Multiply Stuff 6

Rosiebeck’s Challenge

Tell us what part of your body that you like and why.
Write which way you want – funny, tragic, gloatingly or just Than

 For some twenty years give or take I have lived with mental illness. Not my own, though not many of my friends would admit that I am sane, but my wife’s. She is not as bad as some, though in many ways that makes it harder. It is easy to forget that this outburst is not her, but the illness raging forth. The last year has been especially bad with stressors coming from all directions. Add PTSD into the mix and you have a grand recipe for angst and struggle.

So what is the point and how does it relate to body parts? The part that came to mind reading Rosiebeck’s challenge was my left ring finger. This not because of any particular beauty or significance of this collection of phalanges, but of what it carries.

That silver ring is the third wedding ring I have worn. The first was gold. I still have it in a box beside my bed, but it was set aside when we separated. When we renewed our vows we chose silver knotwork rings to symbolize that our lives are interwoven, complex, and prone to tarnish without due care. That first silver ring is also in that box, squashed and misshapen from daily wear. Rather that have it break we bought this ring for me.

The thing with marriages is that too much of what we read or see in movies or on TV suggests that marriage should be a state of unending bliss, and that if it isn’t, there is something wrong with us. A lot of marriages break up because people realize that their partner is not making them happy. Instead of admitting that someone else making us happy is impossible, we go looking for the next soul mate.

My marriage to my beloved, but often infuriating wife is not about making me happy. It is about making me a better person. I wear the ring not with pride, but with humility at how much I have learned from the strongest and most courageous person in my life.

 Writer’s Block Challenge #53

Once upon a time there lived a frog named Albert. Albert was quite content as a frog. He had his lily pad, his friends and a wonderful voice. Everybody knows that frogs are great singers, but Albert’s voice was something special. Whenever he sang the whole pond would stop and listen to him sing. Albert sang about the moon shining on the pond at night, about sleeping warm in the mud through the winter and about bathing in the warm light of the sun. It was in fact, Albert`s voice that got him into trouble.

There was a castle up on a hill. overlooking the pond where Albert lived. In the castle lived a King and his family. The royal. family was a contented family with the exception of the youngest daughter whose name was Sue. Where princesses were supposed to be graceful and composed Sue was somewhat ungainly and terribly shy. Somehow she never acted quite like a princess should. Her brothers and sisters taunted her unmercifully and even the servants in the castle teased her.

One spring evening when the air was especially still she stood on the balcony of her room listening to the sounds of the spring night. Since her room overlooked the pond, she of course heard Albert singing.

“Even a frog has something special that makes him sing so beautifully.” She sighed’ “I wish I knew what that frog is singing about so wonderfully. She shook her head, “What nonsense I am thinking tonight to envy a frog his voice.” She turned to go into her room. Just as she was closing the doors behind her she heard a beautiful bass voice singing of the joy of spring under the first star of the night. Transfixed the princess stood and listened to the velvety voice.

“O dear me, you will catch your death of cold.” Sue jumped and turned to her nurse.
“You startled me.” She closed the doors and came into the room. she stretched and gave a tremendous yawn. “I am so tired.”

“Such a yawn for a princess.” Her nurse clucked. “It isn’t at all becoming.” Sue blushed and climbed into her bed. When the light was out and she was alone, Sue lay awake and stared at the ceiling.

“Why do I need a nurse anyway. I’ve grown far beyond the age that I need a nurse.” Still grumbling she drifted off to sleep.

The next morning did not begin well. First, Sue was late for breakfast. her mother glared as Sue hurriedly slid into her seat and sent the juice glasses to slopping over onto the white tablecloth.

“Oh, I am sorry, I slept late.” Sue gasped.

“My dear, you are a princess.” Said the Queen. “You must be punctual. If you cannot be on time, don’t make excuses, and certainly don’t rush about out of breath.”

After breakfast the princesses gathered to work on their needle point. Sue stabbed herself, and bled so badly that she ruined three months of painstaking work. Her finger bandaged she was sent outside to amuse herself until lunch, with the order to stay out of the mud, and her sisters’ demure titters ringing in her ears.

“What use is it to be a princess if I can’t be a happy princess?” She thought. Gradually the warm sun began to cheer her up. Then she heard the wonderful voice from the night singing. Following the voice until she reached the pond Sue saw a large green frog sitting on a stump. She squealed and jumped back. The frog jumped into the pond. The ball which the princess dropped, rolled into the pond.

“How am I going to get my ball back without getting covered with mud?” Wailed Sue, “Oh why can’t I do anything right?”

Albert looked carefully out from under the water. The girl sat on the grass crying bitterly. He had often seen the princesses playing near his pond and had felt sorry for the youngest princess. He liked her best because she was the only one who ever seemed to appreciate his pond. On an impulse he dived down into the water and with a great effort pushed the ball to the surface and rolled it to the princess. Sue looked at him in astonishment.

“Thank you, O, thank you.” She grabbed the ball and laughed. “They will never believe this in the castle.” Albert was so pleased with himself that he swelled up with song Sue’s eyes bulged and she almost dropped her ball again.

“It was you singing last night” She gasped in astonishment. “You must be a prince under enchantment no frog could sing so beautifully.” The princess looked around. “I will take you home and break your enchantment. Then we can be friends.” She quickly caught Albert and ran home to hide him in her room.

Albert was devastated. This place was cold and hard, and worst of all it was dry. There not a decent bit of water or mud to be found. He missed the sun and the well known murk of his pond. As the day turned into evening his loneliness became so great that he began to sing. It was a terribly mournful song, and as Sue came into her room and heard it, it caught at her heart.

“It must be terrible to be a prince, and have to live as a frog.” She picked Albert up and hugged him. Albert was so sad that he kept singing his unhappy song. “Frog” Sue wept, “You are so unhappy. I wish I could make you a prince.” And between her tears, she kissed him.

“Who is that man?” Thundered the King from the doorway. Sue didn’t answer for she was staring at Albert in amazement. Albert had turned from a frog into a man.

“Why are you in my daughter’s bedroom?” The King roared at Albert, But Albert didn’t answer either he was looking at himself in amazement.

“Why, frog, you are a prince.” Sue squeaked.

“Hardly a prince if he appears like that in a princess’s bedroom.” Bellowed the King, since of course Albert had no clothes.

The King and Queen were up all night discussing what they were going to do. They finally decided that the only way to avoid a scandal was for Albert and Sue to get married, immediately. So they planned the wedding for the next week.

Albert found the change to palace life very difficult. He wasn’t sure how to eat with knife and fork. Clothes were strange and uncomfortable. But most of all he missed being a frog and singing in his beloved pond all day. The only thing that made it at all bearable was the princess. She taught him how to eat with utensils and helped him choose the most comfortable clothes. She even stood up for him when he chose his entire wardrobe in green. But each evening Albert would slip out of the castle and go down to the pond. There he would sit in the light of the moon and sing. They were sad songs, and Sue listening on her balcony would determine to try even harder to make her prince happy.

One day while Albert and Sue sat in the sunny courtyard escaping from the wedding plans for a brief time Sue’s nurse came out to bustle Sue back into the castle.

“I’m about to be married. I don’t need a nurse.” Sue yelled in rebellion. “Go away, and don’t bother me anymore.” The old woman looked at Sue then slowly and silently left.

“Why did you yell at her so?” Albert asked. “Surely she is only trying to help.”

“She’s been my nurse longer than I can remember. But I don’t need a nurse anymore, and I don’t like being fussed over.”

“If you don t need a nurse, but maybe she needs you.” Sue looked at him quizzically.

“Why should she need me. I’d think that she would be glad to do something else for a change.”

“What?” Albert asked reasonably. “She has always been Nurse.”

“I don’t know. That’s her problem anyway.” Sue grumped.

“You are her princess. I think that makes it your problem.” Albert pointed out. “You should give her something else to do if you want her to stop bothering you.”

Sue looked at him for a moment.

“I hadn’t thought of that.” She jumped up. “I’m going to go and talk to her.”

“What are you going to ask her to do.” Asked the frog prince.

“To be the nurse for our children!” Laughed Sue, and she ran off to find nurse.

Albert sighed and wandered down to the pond. He thought wistfully of his old uncomplicated life as a frog. Yet as the days before the wedding shortened, Albert’s common sense made itself felt. Even the King found himself discussing difficult problems with his guest. The Queen went so far as to admit one night while she and the King worked over the proclamation for the wedding that Albert might make quite a suitable match.

“By the way dear, have you found out exactly who Albert is?” She asked. “We really can’ t have a proclamation reading ‘Today the Princess Susan Aurelia Constance Esther marries Albert.’ We need to know a little more about his background.”

“Quite right, You should ask Sue in the morning.”

The next morning, the day before the wedding, Sue walked down the stairs to breakfast.

“Good morning.” She smiled, and glided into her place.

“Good morning Sue.” The Queen nodded. “Your father found a minor detail that needs to be cleared up. We need to know Albert’s full name and a little more about him for the proclamation.”

“I have been so busy that I never thought to ask him.” Sue said. ” I will ask him today.”
Out in the courtyard, which had become their favourite place, Sue found Albert. He was staring moodily through the gate down toward his old pond .

“Albert, my mother asked me what your other names are.”

“Other names?” Said Albert. “I only have one name.”

“But Princes always have lots of names. Like me, I have four.”

“I like Sue best.” Albert said with a smile.

“But you are a Prince, you must have other names.”

“No.” Albert sighed “I have no other names. I am not a Prince.” Susan stared at him, then laughed.

“You must be a Prince. Why would anyone enchant somebody who wasn’t a Prince?”

“You did Sue.” Albert said looking at her with an expression she couldn’t quite fathom.

“Oh Albert.” Sue blushed.

“But you did Sue. You turned me into a Prince.”

“And if I turned you into a Prince, what were you before?” She demanded.

“A frog. I’m a frog Sue. I was never a prince until I met you.”

“You are not an enchanted Prince?” The princess cried. “You let me think you were a Prince all this time, and all the time you were just a frog? What am I going to tell my father? That I’m marrying a frog?” Sue was standing now, screeching at him. Albert flinching with each question.

“You creature. You abominable creature. I hate you.” The princess turned and fled from the courtyard.

Albert sat for along while, then slowly he stood and walked down to the pond, a sad, shrinking figure in green.

The Princess locked herself in her bedroom. She refused to talk to anyone. Other than to tell her father through the door that the wedding was off; that everything had been a terrible mistake. She closed the window then wept on her bed for three days.

Finally, she got up and washed her face. Squaring her shoulders, she unlocked the door and went down to breakfast. Her family greeted her with a wary silence. The Queen gave her an approving nod.

Things returned almost to normal. Yet as the weeks passed Sue floated quietly through life her face cold and pale and rapidly lost weight. One morning she no longer had the strength to get up. The King and Queen worried about her. They begged their daughter to tell them what was making her so unhappy. But Sue simply stared out the window and said nothing. The old nurse came to the princess’s room to be by her side. She bustled about cleaning and tidying, opening the window to let the fresh summer air in. The day passed and as the evening came Sue heard a voice singing outside her window. It sang of the summer night, and the sorrow of a love lost. It sang of the moon shining on the pond and of a beautiful princess named Sue. It sang of enchantment and a broken heart.

“Albert.” whispered the princess. She stood and staggered to the window. “Albert.” His deep, sad voice soared through the night, telling of the joy and sorrow of his love.
Sue sat on the balcony and listened to the song through the night. In the grey of the early morning she slipped out of the castle. Walking slowly but with iron determination she made her way down to the pond.

“Albert.” She called into the silver mists. “Albert, I’m sorry. I love you.” The effort of walking overcame the weakened princess and she fainted beside the pond. There Albert, once again a frog, found her.

“My poor Sue.” Albert said as he kissed her. “I wish I could make you happy.”

The rising sun shone gold on two happy frogs as, hand in hand, they hopped into the pond.

Sunshineatmidnight’s Challenge

React/Respond to the question/topic – What is the meaning/purpose of life?

I have always found this an interesting question, not so much because I have any intelligible answer, but because the question assumes that there is some underlying purpose to life.

Lack of purpose is the great epidemic of the First World nations. We have so much wealth that we have no idea what to do with it, so we accumulate more in the hopes that it will provide an answer. It never does. The exercise becomes like trying remove a hole from a cloth with a pair of scissors, we are going in the wrong direction.

It seems to me that we begin to glimpse the meaning of our lives when we cry “enough” and turn from the accumulation to other things. We look at the scenery around us. We make friends. We connect with family. We start thinking about what we want to be, instead of what we want to do or buy.

Once we have done that anything is possible. We begin to live in the questions instead of the answers. As Deep Thought said “If you don’t understand the question, you won’t understand the answer.” (Deep Thought is the computer that said the meaning of life the universe and everything was 42.)

So for me, the meaning of life is no finding the meaning of life, but asking the question and seeing where it takes me.

Ladyharley’s Challenge

 Write a “Dear Friends & Family” letter to recap YOUR 2008… The challenge though is to make it about the good things… & To write it in story or poem format. (NON-FICTION, please.)

Entered the New Year midst our angst and woe.
Yet even in pain family must endure.
Wreaking havoc does not lessen burdens,
Nor lesson those who most need to be taught.

Groundhog day the infamous rodent saw
no shadow bringing hope of early spring.
Yet Winter keeps his grip tenaciously.
Till cold and snow it seems are all the world.

Beware the Ides of March the seer warned,
A trip south into Spring (and back, alas),
Yet with only three of four travelling,
Home arrived and hope and heart were broken.

exuent foster son to another home

April bring showers and subtle fractures,
Home is not what it never was indeed,
Nor will it never be again that bliss,
Yet quietude is welcomed in our lives.

May and June increase the struggle to grow,
and much discussion ensues to direct,
Where and what and how and why it happens,
That family is not itself enough.

So Summer comes as Hades torments the soul,
A son fled, in anger yet still alive,
Delicate bridges are built and burned redux,
‘Till midnight’s troubles bring ironic home.

An old friend’s grief calls heart to heart,
Now alone our sanctum shattered cruelly,
By friend and neighbour our peace is betrayed.
Yet even in this breaking there is hope.

Now Fall and school arrive together as
Last year for a son who will not be schooled,
Yet lessons have been learned, though angry still,
And new efforts to lower discord strive.

Harvest comes with bitterest worry,
My bride’s career is cracked from side to side,
By those who doing no wrong, do no right.
Faster and harder the pieces fall down.

So Winter’s gloom matches wounded spirit,
Yet even with shadowed sun the wolf hunts.
As a broken wall may be yet stronger,
So will and mind will heal, and hope will reign.

Christmas comes to lighten souls, angels sing
While the wise gather to worship new light.
Not alone are we in this darksome world.
Not while friends and faith and love abound.

So as this year passes with lessons learned,
with new mended hearts with scars well earned.
Living a life with no reason nor rhyme,
Yet we are still blessed by coming time.


Sumax’s Challenge

I want you to write a story using one syllable words only.

It might seem impossible, but it’s a fantastic way to get you thinking about vocabulary and stretching your imagination into getting round obstacles.

Frog woke one gray dawn. Out of bed with a hop, he ran to the door. Just fog came in. He made tea and toast with jam and sat down to wait.

He drank and ate ’til both pot and loaf were gone. Frog gave a big sigh as a tear left a streak on his face. He did want a guest. He did not want to be one frog in a big house. He had no one to talk to.

Frog went out to hop through the fog.

Blue Bird flew by.

“Blue Bird wait!” said Frog. “Please come and be my guest.”

“I have an egg to hatch,” said Blue Bird, “But I will come when I can.” He flew off.

Frog went on down the path. He saw Snail.

“Hi, Snail, come be my guest.”

“Thanks Frog,” said Snail, “But I have a house to clean. I will come when I can.”

Sad, Frog went hip hop down the path. He saw Fox.

“Fox, will you come and be my guest?”

“I would love to, but I have kits to feed,” said Fox, “I will come when I can.”

Frog went through the woods to ask this one and that to come and be his guest. Not one could come.

Frog went home and ate toast with jam and drank tea, then he went to bed.

Next day he thought he would stay in bed.

There was a knock on the door. He went to see.

Blue Bird was there with her chick.

“May we be your guest?”

“Oh, yes,” said Frog, and he put on some tea, and bread to toast.

There was a knock on the door, Frog went to see.

“My house is clean,” said Snail, “May I be your guest?”

“Oh, yes,” said Frog, “Please come in.” He put on more tea and set out the jam.

There was a knock on the door.

“May my kits and I be your guests?” said Fox.

“Oh, yes,” said Frog, and he put on more tea and got out more bread and found more jam.

More knocks came and more friends were guests, ’til Frog’s house was full.

But not as full as his heart.

 Writer’s Block Challenge #52 – A cold day in Hell

This is not Milton’s Hell, with its grand evil that refuses to bow to God. This is the Hell that puts each resident safe in their own fortress, with only the horrible certainty that now, finally, they are alone. Yesterday the bridge had spanned the molten river that, fueled by pride and fear, had flowed to the Ocean of Despair. The heat of the river made the bridge too hot for any soul to dare cross, even if some denizen of their fortress cared to leave their safe and lonely fastness. The inhabitants of this Hell are not trapped by some wrathful God who demands that only HE be worshipped. Those who exist here built their fortresses by choice as they turned more and more away from their sisters and brothers who shared their life.

On this day the fire is quenched as it is each year on this day of eternity. The star that no longer shines in our sky shines in the black night of that awful land. By its light any soul who craves the company of another need only walk across the bridge and leave the fortress of their isolation behind.

On this day as on all the morns before that have celebrated the coming of light into our world, the bridge stays empty as weary souls tell themselves that they won’t be fooled into giving up their place as the center of their world. Tomorrow the fire will rage and the night will be black, and despairing souls will cry for just one more chance, that next time, next time, next time…..

How long can you tread water? 

I was walking on the beach after a storm and to my surprise and delight discovered a mermaid washed up on the sand. She was still alive, so I squatted down to get a good look at her. She didn’t really look that good. She was nothing like the popular pictures of mermaids. She was human only from the shoulders up -strictly PG.

“Please help me back into the water.” she said.

“What will you give me if I do?” I asked, “Do I get three wishes? Will you bring me the treasures of the ocean?”

“I am dying,” she said, “I can’t give you wishes. The treasures of the ocean aren’t mine to give.”

“Then there isn’t much that I can do to help you.” I said, getting up.

“Please, please,” she begged, but I walked away. After all I couldn’t waste my time helping a creature that couldn’t help me back.

A little while later I had cause to take a sea trip. The ship was old, but sturdy enough. We sailed to tropic waters and I admired the dolphins and the flying fish. Then we ran into a storm, The waves raged and crashed against the old ship. Eventually it was too much. I watched the water come up past the porthole in my cabin.

The mermaid came and tapped on the glass.

“A child came and helped me back to the ocean. I blew him a kiss, and he was content.”

“The ship is sinking,” I told her, “Can you help me?”

“You have nothing I want. How long can you tread water?” she asked as she swam away.

 Cagh’s challenge

 Write a short story on any topic, but it must use at least one of the following sentences:

– Dagnabbit Jim, that could have gone better …
– Cor Blimey, what are we going to do now?

– And the little blue bunny danced off into the sunset with a large orange

Two blokes were sent up from London town to do a bag job on one of them fancy country houses. Jim and Frank were wiling, but just a little light on the thoughtful side. They arrived at the estate and were overwhelmed by the grandeur of the crib.

“We’d need a blooming lorry to haul the stuff away,” Frank said.

“We need to scout it out or we’ll be scuppered, that’s for sure,” replied Jim.

“Maybe they have house tours, like on the tellie.”

“It would be worth checking out. You go and bang on the door and ask if they give us a tour.”

So, Frank sauntered up the drive and banged on the door.

“Good Afternoon,” said the butler, “May I help you?”

“Certainly mate, do you give tours of the house?”

“No,” said the butler.

“Look, I’ll give you a fiver to let us in and look around.”

“Leave now, or I will have the constabulary on you.”

Frank stomped back down the length of the drive.

“Dagnabbit Jim, that could have gone better.”

“Yeah, now the ponce will be on the watch for us.”

“Cor Blimey, what are we going to do now?,” Frank wailed, “We don’t bring any loot back, Jones is going to gut us.”

“We’ll come back tonight and tie up the old geezer. Then just grab what loot we can.”

They did exactly that, creeping up the the back door. Intellectual skills aside, Jim was a grand lock pick and had them inside in seconds. They crept along the hall until they reached another door. Frank cracked it open and almost whistled. The moon shone in the windows and lit the paintings that hung on the walls.

“I can’t make head nor tails of this one, mate,” said Jim, scratching his head. “It looks like some kind of blue rabbit.”

“This one looks like an orange sheep.” said Frank, “What kind of cove would put daubs like that on the wall.”

“One with taste,” said the butler as he banged first one intruder then the other with his silver platter, “And the good sense to put in decent security.”

“Look Frank,” said Jim blearily, “Did you see that? What hit us.”

“Yeah mate,” said Frank, “The butler did it,  and the little blue bunny danced off into the sunset with a large orange sheep”

zues2u’s Challenge
Write a story or poem about the picture below.
Mine will be called the Lady in the Green Car.

I had just taken possession of a lovely green Studebaker, when this delicious young woman came up and, in a throaty voice that sent shivers up and down my spine, asked if she might sit in my car.

Since I didn’t trust my vocal chords to produce anything but garbled words, I just opened the door for her. She sat there like she owned the car. The red on her lips showing even brighter against the green of the car. Her scarf showed that she was ready to drive and still keep the blond hair that peeked out in immaculate condition.

I sat myself in the other seat and handed her the keys.

“Take her for a spin,” I said.

That was more that fifty years ago. I never did drive the car. Molly, who became my wife, as much for love of the car as me, drove it everywhere. Last year when Molly couldn’t drive the car anymore I gave it to my grand-daughter who is the image of Molly. I showed her the painting I had done of Molly in the car. When we are gone, she will have the painting too.

Whether it was me, or the car, our life has been a wonderful ride.

Writer’s Block Challenge 48

Mr. Smith could only stand and scream. He was overwhelmed by the sight of his daughter deep in a clinch. It wasn’t that Mr. Smith was unhappy for his daughter, by no means. He in fact prayed fervently that she might find someone who would care for her the way she deserved. It wasn’t the obvious wealth of the gentleman doing the kissing. Mr Smith, while not rich, was neither terribly poor either.

No what made Mr. Smith scream was that if his daughter were to get married soon, he would need suitable attire for the occasion. That would mean clothes shopping with his beloved wife, who had at the same time an absolutely horrible colour and fashion sense, and a certainty that she was right.

Mr. Smith had barely recovered from his last purchase which had consisted of a lime green suit with an orange shirt and red tie. He had spilled wine on it as soon as he could manage, but he still feared that the guests at that function had been permanently scarred.

Coolpap99’s Challenge

It is October, a harvest month, changing colors, cooler air (well most areas……… also when (believe it or not) people begin holiday shopping. BUT it is also HALLOWEEN… lets have fun, write a poem, story etc.Tell us a tale, hair raising or fun or both. Draw from past experiences self, children, friends. So go for it have fun!!!…….Dennis
For years we didn’t do Halloween. When the day came we would close up the house and head into town for dinner and movie. My son would wear his costume to the restaurant and fall asleep before the end of the movie. Then one year due to circumstances beyond our control (our son really, really wanted to be part of the fun with his friends) we decided to take the plunge and return to Halloween. After some thought we figured we would make our return in a health socially responsible manner. We would hand out pencils. Yellow pencils. Boring right? In all the times we have handed out loot before or since, I have never seen such excitement about Halloween loot. The kids clutched their pencils and ran off to show their parents who waited anxiously at the end of the driveway.

It was almost as big a hit as the year we gave socks to all my nieces and nephews, but that is a different story.

Beside the road.

Beside the gravel road, orange pumpkins
are set as heads for scarecrow bumpkins
looking for all the world like some kin’s
come to call in old cloth skins.

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