A year ago, I joined Google Plus. I looked for my interests. I joined or asked to join some communities and watched as my stream filled with jokes, crochet patterns, craft tidbits, travel, foodie goodies, and…writing questions and advice.
I taught myself through the google helpers about circles, plus +1ing, sharing, and re-sharing. It was an odd fun world. I interacted, made new friends, got a few family members to join, and learned things.
I have always loved to write. Stories in my head would surface through incidences or dreams, or just out of the blue. So, I decided to pick up my pen again. The best source of writing interaction, answering questions, offering advice was through the Writers Discussion Group. It is a wonderful community owned by John Ward and moderated by many great people, who are writers and authors in their own right. I decided there was no time like the present to jump in, flex the fingers and get after it. That’s when I saw the WDG had moderated writing exercises using picture prompts. The flash fiction is kept to a 600 or under word count. Hmm…I can do this. Maybe? My procedure has always been to hand-write first, then transcribe into something else and save. I nervously put myself “out there”. Other’s did too. Hey, there are some good writing here. I have participated in some flash fiction for over a year now. I guess I’ve posted over twenty- some-odd stories from last year and this year combined. There are many so talented writers to learn from reading stories as well. I encourage you to read them all.
Then I was encouraged by one of the moderators, to try NaNoWriMo 2013. I was skeptical I could write 1667 words a day for 30 straight days, as I say on another post. It just feels good writing again. All I can do is get better? Right? It’s a long shot, but hey…why not? Maybe I’ll open that bottom drawer and dust off a few stories. They need rewriting. 🙂
This image is from the State Library and Archives of Florida [rc12767]
Here’s one of the most recent flash fiction exercises I participated in using this picture prompt. I edited and revised this version a little more from the one I posted on the exercise.
The Desert Lake
by Ronda Reed
The hum of the bi-plane’s single engine was comforting heading into the darkening gray night. Lightning flashed, thunder crackled, and the wind whipped, dipping each wing roughly. Picking up the radio handset, Joe said, “This is Adam Foxtrot One Niner Niner. Bad storm ahead. Please advise. Over.”
The returned radio transmission statically garbled. Joe looked at the width of the cloud, judging it from his distance. It was too late to fly around the system. There were only trees below, no safe landing. He tightened his hands on the throttle. Pausing, he reached down for the leather mailbags and flung the straps securely over his neck and shoulder. He was depended on. He couldn’t mess up his first continental mail run.
Joe gritted his teeth, adjusted his goggles, and flew into the mass. The rain pelted him, hampering his vision. A sudden clap of thunder accompanied a bolt of lightning in a strike so sudden, Joe was momentarily blinded. He looked to his left, the wing was hit.
The plane started to list left, then right. He grabbed the radio control again and shouted, “May Day. May Day”. Down he spiraled. Heart pounding, he tried to pull up. He strangely thought of all the mail, the missives, the love letters and important documents, all undelivered.
He jerked forward on impact, then was cushioned with a splash. Cold liquid gushed up, plunging him into wet darkness. Metal groaned, floating down until what was left of the plane struck something solid, and held. Then nothing. . .
The wind howled ceaselessly, churning up red dirt until it rendered the sky an orange murky brown. Ever since the lake had dried up, people gathered to look at the unusual things turning up in the dusty bed: overturned rowboats, a rusty model A, bones of all kinds, even a bi-plane wrecked in a tree.
“Is that really your plane, Grandpa?” asked the boy.
“Sure is, Joey,” said Joe.
“How did you make it out?”
“Well, while sinking, I was able to unbuckle. That tree saved my life. I was fighting unconsciousness and swam up the few feet to the top. The shoreline wasn’t far.”
Looking at the broken plane cradled in the branches brought unexpected tears of thankfulness pooling in Joe’s eyes, pulling Joey close. The Dust Bowl, what they were calling these dry years, had presented such hardship and death for many. Joe felt guilty feeling thankful for it this once. Looking up at the wreckage, seeing it, touching that which saved him years ago, humbled him. He smiled, wondering about all that saved mail, each reaching destinations after all…
The purr of the De Soto’s motor threatened to lull a young boy to sleep. “Daddy? Why are we going to see The Desert Lake instead of The World’s Largest Ball of Twine?” he asked, to keep from nodding off.
“Reach into the glove compartment and get the letter out that’s in there,” the father said.
The boy did as he was told. The envelope was old, brittle, and wavy like it had been wet once. The ink was faded, smeared, and barely legible.
“Because of that letter, son, you were finally born. It’s a very important letter to your mother and I from a doctor. There’s a surprise I want you to see at The Desert Lake.. It
will tell the rest of the story,” he said.
Thanks for reading. You can read more of my Flash Fiction from the WDG moderated exercises here