Every morning, Amy watched the elderly man who was clearly love struck by the mannequin bride in the window. As tears rolled down his weathered cheeks, Amy wished she was more like her mum with a knack of talking to strangers and easing grief. Instead, she observed, paralyzed… a mannequin herself.
“How much for the woman in the window?” He asked.
“She’s not for sale. Only the dress.”
“When I saw my Audrey walking down the aisle, I was the happiest man alive. Now, there’s just me.”
Somehow, she’d have to explain the missing mannequin to the boss.
I am thinking this story would suit a longer format…even to just 500 words. I see the occasional wedding dress in the opportunity or charity shops and it always makes me wonder how they got there. Why did someone pass them on? Naturally, the divorce rate doesn’t help, but if I was divorced, would I part with the dress even though I’d parted with the groom? An interesting question. Any thoughts?
This has been another contribution to Friday Fictioneers hosted by Rochelle Wishoff-Fields at https://rochellewisoff.com/ We’d love you to join us!
Meanwhile, I’m having quite a momentous week. I signed up for and have started an online freelance journalism course on Monday and tonight I was elected Vice President of the school Parents & Citizens Association (P& C). I’m not sure where all this is heading but I’m certainly extending myself.
Let me offer you a warming tea, coffee or perhaps even a mug of hot chocolate. It’s freezing here, and it’s feeling like we’re down in the snow country, although I’m still able to move my fingers, so I shouldn’t be complaining too much. I’m just waiting to drive our daughter to school and filling in a few minutes, and I’m grateful for the warmth of Zac the dog on my lap who is no doubt reciprocating.
How was your week, and what did you get up to?
The highlight of my week was going to an art exhibition opening on Saturday afternoon at La Carta Art Gallery in Wyong, My friend’s teenaged daughter, TP, was among the exhibiting artists, which is what took me there. I love her work and it’s so good to see an artist in the making, and watch her insights and talent evolve. We rarely get that opportunity and usually only see the finished product, and by this stage, it’s usually well beyond our price range. During the week, I’d already seized the day, and had bought her charcoal sketch: The Cat. . It was funny because people seemed to assume I’m a cat person. However, as most of you know, we’re dog people here and have three lively dogs of our own. Besides, that wasn’t why I bought it. I thought the perspective was very clever and I loved the expression on the cat’s face and it’s huge, wide eyes. I wonder what it was looking at…
Meanwhile, I also fell in love with the work of another artist, Lena Nimmo, who is more around my vintage. She had quite a number of paintings in the exhibition, including many people. Should I be calling these portraits? I don’t know. I was captivated by quite a number of them, especially a woman with dark hair and some kind of look in her eyes. I’m not an art critic. I just found the woman intriguing and was drawn in. I almost could’ve bought that painting, along another painting of a young woman playing the piano. Pianos have been such a part of our family life, but I have so many of my own photos and the same old problem of limited wall space. However, then I spotted a painting of a woman praying, The Prayer, which had been inspired by a 1914 work by Felice Casorati. To be honest, I much prefer Lena’s version. It’s absolutely exquisite, and I’m giving it to my mum. It was her birthday on Saturday, and she is a woman of faith who always starts the day by reading her Bible.
By the way, I really enjoyed myself, and I can’t tell you how wonderful it was to immerse myself back in the art world again after being in lockdown and isolation for most of the last year, along with the year before. It gave me a bit of a jolt. This is what I’ve been missing out on. It inspired me to venture out further. Embrace more of living However, covid is still around, and it’s Winter and flu season here. I’m planning to get my fourth covid vax and the flu vax this week. Apparently, you can get them together which sounds practical, but I wonder how I’ll feel afterwards. Yet, there’s part of me that wouldn’t mind a few days in bed with a good book. One of the downsides of getting back to our so called “normal” is driving all over the place again. Some days I feel like a buzzing bee.
Over the weekend, I also submitted a 500 word short story into a Furious Fiction competition held by the Australian Writer’s Centre. I’m not sure quite what I can mention about my story online. However, I wrote about a family grappling with Duchenne’s Muscular Dystrophy. There are two sisters who find out they are carriers after Sally’s son is diagnosed at age four. Bridget has a daughter and because Duchenne’s is largely passed on to males, she’s okay but could be a carrier. The story is set just over a year after Sally’s son has died, and his massive electric wheelchair is still taking up most of their loungeroom, and they haven’t been able to part with it. I guess part of what I was looking at was that pressure to move on and what to hold onto and what to let go. As I worked on the story, I added in that he’d played boccia, which is a variation on bocce, which is played by severely disabled people, providing a sporting outlet. In my story, he’d been part of a fictional Australian team who’d won gold in Rio. In part, the story was inspired by Australian Paralympic gold medallist, Kurt Fearnley . I’ve heard him speak and he’s also written a very inspirational book Pushing the Limits: Life, Marathons & Kokoda. Many of you, would not be aware that following the birth of our 16 year old daughter, I was struck down by a muscle-wasting autoimmune disease, dermatomyositis, and spent eight weeks in hospital and rehab trying to get back on my feet. I was very debilitated, and to be perfectly honest with you, don’t know how I’m still here or how I’m doing so well these days. It’s a real testimony to the motto; “never give up”, because there were many times it was tempting, which at the same time, I fought like a bat out f hell to survive. I know that might sound contradictory, but that’s what it’s like with real emotions when the rubber hits the road. It’s tough. Of course, you’d rather be at the beach and chilling out. It is what it is, and I can’t describe the relief, especially now that the worst of covid has passed and we have a vaccine and anti-virals.
Well, that’s about enough from me for this week. However, I thought I’d share with you the link through to the past winners of the Furious Fiction competition because their stories have been published and the judges have also provided feedback, which is very helpful: https://www.writerscentre.com.au/blog/category/furious-fiction/
Coincidence is a strange and mysterious thing. Understandable, when destiny, fate or God brings people together, seemingly via a mysterious, invisible thread. However, less understood, was how randomly placed objects on a shelf could interact… a bottle of Vodka, a statue of Tinkerbell the Fairy, a chunk of amethyst crystal, along with Rochelle’s favourite Rumi quote: “You were born with wings, why prefer to crawl through life?”
Seemingly just all flotsam and jetsam, who would’ve thought?
Suddenly, Rochelle sprouted purple wings. Carpe diem, she didn’t pause to question how or why. She was off flying to the moon and back.
Today, Miss was being plagued by a grouchy stomach, and left school early and we tried everything to try to get her through her afternoon nursing TAFE course and off to ballet tonight. It didn’t work, but here are some photos taken from our short walk along the beach. I’d hoped a bit of sunshine, vitamin D stretching her legs and the sea air might make a difference. An eternal optimist, I will keep trying.
However, before we head off to the rocks, I wanted to set the scene and share a few views of the bigger picture.
Anyway, we came across a few uplifting words on rocks, and thought I’d pass them on. I hope they give you a bit of a smile.
This weekend I have the absolute privilege to share something incredibly precious and rare with you…sunshine. Unfortunately, I suspect it’s but a rare intermission in between our months and months of rain, but that makes it all the more special and I guess I should’ve been out there today to make the most of it.
However, I went for a magnificent bushwalk yesterday to my favourite little spot overlooking Pearl Beach and across to Palm Beach and all of Pittwater. While, it’s not Sydney Harbour, the views are almost as breathtakingly beautiful and from my vantage point, I feel like I had to all to myself. I didn’t need to compete with all of Sydney for a vantage point…only the birds!
How was your week?
Mine was good, but fairly busy juggling family commitments, while getting stuck back into reading two novels by Australian literary giant, Ethel Turner, which are set in World War I and so also crossed over with my research there. I managed to finish: The Cub, which was published in 1915 and sees seventeen year old John leave for Gallipoli after his older brother who enlisted in England, was killed in action fighting in France. However, this forms only a fraction of the story, and the thread is picked up in the second novel in the series: Captain Cub. However, the books focus more on the home front than the war itself and the sagas of two families.
The reason I was binge reading Ethel Turner last week, was that I’d booked into an Open Day at her former home Woodlands in Killara, and I was trying to wake up my dormant brain cells so I could sound at least somewhat knowledgeable when I introduced myself to the speakers there, which included two of her Great Grandsons. However, it didn’t really work because all that happened was that I had all this Ethel Turner stuff in my head in a jumbled fog, and nothing was coming out in neatly defined packages, and especially not the whole grail where you can sum her prolific and profound writing output up in a single word and be the ultimate unrivalised genius on the subject. Or, at least that’s what distilling facts into a single word is supposed to do. Personally, I don’t feel it would do her justice, but when you’re trying to enter the realms of the academic elite, you need to play by their rules not your own.
Anyway, in the end I decided not to go. It was going to be at least a one hour drive, and they were expecting huge crowds, terrible parking and I couldn’t help conclude that I could well pick up covid. After two years of caution, it seemed stupid to throw caution to the wind. Moreover, I saw the doctor on Friday and in what sounded like a prophetic warning, she told me that more people have died from covid in the last six months in Australia than the previous two years. So, while the politicians might be telling us we’ve switched the clock back and returned to an almost normal, the stats and medical folk are telling a different story.
Meantime, while I had my nose stuck in The Cub from 1915, our daughter, “Miss”, posted a clip on Tik Tok and unlike any of my posts here on WordPress, her clip went viral and as far as I know has now had 2.5 million views.
Well, you might ask what attracted such a response, and fool like me, you might actually believe that her video was especially meaningful and required many hours of careful planning, creativity and construction. However, you’d be mistaken. It was a very spontaneous and erroneous piece which she’d put together during her Nursing TAFE course. The school has a small quasi hospital set up and she filmed the patient dummy in bed, and then turned to film her friend swinging in the swing chair. It lasts all of a minute, and while funny and quirky, doesn’t justify that many views, especially when my philosophical musings which really might improve someone else’s life, barely attract enough traffic to fill a lane let alone a super highway. I have been wondering lately what it means to live in a society where people can read, but choose not to. This could sadly be the result.
Tragically, the red rose couldn’t speak for herself, and suffered in silence. How she loathed how humans used roses to cover up their despicable, cheating deceit, when all they knew was pure, unadulterated love.
Love wasn’t meant to hurt.
Yet, the rose was also quick to concede her own flaws. Even she’d accidentally stabbed a finger or two, and drawn precious blood with her thorns. Indeed, this was a serious design flaw she intended to raise with her maker.
Then, suddenly, the rose was brutally cut away from the bush, denied the opportunity for further reflection.
The streets of St Germain were almost deserted – except Alice returning home in her diaphanous red gown, carrying her stilettos. She wasn’t drunk or under the influence of drugs. Rather, her overactive imagination was suddenly swept away by the alluring, white tulips in the Jardin du Luxembourg. Their luscious, white faces were all smiles, drawing her in like a drunken bee intoxicated by pollen dreams. Usually reserved, she finally unleashed her soul: “Why tiptoe through the tulips, when you can leap? Geronimo!”
That’s where Alice was found – sound asleep by a young man wishing he’d drunk his morning coffee.
Tulips aren’t a flower you see a lot of in Australia. Indeed, they were very rare when I went to Europe back in 1992 and really had the chance to appreciate them more fully – especially as I flew with KLM and landed in Amsterdam. So, my story had to have a European setting, even though we do have a tulip festival in Canberra. Indeed, that reminds me I ought to go to our version of Floriade sometime.
This has been another contribution to Friday Fictioneers hosted by Rochelle Wishoff Fields, and I encourage you to join us.
Ryan was God’s gift to women…absolutely irresistible.
However, Melissa was a tough nut to crack, and she was driving him crazy.
She always started the day with a coffee. This morning he was waiting for her. There was no escape.
“No one gets in between me and my first cup of coffee,” she asserted without the hint of a smile.
“Are you sure?” He coaxed, oozing masculine charm.
The office was empty. He didn’t mean to. It just happened. Captured on four different security cameras. They both lost their jobs.
No one even questioned whether Melissa wanted coffee.
The issue of consent blew up here in Australia in February, 2021 after Liberal Party staffer Brittany Higgins went to the media with allegations she’d been raped while she was drunk and semi-conscious in Parliament House in 2019. Around the same time, former Sydney schoolgirl, Chanel Contos, conducted a poll on social media asking whether any of her friends who attended Sydney private schools had been raped or sexually assaulted. It went viral, and attracted significant media attention. She later submitted a petition calling for earlier sex education in schools to Australian Prime Minister, Scott Morrison. Consent is an issue which often flies under the radar, but clearly needs to be brought to the surface.
Breastfeeding their first-born son in a derelict squat, Maria thought of Our Lady giving birth to baby Jesus in a stable. Things were grim, but not without hope. If love was enough, baby Thomas could soar to the moon and back. Be invincible.
Then, the crucifying doubts set in.
“Who am I kiddin’? If I can’t save meself, what hope does me baby have?”
She wrapped him up in her only blanket, and kissed him goodbye.
“There’s no greater love, than heart-wrenching sacrifice,” they said.
Dorothy had travelled the world using her magic ruby slippers, and she was no longer the fresh-faced, young girl who had followed the Yellow Brick Road into Oz. Indeed, she was now older than Aunt Em had ever been, and it was time to hang up her shoes. However, she had no idea where to leave them, or how to pass the baton on. Immobilised, the shoes took over, and they touched down in front of New Zealand’s Great Shoe Fence. Problem solved. Dorothy hung them up, and waited until a young woman took them home…Jacinda. She had extraordinary plans.
There were quite a few directions I could’ve taken with this prompt. I had no idea what the “Raise Plow” sign meant. Being from Sydney, we haven’t had to deal with snow plows. Apparently, the sign is used to alert drivers of snow clearing vehicles to raise the snowplow that can get damaged due to construction plates hidden under snow or speed bump on the road. So, my focus was drawn more towards the hanging pile of shoes. What did that mean? I wasn’t too cluey on that front either. However, I did recall a shoe fence we’d stumbled across on our honeymoon in New Zealand 20 years ago. That was the starting point for this story. It’s a place where old shoes go to die. However, some people seem to find a pair there as well, and breathe fresh life into them. So I thought I’d find a special pair of shoes which could be left behind, and found this incredible pair of Ruby Slippers designed by jeweller Harry Winston to acknowledge the 50th Anniversary of the movie in 1989. They are made of real diamonds and rubies and are worth a cool $3 million. Wow!
Anyway, I hope you enjoyed my story and additions.