Take the 10-Word Story Challenge: Dreams


The subject this week is “dreams”.

I am rabid about writing challenges.  They pull me out of my comfort zone and make me explore different facets of my muse.  There are a lot of writers out there reading this right now and I challenge you to write a 10-word story.  Here are the rules:

  • It will be exactly 10 words.
  • It will be a complete story with a beginning, a middle and an ending.
  • It will be in context to the subject each week.
  • A new challenge will be posted every Wednesday and the deadline will be the following Tuesday at midnight wherever you’re living.
  • Post your 10-word story in the comments of each week’s challenge and feel free to comment on each other’s.

If you are a blogger, post your entry on your blog and reference The 10-Word Challenge.  Also, be sure to include a link to your blog when you post your story in the comments.  Let’s have some fun!  Spread the “word”.

Add this image to your blog with a link to the 10-Word Story Challenge page!

My 10-Word Story entry this week is:

He awoke into a dream of waking and fell asleep.

Photographer Jack Long’s Vessels and Blooms: A Liquid Explosion of Sudden Bouquets


Photo by Jack Long

I seem to find the most amazing things when boredom-surfing on the net.  My latest boredom-killing spree yielded up a thrilling and unexpected gem; the amazing unique photographic talents of Jack Long.  Take a look at one of his photographs.  Yes, that’s right.  It’s a photograph.  And no Photoshopping here except maybe a basic tools clean-up.  The images themselves are not composites.  They’re liquid suspensions captured with high speed photography.

Photo by Jack Long

What Jack does takes meticulous planning and testing to perfect just one picture.  What you’re looking at is a moment in time that can never be duplicated.

Photo by Jack Long

Jack, 53 from Wisconsin, is very tight-lipped about his unique technique.  What he’s been willing to share is he uses water mixed with thickeners, pigments and dyes launched or dropped through the air.  An electronic flash is then used to capture his sudden floral masterpieces.  He calls his work “Vessels and Blooms”.

Photo by Jack Long

Jack loves working with liquids as his medium.  He said: “I love working with liquids because of their incredible versatility when creating high speed photography.  It is as much chance as it is preparation and planning. They are all different.”

“I like to use a lot of colors, variations and mixes of red, blue and yellow and green. The work takes a great amount of planning, set building and testing.”

“This series was a culmination of months of planning and testing. Hundreds of captures are made in testing and then many more during the actual final capture stage. A very few stand out as being the best.”

“All of my images are created in one single capture. One picture. I do not make composites from multiple images, unless otherwise noted. All of my fluid flowers are as captured. Photoshop is only used to ‘clean up’ the image and to enhance the image with basic tools.”

Photo by Jack Long

So, hats off to Jack for beautifully illustrating the merits of patience and creativity and giving us a new way of looking at the world.

Photo by Jack Long

Photo by Jack Long

Photo by Jack Long

Photo by Jack Long

Please visit Jack’s official website, Long Shots, to enjoy these and more of his latest work.
If you enjoyed this, you may also enjoy looking at these:

Delicate Divas:  The Floral Portraiture of Warwick Orme
Tiny Wonders
Picasso with a Bushy Tail?
The Power of “Awwww!” — Baby Animals

 

Join the First Word-Tapestry Challenge


It’s Monday and as promised, the very first Word-Tapestry Challenge.

The Word-Tapestry Challenge is an opportunity to have some fun, do a little creative writing and get in touch with yourself.  I invite you to participate.  If you want more information about the challenge, and to submit yours, go here.

The deadline for this week’s tapestries is Sunday, February 5th.  I can’t wait!

 

Slap, Slap, Slap


Watching traffic buzz along like aimless bees, I hear “slap, slap, slap” coming up behind me.  I pause a moment before I turn, wondering what this mystery sound could be.  “Slap, slap, slap.”  My mind frolics with possibilities.  “Slap, slap, slap.”  Whimsical rainbow fish falling from the sky?  “Slap, slap, slap.”  A walrus in a hurry?  “Slap, slap, slap.”  A bear on a bicycle with a flat tire?  “Slap, slap, slap.”  I turn.  A little brown man in a dust-colored sweater, hunched against the cold is hurrying.  The sun reflects from his bald dome atop a white ring of hair like an egg.  He smiles a toothless smile as he passes.  “Slap, slap, slap,” go his slippers as he scurries home.  Much better than a walrus in a hurry.

A small stone in River of Stones entry.

Copyright Jean Mishra 2012

Peas on the Loose!


Fat little rolly peas go bouncing and cavorting.  Freed from their cocoon unzipped; eager to explore.  Impossible to catch, they go rolling.  Boiing!  Under the bin they go; hiding.  Is that a giggle I hear?

A small stone in River of Stones entry.

Copyright Jean Mishra 2012

Guardian


I shut the door and threw the bolt.  Turning, I left the night outside to stand guard.  I hear it out there wrestling with the noises that come but I’m not afraid.  I know it will lead the day safely back.

A small stone in River of Stones entry.

Copyright Jean Mishra 2012

Button Pushing and Word Rockets


Clickety clackety keys on my keyboard chatter merrily away.  Firing expressive word-rockets off into the ethers like little silver launching pads; I know not where they land.  Some will be deleted, shuttled off into the word-void underworld when no longer interesting.  Others will remain inside search engine temples patiently awaiting discovery until the end of time.  With reverence I scrape a crumb from the “B.”

A small stone in River of Stones entry.

Copyright Jean Mishra 2012

Onion’s Revenge


Little onion sits on the counter, inconspicuous in papery skin and bits of dirt.  Unfortunately it has a role to play and it’s not a minor one.  The soup pot is waiting.  I help it off with its brittle dirty coat to expose its purple undershirt, all shiny and clean.  Then, I take a deep breath and lop off its stem-head and root.  I say my brief “sorry” but the soup can’t wait.  The knife begins its wicked dance evoking outrage burning my eyes.  In stinging tears the slices swim.  The knife slips and nicks my thumb.  Revenge.

A small stone in River of Stones entry.

Copyright Jean Mishra 2012

Finding Hidden Gems


Have you ever noticed the simplest and most obvious things are the hardest to see?  The more immersed we get in the daily grind, the more these simple things go unnoticed.  I know I’m so guilty of this.  Today I ran across a blog entry where someone wrote:

 “Nothing special happened today.” 

I felt her.  But then that little voice inside rang out.

“Are you sure nothing special happened today?  Did you really pay attention?”

Truth is, no I didn’t.

The Merriam-Webster Dictionary defines “special” as follows:

: distinguished by some unusual quality; especially : being in some way superior <our special blend>

So when we’re looking for something special to happen, we’re expecting something distinguishable from the usual stuff; something that shines a little happiness or excitement and yanks us out of the rut.  This is saying two things about our usual personal outlook:

  1.  We’ve already decided our life has no happiness or excitement.
  2. We’ve set the bar pretty high when it comes to “something special” happening.

No wonder we end up disappointed.  We already set the expectation for it.  I was expecting the heavens to open up with trumpets blaring and a big shiny “something” to drop out of the sky all for my delight.  Sound silly?  It is.

The truth is we’re swimming in a sea of special somethings.  They’re all around us.  They’re just too subtle, too simple, too obvious to see.  We walk right over them blinded by bigger expectations.

How do we find these elusive “somethings?”  Mindfulness.  This may not be a term you’re familiar with.  It has its roots in Buddhist philosophy but you don’t have to be a Buddhist to understand it or use it.  To be mindful quite literally means to be inclined to be aware.

We think we are aware, but stop and ponder how much is there we’re not aware of?  Truth is, a lot.  How many of us woke in the morning and noticed the birds singing despite the cold bleakness outside the window?  How many took a moment to appreciate the bliss of that first sip of coffee and how it warmed us?  As we greeted our neighbors, did we notice the beauty of their smile or the happiness meant just for us in the wagging tail of a dog?

If we can just shift our awareness slightly to the more subtle things around us, become more mindful, we’ll suddenly find all our days overflowing with special somethings.

Some of my regular readers know I’ve been participating in a daily creative writing exercise in mindfulness.  It’s been an amazing and rewarding experience in guiding me to be more aware of all special somethings I take for granted.  It’s called River of Stones.  What it encourages is noticing a little something you might otherwise take for granted and really examine it.  Appreciate it.  Then write about it.  That’s all there is to it.  What you end up with is a little piece called a small stone.  I post mine here daily.  I encourage you to visit the Writing Our Way Home blog where the River of Stones originates.  It’s a beautiful place.

When this month ends I’ll continue to write them.  It’s become part of a spiritual practice reminding me daily that happiness is found inside me in how I view the world.  It’s not something that haphazardly falls from the sky and announces “this is special.”  Everything is special if you have the ability to see it.

If you want to find these hidden gems for yourself, try this small stone exercise.  You don’t have to have any gift with words to do it.  It’s really for no one but you.  I know it changed everything for me.  If I had one wish for the world, it would be that it embraces mindfulness.  I think it would be a much different existence, but then I’m an idealist.

Glowing Ghosts and Sudden Color


The early morning slogs its way through the fog without much to brag about.  Street lights hang like glowing ghosts; somberly waiting.  Scurrying colors suddenly appear.  An unexpected actor from behind the curtains of mist; a figure wrapped in crimson, gold and green hurries by.  Bracelets sing a quick jingle as a shawl is pulled more tightly.  Then the form is swallowed like the memory of a dream upon waking.  The curtains close again to await the next scene.

River of Stones entry.

Copyright Jean Mishra 2012