TWO OLD BIRDS IN A PHOTO BOOTH… A Drabble
“Cheryl!!!” (said in a whisper)
“What???” (a whisper back)
“What am I supposed to do?” (still whispering)
“What the hell are you talking about, Ethel? Why are we whispering?” (a little louder)
“I’ve never done anything like this before. (still whispering)
“Stop whispering, dammit. It’s a photo booth for God’s sake!!! What did you think we were doing?” (increasing louder)
“I know it’s a photo booth, Cheryl! I’ve just never done it before. Where do I look?” (normal tone)
“Here, where it says ‘Put Eyes At This Line’!!!” (very loud)
“Now what do I do?” (normal voice)
a light flashes…
My Aussie pal Katherine is obsessed with photo strips. In fact so much so, she writes a fascinating blog called Photobooth Journal... which I just love. She asked me if I would create a story using one of her photo strips, and sent me the 2 photo strip above. Could the ladies in the strip be Ethel and Cheryl??? Who knows, but for today… they will be.
Now, I just got done reading a delightfully wicked story called Sebastian and the Night Visitors, at The Wizard’s Word. It was written for the 100 Word Challenge for Grown Ups. I checked 100WCGU out, and this week’s prompt just clicked with Katherine’s strip.
For my pals at Moonshine on yeahwrite… I got a notice from someone who commented on an old story of mine. I liked this one and thought I’d share it at today’s still.
I was honored to be a contributor to Katherine’s fascinating blog. I hope my friends will take a look and enjoy her work. If you have any old strips around, think about sharing them with her… and the world. Now I have to figure out how to tell Cheryl I did this… but judging by the first comments, I don’t think she will mind.
I thought I would share this reblog with my friends at The Still, to introduce them to a most interesting blog by a friend Down Under… perhaps you too would like to share with her… check out her blog, and start digging through those old forgotten treasures and share them with Katherine at Photobooth Journal
p.s. I have heard from Cheryl… she remembered the Rainbow Club and didn’t mind at all…
One of the more exciting, and for me, unexpected aspects of being a blogger is the amount of enthusisam and generosity that comes to my inbox out of the blue and from all around the world. I have recently started following a blog by Ted Strutz of Friday Harbor, Wasington State in the San Juan Islands, USA. The blog is called TedBook and has some very amusing conversational short stories that I encourage you to check out. Ted emailed me the above photos and the following history a couple of days ago –
When I lived in Chicago in the 80’s and early 90’s, there was a bar called the Rainbow Room. It was quite large with a big horseshoe shaped bar, booths, tables and a stage, maybe a dance floor. They played 33 LPs on a phonograph. Kind of an artsy place. There was a photo booth as well…
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MEETING THE WILD CHILD!
Not quite what I was expecting.
Well, actually that’s not true; I knew she would be beautiful (I’ve seen her photo), I knew she would be fit (she skis, plays competitive tennis… and dances, as we all know), I knew she would be interesting (I’ve read her stories and know she is writing a novel), and I knew she was tough (she’s a survivor). So I was surprised she was so tiny… well petite or svelte might sound better.
I flew into Denver with my daughter Krista so she could visit with her best friend, an actor who was starring in the musical Animal Crackers at the Denver Center Theater Company.
An accomplished actor and veteran song & dance man, Michael Fitzpatrick was playing multiple roles, as were the rest of the cast of this madcap zany musical, which first appeared on Broadway in 1928 starring the Marx Brothers. I knew of it as a movie and had no idea it had first been a play. While Krista and Michael relived their theatrical experiences and gossiped, I had other ideas.
I was on a quest to meet a special writer. She was the first to click like and comment on my initial foray into fiction writing on TedBook… in fact, it was more than that, it was the first time I had linked my blog to a group, and would be having strangers read my words (I think everyone will know the importance of that gesture… for someone scared to near-death for what they had just posted). I immediately read her blogs about kissing the Blarney Stone and seeing some frozen dead guy at a festival in Colorado. I liked her writing and instantly became a follower. I knew she lived near Boulder, which wasn’t far from Denver, so I wrote and invited her to lunch.
A short drive, on a beautiful sunny day in the Rockies, found me in my second Colorado city searching for her favorite restaurant. I found The Mediterranean, secured a table in the garden and awaited the arrival of The Wild Child.
I was not disappointed.
For my friends not acquainted with Susie, she writes Susie Lindau’s Wild Ride. We had become fellow bloggers and more importantly friends. Every month she throws a party… drop by, say hello, and post a story you would like others to see… a great way to meet new writers.
I had only met in person two blogging friends, Debra Kristi who introduced me to Thor Worship, and Douglas MacIlroy who took me to the top of Mona Loa to tour the Keck Observatory. So the chance to meet someone else I admired, enjoyed reading and sharing with, could not be passed up.
After a delightful luncheon getting to know each other and discussing family, blogging, writing and writer’s workshops, she took me on a tour of the historic Pearl District, pointing out some of her favorite places.
I saw a fabulous bookstore, where I’m sure the book she is writing will be on display in the front window someday. That will be a book signing for which I will return to Boulder, and hopefully also get to meet Roxy the Dog, Soul-mate Danny, Snowboarder Extraordinaire Courtney and Hit DJ K Smash… subjects of many of her stories, willing or otherwise.
Susie returned to her home to do some writing and play in a tennis tournament that night… I returned to Denver to see a wild and crazy Broadway Musical, where Mr Fitzpatrick was at the top of his game, no doubt knowing his friend Krista was in the audience, and we laughed ourselves silly.
I had a fabulous time in Boulder and Denver, Colorado.
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Since this post is about blogging and writing… I thought I would share it with some fellow writers at The Moonshine Still…
WHERE THE REVOLUCIÓN STARTED!
The Comandancia in the Sierra Maestra, near Bayamo
THE TRESPASSERS… A Drabble for FriFic
INVITATION TO TAKE A RIDE… A Non-fiction Drabble
Checking my mail. The usual holiday catalogs. Here’s one from Figis wanting me to buy fruitcake. No checks or bills, so that kind of evens out. Wait a bit, here’s a brown envelope postmarked Seattle. What’s really odd, is the way they did the address… letters cut out from something… addressed to ted strutz. Maybe some new advertising gimmick to catch the eye. Inside, letters attached to a paper bag.
Walk on to the 8:05 ferry
on December 4th
Prepare to b gone all night
don’t forget your hearing aids
don’t ax questions
You think I’m kidding?
You can imagine my surprise when I saw this week’s Friday Fictioneer’s photo prompt. It was one I had taken, and Rochelle-Wisoff Fields had chosen it to be this week’s inspiration for some 100 Word Flash Fiction. I wanted to wait till Friday was almost over to explain the photo and not influence any of the Fictioneer’s writings. It has been fun to read the different takes the photo evoked, and you can see them by going to the Fictioneer’s link page. As of now, 81 writers have linked their stories… I’ll be #82.
There are two types of ferries that service the San Juan Islands in the state of Washington. Located at the top of Puget Sound, in what is called The Salish Sea. The San Juan Islands consist of something like 172 islands, some no more than a rock… but since it is always above water, it’s officially an island. I live on San Juan Island… it was named for an explorer called Juan… and is the county seat. I live in Friday Harbor, which may or not have been named for an indian called Joe Friday… but that’s another story.
The ferry serves the 4 main islands Lopez, Shaw, Orcas and mine. You board in Anacortes on the mainland (although technically Anacortes is on Fidalgo Island which is connected by bridges and is not part of the San Juan Island Group) and travel by ferry-boat to the different islands, and can even go to Victoria, British Columbia on Vancouver Island (which sails once a day).
There is another run, which is the Interisland Ferry, it is a little smaller ship. The MV Evergreen State was built in 1953, and holds 100 cars and 1000 passengers. That is what I was on when I took the photo. I was the only passenger. In 17 years riding ferries, and I ride the Interisland a lot, I have never been the sole passenger. Let me tell you, it was a strange feeling, almost scary. I walked about the passenger deck and had the weirdest feeling, almost like I was in some of the stories my fellow fictioneers have written, they tend to run to the macabre, cheerful lot. It was around 5 p.m. when I took the photo, as the sun was starting to set. I thought it was an interesting shot, with the eerie calmness of an empty boat (that should have been busy with people doing all manner of things, including jigsaw puzzles) and the beauty of the scenic calm outside.
If you ever get up Seattle way, come up and take a ride on the ferry… I’ll buy.
I do not know who sent me the invitation, but I have my suspicions, my birthday is Dec. 4, 1943… do the math, it’s a milestone of sorts. There are two Prime Suspects, but they are not fessing up. I guess I will have to wait till I walk on the ferry and see who’s there. I will be sure to take my hearing aids… maybe there’s a Steely Dan concert I don’t know about.
April ’14… Here’s one I wrote for Friday Fictioneers… I thought it would be fun for my yeahwrite friends to see. I’ll post the follow-up story next week.
SUMMER IS… in 33 words
Summer is ‘The Mill’! Music in the air… everywhere. There are violins, guitars, flutes, harps, accordions, drums of all kinds, harmonicas, banjos, cellos, tambourines, horns, pianos, squeeze-boxes, cymbals, lots of singing and dancing!
The instructions for the Trifextra Writing Challenge this week were… “This weekend we’re asking you to describe summer in your own words. Thirty-three of them exactly, of course. Good luck!”
Each summer high in the Sierra Nevada Mountains, somewhere near Yosemite, about 500 souls gather for a conclave of The Sierra Music and Arts Institute… more commonly known as Sweet’s Mill. The old timers just call it The Mill. For 60 years now, on the site of an old sawmill, a music and arts retreat takes place in the form of a giant campout. Musicians from around the world come together to share their knowledge and talents with others, and just plain perform. Artists gather to demonstrate their skills and teach others. There’s also drama taught, with two plays being produced. Do you want to learn how to belly dance, flamenco, tango or swing? Classes for that. At night on different stages, there are performances to show off new-found skills, and for old friends to get together and jam. And, lots of dancing!
I help out in the Arts Area. I don’t play a musical instrument, but I write stories and take thousands of photos. Here are two from last year. The photo of the young man playing the steel guitar got me a ‘Best of Show’ ribbon at our county fair, in its category. He was sitting at a table near the main stage practicing or maybe just playing… there’s a lot of that going on. It made a great still-life photo.
But my favorite photo of all, is this one of a woman playing the violin. For me, the story makes the photo, and I’ll tell how I came to take this one. I had gone up to the Flamenco Camp, because I had never been there. The Mill is over 200 acres, with different interest groups banding together in camps. There’s Gypsy Camp, Flamenco, Cowboy, Meditation Meadow, Old Timey, Bluegrass and on and on. There are still some I have to discover. So, one day I went up to the Flamenco Camp and watched a maestro teach a group of children the fine points to playing a flamenco guitar. Some women practiced dance to the music on a small stage they had made. As I was leaving, I heard the most beautifully haunting violin music. I went toward some tents expecting to see the violinist, but nothing. I followed the music up a hill through increasingly heavy brush, and finally in a small clearing I found a young woman playing a violin. I snuck a photo and listened to her play. She finally stopped, saw me and shyly smiled. I asked if I could take her photo, and she beamed and posed for me. They are nice photos of her facing me, but I like the first one I took best. So, that’s kind of two faces of The Mill. I’m leaving in two weeks… I can’t wait.
Here’s one I wrote for Trifecta that I liked… I had a great time last summer listening to music and enjoying the creative camaraderie in our camp… and of course got some great photo. There will be no music at the ‘Mill’ this year due to the lack of rainfall in California.
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”.
Last week’s Friday Fictioneers photo prompt first ran in October 2012 when Rochelle took over prompting 100 Word Flash Fiction writers around the world. I remembered the photo but not what story I had written, so I went back to see and read again. It is one of my favorite stories, nice to see it again. It was fun to see who liked and commented on my story, many still FF writers. I know R W-F won’t be happy I’m posting it this week when there is a new prompt photo, I’ll risk it.
Thank you, Rochelle, for hosting these many years. Ted
It’s been three months now. The shakes have gotten worse. Chef dropped the plate off at the counter, and plodded back to the grill. 3 a.m., liver and onions, bacon and eggs, whores and drunks. Oh well, life at the Huddle House in Chicago.
Lit a cig and stirred the hash browns around. Needed a drink.
Have to remember to put cream down on the 86 board, so they order in the morning. At least he won’t be there listening to the customers bitch if they forget. At 3 a.m they don’t care about cream.
Big slide from the Palmer House.
Friday Fictioneers 100Word Flash Fiction… with the debut of new head honcho Rochelle Wisoff-Fields. Her photo prompt gave me this story from my Chicago days. To read her story, and find out more about the Friday Fictioneers… CLICK HERE … Why don’t you join us with one of your stories? We would love to have you.
I closed my eyes and picked out a story from the past. Maybe appropriate for the Moonshine Crowd. We would go to this dive diner at 3am, after a night out at the bars in Chicago years ago.
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 came alive with the dead. The men and women who created Chicago, or made her interesting, making their final stop at Graceland and the other cemeteries around town. Their gravesites were fascinating, not only for the artwork, but for how they wanted to be portrayed. Some erected huge mausoleums, and some preferred something quieter… like their name carved upon a rock. Victor Lawson got a Medieval Knight. Victor was the publisher of the Chicago Daily News, and the sculpture embodied his character. The monument does not bear Lawson’s name, but does have an inscription which reads, “Above all things truth beareth away victory”. At his brother’s request, Lorado Taft sculpted The Crusader out of a single block of dark granite.
Taft’s most famous sculpture also stands sentinel at Graceland… although of a different type… it is entitled Eternal Silence.
I thought of my photo, taken in 1988, while watching Game of Thrones last night. The knights protecting their charges… and some not with protection in mind.
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For my friends hanging out at the Still. Here is one I wrote a while back… I thought of it when I advised one of our yeahwriters (the girl in Chicago… do you know who I mean?) to visit Graceland Cemetery.
For my other friends, check out this week’s other stories at yeahwrite’s Moonshine Grid