A Tire Swing Story is a bite-sized "imagining" inspired by an object I discover while wandering. It could be a curbside trash gem or a message sprayed on a wall. A lost mitten, or an antique store find. Anything goes. I photograph the object and post them together, the story and its inspiration. There will be a new story every Monday and Wednesday. On Fridays, I'll discuss writing, life, love, and coffee. (In no particular order and maybe all at once.)

Friday, September 28, 2012

Casual Fridays: Kerouac and spider stars

sunrise outside the subway station this morning.
the only people for me are the mad ones, the ones who are mad to live, mad to talk, mad to be saved, desirous of everything at the same time, the ones who never yawn or say a commonplace thing, but burn, burn, burn like fabulous yellow roman candles exploding like spiders across the stars... 

-Jack Kerouac, On the Road

That's always been a favorite quote of mine. Thanks for letting me share it with you. Burn brightly this weekend, story-makers. See you back here on Monday. 
xo Britt 

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Lionel the barber is at the airport waiting for a sign. 

He sits on the bench in Departures and feels the cold metal through his trousers. All around him, people move with purpose, pulling suitcases or children by the arm. Even those waiting, are waiting with purpose. 

Lionel has a purpose too. Yesterday he taped a note to the shop window. Then he went home and filled a suitcase with his clothes. It was difficult to pack when he didn't know where he was going. 

At the airport, he buys a can of ginger ale and returns to his seat. On the screen, departing flights are listed in alphabetical order. Amsterdam, Athens, Buenos Aires. He squints through his glasses, reading the destinations and boarding times. Lionel sucks hard on the straw and feels the soda fizz in his nose. 

Waiting for a sign is difficult. There are many things that seem like signs that aren't, and many tiny things that are actually huge signs. 

Like the map of London someone forgot on the seat beside him. A sign? No. The family who pass speaking Chinese? No. 

But the other day, he was trimming Bob Laxton's neckline and his hands were aching on account of his arthritis. Lionel heard the overhead fan whirring round and he thought: "I'm going to die without ever seeing any place but here."

One by one, the flights listed on the screen disappear. Lionel eats two bags of M&M Peanuts, and one Monte Christo sandwich he purchases from the vending machine.

The last flight of the day is to Reykjavik. Lionel tries to imagine himself in Iceland. It's difficult. He pictures a vast and frigid landscape. He doesn't want to go there at all. 

But then he imagines returning to work tomorrow and peeling the notice from the window. He sees the floor littered with sad curls of used tape. 

"Alright then," he says, standing. 

And Lionel the barber heads to the gate.

Friday, September 14, 2012

Casual Fridays: Kevin and Jaime

Hi guys, it's Britt. 

I'm a real sucker for a love story. Especially one that involves twists and turns.

Check this out:

Kevin and Jaime went to high school together and Kevin was Jaime's crush. You know that one guy you kind of went to high school for? Like the one who made you show up? That was Kevin. 

It took years and some ups and downs, but eventually, Jaime and Kevin fell in love. Tomorrow they're getting hitched.

And to celebrate this love story in high style, I will most-definitely be busting out these kind of dance moves at their wedding...(click here to see what I mean.)

Have an epic weekend, story-makers. See you back here on Monday. 
xo Britt

Monday, September 10, 2012

There was a pink sticky note on the envelope. "Enclosed Copy of Will" it said, in Gramma Winnie's neat handwriting. Sam liked the sticky tag better than the china plate she got. The plate was white and had gold vines snaking around the edge. On the bottom it said: "made in England." Sam asked if she could have the envelope and the sticky. Her Mom raised her eyebrow, but gave them to her anyway.

At home in her bedroom, Sam put Gramma Winnie's plate on the dresser and flopped onto her bed. There was a fly buzzing at the window. She held her breath and felt her body go still. This is what it's like to be dead, she thought. 

Sam got up and went to her closet. She started pulling things out and laying them on her bed. When she was finished, she tore a piece of paper from her notebook and wrote: 

1. BILLY MORTON (BROTHER): Piece of blue beach glass I found that time we went to Tofino and Billy tried surfing and hit his head on a rock. He got seven stitches and let me hold his hand in the doctor's office, even though I'm his little sister and he calls me a twerp.

2. DIANE MORTON (MOM): Copy of The Velveteen Rabbit she still reads me almost every night, even though we both know all the words, and I'm probably too old for bedtime stories.

3. PAUL MORTON (DAD): Black dress shoes I stole from his closet that time I was practicing to be The Great Camillo. And then once I got tired of magic tricks, I kept the shoes cause I loved the way they were shiny and wearing them made me feel strong.

4. ABIGAIL HUCKLEY (BEST FRIEND): My half of our Best Friends bracelets, and my fortune cookie collection, and the little bride and groom I got from the top of my cousin Lisa's wedding cake. And the bead bracelet I made at camp the day Roger Woxter kissed me on the cheek.

5. DORA MILLER (EX BEST FRIEND): Mr. Whiskers, the bunny I had since I was a baby. Cause her parents just got divorced and even though I'm not talking to her right now because we are in a BIG FIGHT about how she told Roger I like him even though I don't, it still makes me sad to think that her parents are split up.

6. MR. MANNING (ENGLISH TEACHER): The love letter that Abby helped me write to tell him my true feelings. Also, my public speaking trophy, and the tiny bird's nest I found in the field behind the school. 

Finished her list, Sam folds the paper carefully and slides it into the envelope. She attaches the sticky note to the outside. Now she's ready. Just in case.  

Friday, September 7, 2012

Casual Fridays: Writerly Envy

Jealousy is the worst. 
I'm not a jealous person by nature, and I think part of that is because I can't stand being jealous. Physically, emotionally, spiritually it makes me, well, sour.

But I've got a bit of writerly envy today. 

I just read the story, "Mine," by Daniel Karasik. This piece won last year's CBC Canada Writes short story prize, and when I finished it, I thought: "damn, I wish I'd written that."

You know, come to think of it, maybe this kind of envy is actually okay. It makes me want to attack my notebook with my pen and burn through all my resistance. It makes me want to write better and do it now. 

So I guess there's the bad jealousy that makes you freeze up, and the good jealousy that prompts you to act.

 Life's so precious-short, story-makers. What are we waiting for? 
xo Britt

Monday, September 3, 2012

Billy Ray never brought a girl home because his family embarrassed him. 

Growing up, he didn't think they were different than the other vegetables. But once his family was harvested and brought to the market, Billy Ray noticed with horror that sweet potatoes were rough and dim-witted, and in truth, a little odd.

"Hey Billy," said his brother, Bart, "lookit the rump on that tomato over there. Oooh wee!" 
"Shut up, Bart," Billy hissed, "don't be so rude."
"Whatsa' matter with you?" Uncle Earl said to Billy, "you think you don't got spots on yer skin like the rest of us?"   

Billy Ray was just about to answer, when he saw her sitting on the next table. Her name was Katherine and she was a Pandora Striped eggplant. Katherine was smooth and curvy. Her deep purple skin was glossy and streaked with white. She was the most beautiful thing Billy Ray had ever seen.

Billy couldn't believe his luck when they were placed in the same cloth bag. He worried his rough sides were bruising her delicate flesh. He searched for something to say to her.

"So you're an eggplant?" he said.
"Not just any eggplant," she said, "I'm an organic heirloom variety. And you're a...root?"
"Uh--" he stammered. He wanted to tell her that he wasn't just a root. He'd listened to the songs of earthworms and heard seeds sprouting. He knew the stories moles tell each other during long nights underground.

But at that moment, Billy and Katherine were joined in the bag by two yellow peppers, a zucchini, and some green beans.

Billy sat silently at the bottom of the bag listening to everyone chatter about life in the sun. Eventually, he drifted to sleep.

He woke when they were thrown into a colander. Then they were run under a tap and dumped, dripping, onto a cutting board. A knife flashed several times and the vegetables were chopped into cubes.

Billy Ray's wish had finally been granted. He was just like the others. And he realized, suddenly, that it wasn't what he wanted at all.