Saturday, October 30, 2010

The Gypsies

They stood tall as they walked through the small market in the center of the town. Stares followed them, filling their path with anger, mistrust, wonder, and joy. Sylvia made her spine longer as she walked by the men ogling her slim frame and calling rude, but lucrative, offers. Her troop wouldn't find it offensive if she chose to partake provided she shared her earnings. Having the heart of a gypsy and not the soul, she continued to walk to her wagon without a backward glance.

*** Daily Writing Practice ***

Friday, October 29, 2010


I steered the rental car into a small space in front of a hardware store, my thoughts racing through the next steps of my plan. I took a deep breath before exiting the car and then pulled my coat more snugly around me. It was 10:15 on a chilly morning in a small town off the coast of Oregon and I was on a mission. With long confident strides, I walked two blocks to a diner where I stood in front of the large plate glass window scanning the faces of the few costumers sitting at tables.

She wasn't there. I didn't expect her to be there at this hour. I didn't know her well. Really not at all anymore. We'd known each other a few brief years when I was in my twenties. Only recently had I stumbled across her again. The little information I had came from posts she'd written on websites I occasionally contributed to.

I knew a little bit though. She frequently self disclosed things about herself, perhaps without realizing it. Most likely she was walking down the cobble stone path that led from her home to the sharp sands of the bay. Sand made by the constant tearing down of rock and sea shells by blustery winds and the tides. Although I found it ironic, I was not surprised that she would chose to live near such a process.

I'd worn my fashionable, but functional, boots so I could also walk the shoreline. I didn't know if I would meet her, but my nose had begun to run and my fingers tingled in the cold. Movement would be good. I turned left and walked two more blocks before turning onto the pedestrian path that would eventually lead me to the bay area. The wind picked up, pushing back at me. Still, I walked briskly.

There were few passers-by. I studied each of them, looking for any of the tell-tale signs that I had become to know so well. I'd been walking for half-an-hour and had reached the point of the bay. Picking up a shell and pulling a thin length of ribbon from my pocket, I tied my tiny creation to a tree. She'd mentioned this tree in one of her posts. It was more beautiful than she had described. I saw the bits of decay and hopelessness she had gone on and on about in one of her posts. I watched the little shell dance in the wind. I could also see what she could not or had not. A place people came to hold onto and celebrate their hopes and dreams. I caught my tiny shell and rubbed my thumb over it's rough surface while I made my wish.

My heart beat lighter. With the wind at my back, I meandered back to the diner. It was nearing noon. My cheeks were whipped a bright red. In the warmth of the small diner, my eyes watered. A coffee mug of hot tea warmed my fingers as I chatted amiably with the waitress. We talked about the weather and history of the town. The clock said 1:00 as I finished my tea and settled my bill. As I stood to leave, she walked into the diner.

She wore her white hair short. Her deeply wrinkled skin made her look 10 years older than she really was. She carried a small notebook with her and walked with a sense of purpose. I watched her walk toward me, unaware of my presence. I took two steps, blocking her way. She dismissed me as if I were still the child in her classroom. I stepped back two steps and then raised my hand high in the air.

She hesitated a fraction of a second. It was too long. The slap rang across the diner. Having caught her largely off-guard, she fell into the counter. Her notebook and pen fell to the floor. She looked up at me, her hand instinctively covering her offended cheek. I saw a reflection of myself, 20 years younger, in her face. The shock and horror, the confusion and surprise. I smiled broadly. "Now you know how you affected me for 4 long years." Stepping past her, I walked to the door, my head held high. Nodding at the cute couple just walking in, I called to the waitress over my shoulder, "She's wrong. Breaking rules is fun."

Thursday, October 28, 2010

A short vent

Okay. So hear it is. The naked, hard pressing truth. I am not a perfect writer and never will be a perfect writer. But to send a page and a half letter on how much I need to improve after reading a five page story of mine seems a bit......well, unusual. To do it repeatedly, never offering a positive remark is just cruel. I received that letter today. If it had come from a publishing company, magazine, other venue (not that I have ever submitted anything), or even someone whose opinion I trusted, I would be disheartened and ready to take action. From a stranger who appears to think he or she is God's gift to critiquing without any qualifications, well, that just puts me in a pissy mood.

I don't feel able to write anything tonight. I'm still too arrogantly argumentative.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010


Dark in body, cold in heart, eyes that shine as brilliant as the North star, he draws people to him. He romances shadows and the idea of danger even when neither is present. Women fall into open lover's arms, certain they are hidden by his arrival while children cower in fear, calling for their mothers to comfort them. He is an entity in and of himself.

The royal court calls for him. They ask to honor him and although he attends their call he always departs by morning, leaving their tokens behind and taking with him their vivid imaginations. He is the night.

And if he could be embodied, he would ride tall on a dark steed in a suit of pitch black with a lance as cold as deepest winter. A knight of a different sort.

*** Daily Writing Practice ***

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

The King

The two sisters sat next to each other, their hands rough from being repeatedly submerged in water over the last 30 years. Theirs was a hard trade, but more disheartening was the fact that it was fading in importance to the public. Less need for their sort of expertise meant for hands that didn't crack and bleed, but left the girls with much too much time to idle away.

It was this freedom from duty that lead them to watching the King. Albeit from afar, they were more knowledgeable about the man and his motives than his best courtiers and most trusted friends. Placing their heads together, they watched him through the small bubbling circle in their cauldron.

"This is the moment, Sabrina," came the gruff voice of the younger sister.

Sabrina answered, "It will all begin to unravel when she takes her last breath, Sarah."

"We'll watch the child then, Sabrina." The two, being inseparable since their birth continued with their shared prediction.

"She will rise as a Princess unlike any before her, Sarah."

"And with her rise will come a new age of mankind, Sabrina."

Together, the sisters made one last observation before grasping hands and mourning the passing of the queen and the times. "Our time unravels with the King."

*** Daily Writing Practice ***


Water fell over individual boulders of the rock face as it made the long journey to the bottom. Looking down from the edge of the cliff, even a child could tell that a fall would be fatal. So, Miss Barton's death, as witnessed by the other 22 tourists in her group, was not unexpected or even surprising. It was the way her body lay so serenely next to the pool of water that made people gasp.

*** One Word ***

Monday, October 25, 2010

Continuing On

No matter what he did, the gun remained just out of his reach. The longer he struggled, the more hopeless he felt. It was fear that drove him on, keeping him lunging and twisting, grasping for control. His wife was crying behind him and screaming for help when she could catch her breath. But there were no other sounds. No feet pounding the ground or shush of a coat.

He found himself on his back, having lost his focus hearing the terror in his wife's voice. Something heavy hit him in the head. Blood dripped into his left eye. He looked up and saw his father's crystal blue eyes dancing wildly. It was clear, he was off his medication again.

"Fran, run!" he screamed before another heavy hit came and then unconsciousness.

*** Daily Writing Practice-- because this is such a fabulous site and because this prompt has a history of its own (precisely continuing a story where the last writer ended it), please use the link

here to read the rest. You may also need to go to the post from Sunday, October 24th ***

Sunday, October 24, 2010


She looked at the calendar and checked off another day. There were weeks of red X's already present and a few more weeks to be added. But the look on his handsome face would be worth the wait. She tapped the vanilla envelope containing the pictures of him with another woman and her obituary.

*** One Word ***
In all fairness, I changed the last sentence when posting it here. Oh, and fixed a couple of tiny grammatical errors.

Saturday, October 23, 2010

White-Haired Woman

She floats effortlessly through my life, attached as if she were my right hand or left knee, an ear or an eye; a part of me never meant to be severed. I refer to her as my White Rabbit, and like Alice, I follow her into my own private Wonderland. Once there, I do not play croquet with the Queen or drink tea with the Mad Hatter or chat with the Cheshire Cat or nap with the Door Mouse, for I am each of them and none of them simultaneously and separately. As I struggle to understand my part in this chaotic life, I see her long locks of white hair and rush to ask her for a key only to find that she has lead me gently to the other side of my subconscious.

*** Daily Writing Practice ***

Friday, October 22, 2010

2110: Indianapolis

"I remember when this use to be a thriving metropolis." My head snapped around and faced the direction of the sound. Grandfather loved to tell stories---stories about a childhood I had long ago decided were fictional. "There were skyscrapers and green parks. Automobiles would race down the interstates as if it was the Speedway. In the fall and winter, we would ice skate at the city ice rinks and watch the Colts play. They were an amazing football team back when the players actually tackled their opposing teams. In the summer, the sidewalks would be mobbed with people in dress suits and tennis shoes. I never tired of the spectacle of people's feet passing by the high windows of the basement Starbucks I worked in at the time. I moved to California with your grandmother just a few months before the meteor hit. I lost a lot of good friends in that incident. I wish it was still here so you could see it. Now it's just a dark spot on a topographical map."

Grandfather lapsed into silence, creating an odd sense of distance between us. I put my forehead back on the window and watched the chain link fence and tall yellow grasses go by. An occasional tree, its scrawny trunk and bare branches, would break up the monotony. It had been the same view for at least the last 10 minutes. My eyes wandered past the fence and grasses to a dingy area which wasn't quite grey or brown or black. Just dirty and desolate. Grandfather's words poked at me. Were those really the shapes of a society wiped out by a meteor?

*** Daily Writing Practice ***


I listened to the fan hum while my forehead pressed firmly against the cool surface of the microwave door. The hum was comforting, quieting, promising. Tears slid down my cheek and into the crevice between my nose and cheek before falling to my lips and then onto the black coating of the burner's crossbars. With any luck, I'd join my husband soon.

*** One Word ***

Dear Chocolate

Dear Chocolate,

I've been thinking about you a lot lately, more than at any other point since we met all those years ago. Do you remember that first meeting? It was late at night and I had just returned home after a grueling night of walking around knocking on doors. My father always complained about having to go door to door in order to put food on the table. He never liked it. For the first time, I understood some of his frustration. I'd collected enough food for a long time, but my feet hurt, my arm was sore from lugging the food through all those doors, and my nose was red from the cold.

Then my parents told me that I should taste the fruit of my labor. I was sure that meant I'd be getting an apple for snack, but they put all the food on the table and told me to choose. I was in awe at all the color and shapes spread before me. Somehow, you were pushed aside, your drab wrapping and flat shape easy to overlook. But I didn't overlook you. It took time, but I found you and immediately knew we would have a wonderful friendship for years to come. We've shared smiles and laughter, tears and toils. No matter what the cause, I could always turn to you. You were always sweet and I have savored our relationship!

That is why this is so hard to say. But it must be said. Our relationship has moved well beyond the bounds of healthy. We can no longer maintain the close relationship that we've had for as long as I can remember. As sad a day as this is, it is in my best interest. My dear friend, it is over. You will be dearly missed, but the dream of that itsy bitsy yellow polka-dot bikini will never be a reality as long as you are around.



*** One Minute Writer ***

Wednesday, October 20, 2010


I was really going to have to think about how to get people to understand the little boy under the red stain material with the red tinsel taped on to it was a hairy red ghost.

"Well, what do you think?" he asked. I couldn't see his face under the material, but I could hear the pride in his voice.

"I don't know what to say other than wow." I hoped I sounded positively awestruck.

*** One Word ***


Her deep mahogany body and delicate curves set my heart aflutter. Slowly, I let my eyes take in her every grace and then my hands followed where my eyes had roamed. I hadn't lusted after anything, or for that matter anyone, like this in a long time. Rekindling these emotions made me feel alive and daring. I knew she'd have a price and I probably couldn't afford her, but I didn't care how foolish I would look. "Excuse me sir," I asked the salesman walking by, "How much for this lovely table?"

*** One Word ***

Monday, October 18, 2010

Riders on the Storm

The three men crammed into the Volvo, their rag-tag equipment scattered over their laps,across the seat, and on the floor. "Where to?" John said, his blonde hair slicked back and face still scruffy from the early morning wake-up call.

Mark slammed the passenger door, the only way it would close securely. His words slipped over his blue plaid clad shoulder, "Head North on 51. I think the Barneveld area is our best bet."

John put the car in gear and it lurched forward. Little care was taken in looking for pedestrians or other drivers. No one was likely to be out at 4 am on the small college campus. As the wheels screeched around the corner, Sam finally spoke up. "We've got about 20 minutes before the storm cell passes." His speech was garbled from lack of sleep and because of the pencil he had clenched between his teeth. It was the most logical place to put it. He needed one hand to hold the earphones tight to his head in order to monitor the weather reports and the other to finish zipping and buttoning the pants he'd thrown on only minutes before.

As they drove around the gravel farm roads, Mark gave directions and Sam grunted his approval or disapproval. To the occasional farmer checking the barn and root cellar doors, the boys looked like they were drunk the way the car swerved across the road and raced back and froth. Finally, Sam signaled they should stop near a deep drain ditch. They clambered out and rapidly set up their equipment. A camera on a reinforced tripod, a hand held video camera was ducktaped to Mark's hand, a wind speed indicator, etc. And then they sat on the hood, adrenaline and anticipation causing their hearts to pump and hands to shake.

Wildly, their eyes searched the horizon for any sign that it would be their lucky day. The dark skies laid low. Clouds seemed to drop and then rise again. Humidity lay thick in the air while cool breezes tried to push it aside. Sam suddenly nudged Mark and then slid off the hood and ran the three feet to the wind indicator to flip it on. John alert to the movement moved to the camera and twisted it to the three o'clock position just in time to see the clouds flow down as if a man-made waterfall had been constructed just over the tree line. He captured stills of the eerie green sky as Mark scanned the horizon showing how turbulent the skies had become.

Slowly the funnel cloud wagged its tail, pushing it lower and lower to the ground until it touched the ground. "Well men, I believe we have a killer on the road. Yeah! Our thesis is made."

*** Daily Writing Practice ***

Saturday, October 16, 2010


The chill wind ruffled his hair and swayed the flowers gently in their beds. "Help me Mama," he said, nervously standing before the long black tube. Carefully, I covered an eye and instructed him to look without touching. His smile and excitement grew as I quietly explained that he was looking at Jupiter and four of it's moons, a sight most people would never see.

*** One Word ***


I walked into the kitchen, the stones cold under my feet and the smell of baking bread filling my nostrils. I was famished after such a long ride. Rarely did I have the luxury to leave the homestead and ride as far into the country as I had that afternoon. Setting my riding gear down at the door, I walked deeper in the room and felt a chill rise up my body. It was drafty. I guessed young Alexander had left the door to the stable yard open again

"Castle, watch out!" My husband was downstairs watching TV. Nothing like being woken from a daydream by today's technology.

*** One Minute Writer ***


Johnathan sat on the ground, the book open in his lap, pondering the text he had read over and over that day. Scuffling feet drew his attention to where two boys stood across the street. The smaller of the boys stomped his foot while the bigger boy pretended to cower in fear; a sweet game often played out between siblings. Yes, Johnathan thought, that's what they meant by the older brother playing at being a yellow-belly.

*** Daily Writing Practice ***

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Office (Part 4)

Hidden behind the plants in her cozy corner, the butterfly-chasing girl peeked at me. Her body posed just as mine sat still in a rocker. A deck of cards sat silently next to her on a TV dinner tray while she observed my anxieties. Quietly she began to rock.

Laurenn came into the room carrying two glasses. She smiled as she handed the glass of water to me and then curled up in the winged back chair. She reminded me of a child’s princess doll placed haphazardly on a play throne while the child ran for cookies. Taking a sip of my drink and placing it squarely on the coaster, I returned her smile. We looked at each other for what seemed too long. I crossed my legs, still expecting Laurenn to speak. She didn’t and I began to think I had wasted my time and money.

“You haven’t wasted your time, Julia. I presume you came here to find out what’s wrong?” I sat up, my eyes wide open. Again, she laughed her deep laugh. “Everyone comes here believing something is wrong with themselves, with a loved one, with the world. Some are wrong, some are right. Everyone gets answers, but they are rarely what they expect them to be.”

I gulped in some fresh air, while she sipped her tea, and waited for her to give me my answer. I’d been waiting for an answer for years. “It can take time though. The answer doesn’t always come to me right away.”

“But mine? Do you have my answer?” My heart fluttered as if cards were being flipped and the air seemed to cool around me. I found myself perched at the edge of the chaise, desperation having pushed me to totter precariously on the edge. Laurenn continued to sit comfortably in the chair, the angles of her face highlighted by the sunlight that had been misplaced when she sat down.

Her eyes wandered to the corners of the room. They rested on the plants just behind me. Looking back at me, she said “Minutes are worth more than money. Spend them wisely.”

*** The previous 'pages' can be linked to under June as Office, part 1, part 2, and part 3 ***

Sunday, October 10, 2010


We walked down the well trodden path, hand-in-hand, silent, to the sandy coastline where the earth meets the water. The vast expanse of blue spread before us. It was humbling, the two of us so small in such a large open space, alone. As the first rays of sunlight touched the horizon, Dennis dropped to one knee and I held my breath in happy anticipation.

*** One Word ***

Saturday, October 9, 2010

The Border

The ad played over and over again, tempting me to follow through and "run to the border". It wouldn't be the first time I caved, but I knew that I would leave feeling bloated and still unsatisfied. What was it about the ad, the freedom it promised in whispered undertones, that drew me in so easily even after so much experience told me to quickly head in the other direction? Taco Bell was simply never going to live up to the whispered promise.

*** Daily Writing Practice ***

Friday, October 8, 2010


I stood outside the door and rapped three times and then two more times, and finally, one last short rap. Knock-knock-knock, knock-knock, knock. I waited and nothing happened. Just as I raised my fist to try gaining entrance by reversing the order, an eye ball in the crack of the door. "What's the secret password?" my best pal Mikey asked.

"I brought a present!" I lifted the box wrapped in light blue paper with airplanes pulling Happy Birthday banners. Mikey's eye disappeared and the door swung open.

*** One Minute Writer ***

Thursday, October 7, 2010


I sat in math class scrunched down in the desk, my arms pulled tightly against my sides and my eyes diverted to the numbers littered across the worksheet. Quietly I read the numbers littered across the page and pretended to understand. Raising my hand to ask for help would be out of the question. Taking up less physical space meant that my presence would be noticed that much less.

Mr. Lindon called my name. I looked up, alarmed by the attention he inadvertently cast on me, and stumbled through giving a cohesive answer. "Correct," he said, "if we were on that question. Try number 13, not number 3." I heard Leslie whisper something behind me, probably to Frank. I took a deep breath and tried to focus on number 13. Then came the giggles, slowly spreading around the room.

I felt my eyes become moist. Shakily I started to answer number 13. Mr. Lindon interrupted to tell the class to quiet down. I began again. "The hypotenuse of the triangle would be...." I stopped cold. The whole class was laughing without restraint. Leslie had blurted something out and I was pretending not hear it, just as Mr. Lindon was doing.

It wasn't true. I knew that, but knowing the truth didn't make me feel any better. The truth was much darker and scarier. How could I possibly explain to them that last night I'd sat behind my bedroom door distracting my sisters from crying while listening to my mother begging for mercy from the beating? How could I tell them that the water had been shut off for three weeks and my aunt only allowed us to shower at her house on the weekends when my father would disappear? That it was unlikely it would be turned back on in the foreseeable future? How could the teachers not notice that things were terribly wrong even though I managed to get good grades? School was suppose to be my escape from the poverty and abuse, not an unhappy addition.

*** Daily Writing Practice ***

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Campfire Memory

Sitting on the deck, the soft glow of rope lights slipping around the curves of their chubby thighs, while watching the moon rise slightly higher in the sky. It is silent other than the occasional crunching of the graham cracker crusts of S'mores and the snap of the fire. I pull my coat a lighter tighter in the chill breeze while sliding closer to the flames. I'm grateful to be able to relive this memory on cool evenings.

*** One Minute Writer ***

Tuesday, October 5, 2010


I flipped the pages of the book. The black words, blue boxes, and orange frames flew past me. First forward.... and then backward. I knew the answer was there. I just didn't know on which of the 300 pages I should be looking on.

Today, I hate the Spanish language.

*** Daily Writing Practice ***

Monday, October 4, 2010

Working Vacation

Lorraine needed a vacation. She was physically and emotionally exhausted and frequently on the verge of tears. No matter how frustrated or disappointed she felt though, she kept her lips curved up in a pleasant smile and continued on. Anything less would have shown ingratitude, rudeness, and other such negative traits.

So she continued, watching the days get ticked off the calendar one by one. On the last day of the week, she breathed a great sigh of relief. Finally, it had arrived and in no time at all, her husband, two children, in-laws, and their three children would pack up and leave what the other's referred to as a little piece of heaven to head home.

Just the sound of the word home made her giddy. She'd suddenly have charge of only her children. She'd have access to transportation and would be able to enforce the rules of her home without hesitation or trepidation. She thought she smelled the scent of freshly baked chocolate chip cookies and knew she would soon be on vacation from what was suppose to be her vacation. Home felt like heaven.

*** Daily Writing Practice ***

Sunday, October 3, 2010


"Read me a story, mommy, read me a story!"

"Okay, what kind of tale do you want?"

"How many can I have?"

"It's late so just one."

"Ummmmmm..... how about a............. kitty tail."

*** One Word ***

Saturday, October 2, 2010


The sun shone brightly above and a chill wind raced impishly through the meeting of the eight brothers and sisters of marked time. Seven of them had chosen names for their domains (and carefully etched them onto the time continuum map). But the last sister sat by, uninterested in work, dreaming of play. She could not be roused to interest by the discussions around the table. The twins of Two's Day jested that her land should be called Sat Her Day in recognition of her contribution. And so it came to be known as a time for play and daydreaming.

**** One Minute Writer ***


I watched him, the intensity of the moment etching heavy lines on his tan face. He stepped forward focused, unable to hear the deepening silence that was surrounding him. Our small community-- defined by the tall fences, smell of hotdogs and beer, and the blinding sunshine-- held it's breath in anticipation of success or failure, the line between the two being so thin. The CRACK echoed across the field and over the stands; on its heels was a thunderous roar of gratitude as the same tan faced man leisurely rounded the baseball diamond.

*** Daily Writing Practice***

Friday, October 1, 2010


I stared into the flickering flame of the electric candle and watched the small light bounce off the fabric of the fake pink rose next to it. 'How did I get talked into this?' I wondered. I hated interviewing! Reaching up, I smoothed back a lock of hair that had fallen from my ponytail holder and smiled sarcastically at my friend down the way.

He sat down across from me. The table separating us was narrow and he kicked my leg while trying to settle himself. His apology was quick, but I found myself drawn in by the quicker blushing of his young face. His smooth skin, dark hair and deep eyes. His clean hands and prominent chest muscles.

Picking up the small clipboard, I checked the box "will see again" next to the name that matched his badge. Maybe speed dating wouldn't be so bad.

*** One Minute Writer ***