Long Island, Bahamas: This True Quiet Island Getaway Must Be One Of The Best Romantic Islands!

While searching online for a true quiet island getaway, I happened across Long Island, Bahamas, a small island eighty miles long and only three miles wide, aptly named “Long Island,” one of the southern most out islands in the Bahamas.

As I began to read about the lack of tourism, the beautiful stretched out and secluded beaches on both the Atlantic and the Caribbean sides of the island, I found myself already beginning to relax and envisioned myself strolling down an incredibly beautiful beach for hours without a care in the world…

Continuing my education, I began to soak up the laid back way of life. I felt a major urge to get myself to this island and the sooner, the better.

Like a dream come true, as I begin to write this, I am sitting on the porch of a wonderful, romantic cottage, The Whistling Duck, located south of Clarence Town.

Our small 20 seats or so plane landed at Deadman’s Cay Airport (Cay is pronounced “key” in the Bahamas) at the southern end of the island. We were greeted by Nancy, the caretaker for the owners or our private cottage, who drove us to The Whistling Duck.

She was friendly, had a hearty Bahamian laugh, and offered to help us with anything (including a rental car which we took advantage of our second day). She said she was a phone call away if we had any questions.

On our flight from Nassau to Deadman’s Cay, we found ourselves already wondering what might be the best thing about what we would end up calling “The Other Long Island”…

It certainly could be the incredible water. There are the most beautiful hues of Caribbean and Atlantic blues from clear to light blue to aqua to turquoise to deep bluish-purple to varying oceanic shades of green, I have ever seen.

Then again it might be the amazingly secluded beaches with soft sands, good shell hunting and the constant soothing rhythm of crashing waves. Wait, it’s probably that Long Island has the most down to earth, friendly people on the planet.

If you have a craving for quiet adventure, there are many small roads angling off the single north and south main road, Queen’s Highway. Every one of the small, mainly dirt or sand “car paths” must lead to a new head shaking “Wow!” view and experience.

No, actually it’s got to be the water sports from snorkeling, diving, sailing, boating, fishing, to kayaking.

In hindsight, the best thing about The Other Long Island may be one of the sights or activities that we didn’t get to, such as caving or who knows what!

The most appealing aspect could be a combination of any of the above, or maybe it’s simply completely relaxing, being away from all the stress of work and city life.

This island takes your imagination back in time to what the Bahamas used to be like. Amenities are few. The food is great. Supplies are limited but available if you find out where and when to go. Bahamian and U.S. dollars are interchangeable. The people are warm, always seem to have a welcoming smile planted on their friendly faces and more than hospitable and helpful.

The Whistling Duck cottage was everything it had looked to be on the website and more. Our fowl feather namesake cottage had a perfect covered front porch with a double wicker swing, gas barbecue grill and two teak and canvas chairs to sit and soak up the views of the Atlantic and the harbor at Clarence Town.

We quickly discovered this was the perfect spot to sip morning coffee or tea, read to our hearts content, or simply relax.

There is another deck off the bedroom, complete with two chaise lounges and an outdoor shower, the one I used all week. Ceiling fans in the living room, kitchen area and the bedroom help keep the interior comfortable with constant man-made breezes.

There is a gazebo at the water’s edge where we hung out absorbing the water’s sights and sounds and spent time reading throughout the week. Nice bath and beach towels are included. A kayak is available for a small deposit. Laundry facilities are located at the Flying Fish Marina if needed. For an additional fee you can have Nancy clean the cottage each day.

Two bikes were included with the cottage and provided exercise and transportation for our first days’ adventure on the island to check out Clarence Town.

We filled our backpack with supplies from one of the two small stores and befriended a small boy, Horace, at the True Value food and sundry store. Horace seemed truly intrigued by my silver and blue Asics running shoes, shown by the awe in his big eyes when he reached down to touch them.

We quickly discovered that a car was a must if we really wanted to explore the island. Riding eighty miles on bikes one way to get to the northern tip of our quiet island getaway was simply too much.

By the way, be sure to take enough cash as some of the rental car operators do not accept credit cards. (If you think gas is expensive in the U.S., check out the $6.10 per gallon in the Bahamas, and this is in 2008!).

The tourist map of Long Island is like a cartoon and makes it look like all the roads on the island are paved. If you have an adventuresome spirit, don’t be surprised when taking one of the many off-shooting roads from Queen’s Highway to suddenly find yourself on a small, rocky, car-width path that looks like it is going nowhere.

Rest assured that slow going and patience will pay off with breathtaking rewards as the startling, beautiful ocean views provide stimulating visual overload, especially on the Caribbean side of the island.

Throughout our first week of July visit, there was a constant breeze. The various bird species were gaily singing each morning. We fairly quickly found out why the cottage was named The Whistling Duck! There is indeed such a flying feather friend on the island!

The hummingbirds were busy flitting from flower to flower during the day. My better half unknowingly imitated a flower one afternoon while wearing a bright yellow top and had to gently wave to get a hummingbird to leave her alone.

The humidity was very high and sweatily noticeable. The combination of being in the shade and the breeze was very nice and the best place to be unless we were in the water. Working out on the front deck each morning got me drenched within minutes. The ocean view definitely kept me inspired!

On day two, Nancy dropped off the rental car we had arranged the day before and we set out on our first driving adventure. Using the tourist map, we headed south to Hard Bargain, one of some thirty plus townships up and down the island.

We entertained ourselves by pretending to figure out how Hard Bargain got its name and came up with numerous possibilities. Turning east on a small gravel road, we headed toward the Caribbean side of the island and ended up by the abandoned salt fields of the Diamond Crystal Salt Company.

In the days before refrigeration, salt was used to preserve meats and fish for ships setting out to sea and had been a huge business. We thought we were lost when we rounded a curve in the road and simultaneously gasped at the incredible, stunning spectrum of light blue Caribbean waters. This may have been the most beautiful vision of ocean water either one of us has ever seen!

Following the sand and gravel road, we returned to Queen’s Highway (a fairly small, two lane blacktop road which runs almost the entire north-south length of the island) and headed north. For the most part, the drive is not very exciting. There are occasional ocean views on one side or the other. Taking almost any side road will likely lead to beautiful ocean views, a deserted beach, and a new adventure.

Wanting to check out the Stella Maris Resort, built in the 1960’s, we found ourselves standing on a hill in the middle of the resort where we could see the deep almost purple-blue waters of the Atlantic looking one way and the stellar, azure blue rainbow waters of the Caribbean by simply turning our heads 180 degrees, which was quite astonishing.

The Stella Maris Resort is large and is the only place on the island with tennis courts. We noticed several for sale signs in the front of a few of the homes located within the resort, and found ourselves wishfully wondering… Sigh.

Lunching at the resort overlooking the beach, we found the food and service were okay but could use some quality improvement. We did not get to see what are apparently some of the best plantation ruins on the island, which are located on the resort property.

We had hoped to make it all the way to the northern tip of the island to see one of the other two resorts, Cape Santa Maria and the Christopher Columbus Monument, but decided we were running out of time. We will make sure we see both on our next visit.

Wonderfully, the remainder of the week we had no plans whatsoever and each morning casually decided what we would do for the next few hours. No stress, no phones, no technology, no traffic, no rushing around. Simply the constant caressing breezes and soothing sounds of the Atlantic waves to relax us, stimulate our senses and soothe our souls.

We enjoyed taking long walks on Lochabar Beach. We quickly realized that getting to the beach from the gazebo was much easier at low tide, which had to be lower than high tide by at least three to four feet.

We found numerous small conch shells and two large conchs with the most beautiful deep pink on the inside, sand dollars, and lots of smaller shells throughout the week.

Walking to the right for about thirty minutes on Lochabar Beach, we rounded the bend and encountered a huge blue hole. Blue holes immediately plummet from the surrounding shallow sandy waters to fairly extreme depths.

One of our coolest adventures was to see the deepest blue hole in the world. Dean’s Blue Hole is located at Long Island and goes to a depth of around 660 feet! We were told that the second largest known underwater cavern in the world is at the bottom of Dean’s Blue Hole.

We had a wonderful picnic here one afternoon, just the two of us. I was rather nervous contemplating snorkeling out into Dean’s Blue Hole and I decided it must have been the extreme unknown of what lies in the depths below. Locals dive from the low cliffs on the backside of the hole and swim in its waters all the time.

My better and much prettier half, had no issues swimming out into the middle of Dean’s Blue Hole… and loves giving me trouble about being a chicken to this day!

The third morning, I called Nancy to find out where to get fresh fish, thinking there had to be plenty in the Bahamas. She mentioned Nick the fisherman and gave us his number. I left a message and he called us back a few hours later.

Nick the fisherman said he had grouper and red snapper he had caught the day before. It turned out Nick, his wife and six children lived at the end of our sandy, gravel road. It took five minutes to walk up the hill to his house where we were met by a welcoming version of man’s best friend, who ran up to us wagging his tail excitedly and definitely got our petting attention.

There was a fair amount of miscellaneous underwater sonar equipment and three fishing boats in the yard. It was evident this family spent a lot of time by, in, on or under the water.

Nick greeted us warmly and invited us in.

There were attention-grabbing shark jaws mounted on the wall in order from small and harmless looking, to, “no way you want to encounter one of these in the water,” holy sh_ _! large jawed, teeth filled specimens.

Nick shared a little about how they ended up on Long Island. We learned he was from Nassau. Nick and his wife Fiona have four boys and two girls.

Twenty-three years ago he came up with the idea to create a native Bahamian calendar, which the entire family now contributes to. It is sold throughout the Bahamas. The artwork is original and each month has native Bahamian tidbits including history and recipes for such things as soup and conch dishes.

We bought two copies at one of the local stores to bring back home with us. We plan to take advantage of some of the local recipes and use them for our next gourmet club dinner in the mode of a Bahamian theme dinner!

Nick started talking about a few of the ship-wrecks he had explored and showed us several items of interest such as one hundred year old antique gin bottles, four hundred year old olive jars, and more.

One of the wrecks he mentioned was a ship called the Southhampton, which prompted me to share that my godson was attending Southhampton University in southern England to get his masters in Marine Archaeology.

Five days later on our way to the airport to leave the island I noticed Nick’s royal blue pick-up truck coming toward us. His wife was leaning out the window waving her arms and trying to flag us down.

We pulled over and Nick ran up to our car. He said “I have something for your god-son,” and pulled out a small white pipe. He explained he had recovered the pipe from a ship that had purportedly been set ablaze by Blackbeard the Pirate. Nick thought my godson, Tim, would like it. No doubt, Tim will love it!

I have never before experienced this level of friendliness, excitement, exuberance and generosity on a vacation. What an island! Maybe we should keep it a secret. No way, this is a story to share as an example for how the world used to be, in some cases still is, and definitely the way it should be!

The Outer Edge Grill, located by the Flying Fish Marina in Clarence Town, ended up being one of our favorite spots. It is right on the water and is a wonderful place to experience a simple, local flavor for lunch or dinner or to have a drink and dreamily watch the boats, water birds and other creatures.

We had lunch at The Outer Edge Grill several times, enjoying each visit immensely. After one bite we concluded their conch fritters were most likely going to be the best on the island. Cracked conch and grilled grouper made for savory meals.

Everyone at The Outer Edge was very friendly. We enjoyed talking with Hermie and particularly with Stanlika. After my mentioning all the fried food on the island, Stan suggested to special order anywhere to have our food grilled, which was a great tidbit for the rest of our trip.

It was fun checking out the boats coming in and out of the small marina during the week. There were a few fishing boats and some rather large, luxurious vessels as well. Some of the names were Les Belles, Carcharia, Island Hope, Liquid Gold, Island Dream, and Endless Adventure. Home ports included Miami, Coral Gables, and Nassau among others.

Rowdy Boys at the Winter Haven Resort in Clarence Town is by the water on the other side of the small peninsula by the marina. The food was very good and the family that owned it was extremely friendly.

We met the grandmother Chloe and her husband, a granddaughter Justine who waited on us and one of the sons. One afternoon we offered to buy Chloe a drink. She chose a concoction called SkyJuice, consisting of gin and very sweet coconut milk. She soon began sharing some of her family history. She also shared that her son Ben had taken the owners of the yacht Les Belles (see above paragraph) deep-sea fishing. Ben had learned they had no plans and were simply planning their laid back adventure day by day. What a wonderful way to travel the sea!

Chloe and her husband had owned and operated a pineapple and banana farm, which had been destroyed by a hurricane a few years ago. She had tears in her eyes as she shared some of the hardships her family had experienced. Their three boys had argued somewhat loudly through their younger years and had been given the nickname of the ‘Rowdy Boys.”

Rowdy Boys Construction now builds throughout the Bahamas and had finished The Winter Haven Resort and Rowdy Boys Bar and Restaurant just over a year ago for their parents and family to run. We look forward to visiting Rowdy Boys and this family again.

The Forest Restaurant is three miles south of The Whistling Duck. We had a wonderful dinner of cracked lobster, cracked conch, peas and rice and mashed potatoes here one night. The proprietors, Dudley and Patty, were great.

One afternoon we called in to special order grilled grouper and chicken sandwiches, which were awesome by the way. When we stopped by to pick up our picnic lunch, Dudley waited on us. I shared that my stomach had been off all morning. He insisted on making me a club soda and blackberry brandy to fix me up. They were out of club soda, so he used ginger ale. I told Dudley I did not want any alcohol to no avail as he insisted I drink it straight down. I did so reluctantly and was pleasantly surprised at the taste. Thirty minutes later my stomach felt fine. Nothing like a good ol’ local Bahamian medicinal beverage to fix you right up!

We stopped in a few of the small roadside stores to buy water and a handful of food items during the week. Everywhere we went the people were genuinely friendly. We had nothing but extraordinarily wonderful “encounters” with Long Island folk the entire week.

The Oasis Bakery outside of Clarence Town has wonderful home-baked breads, including whole wheat and multi-grain, cookies and decadent local desserts. You can order sandwiches for takeaway (the island term for “to go”) or eat outside at the bakery. We observed it was common for small establishments to have a small bar onsite, and the Oasis was no exception.

Our favorite afternoon ended up being an impromptu stop at Max’s Conch Bar in Deadman’s Cay. You can’t miss Max’s as there are international flags waving on each side of the road and a few junk cars, one of which has been spray painted with “Max’s Conch Bar” on both sides.

We sauntered in for a tropical drink and lunch. We placed an order for a white wine and a tropical punch with Liz. Liz and her husband Gary own Max’s. She seemed truly happy to see us and to meet us.

Sitting and sipping our thirst quenching cocktails we watched ingredients being chopped for what turned out to be fresh, homemade conch salad, by none other than Gary, who wielded a machete sized, razor-sharp knife as deftly and swiftly as anyone I have ever seen.

We knew we just had to have some of this fresh island delicacy and placed two orders. Kathy had never had conch salad before. She loved it just as much as I did and it was the best I had ever tasted.

One of us asked how Max’s had come to be. Liz told us Gary had often used a spear gun when he had been a fisherman. When he missed his target he would retrieve his spear, often swimming right by sharks. His fellow diving mates thought he was crazy and nicknamed him “Mad Max” after Mel Gibson’s movie. Therefore, Max’s Conch Bar, named after the crazy fisherman!

People constantly came and went while we consumed our delectable lunch. We figured Max’s must be one of the spots for socializing, food and drink. The decor is about as native as it gets. The round, wooden shack has numerous posters of various Kalik and other island beer girls showing off their healthy, curvaceous bodies. Shells, coral, bright colors, and checker boards with bottle caps as game pieces are scattered about in island designer fashion. The bar is even a rare internet hot spot and there is no charge for signing on.

During our last afternoon we stopped to check out the Long Island Library and Museum. We enjoyed browsing through the various albums depicting and explaining various aspects of the history, culture and traditions of the island through the years. There are examples of some of the local craftsmanship, historical news articles for the Bahamas, and even some homemade condiments for sale near the exit. It was certainly worth the $3.00 fee for the educational and fun experience.

We decided we had to return to Max’s for dinner our last night on Long Island. This was without a doubt our best meal on the island. Grilled conch and marinated mutton were Liz’s suggestions and they were incredible. In the Bahamas, mutton is either sheep or goat.

Mutton this night was goat, which was a first for me and it was mout-watering. Gary whipped up some mango daiquiris, made with a secret blend of five rums and fresh mango, which were absolutely the best daiquiris I have ever tasted. The four of us had a wonderful time getting to know each other a little. We talked about all sorts of topics from the Bahamas to the U.S., to drinks, to food, to family and friends, and even shared a few personal fun stories about our prior lives. We were sad to say good night, though it was almost 11 p.m.

Even though our visit was only for one week, there are seemingly endless stories we could share from our week on “The Other Long Island,” truly an incredible quiet island getaway.

Though the island is laid back and peaceful, there are actually many things to do. Four activities we did not get to do were scuba diving, deep-sea fishing, snorkeling on one of the coral reefs, and touring one of the numerous island caves. These are already on our “to do” list for our next trip to the island.

During our all too brief visit, we took walks on several beaches, including Lochabar Beach, Galloway Beach, the beach by Dean’s Blue Hole, and a few whose names we do not know.

Incredibly, we saw a total of two people and a dog while walking on these beaches. They were the softest sand and most scenic stretches of beach, complete with various types of rock formations, I have ever seen.

Feeling the plush sand beneath our feet and between our toes, the colors of the water, seeing sea turtles, shell hunting, the scenery up and down the coast, and the miracle of no people, made our beach experience one that could not have been more relaxing, soothing and invigorating.

If stretches of secluded, quiet beaches are one of your prerequisites, the beaches of Long Island make it one of the best romantic islands I can possibly imagine.

If you require shopping, upper end amenities, constant service, and living in the lap of luxury, you probably want to look for a Four Seasons or Ritz Carlton type resort. These are not to be found on the quiet island getaway of Long Island.

If you prefer quiet adventure travel and dream of feeling like you have gone back in time, don’t care about updated or high-tech infrastructure, love beautiful desolate beaches, want to interact with real, friendly and unassuming people, and simply want to relax more than you ever thought possible, you will want to check out Long Island in the Bahamas.

Quiet and secluded are apt descriptive terms for Long Island, Bahamas. Keep this in mind if you’re considering a family vacation.

I have never felt so completely relaxed and filled with such inner peace as I did while on Long Island. This sentiment was echoed by my lovely soul mate. Kathy and I can’t wait to go back to “The Other Long Island,” an incredibly wonderful and beautiful quiet island getaway.

Note: If you’re looking for a secluded and romantic quiet island, start planning your trip to Long Island now! (See below to Book Empowered Travel!).

(The code for Deadman’s Cay airport on the southern tip of Long Island, Bahamas is LGI. The code for Stella Maris airport on the northern tip of the Long Island, Bahamas is MYLS).

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Writing Flash Fiction

INTRODUCTION:

Although there is no bonafide definition or length of the literary genre designated “flash fiction,” it can be considered a fictionally-based story or tale, ranging from 100 to 1,000 words that nevertheless incorporates traditionally longer-story elements, including a beginning, a middle, and an ending, characters, character change, rising tension, climax, and resolution.

It requires both a different skill set and focus to craft. Described as “tight” and “brief,” it mandates that every one of its words carry its maximum weight.

It is not a novel synopsis, part of a longer story, or a short story pruned so that its word count does not exceed the 1,000-maximum. Instead, it is a unique, modern-day, self-contained literary form, which entails a short plot or a small concept. It can be considered a story of a single act, which can be based upon several unwritten ones, leaving the reader to surmise and understand. But it is complete in and of itself.

DERIVATION OF DESIGNATION:

During its evolution as an accepted literary genre, flash fiction has been called several other names.

1). Sudden fiction.

2). Quick fiction.

3). Hint fiction.

4). Smoke-long stories.

ORIGINS:

Although not then known, flash fiction as a genre can trace its roots to Aesop’s Fables, a collection of fables credited to Aesop, a slave and storyteller believed to have lived in ancient Greece between 620 and 564 BC.

FLASH FICTION UNDERSTANDING:

Flash fiction can be better understood with the following analogies:

It is like a bouillon cube before you add the hot water to expand it into soup.

It is the isolated atom which, when combined with the multitude of others, gives full form to the object.

Like an accounting spreadsheet, it offers a snapshot in time.

Each word must carry the charge of dynamite.

Don’t say it-play it in the reader’s mind, by having him run the filmstrip you started, but were forced to edit into brevity.

It is like losing your job in a flash and having to live off the flash-in-the-pan called “unemployment compensation.” You delete, disregard, and discontinue everything you no longer consider a necessity and use your mind and memory to fill in the areas for which there is no money (in your life) and no remaining words (in your flash fiction story).

It fosters practice in “necessary compactness,” which has benefit in even larger, longer-winded pieces or genres.

It is the essence of the perfume before the alcohol is added.

Writing flash fiction is like emptying the 1,000 unassembled pieces from their jigsaw puzzle box onto your dining room table and only finding 100 of them, yet still being expected to put together a complete picture.

Flash fiction employs two media: words and pictures, the latter of which are provided by the symbolism substituted for the lack of letters.

It is the bud on the tree before spring allows it to open into a full leaf.

Occupancy of this flash fiction room by more than 1,000 words is considered unlawful-and genre-jumping.

FLASH FICTION FOUNDATION:

The writer’s genre choice begins with the size and scope of his idea. Small ideas become the foundations of flash fiction pieces, for example, while large ones lend themselves to short stories and possibly novels. The former entail laser focuses, single aspects, themes, scenes, and conflicts, only vital dialogue, and a limited number of characters, ranging from one to three or so. The latter include multiple chapters, scenes, dialogue interactions, settings, subplots, and complexities.

A novel may illustrate the growth of its main character during his decade-long quest to find himself as a person and the obstacles which deter it. A flash fiction piece may only describe an isolated incident in the quest, but must stand on its own and not rely on anything other than what is included in it.

Every line should, if at all possible, reveal the character and advance the plot.

TIP OF THE ICEBERG:

Because of the genre’s length, it can be considered a form comparable to the tip of an iceberg-that is, a single line may be employed to hint at what lies beneath a character’s or plot’s surface.

“When he was released from prison after serving his embezzlement charge… “, for instance, makes a significant statement about the protagonist’s morals and indicates to the reader that he must have had a shady, illegal past.

IN MEDIAS RES:

Latin for “in the middle of things,” it is a technique that applies to flash fiction. There is no space for long beginnings and character histories. Instead, the reader should be plunged into the piece at the moment of the inciting incident or at the crossroads where the plot is set in motion. Consider the following sentence.

Picking up the gun and glancing at the photograph of the girlfriend his business partner stole from him, Reginald jumped into his car and floored the gas pedal, destined for his house. The reader will surmise that there had been rivalry, betrayal, and disloyalty between the two. His actions and the object he holds equally indicate what his intention is.

SINGLE IDEA OR EMOTION:

The flash fiction genre mandates a single idea or emotion, since there is little space in which to develop more than one. However, the positive side to this seeming restriction is that the writer can deeply explore it. In the previous example, the probed concept may be revenge.

PERSONAL PERSPECTIVE:

While flash fiction is not a memoir or autobiography, the writer should nevertheless not hesitate to probe his own deepest feelings, beliefs, philosophies, and emotions, and bare them on the page. Because of its condensed nature, a raw essence can be an asset. Forced to grab his reader’s attention from the first line, the author should do so with his deepest, darkest secrets or brightest, most hopeful dreams transferred to his character(s). The more significant they are to the writer, the more passionate they will appear to the reader. If he is unable to tap into such a place within himself, then he should invent, expand, and embellish. This is, after all, fiction.

CHARACTER CARING:

Although an author can only expect his readers to provide a short amount of attention as they devote their time to reading what he has written, nothing will matter more in their investment than a character or characters about whom they care. The more they immerse themselves in the experience, the realer they will become. The author needs to evoke their empathy, sympathy, understanding, and kindred spirit share of life journey commonality, giving them a glimpse of their own.

EMOTIONAL ELEMENTS:

Flash fiction, because of its length, can only incorporate the essential characters, interactions, and acts that complete its tale. If the writer devises a plot that cannot be told in anything under 1,000 words, for instance, then he is not writing flash fiction.

FLASH FICTION ANALYZED:

“(Flash fiction) pieces still contain a bit of story movement, some kind of change from the beginning to the end… (A) bit of story change can be all that distinguishes a flash story from a vignette or slice of life piece,” according to Carly Berg in her book, “Writing Flash Fiction” (Magic Lantern Press, 2015, p. 1).

“… A story can come out of nowhere like a lightning bolt and leave the reader wondering what it actually was that hit him” she continues (ibid, p. 2).

The genre affords the budding writer an opportunity to quickly amass a collection of flash fiction stories, because they are short, require little time to pen, and result in initial experience.

“With so little space to tell a story,” she states (ibid, p. 3), “you soon hone your craft. Every word has to carry its weight or be cut. Word flab bores readers in any type of writing, so writing flash fiction is excellent training in sharp, concise writing.”

IDEA ORIGINS:

As with all writing, flash fiction ideas can sometimes begin with a spark, such as an image, a feeling, a recollection, or a fragment. If that idea were a skeleton, it would only take human form if you hung flesh onto it. You can do the same here. Allow it to become the threshold to a story or tale, giving it shape with additional, related ideas, thoughts, and sentences.

Tap into your creativity and imagination. Pluck your past for events, incidents, memories, experiences, and people. Although fiction, flash stories can certainly “borrow” factual elements from your life.

Piece these elements together and expand upon them, sometimes in a creative and unexpected way. Put the proverbial cart before the horse if it leads to something interesting and fresh.

Your piece does not necessarily have to take form all at once. Again, as with any writing genre, you can record ideas in a notebook. If kept next to your bed, you may be able to capture startling, unsettling, meaningful, and/or unfinished dreams as soon as you wake up before they trail from memory.

INSPIRATION:

Inspiration can come in and from many forms and sources, as follows.

1). Your life and its numerous incidents.

2). People you know or once did.

3). Previous writings.

4). Writings of other authors.

5). Music.

6). Feelings.

7). Images, artwork, and photographs.

8). Writing prompts.

9). Walks, new activities, travel, and breaks from your daily routine.

CHARACTERS:

Because a flash fiction story’s length does not permit any degree of character development over time, it would be unrealistic for the writer to concentrate on more than a few.

“Consider what kind of personality each character has and make sure they act and speak in a way that lives up… ,” according to Berg (ibid, p. 18). “With very short stories, sometimes we just get a glimpse of a character. We only see an aspect of his personality.”

SETTINGS:

There is no space for long setting descriptions. “Give us something about the time and place in the beginning… ,” Berg advises (ibid, p. 20). “We don’t necessarily need to know the city or date… “

The author must be brief and concise. Instead of a long description about a blizzard, for instance, the writer may imply this fact. Consider this method. “Although Regina had only been speaking with her brother for 20 minutes, the snow had already covered the tops of her boots.” The implication here is that it is snowing very hard. This provides the reader with an anchor. The snow should be important to the setting and hence the story as a whole, however.

DIALOGUE:

Dialogue should be kept to a minimum in flash fiction and any character utterance considered unnecessary should be eliminated, but should, if at all possible, reveal something about the character himself and advance the story.

Speech reflects people’s educational levels, personality, regional accents, and life experiences. Incomplete sentences, nonstandard grammar, and clichés become realistic reflections of them.

FLASH FICTION BEGINNINGS:

“Flash fiction gets down to business right away,” according to Berg (ibid, p. 22). “There’s no room to fill us in on a bunch of backstory or sit through a whole meal with the family making chitchat, before the stranger knocks at the door or the monster peers through the window. Have the story begin just before that action that changes everything. Give us the main characters’ names, an idea of the time and place, and start the story problem or what the character wants.”

THE MIDDLE:

Characterized by rising tension, the middle of a flash fiction story is the section where the main character strives to achieve or fulfill his desire for something or someone, but it is also here where the antagonist opposes him. Although standard, short fiction may incorporate a series of progressively more difficult and mounting circumstances, there is seldom space for more than a single obstacle or problem in the flash fiction genre.

“… Make sure there is a problem,” advises Berg (ibid, p. 23). “The main character has to want something that he can’t get, and the story is about if he gets it or not, or moves toward one of those ends.”

CLIMAX:

Because of the protagonist’s opposing force, tensions rise and reach a fever pitch in the climax, revealing whether his quest was successful or unsuccessful.

FLASH FICTION WRITING TECHNIQUE SUMMARY:

1). Small Idea: Look for the smaller ideas in larger ones and transform them into flash fiction plots. Anything that cannot be covered to completion and conclusion in 1,000 words or less is not flash fiction.

2). Title: Choose an enticing, evocative, or intriguing one, but do not reveal the story’s climax or resolution with it. Titles can serve as initial hooks.

3). Hook: Snag the reader with an interesting or unique hook so he will invest his time and continue reading the story.

4). In Medias Res: Latin for “in the middle of things,” it is a technique that places the reader in the midst of the inciting incident, at the crossroads that ultimately lead to conflict, climax, and change.

5). Conflict: Put your characters in conflict with someone or something-antagonists that pose barriers to the achievement of their goals or quests. Because of the genre’s length restriction, limit yourself to only one conflict. But whatever it is, it must be successfully resolved in 1,000 words or less.

6). Image: As has often been said, “A picture is worth a thousand words.” Since this is the flash fiction genre’s upward limitation, this technique is particularly meaningful and may enable the author to eliminate unnecessary words and descriptions. Select a powerful, memorable one, such as a war-torn street, a dying grandparent, or a sunset on Mars. Within that setting the plot can unfold.

7). Emotions: Choose, like the image, a strong, resonant one, pairing the two. In the case of the dying grandparent, the emotion may be extreme sadness or sympathy or even awe during the soul’s transition from the physical to the eternal world.

8). Characters: Space limitations restrict the number of characters to one, two, or three. Four may be stretching it. This also reduces the need for descriptions, interactions, dialogue, and scenes.

9). Scenes: Again, space limitations may only permit one or two.

10). Narrators: Flash fiction is most effective when first-person (I) or third-person (he or she) narrators are used.

11). Mystery: Do not reveal the story’s resolution until the end-that is, during and after the climax. Allow the mystery to unfold for the reader.

12). Twist: Since you have no time to build up sympathetic characters and develop the complicated plot that has affected them, an ending with a twist may be advisable and inevitable. Almost like a joke, flash fiction offers a punch line at its end.

13). Tight Writing: In order to minimize the space you need, examine every word and phrase and eliminate anything that does not pull its weight.

REVIEWING AND REVISING:

Writing, regardless of the genre, entails reviewing, rewriting, and revising. When you feel you have a finished product, employ one or all of the following strategies.

1). Disconnect from your piece for several days. Then re-read it. It may not necessarily sound as polished as you originally believed it was after you have placed some time and distance between it and you. You will view it from a fresh perspective.

2). Read it aloud, placing a second sense on its structure and flow.

3). Have someone else read it, but keep in mind that a friend or relative may be too close to you and your feelings to be objective.

4). Assess the need for the exposition (telling), narrative (showing), and narrative summary sections that you have included. Showing, as you may recall from other workshops, “… means putting the characters on stage and giving us a front row seat to the show,” said Berg (ibid, p. 33).

5). Be sure that you have chosen a tale that fits within the flash fiction category. If it requires several pages and more than 1,000 words to tell, it may be more suitable as a short fiction piece.

6). Ensure the cohesion of your story–that is, does one event logically follow the previous one and are characters consistent with their actions and speech.

7). Focus on character personality, not physical description.

8). Be sure that your writing is as tight as possible. (See the “Tightening your Writing” workshop lesson.

Article Sources:

Berg, Carly. “Writing Flash Fiction.” Houston, Texas: Magic Lantern Press, 2015.

Our 4-Night Disney Dream Cruise

We’ve visited Disney World in Florida more times than I can count. After so many years of driving to Florida and visiting every theme park in Orlando, it was time for a change. Our bags and passports were ready to travel abroad.

We knew we wanted to go on cruise and we knew we wanted it to be on a Disney ship. After years of wonderful Disney experiences we felt loyalty to the brand and comfortable with their level of family entertainment. We began our research online and started laying out our plan. The first questions we answered were “Where and when are we going?”. Traveling with my my wife and two daughters, we wanted to make sure we had as much available without spending a small fortune. We decided on a four night Bahamian voyage from Cape Canaveral, Florida to the Bahamas. We decided to sail the second week of January to save on Disney’s off-season prices. The itinerary included a stop at Nassau, Castaway Cay (Disney’s private island in the Bahamas) and a full day at sea.

We drove from New York to Jacksonville on Saturday, Jan. 19th 2013. This 14 hour drive has become a yearly ritual for us, so it was just an ordinary occurrence. We departed Jacksonville at 9:00am the following morning in order to arrive at Cape Canaveral in time for our 1:30pm boarding hour. Cape Canaveral is incredibly easy to get to from I-95. We followed the signs to terminal B and before 1:00pm, we were already dropping off our bags and parking our vehicles.

Disney’s terminal at Cape Canaveral offers on-site parking at $15 per night rates. Higher rates apply for premium parking. I’ve read many reviews of families saving about $30 by parking off-site at private parking lots or hotels. Although this may seem like a bargain, I suggest parking at the terminal simply for the convenience. The parking lot is directly connected to the terminal via catwalk. This makes disembarking a breeze, too. Once you round up your bags, all you do is walk across the street and get in your car. No need to wait for any further transportation or taxi’s.

Check-in at the terminal was incredibly fast and easy. Be sure all occupants of your stateroom are together. You will need to sign some paperwork and take a picture that will be used for identification when boarding or disembarking. The entire check-in process, a few pictures, and waiting for our boarding number to be called took roughly twenty minutes. Once we walked into the gangway, we took some more pictures, then entered the ships atrium.

The Disney Dream’s atrium is a huge, rectangular, three-level gathering area adorned with an art-deco glass chandelier, marble steps, a grand piano, and a statue of Admiral Donald Duck. Once onboard, we hardly had a chance to take in the sights before we offered two dining options: option 1 would send us to deck 11 aft for a buffet lunch at Cabanas while option 2 led us down one level to the Enchanted Garden lunch buffet. We chose the Enchanted Garden. The buffet offered many seafood selections like shrimp and crab legs as well as a carving station, cold cuts, vegetables, salad, and grilled lamb chops.

Immediately after lunch, we headed to our stateroom. Our family had chosen a category 4A family verandah room on level 9. Once we entered the room, the first thing we did was figure out the lights. We had to insert a room key at all times in order to turn the power on in the room. Once we figured that out, we explored the balcony. Once we pulled the curtain and opened the sliding glass door, we knew this was the place we’d spend most of cabin time. The balcony added approximately 30 square feet of outdoor real estate. The glass wall offered unobstructed views of ocean while sitting or standing. The balcony had two chairs and a small coffee table that served as our breakfast table every morning.

Once we were acquainted with the room, it was time to head to our station for the mandatory drill. Once the drill was over, we headed to the pool deck for the sail away party. The kids liked the dancing Disney characters and the streamers flying everywhere. Definitely a good time if you have kids. Shortly after the party started, the ship pulled away from the terminal, sailed slowly down the jetty and into open ocean. We watched our first sunset from the deck 12 sports area. Our cruise was finally underway!

That evening we dined at Animator’s Palate. The Disney Cruise Line offers a rotational dining assignment which guarantees at least one meal will be served at each of their three main restaurants. Animator’s Palate is an homage to the artwork of Disney. It also features giant screens depicting characters from Pixar’s Finding Nemo. Our table was directly next to one of the screens. Before we knew it, we were being interviewed by Crush, the sea turtle. The girls really got a laugh when Crush called my glasses “sea goggles”. Our evening ended with chocolates and folded towel swan waiting for us in our room. It was a great way to finish off a very busy day.

We woke up the next morning at 8am knowing that room service will soon deliver our morning order of the day. The coffee, donuts, cookies, hot tea, juice and milk were delivered right on time! We poured our drinks, grabbed our snack and headed right for the balcony. Once outside, in the horizon, we could see some pilot boats approaching and land mass growing behind them. We were slowly approaching Nassau. Once we pulled into Prince Georges Wharf, the ship performed a 180 degree turn in the basin and backed into the port. Directly opposite of our ship was the Royal Caribbean Allure of the Seas (an Oasis-class ship – the biggest passenger cruise ship in the world). Directly behind this mammoth ship we could see the towers of Atlantis.

Atlantis is located on Paradise Island just north of Nassau. This resort island would be our destination for the day. We booked a tour of the Atlantis Resort through the cruise line. The $59 excursion granted us transportation to and from the terminal, a guided tour of the hotel, and full access to the aquarium and the predators lagoon. We gathered on the ship at D-Lounge to get our wrist bands, hand in our release forms and wait to be escorted to the buses. Once 11am rolled around, our excursion group disembarked the ship and walked about 5 minutes to the bus. The bus, which seated 20 passengers, was perfectly clean, air-conditioned, and proper working order. The bus driver also served as our tour guide of downtown Nassau. The drive took us through the government district as well as famous hotels and landmarks.

Once we reached Atlantis, we were greeted by our hotel tour guide. He first walked us through the stores and fashion boutiques in the hotels lobby. It’s very reminiscent of a Las Vegas-style hotel. We then walked across the hotel casino and main lobby. The tour then proceeded to the underground ruins area called “The Dig”. It’s suppose to mimic an archeological dig of Atlantis’ ruins. The main attraction here is the giant aquarium filled with tropical fish and huge manta rays. Afterwards we toured the main pool grounds of the resort which offered great views of the famous hotel towers. A bit more walking led us to the Predators Lagoon. Here you will walk through an underwater tube surrounded by sand sharks, sting rays, barracuda, and colorful tropical fish. Once the tour ended, we were free to explore any of the grounds we had previously visited including the casino. Around 4pm, we boarded our bus and headed back to downtown Nassau.

Downtown Nassau is full of souvenir shops, retail, and jewelry stores catering to the cruising tourists. The area is very popular and can seem very crowded at times. Despite the crowd, we always felt safe walking around and wish we had more time to explore the area. We did manage to stop by the local Tortuga Rum store for some excellent rum cake!

Once we headed back to the terminal, we walked directly to the immigration office for a passport stamp. The attendant stamped all our passports in no time and with no questions asked. Afterwards, we went through the security check-in and boarded the ship.

Our second evening featured a dinner at the Enchanted Garden. The a la carte menu featured seafood options but also chicken and pork entree’s. If you’re a picky eater you can always order from the kids menu which includes more familiar selections such as burgers, hot dogs, pizza, pasta, and chicken fingers. Every meal also includes an appetizer and dessert. Our evening ended once again with chocolates and a folded towel puppy wishing us a good night.

The third day started with a knock on our door as room service was being delivered Our morning coffee and tea led us once again to the balcony and beautiful view of Castaway Cay! The parasailing and glass-bottom boats were sailing by as we walked out. We could also see the workers on the shore prepping the jet-ski and boat rental areas. The line of cabanas and colorful buildings served as a backdrop to the sparkling blue waters of the Cay. We only had one thing in mind: let’s hit the beach!

Once we left the ship we were greeted by Lilo and Stitch posing for pictures. We also took some pictures of the Dream before boarding the tram car to the beach. Once we reached the beach we picked up three floating tubes, changed into our bathing suits, and hit the water. The beach was gorgeous and offered picture-perfect views of the Disney Dream. This was mid-January so the water was about 70 degrees. It wasn’t ideal swimming temperatures but the sun was hot enough to keep us warm.

Around 1pm we decided to eat at the nearby restaurant, Cookies II, an outdoor grill-style eatery. Cookies II served up burgers, hot dogs, ribs, chicken, as well as a variety of salads and sides. Endless drinks and an ice cream are also available. Dining at these restaurants is included in the price of the cruise so no extra money is required on the island. If you wish to rent any beach equipment once there, you simply swipe your room key and the charge will added to your room.

After lunch, we decided this was perfect time to head back to the ship and hit the Aqua-Duck ride. We boarded in a flash and headed straight to deck 12. There was a very short waiting line for the ride, much shorter than we had seen previously. We rode the Aqua-Duck several times before finally heading back to our stateroom. When we did arrive at our room we had pirate bandana’s waiting for us on our bed. It was pirate night!

Our third dinner was at the Royal Palace. It was also pirate night on the Disney Dream. The entire staff is dressed in the pirate garb and a surprisingly large amount of guests wore full pirate costumes! The menu also featured a pirate theme with selections such as Jolly Roger’s salad, and Jack Sparrow braised short ribs. The evenings festivities also included the “Pirates IN the Caribbean” live-action show followed by the “Buccaneer’s Blast” fireworks! At the time, the Disney Dream was the only vessel featuring fireworks at sea. They were a real treat! We we retreated to our stateroom we were greeted by a folded towel monkey hanging from the ceiling and a handful of chocolates spread out on the bed.

Our fourth day was a full day at sea. With no set plans in mind, we knew this would be our only chance to sleep in late. We also knew this would be our only chance to explore the ship. We had our room service delivered at 9am this morning. We spent a good amount of time just relaxing and enjoying the view from our verandah. We then headed out on our ship exploration campaign. Our first stop on the ship was the outdoor promenade on level 4. After walking around the promenade, we headed indoors to the shutters photo studio. After a quick review of the family pictures, we decided to buy the DVD package which includes every printed 8×10 along with a digital copy for future printings.

We then headed to level 3 forward to visit the retail stores. Here we picked up all our souvenirs including Disney Cruise sweatshirts, shot glasses, and resin models of the ship. We then decided to walk the three levels of the atrium where we encountered a photo-op with none other than Captain Mickey Mouse himself! Immediately afterwards, we headed to the Walt Disney Theater to see the musical show “Believe”. “Believe” is a tale of father who’s so busy with his work to realize the real important things in life are not things, it’s people. The show is must-see for all families and I highly recommend it.

Further exploration of the ship took us around the multiple lounges and clubs in decks 4 and 5. We then headed to deck 11 aft for lunch at Cabanas buffet. After lunch we trekked across the 11th and 12th decks exploring the pool areas, sunbathing lounges and sports complex. Seeing all the fun had us rushing back to our staterooms and changing into our bathing suits for a few more rides on Aqua-Duck. My wife also had time to take in a few rounds of Bingo while we spent our time outdoors.

Our last dinner on the Disney Dream was once again at the Royal Palace. The menu featured a French theme with appetizers like French Onion soup, and crème brulee desserts. Entrees included beef tenderloin, baked salmon, organic chicken breast, and others. Our final evening also featured a folded towel rabbit, some more chocolates and a customer satisfaction survey. They’ll also give you a brochure for booking future sailings which includes an onboard discount of 10%. After dinner, we packed our bags and placed them outside our door for pick-up. It was our final night on the Disney Dream and our final view of the starry sky from our balcony. Our Dream vacation was coming to an end and much sooner than we’d like.

Our final morning on the Disney Dream offered a sit-down breakfast at the Royal Palace. It was the final chance to exchange pleasantries and well-wishes with our dining staff. Our waiters, which had been with us throughout the entire voyage, were cordial and incredibly attentive. For those four evenings and final morning, they were part of the family. It’s all part of the Disney charm that keeps everyone exclaiming how wonderful Disney destinations can be.

After our breakfast, it was time to disembark. It was bitter-sweet to step off the Dream and back to the cool Florida winter weather. We rounded up our bags, walked to the parking deck, and hit the road to New York once more: an experience we hope to repeat soon!

Uri Geller – Numerology – Astrology – Background

Uri Geller

– Date of birth – 20th December 1946

An Israeli-British performer and celebrity who has claimed to have psychic powers for most of his career, he first began to bend spoons after he started to perform as a magician in nightclubs, and saw a performance by the British magician and mentalist David Berglas do the same.

His earliest memory is of a gunshot breaking the window over his cradle, and broken glass falling on his teddy bear. His father was a soldier in the British Army in Palestine. He was devastatingly handsome, Uri describing him as ‘like a film star’. But he was a reluctant parent, and used to beat Uri. But Uri hero-worshipped him and so was devastated when his parents split up when he was 9, and left him in a kibbutz for a year. Eventually, his mother collected him and took him to live in Cyprus where she remarried.

At the height of his fame in the early 70s, he came a cropper when a major war was declared on Uri Geller to debunk him, to try to destroy not only his credibility but also his livelihood. He was also under constant attack from the Bible Belt, who called him a satanist. The pressure got too much and he became bulimic. He said, “I went through hell for a year. I think the main reason was because I came from poverty, and suddenly I was catapulted into stardom and money started pouring in. But I realised one day that I’d lost all my strength. I couldn’t get out of my car. I just pulled myself out of my Cadillac, and held the roof, and I screamed out three times, ‘Uri Geller, stop, stop, stop it!’ – and I never did it again.”

Numerology

20th December 1946 – Life Path 25/7

Chart:

– – 6 – 9

22 – – –

114 – –

Life Path 7: The number 7 symbolizes wisdom through self-knowledge, and mysticism and spirituality through meditation and metaphysical study. 7 is linked to the material plane by the spark of intellect and yet is receptive to the insights of the heavens. 7s analyze, investigate and probe for hidden information as a matter of course. As a result, they tend towards introspection and appear aloof. They find strength in themselves and are reluctant to open up to others for aid or guidance. 7s can struggle for a balanced perspective on life. At work, 7s are specialists, perfectionists. 7s need to balance the pursuit of knowledge with compassion and human sensitivity. This combination inspires wisdom and ensures greater fulfillment can be attained in metaphysical study.

7s can value their intellectual ability as a tool for power and control. They can intimidate others with their intense reasoning capacity and cool recitation of the facts. When ego and pride get in the way, they are cunning and deceptive in nature. Uri numbers shows him to be a ‘passive 7‘ which means he may be prone to secrecy and emotional withdrawal, and would tend to have an inferiority complex.

His chart also shows that he has no lines of strength and one line of weakness. Lines of weakness indicate certain areas for potential personal growth, and indicate opportunities for achieving a more balanced outlook.

The Line of the Skeptic: This missing line is all about the person’s willingness to accept that which cannot be proven by scientific means, i.e. religion, spirituality or occult sciences (such as numerology). This line can indicate anything from total skepticism of anything metaphysical through to an enlightened, open-minded approach to the mysteries of existence.

He also has two 2s in his birth date, plus a zero following the first 2, which can add intensity to the number. The number 2 is passive, soothing and diplomatic. The elemental association is water, which is calming, cool and tranquil. The number 2 is adaptable and has evolved to temper the potency of the 1. 2s are fulfilled by helping others reach their goals, and are best when working as part of a team effort rather than on solitary endeavors.

He also has two 1s in the birth date: 1 is associated with masculine (yang) energies, and is the potent force of the elemental Fire. 1s need to learn individuality, self-reliance and proper expression of will. Someone in harmony with this path can appear brave and original. They often emerge as a natural leader who can initiate new projects and push forward radical ideas. They can be fiercely independent and should be left alone to finish tasks.

Life path 25/7: As we have already seen, Uri Geller has conflicting numbers, like the 1 and 2 energies. Also, with the Life Path number 25/7, the interaction of 2, 5, 7 gives rise to internal conflicts that send 25/7s on a quest for healing and illumination. They are caught in a double bind: not usually trusting of others enough to share inner feelings, they have few intimate friends, but they have a deep desire to help others, to make a difference, to contribute in some way.

Most 25/7s have a refined appearance and certain childlike qualities; they have a Peter Pan-like quality, caught between Never Neverland and Earth; they aren’t sure where they fit in. They can get drained and stressed from thinking too much, also resulting in possible allergies. They need grounding and to come down to earth. Physical exercise works well for them, as does self-trust.

25/7s are well suited to any work that requires exceptionally deft thinking and skillful hands. Insightful and private, they also make excellent researchers.

Astrology

Sagittarius – The Archer

Sagittarians are the optimists of the zodiac, believing that it is better to travel hopefully than to arrive. They cannot bear stagnation of any kind. They possess an adventurous spirit that refuses to be tied down and, if they cannot physically travel the world, they will explore the realms of the mind with the same enthusiasm.

In Love: They have a certain panache when it comes to courtship, perhaps showering their lover with little gifts – they’re noted for their generosity and love to make such gestures – or whisking them away somewhere unexpectedly. The archer’s interests are far ranging and they need constant stimuli to avoid boredom.

In Work: They are unafraid of risk-taking and many opt to run their own business. Jupiter, the sign’s ruler, is the planet of good fortune, opportunity and expansion. They are adaptable and able to have several tasks on the go at any one time. This sign is associated with sporting pursuits as well as more intellectual professions such as teaching and law. There is also a link with religion and philosophy; some Sagittarians are perpetual students of such subjects, having become hooked on acquiring knowledge from an early age.

While they’re reputed to have two left feet and be rather clumsy physically, they are born with a special grace. It’s not that they can do no wrong – they do end up in a mess just like the rest of us – but they always seem to land on their feet and everything comes out well in the end. Cheerful by nature and pleasant to deal with, as they spread their good mood to everyone within reach, they’ll regale you with their tales, which may often feature some heroics of their own, but you won’t be bored because they’re good storytellers.

Background

Born in Tel Aviv to Jewish parents with Austro-Hungarian background, Geller was named after a cousin who had been killed in a bus accident. He was the only child of his Army sergeant father and Manzy Freud, his mother, who he says is a relative of Sigmund Freud. After his parents’ split and moving to Cyprus, he attended school and learned English, his first two languages being Hungarian and Hebrew. Subsequently, when his step-father died, they moved back to Israel, and at the age of 18, Uri served as a paratrooper in the Israeli Army. He was wounded in action during the 1967 Six Day War and was invalided out. He then worked as a photographic model in 1968 and 1969, and began to perform for small audiences as a nightclub entertainer, becoming well-known in Israel.

Uri rose to fame after performing a series of televised performances which he said were paranormal demonstrations of psychokinesis, dowsing, and telepathy. By the 1970s, he became popular in the United States and Europe. He also received attention from the scientific community who were interested in examining his claims of psychic abilities. He was studied by scientists who worked with Albert Einstein, and the world’s most prestigious scientific magazine, Nature, published a paper on Uri’s work at the Stanford Research Institute in the USA – a unique endorsement, and an irrefutable proof that his powers are genuine. His work with the FBI and the CIA has ranged from using Mind Power to erase KGB computer files and track serial killers, to attending nuclear disarmament negotiations to influence delegates with positive thoughts so that they would sign the Nuclear Arms Reduction Treaty. For decades this aspect of his career was too confidential and controversial to discuss.

After Geller visited Tokyo in 1973, thousands of Japanese children apparently manifested similar paranormal powers. Eight of these children were investigated in 1974 by a Professor of Psychology at a University in Tokyo, with a team of 15 researchers. Laboratory tests were devised to test psychokinetic ability and metal bending. One 12-year-old, Jun Sekiguchi, demonstrated an amazing ability to bend spoons paranormally and also recharged dead electric batteries by merely holding them.

At the height of worldwide interest in his claimed powers, Geller suddenly disappeared from the public scene for 10 years. In 1986 the newspaper Financial Times published a report revealing that in 1974 Geller had been persuaded to put his psychic talents at the disposal of industrialists by dowsing for oil and minerals. The report stated that Geller had met the late Sir Val Duncan, then head of the prestigious Rio Tinto-Zinc Corporation and himself an amateur dowser, who suggested that Geller try psychic prospecting. Peter Sterling, chairman of Zanex, an Australian mineral exploration company, confirmed that Geller was flown to the Solomon Islands to help pinpoint gold deposits, and that the company was successful in finding alluvial gold in the Solomons. Peter Sterling stated that it was not easy to explain the employment of Geller to his board of directors and shareholders. He said, “Most mining people are pretty down to earth and materialistic, and the sort of work Uri does doesn’t fit current scientific knowledge. I think that in time science will know, and will be building machines to do the same thing. But now, well, the reaction is a bit like witch hunters in the dark ages, or flat earthers. There are a lot of flat earthers around”.

From time to time, sensational reports are circulated that Geller significantly changed the course of world events, such as mentally influencing Gorbachev’s top aide so that the Soviet leader made an offer of dramatic cuts in nuclear weapons.

At his peak in the 1970s, he also worked full-time performing for television audiences worldwide. Geller also has a passion for painting, and has designed plates for Poole Pottery, designed the logo for popular music group ‘NSYNC and contributed artwork to Michael Jackson’s CD, Invincible. He has written 16 fiction and nonfiction books. In recent years, he has starred in the 2001 horror film Sanitarium, appeared as a contestant on the show I’m a Celebrity… Get Me Out of Here! Then in 2007, Uri hosted a show in Israel called The Successor, where the contestants performed magic tricks. And in July 2007, he was signed by NBC, along with Criss Angel, for Phenomenon, which started the search for the next great mentalist. He also hosts the TV shows The Next Uri Geller in Germany, and De Nieuwe Uri Geller in Holland, and the same show again in Hungary, where Uri speaks both in Hungarian and in English.

Uri currently lives with his wife, Hanna, his mother and his brother-in-law/manager, Shipi Shtrang, in Berkshire, England, his children having all grown up. Interviewed by The Observer, he took a journalist round his house and every object had a story attached. The framed exercise bike on the wall, for instance, he said, was not a pointless piece of junk, but a bike that belonged to the late Bruce Beresford, “a British cyclist who asked me many years ago to help him break the world record”. Apparently he has been trying to sell his house for some years. He said, “I came to the stage where I didn’t need any marble around me, or gold taps, or silk walls. I’ve grown out of that. I want a rustic house, something strange, technologically empowered to turn around like by solar energy, on some little plot by the river – half an acre would be enough for me.” He says that Hanna and he are soul mates, and she would happily travel with him wherever he went. His brother-in-law, Shipi, would probably come with him too, as they have been together for 30 years.

He is a vegan and he cycles at least 27 miles every morning, as has so much excess energy to burn off. A large part of his day is then taken up with answering emails. They come from all over the world, and he loves getting them, so if you send him one, you may even get a reply! His address is [email protected]

He rarely bends spoons publicly now. Instead, he continues to write and appear on radio and TV, exploring subjects like ESP and UFOs, and giving motivational and inspirational lectures. He is an enthusiastic advocate of self-help, including positive thinking, believing in yourself and using your own mind power.