Cut off at the Needs~~by Mark Huntley-James

Did someone say lockdown? It’s not something we can all get together and talk about, but for writers it has to be one the greatest natural resources of our lifetime, albeit one we’re not supposed to go out and exploit…

In something I’m currently working on, one of my characters has a deliberate catch-phrase – I don’t get out very much. Oddly enough, that was my experience before lockdown. I’m not the most social person, and we live in a rural location, in one of the most sparsely populated parishes (ignoring the sheep), and my main social interaction is driving into town to do the shopping. So lockdown has had very little impact on me, except for the way it has touched everyone else…

So, put your mask on, check you’re not on the at-risk list, and go watch the more social members of our species go to pieces when their world changes.

Quite by chance, not long after Lockdown One started, I happened to be in a supermarket in Plymouth on one of our very rare major outings. I’d seen jokes online about toilet paper shortages, and there it was, for real, right in front of me. It took a moment to sink in that the long aisle that should have been piled high with paper products was completely empty.

I remember a sugar shortage when I was a kid, and likewise a potato shortage, which meant my mother exploring new and exotic things, like pasta and rice. Up until then, pasta was not a word I knew and I had no idea that Heinz Spaghetti Rings were in fact pasta in a tomato sauce, or that rice could be used for anything other than rice pudding. Now, suddenly discovering that we had a toilet roll shortage was a timely reminder of that delightful quote – “Every society is three meals away from chaos”.

(Until I wrote this, I could not have told you that that comes from Vladimir Lenin.)

So, welcome to lockdown, where suddenly no-one can find toilet paper, flour or baking yeast, the scammers come out in force to prey on anyone they can get their claws into, and various high-profile individuals are forced to resign (or not) for breaking the very rules they devised or imposed.

You couldn’t make this stuff up, and even if you did, it would sound insane.

We’re not evolved to wear masks, keep our distance, or live in isolation. So, get your mask on and go watch the upright monkeys in their unnatural habitat, fighting over the last sheet of toilet paper, then you can tone it down to something more believable and write a story.


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 are now available (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

Ages and Stages~~by Christine Larsen

We dream… we plan… we work at bringing our dearest goals to fruition. But as we reach various levels, and ‘plateau’ out to catch our breath, look back and assess our progress, we can find our achievements and outcomes to differ from the original aims. The focus of Life, its dreams and aspirations, changes as the years pass. Looks so simple when you’re young and planning a successful Life with the happiest of endings — but reality is complex. Nothing prepares you for life’s events, or their power to make or break you.

0-10… the formative years, focussed on family love, security and happiness. Pre-school years can be the steepest of our lifetime learning curve, as expanding levels of ability and intellect replace physical helplessness and inexperience. Dreams focus on grandiose ambitions like becoming a princess, or a King… or maybe a firefighter or a film star. Everything is possible and plausible.

10-20… increased scholastic learning for most, as needs of self-esteem, self-worth, self-belief develop, now moving outside the close family circle to encompass friends and workmates… and increasing sexual exploration of love from a partner. Independence from family begins – sometimes with parental blessing, but often involving a deal of turmoil – as the growing teenager fights for freedom, and ‘rights’ – the right to be ‘different’ (from parents and authority figures, but identical to peers and perceived heroes).

20-30… Personal values of honesty, loyalty and respect blossom, weaving freedom with experience to create a more realistic picture of the future. They require unselfishness to build life and home — with partner, then children — along with the need for intense growth of new skills.

30-40… Achieving our physical peak as strength develops to cope with the demands, conflicts and responsibilities of ‘growing’ children, along with the general ebb and flow of Life happenings. Whilst career goals are progressing towards achievement, this can also be a time of losses, of financial downturns causing alterations in the Life plan, as reality strikes yet again. These are hard-working years as we cope with countless demands on our time, energy and skills… the price of being human.

40-50… An introspective time — another level of learning and acceptance of many unimagined situations — rebuilding and reshaping Life’s dreams with potential loss of parents and the need to adjust to being the ‘older generation’. Children leaving home to begin their own lives can open the need to face and accept the ‘empty nest’ syndrome. Time for self-examination; review of past and reassessment of future. Goals can take on a different meaning and direction.

50-60… The focus narrows, becomes more self-centered as assessment and appreciation grow of personal worth and skills. Life’s lessons have taught you increased self-esteem, independence, ability and knowledge with maturity and confidence. Time for deeper investigation and learning of spirituality and of prioritizing the greatest personal satisfactions. A time for finding increased closeness, love and understanding of friends and family as we share Life experiences.

60-80… Despite physical slowing down, this can be the most rewarding of decades. An incredible freedom can exist when the keyword is ‘time’; to sit back, taking stock of the years; exploring buried talents and skills set on the back-burner in the past; appreciating respite from Life’s pressures. A most fulfilling stage, reminiscing and accepting achievements along with the altered plans that didn’t meet anticipations. Every day is a bonus…as golden as you choose.

80+??… Unknown territory… yet!


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, Author

 – 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 are now available (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

Side Projects~~by John Nedwill

For the last year, I have been involved in a number of projects related to my writing. Like many of the people who read this blog, I’m involved in a number of writing groups – both in the real world and online. One of those groups is the Weekend Write-In on WattPad. The premise behind the Weekend Write-In is simple: every week we write a piece of flash fiction based on a one-word prompt. The group has been going for over six years, and there is a hard core of regulars who, each week, come up with 500-word stories. Like other groups, people come, people go and people stay.

In the late summer of last year, I was approached by one of the new members of the group – a lady from Seattle who goes by the pen name Søvn Drake. She had a simple pitch. “You guys have some really great stories,” she wrote. “Why don’t you start a podcast?”

“A podcast?” I replied. “What would we do in this podcast?”:

“Well, we could get people to record their stories. Then we could put them out so that other people could hear them.”

I remember thinking to myself that this was a really crazy idea. But, it was one worth trying. “Sure,” I wrote back. “Count me in.”

It took the pair of us two months to put together the first podcast. We had to encourage other people to record their stories. Fortunately Søvn can be very persuasive. We had to learn how to record and edit. Fortunately I already had the software to do this. Finally we had to learn how to get our podcast published.

Since then, we have put out 12 podcasts – releasing one on the first Friday of every month. We have developed our techniques, becoming more sophisticated and feeling confident enough to experiment with our format. And, more importantly, we’ve actually got to hear what some of our fellow writers sound like. People who we have known for years through their words, we now know what they sound like and, in some cases, what they look like. We’ve recorded people from Australia to India and many points in-between.

And, you know what? It’s been hard work, but it’s also been fun. And worth it.

To listen to the Weekend Write-In podcast, go to https://weekendwritein.wordpress.com/


OMP Admin Note:  John Nedwill is a writer, OMP Network member, and a regular #OneMillionProject Blogger.  His work can be found on Wattpad.com and in the One Million Project’s Short Story Anthologies published in February 2018.


Our short story anthologies written by over 100 writers are now available (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