I came across a new challenge today — well, new to me. It’s hosted by Jim Adams on his WordPress site at this link.   The challenge is to write a story or poem based on the theme “Better Left Unsaid.”  So I’ve let my poet muse have sway and posted my response below.



I could have told him how I felt
About the lies he’d told behind my back.
I could have spoken out and said
That he a basic moral code did lack.
I could have talked to mutual friends,
And told them scores of ugly things of him.
And when I’d finished, they’d have said
They were inclined to believe all of them.
But once I’d had revenge on him,
What would the outcome be inside of me?
My sinking to his level so
Would mean I was as vile of heart as he.
But if I leave those thoughts unsaid,
I’ll rise above them, so I’ll remain free.


I’m running really late with trying to participate in Sadje’s “What Do You See?” challenge, but I managed to write this little poem before the deadline. As soon as I saw the vacancy sign, I knew I had to write about lost love. The photo is courtesy of Carter Saunders @

Copyright Carter Saunders



I’m sure the world can see the sign.
It flashes from my eyes.
My heart, which once was full of love,
Now mourns with tears and sighs.

You filled me with your golden love;
At least I thought ’twas so.
But suddenly you took your love
And said you had to go.

You’ve given yourself to someone new;
I’ll never comprehend
How I could have been so deceived
By nothing but pretend.

My heart is vacant now, indeed,
And all the world can tell.
I’ll keep it vacant from now on:
I’ve learned my lesson well.



Sadje’s “What Do You See?” challenge is really a challenge this week. But I decided to take a whimsical approach and came up with this little poem.

photo courtesy of 8maching @


He lived his life connected
To all of cyberspace.
He swiped and clicked and texted
At an amazing pace.

His phone was an appendage
That never left his grip.
To work, to play, to bathroom — 
It always made the trip.

There were some friends who warned him
That he was too intense;
His focus on that device
Went beyond common sense.

He couldn’t stop himself though.
At every little ‘ding’
He had to stop whatever,
And bow to that darn thing.

Now, years after his passing,
From underneath the sod,
He still can hear that ‘dinging’
From what he’d made his god.

And though beneath the grasses
He lies in somber state,
His claw-like hands reach for it,
But, alas, it is too late.

House of Flawed Flowers — Friday Fictioneers 6/5/19

I haven’t played “Friday Fictioneers” in a long time, but today when I saw the picture I couldn’t help myself. I take no responsibility for the subject matter. It was the jacket hanging on the end of the banister that did it. Honestly — I couldn’t help it.  🙂  And the weirdest thing is that it came out at exactly 99 words without any editing. Go figure.

Here’s the picture prompt courtesy of Ceayr



It was a unique little operation. Nothing like the “red-light” districts Derek had been used to. No money actually changed hands here. Men who used the service hung their jackets on the end of the stair banister with the fee in the pocket. Once they were ensconced upstairs, Madam Beatrice relieved the jacket of its contents, and replaced it for the client to retrieve when finished. She even included an innocuous receipt for tax purposes: “One House Special – $100.” Derek had a desk drawer full of those receipts, but he couldn’t use them. His wife was his accountant.




New Writing Challenge: Write a Story Using Nothing But Dialogue

Okey-dokey, folks, it’s time for a fresh writing challenge. I’ve been doing this exercise with some of my creative writing students to help them get a better grip on using dialogue creatively and successfully in their stories. It’s a challenge for sure, but it’s lots of fun.

So here’s the only rule. Write a short story (anywhere between 100 and 500 words) using nothing but dialogue. No introduction, no tag lines to identify speakers, no narration of any kind.

Two Helpful Hints:
1. Since you can’t use tag words to identify speakers, you’ll be restricted to only two characters so that the reader can follow the dialogue easily.
2. You’ll need to make sure your dialogue reveals the identity of the characters because you can’t narrate their identity or description to your readers.

Just post your story on your own site and hop over here and put the link into the “Comments” section for this post.

No time limit: This challenge is open-ended. Anytime you read this post and want to try your hand at a dialogue story, go for it.  Do more than one if you like. And don’t forget to come back here and leave your link.

My own story is below:

GIRL DRAWING HEART ON WALL - cropped -- SFerrario - PX


“Mandy, what on earth have you done to the wall?”
“I’m drawing a merle, Mommy.”
“A what?”
“A merle. You know, a picture that covers the whole wall.”
“Oh, you mean a mural.”
“Right, and this is a picture of our whole family.”
Our family?”
“Yes. See this really big person is God, because our Sunday School teacher said that all families come from God.”
“I see. And, yes, Mrs. Osgood is right.”
“And then here’s Daddy and you and me and Francis and Baby Daniel.”
“Well, I understand God and Daddy and me and you and Francis, but who on earth is Baby Daniel?”
“My little brother.”
“But, Mandy, you don’t have a little brother.”
“Not yet, but he’s coming. God told me today.”
“Ooooooh ….”



‘Tell Me A Story’ Writing Challenge 9/19/18

Anybody got a story about this lonely gate to . . . somewhere? . . . anywhere? . . . nowhere? . . . Wherever your imagination takes you.

GATE WITH WEEDSIf you’re in the mood for a writing challenge, create a new story from this photo by Terry Valley. Try to keep it around 500-800 words, and when you’ve posted it on your blog, hop over here and leave the link to the story in the “Comments” section below.

I’m not sure if I’ll have time this week to write a story for this picture or not, but whether I do or don’t, I hope several of you will. I’ll enjoy reading them, and I know others will too. Let’s say you can post your story anytime between today and next Wednesday, September 26.

And if you do write a story, be sure to put the link to this post on your site with your story so that your own followers will know about the challenge and can participate too.

Happy Writing.




Prompt Nights – Poems of Healing

I hadn’t heard about the “Prompt Nights” writing challenge until this week. And when I saw the current prompt, I couldn’t resist taking part — since ministry in the area of healing is one of the things I do most. So I’m sharing a poem I actually wrote a few years go, but it fits this week’s prompt perfectly.


(Exodus 15:26, Mark 5:25-34)  

Her brow was wet with fever,
And her body wracked with pain.
She did not know just what was wrong,
But the symptoms would not change.
She knew she needed healing,
But she had no way to pay.
Who to turn to; who to trust;
Who to show the way?

A friend said to her, “Sister,
I know a doctor kind.
He cleanses lepers, makes lame walk,
And gives sight to the blind.
In fact, He’ll take on any case,
And cure it every time.”

“Oh, would that I could go to Him,”
She then was heard to say.
“But since I do not know His name,
How can I know the way?
And even if He’d take my case,
I simply cannot pay.”

“My dear, fear not,” her friend replied;
“There is no need to fear.
I’ll take you to Him right away;
He’s really very near.
His name’s Jehovah Rapha; He’s
‘The God that healeth thee.’
And because of His Son’s precious blood,
The healing – it is free!


Visit the “Healing From Jesus” site.


30 Words From ‘Thermostat’

PENCIL PAPERI’m taking up the challenge to see how many words I can get out of the word ‘Thermostat’ in 2 minutes. My list is below. (And remember: if you’re taking part in the challenge, no fair reading my list until you’ve written your own.)





How Many Words Can You Make From The Word ‘Thermostat’?

Hey, how about a new kind of writing challenge for the new year?  It doesn’t require you to write a whole story, but it does put your brain to work. This challenge will force you to stretch your thinking muscles, be a little creative, and dig down deep into your vocabulary reservoir.

Set a timer for 2 minutes. Then write a list of all the words
you can make from the letters in this word:

When the timer goes off, you MUST stop. If you are in the middle of
writing a word, you can finish the word, but that’s all. You can’t use
any letter more times than you find it in the word. Contractions and proper names are allowed. Abbreviations are NOT allowed. (Once you’ve stopped, if you read over the list and see typos, you may correct them.)

HINT:  It may be easier to write them by hand and then type them in once  you have the complete list. Because you have to hit the “shift” key and the “return” key at the same time in order to space down just one line in the editor window, it takes more time to type the words into the editor in a list format.

Play fair. Don’t read anyone else’s list until you have written your own.

Post your list on your own blog; then come over here and give us
the link to your post in the “Comments” section below.

The challenge will run through Monday, January 25.
So have your link in the “Comments” section by the stroke
of midnight (in your own time zone) on that day.

I’ll post my list in a separate article and put the link on this page as well.

Have fun


History Through the Eyes of Ogden Owl

Lee Dusing, over at Lee’s Birdwatching Adventures Plus, has posted the picture on her site of this owl with his eyes bulging as he takes in some scene before him. Lee has asked us to write a caption or a story based on the picture — taken by Peter K. Burian.  So, naturally, I had to take up the challenge — even though I’m not much of an owl person in general. My story is below the picture.



Ogden Owl couldn’t believe his eyes. He was sure they must be bulging because he was straining so hard to see what was really going on. He’d lived in these sparse clumps of trees close to the sandy beaches of Kitty Hawk, NC, for almost three years now, and ever since he’d moved here, there had been some strange things going on.

Two human beings had spent months at a time out on the sandy stretches of land between the hills, half rolling – half carrying – some contraption that looked a little like a huge, ugly bird, but that seemed to be bound to move on the ground. Ogden was usually up doing his hunting during the night, and by morning, he was ready to get some rest, so he hadn’t bothered with the humans much, except to shake his head at their ability to waste time and energy out here on this almost barren stretch of land.

But early this morning, when he really should have been considering getting some rest again, he had noticed that the two human beings had an even bigger monster of a machine – even more ugly – and this time it made a horrible noise as they moved it across the ground.  They pushed it onto some kind of inclined track, and the next thing Ogden knew, one of the men seemed to climb right into the middle of the machine.

Ogden could hardly hold his eyes open, but he was determined to find out what was going on practically right under his nose. Suddenly the huge machine began moving along the inclined track, picking up speed, and then, to Ogden’s astonishment – and horror – it lifted up from the ground, all the time making a roaring noise. It seemed to catch the wind with its enormous wings and sailed through the air just like he did when he took off from his tree limb and weaved through the sky looking for food.

It couldn’t be! Surely not! Human beings flying??? His eyes stayed glued to the scene. For long seconds, the huge, ugly contraption floated and soared – and scared the heck out of Ogden.

When the machine came back down to the ground and sat down without breaking apart, Ogden took a deep breath. He hadn’t realized that he had been holding his breath the whole time he watched that ugly, noisy machine fly. He shook his head now and stirred restlessly on the branch where he sat. He sighed and stretched his wings a little, wanting to feel their strength once more before he moved back onto one of the hidden branches of his tree to get some rest. He felt sad – and fearful. He had a feeling that life was never going to be the same again after today.  ~


“All In A Night’s Work” — ‘Anybody Got a Story’ Writing Challenge

Here’s my story to meet the challenge from the picture below. I  had first thought we’d keep these stories pretty short but then the more I thought about it, the more I realized that a picture like this almost demands a good bit of detail. So I extended the rules to allow each writer to use his own discretion. I did suggest trying to stay below 2500 words, but I have to admit that I wasn’t far from that limit myself. There’s still two days to take part, so if you’re interested, here’s the link  to the original post that explains how to participate.


When Inspector McGregor arrived at the scene, he found the car, empty, with the driver’s door standing open, exactly as the caller had described.  Refusing to give his name, the caller had simply reported what looked like an abandoned car sitting on an abandoned street, across from the printing plant.

The plant was shut down for the night, but security lights were on in the front, and evidently someone was still working in two of the offices upstairs. Inspector McGregor looked at his watch. They were certainly keeping strange hours. It was 3:30 in the morning. Even the bars across the street and in the next block had been closed for an hour and a half.

McGregor stood looking toward the plant, thinking, when suddenly he saw a face in one of the dark first-floor windows. The outside security light, with its eery blue cast, threw enough light on the window that even the split-second appearance of the face was clear enough to tell it had a fragile look about. It almost had to be a woman or a child.

Time to call for backup, McGregor decided, and radioed the station to pass on the information he had, get two more units on the way, and get a phone number for the printing plant office. “Look up Peter Hampton’s home number as well,” he said into the phone.  “Whoever’s in the office now may not answer the phone, and I want him down here with a key immediately.”

When he signed off, he punched in the printing office number first. The street was so quiet he could actually hear the office phone ringing, but after five rings, the answering machine picked up. He hung up and immediately called Hampton’s house.

The machine picked up at the house as well, but before the message played through, Hampton had picked up the phone. “Yeah, Hampton here,” he said, his voice thick with sleep.

“Mr. Hampton,” this is Inspector Alan McGregor with the metropolitan police department.”

“Police!  What’s going on? What’s wrong?”

“I don’t want to alarm you, sir, but we have an unusual situation going on at your plant right now, and I need you to get down here and open up the door so we can get in and take a look around.”

“What do you mean unusual situation?  And how do I know this is really the police?”

McGregor gritted his teeth, but at the same time, part of him was glad that Hampton didn’t just take off running in response to a call from someone without positive identification.

“I’m going to hang up, Mr. Hampton. And I want you to look up the number of the 7th precinct and call it. Ask them if they have an Inspector McGregor working on a case that involves your plant. They’ll verify everything I’ve told you, and then you get yourself down here. Understand?”

“Yes … yes … I can do that.”

“Don’t waste time, Hampton. I need you here now.”

“Yes … alright. I’m looking up the number now. I’ll hang up.”

“Fine,” McGregor answered.  “And thank you.”

By the time he’d ended the call the other two patrol cars had joined him. He had requested no sirens, but their lights were flashing. Whoever was inside looking out had to know they were about to get a visit from the police.  “Any ideas at all about who or what, Alan?” one of the other officers asked him.

“Well, I’d bet a month’s salary the face I saw belongs to a woman or a child. She could be in there with a couple others, and they could be in the middle of a burglary. Or she could have run inside for protection from something else.  This car door standing wide open tells me the second possibility is more likely.”

“Sounds reasonable. But why would somebody running for safety park on this side of the street if they were going into that building?”

McGregor shook his head, deep in thought, and just then Peter Hampton drove up, slammed on his brakes, and jumped out of the car. McGregor met him at the front door of the building, and Hampton unlocked the door, all the time emphasizing that the lights upstairs should not be on. “No one is supposed to be here at all, Inspector,” he insisted.

“Okay, it helps to know that. Now, you go back to your car, Mr. Hampton. We’ll take it from here. We don’t want you in the middle of anything that could be a threat to you.”

Hampton gladly obeyed, and McGregor and two of the officers eased through the front doorway. The other two officers had gone around the back to make sure no one left from that direction.

McGregor flipped on the overhead lights in the front reception area. “Police!” he shouted. “You need to come out into the open and identify yourself. The building’s surrounded. Come out where we can see you now!”

“Please! Please don’t shoot,” a thin shaky voice answered. “It’s only me, Carla Watson,” the voice continued, and slowly a young woman raised up from behind a desk on the right side of the room. She held her hands up as if in surrender, and she was shaking with fright. “Please, I was only hiding from some men who were chasing me. Honest. I didn’t mean to break in.” Her voice broke then and she began to sob.

McGregor told the other two officers to check out the rest of the building, and he walked closer to the girl. “Are you here alone?” McGregor asked.

“Yes,” she answered, trying to stifle her sobs. “Could I please get a tissue out of my pocket?” She asked, looking at him pitifully.

“Sure. You can put your hands down and come out here and sit down.”

She obediently moved from behind the desk and walked to a chair in the waiting area, at the same time digging into her sweater pocket for her tissues. When she had blown her nose and managed to get control of the tears to some extent, McGregor propped himself on the corner of a desk and asked her for her story.

“I was coming out of the Family Savings store and three men were standing out in the parking lot. They started to make suggestive comments to me and when I just hurried on to my car, they started following me. I jumped in  and locked my door and got my car started, but they were right beside my door, banging on the window. I managed to take off though, but they jumped into their car and followed me.

“It was awful, I tried to go fast enough to lose them, but they kept up with me. Finally, I came to a red light and just ran through it. I should have known they would do the same thing. There was almost no other traffic on those streets, and I kept turning abruptly, trying to lose them.  Finally, when a truck came across the road between me and them, they had to come to a stop, and I managed to turn two more corners and found myself on this street.

“A friend of mine works at the printing plant, and I remembered her saying that sometimes the ink odor is so strong they often open one of the windows on the back side of the building — one on the alley. I saw the lights on upstairs, and I just hoped that maybe I could find a window open. I pulled the car up on the other side of the street, hoping that if the men found the car, they’d think I had run in that direction and would start looking for me there. That would give me more time to get away.  I ran faster than I’ve ever run to get to the alley, and I prayed the whole way that the window would be open. It was. I crawled in and closed and locked it behind me.”

“But you didin’t go upstairs to get help?”

“Well, after I’d gotten in and walked toward the front of the building, I realized I didn’t hear anything upstairs that sounded like people moving around or talking. I figured someone had just left the lights on by mistake, so I decided to stay down here — at least until I could glance out the window a time or two and make sure I wasn’t followed.”

“And did they follow you?”

She nodded her head and then shivered. McGregor stepped over to her and patted her shoulder. “You’re safe now, Carla. Just tell me everything you can about them.”

She nodded. I glanced out once and saw that they were getting out of their car and heading down the street the other direction as I had hoped they would. I didn’t think they’d try to get into any buildings that were locked, so I thought I was probably safe in here. But I did try to glance out another time or two to see what was happening. They finally came back and got into their car. But while they were gone from it, I managed to look at it long enough to get the license number.”

“Good girl!” McGregor said now, patting her shoulder again. Then he pulled out a pen and pad and took down the number she gave him. She also gave him a fairly good description of two of the men.

McGregor nodded his head as he wrote out what she said. “Yes, I think I many know one of these guys already. And if it’s who I think it is, he’s out of prison on parole, and this is going to go down hard on him.”

By that time all four of the other officers had scouted out the entire building and reported that no one else was on the premises. McGregor sent one man out to get Peter Hampton, and when he had checked out the situation himself, he came to the conclusion that the janitor had evidently left a couple lights on. “He’s new and, frankly, I’m not sure how reliable he is.” He thought for a moment. “Well, evidently, from what I see now, he’s pretty unreliable. I’ll have a serious talk with him tomorrow. But I don’t see anything out of place – and nothing seems to be missing – so I’d say he’s probably the one who left the lights ——”  He stopped abruptly and looked at Carla. “Hey, how did you get in here anyway!”

She explained about the open window in back and then added. “I’m just so grateful it was open, and so glad the lights were on,” said Carla. “I don’t think I would have thought about trying to get in here if they hadn’t been. So … please … Mr. Hampton, don’t be too hard on your janitor.”

Hampton couldn’t help but grin. “Well, Missy, I guess if his leaving those lights on and the window open saved you from some serious harm, I’ll have to give him another chance to prove he’s dependable.”

McGregor chuckled, as did a couple of the other officers. Then he turned to Carla. “Is there someone at your home so that you won’t have to be there alone for right now?”

“Yes, my sister lives with me there,” she said. “And, as a matter of fact,” she added, looking at her watch, “I bet she’s starting to worry about me right now. My cell phone was dead, or I would have called her and told her to send help. I picked up one of the office phones here, but I couldn’t get it to give me an outside line. I couldn’t figure out all the buttons in the dark.”

“Well, I’m going to follow you home right now, and I’ll go in with you and talk with your sister. Then tomorrow, I’ll get in touch with you and let you know how we’re doing at making sure those men don’t get it into their heads to pull the same stunt with some other young lady. We may need you to identify a couple of them if we can bring them in. Are you willing to do that?”

“Can I do it without them seeing me?”


Carla nodded her head. “Then I’ll be glad to.”

“Good,” McGregor said, taking her arm gently. “Now let’s get you home.” They started for the door, and McGregor looked back at Peter Hampton. “Thanks for all your help Mr. Hampton. I hope you can still get a little sleep before you start your work day.”

Peter Hampton chuckled. “I don’t know, Inspector. When I get home, I’m going to have to fill my wife in on all that’s happened. And she’s not one to be satisfied with a summary. Like any good woman, she wants all the little details, and she wants them in chronological order. I figure I’m up for the day, but, all in all, I feel good knowing I could be a little help in keeping crime off the streets of our fair city. ”





“Thawing The Ice” — My Response to ‘Anyone Got a Story’ Writing Challenge

Finally!!! I have been energized by the other authors who have been quick to respond to the writing challenge “Anyone Got a Story to Go With This Picture,” and, at last, I have had an opportunity to sit down and write mine. I offer it below. And remember, there is no time limit on taking part in this challenge, so if you’d like to participate, hop over to the link above and check out the very simple rules. I will also post the link to this story on the original challenge page.


Misty laced up her skates and glided smoothly across the ice. It had been more than a year since she’d come to her favorite pond. The trees were stark silhouettes against the deep snow, barren and seemingly useless in this white wilderness. She felt that way herself. The gray world around her matched her gray and barren heart. Words came back to her now from the whispering past.

“You can’t just give up, Misty. Marcus wouldn’t want you to quit skating. He wouldn’t want you to give up the life you’ve always loved.”

She continued to circle the pond, listening to conversations in her head – all from last year. After the accident. “I can’t skate alone. I’m no good by myself. It’s always been Marcus and me together – from the time we were seventeen.”

“But you’re so gifted, dear,” Mother had insisted. “You were skating beautifully long before you even met Marcus. Why, from the time you put on your first pair of skates – remember? – the pink pair you got for Christmas when you were six? – from that very first day, you’ve been a star in the making. All your fans want to see you back out there on the ice.”

Misty had merely hung her head and wept. She new her mother meant well, but she’d never be able to understand. And Misty was glad her mother had never known that kind of loss.

But her family didn’t understand about the fans either. Yes, her own family were her personal fans, but the fans in all the ice rinks around the world hadn’t been hers. They were fans who loved Misty and Marcus – together – “the darling duo” as they’d been dubbed in more than one news story. The fans wanted to see both of them on the ice, not just one lonely girl –  lost now in a world that had been her own kingdom little more than a year ago.

The cold wind bit at her, but she welcomed the pain. It matched the pain in her heart. And she welcomed the gray world she skated in now. It matched the world she lived the rest of her life in with Marcus dead.

So she skated – round and round the pond – one hour – then another. And with each trip around that pond of her childhood came the memories – like warm flashes of sunlight:  the first time she’d skated in her pink skates; the first day she’d invited Marcus to skate with her there; the first competition they’d entered – and won; the grueling hours of practice that both of them had loved.

Gradually, as the happy memories flooded back and thawed the ice that had held her soul in its lonely, gray world for the past year, Misty began to feel alive again. A smile spread across her face and she flung out her arms as if to embrace this precious pond with its stark trees and white emptiness. She found herself skating into routines she’d used before she and Marcus had become a team. And gradually, she found herself adding moves to those routines. They weren’t done consciously. They just flowed from her as naturally as water flows down a hill when a barrier has been removed.

Her heart began to sing. Her body followed suit. And although the pond and all it’s surroundings were still as gray and barren as they’d been when she’d arrived, Misty discovered that she was now skating in sunshine – in the warmth of her love for Marcus and in the fire of the passion she felt for skating. Perhaps her family and friends had been right after all. Perhaps she did still have a life to live and a gift to give to the world from her kingdom on the ice.


The Hodge-Podge Writing Challenge

What is a “hodge-podge”?  According to the dictionary, it is a mixture of dissimilar ingredients.  So let’s mix up some dissimilar things today and write about them. Here’s your challenge:

Choose a book — any book, as long as it has at least 100 pages. Pick up a pencil or pen. (If you’re using a pencil, use the eraser tip. If you’re using a pen, make sure the ink point is retracted.) Open the book to page 1, and, without looking over the text first, close your eyes and swirl the pencil around over the page so as to lose any sense of the placement of words you may have inadvertently read. Then drop the eraser end of the pencil down onto the page. Look at the word the pencil is touching, and write the word down.

Now, turn to page 50 of the same book and do the same thing.  Write the word down.

Finally, go to page 100 and follow the same instructions.

Once you have your three words, your challenge is to write a sentence using all three words, in any order,  in the SAME SENTENCE.

Then write an entirely different sentence also using all three of the words.

And, lastly, write a third sentence using all three words.

It’s just a little exercise in discipline and creativity that is good for the brain and for the soul. It forces us to look at words from totally different perspectives, and we’ll sometimes find they have unexpected things to say to us. Another added incentive: you just might find the seeds of your next novel in one of these sentences. It’s been known to happen.

Post your 3 sentences (with a link to this challenge) on your own site.
Then come back here, and, in the “Comments” section, tell us your three words, and paste the link to your article where you wrote your sentences.

Remember, you don’t write a separate sentence for each word. You have to use all three words in all three sentences.  Also, please remember that my blog is for general audiences.

I’ll start things off with my own three words: curls, lifted, eternity.

Sentence # 1: The breeze lifted her golden curls away from her face and neck, and he caught his breath, knowing he would remember her beauty for eternity.

Sentence # 2:  Watching the smoke being lifted by the wind as it curls toward his face,  Howard feels as though he has been waiting an eternity for help to arrive.

Sentence # 3:  She curls her fingers around his as he’s lifted into the ambulance, knowing that he is about to leave her to go into eternity.



Limerick Writing Challenge – 10/26/14

PLMBER2 - dumb plumber
Since I’m teaching a Writing Poetry class this term, I have, naturally, been thinking about how many different kinds of poems there are. And today I got to thinking about limericks. We all know pretty much what a limerick is: A poem generally written in fun, which has 5 lines of anapestic meter (da-da-dum  da-da- dum  da-da-dum) and with a rhyme scheme of AABBA.  The first, second, and last lines generally have 3 feet of anapestic meter, and the third and fourth generally have two feet.

In the early beginnings of limericks, according to history, most of the themes were fairly absurd and often bawdy or naughty. However, most of us are familiar with lots of limericks that are just good, clean fun.

So, bearing in mind that this site is a G-rated site, I’d like to invite everyone out there to write a limerick — or 2 or 3 — and share them with us. They can be on any subject.

Please post your limericks on your own blog and hop back over here to post the link to them in the ‘Comments’ section below. That way everyone else can find them as well.  We’ll keep this challenge open until midnight next Sunday, November 2, 2014 (central standard time, USA).

I generally comment on your own site after reading your submissions, rather than replying to your comments on my page.

Below is one of my own limericks to get us started:


There once was a girl, name of Summer
Who fell madly in love with her plumber
And each day down her drains
Shoved ridiculous things,
But he never caught on. What a bummer.



‘Man With A Gun’ — Writing Challenge — Week 1

GUN - BLUEAt some point in my past, I read that Raymond Carver once offered advice to writers about what to do if their stories seemed to lag or hit a boring place. His suggestion was to have a man come through a door with a gun in his hand.

That idea intrigued me – much more than I expected – and, as a result, I decided to set myself a challenge — as follows: I am committing to write one story for every Saturday in August, in which – at some point in time – whether fitting or not – a man or woman does walk through a door with a gun.

During this exercise, I am going to do very little editing of my stories. Rather I will simply begin writing with whatever idea comes to mind and continue until the gunman appears on the scene. After that point, whatever happens ….

I’m hoping my readers will enjoy this experiment with me, but I also thought that some of you out there would like to participate and do your own “man-with-a-gun” stories.

If you do, please post the links to your stories in the “Comments” section of my story for that week. I’m posting a story today. If you write a story any day this week before next Saturday, please post your link in the “Comments” of my story that is dated today. If you want to wait and post only on Saturdays, I will try to have mine up each of the next four Saturdays by 12:01 a.m. – U.S. Central Daylight Savings time. That way, hopefully, many of my readers in other countries will be able to post at the start of their day if they choose.

I’m not setting any word limit, but if we try to keep them to 1500 words or less, I think we will have an easier time visiting each other’s blogs and reading everyone’s stories – that is if anyone else takes part. I hope you do.

Feel free to start this exercise at any time, or to write only one or two stories if you don’t have time for five. Frankly, I have no idea if I will meet the challenge or not, but I’m at least taking the plunge. And please remember that my blog does not post “R” or “X” rated material.

My first story is below:


ENGAGEMENT RING CLIP ARTTony couldn’t wait to get to work and tell his colleagues about the lottery ticket. He had never won anything in his life, but yesterday his bad luck had turned to good. Granted, he had won a small game – the prize was just $300.00 dollars – but to Tony, who always seemed to be on the losing end of everything he took part in, this win had him sailing along ten feet above the ground.

As he opened the door of the book store, he saw that Marie, the secretary/accountant was already at work. “Hey, Marie,” he called from the door and then skidded up to her desk, “guess what happened to me last night.”

“Hmmm,” she answered, only half paying attention as she pulled up the program she needed on her computer. “Let’s see … . Oh, I know … you won the lottery.”

She swung around and glanced at Tony when she said it, and noticed that he looked somewhat crestfallen. “That’s a lousy thing to guess,” he complained.


“Because that’s exactly what I did, and I was just sure you’d all be astounded.”

By that time the other two employees had arrived and were standing beside Marie’s desk. “You mean you really did win the lottery?” Randall asked.

“Well, not the biggy, but —” he grinned at each one of them individually. “But I did win $300.00.”

“Hey, congratulations,” Peter said, punching him lightly on the shoulder. “Way to go. Does that mean you’re treating us all to lunch?”

Tony hung his head for a second and then looked up at them sheepishly. “Well, to tell you the truth, I have it earmarked for something else already.”

“I know!” said Marie, her eyes alight. “You’re going to buy Sarah an engagement ring.”

Tony looked at her in astonishment. “For heaven’s sake, Marie, what are you – a mind reader?”

Marie shrugged her shoulders. “Don’t blame me if I’m just super smart.” Then she grinned conspiratorially. “Want me to help pick it out?”

Tony lifted his head in what he wanted to pass for a look of sophistication, but which really made him look more like a schoolboy with a pout. “ I already have it picked out, thank you. It’s a little more than the $300.00, but I have a small amount in a savings account.”

Randall spoke up then. “So, when are you going to give it to her?

“I think I’ll take her to dinner this Saturday and ask her to marry me while we’re at the restaurant.”

“Sounds good. Where are you going?”

“I’ll book a reservation at The Coral Reef – a table by the window so we can watch the sun set over the beach. I want all the romance I can get going for me because I’m not positive Sarah has marriage in her plans. She likes her independence.”

“Well, that’s the perfect place.” said Marie, just as the bell rang over the front door. “Oops, time to get to work.”

But this customer wasn’t a regular. He had a large scarf tied triangularly over his nose and mouth, and he carried a gun.

All four of the employees froze, and without being told to do so, lifted their hands in the air.

“That’s it. Nice and easy, and nobody gets hurt,” said the gunman. He looked at Marie. “Now, girlie, you just walk over to that cash register – nice and slow – and take out all the money and put it in this here bag,” he said, as he tossed an old cloth drawstring bag onto the counter beside the register. Then lay your purse down right beside the bag. And the rest of you,” he added, pointing the gun more robustly toward the three men, “start taking out your wallets; empty your pockets, and put it all in the bag.”

Tony sucked in his breath. He had cashed in the lottery ticket and had the $300.00 in his wallet. He couldn’t let this man steal the money for Sarah’s ring. “Now, wait just a minute!” he said, dropping his hands to his sides. The gunman jumped forward and pushed the gun to within two feet of Tony’s nose.

“No funny business. Empty all those pockets!”

“I will not! I have something important to do with my money, and you can’t have it.”

The gunman stepped even closer. “Look, Buddy, don’t be a fool. Empty those pockets before I get tired of waiting.”

“You have no right to my money or anyone else’s!” Tony said, throwing his left arm toward the man on an angle – just enough to throw the gunman off balance and cause an involuntary reaction in his hand. His hold on the gun was broken for only a couple seconds, but it was enough for Tony to grab the gun and turn it on the thief. His friends dropped their hands, and Tony asked Marie to call the police.

The robber’s eyes were huge with fear, and before anyone could even guess what he was going to do, he had turned and made for the door. Tony shot into the air, hoping to frighten him into stopping. It worked, but only momentarily. The man didn’t look back. His intuition told him that if Tony had been going to shoot him, he would have done it the first time he pulled the trigger, so the man snatched the door open and hurled himself through it, falling onto the sidewalk and rolling several feet. But he jumped up and started running before the others could collect their wits enough to try to stop him.

“Whew!” Randall said, and he knew he spoke for all of them, as they wiped sweat from their brows and upper lips and tried to get their stomachs to relax and their hands to stop shaking. Marie went back to her desk and slumped into the chair. Fifteen minutes later, the police arrived and took their statements – as well as the gun.

When the police had left, and the store was quiet once more, Marie looked at Tony. “You are the most romantic man I’ve ever known,” she said.

He looked dumbfounded. “I don’t think I understand.”

“Why, you risked your life to keep from giving up the money to buy an engagement ring for the woman you love. You really are a gallant knight.”

Tony grinned. “Maybe I’ll be sure and tell Sarah the whole story before I propose. She surely couldn’t turn down a man who was willing to risk his life to give her an engagement ring.” He sighed. “And just think: I may owe my success with this proposal to that guy with the gun. I’m kind of glad I didn’t kill him.”

~ ~ ~