And I'm equally delighted to introduce my readers to Jacki Donnellan, the WINNER of the #Flashversary competition!! Jacki's wonderful story of the mysteries of Loch Ness resonated deeply with me. It brought to mind my maternal grandfather, whose Michigan nickname was "Scotty." He was English, from the north, and very proud of his feisty Scottish grandfather (lived to be 108--died when he was kicked in the head by the horse he was shoeing--according to family lore). Though my Gramps would have told his wee lass the boldest of tales, nudged me, and whispered to look up, he was the kind of man who would have fiercely protected the legends, too. He was born in 1899. Died in 2000. 100 years old, which was precisely his story all along. It is my grandfather's model for living well that inspires everything I do. It's what I hope to share and inspire through GANE Possible. Please enjoy Von's and Jacki's inspiring stories posted below.
No, I'm not a top 10 finalist. But a dear online friend of mine is, Yvonne Rupert, so I couldn't let the moment pass without recognizing and expressing my gratitude for this weekly contest and what participating in it from time to time has done for me and does for so many others. Sometimes it's the only creative writing I do all week, which has become so important to my mental health. This is something I gift myself with when the prompt of the week inspires, as I've posted before. And btw, Von is also one of our #JudyBlumeProject contributors! So send her some love & luck! We sure are!
The beautiful photo prompt that inspired the #Flashversary competition, above, chosen by Rebekah Postupak--our Dragon Lady of Flash!--inspired me, particularly because the very thing that keeps us from writing is so often referred to as our dragon--the roars or whispers that tell us we're not good enough. It's so difficult to overcome. But it's important to acknowledge that I've communicated with a LOT of writers over the last two years, and no matter how prolific or profound their writing, WE ALL STILL DOUBT OURSELVES! Which is why it's so very important, win or not, to try, to learn, to take part, to WRITE.
I cannot believe the amount of work Rebekah and the judges put into this each week. My sincerest thanks and congratulations go out to them on how huge it's become in a short year. It shows how powerful flash fiction is as a writing medium. What a level playing field it is. How appealing it is to read. And I believe it is essential for writers to find contests like this to give ourselves the mental exercise. To break away from projects we're working on (even if they are creative, sometimes we need a shift), and for me, to dabble creatively, while most of the writing I've been doing lately doesn't feel terribly creative.
Here was my post in the competition, which had to be 350 words exactly:
The dragon becomes the crags in rock, the bow that cuts through still waters, the eagle that soars, the dolphin as it dives, the murderer, the protector, the villain, the hero.
What the dragon can never become is real.
It’s blood will never run, it’s heart will never beat. Conquer it, and it morphs to dust before you. Lest you momentarily forget your vigilance, and it returns for yet another go. To badger, to impale with doubt, to grasp you in its talons and drop you from the clouds to land with a thud and a roll in a cloud of grit that coats your teeth.
The weapon that will momentarily do the deed is ever-changing. What once worked, becomes Excalibur in Uthar’s hands. Fire becomes ice, rich becomes poor, complete becomes a dream that cannot be attained. Only the ruthless survive. The tireless, the bottomless, the feet that continue to climb despite the bloodiest blisters, the hands that feel for the next hold, the next crevice, the next root. The heart that beats with the thump of belief, with rhythm of tides, or flutter of wings.
The weary will try to hide, behind employ or enfant. But the stories will need to be told, the words will sway and swim, creating chaos of mind and of making. They will one day erupt in torrent or tale, in flash or in song, reaching for the page in a shower of sparks against the black of sleepless eve.
When first did you meet your dragon? In a closet of fear? In a classroom of shame? On a field of loss? Or perhaps in a home of desertion? Who’s voice does it own?
Yours must be louder. Yours must ring truer. It is your voice, and yours alone that must own the stories that bellow to be told. For only the life you give your words can silence those of the dragon. Only your imaginings, your make believe or your truth can stop his coal hot breath from stirring the doubt at your nape.
Only your words set free can become Arthur.
350 @KimGANEPossible (Whew!)
To Dream of Legend
by Jacki Donnellan
No matter what happens, they never look up.
The water draws them downwards, without our help. It mesmerises them, with the flipping and flicking of a tail here, a rising head there.
And if ever the water should break and thrash, they may glimpse what they swear is reptilian skin, gleaming and rolling beneath the foam.
And they chatter of the rising and surfacing of what must have been the Monster, picturing her surging up from the deep for a brief, playful gasp of pure Scottish air, and then submerging, to swim once more along the murky loch bed.
They do not look up. They don’t pause, for a moment, to replay in their minds that strange, swift javelin of wind, moments before. They fail even to imagine an invisibly fast, joyful dive, straight from the clouds.
We play our part, of course. It is in our interests, too, to keep their attention focussed on the loch. We gather them around it and sell them our tartan landscape, woven of underwater caves and elongated prehistoric necks. And we take them out onto Loch Ness itself, where they clutch binoculars, and shortbread, and a growing hope, staring down into the opaque black water as if persistent eyes might penetrate what light does not.
Back on land, we’ll add soda to their Scotch. Water onto fire. Beside roaring flames, we’ll bid them relax, and think themselves brave- to contemplate an animal that has swum against the tide of evolution!
But we will not feed them the courage to dream of legend.
We will not carve her pearled, glistening scales on the wet, smooth skin in their minds, nor paint the glint of talons and the arc of wings onto clumsy flippers.
And we leave, uncorrected, the convenience of “Monster.”
We will look up, always, when her soaring presence circles and scorches the skies. And we will forever distract the crowds with weak, watery myths, whenever she desires to plunge and swirl her fiery form through the cool, onyx waters of Loch Ness.
She is more magnificent than this world could ever bear.
by Von Rupert
Clara’s mother found her in the gift shop. “Sweetie, you know better! Dr. Lou says you’re not strong enough to leave the floor.”
“Gramps told me about the dragons. I needed to see them.”
The dragons watched from a shelf. The tiny amethyst one spoke first. “I want her.”
The tallest dragon, carved in jade, shook his head. “You’re too young, and she’s far too gone.”
“Don’t say that. I see much life in her eyes.”
The black onyx dragon replied last. “The child will choose. We shall comply.”
Clara studied the figurines. She wished she could hold each of them, but her fingers trembled, and the dragons were too precious. “I want the purple one.”
“Are you sure? Its face is frightening. You’ll have bad dreams.”
Clara’s hands fisted. She had nightmares every night, but her family didn’t like to hear about them. Skeleton wolves ravaged her dreams. Their razor teeth ripped skin from her bald head and tore the veins from her arms. “I want the purple one!”
Her mother grumbled, but bought it for her.
After everyone had left, Clara snuggled in the blankets holding her dragon. It purred with warm static. “You’re magic, aren’t you? I’ve smelled toasted marshmallows since I met you downstairs. Will you help me? I can’t fight them alone anymore.”
The dragon glittered to life and filled the room. Clara was not afraid. Dragon wings caressed her scalp, a lullaby encircled her, and she fell asleep. For the first time in years, the wolves were gone.
The next morning, Clara’s family surrounded her bed. The doctor explained, “She’s sleeping so deeply, I wanted you here. It might mean something. “
Clara’s dragon cradled her to sleep every night. In one final dream, the skeleton wolves returned. Their bones fell to the ground like rotted limbs. Clara crushed them beneath her feet.
One month later, Dr. Lou spoke to the family. “Take Clara home for the weekend.” When Clara’s mother began to cry, he hugged her. “Sometimes it happens like that. The immune system suddenly grows stronger. She’s definitely turned the corner.”
If our stories or the photograph prompt above inspired you to recall a memory, to write a story or essay, I invite you to share it in the comments below. GO!
GANE Empowered Wellness
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LAUNCHING January 2014!!
Copyright (C) 2013, Kim Jorgensen Gane, All Rights Reserved