Going Green

mallard-drake CrispinaKemp

 

“No way Jose!” Jessie’s arms were folded in what was half stubborn refusal, half terrified self-preservation.

Derek laughed and wiggled his toes, which were caked with mud and muck and unidentifiable stuff that was best left well outside of sniffing range.

His sister groaned. “Do you have to be so gross?”

“What’s wrong with a little bit of nature, eh?” he teased. He took a step and bent to touch the carpet of green algae that covered the pond. It looked like velvet.

“Are you nuts?!” Jessie looked ready to lunge and probably would’ve pulled him back if it weren’t for the fact that it would require getting closer to the pond’s edge.

“Chill, Sis,” Derek shook his head. “It’s not like I’m gonna be eaten by Nessie.”

“Imaginary monsters don’t worry me,” Jessie’s lip curled in disgust. “Salmonella from those mallards and whatever else in this water sure does.”

 

 

For Crispina’s Crimson’s Creative Challenge

 

 

The Misanthrope

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Photo: Sarah Kilian on Unsplash

 

There is nothing anyone could say to change his mind.

Or his attitude.

Or his demeanor.

One could hardly expect him to respect those who practically asked to be demeaned, who did not try to rise above their lassitude, who did not take the opportunity when it presented.

So what if his wealth was carved out of others’ misery?

Someone had to do it. Someone had to step up to the plate and be the boss.

What did they expect him to be? A sniveling, prattling sissy like the ones who follow him?! They are lucky to have him.

 

 

 

For Sammi’s Weekend Writing Prompt: Misanthrope in 99 words

Disclaimer: No offense intended to any amphibians. I know they are better than that. Image presented for illustration purposes only….

 

Cavalier

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Photo: Maria Teneva on Unsplash

 

He thinks himself a cavalier:

Aristocratic,

Well revered.

In fact he is

Just cavalier:

Disdainful

Petty

Quick to smear.

 

He thinks himself

A cavalier:

A man whose word all

Must adhere.

In truth he is

Just cavalier:

Dismissive

Hurtful

Full of sneer.

 

He thinks himself

A cavalier:

Someone for everyone

To cheer.

Yet he is

A racketeer,

And they want him

Out of here.

 

 

For Sammi’s Weekend Writing Prompt: Cavalier in 64 words

 

 

In His Arrogance

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Photo: Phil Botha on Unsplash

 

In his arrogance he sees

Himself reflected

In everything.

All positive is commandeered as his

Achievement,

Any negative is protested as

Insult to

Him,

To the supposedly undisputed

Glory

Of his being.

 

In his hubris he

Expects only effusive

Praise.

He demands fealty in all

Things.

Admiration to any idea he

Hijacks

To claim it was never invented

Prior to the mighty of

Him.

 

In his presumption he feeds on

Adoration

And punishes

All critic

As wounding the belief in

Him.

 

In his arrogance

He sees only,

Appreciates only,

Allows only what feeds

Him.

 

 

Disclaimer: No offense meant to the (truly magnificent) bird …

For Sammi’s Weekend Writing Prompt: Hubris in 94 words

 

 

Mercurial

 

AIA_md

 

“I met that man before I got here,” James had whispered while they were getting shackled for the long bus ride to the mines. The three of them were part of a shipment of fifteen long-faced youths in assorted shirts and pants. Their jail considered itself cutting-edge in social reformation. Same reason wardens used the euphemism “bunkmates” instead of “cellmates”: sounded better. Wearing donated clothes that inmates washed themselves was considered rehabilitative. A life-skill of boxers and holey socks hung on bunk-rungs to dry.

“What man?” Bobby had asked.

“Someone,” James had hissed. James always knew “someone.” Rarely closely—he had a knack for making people angry. As soon as Marcus learned the word “mercurial,” he knew exactly whom it fit. James had been raised by a gang, and if that group was anything like the bunch he himself had run with, in which individuals turned against each other to gain favor with the marshals, Marcus doubted gang life taught good friendships.

(Excerpt from “Apples in Applath”)

 

Merriam-Webster’s word for July 15, 2018:

Mercurial

This post continues the blogging challenge in which Merriam-Webster’s Word of the Day, serves as inspiration a-la the “Daily Prompt.”

Want to join me? Feel free to link to this post on your blog, and/or post a link to your blogpost in the comment section below so others can enjoy it, too. Poetry, photography, short stories, anecdotes: Go for it!

For more visibility, tag your post with #WordOfDayNY, so your post can be searchable.

“Follow” me if you want to receive future prompts, or just pop in when you’re looking for inspiration. Here’s to the fun of writing and our ever-evolving blogging community!

 

 

Beyond Compare

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In this world of constant media tally, hierarchy, and perceived competition, it is all too easy to compare ourselves to others. It is especially easy to rank ourselves relative to those who do things better, achieve more, seem to know more, have more, do things with more ease than we managed so far. After all, there seems to be an endless stream of listings–the best in this, the most accomplished in that, the richest/biggest/strongest/thinnest/best-dressed/most-tweeted/most-friended/most-bought … It is as if we are expected to place ourselves along ordinal strings of relative abilities (and by extension, relative worthiness). As if we are to define ourselves by where others are. To chase the pace of others so we not lose our spot.

Compare yourself to others, and neutral becomes unimportant. You either win, or lose. You are either the best, or risk being the worst. You run: for more wealth, more friends, more recognition, better placement. You look behind your shoulder. You run some more.

Comparison itself is not a bad thing. It can serve as catalyst for progress–you may see someone achieve what you did not know was possible, and it can give you hope to try for dreams you did not dare believe you could make real before. However, it can also–and all too often do–serve to put yourself down, to discourage, to dissuade, to convince yourself that you just don’t have what it takes (though supposedly others do). Comparison can have you believe that you cannot do it and might as well give up on the dream before you even try it. Because others already did it better. Or got there first. Or would.

Comparison is energy–it just is. How we use it defines whether it binds or frees us. Whether it restores or drains. Having awareness of what is possible builds. It infuses motivation. It sustains. It fosters growth. However, relative worthiness stilts. It instills anxiety. It fosters disillusion. It chips at self-worth.

You have the power to choose which forms of comparison you use. Be wary of how you compare, to whom, and why you do so. If you choose to compare yourself to others to show how better you may be than some; know that alongside whatever you think you are measuring, you will also be planting a seed of doubt and failure by making your own worth dependent on your relative ranking among others. If, on the other side, you compare yourself to what you could before and where you’ve come from and what you now believe is possible; know that alongside this perspective you’d be planting seeds of strength and clear-seeing. You will be inviting possibility, expansion, gratitude, and generosity.

Comparing yourself with others–by definition–nurtures shoots of jealousy. They may be well hidden under social platitudes and self-deceit, but you must know that if your sense of who you are depends on where you place in relation to the success of others, there will be some spot of wishing for another’s failure so that your space may advance.

This is not necessary for growth. Like light, more progress by more souls only means brighter futures for each one and less darkened corners for all.

Set yourself free of rank and skin-deep importance. This does not mean you just lean back on half-baked laurels and dismiss the need for further growth. Rather, it calls for finding motivations that do not include climbing over others to get ahead. It calls for identifying the mountains that are uniquely yours to climb and the vistas that are meant for you to see. It releases possibilities that no one can take away from you, for they are within you, and not dependent on another’s stumbling or bowing down or burning out.

Use others’ success as guideposts, not podiums. Utilize their abilities as mentoring for what is possible. Identify what you would and would not accept as paths to growth. Find hope in journeys that belay what you used to believe your could do, then chart anew. There are no limits and there is no race but those you place against your own old habits or lazy bones.

You’ll be stoking the fire of your own dreams, rather than the engine that spins the hamster-wheels of others. Cut ties to relative succeeding, you will enable others to follow and snip free their own. Disavow competition for self-knowledge and self-prodding. Your horizons will become clear of motivations that were soaked and cloaked in jealousy and greed. You’ll walk where you are meant to walk and be who you are meant to be.

Moreover, you will forge a path for young ones, caught as they may already be in constant ranking as a measure of self-worth.

Become a beacon for individual ability. For less competition. More growth.

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