Writing Challenge – A to Z: Carefree

I hope you all had a lovely Easter weekend.  It’s taken me a bit to get back into the groove of writing.   Today, I have chosen ‘Carefree’ as my word and the below image to go with the prompt.  Enjoy!

carefree

A Change Will Do You Good

Stuck.

She’d been stuck in the same old rut for the last seven years.  She wasn’t sure how she succumbed to being a slave to her work, but it had somehow snuck up on her.  Like a thief in the night stealing any fun, or love life she might have had.   Working for over sixty hours a week will do that to you, not to mention send you into a body bag at a very young age.

When the pink slip suddenly shows up on your desk one day, the company deciding you’re no longer worth the money you make or the revenue you bring in, what do you do with your life?  How do you decide what’s next when you have been jogging on the same treadmill year after year singularly focused.

Kelly packed up the last box in her office, giving one spare glance over her shoulder and walked out of the building, dropping her badge at the front desk without a word.  The afternoon sun blinded her as she walked towards her car, a grin peeking out from her grim facade.  

Throwing the box in her trunk, she got into her car and sped off, dreaming of sandy beaches and fruity cocktails —  hell, maybe a cabana boy or two.

 

Writing Challenge A to Z: Book

Thank you to all my fellow writers and friends who’ve commented/or liked my last post about the challenge.  I’d love to do this with other people.  If you’re interested in joining me, let me know.  I’d be happy to hook up our various blogs so we can all give each other feedback and encouragement.  Feel free to share my initial post – here – if you think others might want in on the action.  I have a pretty small following, so I’d appreciate any help getting the word out.

My goal is to complete this challenge by the end of April.  Today I did an image search for BOOK, and this is what I grabbed.   Enjoy!

book1

Coming Home

Mariella wandered past her parent’s room, unable to face the items that needed sorting.  Instead, she wandered further down the creaky hallway and stopped in front of her old bedroom door.  It was open just a crack, and she could see her bed, still made up with the pink and purple patchwork quilt that her grandmother had made for her all those years ago.  Pressing the door open, she revealed a time capsule of her young life, preserved over time and her parent’s belief that you could always come home.  

She hadn’t been back to the house in years, finding her work took her to the far ends of the earth.  Instead of coming back to the middle of Nebraska, instead choosing to use her mileage points to fly her mom to wherever Mariella wanted to go.   Sinking onto her twin bed, consumed with grief, she realized she’d never asked her mom where she’d like to go, instead always dictating their relationship.  It was always on her terms and now that her mother was gone, she’d never have the chance to ask.

Brushing away her tears, she spotted her favorite stuffed bear, Mortimer sitting on top of a book she’d never seen before.   The bear coughed up a plume of dust when she’d picked it up to read the title of the intricately designed cover.

It wasn’t until she flipped the book open to reveal it was a book at all, but a photo album meticulously put together.   Fingering the edges with reverence, Mariella saw her life from the perspective of a mother who wasn’t the best at expressing her love with words but used the lens of a camera to capture it instead.  She sat in awe long after reviewing the album’s contents, stuck on the last photo with a note written in her mom’s delicate script. 

The photo was of Mariella as a child, probably no more than six, pretending to teach Mortimer how to read.   The note simply stated:

This is how I’ll always see you, my dear sweet child.  The lover of learning, the caretaker of the disenfranchised with a heart as big as her mind.  I’m so proud of you and the work you do with Care International.  I hope these memories keep you grounded in what is good no matter what hurdles the world sends your way.

I love you now and always,

Mom

Writing Challenge A to Z: Alone

alone

ALONE

She sat high above the city, contemplating her next steps. The breeze wafting over the rooftop brought with it the stale scent of New York in spring. Not quite as pungent as the summer’s putrid stench, but it stung Lacey’s nose all the same. It had been two years of trying to break onto Broadway, and after twenty-five rejections and three different bartending jobs, it was time to decide her fate.

Do failed dreams ever really fade away, or did they linger like a nagging itch in the middle of your back, just out of reach? She hated to give up, but with an ailing parent back in Ohio, should I stay or should I go became more than a rock anthem. Lacey wished decisions like these were as black and white as who she was planning on voting for in the next election, but alas this was so grey it was an ever-present looming shadow.

Climbing off the ledge, she knew what she had to do. Lacey’s heart was filled with regret as she made her way down the fire escape to let her roommates know she wouldn’t be here next month. She pressed her hand to her heart as if willing away the ache that had already settled in.

Writing Challenge – A to Z Photo Prompt Challenge

AtoZColorLogo

I have been glancing around the interwebs searching for the old #Flashfiction sites I used to contribute regularly to a couple of years ago — you know, before kids and jobs getting me down.  I now find myself trying to find time to write and be inspired on a daily basis (whenever possible) – because I still have that family, and job, but would also like to carve off a little time for little ol’ me.

So I’m going to challenge myself to write almost daily using a photo prompt based on the letters of the alphabet.  I’m going to do a google image search for a word starting with the letter of the day and go from there.  The stories I hope to keep them around 200-500 words.   Thanks for following me on my journey.  Please share, comment or just enjoy.

Best,
Michela

The Next Journey – Writing Prompt

I was taking an online creative writing class and this was my submission for the prompt:

David sat crying in the middle of the road.

Enjoy!

 

The Next Journey

bike

Sweat poured down David’s back as he shifted gears trying to maintain his lead in the Tour of California.  The day had dawned stifling hot and hadn’t subsided even with the rise in altitude as the peloton ascended Gibraltar Road.  It was Stage Six; David only needed to get up through this mountainous stage in one piece. If he could complete this safely, tomorrow’s ride along the Pacific Coast Highway should be a cake walk in comparison. His team was surrounding him like he was a precious little caterpillar nestled in a cocoon of safety, but he knew it could all change in an instant.

David’s mind drifted to the moment two months ago when he’d gone to the team doctor, complaining of being light headed and shaky before he’d even gone out for his training ride that morning. The very next day his world crashed down around him, leaving him with only one logical conclusion.  Retirement.  He hadn’t officially announced it to the press, requesting the team to keep it close to their vests until after the race.  David didn’t want this to become a distraction, but he couldn’t help smile at being an added inspiration factor for his team.

This race was going to be his denouement, and David was hoping to literally ride off into the sunset with one last yellow jersey to hang on to. The doctor had told him it was the early symptoms of Parkinson’s, and while medication could slow the progression of the disease, it was still going to rob him of his body control prior to killing him outright, all the motivation he needed for one last ride.

His wife, Jenn didn’t understand his compelling drive to win ‘just one more’ when there were so many other things to be doing, like spending time with his two kids, Jake, and Ella.  His racing had taken a toll on his family but after the diagnosis, Jenn had vowed to stick by him and fight this disease to the bitter end.  He’d been a racer all his adult life and while his body might be breaking down, it’s hard to tell your mind to just stop doing something that it’s been so keenly focused on for so long.  It was like asking him to stop breathing. How does one go about doing that?  They’d compromised; he’d retire after this race and focus on his health, his family– her.   It was the least he could do after all the sacrifices they’d made for their marriage to make this dream of his real. It was his turn to give some things up, especially before he would be taking all over again.

Through race radio, he could hear there was a small breakaway attempt being thwarted at the front of the peloton.  David knew he needed to move up front to chase down anyone who attempted to catch his current, race leading time.  “Johan, let’s move up and set the pace.  I’m not going down today,” David demanded through his earpiece.   It took just one moment for the team to begin maneuvering up to the front, jostling other teams to make way for the current leader.

David stayed close to the back wheel of Antonio, his climbing domestique as he wove them through the crowd.  While Antonio was new to the Velo team he brought an enthusiasm and drive that was unparalleled to any other young rider on the circuit.  David wondered who the team would recruit to become their next GC rider in the coming months.  Not that it should concern him any, but still, this little squad of riders had become his family, his home away from home since he turned pro at twenty-four and he cared how things would turn out for these young riders.

“Let’s hold steady here,” Johan ordered, telling the team to hold pace now that they were in the front and leading the pack.  “David, stay alert, I think Alberto is going to attack around the next bend.  Stick to his wheel, you only have twelve seconds to spare and the toughest climb is still eight K to go.”

David let out an unsteady breath. “Gotcha,” he replied and refocused on sticking to the front.  Just as Johan had predicted, Alberto began to charge ahead at the turn.  David responded, pounding on his pedals and latched on to Alberto’s wheel.  The breakaway didn’t stick, and the peloton caught up thanks to Team Velo increasing the pace, leaving no room for question as to who was leading the charge.

Muscles screaming, on the brink of exhaustion, David could see the crest of the hill and knew he’d get a short breather before having to attack the last climb of the stage.  Staying focused on Alberto, he rode under the King of the Hill banner to begin his descent.  Wind whizzing by, he was flying around the switchbacks, trying to maintain as much speed as possible while staying in control of his bike.  He could see Alberto just to his left, and focused on not letting his rival get any further ahead.

The pair sped down the mountain, curve for curve, neck and neck.  David’s muscles were beginning to chill from the cool wind, but he knew the next climb was only a half a kilometer away and he’d be unable to keep the sweat out of his eyes soon enough.  The last turn in the descent was upon him, but his tire must have hit a small rock because the next thing he knew, his bike was no longer beneath him and he was tumbling across the pavement, feeling like he was entirely made up of road rash.

“Agh!” he whelped, pain surging through his entire body.  He thought his collarbone was likely broken, not to mention the odd angle his wrist was sitting at.  The race car zoomed up behind him as he sat in the middle of the road and cried.  He wept, watching all the other racers speed by him, knowing he’d never wear yellow again and that while this fight was over, he had a whole other one that was just beginning.

 

A WORK IN PROGRESS

under-construction-clipart-Under-construction

It’s been a few years since I overhauled my blog.  It started out as a place for me to post my writings but has since ended up also being a site for my book reviews.  I’ve decided to split these two very different endeavors into separate sites.

I hope to get my Nose in a Book Reviews site up very soon and migrate most of my book reviews over there – since, well that’s what it’s for.  I’ll be transforming this site back to my original intention as a place to post my writings and musings.

Hopefully, you’ll follow me along with both of these blogs.

Thanks for your support over the years and I appreciate you hanging in there with me as do a little overhaul.

Michela