Any of you who’ve had kids and grandkids probably know what it’s like to watch a little kid learn how to read. Until yesterday I had not had the experience.

When they arrived to set up the deck, Connor told me he was Hobbes and Michelle was Calvin. I said, “How come you get to be the tiger?”

“We played for it and I lost.”

Personally, I think it’s better to be a tiger, but that’s just me.

Lots of stuff happened in kid time while the project went on. At one point,
Michelle sat in front of me with a well-read Calvin and Hobbes comic book. She read slowly, not totally getting the essence of what the words said, but pointing at the words and sounding them out old-school.

One of the new words was “garden.” I commenced the Socratic method almost instinctively. “Where do flowers grow?”


After a couple failures (this is not university) her mom said, “Sound it out, honey.”

“Gar-den.” She jumped up in delight! “GARDEN!!!”

Then she said down and kept reading to me. I had tears in my eyes at the beauty of this. I looked over at her mom who was kind of teary, too. In my mind I saw the WHOLE WORLD OPEN for Michelle.

P.S. Obviously I’m not a stickler for writing to the prompt.

The Writer Reads Again

Yesterday, in the anthologies I evaluated for the contest, I read a couple of pretty haunting stories.

Because the category of “anthologies” is so all-encompassing, they can be anything. They are difficult to evaluate because, unless they’re thematic anthologies with stories or articles around one theme, they come through to the unknowing reader (which would be me) like a random assortment of stories which is what they are. They demand I be flexible as a reader — and I am, up to a certain point, but we all have our breaking point.

I recently won first prize in a contest that leads to just such an anthology. Unfortunately, I forgot to put the party on my calendar so I didn’t go. AND after years of submitting stories and having them rejected, now when I submit stories I forget about them. But it was very cool to get a little note in the mail with a check enclosed.

Well, I have a few more anthologies to wade through this morning.

I have come across a couple of amazing books. If you’re planning a trip to Rome, I have never seen a better more interesting attractive and complete tourist guide than the one I read yesterday. Rome Keys to the City — The Astute Traveler, Patty Civalleri. It made me want to go. I also read a very intriguing book about the famous Parisian Cemetery which shelters the remains of Jim Morrison and even greater lights, Pere-Lachaise Cemetery. City of Immortals.