

Fred never knew his older brother, Jay, a WWII pilot who was shot down during a mission over Stuttgart, Germany.  

On his 65th birthday he decided to travel to Lorraine Cemetery in France to visit Jay’s grave.

Countless rows of white crosses stretched out before him on that hazy autumn morning. Tears streamed down his cheeks as he made his way through the thousands of graves guided by an unseen hand.

Incredibly, he stopped and fell to his knees before Jay’s grave.

For some, the legacy of heroes was freedom.  For Fred it was a terrible void that would never be filled.

Jenny Matlock

The legacy of heroes is the memory of a great name and the inheritance of a great example. — Benjamin Disraeli

Friday, May 27, 2011

On The Slime Trail, A Saturday Centus


Jenny Matlock

Here I go sneaking in just under the wire for week 55 of Saturday Centus!  It’s been a really difficult week (month, actually) but now that my first Sadistics (oops!) Statistics class is finally over (B+, thank you very much!) I have a bit of breathing room until the next Sadistics (oops!) Statistics class starts.  Never one to pass on one of Ms. Jenny Matlock’s wonderfully fun Saturday Centus challenges at her blog, off on my tangent, I had to try and give it a last ditch effort!

The rules for this fun meme are that we are to use the supplied prompt as written in a story or poem with a maximum of 100 words not counting the prompt itself.  We can’t use any vulgarity or use any pictures.  I know this is a real disappointment to all those out there who were intent on using vulgar pictures with your story, but don’t worry.  Your day will come.

The prompt for week 55 came courtesy of the lovely and talented Dazee Dreamer at her blog Crazy Daze & Nite Dreams.  Her prompt for this week is “The reflection in the mirror...”   My 100-word take on it is entitled:

“On The Slime Trail”

Backstage he readied himself for yet another performance.

Quietly he studied his speech and practiced his ad libs until he was satisfied that this Iowa audience would be eating out of his hand.

He checked his hair and straightened his tie.  The reflection in the mirror exposed a smug face pitted with the ruddy scars of deceit, guilt and shame.  Was it the betrayal of his first wife or his second wife?  Perhaps it was his record of hypocrisy, outrageous lies and ethics violations. 

None of it mattered now.

A voice boomed over the intercom, “You’re on in two Mr. Gingrich.”

“It’s showtime!”

Jenny Matlock
There are no stupid questions, just stupid people.


Saturday, May 14, 2011

Suffer the Children, A Saturday Centus


Jenny Matlock

Welcome to the fifty-fourth week of Saturday Centus, that mind-stretching, word-counting, baby-chopping, literary exercise in succinct creative writing hosted by Arizona’s second most famous woman, Jenny Matlock, at her blog “off on my tangent.”

Each Saturday Jenny supplies us a prompt and the participants in this meme, or “Centusians” as we are widely known on the interwebs, have a whole week to write short 100 word stories or poems around that prompt. 

If you haven’t tried it, you really should. 

Especially if your name is Jayne.

The rules dictate we can write in any form we want (story, poem, recipe for vegetarian Hungarian goulash, polka song, etc.) as long as we keep it clean and don’t go over the 100 word limit excluding the prompt.  Keeping that in mind, I am climbing up on my political soap box once again to rant a bit.  (I tried to do a polka, but it just didn’t have the impact I’d hoped it would.)  This week’s prompt is “Hush little baby, don’t you cry.”

Here is my contribution to this week’s Saturday Centus.  I have entitled it:

Suffer the Children

“Mama, I’m so hungry!”

“I know, baby.  Ever since the Republicans went to war against the poor and middle class, we’ve had to suffer.  They don’t want us around anymore so they took away our food, homes and medical care.

“Mama, why do the ‘publicans hate us?”

“They just don’t care about us because we aren’t wealthy contributors to their campaigns.”
“But I didn’t do anything!” she sobs.

Hush little baby, don’t you cry.   It’s not your fault these idiots were elected.  Let’s look over in that other dumpster.  Maybe there’s something to eat in there.”

And Now My Rant:

Their corporate masters have spoken and now Republicans have launched a full-scale assault on the poor and middle class.   As millions in this country struggle with unemployment, hunger and homelessness, the Republican Party has released their proposed 2011 budget which calls for $6 trillion dollars in cuts over the next ten years.

Their contempt of the non-wealthy knows no bounds as even children are put in their cross-hairs.  The budget calls for billions of dollars to be cut from government support of programs such as special education, students with disabilities, Head Start, and health and nutrition programs for women, children and infants. 

The proposal slashes investment in infrastructure, education, ends guaranteed health care for seniors on Medicare and denies health care coverage to tens of millions of Americans while protecting tax breaks for millionaires and billionaires, corporations and their special interests.  It will also lead to hundreds of thousands more becoming unemployed and cause irreparable harm to the economy. 

You have to wonder why the Republicans  would pander to the top 400 mega-rich people in America that control more wealth than 150 million other Americans, now wouldn’t you?  Over the last 50 years the tax rates for the rich have continued to decline by 2/3 while everyone else’s has doubled, and yet Republicans continue to push for more tax cuts for the rich while throwing middle-class and poor Americans under the bus.  

So stick it to the sick and poor people and suffer the little children, but by all means make the rich richer.  That’s what Jesus would do, right?

And they have the nerve to claim they are the party of “moral values?” 

I think someone needs to get them a dictionary.

Jenny Matlock

Suppose you were an idiot and suppose you were 
a member of Congress.   But I repeat myself.     
--  Mark Twain


Sunday, May 8, 2011

Happy Mother's Day, Mom! A Saturday Centus


Jenny Matlock

This is the 53rd week of Saturday Centus, and my 52nd attempt as a contributor to this fun and challenging writing meme hosted by Jenny Matlock at her blog, off on my tangent.  Each week Jenny provides us Centusians with a prompt or photo to incorporate in a small story of no more than 100 words not including the prompt.

What makes this meme so fun for me is the challenge in trying to keep my story to that 100 word limit and not going over it.   It is invariably the unique word choices and phrasing that gets you there, plus a ton of editing (or baby-chopping as some refer to it.)   In the end it is the satisfaction of having met the challenge rather than what was written, which has compelled me to come back week after week for the last year. 

I think writing a short story with an unlimited number of words is a great pursuit and gives you the freedom to really express yourself as colorfully and descriptively as you want.  But where’s the fun in that?   Sure, you can write some amazing stories that way, but writing a story using a photo of a guy wearing a blue velvet bunny suit as a prompt and adding only 100 extra words is definitely more challenging! 

This week Jenny has given us a “normal” prompt to challenge our creative minds.   And since I am tardy anyway and submitting this on Sunday instead of Saturday, I thought I might as well take this opportunity to spread a little Mother’s Day love at the same time.  The prompt this week is “I’d like to teach the world to sing.”  Here is my 100-word contribution this week.  I have entitled it: 

Happy Mother’s Day, Mom!

On Mother’s Day I recall the wonderful things Mom blessed me with: good looks, boundless wit, and savoir faire.  Oh, and humility too.

“Follow your dreams” she’d always say.  That, and “wash your hands.” 

Some dreams should stay dreams, though.  For example, I’d like to teach the world to sing.  Alas, I shudder to think what Simon Cowell would say of my attempt at singing. 

“Oppressively torturous” comes to mind.

Though fame and fortune continues to elude me, I can still write stories that make people smile.  And that’s fine with me.

So today I say “thanks, Mom.” 

And yes, I washed my hands.

Jenny Matlock

Happy Mother's Day!


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