If it doesn’t kill you…

June 18, 2014 prompt: In 99 words (no more, no less) write a story about getting stronger is this weeks prompt from The Ranch.

As a child I always wanted to be stronger. Possibly it was because the Archaeologist was a year and a bit older and could hold me down (or as, with his memorably awful method of constraint, he put me under the mattress). Possibly it was because I was a large boy and people assumed size equalled strength – it didn’t, it just equalled bulk. I had a bad neck when I was about twenty and went to a physio – she took one look at my back and said ‘you have no muscles’ which I assume was a tad of an exaggeration but since I couldn’t see, who knows?

I learnt in my twenties that physical strength is rather overrated and inner strength, moral strength, holding out against the odds, the herd mentality, the sheer bloody stupidity of life’s many twists – that’s what counts. It’s not easy and it’s often sheer purgatory but the alternative is worse – the Quisling acceptance of what you know is wrong.

So  from wherever you sup to find that strength, it’s the most powerful of wells and may it never run dry.

Strengthening Resolve

‘Let’s put them on the grave, Mum.’

Mary held the bunch tight, unable to move. That aroma; it couldn’t be her father’s aftershave. She sniffed the flowers; not them. ‘Can you smell anything?’

Penny nodded. ‘Grandpa. It’s getting stronger.’

‘But how…?’

‘Because he’s here, Mum.’ The girl took the flowers from her mother.

Mary straightened up. He hadn’t left her. He’d always be here, if she needed advice. Thank heavens, she had let Penny bring her.

‘Thanks, Dad,’ she whispered.

‘Come on, Mum.’

Behind a cloud, Peter watched Milton spear another can with his horn. He loved Old Spice.

 

About TanGental

My name is Geoff Le Pard. Once I was a lawyer; now I am a writer. I've published four books - Dead Flies and Sherry Trifle, My Father and Other Liars, Salisbury Square and Buster & Moo. In addition I have published three anthologies of short stories and a memoir of my mother. More will appear soon. I will try and continue to blog regularly at geofflepard.com about whatever takes my fancy. I hope it does yours too. These are my thoughts and no one else is to blame. If you want to nab anything I post, please acknowledge where it came from.
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23 Responses to If it doesn’t kill you…

  1. Annecdotist says:

    Another beauty, Geoff. Funnily enough, I was thinking of doing smell for this challenge but I think you’ve said as much here and more than I ever could. Fabulous how much you can actually write about a main character who’s dead.

    Like

  2. Charli Mills says:

    Your brotherhood story reminds me of my husband and his brother who is older by a year and few months. Hub got thunked thoroughly over the course of childhood on a dairy farm in Nevada. Then one day, he realized he was bulkier and stronger than his brother and he thunked back, ending all future thunkings.

    But yes, we have a well that feeds the inner strength. Muscles are not what builds character. And speaking of characters–this is turning out to be a brilliant run, following a dead character and a unicorn dog. Love the levity sprinkled upon the tragedy. Spearing Old Spice! Makes for an interesting story and fun to see where the prompts lead you.

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  3. Sarah Brentyn says:

    So you kept up with Peter’s story. Unbelievable. That’s fantastic. Are you going to write a novel or short story with these? Great stuff!

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  4. TanGental says:

    what are beta readers?

    Like

    • Charli Mills says:

      A group of volunteer readers who offer you feedback pre-publication of a manuscript. Word of caution, if you ask your best peeps and your favorite Aunt Rosie to be beta readers, you may end up with lots of praise and an unpublishable book. Beta readers can give you insights but they won’t be able to guide you in correcting any structural flaws. I hired Write Divas to assess my manuscript in addition to having a few beta readers. The beta readers had useful insights, but my editor was spot on with areas that needed revising. An assessment with a professional editor is not too expensive, but hire a professional with book editing experience.

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      • TanGental says:

        Ah ha. Not heard the title before. Yes, beta readers would help. I am in the process of having the MA book properly edited for a final time pre publication (I still wonder if I will ever actually reach that point) but the other works I have in the pipeline will need a range of readers. maybe this is one of the benefits of blogging: finding people willing to help. It seems a cheek to ask don’t you think?

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      • Sarah Brentyn says:

        Miss Georgia Bell – http://georgiabellbooks.blogspot.ca/ and @gabellbooks – had beta readers for her first YA novel and is rounding up some more for her sequel. She’s a sweetheart and will totally help you with the process.

        P.S. Tell her I sent you.

        P.P.S. Give her wine.

        P.P.P.S. It can be virtual–she has a great imagination.

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      • TanGental says:

        Oh goodness, is that a bit cheeky, just rocking up unannounced and asking for a favour. I’m British remember; we get embarrassed making eye contact in the mirror. Maybe you could warm her up…. or is that even more of a cheek?

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      • Sarah Brentyn says:

        Ha! No cheek involved. If she’s busy, she won’t. But I will ask her. No worries. Embarrassed making eye contact in the mirror. 😀 I knew I was British!

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  5. Charli Mills says:

    And Sarah’s kids would be great beta readers for a children’s book. Norah would be another, given her education background. 🙂

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  6. TanGental says:

    I wonder; what age are they? My nano book is aimed at a YA audience?

    Like

    • Charli Mills says:

      I think they are a tad younger–more the age of unicorn stories. Maybe you could work with a local library or summer tutors to find some YA beta readers. And I don’t think it’s too cheek to ask. But ask writers you that you think can give you good feedback and offer to beta read in return. Maybe we can start a beta reader pool on Twitter where people can drop their name, availability and experience. I’m all about writers helping writers. Glad to hear you saddled up with an editor. Good call.

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    • Sarah Brentyn says:

      Both my kids LOVE reading. But, yes, they are 7 and 10. So bring on any children’s books.

      Also, I love YA so consider me a tween/teen reader with a degree or two.

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      • TanGental says:

        ah what a splendid Petra Pan you are. Now, before you commit take a peek at the My Work tab on my blog and the extract from the Miracle on Sydenham Hill. That’s the first chapter of the YA book. If you like it enough to want to read on (and be my harshest critic, pretty please) I’ll send you the rest.

        Like

      • Sarah Brentyn says:

        I’m slow because busy/kids/slow reader but I would love to read for you. Be careful what you wish for. “Harshest critic”? Are you sure? I can be mean. 😉

        Like

      • TanGental says:

        send me a mail at Glepard at saqnet dot co dot uk (that’s a Q, not a G btw SAQ not SAG) and I’ll let you have a copy. Where’s the midway point for us to meet for coffee to talk it through? Miami? PS how do you add emoticons to your replies? Haven’t worked that one out yet?

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  7. Pingback: Getting Stronger Now « Carrot Ranch Communications

  8. Norah says:

    I like this aspect of the story, Geoff. Sometimes the need to feel a closeness to those who are passed is still important. A way of maintaining the connection. I love the way you have used the unicorn horn to puncture the cans of Old Spice. Brilliant!

    Like

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