Friday, November 1, 2013

NaNoWriMo? Sure, why not?

You know what I needed? Another thing to do. Another goal. Another deadline.
So I decided to do NaNoWriMo again this year. I put in a hard-fought-for 1695 words today, and I'm pretty proud of it, considering it was written with much distraction and sleepiness. This year, I am being a NaNo rebel and working on a collection of short stories. Most of them are outlined, but many are not. Tonight, I worked only from my recollection of what I jotted down on the back of a JoAnn Fabric coupon. It's not amazing now in its raw form, but after editing I think it will be worth a read. Good luck, fellow NaNo-ers. Don't neglect your posture and finger stretches.

Thursday, October 3, 2013

The Nature of Beasts

I won The Iron Writer Challenge #31! Check out my story, which uses the four TIW elements for this challenge (a Delorean, a peanut-butter-banana sandwich, a ventriloquist, and a griffin), below.

The Nature of Beasts

Traffic had all but stopped—even the taxis—when they pulled into a parking space. Pedestrians crowded the sidewalk. “What’s all the ruckus?” Monty Conjure growled, switching off the Delorean’s engine.
“Is that,” Jeannie Conjure gasped, squinting through the windshield from the passenger seat, “a phoenix?” An elephant-sized beast covered in feathers and fur stomped toward them from two blocks ahead. They could feel the impact of its steps. Its tail swung side-to-side, denting cars and mangling lampposts. Screaming drivers abandoned their vehicles and ran.
“No, it’s a griffin. Note the lion-like body. A phoenix is just a bird that explodes.”
“Yes, darling. You’re right,” Jeannie conceded. She was bored with him. His tricks, on and off the stage, weren’t magical anymore. But she was confident an insurance payout would help her achieve a change of pace. As she handed him half a peanut-butter-and-banana sandwich, their traditional pre-performance meal, she noted a tiny dot of green ink on the plastic wrap. “You should eat, Monty.”
He took the sandwich, his stomach turning a bit at the sight of Jeannie’s ropy, liver-spotted left hand. Beneath another sparkly black dress, her once-sleek figure was flabby. Lately, she refused to perform many of their standard tricks and claimed to be too tired to learn new ones. The sword bit was getting sloppy and they planned to replace it with a levitation act, which she enjoyed because she could put her feet up. He often daydreamed of doing feats of magic with a fresh girl who wouldn’t spoil the act or mock his moustache. He also daydreamed about how easily, during an act of prestidigitation, a sword could slip. “Where do you suppose this animal came from?”
Jeannie looked distastefully at a darkening banana slice slipping from the edge of his still-uneaten sandwich and shrugged. “Maybe it’s part of our opening act.”
We are the opening act.”
“That explains why we’re parked on the street.” She sighed. “It’s nearly time.”
“We’ll eat in the wings.” He pressed a button and the car doors rose, crane-like, attracting the attention of the griffin. Now only a block away, it tilted its massive eagle head and stalked toward them.
Jeannie stepped out of the car on shaking legs and drew a long breath. There was only one defense she could think of.
“Oy! We’ve got loads of lovely carrion over here!” called a disembodied speaker.
The griffin skidded to a stop just three car-lengths away, its claws tearing chunks from the asphalt. Shrieking, it stomped down an alleyway in the direction of the voice.
“You’ve still got it. Best ventriloquist I ever knew,” Monty proclaimed as he kissed her forehead. She snatched the sandwich and tossed it into the street.
“You can show your gratitude by buying me dinner later,” she said, smoothing her dress. “If that thing comes back, it’s going to scuff the car.”
“Don’t worry. I’ve been thinking of upgrading.”
“A new car? You’re full of surprises.”
Chuckling, he put on his top hat and took her hand as they walked into the theatre.
- Read the other entries here and think about participating in an upcoming challenge!
Thanks to The Iron Writer community for this opportunity!

Sunday, September 29, 2013

Brought to You by the Letters

A magnetic Five-Sentence Fiction

Brought to You by the Letters

Their daughter was years past playing with the magnetic alphabet, but his wife was not. Every weekday morning he found a message from her--"I HEART U" or "MEET MOI FOR LUNCH"--spelled out in primary colors using the letters that had not yet broken or slid beneath the refrigerator.This Monday morning it said, "TH0SE SHOES Q JUST NO".

He sighed as he returned to the bedroom to change out of his loafers (which had, admittedly, seen better days), a bit disappointed in today's note. Inside his dress shoes, six plastic letters met his toes and he grinned as he dumped them out onto the bed, knowing what they would spell. 

Saturday, September 28, 2013

Mixed Vegetables

For this week's Trifextra, a famous trio

Mixed Vegetables

Self-conscious Corn comforted supple Squash when she lost her flowers and her fruit swelled. Corn encouraged shy Bean to explore. Together, the two shorter sisters grounded Corn. Frost claimed the trio together, peacefully.

Thursday, September 26, 2013

Iron Writer Update

This is a spoon I found in the woods. It has no bearing on anything.
You can read my crazy 513-word Iron Writer Challenge entry and three others here

Saturday, September 21, 2013

The Iron Writer Challenge: 31

I came across The Iron Writer Challenge on Twitter a few weeks ago. The concept is this: four writers are given four (unrelated and pretty darn random) elements that must be used in a flash fiction piece of about 500 words. Oh, and the story has to be written in the span of four days. I'm not sure why this seemed like a good idea to me with my full (over-full, really) schedule, but I signed right up. The elements for my challenge are: a live griffin (the mythical beast), a Delorean, a peanut-butter-and-banana sandwich, and a ventriloquist. Strangely enough, as soon as I read this list I had an idea. I'm on my fourth revision and ready to call it done, but since I still have another whole day, I'm letting it marinate just a little longer. It's certainly one of the stranger things I've written.

The stories will be posted on The Iron Writer site this Thursday. Be sure to check it out--and think about signing up for your own Iron challenge!

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Baby's Breath

A quick five sentences on flowers for a busy Tuesday
Thanks to Lillie McFerrin for another reason to write tiny things!

Baby's Breath

Not the flower in question
In its squat vase, the dense purple-and-white bouquet sat on her desk like a smug, fat woman overflowing an outdated dress proclaiming in a mocking tone what the note said: "No hard feelings." 
She had known all the flowers' names when she was a little girl--the ones in her mother's and grandmothers' gardens, and the ones from the seed catalogs and nurseries--but what the white filler was called eluded her. 
She picked up the arrangement in one hand and her purse in the other and walked quickly down the hallway to his office. 
He looked up from his monitor just in time to see water spill onto the floor as the vase flew toward his head. 
"Hard feelings," she muttered, remembering suddenly the name of the white flower.

Sunday, September 8, 2013

Senses of Self

Five sentences on beauty after many near-sleepless nights and a fun and productive but tiring weekend

Senses of Self

She had expected her adjustment to total blindness to be devastating, and at first it had
been, but then the absence of sight became part of her. As they waited for the doctor, she drummed her fingertips on the familiar textured wall and reached over to squeeze her husband’s warm, denim-covered thigh. Sight, she realized, like hearing, was passive, but the purposeful physical connection of touch revealed true beauty and understanding without misdirection. “Come on,” she said rising from the chair and extending a hand, “I don’t need to be fixed.”

Both of his hands closed around hers as he rose, murmuring, “No, you don’t.”

Friday, August 23, 2013

Daddy's Busy Now

Trifextra! A wonderful 33-word challenge. I love these.

Melvin wuvs you.
Daddy's Busy Now
“While you sleep, your father hunts monsters. He beheads them and guts them, then he sells their hides to companies that make teddy bears. That’s right, even Melvin is part monster. Sleep tight!”

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Polyester Intentions

This week's Five-Sentence Fiction prompt, fabric, inspired this short piece.
*Updated an hour after initial posting due to a typo and general dislike for the lack of flow

Some days I feel happy with quickly finished flashes, and some days I just don't. This is one of the latter kinds of days. Hope you enjoy anyway, and thanks in advance for reading.

Polyester Intentions

I meant to make a quilt, but when I began dissecting the shirts' seams, the fabric shrieked. Cotton pulls apart relatively quietly, but I discovered that Dacron and other synthetics cry out loud. I quit when I tore off a pocket and something spilled from the seam. I recognized it immediately as pipe tobacco and pressed the pocket, now detached, to my face. Thirty years later, the box of shirts looks down on me daily from my closet shelf, still waiting to become a quilt.

Friday, August 16, 2013

A Seedy Location

33 words on happiness brought to you by the latest Trifextra Challenge and a before and after

I thought it might be fun to share a before and after. The first paragraph is my entry for the weekend Trifextra Challenge, and the second is my original draft. It's a tiny sample of what happens when things get pared down for flash fiction--for better or for worse. 

A Seedy Location
I bury. Wait. Water. Cover. Repeat. Offer to the reluctant March sun. Cat prods them in the window, hoping they will explode on the floor. Green surfaces. A tomato proclaims winter will end.

59-word draft
I bury and wait. Water and cover. Make available to the warmth and the reluctant April Sun. The cat prods the cells with her paw, brushes against them hoping to see them explode on the floor and take their place. But one day, a bit of green emerges--a tomato or pepper--and I know the winter will end.

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Early Conversations

I wrote the following for this week's Trifecta Challenge. It's 315 words, some of which are not even real words. 

Early Conversations

“Momomomom. Bob. Brog.”

She smiled. “Tell me more.” She knew he did not yet grasp that sounds he made could mean specific things, but she enjoyed hearing his repertoire as she mulled over the task in front of her.

On the floor, he banged the side of a steel mixing bowl with a hard plastic ring, wincing at the noise. His babble quickly turned into a whine, the sound of winding up that would become full-blown wailing without intervention.

“I get cranky sometimes too, but I can’t nap whenever I want to. Why won’t you nap? You have my permission. As your mother, I give you permission to nap when you are sleepy.” His complaint intensified. She sucked in as much air as she could hold, leaned down from her chair and blew a loud, wet raspberry into his face.

He grinned and emitted the noise of a balloon rapidly deflating during a fire alarm, continuing to bang on the bowl as she turned back to the table and picked up her pen. The only thing worse than writing Christmas cards was writing them on December 19th. Luckily, the photo of the three of them took up most of the room and there was only space for a few lines. Biting the end of the pen, she considered pressing the baby’s hand into a green ink pad and making handprints in the blank space instead of figuring out what to write on each of the cards. It seemed very Pinterest-y. But she knew cooperation was unlikely and scrubbing green ink off everything was even less appealing to her than writing Christmas messages.

“Bromom. Blom. Omm.”

“Yes, Mom’s writing Christmas cards,” she murmured.


She glanced down at him. He looked up at her intently and repeated, “Mom.”

“Do you mean it this time?”

“Mom!” he yelled, his tooth flashing briefly as he whacked her leg with his toy.

Friday, August 9, 2013

Odd Notions

For this week's Trifextra Challenge, I give you . . . 

Odd Notions

I had always wanted to put my hand in Auntie’s "button jar," the heavy tobacco tin in her sewing room. When I did, a profusion of buttons--and one human tooth--spilled out.

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

An Achievable Bliss

This tiny piece was written in response to Lillie McFerrin's Five-Sentence Fiction challenge, Bliss. I loved the photo that accompanied this prompt, but I went in another, jokier direction. 

An Achievable Bliss

“You know what would be amazing?” she asked, leaning forward across the small, glossy café table. The woman on the other side of the table smirked and shook her head slightly, shrugging.

“Four hours in a room with a bed, a book, and nothing else to do but read.”

“I think that’s called a holding cell.”

“Oh, right,” she sighed dreamily, sipping her chai.

Monday, August 5, 2013

Window Redressing

Another Visual Dare. The photo was a challenge for me. To be honest, I found it a little dull and had a hard time getting a handle on what the story was. Here's 144 words written in around 25 minutes.

Window Redressing

Photo Credit
People passed without even glancing, and it irked her. The concept, execution, and clothing choices had taken weeks to finalize. She had personally overseen the glass cleaners, who were slow and left streaks. When they left, she'd had to tape a Windex-ed rag to a leftover curtain rod to remove the last smudges. And for nothing, according to the store manager, who had questioned the display and whom she had assured a big increase in sales from last spring. "Fix it," he'd said sharply three weeks after the installation. So here she was dodging cars while dragging a tote the size of a riding lawnmower across the street. Beach balls, small, round mirrors, fishing line, brightly colored towels. Boring. A guy would deliver a couple of bags of sand in the afternoon. "Sorry, guys," she whispered as she stepped into the window. "Party's over." 

Thanks to Anonymous Legacy for these challenges and for encouraging imagination and recreation with words.

Saturday, August 3, 2013

The Laughter You Hear As You Walk By

The following is a quick Trifextra challenge for the weekend.

The Laughter You Hear As You Walk By

Pretending to be the people who cast them onto the street, shadows giggle, stoop, and lurch. With exaggerated postures, they gleefully scream while their creators make new friends to join in the fun.

Saturday, July 27, 2013


I wrote the following for Trifextra Week Seventy-Eight. It's a mere 33 words, as the challenge demands.


We argue about color. Men have fewer cones, don't they? Our first house, we decided, was manillow, yellow and manilla (and maybe vanilla) to keep the peace. A joke, and a necessary one.

Promise of Plums

The following is 246 words written in about 30 minutes. I fell in love with this image a few weeks ago, so I decided to use it as a prompt. Happy Saturday to all!

Promise of Plums

The bear wasn't fuzzy as her mother had said. The bear's fur was thick, almost wooly, and even though it left an unpleasant residue on her small, plump hands, she kept patting the huge forehead. 

Photo Source
"Mother will want you to have a bath," she said with certainty. "Oh, yes. And you will have to use a whole bar of soap." She paused. "Yes, two whole bars of Ivory. And then you will be a polar bear, all nice and white!" She squealed and rubbed the bear's head excitedly. 

Always one to savor a scratch, she leaned into the girl a bit. Not being particularly hungry or violent beyond necessity, the bear was happy to observe this grabby pink creature for while. She pitied it a little, in her own way--its obvious frailty and misfortune of being both oblivious to predators and having no natural camouflage. The bear raised her snout and sniffed. The creature smelled vaguely like wild autumn plums, which made the beast salivate. A long, syrupy string of spit fell from her mouth and landed on the girl's shoe. Giggling, the girl clapped her hands and hopped on the muddy ground.

"Come on, now! It's almost dinner time and you must have your bath first!" She began skipping down the path and glanced over her shoulder. "Come on!" she called insistently. The bear sniffed the air and loped after her, hoping the little animal would lead her to a large pile of plums. 

Friday, July 26, 2013

Raw Material

I scribbled the following for this week's Five-Sentence Fiction prompt, Limitless

Raw Material

Magazine Alley, as she thought of it, was now mid-thigh deep and bordered by heaps of clothes which, when they had been piled there, had been clean. The table beside her best chair was covered in layers of useful things: scraps of paper with notes and recipes, stalled knitting projects, forgotten cups of tea with fuzzy tea bags attached, empty yogurt containers, and bits of fabric. The house, being so full, was quiet and comforting--a perfect setting for creativity. Raw material for making art surrounded her, but she wandered, sometimes stumbling on an abandoned shoe or dog toy, trying to figure out where to begin. She sighed to herself, thinking for the millionth time, The possibilities are limitless.

If you have a second, please leave me a comment and/or follow me on Twitter @gardenofedits. It's always nice to know someone is reading.

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

A Discussion on Bronze

The following was written for Anonymous Legacy's VisDare #30: Basking. It is 137 words, done very quickly (about 20 minutes) because I need to get to sleep. As always, please leave me comments. I enjoy reading them.

Photo Source
A Discussion on Bronze

For decades, he dreamed of having a friend who would linger with him as others bustled by.  The constant stream of passersby made him feel both gawky and invisible. One day, a man walked near. The bronze lion, having poor peripheral vision, only caught a glimpse of the slightly hunched man before this stranger began to climb up his tail. Even though the lion was quite old, the pressure of footsteps didn’t bother him a bit. In fact, he thought to himself, I might purr, if I could. As the man sat on top of his cool, flowing mane, his shoes rested lightly on the lion's proud brow. They sat in silence, but to the lion it seemed like a much-longed-for conversation. He managed a quiet rumble deep within. The man glanced in the direction of the train.