Fiction, Flash Fiction, My Thoughts, Religion/Morality, Sunday Photo Fiction, Writing, Writing Challenges

Sunday Photo Fiction: The Exception #amwriting #flashfiction 


Thanks to Alistair Forbes for hosting SPF.

—–

Credit: A Mixed Bag

——

In their years of friendship, Alise and Janelle never fought except over Chaz Monroe. He dated Alise in high school causing a huge argument between the girls. 

“I liked him first you know that Alise,” Janelle had said. “Why are you still seeing him?” 

“We’ve been going out three-years Janelle. We’re planning a life together.” They’d been drinking vodka and Janelle threw hers on Alise. 

Then Chaz left for university and broke up with Alise. He dated another girl and Alise and Janelle reconciled over their disgust of Chaz’s tart

Ten- years later, Chaz came back to town. He was still handsome and Alise and Janelle had both secretly been in contact with him.

 Chaz visited Janelle first but when he came to Alise’s he told her, “I missed you so much, Alise. I’m sorry I ever broke up with you. Would you consider giving us a second chance?” 

Alise agreed, she loved Chaz. But when Janelle found out about Alice and Chaz she invited her friend over under false pretences of congratulating her. 

Janelle mixed neat vodka’s for them both and threw candied cherries in their drinks. Alise took a few sips, choking on the weird tasting cherry. She was shocked to see Janelle slumped over dead as she too succumbed; Janelle had poisoned them both. 

They had always been bestfriends except when it came to Chaz Monroe. 

—–

©Mandibell16. (2017) All Rights Reserved. 

Children/YA/Family, Interviews, Music and Performers, My Thoughts, Nonfiction, Poetry, Relationship, Religion/Morality, Writing

Interview With Michele Vecchitto


Hi everyone! Wonderful to see you again for this biweekly interview with Michele Vecchitto. Michele is a friendly and kind woman who has a talent for writing wonderful poetry and engaging stories. I have been following her for a couple of years now, so I hope you will like her writing as much as I do. You can visit her blog here: Steps Times Two – Love and Life . . . The Second Time Around.


miichelle-interview-4
Credit: Michele Vicchetto

1. Hi Michele, Please Tell Us About Where You’re From?

I live in Niantic. It’s a lovely town on the Connecticut shoreline that somehow manages to hold on to the charm of days gone by while still offering all the conveniences I might need.

One of the many treasures in Niantic is a used bookstore called The Book Barn.It now has four or five satellite locations, but the main store is a complex which includes a large barn and several quirky, smaller buildings, each overflowing with books devoted to a particular genre. The few resident cats and some goats, add to its unique vibe. It’s a place to spend the day and get lost in books. Niantic also recently opened a new boardwalk along the beach that offers fantastic views and a place to meet neighbors.


2. Can You Tell Us More About Yourself, Your Everyday Life?

I’m the second of four sisters. My family is especially close and the fifteen children my sisters and I have between behave more like siblings than cousins. My parents are definitely the foundation of our lives. I love everything about belonging to a large family – the support, the laughter, the chaos, and the history we create.

My three children are young adults, busy finding their place in the world. In some ways, they could not be more different from one another, but they remain close. I’m enjoying watching them evolve into the adults they will become. I’m proud of the choices they’ve made and the direction each of them is following in life.

I’ve been exceptionally lucky to find a man who provides the perfect balance to my life. My husband and I have been married just over five years. Mark is an Executive Chef and extremely creative in his own way.

Our personalities are different but we complement each other well. We are each other’s top priority and do everything we can to support each other in our many endeavors. We’ve intertwined our families and I feel blessed to have his three strong, caring, and talented children in my life as well. They, along with their families, are a vital part of my life.

On a professional level, I teach middle school Literature and Language Arts. I love working with students of this age. It’s my favorite age group of kids. I’ve taught math and science and enjoy teaching each subject, but I’m most thrilled to spend my days sharing Literature with my classes. Preteens and teens this age are discovering their voice and it’s exciting to see the world through their eyes.

Additionally, I work as a freelance editor. I’m working with an audio book company and enjoy the exposure to books I might not otherwise read.


“I’ve been exceptionally lucky to find a man who provides the perfect balance to my life. My husband and I have been married just over five years. Mark is an Executive Chef and extremely creative in his own way.” – Michele Vecchitto


3. When Did You First Start Writing and Blogging? 

I started my blog in 2014 as a way of keeping myself disciplined about writing, but I’ve always been a writer. I kept journals as a teenager and still have poems I wrote for a memorable class in high school.

My teacher, Ms. Jordan, helped me discover my voice and probably inspired me to become a teacher. I was a stay at home mom for fifteen-years, and when my children were in school, I’d spend eight or more hours a day writing. I took writing classes and completed two novels and a few children’s books.

When I divorced in 2007 and returned to work full time, I lost some of my dedication to the craft. Steps Times Two is my blog and remedy to not being able to write all day anymore.


4. What Does Writing and Blogging Mean To You? Why Do You Write?

I’ve always been a writer as mentioned earlier. I many of my stories and poems from younger days and used to write tales for my kids, nieces, and nephews.

I find if I have an idea for a poem or a story, it screams in my head until I write it down. It’s a great way to discover new ways of thinking about situations or work through issues which lurk beneath the surface. There were times, when I was going through my divorce, writing preserved my sanity.

Beyond these meanings, I love the way writing connects people. I am so excited to be able to talk with people from all over the world about subjects I have brought up or someone else has written about. It sounds sappy, but I believe people are more alike than different and we all have something to share. I am a big fan of the community writing fosters between writers and readers (etc).


“I find if I have an idea for a poem or a story, it screams in my head until I write it down. It’s a great way to discover new ways of thinking about situations or work through issues which lurk beneath the surface. There were times, when I was going through my divorce, writing preserved my sanity.” – Michelle Vecchitto


michele-interview-1
Credit: Michele Vecchitto

5.  Where Do You Find Your Inspiration and Motivation to Write?

Sometimes motivation comes from pure emotion. I do some my best writing when I am out of my mind angry or excited about something or someone. I find the best writes are the ones in which I completely lose myself and emerge after I’ve released all my demons on the page. It’s a purge of excess energy which takes on a life of it’s own. Surrendering to the moment can lead to exciting results.

Inspiration for me can come from anywhere: a look between two people; a snippet of conversation I overhear; the expression on someone’s face when they don’t notice I’m looking; and/or an unexpected situation or some mundane activity we all experience. Music also inspires me. My playlist has a bit of everything on it and I love to hit play and let my mind drift. Sometimes I’ll find something to write about immediately and other times, I have to file an idea away and let it resurface when it’s ready.

As well, I’m a huge fan of writing prompts and blogging events. It’s a terrific way to stay involved in the writing community and interact with other people. I love to follow and read what other people are writing because each piece leaves me with something to think about and offers a varied perspective to consider. Prompts for me are similar to a puzzle. Each of us figures out how to put the pieces together in a different way to create authentic images. It’s fun when someone has a completely unique take on the same prompt.


6. Is There A Time Of Day You Prefer to Write?

I prefer to write in the mornings, although, it’s not always possible. During the week, I will write when I come home from teaching school. When I was a stay-at-home mom, I’d write from the time the kids went to school until they came home. I miss those days! I’m hoping to stay home next year and write full time.


“I do some my best writing when I am out of my mind angry or excited about something or someone. I find the best writes are the ones in which I completely lose myself and emerge after I’ve released all my demons on the page. It’s a purge of excess energy which takes on a life of its own. Surrendering to the moment can lead to exciting results.” – Michele Vecchitto


michelle-interview-3
Credit: Michele Vecchtto

7. What Are Your Most Current Writing Projects? 

I have my blog which I try to work on each day. I also post on Poet’s Corner on WordPress and do my best to keep up. I am working on a historical fiction novel based on my husband’s grandfather who escaped from Poland in the early 1900’s. I’m enjoying the research portion of this novel greatly. In addition, I recently cleaned up a YA novel I wrote about ten-years ago. My romance novel also needs editing and I have two short stories to finish.

My biggest hope for writing projects is finding time to submit projects again and become more involved in responding to all the blog posts I read. Responding to blog posts is a full time job in itself!


8. Can You Tell Us About What Your Publishing Process Has Been for Some of Your Writing?

I’ve had poems published in anthologies and in places like The Reverie Journal. I have self-published two volumes of poetry which can be found on Amazon. I’m considering adding a third volume but I think my next push will be seeking a publisher for a novel.

Years ago, when I had more time, I was organized about sending my work out. I had a contract with Blue Mountain Arts and several ‘good rejections’ from publishing houses. I took classes and attended conferences. I think networking is a huge part of the publishing process and hope to get back to it in the next year.

I’ve been invited to participate in the Austin International Poetry Festival next April. Eight of my poems will be included in their anthology and I plan to travel to the event to do some readings.


“My biggest hope for writing projects is finding time to submit projects again and become more involved in responding to all the blog posts I read. Responding to blog posts is a full time job in itself!” – Michele Vecchitto


9. Are You Able to Describe Your Writing Process To Us?

My writing process varies, depending on the type of project I’m working on, but it always includes music. I have a million playlists and a great pair of headphones.

The first thing I do is put my headphones on and blast the music so I can disappear from the world around me. If I’m working on a poem, I jot ideas or prompts on post-it notes and arrange them around my writing space.

If I’m working on a formal piece, I’ll have notes on rhyme schemes and various types of poetry. After I write, I’ll look for photos to accompany what I’ve written and then decide on a title. My titles always happen last.

If I’m working on a novel or short story, the music part is the same, but I’ll have notes on my bulletin board or in folders which I can flip through. I also send rough drafts to my sister Maureen. She’s read everything I’ve ever written and offers me honest feedback. She’ll tell me what works for her as a reader and what doesn’t, then I go back and edit.

I set my larger pieces aside, sometimes for days but often for months, and then return to them so I can see them with fresh eyes. My YA book has been through three major revisions already and I think it’s almost ready to send out.


11. Do You Prefer Certain Areas of Writing or Reading? Any Genres In Particular?

 I’m not sure you can be a writer without being a reader. I love both equally and will read almost anything. I like to balance my writing with quick, light reads and books which require more concentration. I’m  a big non-fiction reader. It must be the teacher in me, but there’s never too much knowledge to learn. I always want to discover new things.

My own writing style has surprised me at times. My YA book is a fantasy novel which is something I’ve never followed, however; a fantasy story was the tale waiting to be told when I tackled the YA book project.

I must confess, I do enjoy writing darker, more provocative pieces. There’s such power there. I enjoy  inspirational pieces as well. Both of these kinds of writing have their place.


“The first thing I do is put my headphones on and blast the music so I can disappear from the world around me.” – Michele Vecchitto


michelle-interview-5
Credit: Michele Vecchitto

12. Do You Have Any Advice For Other Writers or Anything Else You Would Like To Add?

I find the more I write, the better I get. It’s a commitment and like any other craft, needs to be nurtured so, keep writing.

I’ve also started a Facebook page and hope to add more writing related posts in addition to my own poems. Twitter has been a great resource for finding writing communities and sharing information for me as well.


13. Do You Have Any Favorite Blogs?

I’m not sure I have favorites. I love to read blogs of all styles and content. A friend of mine started a blog in which she combines book reviews and running called Belle of the Book. It’s fun to follow a blog when you know the writer personally. If the writing is good I want to read it.


14. Here is A Piece of Michele’s Writing She Has Shared:

“Deerfield’s Ghosts”

By Michele Vecchitto

deerfield
photo: Atlas Obscura

Wandered into a cemetery

surrounded by a stone wall

hidden in the deep wood

The cold winter’s wind

calling the shadows and

whispering my name

Air weighted with sadness

as tombs of sorrow beckoned

like a house so empty

I stood alone, waiting

as voices of the lost

washed me in time’s tempest

My hands embraced each soul

as I traced those crumbling stones

placed long ago with care

Overcome with tears

as I read of Martha. loving daughter

a life lived five short years

And her mother, wife of John

who shared the same last day

in another time, another place

Night fell and mockingbirds

resumed their evening song, playing chords

that matched a funeral march

Chilled to the bone and wearied

I sank to my knees beside a family plot, crying

Tell me where hope lives

Awareness that each stone was marked

with that date, February 29, 1704,

came slowly, deliberately

Echoes of war drums rang

through the silence as fear

electrified the hallowed space

The massacre of yesterday

forgotten as time moved on

still hosts ghosts of the innocent

Every once and awhile

the lost invite someone back

to share their story

And so I did


Michele says about “Deerfield’s Ghost:” “I love this one because it almost wrote itself. When I came to the point when I narrowed in on a subject, I googled “massacre” to find a specific date to use and came across a list of victims from the Deerfield massacre of 1704. The funny thing is, it included the names and ages of people I had included in my poem.”


More Links To Michele’s Blog Pieces:

  • Ray holds special meaning for me because it was written for a dear friend who passed away. Reading it at his funeral was the first time I’d read my poetry in public and I feel grateful I had a chance to honor him in this way.
  • Small Town Hens is an example of a poem I wrote after I witnessed a situation that made my blood boil. It makes me chuckle now because it captured my disgust at poor behavior.
  •  Light of Love was written after the nightclub attack in Orlando. I will sometimes respond to current events in poetry. This incident demanded a response.
  •  The Choice and Metamorphosis are two old ones that I wrote during very difficult times.  I try to live my life as described in “The Choice” and “Metamorphosis” speaks to the ability to persevere in even the darkest of times.

Thanks to Michele for thoroughly and thoughtfully answering the interview questions. I wish her much luck with her writing and future endeavours. Here is the link to her blog one more time: Steps Times Two.


I hope you enjoyed this week’s interview. If you would like to share and answer interview questions on writing and blogging of any kind, feel free to reach-out to me on my contact page. See you in two-weeks!


©Mandibelle16. (2017) All Rights Reserved.

 

Fiction, Flash Fiction, MindLoveMisery's Menagerie, My Thoughts, Religion/Morality, Writing, Writing Challenges

Finish-Off Friday Flash Fiction: A Sign From God #amwriting #flashfiction #fiction #christmas 


Thanks to MindLoveMisery’s Menagerie for hosting Finish-Off Friday’s. 

——

Credit: Tim Mossholder via UpSplash

——–

Credit: MindLoveMisery’s Menagerie

———

“When the comet hit, the town lit up like a Christmas tree. The holidays were usually uneventful so sister Bernadette was surprised when it destroyed the Abbey. It made her think, “. . .her last dash to the mall [with her two friends had] had unforeseen consequences.” 

The sisters near this town were an austere group of nuns. Their Christmas celebration consisted of countless hours stuck in mass. Dinner was no different from any other time of year, except each nun got a piece of disgustingly hard fruit cake. Bernadette was blessed to have two friends who made it possible for her to last through each lacklustre day at the Abbey. 

Sister Sara and sister Pauline, had driven with Bernadette to the shopping center in town, deciding to buy each other Christmas presents this year — though it was frowned uponat the Abbey. Then, Pauline had said the fated words outloud:

 “You know, I’m thinking of leaving the Abbey. I don’t think Our Saviour would’ve liked such an hateful and bitter place. I wish the process of leaving was somehow easier. ” 

Bernadette and Sara had nodded in agreement and that’s when the comet hit the Abbey. All three sisters had grimaced and crossed themselves. 

“I didn’t want all those nuns to die, but I guess when God answers prayers, he really answers them,” Pauline said shocked.

 Despite their genuine sorrow at the deaths of their other sisters (most of them) a small smile touched the lips of all three friends. 

 They threw off their habits and never looked back. Clearly, this was a sign from God. 

——-

©Mandibelle16. (2016) All Rights Reserved. 

Fiction, Flash Fiction, Health, My Thoughts, Nature, Sunday Photo Fiction, Writing, Writing Challenges

Sunday Photo Fiction: Not To Touch #amwriting #flashfiction #fiction


Thanks to Alistair Forbes for hosting SPF. 

——

A Mixed Bag

——-

I’m reminded of a science experiment my class did in grade five. We used chalk to grow crystals on them. The exact process I don’t remember, but I do recall feeling proud upon removing a piece of chalk from my container and finding various coloured crystals on it. 

I thought back to this day when I saw the trees begin to glitter with crystals. It had been extremely cold and blizzardy, so we all assumed it was naturally, the accumulation of ice crystals. But then the trees became covered in crystals of all colours.

 There were bright lavender crystals and cyan blue crystals. There were even bubble gum pink crystals. Everyone thought this was the most beautiful and unique oddity. Journalists came from every city across the country, to report on this rarity for themselves. 

Then, scientists in the area starting testing the crystals and while they were lovely on the trees, the were not so lovely attached to your skin. They crystals once fastened, would not unfasten from one’s skin until a person was completely covered in them. Until their body was frozen, stiff, and dead as the trees which never budded in spring. 

Our town was nearly deserted by the time the military took over. The colourful forest was burned to the ground. 

The most heart breaking aspect for everyone was that the small children were the first to touch the trees. They had the smallest bodies and didn’t last long. I think it’s the reason so many people started over, the unbearable misery they left behind. 

——-

©Mandibelle16. (2016) All Rights Reserved.

Lists, Music Review, My Thoughts, Nonfiction, Quotes, Short Stories And Serial Stories, Three Line Tales, Writing

Three Line Tales: Mad About Yellow #amwriting #3Linetales #yellow


Thank you to Sonya of Only 100 Words for hosting this week’s 3LineTales.

——

Source: Wolf Schram

——–

1. “Look at the stars, look how they shine for you, and everything you do — Yeah, they were all yellow.” 

(“Yellow by ColdPlay)

———-

2. ” So we sailed up to the sun, till we found the sea of green. And we lived beneath the waves in our yellow submarine.” 

(“Yellow Submarine by The Beatles) 

———–

3.  ” I’m just mad about Saffron, Saffron’s mad about me. I’m just mad about Saffron, She’s just mad about me. They call me mellow yellow (Quite rightly).They call me mellow yellow (Quite rightly). They call me mellow yellow.” 

(“Mellow Yellow” – Donovan)

——–

So I decided to go with a theme of the colour yellow and use song lyrics about yellow. These are my choices and hopefully, you recognize them and can watch the videos as well! 🍋🍌📒

——–

©Mandibelle16. (2016) All Rights Reserved. 

Books, My Thoughts, Poetry, Religion/Morality, Short Stories And Serial Stories, Writing

Poem: Fire in the Sky


“Oh misty eye of the mountain below . . . ” words of the song that Tolkien wrote; the desolation of smog made the town burn, and fire reigned in the sky, a dragon’s evil. Or, maybe evil in real-life?

” Fire in the mountain . . .  we see fire burning the trees . . . if we should die, then we’ll all die together and raise a glass of wine, for the last time.”I repeat these phrases in my head. I wonder if Tolkien thought about fire burning lives to pieces in reality. 

You see in life their are many dragons, they put afire everything, the town is like the buildings we put in place to prop up our lives, to live in peace supported. But not even shelter can save us. 

When those supports burn, where are we then, just fodder for smog and his smokey breath. Buildings are wood and wood goes to ash. Where’s that one little spot on the dragon we can hit, a missing scale, a little nick, bring down terror to his knees. 

But in life our dragons are fiercer then smog. They are thin as vapour and kill us with smoke. We cannot see them but we know they are there, an evil dreaming the Devil’s nightmares. If we see them, God give us hope. 

Does good overcome in real life too? Or do we die as dwarves, and Elvan folk do? Do we cry as a woodland creature over our loves? Do we go off to battle to forget our problems? Are we so surrounded and submerged by evil that we cannot see, daylight and peace in the morning breeze?

Do we offer jewels from the sky, to keep us alive? Promises to this and that if only we can keep on fighting; or do we raise that glass of wina and plan to fall today? No strength in us, though strength was what we found when we thought there was none. 

Misty, eye? You look troubled. Do you know the threat in a mountain full of gold? The troubled breath of a mouth of fire? Rage and deception to keep all that’s gathered. Cursed bits of our souls, like cursed bits of gold. Coin upon crown, upon necklace, upon throne. 

What keeps us together while our supports burn? When the coffers are empty, when we have no cheer? Do we sing lovely songs while we die by trial? Do we come to the aid of perfect strangers? Battle makes friends out of enemies. And dragons fall from their places of gold and emeralds. 

They’re are dragons in Paris, a place I’ll see one day. Terrorism brings fire, makes the ancient town burn. One-hundred people fall in a concert venue and more across the city, people held hostage.  A form of Smog, that vindictive evil kills the innocent.

In ‘The Hobbit’ many died, and Bilbo found out that even a Hobbit can do a lot, though he is small. But bodies lie dead where the armies have fought, no invisible ring to save you from a shot. The terror is real, he comes in so close. Not in stories but in real life. Terror from the sky, terror haunts us in real life. 

———

“The Hobbit” JRR Tolkien