Posts Tagged ‘Geoff Le Pard’

Hello, writers! What happens when your hostess is post-call? She forgets to schedule the winners and humpday quickie posts! Never fear – I have results and a story for your Wednesday enjoyment. As always, thank you to everyone who submitted stories this past weekend, and thanks also to Voima Oy for judging. You’ll find her comments and top picks below.

I’m happy to be here to judge Round 132 of Hourglass. Thank you Rebecca for having me as judge, and Ashwin Rao for providing this intriguing image. Thanks to everyone who wrote stories this week. The variety of stories here are all examples of excellent writing and the possibilities of the flash form. So much can be said in 360 words or less. Well done, everyone!

Here are my comments—

Now Sing–This story is set behind the curtain, in the moments backstage before a performance. There is a feeling of reluctance, then resolve. The details here are wonderfully observed, and the countdown is very effective. I especially enjoyed the ritual of the shoes before going onstage. The ending is perfect.

Santa Played the Sax–what a great title! The idea of a snowman costume made of industrial glue and white rice is so funny and surreal. The dialogue is superb–“Just hope this sh..pardon me boys, this stuff comes off cos did I mention I’ve got a job interview tomorrow?” Great characters and a story that begs for more stories.

JoySmile–I think this story makes very good use of the black-and-white photo. This is a story of a dazzling smile and a lifetime in show biz, from the early TV days of Ed Sullivan to an appearance on The Ellen Show.
I really liked this line, too–“Unless, of course, the unexpected happened which, of course, it did.”

Kawaii–The setting is Japan, Eiga Mura, movie town in Kyoto. This is a place of appearances–geishas and ninjas and Hello Kitty. The narrator is a traveller, an outsider, a stranger. The word “Kawaii” is the common connection. People seem friendly, but the experience is elusive, the meaning just out of reach.

Dad had a Fan in His Office–Here the setting is a movie theatre, years ago. It is as if the curtain is pulled aside to reveal the horrible events. The details here are so vivid–the velvet seats, the sound of the gunshot, the red everywhere. That ending–wow!

The Stain of Laughter–Here is a story with a history–There are the two adopted Vietnamese brothers. There is Grandfather, and his memories of the Burma war. The “Incident” seems to be an ominous foreshadowing, but the game of hide-and-seek behind the curtains turns out to be quite funny. The “yellow peril” ending is wonderful!

As Close as it Gets–The narrative voice carries this story of distance and photographs. The writing here is beautiful–“Why didn’t you ever say? Why didn’t you show your face?” Holding the photos is the closest they will came to touching. This realization is all that’s left, now. A sad and beautiful story.

These are all excellent examples of the flash form–possibilities as varied as the writer’s imagination. Thank you all for your stories. Here are my choices–

Special Mention–

Now Sing by Margaret Lonsdale–marvelous details

JoySmile  by Frank Key –Surprise ending? Yes!

Honorable Mention–

As Close as it Gets by Sian Brighal — Strong narrative voice, beautiful writing

Santa Played the Sax by Stephen Lodge — Great characters, and an open-ended story

2nd Runner Up

The Stain of Laughter by Geoff LePard –Vivid characters, a story within a story, and a very funny ending.

1st Runner Up

Dad had a Fan in his office by C.R. Smith –The details, the horror, the ending, wow!

And our Round 132 FLASH MASTER is…

FLASH MASTER

Angelique Pacheco

with Kawaii

–worlds within worlds, mysterious and elusive, this story lingers.

Congratulations, Angelique! Your story will be featured as the HumpDay Quickie! This weekend, April Foolery will be judged by David Shakes. Hope to see you all there.

Happy Tuesday, writers, and Happy  Valentine’s Day. I wish I’d thought ahead and posted a more timely photo prompt. Despite this glaring oversite, you persisted! 😉  Many thanks to everyone who wrote stories last weekend, and thanks to Firdaus Parvez for judging. You’ll find her comments and top picks below.

This was my first time as a judge here and I cannot tell you what a pleasure and privilege it was, not to mention how difficult. It’s amazing how a picture prompt can be interpreted in so many ways. I loved all the stories and the poem at the end. Truly amazing.

The minute I laid eyes on the picture, I thought, what on earth is this man up to; it can’t be pole vaulting, he has a beam in his hands! The kilts gave away the fact that it had something to do with Scotland. Unfortunately, my knowledge about the nation stretched between kilts, bagpipes, the novel ‘Kidnapped’ by R L Stevenson and the 2008 Hollywood flick ‘Made of Honor’ (which I’m assuming had all the stereotypes and was highly exaggerated). So when the stories popped up I took a crash course on google about caber tossing. I’m an enlightened soul and I had so much fun.

The fun stopped when I had to choose the winner. There is very little between the ones I’ve chosen and the ones left out. It broke my heart. I wish I could give everyone a prize.

Honourable mention:

A Tipper, A Tosser by Frank Key

I love dialogues. This felt real and I could completely see it. The atmosphere, the night before the games, so palpable and exciting. The nervousness of the MC came through. The last lines tied the story to the picture perfectly. Well done!

Second Runner up:

Reverberations by Geoff Lepard

I laughed when I read this, then I felt like a sadist because people were dying. This is such a unique take on the prompt. A propulsion that could fly us to Mars in a week! Wow! No wonder the judge and the spectators vaporised. (I had this crazy thought then – with all the ‘gas’tronomical recipes we have back home, I’m surprised we don’t see Indians floating around in space. Just a thought.

First runner up:

Running Through The Fog by Steve Lodge

Okay, to be honest I did think the names to be true but they did sound ridiculous. Then I realised what a fabulous name faker the writer is. I loved the story. I loved the funny games (I’m convinced they’re real except leopard waxing er… maybe). The whole plot was ridiculously convincing. I had a good laugh. 2075 will be an amusing year when they dig up the time capsule. Very entertaining.

And our Round 126 Flash Master is

FLASH MASTER

Ewan Smith

with

The Fierce Traditions Of Scotland

When I read this I felt myself leaning against the wheels of a horsebox listening to the conversation between Kristie and Homish. I could almost hear the tinny voice of the announcer in the distance. What the writer managed to do was that instead of telling me what was happening, I was shown the whole scene. I think I could hear the song ‘Flower of Scotland’ too (which I promptly went and listened to on YouTube. Lovely accent). The last line held such a strong message. However trivial the rest of the traditions may sound, the traditions of the fierce women were true. Scotland does have a history of some very strong women. I’m a little embarrassed I had to google Jenny Geddes, Flora McDonald and the Edinburgh Seven. I have no excuse for my ignorance. This has been an eye opener. Thank you for that and well done.

Congratulations, Ewan! Your story will be featured as tomorrow’s HumpDay Quickie! Be sure to stop by next weekend as Ewan Smith steps up from the podium to try his hand at judging. Hope to see you all there.

In memoriam

by Geoff Le Pard

George mouthed his lover’s name as he fixed the last lightbulb in place. He noted the display didn’t draw much attention, only the odd glance and one or two smiles. He was sure they knew why he had put lights on this bare tree, why the city authority had left it alone. Dan would have said they’d ‘twigged’ and broken down in giggles. How he missed that giggle.

Sighing he turned to the barred and padlocked door and its graffitied sign, still just about recognisable as ‘Pink Flamingo’.

‘Best dance scene ever, eh Dan?’ George’s breath left a steamy film on the dirty cracked window as he peered inside. No one wanted this place, not after what Gillan Housego had done. George strained as he always did to remember any of it; the shots, the screams, the inevitable smell of blood but nothing survived the bullet’s kindness in removing the horror as it took his consciousness. He knew, from the reports, that Dan died early on. He read with disbelief, in the months after he emerged from the coma, of 140 other deaths.

The young and not so young, men and woman, all seeking a safe place just to be themselves despite so many disapproving of their lifestyles.

He should have been number 142 but he had lived. It took him months to go back and wonder why. He sat in the tree’s shade and let the voices emerge. He learnt each name, each one part of his village. They would not be forgotten.

That’s when the idea of the lights came to him, one light for the light that had gone out.

‘Hi. George, is it?’

The woman’s hair was a vibrant candy-floss stripe.

‘Mel? I recognise you from your photo. You’re the first.’

She touched her hair. ‘I’ve not dyed it since, you know. Which one…?’

He tapped a bulb. ‘Phyllis.’

‘You know them all?’

‘Sure.’ Two men joined them, studying the branches. ‘I’m expecting over 100 today.’

One of the men said, ‘Such a lovely gesture.’

‘Memorial. I’m keeping it going.’ George dabbed away a tear. ‘These particular fairy lights ain’t never going out.’

Happy Tuesday, Friends! Thanks to everyone who came out to write this past weekend, and thanks also to Brady Koch for volunteering to judge and for offering a copy of his new book as a bonus prize. You’ll find Brady’s comments and top picks below.

First of all thanks to Rebecca for inviting me to judge and for bringing Angry Hourglass back. With our lives and environments in a constant flux, it’s helpful to have respite on the weekends for a little creative release.

We had some great reads this week. 2 dystopias, 2 dog encounters, 2 visits from beyond the grave, and 2 instances of tree lights brightening the human experience.  It’s amazing what a simple photo prompt can evoke. I was curious to see what kinds of themes can come from this prompt so I made this word cloud to analyze. Interesting to see what we’re all thinking about.

Some quick reflections on this week’s entries:

The Life App by Angelique Pacheco – I can relate to this one with my phone constantly affixed to my palm.

The Dog Did It by Alva Holland – This seems like something I would do . . . or have done. Post-election campaign signs and holiday decorations are both in the same category for me: you have two days after the event to take them down.

Knowing by @el_Stevie – Always a fan of fitting a dystopia into flash. Really like thinking about the relevancy of these newspaper boxes in a future society.

To Grant A Wish by @carolrosalind – Great concept of using the tree as the character. Made me think of the other events a city tree would witness over its lifespan.

In Memoriam by @geofflepard – The holiday lights as memorial won me over. The fact that each bulb has meaning was just great to no end.

News of the World by @AvLaidlaw – I like portrayals of wrong-headed revolts. Feels immediately relevant.

My Poinsettia Love by Nicola Tapson – Poinsettias always struck me as a sad plant. Maybe it’s the white blood, maybe it’s that no matter what efforts I make, I can’t get them to live past January. I’ve heard the post death delivery of flowers over years, but this is the first time I can think of where the dead loved one is hinting about foul play.

Untimely by Jeff Rowlands – Grim Reaper is a busy guy. He has to run late some times as Jeff Rowlands effectively points out. Great concept of reading your own obituary.

1st Runner Up: To Grant A Wish by @carolrosalind – fresh POV for a lead character.

 

And our Round 118 FLASH MASTER is…

FLASH MASTER

Geoff Le Pard

With

In Memoriam

Simple and honest story of coping with grief years later.

Congratulations, Geoff! Your story will be featured as Wednesday’s HumpDay Quickie! If you wish to collect your book, please send me your mailing address through the contact tab and I’ll forward it to Brady. Next weekend, A.J. Walker is back as acting judge. Hope to see you all there.