Posts Tagged ‘Friday Fictioneers’

Coffee drinkers love to talk about where their coffee beans come from and they love to grind their own beans.  But how many have ever roasted their own beans…outside…in the hills of Arkansaseven in the winter?  Yeah, I thought not. I happen to know one who does.

Madison Woods, one of several nom de plumes, lives with her husband in very rural Arkansas, working hard at living a sustainable lifestyle 30 minutes from paved roads.  I first met her through Friday Fictioneers, a group she founded.  The premise behind FF, which I participated in for a number of years, is to write a 100-word story based on a photo.  (The group continues today under the auspices of Rochelle Wisoff-Fields, a three-times published author.)  Madison still writes, her specialty being rural (vs. urban) fantasy.  She has one book published and available on Amazon, with a second in the works.

Madison loves nature.  One of her more esoteric pursuits is American ginseng.  She says:

American Ginseng and the habitat that supports this endangered plant is one of my avid interests. Most of my non-fiction is devoted to this topic and I encourage anyone with the right kind of land to help protect and re-establish habitat. This is my goal for our property even though we still intend to harvest and sell our roots eventually. With proper planning, planting and ethical harvesting, it will thrive for generations to come.

Wild Ozark is the only licensed American ginseng nursery in Arkansas.

But about that coffee.   When I wanted a unique gift for one of my s-i-l’s who’s a  coffee drinker, my mind immediately went to Madison.  She and her husband love coffee so much that they source, then roast their own.  I contacted her in January, only to be told that it was too cold outside to roast, but that she thought in a few days it would warm up enough to do so.  That’s not something you see every day!

We use Peru Aprocassi Fair Trade and Organic beans. This is the variety of bean we love the most. I roast outside in full view of the mountains and the valley. The Wild Ozark hills are infused in every cup!

Ordered and delivered long before the birthday date, I waited to see what my s-i-l thought.  When she finally opened and tried the coffee, she raved about it.  The proof is that she just re-ordered.  Hopefully it’s nice enough outdoors to roast!  🙂

Interested?  The coffee is $15/roasted pound, whole bean only.  Email Madison at madison@wildozark.com for availability, postage, and payment methods.  If you’d like to read more about Madison and her interests (or to sign up to follow her blog), go to the Wild Ozark website. Even if you aren’t interested in coffee, you’ll find it full of interesting information about ginseng and other things and you can shop in the Nature Boutique or order one of her fantasy books. There’s so much there I can’t even tell you about all of it, so take time for a visit.  It’s easier to get to than Madison’s place in Arkansas. 🙂

Originally published on July 12, 2012, this story is based on a man we often see on our walks around the small lake only a few blocks from our house, fact presented as fiction in 100 words.

Lakeside for our evening walk, we see him in the garden, engendering life, whatever the weather.  His garden is verdant: deep green leaves, fruits and vegetables of varying hues, brilliant flowers.  A radio sometimes  shatters the silence (whether he’s nearby or not—perhaps to keep away birds.)  We attempt a  compliment, but he speaks no English.  “Beautiful garden”, accompanied by an expressive gesture including the whole.  He smiles; we smile.  He sounds eastern European, lives with his daughter and her husband, wrapped in his lack of English, speaking through his garden and the trellised grapevines that shelter and surround it.

Time for another Friday Fictioneers story.  Remember, these are 100-word stories based on a photo.  This is my second story for this great group, four years ago.  By the way, welcome to 2017!  (Yes, I know this isn’t a buzzard, but it is fiction!)

buzzard

copyright Roxann Phillips

Look alive.  Here comes a buzzard.

Basta!!  You see me (looking dramatic in B&W, I think) and I know what you imagine: death, evil, decaying  flesh.

Contemplate for a moment. Where would you sci-fi, futuristic doom-mongers be without me?  Your future always holds darkness, war, and death. Bodies everywhere.  So you need us.  The carrion-birds.  Cleaning up your messes so you don’t die of terrible diseases due to all that rotting flesh.  (Zombie apocalypse people, this means you, too.)  A little gratitude wouldn’t come amiss!

But instead? “Bird brain” is bad enough, but “buzzard breath” and “old buzzard?”  Beyond the pale!  How would you feel?

………………………………

(The title is a saying by Lady Stella Reading.)

It’s Saturday, which means I’m putting out another Friday Fictioneers story from my archives and I just happen to have one that is about the night before Christmas.  It’s Christmas Eve Day, so how could that possibly work any more neatly, I ask you?  I hope you enjoy this bit of Christmas poetry and also a joy-filled Christmas Eve.

************

copyright-scott-l-vannatter

‘Twas the Night Before Christmas
(With thanks to Clement Clarke Moore for the original)

‘Twas the night before Christmas and all through the house
Just one creature was stirring and it wasn’t a mouse.
The stockings were hung on the mantel with care
Just a jump-able distance away in the air.

The tree looked delightful, amazing to see,
The perfect playground for a Christmas kitty.
The family was snoozing away for the night.
Now was the time for some Christmas delight.

All of a sudden, there arose such a clatter
They rushed down to see the whole lot in tatters.
But in the kitchen, there was nothing to see
Save an innocent-looking, complacent kitty!

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I struggled this week to not run amok and re-write the entire poem because I had some great lines that I couldn’t get in to this version. (May do it another time.) However, I ruthlessly channeled my inner Rich/Nazi English teacher (NOT saying that’s you, Rich, but I know you’ll give me a hard time about it anyway) and pared and re-pared until I actually got down to 100 words, my goal each week just because it is. 🙂  I hope it gave you a good laugh and got you in the Christmas spirit!

I thought I’d go with a reprise of something seasonal for this week.  I hope you enjoy it because if you don’t, it will cheese me off.  This one was from December 2012.

  ********************

My first thought was someone at the end of life thinking of all the choices made, one inside each door.  However, something ran amok inside my head and what emerged was a riff on that idea.  Or maybe just riff-raff.  Who can say?

100_7262-1 copyright Rich Voza

The Big Cheese
Or
The Gjetost of Christmas Past

His mind wandered.  So many choices throughout his life.  Not all perfect, but he was satisfied.  Head of Dewey, Cheatum and Howe, Attorneys-at-Law, (plural intentional but deceptive—no other power here), people averted their gazes when he passed, feared him.  Life was good!

A knock.

“Enter.”

“A Mr. Gjetost to see you.”  Fat Tim, AKA“Tiny”, handed him a card, departing silently but for his limp.

What the dickens?  This guy’s a Norwegian cheese?  Ebenezeer scrutinized the card.  Mr. G. H. Ost.  Tim and names!  Wonder what this guy wants?

“Mr. Ost, how may I help you?”

“Au contraire, Mr. Skruge…”

Almost four and a half years ago, I started writing a weekly hundred-word story based on a photo for Friday Fictioneers.  I kept at it for over three years and only stopped because the group had grown so much that I couldn’t read all the other stories, not that it was a requirement, but because I felt I should if I expected everyone else to read mine. This was my first hundred words.

 

He looks out…
sees space,
sees opportunity;
feels freedom.

She looks out…
sees space,
sees emptiness;
feels loneliness.

He looks down…
sees crops,
sees growth;
feels anticipation.

She looks down…
sees dryness,
sees obstacles;
feels discouragement.

He looks inward…
sees challenge,
sees work;
feels tall.

She looks inward…
sees questions,
sees work;
feels uncertain.

He looks toward her…
sees beauty
sees courage;
feels tenderness.

She looks toward him…
sees caring,
sees fortitude;
feels  resolution.

They look outward…
see opportunity,
see hardship;
feel purpose.

They look together…
see the sunrise,
see each other;
feel love.

Has it really been three years already?  Evidently so, although it’s difficult to believe.  I’m reprising my entire post, opening paragraph and all.  A bit of nostalgia, followed by a bit of….well, that would be giving it away.

Friday Fictioneers says good-bye to creator Madison Woods this week and hello to our new home with Rochelle Wisoff (no “h’)-Fields, http://rochellewisofffields.wordpress.com/. Madison, we hope to read your stories often; Rochelle, thanks for taking up the torch. Now sit back and enjoy the read. As always, click on the little icon at the end to access all the stories. Oh, yes…thanks, Ron, for the picture.

copyright-Ron-Pruitt-300x240

Forever, Love

Their f­­­irst trip to their daughter’s as new citizens and their 60th anniversary. Truly a special day! He smiled at his wife; took her hand. He knew she really didn’t look the same as when they met, but that’s what his heart saw. Thinking of their grandchildren, he tightened his grasp; chuckled.

Last stop before they arrived. Only a few people got off, including the young man who’d been sitting in front of them. As the bus started, he noticed the forgotten backpack. Perhaps they could stop. He called to the driver, “Excuse…”

.

.

.

Bus Explodes—Terrorism Suspected
Over 80 dead

Time for another hundred words, despite being a bit distracted today by the news that my mom’s in the hospital for a few days with a UTI and blood infection.  Thankfully, the former caused her to go for testing, which discovered the latter, making it much easier to treat.  An IV antibiotic should kick them both out on their not-so-merry ways.  Fortunately, the story more or less wrote itself in my mind while on the way home from work the other day.

Thanks to David Stewart of The Greenwalled Tower for the photo prompt and to Rochelle for hostessing the menagerie of writers each week.

David Stewart2

Memories may be beautiful and yet…*

“Wow! The houses look so small. I remember them as big.”

“The tree we used to climb is gone. Wonder if the creek’s still there?”

“Oh, man, looks like Love Canal or something. There’s that spiky gate Jimmy almost impaled himself on.”

“Remember when…” and we were off and story-telling. Joe’s hands shaped paper boats like the ones we used to float in the creek. Jimmy, Joe, and Jenny. Inseparable. Until they left.

I launched every boat, one for each year. “Ooh Rah, Jimmy,” we both said softly. Joe saluted, then turned the wheelchair around and headed for the car.

 

*Thanks to Alan and Marilyn Bergman for the line from their song, “The Way We Were.”

Recipe for a Friday Fictioneers story:

Take one photo.
Add some thought. (Amount is optional.)
Shake (or stir, James) to make 100 words.
Enjoy immoderately.

Serves one or more. No calories.

This week’s photo is from a Friday Fictioneers stalwart, Jennifer (ElmoWrites) Pendergast.  I’m sure it has a much happier memory than the story I derived from it.

Missing

I miss my dad.

He took us on hikes where we found green frogs and slithering snakes, taught us to swim and always splashed us, gave us piggyback rides, told us stories.

That was before he and Mom started fighting.
Before her bruises.
Before she fell down the steps and broke her arm.
Before he was gone.

Mom made a pile of stones, one for every year he’s been gone. That’s where I go over the good times so I don’t forget them. Or him.

Mom said it’s a place I can remember Dad.

They remind me of a headstone.

It’s been many, many months since I’ve written one hundred words for Friday Fictioneers and it may be some time before I write again.  But while out for my morning walk today, a story to go with this photo came to mind, so I offer it to you, hopefully for your pleasure.

bay window copyright rochelle wisoff-fields

copyright rochelle wisoff-fields

Mama K

No one knew how to pronounce the Middle-European hodge-podge of mostly consonants comprising her surname, but even little children mouthed, “Mama K.” The neighborhood glue through all its metamorphoses, she reigned supreme from her window, somehow seeing everything. No matter her age, food appeared for hungry families, young people were lovingly taken to task or encouraged; even gang members deferred to her.

The day her face didn’t appear at the usual time, we all knew.   The flowers, cards, stuffed animals, photos, and other items of loving remembrance grew high as the doorway. The gaping hole her passing left remains unfillable.