Search

Susan Sleggs

Flash Fiction and personal thoughts

Category

Uncategorized

It Takes a Warrior

The nurse woke Maggie the morning after her right breast was removed. “Your husband wanted me to make sure you saw this.” She held up a framed picture of them holding compound bows. The inscription on the glass read, “To my warrior. Now you have an advantage. Your chief loves you.”

Even though it hurt, Maggie laughed. “We are professional archers. I have complained my boob gets in the way, now it won’t. That’s why we decided I shouldn’t have reconstruction. He tells me it will take a warrior to beat cancer and get strong enough to compete again.”

 

In response to Charli Mills May 31, 2018, prompt from Carrot Ranch Literary: In 99 words (no more, no less) write a story about warrior women. It can be myth or everyday mothers and wives. Go where the prompt leads.

Learning to Cook – Memoir

I grew up in a 4-H household in the rural Finger Lakes area of western New York state. The H’s stand for head, heart, hands, health and we had adult mentors that taught us general life lessons. In my case, cooking and sewing. Other kids raised farm animals but we lived in a little town of 300 people, so didn’t have the necessary barn or pasture.

My mother taught pie baking and I remember a specific lesson on how to make a bed with the sheets tucked properly to make square corners.395590_347158358644482_100000509610379_1385887_1859574689_nMy mother doing the demonstration and the back of my head. I was between 5 and 6. Two other “students” look on.

Being the youngest of four girls I learned to bake and cook through osmosis, watching everyone older than me. I don’t remember a specific time in the kitchen with my Mom but my older sisters let me sift the flour and measure the sugar. I was baking batches of cookies and sweet breads on my own by the age of twelve and full dinners by the age of fifteen. Full dinner meaning meat, potato and vegetable.

We “harvested” wild game and fish so I learned how to clean and cook them from my father. Taking a deer from the field and ending with the meat in the freezer is something I can still do today. We liked the flavor of the meats so they were fried, baked or roasted with just salt and pepper, no fancy sauces to mask what we were eating. After a duck and/or goose hunt he would check what was in their gizzard while cleaning them. If the contents were muddy we didn’t eat the meat because it would taste muddy, but if the contents were grain, we enjoyed the whole bird. Fish eggs from perch, trout, or sunfish were enjoyed by all.

To this day I have trouble cooking for just two. Thankfully my husband likes leftovers. “Playing” in my kitchen is fun and to this day most things, sweet and otherwise, are made from scratch. I do regret I didn’t learn to make roses out of frosting to decorate a birthday cake like my Mom used to. Mine always look like they don’t have enough petals and are already wilted. It’s nice to remember hers.

Sun Sillies – Flash Fiction

The new pastor was determined to bring some energy into the rural church. The week after Easter, with snow flurries still happening on a daily basis, he announced, “Next week, services will be in our barn at 3pm. I’ve heard a lot of you worked on parade floats there in years past so you know what a fine space it is. We’ll have a potluck after and music to do a little dancing like we have the sun sillies.”

The following week attendance doubled, everyone forgot their winter blues and baby goats antics were the hit of the evening.

*

In response to Charli Mills April 5, 2018, prompt at Carrot Ranch Literary: In 99 words (no more, no less) write a silly sun story. Up north, “sun silly” is the energetic and playful response to returning sunlight. It could also be an April Fool’s jest, a silly story, or a reaction to spring fever. Be silly and write playfully! Go where the prompt leads.

April 5: Flash Fiction

Trees in My Life – memoir

Irene Waters asked writers to share memoir about trees. Following is the link if you want to join the fun. She asks for our generation and location so we can compare differences.

Trees: Times Past

Baby Boomer from rural western New York State.
Currently I look out our family room window and delight at the action of many different kinds of birds that visit the feeders. The Niger seeds and suet hang from a crabapple tree. There is a “fake tree” everyone perches on made from large branches stuck into the hole in a patio table (where the umbrella would go) and a large cedar that wiggles constantly because there are so many sparrows and other birds perched in/on it. Keeping the feeders full is a daily job, but the entertainment is worth every penny the seed costs.
In the 1950’s and 60’s my parents owned an acre of pine trees that my grandfather had planted to sell for Christmas trees. As the youngest of four girls I can remember going “out to the woods” to cut our Christmas tree. They were not trimmed like today so looked a bit scraggly and were soon to big to be used. Then the trees became the play area for the town children. Both boys and girls had separate forts. Our mother’s would scold us for getting pine pitch on our clothes.
From my sister Paula… “I think Tilley (our cat) would spy on me when I climbed trees and checked on bird nests. Then they would get robbed!!
Joanne and I played, for hours, out in the back left corner. There was a pussy willow tree there we cut branches from each year.
I knew the whole area very well and ventured farther out back, across fields (don’t know who owned them) and on into Uncle Louie’s woods where he had an old sugar shack. On one of my walks I saw a beautiful Snowy Owl. Dee (Our dachshund) would go with me and dig up baby mice and voles, and eat them!
One warm afternoon, Joanne came looking for me and asked, ‘WHAT ARE YOU DOING OUT HERE?’ I was lying on the ground, watching the clouds float by and listening to birds and bugs singing…… near a pile of fence row trees that had been bulldozed up to make more space for growing crops. Dee loved snooping all through the brush and would chase rabbits, howling as they scooted away, because she couldn’t keep up.”
Trees have always been an important part of my life, like good friends.
Thank you Irene for the walk down memory lane.

Rewrite: Again and Again

A repeat from last year, and as true as ever….

Susan Sleggs

I’m slowly learning the art of proofreading, or should I say rewriting, and rewriting again. There is a difference between writing something and making sure all the punctuation and spelling is correct, and writing something to show action, grasp the reader, and not use any exclamation points. I had no idea; until I decided to write a fiction novel.

I’ll give you an example. “Millie was mad because her husband was late and dinner was drying out, then the dog peed on the rug!”         OR         “Millie looked at the clock one more time wondering if her husband had been in an accident. She tried adding some more milk to the dried-out casserole, but ended up throwing the mixing spoon into the sink when she spotted the puppy peeing on the rug.”

The first example has no misspelled words and has correct punctuation, but leaves the reader with a ‘who cares’ attitude. The second example shows the reader Millie’s frustration without…

View original post 251 more words

Learning to Write -memoir

As a baby-boomer in a rural central school in western New York state we learned to write cursive using fat green pencils with no eraser. The teacher would hand out a lined piece of paper with the letter on it and we were to make copies of it, but the lines were probably half an inch apart, two solid with a dotted in between to total an inch.. The lines were so we could form the letter with the correct size “heads and tails.” That means make the top of the h all the way up to the top line. It sounds good in theory, but trying to form the letters huge, didn’t translate to forming them the natural writing size once I learned the shapes. I never could make a perfect circle for an o and still don’t. My cursive is scrawly, uneven, and as we say, “Looks like a doctors signature.”
I do remember one girl who always got A’s made her letters with all sorts of fancy add-ons. It used to infuriate me that she would get such good marks when to me her writing was just as bad as mine, just in a different way.
I like to use the computer now even if I am writing a personal note that way I know the recipient will be able to read my thoughts.

This is in response to Irene Water’s latest Times Past memoir prompt.  Join in at the comments here or on Irene’s post, giving your location at the time of your memory and your generation.

Yum-Yum

I used to work at The Olive Garden restaurant. We could sneak soup or bread sticks when we were hungry, but we could get suspended for eating the Andes chocolate mint candies that were given when the check was presented at each table. Over such a little thing as that? Yes, because when there are fifteen-plus empoyees on duty and we all eat our fill, the big box that should last all evening, disappears in about an hour. The candies are so good, and a refreshing minty taste remains when one is allowed to slowly melt in your mouth. Continue reading “Yum-Yum”

From Fire to Fireweed

No fire had ever come close to our valley before. We could see the leaping yellow and red flames over the crest of the hill. We tied wet cloths over our faces to hand out water to firefighters in the dense smoke. They said we were safe. We weren’t, but we had lots of warning compared to others and left with full cars.

Months later we returned with a builder who agreed to work around the original stone fireplace. Vibrant purple fireweed greeted us. The irony of the plants name made us laugh aloud. There had been enough tears. Continue reading “From Fire to Fireweed”

Good Anytime

Do you know anyone that doesn’t like Pizza? I don’t think I do. It’s one of those foods that if you don’t like it the “normal” way with red sauce, pepperoni and cheese, you can change to white sauce and all veggies. You can get the crust thick or thin, you can add any topping you want, and in certain stores get the crust gluten-free. It’s a satisfying dish for everyone as long as your group can agree on which kind to order or make when there are a bunch of you. Continue reading “Good Anytime”

Black and White – Flash Fiction

“I failed an honesty test.”

“You? How?”

“The questions were grey and they wanted black and white answers.”

“Explain.”

“One was; have you ever taken anything home from work?”

“And you said yes.”

“I have, baking pans from the pastry kitchen.”

“But you had permission to borrow them. You didn’t steal them.”

“But I took them home.”

“They were asking if you stole things.”

“I know that, but that’s not how the question was worded.”

“You should have told them what they wanted to hear and not told the truth.”

“Then it shouldn’t have been called an honesty test.” Continue reading “Black and White – Flash Fiction”

A Note From Charli Mills at Carrot Ranch Literary on Inspire Your Heart With Art Day

I’m like an eagle standing on the ice. The thaw is near enough that I can hear the trout beneath claws designed to grab what I need — words like trout populate the pond of my stories. So close. So close.

But the words I wrote populated pages requested by clients. Nothing creative. Nothing literary. I interview board members and vendors. Such as the ice-cream maker who explained the moment she realized sugar was killing her husband. It was Valentine’s Day and she returned home with a box of chocolate. He loved his chocolates and Mountain Dew. But on that day he met his wife at the door, he told her he had diabetes. Continue reading “A Note From Charli Mills at Carrot Ranch Literary on Inspire Your Heart With Art Day”

If Only – Flash Fiction

Her father worked evenings. That was good. She rarely had to be alone with him.

Getting off the school bus she checked the drive. He was home. Damn!

He would expect her to walk around naked so he could ogle and touch her.

Her mother was buried, no longer a wedge of protection. No siblings.

She stood there, on the edge; go in or not.

She backed away, fishing for her cell phone. She touched the only safe number.

“Dad’s home, therefore drunk. Can you come get me?”

Waiting, she decided to stick with the lie, he gets mean.

 

In response to Charli Mills -Carrot Ranch Literary

January 25, 2018, prompt: In 99 words (no more, no less) write a story that goes to the edge. Consider what the edge might be and how it informs the story. Go where the prompt leads.

Respond by January 30, 2018, to be included in the compilation (published January 31). Rules are here. All writers are welcome!

 

Powered by WordPress.com.

Up ↑