They Say… ~ Another Journal Prompt Response by Lindsay

Another fabulous response from Lindsay, a regular reader of and contributor to my Daily Journal Prompts. This one was written in response to Prompt #232, “It Starts With One Small Step.”

They say it wasn’t real. That it was all just a film set with bad lighting. All a pretence to leave the Russians feeling beaten, well and truly. The pictures are all grainy and grit and the camera shakes and Neil stepping like dancing and the crackle of his ‘one small step, one giant leap,’ and I don’t know what to believe.

I remember the day and my dad pulled us all in front of the television and he said we was watching history in the making. His voice was all hush and there was tears in his eyes and he gave us each a silver dollar afterwards just for the giving, a moon-silver dollar that filled the palm of my child’s hand.

Then some small years later, a boy called Billy put his fingers inside me after church and he moved them about like he was tickling for fish, and my dad was doing the same with Mrs Harkiss next door and our mam said he was no more to be trusted. I thought of all the things he’d ever said then, and I tested each one for truth, everything right back to the moon landing and that too-skippy walk of Neil and his staccato hiss-static poetry.

He’s dead now, my dad, years in the ground, so many I don’t miss him no more. But my mam cries one day a year when she remembers the bride that she was and the groom that he was and the stars he hung in her hair once on a bridge in Vermont.

And Neil’s dead, too, I heard, and no one’s been to the moon in years and that seems sad or wrong. There’s pictures in the paper, ones I have seen before, and I look now for the strings and the smoke and the mirrors, and though I want to believe it was true I am not sure I can.


→Thanks again, Lindsay, for such fine writing. I want to encourage readers of this site to submit their responses to the Daily Journal Prompts via the comments section, and occasionally I will use these pieces as individual posts. As always, thanks for reading! -PMc←

A Milestone ~ By Lindsay

Regular reader and terrific writer Lindsay sent in this response to Daily Journal Prompt #200:


Of course I know. How could I not know? A milestone become a millstone around my neck. All that stuff in magazines. And my friends already there – all of them, some on their third. And my mother always phoning and asking how things are with Kevin, or Tom, or now Ed, and I know what she’s really asking. I know.

‘Clock’s ticking,’ someone said once, and ‘Isn’t it time?’ and ‘I should get my skates on if I was you.’

But the thing is, they’re not me. Ok, Kevin was special, and I did think that maybe he could be the one. He made me laugh and smelled of lemons and took his socks off in bed – which they don’t all do. I really thought he could be it. He was a teacher. Science, I think. And he played football for an amateur team on Saturday mornings. He ticked so many boxes. But then he got serious, and he talked about us moving in together, and once we were out walking and he stopped to look at engagement rings in a jewellery shop window.

Tom was next. He was someone from work. We’d kissed once, at an office Christmas party and his hand down the front of my skirt. We’d both been a little drunk that night and afterwards we never spoke of it. Then, quite out of the blue, he asked me out on a date. He wasn’t Kevin, but I could have settled for him. But then he wanted me to meet his parents and he said they’d really like me, and, well, I wasn’t looking for that.

Now there’s Ed. He’s tall and handsome in an angular way. He’s sweet, too, and he has a certain manner, all polite, and attentive but not in a way that speaks of commitment or long-term. In fact we agreed early on that we’d see how things were and we’d not put pressure on the relationship. Sometimes he doesn’t call for days and that’s fine and he isn’t all clinging when we do meet up again and never asks what I have been up to since we last met. It’s almost casual. He seems almost perfect.

That’s why I have stopped taking the pill. I haven’t told Ed. There’s no need. A few months and he’ll be moving on, I am certain of that, and I’m ok with it too. By then, fingers crossed, the ticking clock will no longer be a concern. I lie next to Ed when’s asleep in my bed – though he doesn’t ever stay over. And lying next to him, I stroke the small rise of my belly and make-believe it’s already happened and I imagine all my friends knowing and my mother telling all her friends, too, but not mentioning that I will be doing it all on my own.


→Thanks once more, dear Lindsay, for sharing the work you are inspired to write. – PMc←

Why Not? By Lindsay

A delightful thing happens every now and again: I get a comment posted on my blog by someone who was inspired by the journal prompts and photos I post daily. Of particular note are a number of these that come from a reader in the UK, someone who only identifies herself (I believe it is a woman) as “Lindsay.” She is a fabulous writer, full of haunting stories that are always filled with longing and wonder. Her brief responses are short-short prose pieces that make a reader consider and question, make a reader eager to see what she will write next. So here is another of her prose pieces, pulled from Journal Prompt #185. The photo is above; the writing prompt was:


~By Lindsay~

He was a good man. Helped old ladies cross the road and women with prams up stairs. He was quiet and did not draw attention to himself. He just went about his day, looking for ways to help, small ways to make the world a better place with him in it. He was a good listener, too. All the troubles of the city were delivered to him across cups of coffee or glasses of beer and he nodded his head and was sympathetic to all sides and careful not to offer advice, only comfort.

He was an angel, someone said, and the papers got a hold of that and it helped them sell a few more copies: ‘The Angel of Barstow’. And maybe he was an angel. In a way he was: all the good that he did and everyone in need turning to him for kind words.

His name was John. I never knew more than that. He had a second floor apartment on Maydew Drive, out by Pilling. I went there once. He asked me. He apologized for the mess. There were old take-out boxes stacked in the corners of his front room and the place smelled of stale food and farts. There was a desk in the room and he was in the middle of writing a letter. I noticed there were dollar bills folded into the envelope, like he was doing some good even then.

We’d been drinking and I’d told him about Brewer and how he was bastard for what he done and I was crying and John just reached out to me and laid one hand on top of mine, gentle as a girl. I didn’t want to be alone and so he’d said I should go back with him. And that’s how we were together in his apartment. Soon as the door was closed he was kissing me and I let him, and his hands were rough under my clothes and we fucked there on the floor of his front room and he called me such names as made me think he was not a nice man.

Afterwards he said he was sorry and he pressed money into my hands and he was the one that was crying then. He said he hadn’t meant for to hurt me and he stroked my hair and said again how he was sorry.

I don’t think that was why he jumped from the roof of the City Bank. Me and John was way back. I saw him sometimes being nice to other women, in cafés and bars, and I wondered if he took them home too and was sorry afterwards. Anyways, the papers got to calling him the Angel of Barstow and I didn’t hear anyone say otherwise so I think maybe he was in his own way.

→Thanks again, Lindsay, for the very fine writing. And whenever you are ready to tell us more about yourself and your work, perhaps through a View From the Keyboard, we are ready to know. Thanks for reading! ~PMc←


Listen ~ A Journal Prompt Response


Oh he had something. Unique it was what he had. Something to do with his ears, he said. Everything fine-tuned so his balance was perfect. He walked between high buildings balanced on a high wire and cameras recording every balletic stumble but Emile never falling.

I saw him once take a wheelbarrow out on the same wire, like there was a garden in the sky needing his attention, and a woman in clouds of white tuille and lace was seated in the barrow, and he made it look so easy. And another time he fried an egg on a small travel stove. An omeltte I think it was, and with a napkin tucked beneath his chin he made a meal of those broken eggs, and only air between him and his own scrambled end on the pavements below.

All in the grace of his body, bending and twisting and pirouetting onto the pages of our newspapers.

And it’s all in the ears, he said. That’s the secret of perfect balance. You listen to the movement of the air, the breath of God, and you let yourself be played, like a wind-harp, and balance is just holding a single perfect note. Listen.

I told him again and again it was over. I whispered it in his sleep, sang it to him over breakfast, spoke it plain as speaking can when serving him dinner. It’s over. He looked up from his beer and his chips. He was smiling. I don’t think he’d actually heard what I’d said.

Written by Lindsay and shared through the comments section of Daily Journal Prompt #152. If a daily journal prompt inspires your writing, please share it with me so I can consider posting it for others to read as well. Thanks for reading! -PMc←