Sunday, March 31, 2019

I'm a star in someone's methed up mind.

The rain kept us housebound and bored all day Saturday. Late evening when the clouds cleared, Bill asked if I wanted to spend a $20 at the casino. Of course.

I drove and dropped him at the door, then went to park.  There was a loud couple in their mid 20s ahead of me. She flopped along wearing too big, well-worn cowboy boots with American Flags embossed on each boot. She was yapping to the guy with her about wanting to go to Alaska because it would be so "f**king cool."

I commented, "Cool boots, and I lived in Alaska many years ago."

She wanted to know what it was like. I told her we lived at the end of the Alaska Highway in a remote wilderness town where buffalo and moose meandered down the road.

"F**king cool! I want one! I want a buffalo on my wall, but first I have to get a bigger trailer. Did you make any friends up there?"

"Yes, my neighbor became my best friend for almost fifty years until she died. When our husbands got out of the army and we returned to our home towns we remained best of friends."

"Holy shit?! YOU are one of the original f**king golden girls of Alaska! Me an my grandma used to watch the Golden Girls on T.V."

Her companion asked if I was still married to the soldier. I said, " No, most of the soldiers wives thought their husband's were hot heads."

At the entrance door, he bucked up, spun around and glared. "Nothing wrong with being a hot head!"

I thought to myself, "I'll bet you two are meth heads." But I just smiled and walked through the door which he didn't realize he was holding open. It wasn't his intention to be a polite gentleman. When I said, "Thank you!" and brushed past him he looked confused and had no idea why I was thanking him.

Twenty bucks for a freak story. Not a winner.

Thursday, March 28, 2019

Waiting for Butterflies

I feel as though I have been holding my breath and have finally been able to release a satisfying sigh. I finished the most wonderful book!

There are so many unexplained incidents, coincidences, and God nods in this world. Karen Sargent's book is one of hope in a world where so many people are filled with hurt. 

Waiting for Butterflies 
grabbed me by the heart strings and held me captive until the very last page. The character's are well developed and authentic. Their individual spiritual journeys and flaws lingered long after I finished the book.  I love it when a book remains in my heart. 

This is a poignant, contemporary story addressing grief, love, and real life issues and it also touches on the spirit world.

Equally heartwarming and heart wrenching, this emotionally charged account of faith and life after tragedy is beautifully written and left me feeling hopeful and lighthearted. A divine read!

Saturday, March 23, 2019

Time's up!

I absolutely love Daylight Savings Time. I stay awake longer, wake refreshed, and find myself allotting time for this or that, and before I know it the day gets away from me. I tell myself I will write later or tomorrow.

As I made my way to the kitchen this morning, I gazed out the window at the faint pink sky over  the rooftops behind our house. I was determined to write a poem or a few words about the images that awaken my senses. The promise of a sunny day makes me feel overjoyed. The first glimpse of the sunrise warms me to my bones and soul. I would rather be outdoors reading than inside doing anything else.

Today I have to run a lot of errands, so I know I won't have time to write. I cannot bully myself into putting words down. If I force myself, the writing sounds forced. I like to write when I am in my zone.

Sounds legitimate, right? How many excuses have you made NOT to write?

IF YOU ONLY HAVE FIVE EXTRA MINUTES today grab a pen, or pound at the computer and fill half a page with sensory detail. 

Jot down thoughts about a fragrance that triggers a memory: I can still smell the canned spray starch I used to spritz on my cotton blouses I ironed before I left for high school.

Oh and here I've tripped my own trigger: the first time I learned about temperature settings on the iron. I didn't reduce the setting when I picked up my new white, silk blouse to press. 

The sizzle of the material as it shriveled and melted onto the bottom of the iron, and the acrid smell as it stunk up the room still hovers in my olfactory memory to this day.   

And then another memory is resurrected. I can visualize the linoleum pattern on the floor beneath the ironing board. I can still smell the hot Pine-Sol-laced mop water permeating my sinuses.

Won't you take five minutes, if not today, TOMORROW. Bargain with yourself and give yourself permission to write around your busy life this weekend. 

Want to share a smell memory with me?

Wednesday, March 20, 2019

When your kite crashes

Ah, spring's promise. The poor daffodils took a hit with unexpected snow a couple weeks ago, but they ARE blooming, even though their stems are bent to the ground. I am so thrilled that the weather is finally warming a bit and sunny days are on the way.

I was three, and she was, too the first time our moms took us to the park to fly a kite.

The big kids in the park ran with tissue paper box kites, an unbelievable sight to behold. A gust of wind made them wobble then swept them up until they were soaring. I imagined them flying all the way to the zoo!

My mom and dad ran through the park trying to get my simple ten cent, diamond shape, tissue paper kite to lift off.

I knew I could do it "all by myself" if only I was taller, so I climbed on a bench and launched myself off holding my kite string. I ran through the open field. My dad grabbed my string and tugged. My kite lifted and sped past the treetops.

"Let me hold it. It's MY kite. I want to fly my kite!"

Dad tried to keep my pale yellow kite high, but slowly, slowly it swayed, tumbled, crashed, and smashed to smithereens.

Inconsolable, I cried and cried. I wanted my grandma!

I had no interest in kite flying as I grew up. I had been so devastated by my first kite experience I didn't even want to try again.

I married and had a baby girl. When she turned three, her daddy and I bought a plastic kite decorated with a kitty cat picture, and we took her to a ball field in our local park. 

Her daddy managed to get her kite aloft, and she squealed with delight. When her kite dived to the ground and the wooden crossbars broke, she plopped down on the dusty field and cried and cried.

No amount of soothing, hugging or talking calmed her. When we put her in the car, she screamed, "I want Nana!"

We had to drive to my mom's. That's all it took. Once she was in Nana's arms she was fine.

I, on the other hand, felt upset when Mom said, "Oh Baby, what did they do to my sweet little girl?"

"DO?! We helped her fly her kite, and then it crashed. Do you remember when ...?"

A wink and a knowing smile passed between Mom and me. 

Sometimes you just need your Nana.

Just a reminder: If your project seems unable to lift off, or you feel like your latest writing isn't taking flight, don't give up. Run a little farther, tug a little harder, and give your project more string (or time) to ascend to new heights. 

Wednesday, March 13, 2019

Up-up and away, then down

Our former neighbor, Old Bobby was a slight fellow with a big mouth who liked to imbibe, so you never knew if his stories were true or not.

Instead of reading the local paper, he had his nose in the "pony papers" because he said in his day he was the best bookie in town.

He claimed he "bought" his wife a baby for her 40th birthday (adopted a boy).

When his ex daughter-in-law's husband telephoned and threatened to drive by and shoot up his house, the police told Old Bobby to get out of the front yard and head to the basement. Old Bobby said he had been a sniper in WWII, and he wasn't going anywhere.  

WE headed to the basement. The drive-by never occurred.

In the fall, when the apples ripened out back, Old Bobby couldn't find his ladder, and he couldn't have climbed it even if he could have found it. 

He tied thirty feet of clothesline onto a claw head hammer and flung it repeatedly into the tree, hoping to harvest enough apples to make a pie. We were waiting for him to knock himself silly.

When he came to the garden fence to tell us about his success, he toppled OVER the rickety, 36 inch chain link fence and landed face up on his back in OUR yard.

"I'm going to call an ambulance!" I said.

Fish-eyed he said, "Nah, I'm just going to lay here a while." 
I insisted.

He retorted, "You remind me of Judge Judy. You scare me."

I let him lay there.

A week later Old Bobby saw me making a homemade kite out of a plastic grocery bag.

"Let ME show YOU how to make a kite. In my day, I was a professional kite builder and I used to win kite dueling contests," Old Bobby bragged.

Uh-huh! Well  it was my day, and I was going to do it my way. Nicole and I had a blast outside that windy March day. I taped a piece of paper to the bag and Nicole decorated it. I added a small tail and string to the handles. This is so much fun for small children.She laughed when her bag filled with air and the wind tugged the string about 6 feet off the ground as she ran.

If you make one, leave it tied to a fence or post when you are finished running, and let your child watch the wind gusts fill the bag and make it rise... and fall.

When I taught preschoolers, we called these kites wind bags. I guess I could have called them Bobbys.

Sunday, March 10, 2019

For moms everywhere

                                     Book Link -

Nine more days! This wonderful book filled with inspirational and thought-provoking stories will go on sale March 19th. I am proud to tell you I am a contributor to this book and my story, The Can Opener Queen, is about Mom's cooking disaster. My brother and I laugh about it to this day.

This book would make a wonderful Mother's Day, birthday, or appreciation gift. I imagine one in every nursing home for residents to read. Why not buy one and donate it? The moms who often feel alone and or neglected would appreciate reading a short easy-to-read story. 

This is the 28th Chicken Soup for the Soul book in which my stories have been published. I am honored.

Chicken Soup for the Soul links



Wednesday, March 6, 2019

What's a henway?

I am clucking the news. My story about motherhood made the first round selection. I will be auditioning for Listen to Your Mother St. Louis. I'll let you know whether or not I make the final cut. The show is on Saturday of Mother's Day weekend. 

LISTEN TO YOUR MOTHER is a stage performance fundraiser that honors mothers across the nation. I was a cast member in the inaugural show in May, 2014. 
Today hubby's phone rang, and a man said, "Yeah, what's up?" 
Bill said, "Nothing. What's up with you?"
Man:  "You called me. I'm returning your call."
Bill:   "Well sorry, I must have butt dialed you. Who is this?"
Man:  Introduced himself.
Bill:   "My name's Bill."
Man:  "How many you want?"
Bill:   "How many what do I want?"
Man:  "Chickens."
Bill:   "I don't want ANY chickens."
Man:  "You sure you didn't order any? That why you called me?"
Bill:   "I didn't call you. Matter of fact I couldn't have butt dialed you; I don't have your number in                 my phone."
Man:  "Okay then."
Bill:    "It was a pleasure talking to you."
Man:   "You too, sir."

And they say women talk more than men.

On the way home from the grocery store, what do you think we saw in someone's unfenced front yard tidbitting? FOUR tidbitters! Guess at least three of them will be cock-a-doodling at the crack of dawn.  
As long as we're bawk-bawk-bawking, here are some facts: A hen weighs about three pounds. Now you can ask someone, "Have you seen any henways today?" When the other person asks, "What's a henway?" you can tell them.

According to Sarah Zeilinski, a female chicken is called a pullet until she is old enough to reproduce, then she's called a hen. A male chicken is called a rooster or cock.

Roosters announce to a flock of chickens that he’s found food with a “took, took, took.” But the hens don't pay attention if they already know that there is food around.

So, roosters perform a little dance called ‘tidbitting’ in which they make sounds (food calls) and move their head up and down, picking up and dropping a bit of food.

Researchers have found that females prefer males that often perform tidbitting and have larger, brighter combs on top of their heads.

The lure of food is the key to the heart!

Read more:

Friday, March 1, 2019

Calling all writers!

For all  you fantasy and Sci fi writers, here's a resource for you.

THANK YOU to all who attended my workshop. If you have writing questions, contact me at write SLWG on subject line.

If you want something badly enough you'll find a way to obtain/achieve it.

I am an early riser. No, not 6:00 a.m. crack of dawn. More like pitch dark 5:00 a.m. There is nothing I can do about my circadian rhythm. Once my eyes open, my mind wakes up. Even the promise of more snuggling under the warm covers isn't enough to lure me back to sleep.

I invest my early morning time wisely, and it has paid off in the form of publication credits. 

I search key words on line for writing markets with the latest submissions call outs. 

I read guidelines and articles, take copious notes, and jot down info on Post-it Notes.  By the end of the month they're scattered everywhere on my desk. Sometimes the deadlines have expired, and other times I have to write fast to make the deadline.

If you prefer a nice warm bed to market researching, let me do the leg work for you.

Writing Markets:

Erica Verillo Published to Death Publishing and Other Forms of Insanity

Be sure to check her BLOG for PAYING MARKETS
in many genres: Alternative Apocalypse, Speculative Fiction, Horror, Children's Publishers, Chicken Soup for the Soul latest needs...and so much more.

WOW Women on Writing

Erika Dreifus (articles, markets, and jobs)

Poets and Writers for a comprehensive listing.

Freedom With Writing

Submish mash Submittable

Jacob Jans

Trish Hopkinson