You were so-and-so’s daughter. You were supposed to make your parents proud. You didn’t always do that.
You were the class nerd, the class athlete, the class clown. It was hard to break out of that mold. How well did anyone know you beneath the veneer?
You were the newbie, the freshman, the outsider, the ingenue who tried to fit in… You tried to dress like others, go to the same clubs, speak up about the same issues…but you always felt different.
In the year 2020, I was bored, retired, and suddenly living alone again. Lockdown meant we weren’t supposed to go places or see our friends. Help!
One day on Facebook I saw someone advertising some cool embroidered face masks that caught my eye. Besides a lemonade stand as a kid, I’d never wanted to be a salesperson, not falling for my husband’s invitations to get involved in his distribution of nutritional supplements. …
When people would ask me what kind of things I liked to write, I’d tell them, “A variety of things, but not fiction! That’s not my bag,” or words to that effect.
That was until I decided to attend a writer’s workshop in another city. Lo and behold, one of the speakers was a novelist, and one of our tasks was to write a short story. I wanted to hide my head in the sand and somehow get out of it. No excuses convinced our teacher, who reminded me, “Fiction is based on real life.” That relieved me. …
The year 2020 was the year “plans” — not planes — crashed to the ground for millions of people. I was not the exception. The biggie was the plan to launch my first book as the only author. Another major plan was to travel to Canada to see my son, wife, grandkids, and, ideally, relatives in other places.
Bang! It came unannounced that closing down of activities and movement, at least much beyond our homes. It just plopped down on all our dreams, ambitions, and expectations.
We arrive at the eco-park; the girl in the ticket booth charges us, and by flashing my senior card I get a discount. We enter the loop that goes around the oval-shaped lake. Every 100 meters, wooden signs tell us how far we’ve come until we reach 1600 and can go around again. Near the entrance are several paddleboats and rowboats for rent. We can hear the swish of oars and paddles, and the happy sounds of families calling to one another. Often I see an elegant white heron standing ramrod straight on the rocks by the shore…
In my garden and in my life
What child hasn’t enjoyed dandelions? Sunny yellow and attractive to the eye, but all the more fun when their shaggy heads turn soft and white. What delight little ones find in blowing those seeds and watching them float away in the wind!
The prompt for our online writing workshop had us look at a scene from a bird’s-eye view, and gradually zoom in closer to get more and more sensory details to describe.
I had chosen to write about a family ceremony for which I could not be present except via Zoom. First I helped my readers to picture the community, then the more direct context of the interior of the church where it took place, and little by little the people involved and the story itself.
Maybe he realized he was leaving me soon. Maybe he suffered more pain than he let on, or more desperation as he tried to breathe. Maybe he didn’t want me to worry, so he tried not to complain. Maybe, as he lay on the living-room sofa with an oxygen mask, he wished I would spend more time by his side. Maybe his skeletal frame was only a temporary phase. Maybe we were both afraid that the other would mention the phrase: How much time is left?