Friday Fictioneers: Requiem For the Sun (in honor of Earth Day 2015)

friday-fictioneersFriday Fictioneers is a weekly Flash Fiction challenge that features writers from all over the world. Use the photo prompt to write a 100-word story and join this group of Kool Kats, led by our talented and generous leader Rochelle Wisoff-Fields. Check out her blog Addicted Purple, to read more stories, learn more, or join in. The photo this week was sent in by Douglas MacIlroy.

What a haunting image! While I think I know what it is, I’m taking a stab at Science Fiction in honor of Earth Day. I always appreciate honest, constructive feedback; please leave a comment.

© Douglas M. MacIlroy

© Douglas M. MacIlroy

Requiem For The Sun

“Do you ever dream of fresh strawberries, Da?”

“Don’t be silly, Ginny, we’ve got fresh berries whenever we want.”

“Not the ones that grew in fresh garden soil– you remember? The ones you and Ma grew … before the sun grew cold.”

Seamus gazed out the podhole at the icy land.

“No sense wishing for things we can’t have, luv. We’ve done fine with our “growing pods.” We have everything we had when the land was green: streams with fish, fruit trees… safety from the cold and ice.”

“Aye, Da, we’ve managed to recreate everything– but sun and fresh air.”

(100 words, exactly)

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GIPY

Make me smile; HELP ME REACH MY GOAL:  I’d love to see the Tales From the Motherland Facebook page reach 500 likes in 2014. Have you stopped by to spread some fairy dust? Follow me on Twitter, it’s where I’mforced to be brief.  Most importantly, if you like a post I’ve written, hit Like and leave a comment. I love to hear what readers think. Honest, positive or constructive feedback is always welcome. Click Follow; you’ll get each new post delivered by email, with no spam.  If you see ads on this page, please let me know. They shouldn’t be there.  ©2015  Please note, that all content and images on this site are copyrighted to Dawn Quyle Landau and Tales From the Motherland, unless specifically noted otherwise. If you want to share my work, please give proper credit. Plagiarism sucks.

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Friday Fictioneers: Burnin’ Down The House

friday-fictioneersI want to thank so many of you for the kind words of support last week. Some of you saw my initial explanation (which I deleted) for my harsh story, some guessed from the comments, and others read the title. While I wish I’d left out the explanation to start with, to let my writing speak for itself, I appreciated each and every kind word, and the feedback you gave. Friday Fictioneers is more than a weekly flash fiction site, for me. I feel like I know some of you, and I’m grateful to be in such fine company. Thanks to each of you!

On Monday I had two exciting events, that helped shake me from the difficult place I’m in right now– and that can’t be sugar coated: I’m working on tough stuff. I’ve spent the past week on my own, in a quiet place, as I begin to digest things, and work on moving forward.

However, a piece I wrote about my family’s struggle with Huntington’s Disease was Featured in the Huffington Post and has done very well. That is especially gratifying because it means so much to me, to bring awareness to this devastating illness, which is always fatal. The 2nd bit of news was entirely unexpected and quite thrilling! I’ve been awarded by BlogHer as a “Voices of the Year” winner, for my piece “On My Father’s Birthday, A Letter To The Man Who Killed Him.” I will be honored at the BlogHer convention this July, and will read the piece in front of 5,000 people. (Holy butterflies, Batman!) I could not be more honored, and it was a cosmic hug I really needed right now.

Friday Fictioneers is a weekly Flash Fiction challenge, that seduces writers from all over the world! Use the photo prompt to write a 100-word story and join this group of Kool Kats. Check out our fearless leader Rochelle Wisoff-Fields’ blog Addicted Purple, to read more stories, learn more, or join in. The photo this week was sent in by Roger Bultot. My work often reflects where I’m at, but I always appreciate honest, constructive feedback. Please leave a comment, and tell me what you think.

© Roger Bultot

© Roger Bultot

 Burnin’ Down the House

It’s not like I didn’t know that our house was built with damaged goods. I plugged each hole and patched each crack, as quickly as you made them– Soldier on, soldier on.

“Don’t look into the sun, you’ll go blind,” I was told. I never thought to put on sunglasses and look beyond your glare.

But I’ve got a song in my heart and my shades are on.

“Here’s your ticket, pack your bags
Time for jumpin’ overboard”

When the smoke and ash clear, I’ll rebuild.
Now I know; I’m from strong stock… and my foundation is solid.

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GIPY

Make me smile; HELP ME REACH MY GOAL:  I’d love to see the Tales From the Motherland Facebook page reach 500 likes in 2014. Have you stopped by to spread some fairy dust? Follow me on Twitter, it’s where I’mforced to be brief.  Most importantly, if you like a post I’ve written, hit Like and leave a comment. I love to hear what readers think. Honest, positive or constructive feedback is always welcome. Click Follow; you’ll get each new post delivered by email, with no spam.  If you see ads on this page, please let me know. They shouldn’t be there.  ©2014  Please note, that all content and images on this site are copyrighted to Dawn Quyle Landau and Tales From the Motherland, unless specifically noted otherwise. If you want to share my work, please give proper credit. Plagiarism sucks.

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Life Is Funny That Way…

There are treasures to be found...

There are treasures to be found…

Recently I learned something that changes virtually everything about how I’ve always seen my childhood, my family, and myself. Like so many things, this shock came entirely unexpectedly. I thought that I was immune to blind sides at this stage; there have been so many– but this one has knocked me on my butt. I’ll write more when I’ve properly dissected and digested it. For now, my head is still spinning and my emotions are raw, as I try to make sense of things that don’t add up the way they once did.

As it were, I had an opportunity to take off for a week… or, however long I wanted, to lick these wounds and start to work through all of this. This is my happy place: in a quiet, Mayberry’ish, Pacific NW town, where people really do know your name; folks walk and say hi when they pass you; bald eagles soar and dive outside my window all day, and there are miles and miles of beaches to walk… in precious solitude. I brought my sweet pup, Gracie, but aside from her, I can pass the entire day with little to no spoken words.

IMG_9469On our first day, we walked 13.5 miles on Sea Glass Beach! I hadn’t had breakfast, and I headed out at 10am without water or food, thinking I’d only be gone a couple of hours. We returned at 4:30. We ran into a brief storm: rain and winds; we had eagles dive down after Gracie (she weighs all of 9 lbs.) and watch us for miles, and I had lots of time to begin processing things. We came back exhausted and hungry, but it was an amazing day on that wondrous beach. The next day, we headed out even earlier, to catch the tides and be the first ones on the beach. This time I had a backpack, food, water and Gracie’s sweater. I walked 16 miles on Sunday (day 2); Gracie wriggled her way into the backpack, after lunch and I carried her over most of the rocky bits, but that little warrior walked beside me for much of the day.

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Monday we were both crippled. My legs and feet would barely hold me and my poor wee dog was limping. It was raining and gusty; I figured it would be the perfect day to catch up on writing and enjoy a full day of quiet. Not to be… because life is funny that way. You can have all the expectations in the world, but life has its own game plan.

Instead, of a quiet, contemplative, restorative day 3, I opened my emails– an after thought– to find that I’ve been named one of BlogHer’s 2015 “Voices of the Year!” (VOTY) I read the message over and over, sure there was a mistake. But there it was:

“We’re thrilled to inform you that your piece, “On My Father’s Birthday: A Letter to the Man Who Killed Him,” was nominated in the Impact category and made it through three rounds and six judges to be selected as one of the top honorees.

We’d love for you to attend the Voices of the Year ceremony at the New York City Hilton at 4:30 pm on Friday, July 17, and of course we hope you can attend the entire conference…”

BlogHer.com

BlogHer.com

I was stunned. I was thrilled. I cried. I cried because I am a believer in signs, and the fact that I, won this incredible award for this particular piece: On My Father’s Birthday, A Letter To the Man Who Killed Him– as I spend this week processing, is magically ironic in more ways than I can presently explain. It was as if my dad reached down and gave me a hug that I desperately needed, at just the right moment. I know that the judges who chose my piece, chose it because it spoke to them, but what so many people read in that piece, or took from it, is so very different from what it means to me. Not even I knew how fragile I would be feeling, a few months later, when that same piece would be acknowledges in such a big way. I believe in “signs.”

And that would have been enough. That piece of incredible news would have been enough to shake my quiet, and keep my stomach filled with butterflies– as I imagine reading my VOTY piece on July 18, in New York City. Butterflies and bats! But there was another email. Huffington Post wrote to let me know that they had published a piece I did about the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge and my mother’s family’s very painful struggle with Huntington’s Disease. Generally, I’m happy if a HuffPo piece has 30-50 likes, early in the morning on the day it’s published. When I clicked the link the piece already had 456– by bedtime it would reach 1,500!

Seeing great stats is always a perk, as a blogger. There’s no doubt that writing is cathartic for me, that it’s my calling, but I write to see my work read by others, plain and simple. This piece is particularly special to me, as it highlights the lack of support by pharmaceutical companies and big donations, for a genetic disease that is always fatal– and which has claimed the lives of my grandmother, my 49 yr. old aunt, and my mother… so far. However, reading the comments from other people living with HD was truly humbling. This is a disease that doesn’t discriminate: men, women, all races, most ages, can be impacted, and the outcome is always devastating. It was extremely moving to read those comments throughout the day yesterday. While I hope readers of this blog will take a look at my piece (here), I really hope you will scroll down to the comments and show some support for people who really deserve it.

And so, what was to be a quiet, contemplative day of writing and processing, imploded. A constant stream of friends and family wished me congratulations of Facebook; my Twitter account was swamped with messages about HD, the VOTY award and new followers. My email pinged all day, with messages, and my head was swimming in the attention my work had brought, the distraction and the deluge of emotions I felt.

I came to this special place, this haven, to dig in old places and find some answers. I’m picking at scabs. The fact that my day was disrupted by a convergence of the two worlds: my mother’s and my father’s, that I’m trying to make sense of, is a cosmic nudge that I can’t ignore. The dichotomy of these two people who impacted my life in such enormously different ways is something I need to work through. As I unravel old threads and figure out how to make sense of it all, I have to remember that there is no one answer; there is no single truth.

Today the sun is out again. I have reclaimed my silent contemplation: I’m writing and thinking, and later I’ll walk some more. My legs have recovered and I’m stronger. I’m still digging in old places– there’s no expiration date for grief, and growth should last a lifetime. It took two emails to remind me that life is full of beauty and grief, struggle and growth, rewards and losses; it is full of love. Two emails reminded me that while it may take some time, I’m ready to heal… Life is funny that way.

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GIPYHelp Me Reach My Goals! I’d love to see the Tales From the Motherland Facebook page reach 700 likes in 2015. Have you stopped by to spread some fairy dust? Follow me on Twitter, where I’m forced to be brief. Most importantly, if you like a post I’ve written, hit Like and leave a comment. I love to hear what readers think. Honest, positive or constructive feedback is always welcome. Click Follow; you’ll get each new post delivered by email, with no spam.  If you see ads on this page, please let me know. They shouldn’t be there.  ©2014  Please note, that all content and images on this site are copyrighted to Dawn Quyle Landau and Tales From the Motherland, unless specifically noted otherwise. If you want to share my work, please give proper credit. Plagiarism sucks.

Posted in Aging, Awards, Awareness, Beautiful places, Blogging, Honest observations on many things | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , | 53 Comments

Friday Fictioneers: The House My Mother Built

Welcome to Friday Fictioneers– a most addictive weekly flash fiction challenge. Use the photo prompt to write a 100-word story and join this group of Kool Kats, from all over the world! Check out our fearless leader Rochelle Wisoff-Fields’ blog Addicted Purple, to read more stories, learn more, or join in. The photo this week was sent in by Jennifer Pendergast.

As always, I welcome honest, constructive feedback; please leave a comment and tell me what you think.

© Jennifer Pendergast

© Jennifer Pendergast

The House My Mother Built

All of my life we were stuck together– tangled.

I drank your Kool Aid, desperate to feel safe, to be loved, to believe

in the world you painted for me.

But the paint you used was toxic,

and I am poisoned.

Searching for cracks in the surface–

I peel and chip away at what is there, and find layer after layer of ugly.

Rebuilding this house of hard, this world of untruths… brick by brick.

Digging in old wounds is my Syrup of Ipecac

If only I could ask you– why?

But that train has left the station.

(98 words)

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GIPYHelp Me Reach My Goals! I’d love to see the Tales From the Motherland Facebook page reach 700 likes in 2015. Have you stopped by to spread some fairy dust? Follow me on Twitter, where I’m forced to be brief. Most importantly, if you like a post I’ve written, hit Like and leave a comment. I love to hear what readers think. Honest, positive or constructive feedback is always welcome. Click Follow; you’ll get each new post delivered by email, with no spam.  If you see ads on this page, please let me know. They shouldn’t be there.  ©2014  Please note, that all content and images on this site are copyrighted to Dawn Quyle Landau and Tales From the Motherland, unless specifically noted otherwise. If you want to share my work, please give proper credit. Plagiarism sucks.

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Friday Fictioneers: Leavin’ This House Full of Hard

friday-fictioneersWelcome to Friday Fictioneers– a most addictive weekly flash fiction challenge. Use the photo prompt to write a 100-word story and join this group of Kool Kats, from all over the world! Check out our fearless leader Rochelle Wisoff-Fields’ blog Addicted Purple, to read more stories, learn more, or join in. The photo this week is from Lauren Moscato  via Amy Reese.

As always, I welcome honest, constructive feedback; please leave a comment and tell me what you think.

© Lauren Moscato

© Lauren Moscato

 Leavin’ This House Full of Hard

When I was little, mama told me to study hard and get my diploma; said an education was the only way outta this town.

Daddy worked his whole life in the factory– gettin’ up before the sun, and comin’ home after dinner. Mama kept his food warm– leavin’ the oven door cracked to keep us warm too. I don’t think daddy ever had a fresh cooked dinner, ‘cept on Easter and Christmas.

Sometimes it seemed there was nowhere to go but down– but I got a bus ticket and my diploma, and I’m sure not lookin’ back.

(97 words)

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GIPYHelp Me Reach My Goals! I’d love to see the Tales From the Motherland Facebook page reach 700 likes in 2015. Have you stopped by to spread some fairy dust? Follow me on Twitter, where I’m forced to be brief. Most importantly, if you like a post I’ve written, hit Like and leave a comment. I love to hear what readers think. Honest, positive or constructive feedback is always welcome. Click Follow; you’ll get each new post delivered by email, with no spam.  If you see ads on this page, please let me know. They shouldn’t be there.  ©2014  Please note, that all content and images on this site are copyrighted to Dawn Quyle Landau and Tales From the Motherland, unless specifically noted otherwise. If you want to share my work, please give proper credit. Plagiarism sucks.

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The Bucket List Experience You Can’t Buy

Note: I’ve been MIA lately, aside from my weekly Friday Fictioneer stories. I’ve been in a rut, struggling to get things written. It’s not for lack of inspiration; I’ve got lots on my mind these days! However, it seems that since I started writing for Huffington Post I’ve been a bit paralyzed, trying to write what has come so easily in the past. It’s me, not them. But I’m planning a writing retreat in the next couple of weeks, and I’m working to get back on track. Today, lots of inspiration!

Admittedly, I’m a lucky girl. As a young person, I went without a lot of things; I worked 3 jobs most of the way through college, and I didn’t spend my money on luxuries. Having raised three children, and worked for 30 years to support my husband’s career, admittedly, we’ve been in a pretty sweet spot for the past few years. We travel a lot more; we enjoy doing things we like, and I have been checking things off my “Bucket List.” However, there are some things that can’t be bought.

For as long as I’ve been blogging, I’ve enjoyed connecting with other bloggers, on line. Over time, there are people who read your work, leave comments, and you get to know each other. If you occasionally reach out and share some behind the scenes chat, it starts to feel like a friendship. However I’ve also learned, over time, that what we see on line is not always what’s really there. I don’t assume anything anymore. I put a lot out there in my blog; I don’t have a lot of filters, and anyone who has read my blog for a while, probably knows a lot about me. I am not my blog, but my blog certainly shows people a fairly accurate reflection of who I am.

I love meeting other bloggers in person when I travel; it’s always icing on the cake. Meeting people face-to-face changes everything– and I’ve been lucky to meet several wonderful bloggers: like him, her, her, her, them (a three’fer) and today, I finally got to meet Melissa from the blog Psychobabble. I’ve been reading Melissa’s writing for at least two years now. I love her witty writing and chill attitude. She hasn’t been writing as much lately, as she’s been a little busy with a much bigger project:

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Melissa’s a mommy now– to one of the most delicious little guys ever! When I stated that there was some icing involved here, little Dylan was definitely buttercream icing on this day! In all fairness, I should say: we were so busy talking about motherhood, careers, life changes, writing, blogging, child abuse, psychotherapy, rain, California vs Oregon– we did not think to take a few photos when Mr. Yumminess was busy being his usual chill, smiley self. By the time we got around to it, the day was almost over, and Dylan desperately wanted a nap. So if these photos have him looking a teeny bit cranky, that’s not how he was for most our visit.

The D-Man is an incredibly lovely little guy and I was totally smitten! He cuddled with me; he smiled and flirted until I was a ball of ahhs and ooohs. Dylan is busy learning to crawl and scoot and he’s a busy little guy– which makes it a little challenging for Melissa to keep up with her writing, or much of anything els she did before Little Guy came along. Having been there, done that with my three a few million years ago, I get the dilemma.

M and I share a lot of similarities: humor, careers in psychotherapy, work with abuse and domestic violence, relocations right about the time we started our families, and a desire to write. While I’m an extrovert, Melissa is an introvert– I’m sure I out-talked her 4 to 1! But in the end, we had a wonderful day connecting and getting to know each other.

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I knew I would like Melissa; I had read enough of her work and chatted in the comments section enough, to know that she was good people. When she moved to my neck of the woods, I put it out there that we should meet and she enthusiastically agreed– but, it’s still a 5 hour drive from where I live; life was busy for both of us, and months passed. Luckily, we were headed out on a college tour with Little Man and her house was right on the way. Getting to sit down and compare notes on so many things just confirmed all of the things I thought before we met. Like meeting anyone new, there are the moments where you are feeling each other out; but, when you’ve read someone’s writing for this long, there’s also a comfort and familiarity that is really special. I thought I’d like Lyssa, and man– when I’m right, I am so right!

If you don’t know Psychobabble and Melissa’s writing, start with her version of our meeting (here) and then these are a few of my favorite recent pots: Here, here and here.  But let me put this out there, I was reading Lyssa long before this little guy came along and changed her life so much. We talked a bit today about Mommy bloggers and finding your groove when life changes so much… go back and read some of Lyssa’s earlier work too; it’s golden.

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GIPYHelp Me Reach My Goals! I’d love to see the Tales From the Motherland Facebook page reach 700 likes in 2015. Have you stopped by to spread some fairy dust? Follow me on Twitter, where I’m forced to be brief. Most importantly, if you like a post I’ve written, hit Like and leave a comment. I love to hear what readers think. Honest, positive or constructive feedback is always welcome. Click Follow; you’ll get each new post delivered by email, with no spam.  If you see ads on this page, please let me know. They shouldn’t be there.  ©2014  Please note, that all content and images on this site are copyrighted to Dawn Quyle Landau and Tales From the Motherland, unless specifically noted otherwise. If you want to share my work, please give proper credit. Plagiarism sucks.

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Friday Fictioneers: Lost In the Music

friday-fictioneersEach week, writers from all over the world join in the 100-word flash fiction challenge, that is Friday Fictioneers. Rochelle Wisoff-Fields herds this collection of kool kats, and this week, David Stewart provided the photo. If you’d like to join in, or read the other stories, check out Rochelle’s blog: Addicted to Purple. Warning: Friday Fictioneers is highly addictive!

In my usual goofball state, I forgot to post this when written…  As always, I welcome positive or constructive feedback. Please leave a comment and tell me what you think.

© David Stewart

© David Stewart

 Lost In the Music (100 words, exactly)

“Come on Betts, darling, try a bite of this; it’s your favorite.”

Frank studied her dreamy blue eyes and waited for his wife of sixty-two years. 

“Honey, Suze made this especially for you. Remember how much you loved to pick berries each summer in Kennebunk? Of course I’d never say it to her, but our girl’s piecrust can’t hold a candle to yours… Still, she baked it with love.”

Their song came on the sound system and Betty smiled.

“I love this song, it reminds me… Tell me again, who are you? It’s so kind of you to visit me.”

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GIPYHelp Me Reach My Goals! I’d love to see the Tales From the Motherland Facebook page reach 700 likes in 2015. Have you stopped by to spread some fairy dust? Follow me on Twitter, where I’m forced to be brief. Most importantly, if you like a post I’ve written, hit Like and leave a comment. I love to hear what readers think. Honest, positive or constructive feedback is always welcome. Click Follow; you’ll get each new post delivered by email, with no spam.  If you see ads on this page, please let me know. They shouldn’t be there.  ©2014  Please note, that all content and images on this site are copyrighted to Dawn Quyle Landau and Tales From the Motherland, unless specifically noted otherwise. If you want to share my work, please give proper credit. Plagiarism sucks.

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