The Brick (Flash Fiction)

I was fortunate to be able to participate in the Tallahassee Writers Association annual conference Saturday.  One of the workshops was about Flash Fiction (The Wink of Immediacy), and it was led by Mark Ari. Mark led us through an activity, the centerpiece of which was “The Brick”:

BRICK

Our first instruction was to pass the brick from participant to participant, with each of us verbalizing something tangible about the brick. The list of contributions (some of which are more concrete than others) follows: intimidating, cool, rough, porous, pocked, solid, heavy, inconsistent, dark, rectangular, used, dense, enduring, pumice, dangerous, brown, dappled, aggregate, earthy, speckled, bloody, brick, sharp, punctured, angular, chipped, dirty, stolen, borrowed, 3-D, textured, 3 x 6 x 2, insolvent, colored, massive, dry, concrete, heavy, hard, coated, mortared, plain, ugly, and modular.

Following that piece of the exercise, we were told to: Write a story to the brick, excluding all of the words you just shared about its characteristics.

Okee dokee then. So I wrote. And I wrote this:

BRICK

You are not accustomed to being alone like this. Handled, passed around like a newborn at its first extended family outing.

You are passed from person to person, each individual trying to figure out what makes you … you.

You will be examined, analyzed — the very center of attention — for fifteen minutes of notoriety.

But you will grow up, you will become more like us and our common polymers will bind us together. You will nestle into the family line and together we will build something strong and impenetrable.

**

I really love these writing exercises at conferences — I get so sleepy when the activity is more passive, and (of course) I had gotten up super early to get my run in before the conference. I will think of “Mr. Brick” for a long time into the future!

**

On another note, I am not sure why I feel compelled to explain this but …. I have taken on an editing project. This is not new (to be doing an editing project on the side) but I have set a goal to complete it before our family vacation which begins June 22. I am running out of things to eliminate. I have to do my day job (obviously); I have a commitment to my fitness goals which means I can’t slack off on those; I have two children to parent and a spouse who needs my engagement. The only thing I can think to eliminate is my “Wordless Wednesdays” and my “Mama Kat” prompt responses every Thursday. I have kept my “Sunday blog” streak alive for three years so I will maintain it, and I’ll fit the others in if I can, but as we climb out of two years of job loss for hubs, and as I endeavor to keep my relationships with my editing clients healthy, as they said in the Diane Keaton/Jack Nicholson movie, Something’s Gotta Give. Thank you for understanding.

 

Wordless Wednesday (Cade’s “11” Edition)

This past weekend, I ran with a superhero. The only feet touching the ground were mine, but I was not a “solo” runner.

I was running with 200+ of Cade’s friends.

The occasion was “Run the 11th Mile for Cade on Mother’s Day Weekend

A compilation of images from my run is below. I kept hoping for signs: “superheroes,” the number 11, things that would symbolize Cade, who passed away at the age of nine in 2010. As is often the case with life, I really didn’t find much until I was on my cooldown walk, when I stopped trying to force something to materialize:

Cade Collage

To learn more about Cade, visit his CaringBridge page here.

This event went from a “why don’t we?” idea on Facebook to what I am pretty sure is going to turn into a recurring event. If you’re interested, let the group know via the event page.

cade plaque

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Wordless Wednesday (Through The Trees Edition)

#WHPThroughTheTrees

This weekend’s Instagram “Weekend Hashtag Project” honored the 141-year-old Arbor Day holiday, dedicated to planting and caring for trees. The goal was “to capture photographs through trees.” All of mine were taken in a 20-minute period while on a cooldown after a run Saturday.

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Pedrick Pond – Spanish Moss

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tree arrow

My favorite – a literal “through the trees” image!

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Capital City Christian Church

(Weekend Hashtag Project is a series featuring designated themes & hashtags chosen by Instagram’s Community Team. For a chance to be featured on the Instagram blog, follow @instagram and look for a photo announcing the weekend’s project every Friday.)

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Wordless Wednesday (Truly Wordless This Time Edition)

Two causes merged today, one that is an annual event and one that, sadly, did not exist 48 hours ago.

Today was the annual “One Day Without Shoes” observance by TOMS to “bring global awareness to children’s health and education by going without shoes.” I did it last year, I did it today, I’ll do it next year and for years into the future.

What I added to my shoeless ensemble today was a “race shirt.” Runners everywhere joined in a movement to wear race shirts or, if office dress codes did not allow t-shirts, blue and yellow (the colors of the Boston Marathon) to honor the victims of the Boston Marathon tragedy.

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I love love love my Charity Miles “marathon” shirt but would gladly have left it in the closet today for lack of a reason to wear it………..

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Wordless Wednesday (When Does Paula Sleep? Edition)

People ask me when I sleep. To be honest, I have wondered the same thing.

It took the rare blend of detective/photography skills possessed by Fred Deckert of Gulf Winds Track Club to figure it out when he snapped pictures at Saturday’s Springtime Tallahassee 10K Race:

IMG_0650

Photo Credit: Fred Deckert

I SLEEP WHEN I RUN!!!!!!

Mystery solved!

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Wordless Wednesday (Autism Awareness Day 2013 Edition)

April is Autism Awareness Month, and today (April 2) is World Autism Awareness Day.

I started off this morning watching the sun rise behind the Autism Speaks puzzle piece as I finished my Charity Miles run:

edited AS sunrise

And I ended the day at Florida’s Old Capitol, waiting for the sun to go down so the blue lighting could convey its message. As I waited with families, some affiliated with Parents In Action, who have children on the autism spectrum, I heard about Asperger’s, service dogs for children with wandering issues, 13 year olds who still have meltdowns and who are difficult to restrain because of their size, teachers who take the time to pore over children’s records in order to best educate them, and disabled vets who take on new roles as learning assistants for children with autism. I had barely scratched the surface before we had to part ways. In the midst of all those details, I heard love, the kind that every parent has for their child, the kind loaded with hopes, fears, and prayers. And as always I found families willing to educate me about their journeys with autism. As people come to work tomorrow morning in Tallahassee, I am happy they will see our Old Capitol all dressed up in blue. And I hope awareness and acceptance will have gained just a tiny bit more purchase on the stretched-thin agendas and hearts of our civic leaders and fellow Tallahasseeans.

blue old cap

 (I also really encourage you to read Diary Of A Mom’s post about today’s significance.)

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Wordless Wednesday (Veterans Village Edition)

Back in January, I wrote a post about the Tallahassee Veterans Village. In connection with that post, I asked you to pitch in and provide 21 bus passes for the residents of Veterans Village.

Through your generosity, I was able to present 22 passes to Veterans Village on

March 8:

aaapasses

22 7-day Star Metro Passes

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Veterans Village Director Shawn Noles After Being Presented With The Passes

Vet Vill Flag

A Flag At The Village

Thank you to: Diane Kaji, Dr. Cyneetha Strong, Ron and Michelle Harrison, Debbie Smith, Noelle Mahone, Jennifer Harris, Lisa Cox, Chris Turner, and the anonymous donor who provided 7 passes. You have done a useful and appreciated thing.

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