Flying by the Seat of Your Pants: Flash Fiction for Aspiring Writers

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The night before the mission Squadron 74 threw back their beers and cuddled their girls They knew there would be empty seats and some broken-hearts the following night. 

1100 hours the bugle sounded.  A quick briefing. No longer carefree, they ran to their planes. Commander Keith ‘Grid’ Caldwell headed out with his men. “On your bikes, chaps” he ordered. 

The formation crossed the line at 1330 hrs. Soon they ferreted out some enemy planes. Bratatattat. Bratatattat. Sparks flew from the machine guns. Grid, in his element, attacked, then spiralled, righting his plane to appear from nowhere shooting the German out of the sky. He dipped away. His plane shuddered. He had collided with one of his own at 7000 feet. The plane with it damaged wing spun downward another 2000 feet. Without a parachute Grid had a choice of death. He decided to jump. He leant out over the wing and the plane steadied, flattening out. Holding the right rudder with his left foot he kept his weight on the wing and managed to fly his crippled aircraft to safety.

Thank you to Priceless Joy for hosting flash fiction for aspiring writers and thank you also to Yinglan who provided this weeks photo prompt.

This photo immediately  reminded me of an war aircraft museum I have visited in New Zealand. In the WWI exhibit I learnt about this NZ pilot who had a narrow escape and was one of the few pilots to survive WWI where the average lifespan of these young men was two weeks from commencing flying missions. Grid went on to become a Air Commodore in WWII. He gained the nickname Grid as it is NZ for bicycle and this is what he called the planes.

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© irene waters 2018

The other interesting fact that I didn’t know was that in WWI, unlike the German pilots, British pilots weren’t issued with parachutes. The rationale of the British Government was that the pilots may not be quite as focused on carrying out the task at hand and might bale earlier, ditching expensive aircraft that potentially could limp home. It took them some time to realise that trained fighter pilots were a more valuable commodity than the plane. Once they realised this parachutes became standard issue.

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Feathered Texture: Tuesday’s of Texture

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From a coffee’s perspective: Cee’s Odd Ball Challenge

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In response to Cee’s Odd Ball Challenge

Posted in Cee's Odd Ball Challenge, photography | Tagged , , , , | 12 Comments

The Children Act: A Book Review

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photo courtesy amazon.com

Ian McEwan’s reputation goes before him and The Children Act did not disappoint. It is the story of a High Court judge (Fiona May) who deals with family matters. Three cases are discussed in some detail – one a divorce case between a jewish couple determining where the female children should be schooled, another about cojoined Siamese twins where it will condemn one of the twins to certain death if they are separated and the case of a boy of the Jehovah’s Witness faith, suffering from leukaemia whose parents are refusing him a life saving blood transfusion. The legal arguments for each case are complex and compelling and I found fascinating.

At the same time Fiona’s marriage is at crisis point and needs as much careful consideration, deliberation and care as those cases before her. The decisions she makes both in the court cases and her personal life and her rationale have consequences that she doesn’t expect or anticipate. What these are I won’t say as it may spoil the book for any who read it. For me the ending was totally unexpected.

McEwan’s writing is elegant and shows great mastery. Although only a short book, it packs a big punch. It makes you look at your own belief system. Question what is morally right, where you stand in the world.

Would I recommend this book – yes I would. I think it would be enjoyed by all readers. Both my husband and I rated this narrative highly – quite unusal that we are both in total agreement about a book so I have no hesitation in recommending it for reading by any gender.

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Times Past: Dealing with Others

A memoir post that I wrote for Carrot Ranch on memoir.

Carrot Ranch Literary Community

By Irene Waters

I write memoir – my memories of particular times or events in my life. In this process, through no fault of their own other than being part of my life I write another person’s narrative.

Who are the other people in our story – firstly there is the “I,” and then because we don’t live our lives in isolation, there are those people whose lives intertwine. It is impossible to leave out these other people when we recount our memoirs, but we must remember that they are having their story written as unwitting real-life characters and as such are due a good deal of respect. So how do we deal with these people?

Ideally, we tell them that we are writing a memoir in which they feature. Don’t show them what you have written until the book has had close to its final edit. Where possible stay…

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Sea Gull and Pelican: Silent Sunday

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Posted in Australia, Noosa, photography, Silent Sunday | Tagged , , , , , | 4 Comments

The Sarus Crane: 99 word Flash Fiction

Hearing the engines of the American F-4 jets we scattered but there was nowhere to go. The bombs fell, followed by huge explosions. A fireball engulfed everything for miles. The burning tar clung to the skin of those in the open. Those undercover coughed from the deadly carbon monoxide cloud that robbed the atmosphere of oxygen.Who were the Americans fighting? The Vietcong or the Environment? The tallest flighted bird in the world took off taking hope with it.

The Americans destroyed and then rebuilt in collaboration. 

“Look. There!  See that large bird!”

 “Hope has returned. See the red head.”

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courtesy of https://indianbirds.thedynamicnature.com/2016/10/sarus-crane-antigone-antigone.html

In response to Charli’s prompt where she asks:

May 10, 2018, prompt: In 99 words (no more, no less) write a story defining “the charisma of cranes.” For centuries, cranes have inspired art and philosophy. You can write a crane story or create something new out of the phrase. Go where the prompt leads.

Respond by May 15, 2018. Use the comment section below to share, read and be social. You may leave a link, pingback or story in the comments.

(I just noticed my bird-brained typo last week; you can still turn in May 3 stories if you thought you had until May 15, but use the May 3 Flash Fiction Challenge Form.)

If you want your story published in the weekly collection, please use this form. If you want to interact with other writers, do so in the comments (yes, that means sharing your story TWICE — once for interaction and once for publication). Rules are here.

The Sarus crane along with numerous other birds and wildlife became the victims of the napalm the Americans used to flush out the Viet Cong. The poison destroyed habitat and the animals that had survived became poisoned by the iron sulfides in the soil. The Sarus Crane which is the worlds largest flighted bird at over 5 feet has a distinctive red head and grey body. The Vietnamese has traditionally seen it as taking their dead to eternal life and use it as a symbol of human’s most cherished hopes – a good marriage, longevity and a life everlasting in heaven. They were feared extinct but after a joint  venture between America and Vietnam to restore habitat a Sarus Crane was sighted in 1985. Today there are around 1,000.

Posted in Carrot Ranch, creative writing, flash fiction, photography | Tagged , , , , , , | 15 Comments