Friday, July 30, 2010


The road stretched on before us, oblivious of the hundreds of miles we had already traversed on our way to say our final farewells to Nana. Hundreds more stretched before us still. They offered a time of quiet reminiscence and solitude on what would otherwise be a boring trip.

*** One Word ***

Sunflowers: 4 Lines of Prose

Their heavy heads take up large spaces on the borders of the memories buried deep in my mind. They appear much like they did around the yellow fields of hay and green fields of corn that inhabited my grandfather's farm. I see them swaying on the gentle breezes of hot summer days as I rock my child softly to sleep while entertaining guests in their slow dance. The yellow petals and deep red-brown centers promised me a safety and tranquility that I did not achieve until long after my grandfather died, his lands passed to suburban developers, and the sunflowers fled to my fields of memories.

*** Daily Writing Practice ***

Thursday, July 29, 2010


I could hear footsteps and knew he was near, at least no further than a foot to my left. Holding my breath as I crouched in the small dark space, waiting for the moment he would turn and start to walk away unaware of my presence, made my anticipation for the moment rise. A moment later, I quietly reached out and grabbed his ankle, letting it slide from my grasp as he ran to his circle of friends. Haunting the wood at Halloween always a mischievous joy.

*** One Word ***

In The Kitchen

Quietly I stirred the sugar, bananas, and butter until they became a fluffy cream. I added the eggs, milk, and vanilla and began stirring again. The repetitive motion quieted my soul. I stood at the counter, looking out the small window, the bowl nestled safely in the crook of my arm and the whisk held firmly in my hand. Leaves sang in the wind while the branches swayed to the gentle song. Birds swooped through the sky, their taunting chirps mocking the stationary ground. Children laughed and screamed, delirious in the warmth of an early Spring day.

I started to fold in the baking powder, salt, and flour. The batter thickened, the color turning even with each twist of the whisk. The motion still soothing. Soon, I knew the house would smell of bread and with it, my husband's arrival home. My lips curved upward, rounding my cheeks and narrowing my eyes in joy. I looked out the window again, pleased with my life.

*** Daily Writing Practice ***


We drove from the cramped conditions of the downtown streets. Concrete and glass reached up and touched the sky. Tourists often thought the city was unusually cloudy, but we veterans of the city understood that it was smog; heavy and thick and descending lower each year. Before my children reached their fifteenth birthdays, the city would be swallowed whole by it. The inhabitants would take on owl-like characteristics in order to function. These thoughts crossed my mind as the bus rambled over the railroad tracks and past the factories that remained on the outskirts of town. I smiled at the roughness of the ride, closing my eyes and bringing the long manicured lawns of the suburbs vividly to my consciousness.

I hadn't seen them since I was a child myself. My parents had moved to the city in hopes of a better life, one filled with opportunities the distant suburbs simply couldn't provide. A new insight settled over my heart and brain. Their intentions had been good, just not well received. My son tapped my shoulder. "Momma, what is that?" I looked where he was pointing, hope and desire rising in my consciousness.

"Those, my dears, are a sight more welcome than any other. The green stuff on the ground is grass. The tall brown things waving their heavily laden branches in the wind are trees. Just like in the fairy tales I read to you as children." They sat silently, starring out the window. "And that is not the best part. In another hour or two, we will enter the country and you will see rolling hills, golden stalks of wheat, and cool blue lakes and streams."

*** Daily Writing Practice ***

Tuesday, July 20, 2010


Amelia looked over her pot, the eyes of her audience glued to her movements. She enjoyed these moments in the spotlight, but her favorite part was after she was done. The murmurs and known affects acted like a bottle of good champagne. It made her giddy and a bit tipsy.

"After your base has simmered for at least 30 minutes, add in your more solid ingredients. I prefer to start with potatoes and carrots. They tend to hold up the best." Amelia stirred in the bowl of precut carrots and potatoes. The more novice in the audience took notes while the more celebrated nodded in agreement. She continued on about how the texture of those vegetables should feel and how that could be roughly translated into time. As she spoke, she added in other ingredients: celery, peas, corn, flour to thicken the liquid, salt and pepper, a few other spices.

"And finally, the ingredient many of you have been waiting for me to disclose." She paused dramatically, her hand holding the bowl over the pot and the steam clouding the thick glass. "My secret ingredient." She poured the contents from the bowl having measured it precisely just before the show. Cleaning her hands on her apron. "Are there any questions?"

Several hands shot up around the room. A wisp of a woman in the front row spoke first. "Am I mistaken in saying that minced garlic was in the bowl?" she asked both confident and uncertain at the same time. her hand lowered as Amelia appeared flustered momentarily.

"Oh my. Yes. It was garlic. Approximately 2 tablespoons." She smiled broadly as the remaining hands in the room lowered. She didn't add that 1 of those tablespoons was actually castor bean.

*** Daily Writing Practice ***

The Boat

We sat in the middle of the small lake, afloat in a small row boat, dreaming small dreams in our child-sized minds and bodies. My dad sat silently. His tall thin body reminding me of the growing summer saplings across the waves. The customary cigarette hung from the side of his mouth, his eyes glaring at the line of his fishing pole sitting unsatisfactorily still, the little worm on the end of the hook punctured and drowned for some time now. A large puff of smoke erupted from his mouth like a volcano exploding ash. "Enough of this," he growled, pulling the line in with the quick pace of frustration and disappointment.

Setting the pole on the curved floor, he turned to face us, picking up the oars, ready to row to the near shore. A smile spread across his face and we shrunk back. My dad never smiled unless a mischievous thought burrowed so deep in his brain that it could not be removed by any means known to man. Oars bounced on the bottom of the boat and his smile grew larger. His arms reached toward us. Long arms that would be unforgiving if it reached its prey. His fingers encircled my waist and I was caught in the snare. "It's time to learn to swim." I could hear the cackle of a madman hidden underneath his usual laugh. It filled my ears until the water pushed it out.

My sister splashed next to me. We dove for the side of the boat, swallowing more water than we moved. We bobbed up an down. The boat moved as if through strobe lights. "Sink or swim," he called from a greater distance. Reaching out and kicking, flailing our limbs in any direction, taking deep breaths in the moments our heads were above water, we slowly began to swim. If not, I'm sure he would have let us sink.

*** Daily Writing Practice ***

Sunday, July 18, 2010


Like a lion approaching its prey in the tall grasses of the Savannah, she awaited the perfect opportunity. She had a new tool in her arsenal, a long range lens that she hoped would help her capture those glorious moments that otherwise became a blur on the page and in their memories. Slowly she raised her camera. Click.

*** One Word ***

Saturday, July 17, 2010


The trophy was heavy in recognition of the great work I had done. But it was bronze and I had wanted gold. I lifted above my head to the cheers of the crowd. I glanced to my right and contemplated letting it slip from my hand and on to the toes of the person elevated above me, where I should have been standing.

*** One Word ***

Friday, July 16, 2010


George Stevens the Third sat at the threshold of his home. His nose twitched and his body quivered in anticipation. Licking his lips, he assessed the danger of venturing out. The fourteen sets of brightly colored feet would only be problematic for the first few seconds. He knew from experience that his presence was enough to make them scatter. His real concern was Franklin, a.k.a. Frankie. Frankie was a muscle bound bully with quick movements and a white patch over one eye. Last time they met, Frankie had almost killed him. George reached back, unconsciously rubbed his bottom and then straightened his whiskers.

"No," he thought, "I'd better wait a while. That damned cat is always lurking by when feet are present. The sharp cheddar will still be there after the feet have left."

*** One Minute Writer ***


He was in his element, the water rolling freely around his chest. He breathed in deeply, filling his lungs full of oxygen and then dove under water to the surprise of a small school of clown fish. They scattered as he kicked, plunging himself closer to the coral and a new world record.

*** One Word ***

Like A..... Glass of Wine

Like a full glass of wine set near a white carpet, she toppled onto the floor spilling across it. The man who invaded her peace and security watched the blood spread, dying the carpet fibers a deep red. Carefully he sheathed his knife and stepped over her cooling body. Already, the terror in her eyes had diminished. He missed her muffled screams and whimpering protests. It was his favorite part of every murder: his victim's reactions.

He sat on the plush couch and took an apple out of his knapsack, taking deep bites and chewing on the fruit and his thoughts. Settling in, he began to wonder how to put this scenario in his dissertation. He'd have to be quick about it. It was due to his professor in two months and he still needed a case study on strangulation.

*** Daily Writing Practice ***

One Last Time

The day had arrived that filled her with pride and dread and in recognition of it, she fussed first with her hair and clothes and then with his. "You look......"the hesitation bore on for several seconds, "ready," she said, stepping back and pursing her lips into a long thin line to keep the tears from slopping down her cheeks.

"Awwww mom; it's not like you're never going to see me again," he intoned, the exasperation in his voice tinged with some of her longing. They walked out the door, arm in arm, on the way to the airport where he would be leaving to defend his country..... one last time.

*** Daily Writing Practice ***

Wednesday, July 14, 2010


I am desperately needing to write a long entry and struggling with what to write. I appreciate those of you who have stuck with me through the short and sweet phase. I may not post anything the next couple of days to let my brain work out something that is more than a few lines long. That is assuming that I can find the time to do so.

For today's entertainment, a last quick quip.

She jumped up and down, the letter crinkling in her hand. A smile sat prominently on her face as she turned to her boyfriend, "I got in! I got in!" she yelled, pleased with the words on the paper. He sat there quietly, trying to ward off what he knew it would mean for them.

*** One Word ***

Tuesday, July 13, 2010


I watched you die. I didn't want to do it. It's just part of the contract I signed. I was the person who was rushing toward you as you stared at the gates, mouth agape. Then you sank back into your body having been granted a second lease on life. I didn't have time to warn you not to squander it this time.

*** One Word ***

Monday, July 12, 2010

The Wicked Wind

We watched it come with fascination. A waterfall of fluff to heavy to be supported by the sky poured over the ledge of wind and air. The current of clouds rushed at us while God's promise, the one void of all color except a sickly green, filled the earth and sky. Still, we stood, watching the wicked wind unleashed. The twisting and turning too surreal to be of danger. And so we were when it arrived, the winds picking each of us up in turn, tossing us like salad, effortlessly, through the air.

*** Daily Writing Practice ***


As she sat staring at her feet, wondering how she would stave off the newest round of starvation, twenty bucks sat muffled at the bottom of her knapsack. It wasn't money justly earned, but given freely by another beggar who knew he was better off. She hadn't forgotten about it. She was merely unaware of its existence.

*** One Word***

Sunday, July 11, 2010


The men's and women's stomachs flipped as the plane began to descend. They sat in silence, there nerves vibrating them more than the shaking of the plane. The plane would be landing in three minutes and the platform would lower to an unknown number of people in an undisclosed location. Each of them quietly asked themselves the same questions as they grasped their gear. How many would there be? Will they recognize me after I've lived and fought a year in Hell?

*** Six Sentences ***


"Frank!" I yelled over the beat-up vehicle, "Are you almost done? I'm being eaten alive out here." It was late and the mosquitoes wouldn't stop attacking.

He'd been working hard for the last twenty minutes and didn't appreciate the rebuff. 'We can leave right now if you don't care that your precious bike isn't secure yet."

*** One Word ***

Saturday, July 10, 2010


The little girl licked her ice cream cone happily. Each nudge set the scoop a little more precariously on the edge of the cone. Only a few more pushes and the ice cream would topple over the side, landing with a soft thud at her feet. I watched and wondered who would step up and stop the process.

*** One Word ***


I spent the day basking in the glow of Shakespeare's words, heat clinging stubbornly to my skin, sending small cascades of sweat down my neck and breasts. Actors and actresses pranced around the stage in heavy make-up and heavier clothing, tongues spewing forth the Old English lines effortlessly. The canopy fluttered up and down, the thin veins reminding me of butterfly wings on the breeze. Everything was just 'as I liked it'.

*** Daily Writing Practice ***

Friday, July 9, 2010


Being told his pay was based on the number of products he could generate, Chris worked with vigor. At the end of the day, his fingers were calloused, his back ached, and his peers laughed until their cheeks and sides had stitches in them. It appeared he had mistaken the doll's bottoms as their faces and they now all sprouted bright red hair.

*** One Word ***

Four Unfavorable Similes

The chocolate colored lump of fur and watery green eyes called a dog was as dense as a bag of rocks.

The children played around us like mice in a church: silent, but still lurking under foot.

The kite spun to the ground like a Kamikaze pilot bombing Pearl Harbor.

The planes hit the Twin Towers as if they were arrows shot by Robin Hood.

*** Daily Writing Practice ***
I could write similes all day.

Key, Singer, Church

Gloria turned the key in the weathered oak door and looked over her shoulder. Quickly she stole through the door. Like a mother closes the door on a sleeping infant, holding her breath Gloria closed it inch by adrenaline driven inch. When the latch matched up, she silently released the handle and listened as it clicked perfectly in place, locking out the dark night sky and whirling wind. She was practiced at sneaking in after years of doing so. Gloria locked the door and shuffled quietly down the narrow aisle avoiding the creakiest floor boards. Her right hand gently tapped the top of each worn pew as she passed, an obsession she’d acquired in childhood. “Forty-three,” she breathed out at the last one.

The piano shone just before her, it’s black skin polished by her capable hands every Sunday after service. As she laid her right hand on the spine of the piano, her shoulders relaxed and her customary limp nearly vanished. To the casual observer, Gloria would have looked like a typical woman of thirty-seven. The congregation, her friends and family would have been aghast at the transformation, a miracle surely proffered by God, for they knew she was nothing more than an unrelenting cripple. One which insisted on an order that made no sense and had no place in society. Without the charity of the church, she would never survive on her own.

Gloria sat on the bench, her back straight as a pin. Her feet hovered just above the push pedals while her fingers danced a mournful tune over the keys. A hum reverberated in her throat, growing in intensity and filling every nook and cranny of the small sanctuary. “Amazing grace,” she began. Her voice was one born of faith and oppression, the kind of voice associated with slaves working in the fields under a hot sun: melodic and powerful, emotional in a way that makes the heart stop and then fall into place with the percussion that is otherwise absent. Gloria was a singer of that rich heritage and mouth gaping quality. The smooth tones of the piano and the God that looked down through the stained glass windows filled with soft moonlight and sharp starlight were the only ones who knew her secret.

After an hour, Gloria slipped out of the church as quietly as she had come in.

*** This written for swap-bot. Criteria: use the three words in the title and write it in 300 words. I'm 100 words over. My attitude? Too bad.***

Fiction Friday: Sequel

Hazel and Heather: The Sequel to Marley and Me

I always thought Marley was the world's worst and best dog simultaneously. He was and always will be. But that doesn't mean another beloved pet wouldn't take up space in my heart. That's what happened with Hazel, the world's dumbest dog. Seriously! This lump of chocolate fur and watery green eyes is as dense as a bag of rocks.

*** One Minute Writer ***

This is fiction. Although Hazel, my true family pet, isn't the brightest pup I've ever met, she would not claim first prize in this event. Her adopted sister, Charlie, would beat her easily, as well as a dozen other dogs.

Thursday, July 8, 2010


The large brown bear lumbered across the campground, sticking his wet nose into anything that would accommodate it. I sat silently in my car, windows rolled up and keys in the ignition just in case. The only sign of life coming from my area was the flashing and clicking of my camera.

*** One Word ***


The material glided through the machine. It seemed our fits and struggles had come to an end. With more speed than I had managed to use in the past, I guided the material through the needle and on to the table where it piled. One sleeve done. The tunic done. A belt done.

I picked up the last piece and began sliding it through the machine, effortlessly. A sudden desire to pull away fast over took me and I jerked my hand without releasing the pressure on the gas pedal. I looked down, unsure as to why it hurt and why I couldn't move my hand.

A portion of the needle stuck from my finger, the end of it still threaded and attached to the fabric. Panic rose. I swallowed hard, reaching for the shears I doubted I would be able to reach. They simply were too far.

I swallowed again as panic rose more forcefully. Tears brimmed. My phone was also out of reach. Methodically, I used the on-board cutter of the machine. It was dull and the thread pulled mercilessly before finally snapping.

My freedom came at the cost of great pain and the jail break of my panic. Slowly, I crossed the small room and picked up my phone. "John?" I said and then sobbed. "I need you to come home."

*** Daily Writing Practice ***

Wednesday, July 7, 2010


Everything was precisely as she expected it. The sweaters hung limply next to each other, followed by the blouses, three quarter-inch sleeves, and then vests. Dresses and skirts were last. Within each category, they were color-coded. She smiled at the perfection, burying the idea of obsessive-compulsive disorder amongst the heavy fabrics.

*** One Word ***

Tuesday, July 6, 2010


"Chaos Joanie. That's my life," I said into the phone. I never could understand how we were such great friends when we seemed to always be at odds. "Serious, serious chaos," I repeated, hoping she could hear the emphasis on how bad things were at that moment.

*** One Word ***

The Delivery

Everyone was tired and sore for it had been a long cold night that offered little sleep. Still, they held their line, denying invaders the right to pass. Hope grew bright as the fire of desire burned in their hearts and the sun began to rise. Soon, the fabled truck would arrive carrying such precious cargo that their steadfast guard would be rewarded. The newest I-Phone would be delivered into their outstretched hand and they would praise it around the world. This would be a day of legend.

*** Daily Writing Practice ***

Sunday, July 4, 2010


She sat crying by the puddle, dirtied from head to toe. "I hate you Robbie!" she screamed for the fourth time that day. Slowly she stood up and marched into the house for a change of clothes. As she rounded the corner she noticed his bedroom door was open and his frog was awake. She knew just how she would pay her older brother back.

*** One Word ***

Saturday, July 3, 2010


They stood near the baptismal fount, their eyes and faces glowing as the priest lifted the small chalice of Holy Water into the stream of light coming from the high windows above. Looking into each others' eyes, tears brimming, they awaited the moment their son would be anointed. For the young couple, this moment would be miraculous; more so than the ceremony itself. It would stand as one of the child's first major milestones. Their son was never going to leave the hospital or know what it felt like to be two weeks old. "He won't survive the trauma," they had been told by many. They held him in their arms, three months old, dressed in the family baptismal gown and watched as the water spilled from the cup and across the little boys head.

*** One Minute Writer ***

The Harvest

Emily stood in the doorway looking over the land. Brittle yellow grasses met her eyes every where they roamed. Only the occasional grown tree broke up the scenery and gave her hope that this would be the last year of drought. Without a strong harvest next year, she would loose everything and be forced to return to the ghettos of the city.

*** Daily Writing Practice ***


I feel like a pawn in the game of life. It seems some bigger stronger person is always plowing me down, tipping me over, and then setting me aside. I don't like watching from the sidelines. It's time to make some changes. Watch out Kings and Queens of the world. I'm coming for you!

*** One Word ***

Friday, July 2, 2010


It was hard being born so common. My blonde hair and blue eyes looking just like every German child and my name sounding the same. I looked around and wondered how we were the first country to achieve a super race. The explanation seemed simple enough: gene mutation. I struggled with the history of it.

*** One Word ***

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Oh Dear

"Oh dear!" I gasped as the car flew down the street, missing the old man by the smallest of margins. Puddle water flew in the air, covering us both on that saturated Saturday morning in May. It reminded me of the dust kicked up when a herd of horses trampled the ground back at the ranch.

The man continued moving forward, his pace more rapid, but still painfully slow. "Are you okay?" I called to him. He didn't even look up. Glancing down the street for more hot rod cars, I stepped off the curb and approached him. "Are you okay?" I said again.

He looked up. His body betrayed his age, his face looking so much younger than the rest of them. A school boy's charm peered at me under his heavy eye-lids. "I'm wet," he said in a thick voice while taking me in. "Just like you."

His head dropped and he began the arduous journey across the rest of the road. I followed his footsteps, wondering if I should just leave him alone. At the curb, he turned to me again. "I'm George. If you don't have anyplace else to be, there is a nice little coffee house just up the street. I'll buy you a coffee in return for your kindness."

My mouth parted before I could think of an excuse to decline his offer. "It's nice to meet you George. I'm Ally and I take my coffee with cream and sugar."

*** Daily Writing Practice ***


The men stood tall, proud of their occupation. The admiral walked by, his medals and stripes sitting prominently on his chest, inspecting the fresh faces of the new troops. Too young, he thought. He stared at the men and then loudly proclaimed, "Men, I salute you!"

*** One Word ***