Flash Fiction – Time’s Echo

Image credit: Pixabay/Wordswag

I have a collection of notebooks that I’ve scribbled in over the years.  Some of it is just silliness, but other pieces are surprisingly okay.  Here’s a  piece of flash fiction I wrote awhile ago and later updated.

As I’ve said before, there are some things (and some people), you never stop writing about.  Some of this is true – I did hear a voice on a bus that reminded me of someone.  And I never crawled around under bridges with him…though sometimes, I wish I had.

Time’s Echo

I felt a sea of pins gliding over me, pricking up goosebumps over my usually calm span of skin.  All it took was a tone, a breath, a word – and time’s hand pushed me into memories of you.  

I heard your voice on the bus today, wishing while I turned that he’d look like you.  I’ve missed your dimples and laughing eyes, though I can count on both hands the years you’ve been gone.

He sat in the back of bus.  Surrounded by the smiling faces of friends, he recounted some tale of another night’s conquest.  But the words didn’t matter and barely registered in my mind.  I heard instead, your words – told in teasing rhythms, punctuated by laughter, and paused only by deep dimpled smiles.  He had your voice.  It’s clarity echoed in my heart and plucked the strings that hold me together.

My knees still bear scars from climbing under the old bridge with you.  Rushing over stones and brambles until we found the big rock at the edge of the marsh.  We rested our backs on its smooth face and lay in the sun, framed by swaying cattails and hidden by the fog rising from shallow waters.  You whispered poetry against my neck, teeth and tongue marking tender flesh with each word.

The man at the back of the bus turned and looked at me, his stare cutting through the haze of memories.  My heart beat a pattern of loss against my chest and my fingers probed the hollow of my neck, searching for the mark that has long since faded.

His lips split tanned skin into a smile that could never compare to the crooked brightness of yours.  Between three fast breaths sucked in through my nose, I allowed my lips to curl into a sad answer to his smile.  Dark hair fell over his shining blue eyes, as he turned back to his friends and continued the soft torture he afflicted on me.

But I wanted him to –

I closed my eyes, straining to memorize the rhythms that died with you.  I wanted to press my ear to his lips – hearing him, hearing you – capturing a piece of you inside myself.

Quotable Thursdays

Pixabay/wordswag

Today’s quote comes from baseball legend, Yogi Berra, who passed away this week.

It ain’t over till it’s over – Yogi Berra

I love this quote, something about it brings back memories of childhood – arguing over a kickball game, defending your favorite team’s honor, or just when the other side thinks they’ve beaten you…but you know there’s still fight left in you.  In case you couldn’t tell, I was feisty when I was a kid. 😉

The saying was printed as a Yogi Berra-ism, a silly quote to make people smile.  But I think it caught on because there’s an element of truth there (which many sports fans and feisty kids can relate to) – even if the odds are stacked against you, you can still win.  Nothing is final if you can keep fighting.

So, the next time the odds aren’t in your favor, remember this Yogi Berra quote.  Or you can sing it, since it is a song too.

Quotable Thursdays – On storms and sailors

wordswag/pixabay

 I love quotes – their messages  are conveyed so succinctly and beautifully.

These brief words often help lift us up and strengthen our resolve.  Short quotes are easy to remember as well, allowing them to become personal mantras – something to whisper to yourself at a crucial moment, reminding yourself to be strong.

I love this quote, it’s especially good if you’re going through a hard time.

“A smooth sea never made a skilled sailor.”

All of those bumps you encounter along the way make you stronger, wiser, and tougher than you were.  And all that experience with the bad times will help you as you continue your journey.

So keep steering through those storms. And who knows, if you’re a writer all the bad you face today can be the basis of future novels. 😉

Verbal Diarrhea – on dialogue

Adobe stock photo
Adobe stock photo

On writing dialogue

I hear it in my writers’ group often – there is a fear among many writers of failing at dialogue.

And it’s a valid fear.

The worst thing, as a reader, is to come across something on the page that pulls you out of the moment (or worse, the story).  And dialogue, that tricky minx, can pull your readers out of a story if you aren’t careful.

(Side note: I love this stock photo, it’s how I imagine my verbal diarrhea looks like.)

But how do you learn to write dialogue?

#1. LISTEN – Yep, I really did just yell that at you.  Listen to yourself talk.  Listen to your friends, family, people at work, people on the metro, people with drunken honesty at bars, people yelling at each other in a grocery store…

But it’s not enough to just listen, you have to pay attention too.

How do people talk? What kind of words do they use?

It depends on the person, of course.  But there are some words that people don’t use in every day conversations.  Flag those and take them out of your writing.

#2. Talk out your dialogue – So, you probably don’t want to do this in public or too loud. :p  But it really helps.

I’ve come up with some of my best scenes by talking it out to myself (while running, strangely enough).  It helps you listen to your own work and compare it with what your writer’s ear has heard in the past (see #1).

Does it sound clunky?  Do you stumble over it?  Well then, unless you want your character to stumble through it, you should probably refine it.

There, only two rules to help you hone your dialogue – totally manageable.  🙂  So, go forth and infuse your characters and story with believable dialogue. May your pens be mighty and dialogue be strong! 🙂

Quotable Thursdays – Fly

wordswag/pixabay

Between starting grad school and some intense travel for work, I’m a bit of a bad blogger this week – only posting my Quotable Thursday post.  Sorry. 😦

But it’s a good quote!

For so much of my adult life, I’ve been timid with my choices.  My ex used to complain about how I had such a low self-esteem (with body image, intelligence, and what I though I could do).  And he was right, I did…sometimes, I still do.

There are times when I quake at the thought of something new.  Or I’m all bravado until just a scant few minutes before when nervousness creeps up, like a colony of angry fire ants, quickly crawling up my legs.

I can’t tell you how many times I wanted to do something and never did it because I was afraid.  Then the most amazing thing happened – everything went wrong.  Something I’d always worried about actually happened.  And it was terrible, believe me.  Until suddenly it wasn’t – until it freed me.

I still get nervous – my hands shake (my voice might too) and my bladder squeezes in nervousness at the most inopportune times – but, I still get out there and do.  You should too, because on brave wings, you can fly. 😉

As a side note: when I was in college, I used to say that if I ever got traditionally published, I’d get a tattoo.  While I haven’t gotten there yet – I’ve a lot of hope for it.  Maybe if I do, I’ll get a tattoo…maybe it will be of this quote, so that I always remember to push myself and just try.

Agent Queries…

I did it.  I participated in the pitch slam this summer and got good feedback – including requests for the first 50 pages of my novel and a request for the whole thing.

<Gasp!>

I, of course, freaked out and spent the last month re-ediitng…but hey, that’s how we writers work, isn’t it?

But tonight….tonight, after several weeks of craziness at my job, starting grad school classes, and second guessing every sentence, I submitted my work to agents.  I don’t know what will happen, but I can’t help thinking….

IMG_3152

lol.  Okay, I am seriously nervous.  Right now, I’m just hoping my email doesn’t go into their spam folders. :p

Wish me luck!  🙂  And good luck to every one else out there, who is trying to make their dreams come true.

Quotable Thursdays

wordswag/pixabay

I’ve always found inspiration from the beauty of words, I guess that’s one of the reasons I became a writer.  Often, when I find myself down on my luck, I also gain strength from words

In this day and age, hard times are bound to touch you at some point in your life.

But I believe that this quote is true, and to paraphrase C.S. Lewis…the hardships in your life make you smarter and stronger, ultimately preparing you for something truly awesome.

So hang in there.  Things will get better.  In the meantime, keep pushing through the bad times to get to the good.