Fear is such a powerful emotion. It has to be of course – the evolutionary reasons are sound – elicit a fight or flight response to real or perceived danger. Like many of the psychological responses hard-wired into us from the dawn of time, however, the function has gone a bit haywire in the modern world. Yes it still has relevance – for example, we fear creatures which we know could be dangerous, yet we cannot switch the fear off even when we have certain proof that the creature scuttling across the floor towards us is a completely harmless British house spider.
This week’s prompt from Sara over at Mum turned Mom is the word “Winter”. I think I have made my feelings on winter pretty clear up to now. I’m not much of a winter person. This time of year in particular is my least favourite. I don’t even really want to talk about it. So instead I have taken up the gauntlet and written another piece of flash fiction. The first piece I wrote was triggered by another of Sara’s prompts: the word ‘Smoke’ so I’ve called this one ‘Ice’. The two stories have some similarities…
This week is Mum Turned Mom’s first Prompt of 2015 and aptly enough its the word ‘Beginnings’. As I have a hard time with January and don’t really feel much in the way of rejuvination until April, I thought I’d try my hand at my second ever piece of flash fiction. So here it is:
So in case you have been living in a cave for the past six weeks (or should that be three months), you may have noticed that the festive season is upon us. It’s a time of cheer. It’s a time of stress. It’s a time of magic. It’s a time of pressure.
Some people love it, some people hate it.
I think most of the magic went out of it for me the year my mum decided my sister and I were too old for Christmas stockings. I think it was the huge amount and variety of interesting little bits and bobs she sourced for us that made it exciting – and I fully appreciate now just how much effort went into that.
I believe that the day I am writing this post is American Thanksgiving Day, so it’s appropriate that Sara at Mum Turned Mom has chosen the word ‘Thankful’ as her ‘Prompt’ this week.
I have lots of things to be thankful for – not least of which is the luck and privelege to be living in a first world country with all the wonderful (and easily taken for granted) benefits which are bestowed upon such a relatively small percentage of this world’s vast population.
I once wrote a post which referenced a quote/philosophical question “how old would you be if you didn’t know how old you are?” It’s true that, as you get into your 30s and 40s and beyond you feel older physically, in your bones, but not necessarily in your mind.
Personally I think having children ages you in different ways. Firstly being around people with children the same age is a great leveller. Adjusting to life as a new parent is so all encompassing and there are so many similarities in the kind of experiences each of us will have foisted upon us, from learning to deal with a vomiting toddler and a sudden onslaught of sicky laundry at 3am, to school applications or the rush of pride you feel with each milestone and accomplishment.
This week’s Prompt over at Mum Turned Mom is the word ‘Smoke’. I don’t smoke. So I thought I’d try my hand at this thing called ‘flash’ fiction – it’s short! I hope you enjoy it!
The first unnatural thing Penny noticed as she drove up the hill towards home with her little girl was the quality of the light. It wasn’t sundown but there was something of the burnished autumn leaves in the way the clouds presented, hanging ominously above an otherwise unremarkable scene. The second thing was the smoke.
Its funny how, as you get older, you discover and accept more and more about yourself and who you are.
I realised recently that I’m a sucker for anything that brings transformations and for that reason my favourite times of year have to be spring and autumn. I guess this is very much a geographic thing as well because there are certainly places in the world where these seasons might slip past without note, but in the UK spring brings that most wonderful introduction of colour back into the world, with the blooming of huge golden daffodil patches and lush little bright green leaves unfurling on the trees. There is a sense of relief that light and warmth and the ability to spend more time outdoors are within reach.
In thinking about the concept of joy for this week’s prompt I was mentally bombarded by the expression ‘bundle of joy’. For a parent, I think you just automatically begin associating the strong emotions you feel with your children. And joy is a strong emotion – it is bigger than happiness, more powerful than contentment. It is sheer, unadulterated rapture.
When you hear someone described as having a ‘joie de vivre’ – it automatically makes you gravitate towards that person, ready to be swept along by their enthusiasm for just being in the world and yet, at it’s heart, for me, joy is in single moments – yes, of course that first time your baby smiles at you, but also, an unexpectedly beautiful sunset, the day your solicitor tells you you’ve finally exchanged on a longed for home, taking your first tentative step on a new adventure with all it’s promise – be that travel, a business venture or parenthood.
As I tipped over into my thirties I began to wonder where I was going wrong in life. I hadn’t had the confidence or drive to really pursue a career in journalism and had drifted into a vaguely publishing-related office job instead (albeit with the wonderful addition of getting to edit The Book Monster for a couple of years). I was recently divorced after making the mistake of marrying an alcoholic. I was rapidly approaching the ovary-shrivelling ‘geriatric’ stage of fertility and living out a rebound relationship which never really had any chance of making it in the long term.