Well, it’s Monday again. And that means happiness because I get to share with you an awesome link. I must thank my friend, Kassie, over at http://youwhoineverknew.wordpress.com for this wonderful information. She’s an amazing writer and a dear friend.
This one is geared toward poetry and short story contests. The Review Review is a great place to check out some upcoming and ongoing contests.
I’m no poet, but I can appreciate the value of creating short stories. As Kassie and I recently discussed, there’s something so fulfilling to creating and FINISHING a piece– especially when you are in the midst of a huge writing project. It gives you confidence that you can complete something and teaches you the fine art of pacing.
In one of my previous blogs (http://letterstorosa.wordpress.com) I traced my father’s tree and wrote some of my family’s history in the form of creative non-fiction. Rosa was my great-grandmother (pictured above. The young woman to her right is my gram, Mary Blaine). They were French Canadian immigrants who settled in Vermont. I’ll share with you a story from that blog, if you don’t mind.
Ready? Cause, here we go…
I saw you, mid-morning on a clear fall day. You were hanging the wash and fretting about chores not done. A quick glance at the sky confirmed what your aching joints were telling you. Blue now, but white mare’s tails promised cold, fall rain.
A snap of a sheet and you continued. Hurry, hurry, the words echoed in your mind, there’s still wood to stack and cover, the garden needs to be put to bed and Mary, dear sweet Mary, needs help with that brood of young children…
A soft breeze rustled the trees and carried the scent of lavender. And so you stopped. Busy hands held the damp sheet close as you took a deep breath. There, mixed with the spice of the lavender was the smell of fall.
What propelled you to stop your chores, drape the wet sheet haphazardly over the line and step away? Did your heart tell you what your body already sensed?
See, Rosa Blaine, see how busy you are today and a fine, hard-working woman you are. Yet, you should know, there are changes coming… the winter time of life approaches. Take this moment, Rosa, to enjoy the colors. Survival is not always enough. One must also find the joy.
And so you grabbed your shawl, tossed it about your shoulders and set off. No word to Henry, your husband, who was splitting wood across the yard. Just following instinct, you walked down Summer Street with a hello to Maude, your sister-in-law, and yes, the children and see how they’ve grown. At the end, you turned right and pushed on to Lovers Lane. The colors would be best there, from the maples trees that lined the dirt road.
A knee began to ache, telling you to slow, but you ignored it and pressed on. One moment, you thought, just one damn moment to be a woman. Not a mother, a grandmother, a wife struggling in rural Vermont. Not a woman who’d watched the ’27 flood wash everything away. Not a mother who’d buried a little boy but four years old…
You sought the rock, the large one on the right side of the road and sat down. Autumn colors swam before your vision. Golden leaves from the beech trees, orange from the yellow birch, but your favorite was the stunning, unnatural red from the maples. Late afternoon sun deepened the green fields and cast long, purple shadows across the cows that grazed so peacefully. More colors to wash your cares away.
And look at you, Rosa, you look ten years younger. Happy almost. No memories of lost children or grinding poverty. Just this moment to sit and see and rest.
I like to think of you that way. Sitting on that rock with sunlight dancing off the leaves above your head. I like to imagine your smile, soft and carefree as you wrap your shawl around your shoulders and breathe in the splendor that is Vermont in autumn.