Sparks

Dem Dry Bones

Memorable writing that sparks imagination. Lean in. Hear the writer’s voice on the page. Dem Dry Bones By William Frank Hulse III              In my hometown, the old hospital is where I was born. The same holds true for almost all of my 1947 vintage classmates. The old hospital was built in 1923 and razed in ’65 when the new hospital was completed. The memories I have of the old hospital and the memories I have of the old high school are sufficiently intertwined that I can hardly separate them. Both places were mighty scary after dark – mighty scary. Both buildings had basements with very little light from outside, so they were scary with shadows and dark corners, if the lights were out – even if it was high noon. There were classrooms in the high school basement – physics, biology, chemistry and home economics and student restrooms. The…

Sparks

Magnificent Hydrangea from Safeway

Memorable writing that sparks imagination. Lean in. Hear the writer’s voice on the page Magnificent Hydrangea from Safeway By Elizabeth Kirkpatrick-Vrenios Just like clockwork – this gorgeous flower wilts two hours after I place her in the vase. I carefully fill the water with the little food packet that comes with the flowers, cut the stems, arrange her perfectly, arrange her hair, fix her makeup, and convince her she will be the star at our dining table. “What do you need?” I ask. “Just some loving care – and oh, yes, will you feed me some sugar and trim my nails? And while you are at it, fluff up my gown.”  Dutifully I oblige, but just as the guests sit down, the flower drops her head to her chest, her leaves droop and she gives up the ghost with just a single petal dropping theatrically to the tablecloth. There she…

Sparks

Know Your Colors

Memorable writing that sparks imagination. Lean in. Hear the writer’s voice on the page. Know Your Colors – An Introduction to the Plant Mood Chart By M.A. Dooley Luckily, my face turns colors when I feel emotions. Whether I am sad or happy or embarrassed, angry, jealous, afraid, confident, guilty, content, confused, giddy, flirtatious, thoughtful, nostalgic, hesitant, determined, focused, agitated, brazen –or if I feel a song coming on–I can consult the Plant Mood Chart. Rather than grasping at some external label that’s not quite accurate, I hold up the chart at the mirror, or sometimes with a friend, to make sense of the inside of me. It’s quite convenient, saving me lots of time and effort. Much like the little cannister with the PH and alkaline hues used to test hot tub water, but far more complex, the color chart corresponds to feelings and can even suggest a backstory…

Sparks

The Way Through

Memorable writing that sparks imagination. Lean in. Hear the writer’s voice on the page. The Way Through By Rebecca Olivia Jones Fears change over the years Never being good enough The youthful drive for perfection   The impossible   Competition and proving myself The best daughter The best dancer The best singer The best at all attempts   Not possible   Time has mellowed anxieties into a soft pillow of joy Fear now is the walk toward unknowing A loss of self The fading memories of life’s struggles   I witnessed Mother’s decline into helplessness The night wanderings The frightening hallucinations Her ultimate vanishing   Will I vanish, too?   The slow breaking of synapses Unable to make decisions Thoughts like ghosts The fear of losing control over choices Existing in a continuum of uselessness   I also watched my father’s vanishing But he held on Giving until his music…

Sparks

The Smell of Old Leather, the Scent of Cigars

Memorable writing that sparks imagination. Lean in. Hear the writer’s voice on the page. The Smell of Old Leather, the Scent of Cigars Karen FitzGerald Every so often Georgia would pull out that tin cigar box her Gramps gave her some 75 years ago. Imagine—75 years she’d been hauling that old tin box around, moving it from the family homestead to her college dorm, to that sweet pensione in Italy in her 20’s, to the little garden apartment when she and Gitulio married. Good gosh! And how many other moves in her 85 years had there been? But, here she was, in Happy Valley Seniors’ Residence with her tin box from Gramps, about to open it for possibly the last time in her life; open it to retrieve the cherished item inside —her very first diary. Her arthritic hands wrestled with the lid of the container while a thought crossed her…

Sparks

Just Looking

Memorable writing that sparks imagination. Lean in. Hear the writer’s voice on the page. Just Looking By Ken Delpit What’s in a look? Quite a lot, actually. Consider looks in their simple verb forms, for instance. The meanings range from imperatives to advisories to admonitions to out-and-out warnings. Look away. Look up. Look over there. Look down. Look around. Now, look here! Look sharp! Look out! Look at you! Or, consider the noun forms. As with its cousin verb forms, noun looks span a range of meanings, from complimentary to critical to probing to mysterious. Let’s take a quick look. That is a bad look for him. They kind of gave me a funny look. We need to take a deep look. Now, that is a good look for you. I was left speechless when she gave me that look. Or, consider “ing” forms to describe appearances and states, from…

Sparks

Claudia

Memorable writing that sparks imagination. Lean in. Hear the writer’s voice on the page. Claudia by Nona Smith We held our wine glasses up and tapped their rims together. Clink.           “Do you know why that’s done?” Claudia asked.           “I have no idea,” I said.           “The French began the custom centuries ago. It’s to make us appreciative of all five of our senses.” Claudia had a treasure trove of that kind of information.  “Ahhh, les Francais; ils savent tout,” she added.           She spoke three languages fluently and had enough vocabulary in others to find bathrooms in foreign countries and order wine in restaurants. Born in Germany and well-travelled, Claudia had European sensibilities and a sophisticated sense of style. Her hair was cut by a Sassoon-trained stylist, she wore only Italian-made shoes, and the walls of her dining room were painted Chinese red, seasons before that trend appeared…

Sparks

Barbara’s Braid

Memorable writing that sparks imagination. Lean in. Hear the writer’s voice on the page. Today’s Sparks is a pantoum. Barbara’s Braid By Karen Ely Weaving strands of amber honey Over, under, around and through Silky locks of shimmer sunlight Plaited patterns, three by two   Over, under, around, and through Brush strokes cultivate the threads Plaited patterns three by two A tapestry of golds and reds   Brush strokes cultivate the threads Silky locks of shimmer sunlight Plaited patterns, three by two Weaving strands of amber honey   Karen Handyside Ely was born and raised in Petaluma, California. She delights in difficult crossword puzzles, the Santa Rosa Symphony, and traveling with her husband, James. Karen has been published in The Write Spot to Jumpstart Your Writing: Discoveries, The Write Spot: Reflections, The Write Spot: Possibilities, The Write Spot: Writing as a Path to Healing, and The Write Spot: Musings and Ravings From a…

Sparks

Ascension Garden

Memorable writing that sparks imagination. Lean in. Hear the writer’s voice on the page. Ascension Garden By Stacy Murison The first time, you drive by yourself. You have some idea you are going there, but are still surprised that you know the way, without her, through the turning and turning driveways. Left, left, left, left. Park near the rusted dripping spigot. The wind blows, unseasonably warm for November. You bring the candy bar, her favorite, the one from the specialty chocolate shop, the one with the dark chocolate and light green ribbon of mint. You try to eat yours, but instead, stare at hers, unopened, where you imagine the headstone will go and sob without sound while the wind French-braids your hair just as she would have, and that’s how you know she is here. She is still pushing cicada shells off white birch trunks with her toes, dancing around…

Sparks

Chuckstable

Memorable writing that sparks imagination. Lean in. Hear the writer’s voice on the page. Chuckstable By Lynn Levy Dana cracked her gum and then smoothed it against the roof of her mouth. She pushed her tongue through, making that all-important thin membrane that would become the bubble, and Bobby watched, thinking that the gum made her tongue look as pink as the boa she was wearing. Which was saying a lot. There was no explaining, really, why Dana was wearing a boa at all, but Bobby knew her better than to ask. Dana had on a boy’s tank top, cut-off jeans, and Goodwill Kiva sandals with one of the straps broken. She also had a scab on her left knee that grossed out the toughest kid in the neighborhood, and a thin white scar on her right arm from the time she’d fallen out of the big old oak on a dare that…