Flash Fiction for the Aspiring Writer P1: The Liberty of Choice #amwriting #flashfiction #music 


Thanks to Priceless Joy for hosting FFftAW. Apologies this is a longer piece than should be but sometimes pieces develop into much more and there is also a second part to this prompt.

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Credit: Mike Vore
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Part 1: 

Evangeline was a child prodigy playing songs on the piano from the radio, by ear, at age six. Her mother, Ruth, had dreams of her daughter being a classical music concert pianist.

Grudgingly, Evangeline passed all her Royal Conserveratory piano exams up to the tenth grade when she was only nine-years-old. Although forbidden from playing popular music, when she was home alone, she sang along to her Ipod and wrote her own songs with vocals.

Then, Ruth forced her daughter to travel the world playing classical music concerts.  Evangeline’s classical piano arrangements were powerful and exhilarating to hear because of her resentment and hatred blended into every composition.

After graduating with an honours BA in music while touring, Evangaline refused to do more university degrees in music or to tour playing concerts. She had never been given a choice about how she wanted to use her talents or live her life. Her mother calling her ‘selfish,’ pushed her over the edge.

She left home and didn’t look back.

Find Part 2 (here). 

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©Mandibelle16. (2017) All Rights Reserved.

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Dealing with My Worst Qualities. 


Prompt: What is your worst quality?

 

It is a great deal easier to write about my worst qualities then my best. Mostly, because I am aware of my faults more than my best characteristics. There are two things I do that are my worst qualities:

My, first worst quality has to do with my ability to not be able to contrentrate long or be multi-functional anymore. I am not blaming my health for it; I am saying my health intensified the issue.

I can do one thing at a time and it is often frustrating when I am working on writing up a paper or blogging about a subject, and someone starts trying to have a conversation with me. It makes me angry because I can’t multi-task, the person talking to me is interrupting my ideas and line of thought. And you know how if you are a creative person, ideas often flow out of you when they do; you have to write, paint, or do whatever you do to get your burst of creativity on paper. Meanwhile, a person is still talking to you none-stop and asking you questions and it is annoying. At the same time, I feel bad about being irritated.

Often, it is my Mom who is trying to talk to me. Before, I was ever ill I remember being so mad because I would be researching, writing up a paper, or working on a spreadsheet from work and she would pepper me with questions. But I knew she only wanted to talk to someone after a busy day at work about what went on good or bad. She wanted to talk to someone who wasn’t involved in her office life and get my opinion or view on a situation. She wanted to be able to talk about the people at her work, honestly. She wanted to ‘take a load off.’

I want to be able to talk with my Mom and others. But if I am busy or worn out after doing activities all day, I will brush people off. I will tell my Mom to stop bothering me. I go to my room and finish what I’m doing or sleep if I’m tired. I want to be chatty and happy but I feel bothered and drained by people talking at me and asking countless questions at times. So my first big flaw is I am irritable and single-minded. I am working on actively being a better listener. But it is hard at the time of day everyone gets home from work because I am worn out from the day and my medication is wearing off. I want to listen more and be involved in the conversation and not tune it out or walk away. Sometimes I able to be a better listener and sometimes I’m too irritated to pay attention.

The second flaw I have is something I try to attend to before it becomes worse. I have a tendency if I get mad or angry to let the issues I’m upset about build-up inside me. I get stressed-out when this occurs. I will sort through issues in my head trying to solve them. “Problems to solutions that don’t even exist,” I was told once. But the issue is my problems are real and bothersome. And I attempt to be a nice kind person so I don’t usually tell someone off or ask them to stop doing something unless they are especially bothering me.

An issue arises, however; if someone is repeatedly doing a hurtful action. Or if a person keeps doing a whole bunch of bothersome and hurtful actions all the time. I try to tell myself it is no big deal. I pray about it. I practice yoga and meditate sometimes. I write a lot as you know. And often writing helps a ton. Sometimes if I write something up and even if I don’t post it because it’s too personal or mean about another person, I feel better.

But every now and then someone pushes my buttons and I explode into yelling and tears. I’m a soft spoken reasonable person so when I yell and scream people are surprised and usually offended. Maybe, they didn’t realize something was a larger issue to me then they would have thought. Maybe, I am blowing the situation out of proportion. And maybe, I genuinely have the right to be so upset at someone.

I scared and hurt a friend in Vegas once when I erupted with anger. My friend T and I needed to take L aside and talk to her before the situation got worse but neither T or I did. L had been treating T and I badly the entire summer. Not to mention, she wanted to do all these things with us in Vegas but didn’t actually have the money to pay for it so T and I ended up paying for L, on many activities we did. Also, the fact L had a wonderful boyfriend who was our friend too, and L was flirting and making out with other guys made T and I angry.

I have told this part before: while we are in a club, T became so drunk she was sick and we had to leave the bar. We tried to get L to leave because we promised to stay together, all three of us. L kept telling us to wait and I finally told her T and I had to go, the bouncer was about to carry T and I out the back exit. L chose to stay with two guys she had been flirting with all night.

We finally saw L again as we got back to the hotel room. She was angry too and tried to blame it all on us and said we had abandoned her at the club. I knew T would never stand up to L because she prefers not to handle situations head on. T used to let a person treat her badly, instead of standing up to them. Luckily, she has become better at this over time.

I was so mad about L’s behaviour all summer. I exploded. L was shocked and she asked me why I would even want to be her friend if I thought so badly of her. And I told L how bad she was treating her boyfriend and if she didn’t stop, even T said she’d tell L’s boyfriend on her. L had been treating T and I badly too. L left our room with all her stuff. She wouldn’t talk to us the rest of the trip.

L made up with T because she hadn’t yelled at her, even though L had been a bad friend to T, ditching her for guys countless time. After many emails and some time L and I were friends again three months later. I finally apologized because she wouldn’t. And funny enough, she became closer to her boyfriend. L saw how valuable he was, and ended up becoming engaged, and marrying him.
Even though, L was misbehaving, she didn’t deserve to be yelled at so loudly and L didn’t deserve to have everything T and I were mad at her for dumped on her. People are imperfect and you have to pick and choose your battles. Some things about your friends you have to accept; just as you have flaws so do they. The best friends love you after you’ve shown them your worst side and you love them after you have seen the worst of them. Ultimately, it comes down to choosing your friend or choosing to be right.

I am careful now because of this situation in Las Vegas when I was twenty-three, to not let my anger build up. If I have a big problem with someone or something they are doing, I am honest. And I try hard to tell people how I’m feeling in such a way  that isn’t accusatory but rather focuses on how something is hurting me or causing me to feel a certain way. The truth is people do not always realize they are being hurtful. Often, you need to tell the person who is damaging you to stop treating you a certain way and they will listen and cease.

Not letting issues build up helps. I also have learned to let some issues go. I try to get someone else’s view on the situation, Google the general problem, or pray about it. For many situations I find looking at them from a different perspective is helpful. If you see the situation differently it won’t become a problem that will build up. I have also learned that you have to say goodbye to some people or take your issues with a person to a higher authority. But since we are adults, there is usually no higher authority, unless it is a work issue or an issue of crime.

So for instance,  I had trouble with a girl who was editor of a magazine I volunteered to write for. She didn’t understand why I was upset about her editing my articles to sound entirely as if they were in her voice. Some of her other editors were being taught to do the same. I didn’t find out until later when I took actual editing courses, what this editor was doing was incorrect and rude. You always try to preserve the voice of the writer and the way the article is written as much as you can. I was confident enough in my writing skills, my BA in English Literature, and the couple hundred articles I had written for her magazine previously. My ideas and my writing style wasn’t bad but my grammar and spelling needed work.

The editor wrote me a letter saying I had to work on my grammar and spelling, which was true. And she had tried to let me improve but I wasn’t, so she increasingly, cut down my article writing until I was only writing one article a week; before I was writing nothing. I exploded to her letter with a nasty email. She thought this was exactly how I was going to react. She probably had the same issue come up with past contributers to her magazine. I ended up apologizing to her for being ageist because she was more than five years younger then me with no degree, so I didn’t trust her writing or editing experience. Honestly, I had good instincts with her, despite my hasty email.

In truth, she was being manipulative and I finally recognized, she didn’t like my writing style. She was looking for people who wrote how she wrote on her personal blog and in her articles. And she didn’t want me to write for her magazine even when she needed writers. I was offended but I knew I didn’t want to be a writer like her or for her. She said the magazine was expanding and the writers had to expand or become better with it. I agreed but still had problems with how she chose to write and what she focused on in her magazines.

I didn’t like how she regularly wrote about cheating with men and women and ruining relationships. Although I support LBGT people, I was offended that she rarily had articles pertaining to man and woman couples, boyfriends and girlfriends.  I found this editor to be selfish, micro -managing, and immature despite her attempts to appear professional.

She didn’t want my writing but wanted to use my blogs to tweet and post. She wanted to stay friends but didn’t want me to write for her because I was offended by her note. I had every right to be.

So, I let her go. I stopped supporting the magazine by buying the quarterly issues. I wouldn’t let her use any of my writing for her magazine. I unfriended her on Facebook and Twitter. I stopped taking her text messages and didn’t give her my new number when it changed. I unsubscribed from her blog and anything related to the magazine. It was a great decision.

I don’t know where she is at now. I hope she is well and has worked out some of her life and issues with the magazine such as finding writers. It was mean of me to write her a nasty reply to her email. She didn’t deserve it, even if she lacked a degree or experience. But I couldn’t be friends with her after how she talked about my writing, how she treated my skills as if suddenly they were useless. I knew from professors, writing articles in the Edmonton Journal in University, and even strangers my writing was good. It didn’t mean my writing didn’t require improvement (it still does and will forever) but I didn’t like how she belittled my skills and my person. I let her go.

So, I have learned some tricks to working off stress and dealing with problems before they become so large I explode in tears and screaming. Every once in a long awhile, I can’t help it but I am getting better. We cannot always overcome our flaws but we can try to manage them.

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©Mandibelle16. All Rights Reserved.

Writing 101: Day 15 – The Power of Friends


Prompt: What or Why is it important to go out with friends, interact with people, and have fun. ( Idea provided by clcouch123 . Please check out his blog and  his wonderful Psalms.)

When I was a little girl I didn’t have the easiest time making friends with other girls. I would be friends with a girl for awhile then a fight would happen and the friendship would cease. Both parties would go play with someone else. In consequence, I spent a lot of time hanging out with the boys and playing sports or rough-housing. Maybe, this could have been because I had two younger brothers and was use to playing with them. I was also a tubby little girl so the guys didn’t see me as a ‘girl’ per say, because I didn’t quite have the skinny physique that the popular girls had.

But time changes social status. I was skinny and pretty in Jr. High but Sr. High had its moments of misery. But when university began, since I had had such a small graduating class at my high school, the kids who went to the university across the football field from the high school, were close to each other for the first two years of university. I hung out with my friends and new friends from high school. Some of my university pals became busy around third year as some of them opted for a three year BA, especially if they were going into a teaching degree afterwards. As a result, I made new friends, many from the University Bookstore I worked at throughout my BA. A girl named T worked with me and I made friends with a bunch of her friends from high school on a Pubcrawl, one extremely fun Halloween. I made friends with her cousins too and it was the year the Oilers were in the Stanley Cup final so we had fun watching hockey then heading to Whyte Ave for crazy fandamonium. We meant another girl named L in my fourth year of my degree and became friends with a girl K I knew who worked at the university in development; also my friend from highschool S, and her friend from Russia A were part of my circle. There were other girls we hung out with when we went out and an even larger group of people we socialized with. Now my social circle is made up of a small group of girls, who I have been friends with since university and even before that.

Most of my good friends are married or have a serious boyfriend. I can only think of one or two who are single like me. I was single for along time. I had no boyfriend in university. Then I was too sick for two or three years to handle a relationship and finally at twenty-six-years old I started dating A and we dated for four years.

But all these times I have spent with friends from whatever age I was, why was that so important? Well, friends help us validate who we are. We know in our families that we are accepted for being us and because often our own short fallings are the same short fallings are parents deal with too. But when we make friends when we’re children we learn to get along with people who are different from us. The lessons we learn from our parents can be different from lessons other kids are learning from their parents. We may gravitate to other kids who are different from us because that is appealing to us, to not follow what our parents say. Or, we may end up being friends with people who are a lot like us, who have to follow similar rules, and are in similar activities.

Children are often talented at making friends. But some kids have something about them that makes them different from other kids. Maybe they are poor, look geeky, are chubby, or another kid decides they are jealous of them or don’t like them. Bullying is a terrible action that occurs to some kids, an action  that scars kids and their parents alike. If you asked certain bully’s why they hurt other kids when they did, they probably wouldn’t know. They would say they didn’t like a particular kid. Maybe, they were having trouble at home or they were bullied too. It seems whatever our generation there are mean kids around to make other kids miserable. 

How we act with other kids, determines a lot of  our happiness when we are in our pre-teenage and teenage years. We crave acceptance, to be part of the crowd. We want to fit in. The validation we receive from our peers makes us feel good; it makes us cool. It makes us feel as if we belong somewhere. Once we come to University or College we find there are  many types of groups and friends for everyone to hang out with in classes, sports, campus events, campus clubs, going out at night, and many other events. 

Having a large group of friends was a lot of fun for me. I could be my quiet self but I could also get my fix of crazy. This was especially important in University as an outlet for the stress caused by taking five courses at a time, working part-time, and being involved in campus life. It was a miracle to party on the weekends, to drink and forget stress. It was a relief to have fun with friends and meet new people. It made me feel that I could handle stuff in the week because on the weekend I was a wild girl who didn’t have to be responsible. There were bad points about my style of life such as friends who became angry or cried a lot when they were drunk. Also,  there were boys we hurt or hurt us when feelings weren’t returned after the weekend party was over. The binge drinking wasn’t the smartest either. 

Since, I went on disability from work seven or eight years ago, being with my friends has taken on new meaning beyond school.  I enjoy conversations one on one more; I concentrate better. But I love anytime my friends and I can give each other over a coffee or tea. I like that we can go to events that have drinking but I also like that we go to events that are not drinking events. I enjoy going over to a friend’s place and having a glass of wine, or having friends over to my house for wine; but I like Wine Tastings too. My friends and I have gone on vacations together and learned a lot about dealing with each others differences. We have house parties and we play card games and board games. There is still conversation about comparison of classes but they we are for self-improvement and for job education. We have seen ourselves going from young twenty somethings to adults who are around thirty and becoming married, having kids, and moving into houses and condos. We share advice with each other and support each other. Sometimes we help babysit. Sometimes we just listen to a friend who is dealing with a ‘real life issue.’ We are vital to each other because people need a support network in life, and family and friends are a part of that network. We need our friends to help us get through ill health, and love us even when we are ill or being a bad friend. We need advice when it comes to choosing someone we want to spend our lives with, or a portion of our lives. We need to listen to each other and give that gift of understanding, despite our own opinions. We share about our lives and look forward to times we will see each other again. For these reasons, fun time with friends is vital. 

 

 

 

 

You Know Nothing


At the beginning of my BA in English, a wise professor told me that you begin university knowing everything and leave knowing nothing. He also said that if this occurred then he and the other university profs had done their job. When I first heard this I considered it carefully. I didn’t think I knew everything, I knew there was a lot for me to learn, so for me how could this be?

A funny thing happened, however, as I begun to learn. Every time I learned about something it was never enough, there were holes in what the university profs taught me. I would learn about John Donne the poet and at first I would only learn one or two of his poems and what he was talking about in them. I read a selection of Paradise Lost and hated it. Then in another class I would learn a few more John Donne poems and a bit about the history of John Donne. But in between those 2 classes there were holes where I wanted or needed to learn something and had not. Then in another class I would learn about Renaissance history, then Renaissance Philosophy, then Renaissance writers, the writer’s John Donne and John Milton.

Then I read Paradise Lost in fourth year university and loved it. I found out how in their thinking, John Donne and John Milton were connected – 2 little lines that went something like: though truth and evil near twins be, truth a little elder be. This is a badly quoted line from John Donne that aptly described the truth in Paradise Lost. Satan tried to foil God through destroying mankind, but God was good, God was the truth and older and more powerful then evil, the twisting of what is good. But after I had taken that 400 level course, I found there were still holes. There was still deeper places one could go into the similarities of Milton, Donne, and other writer’s of the Renaissance. There was more history to learn about the Renaissance, true history, and literary history; there was so much more to learn and there always is in anything. This is how one leaves university having learned so much but having really learned nothing in the grand scheme of things.

Each course I took truthfully, did go deeper into what I was learning but what I was learning only really scratched the surface of what there was to learn on a particular topic, on everything. Looking back on what I learned before I would realize ” I know nothing.” But still I would feel a small victory because at least I knew something; but it was not much. I do not know when you become an expert on something or how. I think it must be impossible.

As for becoming an expert, I wish to become an expert on writing. But I have a lot to overcome to become that expert. I need more education, more discussion and guidence, I need a solid reputation, I need time and experience. I need a A lot of things and still I will only know so much and it will only matter to so many people. This is the nature of learning, it never stops, and you can never know enough because there is always more details to be learned or discovered. It also seems that often only a particular niche of people want to know what you want to know. So having a BA in English, didn’t make me a genius, neither did a diploma in Interior Design. Education is a beginning, a beginning I wish for all of you so you too will see there are holes in what you have been taught and there is always more to learn; you know nothing. I’m sorry, but it’s the truth. Ask my professor.