Posted in Writing101

Homemade Soup and Pancakes

I remember my childhood days, when I sat at the dinner table with my parents and siblings. We had soup every day. Thick, savory, appetizing, healthy soup, made by my Mom. There were things floating in it. Green, orange, red and brown, sometimes white. And weird worm-like creatures, called vermicelli. Or white grains, that were supposed to be rice, but looked like tiny maggots. At that age, one could get suspicious about the ingredients. Seems I never grew up, though I learned to love rice – but the dry one. I don’t like my food to swim in liquid.

In those days, soup was eaten from a soup plate. Not a fancy bowl, with a touch of cream in the middle, no. Just a plain deep plate: the food was important, not the casing. Well, in one particular case the casing was important, for on special occasions – the special occasion for my mother probably being a lack of time – after soup we’d eat pancakes! For us youngsters, pancakes were a treat. And the absolute fun part was that during these meals, we were allowed to turn the plate upside down and eat the pancakes from the bottom! YES!

We used to scrape the plate as clean as possible, perhaps even lick it – only to save Mom the cleaning, mind you – flip the plate and then sit with knife and fork in hand, ready to attack. Only to put them down again, since we had to add sugar to the pancake first. Not sweeteners or Stevia. The real stuff. The stuff that would slowly break your teeth apart, but tasted heavenly. Who cared about the table getting dirty. A sweep with a cloth and the formica would be shiny and new.

This brings back other memories too. My brother never had to help with doing the dishes. Just leave him be, we will finish sooner without him anyway. And my sister who miraculously disappeared to the toilet whenever the hot water was running. I really had to go, if you want proof, then come and take a good sniff. Which I didn’t, of course. My nose is too valuable for that.

When I grew older, I became a vegetarian. My mother continued to make soup. And she knew the soup love of her daughter. The shrewd lady combined her concerns over my vegetarian diet in a special soup, which she blended into a smooth green tasty broth. One could no longer see the separate ingredients… As if I didn’t know that she added lots of ground beef, to ease her conscience. Everyone needs meat!, was her motto. And I let her, because her love was dipped deeply into this brew.

Over the years things changed. With the arrival of dish washers, clean tableware no longer is scarce. No need to use both sides of a plate. And I’m no longer a vegetarian, for the men in my life always demanded meat. And I don’t have time to prepare two, at times even three different meals a day. So tomorrow I’ll make soup and pancakes. And teach my eldest son how to eat them properly. I have neglected this for far too long.

Did your family have an unusual eating habit too when you were younger?

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I wrote this for Writing 101: Happy Memories: “Today, be inspired by a favorite childhood meal. For the twist, focus on infusing the post with your unique voice — even if that makes you a little nervous.”

I’d love to get feedback.

Posted in Culture/History, Education, Inspiration, Writing, Writing101

TED Talk? No, JEFFREY Talk!

His eyes shine like a beacon of hope. They draw me in like a moth is pulled to a flame. Not to be burned, but to be submerged in a pool of energy, humor and passion. His name is Jeffrey Titus Maganga, and he is the most charismatic man I have met in a long time.

Mister Maganga works at Lilongwe’s Teacher Trainer College in Malawi, where he tells us all about TALULAR – Teaching And Learning Using Locally Available Resources. In Malawi, resources are scarce, and the help of the government is not always available. He teaches his students to use their imagination, creativity and common sense beyond the knowledge of college.

In the beginning, his never ending search for free materials drove his wife mad, whenever he returned from a trip to for example the supermarket, with bags full of useless stuff, junk even. Think of used sheets, of corks and reeds, paper boxes and cans, Useless.., until Jeffrey thinks of new ways to convert them into educational materials. Now she even helps me to collect them! He winks.

His enthusiasm is contagious, and my heart swells with pride. This is a man all of us can learn from. No fancy talk, no expensive materials. Just a man and his passion, his love for teaching, and for the environment.

Mister Jeffrey Titus Maganga!

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I wrote this for Writing 101: A Character-Building Experience: “Today, you’ll write about the most interesting person you’ve met in 2014. In your twist, develop and shape your portrait further in a character study.”

I’d love to get feedback!

Posted in Writing101

Goodbye

The unexpected white on black stopped him in his tracks. Hands on knees, he tried to catch his breath, while sweat dripped down his face. It was a fresh piece of paper, caught in the thistle thorns that grew near the running trail. Curious, he picked up the letter and unfolded it. All of a sudden the words danced before his eyes and he jerked upright. In the distance, near the edge, he could see the flashing lights of a police car. His gaze swept over the words again and slowly he turned the letter around. ‘To Carmen’, it said.

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A variation:

A soft click
the door closed

On the table a letter
‘BRB’

She waited for years
in vain


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I wrote this for Writing 101: Be Brief: “You stumble upon a random letter on the path. You read it. It affects you deeply, and you wish it could be returned to the person to which it’s addressed. Write a story about this encounter. Today’s twist: Approach this post in as few words as possible.”

I’d love to get feedback!

Posted in Poems, Writing101

Lost

Lost in memories
I am so sorry
that you could not love
my loved ones more
the ones I care about too
whether two or four legged
the ones I can’t
I won’t
live without

You were part of my life
but day by day
you drove me a little bit further away
until you could no longer reach me
until I shut down, and out
slammed the doors to my heart
shut tight
to stop the bleeding

I care about you still
but can not share my life
with you anymore
I need more
I am more
than what you want me to be
let me be
I need to be
me

MC Driessen blogs

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I wrote this for Writing 101: Serially Lost: Today, write about a loss. The twist: make this the first post in a three-post series.

Posted in Writing101

The Blood of my Soul

Ghost Love Score by Nightwish

Years ago I fell in love with Nightwish’s music. I was introduced to this band by my best friend and for that I’m forever grateful. For his friendship too by the way. Ghost Love Score is not a song; it’s a story on its own. Because of the changes in tempo. Because of the story telling. It is orchestral and brings out epic images and feelings in me. Don’t be alarmed by the heavy intro, for it will get lighter along the way and soon you’ll be caught up in the music. Close your eyes and listen. It will take ten minutes and I dare you to sit still! Of course I should be writing now, but I’m whistling and singing. In today’s challenge a lack of inspiration is not the main obstruction for writing; the music is! And I love every second.

 

Gravity by Sara Bareilles

Whenever this lady sings, I listen. Whenever she brings out an album, I purchase it. Funny songs like King of Anything and Fairytale make me smile. But this song, Gravity, is sung from the heart. The smallness is its grandeur. The feelings resonate in my own soul and I’m lost in thoughts and memories. And my voice blends in with Sara’s. Not because it’s that good, but because she sticks to the lower universes of vocal kingdoms that I can reach too. Repeat…

 

So She Dances by Josh Groban

His voice is a warm embrace. A relaxing bath after a day’s hard work. And he’s cute too. So She Dances lifts me up to dreams of grace and love. Close but elusive. Lovely!

 

Music is the blood of my soul…


Writing101badgeI wrote this for Writing 101: Commit to a Writing Practice. “Today, celebrate three songs that are significant to you. For your twist, write for fifteen minutes without stopping — and build a writing habit.”

Posted in Writing101

Sanctuary

The room was red, alive with liquid candlelight. A single window opened into a small courtyard and the scent of rosemary and lavender caressed the air. There was a full moon that night; silver wrapped itself around the golden glow, merging into silence, light and books. Old tomes, their wisdom gathered in layers of dust. Small books, leaking words in children’s voices. They spoke of adventures, of play and happiness. Others emanated evil, only held in check by their paper barriers. In the middle of the room a sofa, its blood color matching the walls.

There was no door, no way out… no way in…

And that was all she needed. Unable to hold on to reality, her fragile mind let go and fled to the only place she longed to be. Curled up on the couch, she read and read, her body forgotten.

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Writing101badgeI wrote this for Writing 101: A Room with a View. “We’re all drawn to certain places. If you had the power to get somewhere — anywhere — where would you go right now? For your twist, focus on building a setting description.” 

Posted in Writing101

Instant Granny

Family planning. Your partner is your soul mate and best friend. Your children successfully glide through their studies and find a great job. Then straight into grandchildren. Yeah, right. When you’re young, you think starting a family is something you plan. Something you can carefully control. Well, those plans don’t always work out the way we hope or want.

The first time I was thinking about starting a family, I was engaged. It was a magical and exciting time. Young love, total faith and… blissfully blind to signs that were clear to all but me. Apparently an engagement is not always enough reason to be faithful. So when my dream was shattered into a million shiny and sharp pieces – slicing my heart in two – my plans for family-making were put on hold. Dumped in the freezer, stuck in time.

But the cold was soothing, and after a while my heart mended and I did get married. My college friend Suzan and I had once struck a deal: we would start a soccer team together and both have four children. They would be so talented, that only eight were enough for the team. She held her part of the bargain and had three sons and one daughter. I, on the other hand, had to stop after two: my body didn’t agree with my family plans. Plus my sons didn’t care for soccer. 😉 But a family it was.

A divorce and two partners later, again I wonder about my family. What happened to family planning? My eldest son is still at home, but my youngest broke off his education and left the nest to live with his girlfriend. But he did go straight into grandchildren. No engagement or marriage: with his lady, he also got two ready-made children.

So all of a sudden I’m an instant granny. From mother to grandmother in the blink of an eye. I don’t need to change diapers or babysit. England is a bit too far to do that on regular basis, and the kids are already potty trained at the age of nine and six. Family planning, yep.

But you know what? I really don’t care that my life is not going the way I originally planned. Each new experience has made my life richer, stronger. And my sons are happy as they are. They have enough faith to make their own choices in life. And that’s what is most important.

Instant Granny… *shakes her head and wonders*

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Writing101badgeI wrote this for Writing 101: Unlock the Mind. These prompts do seem to work well, for I had no idea what would flow from my fingers. The assignment: To get started, let’s loosen up. Let’s unlock the mind. Today, take twenty minutes to free write. And don’t think about what you’ll write. Just write. And I did.