Friday Story Prompt: Cuba

I have a pseudo-bucket list. This list is simply a wish list that I add to whenever I see something that I want to do. I don’t have a list on paper, only in my head. One day, perhaps, I should write these ideas down so I know what to work for.

On my to-do list are things such as visit all seven continents (I’ve visited three with a fourth in the planning stages), hike the Grand Canyon, and see the Pacific Ocean.

I also have a list of things I won’t ever do, such as skydiving, climbing Mt. Everest, and bungee jumping. Apparently I have a thing about heights.

I’ve also discovered there are websites that allow you to create and organize these lists. Bucketlist is one such site. You can create your list and mark when you’ve accomplished another one. Creating a bucket list is an interesting way create an interesting life.

A recent addition to my list is Cuba.

Cuba isn’t yet a vacation destination, however, the country can be visited under specific circumstances. For the most part, education and relief people are those who are able to enter the country. I hope that when I am ready, it will be open for tourists, or I may have to find another way.

This week’s story photo prompt is one of the street life in Cuba. The picture is beautiful but probably doesn’t do justice to the real thing.

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For the prompt, write your own pseudo-bucket list, or even an actual bucket list. Writing lists is one way to expand creativity. Perhaps a story will come out of your musings.

Life is Better in Bare Feet

2014-09-19 00.36.21Life certainly has its ups and downs. Lately, it seems, things have been more down than up.

Some things are good, like the fact that spring seems to have arrived. Even in Northern Michigan, things are growing, and the sun is shining.

Other things are not; like the amount of stress I’ve been feeling lately.

As I’ve been following Gabriela and her DIY MFA, one of the things that she has talked about is Honoring My Reality. This statement in her manifesto, which can be read here.

Through the ups and downs, I’ve tried to understand and implement this in my life.

I’ve tried to honor my reality by saying no when things got a little overwhelming. As difficult as it is to say no, I think it is more difficult to say no to things that are high on the priority list.

unnamedI’ve had to say no to regular blog posts. Not blogging means that life has gotten too difficult, and changes need to be made.

I’ve had to say no to my normal daily writing. I’ve discovered that honoring my reality means that on those days when I can’t do just one more thing, it is okay not to sit down and pound out 500 words. I try hard on those days not to beat myself up.

I’ve learned that failure is an option and that failure isn’t always a bad thing. I truly believe that something good can come out of something bad. It often takes some time to see what that something good is but is there if you look for it.

I’ve learned that not finishing a challenge is okay, especially if in honoring my reality, it is best for me.

I’ve had to redefine failure in my life. I’ve often read that the real failure is giving up, and since I haven’t done that, I haven’t failed.

I’ve also learned that I prefer to live barefoot.  Does anyone else feel this way?

Since it is spring and shoes are optional, I’ve taken advantage and kept the tootsies uncovered.feet-657207_1280

I feel more grounded with the earth beneath my feet. More real.

I’ve decided that to Honor my Reality, acknowledging that simple moments in bare feet are the best.

Prairie House Story Prompt

“Write a short story every week. It is not possible to write 52 bad short stories in a row.” Ray Bradbury

Is Ray Bradbury right? I have to believe he is or at least he is on the right track. Writing exercises are good ways to build up your body of work.

If you were to follow this advice, you will have 52 short stories that you didn’t have the previous year.

For much of my life, I have been fascinated by abandoned and derelict houses and buildings. Once one of these buildings catches my eye, the questions begin rolling through my brain. Sometimes the story simply comes.

Here is a photo that caught my eye:

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If you choose, use this photograph to write a short story and think about the following questions:

Who lived here?

How did they live?

What made them leave?

What thoughts do you have about this photo and how can you use them in a story?

If you aren’t a writer, would you want to visit this area?

Please feel free to share your thoughts or ideas. We’ll see if Ray Bradbury was right.

Confession Time

I have a confession to make.

Well, another confession. Here is the last time I needed to make a confession.

I’ve discovered a new hobby – as if I need another one.

My hubby and I like to find antiques. We aren’t necessarily specific about what we like.

It is the joy of the hunt.

Sometimes we find things that we simply fall in love with and must bring home.

On a recent trip to Frankenmuth, we found a few things that we couldn’t walk away from.

Such as this old ice box, which is currently being used for storage, at least until we have the spot ready for it:

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And, this small shelf:

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Normally, when we find things they are left alone, mostly because we lack ambition.

But not this time.

This time, the moment I saw the shelf, I knew that although it was perfect, the color wasn’t fabulous.

Here comes the confession.

I decided to paint it.

When it comes to painting, I think I like it. Until I pick up the brush and make the fifth or so dip into the paint can. At that point, I am done, my arms hurt and I begin to imagine myself collapsing in front of the television.

This time was different.

I’d heard about chalk paint but hadn’t used it. When I realized that chalk paint was easy to use with very little prep, I knew I had to try it.

Amazing results:

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I had some issues finding the perfect color but managed to find one just a bit outside of my normal comfort zone.

This was done in two evenings, including the waxing which is an optional step when using chalk paint.

Here is the shelf nestled into my writing corner:

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I’ve enjoyed this process so much that I am looking for new projects. The first was a wooden crate that I use for storage. I even picked up the supplies to repaint a couple of pieces of furniture for my kitchen.

Painting seems to be a good distraction to get my brain moving and I am writing more.

We’ll see how I feel after I’ve finished the two large projects I have lined up.

I think I will be looking for the next piece of furniture to work on.

What other creative outlets do you have?

Necessary Sparks

11174516_10208812807575507_8059694360850354464_oWhy I Write

I’ve been thinking a bit about sparks lately. Sparks that light fires.

When I first met my husband, one of the first things he taught me was how to build a fire.

Now, I was a Girl Scout and had been a camper for my whole life; I knew how to start a fire. Hubby showed me a better way.

Fast and easy with the right pieces of dry wood were all it took to get me warm. Being warm was and is important to me. A spark was what it took to get the flame started.

Sparks come in other forms too. Just the right spark and you can move mountains.

What do sparks have to do with writing?

When I was six-years-old, my 1st-grade teacher lit a spark in me to write a book.

I’d always read. In fact, I don’t remember not reading. My mother tells me I learned by watching Sesame Street. The only thing I knew was I loved books and stories especially because I could go to the bookshelf and read the book I chose.

In first grade, my teacher said we were going to write a book. I was so excited and couldn’t wait to take it home and show my mom.

Imagine my shock and disappointment when I discovered our class was making one book, which my teacher would keep, and I would only be writing one page. My thoughts were that she would be teaching us how to write a book. I was crushed.

However, this created a spark within me to write a book. Eventually, this spark turned into a goal to have a book on the New York Best Sellers list became a life long dream.

The problem with sparks is if they aren’t given the right fuel, they often smolder or even go out. I spent nearly the next 40 years attempting to find the right combination of fuel, heat, and oxygen to fan that spark into a flame.

To this day, I don’t know what turned my smoldering spark into a flame. Most likely it was a combination of things: timing, along with a willingness to begin, probably had a lot to do with it. The right resource coming at just the right time also helped.

Why do I write?

Simply put, I write because I can’t not write. Writing has become like breathing. This need to write has sustained me through difficult times. I have rejoiced when an idea comes together and works.I have written through happiness and grief, frustration and all those moments in between.

I’ve met new people through writing. This community grows each year, and I’ve learned to create stories that move the human heart. And, I’ve realized there is still so much to learn.

Every day I am grateful for writing. I haven’t yet reached my dream of publishing a novel, but that is on my horizon.

The spark that began when I was six continues to this day. At times, the flame is high, and the words tumble out of me. Other times, the fire is low and in need of fuel. The fire is always burning.

Why do you write?

Fan the flames of your writing at DIY MFA.