Friday Fictioneers: Caught In Your Web Of Lies

Three steps forward, two back still equals forward! But still not writing as much as I’d like. Thanks for always showing up, Rochelle Wisoff-Fields! This week’s photo is provided by  Ronda Del Boccio. Honest, constructive feedback is always welcome.

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© Ronda Del Boccio

 

Caught In Your Web of Lies

Last night was amazing! You sure know how to make me feel special, babe. Your body’s so hot! Baby, I’ve been thinking about you all day––

Alice re-read the last two lines of the email and slammed the laptop shut. Her eyes burned with tears as she glanced at the photos along the mantel, then ran to the bathroom to vomit.

Two hours later she opened the computer again.

John, I’ve taken what I need from our bank account. Call your baby. I’m through.

Alice hit send, and left her home for good.

(Word count: 92)

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GIPYKAPOW! Have you stopped by Tales From the Motherland Facebook page to spread some fairy dust? I’m grateful for each Like. Follow me on Twitter, LeBron James does (for real… well, he did. But he may have dropped me recently)! Most importantly, if you like a post I’ve written, hit Like and leave a comment. Honest, constructive feedback is always appreciated. Click Follow; you’ll get each new post delivered by email,  no spam.

©2011-2019  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, I’m grateful, but please give proper credit and Link back to my work; plagiarism sucks!

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Gray on Gray…

I posted this five years ago, and while so much has changed in the lives of my three kids, the feelings I wrote here are just as strong, just as real. I now have two grandchildren–– something I could barely fathom then. My life has settled into one of reconnecting with my kids, not being tied to them or living with or near them.

It is also striking and interesting to read through the comments again, and realize which connections I’ve sustained and which I’ve lost… thru’ my less than active blogging. Some of the folks who read this then and commented, have now seen their wee ones fledge as well. Oh, the earth just continues to turn. And we survive it.

TALES FROM THE MOTHERLAND

Little boots, sit by the door... waiting for children who have grown up. Little boots, sit by the door… waiting for children who have grown up.

I am sitting at a beautiful Inn on an island in the San Juan Islands. It’s as magical and beautiful, as that sounds. At a writer’s retreat for the weekend, I’ve had trouble writing– lulled by the stunning beauty around me, and the welling of gratitude in my heart. The wet snow is pattering on the roof; music plays softly– a soundtrack of songs that speaks to how I’m feeling. I look dreamily out at the gray sky, the gray water, the darker gray islands, with only the evergreens to break the monochrome palette… and my emotions overwhelm me. I gaze out; I blink, and it all comes back to me.

As I sit, an email comes in to inform me that my twenty-one year old son has claimed the miles from one of my airline accounts…

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Friday Fictioneers: Fade To Black

Well, getting back to my real life after 6 weeks with the grands and my daughter/son-in-law took a bit more than I expected; I missed last week. I came home to a million tiny fires to tend and our 23rd Oscar costume party. Glad to get back to some flash fiction and the fabulous Fictioneers! Thanks Rochelle for always tending the fires here. Thanks to CE Ayre for this weeks photos.

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© CEAyr

 

Fade To Black

“I don’t believe in foolish superstitions.” Ella swatted the air with disdain. “Black cats are only that: black cats. No different than a white cat, or one with spots. It’s nothing.”

Brian narrowed his eyes as she spoke. “Just being together is a risk; your family will never allow it. This seems like another sign.”

She laughed. “My family can’t stop us. Don’t let them get in your head.”

“Seriously? Tell me again what your brothers did to the last guy you got serious with–– then tell me not to worry about a black cat blocking our getaway.”

(98 words)

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GIPYKAPOW! Have you stopped by Tales From the Motherland Facebook page to spread some fairy dust? I’m grateful for each Like. Follow me on Twitter, LeBron James does (for real… well, he did. But he may have dropped me recently)! Most importantly, if you like a post I’ve written, hit Like and leave a comment. Honest, constructive feedback is always appreciated. Click Follow; you’ll get each new post delivered by email,  no spam.

©2011-2019  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, I’m grateful, but please give proper credit and Link back to my work; plagiarism sucks!

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BLUE

As my final days in Israel wind down, I know I will miss my beautiful grandsons. At three, A is the light of my life, and his new baby brother has been a dream to cuddle. No doubt, the inspiration for this story comes from the reminder of what it is to be a young parent.

CORRECTION: Ok, here’s a funny side story. Here in Israel, Shabbat starts at sundown on Friday, and everyone has at least half the day off. Then Saturday is a full day off as well.  The work week begins again on Sunday–– Sunday is like Monday at home. This throws me off a little every week when I’m here. Maybe because I’m preparing to go home soon, my brain really got turned around completely, as this week I’ve been ahead by a day since Sunday.

All day today, I was sure it was Wednesday. Wednesday is Friday Fictioneers day. So I went to Rochelle Wisoff-Fields’ page, saw this photo and ran with it. I put it up and even added it to the InLinkz on her page… A few hours later, I woke in a panic, and realized I had the wrong day, and the wrong writing challenge.

But, I don’t have the heart to pull this down.

Ironically, sometimes two wrongs do make a right. After a year of being stuck in a funky deep, dark, writer’s block… I’m apparently unstuck! Thanks for the photo, Rochelle; I’ll try again tomorrow.

IT GETS BETTER! So… I took down the Friday Fictioneers tags, I wrote that correction and I waited for Wednesday to come, which comes here (in Israel) 8 hours before it comes to Rochelle’s home. Dale watched the whole thing transpire, as I slept.

Now it’s Wednesday, here and there. I just saw the photo prompt and voilà; it works for this story! The underwater photo is the wrong photo, one of Rochelle’s photos for Pegman, but the one that inspired my story. The official Friday Fictioneers photo prompt, below the underwater photo is the correct one and works quite nicely with my story… Hmm, maybe it’s THREE wrongs make a right? Sleep deprivation leads to creativity? Or something like that. I’ve given credit for both photos, and hopefully Rochelle finds this as amusing as I do! I know she loves kismet as much as me.

If you read all of the preamble, bravo for you! It’s amusing, if not convoluted. Many thanks to Rochelle for her passionate commitment to Friday Fictioneers, I’m so grateful for this happy writing spot. As always, I welcome honest, constructive feedback. Please leave a comment.

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©Rochelle Wisoff-Fields

 

jhc-asylum

©J Hardy Carroll

Blue

“Honey, what is it?” Jared stroked Ellie’s cheek, as she stared blankly out the window. “You can tell me; why were you crying?”

She shrugged, and turned her face away from his earnest gaze.

“I don’t understand; everything’s so wonderful. Why are you sitting here by yourself?”

Her eyes filled with tears again, but she remained silent.

“Most people would die to live in this neighborhood, we have a beautiful, healthy new son; what could be wrong?”

Ellie struggled with words. She just wanted to curl up and watch the sky.

“I just feel so blue,” she whispered.

(98 words)

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GIPYKAPOW! Have you stopped by Tales From the Motherland Facebook page to spread some fairy dust? I’m grateful for each Like. Follow me on Twitter, LeBron James does (for real… well, he did. But he may have dropped me recently)! Most importantly, if you like a post I’ve written, hit Like and leave a comment. Honest, constructive feedback is always appreciated. Click Follow; you’ll get each new post delivered by email,  no spam.

©2011-2019  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, I’m grateful, but please give proper credit and Link back to my work; plagiarism sucks!

 

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The Heart’s Invisible Furies- book review

 

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I have been an avid reader since childhood. Books are my friend, and there’s nothing better than a book that truly grabs you and pulls you into its arms… and leaves you sorry to let it go, when you finish. The Heart’s Invisible Furies, by John Boyne is a book that checked off all of my favorite boxes. The story follows the life of Cyril Avery, in seven-year increments, from the time his teenage mother is cast out of her small Irish town, to age 70 when… * Well, I won’t give it away.

It’s enchanting for its quirky elements, but there’s real heart to this story, throughout, as well as sharp, intelligent writing–– touching on literature, art, politics, religion, morals, history, and the world’s inability to accept homosexuality (and the horrific ways that has played out). How have I not ready John Boyle before now? I kept asking myself this question, with each brilliant detail, each clever saying (“I’d rather bore a hole through the earth with my tongue”–– it’s feckin’ brilliant!), each gorgeous string of words and descriptive passage. His writing is a joy to read on so many levels!

Cyril is given up for adoption by his young mother, who is sassy, intelligent and resilient, but alone and poor. He lands in the affluent home of writer Maude and scoundrel Charles Avery, who never really nurture or care for their adopted son. Young Cyril is left to a world of books and observations on people, without guidance or love. He becomes enthralled with Julian, the son of his father’s lawyer, and their lives form the storyline for much of this book, as Cyril follows his misleading heart.

This is a long book, but is well worth the time and effort. I was swept up in this strange boy–> teen–> man’s life experiences as a homosexual in Ireland and abroad. The main plot focuses on the oppressive doctrines of the Irish Catholic church, which dictated social, political and family mores (for centuries) just after WWII, when the story stars, until today–– where things are definitely changing, but still influenced by this heavy burden of judgement.

Cyril’s story of sexual identity and the universal need to understand ourselves and feel loved, moves us through the humorous, lonely, horrifying, and always informing events that impact his life, as well as the ironic twists that inform the kismet of that trajectory. While it is never stated, Cyril definitely seems to have some Aspberger personality traits, which lead to constant confusion and misunderstandings as he stumbles through life. This aspect of his personality also shields him from the painful attacks that encounters from all sides. His adoptive parents constantly remind him that he is “not a true Avery,” and his early awareness of his sexuality makes it impossible to live a safe or open life in Ireland.

He can also be selfish and and self-absorbed in a way that makes it hard to always feel compassion for the situations he finds himself in. This aspect of the story is really well done by Boyne. The reader, who can see all sides of the story, while Cyril can’t, does not have a straight path. One can only feel compassion for a young child who is so alone in the world, but as Cyril stumbles along, we are torn between frustration and disdain with his insensitivities, while also feeling sensitive to the reasons.

This book was wonderful gem from start to finish. I couldn’t wait to pick it up, whenever possible, to see where Cyril Avery would take me. Anyone who loves real literature, with all it’s pathos and meaning, and without the gimmicks many popular books have these days (they have their place on my shelves as well), then The Heart’s Invisible Furies is a must read! Loved this book… and still coming to terms with it’s conclusion. It’s always the mark of a great read, when I miss the characters long after finishing the book. Catherine, Cyril, Charles, Maude, Julian, Bastian… will be with me for a long time to come.

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GIPYKAPOW! Have you stopped by Tales From the Motherland Facebook page to spread some fairy dust? I’m grateful for each Like. Follow me on Twitter, LeBron James does (for real… well, he did. But he may have dropped me recently)! Most importantly, if you like a post I’ve written, hit Like and leave a comment. Honest, constructive feedback is always appreciated. Click Follow; you’ll get each new post delivered by email,  no spam.

©2011-2019  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, I’m grateful, but please give proper credit and Link back to my work; plagiarism sucks!

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Whatcom Writes Honor: A Daughter’s Tale

I am currently overseas visiting my daughter and her family. I came to attend the birth of my 2nd grandson and to help out, and here I’ve been for more than 5 weeks, with one more to go. I’ve been cocooned in our close world here of: birthing and all the drama, magic and change that brings. Our daily routine of driving to preschool, cleaning, shopping, taking long walks, playing with my amazing three-and-a-half-year-old grandson at the park, cooking, bedtime routines, reading, too little sleep and repeat. Day in and day out. It’s heavenly and draining all at the same time.

The day I left home, I learned that an essay I submitted to the annual Whatcom Writes competition, part of a county-wide book group event, was selected for inclusion in their annual collection. This year’s book selection was Timothy Egan’s book The Big Burn, which inspired the theme “Hindsight.” All essays selected will be part of an anthology on the theme.

I’m so honored to be included in this collection, with other writers who I admire and respect; it’s something I’ve aspired to try for several years. As part of this group, this past week and this weekend, I would have been reading my essay aloud at our local book store, Village Books. However, our delicious grandson came two weeks late, and I was unable to get home in time. I’m sharing it here for the first time. Per the rules of the competition, submissions could not be published elsewhere until after the competition.

Needless to say, it’s a deeply personal piece, and while part of me cringes knowing it will be read by so many people–– this is also why I write: to share and connect. I am not the only person who experienced a challenging family history. I’m not the only child who saw their parents divorce, and behave badly, or who was taken by one parent from the other parent. I’m not the only child who felt lost and broken, and who carried that into adulthood. In sharing my own story, I hope others recognize some facet of their own story and relate to mine. I hope that connections can be made through writing. I cringe and I celebrate, knowing this piece is out in the world. I’m proud of this work and so amazed and happy to have had it chosen for Whatcom Writes. I welcome honest feedback in the comments.

 

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A Daughter’s Tale

If hindsight could change the course of a life, my father might still be alive. He would be an incredible grandfather to my three children, just as he was a loving father to my siblings and me. He would be madly in love with his only great-grandson, because that boy is the light of my life. He would be anticipating the birth of a second great-grandson and joking about how my daughter, his granddaughter, will lose her heart to these two boys.

If all the things I now know about child abuse, divorce and dysfunction, about parents who steal children and lie to them, and how what we understand as children is colored by all the things we do to survive–– if all of this hindsight could change the course of my life, I would be a very different woman today.

When I was nine years old, my mother kidnapped my younger sister, brother and I and took us from California to Massachusetts. She told us it was a surprise, and we couldn’t tell our dad, who had been caring for us for a year and half, after they separated and she abandoned us. That’s a mouthful. It’s a lot of dysfunction. Is it any wonder that at nine years old I quickly learned to believe the lies and twisted explanations fed to me?

Small children do what is needed to feel secure. As a Social Worker I witnessed the most horribly abused children plead to be reunited with parents who hurt them. I will never forget an eight-year-old girl who had to be restrained, as she fought to get back to the father who molested her and then locked her in a burning house. That’s how determined children can be to cling to parents, however bad the situation might be.

Our mother abandoned us and disappeared for a year and a half. We didn’t see her or hear anything from her for that entire period. She left us alone in our apartment. I was seven, my brother five, and our sister fifteen months old. Dad showed up as I fretfully tried to change my baby sister’s diaper, and worried that we were out of cereal. Those memories haunted me for years, even when I couldn’t find the context. No one knows how long we were alone there. His family quickly circled the wagons and wrapped us up in a world where we were fed healthy meals, dressed in clean, age-appropriate clothing and sent to school with homemade lunches. It was a world where every Sunday night included The Magical World of Disney and we felt loved and safe at all times.

But our mother was gone. I remember lying awake many nights fearful and anxious, sure that there was a monster under the bed I shared with my brother. Hindsight tells me I must have wondered where my mother went and why she left us. I remember sitting on the curb outside our house, and watching, and watching, and watching some more. Hindsight: when is she coming back? Doesn’t she love us anymore?

However, when she did return and asked to spend a weekend with us, despite my happiness I also felt wary and suspicious of the boxes in her small apartment, after our father hesitantly left us there on a Friday afternoon. I remember feeling a knot in my stomach when she took us to the airport on Saturday morning. I’d never been on a plane, so I was excited. But I also knew we were going to the Ice Capades on Sunday; how would we get back in time? The thick, sticky ball of fear that would live in me for most of my life formed that day.

Ensconced in a new house with my mother’s family, and fed a steady stream of lies about my father, I learned to push down my fears, my questions or doubts. I learned not to trust my gut. I felt helpless to change all of the crazy things happening in my life, and eventually figured it was easier to pretend nothing was wrong. Despite my visceral memories of my father’s love, it was easier to accept Mom’s version of the truth, than to hold tight to my own knowledge and suffer the pain of his loss. At nine years old I learned quickly to believe whatever story kept me fed and cared for.

I cried each night under my covers, afraid to invoke my mother’s resentment or anger. With hindsight I can see my young mind recognized her insecurity and instability even if I didn’t have adult terms for either. My brother and I knew our father loved us, even if she cast doubt. We recognized that crossing the country with no clothes, or any of our toys or belongings, did not constitute the vacation she claimed it was. When our father didn’t call we knew something was amiss. We knew he loved us more than any thing. But I pushed it all down.

It took my father nearly six months to locate us. By then I’d given up on truth, and believed he didn’t want us anymore. Why else hadn’t we heard from him; why hadn’t he come to take us home? Almost a year after she took us, my mother told us our father was coming to visit. I daydreamed and wished that they were getting back together, and we could all be reunited. I couldn’t wait to see Dad again; it was all I thought about for weeks.

My father was thirty-three years old when he was killed in a car accident–– two weeks before we were supposed to see him again. That day is seared in me as the day I swallowed truth and hope and knew I was on my own.

Hindsight is not always twenty-twenty; on the contrary, it can be entirely myopic. As the eldest child of two people who married too young and split when I was seven, I knew helping with housework and going along with whatever my mother told us, was the safest approach after our father died. I was her partner; there was no veering from the script. As an adult, I didn’t look back and see all the obvious truths. Instead, I clung to the safe story my young mind had used to cope; I only accepted hindsight that fit that version of the truth–– a story that made sense of the inconceivable.

With only my mother’s stories in my head, I believed my father hadn’t really taken care of us. I accepted that he wasn’t a good father. I forgot she abandoned us. I buried it so deep I had only dreams about living with Dad. That’s what I did to survive: I forgot key, essential truths, so I wouldn’t be swallowed by my grief and rage. I forgot key things so I wouldn’t feel like I’d helped kill my father. After all, if we’d been with him he wouldn’t have been at that intersection; he would have been home with us. My ten-year-old reasoning stayed with me for decades.

However, this entire story comes together through hindsight. As I grew up and began to question missing links, I began to see things I’d never understood. I got a Masters in Social Work and began to understand the impact of childhood trauma. Most importantly, my father’s family finally filled in the blanks.

My father’s two sisters always assumed I remembered the facts. They didn’t understand why I saw Mom through rose colored glasses and was critical of my father, but they didn’t want to rock that boat. When the truth finally came out, forty years later, the facts collided with all of my previous beliefs, and I finally started down a road to healing and reconciliation.

By then both of my parents were dead; there were no witnesses to set the record straight. My aunts only knew a few critical pieces of the story. However, when I heard the truth I recognized it immediately. It fit with all of the things I’d tried to make sense of all of my life–– all the things I’d pushed down and buried.

Hindsight has finally freed me to love a father who made us his life’s focus. I know he didn’t give us away, or abandon us. He fought to get us back until the day he died. Hindsight has freed me to see that my mother was a broken woman who had her own demons. She did her best, even if it wasn’t the best for us. I can now see that a deep seeded fear of abandonment has been my rudder for far too long.

If hindsight could change the course of a life, my father would probably have still died in 1973, when I was ten years old. But I could have lived my life secure in the fact that he loved me, and I was important to him. Looking back, it was all there; I just couldn’t see it. Sometimes, hindsight is everything.

For my father who in spirit and in flesh always loved me. For my mother, who did her best.

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GIPYKAPOW! Have you stopped by Tales From the Motherland Facebook page to spread some fairy dust? I’m grateful for each Like. Follow me on Twitter, LeBron James does (for real… well, he did. But he may have dropped me recently)! Most importantly, if you like a post I’ve written, hit Like and leave a comment. Honest, constructive feedback is always appreciated. Click Follow; you’ll get each new post delivered by email,  no spam.

©2011-2019  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, I’m grateful, but please give proper credit and Link back to my work; plagiarism sucks!

 

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Friday Fictioneers: Hope Burns

Many thanks to Rochelle for her commitment to Friday Fictioneers, I’m so grateful for this happy writing spot. As always, I welcome honest, constructive feedback. Please leave a comment.

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©Anshu Bhojnagarwala

 

HOPE BURNS

As Jen struck the stone against the blade of her Swiss army knife again, she began to lose hope. Her arms burned from the effort; her fingers were growing numb in the cold.

“Shit! Why didn’t I ever practice!” Tears burned.

“Heeeelp!” She screamed again, knowing she was too far away for anyone to hear.

Tightening her fleece, she pressed the top snap.

“I’ve got to stay calm, to get through the night. Tomorrow, someone’ll come.”

She struck the blade again and a spark lit the moss. “Thank God,” she murmured as the dark fell in around her.

(98 words)

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GIPYKAPOW! Have you stopped by Tales From the Motherland Facebook page to spread some fairy dust? I’m grateful for each Like. Follow me on Twitter, LeBron James does (for real… well, he did. But he may have dropped me recently)! Most importantly, if you like a post I’ve written, hit Like and leave a comment. Honest, constructive feedback is always appreciated. Click Follow; you’ll get each new post delivered by email,  no spam.

©2011-2019  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, I’m grateful, but please give proper credit and Link back to my work; plagiarism sucks!

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