All They’d Have to Do Is…


Daily Prompt Trick or Trick It’s Halloween, and you just ran out of candy. If the neighborhood kids (or anyone else, really) were to truly scare you, what trick would they have to subject you to?

…give me daily prompt like this one would do it! Seriously? You want a REAL answer to this in a PUBLIC place?  As for fear — I’ll tell you about fear. You really want that? There’s nothing funny about it. For the last five — six — years I’ve been intermittently frightened and with reason, but before that? Oh baby. I’m not a person who likes scary movies or scary stories. I’ve had a scary life. You want details?

SO, instead, a little post about moving into new places on Hallowe’en. Not in the least scary, sorry…

Three times now I’ve moved into a new place around Hallowe’en. The first to my first apartment as a single woman. It was an upstairs apartment in a duplex near Washington Park in Denver; it dated from the turn of the century. It was never meant to be an apartment, but the upstairs to the downstairs. It had no heat unless the guy downstairs turned it on and I opened the door leading downstairs. The apartment saw many adventures, perhaps typical adventures of the newly-single 20 something. I moved from there in spring to an efficiency in the Bat Guano Arms in Capital Hill. Though the place was not “me” (meaning it was modern and convenient) I had a happy six months there but around the middle of October, 1979, I saw my dream apartment in The Dalton.

My lease to Bat Guano Arms was over on October 31 so I planned to move into The Dalton on the first of November. (If you follow the link, my apartment is what they now call “The Canterbury” and you can see actual photos of it…not as it was when I lived there, but… My rent was $145/month.) I had a VW Bug, Blue and helpers with their cars. My best friend — let’s call her Windy — and a guy from work who wanted to do me and felt helping me move was a decent payment on that opportunity. My dream apartment in Denver was a lot like my little dream house here in Monte Vista.

You don’t have a lot of stuff when you live in an efficiency apartment. All I had of any mass was my dad’s desk — which I managed to fit into the back of my bug. Don’t ask me how, but it had become a “thing” with me to prove that anything a semi-truck could do my VW could do…in more trips, of course.

The night was Denver fall — chilly but not terribly cold, with the oblique light of an autumn sunset. At a certain point we found ourselves in a store near a favorite bookstore. Was it a drugstore? I don’t know, but I think so.  It had a lunch counter, surprising to us. A German couple ran the store. They asked us to sit down. They served us cider and an assortment of canapes. The moment was disorienting enough to change the character of the evening. From then on, it seemed enchanted.

The sky went from orange/purple to black half-moon night as we took the last furniture into my new apartment. I had no bed yet, so I slept in the old place, knowing I would have a bed the next day — a futon for which I’d “mortgaged” my car. I would pick it and the frame up the next day and bring them back in my Bug (two trips).  I loved living there and nothing less than the chance to live and work in China could have shifted me out.

First Night of the World


Daily Prompt Trio No. 3 Today you can write about anything, in whatever genre or form, but your post must mention a dark night, your fridge, and tears (of joy or sadness; your call). Feel free to switch one ingredient if you have to (or revisit one from previous trio prompts).

“No, please, no. No. Dammit. OK.” Augusta got up from her warm bed, pulled on warm clothes and opened her bedroom door to the small room that sufficed as everything — dog crate, living room, office, kitchen, dining room and hallway. “You poor baby. I dragged you all the way out here, the least I can do is take you out to pee.” The pale yellow creature lay at her feet, looking toward her with blind eyes. “Come on. No, don’t bite me. C’mon, Susie. You’ll get used to it,” she said, hooking the leash to the dog’s harness. Siberian huskies will run — even this old one would do her best — given half a chance. A simple collar was no insurance against that. After finding Susie with her head stuck under a chain link fence, trapped by the little hoop that held her tag, Augusta had found a different way to ID her dog, Twenty minutes later, Susie would have been dead. Augusta still shivered every time she thought of the goodness of fate, that she’d found her dog in time.

“You two can come too.” Rusty and Mandy got up from their comfortable sleep, instantly ready to go outside. Augusta worried about large animals — bears, particularly, having found bear scat on their trail — so she leashed Rusty and Mandy, too. Once they were out, in the dark night — or very early morning — Augusta realized she had forgotten her flashlight.

Nothing compared to this. No shimmer of dust or atmosphere came between her and the “glorious firmament.” Orion stood above her, only beginning his descent, pushed aside by Old Sol’s flaming shove. Silence. Complete silence. No trucks on the state highway, no coyotes, nothing. Like the first night of the world.

“Good girl,” she whispered to Susie then to Mandy. “Good girl.”

Augusta slowly became aware of a constant whooshing sound to her right. What? “The river,” she realized. “It’s the river. I haven’t heard it before. The traffic. I’m in the old days, now, before all this.” Augusta thought for a moment — how would it be if? She wanted to stay there, to imagine this, but the beauty was cold, as cold as her refrigerator. Colder. Her eyes were filled with tears, not from sorrow or from joy, simply from the cold. “C’mon you guys. I should’ve worn a hat.”

She took one last look at the sky and knew that she would always remember stepping out into the first night of the world. Silently she thanked Susie. “I wouldn’t have been out here if you hadn’t had to pee,” she thought, “you sweet wild thing.”


Since I’ve been very necessarily self-absorbed these past months, I haven’t “followed” as assiduously as I would have liked, so tonight I checked to see how the blogs I follow are going along.

Most of them have no new posts. A few of them are deleted… It seems the most vulnerable are the truly personal blogs in which the writers are trying to work something out in a forum like this. I hope their disappearance means they found what they wanted and needed here. :(


Sweet Cheeks Makes a Difference


Daily Prompt In Retrospect Yesterday you invented a new astrological sign. Today, write your own horoscope — for the past month (in other words, as if you’d written it October 1st).

Yesterday we met Sweet Cheeks just as she was leaving the seedy little Venice Beach Bungalow belonging to Madame Ruth. She was very excited having learned that she’s a Scorpio with Castor rising, meaning that she’s intellectual, sexy and will achieve in life. She had just called her boyfriend to let him know her great news. She’s on her way home in her little Scion XA, tooling along on the 405 toward San Pedro, listening to Whitney Houston at top volume, singing along, loudly enough to get the coyotes howling as she passes by their canyon island habitats. “I will always love YEW-oooo-ooooo-OOOO!”

She looks up in her rear view mirror and sees the flashing red and blue lights of LAPD. “Oh no,” she says to the coyotes and the emptiness.

“Pull over, lady. Pull over to the side of the road,” the cop says through his loudspeaker. “License and registration, lady. Do you know how fast you were going? Turn off that racket when I’m talking to you.”

She turns of the stereo and hands the ossifer her license and registration.

“You were going 110. The speed limit here is 65. Do you know what that means?”

“No sir.”

“It means you need to slow down. It also means you have a court date. If you have other violations, you might lose your license. Where’s the fire, anyway?”

“I’m sorry. I was just happy and listening to the music and driving along. The freeway is almost empty.”

“Key word there, ‘almost.’ It’s not empty. In fact, you drove right by me and didn’t even see me. What were you thinking? Wait, you weren’t thinking. Here’s your citation. Read it carefully. You’ll be getting a court summons in the mail. Good night.”

“Wow,” she thinks as she starts her car. “I guess I achieved something in life already. I didn’t know I could drive that fast.”


October birthstone 16

Daily Prompt Custom Zodiac You’re tasked with creating a brand new astrological sign for the people born around your birthday — based solely on yourself. What would your new sign be, and how would you describe those who share it?

“So, my darling, when were you born? I need the exact time and place so I can give you the most refined calculations.”
“Oh, I was born in Galveston, Texas in October — October 30 — 1995.”
“All right then. You are a Scorpio with Castor rising. You are passionate, sexy, intellectual and you will achieve in life.”
“Really? I will achieve in life? OMG! That means everything to me! Thank you so much!” Trina screamed in delight, forcing Madame Ruth to cover her ears.

She ran out of the tent grasping the small opal Lamont had given her for her birthday. “Honey,” she said as soon as he answered his phone. “Thank you so much for the gift card to Madame Ruth! She’s confirmed my deepest wish. I’m going to achieve in life!”
“That’s great, sweet cheeks. But what exactly are you going to achieve? And where would you achieve it but in life?”
“Oh baby, you always know how to twist things so they don’t make sense. ANY-hoo, I’m on my way home.”
“I’ll be waiting, baby doll.”

(I would describe those who share my “custom” zodiac sign as people who do not want to write this prompt describing themselves.)

Night, Hawks and Doves


 1Siege Ends! Corregidor Falls to the Japanese!

American and Philippine Forces Surrender



“Where is he?”

“There. Third from the right. The worst is that I don’t know how he is.”

America was shocked at the newspaper photos. The siege had brought the American Army, under General Wainright, to its knees.

“Well, if the Japs have him, that’s…” said the man sitting beside her.

She gasped. “Don’t, Dad. Don’t talk about it. I know about it, but hearing it… No, please, don’t talk about it. Oh God, my little brother!” Absently, she looked at her hand as tears streamed down her cheeks. She had vowed not to cry in public, but how public was this deserted diner, anyway? Who would see? This crippled soda jerk, her dad, some guy she didn’t know?

“The Japs’ll stick to the Geneva convention,” said the one-legged soda jerk.

“When have they? Hirohito thinks treaties proscribing behavior in war are stupid. He has a point. A humane war? Wouldn’t it just last longer?” said the man sitting alone in the shadows on the other side of the curved counter.

“Fond of Hitler, are you, Joe?” asked the older man.

“Calm down, buddy, calm down,” said the soda-jerk. “We don’t fight the war in here.”

“You should be out there, pal. What are you, 20? 21? You seem able-bodied,” the old man pressed the point. “In my time, I’d be handing you a white feather.”

“I’m a Quaker.”

“Oh that’s convenient, when everyone’s brother, dad, lover, husband is out there fighting and dying and you’re in here drinking a green river, being a Quaker.” The woman’s hand shook in rage as she lifted her cigarette to her red lips.

“Lady, that goes for you, too. Just ’cause you’re a dame don’t exempt you. I’m sorry to hear about your brother, but… Until you been there yourself, you can’t, well, anyway, no war in here.” He grabbed a coffee pot and filled the woman’s cup. “Getting mad at him ain’t gonna’ do nothin’ for your brother.”

“Ma’am, I’m sorry about your brother. I know you’re scared. I know what it’s like out there. I just got back from four months driving an ambulance. But for the Grace of God I’d be there now but…” He stopped. He’d resolved not to talk about it.

“You were there?” demanded the older man.

“Not the Pacific, no. London. The Blitz.” If he closed his eyes, he could still hear the screaming of women and children caught unaware in the early days, running feet on the streets of London, the downward screams of German bombs, the explosions, the falling walls. He saw his friends — fellow Quakers from Pennsylvania, New Jersey and New York — running with stretchers, looking for wounded, surviving, people. Lifting them up and running again for an ambulance, for shelter, for a hospital.

The woman’s father looked over just as the headlights of a passing cab illuminated the Quaker’s face. It was then he noticed the left side resembled melted wax, that his left ear was gone. “Oh my boy,” he said, a sob catching in his throat. “Forgive me,” not knowing for sure whether he spoke to the Quaker or to his own son, now interred at Malaybalay.


You Say Potawto…


Daily Prompt Doppelgänger Alert You step into an acquaintance’s house for the first time, and discover that everything — from the furniture, to the books, to the art on the wall — is identical to your home. What happens next? (Thanks for an intriguing prompt idea, Lourdes Mint!)

“You took my dog.”
“Lulu? She’s my dog. Ask her.”
“Whatever. Anyway, she’s deaf. There’s no asking her, besides, she’s as loyal as cats.”
I step outside and look at the house number. 121 Fir St.  Hmmm. I’m in Bizarro reality. Clearly. I sigh. “So you just moved in?”
“Half your living room furniture is boxes. You like it like that?”
“I dunno. It is what it is.”
“Yeah. Everything is what it is. Bravo on that one, sweet cheeks.”
“Do you like this painting? I inherited it…”
“…from your grandmother. So you read my blog?”
“No. I write my own.”
“Not really yours. More like mine.”
“What are you saying?”
“I’m saying that this is only a marginally interesting practical joke. But I do have a question. Since you clearly just moved in here, have you figured out how to store that pile of old clothes you’ve kept out of some odd nostalgic impulse?”
“You know. Your dad’s Army uniform from WWII. The cashmere coat you bought in the 70s on layaway that took you three months to pay for. The silk padded jacket that kept you warm that freezing miserable wet winter in the tundra of the Tropic of Cancer…”
“I have no idea what you’re talking about.”
“It’s all right. If I had what it takes this morning, I might venture a Philip K. Dick novel, but I don’t have it. I’m already disoriented.”
“Have a seat here on the sofa next to Mandy.”

Recommended Reading: “Platforms Are Overrated”

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Martha Kennedy:

Very interesting article with points that merit some serious though.

Originally posted on The Daily Post:

When you have to make a choice about how to spend your writing time, choose your book first. Every. Single. Time. To approach your writing career any other way is a mistake.

– Stephanie Bane, “‘Platforms’ Are Overrated

Note: We share this reading recommendation with our entire readership, but the ideas and suggestions here are targeted to authors, writers, and even NaNoWriMo participants whose primary goal is book publishing.

In our Recommended Reading series, we’ve focused on book recommendations, but I wanted to highlight a recent article in Creative Nonfiction by Stephanie Bane, “‘Platforms’ Are Overrated,” which might be of interest to authors, self-publishers, and professional writers working on books and long-term projects. The piece resonated with me because ultimately, it asks writers to evaluate where they invest and how they budget their time, and I think this is worth thinking about, no matter your goals and reasons for blogging.

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Chasing Rainbows


Daily Prompt Local Color Imagine we lived in a world that’s all of a sudden devoid of color, but where you’re given the option to have just one object keep its original hue. Which object (and which color) would that be?

Lily’s eyes. Blue.

“That’s it?”
“That’s all that’s required here. What is it and what color.”
“Are you going to bitch about the vacuous prompt?”
“Naw. What’s the point? I’m just going to do this… Un chanson de une coleur… A little Serge on a Sunday morning.”

Masks Off?


Daily Prompt Masks Off —  We’re less than a week away from Halloween! If you had to design a costume that channeled your true, innermost self, what would that costume look like? Would you dare to wear it?

“I’ll go out with you.”
“I have something to tell you.”
“OK, whatever.” The young woman with the labyrinthine tree painted on her face and the all black clothes finds her coat and leaves the party, closely followed by her friend’s boyfriend.
“Hey,” he says, once they’re outside, softly grasping her upper arm and turning her around to face him.
“What are you doing?”
“I’ve wanted so long to kiss you.”
“Wait just a minute. You’re with Sonja.”
“Sonja. Yeah. Whatever. I’m so over that.”
“But you still live here. You have your Barry Manilow song, your house, and all this stuff. She wants to marry you, have a family with you.”
“She’s a cow.”
“I’m not going to — no. C’mon. You’re a sleaze. Go back inside.” She pushes him back.
“Seriously? You don’t want me?”
“You’re lying. I’ve seen you look at me, you know, in THAT way.”
“No. I’m leaving.” She reaches for the cold handle to her VW Bug. What a night. What is it about Hallowe’en that makes people take off their masks?