Weekly Writing Challenge: Object

Weekly Writing Challenge

My desk is generally empty of unusual things. I have my computer, mouse, printer, lamp, and a variety of other boring things surrounding me. But to my left, under the pink lamp I can’t turn on because it’s too close, are three palm sized dragon figurines. They all show what I believe a perfect dragon looks like, and each one has a different story.

The oldest one is reddish (I call him bronze for Anne McCaffrey’s sake) and coming out of an egg. A few years ago my family went out to the Medieval Times dinner and show in our area. Outside of the dining room/jousting arena where we waited to be let in was a nondescript desk on the far side of the room with general medieval gifts. Among them was this little dragon, the first dragon figurine I had ever found that had all the traits I look for in a dragon (not evil-looking, a decent color, four legs, and proper looking ridges) for less than $20. I of course had to get him and he became an integral part of my bedroom decorations. He also serves as a reminder that the perfect dragons are out there, I just have to find them.

The second one is a $5 souvenir from DragonCon last year. It is a purple dragon (not a correct color but I do like purple) perched on a fake geode with her head raised to the sky as if she’s calling out. I can’t call her a perfect dragon because of the color, but she does have four legs and I love imagining why she is crying to the sky. It is a pose that reminds me of what a dragon would look like while keening for a lost friend.

The third one is my newest but also my favorite. She is the same size as my bronze boy, but is curled up and looks up at me from beneath her wing with one eye. She is a Windstone dragon and my gold beauty. Windstone makes my favorite (McCaffrey correct) dragons, but they’re so expensive and so rare that I have never gotten one. My little curled gold is my $60 way into the Windstone world. I have been wanting one of their dragons for years, but the curled ones are the first that I was willing to pay for, and I have not been disappointed. She is very small but I love picking her up and admiring her. Every Weyr needs a Queen, and she is mine.

My desk is generally barren of anything not work or school related, but my slowly growing group of dragons are the exception. They comfort me when I am stressed and my admiration of them has inspired me more than once. I am always on the lookout for a figurine to add to my little collection, but being picky has limited me and for that I’m happy. My trio is made up of my favorites, the most beautiful examples I could find and I love them all the more for that. They never fail to increase my love for dragonkind and my love for writing fantasy, and I owe some of my greatest inspirations to them.

Curled Dragon - Violet Flame

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My Valentine’s Day Castle

What is my Valentine’s story? I’m young and have many Valentine’s Days ahead of me, but so far they have really been quite uneventful. So since I don’t have a romantic Valentine’s Day where I met my future husband or was surprised with a cruise to Costa Rica, I’ll write about the years that I loved this holiday the most.

My favorite Valentine’s Days were actually the ones in elementary school before we were old enough to like boys and everyone gave the whole class a Valentine. We would go to the store with our parents and pick out the perfect pack of cards that perfectly said who we were and that the whole class would be talking about. They came in sheets and had a spot for the to and from, simple. Mine were usually silver and metallic with pictures of Harry Potter characters on them. The people I liked most would get Hermione, Ginny, or Luna and everyone else would get Harry, Ron, or Dumbledore. By the end of our annual Valentine’s Day party all my Harry Potter Valentines would be replaced by an assortment of cards and candy from the other 20 people in my class.

But the best part about Valentine’s Day was the boxes. Everyone in the class cut a hole in the top of a shoebox and decorated the outside in their own way. We lined either the hallway or the classroom with all our boxes and dropped a Valentine in every one. I had a lot of fun in first grade making that box. Covering it in doilies – my go-to for Valentine’s Day even today – and painting it red. When I was 6, however, tragedy struck. To my horror, when the day finally came, I had a fever. I was crushed, everyone was at school making their boxes and enjoying the Valentine’s Day party and I was at home. I was missing out on my favorite tradition.

While I moped on the couch, my dad came up with the idea of the year. Even though I couldn’t go to school, I could still make a Valentine’s Day box like everyone else. Then, when I went back the next day, I would have a box for all the cards that were saved for me from the party. But cutting a hole in a shoebox and watching me decorate it doesn’t make for much father/daughter bonding, so my dad decided we would make the best Valentine’s Day box in the class.

I’ve always been a princess girl, so our natural first idea for the box was a Valentine’s Day castle. We took paper towel rolls and cut them to fit the four corners of the box then attached them. We cut the tops of the rolls to look like castle turrets and even added floors just beneath the cutouts so the people could stand on them. Once that was all glued and cut, my dad spray painted it the shiniest red I’d ever seen. The spray painting is one of my clearest memories of that day. I was just a little kid and had no previous experience with spray pant, so when my dad started to paint this cardboard castle all I saw was magic.

While the castle was drying, we painted a wooden dowel white and cut a triangle out of pink construction paper. Then, we took the castle inside and I added my signature doilies as well as construction paper hearts while my dad glued the pink triangle to the dowel to make a flag. I wrote my name on the flag and we added it to the castle for the finishing touch.

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This Valentine’s Day box was beautiful. To a six year old it was magnificent, and even today I love it. The next day I proudly carried my bright red masterpiece into school, ready to accept all the candy I had missed out on the day before. But it wasn’t the shiny Harry Potter Valentines that made this year special, it was my whole class oooing and ahhing over my box and getting to say “my daddy and I made this.”

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I used that box for three years straight and although the flag needed re-gluing a few times, it was never any less wonderful. When my little sister got to that age, the three of us made Valentine’s Day mail trucks out of wood with working wheels. They were both dark blue and we personalized them by painting little wooden hearts in different patterns to clue on the sides. Our names were on the license plates. He also made my sister a giant purple rocketship once I was past the box phase.

Although the boxes got more complex and impressive once my sister got old enough to make them, my favorite is still the red castle that sits on a shelf in my bedroom, with my name on it’s flag. It was the most simple one, just made out of cardboard, but it was the one that I felt the greatest connection to my dad while building. It was a joint effort and he made my dream of a red Valentine’s Day castle a reality.

Love is complex. It’s messy and confusing and oftentimes Valentine’s Day can make things worse in a rocky relationship. It’s amazing the reactions I see around me from people both in relationships and single. Within my sorority I’ve heard nonstop talk about what everyone is doing Friday. They talk about the surprises their boyfriends are planning, the grand gestures they’re expecting, where they have reservations and what expensive dress they’re wearing. The single girls make jokes about how they will be spending the day with Netflix and ice cream. I’ll be going to Moes and probably spend the evening watching Star Trek: The Next Generation, but I’ll guarantee that although I won’t have as much to talk about the next day, my night will be just as romantic and loving as any crazy plan. And, despite all the excitement about romantic relationships on this day, the greatest relationship I’ve built through Valentine’s Day is the one with my dad.

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Weekly Writing Challenge – Contemplation

I just happened to notice the Weekly Writing Challenge for this week while scrolling through my news feed and, as a hobby-type writer, I thought why not this could be fun. I love writing excerpt style stories and the image Contemplation seems perfect for that type of thing. Here goes nothing!

The ocean has always been our mysterious neighbor. We can add 50 pounds of scuba gear and kick around reefs or create a miniature reef in our own homes but something about the ocean remains elusive, just out of our grasp. I often come to this spot not far from my home. I like to sit here and allow myself to be absorbed by the push and pull of the waves, pulled away from my austere life and pushed toward a higher awareness of myself. My life has been a hurricane of bad luck and even worse decisions. I have not reached 40 and am divorced and unemployed. My ex-wife has custody of our daughter Kara but she still gets to visit me here and life me up with her innocence and belief in all things magical. 

I live…lived with my sister here by the sea. Sometimes she would come out and sit with me, though she never said what she saw in the waves. She must not have found the same solace I do or she would still be here. If I look closely I can spot movement in the pool at the base of the rock I am on. Even now, when I am surrounded by death and loneliness, there is life right at my feet. I don’t have need for any pets when I have the entire ocean at my back door.

I’m angry, though I am afraid to say at whom. I wish I had known what my sister was dealing with. When I was there worrying about all my own problems I wish I had stopped for a moment to ask her how she was doing, how she liked her new job or how her night with friends was. But I didn’t, and I can’t now, so I let the waves pull the anger from me, relieving me of that particular burden.

I look down again and see a brightly colored fish thrashing about on the rock below me. The last wave must have thrown it out of the water. I jump down from my crouched position and my feet splash in the puddle I land in. I don’t have a net or anything so I just cup the thrashing fish as gently as I can in my hands and lower it back into the sea. It darts from my palms but I imagine that it thanks me just before it disappears out of sight.

Not sure what to do next, I sit near where I saved the fish. The water laps at my feet and I close my eyes and imagine that I am the little fish swimming out into the deep ocean toward freedom, and I am at peace.

Well there’s that…this is what happens when I start writing with no clear idea of where it’s going, depressed characters. What do you think? Comment and let me know!