You are currently browsing the tag archive for the ‘creative’ tag.

Winning Entries

The challenge was to write a 1000 word story in which the “setting affects the character”. The sentence/prompt was: “The gardener had been up since dawn mowing the lawns and sweeping them”. This should be incorporated into the story at some point. It could be your opening sentence or your closing or just appear somewhere in the story.

Our judge was the talented and passionate author Ruth Jacobs. She writes a series of novels entitled Soul Destruction, which expose the dark world and the harsh reality of life as a call girl. Her debut novel, Soul Destruction: Unforgivable, was published in April 2013 by Caffeine Nights. Ruth studied prostitution in the late 1990s. She draws on her research and the women she interviewed for inspiration. She also has firsthand experience of many of the topics she writes about such as posttraumatic stress disorder, and drug and alcohol addiction. In addition to her fiction writing, Ruth is also involved in non-fiction for her charity and human rights campaigning work in the areas of anti-sexual exploitation and anti-human trafficking. Ruth gave our three winners valuable tips. And here are the Winners for the June Contest:

1st Place: Rebecca Young

2nd Place: Simi Kamboj

3rd Place: Apoorva Mishra

We are only featuring two of the stories as Simi Kamboj is developing her story further for possible publication.

The Gardener’s Wedding

by Rebecca Young

Word Count: 996

The gardener had been up since dawn mowing the lawns and sweeping them. For the past 27 years, Tom Fields had cared for these grounds. Watching the early morning light filtering through the trees he thought he had never seen a more glorious day. Perfect for a wedding.

From the big house, a pathway through the formal knot garden led to a sweep of emerald lawn. At the back of this lawn, a sea of white chairs lined up in precise rows like soldiers in front of a white gazebo. The gazebo was framed on either side by pink climbing roses and backed up to a wooded area. It would be a beautiful setting for Charlotte Biltmore’s fairy-tale wedding, which was taking place in just a few hours. By then, the sun would warm the roses, filling the air with their fragrance.

The chairs bordering the aisle had tin buckets attached; awaiting the bouquets that Tom’s assistant Sam was just delivering from the greenhouse. Eschewing her mother Bitzy’s more exotic tastes, Charlotte liked old fashioned flowers like peonies, sweet peas, lilies and English roses. She had asked Tom if he could provide the arrangements for the ceremony.

“It just seems silly to buy them when we have some many lovely flowers here,” she’d said.

He had been happy to oblige, knowing that Charlotte would be pleased with whatever he came up with. They were old friends. Each year, he had planted her a children’s garden, filled with snap dragons, pea vine teepees, purple carrots, licorice, giant pumpkins and fairy houses he built. When Charlotte left for college, Bitzy insisted Tom turn it into a sculpture garden featuring a tacky piece Peter had purchased for her in Italy. That summer, Charlotte caught Tom pruning in the sculpture garden.

“I miss my garden! I suppose I’m too grown up now, but it was magical.” She had smiled, then sighed, “I’ll just have to plant my own someday.”

Never was a girl more different from her mother. Bitzy always wanted the newest and the best. And she always wanted more. For all her wealth and education, Charlotte had remained remarkably unspoiled. At 25, she was still a wide-eyed innocent; marrying an equally idealistic young doctor, Mark Ashcroft.

Bitzy and Peter were just a little disappointed in their future son-in-law. He was brilliant, good looking, charming. He was successful enough, in a way, and had a passable family. But offered nothing to really elevate their daughter’s position (or their own). The young couple couldn’t be bothered by the subtleties of social climbing. They were in love and out to change the world. Their planned honeymoon was a Doctor’s Without Borders trip to Ecuador. Real life would probably disillusion them soon enough, but Tom thought their love would last.

Tom turned his attention to the next task at hand. Instead of just scattering pink rose petals in the aisle, he had wanted to surprise Charlotte by arranging them in an intricate swirling heart pattern he’d found inspiration for on the internet. If his buddies ever discovered his secret Pintrest account, he would never live it down. It had taken several wheelbarrow loads of petals, much, much more than they had, but Tom was able to call in some favors and requisition enough. Starting by the gazebo, he began arranging them according to the sketch he had made. He was just finishing when he heard someone approach.

“That’s nice,” drawled Bitzy Biltmore. “I’m surprised you could come up with something like that Tom. But you do have an eye for beauty.”

Maybe she was fishing for a compliment because she knew her radiant daughter would easily outshine her today. He stood up beside her, examining the effect. “It is pretty,” he said, turning to look at her, “but not as beautiful as you.”

She gave him a haughty smile. Bitzy was still beautiful, but there was a worldliness, a hard edge to her beauty now. She was still long, lean, tanned. But he remembered when he had first met her, so many years ago. Her looks had been softer, more inviting. Her deep brown eyes had sparkled. Now they usually just flashed with annoyance or contempt. Her laugh had been so free, bubbling up out of her. It was so controlled now, like every other part of the socialite’s image. It had been a long time since he had earned one of her laughs.

“Can you believe I am old enough to be mother of the bride?” asked Bitzy, fishing again.

“No,” Tom paused, searching for Sam. He was no where to be seen. “Bitz…” he began.

She started, then stared fixedly at the design, “Don’t call me that.”

“But, after everything. Please tell me about Charlotte, Bitz. I know, but I need to hear it from you.”

“I don’t know what it is you think you know.”

Tom interrupted. “You know exactly what I know! Don’t pretend we haven’t talked about this before. She is my daughter. She has my nose, my height. She doesn’t look anything like Peter! The dates are right. I know it. But I want you to tell me it’s true.”

“How dare you speak to me about this on today of all days,” she seethed. “Just like you to drag out the ugly past now to spoil everything!”

He flushed, ashamed. He lowered his voice, pleading now. “Please Bitz. I just have to know.”

She turned around, facing the house. “No. Of course not. When you are done here, please attend to the ribbons on the topiaries in the drive. Crisp bows please.”

After she left, Tom festooned the topiaries and was then pressed into service helping with the last minute touches in the reception tent on the west lawn. As he worked, he realized he would hand in his notice on Monday. Finally, everything was perfect and it was time. Tom slipped unnoticed into a chair on the back row to watch his daughter’s wedding.

— End —

The Party

by Simi Kamboj

This entry was withheld from publication here as it was entered in a Literary Journal where we are extremely happy to announce that Simi’s story was published!

You may read her story here: The Prague Revue

The Girl in a Saree

by Apoorva Mishra

Word Count: 800

“I am having feeling”, she said. She never took her eyes off me. I kissed her forehead as she collapsed on the bed. I offered her a glass of water and asked her if she said that to everyone. It was her first time, she said.

We still had ‘time’ so I ordered dinner. She refused to eat until I finished eating. When I insisted, she ate the fries while leaving the burger for me.

“My friend recommended this place to me. She said the job was good and the money was better”, she offered to tell me her story.

“Why did you come here?” I asked her as I looked at her. I was angry, at her and myself.

She smiled wryly and turned her face away from me. I regretted asking that question. She never had a choice. I gave her the money and reminded her to ask for money before going any further. It was time to go and she asked for my phone number. I asked her to stay and she agreed.

“Why did you come here?” I asked her again.

“To be free”, she replied.

Before I could ask her what she meant by that, she began showing me the pictures on her phone.

“Do you know what a saree is?” she asked me as I saw a picture of her, looking resplendent in a white saree. I gave her an approving smile. She blushed as she put the phone away and leaned in for a kiss.

I looked over the window and the gardener had been up since dawn mowing the lawns and sweeping them.

“What will you do when you become free?”, I asked her when she said that she had to pay her ‘agent’ a fixed sum.

“I will do anything I want”, she said as she arranged the books on the corner shelf.

“What do you mean by that?”

“I don’t know”, she answered as she sprayed the room freshener generously on the carpet.

She wanted to watch a movie on the weekend and I agreed to go with her. I reminded her that she needed to ask her ‘agent’ first. She smirked and asked me to make coffee for her.

“You have a nice home. I wish I could stay longer”, she said with a hint of sadness in her eyes as her phone buzzed incessantly. I wanted to stop her from going out but the reality of our situation struck me. To be free, is what we secretly desired yet here we were, slaves to our needs. At least she could blame others for being in this situation. My problems, on the other hand, were purely down to my indiscretions. I wanted to help her for she did not deserve this life where the money she earned was just to keep her on the right side of her agent. She needed to leave and leave soon.

I suggested that I pay her agent so she could go back home. She refused and kept looking at my room, content with what she had done about the general lack of order.

I led her gently onto the sofa, knelt down on the floor as I held her hand and asked her, “Why are you here?” I could see that a part of her wanted to say yes and I wanted to hear her say that.

“To be free”, she said yet again.

“Will you go home after your contract expired?” I asked her, clearly looking for an answer that would satisfy the sense of superior moral authority in me.

“I will go home for a month and come back again”, she said as she played with her phone.

I stood up and walked over to the door and bid her goodbye. She reminded me of our weekend plans. I knew she would never be allowed to be emotionally attached to anyone at work. But I wished we could go out and saved her phone number onto my phone.

It has been a year since we met and I await her call, hoping that we meet. Today I saw her again and her smile had lost the sense of familiarity towards me. I walked up to her and asked if she wanted to come with me. She agreed.

“Are you free now?” I asked her as we ate the burger, split in half.

“Yes. I am free”, she answered and for a moment I thought I saw that smile return to her lips.

Later that weekend, we went to the movies. We walked on the cobbled streets framed by the moon above and the rows of rectangular homes below as she pulled me closer and whispered into my ears.

“I am having feeling”, she said. I think I finally got my answer.

— END —

 

Advertisements

His eyes drink up the sun,

Of his spirit there is none,

A timed capsule, done,

Waiting for the next run.

The climax of pleasure,

His soul it enthralls,

But after that measure,

Of wondrous fall,

Into temptation’s cave,

he knocks the door,

Either sanity to save,

Or to borrow more,

More youthful time,

That is not really his,

 To ignore the crime,

He himself inflicts.

There atone,

 Sorrow’s cheeks,

Lost and alone,

Where lovers meet,

There a dark place,

Insultingly staring,

His demon’s face,

Silently peering.

Peering, unfed, enraged,

Nothing to chew

Ignored and self-caged,

Of what he knew.

Atop an empty sable scene,

(O! If man but truly knew)

The moon in pity gleams,

His demon eyes of blue.A

” Only way to conquer temptation is to succumb to it”  

This was the thought I woke up with, early in the morning. Why would I wake up with such a dubious thought in my head? What was I dreaming about? Chocolates or maybe some bread ( I haven’t had bread or any form of carbohydrates in a long time), or a stunning dress which was ridiculously overpriced or something even more interesting which I would leave to everybody’s imagination.

I hit the search on google to see the source of this wonderful quote and found many results which lead me to understand it was one of Oscar Wilde’s famous quotes from his work The Picture of Dorian Gray”. I will have to read this now.

It kept hovering all over me during the day as I went about my chores (resisting temptations of food, shopping plans or otherwise). I put it out on my Facebook status, twitter and it was liked, retweeted but nothing of consequence was discussed about it. So I let it stay until I was compelled to understand more about it by writing here.

The sun is setting and I see a golden glow in the sky. It looks like liquid gold which I would love to bottle and preserve forever. Soon I see it disappear and observe the darkness spread across the little world I see outside the large windows of my drawing room. But nothing earth shattering reveals itself and I am still struggling to understand why my day was consumed by such a provocative thought. It was time for dinner and I realized I was looking at a dull lentil soup and some stir fried vegetables as my dinner. The thought completely send my mind on to a tizzy. I sought the husband’s help and he acceded that dinner shouldn’t be this boring. We settled for ordering some Pizza, bread sticks and Pepsi for dinner. It was such a satisfactory meal, that settled all the restlessness that I was feeling since morning. A full tummy can change many perspectives.

Photo courtesy : http://www.hollyjean.sg

What did I do here? I just succumbed to my temptation of having some not-good-for-me, food. But I enjoyed it. I am feeling a little guilty but less frustrated. So what do I prefer? Less guilt or More frustration? A little guilt didn’t hurt anyone. I made promises to myself to work it off in the morning at the gym. Don’t know if I will actually do it or not,  though. But for now, I am fine. I am good. I am happy.

Why did yielding to temptation make me feel better? That is because I listened to how I was feeling. I was listening to what was in my heart. Was it a stupid thing to do? Yes, most probably, Yes.  So giving in to temptation was by all means, a heart over mind decision.

This pizza-dinner adventure has got me thinking about :

1. How many times I would have succumbed to temptations; say out of 10 times?  8 out 10 or 5 out 10 times? What is a good ratio? What sort of a person does that make me? 

Well to this question, I feel no ratio is good or bad. Guided by instincts, I should listen to my heart or my mind depending on the situation at hand. As far as the question of , what sort of person would that make me is concerned, – I would be as good or as bad a person, as I let myself be or think to be.

2. What is the best way to assess any situation? Should I let my heart rule over my mind?

This will ensure that I would end up wearing my heart on my sleeve at all times. This will lead to a lot of heartache, pain and misery, I am sure. I don’t want that. I want to protect myself. Self-preservation is a natural instinct and the mind ensures that I assess a situation first before I jump into it, like a child would.

3. If I let my heart rule over my mind, would that mean I would have more experience (good or bad) which would in turn be more fulfilling?

Possibly.

But soon a time would come when the emotional side would have been wrecked by the vagaries of life and the heart would turn skeptical. Will such a situation be regarded as a life well-lived? I am not sure.

4. What about a situation where I let my mind take all the decisions and the heart has nothing to say?

This should the basic course on survival that God should have already taught us before we entered this World. But it is not so because  we would then miss out on the beautiful experiences and some bad ones as well, that shape us and our personalities. Wouldn’t work at all or would it? Would it make me cold hearted and calculative? Possibly. Would it shield me from all the hurt? It may or may not.

photo courtesy : Photobucket.com

So there is no one truth to any of this.

We do something or take decisions based of multitude of factors that present themselves at that very instant such as our mood, our experience, the situation at point in time and sometimes even the company. Also, it is the societal pressure that probably makes us take many decisions.

Another window to this debate would be about creative people like poets, writers, artists, painters – do they have more of a leeway to give in to their temptations than us ordinary mortals? Is that why this lot appears more alluring to the commonplace? Is society more forgiving when they yield to temptations of all sorts as a way to further their artistic aspiration and expression? I would say yes and good for them!!!

Why does  one even encounter temptation?

The most common reason would be discontent with the current situation andselfishness. These are facts of life which hit us at some point or the other. We feel this because we compare all the time which is also quite natural a thing to do as we live in a world where everything is relative to something. Nothing is absolute in itself. So the best way to counter temptation is to stop comparing! Easier said than done!!! So what do we do under such dolorous circumstances? Well nothing but to accept the situation for how it presents itself.

Acceptance is the biggest gift one can give oneself. To be able to accept the situation,  the heart to accept others the way they are and the courage to accept ones limits and faults are the best weapons to deal with temptations for any kind of a situation. Having said that, it wouldn’t mean that one wouldn’t succumb to temptation but atleast one can hope to cut some slack for ourselves and for others. Thus making the whole situation bearable. That’s when one can think straight and then decide on whether one wants to listen to the heart or the mind. That time is crucial. Everyone should have that window to decide and that is solely possible when one is more accepting and hence more forgiving.

Another aspect is our talent to compensate. We all make compensations for things that we do or don’t and for us or for others. It is the most reasonable way to justify, reason, seek forgiveness for something that we feel guilty about. So if temptation is at large and there is no way one can avoid it or one doesn’t want to avoid it, then compensation is the best sort of artillery one can resort too. 2 positives for one negative? Will that work?? It may or it may not. But it is worth the shot given that at sometime or the other we are bound to give in to our senses and temptations.

So if I gobble up a bar of chocolate, then I compensate by either going to the gym or eating light. Works, right? In certain cases it will and in certain, it won’t.

Either ways, for me personally the ratio of mind over heart has kept changing as I have grown older. In my opinion, the older you grow, you weigh on your mind more than you would on your heart. How does this change come about? Well for me it has come about through some tough-love that life has showered on me. Having weathered some storms, I have realized that in order to protect me and my interests I have to resort to my mind before I let my heart take over. Sometimes when I see them working in tandem is when I know I have made the right decision.

Hope that it happens more and more.

Now about the Pizza; I have promised myself that I would work it off by hitting the gym tomorrow morning. Whether I do it or not is something I can decide on in the morning. Most probably the heart is going to win this one and soon there might be a post on my blog stating how one MUST NOT succumb to temptation at any cost.

Show – Don’t Tell Exercise —- ‘ Jane was angry with her father.’

Her eyes were wide open, her lips small like a pencil line, starring with a clenched feast at her 77-year old dad, who just smashed like a kid’s puzzle the most beloved piece of art of her half a million dollar worth collection of chinaware from the Ming Dynasty. “Sorry, Jane”, stumbled her dad, “but I didn’t see the ball of little Jack on the floor and just felt over it, right into this beautiful vase.” “Really sorry, Dear”, was he saying with a desperate and whispering voice one more time, before he lost his balance again – this time for the last time.

 ————————————————————————————————————————————————

 Haiku ~

1) TIME 

The clock is ticking

My mind is deeply swinging

To the sounds of time!

2) LIFE

The harder I fall

The faster my heartbeat goes

The more I love life!

 

3) HEART

Water runs downwards

The wind strongly blows upwards

Fire warms my heart!

————————————————————-

He sits on a bed, in an unfamiliar motel room. His body is riddled with exhaustion. His head throbs as the rain gently pelts the window. He’s been feeling like this, scattered, for a while. His eyes slide closed, like shutters, as he rests his head against the wall. That’s when he hears it. The incessant sound of a typewriter. It’s coming from the room next door. He can feel the vibrations through the thin wall. Smoke seeps through the heating vent beside the bed. It doesn’t trouble him, though. He’s focusing on the typewriter, trying to decipher every word. He can’t. And honestly, he doesn’t want to. He’d rather not, as to not influence what he, himself, writes. The vacancy sign outside his window casts an eerie glow upon his face. The flickering is hypnotic, and the sound of the typewriter has become like a lullaby. Slumped against the wall, his body relaxes as he finally falls asleep.

He’s pulled awake by the sudden silence. He peels his body from the bed, wondering what time it is. Wiping the drool from his chin, he reaches for the clock. 5 A.M.. This reminds him of her tattoo, “The nights are for poets and mad men.” That cursive handwriting of hers, snaking its way up her thigh. As the memory flits through his mind, he hears a smile. He turns to look at the wall. He wonders if it could be her, sitting in the room next to his. He’s never known her to be the girl next door. She holds far more appeal. Sitting on the edge of his bed, running his hands through his hair, he hears a door open. Moments later, a folded newspaper is slid under his door. He saunters over and picks up the paper. Right there, circled in a red marker, is the classified section. But, there is only one entry, “An open letter to a future lover”. He stands there, reading. And while he reads, a light comes on behind him as the ‘No’ is illuminated on the vacancy sign outside.

Born with a skull of bones in the light of morning cloud

It so happened in a sky filled with rain and stormy clouds
Her first cry moved around the hospital with a thank to god
She was born to take her list of dos

She walked, fell down and cried moving around on her feet
Loved and cared with love in hands of a mother
Reaching on her first year of day the almighty wrote on her skull
Month one started for the journey……………

Flying like a butterfly all around the world like a Cinderella
Playing around with her friends and fighting for her dolly
Moving around with a half of food inside and outside of mouth
Sleeping with bedtime stories near to her mother”s heart

Month two started for the journey……………
Seasons changed with light and darkness around her
Sunny evening shined played around with family
Bunch of happiness surrounded her with joyful
Hours were counted near to her……………

Slipped and fell from the large heights of her house
Kissed on the ground by spreading colors of red
Burst out with fear and cried out without breath
Ran towards her and took her on his hand

With broken skull, the butterfly smiled and closed the eyes
Father touched his little kid and said my dear my blood
Don’t go……………

Counting hours ended and said goodbye to the world
Life splits with the hours and faith plays the game

Ready with flowers filled with love at cemetery
Hugged towards to heart and cried out loud, my child
Prayers surrounded from the heartbeat of life’s
All the hours left into bones with out a heart

An old man at the cemetery looked at the little bones
Taking skull into his hand and said only two chapters
Looking up into the sky and asked why only two chapters
Old man swiped his tears and said this was no needed

Only two chapters……………

 

NOTE: This recently occurred near to my home. Poor child Let her soul rest in peace.

Note : My creative Hat is a poem regarding a art director thoughts.

I am holding a hat where ideas are filled

I am holding a book where my figures speak

I am holding a pen where it makes me to run

 

I draw with imaginations in my stage of ground

I give life to it and express around the colors

I move around to find out a letter with wings

Which makes me to think what I should?

 

I love to draw and love to be with drawing

I love to get things all around and be with it

I love to collect and make it all in joy

I love to be with colors so as to make colorful

 

My life is full of threads which connects all the heads

I create it around the heads and surround it with life

I reach to everyone’s mind and explore it with thoughts

I play with lights and hang up on like a bulb

I will never end up with a how and makes it a bow

I design all up the days and

Still moves around with my hat.

 

Advertisements
February 2018
S M T W T F S
« Nov    
 123
45678910
11121314151617
18192021222324
25262728  

Enter your email address to follow this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Join 43 other followers

Blog Stats

  • 9,390 hits