2017 A To Z Challenge – E

Challenge2017

I know that, according to my own, self-imposed schedule, I should have had a post composed and ready to publish today, about the letter

Letter E

Just about the time the daily A to Z Challenge bloggers were posting their offerings for the letter E, I contracted a case of 48-hour flu. By the time I got back to the computer, it was too late to acquire a list of possible theme words.  Between the virus-induced mental incapacitation and the lack of inspiration, nothing got written.

The situation was made worse by bureaucracy. One of the drive motors on the daughter’s power wheelchair seized, and Murphy worked overtime to ensure clerical catastrophe.  What should have been a (bad enough) two weeks inconvenience, has become more than three months of dragged-on denial of service, before the Provincial disability office finally decided that it’s too expensive to repair a 13-year-old chair.

New rules say that, since she doesn’t need it all the time, she can’t have a new one.  Now she has to break in a new case worker, and jump through all the hoops to find an acceptable handicap scooter, for which the Government will (eventually) pay monthly rent.  Winter cabin fever was bad enough.  Now, the nice summer weather is here, and she still can’t get outside and be independent.

Besides the afternoon-long, hour drive up the highway and back, for her anti-pain treatment, this means that I have taken her shopping several times, to the Farmers’ Market, twice to her dentist, once to the next city to pick up cheap, bulk, dog and cat food, and each week to a counselling forum which helps her deal with the physical and emotional problems of having her loving, supportive son 500 kilometers away.

Eighteen months after being told that the wait time would be 12 months, the wife was finally contacted by her orthopedic surgeon, (the same guy who installed my artificial shoulder ten years ago) and was told that her first knee replacement, the right, was a go.  This required two trips to the hospital to fluff their paperwork.  The first was a mere two hours, the second, an extended, four hour clerical comedy show.  At least it’s finally going ahead.  On June 27th, Hobble-Along Cassidy meets Dr. Stabby McStab-Stab in a dance to the death.

All of this means that, instead of having time to write my usual, knife-sharp, crystal-clear, diamond-hard posts which inform and entertain you, you are being afflicted with this whiny, apologetic, idiosyncratic, fogbank collection of Excuses, for my E contribution.

Thanx for your sympathy, and I hope to see you in a couple of weeks with something a little more solid, for the fabulous letter F.

WOW #1

Dictionary

WOW is going to stand for – Word Of the Week

I’m always looking for an interesting theme to post about. I recently found one at SightsNBytes.  He vowed to post about a word a day, for 2017.  Of course, like many New Year’s resolutions, he’d only published 3 in the first two weeks.

To publish a post about a word a day would turn this into a dictionary site, but, a word a week seemed doable, perhaps even only when inspiration doesn’t strike with Rochelle’s 100-word Flash Fictions.  My OCD suggested that I go alphabetically, like the April Challenge.  Dictionary.com has an interesting word each day.  I’m sure I can find at least one suitable candidate each week.

Let us at least begin with an A word.

The first Word Of the Week is;
askance
Meaning – adverb 1. with suspicion, mistrust, or disapproval:
He looked askance at my offer.
with a side glance; sidewise; obliquely.

It looks like you’re ‘asking’ something, but, like many other English words, it actually begins with the French prefix ‘a’, meaning, ‘in, at or to’. The rest of the word would be more understandable, written ‘scanse’, incorporating the word ‘scan.’  It is pronounced (ah-skance), with the accent on the second syllable.

Probably like many of the words I’ll choose, this one is a bit archaic. When someone writes of one character ‘cutting his eyes’ towards another, our grandparents (Okay, your Great-grandparents) might have spoken of ‘looking askance.’

Does anyone object to learning about the occasional word? Be gentle with the words you use to describe me and my idea.  😉

 

A To Z Challenge – T

april-challenge

This will be a DIY, or interactive post, for the letter

letter-t

Back last April, when I decided to try this challenge, I also decided to cheat (a bit). Each day, I would scan a variety of other posts, to see what words their writers had chosen, to pick one that sparked some inspiration.  Sometimes it worked; sometimes it didn’t.  This is a ‘didn’t work’ letter.  I wrote down;

Tough
Tarts
Too much
Think
Treasure
Tease
Trash
Train – (noun or verb)
Torrid – or is that….
Torpid – I can’t read my own writing

I would like to make this an audience-participation, contest-y sort of post. I invite all of my readers to choose one of the above words, or provide any other T-word.  Leave a comment, giving your word, and hopefully some kind of prompt.

We can’t rely on ‘First Through The Door” kind of thing, so I will choose one at random, and use your word and prompt to attempt to compose a short post about it.

So, what do we have for our embarrassed loser lucky winner, Johnny?

Well Bob, first they will receive my undying thanks for pulling me out of a compositional blue funk. They’ll also experience the incomparable joy of seeing their name up in lights on my blog.  I’ll even try to link to their site, so that others can know what they’ve done.

C’mon folks, everyone is welcome to submit an idea. The more, the merrier – I am.  You can’t win unless you enter.  If you don’t, you’ll just get some more;

I’ve claimed that I’m tough. I’m probably not.  It’s more like overcooked, dry, and stringy.  I just finished two of my once-a-year mincemeat tarts.  I should have only eaten one, because I’ve already had too much tryptophan from too much turkey, since I’m writing this at Christmas.

I like to think that I can compose the occasional little linguistic treasure, but it’s just a tease. Too often, it’s only another example of taking out the mental trash, which I use to help me train to write better. ‘Torrid’ must have been a typo, because I’ve never had ‘that much’ passion about anything in my life.  With my rotund tummy stuffed full of Christmas goodies, I’ll just become torpid, and hibernate until New Years comes along.

Your suggestions are welcome, because my inspiration is….also hibernating.   😛

Flash Fiction #122

grind

PHOTO PROMPT © Sandra Crook

GETTING THE RUNAROUND

His mother had told him a thousand times. His Dad had said the same thing a few times, but nothing nags like a Mother.  Stay in school! Get a diploma!  Get a good job!

He was smarter than that.  Right after high school he’d got a paying job, while the rest wasted their time and incurred debts.

Ten years later he was making auto parts, while his sister was a doctor, making triple his salary.

All he had to look forward to was the daily grind, round and round. Get up, work his ass off, come home tired – and poor.

***

This little cautionary tale is all Rochelle’s fault. Go to her Addicted to Purple site and use her Wednesday photo as a prompt to write a complete 100 word story for the Friday Fictioneers.

 

Dangerous Addiction

philosopher

It started out innocently enough. I began to think at parties now and then to loosen up. Inevitably though, one thought led to another, and soon I was more than just a social thinker.

I began to think alone – “to relax,” I told myself – but I knew it wasn’t true. Thinking became more and more important to me, and finally I was thinking all the time.

I began to think on the job. I knew that thinking and employment don’t mix, but I couldn’t stop myself.

I began to avoid friends at lunchtime so I could read Thoreau and Kafka.

I would return to the office dizzied and confused, asking, “What is it exactly we are doing here?”

Things weren’t going so great at home either. One evening I had turned off the TV and asked my wife about the meaning of life. She just glared at me and then stalked out and spent that night at her mother’s.

I soon had a reputation as a heavy thinker. One day the boss called me in. He said, “Archon, I like you, and it hurts me to say this, but your thinking has become a real problem. If you don’t stop thinking here at work, you’ll have to find another job.” This gave me a lot to think about.

I came home early after my conversation with the boss. “Honey,” I confessed, “I’ve been thinking…”

“I know you’ve been thinking,” she said, “and I want a divorce!”

“But Honey, surely it’s not that serious.”

“It is serious,” she said, lower lip aquiver. “You think as much as college professors, and college professors don’t make any money, so if you keep on thinking we won’t have any money!”

“That’s a faulty syllogism,” I said impatiently, and she began to cry.

I’d had enough. “I’m going to the library!” I snarled as I stomped out the door.

I headed for the library, in the mood for some Nietzsche. I roared into the parking lot with NPR on the radio and ran up to the big glass doors…. they didn’t open. The library was closed.

To this day, I believe that a Higher Power was looking out for me that night.

As I sank to the ground clawing at the unfeeling glass, whimpering for Zarathustra, a poster caught my eye. “Friend, is heavy thinking ruining your life?” it asked. You probably recognize that line. It comes from the standard Thinker’s Anonymous poster.

Which is why I am what I am today: a recovering thinker. I never miss a TA meeting. At each meeting we watch a non-educational video; last week it was “Porky’s.” Then we share experiences about how we avoided thinking since the last meeting.

I still have my job, and things are a lot better at home. Life just seemed… easier, somehow, as soon as I stopped thinking.

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To that I say, “What the hell, one little thought can’t hurt you.” Careful brother, one little thought can lead to another.

 

Flash Fiction #117

long-road

PHOTO PROMPT © Peter Abbey

IT’S A LONG ROAD THAT HAS NO TURNING

Women were not allowed to be doctors….because we’ve never allowed women to be doctors.

Negroes were not allowed to sit at the front of the bus….because we’ve never allowed blacks to do so.

Women were not considered ‘people’ and allowed to vote….because we’ve never allowed them to.

Women were not permitted to be priests and preachers….because they were never permitted.

We won’t authorize same-sex marriage….because it’s never been authorized.

Even if we’re forced to, we won’t allow them to call it marriage because we never have before.

It could be called circular logic, if there were any logic to it.

***

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FREETHINKERS ANONYMOUS

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Having trouble getting that giant EGO through the door? Does your neck hurt from constantly looking over your shoulder?  Come and see us, and in only 40 or 50 outrageously expensive visits, we’ll have that EGO and paranoia pared down, and prove to you that you’re nowhere near as important as you’d like other people to think you are.  Ossified opinions not included.  See your priest, preacher, or politician for details.

***

Go to Rochelle’s Addicted to Purple site and use her Wednesday photo as a prompt to write a complete 100 word story.

A to Z Challenge – M

april-challenge

IN THE MOOD

I’m in the mood to write about things that relate to

letter-m

I may be in the mood, but I’m mired in uncertainty.  I’m like a method actor. What is my motivation?  I should play some inspirational music.  What shall I play?

one-half

Jethro Tull can be quite minstrel.  AC/DC is mayhem and chaos.  I know; I’ll put on some Moody Blues.  They bring back some nice memories.  Their tunes are just a creative metaphor.

one-half

I think I’m often influenced by the moon.  I know I’ve been called a lunatic more than once.  I’m in a miasma of misgivings here.  This will be the least meaty of my A to Z compositions.  (I desperately hope.)

one-half-decimal

If you’ve been muddling along, trying to figure the meaning of the images I’ve inserted, it’s easy. M is the 13th of the 26 letters.  The end of this post is the middle.  Ain’t that marvelous?  See you next month.  😀