He paused, sweaty in his efforts pushing the old car. ‘Damn thing! Oh well, that’s what you get when you own a classic! Classic piece of shit right now.’ At least it was small, thank God for that. He resumed pushing. The car glided down the street, only the squeak of the wire wheels breaking the stillness.
A passerby. “What are you doing?”
“What does it look like I’m doing? I’m pushing a car!”
“Do you want some help?”
“I’m sorry, that was rude. I can’t leave my car on the street, it would be gone. I’d love some help.”
Here is the photo prompt for this week’s Friday Fictioneers stories, by Beth Carter… a writer high in the Ozark hills. Wait a minute… did that sound right? Anyway, it is quite a photo, and it won Beth the blue ribbon in the Ozarks Writers League photo contest in February.
As soon as I saw the wire wheel in the corner, I knew what I would write. The photo up top is the only picture I have of my first car… a 1955 MG TF-1500. That is my sister Marja showing off the cars for a car show. It appeared in the Sacramento Union in 1977. My car is the little one. I could not tell you how many times I pushed that car.
Ruth hadn’t glazed a pot in what seemed like, forever. He always did that part. Her ‘job’ was the throwing… his, the decorating. Such awards they had received. But he wasn’t helping anymore. She had decided on a simple sgraffito cut through the soft slip. Selecting a chisel ended bamboo for her doctor, she wondered if she was up for the task.
He loved Temmoku, and though she disliked working in stoneware, it seemed only fitting. She had found a glaze he made years ago before she had insisted they use only porcelain. A near-black, which could break to an iron-red at the right temperature creating a fire-change. A bit of Titanium added as doctor to the process. He would be so pleased.
She had decided on just their marks intertwined with his name, as she pushed through the soft clay. No dates.
There would be comparisons, of course. Ruth didn’t care. This was to be her last work. Her tears would only add to the decoration.
Trifecta Writing Challenge Week Sixty-Six : Write 33 to 333 words using the third definition of the word: DOCTOR (noun) a : material added (as to food) to produce a desired effect ~ b : a blade (as of metal) for spreading a coating or scraping a surface
Temmoku is a type of glaze popular in Japan. It is used on stoneware and is a very complicated process. Sgraffito is a form of decoration, scratching through the surface of a glaze to reveal the clay beneath, or another glaze, before firing.
I named her Ruth to honor my first ceramics teacher, Ruth Rippon. An amazing artist and a wonderful teacher. Nobody but Ruth would glaze her work.
This photo of Ruth in her studio in 1980 was taken by Kurt Fishback. One of her most famous works is called The Lollies and can be found in Sacramento. I don’t know who took the photo of young Ruth above.
This is one of my favorite stories I’ve written. I thought I would share it with AnythingGoes. Check out their blog for other stories:
(If you recognize the castle and have not watched the ending… read no further)
She pushed her way out the revolving door, past the disgusting smokers, inhaling with them for a split second and wishing she had one. She needed to stretch off the molded plastic chair she had been sitting on all night. Reaching the end of the overhang, it was beginning to get light out, nothing but a dreary drizzle… it had been “raining cats and dogs” earlier, as Ethel liked to say. They told her to go home, nothing she could do, they would call her. But Ethel was her best friend, so she sat and waited.
Cheryl had bought a Tribune, she didn’t bother with the front section, the news was always depressing and she felt bad enough. She skipped the financial section, no interest, but quick to exhaust the A & E for gossip. Sports were left, time to check and see if the Blackhawks were still undefeated. Their friend Betty had gotten them hooked on hockey. Betty lived near Detroit, so she was a Wings fan. She called them ‘her babies’, and went on and on about them… they weren’t doing well. Ethel and Cheryl found it exciting and watched all the games on TV. Betty had also turned them on to Downton Abbey. That’s who Cheryl was blaming for Ethel’s present condition and her own discomfort. Downton Abbey… Julian Fellowes who writes the show, Dan Stevens (Mathew) for not renewing his contract so Mathew had to be killed… and Betty. Ethel was devastated and the shock was just too much for her.
A doctor came out and told Cheryl that Ethel was okay and ready to go home. He thanked her for waiting. “It had only been a case of bad heartburn.”
Cheryl felt bad. Ethel will be pissed she didn’t have a heart attack. She had insisted they order in from the new Mexican restaurant, and Ethel was not an adventurous eater. Cheryl had insisted on calling 911 when Ethel said she was okay. Maybe, she was to blame.
This suggestion made me think about a post I did last year… I thought I would share it again…
Daily Prompt: Nightmares
I just started reading ‘The Victorian Chaise-Longue’ by Marghanita Laski… it has been a long time coming.
I first encountered this little book, when the title caught my eye, while looking through a Persephone Books catalog about three years ago. I had seen ‘Miss Pettigrew Lives for a Day’ at the Palace Theater, which I absolutely loved… such a delightful story and with Frances McDormand and Amy Adams, what’s not to love. I liked it so much, I went back the next night, and while walking to my car, I saw the book in the window of Griffin Bay Books. When I went back to buy the next day, it had been sold… apparently someone else liked the movie as much as I. GBB ordered the book and I was soon enjoying Winifred Watson’s delightful story.
Persephone Books of London, reprints neglected classics by 20th century (mostly women) writers, like…
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“Where are they?”
“Where are what?” Ethel continued to pick crumbs from the white damask tablecloth, waiting.
“The cats and dogs.”
“Oh holy Mary dear mother of God! It’s a weather expression, Cheryl”
The 33 word challenge this week was to provide a 33 word example of hyperbole: exaggeration used for effect
♫♪”Stop! In the name of love.”♩♫ I can’t get it out of my head.
Not ‘Starbuckie’, think ‘parents old furniture’ type. We met in line, she looked sad. I was nice. She was going to karaoke and her eyes said she wanted me to go. I did, she was kinda cute. She sang Diana Ross to me.
♩♭♬ “I’m aware of where you go”♬ She’s everywhere, even when I jog.
She was fun for a while. I didn’t lead her on. I didn’t know what to do.
♭♪♪”Before you break my heart”♭♪ Couldn’t do that.
“I want my lawyer now.”
Another 100 word song for Friday Fictioneers… The photo prompt was taken in Jeonju, South Korea by David Stewart, one of our Sci-Fi Fictioneers… he lives in Korea… check into the Green Walled Tower sometime. Also, if you read sheet music… I don’t… zip it up! And, Rich… I am not counting the musical notes as words.
Here’s where to find the other stories based on this fantastical statue. My friend Parul said “Perhaps his photography skills added to the intrigue!” I quite agree. Glad he didn’t lose his Nikon.
Came across this and had to revisit…
One day, the actress took me to see Graceland Cemetery… I was living in Chicago, and she said it was a must see. It was a beautiful spring day, and we strolled the grounds… me snapping pics and she studying her lines for a play that was opening soon. Never one to miss a dramatic opportunity, she began posing with the statuary… giving me her reaction to each theme. When we came to the stone knight, she fell to the ground and played the ‘fair maiden struck down in the prime of life’. After she got up, I asked her if he had slain her. “Oh no”, she replied, “he stands guard, protecting her.”
The Crusader by Lorado Taft (1931)… Cemeteries are the perfect place for a history lesson. I learned a lot about Chicago history at Graceland. The place names I had seen around the city…
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Here’s another blast from the past for my moonshine grid friends… I wrote this for The Trifecta Writing Challenge last year, about one of my favorite obsessions… enjoy.
Amélie adjusted the strap and tried to stand still. She was getting tired, but more so bored. “Madame, please try to stand straighter. I’m almost finished. You will be the toast of all Paris soon.” She liked the painting, although not sure of the pose. And why did he dwell on the color of her skin so? She was one of the most sought after beauties of the day, and was looking forward to the Salon of 1884.
Varnishing Day came, and Le Gaulois had given John a favorable review. Fourcald called the painting “remarkable”.
She stepped from the carriage, dressed for the occasion. Congratulations and praise sure to come. But, that was not to be the case. For Painting #2150 in Gallery 31 was to be the cause of ruined reputations and changed lives that day. Instead of words like “superbe” and “magnifique” the shouts from the crowd were “détestable”, “clown”, “harlot”, “monstrueux”. Not at all what was expected, and the reviews in the days to come were scathing. All for a strap and the color of too much bare skin.
After the Salon, the artist did not show the painting publicly for 20 years. Madame Virginie Amélie Gautreau went into seclusion for the rest of her life.
Thirty-two years later, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, in New York City, would buy one of the most famous portraits ever painted. Madame had died in Paris the year before. John Singer Sargent had become one of the most famous artists of his time. A stipulation of sale, was that the painting not bear her name, but be called “Madame X”.