Monday, January 31, 2011

In The Tropics

Rick sat underneath the leafy canopy, his chest laboring to function in the heavy moist air. He'd wrapped a bandanna over his nose, but it was of no use. The stench of decaying fauna had found its way in causing his stomach to lurch steadily. Wiping away the sweat that continuously beaded on his forehead, he listened intently to the approaching low growl. It wouldn't be much longer before the source of that unsettling noise would be upon him.

Taking his hand from his forehead, he felt for the familiar cool metal of his gun's barrel. It was there next to him, vines twisted around it and cockroaches scuttling over the length of it's body. He heard them scatter as he stroked the barrel. The low growl erupted again and he squeezed the gun, ready to pick it up at the first sign of imminent danger. A bird screeched in the distance. A moment later, he saw a large winged shadow fly over him. He followed the path backwards and determined that was where the growl must have originated from.

Pushing his body further into the tree, he checked the extra clip on his belt. It was full. He wondered if they were wet from condensation, the sweat that had soaked his clothes, or if the seals had broken down and water had entered the day before when he had stumbled into the river. The growl broke his thoughts, captivating his attention and taking over his mind. Rick recognized that it was closer, more intimidating, much larger than he thought was possible.

Something fell on his shoulder. He pulled away out of instinct, loosing his grip on the gun. Whatever it was brushed his neck next and then his head followed closely by the back of his hand. He reached for his neck as it rolled in a jagged line down to his collar. He looked at his hand and caught his first glimpse of the danger. It confused him. Before he could process what was happening, the largest explosion he'd ever heard in his life filled his ears. In less than two seconds he was soaked to the skin.

He laughed heartily for the first time in two days as the cool rain drenched the ground and pounded against the leaves. The growl came again, this time accompanied by bright lights. His whoops were drowned out by the continued downpour. The only witness to the Rick's maniacal relief was the black panther that watched him from the branches above hungrily.

*** Daily Writing Practice ***

Sunday, January 30, 2011

Theme Song Based on Your Current Profession

"Dirty Deeds Done Dirt Cheap" by AC/DC

I know what you're thinking. It's not that kind of profession. I'm a stay at home mom for Godsake!

*** One Minute Writer ***

The Island

The anger, frustration, and sadness of her life mixed in with the ink as she began scrawling the words that would tell the story of her life:

"It began on the Big Island. I was merely a child; not old enough for preschool, yet too old to be called an infant. Barely a toddler. My parents walked into the cave much like they had stepped into parenthood. Blindly and with little thought of their actions. They toured, keeping me in an unsteady tow behind them. The tour guide spoke about stalagmites and stalactites. Or I assume he did. What else would one speak about on a cave tour? I wandered, the oils from my fingers killing the rocks that I touched. I wasn't concerned. They should have been.

We went on like this from crowded space to crowded space until I fell. I wanted to cry out, but the fall was long and the air seemed to float from my body to the top of the whole. I was colder and damper than I had been only moments ago. And now, I was without my parents. It was this realization, that at my young and tender age I had already lost the adults most people call parents. Not physically, but emotionally and mentally, that finally forced sound from my body. I screamed and cried, the grief over taking me.

I heard startled voices and shuffling feet. I cried harder. Please, I begged, someone save me from my own future. Please! Something large and dark fell down next to me. It scooped me up and brought me close. I could smell its rancid breath, feel it's hands wrap around the circumference of my body more than once. It pushed me higher and higher into the air as I continued to scream about my misfortunes. Having reached a plateau, I opened my eyes and looked to see if it was monster or creature that had lifted me so high.

A light shone down, casting the shadow of my body down and I saw him. My father stood below me, my slight body at the top of his reach as he tried unsuccessfully to hand me up. It was the two of us stuck in the hole. It would be the two of us repeating this pattern for the next 35 years of my life. The two of us stuck together in dark times, damp times, cool times. Always together. Him pushing me away from him and me struggling to move even further away.

He tried climbing the walls, but we only tumbled down again. We were not meant to climb out together. A few more failed attempts and he threw me. I flew away from him, excited by the freedom. Once, twice, thrice and some other strong, reassuring hands caught me. I was free. He continued to struggle, clawing and grabbing at the sheer sides of a hole he had gotten himself into. I watched without pity, but with hope and prayer.

Finally, he pulled himself out. He was more bruised than I. His clothes were filthier. He had been beaten. My mother ran to the both of us. She held me close for a moment before going back to him. I was fine and he was broken. This too would follow me throughout my life.

It was a lesson I was far too young to understand. A telling of what my life would be like for a number of years to come. A lesson I couldn't grasp then or when I fell out of the car and rolled down a gravel, but gentle slope of a volcano or stepped into a sinkhole in the ocean or twisted, twined, and chewed the uncovered ends of electric cords. Opportunities to escape and a stubbornness that made me fight through them. A stubbornness that also shaped who I was and who I am now."

She set the pen down, wanting to write more but knowing that sleep was approaching.

*** Daily Writing Practice ***

Friday, January 28, 2011

Whole or Hole

Her hand shook so hard she wasn't sure she could follow the directions. Slowly she slid it down, gently probing the rough denim. She squeezed her eyes shut and grunted when she felt the sticky wetness of her own blood. Tears flowed from under her closed lashes. Even more slowly her hand continued moving until she'd found where the bullet had entered.

"I've found it," she said into the phone, her voice cracking.

"Good job Jeanie," a strange voice echoed back at her. "I need you to put pressure on it. Make sure your hand is directly over the hole. Help is on the way."

Desperate to see her son again, she did as she was told. She pushed down and felt the blood seep between her fingers. Her voice cried out in the dark night, the pain almost more than she could bare. Squeezing her eyes tighter, she thought of her son sleeping in his crib. She saw his chest rising and falling, a steady rhythm that she imitated.

"Jeanie, your doing great. Just another minute or two. Jeanie? Are you still with me?" The voice sounded alarmed.

Jeanie took a deep breath and responded, "I'm here. I'm here."

"Good. I'm going to stay on the line with you, but is there anything else I can do?"

She was about to say no whens he thought of her son again. "Yes!" she called out. "Can you call my husband and tell him to buy a gallon of whole milk for Jo-jo?"

*** One Minute Writer ***

The Big Freeze

I sat staring in the mirror as she pulled first a brush and then her gloved hands through my hair. The bright purple dye spread evenly. I wondered how something so bright and vivid in color would turn out to be a soft red in my hair. I only half heard her start a conversation. My eyes flicked up to see her face in the reflection. She chatted amicably, but never took her eyes from my hair. If she had, she would have seen the coolness on my face.

"So anyway, this guy that I saw just before you starts telling me all about his girlfriend. He was so jovial about it! That's the kicker, you know what I mean? He is sitting in the chair talking about his girlfriend while twisting his wedding ring."

She paused. "Hold on a second Melinda. I need to get a little more color."

I watched her walk away and felt ice form at the base of my neck, extending down my spine. I was staring in the mirror when she returned.

She picked up another section of my hair and began painting a mahogany color on it. When it was rinsed out and dried, it would be a beautiful deep brown color that would look softer next to the more vibrant red.

"I mean, Melinda, you're married. What would you do if you found out your husband was cheating on you? Oh my God, you'd kill him wouldn't you? I mean who wouldn't? I just can't imagine."

She prattled on another few minutes before asking me if I wanted something to drink and then disappearing for 20 minutes. I appreciated the quiet time. There were so many things I needed to think about.

An hour later I was rinsed, dried, and styled. "What do you think? Do you like the color?" she asked.

Dryly, I said, "It's beautiful." I looked straight ahead.

"Okay. You don't sound very pleased. What do you want me to change?" She sounded concerned. A client of hers was leaving unhappy. Even the 'new talent' would offer to make amends and then involve a more senior stylist in repairing the damage. But there was nothing she could do to repair it.

I stood up hastily. Looking her dead in the eyes I responded with a cold so deep that she froze in her tracks. "Next time you want to gossip about another of your clients, make sure the one your telling isn't married to the one you are talking about."

*** Daily Writing Practice ***

Monday, January 24, 2011

It saddens me that I don't have the energy to write as of late. January was suppose to be my come back month, but it seems to be slipping away more than December did. In December, I gave myself permission to slack off, to not hold myself accountable for letting my writing muscles apathy, to basically take it easy and rejuvenate. There were so many things to do. Santa Claus was coming, my eldest was turning 6, travel plans to ensure extended family still felt valued, and so on. It all took up my days and nights.

So what is my excuse this month? Life happens just like it has every month. No, Santa is not making a return trip. Instead, I had my nephews for a week and the wrapping up of a couple of holiday parties. I started a class with the Anti-Christ of Education. (She is actually a very good teacher, but the amount of work is quite overwhelming. By writing this, I am actively avoiding working on the presentation that is expected in a few days.)   And what else? Two side writing projects (which I really need to get in the mail) and a photography swap due at the end of this week. My usual, every day responsibilities. It's a handful, certainly, but not significantly more than I typically have.

I have a new vision. February will be my Take Back the Reins month. I'll be settled into the patterns of homework. I'll have renewed my driver's license, bought groceries, filed my taxes, attended my son's school program, and regained control of the clutter monsters sitting on my counters. I won't have any more excuses. I won't!

Oh shoot. I see now that my daughter has her conferences scheduled in February and there is that concert to go to. Plus, the owner's of the preschool are asking for an emergency board session. That reminds me that I have to staff the Open House and find volunteers for........

*** Daily Writing Practice ***

Sunday, January 23, 2011

In The Donut Shop

Sitting at the bar disappointed with the day-old-donut taste of the glazed Dunkin Donut on my plate, I watched out the window. The little shop itself sat half under ground and so I only saw shoes, calves, and hems. I smiled as a pair of zebra print shoes with a bright red three inch heel clicked by.  I could always recognize Sylvia by her sexy and completely inappropriate shoes on the Chicago streets.

*** Daily Writing Practice ***

Friday, January 21, 2011


I sat in the little bistro sipping my Peppermint Mocha Latte. Outside, the snow was falling thick and wet on the sidewalks, awnings, and street. Three little boys burst through one of the entry doors of the brown stone apartment building across the street. They began pushing snow into piles with what appeared to be shovels. Long wooden sticks, rounded at the top and sanded to a smooth finish, were pushed into bright red, orange, and green scoops.

I reached down and picked up the Palm Recorder I brought with me. Holding it firmly in my palm, I began transmitting my observations. The older boy was certainly in charge. I watched as he stood on top of a particularly high snow bank and pointed to the eventual locations of the snow piles. The youngest boy was diligent. No matter the directions, he worked until the task was completed and then asked for another. They were a good pairing. But it was the middle child that caught my attention.

He stood quietly off to the side observing the other two. After a few minutes, he would approach one boy or the other, his face close to theirs. I watched fog shaped words float between the two. Then the boy he was speaking to would walk away. I wondered what he would say to them. Nothing ever seemed to change. Almost nothing. Sometimes he would help shovel or stand on the snow bank, but otherwise he'd stand off to the side.

I continued to watch for another half an hour before the boys went back inside. Finishing my Latte, I put the palm recorder away and left a tip on the table. I walked through the Employee Only door and slid through the gateway.

*** Daily Writing Practice ***

Tuesday, January 18, 2011


Standing at bat, I can feel sweat sliding down my back and over my long forehead. I grip the bat tighter. I see Freddy, Mark, and Jo-Jo standing on base. They are waiting for that singular sound of wood and horsehide colliding. The ball flies past and there is a soft smack as it buries itself into a leather glove. Sports have never been my thing.

*** One Word ***

Today I Want To....

Today I want to make it through the day. I almost didn't yesterday. I had to trade part of my soul in for a bit more patience. I think the four of them, not much taller than I even if stacked on top of each other, are winning the battle for my sanity.

*** One Minute Writer ***

Saturday, January 15, 2011

The Hotel

I felt sore, the bed being harder than I preferred, but alive. Gloriously alive for the first time in many years! Stretching until my toes were caught by the sheets and my fingertips brushed the headboard, I opened my eyes. It was still dark in the room. I had pulled the heavy curtains shut against the high moon and low noises in the late night hours. I didn't think about how they would easily hold out the sun. I smiled and rolled over.

The alarm clock read 9:30 a.m. I smiled and stretched out again. Sitting up just long enough to fluff the pillow, I burrowed back into the covers and fell asleep. Awaking again half an hour later, I finally climbed out of bed and grabbed the hotel guide. Continental breakfast was available for another half an hour.

I shrugged. I wouldn't make it to the bagels before they would be put away. I could grab something from the corner bakery on my way to the boat. Sighing, I gathered my stuff to get ready for the day. Walking into the bathroom, I smiled again. It would be another first in many years. An uninterrupted shower.

Girls weekend away was going to have to happen far more frequently.

*** Daily Writing Practice ***

Motivation: Haiku

The work is quite hard,
Yet I do it with a smile.
Why not? It pays well.


It only takes one
Rotten apple to spoil
my fun. I found it.

*** Daily Writing Practice ***

Dinner Guests

Faith sat prim and proper, her white blonde hair falling against her pale pink sweater. John sat at the edge of his chair, listening to every set of footsteps that came down the hall. They'd been over for dinner when Mary spilled her water during appetizers. It was in the waiting room that John spilled his secret: the baby was his.

*** Daily Writing Practice ***

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Christmas 1978

I’m exhausted. Mother and father have been fighting non-stop since he got back home. The coffee table is broken and mom had to glue the angle back together that had been on the top of the tree. Mom can’t stop crying. At least, that is what she does when he leaves for the bar or for Kaneohe, the base that the Marines operate out of and the only two places he says he ever goes. When he is home, she is quiet and serene. They spend a lot of time in their room, with the door locked. I chase after Jenny.

She’s learning how to run. I thought it would be fun during the summer. We could play tag and hide-and-seek and all kinds of games. Now, I just wish she would slow down. It’s hard to keep up with her. She’s always into something. Mom says it’s because she is going to be two in the Spring. I don’t really care why. I just want to be able to play without worrying about what she might break or take from me.
Last night they were really loud. I thought Santa might be too scared to come to our house, but mom said he would stop by. He just might be a little late. The sun is coming in the windows now and the house is quiet. Jenny is still sleeping next to me. I don’t dare get up. If I do, I might wake her up. I lay quietly.
I hear my mom get up. I can hear her shuffle down the hall and the usual clanging sounds of coffee being made. My dad’s heavy footsteps follow hers a few minutes later. If they are talking, I can’t hear what they are saying. I am enjoying the peace so much that I don’t realize I have drifted off to sleep until something brushes my arm. My mom is sitting on the bed next to me. Jenny is in her arms. I blink a few times, the light too strong for my eyes.

“Hey,” she says and strokes my cheek. “We have a very special surprise for you.”
“Did Santa come? Did he bring me a bike?” I ask suddenly feeling giddy.
She smiles. Instead of feeling pleasure from it, I feel saddened. “He did come sweetie. He left us a note that said all of our presents are at our new house and we have to go there to get them so you need to get up and put on your warmest clothes so we can go.” She smiled again and then stood up and took Jenny to get dressed.

When I walked into the living room, still in my pajamas, it was full of boxes. Not the wrapped kind. Just brown boxes with black writing sitting on the frayed orange couch that we had always had. The Christmas tree was missing. The only thing still out that could have been packed was the coffee pot, two coffee cups, and a box of Cheerios. I couldn’t comprehend why Santa took all of our stuff. I began to cry.
“Dry your tears. You sound just like your mother.” My father was standing in the doorway. He wore a do-rag and a tattered military jacket. A cigarette shook between his lips. I watched as he grabbed three boxes and disappeared back through the doorway. He came back in a few minutes later. I had dried my tears, but was still pouting. “You know, a bird could shit on that lip of yours. Tell your mother that I’m going to finish loading these boxes and run them to the base. When I get back, you’d all better be ready to go.” For emphasis, he’d taken the cigarette out of his mouth and pointed two fingers directly at my chest indicating who had better be ready to go. Grabbing more boxes he disappeared again.

The next two hours were a whirlwind of activity. I rebelled, fighting against the sudden changes. My mother rallied against me in my father’s absence and only shrugged her shoulders at me in his presence. Jenny just ran around singing Christmas songs.

We boarded a plane late in the afternoon. Mom sat between us two girls. Dad took a different plane to wherever we were going. Overwhelmed, I went to sleep. I awoke when the plane touched down. We repeated the process again. From one plane to the next until we finally reached our destination. The warmth of Hawaii was far, far behind me and the crisp winter weather of Michigan stood at the door of the plane.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Christmas 1977

Sunshine finds its way around the ratty fabric of the curtain. Opening my eyes, I see my sister sleeping across the room. She looks like I feel most days. A prisoner behind bars. Only, her bars are a shiny white and can slide out of the way at my mother’s will. Mine are more metaphorical. I hold my breath and listen for the sound of footsteps or the percolating of coffee. Hearing nothing, I assume my parents are not yet up.
My father just came home a few days ago. Things have been relatively fine. He’s smiled more than I have seen him in the past, but I still feel uncertain around him. I don’t tell anyone, but I am glad that this is just a short visit. He’ll be back on the big airplane soon. I pretend to be sad when they remind me of this, but inside I do a little happy dance.

Slowly, I get out of bed. When it was just mom, Jenny, and me, I would rush into her room and give her hugs. When my father is home, that affection is not well received. I was reminded of this when I burst through the door the other day. I expected a spanking, but all he did was yell and push me from the room. I tried to open the door again, but the handle wouldn’t turn. Then I heard Jenny start to cry and I ran to comfort her instead.
We play peek-a-boo with her blanket. She likes the game. I throw it over her head and duck down. She pulls it off her face and throws it over the side of the crib. I pop back up and she giggles and claps. She just learned to clap last week. She reminds me of the Monk Seals that swim up to the rocky ledges on the shore. Their bodies look doughy and wet. They bark and clap at each other, their heads wobbling unsteadily on their raised bodies. It always makes me laugh and so I laugh at Jenny, my sister, the monk seal in the small island of her crib.

We play like this until my tummy hurts from hunger. Jenny has become fussy and it takes more and more effort to keep her from becoming upset. Her diaper is starting to smell too. Already there are little gray spots on her sheet. Finally, my mother comes into our room. Her robe is wrapped tightly around her thin waist and a cigarette dangles at the edge of her lips. Her long fingers reach up and take it up. “Hi girls! Guess what? Santa Claus was here? Do you want to go see what he brought?”

I rush out of the room leaving Jenny behind. In the living room, several bright packages sit beneath the little plastic Christmas tree. The lights are on, but I can hardly tell. The sun is high enough in the sky that the colors are washed out. Even the white walls look blurry. On my knees, I touch the different presents gently. I am dying to know what is inside. This is how my mother finds me when she comes into the room. Jenny is bouncing in her arms, oblivious to the treasures under the tree. She is gnawing at her fist.

Mother makes us a bowl of cereal and pours me a glass of milk. I eat rapidly, hoping we can open our gifts after breakfast. I ramble at jenny non-stop. I don’t realize that my father has come in the room and has overheard my wishes. “Jesus Christ!” he says loudly. “Don’t you ever shut the fuck up?” His eyes squeeze shut and his teeth clench. I can see them through his parted lips. I stop talking immediately. Turning to face him, I knock my bowl on the floor. Milk spills across my legs. Cereal splatters on the carpet. My father turns toward the door. He punches the door frame and walks out. The door slams.

I see his profile as he passes the window. His head hangs low and is shaking back and forth. He is muttering about something. And then he disappears.

I look to my mother for comfort. Jenny starts to babble again. She throws her bottle on the floor thinking it is a game. It hits my mother in the back. She whips around smearing cereal across her robe, the dishcloth dirty with it. “Look what you’ve done now!” Her face is twisted in anger. Tears spring to my eyes and I lower my head in shame. I’m not sure what I have done, but it must have been pretty bad. Excusing myself, I go to my room and lay on my bed until my muscles are sore.

My father doesn’t come home that day, or the next. We don’t open gifts until he comes home.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Christmas 1975

I haven’t quite learned how to move myself like my parents do. I am stuck on the floor, using all my limbs to navigate from one area to another. But I am fast. I’ve seen my mother every day for the last year, but my father is a new treasure to me. He’s quiet, restrained, and glum. He is also quick to anger. From listening to conversations, I’ve gathered that he has been away defending our freedom. I also hear others say that this is why he is so angry. I don’t know what any of that really means other than he was an abstract thing until about two months ago.

We are sitting near each other, he on the orange flowered couch smoking something and me on the floor half a foot from his feet. I am largely ignoring him. It’s not purposeful, but the crinkling sounds of wrapping paper are far more joyous than my father. My mother is in another room. I’m not sure which one, but I smell something wonderful in the air and assuming she is cooking. Grabbing another fist fall of paper, I smack it against the low coffee table. The ringing of the glass and crinkling of the paper create the most wonderful sound I have ever heard. I shriek with joy and smash down the paper on the glass again. It’s still wonderful and I shriek again.

My shrieks change from joy to alarm. Something heavy has plunged into my side, shoving me over. My skin stings and my side aches where the thing hit. I hear frantic noises on the other side of the room as I lay still and scream. My father’s voice grows loud very quickly. I swallow my cries, unsure of my safety. His voice raising like it is has always been a sign of harm to come. Quickly, I roll to my stomach and push myself up to my knees. A sharp pain shoots through my elbow I cry out, but it is drowns in my mother’s screams.
Turning my head, I see her body move quickly backwards. She hits the wall hard. Pictures fall to the ground and she slides down slowly, tears covering her face. A small stream of something red spills from her mouth. She looks at me for a second and then buries her hands in her face. I look rapidly for my father, the only one left to help either of us. All I see of him is a leg and his foot. They retreat from view. The front door slams and everything is quiet.

Exhausted, I lay down and fall asleep. I wake in my crib. It is dark, but warm. I close my eyes and go back to sleep.

*** Still Swap-bot. Only a few more to go.***

Christmas 1974

I am no longer in heaven and not quite on Earth this year. I am in between, folded amongst the warm flesh of my mother. I have fingers and toes, a straight spine, a mind growing exponentially each day. My eyes are closed, unable to see anything but black even when they are open. I’m heavy too. Fat pushes at my skin, insulates me from the noises. I can’t recognize them as happy or sad. Just muffled. Life is close. I flip excitedly knowing that the day will soon come that I can present myself and see those two joyous faces again.

*** More for swap-bot ***

Monday, January 10, 2011

Christmas 1973

I sat and watched her, the woman that would eventually become my mother, as she opened her first gift that Christmas morning. She was beautiful. Her brown hair shimmered in the lights of the tree. Her skin glowed with excitement and anticipation. Her hands were long and slender as they tore at the candy-cane paper. I smiled, happy to join this little scene at some point in the future. I traced my lips. It matched her smile. I would have a smile like hers. My teeth would be whiter. I never wanted to be a smoker, something she was very good at and avid about. Not that I could actually predict how my life would really be once I was there. I would only have this level of consciousness while I remained in heaven. For now, I was allowed to watch. It wasn’t my turn yet.

As the thought floated through the universe of my mind, my eyes fell on her stomach. The Christmas before it had been flat. Taut. Now, it was swollen. A large round tomb carrying what would be my eldest sister. In heaven, we had been acquaintances. On Earth, we would be sisters. We would share happy moments like the one I was witnessing.

I watched her all day; from before she woke until she fell into a deep sleep. But not just her, I watched my father as well. It was God’s Christmas gift to those of us who had not yet fulfilled their own destiny. A 24 hour window into the life we would eventually lead wrapped up in his love and well-being toward us. It was an opportunity to prepare for what would come without the knowledge of how life could twist and turn into something virtually unrecognizable.

Unrecognizable described my father. He was jolly, but something in him was deeply unsettled. It wasn’t obvious. It was the little things that lead me to believe that. It was the soft kiss on my mother’s cheek before he disappeared into the woods behind the house. His exhales, like little clouds in the cold air, were brittle and discolored by chemicals. There were warm embraces followed by him putting a brown bottle to his lips and greedily slurping the contents. Most importantly, it was the lack of affection once he emptied the bottle or ran out of the chemicals he pumped so freely into his body.

Still, they looked happy with each other and just as happy about the little gift she carried in her uterus.

*** From a longer piece for swap-bot. I plan to post the rest over the next few days. I'm hoping this gives me the motivation to finish it before it's due date.***

Sunday, January 9, 2011


Slowly, he added another cup of sand. I held my breath and double checked that my fingers and toes were crossed. I'd cross my eyes if necessary. The bridge held as the little red bucket swung below it. The thirty second time frame passed and another cup of sand was added. I smiled. This officially meant that my bridge could support the most weight. Billy was not so happy.

*** One Word ***

Saturday, January 8, 2011


The concert would start in about an hour in the old theater across the street. It would be a small intimate affair, only 250 seats, that Joe would be attending with his new girlfriend. I raised my diet coke from my window seat at Penny's Diner as I saw them enter and muttered a quiet, "Kaboom", a private joke between Joe and I. The next morning the headlines would read Bomb Squad Expert Sets Off Bomb At Explosion Concert.

*** Daily Writing Practice ***


I pulled the monstrosity of lace and tulle over my head. It felt as if I were crawling through a rainforest. I hated it, even before it fell to my toes. As the young woman from the boutique laced me up, my future mother-in-law beamed. I smiled back knowing this would never be THE dress.  I would come back when she couldn't be with me and then, I'd find the dress that fit my dreams perfectly.

*** One Word ***


Tears well in my eyes as I watch breathlessly from a distance. Quietly, I pray that it will not end with yet another death. I dare not speak or plead. I am caught, of my own will, in the drama that continues to unfold before me. She raises a dagger in the air and continues to speak. "No, no..." I whisper, my hands flying to my mouth and tears falling freely. I watch as she shoves the dagger deep in her flesh and slumps backwards. Her chest rises and falls unsteadily and then ceases to move at all.

There is chaos as the police finally gain entrance. People are everywhere. Parents are crying and one man attempts to answer why. I am still holding my breath. Suddenly, I feel Johnathan's hand squeezing mine. I move my eyes from the scene and see his reassuring smile, but even his eyes are wet. I turn back to see men and woman standing silently. Only a mother's cry fills the air. 

And then we are all on our feet, applauding madly. I have never been to a play and Shakespeare was not a popular read in The Projects. The stage lights go off and I am already craving for more.

*** One Minute Writer ***

Wednesday, January 5, 2011


They said it couldn't be true, but I knew that truth was often stranger than fiction. So when Jordan popped up in town after a 23 year absence, during which time every one decided he had died in some distant rain forest or run off with some rich man's wife and would be hiding for the rest of his life, I felt vindicated. After all, I had witnessed his disappearance. His literal disappearance.

I still had questions though. For one, where did he go and how? And, now that he had returned, was he a friend or foe? Oh, and I also wanted to know why he didn't write like he had promised? I'd ask him tomorrow at Willie's Diner assuming he didn't disappear again.

*** One Word ***

School Project

I sat at my desk, holding my breath as I flipped through the pages in my hand. I stopped on the third page again. I loved the picture. It was of a kitchen: yellow curtains on the one window, blue counter tops and brown cupboards, a small breakfast table devoid of food but surrounded by two chairs, and a black and white blocked linoleum floor. I'd spent easily an hour on that particular illustration. In third grade, an hour was a long, long, long time. Mr. Williams stood over my desk. His hand was out. Reluctantly, I released my book: About A Dog.

One month later, I sat in the small gym turned auditorium and received my prize for Best Third Grade Story from the Young Authors Association. It was a huge moment in my young life and continues to be a very special memory.

*** One Minute Writer ***

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

"You know, there are better ways to phrase it!?" she said as she shied away from him.

"What do you mean?" There was no alarm in his voice. No teasing or mocking, but Ella knew Eric was bothered by what she had said. She had stopped him in his tracks.

"I mean... well, you could just be more romantic or even passionate about it. "Come on baby, let's go to the bedroom" was cute the first and second time, but not anymore."

Ella finished, the weight of the statement off her conscience and the new awkwardness settling on it.

*** Daily Writing Practice/ One Word ***

Monday, January 3, 2011


I hugged them to my chest. They had seen better days, but without them, I never would have. I pulled them away and looked at them. There once smooth curved tops were tattered. In one place, the soft brown leather had turned brittle and crumbled away. There was a tear half way up in one of the boots. It probably measured an inch and a half long. The heels were beaten, worn down by constant wear. A memory of rocking unsteadily as I walked home from a late night party swiftly went through my mind. One of the buckles was missing while the other that held on by a literal thread was tarnished and gritty. Sighing deeply, I blew out a small stream of air. It would be a big job, one that would need to be done quickly.

Quietly, I carried the boots into the garage, grabbing a sponge and bottle on the way. In the cold and dark of the large room, I began to repair them as best I could. It took a few weeks. Minutes stolen from other priorities and when I knew no one would notice, but finally they were completed. They were shorter, the tops not being salvageable, and the buckles were different. The leather was softer, cleaner, brighter. They weren't the same, but they were now capable of rescuing me once again.

I slid them on after dinner. The left heel still rocked slightly, causing a slightly different echo than the right when I walked. They fit my feet beautifully. It was obvious they hadn't forgotten me. Satisfied, happy really, I pulled on my old pea cot and picked up my over stuffed satchel. Never looking back, I walked from the large house and even larger demands. "Yep," I thought. "These boots are made for walking."

*** Daily Writing Practice ***

Sunday, January 2, 2011


He hoped his father wouldn't notice. Still, Alex didn't want to take any unnecessary chances so he slipped quietly into the room and sat on the couch pulling the large popcorn bucket in front of him. His father stood in the corner, his eyes glued to the TV, screaming obscenities and praises as he felt appropriate. Twenty-one football minutes later, half-time arrived. Alex put the popcorn bucket down and stood up. "What the hell are you wearing?" his father bellowed. Alex looked down, momentarily confused until he saw the green and yellow logo brazened across his chest. Oops!

*** One Word ***

Saturday, January 1, 2011


Tears welled in my eyes as I looked at the pale blue paint. I'd spent two months searching for a store that still could mix the color. Excitedly, I ordered three gallons of it. I had to make sure I had enough. The color was discontinued and it was unlikely I would be able to get more. It was worth the effort and wait. I fell completely in love with it even before it dried.

But now it was marred. Marred in a way that was beautiful in itself which left me in turmoil. Staring back at me, a bright red crooked smile on her face, was the image of my oldest daughter the way she saw herself. Mocha Brown pony tails stuck out both sides of her head. She wore a pink suit with rainbow striped tights. Her legs were as big as an elephants. I stood next to her. My hair was long and straight, the same Mocha Brown. I wore blue jeans and the sweater she had picked out for me for Christmas. My husband, her father stood next to me. She was holding her baby sister's hand. The baby's blonde hair stuck out wildly in every direction and just above the ovals that were her feet, a blanket was wrapped around her body up to her neck.

To the left was a tall white house with three windows, a door, and a Brick Red roof. On the other side was a swing set. Tufts of grass poked up anywhere a more permanent structure or people weren't positioned. The sky was a deep blue with bumpy white circles and black birds that looked more like lower case m's and a bright yellow sun that smiled down on the scene. Above each of our heads, in shaky Sunset Orange letters, our names were written: Me, Mom, Dad, and Baby.

I looked down at the known 'Me'. "Did you do this?" I asked her, pride and anger making my voice sound higher than usual.

"No mommy. I didn't do it," she responded, her ponytails swinging rapidly from side to side as she shook her head vehemently in denial.

"This isn't your hand writing?" I looked at her seriously. Mother's have a way of eliciting the truth with their eyes.

"No mommy, not me," she said looking directly into my eyes.

*** Daily Writing Practice ***