The Survivor

The Survivor

I stand between cloud and sky, rock and earth. My roots travel deep, my limbs clothed in summer splendour. With my heart I chronicle the years – one hundred seasons and set for one hundred more.

Once I marked the boundary of meadow and woodland. Sheep and lambs rested in my shade; lovers whispered beneath my leafy temple. Now, the town bleeds into pastures, roads choke the forest. But still I stand, taking only what I need, giving back in kind.

Pause in your clamour and you might hear the echo of the forest in the creak of my limbs.

Miranda Lewis 2022

Welcome to Friday Fiction, hosted by the esteemed Rochelle, with a forest of stories from around the world. Thanks for reading and special thanks to those who stay to comment.

In the country town where I grew up and my mother still lives, new houses have spread outwards into what was once fields – one estate of houses is even called Radstone fields. We used to see sheep and lambs out of my mother’s bedroom windows. Not anymore.

Fortunately some old trees have been kept and now stand sentinel at roundabouts and crossroads. I always wonder what they could tell us so Dale Rogerson’s picture was a real gift. Thanks Dale!

Please excuse Jack wearing his trainers to class, only he lost his school shoe in the river.

Please excuse Jack wearing his trainers to class, only he lost his school shoe in the river.

It were like this Miss Grimble…

Me and the Nipper, we’re feeding the ducks when the Little Blighter leans too far. Seizing his coat tails sharpish, we splash as one into the churning waters.

Plunging down down , almost to a double funeral, I grasp the foot of a passing swan. Spluttering and crying, we’re swept downstream.

Slowing down at the meander, the Nipper grabs a branch.

Muddy, soaked and shivering, we’ve almost clambered out when a mighty trout swallows my leg whole. Shaking and cavorting, I pull free but sacrifice the shoe.

So that’s the shoe Jack, and English composition homework?

Miranda 2022

As a primary school teacher I received many interesting notes from parents. This one, about the lost shoe in the river (that I’ve reproduced as my title) is real. Jack’s story of what really happened…I’ll leave you to decide.

My local river (the River Wandle, a tributary of the London Thames) is fast flowing but shallow in most parts; no children were harmed in the course of this story.

Many thanks to our esteemed Friday Fiction host, Rochelle and to Ted Strutz for the photo.

To jump into the swim and fish out more tales click here.

City Tree

City Tree

For years I stood vigil outside a human dwelling at the edge of the city. I missed the hushed companionship of the forest but I gave my shade freely, bound the earth with my roots.

An owl perched amongst my leaves. I soaked up water and made oxygen.

Harmonious coexistence. 

Until they mutilated my limbs, tore out my roots and paved over the rich earth beneath. Until they burnt my body.

I do not mind. My soul lives on amongst my sisters the clouds. I look down on fire and flood, on drought and hunger and I wonder at it all.

Miranda Lewis 2021

Welcome to Friday Fiction, hosted by the esteemed Rochelle. Thanks to Dale Rogerson for the photo and also to all who visit.

A special thanks to those who stay to comment.

A Coda…

I realise my story will do nothing to raise your mood if, like me, the COP and various climatic world events have left you reeling.

The house I was born in 1960, on the edge of London, definitely had a huge tree (I was very small!) growing in the front garden.  When I visited the street a couple of years ago, sadly all the trees and every front garden had been replaced with a paved area.

My dad drove a Ford Anglia in the sixties and used to sometimes stop in the road outside his own front door, so that I could run down the garden path and hop into the front passenger seat. He then drove us around the back of the house to our own garage.

Nobody uses these old garages anymore, but the grassy lane running along behind the back gardens is still there, now beautifully rewilded and a real corridor for city flora and fauna. A little piece of living hope clinging on in a concrete world even though every front garden has disappeared…

The New Woodsman

The New Woodsman

They said the new woodsman had broken the bank, crashed his Jag, killed his wife. And I said, they said too much.

Springtime I traded my ex-husband’s discarded jacket and a bottle of whisky for a sack of charcoal. Later he mended my fences.

They said the new woodsman slept on a bed of moss, never washed and had a tail tucked down his patched old trousers. When I saw him rise naked from the river, shaking ribbons of sunlight from his shaggy mane, I knew at least two of those were untrue.

And I said, second time lucky. Maybe.

Miranda Lewis

Welcome to Friday flash fiction here on a Wednesday, hosted by the indefatigable Rochelle and with a great photo from Alicia Jamtaas that sent me straight back to a little woodland tale/tail of yesteryear. So it’s Friday reprieve time – hope you enjoy it.

Thanks to all who visit and most especially those who stay to comment. For more woodland frolics from around the globe click here.

Your Fortune, Your Choice

Your Fortune, Your Choice

May your Love be beautiful and your children industrious.

May your days be short and your nights long.

Or vice versa.

And when that petrol guzzling, pollution spewing, metal box
you insist on driving finally gives up the ghost
may it not be with a crunch of brick on metal on glass on bone on soft tissue,
but with a gentle splutter
beside a meadow,
where you will walk
through wildflowers to a perfect little stone house
with June roses blooming around the door,
a fruit orchard beside
and a For Sale sign holding up the rickety gate post.  

Miranda Lewis 2021

Welcome to Friday Fiction, with our esteemed host Rochelle. Thanks to all who visit and especially those who stay to comment. Thanks to to Liz Young for the photo.

(For more instructions do visit Rochelle’s post on the link above. Please don’t post the photo for any other purpose than to join the fun.)

I have been reading Natalie Goldberg’s Writing Down the Bones and loved her description of setting up a poetry stall at an event in her local town and just writing…. no re-reading, no revising just writing off the top of her head for the recipient and the universe.
SO, I’m having a go at writing fortunes just straight off, 5 minutes max – a photo is a great start. I did have to revise this one a little because it came in over the word count, but mostly it is as it is…Good practice for writer’s block, writer’s perfectionism and all sorts of common writing aliments and now yours for the taking – your fortune, your choice…

The Trees are coming…

The Trees Are Coming

Lucky us – a beautiful house in a tree-lined road! The gutters filled with Autumn leaves, but we bought a strong ladder.

You gave me that look when I said the old Lime Tree out front was growing too quickly. Its branches clawed the windows. You too stopped sleeping. The road split in two, masonry fell from houses. A sapling appeared in the sitting room.

If I wake at night now, it is to fox call or grunt of badger. Blackbird greets my day. That ladder takes me from sleeping platform of salvaged floorboards to mossy forest floor, where I sit… and breathe.  

Miranda Lewis 2021

Greeting Friday Fictioneers, from this cold London Wednesday. The sky is blue, the clouds are perfect and the narcissus are managing to push through the frozen earth and remains of snow. Whatever else has turned upside down in this world, it’ll soon be spring.

Thanks as ever to our host and reader/writer in chief, Rochelle and to Alicia Jamtaas for the wonderful photo. For more home-grown tales click here. Thanks to all who visit and most especially those who stay to comment.

Also posted in Fandango’s One Word Challenge: Planet

Under the Pier

Under the Pier

My older sisters were both stunningly pretty. I claimed awkwardness and the sort of shy cleverness that upsets most people.

‘Look out for each other,’ Mum would call as we left for the beach. As if.

He looked after the dodgems noon until midnight, breaks around four and eight. Sometimes I met him for both. My cheek against his ribcage, I’d listen to his heart. He smelt of sweat and damp caravans.

‘Reckon she fancies him,’ one sister quipped and the other flicked back her hair. They turned and as he winked I licked the salty taste of summertime from my chapped lips.

Miranda Lewis 2020

Welcome to Friday Fiction where, as we hunker down in the Northern hemisphere to our various (vastly curtailed) mid-winter festivities, a gentle summer breeze blew through my sitting room. For more salty tales from around the globe click here.

Thanks as ever to our host Rochelle whose story definitely inspired mine this week. What is it about fairgrounds and pleasure gardens, throughout time and location, that allow their visitors to cross class barriers and other taboos?

Thanks also to Roger Bultot for the phot and to all who visit, most especially those who stay to comment.

Fragment of sunlight and shadow

Fragment of Sunlight and Shadow

I am

throwing out the old jars

invertebrates

dead stuff

tentacles in formaldehyde

bleached octopus

the sack of unmatched socks under the bed

pressed flower

baby teeth and hair clippings

dusting high shelves

with sugar soap and grit

resentments and past hurts

the day you said that thing

I am

wading out

into deep water

cold afraid

the beauty of pebbles

of toes

the caress of speckled fin

pulsing alive

I am

Miranda Lewis 2020

Welcome to Friday Fiction where I seem to be bending those rules yet again – although this definitely weighs in under 100 words and does have a beginning, middle and end (of sorts). Thanks as always to our host Rochelle who keeps going through thunder storm and pandemic, whilst presidents come and (hopefully) go. And thanks also to Sarah Potter for this week’s photo. Stay home, stay safe and tour the world from the comfort of your own sofa right here.

Thanks to all visitors and especially to those who stay to comment.

Miranda

Dinner and Delusion

restaurant

Dinner and Delusion

You should have seen their faces.

Gavel parked the Rolls outside the restaurant – more of a pub really. He held the door and I lifted my silk gown high over the melting snow. We’d already had a cheeky sherry and giggled our way inside, Stefan so handsome in that old suit with the lapels.

I quickly realised how drunk Stefan actually was – a sherry or half a bottle of vodka? He could hardly sit up, let alone order. So much for our romantic dinner.

What was it that girl said to me? ‘You with Steve?’ ‘Stefan,’ I corrected and she laughed out loud.

Miranda Lewis 2020

Welcome to Friday Fiction and to my 100-word tale that can be read alone, or indeed in a small gathering of family members or friends isolating together. It can also be read as the third in a series, the first episode written in February 2017 and the second in February 2018. If I’m planning on turning this into a novel I probably won’t live long enough.

On that cheery thought, if you have been reading thank you. Do come right in and comment.

For safe travel around a world of stories click here. Many thanks as ever to our host Rochelle. And to Dale all hale for the snowy scene. (And actually Dale if you’re visiting, you also provided the snowy photo back in February 2018.)

Notes for Writers of Historical Twentieth Century Fiction

Notes for Writers of Historical Twentieth Century Fiction

writers-life

1.2 Social Interaction

Greetings: during the twentieth century people greeted each other with handshakes, hugs, upper arm grabbing and kissing on various facial parts, including the lips. (Huge potential for disease transference and death of minor characters.)

Alcohol: could be consumed in restaurants, pubs, parks and other public spaces. This could lead to carousing, sentimentality, revealing of vital plot secrets, dancing on tables and break up of superfluous relationships  in which the writer has lost interest.

Relationships: the following were possible precursors to marriage – hand holding, dinner dates, getting carried away during the polka, long lingering looks, sexual congress and actual countryside walks.

Miranda Lewis 2020

Day 3 of London lockdown and I’m reading, writing, gardening – what’s not to love? All very ordinary; all very strange.

Greetings Friday Fiction buddies around the world (no kisses of course, except virtual ones) and many thanks to Rochelle to whom I raise a glass of red – or I will later since it’s still early afternoon here and standards must be maintained. (photo copyright Jeff Arnold)

Stay well my friends. x

(For previous nonsense writers’ handbook entries click here.)