Category Archives: Friday Fictioneers

False Alarm…Friday Fictioneers 1st February 2023.

“Don’t come up, Joe” Sharon shouted with one leg swung over the balcony looking like she was about to jump. “Fried potatoes”. That was their code that her husband was home. Joe was disappointed. He was madly in love with Sharon, but she wouldn’t leave him on account of the kids, although he was starting to wonder. All his mates were saying the same thing: “She’s usin’ ya, mate”. Joe didn’t care. It was better than being alone. Suddenly, a blaze of sirens pulled up… Police, Ambulance and Fire. “Madam, please step back from the balcony!” Another false alarm. …. 100 words  PHOTO PROMPT © Alicia Jamtaas This is another contribution to Friday Fictioneers, which is hosted by Rochelle Wisoff-Fields at Addicted to Purple. We write 100 words to a photo prompt and it’s rather inspirational. By the way, I’ve been away for the last three weeks house minding in Sydney at Cremorne Point on the harbour. I had an absolute ball ferry hopping and soaking it all in through my camera lens. If you’re wanting to embark on a virtual experience, please check out my previous and upcoming posts. Best wishes, Rowena

Home Is Where The Heart Is (an extended story)…Friday Fictioneers 7th December, 2022 .

Mum and Dad are still living in the family home. That’s what Dad keeps telling mum. “There’s your tree, Margaret”, he patiently repeats pointing to the towering gum tree in the neighbour’s garden. Or, he reminds her of the huge Steinway grand piano in their loungeroom. They’re anchor points in an otherwise surreal world fueled by vascular dementia, and I make a note to ask her what she sees when she looks out her window next time. Where on earth does she think she is?

At this stage of the dementia journey, I’m more curious than alarmed. She’s still intelligent. Knows who she is and who we are. It’s only Dad who transmogrifies into an incredible cast of characters, including her mother who she mostly knows is dead but keeps turning up then inexplicably disappearing into thin air.

Yet surprisingly, she has new-found serenity. “Darling, I was watching the clouds today and enjoying the sunshine. There are so many beautiful flowers I’d never noticed in our garden before.”

So much doesn’t matter anymore. I’m relieved she’s no longer persecuted by “the Jones’s”, although she keeps asking me if I’ve been practicing my singing. I can’t quite bring myself to tell her that my throat doesn’t work anymore and that’s why I play the violin. Yet, I don’t want to disappoint and I cherish every time she plays “Happy Birthday”, which she still plays with her unique flourish. This is when she’s most herself.

“Strange things are happening around here, darling,” she says. “But don’t worry. We’ll work it all out one day.”

I am not so sure, but I’m borrowing her new-found optimism, praying a miracle will stem the tide.

Goodness knows where those fractured neural pathways are taking her, but this home is where her heart is and she’s happy there. So although we’re no longer looking out through the same window, we’ll keep holding her hand and stay with her for the journey.

….

My apologies for significantly going over the word limit this week. Perhaps, I could plead dyscalculia. However, the photo this week with it’s mirrored reflections reminded me of some of the visual confusion my mother has been experiencing lately and her corresponding diagnosis of dementia. I felt it was more important for this story to be told than to stick to the word limit this week. So many of us have a loved one who is experiencing dementia, Alzheimer’s or has been there. People’s comments can be cruel and disrespectful and going down this path is no reflection of how intelligent or accomplished they might’ve been.

I’ve had two grandparents go through Alzheimer’s and that was very different to mum. My grandparents were always old, and just got older. Forgetting things just seemed par for the course until it took over. On the other hand, our parents ideally have always been our strength physically, emotionally and intellectually and then they’re not and we start trading places, it’s so much harder (at least, for me.)

Anyway, my apologies to Rochelle for exceeding the word limit, but I know she supports a good cause, although she keeps her efforts within the word limit.

Do you have any comments or insights into dementia or Alzheimer’s? Please share in the comments below.

This is another contribution to Friday Fictioneers hosted by Rochelle Wisoff-Fields. PHOTO PROMPT © Rochelle Wisoff-Fields.

Best wishes,

Rowena

Her Big Break…Friday Fictioneers 16th November, 2022.

Departing for the prestigious Prix de Lausanne, 16 year old ballerina and proud Ngemba woman, Stella Donovan was asked what inspired her to dance.

“When I was five, I found a jewellery box at the tip with a ballerina twirling around inside. She was deadly and I wanted to dance like her. All me friends and aunties were into netball, but ballet was my thing. I hope to encourage other Aboriginal girls to pursue their dreams.”

Then, the tragic news came through.

Stella had broken her foot moments before she went on, but she wouldn’t let it ground her dreams.

….

99 words PHOTO PROMPT thank you to © Starsinclayjars

I learn a lot writing these pithy 100 words of fiction. Many of you will know that our daughter is an aspiring ballerina and that things haven’t been easy over the last couple of years with covid and she recently snapped a ligament in her foot, but she’s back on deck again although not about to compete in Switzerland. She has the end of year concert coming up soon and next year will be onto auditions. To add a bit of a twist, I made this ballerina an Indigenous Australian a Ngemba woman from the outback town of Bourke where my Great Great Uncle, Herb Bruhn, was the head of the Bourke Dramatic and Musical Society and put on Cleopatra and Oklahoma under rather challenging circumstances and then had his pianist move away with no replacement. I admire his pluck! Anyway, I was delighted to find out that we have an Indigenous ballerina in the Australian Ballet, Ella Havelka, a Wiradjuri woman from Dubbo with a very encouraging story: What It’s Like To Be The First Indigenous Dancer in the Australian Ballet

This is another contribution to Friday Fictioneers hosted by Rochelle Wisoff Fields.

Best wishes,

Rowena 

PS Here’s my own boot story where I broken my foot just before going on stage to play my violin: My Christmas Boot.

My Christmas Boot.

A Morning Stroll…Friday Fictioneers:

“Cars have feelings too,” it said. “You think I like being luminous green and an absolutely laughing stock? Of course not. I hate it. I used to be fade into the background grey, but then Harry lost a bet and obviously HE wasn’t the one who got painted green! Now, I stick out like a wretched neon sign and everyone calls me Kermit the Frog.

However, it wasn’t all bad. Daphne, a pretty pink 2CV, has a thing for bright green. Turns out, for every Kermit, there’s always a Miss Piggy.”

Humph…a talking car. Perhaps, I need a stronger coffee!

…..

100 words

….

Thought you might like to hear Kermit’s views on being green. I’ve never forgotten when I first this at the movies and it was so sad. Such a touching song.

Meanwhile , my mother and her family have had an almost phobia of the colour green and felt it brings you bad luck. Well, I thought I might just Google that and as it turns out, that wasn’t all just superstition as green paint and clothing dyes used to contain arsenic. Here’s a link to a great story about it: Scheeles Green .

This has been another contribution to Friday Fictioneers hosted by Rochelle Wisoff-Fields where we write up to 100 words to a supplied photo prompt. Many thanks PHOTO PROMPT © Brenda Cox this week.

Best wishes,

Rowena

Temptation…Friday Fictioneers: 27th October, 2022.

It had to be a sign…an abandoned guitar propped up against the tree in the middle of nowhere. It was hers.

A virtuoso violinist, Charlotte had been thinking about switching to guitar and jamming with the cool kids down at the park. She was sick of being different – the lone violinist accompanying the wind.

Besides, this guitar was asking to be taken.

Suddenly, she heard Charlton Heston’s voice booming out with unequivocal ancient authority: “Thou shalt not steal”.

“Little Miss Goody Two Shoes” couldn’t argue with Moses.

Capitulating, Charlotte left the guitar behind and kept walking.

Violin it is.

….

99 words PHOTO PROMPT © Bill Reynolds

As you might be aware I play the violin. Well, I played the violin right up to the start of covid. It is a relatively lonely instrument unless you belong to an orchestra or ensemble of sorts while guitar is much more social at least where we live.

By the way, Charlton Heston played Moses in The Ten Commandments.

This is another contribution to Friday Fictioneers kindly hosted by Rochelle Wisoff-Fields.

BTW I mixed up the photo prompts this week and responded to last week’s by mistake and it’s too late to add it to the link but perhaps you’d still like to check it out, especially if you have views on minimalism versus hoarding.

Here’s the link: The Last Word.

Best wishes,

Rowena

The Last Word…Friday Fictioneers: 21st October, 2022.

An evangelical minimalist, Sylvia Nolan is known as “KCD” – a brutal clutter-busting force preaching “keep, chuck, donate” to millions on TV. Meanwhile, her nemesis Junkyard Jenny draws crowds of hoarders on a rival network.

No one knew Junkyard Jenny was her Mom.

No one.

As much as Sylvia had tried to convert her mother through subtlety or force, Jenny was unrepentant:

“Someone’s trash is someone else’s treasure and my trip to Tahiti.”

Last week, Mom had a heart attack and died in the shop leaving Sylvia with a million decisions to make…keep, chuck, donate.

She finally had the last word.

…..

100 words

This is another contribution to Friday Fictioneers kindly hosted by Rochelle Wisoff-Fields.

What are your thoughts on the great minimalist-hoarder divide? I must confess that I’m more down the hoarder end of the spectrum but I do like my mother’s view on this that you just need a bigger house. Meanwhile, my dad says staying put in the one house for 20 years in our case and 40 years in theirs is also fatal. I used to be able to fit all my stuff into one or two car loads back in the day. Hard to believe now!

Hope you enjoy the rest of the week.

Best wishes,

Rowena

A Question For God: Friday Fictioneers – 28th September, 2022

“Mummy, why do Charlie and I look the same on the outside, but are so different on the inside? You said we’re identical twins?!”

The twins were chalk and cheese. Charlotte was always staring out the window at goodness knows what…birds, the clouds, maybe she could even see something in the seemingly invisible air. Captivated by the old oil lamps, she found meaning in their flickering flames. Bridget loved to run. Charlotte’s side of the bedroom was pink with her books neatly filed in rainbow order. Bridget’s was a cyclone.

Sophie couldn’t offer any explanation and simply said: “Ask God.”

….

100 words PHOTO PROMPT © Rochelle Wisoff-Fields 

People intrigue me and so often I marvel at the seemingly whacky way we’re all put together and in the end we can only ask God for a “please explain”.

I hope you are all having a great week.

This is another contribution to Friday Fictioneers hosted by Rochelle Wisoff-Fields.

Best wishes,

Rowena

Nowhere to Go – Friday Fictioneers: 31st August, 2022.

With Mum and my step-dad fighting like alley cats, Sally said I could crash in her dad’s empty shed. I was almost asleep, when I heard footsteps outside getting closer and closer.

“Stop being such a baby!” I scolded. “It’s just the cat.”

However, then I heard the distinct clomp of heavy boots on the footpath. This was no cat. Suddenly, the door swung open. “Who was it?” I panicked, slinking down the bottom of my sleeping bag, as he hit the floor drunk.

With nowhere else to go, I held my breath and prayed for the sun to rise.

……

100 words

This is another contribution to Friday Fictioneers hosted by Rochelle Wisoff-Fields.

Best wishes,

Rowena

Anybody’s Man – Friday Fictioneers: 10th August, 2022.

Malcolm wasn’t going to let being broke and homeless come between him and his daily brew. Oozing charisma and charm, albeit in rugged, unshaven way, Malcolm flirted outrageously with Roberto the Barista at Mecca Cafe for free coffee, while shagging Angel over at Nicko’s Pizzeria. After all, a man has to eat. Playing a game of pass-the-parcel, Malcolm also couch-surfed through the rank and file of St Thomas’s Anglican Church. While they were hell-bent on saving his soul, he was happy praying along and raiding the fridge. Anything to survive. Everyone was only too happy to help the homeless.

….

99 words Photo © Roger Bultot

This is another contribution to Friday Fictioneers hosted by Rochelle Wishoff Fields.

Best wishes,

Rowena

P.S. My apologies for not being around for a bit. I was doing a course in freelance Journalism and was a bit over-focused.

Stop Sign – Friday Fictioneers 13th July, 2022.

“Stop, Jane! You’ve gotta stop!”

Yet, Jane couldn’t take her foot off the accelerator. She’d said nothing to anyone, but lately she’d been considering driving over The Gap.

“What do you do for self-care?” Her therapist asked, knowing she was on the brink.

“Self-care?” Jane exploded. “@#$%!! I don’t even exist. I’m squished in between Stuart, the kids, work, Mum’s stroke, Dad’s cancer. I’m driving to appointments, soccer, ballet and then there’s church. Busy, busy, busy!”

“I’m prescribing you a week’s holiday. Before you say you can’t go, please consider what will happen if you don’t. You matter too!”

“Do I?”

…..

100 words PHOTO PROMPT © Dale Rogerson

For so many of us, it’s impossible to stop and get off the treadmill, but there can come a point where too much activity and no rest reaches breaking point. It’s important to consider things the rests which are inserted into music, full stops and commas inserted into sentences and if you think back to when you were first learning to write, putting that all important finger space in between the words.

The Gap, Watson’s Bay, Sydney.

I hope my story this week isn’t too triggering for anyone. If case you haven’t heard about The Gap in Sydney, it’s an ocean cliff at Watson’s Bay which is infamous for suicides. So much so, that if someone’s going through a rough time or having a particularly bad day, they might say: “I feel like jumping off The Gap”. However, it’s generally used to let off steam, and not as an expression of intent.

The flipside of this story, is that much has been done to try to reach or help those wanting to take there life. In particular, there was Don Ritchie, who was known as the Angel of the Gap. I encourage you to read his story and it’s interesting how far a smile can go towards saving someone’s life. It’s really something to keep in mind!

Personally, I see this as a good news story, because Jane is very overstretched but she is seeing a therapist which is a help and she is releasing much of the inner tension she’s been holding back.

About a month ago, I actually did a two day course in suicide intervention run by Lifeline who run a telephone crisis line here in Australia. I have been a first responder and I was surprised at how well I actually handled the situation. However, I wanted to skill myself up. Be prepared.

This has been another contribution to Friday Fictioneers hosted by Rochelle Wishoff Fields.

Best wishes,

Rowena