Favorite Places, Creative Spaces

Image: They Yocum Library
Image: They Yocum Library

Not long ago I mentioned that I was having a bit of writer’s block. After a moment of reflection, I realized that there’s just a lot going on in my life right now professionally and personally.  Time and creative energy to write have been on low supply….until now.

I ran across a blog that offered some direction to at least keep me writing. Tiana Lopez’s blog, Zealous Scripts, has a section dedicated to writing prompts. I thought I’d take a stab at a few of them – at least get a paragraph or two out. So, for the next few weeks, I’ll post some of my content based on these. Happy reading!  Continue reading “Favorite Places, Creative Spaces”

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The View from Here

Oculta

Deet-deet-deet-deet! Deet-deet-deet-deet!

Julie Schumacher peeped one eye open as she picked up her cell phone to turn the alarm off.  It was 7am. She didn’t see much point of getting up since she had nowhere to be. She rolled back over, pulling the covers over her head, trying to catch a few more winks.

Since being laid off, Julie found it almost irrelevant to get out of bed most mornings. Most days were spent submitting resumes online, hobnobbing with former co-workers who’d moved on, and making cold calls in hopes that something would come through. But there was nothing. Disappointment and depression were setting in.

Julie placed a pillow over her head to block out the hustle and bustle of city life going on outside her apartment building. Then almost like a Tom and Jerry cartoon, a smell wafted into Julie’s apartment. It was the smell of fresh bread baking.  She tried to ignore it, but Zekman’s breads and pastries were the best in town. She loved the smell, and even more the taste of the apple strudel with light icing.  Oh, how she’d love one of those. But right now she couldn’t afford luxuries.

Instead Julie hmphed as she got out of bed, grabbing her pink terry robe on the way to the kitchen. She filled a bowl with cereal and milk, then went out on the fire escape to eat and observe the morning events.

Her eyes set straight ahead on the horizon. Dawn was just breaking.  The sun had yielded its colors of red and orange with an underlying blue.  Julie felt thankful for witnessing the arrival of another day. But her thankfulness turned to anger as a series of cars honked their horns at each other. The culprit causing the noisy melee was a reddish golden retriever who couldn’t figure out which direction it wanted to go. Finally a passerby lured the dog towards him with some type of food. The crisis was averted and traffic was restored.

But a new one arose as a small child tried to pet the dog as a woman pulled at her to continue moving. The little girl began crying then wailing. Julie noticed the little girl had on a navy and green plaid jumper with a white shirt and socks. She assumed it was a mother with her daughter on the way to the school several blocks down.

Julie took a few bites of her cereal. She remembered that school. It was her school long ago. She wondered if the little girl’s path would pan out like hers. She hoped it would be better.

Grrrr tat-tat grrrr tat-tat!

The owners of the makeshift booths on the corner were setting up for the day. Julie wished someone would shut them down. The items they sold were either fake or didn’t do what they should do. Like the black handbag that she thought was a top designer. When she looked at the label closely, the name was spelled differently. She was willing to overlook that, but couldn’t when the bottom fell out. Getting her money back was like trying to pull the tooth of a hungry lion. The handbag ended up in the dumpster.

Julie chuckled. She recalled the “Dumpster Boys”.  A name she secretly gave to a group of 4 or 5 homeless men who stayed in the alley next to her apartment. When she’d walk home from work some would be sleeping while others wandered out onto the sidewalk begging for change. She’s encountered them on occasion, giving what she could or dropping off some food or water. Now that she’s unemployed, she wondered if her fate would be the same. She had some savings, but that will last but for so long.

She took another bite of her cereal. This time looking down pondering how close she was getting to her last meal. Julie heard arguing. She looked below to see a couple walking away from her building. She recognized them, but didn’t know their names. They’re usually lovey-dovey, or at least that’s how they were on most occasions, but today something was obviously wrong.

Julie started to feel sad. She wanted to be with someone even if it was to argue. Dating right now wouldn’t be a good thing. She had too much on her plate trying to survive without employment.

GettyBut almost as if her thoughts had been read, Julie looked up to see a handsome man watching her from a building across the street. He waved. She hesitantly waved back. She tried to look away, but when her gaze returned, he was still looking – this time smiling. He made a motion like drinking from a cup and saucer then pointed down. He followed the gesture of a shrug as if asking a question. Julie could only assume that he was asking her to meet for coffee. She wasn’t sure if she should. Then again, what did she have to lose?

She quickly dressed in jeans and a black floral top.  She thought about putting her hair in a bun, but opted to comb through the kinks instead  Julie felt excited about the prospect, but started to second guess herself again, wondering if it was too much of a snap decision.  It was just coffee, so she went about her way.

On the sidewalk in front of her building was the handsome man.

“Hi, I’m Mark!”

“Julie.  Nice to meet you.”

“Do you want to go to Zekman’s for some coffee and fresh rolls?”

In her head, Julie was doing back flips.  My how she craved the strudel, but she didn’t want to be rude.  She’d get a roll instead unless Mark left the decision open.

“Sure, they have the best baked goods.”

Julie and Mark began walking in the direction of Zekman’s.

“It’s one of the reasons I moved into the neighborhood.”

“Really?”

“Yeah, my dad used to work the graveyard shift at the old steel mill when I was growing up.  He’d bring home fresh rolls sometimes.  I loved the smell.”

Julie thought Mark’s story was cute, but then again a little off that a grown man would move to a place based off of breads and pastries.  She tried to sequester her judgement so that she wasn’t ruling out yet another guy because of something that was odd to her.  “So where is your family now?”

“My mom and dad retired and moved to the south.”

“Oh, must be nice.”

Mark opened the door to Zekman’s and allowed Julie to enter before him.  She was making a mental check mark in her head noting that he had done something right.

They walked up to the counter.  Julie hesitated.  She had her wallet, but didn’t have enough money to buy her usual order of 2 apple strudels and a large coffee.  She decided to hold back and let Mark order first.  He did, then asked her to place her order – he was buying.  Thank goodness!  She made yet another check mark in her head.  He was on a roll.  She went for the apple strudel with light icing and a cup of coffee.

Blessed DadThe pair took a seat at a small table near the big picture window.  Julie wasn’t sure what to talk about.  She looked out hoping for inspiration.  Luckily, Mark filled the silence.

“So what do you do?”

“Well, I used to be an office manager.”

“What do you mean, used to be?”

Julie felt embarrassed and didn’t want to come across like a loser.  “I was laid off a few months ago.”

“Sorry to hear that.  How’s the job hunt been?”

Julie gave Mark a deadpan look.

“I see.  Not so good.”

“Just one slammed door after another. It’s really frustrating and disappointing.”

“Are you looking to do the same thing?”

“I’d like to, but open to try something different if the opportunity presents itself.”

“Well, I may have something up your alley.  I’m the owner of a project management firm.  We help businesses get up and running or realign to new goals.  I’ve been looking for someone to assist with one of our projects.  Would you be interested?”

Julie’s eyes grew wide.  She couldn’t believe her ears.  Was this man offering her a job?  “Sure, sure I’d be interested.”  Julie second-guessed her enthusiasm.  She was desperate to find work, but in this moment she didn’t think it was a good look as a prospective mate or employee.

“Great!  Come by the office tomorrow morning around 9.  I’ll have you interview with H.R. and the manager over the project.”

“Thank you!” Julie was grateful, but she didn’t know Mark.  Why was he helping her?  She wanted to ask, but thought it rude.

“You’re wondering why I mentioned the job?”

Julie was astonished that he read her mind, but glad it was out there.  “Well, yeah.  That and why you asked me out for coffee.”

“I’ve noticed you around.  Saw how you helped the homeless people in the neighborhood and greeted people even though around here most don’t talk to a soul.  I thought you must be a good-hearted person…and…I wanted to meet you.  I didn’t know about your being laid off until you said something just now.”

Julie didn’t know what to say.  Instead she took a bite of strudel while observing Mark glaze his roll with butter and honey.  She was glad she took a chance and excepted the invitation.  So far Mark turned out to be a nice guy and possibly a lead to her future – one way or another.

Photo: Oculta, Getty Images, Getty Images, Blessed Dad

Response to Quantum Leap Challenge

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Unfortunately, I did not receive a single entry for the Quantum Leap Challenge. I did however, get a lot of likes and favorites here and on Twitter. That’s a good thing. At least it got people to thinking and considering.  But alas, the show must go on.  Below is my spin on Quantum Leap Challenge. Enjoy!

If I had to choose a moment in history to revise, it would be when Adam and Eve were in the Garden of Eden. I wouldn’t change that God made them or gave her to him. What I would change is the curiosity in human nature to go towards something forbidden. Obviously God knew why they shouldn’t eat from the tree and what would happen if they did. I believe He didn’t share the information to see if they trusted His wisdom and ability to care for them. Even during that time, free will was granted. It’s evident through Eve’s ability to walk away from what she knew to what was curious or tingling to the ears and eyes. And the same goes for Adam.

Anywho, if I could change that moment, it would be that Eve would remember what God said and turn away. She’d tell Adam about the experience as a way of warning and emphasize that God knows best. This other creature (i.e. snake, satan) was unfamiliar and had not proven himself, so until he did, why ruin a good thing, right?

What I think would have come from this change is that we would never die, childbirth may not be painful or as bloody, and we’d experience the good things that God has to offer. My imagination believes that this would be none of the illnesses that could have taken loved ones past or present, violence would be an idea and not necessarily an action. Better yet, would we even know anything other than love?

As I ponder the prior question, I think about how slick satan tries to be. If he didn’t get to Adam and Eve, he would have tried to get someone in the history of mankind. But would the impact have been the same? Or worse? Either way, when a slip-up happened, Jesus would still be necessary. And aren’t we thankful for that?

 XOXO, Melanie Dawnn

 

Photo: Amanda Greenleaf-Whelan
 
Copyright © 2013-2014 ✽ All Rights Reserved

Writing Prompt: Travel

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This week’s writing prompt was prompted (pun intended) by Damyanti at Daily (w)rite. Her question to the masses was “What was the last city you traveled to and how did it make you feel?

My most recent travels were to Montego Bay, Jamaica.

As you can see from the above image, the view was very picturesque.  I’m a huge fan of the colors in nature.  Not just because they are so beautiful, but because I’m always in awe at how splendid God makes things around us.

In addition, this trip was relaxing and enlightening.  It was a good chance for me to take a moment and just breathe and enjoy the sights and people around me.  It also allowed me to see how natives of the island lived.  On one hand, I felt sorry for them because looking at the conditions of living quarters was a complete contrast of the villa I stayed in.

On the other hand, as the manager of the villa explained, the attitude of locals can often be so laid back that they do not try to better themselves or their native land.  Instead, others from countries near and far have a hand in what will be though they may not even live there.  Once again, it saddens me mostly because it’s like giving up or just accepting whatever without giving a voice or input.

All in all, I love to travel.  I have a life’s  goal to see the rest of the U.S. (26 down, 24 to go) and various parts of the globe.  I’m interested in not only seeing the tourist-y side, but also learn about the different cultures and see how others live.  On most of my travels so far, I have found that there are just as many similarities as there are differences.

Where have you traveled?  What has been your experience?

 

XOXO, Melanie Dawnn

 

Copyright © 2013-2014 ✽ All Rights Reserved

 

Writing Prompt: Love

heart-clipartlove

 

butterflies, wishful dreams, hopes, sweaty palms, anticipation, infatuation

love

 

joy, happiness, memories, romance, intimacy, quality

love

 

ups, downs, better, worse, commitment

love

 

patience, understanding, communication

love

 

faith, loyalty, unconditional, everlasting

love

 

Alpha, Omega, I am, God

XOXO, Melanie Dawnn

Photo:  Public Domain Pictures,  Suzanne D. Williams

Copyright © 2013-2014 ✽ All Rights Reserved

Writing Prompt: Happiness

happiness-balloonsWhat is happiness? Is it a fleeting moment of pleasure or when things go our way? Is it a consistent feeling that happens everyday without thought? How would you describe your happiness? How is it achieved?

For me, happiness feels more like fleeting moments. In other times, either I’m consumed with what I call life…work, family, and other thoughts or actions that require my attention. When I do feel happy, it’s usually when I’m relaxed and doing something that makes me feel good. Like being able to sleep until my heart’s content and wake up feeling relaxed and refreshed. Or sitting in the park writing about the creative and imaginative things that come to mind. It’s even in the times when I travel to new places or experiences encountered. Overall, when I assess the happy moments of my life they have been ones that were the simplest. No huge parade of things. Just time enjoying peace and people who I love and care about.

 What’s your happiness?

 XOXO, Melanie Dawnn

Photo: An Apple a Day

Copyright © 2013-2014 ✽ All Rights Reserved

Writing Prompt: Anger

this_is_my_angry_face_2_by_reitanna_seishin-d4ief9uWhat is it that drives us to anger? Is it the conflict between what we expect and what we don’t get? Is it the clash between our beliefs and those of others? Or is it just something unexplainable that gets under our skins to the point of wanting to scream or claim straight lunacy? Whatever the cause may be, person, situation, thing, or something still unknown, being able to control the anger emotion is key. It can be the difference between being at peace within when all hell is breaking loose around you and being tried for a crime.

 I have found that there are moments lately where some of the situations in my life have made me very mad or angry. Mostly because the events that have occurred failed my expectation or overstepped boundaries that had been set. I’m the type of person that will chalk the first incident up to a “didn’t know”. After that, my inner thermometer starts to rise.

It’s frustrating to feel, or rather think, that there is no control over a situation. But what helps is looking at it in a different way. It’s like framing what may be an ugly or unflattering picture in a new frame. Instead of letting the situation get the best of us, sometimes it’s best to find positive outlets or distance ourselves (when possible) from the conflict.

 How do you deal with anger???

 XOXO, Melanie Dawnn

Photo: Reitanna-Seishin

Copyright © 2013-2014 ✽ All Rights Reserved