Tag Archive | Beth Peterson

Act Now, Don’t Wait, Guaranteed to Work

Cleaning Supplies. CC2.0 photo by Chiot's Run.

Cleaning Supplies. CC2.0 photo by Chiot’s Run.

Act Now, Don’t Wait, Guaranteed to Work
written by Rebekah Postupak

♥ for Beth ♥

You know how they say that stain remover stuff advertised on TV can get anything out?

It’s a lie.

Take the birthday you gave me a yellow shirt (you didn’t know yet to avoid giving me pastels) and then, foolish girl, handed me a popsicle.

“Bonus party favor,” you said, grinning, as a cherry-colored, duck-shaped stain suddenly appeared on my chest.

This meant trouble: kids already loved tormenting me for my ubiquitous stains. I tried explaining my precarious situation to you, but you just made quacking noises until you were laughing so hard your quacks devolved into hiccupping snorts.

I scrubbed and scrubbed (it really was a great shirt) but, though the shirt doesn’t fit anymore, the duck still waddles, like it imprinted on someone hiding just past the seam.

Then there was the time I was housesitting for Mrs. Schauer.

“Merlot!” you said when you showed up, wine in one hand and a shopping bag with Camembert and chick flicks in the other. Not once did you tease me for being scared in that big house by myself. You were less merciful, however, when an hour later I kicked my glass over on the white sheepskin rug and subsequently cleaned it so thoroughly, the spot glowed.

“I didn’t know Mrs. Schauer’s sheep were grey!” you said.

“Club soda next time, okay?” I grumbled. You stuck your tongue out and poured me another glass.

Things only grew worse. Your emergency caramel macchiato I tipped over on my master’s thesis. Your byline-splashed newsprint smeared on my fingers (and then nose) before my first job interview. The ketchup-and-fries you snuck in transformed into a mini Picasso on my wedding dress. Even the delicate bottle of Giorgio celebrating my Halima’s birth became a perfumed ochre garden on my sofa.

And now, you insolent wench, despite knowing better, you’ve really done it: crossed the Great River and smeared a violent mark across my heart.

I’ve scrubbed with bleach, peroxide, vinegar, and baking soda til my hands are raw and bleeding.

Cruel, heartless girl, leaving me all these stains, but nothing to get them out with.

____

Written as a tribute to darling Flash! Friday draggin Beth Peterson (December 29, 1960 – September 2, 2015) via last weekend‘s Flash Frenzy weekly flash fiction contest. Host Rebecca Allred gives a whopping 360 words and a photo for inspiration: it’s live now (runs Saturday mornings through Sunday evenings); give it a try!

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Flash! Friday: Vol 3 – 39

My heart is full.

This week you beautiful writers soared from every corner of the earth to surround Flash! Friday dragon Beth Peterson as she shuffled off her battered mortal coil. Your songs and poems and stories and jokes made her laugh, made us weep, shoved aside the shadows to fill her hospital room with love. Thank you for lifting her (and me!) up in prayers and a magnificent tapestry of kindness (and even, at times, the exceedingly crucial burgers, coffee, and diet coke).

We read, it is said, to know we are not alone. In my faith too, I know I am not alone. This week you proved in tangible ways that even in writing, we are not alone. Oh my darlings. Never alone.

Today’s contest is therefore dedicated to our precious Beth Peterson: December 29, 1960 – September 2, 2015. Let hers be the spirit that launches a thousand new stories into the world. Such a cunning dragon, to boldly leave us with the treasure of having known her. I love you, dear girl. Be at peace.    

♦♦♦♦♦

DC2Serving as Beth’s dragon captains this week and judging your fine tales are the quick-witted and fearless duo of Josh Bertetta and Steph Ellis. Josh finds himself craving hints of backstory and getting slammed by unexpected twists this week, whereas I can hear Steph begging for mad worldbuilding. I’ve assured them y’all are QUITE up to the task!     

          ♦♦♦♦♦

Awards Ceremony: Results will post Monday. Noteworthy #SixtySeconds interviews with the previous week’s winner post Thursdays.  

* Today’s required word count: 150 words exactly  (not counting title/byline)

How to enterPost your story here in the comments. Be sure to include your word count (this week 150 words, excluding title/byline), the two story elements you based your story on, and Twitter handle if you’ve got one. If you’re new or forgetful, be sure to check the contest guidelines.

Deadline: 11:59pm ET tonight (check the world clock if you need to; Flash! Friday is on Washington, DC time)

Winners: will post Monday.

Prize: The Flash! Friday e-dragon e-badge for your blog/wall, your own winner’s page here at FF, a 60-second interview next Thursday, and your name flame-written on the Dragon Wall of Fame for posterity.

AND HERE IS YOUR NOVEL PROMPT:

This week’s novel inspiration, reaching far, far back in time: The Iliad, Homer’s 3,000-year-old epic tale of the spectacular clash of gods and heroes surrounding the fall of the city of Troy.

Story elements (base your story on any TWO of these elements; be sure to tell us which two you chose. Reminder: please remember the Flash! Friday guidelines with regard to content). 

* Conflict: man v man (not gender specific)
Character (choose one): a prideful superhero, a hot-tempered king, a mighty warrior, a soothsayer, the most beautiful woman in the world, the kidnapped daughter of a priest
Theme (choose one): the glory of war, mortality, fate vs free will, friendship
Setting: a besieged city

OPTIONAL PHOTO PROMPT (for inspiration only; it is NOT REQUIRED for your story):

Male body builder Maurice Deriaz, 1906. PD photo.

Male body builder Maurice Deriaz, 1906. CC4.0 photo from La Culture Physique, courtesy of Wellcome Images.

Flash! Friday # 51 — WINNERS!

I wanted to be all avant garde and announce the winners in silence today, but hanged if I could figure a way how to do that. Words are just too powerful, it would seem (much as I would appreciate the irony). And so please allow me to express aloud the gratitude in my heart to all of you for sharing your stories with us this week. Thank you!     

This week’s swan song is sung by Sweet Songstress Beth Peterson, whose love for beauty and elegance has seeped through every pore of her judgery this past year. Thank you, dear Beth, for giving of your time and self so graciously and eagerly. We’re forever grateful!    

THE COUNTDOWN GOES WILD! Flash! Friday Flashversary Festivities launch in one tiny week, Dec 2-6, and Year 2 will kick off Dec 13 with a brand new judge panel. You will get to know our first quarter judges better in the coming months, but for now it is with tremendous honor & excitement I introduce their (familiar) names to you: M. T. Decker, Whitney Healy, Erin McCabe, and Nillu Nasser Stelter. Welcome aboard, dear ones!

♦♦♦♦♦

Judge Beth Peterson says, You, yes, YOU, have so greatly enriched my life this past year! THANK YOU!! It has been such an honor for me to be a part of Flash! Friday! (And I’m looking forward to this coming year!) 😀  All of you have produced some wonderful work in this past year of Flash! Friday. There have been *so* many stories I’ve read that are honest-to-Pete gems.

 

But not only that…. I also want to congratulate *each and every* person who has put their work out on the line (because, hey! It’s *tough* to present your creative work to strangers for evaluation…even when you know the people involved are supportive and want to see what you are doing). And further, I congratulate all of you who have entered Flash! Friday multiple times, whose work I have seen develop and deepen over this past year!

 

Writing is a skill! Never, ever let anyone tell you it isn’t! In addition, like all skills, it is work to begin, and work to build those skills to ever-higher levels. It helps to read about skill-building in writing, but it also *requires* practice. And not talking about “I’m writing in my head”, LOL…. I know we all do that. I am writing in my head all the time! BUT… that is a mere shadow of writing for real. Whether you’re writing on an electronic tablet, an old yellow school tablet (like we had when I was a kid), on a really old schoolhouse slate, or even writing in cuneiform on a clay tablet!  Practicing our writing skills is the only way to truly improve our writing.

 

SO KEEP IT UP, you wonderful, creative, courageous people!!!! 😀  As we enter Flash! Friday’s second year, I can hardly wait to see what wondrous, thought-provoking, rib-tickling stories are shared! 

 

♦♦♦♦♦

HONORABLE MENTIONS

M. T. Decker, “Singing a Dragon’s Praise.” This was well-drawn writing, but the crazy humor of the twist had me laughing and then smiling for quite some time! Thank you!

Marie McKay, Untitled. I love how the prompt led to this unexpected story! The moment of quiet, yet shattering, realization. The decision to revive some of that which has been lost. It speaks to me, for I, too, mourn the passing of the handwritten word.

Joidianne4eva, “And At the End (Let Us Meet Here).” You chose a very interesting concept to write about and wrote it well. Love the turn of phrase, “In this place where the living and the dead collided…” 

Betty Copeland, “The Photograph.” This was some really great descriptive writing of “innerness”! And your last sentence summed up everything wonderfully! A strong and definitive ending to your story. 😀

Ian Martyn, “Choosing.” This really captures that moment of life when we are at a true crossroads. I like the sense of contemplation and the straight-forward, striped-down-to-the-essentials question of direction facing the narrator. I think the use of the first-person POV heightens that impact.

SECOND RUNNER UP

Erin McCabe, “Liminality.” From the title (liminality: the sense of ambiguity or disorientation that often occurs during the middle stages of rituals), through to the stop-and-think “allusions of ubiquity” I was drawn into the rather self-conscious and self-consciously “apart” world of the initiate…in this case, Tenzin. The use of language really works well to impart that sense of separation between Tenzin (encased within the monastic life and Buddhist expectations) and the experience of life as a human being.

 

The last paragraph poignantly touches on that conscious decision that Tenzin makes, leaving the teachings behind and stepping into the embrace of what he is experiencing. I have to wonder how this will change Tenzin. Will this decision lead to other, perhaps life-defining, decisions?

FIRST RUNNER UP

Jacki Donnellan, “Connection.” This is a lovely use of language, in and of itself. Just a piece of that is the phrase, “He glides slowly down the gravel path…”. It immediately sets the tone for everything that follows…almost, hehehe! A wonderful story of quiet observation… AND, what an absolutely ~masterful~ twist of an ending!! 😀

And appearing for the FIRST time as Flash! Friday  

 DRAGON WINNER IS….

JACKIE CASTLE!

for “The Transition” 

The prompt is redolent of contemplation. And this is a wonderfully written piece of the deepest contemplative issue facing all of us. I love the detail given of the here-and-now – poetic and deeply observant. The transition to the look back at a life of choices is seamless, as is the transition right back to the here-and-now observations. And the words!! “tiny veins interweaving…a shadow of his long life lived.” “black branches decked in yellow” Glorious word-pictures! But much more than that as you take on the deep and deeply meaningful transition we all will experience: philosophical contemplation of great degree, welded with magnificent writing. *happy sigh* 

Congratulations, Jackie! Here is your thoughtful Winner’s Page, a dreamily contemplative yet loud dragon eBadge (below), and your winning Tale. Please contact me asap here so I can interview you for Wednesday’s #SixtySeconds feature.

The Transition

Withered fingers dig into the damp soil mixed with decayed leaves. Breathing in a lung-full of earthy richness, he sighed.

Bones creaked as his head rested against upon the earthen bed. Emerald fronds waved over his face in the breeze.

The tiny veins interweaving along the ferns underside were a shadow of his long life lived. A series of crossed paths and chance meetings, journeys down twisting and turning roads. In the end, they all returned to the earth and she welcomed them, making them a part of her core.

Above, black branches decked in yellow shimmered against the blue expanse. He contemplated his folly. The incessant planning, scheming, striving… only to return here in the end. He should have simply breathed in… and out… and in… and….

Out.

Release from the earth’s constraints. Bindings broke. He extended wider and wider to accept what lay beyond. Free.

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