Sunday Writing Prompt, May 30, 2021 – Shape-Shifter

This is my first time participating in the Sunday Writing Prompt hosted by MindLoveMisery’s Menagerie. Today’s prompt is shape-shifter.

The Rules:

  • The style is completely open; poetry, prose, even a single sentence…Go where the prompt takes YOU!
  • Keep your submission to 500 words or less.
  • Post it on your page, and TAG it Sunday Writing PromptSWPMLMMMindlovemisery’s MenagerieAnd be sure to leave a link or pingback in the comment section below.
  • Feel free to use my photo for inspiration, or as your own cover image.
  • Please have your submissions in by the END OF EACH FRIDAY (Pacific Standard Time). Every Saturday, I will post a “standout” piece in a post entitled, SATURDAY SPOTLIGHT. Bear in mind, it will be based on my personal opinion. If you are not chosen, that does NOT mean your piece was not superb.
  • Be creative and HAVE FUN

Image by sdc140 from Pixabay

The Sacrifice

My fate was sealed before I was born. A bundle of sage swirled above my mothers head as the elders marked her protruding belly with charcoal from the fire. They held her head back as she choked down the potion that would hasten my arrival. Disease had taken all but of a few of the elders. When the protector succumbed to the fever, he was kneeling at my mothers feet – a sign her child would absorb the magic of the ages, but only if the birth happened before the next rising of the moon. I witnessed it all. It was my only memory of my mother. I would always remember the desperation of her last breath as I saw my first light. They say it was love, but I feared I was destined to never experience love again.

I was taken into the wilderness as a baby, left alone on a blanket to test my power. It was the first time I heard the animals speak. The panther considered eating me, pacing around the blanket for hours. He suspected a trap and taunted me by scraping a paw across my forehead. I did not cry, nor did I bleed. I felt the power of the panther seep into me as the panther backed away. By morning, I was no longer a member of the tribe. I was every creature of the forest and carried the mark of the panther from that day forward.

This life was lonely, full of responsibility for the tribe. I slept while fully awake, each part of me taking its turn guiding my body. I was a manchild the first time I transformed. A deadly rattlesnake found its way into the camp headed for the tent of the chief. Without a thought I felt myself rise and fall with the silent wings of the red tailed hawk until I had the snake in my claws. This was the reason for my mother’s sacrifice.

During the full moon I could sense my mother’s presence, her hair long and dark, her body strong now. It was her spirit that protected me, but it did not quell the deep loneliness I felt. She told me that during the coming moon, I must claim a wife and have a child. If I did not, another child would be taken from his mother as I had been. Her tears filled the sky and fell like arrows to the ground.

At the next full moon, I took a wife. I shared her bed and felt human touch for the first time. Within months our son would be born to a mother and a father. He would not lie alone in the forest as I had. I would teach him. He would know love.

Blog, fiction, Writing

A Writing Challenge – Opposites

I am taking on this writing challenge this week. It has to do with articulating different perspectives. If you would like to join in, just save the picture and give it a shot.

The idea is to write a short fiction piece, poem, haiku, etc., that reflects the emotion or situation you feel the photo evokes.

Photo Courtesy of StockSnap on Pixabay

After you write the first piece, write a second piece exploring an emotion or situation opposite of what you first perceived. Different situation, different character traits, or different feelings.

In a week, I will share posts of anyone who decided to take on the challenge. Use the hashtag #OppEmo or link back here if you would like for me to share your post.

Blog, Writing

Dictation and Transcription

Image by Free-Photos from Pixabay

I worked as a secretary for many years early in my career. Other than a high school typing class, it was not a conscious career choice or one that I prepared for. My first job, a waitress. My second job, the Air Force. I have done factory work and taken any opportunity I could. Working as a secretary, however, was the first step toward my career in IT.

I once held a position as a secretary for a pulp and paper mill construction company. We purchased a state-of-the-art word processor. (Yes, word processors started as specialized software in specialized equipment). Our company purchased a CPT 8000. It was the first time I remember being able to see a document on the screen before it was printed. Pretty snazzy.

This is where I first learned (but never fully mastered) how to use a dictaphone. This device allowed someone (our engineers and inspectors) to dictate construction reports to a micro-cassette. When ready for transcribing, the tape was put into a machine with foot pedals that allowed the person typing to rewind, fast-forward or erase (which I did inadvertently one day) the tape, all hands-free.

I never took shorthand, although I did teach myself some shorthand our of pure curiosity. If I had a formal shorthand class, I think I would have been really good at it. Transcribing was never my thing, although I did it and did an accurate job. I never enjoyed it, though.

Where the heck is this rabbit hole story going you ask? Excellent question!

A few nights ago, I found myself behind in my NaNoWriMo word count. I was tired and my typing accuracy was waning. Then I remembered this feature in MS Word for dictation and I thought I would give it a whirl. Well, let me tell you what I learned.

  • I must have a bit of an accent because the transcription of my dictation had a few problems. Perhaps I was tired and my enunciation was poor. Once I could see where it was not working, I was quickly able to readjust and move on.
  • It was also a learning curve to add punctuation. I still have not mastered using quotations for dialogue.
  • Writing for me is a very tactile experience. Moving thoughts, through my fingers and onto paper or computer allows me to slow my thought process a little. My English brain kicks in. Spelling and punctuation are part of the writing process. I can think ahead about what is coming before it reaches the paper.
  • Dictation is quite a different animal. Speaking dialogue adds the sense of hearing to the process. I found myself adding emotional emphasis in my voice that does not translate well to the end result. I also found the process unfurling faster and messier. The time it takes to move from the brain though the hands is valuable for me as a writer.
  • No one wants to hear me talking to my computer for any extended period of time.
  • These few sections of my novel will require much more editing time. This is DEFINITELY the ‘messy middle’.

I discovered that dictating has as many complexities as transcribing. The tools are much more advanced, but these tools are not always a writer’s best friend. But what a great boon for the writers that need the accommodations that these tools provide. Hooray!

For me, though, it is back to the keyboard. I am at a major turning point in the story and having the extra time for thoughts to move through these brain connections will be important.

I am feeling very nostalgic about writing on an IBM Selectric typewriter, though. There was something comforting about that constant whirrrr. I wonder how many people write on an electric typewriter these days? I do not think my hands could handle a completely manual typewriter.

Lots of editing ahead. Lots and lots of editing. At least I am on target with my word count now!

Blog, Writing

WordPress, When Will I Learn?

The WordPress Gremlins ate a post I have been working on for weeks. It had 15 saved drafts. Today I published it and it has gone into oblivion. Not in the trash folder, not in drafts and certainly not in published.

I have no desire to write in Word and copy and paste and deal with reformatting.

I do not have the energy to re-write the post. I do not think I could capture the essence of this very sensitive topic.

This is crap.

Blog, Writing


I did it.

I signed up for the craziness that is NaNoWriMo. I also messed up my profile which makes me look like a newbie at this, but that is ok. I have been attempting NaNo almost every year since 2003.

If you are not familiar, the acronym stands for NAtional NOvel WRIting MOnth. It is a time where writers all over the world attempt to write a 50,000 word novel in the month of November.

This exercise is always good for me, although, depending on your frame of mind, it can be stressful. I have eased off the pressure I traditionally put on myself because it seems every November some big thing comes up in my life that interferes greatly. So, I give it my best and every year I approach it hoping I will be successful.

My daughter and a few friends signed up to write this year, so I am excited to have a few buddies to share my pain. The people who participate make up a lovely and supportive community. Many cities also have local write-ins where you can gather with like-minded people during the challenge if that is your thing. I am more of a solitary writer.

If you are interested, you can click over to the website and read about it and perhaps sign up. It really is a very cool experience and an exercise in persistence and vulnerability.

For more information, go here: ===> NaNoWriMo.org