This post is a
linkup with Laurel Regan’s Gratitude List at her wonderful blog, Alphabet Salad.
Join us and share what you’re grateful for on
this day, this moment.
Here is my list for today.
▪ Receiving a Sisterhood of the World
Bloggers Award nomination from Laurel Regan at Alphabet Salad—thanks
so much, Laurel!
that a flash fiction story of mine will be published in the literary magazine
The Quotable (this actually happened last month, but I’m still grateful).
a warm, comfortable home as winter is coming on.
able to share my good fortune with others who have less through our church’s
wonderful “embrace a family” program.
in a small city in a small state that nevertheless offers an abundance of
cultural treasures: several theater companies, small-concert as well as major
venues; art-film cinemas; art galleries; and many more.
▪ Having thriving small
businesses—restaurants, shops—within blocks of our home.
▪ Being able to get back to crocheting and
resume working on my many unfinished projects.
this time of year, seeing the bright colored lights begin to come on in homes
and yards all through the neighborhood.
I am inspired again this weekend to post 33 words for Trifecta. The challenge this time:
"Katherine Paterson, author of Bridge to
Terabithia, wrote, “It's like the smarter you are, the more things can
scare you.” We are looking for a 33-word explanation of what scares you
(or your character)."
The Long, Slow Amnesia
My mother’s puzzled frightened eyes, searching for sense.
“Are you my sister or my daughter?” she asks me.
No terror can match hers, but mine is right there beside it,
holding its hand.
are a few things you need to know about me. The first thing is that I am a
serious klutz. I get bruises
everywhere from bumping into things. Objects hide when they see me coming. My
balance is tentative at best, precarious at worst, even when I’m only walking
in a (semi)straight line. Last year I tripped over my dog and woke up in an
ambulance with a concussion. This year I tripped on uneven concrete while
running and ended up splayed on the sidewalk.
second thing is that in my twenties, just after college, I took a modern dance
class. I came down from a hop the wrong way and brokea bone in my foot;
I was on crutches for a month.
third thing is that I turned sixty-three years old last month. I’m not beautiful,
not slender, not (see above) graceful.
Nor athletic. I’m not Little Egypt
(anyone remember her?) or Shakira.
With all this history, then, why
would I sign up for a belly dancing class?
was the question I kept asking myself for months, after an article in our local
paper stirred up my latent dreams of myself as sylph-like and sensuous. Belly
dancing had never been on my bucket list; in fact, the thought itself would
have made me embarrassed and feel ridiculous in view of my aforementioned
this article called it wonderful exercise “for all ages.” That got my
attention. Then there were photos of a couple of local teachers and classes
waving their arms, scarves (scarves!) floating from hands and tied around
waists, jingling with coins. How lovely, romantic, graceful it looked!
And this was also exercise!
Good for you!
enthusiasm suddenly caught fire. I’m an occasional runner, but it’s hard for me,
and I have to really motivate myself. This sounded like automatic motivation.
I’m also a class nerd; show me a class that sounds interesting and I’ll sign
I lost my mom last year after several years of caregiving, I’ve been feeling
the need to expand my world a little more. Maybe losing your last parent does
this, makes you feel the years shrinking ahead of you. I knew I didn’t want my
world shrinking as I age. I want to try to keep expanding it, keep learning,
finding new interests.
found a class being offered through a local adult-learning organization. It was
several months before it started, which gave me time to think about it, wonder,
waffle a lot. Sometimes too much time to think can be dangerous. (Would I just
be making a fool of myself?) Finally, a week before the class began, I decided
to take the plunge.
started in the middle of a July heat wave. No one had told us what to wear. I
went for the least confining things I had: a white tank top and gray yoga
pants. The seven-minute drive there was hot, but the studio nice and cool. I
was relieved to see at least one other woman around my age. Her daughter was a
belly dancer, and she already had a hip scarf. I was envious.
surprised me how comfortable I felt. This was so different for me, yet I was
excited, eager to start. The instructor asked us a little about ourselves, and
I told my story of the broken foot to let her know not to expect too much. But
for once it wasn’t a defensive move. I honestly didn’t care how clumsy I
looked; this would be fun!
began to show us basic moves, and the six of us tried our best to follow, but
she was so graceful, moved so sinuously, that our own images in the mirrors
made us look like Bigfoot by comparison.
Nevertheless, I kept reminding
myself that I wasn’t doing this to become a dancer.
the following weeks we practiced new ways of moving: our hips, our chests,in circles, up and down, in figure eights.
Our muscles, our joints, stretched, contracted, in ways they never had before.
We realized exactly how stiff we were—even the younger women among us. We
practiced steps and found out how difficult it really is to move across the
floor in a certain pattern of steps while raising, lowering, or undulating
other parts of your body. My respect for the women who practice this ancient
art grew greatly.
end of our second lesson the instructor told us, “Usually you have to practice
at level 1 for a year or more before you really feel comfortable with the
moves.” Ah, maybe I’m not hopeless at all, I thought, already projecting my
thoughts farther ahead than I had considered before.
Sure, I thought, I can keep
isn’t easy. But at the end of each lesson I felt good, physically and mentally. And something else happened over the
course of six weeks: I began to feel more
graceful, whether or not I was. I began to feel the movements inside my body. I
felt myself sitting up taller, pulling my stomach in, being aware of how I
stepped and how my hips moved, began to stretch more and more deliberately. And
I started to feel more feminine. I wanted to wrap things around myself. Shawls.
Soft loose jackets. Bracelets. I started wanting to wear makeup again. I saw
that the other women had painted toenails, and I wanted to paint mine,
too—something I’d never really wanted to do before. Maybe even—someday—get a
life outside your comfort zone isn’t so uncomfortable at all.
next session starts in a few weeks, and I’ll be there.
This was written for the Trifecta Writing Challenge . I took the prompt literally and went back to a memory from elementary school.
weekend we're asking you to harken back to your grade school days and write a
haiku (an unrhymed verse
form of Japanese origin having three lines containing usually five, seven, and
five syllables respectively)."
They sit over coffee, friends of
many years, both married half a lifetime now.
“Jack’s Jack.” Grace sighs.
“Always the same—like his name. Do you know that’s really his name? Not John.
Not Jackson or Jacques or Giacomo. Why would parents name a boy just Jack?”
“Annie, do you remember when we
were kids, how we used to play being grown-up and glamorous, married to
exciting men? I was going to be Graciela and you’d be Anna Maria, and our
“Oh, wait! I remember. Mine
was…Thorne, or something?”
“Thorndyke. And mine was
“What romance-novel names,” Anne
“And we were going to live in a
huge castle on the moors, all of us, each in one of the wings, and we’d ride
horses all around the desolate landscape and listen to the voices of the
spirits in the air. And our children would be half-wild and beautiful and love
the wind and the rain and each other, and they’d have a tragic and passionate
relationship like Heathcliff and Cathy.”
“Now why would we have wanted
that for our children?”
“Because it was exciting and full
“Gracie, are saying you’re
unhappy with Jack?”
“No—that would be more
interesting. I’m ahappy, I guess—neutral. Somewhere in between.” She
leans over the table. “Annie. I have to tell you something.”
A few blocks
away, Jack, Just-Jack of the plain name, to whom she is not Graciela but the
grace of God, is getting ready to clean out his wife’s car. He loves doing
little things for her. She walked to the café to meet an old friend, so he’ll
surprise her. Clean the interior, vacuum, wash the car.
He opens the glove compartment
and pulls out old badly folded maps, her registration card, the manual, a few
Then something drops on the seat.
He picks it up and stares. For a moment he can’t grasp what he’s seeing.
then he does.
Written for the Trifecta challenge. This week's word: grasp.
They begin to
hear the screams just after dark. People stop what they are doing, look up from
their dinner or their reading. Spouses look at each other tentatively.
“What was that?”
“It’s that damn
TV next door. Comes right through the walls.”
“That’s not a
TV. It’s outside.”
They rush to
their windows. All along both wings of the building curtains open, shades go up,
lights are turned out for better vision. Two figures near the bushes inside the
curve of the driveway. A man and a woman?
having a fight.”
“I don’t know. Looks
like he’s attacking her. Maybe we should call the police.”
want to get involved in domestic things. Neither should we.”
A few go back to
what they were doing, raising the volume of their televisions a little higher
to drown out the sounds. Most are transfixed against their will, bound to the
sight in front of them. The woman is on the ground now, on her hands and knees
behind the bushes, blocked from the sight of some of the onlookers. The man
seems to be gone, but then comes back, running toward the woman, who screams
again. The watchers are getting more nervous now. They are knocking on their
neighbors’ doors, asking what’s going on, if they should do something.
Look, nobody’s out there. If it was
something really bad, somebody would be out there, wouldn’t they? The police
would be here. They look
at each other and nod hopefully. Yeah,
Rumors start. Maybe they’re filming a movie. I saw some
trucks parked around back today.
You know, I think I did hear something
about filming somewhere around here.
None can admit
the argument is weak. The noise subsides. They go to bed reassured.
The next day’s
paper reads Woman Stabbed to Death
Outside Apartment House While Dozens Look On.
They drop their
heads, cover their eyes with their hands.