A Picture is Worth A 1,000 Words: The Meeting Place

Do any of y’all remember when I used to write “A picture is worth a 1,000 words” posts? The idea was to find a random picture on Pinterest, and then set my timer and see how fast I could come up with a thousand-word story inspirited from said picture. The purpose was to help me learn to write short stories and to practice my coming-up-with-ideas skills. Plus, the story had to be exactly a thousand words, so that made the challenge more…challenging. (By the way, no brainstorming is allowed before starting the timer. That means I find the picture, like how it looks, copy it, and promptly start the timer.)
Well. I haven’t written any of those stories for a long time, a fact that became all too clear to me when I sat down to write one this morning. The story that plopped into my head was rather trite and cliché, but hey, I’ll get better as I continue practicing. 
I’m posting my story from today, even though it’s not stellar, so I can look back after I’m back in practice with these stories, and see the difference. (You can read previous “A picutre’s worth a 1,000 words” posts herehere, here, and here.) And, if any of y’all want to be a part of the challenge, you can join up and post your story (just leave a comment with the link), or you can share it with me at aidylewoh@gmail.com.
Date: 8-24-16 
Time: 26:49
Hardest Part: All of it, I’m out of practice
Title: The Meeting Place
I stared at the bench, my breath coming in puffs of whiteness. This was the spot. These were the street lamps. The trees. The hedge of bushes. Cold seeped in through the multiple layers I had piled on, yet I didn’t mind it. The shocking weather lent an air of disbelief to the world around me, as if it, too, believed that tonight was merely a fairy tale, a figment of my all too overactive of an imagination. 
Leaning closer, I could see that some tracks had been made in the snow in front of the bench, although doubtlessly not recently. The wind was blowing with strong gusts and would have completely covered them if much time had passed. I looked back at my own tracks leading through the knee-high white fluffiness. The energy I had exerted making my way to our meeting place was far less than I’d spent arguing with myself for the last three days, trying to decide if I should come or not. 
And now that I’d taken the leap and come? Well, perhaps she wouldn’t show after all. Maybe I would have to turn and trudge my way back to the street car. Maybe I would get lost in the drifts and have to build myself an igloo. Maybe this episode really was a dream and before long I’d be waking up in my cozy room, snuggled under the covers, having left my windows open, hence the cold I was feeling. 
Stomping my feet to keep the blood moving, I surveyed the bench, tilting my head first one way, then the other. I could always displace the mounds of snow it was buried under and sit down while I waited. Or I could turn around and leave. I’d done my duty. I’d kept my promise. I’d come and with time to spare, but did she show? No. And it shouldn’t have been a surprise. It wasn’t a surprise. She’d been leaving me in the cold for as long as I could remember. Still, it hurt. The rejection fell over me in little freezing particles, much like the snow was doing at the moment. 
Most people don’t get to choose their families. They don’t choose their parents, grandparents, aunts or uncles. And they most certainly don’t choose their siblings. But I had. And sometimes I wondered if that was the reason I struggled so much. 
Although we’d been adopted by different families, I had insisted my sister and I never forget each other. When the rest of the bonds I had felt to my former world dissipated in the erosion of time, I held firmly to the ideal that one day we would meet up again, that we would stay together. Our visits were infrequent and proceeded each time by my excited anticipation, then followed by heartbroken tears as I came to the realization that I wasn’t needed. My sister got along fine without me. She had melted and melded into her family in a way that seemed perfectly natural. It hurt to know she’d moved on, that she’d found a new life, a new world, one in which I didn’t fit. 
You’ve got to make an effort, Lilly. My sister’s words were the same each visit. They love you, you love them. They’re your family and you need to start acting like it. There was a time when she even refused to visit me for several years. Finally my begging and pleading had gotten to her, and I’d found comfort in knowing I was among my real flesh and blood. 
Then we’d had a falling out. I finally had had enough of her mincing and bossing. She’d declared me immature. I’d declared her un-loyal. She’d declared me a girl who could only look backward, I declared her someone who professed to be too good for her roots. And the argument had gone on. When we left, it was without a backward glance. My last words were that she could move on with life. I would never try and see her again. She was dead to me, as if we really weren’t blood sisters after all. As if we hadn’t had the same beginning in life. 
That was when we were sixteen. Her bitter accusations stayed with me for two years, haunting my memory, making me angry. Then I had learned to let go. Not only to the anger, but to the past. She had been right after all. We lived different lives. Our blood wasn’t enough to keep us connected forever. There were times when I even pondered the possibility of her planning out the fight so we’d have a falling out and I would finally move on with life. The thought, while painful, did have merit. After all, she’d finally succeeded in forcing me to stop using her as the crutch she’d been in my life. 
Standing under the stinging coldness, my thoughts chased each other around and around. It had taken me nearly three years to finally admit that she was right. That our argument might have been for the best after all. And of course that’s when she contacted me. Her first initiation at reaching out to me. And it turned my finally-in-order world back into a land of chaos. I was scared of the reaction I would face when I finally saw her again, hence the reason I had nearly been absent. But I was here now, and she wasn’t. 
“Lilly?” The voice was soft. 
I swallowed hard and turned toward the voice. 
“You came.” 
“Of course.”
Reaching out, she wrapped her arms around me. “I was wrong.” 
I returned the hug then stepped back. “Wrong?” 
“Family is important.” 
I sucked in an icy breath. 
“Adopted and blood family.” 
I gave a simple nod. 
“Can you forgive me? Be my sister once again?”
I nodded. 
“I missed you during the last four years.” My sister smiled at me. 
And the cold didn’t feel so cold any more. 

Short Story: A Picture is worth 1,000 Words

I haven’t written a short story in a long time. A couple years ago I was in the habit of doing what I called “A picture is worth a 1,000 words” stories, which is where I choose a random picture then time myself to see how long it took from the first moment I saw the picture until I had written a short story that was exactly 1,000 words about the picture. 
It’s a great exercise for me as an author so when my wonderful friend suggested I write a short story for my blog post today, I jumped at the chance. I convinced her to pick out a picture for me, then I set my stop watch, looked at the picture, wrote the story and did a quick edit on it. It is exactly 1,000 words long.
From the time I first saw the picture until it was in the condition you see below was:
31 minutes and 20 seconds. 
I hope y’all enjoy! 
It shouldn’t have surprised me after all we’d been through, but somehow it still did. I took a deep breath, willing myself to have the courage. It didn’t work. “Are you sure this is a good idea?” I tried to keep my voice calm, but even I could hear it’s frayed edges. 
“You’re not scared, are you?” Kallie’s eyebrows lifted slowly as if she was assessing my mood. 
“I’m not sure that I would call it fear,” I tried backpedaling. “I just think it’s a really good idea to check all of our options and make sure we settle on the right one before we plunge ahead and, you know, take the dive.” I cringed at how my brain worked in puns even when it was stressed out. 
“You do realize that we’ve been working toward this moment for the last three months, right?” Kallie sighed and ran a hand through her tangled blonde curls. “I thought you had decided to follow the map until the end.” 
“That’s before I realized that the map was leading us straight into water.” I shuddered. “We  have absolutely no clue what could be down there.” I pulled my sweater more securely around my shoulders. “We’ve already dealt with so much because of this map and I’m not sure if it’s worth it any more.” 
The sigh that blew from Kallie’s lips was filled with frustration. “I’ll do it alone if I have it.” 
“You can’t do that.” I echoed her sigh with one of my own. “The instructions clearly state that there needs to be two of us.” 
“And if you’re backing out than what am I supposed to do?”
“I didn’t say I was backing out.” 
“You didn’t?” Kallie’s sarcastic tone of voice reminded me of when we were little girls and she would hang around bossing me just because she was the older of the sisters. 
“I’ll do it.” The words came out of my mouth before I had even thought them through. 
“Lets go then.” 
I held up a finger. “I’ll do it, on one condition.” 
“You’re a little safety-lover, aren’t you?” Kallie dropped her backpack and reached up and massaged her shoulders. 
“Which is a good thing if you recall correctly.” There had been three times since we’d started out pursuing the treasure that the map promised that my overthinking and cautiousness had saved us. 
“Yes, it is a good thing most of the time, but really, just because you have a fear of swimming shouldn’t make our whole quest suffer.” 
I had to concede, she did have a point. I rubbed my hand over my face, trying to erase the fear that was building up. I thought of when we had received the map in a letter from our grandparents. It had been exciting at the time but neither of us had been ready to tackle the huge journey it would send us on. We’d prepared for several months, snatching every spare moment we could while keeping up with the rest of our lives, then when our grandparents sent us another letter telling us it was now or never, we had took deep breaths and plunged into the escapade. 
The last several months had been full of weekend trips, late night figuring and adventures we’d never even dreamed of as we spent our time finagling our lives around following the treasure. 
“Are you ready yet?” Kallie’s voice broke into my memories.
“We have no clue if it’s safe or not.” As much as I enjoyed the hunt and hanging out with my sister, I was ready for life to go back to normal.
“I can tell by looking at you that you’re ready to give up.” Kallie’s voice was filled with accusation. 
“We can’t spend the rest of our lives doing this.”
“We still have our lives, this is something we’ve been doing on the side.”
“Come on, getting over your fear of the water will be good.” Kallie started down the steps; holding my hand tightly, she pulled me along with her. 
The fear I had felt up on shore got stronger each step we took. I gasped for breath, trying not to let my phobia get the best of me. I hated water. 
“What if this is just another clue?”
“You can’t give into your fear.” Kallie addressed my real question. 
When we reached the last step before the staircase entered the water Kallie slipped her arm around my shoulder. “Facing our fears makes us stronger.” 
I bit my lip and then dipped my toes into the water. It wasn’t as cold as the air promised it would be. Deep breath. I continued the decent, Kallie at my side, until the water was waist deep. Then shoulder deep. Filling our lungs with air we continued a few more steps and then bumped into something solid. If I hadn’t been under water I would have screamed. 
A moment later I opened my eyes to find that we were in a hallway of sorts the door was quickly closing behind us.
“What in the world?” Kallie and I slowly ventured forward, eyes widening with each step. 
“An under water passage way?” There were drains on the floor that the water we had let in with us was swirling down. We reached another door and opened it, then gasped in delight. “This is it! This is the treasure!” Kallie threw her arms around me then twirled me around in a big circle. 
We were standing in a huge, beautiful and elaborate room that was filled with books of every size and description and plush chairs to sit on while reading them. Lights had been flickering on since we had come through the door and soon the whole room was sparkling with beauty. 
“This is a far better treasure than I had ever dreamed of.” I felt a huge grin slip over my face as my fear I had harbored during the last stage of the journey melted away. 

Short Story – Peace

To those of you who don’t know, every so often I like picking a random picture and writing a short story about it, timing myself to see how long it takes me. I hope you enjoy! 
Title: Peace
Length: 439 words 
Time to write: 31 minutes (but I was working on other stuff during that time, too)
Favorite description: To feel the pain welling up in my heart and spilling out through my veins until my whole body was controlled by the need to get even. 
Hardest part: The ending


My backpack half sliding off my shoulder, I pushed the door open, frown already in place, knowing I was going to hate it. No matter what happened, I wouldn’t be happy. I couldn’t be happy. Showing any kind of positive emotion would be validation for them and I couldn’t let that happen. I wasn’t here by choice and come what may, they would know that as clearly as if I were shouting it in their face every second of the day. 

The gasp that somehow came from my throat betrayed me before I could cover my face with an arrogant mask. The room. The room was everything I had imagined as a child. It was like walking into a dream and realizing that the dream had become your reality. 

How had they known? From the sage green walls to the wide wooden floor boards, I felt my heart constricting as I gazed at the beauty in front of me. They weren’t supposed to understand me. They weren’t supposed to try and make me feel at home. I wanted to be angry. To feel the pain welling up in my heart and spilling out through my veins until my whole body was controlled by the need to get even. But how could I get even when there wasn’t anything to get even at? 

From what seemed like a far away world, I heard what could have been their voices talking to me, but I didn’t turn around. I was tired, oh so tired. I just wanted to be alone. My overwhelming desire to vent and scream was dulling into a numbing awareness that maybe I had been wrong. I wasn’t used to being wrong. I wasn’t used to changing my point of view. 

Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid. The words were written in flowing penmanship and framed in a thin, black frame, causing me to stop and take notice of them. Swallowing hard, I read them again. 

Peace. What did that feel like any more? I hadn’t experienced the sensation in so long I wasn’t sure I’d ever felt it. Letting my backpack make the rest of it’s journey onto the floor, I walked over to the frame and lightly brushed it with my fingertips. 

Maybe getting even, being arrogant, being right all the time… Maybe those emotions weren’t worth it. Maybe, just maybe, I could trade them all in for peace. “It’s beautiful,” I whispered, a foreign, tentative smile stealing over my face. 

Writing Contest Winner! The Beauty in Small Things – By Jordan Link

So, you know that moment when you wish you had a way out? Then you realize just biting the bullet and getting it over with is the best thing to do. Take me for instance. This is my third year for hosting a writing contest on my blog. The first year I didn’t have many followers and I only got four entries. The next year I had more followers and I received a good amount of entries. (Ten or fourteen or so.) This year my blog has had a lot more activity and I got… One. One entry. Hey, it’s good for me though, having to admit this on my blog. I like at least keeping up the image that I know what I’m doing on Noveltea, but since that’s only an image anyway, it’s likely to be shattered many times over and in reality, that’s ok. 🙂 

I have three consolations: 1 – Listening to good music as I type this. 2 – Having a totally supportive cousin. 3 – I really like the story winning story! 🙂

And now, here is Jordan Link (a girl from my writing group) with her fabulous winning story of 456 words:

The Beauty in Small Things

Age 17. I am a glistening blue star, a bright galactic miracle that never fails to shimmer. I walk with a poise rivaled by none but Her Majesty. On my gown are thousands of crystals, each encompassing my dream to become her, to be followed by a fleet of servants like each of my steps is divine.

But tonight I walk alone, with myself and my prosperity. I hear the soft clamor of a cathedral’s bells, and the barking of a servant’s dog. I hear the soft patter of my bare feet against the cobblestone, and the hushed whisper of the wind as it tickles my cheeks. Despite it, I can not bring myself to admire the beauty in small things. I withdraw my mirror, and find comfort in the polish of the girl who stares back.

As I round the road’s bend, someone brings me to a halt. A small girl peels away from the shadows, like she was delivered from the darkness itself. She runs up to me before I can cower away, and latches onto the skirt of my gown.

“I wish I were a princess, so I too could wear such a beautiful dress.”

I kneel down, and cradle the girl’s hands in mine. Her palms are coarse, like little coals.

“Little one, it is imperative that you strive only to be a better version of yourself.”

Age 20. I am sprawled out on my bed, with a fan in one hand and a pastry in the other. By the end of the impeding guard’s announcement, both of those items have found the floor. I run down the hall, and only the train of my dress pursues me.

Age 21. Someone wants to arrange an audience with me. The people insist she is the best blacksmith around, that she could recreate the Holy Chalice if that was her will. I do not believe in foolish tales, and arranged instead her execution.

Age 23. I have an affliction, I think. The townspeople call it “The Plague”, but, in terms of intellect, they are hardly superior to rats. Neither royals nor Catholics can die from the plague.

Age 23. This tower is dark; so much so that light seems to cease at its windows. They say the doctor will be here soon, and I hope to God that they are right. There is a fair view of the countryside, but I can not bring myself to admire it. The sill is dirty, even more so than the ashen floors.

While I can still write, I will admit my faults. Opulence is as transient as an arrow’s flight. If only I had seen the beauty in small things.

Age 24.


Jordan! Congratulations! Please email me for instructions of how to receive your prize at: aidylewoh(at)gmail(dot)com

Y’all, check back tomorrow for an extra-special post! And I hope you’re having a wonderful Monday!

Writing Contest // Sample Story – Storms

Hey People! Only three more days until y’all need to have your writing contest entries sent in. There’s several of y’all who’ve said you’d like to enter but haven’t gotten your stories in yet. Now’s the time to do it. 🙂 

Here’s a quick review of the rules:
1. The story should be between 300-500 words
2. No Horror or Magic 
3. The stories are due on or before July 4th, 2014 
You can email me the story at aidylewoh(at)gmail(dot)com

After I get the stories, I’ll pick my favorite three and post them on my blog, then y’all will vote on the winner. The prize will be this amazing, fun, and adventuresome DVD: 

I’m going to post a random, sample story again. How I do this is I go on Pinterest, pick a picture that looks interesting, set my stopwatch and write.

Time: 17.50 Minutes
Wordcount: 432
Hardest Part: None  

Clouds amassed themselves over the castle, threatening us with rain much the same way my father threatened the people with taking away the peace. It was useless to argue, useless to try and stop the clouds… Or my father. All I could do was stand back and watch in sorrow as the driving forces of weather and power slowly eroded the land I’d always loved. 
“If anyone could turn this nightmare around, it would be you.” Eldron’s voice beside me was calm, assured. 
“He doesn’t listen to me.” I didn’t want to go through the argument again. Crossing my hands behind my back, I rocked back and forth on the balls of my feet. “He never did. Even when I was  a child, telling him that I was hungry or tired bought not response. I was there to do his bidding. Not to have a mind of my own.” I kept my voice expressionless, as if reading a monotonous law.  
“He doesn’t listen to you, but the people might.” 

I whirled around to face him, “Eldron, are you saying I should fight against my own father?” I tried to unleash the shock I should be feeling, so he wouldn’t know, wouldn’t guess, that I’d been pondering doing that very thing.
“No, that’s not what I’m suggesting. Unite the people.” 

“What? So they’ll be crushed in a rebellion?” I raised my eyebrow and tipped my head in the saucy manner I knew he hated. So he wouldn’t know my true feelings. So he’d  get sidetracked. I’d gone over all these scenarios before. Hours at night when I should have been sleeping. Each and every time the story ended the same way: bloodshed.

“No. Not a rebellion. Maybe if the king sees the people united for a common cause and they petition him in the right way, then he’ll consent to changing the laws.” 
“Not likely.” I snort out a bitter laugh. 
“What other choice do we have?” 
A single candle flickered in my otherwise darkened chamber. Sitting on the windowsill, I watched as lightning shot across the cloud darkened sky. The booming of thunder made me think of cannons. Closing my eyes, I imagined my country ruined by war. Torn with bitterness, death and struggle. 
Unite the people. Let your father see that they care. That they’re willing to work together. That our country can be strong. Eldron’s words felt louder than the thunder unnerving me. 
“Alright. I’ll try it.” Even though no one heard me, I knew it was a step in the right direction and there was no turning back now. 

Short Story – Roots

Please take a moment, folks, and vote! —>

Happy Monday, people! I just got back from a two mile walk and I’m excited about starting this crazy week I have ahead of me. I’m also looking forward to seeing the entries come in from the writing contest I’m hosting. 🙂
Here’s a quick review of the rules:
1. The story should be between 300-500 words
2. No Horror or Magic 
3. The stories are due on or before July 4th, 2014 
You can email me the story at aidylewoh(at)gmail(dot)com

After I get the stories, I’ll pick my favorite three and post them on my blog, then y’all will vote on the winner. The prize will be this amazing, fun, and adventuresome DVD: 

I’m going to post a random, sample story again. How I do this is I go on Pinterest, pick a picture that looks interesting, set my stopwatch and write.

Time: 25 Minutes
Wordcount: 410
Hardest Part: The dialog  
Roots. Some say they aren’t important. That they don’t really direct where you end up. That you get to chose your own identity. But what about me? Every time I try and move forward, I feel the restraining hold of my roots keeping me back. I long for freedom, I lunge for freedom. And yet, just when I think I’m going to make it, when I think I’m going to break the chains and find the life I’ve longed to live, my roots jerk me back to reality. 

You’ll never amount to anything. The words of my teachers echo in my brain. 
You’re the unwanted daughter of a woman no lady would ever call her friend. You aren’t good enough for my daughter. Leave her alone. The words of my wanna-be friend’s mother pound in my head. 
What? You think you can get a job here? Do you realize who your parents are? The words of the man who could have been my boss rain down on me, bringing condemnation. 

I look hopelessly into the dark blue sky. Wishing, wanting, longing to escape this town where my roots have held me captive. All I ever will be, all I ever can be, was determined before I was born. I’m a helpless mess in a sea of other people’s mistakes. 

A shadow falls on me. Looking over, I see a girl about my age. Linking her arm through mine she stands there with me, gazing up at the heavens. I barely dare to breath. Who is this? Does she know who I am? 

“Beautiful, isn’t it?” Her words come out softly, as if she’s in awe. 
A lady walks by, then stops. “Anna dear, I know you’re new here so I must ask you, do you know who you’re standing next to?” 
“Of course, ma’am, my friend.” Anna smiles, then returns her eyes upward. “We’re enjoying the sky, would you like to join us?” 
With a huff, the lady walks off. 
“Do you know my name?” I ask, voice quiet. 
“How sill of me, I guess I don’t.” The girl doesn’t move. “But I was lonely and you looked like just the friend I need.” 
“I don’t have friends.” Again, the choking feeling of the roots tightening around my soul. 
The girl tilts her head to the side, “I beg to differ.” 

And with that, I feel a little tug and then snap as one tentacle of the root breaks. 

Writing Contest // Sample Story

As many of y’all probably saw, I’m hosting a writing contest. Sounds like fun, right? I figured every so often during the next two weeks I’ll post about it to remind y’all and I’ll also write a little sample story of my own to get your brain moving. 🙂 
Let’s start out with a quick review of the rules:

1. The story should be between 300-500 words
2. No Horror or Magic 
3. The stories are due on or before July 4th, 2014 
You can email me the story at aidylewoh(at)gmail(dot)com

After I get the stories, I’ll pick my favorite three and post them on my blog, then y’all will vote on the winner. The prize will be this amazing, fun, and adventuresome DVD: 

And now for my story. I went on Pinterest and picked a random picture to spark my imagination. Then I set my stopwatch and start writing. It’s been too long since I’ve written a random short story. It was harder than I thought it would be, but a fun challenge, too. 🙂

Time: 24 Minutes
Wordcount: 451
Hardest Part: The Ending 

Some think it’s lonely with only the blue sky, the blue lake and the green trees to keep a body company. I say being in a crowd of people I don’t know and who don’t care about me is what’s lonely. 

Ever since that summer, the one that feels like a lifetime ago, I’ve lived out here. Finding my own food, living in my own place, being me with no one to hinder. Pa didn’t know what he was getting into when he showed me his hideaway, but then again, neither did I. 

Hunters make their way to my cabin once every few months and although I’m polite, I never give out my name. Food? Yes. Shelter? When needed. Directions? I’ve helped a lost soul more time than I can count. But friendship? Never. I gave my friendship once and that was one time too many. 

Trout, my wild-dog-turned-companion, rises from the fireplace where he lies most nights, even though it’s summer time. His soft growl alerts me to visitors. I reach for the gun, not knowing if it’s man or beast outside my door, then stand in silence. Listening. 

Even though my ears are straining, body alert, my mind goes through a spinning sensation, remembering how Isaac had taught me to keep wary. Pa had said we had a bond that couldn’t be broken. Brother and sister who would be together no matter what. 

Then he had broken it. The doctors said he was fighting hard but couldn’t make it. First Pa, then Isaac. And I then I was alone. 

The yell of greeting outside my door was unmistakably human, and I gave Trout the signal. Jumping up, he pushed the door open, let out a short bark. “Hello?” The call comes again, this time a bit worried sounding. 

I step into the doorway and motion them in. The sight of my gun made them hesitate, but only for a moment. The couple is worn looking, battered by the wild and captivating land. 
“We’ve been lost for two days.” The look on the man’s face is unmistakeable relief. “We had given up hope until we saw your cabin.” But it’s the lady who draws in my attention. No female has ventured this far from civilization since I’ve been here.  

The lady sat down on my only chair, tears shining in her eyes. “This is a real nice place you’ve fixed up.” Her smile does something to me. Makes me remember that time, long, long ago when I would get together and play doll with other girls. 

And for an odd, terrifying moment, I think that those people who say the wilderness is lonely just might be right.

The contest is open to everyone, but sadly I can only send the prize to a US address.