SPC: Wailing Woman Uncovered at Beach

SPC-Breaking-News

Let’s get right to the photo challenge for today.

Story Photo Challenge

Take a look at this picture and write a breaking news headline for it.

Remember, news headlines should be short and grab attention.

In this case, however, you don’t have to take the headline or the picture too seriously.

Look at the picture and write whatever comes to mind for YOU. The idea is to have fun:~)

Not into the challenge today?

That’s okay. Just answer this question:

What’s your favorite beach and why?

Free Writing

A Windy Day at the Beach

It’s a lashing wind today. My neighbor’s flag beats itself against the wood; it sounds like the pattering of a hard rain.

Down on the beach, umbrellas remained furled and bound. They stand like colorful sentries, looking out over the waves. Hunched-over people walk against the wind; white -gray gulls fly effortlessly with it.

Smaller sea oats are bending in praise to the sand. Others dance frantically, their heavy oats swinging like golden dreadlocks whipping in the wind.

The wooden bridge to the beach is almost covered by sand so white; it could be snow if not for the hot sun. As I walk down it, my footsteps on the path begin to disappear behind me, like invisible ink. They’ll be gone before I get to the steps.

I kick off my sandals, hopping from foot to foot, as the heated sand burns the tender skin of my bare feet. Tiny arrows of rough sand sting my legs. The wind will take no prisoners today. It will bury them. Perhaps never to be found.

My nose twitches at the combined smell of salt and rotting seaweed. Full of bits of bleached wood, ripped green plastic and other human waste, the seaweed stretches down the beach in a jagged line.

The remains of a crab catch my eye. He lies in pieces only a foot from a hole that could have been his escape.

At the shore’s edge, I step into the dark wet sand. The warm gulf water kisses my feet and rushes away, like a shy lover. Nearby, a sandpiper is nodding and teetering in the sand, foraging for food.

The waves crash then recede; creating a constant refrain in my ears. Wearing white foamy caps, they careen towards the shore. Swimmers leap, like fish, as the waves run them over in a reckless rush of heavy water.

Shadows pass overhead, drawing my eyes upwards as a flock of pelicans fly above me. The sunlight contrasts creamy bellies and brown feathers against the cornflower blue sky.

*     *     *     *     *

This is some free writing from my journal. I wrote it on our last trip to the beach. It’s been slightly cleaned up, hopefully making it a bit easier to read:~)

I’ve been working on learning to write using my senses. This is a challenge for me! I find visual description relatively easy. Sound, taste and texture are okay, but I really struggle with the description of smells! Think about it. How does a blade of grass smell?

I once plucked a blade and sniffed it, but no words would come. The closest I ever came to describing the smell was tangy:~) Let me know how you would describe the smell of a blade of grass.

Blog Update

New Schedule

I am adjusting my blog schedule.

Starting this Friday, March 18, 2011, my new schedule of posting will be Tuesdays and Fridays.

On Tuesdays, I will be continuing my Story Photo series. This means next week, the Story Photo post will be on Tuesday, March 22. I will unveil on the details about the picture of the girl with the birds. Is she feeding them or giving them the needle, as some who left comments wondered? I will also have links to those who did the Special Challenge.

Writing Challenges

On Fridays, I will be doing some creative writing posts and some of my usual “Thinking Thursdays” posts, except they obviously will not be called “Thinking Thursday.” I haven’t come up with a good, safe “F” word to accompany the Friday series yet. I welcome any ideas you might have.

Moving my schedule allows me to take advantage of some of the wonderful online writing challenges. They are making me stretch my writing skills, especially The Red Dress Club, for which most posts are limited to no more than 600 words.

Those of you who know me might laugh at this challenge; I’m not known to be short on words. It’s usually DIFFICULT for me to write anything in less than 900 words, but that’s the challenge:~) Can I do it or not?

The Complaint Department

I hope you will adjust to this new schedule. If not, send your complaints to the Complaint Department.

Be warned, however, that this page is under permanent construction as the employees keep going on strike.

I brought in a consultant to assist with these employee complaints. He has some very interesting tactics which he shares in this video. Keep your tongue in your cheek as you watch it:~)

Hopefully, I will see you tomorrow.

Happy day to all:~)

Writing Assignment: Tree Story

a-family-of-treesThe Muse at the Keyboard

Recently, Joanna Young of Confident Writing announced a Group Writing Project. The goal was to step out of our comfort zone and write in a style we haven’t used before, or use a different medium.

I found this challenge to be quite a challenge! Yet, the more I thought about it, the more I wanted to give it a go.

Since I like photography and use it in my Monday Story Photo posts, I decided to use a photo that didn’t seem to have anything special about it. I picked the above picture of a group of trees.

Then I sat staring at the blank screen and waited… and waited… and waited. When my fingers finally hit the keyboard, what evolved was something unique: a conversation between me and these five trees.

As my fingers flew across the keyboard, the trees developed names and personalities. What emerged is the following story. This is longer than most of my posts but that is something else that is different about this. Plus, I like to talk and evidently so do the trees.

A Family of Trees

One day my boyfriend JC went golfing and I decided to tag along with my camera. When he lost his ball I went into this group of trees to search for it.

While I was looking for the ball, I heard a gravelly male voice speak. It sounded like a character from the “Sopranos”: “Hey lady, the ball is over here.”

I looked around and saw nobody. Politely, I asked, “Where are you? I can’t see you.”

The gravelly voice sounded annoyed, “Oh, come on! I’m right in front of you! Why aren’t you wearing your glasses?” With a sigh of disgust he added, “Women can be so vain!”

“What right did this guy have talking to me that way, and where the heck was he?” I thought angrily.

All I saw were trees. “Look,” I said patiently, “I don’t know what game you’re playing, but I can’t see you, so why don’t you just bring me the ball?”

There was silence. Then a soft, young feminine voice spoke, “He can’t come to you. His old roots are too deep. You’ll have to go to him, but don’t worry, he’s my Grandpa and he just gets cranky sometimes.”

“Was somebody playing a trick on me?” I wondered. I was sure that voice had come from the tree beside me. I looked up to see if someone had climbed the tree.

“What are you doing?” Ask an older female voice. “Stop looking up her branches. Are you some kind of pervert?”

I stepped back and looked around in surprise. These trees were staring at me! “Whoa Nelly,” I thought to myself. “JC must have spiked the coffee!”

Before I could make a fast exit, a male voice stopped me in my tracks. “Didn’t anyone tell you it’s rude to stare?”

I paused and smiled to myself. “Well, I talk to myself and everything else; I guess it couldn’t hurt to talk to trees.”

I turned and asked, “Okay, why are you talking to me?”

The older female voice answered, “We like to help people who are searching for golf balls.” Then she sounded sad, “Most people aren’t listening, so they don’t even hear us.”

“Why can I hear you?” I asked.

“Don’t know; don’t care. Just get this dag gum ball out of my stomach!” interrupted the gravelly voice. My anger bubbled to the surface as the younger female voice spoke again.

“Grandpa, be nice! It’s not her fault her boyfriend hit the ball into your stomach!”

Just then I thought I heard laughter; or was it only the wind in the trees?

The older female sighed, “Perhaps we should introduce ourselves. I’m Shirley. To my left is my lovely daughter, Penelope and next to her is Brother Tom.”

She heaved a heavier sigh before continuing, “Tom is a teenager and he’s into the whole tree preservation movement. He ignores humans.” Then she introduced her father, “Grandpa” with the gravelly voice, and her husband, Peter.

I shook my head in disbelief. “I was having a conversation with a family of trees. What next?”

“Uh,” I said tentatively, “How long have you lived here?”

“Grandpa’s been here for hundreds of years; Shirley and I about a century, Penelope is ten and Tom is sixteen.” Peter paused and then in a scolding voice said, “Come on Tom, it couldn’t hurt to say hello to our guest!”

There was a long awkward silence that I finally interrupted, “I bet you’ve seen a lot of history. Do you enjoy living on a golf course?”

“It’s okay,” replied Shirley, “We’ve heard some very colorful language though. Humans sure take golf seriously. You learn patience when you get to be our age.”

The leaves in the trees began to rustle, yet there was no wind. “Weird!” I thought.

In defense of JC and other golfers, I said, “Golf isn’t an easy game to play. JC works really hard at it.”

I swear if Grandpa could have jumped, he would have. “Young lady, your boyfriend needs to practice more because his golf ball hit me in the stomach! That hurts!”

“Take it easy Dad. You’ll get that ball out won’t you?” asked Shirley. “By the way, what’s your name?”

“Sara,” I replied, while walking towards Grandpa. “I’ll be glad to remove that golf ball.” I looked into the hole and sure enough, there was JC’s ball. I reached in and pulled it out.

There was a huge sigh of relief and then Grandpa spoke, more calmly this time. “Thanks. That feels so much better. I got hit by lightning about five years ago and I’ve been grumpy ever since.”

“I imagine so,” I said. “I’m glad I could help. Neither JC nor I would want to hurt you.” I patted Grandpa’s bark as I spoke.

“Well then, don’t just stand there girl! Reach down and remove that other sucker from my right root!”

I looked down and sure enough, there was another golf ball wedged tightly in Grandpa’s gnarly roots. I tugged and eventually pulled it out.

“Ouch!” he yelled, and then more quietly, “What a relief.”

I heard leaves rustling again, just like a few minutes earlier. I must have looked surprised because Penelope spoke up.

“Don’t worry, that’s just how we trees act when we’re happy.”

“You mean trees rustle their leaves when they’re happy?” I asked.

“You bet we do.”

I could hear JC calling and as much as I was enjoying the conversation, I knew I had to get going.

“It’s been nice meeting you,” I said. “But I hear my boyfriend calling.”

“Perhaps you will visit again,” Peter suggested.

“I’d like that.” I smiled. “Hey, can I take your picture?”

“Sure!” they chorused and Grandpa added, “Don’t expect us to move closer. You’ll have to adjust yourself to get the picture, cause we ain’t goin’ nowhere!”

So, I took a picture of this family of five trees: Shirley, Penelope, Tom, Grandpa and Peter.

See how they’re smiling for the camera? Except for Tom that is; he’s sort of wrapped up in himself.

Remember this family. The next time you hear a tree’s leaves rustling, when there’s no wind, you’ll know that’s one happy tree.