Memorable writing that sparks imagination. Lean in. Hear the writer’s voice on the page. Traditions Rebecca Olivia Jones Grandma used flashing colorful lights and handfuls of tinsel like a grotesque costume on her Christmas tree. I loved its tacky design. I watched it before I fell asleep on the couch the night before our Boxing Day. My brother chose to sleep on the floor to be nearer the presents waiting under and all around the tree. Grandma was very democratic in her gift giving to all her younger grandchildren. Five of us were one year apart; Pam 10, Becky 9, Patrick 8, Byron 7, and Danny 6. We each received a large box filled with a bunch of recycled smaller boxes. Grandma would even re-use Tampax boxes for the smallest gifts. Pam and I were thrilled to receive, for example, a doll, a rhinestone necklace, fuzzy slippers and a box…

Just Write

Get past ego to connect

“I think American society alienates us from ourselves, and we have a great need to reconnect. Human beings yearn to connect and to tell our stories before we die. Sometimes we want to write, but when we get down to it, there’s resistance, because the ego gets scared.” — Natalie Goldberg in an interview with Genie Zeiger, “Keep The Hand Moving,” The Sun November 2003. Ideas on how to get past ego and Just Write The Inner Critic Tar Pit of Doom and Despair Is “Go Big or Go Home” Right for You? Rachel Macy Stafford: Live Love Now #amwriting #creativewriting #justwrite #freewrites


Eye Feast

Memorable writing that sparks imagination. Lean in. Hear the writer’s voice on the page. Eye Feast By Julie Wilder-Sherman How I love the ritual of the famliest day of the year. My favorite month and favorite day. So much planning. So much work. So much expense. All of it welcomed enthusiastically by me. The long folding table is taken out of the garage, locked into balance and steadiness, then cleaned. The fall-themed table cloth scattered with a pattern of dark green, yellow and brown leaves on a tan background with acorns and pinecones around the edges is spread out on the long table. Napkin rings, the only time I use them, encase the small thick linen face towels of red and yellow, placed in the center of each plate which sits upon gold-colored chargers I bought on sale at Kohl’s.  The gravy boat and fancy dishes not used in a…


Illinois Autumn Sunset

Memorable writing that sparks imagination. Lean in. Hear the writer’s voice on the page. Illinois Autumn Sunset  by Deb Fenwick Sitting on the back porch after dinner during an autumn sunset requires fleece. Maybe a light blanket. A cup of tea is also a good idea. Don’t underestimate the importance of warmth.  Watching pink clouds stretch and yawn as they disappear below rooftops makes you appreciate them more. Don’t get distracted by utility poles that puncture the view. Instead, shift your gaze upward. Tilt your head a little higher to see if you can find an empty patch of sky. Inhale deeply when you do. Talking occasionally with your love, leave blank spaces in conversations. Pause and leave room to ponder. Don’t fall into the trap of thinking you know every story he has to tell. Don’t anticipate his response. Listen for what’s new as the birch leaves fall. Also,…


Make a list . . . important and trivial . . . Prompt #617

Make a list of issues, important and trivial, in your life right now. What frustrated you in the past week? What made you laugh or cry? What made you lose your temper? What was the worst thing that happened? The best? The most disturbing and weird? Choose one item from your list and write about it. Write whatever comes to mind. If another person was involved, write what you would really like to say to that person. Then . . . after you write . . . Tell the same story from the other person’s point of view. Don’t judge. Just write. #amwriting #justwrite #writingprompts


Memory of a ‘giorno dei morti’ in Italy

Memorable writing that sparks imagination. Lean in. Hear the writer’s voice on the page. Memory of a ‘giorno dei morti’ in Italy by Simona Carini What I remember most about that day is the cold wind. It was blowing strongly, and yet it could not push away the heavy low clouds and wipe the sky clear, so it was dark in the early afternoon. The cypresses lining the gravel path from the cemetery’s heavy iron gate to the chapel swayed as if wailing unconsolably. A group of people had walked the narrow road from the village to the cemetery in a procession led by the priest, Don Gabriele, imposing in his black cassock, which swirled around his legs at the mercy of the biting wind. A child then, I was terrified not of the cemetery, which I had been visiting regularly with my father since an early age, but of…


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…


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…