Carrot Ranch Literary Community ~ #Poetry

May 23, 2022, prompt: In 99 words (no more, no less), write a story using the phrase “well’s gone dry.” Is it a real well or a metaphorical well? Why is it dry? What is the consequence and to whom? Go where the prompt leads!

I had planned this pilgrimage for a year
A sacred well, 140 mile walk
Could take a week
My father told me about it
To drink from it, brings good luck
I need some
The trek hard, my feet blistered
My back broken
The scenery beautiful
So many birds I had never seen
Camping at night, early morning pilgrims
Walking down, their faces grim
I thought little of it, except the walk had been tough
Then a couple told me the well's gone dry
I continued, disappointed, however
I was still hoping to hear the whisper from the well…

©AnitaDawes2022

The Universe… #Poetry

Image by Thomas B. from Pixabay

The Universe

The universe is like crazy paving
You cannot avoid the cracks
With each step, it changes
Like a constant gardener
Living in a compost heap of Earth’s wine
Plucking weeds, planting bulbs
where they’re not wanted
Changing borders, straightening edges
Turning my life into a jigsaw puzzle
Pieces missing, others put in place
where they don’t fit, causing chaos
Surely they could have chosen a better plan
on the day I was born?

©AnitaDawes2022

Purple Saturday…

My face and jaw are still hurting, so I took myself out of the office for a while and went out into the garden, hoping to relieve some of the pain. It was one of those wonderful early summer mornings, perfectly quiet for once. (we live in a very noisy neighbourhood)

I wanted to check out my favourite rhododendron. I had seen some huge buds last week, so expected to see bursts of purple, and I wasn’t disappointed. I stood and gazed at the display, the warm sunshine creating a summer meadow atmosphere down at the bottom of my increasingly wild paradise.

On my slow walk back to the house, other patches of purple caught my eye. First, a wild Granny Bonnet, I can never remember the name, growing through a crack in the crazy paving. The last one in the collage, grows all over what passes as a lawn and is called a Bugle, I think.

Back in the office, I feel more relaxed and the pain is less, so I can put my writing cap back on and get cracking.

See you later… Jaye

She Who Returns ~ Audrey Driscoll ~ #Travel Adventure Fiction ~ #Sequel ~#Review

Every decision has consequences, and logic gets you every time.

France Leighton is studying Egyptology at Miskatonic University, hoping to return to Egypt via a field school offered by that institution. But France has a talent for rash decisions, and things are complicated by the arrival of her twin half-brothers from England. Edward and Peter are contrasts—one a rational scientist, the other a dabbler in the occult—but they are equally capable of persuading France to help them with dubious schemes.

France does return to Egypt, if not quite the way she intended. She encounters old friends and new enemies, and challenges rooted in her previous adventures and her family’s complicated history. Accusations of antiquities theft drive France and her companions into hiding in the Theban Hills west of Luxor. An attack from the unknown turns an adventure into a desperate predicament. On the brink of yet another failure, France must make hard choices that may demand the ultimate sacrifice.

Our Review

I loved the Egyptian theme of this book, interesting right from the first sentence, the perfect sequel to She Who Comes Forth. Despite being slightly longer than I am used to, I enjoyed the story very much. This story was perfectly plotted, with no plot holes or thin parts, believable, and with a strong cinematic quality.

France Leighton makes an impressive leading lady, considering the unusual life she leads. Obsessed with Egypt and its mysteries but without the necessary knowledge, France manages to find work at an archaeological dig site, sorting stones. A menial job, but she loves every minute.

She Who Returns is an easy read yet complicated tale, full of mysterious goings-on and delightful magical touches. Once I figured out exactly what shabtis were, I thought this element was one of the best parts of this story. Intrigue made real and plausible.

I found the ending a little sad, but I have the feeling there might be more in the pipeline, as I would love to read more about France and her Egyptian forays.

Audrey Driscoll

Audrey Driscoll grew up reading books and became interested in making stories. As a child, she made her friends act out little dramas based on Rudyard Kipling’s Jungle Book, her favourite at the time.

After establishing a career as a librarian – first at the University of Saskatchewan and then at the Greater Victoria Public Library in British Columbia – a meaningful encounter with H.P. Lovecraft’s character Herbert West turned Audrey into a writer.

The result was The Friendship of Mortals and three more novels, which became the Herbert West Series. Two other novels followed, as well as a collection of short stories.

When she isn’t juggling words, Audrey Driscoll negotiates with plants in her garden, which is located in Victoria, British Columbia.

I loved reading Audrey Driscoll’s She Who Returns! I have always been fascinated by all things Egyptian, and thoroughly enjoyed following France Leighton as she explored that fabulous country.

Turned out to be one of the best and most interesting history lessons!

Jaye Marie

Another #Six on Saturday… and why ever not?

I don’t really need an excuse to walk around my garden, but after an incredibly busy week, I was more than glad to do it.

Always first on my visiting list are Acers.

This one is right outside my back door and is looking so bright and cheerful right now. There are such amazing colourways in acers, and I cannot get enough of them!

The second Acer lives at the bottom of my garden. A delightful pale green with delicate, lacy foliage. It started life as a bonsai but refused to be confined in a pot. It is now taller than I am!

Third is a creamy pale pink Rhododendron, just starting to burst into flower.

Evergreen, it has been one of the few patches of green in the garden. The only sign of life all winter long and these early flowers are a joy to see.

Fourth is another Rhododendron, a purple one. Always late, but well worth it. Those huge flower buds promise an amazing display this year…

Fifth is a tree I once found in a garden centre and fell in love with, which has never quite lived up to its promise. I didn’t realise it was supposed to be a column cherry, one that grows up and not out if you know what I mean. It is 8 feet tall now and as thin as a bean pole. Good for small gardens, I suppose. I love all the different varieties of cherry and I do love this one for trying, bless it…

Sixth and last on my visit is my bonsai Laburnum. I grew it from seed seven years ago, and it sometimes produces those amazing yellow flowers. I just love the leaves!

That was a quick visit, mainly because here in the UK, it is still very cold.

Hopefully, we have some warmth coming, as the jobs are piling up out there…

Jaye Marie

Looking Back in Time… Remembering…

This post was written a while ago and is one of my favourites. I really must do more of these…

DSCF2214
My Screensaver

I am in the habit of changing my screen saver/background image quite often. I  like to have something lovely on my computer screen, as it is the first thing I see every morning.

This picture appealed to me for several reasons. I love trees, and this one is lovely but also ethereal, the mist hiding most of the scene. I particularly like the contrast between the nakedness of the sleeping tree and the tree covered in blossom.

I have recently found myself  ‘skimming’ when reading and writing, and I am not seeing or describing anything enough, which is not good. This post is an exercise not only for my eyes but also for my imagination. I don’t want to think of my old age robbing me of so much of my enjoyment of life.

The blossom tree in this image attracted me first, being frustratingly out of focus enough to prevent easy identification. The blossoms are pure white, with no hint of colour, and the petals are delicate and small. The branches look old, but the slender double trunk would suggest otherwise. Are there any more clues in the picture?

The tree is blooming very early. The companion trees are still bare, their branches stark and austere looming through the mist. Winter has not long departed, as I imagine the chilly dampness of the morning on my skin. The shrubbery in the background is sparse, too, confirming that Mother Nature is not fully awake yet.

My mind sifts through my knowledge of flowering trees and comes up with a likely choice. Is it a Magnolia, one of the small-flowered varieties, maybe Stellata?

Moving on from the details of the image, my mind is not finished. I wonder where this lovely little tree is. The setting would suggest a park, for the area seems too big to be someone’s garden. Vague images hide in the mist, indicating far more space than first thought.

Could that be a roof I see? It doesn’t look like the roof of a house, though…

My mind yearns to explore this scene, visit the tree and then walk into the mist to see what I can discover…

Jaye

How to Grow Bonsai from Seed…

Your Very Own Guide to Growing Bonsai Trees From Seeds!

When we are asked about how to grow a bonsai tree, we mostly reply with stem propagation, where we take a leaf or a stem from a regular tree to make a miniature tree, which is a bonsai. What if I were to tell you that that’s not true? We can grow a bonsai from scratch! What a rewarding process it will be to watch a bonsai grow from the start! It takes a little time, but if you give it your love, care and your time, it will flourish under your care and grow up to be a beautiful bonsai tree. 

Also, nothing can be better when you can be involved in every part of the bonsai tree’s journey to adulthood. That bonsai tree will be your very own baby! How do we do this? From seeds! In this article we have listed down everything you need to know to grow your own baby bonsai tree from seeds. So wait no further and start reading!

This is a wonderful post from abanahomes.com, click on the name to keep reading!

my own black pine seedlings, just six months old
this is a white pine, and two years old

Caring for bonsai is one of the most relaxing things you will ever do… it has kept me sane for fifty years!

Exciting New Development in the Office This Week!

My Desk ~ Editing ~ Image by Jaye Marie

I have been turning the computer off early every day this week, desperately trying to knock my current WIP into shape without any distractions

This work has not been a good write by any stretch of the imagination. I have literally lost the plot on more than one occasion, resulting in major shuffles, brain crushing revisions and mind-numbing depression.

To be honest, it probably wasn’t the best idea in the world, trying to write anything. What with all the hospital visits, blood tests and caring for the most unwilling patient in the world, someone who has no idea how to accept being incapacitated, never having been ill in her life before.

So, one way or another, the past twelve months have been a nightmare.

Desperate to do something, anything to lighten the load, I have been trying to create a little enthusiasm around here. I have tried suggesting days out (now Anita is stronger and we can go out!)

Nothing seemed to work.

Until yesterday.

I had left completed chapters of Ghost of a Chance on my desk and was upstairs changing the sheets on one of the beds when I heard loud wows coming from the office.

These sounded like good wows, so I quickly finished what I was doing and rushed downstairs.

Anita has never been interested in my writing, as detective mysteries are not her thing. So, when I discovered she had been reading the chapters AND thought they were good, the sudden burst of enthusiasm in the room was amazing to feel and very welcome. We spent the rest of the day discussing my book and my lack of progress. So, when she offered to beta read/edit it for me, I nearly hit the floor. Editing has never been her scene, always been my job and I love doing it.

Well, I did until I became a writer too, as I don’t think editing your own work is quite the same thing.

So, how is it going?

I have the first six chapters back and am amazed they are not completely covered in red ink. I am also amazed by the points raised, as just changing a few words here and there has made such a difference.

I have always admired Anita’s writing skills, to discover another of her talents has come at the perfect time for both of us…

Simply 6 Minutes Challenge ~ #Poetry

Most of us dream about flying
Yet painting one’s ears won’t cut it
It’s a weight ratio problem
A bit like the bumble bee
who shouldn’t be able to defy gravity?
No so lucky the elephant
Like those of us without wings
We can only dream
of defying gravity…

©AnitaDawes2022

Simply 6 Minutes Challenge Note

https://christinebialczak.com/2020/07/14/simply-6-minutes-writing-challenge