Orizuru’s Winter Carousel

painting of cranes, by Józef Marian Chełmoński used as microfiction prompt
Cranes by Józef Marian Chełmoński, 1870

As is their nature, in the cold of winter, they leave for warmer shores. Fortunately, I’ve committed to memory their aerial dance and play it back in slow motion- a frame a minute to allow me to meditate on the aching beauty of their elegant necks and snow-white and black-tipped wings that gracefully stretch for one thousand years and back, thrusting them forward like a ruby crowned dart, before landing with a victorious V, framing the clouds that keep them company.

By the window, I watch and wait, it is all I can do, weighed down by dust and branded by coffee ring marks left on the torn page of the lined notebook that was folded to give me joints with minimal range of movement. The sharp creases of my form serve as lines separating me from them. Pierced and suspended, I float on my winter carousel, replaying memories of the cranes to bide time until the taunting promise of flight that summer brings.


164 words for Jane Dougherty’s Microfiction Challenge #3. Of course critical feedback appreciated, Jane. I went a little abstract with this one and was aiming for poetic prose.

Postscript 08.04.17: Originally published 5th July 2016. Reposting as I am considering additional instalments (shout out to SB!).

Sound Proof

photo by Steven Wei, used to as a wirting prompt for a three line tale. City towers photographed from the ground up, looking to the sky
Photo by Steven Wei

Gravity’s forceful insistence on my descent was greater than my life force’s argument for preservation.

Like a leaf that had relinquished a connection to its tree, I was floating; perhaps gracefully to onlookers in the towering blocks, a speck in the vast air, screams unheard through glass and concrete.

There was no replay of life in my mind’s eye, neither unpleasant memories nor nostalgic recollections, so I turned to change my view and watched life receding from the sky.


Well, one thing led to another and here I am posting in response to Sonya’s Three Line Tales, Week Thirty Two.

Writers Write, Right?

NaNoWriMo shield logo for writing goal with november natinal novel writing month 2016
Image courtesy of National Novel Writing Month.

I have a goal! The title and accompanying image might give a hint as to what it is. I am working towards finishing my second draft novel writing course by the end of October (it has been on hold since April). At the end of the course I’ll have a solid synopsis, which will allow me to get real value out of NaNoWriMo 2016: tackling the feat of completing a novel (or at least 50,000 words of it) over the course of November.

To borrow from a tagline on Camp NaNoWriMo’s site, the event is:

An idyllic [writer’s] retreat smack dab in the middle of your crazy life.

Yes, if I can’t have a beautiful mountain top cabin with a view of a cascading waterfall, the accompaniment of bird song and fragrance of spring blossoms and a perfect coffee, I’ll take the virtual version. Continue reading

La Porte de La Magie

Painting 'La porte' by Henri Duhem used for a microfiction writing prompt
La Porte by Henri Duhem, 1937

I tip toed through the field, not knowing if there were tiny creatures underfoot, like chickens, rabbits, or even my cat. Maybe the Jains have a point. The higher vantage made me appreciate that life is still life no matter how small or seemingly invisible. I had the tractor in hand. It looked just as a toy vehicle should in my palm; even the weight seemed to feel about right. It didn’t take many paces to get to the gate at the edge of the forest that had given away just how out of wack my world was. That same gate that my grandmother and I had unlatched and walked through countless times when I was barely as tall as the highest post- we’d look for fairies and magic dragons. The posts now looked like matchsticks lined up in those promotional books of matches you don’t see much of nowadays. Of course I couldn’t fit through the gate. I paused right there, peering down at the forest and wishing to reverse the magic my grandma had made me believe.

179* words inspired by Jane Dougherty’s Microfiction Challenge #5. It is also a part 2 to this story, although I hope it can stand on its own.

*Shaved off 4 words with an edit following Jane’s comment about repeated reference to ‘hand’.

Field of Dreams

Photo of a tractor in a field used as prompt for flash fiction story
Photo by Emiel Molenaar

The paint crackled and warped, and the wheels were on the verge of exploding as the Matchbox® tractor shot up to full size. Doubting what I had witnessed, I reached out to touch the imposing machine; hot to touch, moments after contact I felt a tingle and smelt something reminiscent of burning hair before I too began to grow and grow. With our scale restored, doubt crept back in, in the absence of some landmark to confirm it as dream or reality, until I shifted my gaze and noticed the ankle height hedge of old growth forest.


Story inspired by Sonya’s Three Line Tale Week Twenty-FourI had a moment while drafting this where I asked myself what the point of it (writing and sharing a story here) is, in light of events of the past 24 hours. Is it frivolous and pointless and shallow? Not to say that in the last 24 hours (let alone the last 40 billion years) there have not been other tragedies, large or small, but I am sure you know exactly what atrocity I am talking about. My conclusion? No, it is not pointless because in sharing something, anything here and connecting with people in even a very small way, it can make a difference to one, two or maybe many more lives- it is in the comments, in the encouragements and in the sharing that we have one of many reminders in our day about our shared humanity, a chance to understand that we are not alone in our life struggles, that others also have their own world of problems but also hopes and dreams and needs and desires. The community here is a very tangible way of creating world peace- I am so glad to be a part of a beautiful world here on WordPress – a microcosm of what is possible, if we let it happen, in the wider world.


Postscript: okay, 40 Billion is a lot. I missed the mark by about 34.5 billion years in terms of the age of the world and I was way off when considering the couple of hundred thousand years humans like us have been around, not to mention the much shorter period of ‘civilisation’ (6000 years). But this isn’t about numbers, is it?

Dandelion Chai

Photo by Derrick J Knight

a distant star dies

journeys a billion light years

nurtures a child’s wish


dreams not left to chance

child’s breath on dandelion

in a puddle, stars


a man emerges

armoured in child’s scar tissue

seeks the star within


The words ‘child’ and ‘star’, prompts from RonavanWrites’ Weekly Haiku Poetry Prompt Challenge were floating through my consciousness, not readily forming a connection. The missing piece that woke my muse from her slumber was a photo of dandelion seeds floating in water that I saw in a post by Derrick J Knight. Then it all came together, making me smile, and reminding me of the story of Yashoda seeing the universe in Krishna’s mouth as I drank my dandelion chai. Thanks Ronovan and Derrick for the inspiration, and thanks for permission to use your photo, Derrick!

Assembling Dreams

Photo by Richard Baxter

It came in a flat pack (we should have taken that as warning of what was to follow).

Patience was required for assembly, its urgency announced by toddler tears born of a skewed sense of time- what’s not immediate equates to eternity.

fresh deluge of tears

child’s grievances with time

freestyle wail won’t cease

I tried to distract him with a story and some songs, asking for nothing more than an exchange of the wailing for sound effects on cue, prompted by what Old MacDonald had on his farm. It seemed the only thing on the farm was a crying child.

mum’s fresh out of songs

old MacDonald combat style

eyi eyi…NO!

His dad cursed (in whispers drowned by tears) the parts strewn across the floor, pieces mass produced but requiring solo, manual, slow construction.

The tray was made of sturdy steel, coated a beautiful shade of red, resplendent in its replication of a time and style of yesteryear. The plastic tyres and impractical design (requiring fuming fumbling with minuscule fasteners) revealed it as a product of its age- for consumption by the masses and disposal on destruction.

Complete, at last! We ventured into the cool night air, for the debut expedition.

little red wagon

styled on whimsy, nostalgia

carrying fresh dreams

The wheels maneuvered easily over gravelly ground, with a very happy* toddler commandeering it, parents looking on in wonderment, spellbound by the boy and his red wagon.

fresh breeze heralds love

red hearts tumble like your wagon

boy, we like your style


Inspired by the two word prompt (style, fresh) from RonovanWrites’ Weekly Haiku Poetry Prompt Challenge. To get more words on the page (then on the screen), this week I played around with a haibun! A first for me, and something I’ll definitely do more of. In my reading, I came across a site with some lovely examples of haibun: haikupresence.org

*don’t let the serious  face fool you- he is happy. No tears, right? 🙂

A Collaborative Post with K E Garland

It’s a new year! You’re ready and rearing to go, with several resolutions. There’s just one problem. How will you maintain them? Whether you’re a traditional New Year’s resolutionist, or a general goal-setter, Kathy and I are sharing six ways to maintain those goals. Each is a method that we personally use. We hope these help as you’re re-shaping life.

Continue reading