Wednesday 24 September 2014

WEP September Challenge - Changing Faces - 24th-26th September 2014

Welcome to WEP's Challenge for 24-26 September, Changing Faces.

I've just finished reading Roz Morris' science fiction/literary novel, Lifeform Three (2013), which I highly recommend. So I am going to give Sci-Fi another try here.

Changing Faces

Veronica Carlgren awoke one morning to find that she had forgotten what she had done the night before. Thinking back, trying to remember what happened, she realised that she had trouble even remembering her own name. 

What's happening here? What do I know? Where am I? Who am I?

She looked around the room to see if it was a familiar place, but it looked barren av personal mementos or photographs that would trigger her memory. Hospital beds. There were two. The one that she had slept in and another that was made up and hadn't been slept in by any ... patient.

Why am I in hospital? What kind of a hospital is this? 

She looked out the window. Yes, there was at least a window.

The window overlooked a garden or green area nearest the building and farther away she could see a large parking lot. It was a clear view. She must have been on the second or third floor. It was green outside, but whether it was spring, summer or early fall, she could not pinpoint yet. Maybe she could take a walk outside and see.

Suddenly, the wide door to the corridor opened and a women dressed in some kind of professional uniform wheeled in a cart with a breakfast tray and medicines.

'Good morning, Veronica!' the uniformed boomed, 'Glad to see you up and around. You must be feeling better! How about some breakfast?'

'Thank you. That would be nice. Have you been here a long time? I mean, have you been here as long as I have been here?'

'No Love, I've been on holiday for two weeks. This is my first day back. I've read your charts and talked to the others. But I am not allowed to say anything. I'm just an aid. You'll have to talk to the doctor.

'When can I do that?'

'When they have rounds. They usually do that early on this ward,' she said looking at the watch pinned on her uniform's  breast pocket, 'Sorry Dear, they've already been here. You must have been asleep when they came. Better luck tomorrow morning.'

'You called me "Veronica". How do you know my name?'

'Your name is on the charts, Sweetie. It says "Veronica Carlgren" everywhere. My name's Alma, by the way. I'll be back later. Don't forget to take your medicine.'

Alma left the breakfast tray on Veronica's tray-table and wheeled the cart out of the room. It was cream-of-wheat in a plastic bowl, cold toast with a pad of margarine on a plastic plate, and a small sealed plastic cup of orange juice. Nothing glass or metal. Plastic spoon. Paper napkin.

Veronica sat on the bed pulling the tray-table closer. 

I may as well eat something, she though taking the plastic spoon in hand and tasting the cream-of-wheat.

It was then that Veronica noticed her own hands. She looked down at both of her hands. They were not the hands of a young woman, her age, that is, the age that she presumed that she was, around thirty. These hands were wrinkled and had visible veins. The skin on her arms was baggy, and had dark spots, the kind that really old people get. Some of her knuckles were a bit swollen from arthritis.

Have I been in a coma? For how long? 

She had no pain. She could move about freely. If she had been in a coma for a very long time she would not be able to do this. She would have trouble even getting out of bed, because of atrophy of the muscles. That much she knew, without knowing how she knew it. Had she been a nurse? She must find a mirror and look at herself. Maybe she could remember.

Veronica left the bed and looked around the room. There must be a bathroom or at least a toilet somewhere. There. She spied a door near the entrance. She opened the door, walked into the smaller windowless room and looked above the sink where there was indeed a mirror. But the face that looked back at her was a white-haired woman with sunken eyes and wrinkled cheeks.

Veronica did not know her.


[This text is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places and incidents are the product of my imagination or used fictitiously. Any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, events or locales is entirely coincidental.]

Word count according to WordCalc: 710



This is a hastily written text - only a sketch - and the sci-fi ambitions evaporated due to lack of time. This past week has been filled of near-disasters. My ten-year old daughter, Elisabet, took a shower without paying attention to the fact that the floor drain could not absorb the water fast enough. She let the water spew out on the floor, to rinse her hair, again and again. The floor in the bathroom was quickly flooded and spilled out into the hall and ruined the floor there. It happened so fast, I couldn't stop it. I had to mop up as quickly as I could and literally bail out the two to three inches of water that covered the bathroom floor. 

My novel must have a flood scene in it! I have to use this.

Best wishes,

First Commenter:

Sally Stackhouse


Sally's Scribbles

Monday 22 September 2014

Anna looks at Preston Sturges' Sullivan's Travels for Underrated Treasures, 22nd September 2014

Anna Nordeman

For Underrated Treasures Blog-fest I would like to submit Preston Sturges' 1941 film, Sullivan's Travels , with Joel McCrea and Veronica Lake,  as an example of a treasure, perhaps not so underrated, but well worth seeing. See YouTube's Playlist here.

 The following text description is from YouTubeMovieClips

Film Description: In Preston Sturges' classic comedy of Depression-era America, filmmaker John L. Sullivan (Joel McCrea), fed up with directing profitable comedies like "Ants in Your Plants of 1939," is consumed with the desire to make a serious social statement in his upcoming film, "Oh Brother, Where Art Thou?" Unable to function in the rarefied atmosphere of Hollywood, Sullivan decides to hit the road, disguised as a tramp, and touch base with the "real" people of America. But Sullivan's studio transforms his odyssey into a publicity stunt, providing the would-be nomad with a luxury van, complete with butler (Robert Greig) and valet (Eric Blore). Advised by his servants that the poor resent having the rich intrude upon them, Sullivan escapes his retinue and continues his travels incognito.

Sullivan's Travels (4/9) Movie CLIP - Meeting the Girl (1941) HD

En route, he meets a down-and-out failed actress (Veronica Lake). Experiencing firsthand the scroungy existence of real-life hoboes, Sullivan returns to Hollywood full of bleeding-heart fervor. After first arranging for the girl's screen test, he heads for the railwayyards, intending to improve the lot of the local rail-riders and bindlestiffs by handing out ten thousand dollars in five-dollar bills. Instead, Sullivan is coldcocked by a tramp, who steals Sullivan's clothes and identification. When the tramp is run over by a speeding train, the world at large is convinced that the great John L. Sullivan is dead. Meanwhile, the dazed Sullivan, dressed like a bum with no identification on his person, is arrested and put to work on a brutal Southern chain gang. With its almost Shakespearean combination of uproarious comedy and grim tragedy, Sullivan's Travels is Sturges' masterpiece and one of the finest movies about movies ever made.

Best wishes,

Sunday 7 September 2014

A Sunflower for Tina Downey

A Sunflower for Tina Downey

Tina Downey passed away on Saturday night 23rd August.  Here is an Etsy Treasury full of Sunflowers.

It has taken some time to collect my thoughts about Tina. This was not an easy blog post for me to do.

Tina was a special blogging friend to me. We had our secret language, Swedish, that we had fun with together, in spite of the fact that Tina did not always have Swedish letters on her computer keyboard. It made spelling a challenge.

I can speak and write Swedish every day here in Sweden. No big deal. But to do it with someone like Tina Downey, who had preserved it like a precious treasure from childhood, while being surrounded by a sea of English, was a humbling experience. She had what I might want to call "linguistic courage".

I'll miss her slant on language, on life and I'll miss her kindness and her unique sense of humour.

I am still looking for a photo that I took a few years ago of a lone sunflower that grew up out of a pile of leaves and dirt behind our garage. I'll post it if I find it, because it would be an appropriate symbol of Tina's tenacity and spirit.

Kind regards,

Tina's commented on my blog post for IWSG om March 5th. I cherish it as her last message to me. And as always so kind and thoughful. She wrote about her asthma. Take a look at the comments here.

First Commenter:

Wednesday 3 September 2014

Insecure Writer's Support Group - September 2014 - IWSG

Anna Nordeman

This is author Roz Morris

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

Message from Alex:

Today marks three years since the very first IWSG post. Next month marks one year since the IWSG site and Facebook group opened. And we’d like you to help us celebrate! 

I wrote this IWSG-post before I read about, "Life is Good"-blogger, wonderful person and very special Swede, Tina Downey, who passed away Saturday night 23rd August. I don't even know what I was doing that day. I'll write more on this blog for her tribute on 8th September. Anyway, the IWSG-post is written; I don't think I could have written it now.

This is my seventeenth post for IWSG.  

Here in the North, Summer seems to end abruptly around the middle of August. With a thunderstorm that cools everything off and the heat never returns. At first it feels like a relief. But by the first of September there are already yellow leaves lying in the gutter. It's as if someone pulled a shade down over Summer and made it Autumn.

Yes, I know. One of the Cardinal rules of writing is to never, ever begin your novel with talk about the weather. But I am obsessed with the weather; and with the change of seasons. And I am not alone. The farther North you go the more people think in terms of what the weather is like today or how it will be tomorrow. I can't help it.

I read to fight my depression over the end of summer. 

Listen to Roz speak on this author video on her Amazon-page here.

I've read another wonderful how-to-write book by Roz Morris. I really enjoyed reading Bring characters to life, her second work in her Nail Your Novel series. Granted, Roz says a lot of things that I have found in other books. But she says it in a way that makes me feel like writing.

There seems to be some basic truths when it comes learning to write. Certain slogans such as "Show don't tell" or "Write a good beginning if you want to be read", appear in all of these books, only different authors express it in different ways. So which how-to book is best?

I think it is a matter of personal choice. Whom do you choose as your writing-buddy? Read a book that helps you keep writing, one that is genuinely encouraging. I like Roz' books because she gets to the point quickly and clearly. She does not waste time. She has a good sense of humour;  She never insults me. And instead of saying "Kill you darlings", meaning discarding them, throwing them into the dust bin, she suggests puting those story ideas, that don't fit into your present work-in-progress, into a special file, because they might fit in better somewhere else. Like a good craftsman, she never throws away useful scraps pf material, be it silver, wood or fabric, that could be used for something later. That's my kind of writing teacher!


Roz has convinced me that she knows what she's talking about. So I've decided to read her novels. After writing stacks of best-selling novels for other people as a ghost writer, she has started writing novels in her own name, first, My Memories of a Future Life and the Lifeform three

The first novel, My Memories of a Future Life, seems to be about time travel, but I don't know yet. I think the title is intriguing. It's about a concert pianist who for some reason is not able to play the piano anymore. (Perish the thought! I hope I will be able to read this. Just that sounds frightening.)

The second novel, Lifeform three, I don't know that much about. Sounds science fictiony. 

' ' ' ' ' '  
Johan Theorin, Swedish author

This summer, I have actually read an entire novel, Rörgast, in Swedish; Johan Theorin's last suspense novel in his quartet set on the Baltic island of Öland. Each of these four novels represents a season, and this fourth and last one is a summer's tale. 

The main part of the novel is all about the chaotic life of summer, on an island that is practically empty most of the year, except for summer, when the tourists arrive. The other part of the novel is about a man and his stepson who leave Öland in the 1930's and emigrate, not to America, as everyone expects who has read the earlier books, but to the Soviet Union. They are not able to leave the USSR. The boy, who is the same age as the main character, Gerlöf Davidsson, lives a very different kind of life than Gerlöf and he always wants to come back home to Öland. But when he does finally return, after so many years, it is not the way he had dreamed and hoped that it would be.

I don't want to give away the story, in case some of you can read Swedish or will try to get a hold of an English translation. (The other three novels are already translated into English.) But my point is that in order to write the parts of this novel that are about the USSR, Johan Theorin had to do a lot reading about Soviet history.

It brings to mind one idea that I have found in some of these how-to-write books. Some say, that you should only write about things that you really know well. Here is an example of an author studying a subject in order to make his story believable. Johan Theorin is a journalist, so he has probably done a lot of research in that capacity.

I'm not sure I could do that. But I guess this is part of what being a real author is all about; being able to write about places where you have never been, about people whom you have never met, and who don't really exist, except on paper.

Thanks for reading!

Best wishes,

First Commenter:
Duck and Wheel With String

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