Monday, December 31, 2012

Best of 2012, because everyone else is doing it.

Between participating in a secret writing club (for realsies) earlier this year and the Flash Fiction Friday efforts of the last three months, I had quite a lot of options to sort through, and asking loved ones for nominations was no help at all, because not a single one of them chose alike the others. Thanks for that, friends.

My Favorite Poem of 2012, though most of my poetry this year followed a similar theme and it was quite hard to choose. I suppose 2012 could be called "the year of encouraging myself," because I seemed to need to do it, and then actually do it, a lot.

I chose two favorite guest fiction pieces from a whole slew of flash fiction participant entries.
Kindra's story is from the week we all wrote from the "Creature Catalogue" prompt, and Keri's is from "Basketball Socks."

My own Flash Fiction:
The one that made me cry while writing it.

Favorite Allegory.

The only one that turned out just like I pictured when I sat down to write (they usually surprise me, which I love, so this one is included for its unique result).

Bonus: My favorite non-fiction this year. It's a bit longer than most, and autobiographical, and therefore quite personal, so open with care.

Happy New Year to all! I hope you'll join us when our writing challenges return in late January.

Friday, December 28, 2012

Halibut & Mint

For nearly three months I created a little fictional for-fun piece every Friday and it seems to have done it's job--it's Thursday now (but will be Friday when I hit "publish"), and though I've been bogged down with tiny people's vomits all week, I'm already itching to write something. I've no structure in place for something this week, so this little on the fly number will have to do.

Her suitcase was not romantic, but practical, and much lighter when compared with the vintage trunk she'd imagined herself lugging across the globe. "Nothing works out exactly like you'd pictured," she allowed. There wasn't much that could argue with that sentiment. Still, she'd collected stickers from most ports, hoping to find some kind of not-too-cheesy way to display them all at the end of the succession of journeys. They were still waiting in the brown paper bag in the bottom drawer.

The case and the ordered chaos of the contents about to be loaded into it splayed across the entire bed; she had to finish before she could sleep. Time for some tough decisions. Five pairs of socks and underwear. Two sweaters, eight favorite shirts. Jeans x2. Boots, runners... the flats she'd wear. Journal, computer, cash, phone, and passport, in carry-on. Toothbrush and deodorant and favorite solid perfume fell into their place in her bag--the rest she'd buy after landing.

She reached for the bottle and considered it carefully. It was wrapped and ready, still earmarked to be the beverage she would enjoy when she celebrated the completion of this mad journey. She felt the weight of it in her hands carefully, almost as though she were weighing something unseen within herself with each gently heft of the package. "Not this time. We're not done yet." She placed the bottle back in its box and zipped her bag shut, ready for whatever tomorrow would show her.

Looking forward to having our community of participants back in action in late January for more Flash Friday pieces. Do let me know if you want to join, and I'll add you to our list.

Friday, December 21, 2012

Flash Fiction Friday--Secret Santa

Seasons greetings! Flash Fiction Friday is on Winter Break! Our break for Holiday festivities with loved ones will be much appreciated, and we'll be back to the writing action in January. When we reconvene, it will be with a slightly new format, so watch for the news on that. Before we sign off, enjoy this last offering of 2012. 

 Many Happy Returns  

"Somebody call 911!" Brad coughed out his orders, choking on the thick dust still cascading down from the ceiling like a fresh snow. "Are we under attack? What in the heck is happening?!"

"I don't know!" Molly, the clerk, still clutching the receipt from her last transaction, wiped muddied, stinging tears from her eyes, trying to see where his voice was coming from. "I was just about to put this in their bag, and-"

"Holy hell, guys." Sam was back from his break, making his usual, unaffected commentary from somewhere outside the perimeter of their ground zero. "Did you know the ceiling's kinda, um, open, Brad?"

"Sam! Lock down the front door until we can get to the bottom of this. Don't let anyone loot us!" Brad's loyalty to his duty as store manager was, as ever, in tact--swimming in debris though he may have been, he still had his priorities straight. "And call the police when you - what the heck is this?" He suddenly spat a large chunk of sparkling, tinselly confetti out of his mouth. A deflated, dirt-caked yellow balloon made its way down and landed on his shoulder. "Oh. Oh, it can't be..." Memories of Brad's early training manuals suddenly surfaced, and a long-forgotten footnote now announced itself to his consciousness.

"Molly! Molly give me that receipt! Who was that?"

"I don't know! It was a woman and her kid."

"Go, find them! Find the woman that was here!"

"She ran out as soon as that stuff started falling on her!"

"Sam, you locked the doors, right? Bring the customers to me one by one."

Only three customers remained, most having left their carts full of goods behind in favor of avoiding the attempt at being unlawfully detained by the zealous shop manager. Brad went by each one, inspecting their bags, trying to find the match for the all-important receipt in his hand. Molly apologized for the confusion to each one as they were dismissed. As she began to sweep the glittery dust storm, Brad interrupted her efforts.

"We've got to find the woman who matches this receipt!"

"Is she Cinderella?" Sam's usual humor was wasted on Brad's seriousness and Molly's mood.

"She's the millionth customer!" Brad's reddened eyes grew larger, his already hoarse voice rasped loudly. "Jim and Elba, rest their souls, when they built this place, they had an idea for a prize to celebrate getting their millionth customer. I didn't know they actually did anything about it! The, the trap-door in the ceiling, oh my God, I had no idea. But we have to find her! We've got to give her her prize!"

"Okay, um, call the news?"

"Sam, you're a genius. Whomever can bring me the exact contents of this receipt, and match the identity Molly remembers, can claim it! You just earned yourself a raise, young man." Molly scowled, still sweeping thanklessly.

She came forward a week later. Her picture plaque still hangs on the wall by the cash register. "Jemma Blackner, 1,000,000th customer." She spent her $10 gift card on another bottle of shampoo, the last one having been spent on the efforts to get the dust out of her hair.

Want to make one of your own? Come back in January for more prompts. 

Happy Holidays!

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Les Miserables Medley. Like A Boss.

In honor of the upcoming movie release (so excited! tomorrow!!), here is a jerk. I'm serious; God dipped the cup into the talent barrel a few too many times when he made this one. Let's all agree to hate him (after the shock from what you're about to see wears off) for his range, shall we?

Also, his O Holy Night is not too shabby, and y'know, seasonal and all. Spotify.

Monday, December 17, 2012

Things I have woken up in the middle of the night to write down, thinking they were GENIUS, only to be baffled by them in the morning...

In my dreamworld, these were all killer ideas.

  • "I made a deal with Rumplestltskin. It's not that I don't know how to spell that word; it's that I CAN NEVER know how to spell it!"
  • "Set phasers to STUNNA!" *as sunglasses are being flipped down onto face*
  • Pacifiers and socks conspire against us for mutual lostness. Maybe they are in a decades-long game of hide-and-seek to the death with each other, and we are just the by-standing casualties of their war.
  • "Who has the ride away?"
    "The what?"
    "The ride away! When you know it's your turn, and you can ride away."
    "You can't be serious."
  • The great (and lost) debates between the famous thinkers with their lesser-known colleague, the Greek philosopher Diabetes. Spoiler alert--most of his points are about donuts.
  • You know that moment when you're crafting a project or building a little household something, and you realize all in an instant exactly what you've done wrong to lead you to this point of no return? Do you think the guys who carved the Easter Island Heads had a moment like that, as they watched their full-bodied statues sink into the fertile earth beneath the far too-weighty faces?   "Aw, Jerry, I knew we should have brought the glue gun."

Actually, I may use some of these yet. 

Friday, December 14, 2012

Newtown, Connecticut

My kindergartener is safe in her bed now; I am shedding more tears and praying for the mamas who have to face tomorrow without theirs.

At the beginning of a long road and a steep climb,
Where the sun is rising behind a tall mountain,
You, the runners of a marathon you've not trained for, but must now finish, stand.
We are on the sidelines, with deafening cheers,
Lining up for as long as this journey goes, 
To bear witness as you reach for the glowing warmth coming up behind that hill. 

We cannot run for you.

if you'll let us,
We will pass you metaphorical protein bars and 
Tiny cups filled with electrolyte water and
Watch as you place one foot, then the other, then the other.
We will brace your backs and bind up your smaller scrapes
While you go as though your life depended on it
Because there's no other truth to examine now,
No maxim or sympathetic adage to bestow,
No promise of loss restored,
No comfort we can create, 
Except this:

Our prayers are the now-hoarse voices,
Calling out to propel your next step forward in the darkest and hardest climb
Of your life. This Nation's bent knees and heavy hearts are the cheering crowd,
Saying - No. You will not be alone. 
In this great loss, you will never be alone.
The depth of your anguish we can never know, 
Still, we promise to carry your babies with us, and
To pass you another tiny cup filled with electrolyte water
As you go to the rising light. 

I cannot run for you. 
I stand watch as you go. 

Flash Fiction Friday--Migration Patterns

Not Cutting It 
 - A Monologue -

It's my first time so I'll try not to squirm. Look, I'm terribly sorry for whatever comes out of me. I used to be able to handle this kind of thing by myself, and honestly, don't know what will happen. Calling in the reinforcements! Hahahahaha. Ahm. That's you, by the way. Do you have a bucket in case I get nauseous? You know, 'blouuughghghgh'? No? Okay, I'll do my best.

Okay, so my main problem is at the top. It's true that I'm plucking twice as frequently as I used to, and like I said, whatever. I was dealing with it, you know? But now it's changing it's shape. It's taking on a whole new form, and I'm just not equipped to deal with that. I certainly don't want to make it worse! Nice shape, okay? No high arches!

Do you have any release I need to sign before we begin? You know like if there's some kind of reaction. You won't burn me, right? IT'S NOT GOING TO BURN?

Sure, sorry. I'm ready. Will you count to three? I know they're getting wider, I get it; we get hairier as we age. Just make sure I don't leave here with them higher than where they started. I don't want them flying north for the summer, you know? Placement is very important.

Yes, sorry. I am, really. Okay. You can start.

Want to make one of your own? Next week's prompt is, 

"Secret Santa."

Read Gabriel's submission.
Read Linda's submission.

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Racist Coffee

I don't know about you, but I seem to need more caffeine-enhanced beverages to survive this month. To that end, I bring you this friendly PSA, as introduced to me by my brother.

Friday, December 7, 2012

Flash Fiction Friday--Figureheads of State

   I refuse to Lie, Okay?    

The Macy's parade marched slowly on, and on, as it does each year. The little girl sat at the window staring in awe, cognizant of the hullabaloo for maybe the first time in her young life.

At first, her family all gathered close by, enthralled more with her delighted squeals than the activity itself. One by one the bright attractions marched by, and at each new sight she demanded more information. "Who's that, Mama!?"
"That's Spider Man, sweetie," the woman answered before heading back into the kitchen to address the potatoes.
"Dad, what are those guys doing?"
"That's a marching band, gumdrop. Your old dad used to be in one of those. It's a real honor to be skilled enough to be invited to-"
"Whoa! Whasat!?!"
"That's a giant balloon in the shape of a football. Oh, speaking of which..." he headed out to the den to tune into the game.

Her questions and joyous squeals continued and uncles, aunts, and other guests busied themselves with other matters until finally, no one was left to query but Grandpa in his recliner. She asked his several questions, but he only grunted, or snored, once groggily asking her to refill his drink, so she finally resigned to watching the spectacle in silence. No matter though, because she didn't need anyone to tell her who the last participant in the grand parade was as he turned the corner onto their block.

"SANTA!!" she squealed.
"Nothin' but a lousy figurehead," Grandpa mumbled.
"A fig of what?"
He sat up a bit in his chair. "Fig yer head. He's got no power! Listen Lucy, don't bulieve in Santa, okay? Don't even bulieve in him, okay? He's got nothing to do with it."
Lucy came away from the window and scooted in close to his seat. "I can send letter to Santa, Grandpa!"
"Yeah, and you know who reads em? Their Congressional Department of Elves, that's who! They don't even make the toys - oh they'd like you to keep thinking that - but the laborers union knows it's the sweat and tears and the strong backs of the penguins that gets the job done! And whadda the penguins get for running the show? Okay? They get labeled black collar and fish wages. Okay? A total crock."
"I asked for a mermaid doll!"
"Lemme, let... lemme tellya something about this, okay? Your letter has to go through eighteen tiers before anybody relevant even hears your wish. The Elfery Department of Baking, the Elfery Bureau of Cheer, the Public Relations elves, the productions councils. These people are just fuzzy suits passing paper around. The system is broken, Lucy, okay?"

Grandpa turned over and went back to snoring in his chair and Lucy went back to the window, giggling and waving as she watched the sleigh pull away from her sight.

Want to make one of your own? Next week's prompt is, 

"migration patterns."

Read Esther's submission.
Read Aaron's submission.

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Sunday, December 2, 2012

Husband is Sick.

"I'm about to give you an idea about how I feel."
"I wish I had sweatpants."
"You have pajama pants."
"You can't go to the store in pajama pants."
"You can't go to the store in sweat pants!!"

His judgement is clouded.

Friday, November 30, 2012

Flash Fiction Friday--End of an Era

 Everything Changes  

"Are you sure you want to open that? Once you know, you can never go back."

"I have to know."

"Yes, but when? Now?"

"Why not now?"

"Why not in a day or two. Think about things first. Decide what you want, and what you'll do if it's not what you hoped."

"That's the difference between you and me. I don't start hoping until I know. How can I know what to hope for? Until I open it, there's just this big black hole of thoughts. It not only keeps me from making any progress with this, but it sucks in neighboring thoughts too, distracting me, keeping me form being productive at anything else! I need to do this."

"I guess we are different."

"You want me to open it but not tell you anything until you're ready?"

"No, I can't handle that kind of pressure. Not knowing is one thing, but not knowing and knowing you know? Insufferable."

"Fine. Do you need a minute?"

"Wait, now?"

"Yes, now!"

"...I'm ready."

"It's a girl."

Want to make one of your own? Next week's prompt is, 

"Figureheads of State."

Friday, November 23, 2012

Flash Fiction Friday--Battle Scars


He lay on his back in the center of a large slab table under several blindingly bright lights, trying to relax. The thin sheet barely shielded his body from the chill in the air, though at this point, the feeling was gone from his extremities anyway, so he didn't see how it mattered. As long as he could keep from shivering, it shouldn't affect their ability to address his wounds.

An attendant happened by with a tray of drinks. "How are you holding up?"
"Can you put the headphones in my ears? It helps me stay still."
"Of course," she smiled kindly, sympathetic to his situation. "Good luck with it today. Did you want me to adjust the glasses too?" "No, they're good. Thanks." "They'll be here soon. Press the button if you need me." Finally, the team of technichians arrived. He had come to know them well, and gave a slight nod at Caroline's gentle alert--her arm on his shoulder. "We're ready to begin, Adam. Remember it's imperative you keep as still as you can." "I know. We've done this enough times by now."

"You'll be fine," she comforted him. "Do you need anything to help you relax?" "I've got the music; I'm fine for now."

"Just say the word if you need anything. You remember my assistants?"

"Hey guys, good to be back. If anyone has to see this much of me, I'm glad it's you." The whole room chuckled. "I'm going to lift the sheet. We'll spend about thirty minutes mapping the incision points. Then we'll discuss the burns. Once we're confident in our plan, we'll begin. Please do fall asleep, if you can. Everything will go more smoothly." He did fall asleep, and awoke again nearly five hours later, stiff and sore, but amazed at his transformation; they had done it again. As impressive as their work was, he was quietly grateful this was that last day they were scheduled to reshoot the battle scenes, and for the rest of this year, or maybe his life, he'd never have to wear that much makeup again.

Want to make one of your own? Next week's prompt is, 

"end of an era."

Friday, November 16, 2012

Flash Fiction Friday--Three Strikes

three leaf Clover


In a way, we were lucky.

They say the thing you spend time worrying about never happens to you. It’s lots of somethings much smaller, or rarely, something much, much worse. But sometimes, it’s exactly what you’ve worried about for years, and you’ve rehearsed how to react, how to help, a thousand times in your mind. It’s just that doing everything right doesn’t always amount to enough, in the end.

In a way, we were lucky.

They say most marriages don’t survive the death of a child, but ours was already long over. I can remember thinking that the infidelity and the divorce was the worst thing that had ever happened to me. 

How funny, he was always looking for ways to fix us, to undo the separation, to have his dad back, to call him 'ours' again. Ironic that he actually succeeded... that for a minute, she meant nothing to him, because she could not fathom his loss. I could. It was mine too.

In a way, we are lucky. 

He'll never have to see what we couldn't be without him.

Want to make one of your own? Next week's prompt is, 

"battle scars."

Read Esther's submission.
Read Jeffery's submission.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Pictures of Parenting

 A man illustrates the weird things he finds himself having to say to his children. Find his Flickr here.

Friday, November 9, 2012

Flash Fiction Friday--Tall Order

Natural Selection


Narrow slits in the simple structure displayed the piercing light as the governing star rose on Nuven. He hadn't slept at all.

Deep breath. Eighteen intervals of training. You'd suppose he'd feel ready. He didn't.

He wasn't born a hero. They tried to make him one. Today all would see, once and for all, if they had done.

Gravity would be different there, they said. Bone density and DNA mutations over centuries of living here... there was no way to know how it would affect us all. "That's why we have to send you. We have to know if we can go back."

"We used to be taller, much taller," they explained. "According to our research..." the details of his training flitted through his mind on fast-forward. It was all best-guesses. It was all theory... and it would all be tested. On his body, on his mind, their hypotheses would be measured. He tried again to drown out the overwhelming sense of chaos ruling his thoughts.

The campaign to select a candidate for travel lasted fifty revolutions while they waited, patiently searching for the perfect choice: a completely average, unremarkable individual with nothing to lose. They'd found him. "If you succeed, if you arrive and report with great news; the rewards will be beyond measure!" They used their best development technologies to transform him. "An investment into our future!" all decried. He doubted they would get their money's worth.

He silently rose and dressed quickly, racing against the chill of the early morning. He would report early; there was no use delaying any longer. Whatever fate was written for him would reveal itself in precious few hours.

He passed through the tunnels, his pace deliberate, from the retaining quarters into the launch deck. The team preparing the vessel was already hard at work. NSH Kestrel was ready to fly, but as he boarded and took his place at the enveloping seat at it's center, he couldn't help but feel more like the field mouse than the falcon.

Want to make one of your own? Next week's prompt is, 

"three strikes."

Read Robert's submission.
Read Keri's submission.
Read Kindra's submission.

Read Jeffery's submission.

Friday, November 2, 2012

Flash Fiction Friday -- Basketball Socks

Sir or Madam


When I was a kid, my dad had kind of a soft spot for traditions. Except, not the traditions you'd think. Other families did things because the parents' own family had done it, like Christmas trees and Turkey on Thanksgiving; my dad had a bit of a different experience in boyhood, having been raised in a small community (read: a seclusive cult on a mountain). So, when he became a father he had a lot of deciding to do. 'How does the rest of the world (not on the mountain) go about life? What are we gonna keep sacred around here?'

His answer: firsts. He tasted ice cream for the first time when Mom had a craving for it, pregnant with my older brother. Thirty six years old, the man had his first ice cream. After that, he was hooked. He wanted a new first all the time, and he wanted to be there for every first of ours. He stayed at home and Mom worked, so he could raise us, and witness and keep them all in his head--every first. And once he'd decided a first was worth celebrating, it became permanent.

My first Halloween to be old enough to choose my own costume was when I turned five. I went as a home-made dinosaur. We were almost ready to go when Dad instructed, "Son, you'll need a place to hold the candy. Grab a sock." I bolted back to the linen closet, knowing just what I'd choose; he had a set of three pair of long basketball socks for when he played with his buddies every first and third Saturday morning. I carefully laid all of them side by side, to see which had stretched the most, and chose the biggest one. I brought my selection back outside, where they were already waiting. Dad turned and beamed at me, paused a second, then beamed bigger. He took my sock, wrote my name in permanent marker across the rim, and passed it back to me, turning to lead us into the candy-grabbing adventure of our dreams. It wasn't until I saw James' pillow case, with his name also scribbled in Dad's handwriting across the side, that I realized he had said to choose a sack, not a sock. It was too late now, though. This was my first choice on my first Halloween, and I knew I would never escape it. He respected the firsts too much.

I guess that's how I got here. To manage your jelly bean factory, I would pull upon years of experience at never eating as much candy as I want.

Thank you for taking the time to read my cover letter. I hope you'll consider me for the position.

Want to make one of your own? Next week's prompt is, 

"tall order."

Read Kindra's submission.
Read Jenari's submission.
Read Jeffery's submission.
Read Keri's submission.

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Monday, October 29, 2012

Art is Useless

"In 1890, following the publication of Oscar Wilde's novel, The Picture of Dorian Gray, an intrigued young fan named Bernulf Clegg wrote to the author and asked him to explain a now-famous line included in its preface: "All art is quite useless."

To Clegg's surprise, Wilde responded with the handwritten letter..."

Friday, October 26, 2012

Flash Fiction Friday -- Creature Catalogue


   The dull gray morning got brighter at 10:47am, when the shout came from downstairs, "Mail's here!" Micah's voice squealed out and his sneakers squeaked across the linoleum floor as he tore off to the mailbox, his excitement erupting from his head to his toes. Elliot planted himself at the bottom of the stairs, waiting. He didn't like being disappointed, so he always refused to admit it was coming until it was actually in their hands. He needn't have worried, though; Micah ran back into the house bearing a thick volume, slightly turned up at the edges from the rough handling in transit--it had come, just like it does every October 26.  

   The glossy photograph on the cover displayed a blurred image of twinkling lights and rich colors, much different from last year's all-text cover (an attempt to throw off the littler kids who couldn't read yet, they supposed), or the year before, which bore a vintage illustration of a Christmas morning scene. This year's cover photo was was bright, and emblazoned with tall white letters, reading, "Holiday Wishes," spread across most of the scene, and at the bottom, in small black type, was addressed to "Mr. and Mrs. Hayd or current resident, 1429 Mabel Ave..."  

   The boys carefully laid the catalogue on the kitchen table and chose three markers. The blue one for Micah, the red for Elliot, and two-ended black and green, one side for the notes their mother would make after they had circled their selections, and the other for the baby, who couldn't circle her own choices yet. 

   "Remember the deal," Micah commanded, refusing to open the pages until they agreed to move forward as planned: "one favorite per page each. We can only like three of the same in the whole book. And we never look back--only go through once."

   "And no choosing before the timer runs out. Sixty full seconds for each page before we start to circle," Elliot reminded his brother of his own amendment. Micah nodded.

   "Mom! We're starting! So don't come down here!"

   They skipped past the first forty pages of girly stuff, princess costumes and pink play kitchens and doll dream houses, to what they wanted. Elliot flipped the timer from the Cranium game and they began. Micah wiggled in his seat, waiting anxiously to mark the nerf gun on their first page, having decided on it immediately. "Only thirteen second in," Elliot announced, smiling at his brother's unneeded haste. He went for the vintage-looking gum ball machine coin bank. Next, moon boots and rocket shoes and every size of trampoline tempted them, but they both circled a punching bag with two sets of boxing gloves. "We can both use this one, so it's good for mom," Elliot offered, hoping he hadn't used his first shared vote too soon. 

   On the video games page, Elliot backed down from trying to circle the same PS3 title. The seconds ticked down as he calmly watched Micah squirm, anxious to race him for it. He knew right away they shared the same favorite, and he knew too, he could beat Micah to circling it; he didn't need to watch the timer to know when he could move. The count in his head was scarily accurate. Still, he didn't want the same one enough to use one of his mutual votes, so he chose his second favorite and let Micah eagerly stare at the sand falling, and then race to select it first, beaming at his assumed win.

   Micah was the next to volunteer another shared item. "This Lego Star Wars set has six ships, so we can each have three. Mark which ones you want now so we don't forget," he directed. They both circled, and then added a star by three of their favorite kits within the giant box set. It was all going perfectly. 

   Their third and final mutual gift wish item was the easy one, the same this year as it was every year: the swimming pool section at the back of the catalogue. They both vigorously circled the biggest option, smiling and satisfied, and were about to close the book and deliver it with the third marker to their mom upstairs, when Elliot noticed something. "Wait!" he stopped Micah's hand from shutting it closed and carefully turned the last page, revealing a category they had never seen in the book before: hatching eggs, ready to be shipped, incubated and raised. The left column contained different breeds and quantities of chicken eggs, and the right displayed options for duck and quail. But there, right in the center, were the words "OWLING KIT," and the image of a large owl egg with a box on a post. 

   Micah stared at the page in awe as Elliot quietly uncapped his red marker, reached up and tipped the timer over, and stared his brother in the face, counting down with the sand.

Want to make one of your own? Next week's prompt is, "basketball socks."

Monday, October 22, 2012

"Or maybe I just care... too much!!"

Sometimes I have irrational concerns with the world that I seriously should not let bother me, because really, what can I do about them? Things like:

  • This public bathroom soap dispenser uses the classic, liquid, sticky soap, instead of the foaming stuff I find much more efficient and preferable. Now I'm irritated with the entire hand washing process. Why do they do this to me? 
  • My favorite dress from a designer's runway show, for which I have waited months to find finally released on their website (knowing full well it will be too expensive to ever consider a viable purchase) is the ONE dress from the collection that doesn't make it to the production line, and so I will never know by how much it would have been impossible to buy. Jerks.
  • The kindergarten gate (to keep kids from running off, being kidnapped, etc.) at my daughter's school is awkwardly designed. They should really get someone in here to install a second gate. One for going and one for coming. This bottlenecking of high-strung moms trying to get to their kids is tedious and grating, and it's hard enough not to judge them all without having to hear them gripe behind me while I attempt to patiently wait my turn. 
  • (While were at it...)Your children are not as awesome as my children.
  • This jumbo pack of cotton underwear is practically dirt-cheap and just what I need, but I can't buy it, because one of the nine pairs is a color I don't like. Clearly the cotton underwear industry has conspired to ruin my day by never allowing packs of underwear to be grouped in a palette acceptable to my tastes. 

Friday, October 19, 2012

Flash Fiction Friday -- I know what I saw

Ghost Stories
Krisann Gentry

I was late. I ate my peanut butter toast faster as I can, but that is pretty hard, because peanut butter is sticky in my froat, so I had to get another glass of milk to eat it all, so I was still late.

Mom gave me a wipey and I cleared crumbs and peanut butter from my face. If I hurried, I could still make it to my bus on time. 

Mom buckled me into my booster seat and whispered stuff about missing the bus. She had to run back into the house because she forgotted things and her shoe broke. She is even faster than a race car sometimes.

We pulled up to the gate, but Mrs. Jensen has started kindergarten without me. I thought then that it was the worst day ever, but I had no idea what was waiting for me.

Mom smooshed my hair down with her spit again, and I hopped out of the car. She yelled something to me about coming back with the sheets, but she was driving away, so I couldn't hear her really good.

I ran straight here from the school. I'm so glad mom taught me where the police station was, for mergencies. The whole class was all turned to ghosts, sir. I don't know how, but they were. That's everything I saw. Don't let mom go back, or she'll be one too. Can you send the fire truck?

Want to make one of your own? Next week's prompt is "Creature Catalogue."

For Keri's story, click here.
For Jeannine's story, click here
For Jeffery's submission, click here.
For Esdras' story, click here
For Karlet's story, click here.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Introducing Flash Fiction Fridays

For the next two months (to start), I'll be hosting a small consortium of writers participating in a weekly flash fiction exercise. Every Friday I'll post my efforts, followed by some of the selections offered by my coolest friends. We won't collaborate with one another, rather, they will know they prompt when they read my update, and we will revel in how very, very different each of our finished products will prove themselves to be.

Want to play, too? The first flash fiction story, and prompt for next week, are already up. You can find it here. Contact me in the comments, or whatever other creative way you come up with, to let me know you'll be joining us. 

Friday, October 12, 2012

First Flash Fiction Friday

Powder and Soda

Rows upon rows of bottles and jars rest along her high counter. It looks more like an old apothecary than a kitchen; she looks more like a lab tech than an artist, carefully matching a syrup or brew to one of the carefully lined-up measures, pouring a hint or a drop into a vessel and patiently observing and noting everything about it--how it reacts to the other elements, what it needs to round out its flavor profile, and other decisions important to her, but unseen by most. She is a master of these, the tiny measurements. In her mind she systematically works through variables and outcomes, extrapolating from these micro-experiments, understanding what she will need to bring to the table when the time comes to create a large batch. She fails often. She learns every time. She measures again.
She cried once, into a pile of sifted flour, and mourned for weeks. Not a single one of her fourteen varieties of salt could quite recreate the exquisite flavor, and no matter how she tried, she couldn't make herself cry enough for a test batch, let alone the whole order. “Can’t cry enough or cry too much.” She thinks of things that way. A maddish kind of scientist.
Today, she is trying something new. The lavender oil has already been rejected in favor of elderberry syrup. The powders and sodas will react as she intends; she is the director of their chemical symphony, and nothing will go wrong, she is sure. She drops two large yolks into a bowl of equal parts oil and water - the mixing bowl stares menacingly back at her for a moment. “Challenge accepted,” she smiles as she grabs her whisk and begins blending with a little too much enthusiasm.

Want to make one of your own? Next week's prompt is

Saturday, October 6, 2012

Dear Moffat,

You have betrayed us.

See, we liked you because you were better than us. You were smarter and weirder and wilder. Your ideas were surprising and outside of our imaginations and brilliant, really.

The Statue of Liberty taken over by the weeping angels? How could you break so many of your own rules just to pander to a wildly popular internet meme?

It was funny to think about. It was weak to use it. You made it part of the Doctor Who canon, do you understand? Not that you’ll honor it later... you have been ignoring your own established ideas for some time now.


Sincerely, the FanGirls

Sunday, September 30, 2012


I think more of the world should be made of couches, oversized pillows, fluffy cushions, all those sorts, and I'll tell you why.

1. Babies and children fall down a lot.
2. Old people fall down a lot.
3. The people taking care of babies and children and old people get tired a lot.

Friday, September 21, 2012

He hid the cookie dough from me...

This displays a severe trust and control issue in our relationship.

Also, revenge is being plotted.

Saturday, September 15, 2012

More Appealing

The food I serve to my children.

The food I serve for myself.

*Please note: these foods are identical.

Monday, September 10, 2012

It Always Was

Remember when you were a kid, and you did something cheeky and brave and wild, and you loved it? Then it became a theme of what you were known for and how you identified yourself. Then when your reputation for that style of life and views was solidified, say, in your twenties, you would look back on that memory and say, "See!? Proof positive. I have always been like this."

In a way it's true, but it speaks more to how we assimilate and process information than accurately assessing our histories. For every moment you spent acting cheeky and brave and wild, you matched in acting silly, or fearful, or uncertain. They just don't feel as true in the long run.

I wonder. What am I going to remember in thirty tears more, that will jump out at me and say, "See!? This is SO you!" I wonder if I can decide?

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Things I do to avoid doing the thing I'm supposed to do.

  • Think of what I've been meaning to add to my grocery list/order from amazon, and go write it down.
  • Text my brother.
  • Grab a snack. 
  • Text my friend.
  • Take a picture of my daughter napping.
  • Update facebook.
  • Check the weather. 
  • Almost ANY other chore.
  • Decide what I'm wearing isn't comfortable enough anymore, and change into something else... but not before rolling through my closet's options three times, and moaning at my lack of options. 
  • Look online for cute shirts to add to my wish list.
  • Check facebook again.
  • Remember that music helps the chore go along faster, and put together a playlist.
  • Play a game on my cell phone.
  • Wander outside to verify the weather report I'd checked earlier. 
  • Update the blog. 
  • Refill my snack. 
  • Empty my bladder.
  • Get a drink.
  • Return a phone call. 
  • Finally get into the zone, the sweet spot. Work is going at a rhythm and pace that feels great, and I want nothing more than to keep plugging away at the project, undistracted, until completion. 
  • Get the kid up from the bed when she wakes up from her nap, frustrated that I didn't finish my job.

Saturday, September 1, 2012


This year, for my 29th birthday on August 29th, Aaron the husband, a pair of bestie friends Jon & Linda, and I, along with the various children in tow, went about on a scavenger hunt, of sorts, accomplishing adventures to commemorate the event.

Here are 29 pictures detailing our outings over two days of celebrating my existence. Does it get better than this?

First, we went Blinking,
 which I suppose you could describe as a derivative of Planking for fangirls and boys who've waited too long for their favorite show to return. We didn't venture into any cool cemeteries, sadly, mostly because they were all too far out of the way. We had to get pretty creative (and muddy our (okay, just mine) butts a bit), at some points. Thankfully, four fully grown adults with children walking around every garden shop in North County San Diego does not appear too suspicious at first glance, and aside from several sideways glances, we were pretty much left alone to create these masterpieces.
Aaron is determined to win the staring contest. 

Jon is prepared for a painful stomping.

Making a run for it with one eye on the villain.

Linda spots a sneaky one.

Next we created some friends. 
We made quite a few more than are pictured here, but these are some favorites. Next time I'll bring super glue, to ensure that people will really be able to enjoy them for a long time.
At one point I showed Miah how to made one too, and she asked, "Mom, are we changing our town?" Yes, sweetheart. Yes we are.

Bruce the Shedman lives for the moments he's open and can see the west. 
Squirt is tall for his age and tells his friends about all the hott ladies that make out with him all day (he excludes stories of the large mustached man...)

Belrog the Cart Boy led a flat life.
Gladys and Cindy spend their days "relaxing" with the gardeners.

The long-nosed sawfish was recently discovered by scientists, and is a fascinating beast to study. It breathes both air and water, and camouflages itself an shelves at hardware stores.  
Othello, the poor tortured soul on the left, is a sad little creature, always a bit depressed about being so round. 

Gregory lived a solitary life, though not by his choosing. His nose was so large and so constantly under pressure, everyone assumed he had a cold and kept their distance. 
Maggie, on the other hand, is the life of the party--sometimes to a fault. See the half-empty bottle sticking partway out her mouth? I hear her family are planning an intervention soon.  

Our next objective was placing a few notices for the benefit of the community. 
Trust me, the community benefits from these. People need to know this stuff, you guys.


She's helping.
Proper identification of all manner of chicken sounds and behaviors is a high priority for us, even though we're a bit south of the O.C. (don't call it that).

Even more importantly, though, were the next bills posted:
I grabbed a strip of paper from a signpost, but I forgot why.

Yes, we have been missing, and counting down the days until the return of, the Doctor.

Miss Miah made a grass angel while her sister climbed my legs.
The ever-charming Sharps made use of some extra eyes for a bit.

Then it was time to head home for some dinner. 
Not just any dinner, mind you. This dinner:
Beet and citrus salad with avocado lime dressing.
Roasted baby carrots in ginger garlic butter.
Lemon artichoke risotto.
Proscuitto-wrapped chicken roulade stuffed with dried cherries stuffing.
Blood Orange San Pelegrino and sparkling moscato to drink.

We ate ourselves silly. See?

The risotto turned out to be the star of the night. My oh my... I wish I still had some leftover. The bitey lemon and artichoke with the creamy, brothy rice. It was just remarkable.

Did I mention there were presents?
Hand-painted by Linda. 
That's right. Les Misérable. On my birthday. It's okay, I'd be jealous too.

The production was fantastic. I was a little worried I wouldn't be as impressed with it as I had been the show in Manhattan, but considering the restrictions on a traveling show, they did a magnificent job. Loved it, and loved getting to go with Aaron as he saw it for the first time.

Snack at Intermission
Aaron bought me a shirt, and I bought him a mug.

To top off our experiences, we decided
our neighborhoods needed a little stop-sign pun art.

We actually accomplished one additional project between us, but this is long enough as it is.
Come back another day and you'll find it. :)

Happy birthday to me!!

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