How Now, Kowtow? ~~ by Christine Larsen

How Now, Kowtow? ~~ by Christine Larsen

There’s a new kid on the block. He goes by the name of C.W. Writing [C.W.? Ahh, glad you asked. That’s Cringe Worthy]  He’s your basically wimpy little squirt, always blaming someone else for his shortcomings. Cringe moans and groans and spends half his life looking back over his shoulder, filled with regrets and remorse for his lack of skills, knowledge, finesse, whatever… peering way back in his personal evolution from a scribbler to a storyteller as if with a high-powered telescope.

Does he not recognise the insult he inflicts on his tender, vulnerable self of yesterday with his judgmental and negative thinking? How much his inner child suffers from his harsh rejection of his beginnings?

And you have to wonder – does he scrutinise his first words [maybe Ma-ma or Da-da], his first teetering stand-up, his first stumbling steps, with the same unforgiving attitude? And those earliest stick figure family portraits. They continued on for some time. What about them? And that eternal Sun shining in the top corner of every priceless piece of art, even when it rained? And has he forgotten the first Mother’s Day card he made with ultimate concentration [and tongue sticking out the side of his mouth]? The one painstakingly drawn on a page torn out of his brand new writing book? Maybe he doesn’t remember it, but his Mum surely did. That was the first of a long line his Mum hung with pride on her fridge door. Stayed there for the whole rest of the year… guessing he doesn’t remember that, either.

Failure? How can he believe his earlier, stumbling,  ungrammatical, typo and spelling error-filled attempts were failures? How can he underestimate the massive learning curve he embarked upon all those words ago when first he picked up a pencil? How else should he have learned his skills of today?  Did he never heed the famous words of Robert F. Kennedy – “Only those who dare to fail greatly can ever achieve greatly.”

Maybe all those loving family, friends who heaped so much longed-for praise upon his passionate efforts were white-lying because of their love and/or admiration, or simply a dear wish to encourage and a desire not to squash a budding talent. If this helped Cringe to reach the level of expertise he enjoys today, does yesterday’s questionable acclaim matter?

Does Cringe ever take a moment to recognise and take pride in the monumental progress he’s made? It surely doesn’t sound that way when you hear him express gratitude his earliest ‘stuff’ is lost somewhere, way back; or the wish to burn early efforts or flush them away. How daunting to find some words are out there somewhere, in print maybe, or part of a recorded interview gathering dust on some back shelf. He believes none of these count? Really?

Ohh dear, Cringe, my friend. Those first faltering steps along your wordy journey launched all that you are today. They deserve celebration, not condemnation. The dream of admiration and notoriety [even a dash of filthy richness?] was the catalyst to bring you to today’s hopeful recognition that in the final analysis, you write for you and only you. And then wrote it all down for others to see and weep over… or not?

Do yourself a favour, Cringe. Next time you embark upon a writing reminiscence, make sure the main part of that vision of yesteryear features the irresistible buzz that walked hand-in-hand with your enthusiasm. And the passion that lit a fire in your belly to create whatever poured out of your heart and head; the belief an untapped genius had arrived… to be unleashed upon a gasping, wondrous world.

Be honest, Cringe. Felt good, huh? In those halcyon days, there were no recriminations… only blood, sweat and tears as you strived to learn more; to be more enough for your own self. And that’s no shabby ambition. Ever.


OMP Admin Note:  Christine Larsen is a writer, farmer, wife, mother, and grandmother from Australia. She has never been homeless or had significant cancer – yet – but has had exposure to both – creating a great sense of empathy and desire to help in any way she can. She is humbled by the opportunity to give one of her stories to the sincerely worthwhile causes of Cancer research and Homelessness.

To find out more about Christine and her work:

ceedee moodling  (Christine’s website)

Christine Larsen, AuthorIMG_7208

 – on Wattpad

–  on Facebook

– on Tablo

– on Amazon

Old McLarsen had some Farms (farming memoirs)

ceedee4kids (Christine’s children’s book site)


Our short story anthologies written by over 100 writers have been recently published (links below) with all proceeds being donated to the charity organizations our group supports.

If you are a Kindle Unlimited member, you can read the complete anthology for FREE, and KU proceeds are donated along with the proceeds from the sale of our anthologies.

Our volunteer authors love to see reviews, and every review helps to make the One Million Project’s books more visible to Amazon customers, assisting us in our mission to raise One Million Pounds / Dollars for EMMAUS Homeless Programs and Cancer Research UK.

LINKS

myBook.to/OMPThriller

myBook.to/OMPFantasy

myBook.to/OMPFiction

myBook.to/OMPVarietyAnthology

 

 

Prompt Response

Prompt Response

A year ago, I wrote a couple of stories in response to a writing prompt. I don’t usually do that and, honestly, I really dislike writing prompts.  They’re too much like that old favourite: write about what you did at the weekend.

I always hated that as a kid. Wherever I was, my weekend was full of aliens, magic, spaceships and adventure, but it was really clear that what my teachers wanted was a description of how green the trees were in the park, or how the sea sounded at the beach. Perversely, I now blog about what the animals did around the farm, which is barely a theme or two from writing about my weekend, without the aliens and magic.

I think, perhaps, that my perception of and reaction to writing prompts is the problem. It’s all about creativity and the prompt is just that, something to set the thoughts rolling. Why is it any different to write a story triggered by a deliberately chosen phrase, or by seeing one of the geese racing around the paddock whilst tangled in a bucket? 

I’m blaming it on pressure, on the need to react, to meet someone else’s expectations, which probably says more about me than the prompts or the people who generate them. Perhaps it’s the lurking feeling that it’s like an exam question, subject to that all-important guidance– read the question carefully and answer exactly the question asked. That’s great advice for an exam, but stifling when in search of creativity. 

Inspiration is a rare and precious thing, to be seized and nurtured whenever it pops up. Read the question and then ignore it; answer what you think they should have asked. Especially on those prompts which really are like an exam question and nail you down to a detailed scenario – “you’re a duck and you’ve been swimming on the same pond all your life, eating the same bread and then someone tosses a croissant in the water, so write about your new diet”. Given the prompt, are you now seeing a safari expedition to study pink elephants and go abseiling on sunbeams? Why not?

A year ago, I wrote two stories based on a pair of prompts. I’ve just done it again, for the same venue. The difference, I suppose, is I’m no longer worrying about meeting anybody’s expectations. I’ve taken the prompts, parked them for a week, looked again, parked again… been utterly uninspired… and then, out of nowhere, I have something, and now I’m having fun. Oh, and those prompts were just a handful of words, not a whole world.

Of course, as I stared at this year’s prompts (printed and pinned to the back of a door, two words to define each topic, albeit with an array of explanations, hints, and suggestions not to be constrained by anything in the explanations…) I grumbled about not being inspired. In fact, I got annoyed enough to mutter and makes puns about it, even thinking that it was taking so long to come up with a story so I could scarcely call it a prompt response…

I’m still not a fan of writing prompts, but they do serve a purpose, something to make me look at the world differently, find a different angle on something mundane.

Yup, take inspiration wherever it comes –making the tea, hanging the laundry, rescuing that goose from the bucket, or deliberate writing prompt. It’s all the same – alien invasions, magic lands, amusing chickens – if it finds a story in you, then write.


OMP Admin Note:  Mark Huntley-James writes science fiction and fantasy on a small farm in Cornwall, where he lives with his partner and a menagerie of cats, poultry and sheep.

He has two urban fantasy novels out on Kindle – “Hell Of A Deal” (http://relinks.me/B01N94VXBC )and “The Road To Hell” (relinks.me/B07BJLKFSS  ) – and is working on a third.

He can be found online at his blog http://writeedge.blogspot.co.uk, his website (https://sites.google.com/site/markhuntleyjames/), and occasionally on that new-fangled social media.



Our short story anthologies written by over 100 writers have been recently published (links below) with all proceeds being donated to the charity organizations our group supports.

If you are a Kindle Unlimited member, you can read the complete anthology for FREE, and KU proceeds are donated along with the proceeds from the sale of our anthologies.

Our volunteer authors love to see reviews, and every review helps to make the One Million Project’s books more visible to Amazon customers, assisting us in our mission to raise One Million Pounds / Dollars for EMMAUS Homeless Programs and Cancer Research UK.

LINKS

myBook.to/OMPThriller

myBook.to/OMPFantasy

myBook.to/OMPFiction

myBook.to/OMPVarietyAnthology