Tag Archives: writing challenge

The Elite Club of the Middle Nameless

It’s running a bit late, but here is this weeks post for the WordPress Weekly Writing Challenge and this week it is all about the power of names. I decided to reflect on the use of middle names.

I don’t have a middle name and I like to think that makes me a little bit special. It’s a bit sad really, but every-time someone asks me what my middle name is, I feel a small sense of smugness in telling them that I don’t have one – like I am set apart from the rest because of it. Just about everyone I know has a middle name, so when I meet a fellow ‘middle nameless’ soul they instantly become part of my elite club – a special something joining us together! I’m not sure why I don’t have a middle name – maybe my mum and dad just couldn’t be bothered to think of one. When I was a child, I used to pretend it was Georgina, but as I got older I started to like my lack of three names – it’s a little one up to my non-conformist side.

With 80% of the UK population having a middle name, I certainly am part of the minority. But their use is a relatively new concept here. Apparently the popularity of them soared after the two World Wars, as it became a way to commemorate lost loved ones. Nowadays, this notion is reaffirmed by the most popular middle names being very traditional in nature (e.g. James, John, Louise and Rose are top of the lists). People still continue to use it as a way to remember a dead family member or loved one, with 55% of middle names being chosen for this reason. Also, if you look at many families, there is often a ‘traditional’ name that appears through the generations. For the OH this is unmistakably Robert. For my family it is ‘George’.

I always thought I would follow in my ‘unique’ footsteps when it came to naming my children, but surprisingly when we had our son I found myself adamant that his middle name should be ‘George’. With my dad having it as a middle name and my uncle, cousin, grandfather and great-grandfather before him – all with the same forename, I felt an overwhelming need to continue it through to the next generation. Perhaps, being a woman, and knowing my family name would not be continued, this was my way of holding onto that little bit of tradition.

I am obviously no more ‘non-conformist’ than I am ‘traditional’ at the end of the day and I am proud of my son’s names. Though perhaps we should have given him two middle names, as then he would have been in the 11% ‘super-elite’ club who have at least two.

Judgement

It’s Friday Fictioneers time and the prompt this week is the picture below. Here is my 100 word piece of fiction:

The harsh metal feels cold as I grip my fingers through the mesh of the shaft door, awaiting my moment of truth. My anxiousness rises with the sound of the approaching elevator and the culmination of all my misgivings.

As the doors open, I step inside the grim interior; graffiti depictions of angels and demons scrawled across the walls.

The deep-throated words “going down” echo in the enclosed space and my eyes sting from the soaring heat.

I throw myself forward and hopelessly claw at the closing doors, one last attempt at escape before I begin my fateful descent.

Une Longue Nuit

It’s Friday Fictioneers time of the week. A chance to write a 100 word prompted story and this week’s prompt is:

Adrien gripped the steering wheel of the tractor as he maneuvered the narrow streets. This was the last job of the day and the worst, the streets busy with village traffic. It was a tight fit and the rear tyre clipped the curb as he rounded the corner, a heavy thump sounding from behind. The white Renault that was following, furiously beeped it’s horn. ‘Oui, Oui! …..’ Adrien called frustrated from the drivers window. Climbing down from the cab, he caught sight of the pile of hay now in the middle of the road. Il pourrait être une longue nuit!

Life is like a cocktail …

untitledI am armed with the cocktail shaker in one hand and the champers in the other. ‘Fancy a Bellini?’ ‘Oh, go on then,’ Jane responds. We’re kitted out in our finest attire, ready for a girly night of cocktail shenanigans. We’ve been planning this night for ages – no kids, no men, just lots of cocktails and a good girly natter.

There’s a knock at the door. I open it and the first thing I see is the comical sunglasses perched on the end of Janine’s nose. Brightly coloured – tropical pink and green numbers – framed with a palm tree on one side and a flamingo the other. ‘They’re amazing. I love them,’ I shriek. Opening her bag, she pulls out three more pairs. ‘I got some for us all.’ By the time Sarah turns up, I even have the sparklers out – this is going to be a night to remember.

‘Are you doing sex on the beach?’ Janine asks.

‘Yes, yes ….’ I can’t help but give a cheeky smirk. She’s mentioned it enough times throughout the preparations for tonight. I find myself wondering if her preferred cocktail of choice is any reflection on her life. I know I could do with a bit of that. It gets me thinking, if I could pick a cocktail that represents my life what would it be? I decide that, like any good cocktail night, you can’t just have one. So this would be my cocktail menu:

Happy Youth (Champagne, Brandy, Cherry Brand and Sugar Cube) – It was all so easy back then. I had a blank canvas to start with and a whole life ahead of me. No financial worries, no responsibilities, just a few romantic dramas and the world at my feet.

California Dream (Tequila, Sweet Vermouth and Dry Vermouth) – I spent a large part of my early twenties looking for the dream! I was stifled and unhappy in the UK – so we planned our escape to Australia. Life was on hold for a few years, whilst we jumped through hoops of the visa process and saved for our new life. After 18 months, not all it was cracked up to be, we returned back to the UK.

City Slicker (Brandy, Triple Sec and lemon juice) – The career focused part of my life – with career experience across the globe under my belt I returned with a fire in my belly. I spent a few years doing the London commute – earning good money, but having little time for a life.

Bloody Mary (Vodka, Worcester sauce, tomato juice lemon juice and salt) – How did that happen? I was pregnant. Okay I know how it ‘happened’, but it wasn’t completely expected. I spent the next nine months in a phase of ‘bloody Mary’, whilst I tried to absorb how much our lives were going to change.

Brass Monkey (White rum, Vodka, orange juice) – Maternity leave over, I couldn’t bear to return to work and leave the little one behind, so I gave it up for nearly three years. Only one income and an economically crippling baby, we were ‘brassic’ for a while. But we had a new little cheeky money in our midst.

Chocolate kiss (Peppermint Schnapps, coffee liqueur, hot chocolate and whipped cream) – Life’s started getting back on track. It’s sweet most of the time and a bit murky at others. The cream on the top – my family.

Long Island Ice Tea (Gin, White rum, Tequila, Vodka, Triple Sec, Cola, lemon juice and sugar syrup) – This will be my retirement – a cocktail with a little bit of everything. A time to relax and reflect on a fulfilling life full of experiences.

Goodnight kiss (Champagne, Angostura bitters and Campari) – The time will come when it’s time to say goodbye to my sweet life.

The Ghost (Champagne and Midori) – For those of you who cross me, I could be back to haunt you.

Hell, if I can throw in a bit of Sex on the Beach along the way, it’ll be all the merrier.

This post was written for submission to the Yeah Write Challenge Grid #150.

I Bruise Easily

As I close the blinds in the kitchen and pull down my pyjama bottoms, I’m sure I see a questioning glint in Rob’s eyes. Just as quickly the glint is extinguished as he looks down at the state of my legs. ‘Have you seen the size of this bruise?’ I ask. I turn my head and look down at the garish purple monstrosity on the back on my leg. In the middle, a nice gash, which I am now prodding to see if it hurts!

‘It’s a bit sore,’ I determine on closer inspection.

‘It looks it. You really do bruise far to easily,’ Rob responds.

I look down at the rest of my legs. Oh dear, it does look bad. If anyone sees me, they’ll think I’m a battered wife!

I feel frustrated that my attempts at getting fit always seem to be thrown back in my face. These latest badges of honour are proof of my most recent obstacle course race. Who would have guessed that chasing a yeti could be so damaging for my health! I think back to the time I knocked my shin on the coffee table. Ignoring the bruise, I went for a run …. only to be faced with crippling pain and the golf ball sized lump of a hematoma! Cue …. me unable to walk, iced up to the nines and leg elevated for the next week! Then there was when I took up pole dancing. Two classes in, my legs looked like I’d had a serious disagreement with the pole! Cue …. a fond farewell to that hobby!

Rob’s words of wisdom – ‘Stop trying to be something you’re not. I’m not being nasty, but your body obviously just wasn’t made for being fit.’ Well, what was it made for exactly? Being fat and knackered? Destined to be a couch potato, dying a horrible death drowning in a bowl of popcorn? I find myself thinking about my latest ‘sport’. Maybe I should tone things down a bit? No, wait, I enjoy it. How am I ever going to overcome these impediments if I don’t persevere? I wade through freezing lakes, climb over 20 foot cargo nets and chase yeti’s in the height of winter …. I am not someone who gives up at the first hurdle. My new motto is going to be – ‘adapt, improvise and overcome!’

I humph off, my feet stomping up the stairs as I go.

‘What are you doing?’ Rob calls.

‘Getting ready to go for a run.’

I just hope this time I don’t bring on another hematoma!

Bring it on!
Bring it on!
My badges of honour!
My badges of honour!

The Painting – Friday fictioneers writing challenge

It’s time for the Friday Fictioneers 100 word writing challenge. This week, the picture of inspiration is:

friday fictioneers

Suzanne lifted the glass of sangria to her crimson lips and took a lingering sip. As she savoured the taste, she looked at the painting and smiled to herself. She couldn’t really understand what the fuss was about. If she was honest, she actually thought the portrait was quite ugly. She always had preferred the classics. But who was she to argue with a huge pay-check? Her buyer had requested it and he was paying a six-figure sum.

She rubbed the back of her neck, relishing the satisfaction she always felt after a job. The pure elation of outsmarting everyone.

Trapped – Chain Writing Game – Week 7 Episode 10

chain-writing-gameI thought the idea of this was pretty cool, so thought I would jump in and take part!

Kerrie Salsac has set up a writing challenge, which involves different bloggers writing 100 words each of a story. The great thing is we have no idea how the story will shape itself, as the power is out of our hands once we have played our part. Check out Kerrie’s page for more information on how to join in.

In this weeks story, Hugh is imprisoned for a crime he didn’t commit, the murder of his wife.  A lousy lawyer and a dirty judge resulted in death row but Hugh escaped and is on the run.  Come follow the story or better yet,  help us write Trapped. Here is my contribution:

Trapped – Episode 10

prison-cell-cellphone

‘It’s good to see you Sarah. You’re looking great.’

‘You look like shit! Come on, let’s get out of here before anyone sees you.’

Hugh followed Sarah to the car, whilst anxiously looking around. As he sat in the car and buckled up, he realised he had no idea where she was taking him. He was putting a lot of faith in this one woman, someone he hadn’t seen for years.

‘You ready to go?’ a mischievous smile crept onto Sarah’s face. She slammed her foot on the accelerator and the car raced off down the road.

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Fitness Blogger 30-Day Writing Challenge

challengeAt times it feels like I constantly have my head stuck in my laptop trawling around the internet. Actually, it is probably becoming somewhat of an obsession! But for me the real addiction is meeting new people online, sharing advice, encouraging each other’s successes and kicking each other up the bum when we are in need of a bit motivation. So far I have found some great groups, forums and blogs and what I ‘ve learnt is the advice and experience we can give each other is invaluable, helping us to become even better at the things we are aiming to do.

I know that there are a lot of other men and women out there who are also on a mission to become fitter and healthier. Whether it’s losing weight, winning a race, reaching  or becoming healthier …. I thought it would be a good opportunity to share a bit of a challenge (as we all know how much I love them!!!!). So, if you are a blogger and interested in fitness, then are you ready to take up the 30 day blogging challenge?

To take part, all you need to do is:

  1. Write a post on your own blog each day for the next 30 days, answering the below questions.
  2. Include a link to this post
  3. Write a comment with a link to your post at the end of this post
  4. Read and comment on other blogs that people post in the comments

And the 30 day challenge questions are …. (click on the below links if you would like to see my answers):

Happy blogging. I am looking forward to getting to know lots more of you. Let’s get sharing! 🙂

Dream into the Abyss – wordpress weekly writing challenge

It’s time for the WordPress weekly writing challenge again – okay, I’m cutting it a bit fine this week! 🙂 But better late than never hey.

This week it’s all about inspirational images and another word count (I hate them!) of 1000 words. There was a selection of pictures to choose from and I opted for this one:

fort-point-arches

Dream into the Abyss

‘I had that dream again.’

I hear the rustling of paper as the therapist looks through my notes.

‘Hhhmm, I see you have mentioned dreaming about this place before. I think some guided hypnosis might be good. How would you feel about that?’ she asks.

‘Okay. If you think it might help.’

She makes her way over to the side of the couch, where I am reclined. She lifts her glasses from her eyes and places them on her head, pushing her dirty blonde locks away from her face. Her slim lips form a smile, showing off the early signs of wrinkles, which are beginning to form around her tired looking eyes.

‘I am going to ask you to close your eyes and start to count backwards from 300 in your head. You can begin,’ she instructs me.

I do as she bids. 300, 299, 298, 297 ….. She starts to speak to me, her tone much softer now, lulling me into complete relaxation. Before long I am in a trance like state. Fully aware of my surroundings, but floating in a sea of calmness. My subconscious is awakened and her voice speaks to me on a new level.

‘I am going to guide you … just listen to my instructions. Can you tell me where you are? The place you keep coming back to in your dreams?’

‘It is dark. I am all alone, in a big empty space. A room – all brick walls and concrete floors. It feels cold. There is a series of arches in front of me. I can’t see where they end though. It’s too dark.’

‘Can you hear anything?’

I listen carefully, searching with my ears for some sound. ‘I think I hear something, but it sounds far away. I’m not sure what it is, it’s almost like a whimper.’

‘Can you walk towards the noise?’

I feel uneasy, unsure of what to do. It is so dark ahead and I am afraid of what I might find. I realise I am clutching a bag.  My fingers grip the handle tightly, my nails digging into the palms of my hands. I feel the warm, wet feeling of blood on my finger-tips. I realise what I am doing and loosen my grip a little. I take a deep breath, trying to breathe the fear out of my body. I start to walk slowly towards the direction of the sound. A cold breeze whistles past my neck and I shiver. My hairs bristle as I realise the sound is getting closer. It is eerily familiar. I step further into the darkness, my eyes straining to make out the shapes in front of me. I reach out with my hands to steady myself and feel the ground with my feet before every precarious step. The noise is clearer now. ‘It sounds like someone crying.’

‘I can see something,’ I say.

‘Can you tell me what it is?’

‘I think it’s a light.’

My curiosity is peaked, thwarting away some of the trepidation I was feeling. Damn you curiosity. I keep moving towards the light. The flickers bounce off of the walls, illuminating the darkness around me. I am right upon it now. I realise the light is coming from behind one of the arches. I try to keep calm. This is it. I step around the corner.

‘What do you see?’

‘It’s a child.’

Sitting in the corner of the room, clutching a candle close to him, is a young boy. The light shines on his face, his eyes are large and pleading. Tears streak his cheeks and small sobs emanate from the back of his throat. I stare into the abyss of his eyes and realise I am looking right at myself. ‘The bag,’ he says. ‘Give me the bag of dreams.’

I jolt awake with a start. The therapist is standing over me, calmly speaking to me.

‘Are you alright?’

‘Yes, fine.’

‘Shall we talk about the child? Is it you?’

‘How did you know?’

‘It is a common analogy for the brain to make. A sign that your inner child is trapped, that there are things you feel you have failed to do.’

‘The darkness?’ I ask.

‘Your empty soul.’

‘What about the bag of dreams?’

‘A sign of unfulfillment. A need to go back and revisit the hopes and dreams you want to achieve in life before it is too late.’

‘But why have I just started having this dream now?’

‘Perhaps, you need to act soon. Perhaps, it is nearly too late.’

Friday fictioneers … Lamps

My general philosophy in life is, why say something in 10 words when you can use 100!!!! To say I have a tendency to waffle might be an understatement! I think my manager cringes with horror every time I send him something to review at work. Word counts have even become a bit of a running joke! 🙂

That’s why I was quite intrigued by the Friday Fictioneers writing challenge. To write a piece of fiction, based on the ‘picture for the week’, in … get this … less than 100 words! 🙂 Never one to shy away from a challenge …. here it is ….

This weeks picture
This weeks picture

Lost but not forgotten

I never noticed the lack of lamps until I found the stash in the attic. As I sit down on the snuff stained sofa, dad walks in, carrying a mug.

‘Here you go love. Thought you could do with a cuppa,’ he says.

‘Thanks.’

Dad sighs and looks over at the lamps, now piled up in the corner of the lounge. Tears fill his eyes. It’s been a week since we had the call from the hospital. I reassuringly touch him on the knee. I know he must miss mum. Trying to lighten the mood a little, I ask, ‘what’s with the lamps?’

He smiles wistfully. ‘Well that’s a funny story …’