Writing Challenge: Oct 3, 2017

Prompt: Spend some time doodling for 5-10 minutes  and write something inspired by your doodle.

A bare tree drops its last leaves into the swift, sharp, swirling breeze.

At its feet, above the roots, the growing pile of leave grows.

In black and white, my sketch takes shape-

But in my mind the colors are bright

A celebration of the season’s beauty.

I draw winter squash, walnuts, apples and pears.

I begin to write the alphabet in cursive and straight-hand-

With right hand and left.

I begin to absently-mindedly craft abstract drawings

Of lines, swirls, spikes.

I fill the page with black ink of little value-

while I should be taking notes in class.


Because It Happened

Writing Challenge: Sept 26, 2017

Prompt: Use a popular quote as inspiration for your writing.

*Quote: “Don’t cry because it’s over; smile because it happened.” – Dr Suess *

When you died, I screamed. I wailed, I cried. Then, I was silent. It hurt so much to know I would never be able to talk with you or laugh with you again. I thought of you every day, but I couldn’t even remember the best of times without tears. It was months before I could think of you without the pangs of loss. It’s been three years now since you’ve been gone. Now, when I think of you I smile. I grin when I remember your friendly face. I chuckle when I recall your snorting laugh. I laugh when I relive your most spastic moments. I miss your support, your empathy, love, your humor, and your heart, but I don’t cry because it’s over and gone- now I smile because it happened; I smile because you were my friend.

Bon Fire

Writing Challenge: Sept 22, 2017

Prompt: Write something inspired by the saying “Where there’s smoke there’s fire.”

A thin line of gray smoke swirled in the light breeze. I could see it from down the road, even before I saw the cheerful flames. “Where there is smoke, there’s fire” I though as I drove up the long dirt driveway. “And with my friends there is guaranteed to be both.” I was assaulted before I even left the car- my best friend yanking the door open before I had even unbuckled my seat belt. “Finally!” She shouted over the salvaged junk-yard speakers broadcasting loud rock music. It was the perfect night. The house, backing onto a nature reserve, was remote enough to ease concerns about noise. The lack of city lighting allowed for a perfect view of stars in the clear night sky. The crisp October weather was ideal for cozy sweaters and blankets, warm mugs, and a hot fire, and for the first time in 6 years we had everyone together again. We were all adults now; we all had jobs, responsibilities, and a healthy bit of grown-up cynicism- but, that night, we were all teenagers again. Reliving “the good ol’ days”, when the flames of possibility still flared bright


Writing Challenge: Sept 21, 2017

Prompt: Write about a time you saw hope in what seemed to be a hopeless situation.


In the worst of times I thought we would never escape him. Twice before my mother had filed for divorce, and twice it never went through. I had begun to think we would be stuck with him forever- chained down by poverty, drugs, alcohol, and violence.

When he went to prison again, this time for two years, I rejoiced. We had already hit rock bottom. We lived, illegally, in a one-bedroom apartment. 10 of us, living on top of each other in a small space. There was no privacy. There was no money. There was little hope.

When he went away everything changed. Mom got a new job. It paid little and the hours were long, but it was enough to raise our heads again. We got a new place, now 6 of us in 3 bedrooms- an un-paralleled improvement. Most importantly, He was gone, and with him the anxiety, the fear, the drugs, and the violence went as well. For the first time in years I began to hope that there would be an end to our dark lives.

Without him in her life Mom gained courage. We left him for good. We left, going to the one place he wouldn’t follow us. Finally, on the third try, the divorce went through- finalized. We were free. As I looked at the snow-capped mountains, so different from the flat green coastal plain I came from, I smiled, fully happy for the first time in seven years.

The Box

Writing Challenge: Sept 15, 2017

Prompt: Imagine finding a box. What is inside?

Outside, in the center of the grove of trees that grow in the backyard, I see a box. It is a pale wood, perfectly symmetrical, and entirely unremarkable- except for the simple fact that  no one knows where it came from.

I go outside; Intrigued, drawn-in, by the mystery.

I approach cautiously, but curiously. I cannot turn back. I do not. I will not.

Tentatively, I touch the smooth surface. It’s cool beneath my fingers.

Gingerly I lift the lid. It’s weighty, but not heavy.

I peer inside.


There are stars, comets, and darkness. There are planets spinning around.

My eyes widen in wonder.

In my amazement I let the lid drop.

I open it again.

Now it’s a coral reef.

Fish, dolphins, sharks, and rays swim about.

Corals grow in every bright color imaginable.

I blink. I close the lid again.

Once more I open the box.

I look at an enchanted forest.

Golden leaves canopy over chocolate tree trunks.

Little imps, and chattering fairies dart among roots.

Chirping birds and fluttering butterflies flit among the leaves.

This time when I lower the lid, I pick up the box and bring it inside.


Illegal Casino

Writing Challenge: Sept 10, 2017

Prompt: Write about playing a card game

Gambling is strictly illegal in the state of Utah, therefore any semblance of gambling is banned from public schools. That being said, we played poker and Rumi every chance we got: back stage during rehearsals, at lunch, in the library etc. To keep things interesting we would “gamble” with candy- naming each different color or candy type a different monetary amount. Three times we had our deck of cards confiscated: twice by the drama teacher, Mr. Carpenter and once by the vice-principal. As soon as the confiscator walked away we simply pulled out another deck and re-started our game. One night, while on break during a rehearsal for the up-coming school play, we tried hiding Nathan’s family van to play without interruption. In the cold fall night, the van windows fogged up. Assuming some other questionable activity was underway, Mr. Carpenter banged on the van door, causing us all to jump. We opened the door to reveal our underground casino, much to his surprise (as he was sure by now he had taken all our cards), and amusement. Feigning anger at our flagrant disregard to Utah law he ordered us back inside to finish rehearsals. We never got to finish that round.

Dusty Dirt Road

Writing Challenge: Sept 9, 2017

Prompt: Use alliteration in a poem or story.

Down the old, dusty, dirt road;

The gravel grinds on the ground beneath my feet.

I step, I skip, I stomp, raising up the dust

As I race down the road; rocks rolling under my feet.

The train-tracks travel along with the trail;

Trail and tracks tracing the tall mountain’s base.

Wide-eyed, I whirl around watching the western landscape:

Birds bob against the baby-blue sky,

The sagebrush sways in the swift-blowing wind,

Grasshoppers gallantly jump into the dry grass.

This is a peaceful, pensive, picturesque place.

To Do List

Writing Challenge: Aug 26, 2017

Prompt: rummage through your pockets and write about what you find.

I always have paper in my pockets: a sheet of lined notebook paper, written on in black ink, and folded four times. I convince myself that by writing out my “To Do” lists, by planning out every minute of my week, I will somehow become more productive, so, I write it out. I plan out every task, project, and activity for school, work, and personal improvement, then I slip my dense little rectangle into my pocket and forget about it. The next day, I do it all again.

Under the Sea

Writing Challenge: Aug 22, 2017

Prompt: Write about ocean creatures

We know less about the ocean on this planet than we do about the space around this planet. The parallel between space and the seas are paramount: both are unimaginably vast, but fathomlessly empty. One could travel for hours, or even days and see nothing. We are so concerned about finding life on other planets, when we are still finding so many strange, wonderful, amazing, creepy, scary, and unbelievable things in our own waters. Deep, deep down, far below the peaceful waves lurk creatures that boggle the imagination. Here, in the waters, there are whales longer than a basketball court. Here we have found creatures that have inspired myths and legends of old. Here we have found creatures so grotesque that they are more alien than movie producers can even imagine for the big screen. Why do we search so diligently among the stars for the strange and unknown, when we can find it so much closer to home?

Should: a Poem of Procrastination

Writing Challenge: Sept 7, 2017

Prompt: Write a poem or story using the words: should, could, and would.

I should do my homework.

I would be more relaxed.

I could finally get some peace of mind.

I should stop procrastinating.

I would get things done.

I could move on to more enjoyable things.

I should, I would, I could-

But I don’t.