Welcome to Flash Fiction Friday and the ninety-third piece in this series. This week’s is a 490-worder by Jane Risdon. This story will be podcasted in episode 30 (with three other stories) on Sunday 11th August.
Summer of Love
They swayed barefoot in time to the hypnotic music of Jefferson Airplane, multi-coloured kaftans flapping in the breeze, their hands high above their heads, eyes closed; the air thick with the sweet fragrance of weed. All around couples lay on the grass embracing, smoking or just chilling in the hot summer sunshine. Babies slept and small children ran about, giggling, naked, just as drunk as everyone else on the joy of love and life.
The Love-In had been almost spontaneous, a version of Haight Ashbury under the huge shadows of Stonehenge, they’d come from everywhere; by transit vans covered in psychedelic art, by converted Bedford coaches, by motor-bikes with sidecars and on foot. Somehow the word had spread and hundreds of Flower People were now mingling with bewildered Druids all waiting for that moment tomorrow morning; the summer solstice.
Smiling girls, the waft of musk heavy upon them, moved amongst them, handing out flowers and beads, eyes glassy, skin tanned and glowing with youth. Bare-chested, long-haired, bronzed and beautiful twenty-something Greek Gods moved in and out of the gathering, girls watching their every move hungrily, hoping to catch their attention and perhaps share some ‘Free Love,’ later. The air was thick with expectation, excitement and love.
Several groups had arrived earlier, setting up their gear near the silent stones under the keen gaze of near-naked young girls, their interest having little to do with music they would hear later. The same girls had been busy writing their lip-sticked messages over the group vans, invitations and declarations of undying love. The hopefuls were eyed with disinterest by the musicians, spliffs hanging from their lips as they went about their tasks. All were ripe for the picking, it didn’t matter which they ended up with; there were plenty to go round.
Scott McKenzie told them ‘to be sure to wear flowers in their hair,’ his vocals floating across the almost silent masses. Someone had managed to set up a PA earlier and a Phillips Record Player strained against the drone of a passing aeroplane, high above in the clear blue sky, sunshine bouncing off its wings. San Francisco was in their thoughts, their hearts, and the words of the John Phillips song was their anthem, soon voices lifted and joined in with the chorus. Couples embraced, their bodies moulding into one as they swayed gently.
Later, when the groups had finished playing night came, camp fires were lighted and a hush blanketed the faithful and the Hippies, anticipation filled the chilled air. Some slept but most sat chatting quietly, waiting. Soon it would be time.
They rose as one, Druids and Hippies as the sun rose and consumed the spaces with its light. Druids performed their rituals, watched in respectful silence until it was over. A huge roar rose. Dancing, singing, laughter was everywhere. The ‘Summer of Love,’ began again, music filled the fragrant air once more; all was peace and love.
I asked Jane what prompted this piece and she said…
The Summer Solstice was the theme for my writing group competition this month with a limit of 500 words and it got me thinking about what this event used to mean to many of us who recall the nineteen sixties when we were ‘teenagers’, and full of all the joy, expectation and excitement of being part of a revolution; a revolution in fashion, attitudes, sex and music and against almost everything the ‘establishment,’ believed in.
I was not present at the first ‘Love In,’ in San Francisco at Haight Ashbury in nineteen sixty seven, but the ‘Flower People’ (Hippies) made a deep impression upon me and if I’d been able to go to a ‘Love In’, I think I’d have chosen Stonehenge and the Summer Solstice when the Druids await the dawn of the longest day; the magical stones, the link with the ancients and our long history and the sheer joy of an event with the force of ‘Flower Power’, everywhere. Just the music of the time transports me back when I hear it today, so I decided to write about a ‘Love In,’ at Stonehenge as my entry this month.
I do hope it brings back warm memories for those ‘of a certain age’, and for those who’ve never had the sheer joy of such an experience – do think about having your own ‘Summer of Love’ – feel the power of love for yourselves. You might change the world.
🙂 A great thought. Thank you, Jane.
For the last thirty years Jane Risdon has worked in the International Music Industry as an Artiste Manager, Producer and Music Publisher with her husband who was a professional musician when they met in their teens.
Together they have discovered, mentored and guided the careers of Singers, Bands, Songwriters and Producers all over Europe, the USA and SE Asia as well as the UK, resulting in Chart hits, TV and Movie Soundtracks and numerous other successes, including launching the very first Industry Showcases at the London Hippodrome in the mid 1980’s.
She has lived and worked in Singapore, Taiwan, Germany, USA, as well as Europe and England – working with English, American, European and Chinese artists in all genres of music and in various languages including Mandarin and Cantonese.
Jane has been writing since childhood and has had articles published in the Music Press. Her main genre is Crime writing; mysteries and thrillers – usually with a twist in the tale. At the moment she is writing a crime story, ‘Ms Birdsong Investigates’, which features an ex-MI5 Officer and her new life in a rural Oxfordshire Village. This novel should be completed sometime in 2013.
In addition to this novel she has a series of stories which she describes as Character Based Gentle Humour, called ‘God’s Waiting Room,’ which she hopes will be completed by 2014.
Jane is also co-writing a novel with an award-winning author of over 28 books. It is a change of direction for Jane and as of February 2013 she has completed her parts of the book. Her co-author is completing her parts and then it is off to the agent, possibly mid 2013.
With numerous Short Stories and several Flash Fiction pieces under her belt she is a prolific writer who is yet to publish a book in her own right. However, she has had several short stories published for Charity during the last year including her story, ‘The Look,’ in ‘I am Woman Anthology Volume 1,’ in aid of Breakthrough, Women for Women and Women’s Aid and two stories, ‘The Debt Collector’ and ‘The Ghost in the Privy,’ published in the anthology, ‘Telling Tales,’ in aid of The Norfolk Hospice.
Jane also has written a chapter for a new book project, which features several authors all writing a chapter each, without any idea of what the other has written. She found this great fun and looks forward to reading the finished book. This project is on-going and until all writers have contributed it is unsure when it will be ready for release.
In addition to everything else going on in 2013, she is also writing a Short Story for inclusion in yet another anthology later in 2013. This will be a crime/mystery anthology in aid of a Charity, yet to be disclosed.
Jane has a blog which is gaining a large following and she writes about things that interest her, her love of photography – always photos to look at – and also anything else which takes her fancy. Many of these articles have humorous content. She is often invited by other authors to be the Guest Blogger on their Blogs.
If you’d like to submit your 6-word or 1,000-word max. stories for consideration for Flash Fiction Friday take a look here, or up to 5,000 words for critique on my Online Short Story Writing Group (links below).
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I welcome items for critique for the online writing groups listed below:
Morgen’s Online Non-Fiction Writing Group
Morgen’s Online Novel Writing Group
Morgen’s Online Poetry Writing Group
Morgen’s Online Script Writing Group
Morgen’s Online Short Story Writing Group
We look forward to reading your comments.