"The simplest way to make sure we raise literate children is to show them that reading is a pleasurable activity. And that means finding books that they enjoy, and letting them read them." – Neil Gaiman
I stood outside the bookstore cafe in Edinburgh on an afternoon off from university, people watching and taking pictures when I saw her. She was a young Afghani woman in a patterned hijab, trenchcoat, and only the edge of a lace-covered sleeve poking out. She was staring right back at me with the most brilliant green eyes and oh the stories she could tell with just one glance. What was in those eyes that just drew you in? Was she sad, amused, or perhaps simply contemplative, with her hand resting lightly on her head almost as an afterthought? I imagined she was a tourist freshly come to Scotland, and visiting family in the city. Or she could be a local mother finally getting a quiet moment to herself, after getting her kids off to school. Or maybe she was student like me, enjoying a much-deserved break after cramming for exams.
Once a month they drove through the grasslands to deliver the moon. This is what the Man in Moon, the head honcho, called the Full Moon Service. There were so many of kinds that they fell out of the van, bursting forth and tumbling onto the ground. It took awhile to put the moons in an order and determine which one was needed tonight. The Super Moon was their first pick. They pulled the lever in the tree, directly under where it should be, and the Earth would tilt exactly where it needs to be so that the Moon appeared close enough to touch. The craters are magnified and appear in sharp relief to the rest of the moon’s pocked surface. One delivery woman holds the Super Moon aloft, while the other got on a ladder to place it in the night sky.
Walking through the Norwegian woods on overcast autumn day, Astrid found herself foraging through the local flora and fauna. I refuse to pay that much for produce and why should I? she asked herself introspectively. She had already found chanterelle mushrooms, dandelion greens, hazelnuts and blackberries. Astrid was thinking of the salad she would make with greens and berries, and the mushroom and nut stuffing which would perfectly go with the turkey breast she had at home. She liked the taste of the bird, even though it was hard to find in rural Norway. She continued searching for that one special ingredient to make the dinner complete. “Rhubarb!” she exclaimed triumphantly, adding “I will make a crumble!”. Astrid was so ecstatic to have finally found it after looking all day in the forest, that she started dancing around, putting some on her head and shoulders.
The Last Symphony #6 – Jean Yves Lemoigne, Jan 2012
“Moment of Peace”
The group was on their way to the S&M themed Fashion Show at FIT. They were decked out feather masks, pleather, gimp masks and lots of tight black pants, but no one batted an eyelash at their attire. This was NYC after all. They stopped when they found the open door to the studio, and inside were orchestra instruments with no one was around to guard them. Everyone grabbed one and started to play. Nikolaj, in his bondage top made of black silk ropes, had actually attended Juilliard for about two years before giving it all up to become an actor. He was a classically-trained harpist and still played at weddings in his in-between time acting gigs. His fingers plucked the wires and the calming sounds of Greensleeves came out of the instrument. I always loved this piece, he thought to himself as his fingers delicaticately strummed the chords.
I found the cafe during my lunch break, and heard the jazz piano music drifting like a zephyr as I passed. I pause, hearing the familiar strains of Take the A-Train and sing a little bit of the song quietly to myself as I open the door and go inside. I buy a cappuccino at the register and carry it with my book in hand. Walking behind the lone piano player heading to an empty chair, the young man briefly looks up at me as I move past him. He then goes back to mumbling the chorus of the song under his breath as he plays, and I smile. After the song finishes, he gets up and walks away. The piano is tempting me with its ebony and ivory keys and it seems to be whispering Play Me, I’m Yours. Will I be able to resist the temptation?
The elderly man was set in his ways, the same way he had been for the past forty years. Alistair put on the same gray fedora with the navy stripe around the base and a new freshly pressed navy wool suit, never wearing the same suit more than twice, and grabbed his black umbrella in the stand by the front door. He walked the two blocks to the station, and walked solemnly down the stairs to wait for the train, which came precisely at 9:32 am every morning. He was always ten minutes early so he could think about his day at the bank. He checked his wind-up pocket watch, and put it back in his suit pocket, as he waited for the train to arrive.
I’m late to the Micro-Fiction or Flash Fiction party. I only figured out what it was this week while trying to come up with ideas for Teen programs, more specifically for a program we have at my current library called Teens Write/New Phoenix Voices. It’s a partnership between PPL and the Poet Laureate of the city of Phoenix,Rosemarie Dombrowski. I had my first meeting with her last week and she seems really cool and is of course very interested in helping teens explore poetry, though she normally works with new adults (ages 18+) as she teaches at one of the local colleges, ASU. She will be presenting a program on the 2nd and 4th Wednesday of the month and then I will be helping with programming on the 1st/3rd/5th Wednesdays of the month.
Last week we did blackout poetry, where you take a page from a book (usually one that has already been weeded/discarded) and create a poem out of it in pencil first then once you’ve selected all your words, you blackout the rest of the page with permanent marker. You can also make it super decorative, but I’m not that talented yet. Apparently my poems were like “mini-fiction,” which makes sense as my poetry tends to be pretty narrative/stream of consciousness and I write a lot more fanfiction than poetry these days anyways.
One of the first things suggested to me to do a program on was Flash Fiction, though I prefer the term Micro-Fiction. Basically it’s when you write a super short story that is anywhere from 100 words to 1000 words or less. As our program with the teens are 2 hrs long and I’m trying to keep their attention as long as possible, I figured I would start with 150 words. Originally I was just going to give them a prompt, and although we could still do this, I think it would be easier if we used photo prompts. This is where you take a photo and use it to help you write a story. Now I’m sure mine will not be the best as this was my first attempt, but I still wanted to share as I want to write and share more things this year.
Anton was not what you’d call a giant, at least not in his native Siberia, but he knew he was taller than the average person. When he finally scraped together enough money to move to America, the land of opportunity, he was amazed by how large everyone and everything was (not just tall but wide). It wasn’t until he made his way farther north to Rhode Island, the tiniest state in the Union, did he realize how colossal he was. Even the houses were shorter than his expansive shoulders and boulder-sized head. He could literally lean on the houses as they groaned under his weight. It was like he was the benevolent deity looking down on his creations and pronouncing that “they were good”.