Daily Prompt: The Normal

Is being “normal” — whatever that means to you — a good thing, or a bad thing? Neither?

Photographers, artists, poets: show us EVERYDAY.

What does being normal exactly mean? Can we define “normal”? Who sets the rules and standards for “normal”? Valid question for which I have no answers.

What I do know is that by society I am considered a normal person. I don’t break law, I always punch my bus ticket, I pay taxes, go to work, more or less care for environment and try not to disturb my neighbors.  The typical citizen. That’s the outer appearance.

Entirely another thing happens in my head. Heaps of various characters are running seemingly aimlessly through my head. I encounter them at the strangest of times and places. When I’m waiting at the bus stop, when I’m traveling to work, when I’m brushing my teeth, when I’m sitting on my balcony and enjoying the view.

I see a story when I find an interesting picture, landscape or a photograph. After watching a movie, TV show or reading a book I immediately create a character who can inhabit the universe of the story.

So, the question is: Is it normal? Or am I an oddball now? Granted nobody knows about it. Where exactly does that put me on a scale of normality?

Daily Prompt: Fight or Flight

When faced with confrontation, do you head for the hills or walk straight in? Was there ever a time you wished you’d had the opposite reaction?

First we need to establish the kind of confrontation we are talking about.

*If we talk about physical confrontation then I’m mostly inclined to retreat for safety seeing as I’m a girl of rather meager height and strength. Someone even described me as petite looking. I would have no chance in an open physical confrontation with a grown man or even another woman. Even writing this I see how powerless I am. It annoys me and makes me insecure.

That’s why I took up daily exercising and enrolled for a self-defense classes. Right now I would have to create a distraction and run away from my attacker but I hope that after the course I will grow some backbone and my confidence will be boosted. The fact that I will now how to hit and which spots to attack is only a plus. Sadly I know that in most cases, you cannot count for help, you need to be strong enough to defend yourself.

*If we talk about confrontation in a sense of some verbal conflict, then I most certainly would engage in a battle of wits and words. Of course not always the opponent is armed and sometimes such exchange is futile and resemblance talking to a wall. I usually tend to resolve the conflict peacefully but I can deliver quite mean and straight to the point comment.

I wish I had more backbone when I was still growing up and going to school. I became more confident during my years at the university. When I was young I used to take lots of verbal blows without retorting back. Nowadays I don’t take attitude from anyone. I know how to defend my views and reply even to the most vicious comments.

One of the perks of being capable with words is that one can use them as sharp swords that penetrate the armoire of ignorance worn by shallow people.

Daily Prompt: Weaving the Threads

Draft a post with three parts, each unrelated to the other, but create a common thread between them by including the same item — an object, a symbol, a place — in each part.

June 1944.

The house was burning rapidly. The inferno of flames and smoke was growing and spreading like a hungry creature ready to devour everything that stands in its way.

–  Come on Moira, we need to get out of here. Quick, before there is no way out. – Moira’s mother pulled on the child’s hand and went for the nearest staircase.

–  Wait Mom. I left my book. – The small face furrowed in distress.

–  No honey I have it in my bag. I remembered to grab it. – Moira’s mother smiled slightly patting the patchwork bag slung over her shoulder. Inside was a small square book bound in red leather and finished with golden letters. Her daughter’s small fairy tale booklet. The last gift Moira received from her father before he departed for the war. He was in Europe, in Normandy. They would wait for him, as long as it takes.

The mother and child left the house just in time. Behind them the debris fell with an ominous hiss of fire.

***

July 1969.

Julie was intently looking at the silver screen of the TV, that her father bought especially for this moment. He never believed much in this new technological devices. Said it spoiled people. Good, old newspaper and radio were enough to get him his daily portion of information. But this was something entirely different. This they had to see with their own eyes.

Julie palmed the small red book with golden letters nervously. It always calmed her down. The book had the most beautiful fairy tales and was bound in a beautiful red leather. Julie, even though she was a teenager at the tender age of sixteen, still liked to read the fairy tales. She squeezed the book a little harder gazing fixedly at the screen. The astronaut was about to make the final step.

–  That’s one small step for a man, one giant leap for mankind. – echoed the blurry voice of the man that, for the first time in history, set foot on the Moon.

***

August 2009.

Amanda let out a puff of smoke and threw out the finished cigarette outside the window. She immediately lit up the new one. She intended to finish the whole pack tonight. Because tonight she was both celebrating and mourning. Tonight she was finally a free woman.

After a long battle Amanda won in court and her beast of a husband could harm her no more. She got a divorce and court gave her the custody of the two small girls. She stubbed the cigarette and walked through the long corridor to her daughter’s bedroom. Dim pink light fell around their beds from a star shaped light attached to the wall. She looked at her children’s peaceful faces and new it was worth it.

Her eyes fell on the little red book with golden letters. She found solace in those fairy tales, so different then her own life at the time. The fairy tales from her old book were a favorite bed time story of her two little girls. Amanda was glad that she was able to read it to them, time and time again. After all the little worn book was in their family for generations.

A silent witness to many stories, tears and joys.

Daily Prompt: Say Your Name

Write about your first name: Are you named after someone or something? Are there any stories or associations attached to it? If you had the choice, would you rename yourself?

Photographers, show us  YOU.

Image

The picture is just a fragment of me, an important one but only one part out of many.

As for my name… My mother named me Marta because she liked the sound of it. There is no interesting story to it. I wasn’t named after anyone in my family. In fact I think I may be the first to carry that name.

After Wikipedia: Hebrew meaning: “the lady”. Roman meaning: dedicated to Mars. Also known to mean “Lady-Like” and “Strong” in Armenian.

My father of course had to throw his two cents in so he added another name and thus on all official papers my full name is Marta Margaret.

Do I want to change my name? Well, when I was young I thought that it would be cool to have some interesting name and not one that sounds so old and boring. However, with time I realized that my names is one of the gifts my mother gave me, and that she had the biggest right to name me. After all she gave birth to me and raised me with all her love. I am grateful to her, both for the name and for being the best parent a child could have.

Daily Prompt: Journey

Tell us about a journey — whether a physical trip you took, or an emotional one.

Photographers, show us JOURNEY.

Image

Let’s try not the metaphorical but literal approach to the term “journey”. For me it is about moving around on feet. Simple as that. Or is it?

I can’t help but wonder why sometimes when it comes to moving, we do so much to make it difficult? I’m talking here especially about women. We allow our feet be imprisoned by uncomfortable shoes – like my high heels on the picture.

Daily Prompt: Elevator

Fiction writers: You’re stuck in an elevator with an intriguing stranger. Write this scene.

Non-fiction writers: You’re stuck in an elevator with a person from your past. Write this scene.

Pure fiction.

The coffee stain on my white blouse was getting larger and larger. I looked at it mortified and thought that not only I was running late, as always, but now I faced the prospect of returning to my apartment and changing the shirt. I looked at the plastic cup with a leaky top – the root of all evil, and sighed. I was just about to step outside the elevator when another person came running.

– Hold the elevator – The man managed to gasp as he almost jumped into the metal cubicle.

– Oh, I’m just getting out so if you could just.. – I said trying to go past him, but he was so preoccupied with getting in that he simply pushed the close button on the board and leaned on the wall with a sigh of relief. I of course was outraged.

– Excuse me did you not hear me saying that I wanted to get out? – He looked at me as if seeing me for the first time. I could see that he was just registering what I said and what I implied he did. He was a young man in his mid twenties, smartly dressed with an expensive looking briefcase.

– Oh I’m so sorry, I was in such a rush that I wasn’t thinking. You could just go back up, couldn’t you?

– Well, I suppose but that is not the point. – I answered briskly, irritated that I was wasting precious time.

– I’m sorry ok, I don’t know what more I can do.  – he answered rather snappishly. I was just about to open my mouth and snap back at him but suddenly the elevator churned and shook dangerously. The lights flickered and the machine stopped.

– What the…? – I asked no one in particular.

– We are stuck – he said flatly. He pushed the emergency button and slid down to the floor with a  loud sigh. – Great, this day couldn’t get any better . – He ran a hand through his short, slightly curling, sandy blond hair.

Ok, how can you be so calm? I’m freaking out here! What happens with elevators that get suspended between floors? Do they fall?

– Oh my God, is this thing going to fall? – The moment the words left my mouth I understood how stupid I sounded. The man looked at me with a mixture of disbelief and concern. He apparently thought that he was now locked in a very limited space with a completely crazy woman.

[to be continued someday]

Daily Prompt: Goals

When you started your blog, did you set any goals? Have you achieved them? Have they changed at all?

When I started this blog I didn’t really think about this site as anything more than my practice notebook. I saw this page as a place where I could polish my writing skills and publish my answers to Writers Write Daily Prompts. I didn’t imagine that this blog would evolve into anything other than an anonymous space in enormous world wide web, a scrapbook of sorts.

However, I was surprised how quickly I abandoned my initial thoughts and intentions and allowed myself to be carried away by blogosphere. I quickly started noticing the statistics and hungrily look for new likes, comments, followers…

Nowadays I am always excited when I log in and check my blog. I look forward to seeing that little window blinking at me with a happy message – something changed in your statistics from yesterday, you got new like/comment/follower. It really makes me happy. I no longer write only for myself, there are actually people who would like to read my writings.

So to answer the question: no I did not set any goals for this blog in the beginning, therefore I could not achieve them. Yes the goals have changed recently. Now I would like to continue writing. Keep my current followers interested and gain new ones. I also look forward to any piece of advice, constructive critique or simple “you’re doing great, keep it up” from you guys :). Feedback is always welcome and much appreciated.

What is more, I have set my first goal for this blog.

I would like to gather a number of 100 followers. Why 100? I have a very close friend who supports my writings and always asks when will I write a book so she can read it. She is cheering for me, and frankly she is the only person who even knows about my passion. I want to show her this blog and tell her that in the meantime, waiting for the big break and me writing finally some solid piece, she can read some of my musings here and get the idea how and if I evolve. That’s my goal for future months. I’m looking forward to fulfilling it.

Daily Prompt: Bittersweet Memories

You receive a gift that is bittersweet and makes you nostalgic. What is it?

It is a delicate, thin, gold watch I inherited after my ancestors. It was passed down in my family for generations. Girls were given this gold watch, while boys received a round, silver pocket watch. Why watches? Who knows. I suppose back in the days, when there were no other means of telling time watches have been a useful device and not only a fancy jewelry as it is nowadays. Back then people actually took pleasure in looking at the silent face of a watch, that more often than not had its own history.

Just looking at the watch makes me nostalgic as I think of all those women before me that wore the watch. I sometimes sit down, take one of the old family photo albums and look at their faces. I look at the pictures and try to imagine their lives, history, secrets.

The watch also reminds me of my family’s history. I think of my ancestors running away from the bitter, deadly snows of Siberia and am grateful that they made that big leap and decided to look for a better life in central part of Europe. I admire their bravery, resolution and will to survive.

The watches are my family’s heirloom, part of our history. They serve as a memento of another life, in not so good times, somewhere on the cold edge of the map.