About Straps

flash fiction, StoryADayMay writing prompt,

Carmella’s blouse is so sheer, I can see her bra! And it’s not a training bra because there’s a tiny white flower between the cups. I know these things; I’ve studied bras.

Mary Ann, the smartest girl in the class, wears a bra slip over her bra. So, all you can see are the straps.

Even Sabrina doesn’t wear undershirts, and she’s shorter than me. Doesn’t anyone else? Oh, wait, Felicity’s wearing one. Ha! Ha! Felicity’s wearing an undershirt! Oh, and Josie!

I thought only good things would happen once we removed the top part of our wool jumper. I thought wearing only a skirt and blouse as our uniform meant that Katie wouldn’t faint if it’s one hundred degrees, again, for this year’s field trip, or that Adele wouldn’t vomit from heatstroke like she did in second grade at the Bronx Zoo! I didn’t expect to be “the girl in the undershirt.” That’s not fair!

I’ve been pestering Mom for a bra. And when she wouldn’t take the hint, I wrote in the steam on the bathroom mirror, “I think I have enough to wear a bra!” I didn’t. It was all about the strap. I wanted straps.

When I asked Mom what I needed to do to develop, she told me to “take care” of myself. The next time she went out, I went into the medicine cabinet and used two sprays of her Secret Underarm Deodorant and one quick spray of her Feminine Hygiene Deodorant (FDS).

Once, I got that purse-sized, glossy black cylinder from the top of Mom’s dresser and sang as I sprayed, “Every woman alive wants Chanel Number 5.” A beautiful blonde lady with an accent advertised it. And someone gave it to Mom for a special occasion.

Boy, did I get in trouble. You know there’s not much in that little bottle, and I was wearing most of it. I smelled worse than the beauty parlor and gave myself a headache. Everyone got mad, and I got sent to my room. Even I didn’t want me in my room.

I remained flat-chested. “My little friend did not visit.” I did not “get unwell.” I did not “become a lady.”

But I was able to talk Mom into buying me a bra at Woolworths. And since I measured 26 AAA and the smallest-sized bra in the store was 32 AA, Grandma took in three inches on each side. In between bouts of laughter.

I enjoyed Grandma and Mom’s erupting laughter. I liked watching and listening to it. I secretly tried to guess when it would start up again.

I did mind them laughing at my brother suggesting I use a band-aid. So, I told him to just shut up. He’s fat anyway. We shopped in the husky department for him.

Whereas, I got sent to Grandma’s to put on weight. She was a good cook. For the longest time, I weighed thirty-five pounds; when I hit fifty, we celebrated.

I started wearing a bra slip over my undershirt to school. No one noticed my strap.

I was allowed to wear an actual bra on weekends.

If Mary Ann or Carmella asks what I did this weekend, I’ll say, “I wore a bra without an undershirt. What’d you do?”

 

Dad Musings

past, memories, remembrances, nostalgia, loved ones, gone

Portrait of Dad, June 1970, Pittsburgh, PA (prose poem)

Armed with a No. 2 pencil in his right, a quartered Arts and Leisure in his left, and Polaroid lenses flipped perpendicular to his bifocals, Dad sat in an inflatable, transparent orange club chair, scowling.

A short-sleeve, button-down shirt that looked like a pajama top revealed arm hair that kind of stood like alfalfa sprouts. He wore an Omega watch with a cheap elastic drug-store wristband.

Right ankle crossed over his left knee, a milky white kneecap peeked between his black, nylon Gold Toe knee socks and khaki walking shorts. His feet slipped into a pair of brown rubber thongs that accommodated socks.

He rose, and with his hands on his waist, did a backbend, groaned and cursed the Atlas Van Line movers for striking. Damn them for making him sleep on a borrowed cot for three weeks.

Then he returned to his inflatable club chair to take on his final opponent — 11 across — Leisure suit

 

Dad Moment (100-word story)

I’m ten-years-old and playing with that self-pitching tube you bought my brother, who spends most of the time in his room reading comic books.

Mom’s somewhere inside doing something.

Stomping on the closed end jets air to the plastic ball atop the open end.

When I swing the lightweight bat at the now-suspended ball — Crack!      

it soars over our nine-foot hedges.

I’m gonna’ go get it when,

I spy you in the picture window doubled-over laughing,

at what, something Mom just said?

But once I see you see me, then I beam back at you beaming at me.

National Flash Fiction Day June 6, 2020

In a flash, Flash fiction,
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In a Flash

What is flash?

Flash is organic, it bubbles up. There’s something there. A kind of golden nugget.

What is the definition of flash?

Flash is a very short creative piece. (Nowadays, it can be less than or equal to 500 words.)

What’s the difference between flash and a traditional short story?

Traditional short stories have a beginning, middle and end, story arc, epiphany, resolution.

Flash has emotion, movement and resonance.

Flash goes further than description.

There’s a forward momentum, that builds, illuminating your reader along the way, and leading them somewhere.

If the reader gets it by the end, it’s flash.

What’s the difference between poetry and flash?

Flash and Poetry are cousins.

Windy’s Seven Favorite Forms of Flash:

  1. Vignette
  2. Character sketch
  3. Diary entry
  4. List story
  5. Fables
  6. Prose poems
  7. Soliloquy or Rant

Listen to the full Story A Day (Apple) Podcast #166 It’s well-worth it.

 

 

 

Carl Sagan on the Magic of Books

The scientist, astronomer, and author, Carl Sagan, on the magic of books:

“What an astonishing thing a book is. It’s a flat object made from a tree with flexible parts on which are imprinted lots of funny dark squiggles. But one glance at it and you’re inside the mind of another person, maybe somebody dead for thousands of years. Across the millennia, an author is speaking clearly and silently inside your head, directly to you. Writing is perhaps the greatest of human inventions, binding together people who never knew each other, citizens of distant epochs. Books break the shackles of time. A book is proof that humans are capable of working magic.”

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George Saunders on Fiction

The wonderful thing about fiction: the meaning of a story is contained in the way it unscrolls, in the experience the reader has, phrase by phrase. Everything else—the analysis we tend to feel the need to do—is reductive (fun, but reductive). The reading experience, when you think about it, is so complex and lovely and hard to describe: ideas come up and are complicated and refined by the next beat; moral notions arise and are challenged; the language surprises; parallel images from our own life are continually invoked; questions that, in our everyday mode, we’d be more simply opinionated about are endorsed and negated and complicated. All this happens at once, and in a granulated way that’s impossible to describe. I think it’s important to be respectful of how mysterious the whole deal is: a person being moved by a story another person made up. It’s weird but it happens and it can really change people’s lives. I think fiction at its best can serve as a moment of induced bafflement that calls into question our usual relation to things and reminds us that our minds, as nice as they are, aren’t necessarily up to the task of living, and shouldn’t get cocky. ~ George Saunders

 

 

50 things to keep in mind when writing (41-50)

Writing tips useful ,indful

Quick Mindful Tips

41.) Vivid moment – some reflection of moment by adult

42.) BE AWARE BUT DON’T LET IT CRIPPLE YOU!

43.) Each paragraph ratchets up tension

44.) Inhabit story – reader takes part in story

45.) Crisis is to Drama as Insight is to Memoir

46.) Narrative distance – description of time/space, both in the moment and reflective

47.) Dropped into a world that’s already spinning

48.) Things that generate the feeling are meditated upon

49.) Mask what you’re not good at – Veer toward your strengths

50.) Compressed amount of time

Which one(s) were your favorite(s)? Please comment. Don’t be shy. I don’t bite.

Put Life and Heart into Your Characters: Rosemary Altea Master Class | May 23 – Burlington Writers Workshop

Rosemary Altea, author of the New York Times bestseller The Eagle and the Rose, world renowned spiritual medium, healer, teacher, and lecturer will present a fascinating Burlington Writers Workshop (BWW) Master Class from 1 – 3 PM on Saturday, May 23. In this BWW Master Class, Rosemary will ask you to identify some event from your past that was powerful and memorable – perhaps sad, painful, or even tragic. Then she’ll lead writers in a set of exercises in which they look at the same story from several seemingly opposing perspectives. You will also have an opportunity to directly participate

Source: Put Life and Heart into Your Characters: Rosemary Altea Master Class | May 23 – Burlington Writers Workshop

50 things to keep in mind when writing (31-40)

Writing tips useful ,indful

Quick Mindful Tips

31.) Sensory details

32.) Specific concrete language replaces summary abstraction

33.) Try to describe how story works, what it does, and how it is rendered.

34.) ASSUME NOBODY CARES!

35.) Is the writer in full control of the language

36.) Where does it go off the rails?

37.) What different choices in craft to improve

38.) Moments in story

39.) Little things change it so much

40) What to leave in, what to take out.

To be continued…

50 things to keep in mind when writing (21-30)

Writing tips useful ,indful

Quick Mindful Tips

21.) Narrator as observer

22.) Camera held by you v. camera is on her

23.) Show don’t tell with concrete detail

24.) Overview – summary – recounts but doesn’t recreate

25.) Tone – use of language and voice to vividly render world

26.) Must move toward point of story

27.) Representative setting and atmosphere

28.) Render situation vividly – the situation of the story and the purpose of writing it (Think editorially and critically.)

29.) Theme – what is the situation? what is the conflict?

30.) What engine drives the story?

To be continued…

50 things to keep in mind when writing (11-20)

Writing tips useful ,indful

Quick Mindful Tips

11.) When?

12.) Where?

13.) Why?

14.) How?

15.) Need the ending to write the beginning

16.) Revise as you figure out what it is about and what is integral to the story

17.) Construct a version of yourself that will work for the story

18.) Associative aspect – more essay-like than story-like

19.) “Drama of Consciousness”

20.) Voice = percussion

Check back for more

50 things to keep in mind when writing

Quick Mindful Tips

1.) Conflict is in the middle of the rising action

2.) Circumstantial and internal conflict

3.) Situational conflict is built to clarify the emotional conflict

4.) Text and subtext

5.) To get to the truth of the matter

6.) Narrative distance – in the moment or person now older looking back

7.) Narrative distance collapses when in the moment

8.) Create backstory as setup

9.) Who?

10.) What?

  • More to come – check back.

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