Saturday, March 22, 2014

Broken Lead Pencils and Healed Hearts

Noteworthy Prompt #5

He smiled, eyes shining, then took a newly sharpened pencil and pushed the point down on a paper that was scattered over a cluttered desk top. The pencil tip broke then he said, "It may save someone's life. That's all I'm saying." 

My husband used no words this time, just an action. Pencil tips breaking is the prompt this week. I must admit, this one gave me a hard time. It took five days for me to write a story to go with this prompt, it was a challenge. If you're just starting out, like I am, some of these prompts might be giving you a hard time, and that's OK. 
During those five days, I may not have been writing, but periodically throughout my day I was thinking about it. Putting different scenarios together, and seeing which ones worked well with each other, takes time. 

A good story takes time.

I was told by my husband, that this story was worth the wait. I'll let you decide that one.

Broken Lead Pencils and Healed Hearts
By Anuschka de la Court

“Schwein!” there was nothing but disgust in her voice, but her eyes told a different story. Anita knew the young German woman only shouted and hit her with the wooden club when the soldiers were around. When they weren’t, her actions were decent and Anita could tell she hated being there. This young woman hated the soldiers just as much as she did, but she was on the other side of the barrier between them.
“Probably just protecting her family.” Anita knew they didn’t belong in the nightmare that was WW2, they were kindred spirits, hoping for a better world.
It was in her nature to always see the best in people, but these past three years too many horrific things had happened, too much loss and it was increasingly difficult for her to see any kindness and humanity in people.
“There is always hope,” Her Mama would repeat each night in the darkness of the camp, “Remember, nobody can take this away from you.” But in the trauma and chaos that surrounded her, the naiveté she had hung onto for most part of her childhood was gone. Too much suffering had trespassed into her world and she was forever changed by the intrusion. The innocence of hope just couldn’t live in this hellhole, but Anita clung on to her Mother’s words, because it was all she had left of her Mama.
 “Why are they doing this?” She asked the young blonde woman as she cleaned broken pencil leads off an officer’s desk one day when they were alone. “My family has done nothing wrong. They were kind, giving and loving and now I don’t know where they are.” She tucked the broken pieces of pencil into her apron pocket, while the woman looked back towards the door.
“Hitler hates Jews,” the blond whispered turning back toward Anita, “I don’t know why.” She touched Anita’s arm gently almost guiltily seeking forgiveness and said, “But I don’t.” Footsteps in the hallway broke the brief moment of friendship and connection and Anita turned quickly away and began to clean the other desk. A German and a Jew were not allowed to be standing so close and she knew there would be repercussions for herself and this woman who had befriended her.

 “One day, you girls will change the world.” Memories of her Papa saying this one night before the evening family prayers came to her as she lay in the flea infested bed.
“Men have made such a mess of this beautiful world that God created,” her Papa would say often to her and her sister Sarah, “and one day you will fix it with God’s help.”
“Yes Papa,” she had answered him simply in her youth, and in her innocence she replied, “I will write stories that will teach people what God wants them to know.” He supported her dream of writing stories, even though there was a war raging around them. He brought home pencils and paper for her when he could, so she could write stories of love, hope and peace.
“How Papa?” she now cried out softly in the darkness of her miserable existence. “How can I do this?” In her innocence of long ago Anita could believe his words, but now she couldn’t.  It was in memory of him that she stole the pencil leads from the office; trying to hold on to the hope that one-day she may write words to inspire.

They had stripped them naked and hosed them down as if they were pigs that had rolled in the dirt. It was humiliating. The cries of the desperate woman around Anita were deafening.
“My God! Help us!” were the majority of screams that rang out in prayer, but not for Anita. In the chaos of the unknown, she visualized the dream she had of her father the night before and it gave her great peace. This vision, she believed was from God, was a gift to give her strength for this moment in time and she held onto it with all her might and faith.
Anita stood naked cowering in a dark room. Her father arrived with a bright, beautiful light that could light up a whole block. He brought her pencils and paper then wrapped his arms around her and told her not to forget that she was Gods light. “Through you Anita, Gods light will shine.”
She could feel her father's presence with her now as the soldiers closed the door to the chamber they were in. Approximately 60 anxious naked women squished up against one and other. As she was shoved into the back wall of the chamber Anita spit out the pencil leads she had saved.
“Jerusalem, get up and shine,” Anita calmly spoke out her fathers favourite verse in the book of the prophet Isaiah, “because your light has come, and the glory of the LORD shines on you. Darkness now covers the earth; deep darkness covers her people. But the LORD shines on you, and people see his glory around you.” The women around her began to calm down, and then they repeated the words of Isaiah over and over again as Anita wrote down her final words.

Elke walked slowly into the chamber where so many people had died. She didn’t know why she needed to see it before she left, the soldiers forbade it, but she snuck into it anyway. At this point she didn’t care what the consequences would be.
“I need to make peace before I leave,” she knelt down on the concrete floor inside the chamber and prayed.
“God forgive me,” there were some awful things done there and she could hear the ghosts of those women screaming out to her. Tears streamed down at the thought of all the bloodshed caused by her people. She didn’t know how God in heaven could forgive her for playing along side that evil. Fear kept her playing that horrible game, but she knew God had wanted her to be bold, and steadfast in her morals even if it would have cost her, her life. But she had a daughter at home to protect and there was no one else to look out for her.
“Forgive me Anita.” She whispered and as Elke opened her eyes and wiped the tears away she saw three broken pencil leads and she knew Anita had been in that exact spot.  There was a secret kinship between Anita and herself. Elke knew the signs of a writer at heart, because she was one as well. She hated the thought of Anita not being able to write, so it was she who broke the pencil leads on the officer’s desks before she brought Anita in to clean them and it was she who looked away and prayed that her friend would be able to hide them safely from the officer’s eyes.
“My friend, forgive me.” And as her gaze lifted, and she stood up to collect the three pencil leads, she saw the final smeared message of her friend.
“I forgive you.”

Thursday, March 20, 2014

Too Busy to Write?

I have had such an amazing time, these last 2 weeks, with these prompts my husband has been giving me. The response and the conversations that have flared up with other novice writers has been heartwarming and encouraging as well.

Some people have mentioned to me, that they want to write, but they are too busy to. May I just say...
Life is busy and there are many hats we all wear in a day. From taxi driver to chef and cashier to mediator it doesn't matter if we are a parent or a student, distractions are all around us. Things fill our days, some are important and need to be done and some could wait a day or two. That being said, these prompts are not meant to consume you and keep you at a distance from your regular daily life. You should not be sitting staring at a computer while the dinner is burning on the stove and the baby is crying. However, while you sit there in math class (okay maybe not math class - wherever you are), you could be thinking about the prompt and if you come up with an idea, jot it down in a little notebook you can pull out later, when you have time to sit and write.

If creative writing is about as much fun as doing your taxes. Don't do it.

But, if you feel compelled to share stories, and get excited to create word pictures, then do it. Find some time. It feels good, and who knows, maybe your words may encourage someone.

"A good writer is always a beginner, because writing is a process of continual growth." 
Laurie E. Rozakis

We are all in continual growth, lets help each other grow!

I have a response from another writer who would like to share their work from Noteworthy Prompt #2. It's exciting to see how unique each story is, although the prompt is the same. Thank-you for sharing them!

"Write about one sock," my husband snickered, then added with a gleam in his eyes, "in the voice of the sock."

By Natasja Panchuk 

An ominous purring sound could be heard in the darkness, drowning out my last crumbs of courage and forcing out the last rays of light. Burning water poured in from an unknown source, like liquid fire, flooding the cramped space and muffling the silent screams that never escaped their hosts. The water level was rising, and so was the level of panic in the atmosphere; watery white bubbles started to foam, choking me, and a horrible whirring sends us all spinning, slowly and uncontrollably further down into the soapy blackness.
I've started to feel numb. Water sloshes around violently, passing through the very threads of my being, the chemical suds stinging the fibers of my core. And then, the cycle stops. The searing water drains away. And then we are spinning, flattened against the burning metal confining us to this torture. We are spinning, spinning, spinning until all the water has been sucked from the inside out. Spinning until we know nothing else.
Eventually, it gets too sickening to endure, consciously, and slowly I fade from this reality, creeping away to my own dark water, far from hoping to ever catch a mere glimpse of light again.

Thank-you for sharing Natasja! Your use of descriptive words was great and I could really feel the fear this sock had. Well, done!
If you have a story to share, I'd love to read it.

To read more stories from Prompt #2:

Thanks to:
- Natasja Panchuk for her unnamed sock story.
- Alpha Books for the quote by Writer Laurie Rozakis

Saturday, March 15, 2014

In The Light

Noteworthy Writing Prompt #4
"Write about a light that sometimes works, but mostly doesn't."

Do you have a light that sporadically works? Is it the light bulb or the wiring? Or perhaps it's not a physical light at all? It's all up to you... but remember, more than a paragraph and no more than two pages!

Don't stress about it... Just enjoy the creative process!

Here is my humble effort:

In The Light

By Anuschka de la Court

To some, darkness overwhelms and they die in the shadows. To others, it’s a challenge to find and fight for the light, to live.

“Damn!” she muttered softly, to no one in particular, “That stupid light!” she stumbled a few steps into the front foyer of the 3-bedroom townhouse. There were no lights on and the switch for the hall light didn’t work. The dim-witted light only worked sporadically. It seemed to work only when it was convenient for it, and not for the people who actually needed the tool to see in the dark.

“I think it’s the light bulb.” Her husband uttered balancing on top of the ladder that morning when he took apart the light to inspect why it switch on and off erratically. He was going to go to Rona that afternoon to see if a new light bulb would work.

“I guess it didn’t.” she tried the switch a few more times. It was midnight and her family was asleep, so it was imperative that she be as noiseless as possible.  She had just come in from a wonderful night spent with her sisters. Dinner and good conversation, it had been awhile since they last connected with one and other and she was grateful for the evening and the amazing time they shared.

“Tonight brought back a lot of memories,” she realized, “and lots of laughter too.” She found herself singing and laughing out loud in the car ride home. She was in great spirits, that is, until she got home.

“Ow!” she whispered under her breath as her baby toe hit something hard and steely lying on the floor in the hallway. On closer inspection, as she knelt and felt her way around, she found the unyielding object to be her husbands red tool case.

“Why can’t he put his things away!” she limped her way into the living room, tripping over an empty bag of chips.

“Kids!” Exasperated, she felt around for the light switch on the 1960’s traditional styled table lamp, inherited from an old friend of her mother’s, and turned the old fashioned switch to the right. Nothing. Complete darkness still engulfed her.

“What the…” she flopped down on the sofa beside the lamp and rubbed her sore toe.

“What did he do now?” She wondered, “Did he damaged the electric circuits of the house while trying to fix that damn light?”

“No,” She thought, “If he had, he wouldn’t have just left everything un-fixed.” Her husband was the MacGyver type and he would have duct tape something together to make things work. That’s the type of person he was. He wouldn’t give up on something.

“He never gave up on me.” She sighed and thought back to a time where he very easily could have given up on her. She felt the all too familiar strings of depression pull her down into a place she didn’t want to visit. Not even for a moment. She hated the dark. No, that was too kind a word for it. She loathed it.

“Why?” she thought and then realized it was because it reminded her of her depression ten years ago. A horrid time when her mind and soul were engulfed in darkness with no way out. She lived for years without hope, without any light inside of her. Only dark thoughts of wanting to die, a suicidal Mom parading in a mask of happiness and well-being.

“My post postpartum depression may be over,” she thought, but her fear of living like that again was not. It still hung in the air close to her psyche and it was a daily fight to keep it at bay.

“I’m never going to live in the dark again!” and in her determination, she got up, reached for the flashlight on the bookshelf and turned on the light.

Friday, March 14, 2014

What's hidden in the Dark?

Noteworthy Writing Prompt #3
"Someone stepping on someone else toenail clippings"

I don't know where my husband comes up with these idea's, but this one is kinda gross. Definitely, got the creative juices flowing though. I tried thinking out the box for this one. I didn't want the story to be in a bathroom, the usual place perhaps to find toenail clippings, so I found myself thinking about a box. A box full of toenail clippings that were hidden. Then I had to ask myself, "what type of character would be hidden in a closet that had a box of toenail clippings in it?" 

Anyway, see below for the result. Have fun with this one! 

What’s Hidden in the Dark?
By Anuschka de la Court

He was terrified, like he’d never been scared before in all his life. He sat in the dark clutching his Spiderman super hero figure tightly to his chest trying not to breath too heavily for his nemesis was near and the hero needed a moment of rest before tackling his enemy once more.
She was near. He could hear her huge feet pounding up the stairs shaking the floorboards with each weighty giant step. This monster was huge, at least twice his size and she was close, very close. His heart beat wildly in his chest; he had no more control over it than he had over the thunderstorm beating out its fierceness outside.
“Tooommmmyyy?” she hissed softly singing to him gently as if she were sweet, kind, and gentle being trying to coax him out of his hiding spot.
“Where are you?” she sang again. He could hear her moving around in the bedroom next to where he was hiding. He knew it wouldn’t be long now; he had only moments before her hideousness would reach him and he would be forced into battle.
“I can’t face her just yet.” He took a step deeper into the closet where he was hiding and he stepped on a box and broke the lid with a loud thundering crack. His shoulders slumped in defeat.
“The gig was up,” he thought to himself, “It was over. I’m dead.”
His foot was caught up inside the box he had stepped on so he bent over to pull it off. Tiny pieces of hard half mooned shaped objects stuck to the bottom of his foot. He wished he hadn’t forgotten his Spiderman flashlight on this horrid play date his mother arranged, but he couldn’t help but feel curiosity as to what his nemesis had hidden in a box in her closet.
“Feels kinda weird.” And he peeled off one of the half moon shapes off his foot and took a step closer to the crack of light coming from around the edges of the closet door.
“HA!” the door whipped open. There stood the ugly creature that was desperately trying to kiss him all morning. He felt it before he could fully see it because his eyes took a moment to adjust to the light. The kiss was disgustingly wet and slimy and he had to hold back the reflex to gag. He shoved her away and in the enthusiasm of the thrust, the box he was holding on to went flying towards the smooching beast.
“Ew.” He said out loud once he was able to focus on the half moon objects, “its toenail clippings!” and they were spread out all over the top of his enemy. There were hundreds of them as if she had saved every toenail clipping from her entire seven years of life. He flicked the one he was holding in his hand in her direction then promptly ran to the bathroom to wash his hands and locked the door until his Mom picked him up.
Later on, lying safely in his bed at home. He realized he had forgotten Spiderman in Toenail Chicks closet.
“Sorry buddy.” He shook his head, “There’s no way I’m going back for you. You’re on your own.” Then he switch off the bedroom light, turned on his Spiderman flashlight, grabbed his comic book and read in bed.


To read more stories for this prompt:

Thursday, March 13, 2014

Left is Missing

Noteworthy Prompt #2

"Write about one sock," my husband snickered, then added with a gleam in his eyes, "in the voice of the sock."

So my question to you is... cotton or polyester? You choose the sock, just keep it two pages and under, but more than one paragraph. Then send me your creations and I'll post them.

To see Prompt #1 go to A Dogs Walk

I tried not to be cliche, but I couldn't help but go for the missing sock angle. I did this story in an email format, though, so any style you feel the need to use... do it! This is our chance to try our hand at different techniques and genre's. To experiment and find the 'voice' that bests suits us as a creative writer. So, let go a little. Think out of the box... Here's your chance!

"Hi Handsome! Do you like moss?"

Left Is Missing
By Anuschka de la Court

Dear Cotton,

Left is missing I’m hoping you can help. The last time I saw her was the previous Saturday, the 14th. She was lying next to me on a rock beside Dewar Creek hot springs near the town of Kimberley. I hear from Poly that you’re heading up there soon. Would you be able to look for her while you’re there? I’m worried sick about her, you see, we had a fight just before she went missing. It happened along the riverfront just before we crossed a log enclosed by this beautiful emerald green moss. This moss was ‘blow my breath away’ beautiful. I told her I had never seen anything so beautiful in all my life. Well, Left begged to differ. Her hackles went up and we quarreled over that moss from the log all the way to the hot springs.
We were lying in the sun, drying off, on the big semi-round rock to the left of the hot springs and she wouldn’t stop talking about the moss; I got frustrated and just wanted her to shut-up.
“You always think you’re right!” was the final thing I heard, because I rolled over and then promptly fell asleep in the sun. That was the last time I saw her. I can’t believe we fought over moss, and now she’s gone.
I know my actions were disrespectful and I just want a chance to apologize. I miss her. I haven’t been on any adventures since she disappeared. Please help me buddy.


Right Wind River

To read more sock stories:
- Too Busy To Write
- A Sock is Born

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

A Dogs Walk

"Write about your walk with the dog... In the dog's voice." 

This is how it all started, a few weeks ago, when my husband took it upon himself to be my accountability partner and encourage me to write. I was procrastinating with my writing this past year and I vocalized my disappointment, in myself to my loving and supportive husband, and he gave me this first writing prompt. 

"Write about your walk with the dog... In the dog's voice." 

A few people have shown interest in wanting to read what I have written, but this is not a place to just showcase my own writing. A few greenhorn writers have come out of the wood work this past week and have shown an interest in taking on my husbands challenging prompts. This blog is a place for novice writers, like myself, to share our creations, practice and learn the art of writing. A place for us to encourage one another and be accountability partners on our story telling journey's.

So, my first noteworthy prompt to you is...

Write about walking a dog (your own or a fictitious one), but in the dog's point of view. 

It must be more than a paragraph, but less then 2 pages. When you're ready and feel that it's noteworthy and want to share it. Let me know and I will post it (please remember that this is a kid friendly blog - be respectful - stories that are not... will not be posted).

Here is my attempt with this noteworthy prompt (I wrote it out like a screenplay, so be unique in your writing style and think out of the box):

Screenplay by Anuschka de la Court


ANGEL lies on the sofa waiting. Her head rests on the clean piled up single socks at the end of the armrest. She sighs deeply and grunts.


I didn’t get to sleep in my own bed last night. I’m feeling neglected. They don’t love me anymore. I don’t even know what I did wrong?


The sound of footsteps thump down the upstairs hallway and ANGEL raises her head and cocks it to one side to listen.


Finally movement! My pack family sure do like to sleep in. Except my pack leader, who they call Dad, he gets up very early… way too early for me.


Pack Leader, MOM, heads down the stairs shaking her head in annoyance. Leaving behind teenage hormones and chaos in the upstairs bathroom. ANGEL stretches, yawns and slowly gets up off the sofa and walks towards Pack MOM as she reaches the bottom step. Pack MOM stops to cuddle ANGEL.


Aw, honey… Did you sleep down here all night? Poor pup. You should have come up to my bed poohpet.


I love you. I’m glad you’re up. Will we go for a walk soon? I have to go pee.


ANGEL heads towards the sliding doors that open up to the backyard. She whines and scratches the glass with her front paw. Pack MOM follows.


Quickly MOM! I really have to go!


ANGEL jumps out of a little red Toyota corolla station wagon. She runs to a post and sniffs then runs back to Pack MOM who just finishes closing the car doors.


Do you know who was here Mom? Sadie was here! Well, not right now… a couple of days ago. The rain didn’t wash the smell off yet…
And guess what! I smell Pippy and me from yesterday! This is fantastic! Are we going to follow the same route? Follow me Mom.


It begins to drizzle, as ANGEL and MOM make their way north along the dyke between the two blueberry farms. ANGEL excitedly jumps and runs through the tall grass along the west side of the dyke scaring three ducks and herself along the way. As the ducks fly off, ANGEL returns to MOM’s side.


I didn’t see those guys there. Whew! My heart feels like it’s beating out of my chest. Is that ok Mom?


MOM gives ANGEL a reassuring hug and rub. Then she dashes off again in search of new and wonderful scents.
Drizzle turns to rain as the two of them continue along the dyke in an easterly direction towards the Equine Center. ANGEL sprints about down towards the waters edge following an animals path, then back up towards her MOM’s side. Foam forms around ANGEL’s mouth making her look as if she has rabies. A long piece of foamy drool hangs down the right side of her face, and as she comes up out of the bushes and shakes the excess water off her back the drool whips up across her face leaving a stripe of foam from the right side of her nose up to just under her left eye. ANGEL runs up behind her MOM and rubs her face on her MOM’s clean blue jeans.


Ew! Gross Angel!


Sorry… So many great smells, Mom. Don’t you smell them? I feel so good here. I’m in the place I was born to be in. I’m doing what I was born to be doing. I’m living MOM. How about you?