Young woman of impeccable character and neat appearance required as schoolmistress for village school

jhc7

Young woman of impeccable character and neat appearance required as schoolmistress for village school

Must be: disciplined, self-assured, modest, patient. Skills to include: a fluent hand, flawless arithmetic, clear singing voice (soprano or alto), love of the bible and traditional literature of an improving nature, knowledge of the British Isles and her dominions. A passion for clouds and the still air at dusk; for bluebells in sun-dappled woods; your hand on my breast, a gasp in my throat. And forever a longing for the girl I left bare-headed under the wide blue sky, beyond the squeak of the chalk, the dusty depths of the ink wells and the high, barred windows of the schoolroom.

M J Lewis ©2016

Friday already, so this means of course I’m late for Friday Fiction. (I love a paradox!) And such an interesting photo, thanks to J Hardy Carroll. Not a school I’m assuming but, although the chairs are plastic and metal nowadays, I will forever associate wooden seating with schoolrooms.

Thanks as ever to our gracious host Rochelle and to all who visit. For more stories click here.

Head-in-the-clouds Inventor requires Feet-on-the-ground Assistant

emmylgant

Head-in-the-clouds Inventor requires Feet-on-the-ground Assistant

For the boss of a company worth millions he was unprepossessing.

Half of what I say is rubbish, half genius. Work out which is which and the job’s yours.

So started the most exciting week of my life. I’d never laughed so much or drunk so much coffee; we ran everywhere. On Friday he declared his undying love.

Now that really is rubbish, I said as I left.

I work in a library now, sipping herb tea at my desk and dreaming of what might have been and what indeed is still to come, in just a few weeks’ time.

MJ Lewis ©2016

So here we are on a Wednesday evening at Friday Flash Fiction, weighing in – as you might expect from a Maths teacher – at an exact 100 words (titles don’t count, right?).

Thanks to Rochelle, our seemingly indefatigable Friday Fiction host, and to Emmy L Gant for providing the amazing photo. A dramatic storm over Paris – and I happened on what I think is a rubbish bin. Such is the serendipity and tolerance of Friday Fiction.

Thanks to all who visit.

(PS Large fingers, small phone – I seem to have liked my own post. Ooops! Very embarrassing!)

Reading in bed is…

crook

Reading in bed is…

Helen Fielding reading Pride and Prejudice

Yummy! Sexy uniformed scoundrel vs. deeply feeling real man with hard exterior. Proposal, refusal, a letter; huge house, proposal, ah…(Plus lots of and lots of dancing!!!)

Lev Nikolayevich Tolstoy reading Bridget Jones’s Diary

Stimulating. Dashing scoundrel or man of oak with deep reserves, like English oak bookcase? No war – both survive. Bridget chooses one, chooses other. (Note to self: cut battles, have Natasha take up smoking? Find out: what are Christmas jumpers, big knickers?)

Jane Austen reading War and Peace

Bad for the eyes. Catch it later on the Drama Channel.

M J Lewis ©2016

Here is my entry to Friday Fiction. Thanks as always to our superb hard-working host Rochelle.

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We’ve been treated to a BBC version of War and Peace here in the UK on Sunday nights (American actor Paul Dano fantastic as dithering idealist Pierre) and I’m clearly having withdrawal symptoms.

Enjoying Sandra Crook’s photo and running with the possibilities of time travel. Kind of, who would you invite to your dream bookclub: Helen Fielding (creator of Bridget Jones) for Pride and Prejudice; Tolstoy for Bridget Jones’s Diary and Jane Austen for everything else – except don’t forget to get out the best teacups and allow plenty of time to catch up with the gossip with Jane.

(And at the risk of this post rivaling War and Peace in its length, here is a further explanation for those bemused rather than amused.

The first part is Helen Fielding, author of Bridget Jones’s Diary, reading Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice. The second part is Leo Tolstoy reading Bridget Jones’s Diary,  which is loosely based on Pride and Prejudice. The third part is Jane Austen not reading War and Peace – and who can blame her  – by candlelight and written some fifty years after her death.

As an added treat watch out for the film version of Pride and Prejudice and Zombies, which stars Lily James who happened to play Natasha in the BBC version of War and Peace.

If you have been, thanks for reading. MJL)

The Best Holiday Ever

The Best Holiday Ever

chateau-de-sable-ceayr

The Best Holiday Ever

Chateau or Tepee? Mountains or beach? No contest; the half-term my sister was born and it rained all week.

Dad away, on business he said, we shut the curtains and had an indoors holiday. Mum lovely in peachy slip, wild curly hair and pink lipstick; sister swaddled like a tiny milk-bottle. Porridge for lunch, baked-beans for tea; silly games, daft jokes.

And nighttimes, floating off to dreamland on the wide, high raft of the big bed as my brother sang a lullaby, so sweet the tears trickled down our Mum’s cheeks and onto the dark head suckling at her breast.

M J Lewis ©2016

This is completely fictional (and I have strayed far from the prompt!) but I will say, in this wild wide world of extremes and excitement, tucked away in my store of memories are many of the simplest pleasures of life.

Thanks as always to the amazing Rochelle. For a stroll on the sandy beach of Friday fictional delights click here. Thanks to C. E. Ayr for the photo.

The Spinet and the Music Stool

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The Spinet and the Music Stool

They were the words every lover dreads: I’ll always cherish our time together.

The spinet wanted to bellow out his misery, but his strings just gently vibrated with sadness. She was much younger; he’d always known their time together would be short, a song rather than a symphony.

But the new walnut pianoforte, with his rolling bass and piercing climax of high notes, his seductive dynamic range – it was too much.

Take care my love, whispered the spinet in moderated tones. May your heart be filled with happy tunes.

And his own heart broke within him with a jarring twang.

M J Lewis ©2016

Coming along very late to the party this week due to internet problems. I appear to be still in a Hans Christian Andersen mood – not sure why.

Thanks to Rochelle, our busy host at Friday Fiction, and to Jan W. Fields for the photo this week. For more musically inspired 100-word fiction click here.

Love: the theory and the practice

melanie-greenwood

Love: the theory and the practice

Watch people at airports you said, to understand attachment: the tears, the hugs, the love.

You included us all: the nervous teenager, the would-be psychiatrist, the lonely middle-aged woman. You encouraged us, challenged us. I learnt that conformity is hugely overrated; that normality is an entirely subjective concept; that you preferred Vygotsky to Piaget, mountains to beaches; that you loved your husband dearly.

And I discovered first-hand that feelings are feelings, however predictable the transference of years of suppressed affection to my Psychology tutor. So, just as Freud valued insight over happiness, my mind expanded as my heart still aches.

M J Lewis ©2016

Happy January to all who visit and a huge thank you to Rochelle as another year of a Friday Fiction begins. Anyone else returned to work after the break to find they’re already playing catch-up by the end of week one? Ah, so not just teachers then (but that’s a true story for another time). Thanks also to Melanie Greenwood for the photo.

My one and only resolution for 2016 so far is to learn and write a different form of poetry each month; January has been declared Miranda’s sonnet month. Here’s a really inspiring and useful site I’ve enjoyed visiting. Not as serious as it sounds by the way – my first sonnet is about a guinea pig and begins:

He raises noble snout and sniffs the air

Miranda

These Streets

ce-grate

These Streets

We have walked these streets arm-in-arm these past decades of marriage – arguing, laughing, living. Carried fresh bread and morning flowers up flights of worn stairs to our bolthole above the rooftops; back down to our one o’clock corner table, a stroll in the spring rain with the scent of Horse Chestnut flowers, a quick nightcap.

Now you sit huddled behind the shutters. Too cold, you say. But bravery is not the absence of fear. So sweep up the broken glass, hose down the cobbles; I will walk these streets still.

They are my streets; this is my city, my life.

MJ Lewis©2015

Thanks to our Friday Fiction host, Rochelle congratulations on the new book. Thanks also too to C.E. Ayr for the photo and to all who visit. For a hoard of stories from around the globe click here.

Don’t Go Breaking My Heart

wired

Don’t Go Breaking My Heart

The summer of ’76: O levels, no rain for 3 months, Elton John and Kiki Dee faking it at number one.

I was going out with a gorgeous blue-eyed boy in the lower sixth; we’d lie in the dust under the apple trees for hours, kissing. But truth is, I was already fascinated by you.

I could hear your swishy skirt, feel your eyes on the back of my neck as I bent over English Lit. Paper B at my exam desk in the school gym. Two marriages, three children, several cats later – why did it take us so long?

M J Lewis©2015

This is my 100 words (not counting that title) for Friday Fictioneers hosted by the wonderful Rochelle. Thanks to Connie Meyer for the photo. Click here for more stories.

(For the youthful and the non-Brits, O levels were exams taken at age 16 in the olden days, before GCSEs.  And the lower sixth is now year 11. And Elton John…Think that’ll do.)

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While the World Dissolves Around Us

rainy-night

While the World Dissolves Around Us

He parks across from my blue front door and I turn to him. ‘Want to come in for some coffee?’  He’s so lovely, all the confidence I’ve been faking drains away. ‘Y’know, or…

But he’s shy too and his, ‘Or?’ comes out croaky. A caged bird flutters in my ribcage as he takes my hand.

Or…we strip naked and dance in the rain; we paint each other’s names in ten-metre-high letters; we sit here forever, as the street lights shatter to diamonds and the world dissolves around us.

But all I say is, ‘Or, I do have some hot chocolate.’

M J Lewis ©2015

In times of strife, take a deep breath and count to one hundred – one hundred words that is. Bit of a crazy week so far and half expected something angry to appear on the page. So what did we get – a call from the muse of love!

Many thanks firstly to Bjorn whose story supplied me with one vital two-letter word, full of possibilities. (Hope he’ll see it an inspiration rather than plagiarism.) A thank you to all who drop by and most especially to our newly liberated host, Rochelle, who also supplied the photo this week.

Click here for more rain soaked stories, where you might also notice I have come out, indeed emerged from behind my foxglove, with the same haircut only half a century on.

In Search of Lost Mornings

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In Search of Lost Mornings

Often then I’d wait at the bay window, nodding with fatigue, as the soft slow light of dawn filled the street. Trees – Horse Chestnut, I think – between soot-blackened brick; pigeons dozing on sills. Then – joy! – a distant figure, the familiar lilt of his walk, distinct even at  this time of day. My father’s muffled tread on the stairs, key in the lock.

My mother calls – Who’s there?

– Just me, m’dear.

Then a wink for me – Alright Sprout? – and scuttle back to bed, my secret safe.

And all the long years following, regretting that easy melding of souls.

MJ Lewis ©2015

Sometimes my computer annoys me and sometimes it amuses me – a normal working relationship then. This week when writing a comment about Proust’s sentences – it’s what the internet is for, and cats of course – my bad typing of Proust was creatively corrected to Sprout. Well it amused me!

PS I have in no way attempted to imitate Sprout’s – sorry Proust’s – prose style, but I will save the possibility of a 100-word one-sentence FF for another time. Could be fun to try.

Thanks as always to our host Rochelle (this week also for the evocative photo) and to all who visit.

Many more tales (wise, weird and wonderful, and sometimes all three) here.