Category Archives: Flash NonFiction

NATIONAL POETRY MONTH: Day #27 – “In 1976”

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The Cuyahoga County Public Library system is sending out daily email prompts in honor of National Poetry month! The idea is to write a new poem each day based on that day’s prompt.

 

Library prompts and poems can be found here. Below is my poem based on today’s prompt.

 

#

“In 1976”

 

We took the bus,

Grandma and I,

to go on our day-long adventure.

The Florida sun beat down

as we waited for

the air-conditioned Paradise

known as the Broward County local.

Shaking back and forth,

the entire bus carriage moved

to the rhythm of those giant engines.

Pulling the cord as we neared our destination,

the bus slowed with a stupendous groan,

the metal beast stopped

to disgorge its passengers

at the Taft street shopping center,

the closest strip mall

to the only home I could remember

in my short seven years of life.

 

Stumbling from the vehicle’s metal jaw,

my grandmother and I

crossed the parking lot

to the mass of stores baking in the afternoon sunlight.

We ate lunch at the Walgreens’ diner.

It reminded me of the Fifties restaurants on tv;

I spun on one of the raised metal barstools

with its red vinyl cushion,

they bordered the formica counter

like a line of brightly colored mushrooms.

I had a Steakum sandwich,

which seemed terribly fancy to me

with its big bun, thin meat, melted cheese, and sauteed onions,

My drink – a chocolate thickshake

served in a tall fancy glass.

For dessert, not food

but a treat

(a fancy one)-

a bright-yellow toy lion

that amazingly came with its own bottle of perfume.

I wondered about big cats and their odor problems on the velt

the entire bumpy ride home,

clutching my prize,

smiling the entire time.

My grandmother was tired by the time we got back,

a day spent walking,

alternately sweating in the sun

and freezing indoors,

but I was elated,

forever grateful,

and

on top of the world.

 

*image courtesy of BigFoto.com

 

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Filed under Flash NonFiction, poems

NATIONAL POETRY MONTH: Day #25 – “Mom”

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The Cuyahoga County Public Library system is sending out daily email prompts in honor of National Poetry month! The idea is to write a new poem each day based on that day’s prompt.

Library prompts and poems can be found here. Below is my poem based on today’s prompt.

 

#

“Mom”

 

Years ago,

in the darkened atmosphere

of Sloppy Joes

-that famous hangout of Hemingway-

she danced the cha-cha with my father

to Eric Clapton’s “Cocaine.”

The boards vibrated beneath her feet

with each resounding beat

from the local band.

Most of the lyrics were mumbled,

indecipherable,

but when they sung the chorus?

THAT she understood.

 

As she spun,

her dress billowing around her

like the petals of some wild flower caught in a sudden breeze,

her face registered shock and disbelief-

her jaw dropped,

eyes widened,

mouth opened,

cheeks flushed…

 

But she kept dancing.

 

*image courtesy of BigFoto.com

 

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Filed under Flash NonFiction, poems, Writing Corner

NATIONAL POETRY MONTH: Day #12 – “Why I Can’t Tell You About My First Time”

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The Cuyahoga County Public Library system is sending out daily email prompts in honor of National Poetry month! The idea is to write a new poem each day based on that day’s prompt.

Library prompts and poems can be found here. Below is my poem based on today’s prompt.

 

#

“Why I Can’t Tell You About My First Time”

 

I can’t remember

the first time I stepped into a library

and smelled the sweet musty smell

of used paperbacks,

hardcovers,

escapism and knowledge-seeking,

the first time I asked my parents

to read aloud

the signs we passed on the highway,

or the first time I sat

in the branches of the tallest tree

in the playground

behind our church

trying to sound out

what letters made up words

because I hadn’t been taught to read yet.

 

I can’t recall the first book

that I fell in love with,

falling into its pages,

examining the pictures for clues to the story.

Nor do I remember

the first book I ever read on my own,

or my first book without pictures

– a truly shocking concept!

 

I do remember being disappointed

when our local library moved to a new location

and my mother was no longer able to take me.

I remember spending most of my free time

– not including playing with friends

in the elementary school library

where I checked out a book on anatomy

that I read cover to cover,

yet didn’t check out again after I dreamed

that the library was literally

the beating heart of the school…

 

Oh.

I get that now.

 

Then the Middle School library

provided me with more options,

I’d check out

the maximum number of books allowed

from that school’s library,

packing them

in a huge backpack,

bent double from its weight

as I walked the mile or so home

in my brown-and-gold plaid

Catholic school

uniform.

 

In the High School library,

I borrowed tons of books

on the Salem witch trials,

humor books,

and Stephen King novels. By this time,

I worked and could afford to buy them too,

but when I learned to drive?

I rediscovered the library

my mother had lost,

drove myself

to the doors of the Community College,

walked within its holy walls,

and check out the maximum again.

 

Later I drove

to other libraries within my county

to get more books

as well as audiobooks, videos of Shakespeare

and Danny DeVito, magazines, horror and action and fantasy,

movies that I’d sit at home and enjoy

with family

lights dimmed

popcorn prepped

lounging on the couch or in bed.

 

I don’t remember specifics,

only always loving

letters

and words

and books

and stories

for as long as I can remember.

 

*image courtesy of BigFoto.com

*Written for the prompt as well as in honor of National Library Week and my favorite libraries, Cuyahoga Library system,  The Massillon Library, and the Canal Fulton Library. I love you all.

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Friday Flash: Tips

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Working the midnight shift is never easy, but you get your kicks when you can. I’d played my fair share of jokes on my fellow workers – the time when I pretended I’d lost my eyeball in the soup comes to mind. Sometimes the ‘regulars’ would be either in on the joke or the object of it.

But I also wanted my customers to be happy, not just for better tips, but because I hated to see anyone unhappy.  So when my lone customer came inside and placed his order, I could tell something was wrong. He sat gazing at the steaming mug without speaking. When I topped off his coffee, I struck up a conversation. The night shift was long and there wasn’t much else to do.

“How’s your coffee?” I asked.

“Fine,” he said without looking up.

After I’d asked a few more general questions without much response, I walked away. The customer stayed there, lingering over his plate for awhile. I came back every so often to refill his cup or ask if he needed anything else. He never did, but yet he seemed like he wanted to talk. Finally we started chatting about nothing in particular. Somehow the subject of family came up, and he said that he was having trouble.

Living with my in-laws with in a small cramped house, I could sympathize. “What kind of trouble?”

Then he proceeded to tell me his woes. He’d won the lottery, and now everyone expected him to give or loan them money.

Now, before you judge me, he told me this at  3am while working my second job to pay bills I could barely afford. They say that everyone has an angel on one shoulder and a devil on the other. Well, that night, the devil gave the angel a black eye, and I was more than happy to listen.

So he told me his troubles, told me how too much money was a burden that made him uncomfortable around his family, sat there and looked with soulful eyes into mine. He was obviously waiting for my sympathy.

I knew I shouldn’t, but I just couldn’t help myself. Really, when would I ever get a chance like this again? Honestly, I know there are exceptions, but my experience has shown that nine times out of ten, the more money you have the worse tipper you are. I wasn’t serious, but I knew he might take it the wrong way.

Still there was that devil prodding me.

“So… does that mean you’re going to give me a big tip?” I asked.

“No!” he practically spat. I felt a little sorry for the guy once I said it, but not that sorry. He didn’t speak to me the rest of the time.

Oh, and he left a lousy tip.

 

##

 

*The above story actually happened many years ago when I worked the graveyard shift.

**image courtesy of BigFoto.com

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Reading Wiswell’s “Might As Well”

John Wiswell of The Bathroom Monologues wrote a flash piece last week entitled ‘Might As Well.’ Since he recorded the piece for the blog, and he also confessed that this one was a bit of a tongue twister, he invited other readers to submit their own audio versions. He published the results on his own blog here, and I’m happy that he posted my reading along with those of some very talented people. If you can, I suggest you check it out: it’s interesting to hear how different people approach reading the exact same thing. And if possible, why not record your own version? Mr. Wiswell has opened the piece up for more recordings.

Even if you’re not interested in this particular project, check out The Bathroom Monologues anyway. He posts daily flash and audio recordings that never fail to entertain.

*image courtesy of Mariano Kamp via Flicker. Some rights reserved.

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My Writing Niche #2: #Spoken Sunday & Non Tech Tools for Nanowrimo

My Writing Niche (podcast): Episode #2 (LINK)**

I precorded this on Saturday (10/02/10) because my cell phone started dying on me. I will try to talk and post about the Pre-Nanowrimo meetup for the next postcast in either a few days or a week, depending on the condition of my phone.

Also if you would be interested in being my ‘Writing Buddy’ on the Nanowrimo site, my account there is also under the name ‘ganymeder.’

SHOW NOTES:

-Intro

Android phone (G1)

–   HiFiCorder

–  52/250 Flash Fiction Challenge

#SpokenSunday

My flash fiction story  ‘All’s Fair in War’

Nanowrimo

Tech Tools (continued)

-one more tech tool suggested by The_MOW (via Twitter)

Storybook Novel tool

Non Tech Tools

Sharpie Liquid Pencil

Dr. Who sonic screwdriver pen

Moleskine notebooks

Next time on My Writing Niche: Pre-Nanowrimo Meetups and Planning versus Pantsing

*image courtesy of hiddedevries via Flicker.

**I apologize for not having the audio directly on this site, but I had trouble adjusting the settings for the larger audio file. As a temporary solution, the podcast may be downloaded from the linked site. As soon as my technical problems are resolved, I will upload the podcast onto the ganymeder audio feed.  The problem will be resolved as soon as possible. Thank you for your understanding.

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Spoken Sunday & 52/250 flash Poem: “Every little thing”

Audio: “EveryLittleThing”

Original poem text: “Every little thing”

For week #17, We are not responsible was the theme for the 52/250 Flash Challenge. My poem, Every Little Thing, expresses the internal dialogue I suspect every one of us face when we think about all the things that bother us in the world today. It’s so easy to feel overwhelmed and tell ourselves that there’s nothing we can do, but that’s just not true.

We may not be able to do everything, but that’s no excuse not to do something. If we live mindful of the impact our small everyday decisions make, we can make a difference.

As always, I welcome feedback. Thank you for your time.

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Filed under 52/250 Challenge, Audio, Flash NonFiction, poems, Writing Corner

‘Thirteen’ – the 52/250 Flash Quarterly

Thirteen- the 52/250 Flash Quarterly

Thirteen weeks have passed since the 52/250 Flash Challenge began: Thirteen weeks of submitting flash fiction based on themes from the site, thirteen weeks of writing 250 words based on a different prompt each week, thirteen weeks of some GREAT flash fiction.

The time passed pretty quickly, though I often wrote a story early in the week and then tweaked it for the rest of the week until the very last minute. When the editors of the 52/250 Flash site asked for a non fiction bio (life summary or one scene), I was happy to submit one though a little perplexed as to how to approach it. My husband helped me out by suggesting something that happened when we lived in Germany. The bio made it into the Quarterly along with my story, Perfect Vision, which was an editors’ choice. I’m very honored.

So if you want to read some awesome short fiction, please check out Thirteen. You won’t regret it.

*image courtesy of Bigfoto.com

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Filed under 52/250 Challenge, Current events, Flash Fiction, Flash NonFiction, mythology, slice of life, Writing Corner

Monday Flash: Full Circle

*Despite the technical (and other) problems that plagued my blog this past weekend, more #fridayflash is in the works for this week. In the meantime, please enjoy my #Mondayflash (written for the contest at MadUtopia).


Full Circle

I never dreamed of being a writer. Visions of bookdeals and author signings never entered my head. However, I’ve always loved books and voraciously consumed the dreams and adventures of others. My own dream was something quite different – to be a mother. Even as a little girl I wanted to care for a child of my own. After I married, my husband and I waited over a decade to have a child so that I could stay home. It was worth the wait.

After several happy years, I tried National Novel Writing Month on a whim. Thirty days of intense novelling struck me as the ideal opportunity to write down stories I’d created for my little boy over the years. That first November taught me something about myself I’d never known nor suspected; I love to write. I didn’t need to be perfect, plan ahead, or even have a plan at all. The only requirements were my butt in a chair and my fingers on the keyboard.

Then my husband talked me into joining Twitter. My tweets concerned inconsequentials – what was on tv, what time I went to bed, where I was sitting in my house. My husband wanted me to join so I humored him; I failed to appreciate the power of quickly and easily connecting to people of similar interests. Then #fridayflash crossed my radar, and Twitter suddenly became useful. #Fridayflash provided a deadline and a goal – writing quality fiction on a weekly basis. Other writers read my work, encouraged me, tweeted links to relevant articles, made recommendations, and gave advice. My writing evolved, and I became part of a community.

Which brought me full circle. My love for my son led to my love of writing. My love of writing led me to #fridayflash, and #fridayflash led me to realize that I could create fiction that pleased others as well as myself. I now hope to become a paid and published author. I discovered a community that I love, a goal that’s within reach, and a newfound sense of direction. Almost every week since I started #fridayflash I’ve written faithfully, and now my son has begun writing on his own. He posts stories on his fiction blog and enjoys the feedback and encouragement of this wonderful community.

Often over the years, my son’s expressed different dreams for his future – painter, missionary, movie maker. He has several career paths in mind, but only two things capture his interest consistently – art and writing. He tells people that he’s written books and stories, and when asked why he says, “I think it’s mostly because of my mom.” While I’m sure that his goals will change as he grows older,  if he chooses to be a writer he knows that career need not be a solitary one. It’s possible to find a sense of community and support. This shared experience with my son nurtures and encourages our creativity. Writing is something we can participate in together as we both learn about the craft, and it’s largely thanks to #fridayflash.

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‘notebooks’ at Poetry Read-In

Tonight I was fortunate enough to participate in a Poetry Read-In at the Massillon Public Library.  My poem, “notebooks”, won first place in the adult category. I am so thrilled, especially since this was my first time reading in public. I’d like to thank the Library, judges, and everyone involved.

For anyone interested in my entry, I am posting the poem once more. I hope you enjoy it.

notebooks

my shelf is filled with beautiful journals i’ve never written in
dust covered but lovely just the same
the papers were never marred
by pencil
ink splotches
stains from food or drink
they are pristine
except for the dust
nothing ever seemed good enough to put down on the pages
or i’d dedicate a notebook to a single subject
but nothing was ever good enough
to stain the perfect pages
so most of them stayed blank
and sat on my shelf
safe and dusty
i wonder what i would have written
if i had dared to ruin them

now that i’m older
and wise enough to know i’m not
i don’t care if the pages are pristine
i don’t care if they aren’t the way i envisioned them
all i care about
is the feel of the notebook cover
pliable and soft in my hands
watching the ink glide over the creamy surface of its pages
i choose all colors that i think are beautiful
that way
whatever mess i make
will be a lovely rainbow

they are my notebooks
my mess
i wonder what pleasure i missed
by denying myself so long
the pleasure of failing

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Filed under Flash NonFiction, In the News, slice of life