September Flashes

200 word memoir. Keyword ‘family.’

ENTRY 1 – A Bad Businessman. 200 words. 
Since we grew up living away from our extended family we were fortunate to be adopted by elderly neighbours who became known to us as Ma and Pa.
Fortunate because this cultured couple who never seemed bothered by the racket of six noisy children next-door, brought into our lives art, music, gardening and…meat!
Pa was a butcher and owned his own business. The first week we moved into the house beside them, Ma called over the fence to my mother, holding out a parcel wrapped in butcher’s paper.
‘Would you mind taking this off my hands, dear? Pa has brought home much more than we can use.’
‘This’ was a mass of chops, strings of sausages and at least a pound of casserole steak!
As the years went by our adopted grandparents shared our triumphs and heartaches, were adored as if they really were family and kept passing parcels of ‘too much meat’ over the fence.
One day I watched Mum unwrap yet another bundle of chops and steak.
‘Pa’s a darling but he can’t be a very good businessman.’
‘How’s that?’
Mum smiled. ‘In all these years he hasn’t figured out how much meat he and Ma can eat.’

ENTRY 2 – Little Claim. 199 words. 

In time Williams was there first and longer for my sister than I but when I came into this world he loved me too. Before I could remember he gave me a handmade silver charm bracelet from The Sudan. A Sudanese charm bracelet has trinkets of all the essential items needed for the Sudanese way of life such as an umbrella, a basket and saucepan. Later on he gave my sister and I little perfume bottles bought from a duty free airport Perfumery. I saved my bottle. Even when the glass lid crumbled I wrapped all the broken pieces up in plastic and saved them too. When I was just two his foreboding dark shadow caught me using his gum-boot as a potty. Looking back I guess he had frustrations on his mind. Together, with mum, we all spent some family time in the French Alps. I can remember our train carriage travelling through lots of blank white. Many years later when I was very sad he recalled how I fell out of the bath, whilst at the Alps, and bit my lip and said ‘it’s sore’. Williams had remembered me with my first words for pain.

ENTRY 3 – Swimming Lessons. 200 words.

In the small country town where I grew up in the 1950’s, swimming lessons took place in the local river. It was the focal point for the children; the town offered few amusements other than those we created ourselves. Our family lived close to the river, so we found it easy to run down to the water on hot summer days. The swimming hole was near the bridge– we’d wave madly as the cars drove past. When my time came for lessons, I was taught by my older brother. He’d swim across the river while I held on to him, trying to kick. Sometimes I was pulled along on a rubber tyre, learning to paddle, desperately hanging on, for the river seemed deep and wide. I was fearful of things that moved in the water– slimy stuff that brushed my legs, hidden branches and mud that threatened to suck me down into the depths. But I’d cling on until we reached the other side, grab the rope hanging from the tree, and we’d swim back again. Gradually I let go of my brother, learnt to swim on my own, and little by little, gained a sense of resilience and independence.

ENTRY 4 – You Were My Rock. 198 words.

You were my rock. My back. You were there to keep me straight on track. My inner glowed because you were my mother. You taught me how to do everything. You loved me till the earth stopped spinning. Thanks to you, I have confidence to do anything in crafts, painting, sewing and cooking. You were my family. You taught me as your mother; my favourite grandmother, taught you. I savour the time we shared, allowing me to know who I was. Even knowing our togetherness started out on different paths; we were united. You rang me every day. We shared the love of conversation, movies. The love of reading. ‘I miss you’. I missed you when the conversation stopped. When you became confused, and didn’t know where anything was. I didn’t understand what was happening at first. But one day the enemy revealed itself; Alzheimer’s had joined us. Taking over your life, taking away my mother. Changing you with such speed between my visits. ‘I lost you’. My strong family memories remain with me. Everything changed; the little things were gone. The cuddles, your smiles and laughter. Today your love still warms me, and I truly miss you.

Results will be published here and the winner will be contacted on Wednesday October 7th. 


August Competition

A 250 word romance, keyword ‘smile.’

ENTRY 1 – Her. 45 words.

I love Her and I smile at her for she makes all. Her makes love with me. Her is inside me. Her guides me at all the times. Her made me a little wild. He medicates me but with Her medicine. It’s all Her.

ENTRY 2 – The Awakening. 250 words.

The boy was new to my class. He sat in the desk beside me, head hanging down.
‘I’m Lucy, what’s your name?’ He glanced at me with clear blue eyes as ginger curls fell across his brow.
‘Charlie,’ he replied, a flush spreading over his freckled face.
‘Do you want to be my friend?’ He nodded and a smile appeared.
In the school yard I held his hand and showed him around the playground. The others looked on, sniggering as they gathered into their groups.
The days were suddenly brighter, and each morning I ran to meet Charlie at the gate. In the shelter shed he told me stories about his life–his family moved from town to town, his father was a shearer, and his mother was a cook. His world sounded exciting, and I clung to his every word. He held my hand and kissed my cheek, and I was filled with joy.
The other children said his family were poor and his father drank a lot. I didn’t care.
Charlie came to school one morning with a bruise on his face and said he’d fallen off his bike. The next day I waited at the gate until the school bell rang. I stared down the road– willing him to appear. I sat alone at the desk as the teacher told us Charlie was not returning to class. A deep sadness descended on me as I looked at the empty seat beside me, and tried not to cry.

ENTRY 3 – Watermarked. 123 words.

Every day I can see your white water that shaped these rocks full plane.
I beat and wash on such softened surface to dislodge the unbidden pain.
My simply eye only sees saturation and process
while you wash and wash away.

I know you fill and empty bladders of cells for life to go
and you steam in your love with the sun.
Collecting yourself into clouds you rightly fall
into the earths’ cups and channels for new lines every day.

You are our wherewithal
You are my tear.
You crack the rocks.

With my soft tongue partly yours and with your saliva on it we wet our lips as I raise a toast and smile ‘to you water, my love, my all’.

ENTRY 4 – The Smile. 132 words.

She arrived to pick him up from Ballan, stepping lightly down the platform, bouncing on the heels of her ankle boots as she moved closer to him. She saw him, watched him stepping off the train, holding his coat and scarf to him, overnight bag on his shoulder. Both grinned as they hugged, hi, hello, I missed you, yay you’re here, all said between kisses, many kisses, short kisses ,light kisses, on cheeks, lips, cheeks again. They held each other tight as they walked her backwards, head to head, chest to chest, her feet balancing on his. She smiled at me sitting window seat on the train, I smiled too. Her love was perfect at that moment on the platform in Ballan. She couldn’t not smile. My smile I caught from her.

Results will be published here on the blog and the winner will be contacted on Wednesday October 7th.

September Competition

Genre: Memoir

Words: 200

Keyword: Family

Entry Conditions:

  • You must be a Ballarat Writers Member to enter.
  • Entries will not be accepted if they exceed the word limit – even if by a word.
  • All entries to be submitted USING THIS FORM by Friday September 25th. Voting will open the next day here on the blog. Come along to our Members’ Night on Wednesday September 30th, 7pm at Irish Murphy’s to hear the winner announced. (It will also be posted here on the blog the day after).