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16 February 2010

Magpie Tales

I have a confession to make: I used to be afraid of short stories. Why? Because I am long winded. I love words. The lilt and flow of them. The thought of having to stifle their flow for a word count used to make me bristle. Then I gave it a go. And I really enjoyed it. I actually found relief in the necessity of ending.

Willow has invited us graciously into her manor each Tuesday to partake in some good, old fashioned story telling. Even if you don't want to participate, you should stop by for some wonderful stories. You are sure to make some new friends. And, if you're feeling up to it, sign yourself up! Get out those rusty short story tools and see what you can make of her sure to be delightful photo prompts.

Here's the first:



Tarnished it stood, against a backdrop of other reminders. Glory days passed by like a breath in the wind. He ran a finger over the engraving wistfully, his name, the date, the occasion. It wasn't so much the reason as the feeling: a time when accomplishment was king and he, well, he was master. What now?

Older he'd become, a little more stout. He wasn't so graceful anymore. No more praised for prowess on field or stream. Long fingers he ran through grey peppered hair, a smile of wistful nostalgia crossed his lips. Goodbye to you, old glory days. Farewell and good riddance.

Good riddance? He looked around. There was no one there to read his thoughts. Why good riddance? The past had been good. He'd been quite popular. But now, yes, now was the gift. And tomorrow? All the future lay spread before him. No use dwelling in bygones.

He took the once gleaming trophy from it's shelf, a waxen apple off gnarled old bough. He gave it a polish with one flannel sleeve, took it the kitchen and filled it with water from the sink. In it he plopped the daisies he'd bought, tokens for a more beautiful and lasting prize.

"Alice", he called into the garden, "Come look what I found."

32 comments:

Pauline said...

Oh, I like it!

amy said...

Lovely! ...and a beautifully inspiring blog.

Shannon O'Donnell said...

Wow. I loved it - really. I usually hate short stories, but I want to print this and share it with my mother-in-law. :-)

roxy said...

Another beautiful creation. I thought this was wonderful.

Rebecca said...

This is splendid, Jen. I especially love the following line:

"Long fingers he ran through grey peppered hair, a smile of wistful nostalgia crossed his lips."

What vivid imagery! Great writing!

Jen Chandler said...

Thanks guys! I honestly can't believe how much I'm enjoying this thing called the short story :)

Shannon: Please feel free to pass it along!

Ronda Laveen said...

I liked the way he accepted his fading glory days and found a new way of looking at life and himself. Cleverly told.

Michelle Gregory said...

great prose. my "short" stories run from 11,000 to 30,000 words. i think that makes them novellas. guess i always think in novel proportions.

ewix said...

This story has great warmth and bags of charm.
I loved it.

Brian Miller said...

gald he traded in that trophy...wonderfully done...

My Farmhouse Kitchen said...

beautifully written, jen
you're a great writer, my friend

sending sweet pea dreams....

kary
xxx

CatLadyLarew said...

I'm enjoying all of these Magpie stories! Wonderfully done!

The Blonde Duck said...

Beautiful! What fun!

Alan Burnett said...

Lovely little piece, so finely balanced.

rel said...

I like your focus on today. Live now while you have now. Well done.
rel

tori said...

great story.
no sadness over past glory days.

RNSANE said...

Jen, this was wonderful. I feel like, at 65, I'm in my faded glory days, especially since, a year ago, I lost my forensic nursing job of 21 years when the city and county of San Francisco made massive budget cuts to the Dept of Public Health. I ended up retiring ( not happily ) with a subsequent drop of $90,000 in income. I hate being put out to pasture but I have started blogging.

Where are you in GA? I've been in in CA the past 33 years but I am from Columbus = headed there tomorrow for 3 weeks to try to coax my 86-year-old mother into assisted living ( highly unlikely ). It would be so funny if you were in Columbus!

Catalyst said...

This one brought tears to my eyes!

Mary Aalgaard said...

Brilliant. It hit the spot. Thank you for your stories - short and tall.

Alexis Grant said...

Good for you for trying this... I think writing short can be more challenging than writing long. Forces us to be choosy with our words!

PattyF said...

Wonderful story, Jen! You got me with the "tokens for a more beautiful and lasting prize." Nothing is more romantic than one who appreciates the value of their spouse.

DG at Diary of a Mad Bathroom said...

Jen, that was a lovely story. You do quite well in the short format.

subby said...

I'll agree with Rebecca on your imagery here...like the way he brushes off past accomplishments only to give a new life to his trophy :)

♥ Braja said...

Oh well done...

Berowne said...

Nice writing; thanks.

Anastasia said...

Beautiful. You have an inspiring way with words. Thank you for your kind words on my blog.

Jen said...

Thanks to Kristen Creative I found your blog!! It's amazing!

I love this post... or should I say short story! I am long winded like yourself and this was beautiful, it seemed effortless!!! Fantastic and look forward to more!

Rowe said...

Well done, Jen. The telling was short but the lingering long. Loved it.

koralee said...

What a treasure.

Sarah In Wonderland said...

That is ever so sweet. :)
But Sarah, I fear, will never be able to write a short story. It is my English teacher's constant woe when she sees the long-winded stack of purple-prose-murdered pages in lieu of a 'short, concise story.' Oh dear.

Glynis said...

Oh, what a gem!
I have never worried about the length of my short stories, I run out of words at the correct time *grin*. The novel is my worry, it is a challenge to write 80,000 words.

Enjoy the weekend Jen.

chiccoreal said...

It is nice to know the thoughtful husband gave up his reign to his wife. What chilvalry! What love! Adored the story! Thank-you!