Story Starter February – Anja Kooistra

We had a tremendous response to our January Story Starter! Thank you, and good luck to all who entered.

Our February Story Starter features a beautiful work by Anja Kooistra.

To enter, write a short piece (100 words maximum) inspired by the art featured below. It can be any form of writing (poetry, prose, dialogue, haiku, etc.) as long as it is original. Submit your entry in the comment section below. Check the full entry rules and format here.

Introducing our February inspiration piece:

SS Fairy-small

About The Artist:  Anja Kooistra-resized

When Anja Kooistra immigrated to Canada from The Netherlands in 2000, she brought with her a love of nature and the arts. Fabric sculpting is her passion, and through training and exploration, she has elevated this medium to new levels at Rolling Hills Studio. Her rural home in Sunderland, Ontario provides the perfect backdrop for her creative spirit. She incorporates fabrics and natural materials into her sculptures, such as rocks, wood, bird nests and sheep hair. Anja uses a non-toxic, environmentally friendly fabric hardener to sculpt her large and small figurines, each with a unique personality and an ethereal life force. Her pieces are on display in private homes and gardens around the world, in Canada, the United States, Europe and South America. An enthusiastic and charismatic teacher, Anja also facilitates workshops in her studio so that others can experience the artistic magic that keeps her engaged. Visit Anja virtually at http://rollinghillsstudio.ca.

Want to check out the January entries? Click here.

Feeling inspired? Paste in your 100-word entry below!

 

40 Comments
  • Chiandra paused in her writing. Looking down she spied Hianna. “Honestly child, don’t you have something better to do than follow me around?”

    Hianna looked up at her older sister. “No, I don’t. What are you writing?”

    Chiandra tried to ignore the little elfette.

    “Are you writing your story for the counsel?” Hianna asked.

    Chiandra scowled. “Yes, and I’m not going to finish it if you keep bothering me. Go home.”

    Hianna’s smile faltered. “But I’m bored.”

    Startled by a loud rustle of leaves to her far right, Chiandra hissed, “Shh! Something’s coming this way.”

  • Title: Sequioa
    Word count (sans title): 100

    “Sire! Sire!”

    The words came from a tiny thing, she was neither a human nor a myth. A blur of sea green sequins approached the stump. The faceless Immortal turned to face her. On the vestige of life he awaited news of victory, or death.

    “We rebuild fast but it spreads faster. Six hundred more are slain by flame. Our forest is lost”.

    The Immortal opened his ledger and wrote yet another figure at the end of many others. He shut it and wordlessly held out a finger over the nymph, pointing. Beyond that, smoke blotted out swathes of sky.

  • “What are you writing in your grimoire aunty Druyhalla,” the young fairy asked.
    “Tis the time of the harvest and I’m making notes about the soil, moisture, dryness, color of the leaves, and the bark on the trees,” the fairy elder replied.
    “Why?”
    “With each passing year, we must adjust to the environment as mother nature does. This way, we will be able to tell which herbs and other ingredients we need to grow for our elixirs and spells,” she smiled and jotted down more notes.
    “Do you think the barrier will continue to hold?” Karynthia asked sheepishly.

  • It started as an innocent idolization; perfection in her eyes.
    She placed me on a pedestal far from reach, where I realized:
    I had become –
    unreachable.
    unattainable.
    unlovable.
    unaccompanied.
    I peeked downward, and saw her neck straining to look at me.
    “Come up!” I told her, comfortable in my seat.
    But slowly, her eyes were tearing, her love depleting, her hatred growing.
    And my seat shook.
    Suddenly, I was falling, my heart sinking, I came crashing.
    Her love was a darkness that masqueraded as light.
    It destroyed, it punished, and it envied – it was love not worth the fight.

  • Little Ricky Red Shoes had a terrible night,
    Dreaming of love with a Wood Fairy Sprite,
    Red and blue branches grew out of his nose,
    Barnacled Banshees hacked off all his toes,
    Lizards and leprechauns and steely green fliers,
    Three-headed dragons and miserable liars,
    Poor Ricky Read Shoes alone without sleep,
    Marijuana, Cocaine and blue LSD.

  • XYLIA’S MAGICAL POTION

    “With the help of Xylia’s magical potion I’ll be taller,” I mused.
    “Just a few drops,” I begged her, but she refused.
    That night, as the revered woodland fairy slept
    On tiptoe, towards her potion I stealthily crept
    I drank a few drops, then slunk away into the night
    I awoke the next morning with a terrible fright
    I had shrunk to a third of my usual size!
    To her it was no surprise
    She wrote a prescription
    “Two drops of ’Fairy Grow’ to grow tall again”
    Xylia had swapped her magical potion
    She warned, “Never steal again, Faylinn!”

  • “This can’t be all there is,” Aoife said to Fred as he tucked crumpled bark into the tiny woodstove.

    “I’m four hundred years old and I still haven’t seen her. It doesn’t feel right, I must be making a mistake.”

    Hundreds of years had passed since Aoife began making gold pellets to sell to marveled tourists at market.

    “Don’t panic Eef, you have to believe in yourself. That’s all,” Fred’s heart sank for his friend.

    She yearned for the day she would see her effigy, because that was the day that Triso fairies knew they had finally become themselves.

  • I stand above you,
    not to lord, not to tower,
    not to intimidate.
    I stand above you to inspire.

    You are able, you can,
    Lift yourself,
    Grow your talents.
    Believe.

    Soon you will rise above me,
    And I will look up and smile.

  • I sat on my porch rocker silently watching the wild creature. Her tangle-knotted, fiery red hair poured over a mottled iridescent dress. Height and shape, she was a small adult. Had I been a younger man, I might have fallen in love.

    The dragonfly wings springing from her back were disconcerting. But that was to be expected because the medallion dangling at the bottom of a thread necklace identified her faerie family. She was penciling notes about my flower garden into a notebook — the subject studying the observer. A laugh escaped my lips; she looked up.

    “Wait!”

    She vanished.

  • “Jarnburdr”
    Eight paces left Inga whispered
    It scorched her heart as well as her hand
    Still she held tight pretending it a pencil
    And scribed she in her illusive notebook
    Long live King Hakon

  • It is cold at 8:18 in the morning of a September day in Sunderland, and seems even colder without her. Stumbling upon the fairy and nymph, he tenderly traced their outline and stroked the delicate waffle wings with his mournful eyes. Still she stood atop the stump, unmoving; let the rich teal and vibrant purple frock sink in, legs like chocolate rolled wafers, hands busy with mixing. The sight of them allowed his uneasy spirit to blend memory and sorrow; he laughed out loud and thought fondly for the first time since her death of the past.

  • So you see me? What exactly do you see? A woman with a bowl and a child or a sprite? An exotic creature? A colorful curiosity? Something you came across in the woods one day and haven’t quite figured out in the years since? Something you can’t walk away from but with which you refuse to fully engage? Something you define as ‘other’ still?

    See me, my beloved. See a work of art formed by a master hand. See me as beautiful, precious, unique and endlessly engrossing. See the woman you adore and the mother of your child. Your wife.

  • “My little imp”, she said, glancing down with both exasperation and fondness, “when I’m done, I will pick you up. Patience!”

    Elle gazed up at her mother silently, then began rocking the improvised perch Cecily stood on.

    “Elf! Stop!” Cecily tried to focus on the scene before her. The rare blue sky over the rugged Gaelic landscape had stirred her to capture the tumble of words urging her pen to write. Elle was familiar with Cecily’s practice, and old enough to know better – but young enough to sweetly rebel.

    Cecily stopped writing, scooped up the child, and imagined faeries.

  • I am the last of my kind. I have been wandering these forests for many eons. I am learning how to fly. My notebook is very heavy. Can you help me, little one? What is your magic power? Can you help me spread my wings? Do not fear me, I have only come to rest for a short while. My world has brought me here, I hope that I can retain all I have seen and felt in this wonderful place. I want to fly. Where is my teacher? I am ready to learn.

  • Not far from Fairyland, screaming eagles fly, the Wiccan Priestess dances through her forest lair and the river winds left and right until it crashes into a waterfall where the grey hermit keeps his den below the cliff side. Not far away from Fairyland, cars scream along the rock-cut highway, cursing the blinding sun beaming down on Pagan Paradise. On the roadside strong teaa, fairies giggle down timbits and strong tea.

  • The old oak tree dominated the surrounding forest for over 100 years. Protecting all who lived beneath her limbs. Then one day an axman came and cut her down. Her enraged spirit stood defiantly atop her mutilated stump noting the deed. Later that fall her remains were split into firewood and when the first log was put in the fire her spirit was released in a shower of sparks that danced up the chimney, setting the cabin afire.

  • The door to the forest was open. Did that mean the enchantment went in or the evil came out? Both afraid and curious Carroteena stepped through the small opening. The door closed behind her. Lovely trees ringed a clearing and a tree stump. She climbed and stood on the stump to get a better view. As she was writing in her diary she heard a familiar voice. Carroteena looked down and was amazed to see a miniature version of her mother who had mysteriously disappeared many years ago. But how could that be? What happened to her?

  • His ax struck the old oak tree blow after blow until it crashed to the ground. No longer able to shelter the small creatures that lived in the shadow of her branches. Then without malice or thought He continued to chop the slain tree into fire wood and stacked it for winter. But now the spirit within its trunk was revealed as she stood upon the stump to make note of the deed.
    Then one winter night when the logs burned bright in the stove, their sparks danced up the chimney and set fire to the roof beckoning the spirit of the oak tree to whirl in the smoke and then drift away on the wind.

  • Zelda couldn’t help but wonder what Zinga was thinking as she stood perched ever so awkwardly on the trunk of a non existent tree. “I told you not to eat that magic bean,” she whispered under her breath.

    “I can still hear you, ya know. I’m not deaf. I’m not sure what all the fuss is about.”

    “What do you mean?” asked Zelda.

    “Exactly what I said. I wonder what all the fuss is about?”

    Zelda stared blankly at her elder sister.

    “Oh for gosh sakes. The fuss about size. ‘Bigger is better’ they say. Not from where I’m standing.”

  • Tinker Pan stood tall
    Lean-mean body
    wrapped in cloth
    Hints of whimsy
    Emerald, violet ribbons ebbed and flowed.

    To match, top hat edges curled and elfin shoes tipped skyward
    A mass of crimson hair weaved
    hiding one against the other
    Like her layered frock,
    a textured backward mask.

    She stood.
    Taller than before.
    Atop her wooden plank she observed.
    Peter Bell looked up,
    Tinkering with pen and book in hand
    She took to making notes.
    Her jaded feet,
    Planted firmly on the bark
    Peter flew no more and cursed
    noting that Tinker’s place was what he once had.

  • Sylayna, it is with best intentions that I am asking you this. What’s with the new look? You’re wearing strange hats, hair horns… your pants are peeking out under your dress!? You’re always scribbling in your ‘To Do’ book. We’re fairies! We’re magical! We are one.

    Lily paused to gather courage. She flapped her wings and flew up to Sylayna. We hold wands not writing tools. We may be pixieish but we’re not maleficient. We’re not mortals.

  • In sunlight, they freeze,
    Hide or go shy.

    In shadows and margins,
    In edges and uncertainty,
    They dance and cajole.
    Frolic atop sensibility.

    Sweet, fierce wildlings.
    Fey, flitting and feral.
    Nature’s forgotten imps
    So loved and misunderstood.

    Catch sight of wings,
    Or pointed toes or ears,
    Bright braided hair or
    Those eyes and you will know.

    They haunt whispers,
    Surprises and odd chances.
    Mild mischief and brevity
    Enchants and sobriety repels.

    They revel in dance, flirtation,
    Poetry and brushstrokes;
    Are closer kin to our
    Beloved muses than us.

    Don’t stare, mortal!
    In sunlight, they freeze,
    Hide or go shy.

  • Be careful where you step today,
    Tread lightly on the moss and stones.
    The wee ones dance around they say.
    The forest’s little chaperones.

    Inhale the old ground’s wet decay,
    With drops of dew like gemstones.
    Daylight’s warmth is passing away,
    Yet you’re drawn toward a path unknown.

    Open your mind and feel the fey,
    Let her enchantment invade your bones.
    Along the trail, you’ll sense the way,
    Behind the stumps like gravestones.

    There she is, through the dark archway,
    Sitting so nobly on her throne.
    Hers is a secret you could never betray,
    Now that her magic has been shown.

  • “You are still young, little one. Always have faith in your abilities. When it is time to climb, never give up. Your spectrum of wisdom will deepen with each level you attain. Today’s life may hold tears, but never fret, never fear. Grow and nurture. Truth will envelop you. Pain will disappear. Your memories will contain joy, once you embrace your higher elf.”

  • by Karen L Bowen

    QUILL

    Have you never sensed the quiver
    of a woodland fairy’s wings?
    The pitch of sheer amusement
    in the lullaby she sings?
    They flutter by, amidst the leaves
    dusting all with wonder.
    To notice one, sit you still
    and pledge replete surrender.

    There’s one I’ve glimpsed, with glitter
    braided in her hair,
    tattered turquoise toggery
    and broomstick legs to bare.
    She balances on stumps I’ve cut,
    baking fungi pies,
    telling younger pixie imps
    her happy forest why’s.

    I came upon Quill last week.
    She lugged my ax along,
    buried it beside her lair
    to let me know my wrong.

  • Dandelions sprout at the edges of her pedestal.
    A young girl in a dirty fairy dress,
    With knotted curls and tattered wings,
    Flitting among the butterflies and crickets.

    In her wilderness creation, ash trees take root.
    Cedar hedges attract cardinals, song birds alight
    Foxes hunt mice in the long grass.
    Safely hidden is the robin’s nest.

    A child tells her mother that she saw a fairy.
    “That’s nonsense, fairies aren’t real.”

    But at the base of the tree stump,
    A pair of new wings flutter,
    Choppy hair flows in the breeze, dirty toes wiggle,
    And fresh fairy eyes wink.

  • 99 Words –
    The forest was cool under the thick cover of lush green leaves. Hot rays of sunshine broke through the forest canopy on the backs of hot summer winds. The leaves sung their protest at the baking sun. She stood still and closed her eyes, listening to the leaves sing. She opened her eyes saw the Fae atop the stump. “I’m lost.” She said. The Fae just smiled. A ray of sunshine broke and shone on the Fae. Her wings lit up the forest with sparkling specks of light. The Fae held out her hand and said, “Come with me.”

  • Michelle Dinnick-Schulze February 24, 2016 at 6:29 pm

    Writing, she says, always writing! As if that’s going to take her anywhere. Always got her head in a book, that child. Where’s her laundry? On the floor in her room. That child doesn’t know the first thing about anything. Never going to learn to cook, bet she doesn’t even know what day it is. How is she ever going to learn to take care of a man, let alone herself? And she wonders why she can’t have a dog. Good thing I water the plants around here.

    I look up, only half hearing her. “Did you say something, mom?”

  • “Now Wanda, I desperately need your help today, my fairy girl .”
    Lily continued to fold the batter in the bowl, ” once I lay this on the stone to bake , I am flying off to the village for my rounds.”
    Wanda craned her neck, ” please take me with you to gather the teeth . I promise to be quiet ,Lily My Mother ”
    ” Someday , you will be the Village Tooth Fairy , Wanda. Until then , I need you to stay back and make sure the baking doesn’t burn .”

  • Marie Beswick-Arthur February 25, 2016 at 5:11 pm

    The Way We Make The Things We Make

    Accepting myriad possibilities,
    Considering all the ‘what ifs?’,
    saturated by memories,

    (sometimes, ridiculously: immersed in ideology, steeped in sorrow, allegorically alive with alliteration),

    in which trust overlaps intuition,
    mind mingles with soul,
    and spine tingles as head aligns so lips can kiss the sky,
    while feet are firmly rooted,
    creating an uninterrupted stretch along sunbeam,

    (or on exceptionally inspired nights, moonbeam),

    warming each genetic strand within,
    facilitating travel,
    buoyed by an ocean of Belief,
    to the Island of Confidence.

  • At bedtime, I said, “A fairy lives in Grandma’s garden.”
    “It’s just a statue.” Mama said.
    “Fairies are make-believe,” Papa added.
    I did not tell Mama and Papa about her anymore. But they heard me talking to my dolly: “My fairy says sparkly snow makes diamonds, and I’m her bestest friend.”
    The next time we went to Grandma’s, my fairy’s place in the garden was empty. Instead, I found a ring of diamond snowflakes, and a note Grandma read to me: “Love, Your Fairy.”
    She’s gone. But I know she’ll return because my fairy is no statue. She’s believe.

  • Plant Magic

    The woman bent forward, her wrinkled hands caressing the plant before gently picking the leaves and adding them to her basket.
    “With magic comes a deep trust,” she said, straightening. “You must have a clear conscience, not be bothered by matters of the world. Listen deeply to the plant itself so that it speaks to you. ” The woman’s sharp eyes surveyed Brenda. “You must be finely tuned for this work or the consequences can be fatal.”
    Brenda worried she wasn’t worthy of the plant medicine. Her life hadn’t been easy, nor her choices.
    “We can all be healed, dear.”

  • Please help me up, Karothead. I was always your friend. It is not my fault that I have better and cleaner clothes, cuter chest and a modern hat. I still get less noticed because I am short. You have the benefit of the log now so you can see him on his porch. You know, the guy who likes to teach and you like to be a good student. But the scary moaning forest is too distracting now. So what your answer will be? I hear some footsteps nearing. Hel…….

  • I looked up with my fairy wings extended, feeling sick. My cousin was wearing a mask. She had not only made herself tall with black magic; she had changed her face to look like mine. Her plan was to have me killed today, my crowning day.
    “Remove your mask.”
    She waved me away.“Be grateful, your death will be painless”.

    Arms grabbed me from behind. “Come Royal Fairy. We’ll keep you safe. Jealousy is a poisonous snake. Isn’t it. Your cousin…well, the consequences for a Fairy Queen imposter, has always been, death by fire. I’m sorry.”

  • Fairy glitter,
    Magic galore,
    I summon thee with this magic spell.

    Come quick,
    My little fairy friends,
    For we must partake in a dance.

    The fairy dance,
    The glittering wonder,
    The song of the forest,
    The trembling of a thousand wings.

    We, fairies must take to the skies,
    Soar high with pride.
    Our fairy’s might can lift the spirits.
    Guide the lost souls into their destinies.

    Send forth the new age of dawn.
    And bring forth a new fairy king and queen.

  • Wendy Barrick Rhead February 29, 2016 at 1:59 am

    “Momma, why do humans continue to destroy parts of our home? I think I can fix this! Only a few more pieces of bark and this section will be back to the way it was.”
    Her Protege loved their forest home as much as she did.
    Momma paused and smiled, then continued to compile a list of the recent devastation of their home.
    She recorded fallen trees, crushed grasses and flora, destroyed wildflowers, and most distressing, friends who were missing.
    Sadly she realized their home would require decades of growth to return to the enchanted place she remembered.

  • Time stands still, I write my wrongs
    My wings are weak, my will is strong
    I stand my ground though she insists
    I fly away my heart resists
    The King she says would see me dead
    has a bounty on my head
    I ignore her and her chatter
    my story’s all that really matters
    I write fast, lay the book down
    just as the warning trumpets sound
    then fly away before I’m found.

    The King will know my every fear
    The King will cry my every tear
    Story, story, one, two, three
    now I live on outside of me.

  • “Carrot top, ugly little carrot top!” taunted her brother.

    “Stop it,” Priscilla cried. “MOMMMM! He’s teasing me again.”

    Her mother called up from the kitchen, “Billy, leave your sister alone.”

    Before turning to leave, Billy threw a carrot at his sister’s face.

    Priscilla slammed her bedroom door and fell on her bed, heaving sobs.

    Why was I born with red hair? Why can’t I be like everyone else? Priscilla lamented.

    She spied her diary, picked up a pencil and began to write:

    I wish I had wings so I could fly away…

    The room started to spin.

  • **CONTEST NOW CLOSED**
    Thanks and good luck to all who entered. A longlist of the finalists from all six contests will be published in a few weeks.

  • “One look at her, and you’ll turn to stone,” the wise old man shouted to the young man, who stood on the other side of the road.
    “What?” blurted the young man.
    “Yes, that’s exactly what I said. One look at her and you’ll definitely turn to stone.”
    “She’s not Medusa.”
    “If you look at her, that’ll be it. You’ve been warned,” the old man pressed.
    Some time had passed, where the wise old man got on his decrepit bicycle and peddled away. The young man stood somewhat beside the figure. He turned his head to look at her.

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