Hangin’ Around – FF & CCC #110

This is a rarity.  Me, combining two prompts.  But both pictures came in on the same day. And while I couldn’t think of what to write for Rochelle’s Friday Fictioneers nor for Crispina’s Crimson’s Creative Challenge, last night a thought came to me using both! Why not?  Plus, I added one of my own, for story’s sake.  And double plus, it’s Mick’s birthday today and he would have been 57 and he loved silly fun.  And I apologize to both of you for going over the 100 and 150 limits.  For that reason, I’m not adding my links.  No one can give me hell.

Who hung you up like Jesus on a cross, Elf?  And for goodness sakes, why?

Oh, ahh… gee. Now that you mention it… That wasn’t the look we were going for, I assure you. It’s so I don’t fall down.  And I’m up here so I can see the Christmas lights!

Well you look bloody ridiculous. And it’s daylight.

Have you looked at yourself, Scarecrow?  You’re kinda in the same position as I am but way down there.  And seriously, couldn’t you have added something bright to wear? You’re positively drab! And darkness is coming, my friend.

It’s not exactly as if I chose my outfit, yanno!  Besides, I’m actually working here.  Who has time to hang around and look at lights when there are birds to scare away? 

Dude. You have got to stop being so serious.  Let your hair down… err… you know what I mean. All work and no play makes for a boring life.

It IS getting dark… I’ll be off duty, soon.  What can you see?  Is it worth it?

Ooooohhhh… sooo pretty… We gotta find someone to jack you up!

 

The Ladies of Rushmore – Heeeere’s Dolly!

I was raised on country music.  Not that I’d admit it. Then.  Neither would my sisters.  We’d occasionally get caught by friends when we sang along to songs that we weren’t supposed to know.  It may have garnered us more than one disbelieving or bewildered look, followed by a “how come you know this stuff?”  We might have blushed and stuttered some inane reason as to the why we knew ALL the words…  Truth is, I always loved it and am now not shy to admit it, either! Now.

I always knew when my mother was ironing (NOT a regular occurrence, I assure you) because, when I got off the bus on the other side of the field next to our house – back before four houses were added to the lot – I could hear the music blaring through the open windows. Conway Twitty, Merle Haggard, never Johnny Cash coz she just didn’t dig him for reasons unfathomable, Loretta Lynn and, of course, Dolly Parton.  No way in hell you can list the best of the best of country without including Dolly!

Then again, it is unfair to box her into only one genre, singing for one generation. Who else, except maybe Cher, can claim to be an intergenerational celebrity, loved by both the religious right and the gay community; by octogenarians and twenty-somethings?

When you look beyond all the fake, all the make-up, the wigs, the sparkles, you find a proficient businesswoman, accomplished songwriter, brilliant performer and generous philanthropist.  You can’t get more authentic inside all of the outlandish packaging.  Packaging about which she maintains to have never pretended to be anything but honest about.  Her professional career was built on it and she will continue to maintain it until her last breath.  Asked by Barbara Walters why she dressed as she did and wore the wigs when she is naturally beautiful, got this response:

“No, It’s certainly a choice.  I don’t like to be like everyone else.  I’ve often made the statement that I would never stoop so low as to be fashionable. That’s the easiest thing in the world to do.  I just decided that I would just do somethin’ that would at least get the attention. Once they got past the shock of the ridiculous way I looked and all that, then they would see there was parts of me to be appreciated. I’m very real inside. And that’s where it counts… Showbusiness is a money-making joke and I’ve just always liked telling jokes.”

You tell ’em, Dolly!  And really, such an interesting interview, it’s worth the listen, if’n you’re so inclined.

Her first real hit, ironically not written by her, though it could have been, says it, she may look it, but she ain’t no dumb blonde…

Dolly has been writing songs since before she could even write (age 5 and her mother wrote them for her).  She was performing at ten on TV and bought her family a set with her earnings so they could actually see her.  And, she made her debut at the Grand Ole Opry, introduced by Johnny Cash, by age 13, earning three encores.  As if writing over 3,000 songs – each of them a little story – and being nominated and earning all sorts of awards (Country, Pop, British, Canadian, Grammy, Emmy, Oscar Tony…), she holds two Guinness World Records!  She has had a top twenty country hit in six consecutive decades and has had 107 hits to make the chart. Seriously.

Porter Wagoner really put her on the map, though.  She replaced the “girl singer” Norma Jean in the late sixties and was practically booed off the stage.  I wonder how she managed not to gag every time she was introduced as the “pretty little gal”?  She won them all over, of course, and by 1974 was ready to chart her own course.  She wrote “I Will Always Love You” as a parting gift.

If you don’t like the road you’re walking, start paving another one.”

Speaking of that song, she would dearly have loved to have Elvis Presley sing it.  However, Presley’s peeps wanted to own her song and she plumb turned them down, stating it’s her song and no matter how much I would have loved to hear it from his beautiful voice, she would not give it up. Talk about knowing her business!  That song would make her mucho moolah thanks to Whitney Houston’s goose bump-inducing version, which she adored.

Dolly managed to cross over from country to pop and back to country, finally dipping her toe into bluegrass, which, let’s face it, is where it all began.  But singin’ ain’t all this pretty little lady can do as her roles in movies can attest. Did you know Jane Fonda insisted Dolly be brought in for Nine to Five?  Can anyone picture someone else playing Doralee? Or Truvy in Steel Magnolias for that matter? I sure can’t.  Little tidbit:  while in between scenes, Dolly came up with the theme for Nine to Five by “playing” her acrylic fingernails!  I kid you not. Move over washboard, there’s a new instrument in town. I wonder if they include them as one of the ten instruments she plays?  Usually, she uses her banjo when writing songs but hey, if nothing else is available…

Find out who you are and do it on purpose.”

She never hid her desire to become a superstar and is the epitome of generosity when it comes to her fans. She will never gripe about any demands made on her time because she knows this is part and parcel of the deal.  She is ferocious in keeping herself and her views private and will never speak ill of anyone.  No matter how many times she has been asked her opinion on politics, we have been left in the dark. I admire a star who keeps herself far away from any potential scandal.

She is gracious and while never officially stating being a feminist is always there to support her fellow women performers.  Her theme park is fine and dandy but I’d rather focus on her causes: Imagination Library, which gives books to children from birth till they start school, Buddy Program to help students resist dropping out of high school; fundraising to help with fighting fires, fighting for animal rights, donating $1,000,000 towards the Coronavirus vaccine research and more.

Ohmygosh! I have overstayed my welcome!  I’ll spare you more (even though I keep thinking of more things to say!) Dolly Parton’s place on Mount Rushmore, as far as I’m concerned, is not to be denied.

Please make sure you go over to see Marc’s choice for the Male side on Sorryless.

 

 

 

 

Weekend Writing Prompt #187 – Niggle

A word prompt to get your creativity flowing this weekend.  How you use the prompt is up to you.  Write a piece of flash fiction, a poem, a chapter for your novel…anything you like.  Or take the challenge below – there are no prizes – it’s not a competition but rather a fun writing exercise.  If you want to share what you come up with, please leave a link to it in the comments. Always a thanks to Sammi for hosting this.

Okay, okay… blame the sappy series I’ve been convinced to watch for this little story. I completely borrowed one of the story lines 😉

Listen to the Niggle

Between sobs, she hiccupped, “Why doesn’t he want to be with me?”

“He told you he didn’t want a relationship, what did you expect?”

“I thought –  maybe – I love him!”

“Did he say it back?

“No.”

“Didn’t you feel a niggle in your gut?”

“I ignored it.”

“Remember what Maya said?”

“‘When someone tells you who they are, believe them.’ I’m such an idiot!”

“Dreamer, maybe…”

 

A Love is Born – Friday Fictioneers

Time for Friday Fictioneers! A thanks always goes to Rochelle for hosting this weekly party. This week’s photo is by Roger Bultot. Click on the frog below to join in on the fun!

©Roger Bultot

roller coaster frogs by daniel pagan | ArtWanted.com

Click here!

“Not fair! He’s younger than me but I can’t go on!”

“I will, too. Not my fault you’re short and I’m not!”

“Shut up, Aidan!”

Comes off ride, crying…

“You big baby.”

…two years later…

“I’m not going on any ride that goes upside down!”

“You’re such a chicken.”

“Hope you’re tall enough!”

“Shut up!”

“Boys! Enough! Ready to go on the Rockin’ Roller Coaster? It’ll be so cool. The whole ride is in the dark!”

“Does it go upside down, Dad?”

“Nah. Don’t worry about it.”

Iain snickers…

“That was the coolest ride, ever!”

“Even though it went upside-down?”

December, We Reminisce

Lilian is hosting prosery Monday on dVerse – yeah, yeah, it’s Tuesday.  We are to use the phrase:  “Reading what I have just written, I now believe”. December, no matter how much I try, gets rather consumed with memories. I figure it’s not worth fighting with them.

It’s December, we reminisce.

Dear Mick,

In ten days you would have been 57. And three days after that, it’ll be six years since you took your leave. I don’t want to say where does the time go, but, bloody hell, where? Your light shone so damn bright, you’ve left a glow within everyone who met you. I wonder if you ever realised what power you had?  Why friends of yours, family of mine, acquaintances met along your path always, ALWAYS bring you up at some point in our “How are you? Great to see you. What’s new?” conversations. We all fell under your spell and miss you.

Lotsa love, Rog

Reading what I have just written, I now believe that it’s okay to allow myself a moment to miss him, that it doesn’t mean I’m stuck in the past and life is still beautiful.

Mount Rushmore of Women – The Material Girl

You may love her, you may hate her but one thing is for sure; whether you are 15 or 85, there is a really good chance you have heard of her!  The Material Girl, known as Madonna, born Madonna Louise Ciccone, needs no other name.  She has (and still does) shocked and stunned; she has broken boundaries, persevered, challenged, entertained, and opened wide the doors for future generations.

The eighties could not be the eighties without mentioning Madonna and her contributions.  My gosh, who has not danced to “Everybody” or “Like a Virgin” or “Holiday”?

A Wild Journey to Friendship: Desperately Seeking Susan (1985) – MOON IN GEMINI

While I was never one to follow trends for dress, many others were. Bleached hair, thrift-shop style clothes consisting of lace tops, skirts over Capri pants, fishnet stockings, plastic bracelets, multiple necklaces (don’t forget the crucifix)… ring a bell to any of you?  One of my favourite movies “Desperately Seeking Susan” with Rosanna Arquette brought this style to the big screen and really put her on the map making even more girls wanting to be just like her.

Of course, that particular style had an expiry date because she is definitely not one to stay in one groove forever. Her success is due to her versatility and ability to reinvent herself into the next version, not only musically but with her signature looks created through the outfits, from wild to questionable to glamourous.  From blonde to brunette back to blonde, bustiers to cone-shaped bra outfits, to the ooh-la-la of Marilyn Monroe to Marie-Antoinette during her Vogue period. (Hey! Didja know that that dress was the one worn by Glenn Close in Dangerous Liaisons?  Fitting, don’t you think?  Dangerous and various liaisons were had by Madonna over the years).

In July 1985, Penthouse and Playboy published nudes of her, taken in 1978 when she was broke and needed the money. Needless to say, this caused an uproar for which she refused to apologize.  To think she was paid $25 per session when the photos ended up being sold for up to $100,000. Good for her, I say. No need to apologize for who you are and what you choose to do, if no one is getting hurt.

Lady Gaga would not be Lady Gaga today if it hadn’t been for Madonna paving the way to the outrageous.  Gwen Stefani said it best:  “Some people say that I copy her. But show me one girl my age who was not influenced by her.”  There would be no Britney Spears, no Christina Aguilera, no Avril Lavigne, no Rihanna, no… well you get the picture. The list is long.  Many artists (including actors like Cameron Diaz) as well singers have said they are inspired by her, want her longevity, her bravery, her business sense. If that alone is not enough to merit a spot on the Mount, I don’t know what is.

The nineties turned her splash into a tidal wave.  She created her own entertainment company called Maverick, giving her total control over her artistic endeavours. Nothing could stop her now.  Businesswoman AND entertainer. A potent mix.  Sexually explicit books, photos, music, videos were the ordre du jour.  I’ll never forget her documentary “True or Dare”. The balls on this woman! Talk about not being afraid to put yourself out there, win or lose.  She ruffled more than one feather, particularly during this decade. From the country of Puerto Rico to the Vatican to the general religious Catholic population. Provocation does sell.

And yet, during this time, she also played in another of my favourite movies “A League of Their Own” and “Evita” – this last one a project that she felt compelled to do and for which the powers that be had to acknowledge she did a more than decent job.  Not bad for a kid from Michigan, who lost her mother (a French Canadian – how do you like them apples?) quite young and at the age of twenty moved to New York

The 2000’s brought a more subdued (okay, compared to herself!) Madonna – for a while anyway.  Much as I love her music over the years, her album Ray of Light is the only one of hers that I ever bought!  So many good songs on this album.  I had a mix of songs on my old iPod that included the song “Music” which had the perfect beat to walk/run on my treadmill.  Of course, she wasn’t done provoking and I don’t think she ever will.

I could have gone on and on, pointing out all her successes but let’s face it, most of us know that she has had a gargantuan career and she’s not done.

Robert M. Grant said:  “that what has brought Madonna success is certainly not outstanding natural talent. As a vocalist, musician, dancer, songwriter, or actress, Madonna’s talents seem modest.”  Possibly. You can be the judge. However, when it comes to meeting our criteria, there is no way in hell she does not deserve a place on MY Mount Rushmore.  I say she didn’t need a prayer to get there.

Don’t forget to go check out Marc’s choice for the male side of things over on Sorryless.

 

 

 

Weekend Writing Prompt #186 – Quixotic

A word prompt to get your creativity flowing this weekend. How you use the prompt is up to you. Write a piece of flash fiction, a poem, a chapter for your novel…anything you like. Or take the challenge below – there are no prizes – it’s not a competition but rather a fun writing exercise. If you want to share what you come up with, please leave a link to it in the comments. If you want to play along, click here and add your link to the comment section on Sammi’s post.

Romantic and quixotic is

how I shall remain

Nothing more horrifying than

to just be one and the same

Idealistic, unrealistic

both fires to my flame

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

You Coming? – Crimson’s Creative Challenge #108

Crispina’s challenge had me going through my photos again.  (I think she does it on purpose, now.)  How to choose but one?  I did manage.  My old Zeke is 11 years old and things are a lot different now.  Two years ago we could do much more. One must respect an elder’s pace.

From the first walk we took

where distance mattered not

you would run ahead to explore

but stop when you felt you were too far

You coming?

and wait patiently for me to catch up

only to take off again when you were assured

 

You are now an old man with sore joints

and your steps are limited

I have to make sure that I slow down

that we stray not too far so that you

have the energy to make it back

You coming?

Now, it is I who waits for you

 

The Ties That Bind – Friday Fictioneers

Late in the day but hey. We do what we can!  It’s Wednesday so time for Friday Fictioneers!  Today’s photo is brought to us by C.E.Ayr. As always, Rochelle is holding this motley crew together.  If you want to play along, just click on the frog below and add your link to your 100-word story.

©C.E.Ayr

Frog On A Orange Rope Stock Photo - Download Image Now - iStock

 

Friends forever! This string bracelet represents our friendship. I know it’s not much but it’ll do for now.  We’ll change it.  It’s a great idea, right?  Nothing can break us apart. No mean girls, no parents, no boyfriends.  We’ll always be there for each other.  Can’t you just picture us?  Two old ladies sitting on a porch still laughing and having pots of tea?

We chose to keep the string. I can hear that conversation like it was yesterday. I really did believe we would be those two old ladies one day.

I’ll never know what happened to end it.

The Memories That Abide

Lisa, over at Tao Talk  is hosting (well, started yesterday) dVerse and has challenged us to use abide in a quadrille.  So I did!  Because, I can’t resist using only 44 words.

There are those memories that

bring a fond smile to your lips

They come, they go, you move on

And then there are those that abide

evoking the exact same feelings

as when you lived it

They persist,

weaving their way into your present

Couldn’t decide on which pic so put both!