The Lighthouse

the lighthouse

19 May 2015

FSF: Steam

Five Sentence Fiction from Lillie McFerrin Writes.
This week the prompt word is: Steam.

Her heart was in her throat. She could feel it pulsing in her fingertips. Would he remember her? Would she recognize him? And then all the noise of sad departures and happy homecomings receded because through the clouds of steam there he was - smiling as wide as the world to see her.

16 May 2015

Of hose and belts

It happened lo these many years ago that I was driving along Canada's big highway between the Capital and the Centre of the Universe. It was that time of year when daylight fades early and it was that sort of place where if one were disposed to be freaked out by isolated wilderness, one would freak out - if one weren't beetling along at high speed.  Not illegally, of course - only as speedily as one is allowed by the Highway Traffic Act.

What happened was this: as the sun was losing the will to hang in the sky, my car lost the will to maintain speed.  Before I knew it, I was sitting, still, on the side of the highway, buffeted by trucks and vans and cars beetling to their destinations. I felt like a dinghy tied to a pier, rocking gently from side to side in the wake of faster and fleeter machines. Their effortless motion made my motionlessness all the more palpable.

I will now skip over the part of the story where I promised myself that just as soon as I got home I was going to finally buy one of those cell phones people were saying were so handy to have in cases of emergency, and the part where the tow-truck driver who hauled my car and I to That Tire Store told me hunting stories. Perhaps I should have been flattered by his invitation to hang out with his buddies, but I began to feel the Steven-King-like atmosphere of my surroundings so I tried to decline in a way that made it clear I hoped he wasn't going to turn out to be a lunatic on the loose and really just wanted to get home safe and sound.

Anyway. Safe and sound I was, eventually. It turned out to be the timing belt and assorted other pieces. My brother-in-law had checked fluid levels for me before I left, but hadn't thought about belts and hoses.  (Who would, really, unless one were planning one's wardrobe?)  When his father heard my tale of woe, he shook his head sadly at me and said too bad it was that I hadn't had a pair of nylons with me, 'cause then I could have made the necessary repairs myself and avoided the scary tow situation.

The most surprising element of this story is not that he thought I would know how to MacGyver my car with pantyhose, but that I would own a pair of pantyhose in the first place!


Much to my delight I was able to relive the timing belt experience nearly two weeks ago, except this time it was here in Sohoe instead of in the wilds of the Shield, and with a red car instead of a black one. It took a week for repairs to be made. I was housebound and unable to get to work most days, but received such generous help from friends and family that I couldn't but see it as a blessing.  The car and I were happily reunited a few days ago and life has returned to normal with an added dash of gratitude.

And I still don't own any hose.

10 May 2015

FSF: Family

From Lillie McFerrin Writes comes Five Sentence Fiction, in which we tell a story in five sentences, inspired by a prompt word.

This week the prompt is:  Family.

Cutlery jumped on the table and water heaved in goblets as fists thundered down on the wooden surface in counterpoint to voices raised in accusation on one side and protestation on the other. Beth giggled at the thought that any moment the argument would become "It was a horse!" "A mule!" but no one paused to ask what was so funny.
Just as dad barked out, "And that's final!" to make his position clear, young Bobby let loose a burp that echoed in the sudden silence around the table (he had been sneaking root beer all afternoon).
Surprised laughter cleared the air as effectively as a summer storm. Mother rolled her eyes and passed the green beans.

05 May 2015

Five Sentence Fiction: Memories

From Lillie McFerrin Writes comes this challenge: to write a story in five sentences, inspired by the word 'memories'.

Beth took a breath to steel her resolve, then ran toward the waves pushing against the beach. She lifted her arm high, and with all her might threw the bottle into the sea. She stood for a moment to watch the bottle be drawn further and further away from shore. It wasn't long before she could no longer see the scraps of photographs inside. "Goodbye" she whispered, then turned her back on the water.

01 May 2015

Accountability: April, a month in review.

It's enlightening to look back over a month, a period of time near enough for accuracy but removed enough for detachment - and hopefully honesty. April has been a month of challenges. We've gone from the harsh depths of winter to the breaking free of spring. The work situation has become interesting, matters of the heart have been surprising, and the future feels like a vast and beautiful landscape before me, only I'm standing on a bluff, and from where I am I can't see the path to get from here to there.

Anyway, here are the numbers:

Books read: 4
Writing here: 6
Writing elsewhere: 2
Plotting or actual writing of story: 0

Fish Meal Summer

Years ago, back in the Age of the Nuts, my sister and I got quite enthusiastic about gardening. By which I mean we drilled holes in the bottom of a big Rubber Maid container and buried five potatoes that had sprouted in the back of the kitchen pantry. We also bought two tomato plants in pots, and tried our hand at little lettuce seeds in a bowl. For fun we had a geranium or two. There are always geraniums. (For us, this was taking gardening to the level of, say, the Chelsea Flower Show.) (I told you – we were garden mad.)

The point of this little story is not that we reveled in a bountiful harvest that summer, but that suddenly everywhere we turned, we were inundated with gardening advice. Every magazine had helpful lists of 10 easy ways to turn your thumbs green. Every novel featured a gardening diva or tree surgeon. Miss Anne, our next door neighbour, could be found trimming our shrubbery at all hours of the day, and would helpfully suggest ways we could improve our landscaping.

For some reason fish meal was a common theme. Even the novel with the gardening diva mentioned fish meal. And because we’re experiencing a surge of organic everything, the ideal source of fish meal is fish bones, from actual fish you’ve cooked and eaten yourself. Preferably ethically-sourced fish, at that.  Fish meal is particularly beneficial to the growing of robust roses. 

I can’t think how many articles I came across that summer that extolled the virtue of fish meal for roses. I began to fret about this, worrying that as I don’t particularly enjoy eating fish I’d have to endure a few miserable meals for the benefit of the roses. Sigh.  Then I’d have to research exactly how to prepare the bones, and the application methods. It became a regular topic of conversation between my sister and me.  Should we try it? What kind of fish?  Would it be ok if we cheated and bought fish meal from a garden centre? Would Miss Anne be able to tell?

This continued a pattern of long standing: we’d learn about something new, or hear about something another person did, and we’d feel some expectation that we should be able to do it, too. Anything from brushing your hair a hundred strokes a day, to baking bread with flour from wheat you grew yourself, to oil sketching your own family portrait. No pressure!

The summer of the fish meal brought an end to that.  One day my sister and I looked at each other and said, “But we don’t even have roses!”  Were we about to plant roses, just so we could eat yucky fish, then grind up the bones for fertilizer? No!  So “But I don’t even have roses!” has become a shield against feeling the need to take on the latest trend or do something I’m not the least interested in just because someone else can or does.

Every now and then that feeling wiggles its way in, though.  One such occasion was last night at work, when I came across this book:  “365 guitars, amps and effects you must play.”

But I don’t even have roses!