Monday Motivations

I’m taking a while to get going this Monday morning. If you’re struggling to get your writing brain active, here are some writing prompts for you:

  • The letter
  • Secrets
  • Passion

Last week’s writing prompts were:

  • Laughter
  • Cold
  • The Future

Here are your creative works:

Robert Griffiths has written a beautiful story:

Charlie’s bluebird        1961

“Charlie, why are you staring out of the window?” Jess asked.

“It’s that cat,” said Charlie.

“What about it?” said Jess.

“It’s in our garden again. It watches my bird, it waits for her eggs to hatch, then it will eat my chicks. I want to kill it!” said Charlie.

“You can’t, it’s Mrs Jones’s cat,” said Jess.

“Sisters are a pain, I’m going out,” said Charlie.

He walked out of his sister’s bedroom and down the stairs and out the front door. He crossed the pavement and sat down on the kerb stone resting his head in his hands. The day was ending, the street lights started to pop on. Charlie looked up and saw Mister McMinn walking on the pavement towards him. He stopped beside Charlie and looked down.

“What’s the matter, Charlie?” he said.

“It’s that cat, he sits in our garden flicking his tail waiting to eat my blue bird’s chicks. I spent all winter putting out food for her. She built a nest in the bushes alongside our garden then laid four eggs inside,” said Charlie, “I hate that cat, I want to kill it. My sister said I can’t.”

Mister McMinn smiled. “I have seen this problem before. Follow me, Charlie, I will show you how to fix it,” he said and led Charlie through his house into the garden and opened the door to his shed. Charlie followed. The shed was packed with chisels, hammers, planers and a long bench. Dusty shelves scurried old cans and jars. Mister McMinn reached up onto the highest shelf and pulled down a roll of faded grey paper and put it onto the bench and unrolled it. Charlie stood on tip toes to see the paper which was covered in drawings of little houses.

“What’s that?” said Charlie.

“This is the answer to your problem,” said Mister McMinn.

“All my working life I was a carpenter. Once a rich man, a friend of mine, had the same problem as you. I built this bird house for him. The nest sits inside and the mother can get in to feed the chicks but the cat can’t. Here, inside you see a small sloping ladder and the chicks can crawl up and out when they are ready to fly away.”

“Can you make me one, please?” asked Charlie.

“That’s the idea,” said Mister McMinn, “I will get it ready for tomorrow. Now scoot, your mum will have dinner ready.”

Charlie grinned, “You are my hero, Mister McMinn,” he said and ran home.

He rushed into his mum’s kitchen and blurted, “Mister McMinn is making me a box to keep my chicks safe!”

His mother turned towards him and said, “If you spent as much time on your school work as you do watching garden birds you would be top of the class instead of bottom. Now sit down and eat your dinner!”

Charlie sat at the kitchen table and picked at his dinner not daring to speak again. Tonight, I’ll be in bed early and tomorrow ‘the box’, he thought.

The next morning Charlie was up early with the dawn and out into his garden, sitting on the old chair watching the blue bird fly back and forth. She went out of the bush catching flies to eat then back to the bush onto her nest, keeping the eggs warm. The cat started to creep low and silent across the grass. Charlie picked up the rock he had hidden beside the chair, took aim, then threw it at the cat. He missed it by yards and the cat twisted in the air and ran off. Charlie spent the day in the chair watching the nest. His mum tapped on the window that was overlooking the garden. Charlie looked up. She was holding up exercise-books and a pen. Charlie went back to guarding and waiting for the evening and Mister McMinn’s return. As the day ended and the night’s darkness approached, Charlie went back out to the kerbstone and waited.

Eventually Mister McMinn appeared, walking through the dusk towards him with his lanky figure. He took enormous strides.

“You been waiting here all day, Charlie?” he said.

“No, I have been watching my bluebird,” Charlie said.

“The box is nearly ready, come over to my garden in a couple of hours, I will have it finished by then.”

Charlie walked back into his house and up to Jess’s room excited.

“Mister McMinn will have my box ready tonight; will you help me to put it up?” said Charlie.

“I’m going to ‘the Brownies’, I will help you tomorrow morning before school,” said Jess.

Charlie was happy and asked Jess to play marbles while he was waiting for his birdbox.

After they played a long drawn out game he walked out of Jess’s room and down the stairs. As he opened the front door the round and proud bird box stood on the top step. Charlie picked it up. Heavy, he thought and took the box to his room and placed it besides his bed. He opened the door   to Jess’s room.

“Don’t forget to help me with my bird box in the morning, Jess,” he said.

“Yes,” she answered, “now leave me alone, I want to finish my homework.”

 Charlie shouted downstairs,

“I’m going to bed, Mum, goodnight!”

Charlie was up early and went into Jess carrying the box.

“Come on, Jess! I want to put the nest into the box before Mum gets up.”

They logged the box into the garden as quietly as they could, dragging it across the lawn to the bush holding the nest. Charlie looked in the bush.

“I can see the nest.”

He slid his hand into the bush.

“I can feel four eggs,” he told Jess.

“We can’t leave the box on the lawn,” said Jess, “and it’s too heavy to put in the bush. What shall we do?”

Charlie looked at the box.

“I’m going to ask Mister McMinn,” he said, and darted off towards the hedge that separated his garden from Mister McMinn. He went through the hedge and up to Mister McMinn’s kitchen door. He stood on his toes and looked through the glass window at Mister McMinn who was sitting at his kitchen table with a pot of tea, toast and the morning paper. He waved at Charlie to turn the door handle and come into the kitchen.

“What’s the matter, Charlie, you look worried,” he said.

“We can’t get the birdbox up, it’s too heavy,” said Charlie.

Mister McMinn stood up.

“Follow me, Charlie!” he said.

He led Charlie out to his garden shed and handed Charlie a broom handle. He opened his cupboard and took out a wooden mallet and a large jubilee clip.

Come on, Charlie!” he said. Jess was sitting beside the box.

“It’s very pretty,” she said, “but we will never get the nest through that tiny hole in the front.” Mister McMinn bent down and lifted the roof off the birdbox.

“The nest goes in there, where is it?”

“In the bush,” said Charlie.

Mister McMinn put his hand in the bush and very gently lifted out the nest. The three of them looked down on four blueish speckled eggs.

“Give me the broom handle and mallet,” said Mister McMinn. He lifted the handle up then hammered the handle into the earth until it stood erect and firm and attached the jubilee clip to the box then slid the ring onto the handle, tightened the screw until the box was fixed and solid, bent down picked up the nest and lowered it into the box. “There, safe in there, the cat can’t get them.”

 “We have to go home now, Mum will be up,” said Jess.

Charlie turned to go. “Wait a minute,” said Mister McMinn, “Charlie, what are you going to do now?”

“I’m going to watch the nest until the mother comes back,” said Charlie.

“Didn’t you tell me, your mum said you’re not doing your homework, Charlie, I think you ought to go to your room and push your desk to the window and do your homework while you watch the birdbox.”

Charlie pushed the desk to the window and started his homework, it was maths Charlie was a whiz at maths so he set about it eagerly.

His mum opened the door.

“Oh, Charlie, you’re doing your schoolwork, that’s very good, I shall make your favourite beans on toast.” Charlie sped on and finished in a trice. He went to the kitchen and on the table, was a plate of toast covered in baked beans. He ate quickly.

“I’m off to school, Mum,” he shouted, walking out the front door. 

Charlie could not wait for school to end. He wanted to get home to the nest and the bluebird. He grabbed his bag and ran out early. He skipped homewards then ran into his room straight to the window. His bluebird sat on her shelf picking at the bread. A small, quick brown bird with a pointed peak flew at her and frightened her away. That’s not good, thought Charlie. I’m going to tell Mister McMinn. He walked along the path beside Mister McMinn’s house, lifted the waste bin and took out a key to open the side door. He went along the narrow path towards the garden shed and opened the door. He walked in. Mister McMinn was sitting in his chair with his head slumped forward and his hands hung by his side. Charlie turned and hurtled home up to Jesse’s room and burst inside.

“Come quick, Jess,” he begged. Jess stood.

“What is it now?” she said with irritation.

“Come, Jess, it’s important!” said Charlie. He led her back to the shed. Jess looked at Mister McMinn.

“I’m going to get Mum,” she said and went back home.

After a few minutes, she returned with her mum. Charlie was still standing looking at Mister McMinn. His mum went over to the seated figure and touched him and turned away.

“What’s the matter with him?” said Charlie.

“I’m sorry, Charlie, but his dead,” said his mum.

Charlie went to the cupboard and opened the door. Charlie lifted out several stiff parchment papers and took them to the workbench and laid them out. Painted on each one was a splendid multi coloured bird.

“What’s these?” asked Charlie’s mum.

“When I wasn’t doing my homework, I was here helping Mister McMinn to paint these birds, some I did on my own,” said Charlie.

“They’re fantastic,” said his mum.  Charlie, I’m so sorry for saying you will be bottom of your class, if you show your teacher these I’m sure you will be top.

“Mister McMinn said it was his hobby, to fill the time after his wife died,” said Charlie.

“But Mum, what shall we do now, what will happen to Mister McMinn?”

“His children will come and bury him next to his wife,” said Charlie’s mum, “come home to my kitchen, I have supper ready and some stale bread for your bluebird.”

“But I’m so sad,” said Charlie.

“In the future remember the laughter and happiness you and Mister McMinn shared, not him sitting here cold,” said Charlie’s mum.

Charlie followed his mum and sister home.

Elise Chapman has written a delightful poem on aging:


I turned fifty the other day,

Which isn’t so bad, is it?

Then I noticed a whisker on my chin,

A boil and two enormous, hairy warts.


I turned fifty the other day,

Which isn’t so bad, is it?

Then I found my belly started to sag,

Rapidly followed by everything else.


I turned fifty the other day,

Which isn’t so bad, is it?

Then my one and only wrinkle doubled,

Not once, not twice, not even three but four.


I turned fifty the other day,

Which isn’t so bad, is it?

Then a tooth went yellow and fell right out,

Followed by another and another.


I turned fifty the other day,

Which isn’t so bad, is it?

No, it really isn’t actually,

Not when I think about turning sixty.


By then, I’ll probably have a full beard,

To go with my belly, which touches the ground,

My hundreds, no thousands of laughter lines,

And of course, my dazzling row of red gums.


I turned fifty the other day,

And I love it.

Rajiv Chopra entertains us with his weekly Mary Jane story:

“Those were wonderful days,” said Vivien, a look of nostalgia creeping into her eyes.

“Those were days that were full of song, dance and laughter. Merlin and I danced and laughed a lot, and we spent a lot of time listening to the songs of nature.”

“Those were good days. Our love was young and strong, and the world was relatively innocent. The knights were jousting, and Sir Gawain was setting off on his quest. Lancelot, unfortunately, did not live up to the full tradition of chivalry, and neither did the Queen respect her vows. Yet, we carried on, in the full confidence that things would improve.”

“They did not. The days darkened, and the winter of the Round Table approached faster than we thought.”

“Yes,” mused Merlin. “I am prescient, yet I allowed my love for Vivien to blind me from all that I had foreseen and, because I did not forestall the cold of the coming winter, I knew that the future was going to be very different from what was originally written down.”

He looked across at the bemused faces of the three onlookers.

“You seem confused,” he said with a smile.

“How can you know the future and rewrite it at the same time?” asked Sam in shock.
“Oh,” said Merlin. “You three were not supposed to be here in the first place. It was just that some last-minute adjustments had to be made, and I was asked if I would be so kind as to invite you, and to entertain you for a while. And so, here you are.”

“Now, where were we?” he asked.

He paused, and there was silence in the room. Eyes closed, he seemed to have disappeared into the fog of old memories. Events of the past seemed to crowd his thoughts or, was he just musing about the philosophy of life? Only Vivien knew, and she sat there quietly and smiled.

At long last, he opened his eyes and said, “The course of time can sometimes be likened to a river. We know the source, the beginning. Rather, we think we know the source, and that it is unchanging. As the river flows, so does time, forever changing course, its path being shaped at every moment until it flows into the ocean, and melts with the vastness of the silent infinity.”

“This, my dear Hobbits, my dear Ivy, is how things changed, and how it came to pass that Vivien and I decided to plan the future with some care.”

“It was too late to change what was about to happen to The Round Table. The cold fingers of Doom lay upon them, so we laid our plans carefully.”

“I decided to withdraw, and we decided that it would be Vivien who would play a role in this. Some say I was locked in a cave, and others say I was locked in an oak tree. However, it was to nature I returned, and made my home in the oaken woods, and waited for Vivien as she, The Lady of The Lake, took the King across the waters for his final journey.”

“When the deed was done, it was time for me to return to Merlin. We have lived here since then, witnessing the passing of time, and creating our own magic.”

“This is how it was,” she said. “This is how it should be.”






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13 Responses to Monday Motivations

  1. Rajiv says:

    Oh dear God….. Now, I really have to scratch my head and think…. Damn!!!

  2. DrEMiller says:

    Reblogged this on Write of Passage and commented:
    Re logging a little late in the day, but it’s still Monday! Monday Motivations from Esther Newton for February 27, 2017.
    Thank you for a wonderful list as always, Esther!

  3. Pingback: Monday Motivations | Matthews' Blog

  4. Rajiv says:

    Here you go, Esther… Have fun with this one!

    I sat by my window and smoked some weed. Ah, it was good weed indeed, and I was feeling mighty pleased. It was a good day, the kind I have not seen in a long while.
    The smoke danced in the sunlight, and I could swear that little sparkles played in the sunlight.
    “Ah”, I sighed. “What a beautiful day for mischief” Just then, an envelope floated through The Holy Smoke and landed on my table. A large ‘N’ was emblazoned at the top left hand corner, on the front of the envelope. Golden and stylish, in the Elizabethan style, it sat there and looked at me.
    “A letter, a letter from my dear old Isaac. What has he been up to? It has been a while since we both smoked and chatted, and I do love our jokes – especially the ones about Gravity forsaking him”.
    I opened it, and a beautiful perfume made its way to my nostrils. “This is not from Isaac. It must be from one of his descendants”.
    “Darling Loki”, it started.
    “Now, that is a fine way to start a letter”, I thought to myself, a smile spreading across my face.
    “Darling Loki”. I paused to savour the words.
    “Darling Loki,
    You are a schmuck and a weasel. What’s more, you seem to be very proud of yourself….”
    I stopped and stared. This was not the continuation I had hoped for, or expected.
    “You claim that this is The Saga of Mary Jane, but where is she? What have you done to her, and that absolute peach, Harley Quinn? I don’t care for Poison Ivy at all, so I really don’t know why she is hanging on in the story. Neither do I care for The Bat, Spidey and The Joker. Yet, out of politeness, I must ask – what have you done with them?”
    The letter went on in the same vein, calling me all sorts of names, and cursing me for taking care of Mary Jane and Harley Quinn. The letter spoke about my passion for secrets, and then went on to call me an awful old codger for keeping my secrets.
    The letter ended:
    “Yours sincerely,
    Esther Newton”
    I was apoplectic. Rage suffused my face, and I flung the letter to the ground. “Yours sincerely?”
    What about, “Yours lovingly?”
    I paced the room and smoked feverishly. Smoke filled the room, and I inhaled the Holy Vapours. At long last, I calmed down.
    “Oh, Esther, Esther, Esther,” I thought to myself. “Now, wouldn’t you like to know what is happening to your little darlings? You would like me to reveal my secrets, and know what I am doing to them, yes? You would like to know when I will release them, yes?”
    Oh, Esther, Esther, Esther. The secrets will be revealed, in little dribbles and drabbles of blood and pain.
    Patience, my dear, patience. Don’t fret your pretty head, my dear. All will be revealed in time.
    An evil smile spread across my face, as I sat there, and the faraway look in my eyes pierced the veil of smoke that hung across the room.

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