Friday Fictioneers Flash Fiction Challenge: Parked and Hitched

Parked (c) Roger Bultot

Parked (c) Roger Bultot

Every Friday authors worldwide gather around the virtual fireside of Rochelle Wisoff and share stories of 100 words, prompted by a common photograph, and exchange constructive criticism. Readers’ comments are also welcome. This week’s photo has been provided by Roger Bultot. Thanks Roger.

Parked and Hitched

“Driver parked the truck and vanished.”
“Abducted by aliens.”
We roared with laughter. The waitress glared.
“My ancestor ran off to California – gold rush era. Just disappeared.”
“Abducted by aliens.”
We groaned loudly.
“Happens all the time – man leaves the house to fetch a newspaper; woman leaves her bed in the night; …”
“Aliens don’t exist,” I protested, as usual.
We were a bunch of carefree university kids, messing about in a coffee shop.
“There’s tons of evidence.”
I slapped one of his faces – coyly – with a tendril. We’re married now, Kkur and I.

(c) Ann Isik 2014

100 words

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Another Quote to Encourage Creatives: Rumi

As my broken shoulder mends (at a rate described as ‘amazing’ and ‘astonishing’ by my consultant and physio respectively) I am able to do more and more with my left hand and arm – I’m a leftie, so it’s important! – I’m bit by bit picking up my creative threads. There are some exciting developments brewing.

Nonetheless, I’ve been feeling down in the dumps about my creative hiatus. My hands fell this morning on a little book I have* of extracts from the love poems of Rumi, described on the cover as, “The great Sufi saint who embraced God through the path of love.” I opened it upon words which resonated strongly with my present state of spirit – and body.

The Search

“Whether slow or speedy, he who seeks will find.
Always apply with both hands the pursuit,

For search is an excellent guide.
Though lame and limping,
Creep ever towards the goal.
Now by speech and now by silence,
Now by smell and now by sound,
Catch from every quarter the senses of the king.”

Jalāl ad-Dīn Muhammad Rūmī

Rumi’s king is, of course, God. I like this line: “Now by speech and now by silence, …”

I have long found silence to be more powerful than speech, … yet I so rarely practise it.

The great spiritual leaders all practised silence. It could be said to have been the first act of ministry of Jesus, who, straight after his baptism by John, went into the wilderness for 40 days and nights (wrestling and conquering satan); and in Luke 6:12-13, Jesus “went out to the mountain to pray, and continued all night in prayer to God. And when it was day, he called his disciples to himself; and from them he chose twelve whom he also named apostles.”

It seems from the above examples, that silence – withdrawing from the world – is something to do before making important decisions. Well, it makes sense.

I’ve been contemplating this and seeking ways of getting more silence into my life. More on this another time. Meanwhile, I hope the Rumi quote resonates and comforts.



*The Love Poems of Rumi by Philip Dunn, (c) The Book Laboratory 2002; Andrews McMeel Publishing, Kansas City

Poet Seers



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A Quote to Encourage Creatives

Blue Red Zig Zag Grid BTL Collages March 2014I come across encouraging quotes all the time. And I certainly need courage, as an artist. I don’t know why I haven’t thought of sharing them before now. Here’s a first one. Some might not, but I find it encouraging, a source for some of my angst. There’s comfort to be had just in a correct diagnosis.

“Every creative person is a duality or a synthesis of contradictory aptitudes. On the one side he is a human being with a personal life, while on the other side he is an impersonal, creative process … To perform this difficult office it is sometimes necessary for him to sacrifice happiness and everything that makes life worth living for the ordinary human being.”    

Carl Jung:   Modern Man in Search of a Soul

Do you have a favourite encouraging quote?



Posted in Art, Consciousness, Inspiration, Mindfulness, Mixed Media, Monoprints, Philosophy/Religion/Spirituality, Spiritual, Writing | Tagged , , | 11 Comments

Friday Fictioneers 100 Word Flash Fiction Challenge: The Grand Tour

(c) 2014 Bjorn RudbergEvery Friday authors worldwide gather around the virtual fireside of Rochelle Wisoff and share stories of 100 words, prompted by a common photograph, and exchange constructive criticism. Readers’ comments are also welcome. This week’s photo has been provided by Bjorn Rudberg. Thanks Bjorn!

The Grand Tour

I went travelling. The Grand Tour, they called it. All the rich young men went and marvelled at ruins, as fashion dictated.

My guide told me a tale of one youth, who, unfulfilled by ruin, ventured further than fashion and found himself amongst mountains, in a snow storm which died into a cradling mist, then lifted, revealing to the boy walls and tall towers, girdling gardens of rill and incense trees, a sacred river plunging to the sea.

I asked my guide what was this place.

“The folly of a great king.”

“And what of the boy?”

“He became a child.”

(c) Ann Isik 2014
100 words

Kubla Khan; Samuel Taylor Coleridge, (1772–1834), courtesy The Poetry Foundation

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A Drawing and On Drawing

A Drawing and On Drawing.

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A Drawing and On Drawing

Drawing Plants Garden TableI began this drawing earlier in the year – before breaking my shoulder. I haven’t done much of this kind of drawing – in situ, in front of a subject, with just a pencil and a piece of paper – for a long time. I am out of practice. Clearly, by all the alterations. But you have to get it right, no matter what it takes. Or how long. This took about 4 hours over 2 days. It’s of a group of plants on a pedestal table with a round metal top, in our garden. It was frustrating, working this slowly, but at the same time calming, as the process demanded my full attention and focus.

There are lots of corrections, and it’s unlikely I’ll finish this, given the broken shoulder. I hope to do more of this kind of work though. I learned a lot about the plants that I hadn’t noticed before; how the leaves form, for instance, on the various plants. One of the plants is a Veronica and its leaves form and arrange themselves in pairs, and opposite to each other in the stem, as opposed to alternating up the stem.

The drawing may never be finished, but nothing I have learnt from doing this drawing will be lost.

Hat on Post and Chalked Face

Hat on Post and Chalked Face

Drawing was probably the first response man ever made to the creative urge. As primitive man walked his landscape, he searched the means to make his mark on rocks and walls.

And fences. We came across this drawing on a recent walk across a section of the North Downs. Someone lost his bonnet, it seems. Found by a passerby, he or she draped it across this fence post, then picked up a piece of chalk and drew in this primitive face. Was it to draw attention to the hat, or a response to a primitive urge to draw?

I like that the face is smiling. It made us smile, too. The artist likes making people smile, I think. I would have liked to meet him or her.

If you recognise this as your work, reveal yourself!



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Today we Commemorate the 100th Anniversary of the Beginning of the First World War

Today we Commemorate the 100th Anniversary of the Beginning of the First World War.

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World War I Memories Everywhere in this Part of France

Originally posted on redesigning49:

World War I memorial and cemetery for allied troops in Arras.

World War I memorial and cemetery for allied troops in Arras.

You cannot travel far in this part of France without seeing World War I memorials large and small. The graveyard and memorial in Arras was especially moving. 

IMG_1285I was able to go to the Cathedral in Reims (another Notre Dame) and meditate on Uncle Frank Denham for a few minutes. He is not forgotten. 

The Tour television coverage in France includes many quiet moments with the helicopter camera hovering over World War I memorials. I hope the coverage in the US is doing the same. IMG_1288



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Fragile Communities On The Brink of War

Originally posted on Great War Photos:

Ypres 1914

Ypres 1914

A century ago today the cities, towns and villages that would fall in the path of war and the destruction of the Western Front went about their business as usual. The 1st August 1914 was a Saturday and no doubt the market seen in Ypres above was its usual busy self. In the fields near Mont St Eloi, on what would become the battlefields of Arras, the crops were getting ready to be harvested.

Mont St Eloi

Mont St Eloi

In Albert the basilica (below), only two years old, would soon be ringing its bells to summon the ‘Ceux de 1914′ – the generation who went to war in France in 1914 – to uniform and the road to the front. Four years later all these places stood in ruins, now part of the ‘Zone Rouge’ – the Red Zone, that long swathe of Europe smashed to oblivion by the Great…

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The Unintentional Honoring of World War One

Originally posted on Belgium and France by Bicycle:

Sometimes I feel that there is more at play in my life than I am aware of.  Through a series of seemingly random decisions, my husband and I will find ourselves touring through Belgium and northeast France this late August and September for the 100 year anniversary of World War One.  This may have been obvious to some, but it took me a while to see because it was completely unintentional.  

From an email earlier this year by a book club member suggesting Barbara Tuchman’s “The Guns of August” (, to the tailoring of our route to include Paris, our trip has become about more than just biking and beer. After reading “Guns” and recognizing so many of the names of towns and villages as ones that we would be traveling through, I began to dig a bit deeper, buying one book, and then another about World War One.  Then…

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