K is for Kaleidoscope Kicker

Day 11 of the challenge!

My theme is NIFTY NUGGETS. Little nuggets of writing based on a photo, a phrase and an object, which is designed to encourage lean, tight writing. I’m aiming for a word count of under 300 words.

Thank you to L.Diane Wolfe for providing the beautiful photo prompts. You can visit her blog to check out more pictures.



PHRASE – sinking sand beneath my feet

OBJECT – jacket

I can’t shake the memory of mother at my graduation, the smell of whiskey on her breath as she kissed me, the way she held my hand until it hurt, the strange expression on her face, a cross between pride and disbelief.

Almost as if a part of her knew I’d pull it off.

But another part struggled to accept it.

Dad in his tweed jacket that smelled of mothballs, the one that had seen better days.

The image burns into my brain, like closing your eyes in bright light and seeing a kaleidoscope imprinted on the back of your eyelids.

But I’ve finally made it.

Even though the daily grind of going to lectures and holding a night job became overpowering.

Towards the end, fatigue became my daily accomplice, wrapping her arms around me, dragging me along, until I was beyond exhaustion, almost beyond rational thought… and every step felt like sinking sand beneath my feet.

Sinking sand.

Akin to a drugged condition as my tired, wobbly legs weighed me down during the daily struggle that never seemed to end. That’s just what it felt like, walking in sinking sand. Never knowing if the earth would give way underneath me and I’d struggle, arms flailing, to remain upright. Lurching off one way then another like an odd tee-totaling drunk.

We co-existed… fatigue and I… until the bitter end.

Now I’ve moved on.

The kaleidoscope patterns have shifted… to reveal colors that are bright and promising.


  1. Patricia Lynne on April 13, 2015 at 10:27 pm

    A happy ending! =) (Or is it? DundunDUN!)

    ~Patricia Lynne aka Patricia Josephine~
    Member of C. Lee’s Muffin Commando Squad
    Story Dam
    Patricia Lynne, Indie Author

    • Michelle Wallace on April 14, 2015 at 10:22 pm

      It would be boring if the ending were a happy one… agreed? 😀

  2. Alex J. Cavanaugh on April 13, 2015 at 10:45 pm

    He got through the rough days of college and now has a bright future!

  3. Nick Wilford on April 13, 2015 at 10:50 pm

    It was worth sticking with it after all… most things that take hard work are!

    • Michelle Wallace on April 14, 2015 at 10:23 pm

      Hard work DOES pay off… sometimes you don’t see the results immediately…

  4. Michael Di Gesu on April 14, 2015 at 12:59 am

    K, already!!!!! Geez, where has the time gone. So sorry I haven’t been around earlier. Life, as usual, has been chaotic. All good though. They finally accepted my offer on the carriage house/condo,and I close in a month! I am so thrilled, but I am now back in Chicago, working again with a former client on her new place. Then back to Florida to close and start the remodel…

    I love your theme!!!! Your beginning paragraphs are amazing!!!! You’ve grown so much as a writer, Michelle! Congrats!

    Keep up the great work!

    I’ll try to drop by again soon….

    • Michelle Wallace on April 14, 2015 at 10:25 pm

      Hey Mr. Blurb King! 🙂
      I’m so happy to see you here! 😀
      Sounds like you can FINALLY see the light at the end of the tunnel…
      Will catch up soon!

  5. Stephen Tremp on April 14, 2015 at 1:02 am

    Everyone had these when I was a kids. Spirograph and that thing you’d put a round cardboard thing with pictures on the end and look into it. What was that called?

    Stephen Tremp
    A to Z Cohost
    Twitter: @StephenTremp

    • Michelle Wallace on April 14, 2015 at 10:27 pm

      I remember those colorful kaleidoscopes… the tubular ones with glass bits and pieces inside that went round and round… you’re talking about that one?

  6. Sia McKye on April 14, 2015 at 1:47 am

    We used to get kaleidoscopes for Christmas every year. My parents would find such pretty ones. I loved them.

    Nice use of kaleidoscope as a theme and Diane’s picture is lovely.

    Sia McKye Over Coffee

  7. Lori L. MacLaughlin on April 14, 2015 at 1:58 am

    Nicely done! I felt like I was sinking, too, until that last line that lifted me back up like a deep breath of hope.

  8. Trisha on April 14, 2015 at 2:27 am

    At the end of my university degree with honours, I had stacked on weight ’cause of all the binging that got me through my honours thesis 😛 Then I went travelling for 4.5 months, caught a bug, and lost all that weight and more, by the time I got home!

    • Michelle Wallace on April 14, 2015 at 10:30 pm

      Travelling? Sounds like a good weight-loss technique/recipe… LOL
      You get to see other places AND lose weight? A win-win!

  9. Chicky on April 14, 2015 at 6:24 am

    “We co-existed… fatigue and I…”
    I can relate to this personally. It’s the sight of the end, even if at a distance, that just keeps you going.
    Very well expressed.

  10. Rosie Amber on April 14, 2015 at 6:59 am

    You are very clever getting all your prompts in one short piece.

    • Michelle Wallace on April 14, 2015 at 10:31 pm

      Sometimes it can be quite a difficult thing… just depends… 🙂

  11. Nadine Feldman on April 14, 2015 at 1:56 pm

    Love the imagery in this piece…the smells of whiskey and mothballs…fatigue wrapping her arms around you.

  12. Susan Gourley on April 14, 2015 at 2:08 pm

    Sounds like a person with lots of internal motivation. L. Diane Wolfe had been doing a great job with the pictures. She has talent.

  13. Peaches Ledwidge on April 14, 2015 at 2:52 pm

    Beautifully written.

  14. David P. King on April 14, 2015 at 3:33 pm

    Perseverance wins in the end. Well done! 🙂

  15. Hilary on April 14, 2015 at 4:49 pm

    Hi Michelle – wonderful depiction of exhaustion and then everything rebalances and settles into that more positive of lights … so true .. cheers Hilary

    • Michelle Wallace on April 14, 2015 at 10:33 pm

      That about sums it up, nicely…
      Thank you, Hilary.

  16. Tawnya on April 14, 2015 at 4:55 pm

    I really loved this! Well written, and made me remember a time in my own life when I persevered! Thanks for that!

    • Michelle Wallace on April 14, 2015 at 10:34 pm

      Thank you, Tawnya!
      I’m so glad you connected with it.

  17. C. Lee McKenzie on April 14, 2015 at 5:30 pm

    Sad early memories. Very.

    • Michelle Wallace on April 14, 2015 at 10:36 pm

      Thank you, C.Lee.
      Yes, they are…
      Pure fiction, by the way… 🙂

  18. Elizabeth Mueller on April 14, 2015 at 7:59 pm

    Love how hope lifts!

    Elizabeth Mueller
    AtoZ 2015
    My Little Pony

    • Michelle Wallace on April 14, 2015 at 10:37 pm

      Makes me think of the quote: hope springs eternal in the human breast….
      Thank you, Elizabeth.

  19. Nilanjana Bose on April 14, 2015 at 9:23 pm

    Like the ending. Like the way you weave such disparate objects into the flash. Neat.

  20. Arlee Bird on April 14, 2015 at 10:34 pm

    Sounds promising. Nicely told.

    Arlee Bird
    A to Z Challenge Co-host
    Wrote By Rote

    • Michelle Wallace on April 14, 2015 at 10:38 pm

      Great to see you her, Mr. A to Z himself!
      Thanks Arlee! 🙂

  21. L. Diane Wolfe on April 14, 2015 at 10:41 pm

    It sounds like he had to overcome his parents, too.

    • Michelle Wallace on April 18, 2015 at 11:49 am

      Yep. That must have been quite a challenge… 🙁

  22. Alex Hurst on April 15, 2015 at 2:13 am

    Really enjoyed this one. Not often that fatigue is personified, and you did a great job of it here.

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