Saturday, March 24, 2012

Five Sentence Fiction - Wicked

Maria sat poised at the end of the uncomfortable faux bamboo chair; although she pretended to be listening to the detailed stories put forth by her new acquaintances at table 7, she instead kept a close watch on the main entrance of the banquet hall.  

When Mr. and Mrs. appeared at the entranceway, faces regrettably stretched into camera smiles, the guests erupted into applause, while  Maria reached for her water glass, drinking the full contents, crushed ice and all, in four quick gulps. 

She sat waiting through the first, second and third dances until, as she knew would happen, on the fourth dance, Mr. walked assuredly towards table 7, stopped, knelt beside her chair and whispered into her ear:  “It’s about time we had a dance tonight, isn’t it?”

Maria watched his arms, his “guns” as they both used to laughingly call them when rolling around in bed, as he extended both of them, hands outstretched waiting for her to grab hold and move to the dance floor with him.

Once on the parquet, surrounded by hundreds of people, the physical effect of their bodies’ slow, full contact movements remained hidden, but hot flushed faces and dark red lips exposed the secret to Mrs. watching with vested interest from the sidelines.

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Five Sentence Fiction - Coincidence

Sept 9, 1988

Cheryl walked out of A&B Sound, eyes focused on the pavement, trying to calculate when she would be able to buy the CD player; at age 27, employed full time, it seemed unreasonable she couldn’t  afford such a necessary purchase.

She rounded the corner at Dunsmuir, still distracted by her financial woe, and walked right into someone, full body flush, coming from the opposite direction; Cheryl’s chin hit the man’s shoulder and as she pulled away, a mis-timed deep breath took in his unpleasant body odour. 

Startled, Cheryl gave her head a shake, then looked up, meeting the gaze of the young man into whom she had collided;  his red eyes stared directly back into hers and in silence they both realized they knew each other.  But before she could smile, before she could say anything,  Reggie, Cheryl’s best friend from grade 7 to grade 9, turned right, pushing through heavy metals doors that slammed shut behind him.

Cheryl  sat down on a nearby wooden bench, tired from her surprise journey to 1975, and after glancing back to read the name of the building, Union Gospel Mission – men’s kitchen and shelter,  she dropped her head down against her chest and began to cry.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Five Sentence Fiction - Tattered

These are my mornings now: laying in bed, stretching arms out on either side of me to fill the space of a king-sized monstrosity; rolling over on my side, watching venetian blinds flutter against the window, conveniently blocking out summer bright sunshine. 

I sit up and stare into the half empty closet, the door still ajar, my blue sweater on the floor, shaken off its hanger when you grabbed your best suit and shirt.

It can’t be summer now, it doesn’t fit.  It should be winter, the season of dark, heavy woolen full coverage. 

I need protection from the elements.

Sunday, March 4, 2012

Top Ten Books - the list is completed #6 through #10

I have been surprised at just how long it has taken me to finish this listing, especially given that I did the top 100 songs in 2 days! In any event, the last books are:

#6 Winnie the Pooh / The House at Pooh Corner by A.A. Milne   I did receive these books when I was a child and I read them then but it was not until I was in my 30s and I reread them that I understood the poetry.  These books are actually for adults. You'll find yourself sighing at their beauty and sweetness on every page. 

#7 The Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck  - the most beautifully written book I've ever read.  I'm glad we studied it at university. It deserves to be studied.  Amazing.

#8 A Prayer for Owen Meany by John Irving - for me, hands down, the best opening lines every written.  You really must read this.  It could never be made into a movie (at least properly) as the character of Owen Meany lives completely in the reader's mind's eye.

#9 Scandalous Risks by Susan Howatch - this is not a 'bodice ripper'!  It is the first book of Howatch's Starbridge series that I read (it's actually not the first of the series but being a rebel I didn't want to start with the first).  I loved the main character, Venetia Flaxton.  We were friends instantly when I discovered her favourite drink is Veuve Clicquot!  The whole series weaves together stories of various clergy from the Church of England, connected to a English area named Starbridge (which of course does not exist in reality).  I have been very fond of how main characters in one book are minor characters in another book...almost like Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead.   All books about England have a special place in my heart but this first one about Venetia and how she falls in love with the Dean of Starbridge who is quite a bit older than her.  Extremely well written - don't be fooled by the title or book art!!

#10 Almost any book by Timothy Findley  I'm cheating on this last one because I would be heartbroken if Canadian literary treasurer Timothy Findley was not represented in my top 10 books.  I met him, years ago now, at a book signing...oh okay, more specifically I said a few words to him and him to me at a book signing.  I loved, loved, his memoir Inside MemoryWhen my friend and I got to the front of the line I was positively giddy.  I don't remember what he said but he wrote all over the dedication page of my book - much more I might add than anyone else's book!  I got outside and opened it to read the words of wisdom and wit that I was to treasure for the rest of my life.  What did it say? I have no idea - the penmanship is completely and utterly indecipherable!  Truly!  It's basically a flat line with small bumps...oh well!   You will not be disappointed in any way if you read these selections of his (luckily they are printed and not in his handwriting):
  • The Wars (his masterpiece really)
  • The Telling of Lies
  • Famous Last Words
  • You Went Away (novella - brilliant)
  • Inside Memory: pages from a writer's notebook
So that completes the list!  Thanks to KD Rush  for giving this idea some enthusiastic plugging.  Please do visit his wonderful website to see all the other book suggestions.  As KD says, you will have your reading list completed for the year in no time!