Archive for July 2012

READY OR NOT, IT HAPPENS

READY OR NOT, IT HAPPENS

When it comes to writing a piece of prose on real issues, there are times when I have not felt like writing something to share or post. Days go by before I am ready to attempt writing again, or try to put something into words. The emotion of what I feel, how to express it, and still be clearly understood does not always come together just right. I find myself needing to edit too much, start over, or delete it all, so I put it off again. I do not like spilling out my gut feelings on everything. I want my writing to have quality, be concise and have a message whether delivered subtly or overtly. Some things are just too personal and private to share, and I am not the type to expose things not intended for a public audience. By nature, I am a very private person. Even writing about personal experiences sometimes makes me feel awkward or uncomfortable.

But, in writing fiction there is freedom in being expressive, creative, and running with an idea or thought. Lately it has not been difficult to come up with ideas. With current headlines and news reports one does not always need a vivid imagination to come up with a subject to write about. Readers and writers may not always understand or relate to what the writer is saying when writing about a subject, but from the perspective of a character living it there is a way to reach the reader who sees life from that perspective. And, there are times when what a fiction writer writes that it actually comes true in real life, because there is hardly anything that has not happened in this world at some time that has left a writer wondering, What do I write about, now? What can I say that has not already been said by someone? How do I approach it? How can I convey a message by what I write, and have it be relevant to someone, or be remembered?

As a writer I like to write the kind of fiction that tells a story that lingers in the back of one’s mind thinking, This could really happen. And, what would I do if I was the character in the story? Characters doing things, saying things that will not be easily forgotten, but remembered for how they reacted to situations in life. Although some subjects and ideas from my short fiction ‘Friday Fictioneers’ 100 word stories are inspired from a photo prompt, and seemed real enough to turn into realistic scenarios, they are still fiction. But, are they? What if those things really happened? What if that could really happen just like that, just like it is written with that plot, and those characters? In the world of fiction one can visit that place, or experience it, all of it a part of the world of ‘make believe’.

It has not been difficult to come up with an idea to go with the photo prompt provided, but it does not begin to address the real issues that stir the emotion in one as do the real life stories happening all around us with real people, suffering, or dying. That is the reality that touches people’s lives, their hearts, and the stories that have recently filled our newspaper’s pages, the internet, facebook, twitter, television newscasts, and talk shows. Our homes and lives become so saturated from all the gloom and doom of this world, where does reality end and fiction begin? There is only an overlap, a merging of the real and the fiction coming together as one. It is life, often not the picture of a very pretty one.

And then there is fantasy that does not need to make sense at all, it just needs to entertain the reader, and the movie goer. Those kinds of fantasies are in abundance, but sometimes they can hurt, if one takes it to the extreme, goes ballistic, and cannot separate fantasy from reality.

The most recent event of the theater massacre in Aurora, Co., only an hour’s drive away from where I live is an example of the reality and fantasy converging together that has changed lives, and will for a long time affect many the way they think, or live. If we are going to merely walk into a theater to watch a story acted out, or go into a store to shop, a restaurant to eat, or to our job to work, we take a risk, a chance that there might be a deranged lunatic out there that will rob us of our very life, and our last breath. It has even happened in churches where the killers storm in to find their victims in prayer, or hearing a message on how to live, how to love others. Where is there a safe place where the reality of death and dying is not real? There are many varied ways that take one’s life. No guarantee, no promise we will have a tomorrow in this life. So, we live daily with the fragility of life. Anyone of us can be the next one whose life can be snuffed out of existence into the pages of history to ebb away as did those before us.

The many tragedies and shooting sprees, such as the one in Aurora, at the Columbine High School, and in universities or places elsewhere have never been forgotten. Eventually, the horrific event just eases back into memory with all other past events as new issues come to the forefront. We move on. It is the sad part of life that we have to deal with in these times. And sadly too, new chaotic events will take its place. What do we learn from it? How is one to cope, or change their lifestyle to make themselves safer, avoid untimely death, and stay clear of a sniper’s bullets, the bullies, killers, the ‘boogey man’ in this world? One can’t. But, we can be ready to go out of this world and enter another one, a Heavenly one not of this world, not by contrast to the one we know here, but one that is real, waiting for us with our Father God if that time comes before we are ready. It is why I am prepared and thankful to be ready, if it should happen to me. Ready, or not, life happens. And ready or not death comes, to us all. There remains just one question. When? How?

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Posted July 31, 2012 by Joyce in Faith, Uncategorized, Writing

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Friday Fictioneers, July 27, “The Spigot”

 

The below post is a short 100 word fiction story posted for the Friday Fictioneers writing group. A photo prompt is provided and writers create a story to go with the photo. Below is mine.

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The vibration, thumping sound grew louder.

Engineers conferred, checking water pressure levels, testing valves, equipment, analyzing all.

“At this rate we’ll suffer breakdown. A power shortage. The generators are on overload.”

“We’ve examined every square inch in the structure for damage, a leak, or crack. They’ve found nothing.”

“No tremor. No earthquake. Yet, we have tons of H2O being depleted mysteriously from water main lines, and aqueducts feeding off the Hoover Dam? I need answers!”

Red lights flashed. Alarms sounded.

One screen beeped. A picture came up.

“A spigot?”

“With a message, sir.”

“We’ve just drained your well.”

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Posted July 26, 2012 by Joyce in Fiction, Friday Fictioneers, Short Fiction

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Grapevines

The below story is fiction. Each week writers from all over create a story to go with the photo prompt provided by Madison Woods for the Friday Fictioneers writing group.  This week’s photo prompt is,  ‘Grapevines,’ and this is my 100 word story.

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He sat, sipping a glass of wine, but knew it would not last.

Preparing to fend them off, he loaded the magazine, and waited, determined to protect his investment, his irrigation rights, and the grape harvest.

Demonstrators marched up the road, chanting, “No water for wine!! No water…!”

The drought covered the country, much like the blight years before, ruining crops.

No rain for months, people were desperate, violent.

The riots had become ugly.  

Closer they came, with machetes, whacking at plants, torching the vineyards.

Now, they came for him.

Grabbing up his M-16, he fired. 

What have we become?!

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Posted July 18, 2012 by Joyce in Fiction, Friday Fictioneers, Short Fiction

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Free to be ‘Me’

To be happy with yourself, allow your weakness to become your strength. In the natural this seems pretty illogical, if not impossible. In a world where perfection is expected, but seldom, if ever mastered, one can stress over their lack in areas where they feel they have been shorted in.  Our weaknesses can be so transparent that the world can see in us what God wants most to use.  It is in these areas where He can use us to bless someone needing what we can do. But, what is that?

This is something I often ponder over. That when I dwell on my weaknesses, always wishing I could do something better, or be someone I am not, I have to instead dwell on the truth that God does not create what He cannot use.  Rather, He is glorified  in creating one who reflects His image, not one who distorts it. There is no one who has ever lived that was without a purpose, or plan God had for him or her. But, it is the human nature we are born with to fall short in ways, and feel as if we have failed ourselves. It is when we reflect His image that the plan and purpose He ordained  in our lives can be perfected. In everyone there is a plan and purpose He set forth. Does one care to find it? Or, does that one wish instead to do their own thing, go their own way, and not care about reflecting the image He created us for?

I cannot speak for others, but only for myself that I am always a ‘work in progress,’ and have not finished even a ‘first draft’ of what it will look like, but God is not my ‘agent,’  ‘critic,’ or employer. He is my father, who is patient, loving and holds me in his palm. He will mold me, make me and create in me what He can use.  He does not stomp His feet, point His finger in disgust, swear profanities, or send down His wrath upon me for my disobedience or lack of consistency.  He allows me instead to choose my way, find my strengths, work on my weaknesses, and in the process reflect His image in a way that others will see Him. That might seem like an impossible project, striving to perfect His plan in/through me, but it is a freedom that frees me from performing, trying to be something or someone I am not, and I am free to be ‘me’.

Posted July 14, 2012 by Joyce in Devotional, Uncategorized, Writing

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Friday Fictioneers, July 13, “The Buzzard”

The below story is fiction, submitted for the Friday writers’ group, Friday Fictioneers based on a photo prompt. This week’s photo prompt is, ‘The Buzzard,’ provided by Madison Woods.

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The Buzzard

Blackened, burned, nothing remained, but ash and debris. What do I do now? All was gone.

Like everyone else, warned to get out before the flames roared through the canyon, devouring everything on the mountain. Even the wildlife scattered.

A lone buzzard perched on a spindly branch in a knurled black tree watching me with its beady eyes, waiting for my demise too. I watched him too, angry, hungry! It had no right to be here, to wait in pursuit of its kill. I was the victim.

But, not this time! He would be mine!

Bang!

I’ve got dinner.

Posted July 12, 2012 by Joyce in Fiction, Friday Fictioneers, Short Fiction

Friday Fictioneers, July 6, ‘Pecos’

The following is my story for this week’s Friday Fictioneers. It has been a fun writing project each week as we come up with our own 100 word story to the photo prompt, provided by Madison Woods. This week’s photo prompt is ‘Pecos.’

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‘Pecos’

“You idiot! You picked a swell place to go exploring. Out here, in no man’s land.”

“Look! It’s an Indian dwelling of some kind. Let’s check it out. Our GPS doesn’t even show this road, or any residential around here.”

They walked carefully over dried brush, dodging cactus, and snake holes.

A loud whisper echoed across the desert landscape ricocheting off canyon walls.

“You trample on sacred ground, the great spirit of the desert warrior, Chief Pecos!”

“What was that!?”

Shaking, they turned around, slowly.

A huge, old man stood, his weathered hand raising a tomahawk.

Posted July 6, 2012 by Joyce in Friday Fictioneers, Short Fiction, Writing

In Awe at Your Greatness

Like hues reflecting back

splashed across the sky

the earth rebounds,

 and color returns.

We stand in awe

at your greatness, mystified.

How majestic your kingdom;

how great your love,

that you give us a rainbow

in exchange for our sorrow

for the storms now passed

to comfort the broken,

 hurting,  and grieving;

their hearts open, and seeking

in worship and in praise.

You offer up grace

and hope for tomorrow.

Poem by: Joyce E. Johnson – July, 2012

Posted July 2, 2012 by Joyce in Inspirational Poems, Poems, Writing

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