I have tried to answer the questions, although I think some of my answers are a bit confusing. Halfway through I started worrying this was a psychoanalysis kind of test – and I have no idea what a psychologist would make of my answers!
1 – What is your favourite word?
– it’s not the meaning I like, it’s the sound of the letters. Every time I hear it or say it, I instantly think of flapjack. I have no idea why – but since the first time I heard that word the thought and taste of oats and seeds and fruit baked in syrup came into my head.
2 – What is your favourite curse word?
I don’t use curse words or swear words. I might say AY KARUMBA! as an exclamation of surprise or frustration.
3 – What turns you on creatively, spiritually or emotionally?
That’s a good question. I am not sure I know the exact answer.
I don’t think I quite understand my own potential for creativity, never mind anyone else’s. But I do think it is healthy to be able to express yourself in a form like art, poetry, writing or in some other creative form.
Spiritually – I am fascinated by what people believe and why. I love having conversations with friends and workmates about spiritual subjects. I listen very respectfully, even if I don’t necessarily think what I am hearing sounds reasonable. But for myself, my own beliefs need to hold water under test. They have to make sense. I have to be able to explain them logically. I can’t just go with my feelings or sentimental preferences. I do believe in a Creator – I find it hard to understand how any physicist could explain the incredible order, countless manifestations of mathematical genius, and clear laws that are a hallmark of our universe, from the tiniest particle to the largest celestial bodies. But I had to find answers to a whole bunch of other questions before I was satisfied.
Emotionally – balance. I love positive emotions and the positive actions they prompt – concern and unselfish kindness, respect and honour, a desire to do good. But with any person I spend a significant amount of time with, I pick up on whether they are balanced emotionally. I know some people that I love very much, that cause me concern. I think some of them are headed for a nervous break-down. They don’t seem to realize it. They are trying so hard to be what they think they should be, but I can see the signs of chronic stress. They say and do things that are not balanced, are not reasonable. I keep my eye on my friends who I feel might not understand what they are doing to their emotional health. I don’t want them to crash. But sometimes it’s only after a crash that a person finally starts to understand their own emotions.
4 – What sound or noise do you love?
There are so many I like…
waves upon the shore
birdsong early in the morning
a bottle cap being released from a glass bottle
harp music – I have a good friend who plays the harp
Goldfinch making sounds of contentment
5 – What natural gift would you most like to possess?
A natural gift?
There are things I would love to be able to do. I have this vision of waking up on a beautiful morning and going out of the house into a garden. I see myself picking vegetables and fruit and herbs.
Then I would take them inside and use them to make beautiful dishes which will feed my family later. My way of life now, in a busy area of London makes me feel disconnected from the natural world. I will hunt for a recipe and go to the supermarket and buy the ingredients. Then I am glued to every step of the recipe as I am cooking. I wish I could have a way of life where I was closer to the natural world. I would love to cultivate crops and know all about them and understood so much more about vegetation. I would love to be creative in cooking – rather than being glued to a recipe.
But that is only for myself. In this day and age, I wish that as I was walking through the busy streets of London – I wish I could tell if I was passing someone who was close to broken. I believe I pass thousands of people a day. I wish I knew which of them were at breaking point. I try to smile at everyone passing, but if only I knew who was desperate for some human kindness just to give them a little strength to get through the day.
6 – What is your principal defect? List the pros of having this defect and give it a positive spin (imagine that you’re selling it to someone else)?
I have defects aplenty – chubby face, too many wobbly bits for my liking, clumsy feet. I have learnt to accept them over the years. But I am happy with my physical body overall. This is me at around the age of ten or eleven – I still have the same face. But my chubby face always looks as if am smiling, so I have learnt to like my face.
Personality-wise I have plenty of defects too. I sometimes bottle things up. In the past that did me a lot of damage. But I realize that I have a number of times in my life put up with a situation for a long time, without saying how it made me feel, until suddenly I decided enough is enough – and then I just vanish when I cannot take anymore. But I am happy with who I am, at least the person I aim to be each day.
7 – What is your motto? Why is it your motto? Where or who did it come from originally?
I don’t think I have my own motto – but I often think of the mottoes from others who I respect greatly:
Once on the lips forever on the hips
People don’t care how much you know, they want to know how much you care
If you don’t have something kind to say, then don’t say anything at all
Try to take things on the chin with a grin
It’s often the good deeds you do in silence without anyone else even realizing that count the most
8 – What was the last gift you gave someone?
I am not very creative with gifts – once in a blue moon perhaps I will think of something amazing. But to most people I would give something edible, something I already know they like.
The first gift I ever bought for Goldfinch were jars of chutneys. He wanted to buy some chutneys when we visited a National Trust shop, but they didn’t have what he was looking for. So I found a gift set of chutneys and sent them to him.
9 – You’re a new addition to the crayon box. What colour would you be and why? Describe the colour to somebody who is blind.
A new addition. I guess since I like blues and greens it would be somewhere in between. Some shade of the ocean.
I have one friend who has now completely lost the sight in both eyes. But he only started to lose his sight in his teens, so he remembers colours. I knew what he would appreciate some assistance with at times, without in any way undermining his desire to be independent.
How would I describe a colour to someone who had so little sight that colour is a strange concept? – I don’t know. I have spent years as a sign language interpreter and have many friends who are deaf. I am very aware of how they might think and communicate.
But I have little experience of working with anyone who has been effected by blindness since birth. When I was at primary school we were taught that blues were cool colours and they have a calming refreshing effect. So I might ask someone who is blind and has never physically seen the colour blue to think of a cool breeze and how it feels to be at peace and calm. I have no idea if that would help or baffle them???
10 – What are you known for?
It depends who you are asking. But I think if you asked my employers they would say faithful and reliable. I also like to leave things clean and tidy for my colleagues. I turn up on time and do my work well and go home.
I like to ask questions to learn about people. I get people talking. I like listening to them. This is what I do. And yet all my friends say that I have amazing life stories. Which always seems funny to me, since I always make sure I get other people talking and try not to dominate conversations even though I am rarely lost for words.
I do have a lot of stories of my family, my travels, my friends, the different people I have worked with, the projects I have worked on, the places I have been…I am never ever short of experiences to relate. But I want to hear the stories other people have.
11 – What’s the most interesting thing about you that we wouldn’t learn from your resume (or online bio/profile) alone?
I think what amazes a lot of people is that I worked full-time for five years without any wages.
People ask how? I was provided with accommodation, meals, and there was a room where we could go and see the donated clothing and if anything fit us we could keep it. We could not abuse that provision because we didn’t have a lot of storage space. Happiest time of my life – itching to get back there.
12 – What’s the last thing you watched on TV and why did you choose to watch it?
The last thing I watched on television was an episode of Masterchef.
I chose it because I love seeing the the dishes the contestants come up with. I think they are super. I am impressed by the contestants and I like the judges and the feedback they give. Its clear that the contestants do learn new skills and grow in confidence.
13 – How would you convince someone to do something they didn’t want to do?
It depends on what it is. I believe in free will. So there would have to be a very good reason for me to try to persuade someone to do something they did not want to.
I would ask if they understand the choice before them. What are the consequences of doing or not doing this thing. I would reason with them and try to use logic with regards to the cost of either decision.
I may use some emotive terms to motivate them. Not to force them, but some people hear the good that may come from a good decision and they don’t care. I might try to encourage them to care. I had to talk to patients about changing their lifestyle habits when I worked within the medical field and in the post below I give an example of how we had to try to convince others to make healthy choices:
But they have to make their own mind up in the end. I could not force them to do something they didn’t want to. It’s pointless for someone to feel under duress and pressured against their will. People make their own decisions and they are accountable for the consequences.
14 – You’ve been given an elephant. You can’t give it away or sell it. What would you do with the elephant?
What kind of elephant is it? Is it an African elephant or an Asian elephant?
Well, either way, London is not the best place for an elephant. So if the elephant is now my responsibility, I guess I would have to figure out a way to get both myself and my elephant over to somewhere more suitable. I think I could lead a contented life and adapt and still thrive…more than an elephant having to live in a sweet little basement flat in London.
15 – We finish the interview and you step outside the office and find a lottery ticket that ends up winning $10 million. What would you do?
If I saw a lottery ticket on the floor, I would likely walk past it or put in the bin.
If I for any reason realized I had in my possession someone else’s winning lottery ticket, I suppose I would take it to the police and ask them if they know what to do with it. I would not want anything to do with it.
I am opposed to gambling in any form, after the damage it did to my father when he was a young man. He was able to stop gambling before he married my mother and before I was born. But he had to spend years paying off debt and caring for a family of seven children at the same time.
16 – Teach me something I don’t know in the next five minutes (in your reply to this question).
I don’t know what you don’t know…so I will have to teach you something that you would only know if you knew me.
I guess I would explain the nature of my head injuries and the problems they still cause me three and a half years later. It would be helpful if you knew what to do if I have a black-out or if I have breathing difficulties. I would tell you everything you would need to tell paramedics if you need to call an ambulance, and tell you which of my friends you could call who have a key to my place and would pick up my overnight case for hospital visits.
Additional challenge questions from Ursula:
Which of these questions was your favourite and why?
I liked Question 4 – What sound or noise do you love?
What did you learn about yourself while reading the questions?
I realized that while I was trying to answer Question 9, that I have not spent enough time working with those who have been blind from birth. I don’t think I really appreciate what it must be like to make sense of a world if you have never had sight.
What did you discover about yourself while answering the questions?
Erm…is that almost the same question?
It did cross my mind as I was answering these questions, that the answers I gave you are probably the same answers I would have given you ten years ago, and probably the same answers I would have given you ten years before that. I think the major parts of my character were settled very early in life. All the people and experiences I have known since then, have enriched the strong foundation and framework my parents established. Apart from Question 16, because in June it will be four years since I received those head injuries that have had an impact on my heart.
If you checked out the original questionnaires, which of the questions that I left out would you have liked to have answered and why?
I did look at the questionnaires you sourced the questions from and I think Ursula, you made a great pick of those questions. I also liked some on the list from Marcel Proust’s Questionnaires – at age 13
What is your idea of earthly happiness?
Who are your favourite fictional heroes?
Who are your favourite characters in history?
Who are your favourite heroines in real life?
Who are your favourite fictional heroines?
What quality do you most admire in a man?
What quality do you most admire in a woman?
What is your favourite virtue?
What do you regard as the lowest depth of misery?
I had originally included this question from the interview questionnaire – What’s your favourite ’90s jam?:
I listened to a massive array of music in the ’90s around the time I was working for a record company. There were so many songs that came into my head when I saw you had mentioned Blur – Song Two. I really don’t know what to pick off the Britpop spectrum other than the obvious Oasis, Blur and Pulp. There were so many…but here are four of the songs I remember loving performed live.
When I saw the writing prompt from Sarah Elizabeth Moore, my thoughts were not on flowers. I was thinking about the series of comments I had shared with Bob. Who is Bob? you might be wondering. Bob is the creator of Lovewillbringustogether’s Weblog and is a fine citizen of Australia. I mentioned to Bob how sometimes I wish I could wake up in the morning and find I have miraculously turned into a supermodel and that I had inherited a few millions. I suggested that would give me the confidence to tell Goldfinch I am not happy about he and I living on opposite sides of the planet. Sigh!
Afterwards, I felt bad. I hoped it didn’t sound as if Goldfinch is shallow. He is lovely and he has only ever been gorgeous in the way he treats me…which is why I am sacrificing so much to be able to visit him. I know my faults and what I lack…but he has never made me feel inadequate. However…there is something about me that I think is more of an issue. I often feel I am just not very exciting. I might be nice, but I lack that element of pizzazz, mysteriousness, an exotic quality that makes a man change their plans and fall head over heels with a girl, recognising her as the woman of his dreams. Maybe it is all in my head..let me explain.
I had a friend who I occasionally worked with named Olivia. Olivia was from New York and she was full of character. She loved salsa parties and was a brilliant dancer. She was loud and boisterous, fun-loving and very funny. She knew every cocktail and all sorts of music we had never heard before. She had so much confidence and knew so many people. I liked her a lot. She was always such exuberant company. I thought Olivia was awesome. She was one of the most exciting people I knew. Lots of both guys and girls wanted to be on the party list at one of the events Olivia arranged. She was highly social. My best friends Marta and Suzie were a bit more cautious about her. I think she had stepped on their toes a few times, so they were less enthusiastic. But it’s almost impossible for someone to irk me, unless they deliberately run over my toes with a steam-roller, so I was still very much charmed by and in awe of Olivia.
One day she said to me, “Mel, you are the quintessential English rose.” I laughed and asked her why she had said that. She said some nice things to me about the way I looked and the way I behaved. She praised my diplomacy and tact, how sweet and mild I was. (To explain the context, she had been complaining about people. I had been trying to reason with her about why these people may have acted the way they had and said the things that had provoked her. I am very mild-tempered and forgiving, I do tend to try to avoid overreacting to people who appear to have been ill-mannered.)
I did not disagree. People have said that to me for many years. When I was sixteen I remember visiting the family home of one of my friends, and her mother grabbed my face and said I was a perfect English rose. I was a bit embarrassed because I was not sure what that meant. But she explained that I reminded her of one of the characters from a Jane Austin novel. Ever since then, people have made similar comments over the years.
I asked Olivia, if I was an English rose, what kind of flower was she? She threw her arms above her head in a pose and said she was some kind of rare exotic flower that only grows in the jungle like a bird of paradise. I laughed. But she was right in many ways.
The two of us were quite a contrast in many ways. Olivia had dark beautiful tresses, whereas I was a honey caramel blonde. All our Spanish speaking friends wanted my hair colour. Olivia always made a big impression everywhere she went. I was very sociable but had a softer personality. Olivia said and did things which sometimes shocked people, some found her outrageous. I loved having fun, but I could never offend anyone, and am uber-considerate and thoughtful.
But here were Olivia and I…together again. Olivia had been having health problems. She was in a lot of pain. I was helping her out. Olivia was also becoming bitter about some people who she had fallen out with. She had a fiery character and seemed to often clash with others. I was here trying to empathise with Olivia yet at the same time help her see why people may have reacted that way, but with the most beautiful kindly words I could. I did not want to hurt my gorgeous friend Olivia. She appreciated it, she knew I was genuinely fond of her and was trying to help her see why she was having challenges with people, but in a tactful way.
Although Olivia and I were not the obvious two people to spend time together, I realized that I had become an invaluable friend to her and I loved her company. A blonde and a brunette…the quintessential English rose with an exotic beauty. My only regret about my friendship with Olivia is that she decided to get involved in the Jack situation…which he did not like at all!!! Olivia Santos had more followers on Facebook than even Jack. She had more celebrity friends, went to more parties, and was on stage and television more than Jack. So he was not happy about Olivia meddling and telling him what to do. But that is another story.
My point is…Olivia was someone who attracted lots of attention. Some men were a bit intimidated by her, but they all fancied the pants of her. Beautiful, confidant, assertive, fiery at times, a trend setter, exuberant, passionate, dramatic…she turned heads wherever she went. She is a bombshell and a firecracker! She is the type of woman that makes other women jealous and that drives men crazy. Sometimes I wish there was more of Olivia in me.
But, I am softer. I just am. I can be attractive but I am no great beauty. I am secure in myself, but I am mild and don’t draw attention to myself. I am level-headed, calm, tactful, eloquent, empathetic, diplomatic, graceful, and kind. Women are not jealous of me, they know I am like a loyal sister to them. And men are drawn to me because they don’t fear rejection because they see me as the girl next door. I love people like Olivia – I love their company, they are very exciting to me. And I find I have a number of friends just as feisty and fantastic as Olivia who value my friendship because they know I am loyal and will only ever be lovely to them.
But I admit, I am more the English rose than the Bird of Paradise. I have a lot of friends who are like Birds of parades or tiger lilies, or rare orchids, and I know I don’t stand out as much as they do. I might be the more familiar and perhaps ordinary English rose, but I like who I am. At times, I do wonder if perhaps that means I am less attractive, less memorable, less alluring, less enchanting than someone like Olivia. And that makes me worry. I sometimes feel as if nice, though I may be, it will never be enough to intoxicate the man that I love so much. It shouldn’t matter. But these things weigh upon your mind when you are in love.
But Goldfinch is very fond of me. And for that I am grateful and will be content. I can’t wait to behold him again. And I hope that he is pleased when he beholds me.
Beauty... you know…is all in the eyes of the beholder.
Jim Adams, aka Newepicauthor, the creator of A Unique Title For Me, is hosting SONG-LYRIC-SUNDAY and this week he has chosen a theme that gave Jack the idea to discuss songs for our first dance together after we wed. Thanks Jim!!!
I have been subtly trying to persuade Jack that we can wed on zoom and skip the whole expensive reception side of things. But my beloved wants a big party! He will have to wait though – we are in a pandemic! What a time to be planning a wedding!
It seemed obvious to me to pick “Everlasting Love“. Whenever I choose a song like this, I have to take my pick from all the different artists who have covered it. I try to think back to my first exposure to the song – which version do I remember from my younger days? Well, I immediately identified this cover from Love Affair.
I love this track, it is an unashamed celebration of love. I have always love it for it’s exuberant tone. When love gives you that feeling that you want to party – oh I just love it!
Hearts gone astray, deep in hurt when they go I went away, just when you, you need me so You won’t regret, I come back beggin’ you Won’t you forget, welcome love we once knew
Open up your eyes then you realize Here I stand with my everlasting love Need you by my side, girl to be my bride You’ll never be denied, everlasting love
From the very start, open up your heart Feel that you’re part of everlasting love
Need a love to last forever Need a love to last forever
Where life really flows, no one really knows Till someone’s there to show the way to lasting love Like the sun it shines, endlessly it shines You always will be mine, if eternal love
Whenever love went wrong, ours would still be strong We’d have our very own everlasting love
Need a love to last forever Need a love to last forever
Open up your eyes then you realize Here I stand with my everlasting love Need you by my side, girl to be my bride You’ll never be denied, everlasting love
From the very start, open up your heart Be a lasting part of everlasting love Whenever love went wrong, ours would still be strong We’ll have our very own everlasting love
I have been walking home from work this week and noticing the moon grow bigger each evening. Tonight will be a full moon. After sundown it will be Nisan 14 – a deeply significant date.
An incredible escape from cruel slavery occurred on this night. Millions left Egypt after the Passover celebration was established. The Jews were asked to remember that salvation each year.
For centuries people faithfully observed the annual Passover. In the first century, Jesus and his closest followers did so. It was on that occasion when Jesus introduced a meaningful commemoration for his followers. He was about to give up his life as a sacrifice for mankind.
When I was reading through the events that took place on Nisan 14, I noticed that there was one point when Jesus was under such enormous stress that God sent an angel to strengthen him. I wonder what that angel said to Jesus.
There is only one hope to rescue mankind from the cruel slavery of disease and death. One man died that we may live.
In the weeks prior to his death, Jesus was busy. One of the notable events was when he visited his close friends on the loss of their dear brother Lazarus. When Jesus witnessed the grief of those bereaved, he gave way to tears, even though he knew what he was about to do. Shortly afterwards he was empowered to wake Lazarus up from death. Lazarus returned to life.
Soon Jesus will restore life on a vast scale….but in the meantime he sees the grief mankind feel due to disease and death. He knows what he is soon going to do. He gave up his own life to buy back life for Adam’s descendants. Jesus still feels for our plight before that time when he is authorised to act as King of God’s Kingdom.
The meaning of these events of past salvation and the hope they provide for mankind are deeply significant. There is only only one way that mankind can be rescued from death. So tonight we remember.
Here is a little flash fiction mixed with real events, in response to the prompt from Teresa, aka The Haunted Wordsmith . She provided the genre as “Fantasy of Manners”, which, in all honesty, I had never heard of. So I have no idea if I am on track with this one, or have made a hash of it?
“I saw that first.” sneered Mabel Forster, the betrothed of the affable, but simple-minded dandy Seymour Gable, son of General Montgomery Gable and Lady Camilla.
I was rather vexed when Mabel stood on my toe and elbowed me in the ribs just so that she could snatch the last vegetarian hor d’oeuvre on the buffet table that I had been reaching over for.
“Why darling, I thought you were watching your weight before the wedding. I wouldn’t have thought avocado whip and pickled beetroot en-croute would help your womble down the aisle next month!“
Mabel scowled at me and then decided to remark on how last season my dress was. “You do vintage so well Melody. I am sure you you must camp out in the clearance boutiques and market bizarres. Where did those shoes come from? Portabello Road? Ha!“
“Don’t snort Mabel-soon-to-be-Gable. You have olive tapenade in your teeth sweetie. At least I can afford to buy my own clothes, instead of relying on pocket money from Daddy.”
“Always were a tad envious weren’t you Melody. I suppose you can’t help your working class family background. I can’t help that I have been born into wealth.” Mable and I had been at school together. I was there because I won a scholarship and Mabel was there because her family could afford the fees. She had always flaunted her family’s wealth, much to my annoyance.
“Wealth from hedge funds and pyramid schemes and other rather fishy enterprises. There you go Mabel…smoked salmon and chive cream cheese – I wondered what that noxious odour was. I am sure that would suit you better than the avocado whip.“
“Melody Finch, you are such a…“
Without giving Mabel the chance to insult me, I turned to the gregarious gentleman I had been watching out of the corner of my eye, as I wanted to avoid being the recipient of his roving hands, “Lord Appleton, how delightful. You know my dear friend Mabel, daughter of Sir Adrian Forster, but soon to become the wife of Seymour Gable.“
After a jovial greeting, Lord Appleton turned on all his charms in making the acquaintance of Mabel, “My dear, Seymour is a frequent visitor to our Berkshire house. We have had many jolly times with old Seemy. He is a great shot and not too bad at backgammon. You must come down in the autumn…after you have had chance to settle down after the honeymoon.” Lord Appleton’s right hand gave Mabel’s derriere a firm squeeze, causing her to almost choke on her salmon en croute.
Meanwhile, I had managed to slip away and locate another buffet table with some more vegetarian hor d’oeuvres and was filling up my plate with them. I only go to these events for the food you know. I can’t stand the company!
Then I meandered my way around the room, champagne flute in my hand, until I saw him. The only man who made these events bearable, Jack Barnes, who had been watching me all night. After taking a gulp of bubbly, I made my way towards him, with a saunter I knew would make him nervous. A couple of metres away from him, I turned to my right and exclaimed “Felicia! How are you darling? You look wonderful. It’s ages since I played tennis with you and Nicholas!“
I knew Jack was watching me. But I was not ready to talk to him until he had offered some kind of apology. I wonder if he has any idea how much I love him still.
In case you are wondering…the flash fiction part is Mabel…the real part is Jack.
When I read this post back it brings back so many memories of High School to me. Sometimes I think I paint my English teacher too harshly, but the fact is, he was memorable! We were ok with it. So I know the contents of this post might seem concerning, and I don’t think teachers could get away with this now, but twenty-something years ago we took it on the chin with a grin. Nobody could forget English lessons with the infamous Mr Turner!
Mr Turner was a riddle. There was a very jovial side to him. He clearly had a sense of humour as indicated by his huge guffaws, which made his belly wobble and his face crimson. Yet he had also won the reputation of being one of the most fearsome teachers within the school.
I remember my English lessons during the first year of high school vividly. He would ask a question. If you didn’t have your hand up he was likely to single you out for attention, which was always rather embarrassing. So I quickly learnt it was better to raise my hand, even if I did not have anything to say – and just hope he would not pick me.
It did not always work though!
“You,” Mr Turner said as he was looking over in my general direction. I looked around at my classmates sitting around me to see if he could be referring to someone else. “Yesyou…you have your hand up. What’s your name girl?“
“Melody Finch Sir.”
“Well come along Finch, speak up, we don’t have all day!”
“What was the question again Sir?”
“What was the question? Finch, why did you put your hand up if you don’t know what the question was?”
“My mind has gone blank Sir.“
“Finch you are a pudding. A right pudding. What are you?“
“A pudding Sir.” I could hear some of my classmates sniggering.
“That’s right. A real pudding. Can you spell that backwards?“
“Erm, G-N..erm..E, no I mean I-D” I did know how to spell “pudding”, but under pressure, I struggled to think clearly.
“Wrong! I asked you to spell “that” backwards, not “pudding” backwards! Finch you really are a right pudding. Look at me when I am addressing you Finch! Do you know what you are?“
“A pudding Sir!”
“Very good, but you’re a right rum pudding too. I am only teasing you Finch, don’t sulk. Now who can tell Miss Finch what the question was?”
There was silence. Nobody else was willing to hazard a guess. Mr Turner’s stare rested on a boy named Henry Wilson who sat at the back of the classroom. “Wilson! Are you asleep? You look as is you have only just crawled out of bed. Stand up! Shirt! In! Tucked in! Do you own a comb? Tell your parents to buy you a comb so you can straighten your hair in the morning. Don’t scowl Wilson! Come here, bring your exercise book. Come on lad, we don’t have all day!“
Although, I felt some relief now that Mr Turner seemed to have forgotten about me momentarily, I felt a sickening anticipation of what was about to happen. Almost every lesson somebody ended up at the front of the classroom. Mr Turner would find some reason to humiliate them in front of the class. In the case of Henry Wilson, it was the dishevelled state of his exercise book. Before long Henry was made to do one hundred press-ups at the front of the classroom with a dictionary on his head. It kept slipping off, and so Mr Turner rested it on his back instead.
It was usually the boys who ended up doing press-ups. None of us escaped being called “puddings”. As a group of students we were divided in our opinion of Mr Turner. I guess in some ways we found his lessons funny, but we all had nervous knots at the same time. He gave me very poor grades for months, until I wrote a very long character study on Ruth Balacki from the book we were studying “The Silver Sword”. He gave me an A and wrote that it was the first time my homework had not sent him to sleep.
I have to admit I was glad to find out that we would have a change of English teacher for my second year at high school. We had Mrs Lawton, who told us she was a humanist and a was very kind and encouraging in general. She taught us English until she ran away with Mr Colbook the games teacher when he moved over Buckinghamshire. But that’s another story.
For a long time I only wrote personal posts on my blog. Gradually I started to respond to the writing prompts from other bloggers and tried my hand at fiction. Here is one of my early attempts at fiction.
Teresa has a new challenge in which she provided both a picture prompt and a specific genre. We are to have fun with it – it does not have to be perfect she has reassured us! Which is great because I haven’t watched much in the space genre – as you might be able to tell. But I have made up a few funny names to try to make it sound a bit more spacey! I have thrown in a few smaller pictures to make it easier to follow the story – do I need to state that it is flash fiction?
As Quarek and Ruftix were leaving the holodeck, after a few rounds of the latest programming version of their favourite sport Mandahits, they heard disturbing screams which seemed to be coming from the mess-hall.
“Holy meteor showers! What is going on?” cried Ruftix.
“Come on, let’s check it out.” said Quarek after opening one of the nearby emergency service portals and reaching for two hand held proton emitters.
The two senior officers who held high ranking stations on board the GOSS (Global Outer-Space Service) Lightbeam ran towards the mess-hall.
Suddenly Ruftix fell to the ground holding his head in his hands.
“Ruftix! What’s wrong buddy?”
“That noise – aaaaagh! It’s intense. It hurts like a Humbodlian’s racktor. Can’t you hear it Quarek?“
“I can’t hear any noise, only the screams coming form the mess-hall. Focus Ruftix – try to fight it.“
Whatever the noise Ruftix could hear in his head, it was disabling him. He was curled up on the floor writhing with whatever was disturbing him. “Commander Quarek to sick bay.“
“Sick bay here Commander Quarek.”
“I need an emergency unit sent to the starboard side of Deck 36 – between the holodecks and the mess-hall. Lieutenant Commander Ruftix is in severe distress. He reports hearing an intense sound that has completely disabled him.”
“A medical unit is being dispatched immediately Commander Quarek.”
“Ruftix, sick bay is on the way buddy. Hold in there buddy. I am going to have to go on to the mess-hall.”
Ruftix was being tormented so much by the sound he could hear, he could hardly respond to Quarek. Quarek carried on towards the mess-hall. On the way he passed other members of the star-ships crew who were also writhing around on the floor holding their heads. It seemed they were suffering the same torment as Ruftix. It seemed strange to Quarek that he was not effected by whatever they could hear.
As soon as he came to the entrance to the mess-hall he could see that everyone there was in exactly the same state. It was very hard to see so many of his crew-members in obvious agony, but not to see any obvious cause.
“Commander Quarek to the bridge.”
“This is Captain Ladsamann Commander.”
“Captain, there is a strange phenomonon occuring on Deck 36. All the crew members in the mess-hall and surrounding areas seem to be hearing an intense sound that is causing them debilitating pain. For some reason I am unable to hear it. But there are hundreds here in severe distress. An emergency unit from sick-bay has been dispatched. But we may be under some kind of hostile invasion.”
“Stand by Commander. A security team are on the way.” Captain Ladsamann ordered the security officer to lead a team to Deck 36 and for the whole ship to be put on Yellow alert.
Quarek realized that there was somebody else in the mess-hall who was not effected by the sound that was tormenting his crew mates. He had not noticed at first, but now his eyes were focused on a figure standing on the opposite side of the mess-hall.
“EmperorJugzathan! You have escaped your prison in the Epsilon Sector. Is this your doing?”
“Commander Quarek – you don’t seem to be effected the same way as your crew mates.”
“You won’t get away with it Jugzathan! Evil will never win.”
“No Quarek. You don’t understand. I am not really evil. I just had a very bad childhood. I was born into a violent family and a violent race. My home planet was destroyed during the civil war. And then when I married the Princess Chatalia, she turned out to be as cruel as my parents were. Then she left me for that rogue Scrugkapugur and accused me of treating her badly. All lies – I am the real victim. I suspected her insidious plot. Chatalia and her minion intend to start a war with the neighbouring Mashtak galaxy,“
“All lies Jugzathan! We all know Her Highness Princess Chatalia is incorruptible. She and Lord Scrugkapugur are bringing peace to the galaxy.“
“Quarek, she is your mother. She abandoned you at the temple on the planet you grew up on Karkaw. That’s why you were raised by the priests who serve there.”
Quarek felt uncomfortable hearing Jugzathan refer to his personal upbringing. He had been raised in secret by those priests on Karkaw and had never known his parents. It provoked him to hear someone he regarded as one of the galaxy’s most hated villians talk of so much that was close to his heart.
“I don’t believe you Jugzathan. Stop whatever you are doing to the crew NOW.”
“I will Quarek. Do not fear – they will not be harmed. They won’t even remember the sound when it stops. It’s the sound of a distress signal my people had genetically modified into our DNA. When under attack we were able to emit a pulse that debilitated our enemies. But we could not hear it ourselves. It allowed us to escape attackers.”
“So why can’t I hear it?”
“Because Quarek – you are my son.”
At that the members of the crew stopped screaming and wailing and started to pick themselves up off the floor. They were a little confused at first, but as Jugzathan had said, nobody seemed to remember the sound or their previous distress.
When the security team arrived in the mess-hall they found all of the crew members there were behaving normally.
There was only one member of the crew in distress. Overwhelmed with all he had heard, Quarek dropped to his knees, “Nooooooooooo!”
I found this post in the Caramel archives. Long before I ever wrote the three part novel series “LEANERS AT LOVE”, I had already had events in my own life shape ideas in the back of my mind for a story. Who would have thought that around a year after I published this post, I would end up publishing my first novel!!!
I have prepared this post in response to another of the writing prompts from Rory aka A Guy Called Bloke and K9 Doodlepip! and although I have completely disregarded one of his rules/instructions, I am hoping he will let me off this time!
What if you had the chance to write a best-selling novel?
Yes…well, it need not be “best-selling”, but I am happy to go along with the concept of writing a novel.
Would it be a romance, mystery, or factual historical account?
I think I would enjoy writing a light-hearted romance. Nothing too heavy. Something with a happy ending.
I am not very good at writing fiction, so I would probably write what I know, my own experiences, and just disguise the characters by changing a few details so that nobody could identify their real life counterparts!
Once you have told us what genre you would be writing, show us the summary of your novel in no more than 100 words – sorry 100 words for my life story is no where near enough!
A broken-hearted Caramel (let’s change her name to Annabelle) meets a handsome stranger named Goldfinch (we will call him Robin). Robin and Annabelle have a wonderful weekend together and both sense a great attraction.
Robin tells Annabelle he is only here for work and will be flying home in a few months time, so she must not fall in love with him. Despite knowing they have no future together, they visit each other frequently. During that time Robin goes back to visit his family for a whole month during the holidays. Annabelle misses him intensely and realizes how much she is in love while Robin is away. From then on she is torn because she loves her family and friends and has needed them after the heartbreak she had experienced previously. She worries that Robin may one day let her down and break her heart too.
They spend a year having perfect days out in the countryside, romantic dinners and making love in every possible position.
After the project he is working on is delayed, a whole year passes until Robin finally has to return to his home country. Robin makes Annabelle promise she will fall in love with another lovely man and live happily ever after.
Annabelle tries to be open minded about falling in love with another man, but she mourns the loss of Robin. She is pretty lost for several weeks. Then she realizes he has left her a very special gift. Annabelle struggles to tell Robin in an e-mail or over the phone, so instead she tells Robin she wants to come and visit him to spend time with him. Robin is very pleased Annabelle wants to visit him. She books a flight out to his home country to tell him.
However, during her journey she is involved in an accident and is severely injured. She ends up in a coma in hospital at a hospital within Robin’s homeland. Hearing about the accident, Robin travels to the hospital Annabelle is being care for within. He stays by her side for weeks until she wakes up.
He already knows about the gift Annabelle is carrying within her and…
…well, look, I have no idea how the story will end to be honest. Once I stray from real life to fiction my mind becomes very muddled. I do prefer to stick to reality.
But Annabelle has a future, with or without Robin. I guess that is what we would have to work out while we write the novel hey?
I am sure Robin will not turn out to be a bad guy. But maybe he has already fallen in love with someone else before Annabelle ever reaches him? You just never know in real life! That’s why you should grab happiness when it comes along and keep tight hold of it.
A best-selling novel? I don’t think so. But they say everyone has a novel within them. Life can end up being literally the story of a lifetime! And with each page, you wonder, how will this story end?