A Return To Flash Fiction Friday
May years ago, I used to post flash fiction stories on Fridays. I’m trying in 2022 to come back to the basics of writing –exercising the writing muscle even. I’m asking myself daily, What Did You Write Today? I also think its healthy to not just focus on one project nonstop. Some people can do that, sure. I’m not one of them. I need to take breaks and stretch. I’ve known others who benefit from that approach to their creative lives, too. My Friday Flash Fictions do that for me. It lets me step away from the heavy lifting of my Writing Life. Like now, I’m currently doing a ghost writing project, as well as revising/editing Rattlesnake Ridge (Echo Falls Book III). I get to dive into any fiction world, or character I want. It lets me play with style, dialogue, description, and exercising the skills I need as a writer.
Posting these will help keep me accountable on the other projects I’m working on as well as continue to increase my skills. When I was regularly teaching writing students, one of the things I used to preach was just going to the page and writing. Getting those creative brain cells, writing muscles used to just sitting down and producing stories.
I did that today. I sat down. Found a random prompt from the many resources at anyone’s fingertips. It brought to life a character, place, and environment and off I went. Most Flash Fiction is less than 2,000 words. Most flash fiction is typically a complete story. Today in my personal What Did You Write Today? efforts, after a little more than 1,000 words in less than an hour, I have the start of something. So in my typical fashion, not within parameters. But since this is my own island on the internet, I’m not getting voted out. Will I pick this thread up again next week? Not sure. Today I was mostly about playing around with mood, with description, and letting my imagination get into it. The important part is that I created something. And maybe we’ll see this story pick up again next week. I’m not going to limit myself. Again, sharing this is all about accountability, and potentially, encouraging others who have this back and forth with the Writing Life.
Feel free to let me know your thoughts. Practice reviewing here in the comments (please remember I’m human). Response and feedback are critical to the writer’s process and development. But mostly, leave me a comment about what you wrote today. What Did You Write Today?
Without further exposition, I give you this week’s Friday Flash Fiction:
Tudor’s Mountain Lodge
By Casondra Brewster
The road East opened again. More traffic would be expected today. The sun dappled it’s light onto the front lawn and very small parking lot to the South and the circular driveway, peaking through the line of sentry pines to the East. Lori Tudor peaked out the reading nook window of the main floor of this little bloated cottage carved into the mountain. She sighed and closed the book she held. Kindred. As an introvert of near debilitating proportions, she had enjoyed being snowed-in. But there was a new wood shed to build and the chickens needed another season of feed. Eggs. Breakfast.
“Coffee,” she uttered to no one. She was alone. The blizzard had kept everyone away. She breathed a bit deeper sending out gratitude to the universe that the storm happened whilst she had closed for the maintenance. The furnace had died. As a business, she had to be able to keep people warm when necessary. She could live by her fireplace for a few days and be fine in her en suite room. It was her sanctuary when the lodge was occupied with all those who seeked the solace of the mountains. Hikers, skiers, and lovers sought out Tudor’s Mountain Lodge. She could only house at most 6 guests. She preferred only two at a time and as the lodge grew more popular, she was able to raise rates to re-invest what she and Vince had started.
“I’m not ready for today,” again she spoke to no one, this time in the kitchen. This time, a grumpy meow came from behind her. Lori turned to see her cat, Crab. He was waiting for breakfast. “Coffee first,” Lori looked at Crab as she flicked the “on” button for the industrial grinder/brewer that was almost as large as the six-burner gas stove. She squatted down and gave Crab a pet. Crab pawed at his outstretched hands. He was not in the mood for pets. He was in the mood for food. “Alright, brat,” she said. And moved to the cat food cabinet.
While the cat gobbled his breakfast, coffee warmed Lori and its caffeine began to awaken her armor to deal with other people. People mean guests, both lodge guests and cafe guests. Vince always handled the people. She dealt with all the non-people work. But she’d slowly learned over the last decade that she could do both. She didn’t engage easily with people like her husband had. Yet she had developed skills and the goodness of the space, energy, and the delicious food she served had kept people coming.
She fussed with the little radio in the corner of her office – really an old utility room off the kitchen – to get the weather report. They would see some melt today, but just enough to brighten the shoveled and plowed areas. She was happy the State had kept the mountain road closed a bit longer so that residents along it could really dig out before recreational traffic ramped up again. But even on a Monday, people would be here. It was the holiday season after all. She heard the bell at the front door and turned off the radio.
“There’s a tree down right before the blind curve,” Lori heard as she came to the front room, the former front porch converted into a reception room. Her assistant, Roger was stomping snow off his boots and securing his gloves into pockets of a huge winter parka.
“Good morning, friend,” Lori said.
“Hey boss,” Roger said.
“Oh, right, it’s a work day,” she said.
“We can work together and be friends,” he said.
“Coffee?” Lori changed the subject.
Roger nodded and followed Lori as she headed to the kitchen.
Crab greeted Roger with a rub against his legs and a low purr.
“Sure, he loves on you and barks at me,” Lori said. “So tell me about this tree.” She poured a cup for Roger. He took the pale gray mug with the TML logo made to look like mountains and trees engraved on the side. Lori thought the mug looked tiny in his hands, whereas she often felt like she needed to hold them with two hands.
“Big tree fell over the road,” he said. He swallowed more coffee and then continued, “The DOT is on it – chainsaws buzzing. Just letting you know that traffic is backed up and it took me extra long to get here. I wasn’t trying to be late.”
“You’re fine,” Lori said.
“I would have called, but I knew you were doing your morning thing,” he took a sip.
“You know me well,” she said.
“Ten Years,” he said.
“Ugh,” Lori said. “Don’t remind me how old I’m getting.” She winked at him and moved to the refrigerator and started pulling out milk and eggs. “I need to get these breakfast sandwiches made and some other prep for the cafe part. We have one couple and a single coming in. Do we have all the access points de-iced?”
“I’ll make tracks to make sure there’s even a good path from the smoking area to the parking lot,” Roger said.
“Because that’s important,” Lori rolled her eyes.
Roger swallowed the last bit of his coffee. He gave Lori a wicked grin, pulled a cigar out of his inside jacket pocket and installed it in his mouth with much flourish. “It is M’Lady.” He left the kitchen with Crab on his heels.
Lori worked the eggs into a nice scramble and cooked them into a thick omelet with a good bit of cheddar cheese. She thought about how overwhelmed she had been after Vince died and how easily she had found Roger and he had been the perfect fit as an assistant. He was a bit too macho at times for her, but given all he did for her, and that he only smoked outdoors, she forgave him his oddness, provided he allowed hers as well, which he clearly had for a decade plus.
It dawned on her that she had missed his steady company during the snow-in. He didn’t stay too far from where she was, but the storm had been that bad to keep him from work. She had told him to just stay home until the roads opened. She was looking forward to the impromptu vacation.
I enjoyed it, and yes, seems like a good beginning to something bigger. Characters developing, a little backstory, setting clear with a window to future of the story, and some romantic/friend tension. Nice! Pretty clean for writing it today too. Just a little repetition to take out, and was the cat a dog at first draft? Says it loves him but barks at her?? Maybe you meant bark figuratively. LOL
I like it. The romantic/friend tension could take it either way – a crime story (because like everyone else, I’m obsessed with true crime) or an adventure story with romance, or even a buddy adventure story. I’d read it to see where it goes.
Oh! What did I write today? A brief journal entry. One of my goals for my life is to write a journal entry every day. When I was a kid (I started writing a diary when I was 10, a gift from my older sister) I made a point to write every day. I’d like to get back to that. I find I remember things better when I write by hand.