Tag: fiction

Flash Fiction for the Purposeful Practitioner-2018 Week 41


Pair of tennis shoes

Lela sat on the couch and reached under the end table for her tennis shoes. Her fingers found a sizable dust bunny, but no shoes.

”Again?” she asked as she dropped to the floor to have a look.

For the last month, items in Lela’s apartment had been vanishing and then reappearing hours or days later. Things had gotten weird since she brought that mirror home from the flea market.

The mirror was the cheap kind you get at Walmart. The type of mirror that isn’t supposed to be haunted. This one was.

After confirming that the shoes were not under the table, Lela stood and stomped over to the closet door where the mirror hung.

”Ok ghost!” she growled, peering into the mirror.

”I’ve had enough of this hide and seek business!”

Lela shuddered as the room temperature plummeted by twenty degrees. Perhaps yelling at ghosts is a bad idea.

Lela noticed that the lights dimmed. No, it wasn’t the lights, it was her. Her reflection in the mirror was fading!

Too stunned to panic, she calmly watched herself disappear completely. Moments later, she found herself on the couch. The missing tennis shoes were on her feet.


True Crime as a guilty pleasure

True crime podcasts are wildly popular as of late. I mainly listen to True Crime Garage and Sword and Scale.

Sometimes I wonder if there is something morally questionable about being entertained by the activities of criminals, and the suffering of their victims. Is true crime socially acceptable porn? But even porn is socially acceptable these days.

I might have been a detective in a past life—I’ll post about my belief in reincarnation another time.

I’m intrigued by the process of investigating a crime. The detectives examine the crime scene and collect evidence. They look into the background of the victim to figure out who they associated with and who might have had reason to harm them.  Sometimes the victim happens to be at the right place at the right time for the perpetrator. In these cases, investigators hope to find someone who witnessed the crime or saw something before or after the crime occurred.

This post is not meant to be a primer on how to be a criminal investigator. I am not qualified to write such a primer. However, my consumption of true crime entertainment and detective fiction is filling me with fodder for writing my own crime fiction. I could refer you to previous posts about me not writing enough, but blah, blah, blah.

This entry (if I can call it that) sort of went off the rails. I need a blogging plan. I need all sorts of plans. Here’s a list.

  • Eating
  • Exercise
  • Art
  • Blogging
  • Fiction writing
  • Plans for plans
    • sub plans
      • sub sub plans

Get the picture? Now watch as very little comes of any of it. I guess a Little is better than nothing.

Work doodle





Comfortably Unhappy

I’m going to call these pieces writing sketches. They’re short and meant to go nowhere.  I might do something with them one day.

Edmund wore a hat on most days because he thought it made him look friendly.  Theresa thought he wore the hat to hide his receding hairline. He was one of those balding guys with long hair. He played guitar in a local band that was destined to remain that way. But he refused to give up his rock star aspirations. Theresa had been his on and off girlfriend since their freshman year of college. She believed she could find someone better than Edmund, but didn’t have the will to leave. They were both unhappy, but comfortable with the lives they were living. Making the smallest change seemed too risky a proposition, so the couple kept any hopes and dreams in check.  Then Sam came to town.

Guy with bike and polar bear.

Sam was what you’d call a go-getter. Edmund and Theresa met him at the university. He was a business major who was always thinking of new ways to make money. His schemes worked about 40% of the time, but he looked at each failure as a stepping stone to success. You would expect someone like Sam would achieve a moderate amount of success in life. Don’t be too quick to make assumptions.

What would happen if these characters met a woman and her imaginary polar bear?

The Opposite Direction


Jake sat in the grass at the foot of the great statue. He didn’t know what the statue signified, but he was drawn to it for some reason. Every day at lunchtime he would leave his office on the 15th floor of the shiny blue building, walk across the courtyard, and take a seat beneath the stone giant. Jake would lay out a hand towel on the grass and then place his sandwich, chips, and soda on top of it. Some days, today included, Julia, from the 12th floor, would sit with him and eat her bagel and cream cheese. They would discuss the doings on the 15th and 12th floors. Jake managed the A-L accounts, and Julia handled M-Z. The conversations were not at all interesting.

They sat and ate until Julia abruptly stood up and pulled Jake to his feet. His sandwich dropped to the ground, and he looked at it forlornly. Julia swiftly kicked the sandwich away and looked pleadingly into Jake’s eyes. He understood her request and answered with a nod. The pair then ducked under the statue’s parted legs and strode away in the opposite direction of the office building. They did not look back.

A response to Flash Fiction for the Purposeful Practitioner, Week 3. 199 words~


Must be in a dream

Photo of winding mountain highway.

The woman found she was on her feet and walking along a winding highway. She could see mountains in the hazy distance. She looked down at her feet to see shoes that she didn’t recognize. The shirt and jeans she wore did not seem familiar either. She thought she must be dreaming, because when a person finds oneself in an unfamiliar place wearing strange shoes and clothes, that person must be in a dream.

The dream was boring, so she decided to make something happen.

She moved to the shoulder as a light blue sedan rolled to a stop beside her. The front passenger-side door opened. She looked and saw that there was no driver. She considered getting in and going for a ride. That didn’t seem safe, so she decided to do the driving herself. She walked around to the driver’s side and opened the door. To her surprise, she saw herself sitting behind the wheel. With a feeling of relief, she went back to the passenger side and got in the car. The car began moving forward. The driver and passenger glanced at each other and smiled knowingly. They would soon reach their destination.

Response to challenge from Flash Fiction for the Purposeful Practitioner (196 words)

I Remember When

I guess I’ll keep writing about anxiety when I quit experiencing it everyday. I made an art journal spread this week. Working on it helped ease my troubled mind. I wrote about it in another blog.

Art journal page

I remembered today that in the days before I went on Prozac I was anxious a lot. Once I was on it for a while, I realized how different I felt. I need that to happen again.

There are times during the course of the day that I don’t feel anxious, but when I notice that I feel okay I get anxious about not feeling anxious.

I need to consult a thesaurus.

I’m learning to use the Pen Tool from a lynda.com course. That is a step forward for me. Soon I can stop floundering and failing when I try to do something in Adobe Illustrator. “There is so much to learn and not enough time,” she sighed.

I’m just spitting out words because I think it might make a difference.

I once thought it would be nice to go into a coma for a few months just to take a break from life.I guess the problem with that is your muscles atrophy and you wake up in bad shape. Maybe I could visit an alternate dimension for a while. I guess we read fiction to escape to other worlds and other people’s lives. I should read more fiction.

“I should. I should. I should,” she was always saying that to herself. All if did was make her more miserable.

Watching Doctor Who helps bring me out of a funk. I used to have a few episodes with Tom Baker and Peter Davison on VHS. Watching them made everything okay for a while.

I still have a little bit of hope that the TARDIS will someday materialize in my front yard. I would be a brilliant companion!

More thoughts about writing

November is over, and  that means all of those people who did NaNoWriMo will stop posting Facebook updates about their progress.  I tried NaNoWriMo a couple of times and failed quickly. There are two reasons for my failure, I think. First, I don’t have enough time to write that many words every day. Well, I do have the time, but I apparently would rather be doing other things. The second reason is probably a better one. I don’t think I enjoy writing fiction. At least I don’t think I like it.

Do I  really not like writing fiction? When I ask myself that question, I have trouble answering it. I’m always thinking of story ideas, but I don’t jot down those ideas and keep them on file like real writers are supposed to do. When I do start writing a story I start thinking of so many details to include that it  makes me tired. I feel like I just want to get to the point and then wrap it up.

A few years ago I had this idea that I would write story components that I could hyperlink  to each other at strategic points. I was creating something interesting, I think, but it wasn’t a story. Maybe it could have been. Maybe I should try that approach again.

I just Googled the terms “hyperlink story” and got some results, including this one. So it’s actually a thing! Gotta look into it.

I reckon I’ll continue to struggle. I will also grapple with dance and with art. I hope I can get some enjoyment out of it.

Winter Blues

Writing is difficult!

I signed up for The Fiction Project. Now I’m writing a story  to put in the little book they sent me after they received my $60.00. I think I signed up so I would be forced to write some fiction. I’m not really being forced to do it, but wasting $60.00 would be a silly thing to do.

Here’s the thing; writing fiction takes a lot of work. I have to wonder why I’m compelled to do it. It’s kind of not fun. It’s kind of grueling.

Today I watched about 6 episodes of the X-Files on Netflix. That was easy. That didn’t require any effort. I also fed the outside dog, Annie; I fed the other two dogs, picked up their poo with a plastic bag, and fed the cats.  None of  these tasks were difficult.

Finally, I sat down to add some more words to the story I began last week. I like the story, and I think the idea is good, but I’m finding it mentally exhausting to write. I keep adding all of these little details, and quirks to the characters’ personalities, and a back story about the main character’s schizophrenic aunt. Why do I put myself  through this?

I don’t expect to have my fiction published. I’m apparently doing this just for me, but I don’t know why.

I once started writing a novel, thinking that if I were a novelist, I would be important. I would deserve to be here on this planet. I don’t feel that need anymore, but for some reason, I still write. It just doesn’t make any sense!

Annie-I call her Annie Bannanie

Kitchen Table

I have a character named Cynthia  that I sometimes conjure up when I’m trying to write fiction. Here’s a little scene that has never gone anywhere. I think it has some promise though.

Kitchen Table

Cynthia sat at the kitchen table waiting. She wasn’t waiting for the toast to pop up. That happened five minutes ago, and she had smeared enough butter on the multi-grain bread to negate any positive health effects that the bread was supposed to provide.

The kitchen table was bright white except for an unsightly pink stain that would never go away. When you don’t clean up your mess quickly enough, you can never quite get rid of it. Cynthia learned to tolerate all kinds of messes. She’d devised strategies for dealing with problems long after they’d spun out of control. A red wine spill on a white table, a dented car door, a misunderstanding with a friend; Cynthia ignored all of these and ended up with a permanently stained table, a car door so rusted that it had to be replaced, and a friendship dissolved.

table illustration

Writing and Then Stopping- Issue #1

I don’t think I was meant to write fiction.  I’ve begun a lot of pieces, and then quit them.  Am I lazy, or do I just not like writing fiction? It’s probably a little bit of both. Anyway, I’m going to share some of my unfinished pieces here, just so they can see the light of day. Maybe someone will get a bit of enjoyment out of them.  Maybe some will get frustrated at the lack of endings. Most of these pieces probably don’t even have middles for that matter. In any case, these pieces give me something to post when I don’t feel like coming up with something new. Here’s the first one!


At the Door

Cynthia stood with her back to the door, removed her glasses and hurriedly wiped the lenses with the cuff of her black palazzo pants. She put the glasses back on took them off again and rubbed her eyes. She put the glasses on again and then squinted in earnest concentration. She closed her eyes, took a deep breath, looked again and finally decided to accept that she and her eyes were seeing what they thought she was seeing. “I’ve finally gone schizophrenic.” she said. “I knew it was bound to happen. It’s genetic, and I’ve got the gene.” She pushed her chair away from the kitchen table, got up and reached for the yellow pages thinking she’d call a doctor and get herself checked in to some facility designed to take care of people like her. She wondered “are there people like me?”

If there were indeed people like Cynthia, those people saw things. They saw things that shouldn’t be there, things that just didn’t make sense. It had happened on each of the past three days. The doorbell of her little yellow house would ring. Cynthia didn’t often get unexpected visitors so on that first day she assumed it must be the mailman or a door-to-door religion salesman. She crept quietly to the door and looked out the peephole, but she could only see what looked like long brown hair. She decided it was probably safe to open the door. What she saw on the other side was large and baffling. It was a horse. Not a toy horse, not a saw horse. An actual horse with hooves and fur and a long brown mane and a hat. Cynthia looked at the horse and decided that, given the circumstances, it couldn’t hurt to ask the horse what he was doing on her front porch. “Wh what are you doing on my front porch?”

The horse snorted, and for a moment, Cynthia thought he was going to speak. He didn’t. He just looked at her. It dawned on Cynthia that this must be a joke. Maybe she was a victim of one of those practical joke TV shows and soon someone would reveal the hidden camera and ask her to sign a release allowing them to share her horse encounter with viewers all over the country. No one appeared. Cynthia looked at the horse. He looked back at her winked. Winked?

“Did you just wink at me?” she asked.

The horse remained laconic. The neighborhood was silent

“So if this isn’t a TV show it must be a dream.” She told the horse. “I’m going to close the door, go lay down and try to wake up.”

The horse snorted again as the door began to close. Cynthia took one last look at the horse and said “Bye, horse.”

The Yellow Pages lists sellers of goods and services that you may or may not need during the course of your life and as Cynthia leafed through the phone book she began to lose site of what she was supposed to be looking for. She spent some time looking at the ads for Bathtubs, Contractors, Dentists, Fences and Roofing because the thought of calling a psychologist, or psychiatrist or whatever and announcing that a winking horse rang her doorbell made her almost as anxious as seeing the horse. Not knowing anything about psychology she decided to close her eyes and point to something on the book. She would call the number where her finger landed.