I have several things to share today --
1. Yesterday, I posted a poem about one of my 'heros,' but I forgot to remind you to send me your descriptions of the hero in your life. Use the 'comments' box and simply give me a bit of info - I'll use that to craft a poem or essay about your loved one. Each Thursday I plan to Celebrate someone new! Thanks!
2.) I'm introducing a New SHORT STORY CONTEST!! It's for stories in any genre - the only stipulation is that you keep it clean. Maximum word count is 2000 words. Entry fee is $5. (Use the 'Support my Blog' button.) For that you will get a detailed critique of your story and the helpful feedback that every writer craves. (A great value!) Please send only one submission and only unpublished works. Simultaneous submissions are fine, and you keep all rights. The winner will receive a trophy and a certificate and will be published here.
Always wondered if you have talent? This is your chance to find out!
You may begin submitting at any time. Send your story to robyn at robo1224(at)aol.com. Put 'Short Story Submission" in the Subject Line. Don't forget to add your name and your contact info, like email or phone number. Contest ends May 31st and the winner will be announced by the end of the month. If you have any questions, direct them to: robo1224(at)aol.com
I would like to ask everyone to PLEASE PASS THIS ON! People who dabble in writing are always looking for ways to improve and there are rarely ever contests that offer honest feedback.
Thanks - and Good luck!!
3.) Here's my humble offering for today. It's one of my own short stories. Word count: 750.
Long Road Home
I turned down the last long road toward home. When I think of 'growing up' I think of this place, though I've been twenty-five years removed. My grandparents passed away more than ten years ago, so I have no idea if there'll be someone living in the little house by the creek, but I feel the need to see the place again, to fill me up, and to replenish me. I'm sure the folks there will understand.
Looking back, I remember long, barefoot summers. Tall trees called my name and I answered greedily with feet that were calloused and made tough by rocks and running. I remember stomping and wading in creeks that were alive with flying and crawling things, and throwing myself bodily down a vertical hill to roll end-over-end through sweet green clover without a care in the world, except being able to hear the dinner bell when it rang.
I remember trying to sleep in on cold mornings, when hearty handmade quilts were piled eight inches deep and the thin linoleum floor that waited was like ice. There was breakfast waiting, too. Homemade 'cathead' biscuits and red eye gravy made with coffee and meat drippings; bacon and sausage piled to the ceiling and eggs fried the way you liked them. Coffee was boiled on the back stove-eye, so my grandfather would always pour a little into his saucer and slurp from there until it cooled enough to drink from the cup. My grandmother was busy. She wore a floured apron, not a flowered one. With eleven kids, it took a lot of food; she wore a track between the stove and kitchen table, filling plates and getting orders. But she did it with a smile. I miss her to this day.
The road took a curve. Branches hung low over my car like arms waiting to hug me as I returned.
My grandfather, a preacher, taught us the precepts of the Bible by his example. He never chastised us with long sermons when we were caught doing wrong. He allowed us to make our own mistakes, knowing those lessons were the ones that lasted longest. But I remember him sitting in his recliner reading his Bible by lamplight and watching as his eyes grew worse and the Bible moved further and further from his eyes over the years until it sat on his knees. I remember playing games with cards and knowing if he came in and caught us the cards would go straight into the fire with no questions asked.
My car rumbled onto a gravel road. I slowed and rolled the windows down. The air didn't smell this fresh in the city; there you couldn't catch a breath that dipped deep into your belly, and that expanded against your belt buckle and fought for room. In the shadow of storied buildings your breathing was choked with delusions, desires and petty pants and exhales.
The little white house came into view and my heart lifted. I could see the chicken coop and barn sitting out behind, as always. There was no car in the drive, but that didn't mean there wasn't anyone at home. My car picked up speed, throwing rocks and bits of gravel. It had been too long.
I pulled into the well-used drive and cut off the ignition. I got out of the car and stood, turning, with one hand on the hood. Already, I could feel my empty places filling up. This was it. This was where I belonged. Not in a city, packed arm-to-arm with faceless people.
There was a faded, weathered, white sign by the door. I approached. "Condemned," the paper stated in cold, unfeeling letters. I could see why. The house hadn't served tenants in years. The roof had partially caved in, and strangers had knocked out most of the windows. A tattered, dishcloth curtain fluttered from one of the shattered kitchen windows.
The scene was devastating, but appropriate, a perfect analogy for how I felt: broken in, battered, abused, discarded, empty, forgotten. But I was coming home. And it was easier this way, not having to deal with strangers in the house. I went back to the car, removed some things and retraced my steps. Using hammer and nails, I pounded in a sign of my own, with more force than was probably necessary: "SOLD."
The house would have to be rebuilt, but then, so would I. We both had good foundations; I was looking forward to it.
Hope your Friday is all it can be. I look forward to seeing you tomorrow! robyn