Martinis, morasses, and emotional stability

This week’s flash fiction prompt from Charli Mills at the Carrot Ranch is to write a story about a return to home in 99 words. I’ll be honest, I struggled with this prompt for a couple of reasons.

I read Charli’s entry and prompt when she first published it a week ago. As I reflected on the prompt, I for some reason thought the challenge topic was (family) roots—as in where we come from, not where we return home to. So when I logged on today to read the prompt once again, I had a huge mental “oops” moment. Now, to be honest, I think Charli would have supported me if I shared my oops moment (or even if I hadn’t) as the goal is to write. Period. But (and continuing with the honesty) writing about roots would be a difficult subject for me—granted, one that I want to tackle one day, but today I just didn’t feel emotionally charged up enough to delve into that morass.

Of course, the theme of home is morass-adjacent, but one that I could fake. Yes, I faked today’s work. I didn’t doing a flying cannonball or dive in with elegant grace. I skirted the morass, tiptoeing around the mud, making sure not to get my shoes too dirty. I sat at the computer for several hours, staring at the screen, trying to convince myself to write—really write, not phone-it-in write. But I just couldn’t bring myself to wade into those emotional waters, and I’m okay with that. I am okay with recognizing when emotionally I cannot handle the writing.

I still wrote. I still met the challenge, and I  discovered that I am ready as a writer to start exploring those issues of roots and family more deeply as soon as my emotional side is ready. And it will be. Soon. Just not today.

I’m sure the never-ending grey clouds played a role as well.

Full disclosure: My issues with roots and family have nothing to do with any traumatic event, so I don’t want anyone freaking out about my focus on my emotional stability. I just know that when I do write about my roots and family, it will involve revealing some very old scars, and scars require energy, whether it be emotional, psychological, or mental energy. But today feels more like Couch Potato Tuesday.

Shaken Martinis

The airport bar was empty when my sister finished her martini. “Dad hasn’t accepted her death.”

I played with my straw. “It’s been a year.”

“He sold the house. Welcome home.” She faked a smile and signaled the bartender. “No more jet-setting for you.”

I snorted. “I was teaching English in a hut–”

“Blah blah blah. At least you don’t have to claim him as a blood relation.” She took a swig from her second martini, watching me over the rim. “You didn’t know?”

I frowned. It only took two martinis to make me a homeless twenty-four-year-old orphan.



  • Powerful.
    <3 Jules

    Jules DixonOctober 6, 2015
    • Thanks!

      C. JaiOctober 7, 2015
  • Wow, powerful last line! Definitely shaken, not stirred…And as to writing, yes we are always in control. We can choose to disclose, choose to be discreet. But when we choose and commit to the page, often we are more surprised than any as to what shows up!

    Charli MillsOctober 7, 2015
    • I think you hit the nail on the head with control. When I write, I prefer to give up control and just let the words go, but doing so can be draining, which sounds counter-intuitive to me—maintaining control should be more draining because it requires more engagement. Ah the life of a writer! Yet another reason why writing isn’t simply the act of putting words on the page (unless I am feeling blocked, and then it is that simple…arrrgggg!)

      C. JaiOctober 7, 2015
  • Loved this – no excuses needed for avoiding your personal stuff, this has beautiful depth in itself.

    AnnecdotistOctober 7, 2015
    • I have realized that this post was me convincing myself that it was okay not to bleed onto the page today 🙂 Thanks for reading!

      C. JaiOctober 7, 2015
  • WOW! That last line caught me… Some people are so coldhearted?

    RogerOctober 12, 2015
    • I think it might be that people are more focused on their own issues, not that they are intentionally coldhearted…maybe (hopefully)? Thanks for stopping by!

      C. JaiOctober 12, 2015
  • March 6, 2016

    […] Shaken Martinis by C. Jai Ferry […]

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