I Before E Except After- Well- Everyone Else

Flash Fiction Challenge- though it’s not more of a drive-by write than flash fiction as I’m in the middle of sprinting to my Oct. 1st deadline for His Hometown Girl. Anyway, here’s my attempt to write something in under fifteen minutes (that’s literally all the time I can give 🙂

The book I’m reading: The White Princess by Philappa Gregory
The first sentence (from chapter one, not the prologue) :
I wish I could stop dreaming.
Google image of the last noun in that sentence:
A black and white graphic of a block letter, capital I

 I’ve had enough of being a pronoun. It sounds like I’m something special but I’m not. And the other nouns know it. They don’t even talk to me. They huddle in the corner of the sentence and share their fancy, important meanings, puffed up with importance. They act like the stars of every book they appear in and me, tireless, hardworking me, gets no credit. I’m just the noun authors turn to when narrating. Nothing  specific, evocative, or transcendent. Sheesh. I might be a pro, but who remembers ‘I’… accept me?

I’ve written to that Webster guy. The one who wrote the book about words by simply listing them and their definitions. Sure. That was tough. Oh. And this is rich. Do you want to know what my definition is? Here goes:

noun, often capitalized often attributive \ˈī\

: the ninth letter of the English alphabet

: the number one in Roman numerals

Of course I had to look up ‘attributive’ because after that lackluster definition, I figured it’d be something good. Eeeeeh. Negatory. All it meant was that I joined things. What’s so ‘pro’ about that? And I’m the ninth letter in the English alphabet. Whoop-dee-do. Couldn’t I have had a cool position like ten? Or an even number? It figures I’d be odd. But at least I’m (trumpet sound) numero uno in a DEAD LANGUAGE.  Yeah. That’s right. I’m so pro that only ancient people know about me. Oh- and the kids who still outline their essays- back in 1985. *sigh.

I don’t want to go pro anymore. I want to be a real noun with meat on me like ‘camaraderie’, ‘demagogue’ ‘reverence’ ‘exasperation’ and ‘adulation’- big words, important words, words people don’t skip when getting to the juicy parts.  I might as well be invisible. Maybe that’s why they capitalize me. I won’t fade into the page that way, though I might disappear before your eyes.

Information Please

Image

Photo courtesy of Flickr Commons, (c) pjern (The Indianapolis Public Library atrium)

I enter the building and nearly wilt in relief. It must be nearly a 100 degrees outside. At least it’s cool in here. I soak in the blessedly cool AC as I get my bearings and approach the front desk.

It’s pretty much every big-city library.  This one’s clean and modern, but otherwise it’s all just stacks of books and scattered tables with people reading.

The Information desk is well-marked with a large metallic sign that scrolls around the ceiling above it and says: I N F O R M A T I O N all around it. The lady at the desk is turned away, facing her computer.

“Excuse me?” I ask. Really, I just need one thing: answers — in a book maybe. Surely they can help me here. I feel like I’m going crazy.

She spins to face me, a pretty woman with a blond side braid and a smile of greeting. “May I help you?”

“Listen, weird things have been happen–”

She flickers out of view,. Time stutters, skipping forward a sec, then back. She’s there again still smiling, her eyebrows lifted in a pleasant expression. I glance around and it’s the same thing, a faint little flicker of time. Is anyone really here?

It’s happening again. I’m not sure what’s real any more.

There’s nothing wrong with my eyes. I’ve always had perfect vision. And there’s nothing wrong with my mind. There can’t be.

I swallow my feelings of unease and ask, “I need a book.”

“Right this way,” she says, and I follow her into the stacks. She seems to know without asking what I’m looking and despite the little time-flicker-thingy, I’m relieved. Finally, someone’s going to help me.

* * *

Update:

The book I’ve been reading is WIRED FOR STORY by Lisa Cron. Good stuff! 🙂

The first line of the first page is:

“In the second it takes you to read this sentence, your senses are showering you with over 11,000,000 pieces of information.”

–Lisa Cron, WIRED FOR STORY

Message Received

Our challenge this month is to use the last noun from the first sentence of the book we’re currently reading, and write about the first image that appears in a search engine. In my case, the book is Blender for Dummies. (Don’t laugh. It’s for a 3D computer animation software, not a kitchen appliance. :-)) The last noun in the first sentence (I skipped a bunch of pages to get to the introduction) is GRAPHICS. (Whew! Could’ve been worse!) The first image to pop up in google is:

scene13fanfic image

Message Received

The wreckage of our entire civilization drifted in shards through space, just outside our escape pod. I put my hand against the shielding barrier and watched in bitter silence, shoulder to shoulder with my sisters, determined to spot something recognizable in the debris.

“Maybe it was an accident,” Allenah said quietly.

“This was no accident.” I held back my anger. “There was a message embedded in the disc. Chandok was trying to break the encryptions.”

“A simple message would not have done this.”

“The message was not so simple, and he had it narrowed down to one solar system.”

“Still—”

I pulled my blade and pinned Allenah against the barrier before she could say another word. “Whose side are you on?”

“Yours, of course. But Earth? They aren’t capable of this.”

“You saw the contraption they sent, with that cursed golden disc. They destroyed everything—our men, our children, our future. Our entire race will cease to exist when we are gone.”

“Masa. Not now,” said Grogenas, our oldest sister.

I released Allenah and stood with my back against the wall, wondering who was with me, and who was against. “Would you have us wait until we are too old to fight back? Would you stay here, drifting aimlessly among the dead, and not seek any retribution at all?”

Grogenas fixed her gaze on the ruins beyond the barrier. Once again, we fell into a mournful silence. Until a child’s toy came into view.

“We will gather support from allies and build our army, with or without council authorization,” Grogenas announced. “When all is ready, I know of a ship that can have us on Earth within the beat of a human heart.”

At Least it was Handy

I’m reading Ellen Booraem’s Texting the Underworld, and the first sentence is:
Death stalked the spider, pre-algebra book in hand.

First Google image for “hand:”

untitled

“Give it to me, baby,” he said. “I’ve had enough.”
She shook her head, teasing him.
“Look,” he said. “I’ve got to get to work. I love you, lots, but a man can’t play all the time.”
That coy look, head lowered, eyes lifted almost undid him—but it was already so late that he’d have to rush to get dressed by the time his carpool arrived.
“Please, baby,” he said. “I mean it.”
She saw that he did and gracefully, almost delicately, released her treasure.
He was sorry to end the interlude…but if he left a toy within reach, she’d have it chewed to bits by the time he got home.

Hilari Bell usually writes fantasy for kids and teens, but she just got a new dog and you can see what it’s done to her brain.

Elevators and writing? Sure!

Elevators. I don’t much care for them. Not since I was young and stuck in one. It hovered over ten floors, just a cable held it aloft. A cable—well maybe there was more than one, I didn’t look to check—was all that kept us from meeting the concrete basement floor in a way no one wants to meet it…very quickly.

These thoughts ran through my head as I stood in front of the bank of elevators Elevator1-300x225waiting to board the next available car of doom to transport me to the fourteenth floor. Okay, okay, maybe ‘car of doom’ is a little extreme. But, hey, I was a kid when I was stuck in that elevator and I had just drunk a whole juice box and we were stuck there for two hours. I had to pee. If that combined with the threat of gravity sucking us down to crash land on the basement floor don’t spell doom I don’t know what does.

Finally the little ‘ding’ sounds and informs me the elevator has arrived. I step aboard. My hands are sweaty and the sides of my stomach clench. I seriously rethink the taco I ate from the Taqueria on the corner of the road on my way to my appointment.

It’s then that Abbie speaks. Well, she speaks to me. The rest of the people in the elevator have no idea Abbie is riding with us since she is one of my ‘imaginary friends.’ You know, one of the voices writers hear talking in their heads? Anyway, she informs me that she shares the same fear of elevators I do. She has an interesting story of a time when she was trapped in an elevator. I listen to her tell her tale and by the time the car of doom reaches the fourteenth floor, Abbie has told me the beginning of a great story. And I realize that even in the mundane, we find writing gems.

Since that elevator ride Abbie and I have become great friends. We’ve worked together to put her story on paper…all because of a shared hatred of elevators.

By the way, Abbie also told me there is no official phobia for the fear of elevators, but there is a phobia, Porphyrophobia, for the color purple. Strange but true.

A Goodbye and a Drop of Flash Fiction

We are very sad to say goodbye to Robyn, who has had to leave us due to her schedule. We’ve loved having her in our group and will of course continue to support her in any way we can 🙂 But as this day just opened up, I can take the opportunity to post something (since I completely forgot to post on my own day *headdesk*)

My word is air, from the first line of Catching Fire by Suzanne Collins (rereading for the umpteenth time) 😀 The image was, as you’d expect, air 🙂 Specifically a sky shot, but air in general makes me think of breathing which made me think of my post for today.

I’ll confess I cheated just a tad in that this isn’t a new piece…this is a shape poem from a novel in partial verse that I wrote a few years ago (and am currently rewriting so it was fresh in my mind).

 

He holds
my face so tenderly,
in hands that just killed.
For me. Fingers gently touch
my cheeks. His lips kiss away my
tears, my blood. “Breathe,” he whispers.
His lips brush mine. “Just breathe.” I shudder,
my breath escaping at his command. “If you insist,”
I try to joke, but fail. Shouts fill the night air. “Go!” I cried.
“They mustn’t find you with me. Go!” He freezes, his storm
gray eyes on our hands, clasped between our pounding hearts.
The horror on his face mirrors that on my own. One last caress, so
bittersweet. He wavers. “Go,” I breathe. He steps back, back, raised
hand stained black with blood. Mine, his, theirs. His pained howl rips
through me, burning his image on my soul. “For you I’ll live,” I whisper,
unwilling to breathe, unable to stop. They will come for me, their hands
grasping, to return me to my clan. “Go!” I plead. One last look and he
runs, his tortured fury echoing through me, his pain my own. They
come, see me bathed in blood. “Who did this?” they ask. I shrink
from their touch. Gently they lift me, murmuring, “Let us help
you.” I swallow my protests, settle into their strong hands.
They ask, over and over, but I don’t speak. And they
don’t suspect. They take me home. I care not.
I’ll breathe because I promised I would.
But oh how it hurts. He is gone…
And…I…can’t…breathe….