Archive for June, 2014

The Light

by: Rebecca Taylor

I gazed at the lighthouse from my bedroom window,
Its light was almost blinding,
Like a sparkling diamond.
I had seen that lighthouse everyday,
But tonight I couldn’t sleep.
Why hadn’t it come?
I couldn’t stand there waiting,
I had to know what my future held.
The thunder crashed against the trees and the sand,
The rain beat on the roof like a marching band.
I pulled down the blinds and the light got dimmer,
And I couldn’t see it anymore.
The night had become pitch black,
The feeling of being alive faded
Away with the light.
I couldn’t take it anymore,
I needed to see what a little piece of paper said,
The little dots on a paper were going to decide my future.
I felt like a sailor on a sinking raft,
Not knowing if I would see land again.
I drew up the blinds hoping to see the light,
I searched for it like Christopher Columbus
For the passage to the New World.
There it was shining in the distance,
The light in me began burning again,
Like a newly lit candle,
That had gone out but been lit again.

The Liebster Award

We are very happy to have been nominated for the Liebster Award by Victor at  jellyvic.wordpress.com. Thanks, Victor! All of us at Paradise on Paper really appreciate it.

Part of our nomination is to answer these questions. As a group, here are our answers.

1. Why did you first start blogging?
I first started blogging on Paradise on Paper because I love to write and having a weekly post keeps me focused. (Rebecca)

2. Describe your personal style in 3 words.

Different. Sassy. Perspective. (Trixie)

3. What is your craziest memory?

My earliest memory is probably my craziest memory. When I was only two years old, I fell out of bed one night and lost my first tooth. I remember waking up on the floor crying, and seeing a spot of blood on the carpet. It’s not like it’s a beautiful memory or anything, but it fascinates me that I can remember that. (Felicity)

4. What job would you do/have done if money was not a problem?

I’ve made writing a side-line because someone gave me advise years ago that it was good that I liked it but it might not always pay the bills.However, if money wasn’t an option…(Rebecca)

5. One thing you would like to change about people and why.
I would like to get people to realize that there are at least two sides to every issue. Sometimes people have a good reason for doing something, one others cannot understand, so you shouldn’t jump to conclusions. You need to find out the reasons for something. For me, when it comes to writing, this is an interesting thought because when I write my characters can do anything I want, be anything I want. My fictional options are limitless. (Rebecca)

6. If you could bring someone back to life, who would it be?

C.S. Lewis! He was just an overall great thinker, and I would to have a cup of tea with him and pick his brain. Also, who wouldn’t want to geek out over Narnia with Lewis himself? (Felicity)

7. Best book you ever read?

My two favorites…for today: Heist Society by Ally Carter and The Disreputable History of Frankie Landau-Banks by E. Lockhart! (Trixie)

8. Describe yourself in three words
Determined, realist, writer (Rebecca)

9. If you could meet any author and ask them only one question, what would it be?

I would ask Julie Campbell Tatham (author of the first six books in the Trixie Belden girl-detective series) to show me where she imagined Trixie’s house was in real life or if she completely made it up.  (Trixie)

10. What fictional character are you most like?

Anne of Green Gables. I don’t necessarily act like her, but I think like her. She’s a writer, she’s very imaginative, opinionated, and feisty. (Felicity)

Here are 11 random facts about your Paradise on Paper bloggers:
1) In my high school yearbook I was voted quietest and most school spirit. (Rebecca)
2) I like to knit, crochet and quilt. (Rebecca)
3) My first poem was published when I was twelve. (Rebecca)
4) I live on a farm. (Rebecca)
5) I’m a little bit horse crazy. (Felicity)
6) Before I could write, I would dictate stories to my mom and she would write them down for me. (Felicity)
7) I am passionate about Veterans issues. (Trixie)
8) I love big cities. (Trixie)
9) Sometimes I imagine that I will be a spy when I grow up. (Trixie)
10) I am a Christian. (Trixie)
11) I wrote half of a  short story on my iPhone “Notes” app while riding the metro the other day. (Trixie)

In turn, we are nominating the following blogs because we enjoy their writing.

www.altogetherseparate.com

brontesingleton.wordpress.com

jetankersley.wordpress.com

For those blogs we have nominated, here are 11 questions for you.
1) What made you decide to start a blog?
2) What is the biggest challenge you have being a blogger?
3) Aside from your blog, have you ever been published on another website or in print?
4) What are three words to describe your writing style?
5) Who is your favourite author and why?
6) What quote or saying sums up how you view life?
7) What superpower would you like to have, and what would you do with it?
8)What is your favorite setting to put characters in?
9) What is your advice for young people?
10) Do you prefer writing in notebooks or on computers?
11) How do you keep a balance between your writing and your other commitments?

Want more information about the Liebster Award? Visit their website here.

LiebsterAward

Balloons

**Based on this week’s picture prompt**

By: Rebecca Taylor

Balloons of every colour stare back from the store front windows
beckoning to everyone who walks by to come in and buy them
to use them as symbols of joy, freedom, celebrations and garage sales.

Balloons bob in the wind as you carry them home
childlike emotions fill you as you hold on tight like you were carrying a kite
a surprise for someone on their birthday or a decoration for a party
their bounciness makes you smile when you see them
and the balloons are happy because they’ve done their job.

June 2014 Picture Prompt

Here is the prompt that writers at PoP will be following this week. Feel free to join us! We’d love to read your stories.

Happy writing!

 

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Write a story involving balloons.

 

Lessons Learned

By: Rebecca Taylor

Based on the Bottle, Balcony, Strawberry, Conversation, Values writing prompt from this week

Sometimes we don’t realize what we have until we lose it. This is exactly what happened to me and my girlfriend, but I’m fortunate because I only lost her for a while. Growing up, I didn’t always realize the importance of the values my parents and grandparents tried teaching me, but I always loved them and obeyed the house rules most of the time. But, then I became an adult, and I thought this meant no more rules, no longer having to have a conversation about whose turn it was to take out the garbage or who was going to wash the dishes and who was going to dry. I, Chad Ryan was my own boss and if I wanted the dishes to sit in the sink for a week, they could, although that meant a lot more scrubbing when I eventually got to them. Sometimes, I would just order pizza and eat it out of the box and save my self the hassle of having any dishes. I had my own apartment and my habits were not bothering anyone. Then, I met my girlfriend and things with Clarissa were lots of fun because we would go out to restaurants and parties and have random conversations about everything from our favorite fruit with hers being strawberry and mine apple, to how many children we wanted someday, she wanted two and I wanted at least that many although I was scared out of my mind at the thought of raising them. One day I found myself asking her to move in with me. She agreed and that was when our wonderful relationship turned into a battle ground. I wasn’t living alone and leaving my shoes thrown in the middle of the floor might have been convenient for me, but she managed to trip over them one too many times. As a bachelor I might not have had to pick up the dishes throughout my apartment, but I’ll admit now that it might not be pleasant to find a half-full cup of three day old coffee sitting on the desk when you want to check your e-mail. Living alone had made be oblivious or ignorant to the good housekeeping methods my mother had enjoyed in our home when I was living there. I should have picked up on the annoyance in Clarissa’s tone after I committed these offences and plenty more but it wasn’t until she said goodbye and left me staring at her empty closet that I realized what had happened. So, first I had a date with a bottle on the balcony and tried to use it to calm my misery. It might have numbed the shock I had from her leaving but it didn’t take away the pain of missing her especially when I went to bed – alone – that night. A few days of loneliness and a visit home to my parents’ house made me realize two things – I needed to talk to Clarissa and I needed to do my share of the chores and do them before someone had to get annoyed that they were not done. I had asked Clarissa to move in with me because I loved her, and wanted my girlfriend to be with me. I hadn’t asked her to be my live in housekeeper but she was the one doing most of the housework. When she had been living with me my dishes didn’t sit in the sink for prolonged periods of time and my clothing didn’t sit in the dryer getting wrinkled. Clarissa did these things for me and I had never told her I appreciated it and I never helped out either. I could have washed or dried the dishes and just enjoyed being with her. I realized I could have done a lot of things to make us live harmoniously. So, I went and called her and told her I was sorry and asked for a second chance. She agreed and now we work together to get the must do tasks done. This gives us both time to enjoy life beyond the domestic tasks and we are both happier for it. Sometimes, lessons need to be learned the hard way.

One Of Those Crazy Days

Based on the five word prompt: bottle, balcony, strawberry, conversation, values

We ran up to the balcony, where we knew she would never come looking for us. At least, we hoped she’d never come here. You hid behind the flower-pot, barely tall enough to hide your large shoulders and I slipped behind the curtains. We waited, trying desperately to quiet our breathing.

It didn’t work.

I kicked the pot, and you jumped, shooting me a glare with your fingers over our lips, shushing me. We heard her footsteps and I fell to my knees, right outside the sliding glass. A shadow passed, and when it was gone, I peeked between the curtains to see if she was still there.

She wasn’t.

You urged me to go out and make sure. I was scared, but I did so anyway.

The mess we made on our way here was gone now, everything put in its place. The sheets fitted perfectly to the bed, the end table right-side-up and the lamp on top where it should be. Even the plates of pizza we had left out in our haste, gone. All that was left was a bottle of soda. Sprite, your favorite.

I motioned for you to come closer, telling you it was safe enough to leave and that she was gone.

You took one step into the room, and she appeared.

My sister slid into the room, raging on and on about how we ate the last of her strawberry jam, the thing she values most above all, and that if we wanted it, we should’ve asked first.

We tried.

She didn’t listen.

And we were hungry.

She pulled my arm, and you shouted at her, telling her to let me go.  I slipped from her grasp, and we giggled, running back down the steps and into the living room as quickly as we could.We didn’t hear her coming after us, so I figured she gave up. She did yell, though. She said that when my parents came home, she’d have to have a conversation with them, but we all knew that conversation wasn’t really the right word. Nag, maybe. But not converse.

You waited for me at the couch, with the T.V. on to our favorite cartoons, and we huddled together so we could whisper funny jokes in each others ears.

And when you finally left later that night, I hoped we’d get to do it all over again tomorrow.

And we did.

The Pastures and the Fields

By Christian Sopkowiak

Using the prompt for this week: “Our writing prompt for this week is to write a story using the following five words: bottle, balcony, strawberry, conversation, values.”

Inspired by the biblical story of Cain and Abel

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

His mind drifted away from the fields, the stalks, and the sun. He thought of his brother standing in the pasture, the pepper-grey sheep surrounding him. His brother would always herd those sheep. They would always listen to his brother but the one time Carl tried it, the sheep scattered. He thought of the balcony on which he stood, a wooden thing high above the ground. He had his arms on the rails and his eyes on his fields. He thought of his brother once again, this time Abe was standing with him on this balcony, with a bottle in his left hand. It was always his left; he said it helped the alcohol flow down his throat when he drank with his left.

Carl and Abe were brothers by blood but not in truth. For when the two brothers ventured to visit their grandfather’s, Grandpa Gabe never once asked Carl about his fields. Only Abe’s sheep piqued his interest. The conversation droned on with the talk of the sharp, soft wool and tender meat. Carl left that day, knowing he seemed lost to his only other family besides his brother. The balcony began to creak a bit as Carl again tried to spot a flaw in his fields. He had corn, beanstalks, potatoes, apples, and so much more. Yet, Gabe chose Abe’s sheep. Carl saw his brother before him, a smaller man with dark hair and a clean face. There was never any hardness there. He had tried his best to forget that.

The day after their visit with Gabe, Carl approached his brother. He blamed Abe for Gabe’s neglect. Gabe had told Carl that if he kept trying, he may be able to change. But Carl knew Gabe was trying to soften the hurt. The brothers screamed at each other, neither stopping to hear the other. Carl and Abe fought about food, family, culture, values, and finally, life. Carl had brought a knife, no longer than his index finger. It was curved and smeared in oil and dirt. He had used it in his fields. That day, he used it to kill his brother. During their talk, Abe turned to look at his pasture and heavily sighed. Carl drove the blade through him. It went through his heart in one swift motion and Abe began bleeding. The blood reminded Carl of a strawberry: foolishly crimson but eloquently beautiful. So much, like the sun.

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Writing Prompt: Five Words

Our writing prompt for this week is to write a story using the following five words: bottle, balcony, strawberry, conversation, values. Comment with your story!

The Blueberry Rebellion

by: Rebecca Taylor

Blueberries, plump and juicy waiting to be eaten, or baked into a pie or cooked down into a thick delicious sauce, August was the time for all of these things. Sadness was in the air, like rain on a cloudy day that just didn’t want to come, you knew it was there but couldn’t see it. The one person who had relished in the season of fruit ripening on trees and bushes, gathering and creating was no longer with them. Her sudden death left a void, one which made Joe Tanner and his daughter Sarah sad when they looked at the bushes in the garden. They knew what they had to do, like it or not, life had to go on, and that meant picking berries. They both knew that Jenny would be unhappy if they neglected the chores, especially the ones she loved most. Without saying a word, Jenny’s husband and daughter went to the old shed behind the house and brought out the baskets. Then, they went to the garden and harvested the fruit for a full three hours. There was still some ripe fruit left on the bushes and more green berries were sure to turn soon, but for the moment they were exhausted both physically and emotionally.

“Now what?” asked sixteen year old Sarah, her voice barely audible.

“We’ll freeze some. It’s the fastest way to get them out of the kitchen.” Freezing berries is easy, thought the distraught widower as he opened re-sealable bags and poured berries inside. I wish I could freeze the void I feel.

Busy days followed as more berries made their way into the lonely, sad home. It was nearing the end of the week and Joe couldn’t take it any longer. He grabbed the blender from its place on the shelf where it had sat waiting since his wife had been taken from him. He threw berries into the machine and after securing the top pressed the start button. The blueberries splattered around making a sea of purple-blue juice. They’re spinning like my stomach, all “wishy washy.” But can I really fix anything by taking out my anger on the helpless blueberries. “They didn’t kill her,” he repeated over and over again tears running down his face.

“Daddy,” said Sarah reaching over and hitting the off switch on the blender and then wrapping her arms around him in a hug.

“What are we going to do?” he asked, “nothing will ever be the same.”  I hate looking at these blueberries, I cannot stand going to bed anymore and staying up all night is an accident waiting to happen. I cannot let this continue, I need to be here for my daughter and here she is comforting me. “I’m goingto figure things out Sarah, I’m going to be the dad you need me to be. I know I’ve let you down these last few months.”

“No, you haven’t Daddy, we both have a lot to learn. Mom did so much, some stuff I didn’t even realize until it wasn’t done or not like the way she did. We’re rebelling at the blueberries but really that’s not it at all. We’re mad because she’s gone and the blueberries are taking the hit.”

“You’re smart, Sarah, and maybe too grown up for your own good. Your mother’s death has made you lose your innocence about life.”

“Daddy, we’re going to get through this. Just like Reverend Frank said, every day it will get a bit easier. Sometimes we’ll have setbacks but we can do this. We both have to eat and sleep and go out and do things with our friends. Even though the outside world killed mother doesn’t mean we can hide from it.”

“Your mother’s death was an accident, a very unfortunate car accident, but the sun still rises and sets and we have to learn to enjoy it again. One day at a time. You should call your friends and go see them. It’s okay for you to leave me home alone.”

“Not today,” said Sarah, “but we could watch a movie once we’ve got the kitchen cleaned up. I’ll make popcorn.”

“Sounds good to me,” said Joe.

The next morning when Joe woke up from his brief slumber, he could smell coffee and blueberry muffins cooking. Sarah was at the kitchen table reading.

“You’re up early,” said Joe.

“I felt like cooking and I needed to make peace with the blueberries.”

“The muffins smell so good, I think I can make peace too by eating them.”

It was another day and while there would be many more struggles, at least for now, they had gotten over one hurdle, they had battled their emotions from the blueberry patch to the kitchen and had lived to fight another day.

 

Superior

By Christian Sopkowiak

Mosquitos, each one of them wanting a taste of blood, surrounded me. I swatted them away as they came but their numbers always seem endless when a body of water is nearby. I eventually killed one on my forearm; the mosquito was now only a red bloody spot on my body. The icy air sent shivers through me as I wondered why the mosquitos were out at this time of day. It was a beautiful but unfriendly Minnesota morning. I was standing on the shore of the enormous Lake Superior in the confines of a cold but welcoming Minnesota. The sand crunched beneath my feet and the cool air breathed continuously across the shore. My eyes were adjusting to the rising sun; its crimson rays were inviting as well as striking.

I exhaled heavily to see my breath take form in front of me. The air was an oddly calming tinge of frigid. It was spring and the lake was just getting used to being free from the rigid ice. I had begun to feel the shivering tingle of lake water drift in between my toes. Back and forth. Back and forth. Back and forth. I was too close to the shore but the water is exactly what I needed to wake me. I decided to sit down in the sand with my knees high and my arms wrapped around my legs.

I stared out into the lake, the water shone bright as an occasional wave lapped up the air. Some moments there would be a fish flopping in and out of the water, others there would be a loon cooing, and others there would be a bird of prey swooping in for its breakfast. The lake’s greenish blue tinge entranced me for a few moments; the lack of movement on the surface calmed my nerves for a bit.

That is when I stretched my mouth to smile at the lake. The water again brushed against my toes and the restful wind hit my cheek. As the sun rose that morning, I decided to stand up from the brittle sand. I looked at my hands after I stood; sand and blood caked my palms and fingers. The blood spread to my white shoes and jeans, the stains would take forever to get out.

“It would be so much simpler if we were free,” I said aloud. That is when I heard the police sirens behind me. My eyes drifted to the lake again. An eagle clenched a trout in its talons and flew off into the distance, into the clouds.Image

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