Sunday Photo Fiction – There’s A Dragon on my Bedpost!

Photo Prompt for This weeks Writer’s Challenge:

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photograph © Alastair Forbes

My Entry:

Dragon On My Bed Post

Briefly opening my eyes, I rolled over on my side and considered staying in bed longer. After all it was Sunday.  Dozing off, I heard a loud cough and a caustic voice which had me reopening my eyes and sitting up in bed with pounding heart.

“Would you mind, terribly, waking up, I’m getting bored sitting here.” The creature attached to the voice said.

There at the foot of my bed, sitting atop one of the bedposts was a miniature dragon, a surly look on his face.

I stared, rubbed my eyes and stared again.

“Yeah, yeah, I’m real.” He responded to my obvious expression of disbelief.

“Um, you’re a dragon.” I said incredulously.

“He speaks and has some intelligence,” was the dragons reply.

“Wh … what are you doing here … are you real?” I asked.

“Hmm, I spoke too soon,” the dragon added. “Yes I-am-real, you’re talking to me aren’t you? And I’m here doing penance for something I shouldn’t have done, so I have to stay with a human for twenty four hours. My punishment.”

“Staying with me is a punishment?” I asked.

“You have no idea,” he said. A great deal of derision in his voice.

“Why me?” I asked.

“Why not?” He answered with a smirk.

“Why Earth, then?” I said, continuing to ask what I thought were fair questions upon finding a dragon in your bedroom.

“Because this is the worst place the Committee for Criminal Offenses could come up with on short notice.”

“Earth the worst place, ah, come on now,”  I said, preparing to defend my home planet.

“Gee let me see …” He held up one of his claws and ticked off each point he made. “Well, you not only kill each other out of hatred and greed, but you consume far more than you should and are systematically killing off other life forms on your planet and…”

“Okay, okay,” I sighed. “You’ve made you’re point.” Changing the subject I said, “So you have to stay here for 24 hours?”

“Yeah, 24 lousy hours. Say you don’t happen to have a cigarette on you … well not on you but… do you smoke?” He asked, looking hopefully around the room.

“No, you can get lung cancer from smoking,” I answered.

“Dragons can’t.”

“Oh okay, and no I don’t have any cigarettes. So why are you in trouble?”

“For smoking.” He replied.

“That’s a criminal offense?” I said.

“Yeah, just one cig. and my fire breathing capabilities go out the window. I become useless in the defense of my lair, not enough flame left to even light a cigarette.”

“Well I can see where that would be bad. So do you have a name?” I asked.

“Yes, yes I have a name. You have a name don’t you? Of course I have a name!” He was back to being rude and surly again.

“I’m called Puff, I’m Puff the magic dragon and don’t say a word about that stupid song. I’m still living that one down … frolicking? FROLICKING? Dragons don’t friggin’ frolick.”

He let out an irritated sound with a blast of steam and said, “The next time I sneak a smoke …” He paused but I could see he was really worked up so I kept my silence as he finished with …“I’ll make gosh darn sure no one can see me. Oh, just go back to sleep.”

“Earthlings!” He muttered, sticking his head under his wing, steam seeping out.

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For more information about Sunday Photo Fiction and how you can enter click here for the details. Alastair, the host with the most will take you through the steps. And, while there, be sure to click on the little blue guy for more short stories by some great writers!

Thanks for stopping by, hope you enjoyed,

~ Penny

Haibun Thinking – City Life and Nature’s Heartbeat!

Photo prompt:

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photograph © Arthur Browne

My entry:

This is the city. I’ve lived in the heart of a metropolis. I enjoyed being there. Something unique in the nature of city life. A day time hustle and bustle not found in rural life. Although to a large degree that has changed with the intrusion of malls and “everything you need at one place” mega stores.

But at night, cities still hold sway to that uniqueness I mentioned. There’s a grittiness that comes out in between the city lights, neon signs and mostly empty sidewalks. The sounds and smells are intriguing. I won’t deny that I loved my stay in the city. And I won’t deny that I miss a certain aspect of it. A “making things happen” kind of feeling. A hustle and bustle reminding one of living, moving forward and yet …

I don’t regret leaving. I missed the countryside. I missed the early morning mist and dewy greenness of nature. A different pace in the natural world. One I’m more suited for and one I was out of step with for a period of time in my life. The balance was missing, reclaimed when I returned to my roots.

a balanced life

at the very heart of the matter

is nature’s heartbeat

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Haibun Thinking is a weekly writers challenge. If you wish to enter click here. Big thanks to Alastair for hosting this haibun challenge and giving writers an opportunity to improve their writing skills.

~ Hope you enjoyed, thanks for stopping by,

Penny

Mondays Finish The Story – The Dream of Longevity!

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Prompt sentence that accompanies the photograph: “In the compound on the hill, lives a man with a dream.”

My entry:

In the compound on the hill, lives a man with a dream. An ordinary man, if exceedingly wealthy. His dream is to live forever, and at the age of 95 and in good health, many believe he’s found some clue to immortality.

But he hasn’t. What he has done is take very good care of himself, shoring up the weak parts of body and mind with the aid of very expensive doctors and other professionals. His quandary is his acute awareness of his mortality and the statistical averages regarding the longevity for humans. He knows he’s running out of time for figuring it out and then one day sitting on his private veranda, sick and tired of being alone while gazing at the expansive and expensive land around him, he knew.

It wasn’t so much about living long as it was about living a full life. He donated most of his many millions to worthy charities and causes, and lived a modest but happy rest of his life (which turned out to be a fair amount of time) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . (oh no wait that’s this writer’s dream, well anyway I hope it comes true, re: millionaires giving their money and hearts to the needy! Definitely a wishful dream on my part!)

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Thanks for stopping by and reading, I hope you enjoyed.

For more information about Mondays Finish The Story (flash fiction) Writers Challenge, where the writer uses both a photo and an opening sentence for the prompt: click HERE. Barb will guide you through the process, be sure and read some of the other entries while you’re there.

Happy beginning of the week, I hope your week is a great one for you,

~ Penny

Sunday Photo Fiction: Formation of stars – fantasy style

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photograph © Alastair Forbes

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He gazed at the formation of icicles. The first two stars were shaping up nicely but the third one, he was having some problems with that one. Well great! This meant another trip. Another one of those long and lengthy and wearisome trips. Sighing, he grumbled, Ah well, best be on my way.

Retreating back inside his remote mountainside cabin, he grabbed a few essentials, placing them carefully into his knapsack, all the while figuring in his head how long the trip would be and what to take. He thrust ancient arms into a thick overcoat, hung his loaded knapsack over his shoulder and then pulled on heavily padded gloves. He was ready for his trek down the mountain.

Another sigh as he started on his way. Just a few feet from the cabin a soft whine to his left stopped him in his tracks. He smiled, turning towards the sound. “Hey Prince, my friend, in my hurry I almost forgot you fella.” The wolf smiled, a wolfish type of grin on his dark muzzle and trotted up beside him.

“You up for a trip?” The wolf cocked his head and stared directly back at him.

“Yeah, me neither, best get this over with though. I need that third star. You know what time of the year it is?” As if in agreement the wolf headed off down the mountain.

The two made good time together, stopping only for quick bites of dried food and brief resting spells before moving on. At last they came to the city.

The wolf left him just at the edge of the forest clearing. He continued on into the city. It was night time so fewer people to notice the stranger, but around him an extra shroud of darkness, assuring no one did. Making his way to the outside of a high-rise apartment building, in a very run down section of the city, he climbed the fire escape until  reaching the forth floor. Peering inside the dirty cracked window he saw a mother singing a lullaby to a small child. He waited patiently for her to finish.

When her song was over she kissed the sleeping child gently and closed her eyes, saying a silent prayer that all would be well. The essence of her pure and loving thoughts made its way across the room, passing through the window crack and into the small container he held carefully in his hands. Once the vapor was inside, he stoppered the bottle, placed it back inside his rucksack, and then climbed down the stairs, walked through the city and out into the forest where the wolf waited. The wolf looked expectantly at him.

“Yes,” I’ve got it.” He said to the wolf. “So easy to find. Just follow the trail of goodness and honest caring.” They made their trip home and upon arrival he carried the vessel, filled with the essence of love, over to the icicles.

As he poured the vapor over the third icicle, the ends of the icicle formed into a third star. “Yup that oughta do it.” He said to the wolf. “They’ll be up in the sky in no time, glowing brightly.”

“With so much open space in the heavens …” he said later that evening to his friend the wolf, as they sat gazing up at the star lit sky in contemplation of life, “… it’s a good thing love is still to be had. I don’t know how we’d make our new stars without it.”

space

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Yes, another longer short story (that sounds silly doesn’t it). Hope a few of you enjoyed, however! Sorry it isn’t scary, or horrifying or sad, or depressing or in any other way negative. I figure real life seems to have a pretty good lock on that one right now, for many, so I went to a different place.

If you’d like to try your hand at writing a story for Sunday Photo Fiction where the photograph is the prompt for your imagination, click here for the details. Alastair will guide you along your way. And, while there, be sure to click on the little blue guy for more short stories by some great writers!

Have a great week ahead,

~ Penny

Mondays Finish the Story – Grandpa’s Collection of Company

 

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Photograph by Barb W. Beacham copyright © 2014

Grandpa’s Collection of Company

Little did we know that Grandpa was a collector. He’d never shown any inclination to collect anything of any kind. The few old vehicles out in the barn were there only because when one would stop running, it was easier to leave it parked and go get another one that did. When my sister suggested we visit Grandpa one weekend, I must admit neither one of us were prepared for what we would find.

Even though it had been a fairly long time since our last visit, we decided to surprise him one weekend by dropping in unexpectedly. When we arrived he was surprised but seemed happy to see us. We were invited in, and then couldn’t believe what we found inside.

There were books everywhere. Piles upon piles of them. Stacked in every conceivable place. I’m sure there had to be thousands of them.

“Grandpa” when did you start collecting books,” my sister asked. “And why?”

“A few years back,” he replied. “I get very few visitors, family being busy and all, so I decided that books would keep me company. They don’t leave or forget about me, so I’m never disappointed or alone.”

My sister and I had nothing to say.

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For more information about Mondays Finish The Story Writers Challenge, click HERE. Barb will be happy to assist, should you wish to write and enter a story of your own, or just read some of the other entries.

Hoping your Monday was a positive one for you and that your Tuesday will be even better.

~ Penny

Haibun Thinking – A Mother’s Love … Endless!

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© Anja Partin

A Mother’s Love

The distinction of being a mother, understood by almost every single female on this planet, is to be fore-sworn as needs be, in the protection of her children! She will stand strong with this understanding, as necessary, on this battling planet called Earth!

She will stand alone, if she must. But she will stand and if she is struck down then another female will come to take her place. She is a female and a mother and when none other will do – she will insure that … life goes on!

endless enduring

distinction of a mother

insuring life goes on

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This week’s Haibun Thinking Writer’s Challenge is the writing of haibun using a photo or a drawing as the prompt. I have chosen the beautiful drawing by Anja for my prompt. This was probably the easiest haibun I have ever written because as a mother, who loved her mother and so forth and so on, I know the truth of the words I write (as it is found repeatedly in history and today around the planet).

For more information about how you can be a part of this weekly writers challenge click HERE! Join in! Try your hand at haibun writing. I know a few of you writers out there and I think you’d be great at this style of writing!

Hoping everyone’s week is proceeding in a positive manner, take care of you,

~ Penny

Shadow’s Simulacrum – The Enclosure Of Our Cage!

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We move about …

barely recognizable phantasm  – illusionary spectrums.

 

 We come upon a border where day dream and night dream blend together.

we pass through … Beyond life’s existence, perhaps …

 

Bright lights and black abysses combine mythological imaginings …

and truth. Raw experiences of life’s brutal passages midst temporaneous moments, the falling petals of life’s blissful sensations.

 Woe be it then, to come upon this merging of selves.

Imagination, Thy tune be well played … As in the heavens so onto nether reaches.

 Shall our voice be heard for that which becomes valued most …sweetness and caresses, those learned impassioned fingerprints smudged among frozen moments of time; although shared not lightly, introspective to perception.

 Should we concern ourselves with the causation of sharing? Fearful lest there be understanding come at last into the mirage of our being, the root of perceived existence?

lifemaze 

Traveling through endless corridors of life’s gained wisdom, do we admit defeat just prior to endgame or become empowered by eternity’s solution?

And do we deny the existence and ownership of  the key to our individual, self imposed cage of containment – those rigidly manufactured, maintained and re-enforced bars of willful ignorance – so that no answers are required?

Yes, we do.

~ Penny L Howe, 2014

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Hello everyone.

I’m frequently asked why I write what I write. Mostly, I write to inspire, motivate and inform, but every now and then, the Muse of  “The Penny That I Am” gets hold of me and then I write for myself. This piece was written of a moment, where the need of creative thought formed this composition. I’m hopeful there was some small understanding and at least a bit of pleasure derived in the reading.

Thank you.

~ Penny

Haibun – Writing the Essence (the method of)!

Hello!

Would you like to understand the written style of haibun a little better?

A brief disclaimer: “When it comes to the history of the written word, I do not have a formal education. My study and research into haibun writing is just beginning. Some of what I write on this written art form is of a speculative nature and my own opinion”.  Penny L Howe

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Consider viewing haibun, (a classic Japanese style of creative writing), as an introspective approach to the written word.

The haibun is composed of two elements 1) one or more paragraphs, written as prose (without metric structure). AND  2) haiku (short free verse poem) on a subject, theme or prompt!

Prose -The approach is to convey a specific message or feeling (experience or thought – there is a strong relationship of most haikun to the nature of things.) while restricting the overuse of adjectives and adverbs, using your word power so each word adds an emphasis to the whole.

Use the word “the” only when it adds extra meaning to your thought and less use of sentences that explain what you just wrote. No verbosity, only using words that add value to the whole piece. If you write precisely enough, you shouldn’t need to belabor the point – written haibun flows as a result of this method.

Each written haibun piece is a stand alone! Concise, explicit and strong in content (so we’re clear on the definition of strong – you can be gentle in your written approach but everyone should clearly know when they finish reading that “gentle” was the goal).

Another key element is interpretive. A well written haibun can seem simply written, but is complex or even sophisticated in the understanding, and can have several values or levels to this awareness. Much like an internal thought process.

Haiku – is a Japanese poem – free verse, 3 line, with no caps. It is “generally understood” there is a total count of 17 or less syllables in the entire poem, again, popularly considered to be written in a 5-7-5 format (5 syllables in the first line, 7 in the second line and 5 in the third line). It is not essential or necessary to rigidly adhere to this formula) but the middle line is longer than the first and the third lines. Rule of thumb approximately 17 or so syllables in all three lines, total. View syllables as “soundings”. Recall that a syllable is organized units of speech sounds. Say (outloud) this potential first line of a haiku. Feel the sounds from the words.

“flowing haibun’s essence”

The haiku becomes vivid and alive when sentence connectors or “words that link” (words like: also, therefore, however) also prepositions and conjunctions (such as: of, to, in, but, and, or) are used in a discriminate manner. This is also true in the haibun.

Think in terms of the value of each word you use. Prepositions, conjunctions and sentence connectors should only be used when they help to emphasize or carry forward an expression.

The haiku can be a summation of the prose portion of the haibun or it can be an illumination that occurs as a result (understanding) of the written prose. The haiku can appear at the ending of the piece or placed in between the paragraphs to add emphasis. There can be more than one haiku in the haibun.

In summation, there exists a connection between the haiku and the prose of haibun. The connection may be clear and obvious or subtle bringing home a point, an awareness, an illumination or other thought process.

SAMPLE HAIBUN:

Dewdrops

Though small in stature, glistening diamonds of moisture confront me during early walks through nature. I revel in luxury. The warmth of my skin embracing dewy, cool and moist softness. I see and feel the sensation of dewdrops.

Dewdrops suspended from blades of grass, wispy cobwebs, sturdy leaves, and delicate flowers. Each encounter experienced while travelling through morning’s meadow.

An arrested view of life, focusing on the nature of dewdrops. Beautiful to view, suns golden rays shimmering on these minute whispers of water. The substance of liquid.  Quintessential to well-being of all life – my life. My relationship with water, reduced in the moment to all encompassing dewdrops.

Elemental need
entire world suspended
dewdrops expression

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Thanks for stopping by and reading. If you found this article of value and would enjoy reading more of my personal insights about haibun writing please let me know!

Have a great day,

*ps – I have been persuaded to continue hosting the Ligo Haibun Challenge, as time permits, so I will be hosting a new one this week as usual!

~ Penny

Ligo Haibun Challenge

ligo_circle_of_appreciation2Welcome to this weeks Ligo Haibun Challenge – #13, open to all writers, everywhere.

For those Haibuner’s (my affectionate term here) who are already a part of our international writing group, you may be aware that the time when we publish our newest challenge each week varies. My apologies for this.

We (each of the hosts) live in three different parts of the planet (Interestingly, somewhat 13682519091 (1) equidistant from one another – spanning the globe.) and have been diligently working (via emails) on coordinating the timing for this. Please bear with us, as we continue to improve this and other aspects of our writing challenge.

For specific information on how to enter this challenge go to the top of the page and click on Haibun – The Challenge! Also check out the other hosts Nightlake and Ye Pirate!

The Prompts this week are photographs of two very different type of animals, Thanks to Ese Kļava of Ese’s Voice for providing the first photo!

hai two

Hai one

Pick one of the above photos and write! This should be fun – give it a try! After you’ve published your haibun post, do be sure and add yours to the collection below. Just click on the Link and follow the easy directions.

Have an excellent Friday and Weekend,

~ Penny

Ligo Haibun Challenge ~ Illusion or Ecstasy!

Welcome to this week’s Ligo Haibun Challenge for writers!

Two excellent  word prompts to choose from.

Illusion

or

Ecstasy

My offering entry this week!

Ecstasy

I inhale, ecstasy. I exhale, ecstasy. Sensual sweetness of such piercing intensity, I am without expression or thought. Waves consume me. Beyond passion, a place of no name. Beyond sensual fulfillment, an existence of being. Beyond one’s ability to think. A heartbeat of infinity.  Sounds without meaning, the aftermath of undiluted potency of pleasure. Whispered words form through parted lips.

I inhale and breathe – you. I exhale and am breathless for want of you. My body desires you. Your taste delicious, your touch I crave.  Beyond desire exists rapture of ecstasy, I await your pleasure. Please take me there … now!

I await you
release me I crave
ecstasy’s rapture

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Each of the word prompts are compelling and provocative. Let’s see how creative you can be with your written haibun this week. For more information click here!  Join this wonderful group of writers from around the word! We welcome you! Don’t forget a couple of things to shoot for: honorable mentions at the end of each month and being included in the first published Ligo Haibun Anthology, later this year!

Once again, outstanding writing this past week, I have read your entries, but with a few connectivity problems with the router for my laptop, I’ve have been offline more than online (in the last few weeks). I look forward to visiting you soon to comment on each of your written works!

Also for those of you who follow Nightlake (one of the judges), she is current busy with a few offline projects and should be returning to host soon. She continues to read your work and be involved as a judge! Check out the other host (Ye Pirate) here!

Okay, everyone your turn, let’s see your written words. Come on you know you want to give this one a try!

~ Penny