ON PARIS

"If you are lucky enough to have lived in Paris ... then wherever you go for the rest of your life, it stays with you, for Paris is a moveable feast." Ernest Hemingway

Wednesday, 21 April 2021

#FREEDOMMORNING - #WEPAPRILCHALLENGE - MY #FLASHFICTION, 'THE BEACH HOUSE.'

 Hello! Welcome to the #WEP April challenge. This is our Year of Art at WEP, and we started with a very successful challenge with Klimt's THE KISS for February. A challenge won by Jemi Fraser with Sin and Sunshine. To read Jemi's flash to give you an idea of the kind of writing that wins prizes, go HERE


This month we honor Claude Clark, an African American artist and art educator. In his bio, he said, 'As a child in the churches, the schools and the community, I dreamed of a destiny.' This dream is shared by so many today, with modern day slavery skyrocketing to numbers over 40 million. And of course, that's just a very conservative estimate. Big Chocolate, Big Coffee, Big Tabacco  -- most of the 'Bigs' have discovered how using child slaves in their plantations adds to their bottom line, even though they've promised to 'end child slavery' -- ha ha ha.

The 'Big' stories are for another day. I nearly shared Arno's Big Chocolate story, but that would have spoiled Easter for you. This challenge is perfect for one of the causes close to my heart -- arranged marriage and domestic abuse, whether mental or physical or both. These stories make me fume.

Today, I want to share Emma Dil's story. Like Claude Clark, she dreamed of a destiny far removed from her present day situation.


The Beach House

 

Image result for IMAGE OF HOUSE FALLING INTO SEA

Emma Dil was a fool to leave Paris. 

The city where she feels safe.

Where freedom reigns.

She was a fool to come back.

Here.

Here holds too many memories, too many secrets.

Memories and secrets she can no longer ignore.

She must deal with them or she’ll never reach her potential.

There. In front of her. The beach house, its timbers broken and exposed. Since she escaped, years of relentless tides have eaten away at its foundations. It now teeters on the edge of the dunes, on its knees in the sand, ready to surrender to a king tide.

Today the ocean holds no threat like it did that night many years ago. Its gentle waves lap the sand, leaving a trail of silvery froth and grit. Gazing at the peaceful sea, she almost forgets why she suppressed her memories for so long. But the mind holds onto things, remembers things best forgotten, overwhelms in the early morning hours when the body is most vulnerable.

 Confronted with the crumbling house, her mind searches its dark recesses, unearthing hidden secrets which she thought buried. Through the years, in her silent moments when the busyness of life paused, it spoke so softly in the gentlest of whispers, as it tried to speak to her of its memories. Then there were other times when her pain rushed to the surface without warning, hurtling through her like a runaway train, threatening to derail her altogether.

 She cries, falls to her knees in the wet sand. She no longer wants to carry that heavy sharp stone of hurt which has kept her caged like a helpless bird, which has stopped her enjoying the freedom of her new life. 

 She will no longer be held hostage to painful memories.

 Memories of her last terrible night in that crumbling house threaten to drown her in a tidal wave of hurt.

  ~*~


On the night she died to her old life, the wind roared, the rain poured, the waves crashed. The mighty Pacific Ocean swirled, rose and fell in a dance of wave and tide. Then the winds calmed, the moon rose and sat outside her window, bathing her in light.

 She’d been asleep, tossing and turning like the tide as she did every night. She’d opened her eyes and watched the moonlight creep across her bed like a lover’s soft caress. The sheets tangled and folded over the bed like waves. Kicking off the covers, she threw herself across the bed like a beached whale.

 The moon’s light overlooked the angry welts criss-crossing her legs. The wounds throbbed, but she had no ointments to ease the pain. But the pain she felt inside at her father’s betrayal was worse than any belting.  There were no ointments to soothe that sharp pain.

The crashing waves heralded high tide. Soon the water would rise to just below her window. The relentless pummeling against the house posts, thump, thwack, thump, thwack, thumpthwack, mimicked the sound and rhythm of her father’s belt as it cut her tender flesh while her mother cowed in the corner, praying, flinching each time the belt descended. Did she pray for her husband’s soul? For her daughter’s pain? Why didn’t she do something? Anything … But her mother was as helpless as she.

Father would not be denied his will. She was her father’s daughter. She would never give in to his demands. She would not marry the boy from Afghanistan, her father’s choice for her. She would marry the man she loved.

 A big storm had struck earlier in the night. Now the rain starts again. Relentless. Like her father’s demands. He locked her in her room until you come to your senses were his words. She hasn’t been able to communicate with Ahmed since she was imprisoned, but she was not afraid. She would escape her cage. She and Ahmet would be together. As God willed.

She knew Ahmed waited for her every night beyond the dunes. It was her hope. Her belief.

Tonight she must choose freedom.

 She wrapped her hand in the end of her sheet and smashed the locked window, thankful the pelting rain muffled the sound of breaking glass, thankful she did not cut herself on the jagged edges.

The black night sucked her in. 

Hitting the surprisingly warm water, she swam for her life, her robe tangled around her knees, dragging her under. Water filled her mouth and nose. Waves slapped her face but fell more gently than her father's hands. She fought the urge to surrender to the elements. No. She has waited too long for freedom. What was this water compared to the joy that lay ahead, a new life with her love? 

Her name meant ‘Heart’s Wish.’ She would have her wish.

A new life in Paris. With Ahmet.

Her bare feet found sand at last. Running out of the water, she held her sopping robe in her hands and sprinted toward the trees.

‘Emma Dil.’ Ahmed whispered her name as he stepped forward from his place on the dunes where he later told her he’d made a shelter and watched her window for many days and nights, fighting the urge to break down the door and drag her away from her father's abuse.

Now, at long last, Ahmed held her in his safe arms.

Freedom.

Home.

 

~*~

 

These many years later, Ahmed watches her from the top of the dunes, next to the crumbling wreck that had been her home when her family first arrived from Afghanistan. Before it became her prison. After she rises to her feet, in a few long strides he is by her side. He gently cradles her. Rocks her like a baby while she cries in his arms.

 Her tears are healing tears.

 She will be whole again.

 ‘My brave girl,’ he whispers.

 Over her shoulder the house groans and lurches, plunges into the sea. Its timbers break like skittles. The tide reaches out its greedy hand and sucks it under the waves.

WORDS: 1,000

FCA

If it's too late to join WEP this month, please consider joining us in June. We continue our Year of Art with this challenge - 



Thanks for visiting. To read more WEP stories, go HERE or click on names in the sidebar if it's up!





Wednesday, 7 April 2021

#IWSG April 2021. Risk taking in writing.

 Hello all!

Hope your month has been awesome. I'm sure this month will be interesting as we hear about risk taking in our writing.


Before I get into the question ...

Be sure to visit Alex's awesome co-hosts for the April - PK Hrezo, Pat Garcia, SE White, Lisa Buie Collard, and Diane Burton!


Here is the whole April 7 question - Are you a risk-taker when writing? Do you try something radically different in style/POV/etc. or add controversial topics to your work?


So ... what does it mean to be a risk taker? A person who tries new things. Is that you? Is that me? Do we try new things in our writing?

To me, writing itself is risk taking. You could devote twenty years of your life to it and never finish anything, never publish anything. That's okay if you just love writing, but I want my writing to go somewhere. Do you? 

BUT ... our writing can be flummoxed by so many writing 'rules' - (here's just a few that annoy me) -

* 'as' must come first in a sentence unless it's a comparison, 

* you mustn't repeat the same word in a paragraph, so you're forever looking for synonyms to, for example, 'withdraw' which may not fit as well, 

* then there's the 'you can't start a book/chapter with the mc waking up,

* show don't tell - if you use 'show' all the time, your book will be twice as long! Sometimes you just have to get to the point already! 

* then there's the - no head hopping except in a romance ... blah, blah, blah.

I'm leery of 'writing rules' because I'm an avid, prolific reader and I see all of the above 'rules' broken by popular authors constantly (oh, and don't use *adverbs! Grr). And careful with *backstory. I read a lot of women's fiction and sometimes at the beginning there are pages of backstory. Can't say I enjoy that, and sometimes I throw the book across the room wondering how they got traditionally published, but what the heck, these are popular books which are best sellers on Amazon so there's a market. Breaking that 'backstory' rule hasn't hurt these authors who I imagine just sit down and write their story using their tried and true formula which keeps them on the best seller list in their genre. Pish to the rules they must think.

So is part of risk taking author behaviour breaking the above (and plenty more) writing rules? Do the writing police read our books? I think not. 

But I think the person who came up with the question this month wasn't referring to writing 'rules' per se. 

Other than breaking 'rules', my risk taking includes tackling issues. Not everyone likes this. A lot of readers read to escape and they don't want their equilibrium shattered by issues of domestic violence, patriarchal behaviour, PTSD and so on which you're going to find in my books when I publish. But I like books with issues, so that's what I write. There's a saying, 'write the book you want to read' and that's what I do. I don't set out to be controversial, I try to be real. Who doesn't struggle with something in their lives? I love books with issues and the mc overcoming in the end.

Thanks for reading. I'm sorry for my rant on 'writing rules' but sometimes I think they're pushed on newbie writers just to slow us down and keep us forever editing and never publishing. 

What's your view on this? Do you stick to the ever-changing 'rules', or do you write the way you want to?

~*~

In a little over a week, the April WEP challenge goes live. Here is a chance to write about an issue, if you haven't yet taken that risk. If you like tackling issues, go for it...