Respect

The prompt was respect. As a parent, I feel it is important to teach your kids, especially your sons, not only what respect is, but what it looks like. Your kids (whether you have them now or will later, or you just know some kids that aren’t yours) watch more closely than you think and they absorb everything. Model good interpersonal relationships for them so they can make healthy social decisions later.

 

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She wasn’t having it tonight. Doing the dishes should not be requested more than once.

It isn’t like she didn’t give him time to relax first. She gave him a full hour after he’d gotten home from work. She’d asked him first on her way out the door to go to yoga. Again when she got home.  Again after her post-workout shower. Again when she bathed the kids.

Their son watched them both as she asked for a fifth and final time. Her husband smiled, apologized, and rose to finish the dishes while she tucked the children into their beds.

 

© 2018 Heather Stephens

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Windows Update lost my files.

 

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Over the years I’ve heard all sides of the Mac vs. PC debate. I’ve never been a fan of Macs, being raised on PC at both home and school. I’m 30 years old, and I’ve been loyal to PC the entire time. Microsoft has never screwed me over, to be honest, and in fact, I’m even a fan of Windows 10.

Until.

A recent Windows update over the past week gave me a fright when I couldn’t find my folder of documents for my collection of flash fiction that I’ve been working on for a year. I know, I know. I can hear you screaming at me to back up my work. I will from now on.

The update made it harder for me to find documents saved solely on my PC, only giving me quick access to my OneDrive documents.

“But Heather,” you ask, “If you can save to OneDrive, why wasn’t that folder saved there too?”

Good question.

And the only answer I have to that is I suffer from extreme laziness. A byproduct of disability. When you spend so long not even being able to do anything, you grow accustomed to it. So while I am physically incapable of doing things like workout for an hour or go to work consistently, I also have developed a preference for the quick-and-easy solutions to all of my problems. It’s a learned mindset, and one I do not want to teach my children.

But the good news is I found the folder and I’m back at work on my Little Book of Flash, as well as my horror short stories. While I intend to finish the two novels that I’ve started, I think at this point of time in my life, big projects that are easily broken up into smaller pieces are the way to go. Each 100-word story I finish will boost my motivation to write more, which will lead to the bigger victory of finishing the book. Every horror short story I post and narrate will do the same.

I feel good about this. My body may not want to cooperate most of the time, and my mind is even less generous, but at least I have goals.

Maybe someday I’ll reach them.

New Adventures in Writing

I want to broaden my horizons.

I am working on my fantasy novel as well as a literary fiction novel. They’re both going fairly well (for first drafts, anyway). I’ve always wanted to be a novelist, ever since I was a little girl.

But these years I’ve spent writing 100-word stories has taught me that I excel at short stories. I get overwhelmed easily in most aspects of my life, and writing is no different. When being concise is necessary, I thrive. It is a completely different experience than trying to organize a novel with 15 characters.

‘I could choose to accept that maybe I’m just not gifted at novel writing, but I don’t think that’s the case. I think it’s merely a symptom of my BPD–I want to please everyone, so I’m trying to write books that will please everyone. Intellectually, I know that’s impossible, but here I am.

So here I am, thinking about my short-story writing abilities that I feel far outmatch my novel-writing abilities. In my free-time, I read a lot of horror, both published works and user-uploaded stories on the internet. I think I’m going to try my hand writing those. Short stories, serials, etc. I think I could do well.

I’ll still be posting 100-word stories frequently. Even more frequently than the past six months have shown. I just also might be posting links to my horror stories as well.

Join me down the dark path.

 

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Fancy

I feel like the tone for this one is a little different than my usual work, but I like it anyway. The prompt was fancy.pexels-photo-417196

 

Twinkling at her eye-level, his lapel pin was a breaching humpback whale, with tiny black diamonds for eyes. A little gaudy, perhaps, but his presence here supported a good cause.

Ever since she was a little girl, she’d wanted to Save the Whales. She didn’t know that sitting at his table that night at the gala would give her life the one thing it was missing. She had a career, she had a purpose, she had hobbies. All that was left was companionship.

He kissed her fingers when he bid her goodnight, promising to call her tomorrow for dinner.

Complete.

© 2018 Heather Stephens

Spring

I’m sorry it’s been so long since I have posted. Executive function is something I lack immensely, and I haven’t been motivated to write. When I have been motivated, I’ve worked on my novel. It’s shite, but I’m writing it anyway. I’ll post more often. It only takes a few moments out of my day to write a 100-word story, so I can. I will.

The prompt was springpexels-photo-156203.

The stirrings of the season made themselves known in the beat of her heart. Crocuses pushed through the earth, birthed like other forms of carbon-based life, yet different in subtle ways.

Yet like the green things that blanket the planet,  she too draws sustenance from the strengthening sun. The light is not a meal for her, but it gives her energy of another kind.

Deep within her heart, a seed of magic is beginning to grow. Now is the time for forging her own world into existence, leaving the shadows for later. Their time will come.

But for now, life.

© 2018 Heather Stephens

Past

The prompt was Past.

This one is autobiographical.

 

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It weighed upon her like so many rocks, stifling her breath, taking away her ability to think straight.

It wasn’t painful. It was more like breathing in toxic air every time she inhaled.

She inhaled more anxieties. She inhaled more poisonous memories.

Without an acute sense of identity, she was lost. Fallen to the ravages of time not well-spent.

What did she have to show for it? Not much.

A home of strife, burnt to the ground. It was never perfect, but it had been hers.

Her life was like that. She’d never build a better one on broken foundations.

© 2017 Heather Stephens

Lost

The prompt was Lost. I could have gone a million different ways with this, but I chose this way. I hope it’s coherent and my point comes across clearly. If you’ve read my other posts, my 100-word stories are always a little bit abstract, but I wasn’t sure if this was too abstract. My husband says it’s coherent, and that’s good enough for me. Here you go!

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Basically, she couldn’t find it.

She’d looked for it everywhere. Everywhere. She’d looked for it in Greece. She’d looked for it in France. She’d looked for it at every job she’d held in the past two years, and she’d had too many of those.

Giving up was not an option, so she kept looking. Desperately, fiercely, painstakingly searching for it everywhere she went. In flower shops and cafes, in bookstores and shopping malls.

It wasn’t until much later that she realized she’d been picking up pieces of it all along.

It was up to herself to put it back together.

© 2017 Heather Stephens

Diary

The prompt was Diary.

This is my favorite thing I’ve written. It is very dear to me.

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She didn’t weep as she wrote her miseries onto the paper. Her tragedies were her own, internal, and she had no desire to give them up. Speaking them out loud would set them free, and that would end her.

She held on to those miseries as if they were lifelines. Her regrets were strength. If she could build up a kingdom for a life on top of the ashes of her dreams, she would truly have won.

She didn’t feel like she was winning.

And as she scribbled down her melancholy, she swam in the warm comfort of her struggles.

 

© 2017 Heather Stephens

 

Water

The prompt was “Water”.

Water is always blissful for me. I love being near it. Whether I’m at the beach, looking out on the Pacific Ocean with a thousand other people or I’m walking along a river or I’m gazing at a lake, I find peace always.

Water calms me. If I’m feeling capricious or my mental illnesses are too much to bear, I know I can at least find some semblance of focus.

I love being near water.

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The lake always gave her tranquility.

And it was a gift. Tranquility was something she did not usually possess. Yet as she sat on the shore, a blessed calm passed over her, blanketing her in warm silence.

Her mind, too, was quiet.

So she relished this, away from the pressures of a life gone horribly wrong. A life that could have gone a thousand ways, but had chosen a harsher course.

Still, she had the lake, and all that it gave to her. Strength could be found in its peaceful waters.

Heeding the wisdom of the still water, she survived.

© 2017 Heather Stephens

Spoons

It is said that those with chronic illness or mental illness only have a certain amount of energy with which to do tasks, needful tasks, like personal hygiene and housekeeping. That is why so many with such afflictions either can’t work or perform poorly when working or attending school.

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I personally struggle with several debilitating illnesses and afflictions. Some days I can’t brush my own hair, other days I can’t shower. The sicker I get, the more often these days occur. I need help preparing my food. Some days I can’t even feed myself and I need my husband to spoon my food into my mouth.

It’s too much.

But other days, like today, I am capable. I can write, I can think clearly. These days are gifts and I take advantage of every single one.

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A messy room. A dirty kitchen.

Lessons in tidiness never heeded.

She stepped over the piles of clothes on her way to get a glass of milk.

It had gone sour.

Of all the reasons one might have to keep a house neat, she possessed only two that kept it filthy.

Her mind. Her sorrows.

Should she obtain a way out of the muck that grimed the kitchen countertops, she would feel a new sort of responsibility. To keep it that way. The thought exhausted her.

The burden of freedom. ‘Twas too much to bear.

She resigned to her suffering.

 

© 2017 Heather Stephens