Tag Archives: writing challenge

Words Between Generations

Standard

Daily Post Writing Challenge: Give and Take

Focus today’s post on the contrast between two things. The twist? Write the post in the form of a dialogue.

 

GIllian shifted her weight, settling into the cushioned wicker chair. Her usually smiling mouth stiffened into a rigid line as she stared into her glass of iced lemonade. The comforts of her impeccably decorated screened-in porch seemed stale today.

Why does it always have to be so awkward?

Being around her 11-year old grandson was never easy, even though she had been taking care of him every Saturday for almost 6 months now. Even though Ry didn’t know it, his very presence reminded GIllian of how much she had failed to bond with his father, her only child. It didn’t help that he was so very ecstatic to see her. Gillian wasn’t sure where the hostility stemmed from, though she secretly suspected that Ry’s ex-junkie mother, Sindie, had something to do with it. Sindie was less than fond of her ex-husband, and probably blamed Gillian for, well, god knows what. Darren. Even now, his name bore a pit in the base of her stomach. How she wished…

“So, Ry, what would you like to do today?” GIllian posed the question in her “fake cheery” voice, feeling a twinge of guilt as she did. Did she really think today would be different?

The dark haired boy looked up briefly from his gaming device and scowled.

“C’mon, bud, it’s a beautiful spring day…how about we go get some fresh air?” Her heart sank as she felt her tone of voice rise. Why can’t I break this pattern? She could basically predict his response by now.

“Don’t wanna.” This time, Ry didn’t even bother to glance up.

Gillian rose from her chair with a sigh and escaped into her kitchen. Of all the questions clouding her psyche, one stuck out with burning ferocity.

Why can’t I fix this?! C’mon, Gil. There’s gotta be something he’ll respond to.

With new resolve, Gillian headed back out to the porch. She stood in the doorway, silently raising the courage to try to break through through her grandson’s looming walls.

“Ya don’t have to pretend, ya know.”

Ry’s muttered statement almost knocked the wind out of her.

“How…what do you mean by that, Ry?”

The boy looked up and scowled. Wrong answer, Gil. She took a deep breath and tried again.

“Okay, you’re right. I’m sorry.”

To her surprise, the boy broke away from the death glare he was giving his device, peering questioningly as his grandmother.

“You are?”

“Yes, Ry. I haven’t been treating you fairly – you’re much more mature than I give you credit for.” Gillian hoped with everything that this would work.

Ry squirmed in his seat, unsettled by his grandmother’s new approach. The gaming device, now lying discarded in his lap, continued to beep and flash like an insistent one-sided conversation.

“Oh.” The one-word reply spoke volumes, for his tone had shifted from its usual surly defiance to one that hinted at a hidden vulnerability.

Gillian smiled warmly at her grandson and stepped back into the kitchen to grab the lemonade pitcher. After refilling Ry’s glass, she decided to splurge and add a little gin to her own. Why not celebrate a bit for achieving such a monumental victory? That one word, one sound at that, had changed the course of her entire day…maybe even the entirety of her relationship with Ry. No matter what happened today, Gillian had broken through to her grandson like she had never been able to with Darren. Maybe this would be her second chance.

 

 

 

 

 

Advertisements

The Bigger Picture

Standard

From the Daily Post:

How do you handle conflict? Boldly and directly? Or, do you prefer a more subtle approach?

 

I’ve never been much for direct conflict. I’m not really passive-aggressive, I just like to avoid yelling matches. That being said, I’m also not one to let tension drag out without resolution, because that’s just really annoying. Who likes to walk on eggshells for weeks on end?

Personally, I try to keep things calm so that conflict doesn’t arise. Anger is a powerful emotion, and I don’t want it unleashing near me if I can help it. Over time, with much deep breathing, mistake-making, and reluctant self-control, I’ve learned to try dispelling tension before any threat of conflict. It’s definitely not always easy, especially when you’re up against someone who just has it out for you (and that’s happened before…not fun!). But if I see that the waters are starting to get choppy, I sit back and try to think of the best way to calm the imminent explosion.

How do I do that? Well, simply put, I choose to lose. If someone comes at me with the intent to start conflict, I suck in my pride – which is SO hard sometimes – and choose not to be aggravated. I give the other person the “win”, and just try to stay calm and peaceful within myself. Now, this wouldn’t work as well if the conflict were somehow to directly influence my well-being. If someone were trying to hurt me, for example, I’d take a much more defensive approach…and probably get the hell out of there as soon as possible. But most conflict, honestly, arises from REALLY petty problems. People lash out at each other over the stupidest things, and it’s just a waste of energy. I would know – I’ve been there many times! But by staying kind and peaceful as much as possible, I find that it’s easier to break the cycle of hurt and keep those vibes positive.

I’ve also found that it’s easier to stay calm when I look at the circumstances surrounding the potential conflict, instead of focusing in on me vs. them. You never know what’s causing a person to lash out; people misplace their emotions all the time. That person could be going through something really tough, with no healthy outlet. Allowing them to vent their anger might be just the thing they need, even if it is unfair to you. When I look at the bigger picture, I can stay calm a lot more easily and let kindness lead the way.

 

On Learning How To Breathe

Standard

Poem entry for the Weekly Writing Challenge

 

The first time I breathed

today (for those others

surely could not have been but mere imitations!)

I felt it, really felt it,

flow into my nasal passages

as I stole some of the passing

gust of wind.

The breath, full of all

those eternal argon particles

and stardust pieces (but

mostly nothing –

at all)

tumbles into my lungs (

expanding, e x p a n d i n g)

and finally I feel what

I had been missing all day.

Connection, life, wealth, and

eternity,

all contained within this

one curious handful of air.

Imagine that! The history

of the universe, contained for

moments at a time

within my own being…

it’s only right that I should

feel so lucky.

Exhale now, but slowly;

the first true breath of the day

is always one

to savor.

I wonder what the

next one will taste like?