Water

puddleShe wondered where the water was coming from. It hadn’t rained in weeks, the town had banned the burning of yard waste and drought warnings threatened, yet a trickle of runoff burbled its way down the culvert ditch that cut beneath the base of her driveway. Her mouth tightened, and she stuffed the day’s mail back into her box and decided to head upstream. The water gurgled, cutting over the remains of winter grit and the thin grasses brave enough to sprout in the dip alongside the road. She passed house after house—no activity, no lawn-watering, no car-washing, nothing to indicate an unnatural stress upon their aquifer. But as she climbed the hill, beyond the empty Cape Cods and redbrick boxes and by-the-numbers McMansions, the trickle became a stream and the rush of the water grew louder.

The only house left before the dead-end was the Patterson’s colonial, and as far as she knew, Dr. P was on sabbatical and had taken the family to some country she couldn’t pronounce on an archaeological expedition. That was definitely water she heard, though, as she approached the property. And a bottle-green VW Bug she’d never seen before sat in the driveway. A housesitter? What the hell? Mrs. P didn’t believe in them, wouldn’t trust a soul with her precious Hummels and Danish modern furniture and Baccarat crystal. She didn’t even let anyone take in her mail.

“Hello?” she called out, thumping on the front door, but the rush of water was coming from beyond the house. She followed, inching through the not-as-tidy-as-usual grass. And then she saw it. The giant, inflatable pool. The garden hose, which apparently had been employed to fill it, had slipped out and was now turning the side yard into a swamp.

She huffed and stabbed her fists into her hips when she saw the apparent owner of the Bug, apparently asleep on a floaty chair in the middle of the outsized kiddie pool, wearing only boxers and a contented smile. The waste infuriated her, plus the fact he was the kind of man who was so model-gorgeous that he probably felt the world owed him, him and that designed-to-be-devilish curl that fell into his eyes. Her sneakers slipped and sucked mud and soggy turf as she dashed to the side of the house to turn off the faucet, but then had another idea. She grabbed the hose and aimed it straight at the man’s six-pack. He only managed a wide-eyed gasp before capsizing his SS Minnow and came up sputtering while she twisted the nozzle tip closed.

“What the hell, lady?” Now standing in belt-high water, he shook his loose brown curls like a dog.

“Drought,” she snapped. “Climate change. Waste. Do those terms mean anything to you?”

“They should. I’ve been working the last three days putting out that wildfire up on the ridge.”

“You’re…”

“Yep. Firefighter. They called us up from Connecticut to help. My uncle said I could crash here between shifts. Was filling up the pool, guess I fell asleep.” He yawned, then gave her a slow once-over. “Hey. You look like you could use a dip, douse some of them flames shooting out your eyes.”

She readied the nozzle at him. He held up his hands. “Kidding. Jeez. I’m sorry. I should have been more careful.”

“How’s the fire?” she asked, dropping the fist clutching the nozzle to her side.

“Mostly out.”

“Thank you.”

His smile picked up speed but flagged when she narrowed her eyes at him. “Hey. Didn’t mean any harm. I’m just saying, hot day, pool full of water, and Uncle P has the makings for a pitcher of kick-ass margaritas. It’s not every day I meet such a cute environmentalist.”

She aimed the nozzle at him; he cringed and covered his face. When she didn’t shoot, he lowered his hands.

“Is it cold?” she asked.

“Your reception? A bit frosty, yeah. Maybe you want to work on that.”

“I meant the water.”

When he grinned, a little more humbly than before, she tightened the faucet and kicked off her shoes.

———

This story was inspired during JD Mader’s 2 Minutes. Go! writing fiesta flash-a-thon, held every Friday on his blog. Here’s what we wrote this week. Maybe next week you’ll come by and do some writing.

Flash Light

iStock_000005733150XSmallWe all have our ways of blowing off steam and mine’s in the writing, particularly in the hula-hoop rockabilly break-the-blog revival going on at JD Mader’s Unemployed Imagination. Maybe you’ll join us next Friday for a little two-minute (give or take) flash fiction. Here are a few of my pieces from this week. I hope you’ll also roll on over and check out what the other writers threw down.

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Dip Happens—What Do We DO When Nothing Seems To Change?

laurieboris:

I really like this post by Kristen Lamb. If you’re feeling burned out and tempted to give up, no matter what dream you’re chasing, it could be worth a read.

Originally posted on Kristen Lamb's Blog:

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Often I blog about things I am going through. Sometimes just writing things down, sketching out a plan of action, recalibrating MY perspective helps a lot. Hey, if nothing else, I have a blog post :D .

Lately, I’ve been in what Seth Godin calls…The DIP. In fact, I am even talking about The Dip over on my Dojo Diva blog for those who want more (and also a better chance of winning my 20 Page Death Star Critique).

*dangles carrot*

What is THE DIP? The Dip is that span of suck before the breakthrough. The Dip is where character develops, where dreams grow, where WE grow. Bad news is this is also the place where most people give up.

I’d love to say I’ve never given up when faced with a particularly tenacious Dip, but I am a terrible liar. Dips are tough. Why are Dips so hard?

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Ten Ways to Tighten Your Writing & Hook the Reader

laurieboris:

Some fantastic tips for taking up the loose stitches in your writing, should you wish to do that, courtesy of Kristen Lamb.

Originally posted on Kristen Lamb's Blog:

Screen Shot 2013-03-15 at 9.40.52 AM Image via CellarDoorFilms W.A.N.A. Commons

When I used to edit for a living, I earned the moniker The Death Star because I can be a tad ruthless with prose. Today I hope to teach you guys to be a bit ruthless as well. Before we get started, I do have a quick favor to ask. Some of you may know that I practice Brazilian Jiu Jitsu so I’ve taken on our dojo’s blog to see if we can try out new and fun content and am using the moniker Dojo Diva.

I posted about how hard it is to begin and the fears that can ever keep us from starting. The way others try to stop us from doing anything remarkable. I’d love to hear your thoughts and stories, so I hope you will stop by and get the discussion going.

Click the word “Comments” and a box should appear…

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Mindfulness and the B Word

iStock_000006823591XSmallIt’s alarming enough to have something growing on your body that’s not supposed to be there without the added joys of waiting for a professional to tell you what it is and what should be done about it.

Several times in my life, these stowaways have required a biopsy. So far, most have been benign or at least precancerous, and they were handily dispatched. Right now I’m wearing a bandage on my left temple while a recent removal is healing. It’s benign, which is one of my favorite b-words.

But don’t fret—I’m not here to get all TMI about icky skin things.

It was the wait that got me thinking.

I’m sure it’s not intentional on the part of the office staff to leave me hanging overnight to call about test results in the morning. Not the first time that’s happened, either. But there I was, alone in the house with a message I couldn’t return, an answer I didn’t have.

I did the human thing for a few minutes and worried. What if I wasn’t lucky this time? I’m from a family of fair-skinned people who have dermatologists on speed-dial. What if it required more treatment, more cutting, more money I didn’t have?

And then it hit me.

I’m alone in the house. My husband works from home. I’m almost NEVER alone in the house. And there I was, wasting that precious time and energy with worry about something I couldn’t control. Something I didn’t know. Something I couldn’t, at that moment, know, unless I felt like getting my stalker on and paying a visit to the dermatologist’s office, and perhaps the local jail.

I smiled.

Then I bopped around the house doing my bad Annie Lennox impression, had a conversation with a few of my characters to work out a few of their issues, then sat down to edit for the rest of the evening, without a thought that my style of reading aloud would bother anyone.

If I’d spent that evening coiled like a spring, regardless of the test results, I’d have regretted it. Learned from it, maybe, but regretted it.

Score one for living in the moment and not letting the worry win.

Against All Odds—What’s Our REAL Chance of Becoming a Successful Author?

laurieboris:

Wise and inspiring words from Kristen Lamb:

“Show me a struggling author and I will show you someone spending too much time shopping the same book. Instead of writing more books and better books, these writers are worried about querying the same book over and over, or (if published) they fret over sales, marketing, blog tours, or algorithms.

We cannot control what will be the next hottest thing. We can’t control the marketplace or the tastes of readers or whether matte bookmarks sell more books than pink beer koozies. This means we shouldn’t waste precious time on things we cannot control at the expense of things we can.”

Originally posted on Kristen Lamb's Blog:

Image and quote courtesy of SEAL of Honor on Facebook. Image and quote courtesy of SEAL of Honor on Facebook.

Many of you were here for last week’s discussion regarding What Makes a Real Writer? When we decide to become professional writers, we have a lot of work ahead of us and sadly, most will not make the cut.

I know it’s a grossly inaccurate movie, but I love G.I. Jane. I recall a scene during Hell Week (the first evolution of S.E.A.L. training) where Master Chief has everyone doing butterfly kicks in the rain. He yells at the recruits to look to their left and look to their right, that statistically, those people will quit.

Who will be the first to ring that bell? Who will be the first to quit?

Image via www.freerepublic.com Image via http://www.freerepublic.com

Years ago, one of my mentors mentioned The 5% Rule. What’s The 5% Rule? So happy you asked. Statistically, only 5% of the population is…

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Real Life into Fiction

Typewriter - Once upon a timeThink about your favorite novels. There might be a ripping good story and great writing, but I bet it also stars characters that leap off the page. Even if the characters inhabit a fantasy world and have two heads and green fur, they feel as real as the person sitting next to you. That being feels…real to you. You care what happens to she/he/it. Ever wonder how writers do that? I can’t speak for all writers, but here are a few secrets some of us use to take our real life experiences into fiction. Continue reading