“I know not with what weapons World War III will be fought, but World War IV will be fought with sticks and stones” — Albert Einstein

Thursday, October 31, 2013

The Scarecrow Has No Face

Three whitetails paw the earth,
ignore scarecrow.
Heads lift to danger, nostrils flare.
Breath plumes in the morning air.
Crow feeds in the middle of the road,
red hawk circles the coop and dives for a kill.
Two whitetails dash over the misty field,
like schooners escaping under full sail.
The scarecrow has no face.

This is a Friday Flash 55, the weekly writing exercise sponsored by the G-Man, aka Mr. Knowitall. If you have a story to tell in 55 words, let the Maestro-of-Flash know.

Happy Halloween

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Waxing The Floor and Counting Matches

Writers are notorious for using any reason to keep from writing: over-researching, retyping, going to meetings, waxing the floors-anything. -Gloria Steinem

If you’re feeling stymied as a writer, don't wax the floor. Pick up your pen and describe what you see. Eavesdrop and write it down. Straight up. Feed the fire, shelter the flame, and count your matches. Don’t let yourself run out of words. Store unusual words up your sleeve, like fanciful and ornery. I like ornery. I like my ornery protagonist and his ornery adversary. I'll like them to the end. 
With hunting season upon us, gunshot and scattered quail, I unlocked my keyboard and reconnected with my troubling characters. I’m fleshing out their peculiarities and trying to suspend disbelief, which brings me to a notion I’ve stored up my sleeve. Schooling is good, but I believe there are three things a writer needs which can’t be taught: empathy, unbridled imagination, and the ability to suspend disbelief. If you have that, you can learn the rest. You can entice a reader to stick with you to The End. As Mickey Spillane once said, “No one ever read a novel to get to the middle.” And we’ve all heard said: there’s no such thing as writer’s block. There are only writers who run out of matches. There’s no such thing as a failed writer, only writers who quit before they get to the end.

I'm off to the north country to stand on the shore of Lake Superior. No waxing floors. I'm going to eavesdrop in pubs and study facial expressions.  I mean I'm going to walk the shore and study tide lines, search the horizon for freighters and collect driftwood.  I have my journal, pencil, and ID, should I lose myself.  I'm not afraid of getting lost. How silly. I'm not afraid of that.

Monday, October 28, 2013

What's Your Typing Speed?

How are your typing skills?  I found this link to a speed test thanks to Lydia Kang at The Word Is My Oyster, and decided to test myself. I used to be pretty fast in college (80-100wpm depending on how much dorm craziness went on the night before). I clocked in at 70wpm, with no mistakes, so I guess I still have it. When you think about it, the keyboard is rather marvelous, one of the few technological advances that have not changed since its invention.

If you want to clock your speed, here's the link. It's easy and fun and I figure good practice.


My writing didn't take off until we bought our first computer and I discovered Word. I LOVED it. My words could finally keep pace with the thoughts in my head. That's the kind of writer I am. What about you? Do you, can you, write stories in long-hand, the old-fashioned way?

Thursday, October 24, 2013

RUBY (Friday Flash 55)

My hair falls out in front of my eyes
but the sun breaks through the frosted glass
of the shower and hot water sluices
off my shoulders and breasts.
I twirl strands into tufts on the tile,
like locks in a baby book.
Baby’s first haircut.
It doesn't even hurt, and I towel myself dry.

A Friday Flash 55. Fifty-Five words for the G-Man


Saturday, October 19, 2013

After The Knifing

he avoided her father.  
But when the wound started to heal,
he knew he’d be left with a scar.
He’d never been cut,
and he wondered why
his uncle, a veteran of undeclared war,
hadn’t warned him about the aftermath of that.
The crushing humiliation of having one’s mortality
laid open for all to see.

It's Friday. It's the mean season (the writing season), and time for a Flash 55. If you have written a short story in a sparse 55 words, post it and let the world know. Or at least let the G-Man know.

Hello fifty-fivers!! TGIF!

After I posted this, I realized I was a day late, lost in time . . . but not a word shy. So, TGIS!