Write on Wednesday: A letter to the Smile

Dear You,

Thank you for smiling back to me today.  Your smile turned my day around.  I know it wasn't much to you, but to me it meant everything.  I don't know your name and you don't know mine, I guess we never will.

I was sitting there, waiting, waiting for nothing, nothing in particular.  The weight of the world had become such a burden that I could stand no longer.  I could barely lift my back from a stoop.  The air felt thick, the world was grey.  

I had been looking at my shoes.  My shoes were worn, red once, now kind of pink and brown with the stitching undone.  The water from the rain had saturated them and my toes were cold and wet, but I could no longer feel them, but I knew where they were, where they always had been, gnarled and twisted.

The wind howled right through me, even through my treasured coat, you know the one.  The one that I am always wearing.  The brown one with all the badges on it.  I got those badges from someone I love, my grandson.  Those badges mean more to me than anything I have.  

I know that you know me because I see you every day.  Usually you rush right past, too busy to look, too embarrassed to look.  You are running for the train, or rushing home to the warmth of the house and a cooked dinner.  

Today you looked.  I saw a connection in your eye, I know you wanted to say something.  That's OK.  It's not your fault.  A smile was grand.  It warmed my heart and fed my soul.  You opened the channel.  We might speak one day. Even hello would be great, but if we don't, you smiled.  

Thank you.

Write On Wednesdays

This was from The Write on Wednesday Spark: Dear...

This week's writing exercise is to write a letter. Write an open letter or write to someone more specific. Write a letter between two fictional characters or write a letter into a fictional piece you are already working on. Think  about how differently you write depending upon who you are writing to. Your content in an open letter may differ to content in a private letter.

Wherever the prompt takes you. Keep your post on the short side: up to 500 words OR a 5 minute stream of consciousness exercise. Link your finished piece to the list and begin popping by the other links. Oh, and enjoy!

The linky will be open each week from Monday to Friday. If you are playing the game, try to visit the other linkers, at least three of four would be nice. Encourage, critique and support your fellow writers.

Pop over to Ink Paper Pen to find other bloggers who have posted on this or join in!

Writing Exercise: Said!

My ten year old came home yesterday jumping with excitement about the literary exercise that his class had been given.  They had been given 10 minutes as a class to come up with 100+ words to replace "said".  He put the challenge stick out there for hubby and I to beat it or even come close in only 10 minutes.  He didn't take into account that they worked in pairs and each pair only came up with about 30 words!

No Pressure!

Well,  it is incredible how the brain freezes in these moments with the ticking of the timer, the scratching of my hubby's pencil, yet in the end we managed to come up with 95 words to replace said (he had 45 and I had 40 - tell me why I'm writing and he is not?).  It is a great exercise and one I will repeat over and over (and I am keeping my hubby's words!).

Her Father's Daughter by Alice Pung

Alice, you have kept me awake into the wee hours of the night.  You have managed to put together yet another brilliant book, a memoir, a story of you and your father.  You are truly a brilliant writer.

Her Father's Daughter is a more serious book than her first book, Unpolished Gem, yet Alice's fragrant Australian, Cambodian, Chinese flavour flows so well with humour, dry wit and at many moments, the utter truth of the story that she carried me along this incredibly personal journey of her family.

Her Father's Daughter begins with Alice stepping off the bus in China, in the town that her family have come from, before Braybook, in Western Melbourne and before fleeing Cambodia.  She is wanting to understand her  roots, her father more.  Alice doesn't find what she expected in China, but when she returns and spends more time with her father, talking with him, listening to the stories, to the difficult stories of living the Black Bandits and having to flee death and persecution from the Pol Pot ("Political Potential") regime.  This part of the story is written in his voice and hers, allowing us to gain insight into what she thinks her father may have been thinking during during her time during university and beyond. This helps give some perspective to Kuan, her father, through his stories and those of his friends.

Alice tells the terrible story of the Year Zero so well, giving me so much understanding into the tragic unfolding of the events before and after 17 August 1975 when life as all in Phnom Penm knew it was to change forever.  She writes it in an incredibly respectful way that show the pain and loss the Cambodians went through as she follows the story of her father and his extended family from before Year Zero until they escaped to the refugee camp on the border of Thailand.

Many of those who made it out vowed that they would never set foot in that country again.  After reading what the people were put through, I can understand more clearly the trauma that they would have felt.   This story gives so much insight into the plight of so many people whose lives are suddenly turned upside down, and how this affects them forever.

Thank you again Alice for a brilliant, brilliant, brilliantly told story that was well worth being told.  10 / 10.

Kuan, thank you for sharing your story.