Reading the world away

There is something about reading. Lots of us do it here on wordpress, it’s what has brought us together, and I tried to put into words exactly what it is that I love for Perdiz Magazine last week.

Here’s an excerpt from my piece, but head to the beautiful Perdiz (HERE) to read the full article.

“I was sat on my bed reading Charlie and the Chocolate Factory when I discovered my mum was moving us in with some strange man that wasn’t my dad. I stared at the fading bobbled butterflies on my duvet cover for a few seconds, and then I turned back to Violet Beauregarde ballooning into a giant blueberry. Her plight in this chocolate fantasy land made more sense to me than anything the real world could offer in that moment.

That’s the thing about books, and certainly about great books, they make sense. They are written to make sense. As for the world around us, that’s anybody’s guess.”

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Well, I’m back!

Hello lovely ones. I have been on a little blogging adventure.

To cut a long story short… I always said once I reached 1k followers I’d move from wordpress.com to wordpress.org. And so I did at the beginning of the year, but I very promptly got lost from the WP reader, so all you lovely followers could no longer see my posts.

I have been struggling through, trying to connect with you all without much success, and because of this I have today moved back to wordpress.com… because (and don’t say I don’t ever do anything nice) I miss you. 😉

I still have my blog over at ismithwords.com, which will eventually be my new home, so if you’d like to follow the action there please do visit and sign up to the mailing list, which I send out every few weeks with the details of the latest challenges, stories and general musings.

For now I am coming back to you with the most recent Literary Lion post from my other site, which I am opening up for another month, as so many of you missed out on it before. Please do bear with me if you did manage to see this one, and feel free to have another go if so!

So to this month’s challenge. The word is ‘Boys’. It puts me in mind of Britney Spears circa early noughties. She will forever be the reason I do stomach crunches…

So you now have a month and 100 words to pen your tale. Or more than one tale. There is no limit if you prefer to write more frequently than the challenge as it is now monthly.

Remember to include the tag ‘literary lion’ in your piece. Pingback to this post so I can see your story. Say hello on twitter, and come and visit me on Instagram… I’ve started a separate collective of writers here under the hashtag #literarylion, so come and say hello if you’d like to join the private message group there for some shorter tales.

Good luck, looking forward to reading your pieces. Here is my little boyish tale…

Restroom.

It said Lola 4 Charlie 4 eva. Toilets didn’t require accurate spelling.

Or grammar.

I wondered if Lola was still for Charlie. Or if Lola was now for someone else. And if her ‘someone else’ knew about the declaration on the cubicle door half way up the M40 to Birmingham. And if Lola was for Charlie, then what did Lola get? Was he for her too?

In which case, why didn’t it say so?

Literary Lion. Red.

Every literary lion needs an extended cat nap once in a while… I am sorry mine was so extended, but I am back in the country and ready to reveal some exciting Literary Lion challenges.

The last challenge was very impressively met by this lovely piece of writing Ellespeth at balconyviewz… head over there now for a little chuckle and a great example of form.

The ferocious feline sent me all the way to Vegas (baby) with this one… the word of the week is ‘gamble‘. As always you have 400 words or less to tell your stories, please do remember to include the tag ‘Literary Lion’ in your post, pingback to this piece, and feel free to share with me on Instagram and Twitter.. Happy penning.

Here is my gambling tale…

 

Red

It was all too familiar. The smoke lingering in the air, the enveloping cacophony of high pitched rings and chimes, the flickers of neon lights that winked from every corner. They had told me never to return here. The clerk gave me a knowing smile when he slowly slid the token across the counter.

So familiar it was between my fingers.

I stood, watching. Them, the happy, the sad, the hopeful, the hopeless, the inebriated.

I flicked the chip over and over again with my fingertips. A habitual trait.

One more chance.

One more.

Just. One. more.

With a burst of courage I cantered over to the table, sat down at the stall and tapped on the table with my one and only chip. The woman beside me gasped as she looked at the number. I pushed it forward with my scarlet lacquered finger tips.

“Red”.

 

Literary Lion. King.

 

Last week’s challenge saw many tales of merrymaking, while this week’s Literary Lion prompt is as regal as it can be. The word is “king”.

You have seven days to create a flash fiction story in 400 words or less. Include the tag ‘Literary Lion’, pingback to this post, give me a mention on twitter and Instagram so I can share the words and have a browse of each other’s tales in the WordPress reader.

For my tale I looked to the animal’s kingdom’s royal lineage, and to the planet’s original crown-wearer…

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King.

I’ve seen things you wouldn’t believe…

Mists hovering above flooded grounds, ripples rolling away from every footstep, trees soaring taller than I and into the sky to touch clouds. I’ve seen olive eyes peering up from within muddy pools, the wings of reptiles flicking between branches of feathery leaves. I’ve seen lizards clutching with claws to the trunks of trees, but over them I reigned, their Tyrant Lizard King.

I’ve seen an entire realm of kings; hundreds of pairs of eyes on the crown, steely in our stare from the second we felt the sultry air for the very first time.

And now I see you, human. You with your inquisitive eyes, you with your unenthusiastic frown, and even you with your expression of awe, just like the one who first saw me, the one who gave me his name. 65 million years underground and now again I stand tall, your Tyrant Lizard King.

 

 

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Literary Lion. AM.

 

Last week’s forest inspired prompt set the setting for many clandestine tales in the woods, but this week the theme is ‘morning‘.

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You have seven days to craft a post of 400 words of less, inspired by ‘morning’. Remember to include the tag ‘Literary Lion’ in your piece and to pingback to this post so we can find your work in the WordPress reader. Here is my morning tale…

 

Wake up.

I became aware of the frown on my face as soon as I gained consciousness. A radiant ray glistened from the window across my left eye. It narrowed the pupil and created warmth in a strip along my skin. The sunlight was headache inducing.

Dusty particles pirouetted across the beam, vanishing as soon as they crossed to the other side. I took a deep breath and a pungent stench attacked my insides. I opened my mouth to avoid it, but the smell enveloped my lungs after clinging to the back of my throat.

I tried to stand. My legs weren’t listening, they stayed heavy on the floor. As I shifted my head away from the sunlight the rest of the room became clear.

I was just one of many.

Rows and rows of them and the only one moving was me.

 

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The Monday Muse. Skinny Fry.

You will have to excuse my meandering mind again today. As I was laid face down on a surgeon’s table this morning, I couldn’t help but wish I was sat on the riverside bench that the boy and I had perched on just 20 hours previously with two portions of chips and a can of Dr. Pepper. I’ve always loved what we Brits can do with a potato, but I hadn’t sampled the magic for at least six months.

So as I studied the speckles of a blue vinyl floor, I started reminiscing about chips…

 

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Skinny Fry.

I was a fussy eater until I was around 25 years old. As a kid, I was often left sitting at the dinner table long after everyone else had finished, staring at a plate filled with greens.

I would long for a portion of fries.

My Dad used to tell me I’d turn into a chip. I used to think it wouldn’t be as bad as turning into a cauliflower or a piece of broccoli. At least I could be a supermodel skinny fry with a French accent.

 

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Roar. Calling all my fellow writers…

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There are many animals strewn across my abode. None of them are actually in the land of the living, but until the day the boy and I commit to a feline sidekick, I am muddling through with the inanimate creatures of the interior decor kingdom.

The above lion jar is a typical Laura find. He’s probably supposed to guard biscuits or some other sugar-infused confectionary, but instead he is a warden of words. He is also the inspiration for a new feature I am launching today, Literary Lion.

Whenever someone visits my living quarters they are presented with a collection of rainbow-hued paper strips, upon which they must write a word, a sentence or a saying, and then throw it to the lion’s den: the little glass jar.

After several visitors, here sits a container filled with prompts for when the ideas have dried out and the day looks stale, in other words, it is my writer’s back-up.

Every Wednesday I shall delve into the lion guarded pot, and after penning a piece inspired by the coloured strip of paper, I shall publish my flash fiction story here on ismithwords.com.

Then, and here comes the exciting bit, I shall be throwing down the gauntlet and challenging any of my fellow wordsmiths to take on the story prompt themselves. You can interpret the theme as you wish, as long as you keep it short, under 400 words, and remember to pingback to the challenge so I can see it.

Click here to see the latest line of challenges.

Good luck, and may the wordsmith gods smile on you.

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Choke.

A four day week is an affair of proportions so glorious that it means Friday has come without my usual straggling spirit and dwindling dynamism. And so it is with my seldom felt Friday fizz that I bring you The Hemingway Day, and six words that together make a very jolly piece of flash fiction. What a difference a day makes.

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 Choke.

His veins strained as she squirmed.

Thanks to The Daily Post for the prompt, ‘Afloat’, which prompted me, for some reason, to think about suffocation, and the floating of blood amidst veins. Don’t judge me, I’m really a rather happy soul.

Fool.

I have penned a little fool inspired story in honour of April the 1st. Here’s hoping you haven’t been subject to too many mischievous escapades this morning…

Fool

Fool.

Him: 

The tears loomed above her eyelashes, threatening to slither down her cheeks at any moment. With a hand clutching at her stomach, she signalled for me to stop.

I did. Begrudgingly.

Next to me her chest rapidly yo-yoed as she lay sprawled on the floor.

She was ticklish to the extent where even the threatening movement of fingers would spawn banshee screams and rapid movement in the opposite direction.

As she basked in the post tickle glow her eyes flickered towards mine. I reached for a jelly ring. She grew weak at the gesture. I asked the question. Her tears returned. I put the ring on her finger.

I have until midday to tell her she’s the April Fool right?

Her:

Laughter had always trudged that fine line between love and hate. The laughter that made my stomach ache as though my insides were wrangling a way out.

The pit of my gut wrenched and the noiseless hilarity seemed as though it would never end. I held my hands up in surrender.

Silence. Our pupils locked as I wondered how often in life these little moments of flawlessness drifted on in. His grinning face sobered.

“Marry me?”

His pupils flooded with fear the moment my tears fell.

If only he knew I was well aware that even his gluttonous sweet tooth didn’t care for the saccharine sweetness of those jelly rings. The ones he’d bought an entire sweet shop box of just last night, the night before the April the 1st.

Midday snack it is.

Check out some other April Foolers on The Daily Post

Grumpuss.

The monday musings of a crazy cat lady…

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Grumpuss.

I was watching The Simpsons. He strolls into the room and plants a squidgy bundle of sellotape and wrapping paper on the bed. I look up, eyebrow cocked, and he nods towards the parcel.

“Surprise.”

After unfolding the glitter-caked paper I am reminded of that moment in Sex and the City (yes I am a teenager of the noughties who was embroiled in the wonders of American cable sitcoms, bootleg jeans and RnB), when Trey brings home a cardboard baby for his wife, Charlotte, because they can’t conceive and he deems this an appropriate novelty substitution.

Inside the paper I find a cat. Not a real cat, but one stuffed with polyester and furnished with glossy plastic eyes that follow you to every corner of the room.

I am not saying we are ‘trying for a cat’. Unless you can call yearning after the endless snapshots of a Google image search for ‘Exotic Shorthair Kittens’ trying. But my boyfriend did bring home this cuddly toy grumpy cat because I am cat-broody and unfortunately, at this moment in time, without the real thing. Polyester and plastic will just have to do…