Something New

17 Apr

WingsLove the idea for this story, which I woke up with and then thought about all day. I’ll describe it as a guardian angel tale gone awry. But the execution is sloppy and rushed, with some gaps I’ll need to fill when I come back. Still, I’m happy to see something fresh from my fevered mind. I had completely forgotten it, of course (I’m writing this story post 5 days later). Well, it’s good to leave something I’ll need to chew hard for later.

Working Title: Wings
1st Sentence: I have not been to mass for, oh, almost ten years.
Favorite Sentence: Jesus, just because a woman happens to have wings.
Word Length: 753

Photo of Victorian funerary art in a church cemetery in the U.K. by Alan Murray-Rust 3/2009.

Impression Piece

16 Apr

Day LillyThis shorty is about my reaction to the Boston Marathon bombings. I tried to capture a bit of what I was feeling. It took me two writing sessions and a handful of starts. One day it might be a strong prose poem.

Working Title: Sanctuary
1st Sentence: Very quiet.
Favorite Sentence: Not just sound but everything is muted by the swaddling of this lovely safety—so plush, so warm—color, too, fades into degrees of shadow because when she’s totally safe her eyelids drop to slit her sight.
Word Length: 201

Photo by John D. from Pasadena, 5/2004. I have no idea why this photo of a day lily is labeled “sanctuary” but it’s lovely, so it works.

Hard Day, Hard Shorty

15 Apr

Incense SmokeI’m writing this story post on Monday, April 22. When I wrote the shorty for April 15, I started it at an afternoon writing session with my friend Patty. I tried three different ideas that afternoon. When I got home I discovered the news of the Boston Marathon bombing and couldn’t focus on work again until very late. When I did, I kept trying new starts until something finally took hold. I think it was 3:00-ish AM by the time I cut out the light, still sad from the day’s news. I suppose because my mind was on other things and the story was so hard to get out of myself, it’s a surprise to me now, reading it. Who wrote that? Anyway, it’s not terrible. With revision, maybe it can be good one day.

Working Title: Cleanse
1st Sentence: What spiraled up with the pungent smoke?
Favorite Sentence: Lord, what did I breathe into my nostrils, and then deep into my lungs, to settle there, to take root, to flower into the space I need for air?
Word Length: 223

Photo by ampersandyslexia 1/2009.


Week 50 Complete

15 Apr

Van GoghSo… wow. When I wrote my April 15 shorty, I completed the 50th week of my Daily Shorty challenge. I couldn’t really appreciate the accomplishment because that was the day of the Boston Marathon bombings (I’m posting this on April 22). For the same reason, I can’t muster the usual enthusiasm I have for finding a fun photo of a treat to post as my reward. Instead I’ve chosen this Van Gogh to mark the occasion, one I haven’t seen before. It always makes me happy to look at a Van Gogh.

Oh, who knows….

14 Apr

Penguin BedI find myself more than a week behind on story posts again (I’m writing this on April 22). This time I blame the delay on both my own fatigue and the news on April 15, which was the day of the Boston Marathon bombing. Boston feels very close to Maine and I know lots of people who once lived in Boston or the area, who have worked there, who have family there. Most of my friends take frequent day and weekend trips to Boston. And I was just there, in the same part of town where the bombing occurred, a few weeks ago, for the AWP conference. So the news reports felt intimate and I couldn’t turn away from the information and images, nor could I shake a sense of sadness the whole week. I know I’m not alone in that. In any case, I did keep up with my shorties, and I remember that the one I wrote on April 14 came to me without much trouble. The “Oh, who knows” refers to where I got the idea for this story, something I usually note in the Word file but not this time. I don’t know that it will ever be good enough to submit but I did mostly capture my (very small) vision.

Working Title: Just Checking
1st Sentence: Her nightly routine: Snap off the bedside lamp, snuggle into the flannel sheets, let out a long, controlled breath… then jab her husband in the back.
Favorite Sentence: “Indecent” is not a word she had ever held up to the light when talking about herself.
Word Length: 469

I’m often stunned by the serendipity of Wikimedia Commons, where I’ll do a simple search on some word or term connected with the day’s shorty and voila, the perfect (free) photo pops up. It’s happened countless times. I had nothing really catchy to search on for this one but I typed in “going to bed” anyway and what do you know, up comes this adorable picture of a little penguin heading to his burrow. It has nothing to do with the shorty, which is about people going to bed, but I LOVE penguins. Photo by Peter Gaylard, Australia, 3/2010.

Another Dose of Macabre

13 Apr

RosenbergsWhen I wrote a shorty about Anastasia Romanov in March, I remembered that I’d written one about Anne Boleyn in June, and I wondered if I have a subconscious fascination with famous women who died famous and violent deaths. Of course names of women who fit that bill then came to mind, and ghoulish writer that I am—well, and there’s my need for a new story idea every single day—I tucked the names away. That thought adventure led to the April 12th piece on Mata Hari, and now to one about a very different sort of spy, who, from what I understand, very likely wasn’t a spy at all. (Maybe Mata Hari wasn’t either?)

Working Title: Five
1st Sentence: When she was fourteen Marsha announced that her favorite woman in history was Ethel Rosenberg.
Favorite Sentence: And wonders why, guilty or not guilty, Old Ike and Friends felt the need to fry her, this plain dumpling of a woman who had once dreamed, like most teenage girls, of stardom on the stage, but who organized a union instead.
Word Length: 363

Photo of Ethel and Julius Rosenberg (at the courthouse after having been found guilty by a jury) by Roger Higgins, 1951. Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division. New York World-Telegram and the Sun Newspaper Photograph Collection.

Extreme Fatigue Inspires Play?

12 Apr

Mata HariI’m weathering another small crush of fatigue and I keep wondering just why this project is so tiring. On the one hand it seems like common sense that it would be—when I tell other writers I have written a story every day for these many months, they are stunned. Right, of course, because we know how hard it is to craft a complete piece. But on the other hand… why is it not just as hard to simply write for several hours every day? The pressure to create a new piece each day, plus the pressure to complete it, add up (after many weeks) to a very, very tired brain, but I have no idea if a pyschologist or neurologist could explain why those pressures should be so fatiguing. Anyway, I’m very pleased to say that for the first time in several weeks, I had a lot of fun writing the day’s shorty, which I approached in a really playful way, and that, this late in the game, feels like an enormous victory.

Working Title: Mata Hari’s Head
1st Sentence: Mata Hari’s head’s gone missing.
Favorite Sentence: In the first week of the timeframe in question, at least fourteen museum visitors carried a bag or backpack in which a plexiglass box containing a head might be concealed.
Word Length: 1,288

Photo is a scan from a magazine, 1910. Author unknown.

Pat’s Fault

11 Apr

ForkSometimes before a writing session I turn to my husband Pat and say, “Okay, tell me what today’s story is going to be about.” He says something silly like “Monkeys on the moon!” and I laugh and then find inspiration another way. Occasionally whatever he spits out does actually inspire the story I write, as in this case. He said, “The mighty fork!”

Working Title: Table Manners
1st Sentence: She ate less and less and the weight was dropping off.
Favorite Sentence: You barely have to be conscious to ingest a milkshake.
Word Length: 589

Photo by Arnold Reinhold 8/2005.


And now a word from Natalia!

10 Apr

reddoorOn April 7 (see my story post further down the page) I used my friend Natalia Sarkissian’s story prompt, a photo of a red door, for inspiration. When I e-mailed Natalia to ask if I could use the image for the blog, she said yes and mentioned that she had used this same prompt before as well. I want to highlight her piece here both because I enjoyed it and because you can see from what I posted of my story that she and I took radically different approaches. That’s one of the joys of a prompt, that it can inspire such different stories. So rather than using her photo in my story post, I’m showing it here, and here is Natalia’s piece. Again, thanks so much my friend!

Another Ode to Austen

10 Apr

Jane AustenKitty pictures. References to Jane Austen. Yes, I know I’m a cliché. I remember affectionately a shorty I wrote in July that featured members of a Jane Austen club. It has no resemblance whatsoever to the day’s shorty, which is a meditation on the complaint I hear sometimes that Jane painted too pretty a picture of romantic engagement. I’ll just say here that for every happily married heroine waltzing off into the misty bliss, Jane gives us at least one painful marriage portrait, in fact definitely more than one, and a handful of jilted lovers besides.

Working Title: Jane’s Sin
1st Sentence: Oh, Jane.
Favorite Sentence: Darcy and his stiff upper lip, his focus on breeding, his need to be right—this is not the stuff of smolder.
Word Length: 288

Image is a retouched and cropped photo of a portrait of Jane Austen done by her sister Cassandra (1773 – 1845).

Changes Coming

9 Apr

Siberian KittenAfter a week of prompts I’m going without a net again. I’ve been thinking anxiously about how I’ll frame my writing time after this year—what will I use to inspire discipline when I’m not driven by my goal? I’m also currently looking for a house and preparing to adopt two sister kittens to fill the hole my sweet Maria left behind. I suppose all of this led me to write a shorty about a woman entering another phase in her life. The piece has promise.

Working Title: Phase II
1st Sentence: We did the show in front of a live studio audience the entire eleven-year run, from when I was five years old to sixteen.
Favorite Sentence: Sure, as long as I was Cassidy Dunlovey people put up with my thin lips and chubby cheeks, said my mother.
Word Length: 490

Photo of a Siberian kitten by Johanna Fager 1/2007. I’m adopting Siberians because they’re supposed to be very good for people with allergies.

Friendly Prompts, Day 7: Lynn

8 Apr

Lemon SquaresAnd another week of shorties is behind me! Enjoy these gorgeous lemon squares with me as I celebrate seeing the back of Week 49. As for the day’s shorty: I cheered my friend Lynn through a Daily Shorty week in March. She wasn’t able to send me a prompt by the end of my “friendly prompts” week, so before my writing session I thought about her, re-read our e-mail exchanges over the course of that week, and then closed my eyes and started a story. It’s the oddest of the week, I think, which is saying a lot. Can’t tell if it has promise or not, so I’ll wait for clearer eyes to judge that. I’m sorry I didn’t get to use a specific prompt passed along by Lynn herself, but many thanks to her for being a part of my year-long challenge and serving as my unwitting inspiration for the day’s shorty!

Working Title: That Foot
1st Sentence: Janet was always in motion, but she never went anywhere.
Favorite Sentence: The buzz of constant movement came from her right foot, which tapped or kicked or shook or wagged—all day that foot performed the choreography of her mood.
Word Length: 425

Photo by Flickr user fugzu 6/2009.

Friendly Prompts, Day 6: Natalia

7 Apr

Red DoorMy friend Natalia Sarkissian did a Daily Shorty week in early March. She loves writing prompts and sent me a handful. I chose a photo of a red door (similar to the one pictured here) that I couldn’t get out of my head. In fact that red door took up so much of my brain space that it took me many, many tries to get anything on the page that would hold. Finally I was able to get something out before falling asleep in the wee hours. It’s got some promise but I had to force an ending that doesn’t work. Maybe it will grow into something better one day. If the staying-power of that photo is any indication, it will. Many thanks to Natalia!

Working Title: Red
1st Sentence: The audience wants her to choose the red door.
Favorite Sentence: He lets his eyebrows climb his forehead, throws his arms up in a dramatic display of don’t ask me, mugs at the audience and the camera.
Word Length: 308

Photo by Si Griffiths 3/2005.

Friendly Prompts, Day 5: Cheryl

6 Apr

Adonis BookMy friend Cheryl Wilder, whose first writing love is poetry, did a Daily Shorty week with me in February. She provided me with a poem by the Arabic poet Adonis as well as one of her own, which she wrote in response. I read both many times before I wrote the shorty, which is a brief, moody piece that doesn’t quite capture what I’d hoped but might when I come back for revision. Many thanks to Cheryl!

Working Title: From Afar
1st Sentence: Somehow the distance, the filter of the closed window, the scattered light—it all makes for disproportion.
Favorite Sentence: His hands from here like palm fronds, brushing each other and her, shivering in the silent undercurrents of a mom-less kitchen.
Word Length: 270

Photo of Adonis book cover from

Friendly Prompts, Day 4: Suzanne

5 Apr

CrowMy friend Suzanne Farrell Smith did a Daily Shorty week with me in January. The prompt she gave me for this week is a writing exercise, asking me to create a scene focused on an animal of some kind but not a pet or a zoo attraction. I wasn’t allowed to put any human beings in the scene but I could add other animals. My main goal was to follow these directions and somehow write a complete piece rather than just a scene that would be part of a larger whole. I’m not sure how complete the shorty feels but it meets my basic requirements and it was fun to write. Many thanks to Suzanne!

Working Title: Winter Games
1st Sentence: A crow flies from a nearby tree branch toward a steep slope covered in dense, frozen snowpack.
Favorite Sentence: Then it takes a wing-fluttering hop forward, lands about a foot down the slope, and holding its wings at half-span for balance, it wobble-slides down the glistening white on its feet, like a skier who added a little too much peppermint schnapps to his cocoa.
Word Length: 279

Photo by Jack Wolf of Albany, CA, 12/2008.

Friendly Prompts, Day 3: Stephanie

4 Apr

104My friend Stephanie Friedman did a Daily Shorty week with me last fall. She suggested that I choose a piece of art by Chicago artist Jason Brammer as my prompt for the day, and sent me to his site to browse. I chose his piece “Cherry Blossom,” which reminded me of the Maine sky in August, although I’m not sure why. Maybe because the soft beauty of the piece reminds me of how I feel when I’m looking at a Maine August sky. In any case, thoughts of August reminded me of the balloon festival we have here in Lewiston-Auburn the first weekend or so of August, and I was off and running. Many thanks to Stephanie! And of course I’m grateful for Jason Brammer’s stunning work.

Working Title: Balloon Chase
1st Sentence: We spent a couple of hours chasing the hot-air balloons with our cameras.
Favorite Sentence: One landed on the highway, its bubble of rainbow silk deflating, then ribboning out to border the road.
Word Length: 301

Photo by me or the husband, 8/2012.

Friendly Prompts, Day 2: Gwen

3 Apr

Sagrada FamiliaMy friend Gwen Mullins took the Daily Shorty Challenge with me last summer. She sent me this story prompt: “Gaudi’s most famous church, Sagrada Familia in Barcelona, has been under construction for a hundred years. In some photos of the church, the cranes and scaffolding are digitally removed.” I’ll just say right now that I didn’t do this prompt justice, maybe because I was too charmed by it. In any case, the shorty I began to write reminded me of an old story I had begun several years ago, so I went back to that material and used several sentences from it as my foundation. I don’t think it works yet—probably needs to be longer, maybe much longer. But it’s a nice start. Many thanks to Gwen!

Working Title: Revelation
1st Sentence: Ammi and Rebekah were wed under the Holy Babe’s blue eye in the Foundation Church of Sweetwater County.
Favorite Sentence: Again in Papa Barnard’s office in the back of Foundation Church they prayed for understanding, and then Papa leaned forward, elbows digging into his desktop, and asked if there was anything either of them felt the need to confess.
Word Length: 542

Photo by Bernard Gagnon 9/2009. (A note appended to this photo says that cranes were digitally removed.)

Friendly Prompts, Day 1: Paul

2 Apr

TrunkA very nice man named Paul has twice e-mailed me during this journey to encourage me to stay on the path. He’s suggested some story ideas, too, which inspired me to do a week of prompts from friends. I used one of Paul’s ideas for the day’s shorty. Six writer friends have done a Daily Shorty week with me, so for the rest of this week I’ll use prompts offered by each of them. For this shorty, I chose Paul’s suggestion to incorporate some notion of time travel into a story. I played on the idea by having a woman open a trunk her 20-year-old self had packed for her own 60th birthday. I was intrigued by the potential clash of what we consider important at 20 versus 60. I don’t think I did enough with this first draft, but maybe I can make something good of it in revision. Many thanks to Paul!

Working Title: To What End
1st Sentence: Dear Dumbass 20-year-old Me… oh, how to put it?
Favorite Sentence: The second envelope contained an embarrassing, flowery, “What I hope for you” poem-thing that she could only bear to skim after the first few lines.
Word Length: 625

Photo by Lianki 10/2006.

Sense Week, Day 7

1 Apr

Chocolate Raspberry CupcakesMore treats! I know we just gorged on chocolates, but today we must celebrate the completion of Week 48! For that we indulge in a chocolate cupcake with raspberry icing. YUM. Now on to today’s shorty: I had to randomly select from my collection of small pieces of paper, each labeled with one of the five senses (and a sixth labeled “ESP” for fun), to determine which sense I’d have to repeat for my seventh day. I selected “smell.” As it happens, I wrote the day’s shorty while at a writing session with friends, using the prompt of a sentence randomly selected from a book. Then I revised the story to make the sense of smell factor into the plot in some way. I made it work, so for once my job was done early in the day. Happy April!

Working Title: Steak Dinner
1st Sentence: Fire!
Favorite Sentence: Multiply by 1,000 and that’s what apocalypse smells like.
Word Length: 443

Photo by Flickr user Whitney 2/2010.

Sense Week, Day 6

31 Mar

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAEnjoy a trip to the chocolate shop with me to celebrate the close of another month! Yeehaw! I can hardly believe it. Want to make a year fly by? Promise to do some difficult thing every single day of it. While you’re slogging through the day, the week, while you’re looking ahead to how much time you still have to go, you feel like you’re walking through mud up to your hips. But in the big picture, when you glance out the window and notice the days are getting longer (or shorter), when you realize Thanksgiving is just around the corner—or Christmas or Easter—you’ll be shocked at how quickly it all slipped by. As for the day’s shorty, my prompt was the sense of taste. I wrote a non-narrative piece based on the four flavors we can detect plus the taste of “savory-ness” I hear cooks talking about, “umami.” I like the framing but I hope I can make a better piece out of it when I come back for revision.

Working Title: Flavor Profile
1st Sentence: Bitter. Like black coffee, dark chocolate, hoppy beer, grapefruit, like when you break up with your boyfriend after seven long years of “making it work” and not three full weeks later he’s dating someone else and already they’re committed.
Favorite Sentence: Salt is swagger.
Word Length: 315

Photo by frank wouters from antwerpen, belgium, 1/2003.

Sense Week, Day 5

30 Mar

PinocchioThe day’s prompt: smell. Oh, how I wanted to write about the scent of frying bacon or Thanksgiving Day’s roasting turkey, but happy smells wouldn’t take hold and inspire story.

Working Title: Ripe
1st Sentence: When she was eight or nine her great-grandmother, an ancient woman bowed to a right angle by all the troubles she’d brought with her from some very cold, very gray place in Eastern Europe, had cornered Josie in the kitchen and told her that she could smell the lies on her.
Favorite Sentence: The knowledge that she could be sniffed out, even if only by this half-woman-half-spirit, was enough to shake Josie of the lying habit.
Word Length: 353

Photo of illustrations from “Le avventure di Pinocchio, storia di un burattino”, Carlo Collodi, Bemporad & figlio, Firenze 1902 (Drawings and engravings by Carlo Chiostri, and A. Bongini).

Sense Week Day 4

29 Mar

EyeglassesToday’s prompt was sight. Mercifully, the idea and outline of this story came to me almost immediately this morning. Can’t remember the last time a shorty was this easy. Is it good? Oh, now, remember—this project isn’t about being good! Good is for revision.

Working Title: Landscape
1st Sentence: She looks at her feet as she walks to work.
Favorite Sentence: It’s lightly worn leather, desk-job leather, up-and-coming, foreign-film, house-wine, fine-for-autumn leather.
Word Length: 306

Photo of “Harry Potter” glasses by Ultra-lab 11/2011.

Sense Week Day 3

28 Mar

Bronze HandTuesday my prompt was sound, Wednesday it was ESP, and now touch. After trying to woo inspiration several times in the day, a goofy sentence occurred and I went with it. The conventional wisdom says never to begin with a sentence so over-the-top that you have nowhere to go and I almost threw this sentence away for that reason. But I decided to challenge myself to take it seriously and puzzle out why someone would ever be in the position to say such a thing. I did my best to capture a moment in this poor person’s life. And now I will write the single most over-used sentence for, oh, a few years now: It is what it is.

Working Title: Bronze Age
1st Sentence: My question is this: So what if I want to bronze my own hand?
Favorite Sentence: While I sip a cocktail, crush a piece of ice between my teeth, I’ll remember those fingers, now stilled in metal, once trembling over the fluttering heartbeat of a broken bird.
Word Length: 378

Photo © José Luiz Bernardes Ribeiro / CC-BY-SA-3.0.


27 Mar

ZodiacToday my prompt was the “6th sense,” ESP. Writing session 1: Nothing, during which actually I did something, which was rejecting lots of stupid ideas and coming up with a couple that might fly but needed mulling. Writing session 2: Almost nothing, then frustrated forcing of SOMETHING. I chose one of the mulled ideas, then wrote a harmless sentence referencing a horoscope. I stared at it for a while, then wrote a few more sentences. Then I called writing session 2 “done.” Writing session 3: Scramble, push, scramble… done. Honestly at this point I think I could teach a workshop on how to write a very short fiction in 3 brief-ish writing sessions. You might not love it but it’ll be complete. And you might love the one you write tomorrow….

Working Title: Horoscope
1st Sentence: My horoscope said that I would remember a friend, today.
Favorite Sentence: Somewhere there is a friend I’m meant to remember in some stray moment of stopped time—because of a flash of sun on a woman’s hair or the shaky tenor of a cubicle-neighbor’s laugh or the slippery surface of the phone in my sweating hand… yes, that’s it.
Word Length: 467

Photo of the zodiac in an illuminated 15th century manuscript.

Just Playing

26 Mar

Dripping FaucetSo here’s the thing about writing a story every day for 329 days. On the 330th day, you ask yourself: What have I not done yet? A gazillion things, of course, but the brain that has written a story every day for 329 days doesn’t FEEL like there are a gazillion ideas and approaches out there. That brain says, are you shitting me? But then Rude Brain does actually think of something she hasn’t done yet. With the help of a prompt, of course. This week (my DS weeks begin on Tuesdays), I’ve decided to focus on a different sense each day, adding the “sixth sense” for fun, and re-doing one of the senses for the seventh day. I drew randomly to determine the order and today I had to focus on sound. So I wrote a story that was framed around a “sound” word. That made me want to blend text, so I found a way to mix in quotes from a Shakespeare play. I don’t think the resultant shorty-stew works so well but it was fun to just be a goof.

Working Title: Drip Drip Drip
1st Sentence: Oh, of course, why not, the classic drip drip drip of the bathroom faucet drip drip drip.
Favorite Sentence: It’s just like those frogs in Atlanta drip drip drip that time when you wore those purple-ey pants, do you remember drip drip drip??
Word Length: 866

Photo by Nicole-Koehler.

Another Cat Appears

25 Mar

Jordan AlmondsI’ve admitted somewhere before on this blog that I have a fondness for putting cats in my stories. I think it’s been a while, though, since I have indulged. I like the idea for the day’s shorty, which has a cat front and center, but the execution wasn’t so great. I’ll come back to it. In the meantime, congratulations to me for completing Week 47! I’m a sucker for Easter candy, which always includes for me Jordan almonds. I’ve been eating far too many of them these last few days. Just one more small handful to celebrate another completed week.

Working Title: The Choice
1st Sentence: “Does Tweezle want his mommy? Hmm? His mommy?”
Favorite Sentence: “Silly silly Tweezle-plum-pie,” said Samantha, her body oozing closer.
Word Length: 285

Photo by Alex Kasperavičius 2/2006.

Making the Best of It

24 Mar

RapunzelI grabbed something from the idea file and made it work well enough. I actually kind of like it but this shorty will need some reworking if it’s going to be a keeper. It’s a third recent piece inspired by a traditional fairy tale.

Working Title: Hairy Dreams
1st Sentence: When they bought the old country mansion her father was so hot to rehab, Tammi begged to be allowed to make her bedroom in the little cupola that sat on the roof of the house like a cake decoration.
Favorite Sentence: A girl who lives in a cupola, she reasoned, might one day need to pull a Rapunzel.
Word Length: 404

Photo by Kay Körner.

Back on track!

23 Mar

Sock PuppetEver get fixated on a phrase or an image but you don’t know why and can’t seem to do anything with it? Just let it marinate. When it’s ready to frame a story it will. That’s what happened to me with the day’s shorty, which I like but don’t love. Hopefully I’ll hit gold in revision.

Working Title: Threesome
1st Sentence: Sarah had wanted to meet so she could apologize for using the sock puppet to break up with me.
Favorite Sentence: “We love you, Joe,” said Lemonade, in a high, creaky voice.
Word Length: 229

Photo by Carlb.

Again Childhood Strikes

22 Mar

FriesI think I said recently that again and again I’ve gone to the childhood well to save myself in times of extreme desperation? Sometimes that works out and I write something I really like. Most of the time it goes the way it went today. That’s two stories in a row destined to live only on my hard drive.

Working Title: French Fries
1st Sentence: I feared it but also looked forward to it, any anticipated alone-time with my older brother.
Favorite Sentence: And because the appointments were painful and upsetting they would take her to McDonald’s afterwards for an enormous serving of soft, fragrant French fries, her favorite treat.
Word Length: 524

Photo by Biso 6/2009.


21 Mar

Gift BoxSometimes if I spin out from one simple sentence, I can make something I really enjoy. Other times… I just keep spinning.

Working Title: The Box
1st Sentence: She’d wrapped a box about the size of a loaf of bread in textured purple paper, ribboned the box with white organza, and left it on the coffee table in the living room.
Favorite Sentence: Right smack in the middle of the table this peacock of a box—for an entire week!—and he never said one word about it.
Word Length: 619

Photo by XFONG 7/2011.

More Fun

20 Mar

DaffodilsIn Maine we’re getting our usual heavy doses of March snow when my bones are used to daffodils, so I’m posting a photo here to combat the chill. As for my shorties, I continue to have trouble, most days, coming up with an idea that will hold. Over and over I wind up settling into a story around midnight and then staying up another hour or two to complete it. This one, framed as a list of the most important facts of a person’s life, was fun, despite my falling asleep over it. I’ll enjoy coming back to it.

Working Title: Just the Facts
1st Sentence: Fact 1. She didn’t cry the day she was born.
Favorite Sentence: We don’t know when she started doing it or why but she got steadily better and better at sitting there like a puffed up toad, her face going purple.
Word Length: 613

Photo by Rosendahl.