Prompt Nights 11- Spring

Visit “A Dash of Sunny” for the Prompt Nights challenge details.




My calendar says April,
And Spring is official,
But something is wrong
In my world.
For cold winds are blowing;
It just might start snowing,
If those clouds I see
Come unfurled.

What has happened to seasons?
They have no rhyme or reason;
Now we cannot rely
On the norm.
For in winter, flowers bloom,
And this spring, cold, gray gloom
Has taken the place
Of temps warm.

Everything’s topsy-turvy,
And it causes some worry,
For I just can’t decide
What to wear.
When it’s all said and done,
Normal seasons are gone;
Weather’s gone quite berserk


NaPoWriMo 2016 – Day 6

Cinquain # 6: Global Warming???

The say
Earth’s growing warm.
But Spring has brought cold winds
And frigid nights. Me thinks someone
Has lied.


There’s still plenty of time to take part. Visit
You can follow the prompts on that site or write something from your own ideas. I’m doing only cinquain this year, and writing on whatever subject suits my fancy each day.


NaPoWriMo 2016 – Day 5

AMOEBA MAN UNDER LOVE WEIGHTCiquain # 5: Language Lesson

‘To love’
Amo, amas, amat,
Amamus, amatis, amant.


‘To love’
I love; you love; he loves;
We love; you love (plural); they love.


There’s still plenty of time to take part. Visit
You can follow the prompts on that site or write something from your own ideas. I’m doing only cinquain this year, and writing on whatever subject suits my fancy each day.



Prompt Nights # 10 – Surely You Jest

This week the ‘Prompt Nights’ challenge offers us the choice of writing either poetry or prose, with a theme that tips its hat to April Fools’ Day. So to celebrate this day of fun and frivolity, I decided to “focus” on a bit of frivolous prose.


A One-Act Play

Place:  A city street
Time: April Fools’ Day


Friend:   “Wow!  Did you see that?”

Sandra:  “I’ll say. I’m salivating even as we speak.

Friend: Oooooh, me too. Makes me feel hungry all over.

Sandra: I know what you mean. That box of chocolates must have held at least 10 pounds.”

Friend:  “The girl who gets that will be over the moon.”

Sandra:  “Mmmmm. That much chocolate candy would definitely make me one very happy lady.”

Friend:  “Huh? – Wait – What?”

Sandra:  “What do you mean, what?”

Friend:  “What do you mean? I’m talking about that drop-dead gorgeous hunk who just passed us carrying the box of chocolates, you dope.”

Sandra:  “Oh, was there somebody carrying the chocolates?”




NaPoWriMo 2016 – Day 1


Cinquain # 1:  Meeting The Challenge

 It’s here:
The challenge now is this:
A brand new poem ev’ry day.

This year for NaPoWriMo, I’m creating a new cinquain every day in April (or at least I’m starting out to do that. I may or may not have 30 when we’re done.) If you’d like to challenge yourself to write a new poem every day during National Poetry Writing Month, hop over to the NaPoWriMo site for some interesting information and prompts. You don’t have to follow the prompts, but they’re worth checking out in case they strike your fancy.

I’m doing cinquain because, although I generally prefer poetry forms that require rhyme and specific meter, I do occasionally enjoy writing in some of the forms that are based on syllable count. And of all those forms, my favorite is cinquain.  It is also the only totally American poetic form — created by the American poet Adelaide Crapsey.  She was inspired by the Japanese forms of haiku and tanka, but cinquain has its own syllabic pattern and its own unique charm. So this time around, rather than follow the NaPoWriMo prompts, I’m going cinquain all the way.

The form requires a 5-line stanza with the syllable count in each line as follows:

Line 1 — 2 syllables
Line 2 — 4 syllables
Line 3 — 6 syllables
Line 4 — 8 syllables
Line 5 — 2 syllables

The basic meter is iambic pentameter. However, there are many variations on the cinquain that Adelaide Crapsey wrote, and as with other poetic forms, each poet adds his or her own personality to the work.




National Poetry Writing Month is Almost Here



Hey, all you poets, psalmists, and songwriters out there, did you know that April is National Poetry Writing Month?  Well, it is, and that means it’s time to focus on our meter, rhyme, and imagery. Maureen Thorson, of Washington, D.C., U.S.A., hosts a website devoted specifically to National Poetry Writing Month — along with a project she has christened NaPoWriMo. That project encourages participants to write a new poem every day for the 30 days of April.

Now, you can write any kind of poem you want — any form — any theme. Or you can visit her site every day to get a prompt from the project itself. The site also offers interesting material from a number of different poets, as well as links to other sites that are poetry specific.

So why not jump in and take part in NaPoWriMo this year. I generally participate, although I rarely manage to write 30 poems. But if we each write even 10 new poems in the month of April, just think how much creativity we’ve unleashed.

This year I’m doing something a little different. I love cinquain, and it is about the only form out there that is uniquely American-made. So this year, rather than follow the prompts on the NaPoWriMo site, I’m going to write a new cinquain for each day. I may borrow from the site’s theme suggestions, and I may not. We’ll have to see. But I hope a lot of you participate and post your links to your poems on the NaPoWriMo site.




Prompt Nights – Music

This week’s “Prompt Nights” theme is music. I planned to write a brand new piece for the challenge, but I just kept being pulled back in my own mind to a piece I wrote some time ago. I know I shared a poem I had written previously for last week’s theme as well, and I don’t usually do that on challenges. But this one little poem just keeps tugging at me tonight, so I’m going to let it have a fresh airing for this new prompt.



What? You ask how was my keyboard
Torn asunder piece by piece?
I admit it was my doing:
Thought perhaps my pain ‘twould ease.

For I cannot find my music;
Cannot hear the melody.
Cannot feel the beat, the rhythm;
And, of course, no harmony.

Still, my soul keeps searching, reaching;
Won’t believe the gift is gone.
It once coursed throughout my being;
Every breath exhaled a song.

Every heartbeat set a tempo;
Notes cascaded from my mind;
Even in sleep, my dreams invaded —
Nocturnes delicate, sublime.

Now, I’ve only fleeting memories
Of creating symphonies.
Tragedy beyond my bearing:
There’s no music left in me!







‘Beyond The Spider’s Web’ — in response to a photo by Tish Farrell

 Tish Farrell has offered this photo as a prompt for a story, so I took up her challenge.  My story is below the picture. Visit Tish’s site to find out how she came to take the picture.



Nessa was starting to feel a little chilly. When she’d left the group of picnickers, after the argument, she had intended to walk just a little while, until her anger dissipated, and then turn back. But somewhere she had taken a wrong turn and ended up in this wooded area. Now she was good and lost. The afternoon had turned brisk, and she’d left her sweater at the picnic site. She was pretty sure she needed to be heading in the direction the sun’s rays were coming from in order to get back to the group. She wondered about why she didn’t hear anyone calling for her, but, of course, they didn’t know she was lost.

After one more turn to head directly toward the sun, she spotted an old barn in a small clearing. One side wall was leaning awkwardly, and part of the roof had obviously fallen in. But she decided she needed to sit down and catch her breath, and at least this offered a little shelter.

As she got to the window, she peered inside to make sure no ferocious animal was making his home there. A huge spider’s web covered most of the window opening, and she had to move her head from side to side to see through the silken threads. But she saw no living creatures inside — just a pile of old flower pot, a rusty pitchfork, and several pieces of rotting wood that had fallen from the roof.

Moving to the left, she finally spotted a door, and pushing against it with all her strength, she managed to get it open enough to walk inside the building. The musty smell was strong: rotting hay, dust, dead foliage, and lots of mouse droppings, if she wasn’t mistaken.

But the relief from the wind was welcome, and there was enough light to look for a dry board or two to make a seat to sit down on and stretch out her legs. She sat for several minutes, enjoying the change in position, but gradually, she realized that she was hearing something besides the silence she’d expected. It was like a tapping — rhythmic but with pauses now and then — followed by the same sounds repeated. It was a pattern that spoke to her musical soul, but it wasn’t music. It was . . . what exactly was it? It was almost like code of some kind, but she dismissed that idea as ridiculous.

But it kept repeating — light, but insistent — until she couldn’t ignore it any longer and had to get up and make her way toward the direction from which it came. Trying to tell herself that it was just a loose board being blown against the wall by the wind, she continued in that direction. But by now she knew the tapping was too light to be just a board — and too rhythmic to be the result of the erratic wind. Her first twinges of uneasiness at being lost were now growing into outright fear at what she might find when she reached the source of the sound.

She stopped. She argued with herself. “I don’t have to go on. I can get out of here and keep walking. Besides, I need to keep moving while I can still be guided by the sun.”

That line of thought sounded good, but then the tapping caught her attention again, and she couldn’t dismiss the idea that if there was someone else here who needed help, she’d never forgive herself for running away. So digging deeper for what courage she had left, she eased herself forward toward an inner door. As she pushed the squeaky door open, the tapping suddenly stopped. There was dead silence for long seconds, and then a tiny voice, choked with tears called out: “Is someone there?  Is someone there?”

Nessa’s heart almost stopped. She didn’t know whether to answer or not, but then thought how foolish to have come all this way to see if someone needed help and then refuse to offer it. Then the voice sounded again. “Please . . . is someone there? Please help me!”

Suddenly, Nessa’s heart took over from her terrified thoughts, and she answered, moving forward as she did. “Yes, I’m here. But where are you?”

“I’m up here!” the tearful voice called, and Nessa looked up for the first time. There, not ten feet from her, in the hay loft, a young boy was hanging out of a hole in the loft, with one leg still stuck up in the hole. He was holding onto a rope that hung from the loft as well, trying to keep himself balanced. With his other hand, he was tapping a piece of wood against the ladder leading to the loft. He couldn’t reach the ladder from where he hung, but he could hit it with the wooden stick.

“Oh, my goodness!” Nessa cried and ran toward him. “What happened?”

“I . . . I fell through a hole in the hay loft, but my leg got caught on something as I fell, and it won’t come loose . . . although I don’t want it to come loose if I can’t get a better hold on this rope because I would fall to the floor on my head. I called and called for help until my throat hurt too much to keep calling. Then I kept hitting this stick against the ladder, hoping someone would hear me.”

As she came closer, Nessa, realized the boy couldn’t be more than eight or nine years old. His tousledd blond hair hung down from his head as he hung almost upside down, and his face was dirty with smeared dirt and tears. “I’ll see what I can do to help you,” Nessa said, as she started to climb the ladder to the loft.

“Be careful,” the boy said. “That ladder has some rotten rungs.”

“Why on earth were you in here climbing it anyway?” she asked.

He sniffed. “I was running away from home.”

By that time Nessa was in the loft and had discovered that his leg was caught between two boards. She didn’t she any blood, but it was for sure he’d have a serious bruise on his leg when this was over.  She tested the rest of the floor around the hole, and finding it solid enough to support her weight, she went to work slowly reaching down for the boy’s shirt and gradually pulling him back in the direction of the loft.

When she had him close enough to have a secure grip on him, she worked at loosening the boards around his leg with her other hand. It was slow work, and he cried out in pain once, but she finally managed to get his leg loosened enough for him to use it to help lift his own weight back toward the opening in the loft.

After a great deal of tugging and huffing and puffing by both of them, the boy was able to reach back through the hole with his own left arm and help pull himself the rest of the way into the loft. They both just sat there, catching their breath for some minutes.

Finally, Nessa spoke. “My name’s Nessa, by the way. What’s  yours?”

“I’m Timmy Randall.”

“Do you live near here?”

“Yeah, just over that hill.” He hung his head and took a deep breath. “I didn’t get very far running away, I guess. I got tired, and I crawled up in the loft to take a nap. And that’s when I fell.”

“So why were you running away? Are your parents mean to you?”

“Well . . . they won’t let me have a horse.”

“What! Is that a good reason to run away from your family?”

“Well . . . they promised me a horse for my birthday, but when my birthday got here — yesterday — they said they didn’t have the money to get me a horse, and all they gave me was a new pair of shoes.” He started to cry again.

“But maybe something happened and your parents really don’t have the money to buy a horse,” Nessa argued.

“But you don’t understand. I bragged to all my friends that I was getting a horse for my birthday. They all  laughed at me and said I was lying — that my parents were too poor to buy me a horse — and that I was stupid to believe they would. Now I can’t go back to school with all those kids. They’ll just laugh at me even more.”

Nessa studied him, weighing her options. Deciding her best bet was to get him to feel more sorry for her than he did for himself, she said. “Well, I’ll tell you what, Timmy. I’d like to help you, but the truth is that I’m completely lost out here. I was on a picnic with my friends, and we had an argument, and I did something as dumb as you did. I just took off walking. But now it’s almost dark, and I don’t know how to get out of these woods, and I’m so scared I don’t think I can help you at all. I’ve got to try to find my way home all by myself.”

Timmy looked at her for several seconds, his eyes wide, and his mouth hanging open. Here was someone with a bigger problem than he had. At least he knew how to get home — to a warm meal and a soft bed and someone to be sure he was safe for the night. Suddenly his green eyes lit up, and a grin spread across his dirty face.”

“Hey, you know what? I can take you to my house, and my dad can drive you home!”

Nessa feigned surprise. “You’d do that for me?  But you’re running away.”

Tim thought about her words a couple more seconds. “Well, I figure it this way. You saved my life just now. If you hadn’t helped me, I would have hung there ’til all the blood ran to my head and I’d have had to let go of the rope I was hanging onto, and I would have fallen to the floor, hit my head, and died.

“But since you stopped to help me and now it’s too dark for you go get home, I’m going to take you home with me.”  The last words were punctuated by another big grin.  After all, there was no shame in changing his mind about running away in order to help a young lady in distress, now was there? He could go back home — where he’d really wanted to be all along — and save face at the same time.

“Well, Timmy,” Nessa said, as she stood up, “I’d be really, really grateful if you’d do that for me.”

Tim hopped up as well, wincing just a little as he put weight on his injured leg.  His grin widened. “It will be my pleasure, Miss Nessa,” he said, holding out his hand to grasp hers as they made their way carefully back to the ladder to start their journey home.




Post-A-Day, 9/18/14 — Chestnuts and Plagiarism

Post-A-Day Challenge:  Write about anything for 10 minutes.

CHESTNUTSUnder the spreading chestnut tree, the village —– Oh, no. Wait. That’s already been written. Okay, let’s just talk about chestnut trees. Or rather, let’s talk about the nuts themselves. I’ve never seen a chestnut tree in real life, but I have seen chestnuts. They hold a special romanticism for me, primarily because I LOVE Christmas, and I’ve always connected roasted chestnuts with that wonderful holiday. But I’ve never been able to successfully roast chestnuts.

I bought some one year and was all excited about roasting them. Of course, not having a fireplace in my home, my only choice was to roast them in the oven. I found instructions for doing so, but somehow, my nuts didn’t look right when they came out of the oven. I’m not sure I did it right.

Well, laugh-out-loud — you’d think someone with a college degree and experience teaching school, running a home, and writing for a living would be able to figure out how to roast chestnuts successfully. But I didn’t. I think it’s partly because I’m not sure if I’m supposed to take off part of the covering before I roast them. The instructions didn’t say anything about that, but mine certainly didn’t pop open a little the way they were supposed to, so I thought maybe I was supposed to remove a part of the outer shell first.

Anyway, as part of my 10-minute writing exercise, I’m confessing my failure as a chestnut roaster, and I’m also asking if anyone out there is an expert – or is even mildly successful at roasting chestnuts in an oven. And if you are either of the above, would you pass along your advice to me. It’s coming on towards Christmas —- well, wouldn’t you know it — I think I’ve plagiarized again. Didn’t a song by Joni Mitchell have that line in it somewhere?

Writing for 10 minutes and plagiarizing two people must be some kind of record. But, hey, let me know if you have advice about chestnuts before Christmas, would you please?

My timer is down to one minute and 19 seconds, so I’ll just add this: Thanks a lot and Merry Christmas!




Daily Post Writing 101: 20-Minute Stream of Consciousness — ‘Birth of a Hero’

HANDS AT KEYBOARD  SHORT FOR BLOGI’m a big fan of writing exercises, but I haven’t actually put myself through any in quite a while, so when the Daily Post started off this new term of Writing 101 with a 20-minute exercise, I decided I should go for it. Here’s their instructions:

“To get started, let’s loosen up. Let’s unlock the mind. Today, take twenty minutes to free write. And don’t think about what you’ll write. Just write. Keep typing (or scribbling, if you prefer to handwrite for this exercise) until your twenty minutes are up. It doesn’t matter if what you write is incomplete, or nonsense, or not worthy of the “Publish” button.”

And for your first twist? Publish this stream-of-consciousness post on your blog.

So – set the timer – punch the button: GO!

Matthew couldn’t breathe. Well – no – that wasn’t right. He could breathe, but he felt as though he were being pushed through a very narrow tunnel, and it was squeezing the breath right out of him.

Whooooosh! Ah — now — now he could breathe normally again. But what had just happened? He looked around him.

“Holy cow! Where am I?” Surrounded by buildings taller than anything he could have imagined, with traffic rushing past him just to his left, he felt a little dizzy and disoriented. He shook his head to try to clear it, and that’s when he noticed the girl standing about four feet way from him.

“Hi.” she said, almost bashfully.

“Uh … hi yourself. Uh … do I know you?”

She giggled. “Not yet. But you will.”

“What does that mean?” He looked around in all directions as if trying to locate something. “And what on earth is that racket?”

“What racket?”

“That incessant tap, tap, tap, tap, tap, tap.”

She cocked her head to listen and a moment later, she grinned again. “Oh, that. I have learned to just close it out after all these weeks. It’s the sound of the keys on the keyboard.”

“What keyboard?”

“Melissa’s, silly. She’s the author.”

“What’s an author?”

“Oh, I forgot that you couldn’t know all that yet. It takes a while to figure things out once you get here, but I’ve been here so long that I’ve pretty well gotten acclimated to everything.”

Matthew tried clearing his head with a shake again. “Wait … what? … What are you talking about? What’s going on? Where am I anyway?”

The girl let out a huge sigh. “Okay. I’ll start from the beginning. Melissa Pendergast is an author, and she writes romance novels. She’s writing one now. I’m the heroine. My name’s Abigail, by the way,” she said, extending her hand to him.

He shook her hand but eyed her suspiciously. “And just what does that have to do with me?”

“Why you’re going to be the hero of the story.” She paused, a mischievous twinkle in her eyes. “And … the love of my life.”

“You’re crazy! I don’t even know you.”

Abigail sighed again. “Of course you don’t — yet. You just got here. Melissa has just now decided who you will be. Well, just a couple of days ago anyway. I heard her talking to her best friend, so I know what the plan is now. She decided to call you Matthew because her very first boyfriend – in sixth grade – was named Matthew, and she did it in honor of him.”

“Whoa — wait — start over, will you?”

Abigail began to get a little irritated. “I don’t need to start over. You just need to pay attention. Melissa is writing a love story and you are my lover. We are supposed to meet on the street right in front of that store over there on the corner. I’m supposed to get my heel caught in a grate at the edge of the curb, and you come to my rescue before a horde of people practically mow me down in their hurry to cross the street in the short time the light says ‘Walk.’

“So I’m in a book?”

“That’s right. And I understand it’s supposed to get a little steamy.” She smiled broadly now. “But I have to say that I’m not at all sorry. You’re quite a hunk, you know.”

“Well … thanks … but … I’m not sure I want to be in somebody’s book – even this Melissa’s.”

“Oh, don’t worry. She’s a great writer, and thousands of people love her books. We’ll be two of the most popular people in the world before too long. At least — I hope it’s before too long. She had a hard time sticking with this story. That’s why I’ve been around so long – waiting for you. She hit a block of some kind, but now everything seems like a go, and I can hardly wait.”

“So, when I felt like the breath was being squeezed out of me, that’s when I was being birthed into this story, so to speak?”

“That’s right. That’s exactly how it feels! But you’re okay now, aren’t you?”

Matthew looked himself over, took a nice deep breath, relieved that he could, and answered. “Yeah, I think I’m okay. But what do we do now?”

“Just relax for a few minutes. I think Melissa just finished the second chapter, and she’s about to have us meet. This is so exciting. I think I’m falling in love with you already.”


(As soon as I decided to write for this challenge, the first line popped into my mind, and I went from there. My understanding was that we were not supposed to edit these pieces to any extent, so I did type slower than usual to try to avoid as many mistakes as possible.)



Friday Fictioneers – 9/12/14 – Narcissus

I’m going to try to jump back into Friday Fictioneers today with a poem. If you’d like to join in and write your own 100-word story/poem based on the picture below, hop over and check out the details. Today’s picture is courtesy of Janet Webb.



It’s true you quicken heartbeats when you enter rooms.
And every girl around competes for you.
The wilting sighs escape when you are passing by,
And “gorgeous” comes to mind describing you.

Your smile – it’s dazzle ‘lectrifies fair maiden hearts,
Your voice – it has a timbre all its own.
And when you stay away, we girls all miss you so;
That you return to find our love has grown.

But all our smiles and sighs have no effect on you.
And year by year you manage to stay free.
Well, I, for one, know why you never choose a love:
You’re lost in love with what your mirror sees.