Fun Flash Fic Free-for-all

Although I spent my childhood hundreds of miles away from them, some of my fondest memories center on my grandmothers. Each summer when we traveled from southern California to Utah to visit my father and stepmother, in addition to sleepovers with my father's mother, Carol Haskell, we would spend a night or two with Mary Neves, my stepfather's mother who accepted us as unconditionally as did he.  Both women had that special knack of spreading joy and emanating sunshine, going overboard to spoil us, and making each grandchild feel like their favorite.  For each, music helped define their soul and they, in turned, endowed their grandchildren with the same gift.

My Grandma Haskell could play on the piano anything you asked her.  She always shared a wealth of wonderful old-timey tunes full of plucky harmonies and jaunty rhythm—the popular tunes of the 1920s and 1930s that evoke flat straw hats, beaver coats and old jalopies in my heart.  Self-taught, she played by ear.  I think I remember her telling me she couldn't read a note of music, but that's probably muddled because I can't imagine her not tackling anything she set her mind to.  But, then again, perhaps she didn't set her mind to it because she could play by ear so well.  

Always, always she sang along in her big, lusty voice, unabashedly sharing the talents with which she was blessed.  Met with joyful strains of organ music and hearty vocals spilling from the house, we'd hurry inside because we knew Grandma came over, whether or not her big old whatever-it-was (an Impala?) stood in the drive.

My Grandma Neves' style of music differed from my Grandma Haskell as much as did their personalities.  She had been more classically trained, but like Grandma Haskell, provided the foundation of a stage band at various points in their lives.  They were natural born entertainers.

Grandma Neves also could play on the piano anything asked of her.  More still, she kept us rambunctious, unruly hellions occupied with a particular game we loved.  She would sit at the piano and the child would plunk out three notes.  Then, Grandma would compose on the fly, using those three sequential notes as the theme to her music.  Even as I write, I hear her jaunty tunes and see her hands bouncing up and down the keyboard, the wry smile on her face when she eyed us as she played, as if saying, "You'll have to do better than that to stump me."  (Sorry.  I just can't make my Grandma Neves say "Is that all you got?!")  Even when we'd jump all over the keyboard with our note selections, Grandma came through.  Some of her funnest music came as a result of her grandchildren's discordance.

There is actually a literary point to this little excursion down memory lane,  besides to tell the world how wondrous my grandmothers were.  I'm learning to love flash fiction as an important exercise in writing only the bare essentials.  My goal is to be confident enough to submit my stuff to FridayFlash.org, a writing community that shares and encourages flash fiction.  The problem is, I can't come up with anything to write about.  So, I thought I'd take a lesson from my grandma's theory book, but I'll need your help.

It goes like this:  in the comments below or on my Facebook page, give me three words, a noun, a verb, and a place.  If you like, toss in an inanimate object and a adjective, e.g. rushed or harried.  Then, I'll take your words and create a story comprising of 250-750 words and leave them as a response.  Then, if you're really inspired, try writing a bit of flash fic for others' comments.  I'll publish the best on Flash Fiction Friday.  Here's a fun link I just found to provide even more inspiration.

So, dive in!  Here's where you can leave a comment with absolutely nothing to say.  Pull the words out the either or a random pointer in a book or a web page.  Sounds like fun to me.  Don't forget to follow the the comments to see if you have stumped me.

6 comments:

Chas Hathaway said...

Furby, sing, St. Louis.

Did I do it right?

Paul said...

Royal Canadian Mountie, masticate, public restroom, oblong, crescent wrench,

Fantastic idea! Have fun.

desirose said...

Ring, tripping, Scotland, astounding, picture frame

I'm excited to see what you come up with!

Dallas said...

Cranium grinning Denver

tomiannie said...

Beagle, Norway, meditate, elusive, picture frame

Penny Freeman said...

You guys are too funny! I'm going to set all my writers on these and see what they come up with. Thanks for the inspiration!