Thursday, December 15, 2022

WEP: When you say yes . . .

Here's a short and very true story, just 629 words, inspired by this month's Write...Edit...Publish challenge

Tagline: Saying yes to a simple request can change your life.

"Can I Ask A Favor?"

   By late Thursday afternoon, four new reports ready for final review had already piled up in my inbox. I couldn’t decide whether to go home to my studio apartment in the Marina and flop or join the team for a quick drink after work. I eased my new high heels off to get comfortable, hoping no one would notice.
   Cap, one of the younger guys from operations, strolled over to my desk. He had a funny, lopsided grin. “Can I ask a favor?”
   “I need a ride to the airport. I’m flying out to Cincinnati to see my parents.”
   “Sure, Cap. I can take you.”
   He looked at me apologetically. “It’s Friday night.”
   “It’s all right. No problem.” Actually, I had nothing on my personal schedule for the foreseeable future.
   “There’s one more thing.”
   I arched my eyebrows at him. “Yes?”
   “My plane leaves at midnight.”
    I groaned. “Okay, but don’t say anything else.”
    Cap laughed. “Thanks. My roommate said if anyone was really going to drive me to the airport when I could have just taken the bus, we could go out to dinner at a French restaurant. Can you stop by the apartment after work and pick us up?”
   “All right. That’s tomorrow, your place, about 6?”
   He nodded. I shooed him away and picked up the first report. Friday or no Friday, work had to be done. By the end of the next day, I was more than ready for a break, almost looking forward to a nice meal at a restaurant. After all, there weren’t any fast-food French places, were there? Not in San Francisco. I took the bus home, drove my trusty VW over to Cap’s apartment on Nob Hill, almost found a parking place nearby, and walked up the three flights of stairs to knock at his door.
   A young man with brilliant blue eyes opened the door.
   “I’m here to . . . “ I started to say when he closed the door in my face.
   “I’m sorry,” I said to the wooden door. “Do I have the wrong apartment?”
   The door opened slowly, and he stared at me.
   “Sorry,” I said. “I’m here to pick up Cap and his roommate. I can come back later if I’m too early.”
   “No, no. Come right in.” His smile stretched so wide I could nearly see all his teeth. “Cap’s not home yet, but he should be any minute. I’m Allen, his roommate. We’re going out to my favorite French restaurant tonight, and you must be the person giving him a ride, yes?”
   Cap did come home in a few minutes, and we drove down the hill to the Marina District to find a small restaurant tucked in one of the side streets. After a truly memorable and leisurely meal, punctuated by stories of world travels and various adventures, I drove Cap and Allen out to the airport. We walked through the terminal, said goodbye to Cap, and on the way back to the city, a silence fell. We both started talking at the same time.
   “You go first,” said Allen.
   “No, you,” I replied, for I was embarrassed. When I asked if he wanted to stop for a drink, even though it was quite late, he started laughing. “That’s what I was going to say!”
   So, we had hot buttered rum at the Ben Johnson’s. After the bar closed, we talked and talked as we wandered around Ghirardelli Square, mesmerized by the city lights and the moon reflected in the bay. There, Allen kissed me gently. When Cap came home, we were a couple. Allen told me that the first time he saw me, he knew his life would change irrevocably. Now, nearly fifty years later, I can’t imagine life without him.

How did this 629-word story get started? December's Write...Edit...Publish's Challenge was to write a story inspired by Roberta Flack's "The First Time Ever I Saw Your Face." What can I say? This story of how I met my husband immediately came to mind.

I hope you enjoyed reading my short story (any feedback is welcome), and that you will explore other such tales on WEP's website!

Thank YOU for visiting. Have an amazing holiday and HAPPY NEW YEAR!

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Wednesday, December 07, 2022

IWSG December 7: Winter Doldrums?

We have another 6-8 inches of snow coming tomorrow, roads are slick and mostly unploughed, and yet, temperatures are closer to freezing today and tomorrow instead of the low teens. Celebrate the wintry moment! This is the time of year that I like to huddle in my office, cold fingers poised over the keyboard for that next scene, preferably set in some warmer clime.

Yesterday was a milestone: my 79th birthday. I feel so grateful to have reached this age (my mother died at 55), and I can report that health issues are few, family is nearby, we've downsized and are happy in our little apartment. True, the view outside is mostly white, with about a foot of snow on nearby roofs. We leave for Las Cruces, New Mexico, late January, for a leisurely drive south, and I'm ready to hit the road, writing projects organized, research materials as close as the internet (and a box of books).

This month, the Insecure Writer's Suppport Group asks us to consider this question? Are the holidays a time to catch up or fall behind on writer goals?

Well, I'm not sure. I do set goals each month, and I am making steady progress, but . . . that major writing project has hit a little snag. I wrote a scene where Neil takes Sandra to meet his parents. But they weren't nice to her, and I didn't like the scene at all. I think that scene is gone. It doesn't contribute anything to the actual story. Maybe knowing when to cut words is a good thing. I want to write stories that look beneath the surface and yet that bring joy to the reader. So, I'm happily back to plotting and drafting. Not always in that order.

The essence of IWSG's question is when are we writers working on our writing? I do think we're working whether we're actively putting words on the paper OR we're out for a walk, slipping on that wintry snow -- and an insight comes to us as we see the last of the Canada geese heading south. 

So, I say cherish the moment, every moment. Keep your characters close. New scenes may come to us when we're dreaming at night or daydreaming. In the words of Rick Bylina, write on!

Please join me in thanking the generous co-hosts for this December 7 posting of the IWSG: Joylene Nowell Butler, Chemist Ken, Natalie Aguirre, Nancy Gideon, and Cathrina Constantine! Why not pay them a visit -- and stop by other IWSG writers who've posted this month. You can find them HERE.

May this December bring you new words, good revision, and/or whatever your writing heart desires!

Friday, December 02, 2022

December begins . . . with a song

It's 20F outside just after lunch, with snow everywhere in our parking lot. Yesterday, I helped several neighbors push a woman's car stuck as she tried to leave our complex. Her tires were bald. Maybe she drove safely once she was on the main roads.

December ahead looks unusually cold, with lows expected below 10F and highs most days below freezing. That says the snow dump of 6-8 inches won't be going anywhere soon. Yet, we'll persevere, grateful for those moments that bring brightness and a renewed appreciation for each day.

A reader wrote me this week, caught up with the story of Deidre and Mac in Years of Stone. She wanted me to know she was listening to U2's song, "Van Diemen's Land," a song I'd never heard. What an amazing tribute to honor those who lived so long ago. Here's the link to the song itself on Youtube and the words from U2 (the last stanza shown here). Truly heartfelt. We can learn much from the past. Thank you, Eastern Rogue.

Hold me now, oh hold me now
Till this hour has gone around
And I'm gone on the rising tide
For to face Van Diemen's Land.

As December begins, I'm grateful for so many things. Some days, yes, I struggle with writing, to tell the stories that keep talking to me. Family, friends, and fans near and far, I hope your December brings you only joy.