Monday, March 27, 2023

A dog in a VW bus

I am missing the beach, especially since many friends have been posting their spring break photos. 

We drove about 20 miles from home to Creve Coeur Lake/Park. What a treat. Even though the sunshine disappeared behind the heavy cloud cover, it was warm enough for shirt sleeves or a light wrap. Oh the sights we saw. I am a people watcher. Are you? Can you tell what these guys are doing?

Upon entering the parking lot, we noticed a group of men of all ages gathered in a circle. As we drove closer, we heard the lovely bagpipe music they were playing. I had to pull over, watch, and listen. It was quite a moving experience. We drove on and parked lakeside at the trail which was crowded with hikers and dog walkers. Folks were busy rowing canoes and there were two competition rowing teams across the lake. 

Being close to water, with the wind lapping waves to shore made me feel happy. When it was time to leave, we saw a sight that made me chuckle.  
A young lady drove a baby blue Volkswagen and toted her fur baby in this blue VolksWAGON bus stroller along the trails.

It's the littlest things in my life that make me smile and feel happy.


Tuesday, March 21, 2023

Bedrooom bedlam

 Bill and I are retirees on different sleep schedules. He takes a two hour afternooon snooze in his mechanical recliner about 2:00 p.m. He blames it on the fuzzy blanket I bought him. 

I fall asleep on the couch late evening for couple of hours and wake up to watch the late shows. I head to bed about midnight and we both sleep until the cat goes crazy knocking things off the dresser to let us know he wants to be fed... between 4:30 and 5:00 a.m.

Last night was a doozy in the bedroom. Bill woke up at 1:00 as I was watching an old sitcom and asked why the TV was so loud. I could barely hear it. I said it wasn't. He asked why I was screaming. I was merely talking loud enough so he could hear me.

He then started yelling, "Where is it?"


I fell asleep in my hearing aids. No wonder everything seems so loud. I found one and now I've lost one."

He grumbled into the bathroom, rummaged through the bedding, wandered into the livingroom to check his snooze chair. Came back and said, "It was in the neck of my T shirt."

I flipped off the TV, and if I could have muted him as he rehashed the incident...

Tuesday, March 14, 2023

Change is coming

Alex and Charlie have so much energy. We try to spend a part of our day outdoors. They enjoy going to the indoor pool on Fridays. Big brother Liam, on school break, joined us. They are all growing so fast. Five months, and then it's off to school they go. I will miss them so much. I think I am starting the grieving process now. I love planning their preK days twice a week. What on earth will I do with all this time on my hands?

Spring is just around the corner. March is going to be a bit cooler, but signs of spring are everywhere. The red bud tree in our front yard has tiny pinkish-purple blossoms knitted to all the branches. This tree is going to look magnificient in a couple of weeks. Grass is greening, and splotches of yellow daffodils dot the hillsides along highways in our town. Tulip trees in all their glory are coloring neighborhoods. Everywhere I look I find signs of spring.

My sweetest surprise today was a purple hyacinth about to fully bloom. I discovered it poking out of a pile of last fall's leaves which insulates the sedum through the winter. What a delightful fragrance!

I am most happy with the time change. I stay up until 11 pm when we spring forward one hour. In winter, I go down with the sun. I am in my glory these days.

 I bought a stack of books and intend to sit outdoors and read just as soon as the temperature rises.

So many people are suffering from horrific weather conditions. I cannot imagine five feet of snow. Talk about cabin fever! I suppose it won't be long and then we will be complaining about the heat. For today, though, I am anxiously awaiting warmer, sunnier days. And I am thankful for nature's surprises.


Sunday, March 5, 2023

What do you put in YOUR boots?

My great-grandson Charlie (age 4) woke at the crack of dawn this morning.  

Mom: "Hey Charlie. Wanna watch a movie?"

Charlie: "Yes! Let’s watch Cat N Boots!"
Mom: "You mean Puss in Boots, Bud."
Charlie: "MOM. That is inappropriate! It is CAT n Boots."
Mom: …. 😦 … "what is inappropriate about that?"

Charlie: *rolls eyes* "A PUSS is what you put your keys and candy and phone and stuffs in when we go to the car. Why would anyone put that stuff in their boots?"

Me: "Dude, you are thinking of a PURSE."

Charlie: *rolls eyes harder* "That’s what I just said, puss!"

Ashley cloned herself when she had Charlie. These are the kinds of observations and comments she made all the time when she was his age. He looks and acts just like her at age four. I babysat her daily, and she was in my prek classes for three years, so I have firsthand knowledge. People used to ask if she was a child actor. Nope. Just always acting up.
She saw a teen kid skateboarding and said, "That is the guy who cooks my Ravioli!" She meant Chef Boy-ar-dee (a recognizable brand name in the U.S.)

We were leaving a big box store when she tugged my hand and begged me to stop and look at the posted images of missing and exploited children. "Nana, I know their mommy! The Old Lady who lived in a shoe had so many children she didn't know what to do. I need to tell her we found them."

Her comment paid off in a chunk of change in the 1990s. We were watching TV when the announcer broke into regular programming to update viewers on presidential election results. He said, "More on cadidates at 10:00 p.m."

Ashley looked at me agahast and said, "I did not know they could call the president a moron on national T.V."

I submitted that quip to a well known periodical. Weeks later, I opened my mail to discover a complimentary copy with a $100.00 check enclosed. On page 83, a cartoon image of one of our former presidents (GWB) wearing a dunce cap. Ashley's comment printed underneath.

Parent's magazine has also published my kids' and grandkids' quips. There's a market for the darndest things kids say.

If yours, like my kids, grandkids and great-grandkids, also have the gift of gab, submit their quips. They just might pay off, too.

Monday, February 27, 2023

A backwards glance

Signs of spring are popping out all over. We've had a mild winter in the central Midwest. I am not complaining. I am thrilled and concerned with nature's confusion. What will summer bring?
These daffodils erupted a month ago in late January. The first two weeks of February they began to bud. I feared the occasional frigid nighttime temperature would be their demise, but these little toughies survived. Last week they began to bloom... in February! I filled the water bowl for small animals and birds and stood back and admired this premature gift from Mother Nature.

Reminds me of a floral surprise when I was in fifth grade.

 At dismissal, as school children walked home en masse, a gardener at the apartment building across the street stood in the midst of what looked like a multi-colored crazy quilt of tulips. He snipped bouquets of them and presented one to each student. It was the highlight of that sunny spring day. The older gentleman asked us if we knew about Holland where tulips grew and people wore wooden shoes. I couldn't imagine.

What a surprise to come to school the next day and realize Miss Kuntz was presenting a geography lesson on Holland. She even brought in wooden shoes. A coincidence or a teachable moment? Either way it made a life-long impact.

Our wrought iron patio chairs are uncomfortable without the cushions. The seat cushions are now in place. Hubby and I sat out on this mild weekend and watched birds flit from tree to feeder. Those bright red cardinals are busy boys. They share the perch with the brown females, royal blue jays, purple finches, sparrows, robins, mourning doves, and the gackles who try to nudge their way in, too. Bird seeds are scattered in a huge arc under the feeder near the shed, providing nourishment for the squirrels and chipmunks.

The promise of spring means I will soon be reading outdoors, observing nature, and listening to a symphony of birds. Soothing activities for my soul.

Speaking of concerts, Bill and I were flipping through the channels last evening and found a 1960s Pop, Rock, and Soul concert with original artists performing today on the Public Broadcast Station. Oh what a delight to listen to the soundtrack of our youth, sing along with familiar tunes, and sift through the memories in our minds. 

"I'm Henry the eighth I am..." Ah, for an  hour or so we were lost in time commenting about how old the artists now look. Unlike us, of course.   


Friday, February 17, 2023

Taking turns at work and play

I have no idea what this toy is called. Do you? I just know it was the best dollar I ever spent at the thrift shop. After sanitizing it and letting it dry, I put it on the table to let Charlie and Alex fight over it. I mean discover it. They shook it and listened to the clacking sounds.

At this age, unless they are hurting each other, I allow them to collaborate, negotiate, insist, and even demand. 

Young children want all of it, and must experience all of it before they can part with any of it. Learning to share means giving up something they deeply desire. It is a natural part of growth and development to resist. Be patient if you have a young one.

Several times this toy was removed without comment and put atop the fridge. Their protests fell on deaf ears. I did not have to say more than once, "We will not fight over this toy."

When they were calm, I placed a large spoon behind it, which depressed the individual tiny plastic sticks to make the indentation. They were amazed, and both squealed they wanted a turn when they saw the spoon image.

That's right, a TURN. Sometimes it is your turn and sometimes it's the other person's turn. They had a blast making inverted images. And then, Charlie took a chance and imposed his face into the gadget and laughed like crazy when he saw his image. So, of course Alex had to do it, too. This toy has been beneficial in ways unexpected.

We discussed how to be calm, wait, and be patient. I stated the consequences if there was fighting and yelling. They soon learned I meant business, and they also learned to cooperate. 

This is the way it is with writing. We are all leaving our legacy, our imprint, taking chances, toying and tinkering with our work. Attempting new and different. Discovering what works and doesn't.

And taking turns. Several of my writer friends and I contribute to the same publications that have limited space available for freelance writers. Sure, we are all in competition, but it is a healthy competition. We support one another, even if we are disappointed that our work was rejected. It is how the game is played. Mostly, we are happy and proud of our friend's contribution and publication success. 

The way I see it is it was THEIR turn. 

We can't all be in first place, but we can all participate in the game.  

Write on, my friends. Enjoy the weekend.

Check out Pen and Prosper on my blog list to the right side. Jennifer Brown Banks has a gift for writers.


Monday, February 13, 2023

This Rose is not just any rose!

Today is launch day! 

Introducing Pat Wahler and her latest release.
If you enjoy reading Historical Fiction, you will love this book!

Self-taught artist Rose O'Neill leaves the Midwest for New York in 1893, determined to become an illustrator in a field dominated by males. Mindful of her duty to the impoverished family she left behind, Rose’s obligations require her to yield to the men who hold the reins of her career.

 Yet despite the obstacles facing her, she excels at her craft, eventually designing a new character, the Kewpie. Her creation explodes into a phenomenon, but Rose’s disenchantment with the status quo fosters new ambitions. She must decide whether to remain within the boundaries dictated for her, or risk everything she’s gained to pursue the creative and personal passions that ignite her soul.

 The Rose of Washington Square is the story of a remarkable artist, writer, suffragist, and philanthropist whose talents lifted her from obscurity into one of the most famous women of her era.

                                 Pat Wahler

Pat Wahler is winner of Western Fictioneers' Best First Novel of 2018, a Walter Williams Award winner, and the winner of Author Circle Awards 2019 Novel of Excellence in Historical Fiction for I am Mrs. Jesse James. She has also authored a three-book contemporary romance series-the Becker Family Novels, and two holiday-themed books; all named Five-Star Readers’ Favorites. A frequent contributor to the Chicken Soup for the Soul anthologies, Pat is an avid reader with a special passion for historical fiction, women’s fiction, and stories with heart. She makes her home in Missouri with her husband and two rescue critters—one feisty Peek-a-poo pup and a tabby cat with plenty of attitude.

1.  What inspired the idea for The Rose of Washington Square?

I enjoy writing women from the past, particularly if they have ties to my home state of Missouri. Doing random searches on women from history in the Midwest, I ran across the name of Rose O’Neill. I knew she’d created the Kewpie Doll, but I really didn’t know much else about her. The more I dug into her numerous accomplishments and realized what a trailblazer she truly was, the more fascinated I became. Before long, I knew I had to write her story. 

2.  How much research did your book require?

As a writer of historical fiction, I always do a fair amount of research. I need to understand the era, culture, and events of the time period I write. Then there’s a deep dive into correspondence, journals, biographies, plus magazine and newspaper articles related to the specific person I’ve chosen. Next I construct a world timeline alongside a personal timeline to give me a sense of what happened when. If possible, I like to spend time at actual locations that were part of my character’s life to experience what they did. Finally, I plot and outline the story and then on to writing it.

3.  How long did it take you to write the book?


The initial research portion took around a year. During the time I began to put words on paper, there were additional pieces of information that came to my attention, so I actually wrote and researched in tandem for another year before I could even glimpse the finish line.  


4.  How did you come up with your title?


Oh, titles. They’re one of my most difficult decisions. I can’t tell you how many different “working titles” there were for this book. I had a page of possibilities, and over months I pared the list down to three. Oddly enough, none of them really grabbed me, until I had a conversation with my developmental editor. She came up with a suggestion that seemed so simple yet so perfect, I grabbed onto it. The Rose of Washington Square.


5. What advice would you give a writer working on their first book?

Make sure you have good editors and proofreaders who will help you shape your manuscript and polish it until it shines. If traditional publishing is your goal, pitch the manuscript at writer conferences. Submit it to agents or to publishers that don’t require agented submissions. Listen if experienced people in the writing business offer advice. Don’t fall for scammers who are interested in your money, not your manuscript. Many authors find great satisfaction in publishing their own work. Just make sure you have a professional quality cover and product to offer.

Finally, as Winston Churchill once said, “Never, never, never give up.” If you want to be a published author, make that your mantra.

6. What is the best writing advice you were ever given?

The importance of connecting with other writers. Join writing groups and get involved with a critique group. It’s a great way to learn, and I’ve found writers to be extraordinarily supportive. Plus, it’s kind of nice venting to people who not only understand your frustrations but help to celebrate your successes.

Pat: Linda, thank you so much for inviting me to your blog!

Linda: My pleasure. Congratulations and much success to you!
            Readers, check out Pat Wahler and her newest release, and                  please leave a comment below. Isn't that cover beautiful?

Link to the book:


Facebook Author Page:

Goodreads Author Page:



Amazon Author Page:

Bookbub Author Page:


Thursday, February 9, 2023

Should you stop or should you go?

Artists, writers, creatives, quilters, dreamers...
Did you ever set out with an idea in mind to create one thing and end up with something all together different? I think we all have. 

Four-year-old Charlie was painting at the easel when he started smearing all the colors. I asked why? He said, "Oh Nana, because I feel like I'm on a nature walk seeing all beautiful colors and things."
How do you interefere with that kind of creativity when it is flowing from the very soul? That expression on his little face is PRIDE!

Writers sometimes tweak until the original piece is unidentifiable. Do you think it is possible to tweak too much? I have tinkered with a story or poem that resulted in two pieces. Have you?

When is enough just that, enough? Do you know when to quit? Do you have an end in mind, or do you write until you run out of steam? Each to his or her own.

I have read stories and poetry that would have been stronger had they ended sooner. But in my opinion, when free writing, you should let the creative juices flow. 

Then go back and edit, cut, discover what needs to stay and what needs to go. 

Never say, "I can't!" Always say, "I can try." That was my class motto when I taught. One of my former students, now an adult, wrote to tell me she uses these words to motivate her children.  

 I had to put into practice what I preached for four decades when I attached these colorful, lightweight balls with masking tape to a cardboard. (The wall would work just as well. Masking tape doesn't leave residue.) I encouraged Alex and Charlie to remove one ball at a time USING ONLY THEIR FEET and place the balls into the basket. 

There were many protests of, "I can't do it!"  "I quit!"  "I am not even playing this game!" As fast as the balls were knocked off and rolling away, I retrieved them and stuck them back on.

When they began to slow down and have success, they laughed, cheered, tried and tried, even when their short legs could not reach the upper balls. I showed them how to scoot their bottoms closer to the wall and reach higher. More success! 

It is the same with any craft, nobody starts out a pro. Try, try again until you reach a level of success.


Friday, February 3, 2023

Coming up on 34 years together

Tripping the Light Fantastic by Linda O'Connell

 Published in Sasee Magazine February 2023 

My husband asked me recently, “Do you like yourself these days?”

“Not my crooked teeth, droopy eyelids, and flabby belly. Do you like yourself?” I probed.

Aware that Bill’s milestone decade birthday was hitting him hard, I said, “We sure could dance back in the day. We hardly took a break. Whenever a fast song played, I grabbed your large hand, and you flung me to and fro; our steps were synchronized. People used to clear the floor and watch us dance. I am ever grateful you taught me to jitterbug in middle age when we met.”

He looked at me as though I had hurt his feelings. “We had a good thirty years of boogying. There’s no reason YOU can’t still dance just because my legs and back are giving out.”

I didn’t want my husband to think I was making a negative statement about his physical health. 

“Oh honey, it’s not your legs and back that has put the end to our fast dancing. It’s my left knee. I couldn’t spin or pivot if I wanted to. And forget about you sashaying me under your arm and spinning me back and forth. For both of us, high kicks are a thing of the past. I can hardly lift my left leg high enough to tie my tennis shoe.” He smiled, relieved my comment was as much about my condition as his.

We returned to our television show. Then a commercial came on, an advertisement for a high-end hotel. The image was of a couple being served a plate of… nachos. Bill looked at me quizzically and said, “Well that’s a pretty common dish for an uncommon resort, don’t you think?”

I squealed with delight. “You might not be able to twirl me, but your observations and comments make my gray matter swirl, and I don’t mean my hair, because I still color my grays.”

“Well, there you go making me laugh!” my honey said. “And I wasn’t even trying to be funny.” 

I commented, “I have to hobble down the hall until my knee loosens up, and you have to use a cane for balance, but we are still ‘dancing’ together. We can read one another’s moves and signals. We are still in rhythm sitting right here on the couch. If I tried to shimmy it would be embarrassing, and if we even dared do the Twist, we would impair our hips. Whenever we feel the urge, we should just dance in our seats. What do you say?”

My thoughts drifted into the past when Bill first asked me to dance. I had to admit I didn’t know how. “I’ll show you. It is really easy, just a few steps, one and two, three and four, rock-step. I can lead your every move once you learn the basic steps.”

I was embarrassed and offered my girlfriend’s hand. 

“She can fast dance.” He led my friend to the dance floor and like a gentleman returned her to the table. As he asked again, I turned down his offer of an impromptu dance lesson. 

The next week when my girlfriends and I returned to the dance hall, I accepted Bill’s offer. He had so many competent and available partners willing to Jitterbug with him. Still, he approached me, the one who continually stomped his toes and scuffed his shoes. But eventually, we made it work. I got the hang of the dance steps, and he began to add new moves, which made me whine, “No, I can’t.”

“Yes, you can if you believe you can and you allow me to help. But you can’t lead. I have to lead you. Okay?”  So, I was doing the wrong thing the whole time? I knew it! But my dancing man didn’t reprimand me; he encouraged me.

I smiled thinking of our first dance, decades ago. Then I realized at our grandson’s wedding last summer, when Bill led me to the dance floor, he led with precision but allowed me to lead, so we would look as good as the family thought we were. We slow-danced; actually, we swayed in place remembering when we were vibrant, young, and had the stamina to dance the night away.

When our favorite fast song came on, my dear man, who usually wears jeans and casual shirts, looked like my prince dressed to the nines in a suit and tie. I felt like a princess when he smiled, presented his hand to me, and asked, “May I have this dance?”

With the same twinkle in his eyes, he led me to the dance floor and whispered, “This is for you, so honey, you will have to do most of the work.” 

My big, always jovial, Irish man stood on the dance floor using hand motions to cue me. So what if I did the footwork and turned myself around? I was charmed. Winded and moving slower than when we first danced to Bob Seger singing Old Time Rock and Roll, we returned to our seats and Bill said, “That was for old times’ sake.”

It’s possible that was our last fast dance, but it was as memorable as our first. Only this time I didn’t dance on his toes, I danced on mine.

My dance partner’s fast steps have turned to a shuffle these days, and slow dancing has taken on new meaning: leaning on one another, supporting each other so we don’t stumble, walking arm in arm.

I said, “You asked me if I like myself these days. I do. I like myself, probably better than anyone else likes me, even if there are things about me that I resent. My lack of mobility just means I’ll have to dance down memory lane.”

“May I join you? I like you, too.”

Sunday, January 29, 2023

Unpredictable mama

The other day we had snow.

Yesterday the temperature was 59 degrees. 

Today and throughout the week,  the high will be 30.

Daffiodils are budding in the backyard. 

Trees are getting buds. 

People don't know how to dress.

Mother Nature's gone crazy!

Wednesday, January 25, 2023

Snow surprise

Sasee Boy, aka: Buddy, heard me getting his treats. He was stunned to find them in a plate of snow.
He looked at the plate, then me. I observed. He finally touched the snow and was surprised. He looked at me as if to say, "Are you kidding me?" I waited him out and he finally scooped out his treats.
The plaque hangs on the front door during January. It reads, LET IT SNOW... Some place else!

 Kitty boy is lucky he no longer has to fend for himself or search for food. We found him in our back yard five years ago when he was three. 

He has a cozy life. He has a slew of toys, but he is a lazy boy and seldom swats his toys, chases balls with bells, or attacks his catnip mice. He prefers the crook of Bill's arm.

Sassy sits in front of Bill's chair until he invites him onto his lap. This big fat cat flops over, lays in the crook of Bill's right arm, and snuggles in. He will indicate by moving into different positions where he wants to be petted: under his arms, on his belly, back, head, under his chin, and on his nose! He is our BIG spoiled baby. After his massage he turns around and snuggles between Bil's knees to snooze. 

With a couple of inches of snow outside and chicken and dumplings in the crock pot, I'd say this is the perfect way to spend the day. 
South of our town the snow is 4-8 inches. No thank you!

Saturday, January 21, 2023

Cough, cops and a canine officer.

 Well it has been a week!

My sneezes turned into snorts, the snorts turned into coughs, and I slept three days away.

Charlie ran out of the bathroom at his house and his mama stopped him. "Hey, short man! You come back here. You cannot leave the bathroom with out wiping your butt, and washing your hands."

Charlie said, "Mom, mom it's okay. It wasn't the poops it was gasoline."  I laughed until my chest and snotty nose cleared up.

Before I took to the couch with my Kleenex, water, and cough drops, I saw four police cars across the road at a vacant property (owners died a while back). A canine officer and several cops were checking the perimeter of the property and barn. They left shortly thereafter.

A few minutes later the caretaker arrived and noticed the barn door open. He called the police again. They returned lickety split, did a rerun of the four acre fallow farm. They were ready to give up the search when the caretaker yelled, "The prowler is INSIDE the house. I have him on my intruder camera. Oops, he cut the feed."

So they beelined into the house through the back porch which the window had been kicked out of. No luck flushing anyone out on first floor, so they yelled, "Releasing canine on count of three."

The prowler/intruder came down the stairs and was taken into custody. He appeared to be a youth and they found his backpack in the barn. It is likely the charge will be trespassing, and because he may be a juvenile, charges will be reduced. Who knows? All that excitement wore me out. 

I'm awake and alert after my long snooze, and I am very happy to report I am on a roll in January: six writing acceptances! 

I hope your 2023 is off to a good start.

Sunday, January 15, 2023

What would YOU do?

Are you good at improvising or thinking out of the box? I like a challenge and enjoy finding solutions to problems others might readily give up on.

When children are stuck indoors, you can still offer lots of winter activities. No coats, no mittens, no boots.
The snow is gone, the weather was too cold to play outdoors, and Alex and Charlie's mom forgot their car seats. So, stuck inside, we improvised. I drew snowmen figures on paper plates with arms in  different positions. We skipped around singing, "Ring around the Rosie, pocket full of posy, snowmen, snowmen, STOP LIKE THIS!" 

The boys stopped in these poses, laughed and skipped some more as I held up snowmen cards, one at a time: touching head, ears, tummy, back, the floor, bent over, arms raised, arms extended out to sides, on hips, elbows bent. Great physical activity.

 We used cotton balls for snow balls, tongs to pick them up, to make groupings 1-10, and then blindfolded, they used tongs to transfer cotton balls into a container. Oh the laughter and cheering.

The boys have been wanting to play with trucks and tractors. I would have brought snow inside if we had any (I am not wishing), instead I got out the kiddie pool and clean cat litter, and they played for an hour.

If you are a writer, how do you improvise? 

If you get off track do you swerve back on topic, or proceed with a new idea?

If you miss a submission deadline, do you give up or send elsewhere?

If the topic is cooking, can you come up with an item other than food that can be cooked? Think about that. Not everything cooked is edible.

I sent a story to a call out about Love Stories and Food.
I supposed most entries would be about romantic love. I wrote about the love of a best friend and how we baked together. 

How do you improvise or think out of the box? Bet you do so more than you think.

On Friday, the boys were so anxious for their mom to arrive. They threw themselves on her and both tried at the same time to share with her these activities they particpated in. 

Charlie laughed loud and said, "Alex, did you hear Mom? She just said, 'Holy gracious!' "

Alex said, "Huh uh! Mom meant, 'Holy mackeral!' "

Charlie cackled, "No way, Mom don't say that. Mom says, Holy 
shit. "

Wide-eyed mama panicked.
I turned my head.
Papaw improvised. "No way, boys. It's, Holy SHIP!"

They really thought they had learned something. 

We adults couldn't stifle the laughter.

Tuesday, January 10, 2023

A third of the month is gone. Don't pass up an opportunity.

WEDNESDAY CLUB is having a no entry fee, poetry contest with three prizes. You must live within a fifty mile radious of St. Louis, MO. 

You may choose any topic/theme. 

No email submissions, snail mail only, but worth the effort if you want to take the chance of winning. 

1st prize $500,
2nd prize $300,
3rd prize $150.

Oh yes you can!

Choose your pen name (a must) and sign each poem with it. Submit two different poems

Two copies of  each poem on their own sheet of full size (copy) paper.

Type poem, then your pen name and sign with pen name. 
Do not add anything else. No identifying info at all. 

Do this also for poem #2. THEN after completeing these four typed pages, include one additional page with your real name, address, phone and your email. 

NO cost! No chance to win if you don't enter by Februaury 1, 2023. 

And if you do win, let me know, so I can brag about your good fortune. 

Catherine is not the judge. She is collecting the entries.

Mail to:

Catherine Rankovic
Original Poetry Contest
3901 Sand Glade Trail
Pacific, MO 63069

Thursday, January 5, 2023

So far so good

 2023 has started off great: permissions from Chicken Soup for two stories for an upcoming humor book, a request from an editor to write an article, and a nice little nugget I found in Writer's Digest, for a possible submission I may be able to finally get out there. 

Wishing all of you good health and happiness. Write on!

Monday, January 2, 2023

Overdue at sorting through

On New Years Day I usually take down the tree. Instead, I cleaned out kitchen cabinets and packed up odds and ends: glasses, old mugs, and lidless, spaghetti sauce-stained plastic storage containers. Headed for a recycle bin or donation box.

We purchased oblong-shaped, glass, freezer-to-oven, kitchen storage containers with locking lids. Not a big deal really, but it really made me feel good to know the crap in my life will no longer tumble out when I open a cupboard.  

Today I tackle the tree. I will miss being silhouetted only by colorful Christmas tree lights as I sit in the livingroom before dawn meditating, praying, expressing gratitude.

I decided to get lit in other ways. Instead of exposing myself to glaring television light, local news crime statistics, and muting the TV fundraising appeals for abused and neglected dogs and suffering people, I decided to flick the switch. No noise no images. 

Just a growing stack of magazines: AARP, Writer's Digest, AAA Explorer... with interesting covers and enticing headlines.

I flipped through Writer's Digest. As a freelance writer for 25 years, I often think I already know this or that, so I skim or skip articles. What caught my eye this time was not the headline, but the opener by Estelle Erasmus: "This is my last "All About the Pitch" column."

What would the author have to impart as her final tips?  Nothing I didn't already know about pitching.

I did find a nugget. The interview subject was the editor-at-large of a privately-owned publication, whose mission is to publish relationship stories. 

BINGO! I have a piece I've been trying to home for two years. Spurred on by my critique partners, but discouraged by a lack of places to publish this genre, I shoved my essay into a junk basket. Another stray piece in another of my collections.

 I'm going to polish my article today and see if my pitch pans out. Then I am going to tackle my kitchen pots and pans and see what I can cook up to freeze in my new storage containers. 

How about you? What are you storing? Do you have orphans in electronic files or hand-held folders you haven't visited in a while? Is there a new topic you might like to tackle? Don't collect wanna bes or might have beens. Get in there and sort through your possibilities. 

Thank you to my readers from around the world. Wishing all a healthy, happy, blessed, and prosperous new year.