#My52 Writing Challenge 2019

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It’s a brand new year… are you ready for a new writing challenge?

In 2017, I participated in the 52-Week Writing Challenge (and was the randomly chosen winner) and in 2018, I did the #52weeks52stories Writing Challenge.

When I asked around about a writing challenge for 2019, none popped up, so I decided to go my own way, and you’re invited to join me!

If you’ve participated in any type of writing challenge, you’re already aware of what a useful writing tool they can be. If you’ve come to an impasse in your current WIP, stepping away for a moment to focus on something else can sort through the cobwebs, flick on the light, or move the forest so you can see the trees.

Parts of a current WIP can also be used in a writing challenge. The difficulty of character profiles, scenes, world building, and even book blurbs can disappear when task are tackled as flash fiction.

As the Queen of Many Wurdz and champion of the run-on sentence, I took part in challenges to focus on short stories.  I needed to focus on telling a complete story in as few words as possible. I’m partial to longer standalone books, but not everyone wants to read a 180K epic psychological family saga.

Okay, I lied. I don’t either.

So, after 70+ short stories, how am I doing? It’s an ongoing process. 🙂

What I enjoy most about writing challenges is the accountability. Someone is watching, keeping me honest, cheering me on during the good weeks, and talking me off the ledge during the bad ones. Writing is a solitary endeavor, but many times it helps to get out of your own head.

What are the rules for #My52? That’s the best part—there aren’t any.

  • Writing in any form counts. Haiku, Poetry, Drabble, Flash, short story… they’re all welcome.
  • Genres are also limitless. Suspense, Mystery, Romance, LGBT, Fantasy, Science Fiction, YA… it’s your choice.
  • The writing week is Monday through Friday with postings on Saturday and Sunday. (Posting earlier in the current week is acceptable too.)
  • Tweet a link to your post with the hashtag #My52 for retweets and likes

OR

  • Grab the banner at the top and link back to this page and I’ll feature your post during the challenge.

Don’t let the word challenge stress you. It’s not a contest and the challenge is only against yourself… to keep you writing-focused.

Life gets crazy and cluttered, so do not beat yourself up if you miss a week. Keep writing!

Word counts can be anywhere from a 17-syllable Haiku to a multi-week short story.

Have fun with it. Write outside your form or genre—I’m not a paranormal writer and I wrote paranormal stories last year and enjoyed doing it.

If you have questions, leave them in the comments or find me on Twitter – @MsFelicia, or Instagram – @fle_d.

Happy 2019… and happy writing!

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Song Lyric Sunday | “You’re Gonna Miss This” – Trace Adkins

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Song Lyric Sunday was created by Helen Vahdati from This Thing Called Life One Word at a Time and author Jim Adams from A Unique Title For Me is our current guest host. For complete rules or to join in the fun, click here.

The theme for Song Lyric Sunday this week is “Dad/Father/Barbecue.”

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One of my favorite country songs has a “daddy-feel” to it, thanks to its performer, Trace Adkins. You’re Gonna Miss This was released in January 2008 as the second and final single from Adkins’ album American Man: Greatest Hits Volume and became his fastest-climbing single to date, his third Number One hit on the Billboard Hot Country Songs charts, peaked at #12 on the Billboard Hot 100, and #19 on the Pop 100 charts.

Ashley Gorley, one of the song’s writers, came up with the central idea for You’re Gonna Miss This one day while a repairman was working on his house. His two children (ages two and four at the time; he has since had a third) were running around the house and stealing the repairman’s tools; after Gorley apologized, the repairman replied, “Don’t worry about it — I’ve got two babies, too.” Gorley, after determining that the incident with the repairman might work as a song idea, recalled it to Lee Thomas Miller, who then suggested the title You’re Gonna Miss This.

Adkins then decided to record it after hearing it; being the father of five daughters, its message resonated with him.

Fun Facts:

    • Gorley and Miller worked backward from the bridge, changing the song’s scenario several times until they finally settled on having the song focus on a female central character.
    • The song’s music video was filmed in Adkins’s hometown of Sarepta, Louisiana and contains a variety of Americana scenes framed around the singer traveling about in a pickup truck.

Enjoy!

See my Song Lyric Sunday selection for Nesie’s Place!

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Disclaimer: I have no copyrights to the song and/or video and/or hyperlinks to songs and/or videos and/or gifs above. No copyright infringement intended.

You’re Gonna Miss This

Song Lyric Sunday | “Into the Night” – Benny Mardones

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Song Lyric Sunday was created by Helen Vahdati from This Thing Called Life One Word at a Time and author Jim Adams from A Unique Title For Me is our current guest host. For complete rules or to join in the fun, click here.

The theme for Song Lyric Sunday this week is “Desire/Lust/Romance/Passion.”

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Its lusty, rebellious vibe has made Into the Night a favorite for decades, but I still get creeped out sometimes by the pervy feel with the opening line, “She’s just 16 years old, leave her alone, they said.”   Mardones said the 16-year-old girl he’s singing about was named Heidi, and she lived in his apartment in Spanish Harlem. Their relationship was purely platonic, however, as Benny looked after Heidi and her family after her father left. Benny would pay her $50 a week to walk his basset hound, Zanky.

Fun Facts:

    • When this song became a hit, Benny Mardones suddenly found himself with a great deal of money and fame, which he didn’t handle very well. He developed a cocaine addiction and got in the habit of drinking a bottle of whiskey every night. He recorded the album Too Much To Lose the next year, but when it came time to tour and promote it, he was in Miami, wasted out of his mind. His momentum was stopped cold and his record company, Polydor, lost interest.
    • Mardones originally released Into the Night in June 1980. The song peaked at No. 11 on the Hot 100 for two weeks in September 1980, logging 20 weeks on the chart before falling off in late October. Mardones was unable to duplicate the success of Into the Night and is considered a one-hit wonder.
    •  In 1989, a “Where Are They Now?” Arizona radio segment spurred L.A. DJ Scott Shannon to add the song to his playlist, ultimately rocketing the song back onto the national charts, on May 6, 1989. Mardones’ recording peaked this time at No. 20 the first week in July, adding 17 weeks to its previous run of 20, to add up to a total of 37 (nonconsecutive) weeks.

Enjoy!

See my Song Lyric Sunday selection for Nesie’s Place!

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Disclaimer: I have no copyrights to the song and/or video and/or hyperlinks to songs and/or videos and/or gifs above. No copyright infringement intended.

Into the Night

Song Lyric Sunday | “I Can’t Stop Loving You” – Kem

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Song Lyric Sunday was created by Helen Vahdati from This Thing Called Life One Word at a Time and author Jim Adams from A Unique Title For Me is our current guest host. For complete rules or to join in the fun, click here.

The theme for Song Lyric Sunday this week is “Avenue/Boulevard/Drive/Lane/Road/Street.”

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I had a song already chosen for this week’s theme, but forgive me if I step away from that.

I lost my husband unexpectedly Thursday morning. While he’d suffered from ESRD (End Stage Renal Disease) and was a dialysis patient for several years, we’d always managed… until his body’d had enough.

This song is for Dennis, my husband and my heart for the last 35 years.

Dennis

Enjoy!

See my Song Lyric Sunday selection for Nesie’s Place!

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Disclaimer: I have no copyrights to the song and/or video and/or hyperlinks to songs and/or videos and/or gifs above. No copyright infringement intended.

I Can’t Stop Loving You

#My52 “Captive Heart, Part VII”

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#My52 – Week 21

Word Prompt – breakfast

Word Count – 1161

Reading Time – 2 mins, 16 secs

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“Man, this is some straight up bull.”

Prentiss paced around the sofa where his brother sat slumped over.

“You know Yvonne is behind this. Have the cops even questioned her?”

Mark sat up, dragging his hands down his face and through his dreads. “It’s 3 a.m., dude, and it hasn’t been an hour since they finished with me. I’m sure they haven’t knocked on her door yet.”

“What the hell are they waiting for? An invitation to tea? They should have picked her up the second you gave them her name.”

When he got no response, Prentiss plopped own on the sofa next to Mark. “You look like hell.”

“Damn. Thanks, man. Love you too.”

“You know what I mean. I’m sorry for blowing up at you. It just pisses me off to see you go through shit like this when you’ve done nothing wrong.”

“It’s definitely not the weekend I planned.”

“I know, right? It was cool getting away to chill with Mom and Pop-… oh, damn! Mom and Pop. What are you going to tell them?”

“Nothing yet.”

“Huh uh. You know how upset they’ll be if you don’t call them right away.”

“And tell them what? That ten years of my life has been destroyed and the woman carrying my child is responsible?”

He rose from the sofa and walked over to the patio doors, staring out into the darkness. “I don’t know of anyone who could hate me this much. Yvonne is angry I said no to marriage, and yes, she knew I’d be out of town,” he turned to his brother, “but this is extreme for even her.”

“Stop it.”

“Stop what –”

“She hasn’t been questioned yet and you’re already absolving her of guilt.”

“I’m not- ”

“You are! I get it, man. You still care about her. Maybe even love her. She’s held your heart captive since we were kids. But the Mark I spent the last few days with had found direction and was making plans. Hold on to that guy.”

“I hear you and you’re right.”

He shoved his hands deep into his pockets and turned back to the darkness of the night.

“It’s just coming to terms with everything being gone. My furniture, clothes, artwork… nothing was spared.”

“What are you going to do?”

“It’s not like I have options. Detective Lewis said they’d be done with my place no later than Monday morning. I have to get an adjuster in to file a claim, get the place cleaned up… and start over.”

“Damn. This is just messed up.”

“I couldn’t agree more, but I appreciate my big brother taking me in until I get it all figured out.”

“Shut up.”

“I’m serious.”

“What was I supposed to do? Let you stay in some hotel with five dollar bottled water and ten dollar peanuts? Not gonna happen. Mi casa, es tu casa.”

“Thanks, man.”

“Stop thanking me. Now I can blame you for eating all the creamsicles.”

“I hate those things.”

Prentiss waggled his eyebrows. “That’s beside the point.”

Mark smiled for the first time since he’d arrived.

“That’s more like it! Now, c’mon.”

“I know I’ll regret asking, but where are we going in the middle of the night?”

“We’re both too agitated to sleep so you’re buying me breakfast.”

He had no appetite, but Mark was grateful for the distraction… and his brother.

 

He was sick of lists.

There was a list of damages for the police department, another for his insurance claim and HOA, and still a shopping list for his immediate personal needs.

Going over the project list for the rebuild one more time, Mark hit send on the email tab. Now it was Bailey’s problem.

He sat back in the chair, the weight of the week bearing down on him. Yvonne had returned none of his calls or texts and his recent conversation with Detective Lewis only added fuel to the fire.

“The partial prints the crime scene unit pulled weren’t enough to match any prints on file.”

“So, what are you saying, Detective?”

“We have no leads… ”

“Great. Just great.”

“… but we keep the investigation going. Try another canvas of your building and neighborhood.”

“Why bother? My neighbor was out and no one else heard anything.”

“You’d be surprised at what people remember after we’ve questioned them that’s helped us solve cases.”

“Detective, are you sure positive – ”

“Mr. Kelly, we’ve confirmed everything twice. Ms. Bellgoode was at her parents’ in San Diego from Friday afternoon until Monday morning.”

“Pretty convenient.”

“Agreed, not to mention the young lady is far too arrogant and condescending for my tastes, but I have no choice but to look for other leads.”

“Of which you have none.”

“True. But let me ask you again. You seriously believe your girlfriend is capable of something like this?”

Mark sighed. “Until a few weeks ago, I would have said no. But things went sour fast and I saw a different side of her, or maybe it was there all along and I just refused to see it. And she’s not my girlfriend anymore.”

“But the baby?”

“Still not sure about that. She said she was pregnant, but I’ve seen no confirmation.”

“Domestic issues turn ugly fast but I hope you’re wrong if you are going to be a father.”

Mark wasn’t optimistic about the future. The insurance adjuster had said what Detective Lewis left out.

“I see this two or three times a month, unfortunately. Homes are broken into all the time. Thieves are looking for items they can turn into quick cash.” He looked down at his portable workstation. “They took nothing from your place, but destroyed everything. This wasn’t random… this was personal.”

He’d been with Yvonne over five years and had dated no one else in over six. He hung out with his brother or guys from his work crew. His closest friend from college lived over seven hours away. There was no one else in his immediate personal life. If it wasn’t Yvonne, who did this to him?

Mark shoved his tablet into his backpack, locked up the work shack and headed for the parking lot.

He’d told his crew he might join him at Dessie’s for a beer, but now all he wanted to do was get back to his brother’s place and try to rest his weary mind. When had his life become such a shit-storm?

Mark’s brain had other plans, however, racking up a to-do list for the weekend ahead. Furniture store, bedding and linen, dishes-

His heart sank as he approached his Tahoe.

Stunned, he walked around the vehicle then turned in circles taking in the empty parking lot.

No security cameras, and construction fencing blocking all view from the street.

A perfect place and opportunity for someone to slash his tires and smash out his windows.

Clenching his fists, Mark’s body shook with contempt and rage for the anonymous attacker… who was stalking him.

********

Someone is turning Mark’s life upside down and the police say it isn’t Yvonne. Is there someone else with a grudge against Mark Kelly?

To be continued…

 

Part IPart II   |  Part IIIPart IV  |  Part V  |  Part VI  |

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©2019 Felicia Denise, All Rights Reserved

 

Song Lyric Sunday | “Rapper’s Delight” – Sugarhill Gang

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Song Lyric Sunday was created by Helen Vahdati from This Thing Called Life One Word at a Time and author Jim Adams from A Unique Title For Me is our current guest host. For complete rules or to join in the fun, click here.

The theme for Song Lyric Sunday this week is “Cool/Groovy/Hip/Nifty/Radical/Swell.”

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When you hear the opening lines of “I said a hip hop the hippie the hippie, to the hip hip hop and you don’t stop…” you don’t have to be a Boomer or old head to recognize  Rapper’s Delight, the first commercially successful hip-hop single. It is, and will continue to be, one of the most influential songs in hip-hop. Its beat, which samples the bass from Chic’s Good Times, has been sampled countless times, and many of the song’s phrases have become ingrained in hip-hop culture.

Rapper’s Delight would have been the first rap record to be certified gold (more than 500,000 copies sold), but label head Joe Robinson wouldn’t pay for an RIAA membership; instead he made his own plaques and gave them to artists. Dan Charnas quotes him in his book, The Big Payback:

Why should I pay two percent of my gross profits just to send an accountant to look at my books?

Though not the first rap gold record, it is reported to be the best-selling 12-inch single of all-time by Hip Hop journalist Jeff Chang in his book Can’t Stop Won’t Stop.

FUN FACTS

  • Grandmaster Caz, who wrote many of Big Bank Hank’s rhymes didn’t get a dime (or any type of credit) for the song’s success at the time.
  • Rapper’s Delight peaked at number 36 in January 1980 on the U.S. Billboard Hot 100 chart, number 4 on the U.S. Hot Soul Singles chart in December 1979, number 1 on the Canadian Singles Chart in January 1980, number 1 on the Dutch Top 40, and number 3 on the UK Singles Chart.
  • The Sugar Hill Gang appeared on the syndicated Soap Factory Disco Show in late 1979, and their performance later became the song’s official music video. The group’s performance on the Palisades Park-based program demonstrates the significant overlap between early hip hop and disco of the late 1970s.

I was still in my teens when Rapper’s Delight topped charts and was the go-to dance favorite in the clubs and at every house party. Each generation does its own thing and rap/hip hop have changed, but as this cut celebrates it fortieth anniversary this year, it’s still a “party ova’ here” whenever it’s played.

Enjoy!

See my Song Lyric Sunday selection for Nesie’s Place!

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Disclaimer: I have no copyrights to the song and/or video and/or hyperlinks to songs and/or videos and/or gifs above. No copyright infringement intended.

Rapper’s Delight

Compiled from Genius Lyrics, Google, Wikipedia, and YouTube.

#My52 “Captive Heart, Part VI”

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#My52 – Week 20

Word Prompt – elevator

Word Count – 921

Reading Time – 2 mins, 6 secs

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After dropping off Prentiss and promising to meet up for dinner next week, Mark Kelly headed for home.

Spending time with his family rejuvenated him. His parents’ understanding and wise counsel bolstered his resolve.

Charles Kelly’s expression had been grave.

“In a perfect world, we can do whatever we want, fulfill all our whims and desires.” He clasped his wife’s hand. “We will always support any decision you make and welcome a grandchild with open arms.”

“They will set records for spoiling a kid.”

Trudy covered her mouth to hide her giggles as Charles glared at his oldest son. “No comments from the peanut gallery.” He returned his attention to Mark.

“Follow your heart, son, but remember to listen to your mind… think it through. Marriage is an important step and not a solution to a problem.”

There was a time when he would have moved heaven and earth to have Yvonne as his wife. But loving eyes blinded him to her true character, her personal agenda, and the truth. He was nothing more than an end to the means for her, used and manipulated when needed then discarded.

Those days were over, but his mother cautioned him to not allow Yvonne to use their child as a pawn.

“All too often, children pay the price for their parents’ anger and hostility. I spent years watching my cousin, Chassie, use her son, Lee, to hurt his father. She’d show up at his job, home… family gatherings, always angry and yelling and demanding. He paid more than the required support but it was never enough for her. She wanted to make him pay for not wanting her and made the man’s life hell until he got an attorney and sued and won joint custody. Then, she interfered with his visitations.”

Trudy stared off across the backyard as though looking into the past.

“Karma is never far away though, and Chassie’s caught up to her and her bar-hopping when Lee was nine. She got two DUIs in a month and Lee’s dad sued for full custody and won.” She considered her son. “I don’t want you or any grandchild of mine going through that.”

After meeting with Yvonne and confirming her pregnancy and due date, he’d call the number on the business card his mother gave him. The family law firm had an excellent record in securing fathers’ rights in custody cases and Mark would fight for his.

He slowed as he drove past the front of his condo, curious about the police cars parked on the street. He hoped the McGills weren’t back to their weekend fighting. The management company said one more incident would force them to take legal action against the retired couple.

Rounding the corner, he entered the underground parking, glad to be home. He’d binge-watch the new season of Lucifer on Netflix and sleep-in tomorrow before getting an update on the workweek ahead.

After grabbing his duffel bag and laptop, Mark started for the elevator but stopped, seeing yellow police tape blocking the entrance.

His curiosity increased as he walked up the ramp to the exterior entrance.

Several police officers stood around the door. One stepped forward blocking Mark’s path.

“May I ask what your business is here, sir?”

Mark frowned. “I live here, What’s going on? What happened?”

“Do you have identification, sir?”

He pulled out his wallet and handed the cop his license. “Are you going to tell me what this is about? Is anyone hurt? Is it –”

The cop cut him off. “You live in unit E25?”

“Yes, I do. What is- ”

The cop turned and motioned to another uniformed colleague. “This is Mr. Kelly. He lives in E25. Escort him upstairs.”

“Sir, follow me, please.”

Exasperated, Mark followed the cop into the building and up three flights of stairs. Exiting the stairwell, he froze.

Only two units occupied each floor, and still more police personnel were gathered outside Mark’s condo.

Alarmed, he was in motion, rushing down the hallway.

“What’s going on here? What happened? This is my-”

“Sir?” A man in a dark suit tried to stop Mark but the uniformed cop spoke up.

“This is Mr. Kelly, the resident.”

Looking over the man’s shoulder, Mark’s mouth gaped open. He dropped his duffel and laptop bags.

“What the hell?”

Red paint covered every surface. Someone ripped the upholstery on the sofa and love seat to shreds before dousing them in paint. His flat screen television was smashed and lay in pieces in front of the stand. The African masks he’d spent years collecting were all smashed in the fireplace. Tables were overturned, pictures ripped from the walls… nothing had been spared.

“W-Who did this? When? Why?”

The suited man spoke up. “I’m Detective Lewis, Mr. Kelly and I was hoping you could answer those questions for us.”

Mark tried to swallow past the lump in his throat as he walked into his destroyed home. He turned in circles in the middle of the room, incredulous at the callous violation of his life. He hung his head.

“Mr. Kelly? Do you know who would do this to you? Mr. Kelly?”

He turned to the detective, shaking his head.

“You’re just getting home. Where have you been?”

“F-Fresno. Visiting my parents.”

“When did you leave town?”

“Wednesday.”

“Who knew you were leaving town?”

“My job. And my brother, but he was with me.”

“No one else?”

“No. I didn’t talk to -”

Mark clenched his fists as realization dawned on him.

Yvonne knew.

********

Who vandalized Mark’s condo? Yvonne?

To be continued…

 

Part IPart II   |  Part IIIPart IV  |  Part V  |

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©2019 Felicia Denise, All Rights Reserved

 

Song Lyric Sunday | “Midnight Train to Georgia” – Gladys Knight & the Pips

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Song Lyric Sunday was created by Helen Vahdati from This Thing Called Life One Word at a Time and author Jim Adams from A Unique Title For Me is our current guest host. For complete rules or to join in the fun, click here.

The theme for Song Lyric Sunday this week is “Dawn/Noon/Dusk/Midnight/Nocturnal/Diurnal.”

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Midnight Train to Georgia was written and originally recorded by Jim Weatherly, who had a solo hit in 1974 with The Need To Be.

Weatherly explained the origin of this song in an interview with Gary James: “The song actually came about after a phone call I had with Farrah Fawcett. Lee Majors was a friend of mine. We’d played in the Flag Football League together in L.A. He had just started dating Farrah. One day I called Lee and Farrah answered the phone. We were just talking and she said she was packing. She was gonna take the midnight plane to Houston to visit her folks. So, it just stayed with me.

After I got off the phone, I sat down and wrote the song probably in about 30 to 45 minutes. Something like that. Didn’t take me long at all, ’cause I actually used Farrah and Lee as kind of like characters I guess. A girl that comes to L.A. to make it and doesn’t make it and leaves to go back home. The guy goes back with her. Pretty simple little story, but it felt real to me. It felt honest to me. I played it for them and they loved it. I cut it on my first album as ‘Midnight Plane To Houston.’ And then later on, maybe a year or six months later, a guy in Atlanta wanted to cut the song on Cissy Houston, Whitney’s mother. They called and said they would like a more R&B sounding title and asked if we would mind if they changed the title to ‘Midnight Train To Georgia’ [so that “Houston” wouldn’t appear in both the title and artist name]. We said ‘change anything but the writer and publisher.’ So, he cut the song on Cissy Houston and it was a nice little cross between an R&B and country record. It got on the R&B charts.

That’s the version that Gladys heard. Some of the background vocals you hear on Glady’s records were first on Cissy Houston’s record. It wasn’t as much, but just some of the feel of the background vocals. And of course Gladys’ record was more of a groove-oriented thing. It wasn’t as slow. It just became a monster record.”

 

FUN FACTS

  • Midnight Train To Georgia was not only a #1 hit on both the Billboard Hot 100 and R&B, but also a #10 on the UK Singles chart. It garnered the group the 1974 Grammy Award for “Best R&B Vocal Performance” and was also inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame in 1999. It is considered Gladys Knight’s signature song.
  • Gladys Knight & The Pips recorded Weatherly’s Neither One of Us (Wants to Be the First to Say Goodbye) in 1973 and released it as a kiss-off record as their contract to Motown Recording Company (Soul Record) was expiring. Neither One of Us was their biggest Motown/Soul hit, reaching #2 as the group signed with Buddha Records. When they decided to record an album consisting of only Jim Weatherly songs (Imagination), his publisher sent a copy of the song to Knight. This was the second single from the album, after Where Peaceful Waters Flow. It became the group’s biggest hit. The third and fourth singles off the album didn’t do too badly either – I’ve Got to Use My Imagination peaked at #4 in the US, Best Thing That Ever Happened to Me #3.
  • You might ask what, exactly, a “pip” is besides Knight’s backing singers. Well, a ‘pip’ is casino/gaming jargon for the spots on a die or domino. So when you’re at a craps table and you roll a “hard 8” on the dice, that means that there’s four pips showing on the face of each die, as opposed to an “easy 8” which would be the statistically more common 2-6 or 3-5 combinations of pips.

 

Enjoy!

See my Song Lyric Sunday selection for Nesie’s Place!

~~~

Disclaimer: I have no copyrights to the song and/or video and/or hyperlinks to songs and/or videos and/or gifs above. No copyright infringement intended.

Midnight Train to Georgia

Compiled from Genius Lyrics, Google, Wikipedia, and YouTube.

#My52 “Captive Heart, Part V”

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#My52 – Week 19

Word Prompt – home

Word Count – 763

Reading Time – 3 mins, 21 secs

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Mark smiled as he stepped out of the Tahoe.

Home.

The chaos of his world always disappeared when he went home.

It didn’t matter home was no longer the three-bedroom home in the cul-de-sac on Highview Avenue in Altadena. His home was wherever his parents were and that would never change.

After retiring, Charles and Trudy Kelly gave up urban life for quieter climes just outside Fresno. Only four homes sat on Old Spanish Trail Road and the Kelly’s owned the last one on the end, at the edge of the woods.

Prentiss exited the vehicle, walking around the front to stand next to his brother.

“Why does this always feel so good?”

Mark chuckled.

“‘Cuz we’re kids again and Mama and Pop will make everything right?”

Slapping his brother on the back, Prentiss nodded. “Exactly.”

They looked up as the front door opened. Charles and Trudy walked down the pathway to greet them looking a decade younger than a couple in their mid-sixties.

At just over six-feet tall, Charles was shorter than both his sons, but his brawn was equal to theirs and showed no signs of softening with age. He’d given up the corporate look of close-cropped hair and a clean-shaven face and now shaved his head and wore a two-day growth beard.

His wife of forty-two years walked at his side; her five-feet nine-inch stature almost regal. Her salt and pepper block braids were wrapped atop her head like a crown.

And as always, they held hands.

“C’mon kiddo. Let’s go see if Mama and Pop can work their special brand of Kelly magic and right your world.”

Mark grinned, following his brother up the pathway, but he couldn’t ignore the niggling feeling of dread creeping up the back of his neck.

“So, just like that, she demanded you marry her? Like she’s the queen of the planet?”

Trudy stroked her husband’s arm. “Calm down, CJ. It could have been worse.”

“I don’t see how it-”

“She could have shown up with a minister and a shotgun.”

Prentiss roared with laughter, and Mark and Charles chuckled despite the gravity of the situation.

Trudy’s expression sobered.

“Mark Allen, if you’re positive you’re the father of this child, there’s no question you’ll be a responsible father and provider. That’s just who you are. But I don’t understand why she wants marriage. It’s not something you do on a whim. Being a parent is a big responsibility, but being a spouse is hard work.”

“Am I that much work, Gertrude?”

She grinned and kissed his cheek. “Honey, you are a full-time job and overtime on the weekends.”

“TMI! TMI! Children in the room.”

Prentiss threw his hands up over his face while Mark squeezed his eyes shut.

“What children? You see any children, Trudy?”

“No, but I see two grown men on the other side of thirty.”

Grabbing his chest, Prentiss feigned injury. “Dang, Mama. Direct hit.”

She waved him off addressing Mark.

“All I’m saying is marriage is a lifetime commitment that too many don’t take seriously. Back in our day and the days of our parents, if a young woman got pregnant, there had to be a wedding to remove the shame and keep family dignity. Of course, it didn’t, and they shamed some women the rest of their lives… even the men who got them pregnant and married them.

“Things aren’t like that now, but women still pay a harsher price than men, because it’s too easy for them to walk away. But that’s not the kind of son we raised, and as long as Yvonne will work with you for the child’s benefit, I see no reason for either of you to lock yourself into a marriage that doesn’t have a strong foundation of love, trust, and honesty.”

“Okay, Okay, Mama. I get it. I understand.” He reached over and squeezed her hand. “Thank you. You still give the best lectures around. But marriage isn’t on the list right now. I still need to confirm Yvonne’s pregnancy. I’ve had too many friends—male and female—freak out over home pregnancy tests that were wrong.”

“I ask her to make an appointment next week with a reputable doctor and text me the details. I plan to be there.”

Charles and Trudy exchanged surprised glances before Trudy responded.

“Explain to us again why you needed our input?”

Mark held out his upturned hands, fingers splayed. “Um. That’s the extent of my plan.”

Charles slid to the edge of the sofa, leaning toward his youngest son. “We’ve talked all around the subject so I’m just going to ask the question.” Concern was etched deep in his furrowed brow. “You said marriage isn’t on the list right now but is it something you’re considering? Son, do you want to marry Yvonne?”

********

Mark’s dad didn’t pull any punches, but what will Mark’s answer be?

To be continued…

 

Part IPart II   |  Part IIIPart IV  |

~~~

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©2019 Felicia Denise, All Rights Reserved

 

Song Lyric Sunday | “Dance with My Father Again” – Luther Vandross

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Song Lyric Sunday was created by Helen Vahdati from This Thing Called Life One Word at a Time and author Jim Adams from A Unique Title For Me is our current guest host. For complete rules or to join in the fun, click here.

The theme for Song Lyric Sunday this week is “Mom/Mother/Flowers”

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Dance with My Father Again was Luther Vandross’ last Top 40 single but it was one of his most critically acclaimed songs winning Song of the Year and Best Male R&B Vocal Performance at the 2004 Grammy Awards.

Vandross was unable to promote the single, suffering a stroke a month before its release.

The song is about Vandross’ recollections of cherished times with his father, Luther, Sr., who died of complications from diabetes when Vandross was seven.

However, I chose Dance with My Father Again for this week’s theme because as much as those times with his father meant to young Luther, the song turns into a child’s plea for his mother when he sings. “… but could you send her the only man she loved; I know you don’t do it usually, but Dear Lord, she’s dying to dance with my father again.”

Gets me every time.

FUN FACTS

  • Although he and Richard Marx had collaborated on songs before, Vandross asked Marx to work on Dance with My Father Again because Richard had also lost his father (in 1997), and Vandross knew he could understand the feeling he was trying to convey.
  • Luther’s mom, Mary Ida, loved the song and said, “I was amazed at how well Luther remembered his father, how we used to dance and sing in the house. I was so surprised that at 7 1/2 years of age, he could remember what a happy household we had.”
  • While Vandross was hospitalized, a music video was shot for the single featuring musicians, singers, actors and sport stars with their fathers. The video features childhood snapshots of Vandross. However, near the end of the video there is a shot of Luther with his beloved mother. (Luther died in 2005 and his mom passed away in 2008.)

 

Enjoy!

See my Song Lyric Sunday selection for Nesie’s Place!

~~~

Disclaimer: I have no copyrights to the song and/or video and/or hyperlinks to songs and/or videos and/or gifs above. No copyright infringement intended.

Dance with My Father Again

Compiled from Genius Lyrics, Google, Wikipedia, and YouTube.

#My52 “Captive Heart, Part IV”

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#My52 – Week 18

Word Prompt – draft

Word Count – 1174

Reading Time – 6 mins, 28 secs

~~~

“What?”

“You heard me. Yvonne’s pregnant.”

Prentiss scrubbed his hand across his stubbled jaw then gulped his draft beer.

“Not what I was expecting for dinner conversation.”

“And not what I had planned.”

“Uh, what? Just when did you find out? What had you planned to talk about?”

Mark Kelly folded his arms and leaned on the table.

“To answer your first question, thirty minutes ago. And the second, I have the next five days free and wanted to know if you could get the time off too and drive up to Fresno with me.”

“Whoa, whoa! Back up. You found out thirty minutes ago?”

Mark hung his head and took a deep breath before answering.

“After we confirmed dinner, I went home to change. Yvonne was waiting for me.”

Prentiss signaled their server for another round.

His brother frowned.

“Slow down, man. We’re both driving.”

“I know, I know.” He emptied his glass and set it aside. “I’m just trying to wrap my head around this… this ambush by your girlfriend. Besides. Uber is just a phone call away.”

“Yeah, ambush is a good way to describe it, but she’s not my girlfriend.”

“Please. Since when?”

“We argued close to a month ago.” He averted his eyes. “Haven’t talked since.”

“And you didn’t think to share this tidbit with your brother?” He threw his hands up in the air just as the server arrived with fresh drinks. He took a large gulp.

“Damn, man. I’m gonna be drunk on my ass at this rate.” He reached for the glass again, but Mark pushed it out of his reach.

“How about we order some dinner before you finish that? You need to eat something.”

Annoyed, Prentiss sat back in his seat. “No, what I need is to understand why my brother’s life is going to hell quick, fast, and in a hurry.”

“You and me both.”

Mark opened his menu, pretending to be engrossed in his meal options.

Watching his brother, Prentiss smirked. “This reminds of the time you cracked my skateboard and hid it until you worked up the nerve to tell me.”

He sobered when Mark lowered the menu and he sawed his pained expression.

“Talk to me, man. You look like something’s eating you from the inside.”

Dropping his menu on the table, Mark emptied his first Seven & Seven before reaching for the fresh one.

“That’s just anger, man.”

“What aren’t you telling me?”

“Well, Yvonne didn’t show up with smiles or the glow of impending motherhood. She was livid, full of attitude, and told me I was going to marry her.”

Prentiss’ mouth gaped open as he fell back in his chair.

 

“Excuse me?”

“You heard me, Mark. I’m pregnant and we’re getting married.”

“No. We’re not.”

“Yes, we-”

He cut her off. “Just a few ago, if you’d told me you’re pregnant, I would have been on my knees begging you to marry me. Those days are gone.”

“If you think I’m going to be some single mother worn to a frazzle trying to raise a kid on my own, you’re-”

“I will provide for my child. That goes without saying. But I don’t have to marry you to do that.”

“We’re a package deal, Kelly, you don’t get to be a daddy without me.”

“A package deal? You sound like a used car salesman.”

“Save the jokes, Mark, this is serious. My parents are arranging for a small ceremony, and-”

He snapped. “What the hell?”

“Don’t you yell-”

“We broke up three weeks ago… over money and-”

“We did not break up.”

He raised his hand and pointed at her.

“You said if I didn’t transfer the money to pay back your dad not to bother calling you again.”

“Oh, I knew you were just all in your male feelings. Men are such big babies, but I have no more time for that bullshit when I’m having a real baby. We have to get married.”

He dropped his arms to his sides but his clenched fists proved the rage he tried to contain.

“Again, you sound like a used car salesman trying to sell a car to an idiot.”

“Now look-”

“No highlighting the amenities… we’re going to be parents; we’ll have our own little family; no ‘I love you, Mark.’” He gestured toward her. “You haven’t even told me how far along you are.”

“Oh, my God. You sound like a starry-eyed girl. I peed on a stick, big whoop. Men don’t care about the details-”

“Some men don’t. But I do and the fact you don’t know that means you don’t know me and I’ve wasted four years of my life with you.”

“Now I’m a waste of time? Seriously, Mark, how could you be so heartless and cruel?” Yvonne turned away.

“I guess the last four years weren’t a complete loss, I learned heartless and cruel from the best… and don’t even think about turning on the waterworks.”

She whirled around to face him. “Feel better, Mark? Are you over your little show of bravado, because we are getting married.”

A wave of sadness washed over him taking the remnants of their future with it. For twenty years, she was all he ever wanted. Now he understood. His brother was right. He was fascinated… and obsessed with what Yvonne represented. His dream girl.

“Earlier today, I thought about us and thought perhaps I’d been too hard on you. Maybe I hadn’t sacrificed enough for the woman I loved.”

Her face brightened.

He backed up toward his condo. “But that was just longing for something I’ve never had with you, a healthy, loving relationship.”

“Don’t you walk away from-”

“I have to meet someone and I’m running late-”

“Mark, don’t you-”

“… and then I’ll be out-of-town for a few days.”

“I’m warning you-”

“You’re going to make a doctor’s appointment for a real pregnancy test and text me the details. I’ll meet you there.”

“This is all just a waste of time when we should talk to my parents about the wedding.”

“No.”

“Why are you being like this? We should be making plans for the future.”

“That’s what I’m doing, Yvonne because regardless of the tests, we’re never getting married.”

 

When he didn’t continue, Prentiss let out a long, low whistle.

“Don’t stop there. What happened? What did she say?”

Mark cringed. “Not sure. I walked away. But, it involved a lot of yelling and swearing. I went inside, washed up, shook out my dreads, and found a clean shirt. When I came back out, she was gone.”

“Damn, bro. What are you going to do?”

“My plans haven’t changed. I’m going to Fresno and I’d like to have my brother along for the ride to sing 90s songs loud and off-key.”

Prentiss chuckled.

“Yvonne told her parents about the baby and got them involved before she told me. Time to get our parents involved. You in?”

Prentiss’ lips twitched into a smug grin. “Sounds like a road trip to me, little brother.”

********

Mark and Yvonne had their face-time and it didn’t go well. He stood his ground but Yvonne always gets her way.

To be continued…

 

Part IPart II   |  Part III  |

~~~

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