Monday, 23 June 2014

WEP-Challenge for June - ROMANCE - Wednesday 24th - Friday 26th June 2014

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Welcome to WEP's Blogfest for June [=Write-Edit-Publish, formerly 'Romantic Friday Writers'] WEP's Challenge for 24th-2th June 2014 is 'Romance':

Romance: On the Sea of Litorina

Klara Nilsson lay in the inflatable row boat that she had purchased before the flooding began. The sky was blue with puffy white clouds. She was exhausted from a whole day of rowing and all the preparations in the days before. The water seemed calm now; maybe she could sleep an hour or two. But instead of resting, she thought of the events that made her leave home in a rubber boat made for play in a swimming pool rather than escape from a flood.

It was June when the nights are short. Since there seemed not to be a change in this, Klara concluded that the earth had not been knocked off its axis. The floods must have some other cause. But she had no idea where all the water came from. Where, if not from the melting polar caps? There was no way to find out. All electronic communication was down. Her battery-operated radio did not pick up anything other than static. Her mobile phone was useless. If Klara's theory was correct, the plains of Östergötland, her province, would be under water in the same places as the prehistoric sea of Litorina. In case she was right about this, she took a modern map and drew a new coastline after maps she had found in a book about Swedish archeology. She hoped to find higher ground before her boat hit something sharp that would pierce it and sink it. For the moment, there was nothing but water in all directions; no landmarks to direct her. Using a makeshift sextant and her compass, she could almost exactly pin point where she was on her map.

Unable to sleep, Klara checked her bearings and continued rowing. In the twilight that is the short northern summer night, a small object caught her eye. It was a floating wooden crate with a wet blanket in it. She came closer to the crate and saw that the blanket lifted its head with pointed ears. It was a cat. Klara rowed slowly closer trying not to scare the feline castaway.

'Would you like to sail with me?' she asked the cat as a way of calming it while she reached over and picked it up and wrapped it in a towel.

'Thank you,' said the grey tabby laying her cheek on Klara's shoulder. 

Am I loosing my mind? Did that cat actually say something? Klara thought, holding the cat like a baby. Was this the next step after loosing her home and everything she owned? One way to find out was to keep talking with her foundling. 'You remind me of my cat, Mathilda. Your face is like hers, with the little tuffs of fur on the tips of your ears like the Norwegian Forest Cats.

'I don't just look like your cat, I AM your cat. I'm Mathilda. Thanks for finding me! It's not been easy since water came and covered everything. I've been soaked to the skin for days.'

The joy of finding her cat, Mathilda alive again, made Klara forget about her losses for a time. She and her cat lay in the boat under a blanket and actually slept for a few hours. When Klara awoke the sky was overcast and it smelled like rain. They must have drifted closer to land, as the tops of trees were now visible above the water-line, as well as a few roof tops. It was exciting, but also dangerous. They were getting closer to their goal, but any sharp object in the water could sink their boat. Through the forest of tree tops Klara could see a man rowing a boat - a wooden one. Should she wave or say 'Hello'?

'Hello!' shouted the man in the wooden boat, beating her to the punch, ' Do you need any help?'

'No, not yet. But my boat may not hold up the closer we get to land. How far is it to the new shoreline?'

'About twenty minutes from here. Here, let me take your boat in tow and row the rest of the way.' the man offered. He looked a bit like a prehistoric man, unwashed, uncombed and unshaven. But when Klara rowed closer, she saw that he was handsome with kindly blue eyes. He probably wore just a mustache to begin with, but now had almost a full beard. 'My name is Jakob Lundin, and you are?'

'Klara Nilsson, and this is Mathilda,' she said holding up the blanket bundle with the sleeping cat.

'Oh my. Do you have an infant with you?' Jakob said with surprise and alarm.

'Oh no, it's my cat, Mathilda', she said revealing Mathilda's furry face. 

Klara half expected Mathilda to speak to the strange man. But the cat said nothing, much to Klara's relief. Maybe the cat's ability to talk was an hallucination.

But then, Mathilda put her face close to Klara's ear and said, 'I will not embarrass you by speaking in front of strangers. Let him think that I am an ordinary cat.'

Jakob Lundin tied Klara's boat to his and rowed quickly toward the new coast, which had been a car park earlier before being transformed into a boat dock. When they arrived, it was crowded with wet refugees and their boats or vessels of every description, inflatable row boats like Klara's, children's plastic pools, as well as traditional boats like Jakob's. 

'What do we do now?' asked Klara.

'We pull our boats up on land and start making supper. I have a camping stove, what do you have?' asked Jakob, obviously hoping that Klara could contribute something.

'I cleaned out my pantry, refrigerator and freezer, before leaving home, but I don't have any cooking utensils or stove. So, I'm all for sharing, if you would like to do that.'

'Yes please. Let's do that,' said Jacob and smiled.

 Mathilda yawned and went back to sleep.
 
Word count according to WordCalc: 997.


P.S.

This text is a work of fiction. Any similarity to events or persons, living or dead, is purely coincidental.

This text is my attempt to write science fiction and it could be a part of a longer work. What has happened is that the plains of Östergötland (where I live in Sweden) are flooded because the polar caps have started to melt, due to yet unexplained forces in outer space such as meteorites hitting the earth and changing its axis. But no one knows for sure, because all electronic communication has been knocked out. The University of Linköping (where I study) is under water. Our heroine is one of the few who saw it coming, and took the precaution of purchasing an inflatable boat before they were all sold out. The name 'Litorina' is actually the name of a body of water that existed under prehistoric times in this part of Sweden. 'Litorina' is a shell fish that could be found in that sea at that time. 
I am not the first to use the Sea of Litorina in a literary connection.





















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Best wishes,
Anna










First Commenter:


Denise Covey










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Tuesday, 3 June 2014

IWSG-Insecure Writer's Support Group for June 2014


 

Anna Nordeman







 

Thanks to Alex J Cavanaugh for starting Insecure Writer's Support Group.


This is my fourteenth post for IWSG.

My daughter, Elisabet, on her tenth birthday, May 12th.


















I could not participate in IWSG in May. For my June edition of IWSG I would like to mention a few milestones. First, my daughter, Elisabet, turned ten years old on May 12th.

She had a quiet party at my former husband's house, her father. Elisabet loves fashion, jewellery, clothing and make-up. I want her to feel pretty and be able to use a little make-up, because it's fun. But at the same time I am trying to make her limit herself to that which can be washed off. I want her to value her natural beauty and not spoil it.

Elisabet making funny faces by her cake
  












 














After three years, I am starting to recover emotionally from my divorce. But I still don't have much time to start dating and meet eligible men. Frankly, the idea of meeting new, strange men scares me. Most of my time is spent solving problems - big and small. I also have my children to think about. They still need my help.




Elisabet blowing out her birthday candles





















My cats have been a huge problem for me especially this latest year. But I am finally seeing an end to it. I have found homes for all of my cats except for one, Mathilda, who was missing a whole month.

Mathilda, together with her daughter, Rosetta, was sold to a family in the neighbouring town of Linköping (where I go to the university), but the buyer soon regretted her purchase and asked to return them. Of course, I would take them back, for the sake of the cats. But before I could fetch them, the cats jumped out of a bedroom window and ran away. This happened at six am on Saturday April 26th. If I hadn't felt so ill from a sinus infection, I would have taken the train directly to help look for them. But I was in no shape to do anything. So I just hoped for the best (which I don't usually do).


Rosetta and her mother, Mathilda.










After two days, Rosetta returned to this family, alone. Her mother, Mathilda was nowhere to be found. I took the train and then the bus to retrieve Rosetta and found a permanent home for her with a family living in the smaller town of Söderköping. I was finally cat-less and could start working on cleaning my home and ridding it from cat hair.

I had resigned myself to the idea that I would probably never see Mathilda again. She ran away in the suburb of a strange city, from people she never had time to get to know. What were her chances of survival? An indoor cat, lost in an area of apartment buildings without trees? Spring had just started to blossom, making it difficult to see a cat hiding in the bushes. 


Mathilda with her normal weight.


 












Trying to think like a cat, my guess was that she would look for an area that was greener, more wooded. I looked at the map and saw a park area near the apartments. Could I find her there?

Mathilda's disappearance was reported to the police as well as to the local animal shelters. But what turned out to be the best course of action was the flyers that I printed from my computer. The woman who had originally bought the cats was very helpful and went around posting them everywhere in the area, on doors to apartment buildings, stores, public bulletin boards and anywhere that it was allowed. 

It took some time, but thanks to our posters, people started recognising Mathilda from my photos. On May 24th I received a phone call from a family who lived just two or three streets away from where she had escaped. But they owned their own house with a garden. Mathilda was seen on their neighbour's back porch. There were trees and bushes and thick undergrowth that a cat might like to hide in, and perhaps catch a mouse or two.

I took a transport carrier and cat-snacks with me on the train and bus. They had telephoned at about five o'clock in the afternoon and were going away, so I would never meet them. I needed to find Mathilda quickly if I was going to get home before the last bus and train. (I did not return to home until ten o'clock that evening.) They said that if I could not get her into the carrier, that I could just leave it there on their patio and they would try to catch her for me and call me when they had her inside their house. But I never had to do that. 

I sat on a low stone wall in their back garden and called out her name. That was all I had to do. I heard a thin little mewling from behind their shed. Suddenly Mathilda appeared on the stone wall. I stayed where I was, kept calling softly to her and offered her snacks. I grabbed her as soon as she came close enough to me and I continued to feed her treats. 


Mathilda on the upper bunk at home on Thursday June 5th, 2014














I held her in my arms and could hear her purr. I don't know if she recognised me then. She may have just been just happy to meet a friendly human being who offered her food. But she made no protest at going into the carrier that I had cushioned with an unwashed blanket that she and the other cats had slept on. Maybe she recognised the scents and felt at home on it.

Mathilda was very thin, I could feel every bone in her spine and her ribs. She looked like a smaller cat, as if she had shrunk from hunger.

I cannot describe my happiness at the moment of finding her. She was thin, but seemed alright. She was just very hungry and lonely. She slept beside me in my bed every night the first week. She just ate and slept. When I first got her home she wandered anxiously through the rooms of the flat, as if she were looking for her daughter, Rosetta. Maybe she was.

There is a possibility that Mathilda will be able to meet Rosetta, again. The family in Söderköping who adopted Rosetta, are planning to take a trip and need a cat-hotel for her for two or three weeks. I hope the two cats will be happy to see each other again. But you never know with cats. 


Rosetta stayed a week with the man who adopted her father, Lars. 

Rosetta sitting between her father and uncle.
My son, Erik, and Rosetta's father, Lars.




















Rosetta made herself at home on this lovely farm, but Lars was afraid of her and hid under the bed whenever she was around. Maybe they would have become reacquainted if she had stayed longer than a week. As you can see in this photo above, they were great friends before they parted ways.


Elisabeth drawing a portrait of Rosetta at Christmas.












Eventually, I will have to find a permanent home for Mathilda. But for now, I just don't have the heart to send her away to a new family before she has had a chance to recover from her month of being lost and alone. I am hoping to find a special family for her, a home from which she will have no desire to leave.



Mathilda lounging on my bed on Thursday June 5th, 2014.

















My apologies for not writing about writing and publishing. I have a secret writing project right now, that I don't want to talk about yet. And then there is the fact that writing demands self-discipline and regular working-hours like office hours. I'll let you know when I have found that kind of a routine. It is one of my goals right now. I know it is essential if I am going to get any serious writing done.


Yours faithfully,
Anna










P.S.
For those who would like to see my list of how-to-write-books, please go here
[If you would like to read my other earlier posts for IWSG, go back to my first post in March 2013 here, in April 2013 here, in May 2013 here, in June here, in July 2013 here, in August 2013  here,  in September 2013  here,  in October 2013 here, in November 2013 here, in December 2013 here, and for January 2014 here, and February 2014 here and March 2014 here, and April 2014 here.]









First Commenter:

Lin

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Duck and Wheel with String



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