Kathy Fish

Fast. Hot. Slow. Wet Cement.

I took advantage of Kathy Fish’s generosity last week and joined in the Fast Flash Reunion Extravaganza on Zoetrope. It was a great time and I adored reading other people’s work and saying “hey” to many fabulous and talented writers such as Raima Larter, Todd Clay Stuart, Nan Wigington, Cezarija Abartis, Matthew J Robinson, Jayne Martin, Jolene McIlwain, Alex Reece Abbott, Jan Elman Stout, Karen Schauber Karen Jones, Chris Haven, Patience Mackarness, Melissa Saggerer, Amy Braziller, Mary Crawford, Gay Degani, Andrew Stancek, Tommy Dean, and Chelsea Stickle. Over the course of that weekend, I wrote one creepy/Stephen King-ish flash, another that has a lot to flesh out and then two I didn’t post because they decided they couldn’t be flashes at the time.

What I’ve noticed is a similar progression of “lessening” lately. After a recent absence from Hot Pants, the first flash I wrote was solid and earned a finalist slot in a contest. The next piece wasn’t as good – though it had good parts – and the stories since then have had no true endings.

This is a reflection of my life. The lack of “the end” to Covid is insane and driven me to apocalyptic theorizing. The political news has altered my mind. Case in point: Mattresses. Not only is it the usual “what size and softness.” No, this creative mind of mine rushes to the financial outlook – no, not everyone will be all right. Will we? What if they stop making mattresses? What if we wait for the riots in Hamburg and Orchard Park and grab one then? What if our mattress is the only one in the neighborhood without bed bugs? What if climate chaos turns us all into backstabbing-for-survival neighbors? What if we lose in that battle? I don’t want to be murdered for my mattress. Black people have been murdered for less. Black people have been killed for no reason. The wide spreading-about of “bad apples” in law enforcement is astounding. Until it isn’t. Then it’s sad and awful. What kind of white privileged person am I? I may get Covid and I might survive even though my life has no more worth than anyone else’s simply because I am white and live in a state that took the threat seriously. Then again, I might fall under the care of that worthless physician assistant in Springville and die because he’s a useless jackass idiot.

Ah, there’s nothing like way too much information for a whizzing bang to the head. Obviously I’ve had time to over think and let small things fester. I vote we proceed to the picture portion of this post…

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A few of you dear readers were sent a video clip of an Evening Primrose exploding into bloom. You would think this boring, but it is fascinating. The process takes a variety of time but you notice it in the day, the ones getting ready. They grow plumper, like nourishment is rushing up the stems. In the dusk, you come out and watch. And wait. Perfect interlude on early summer nights when you seek communion and there isn’t a campfire. But with Covid, who is there to commune to?

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The hummingbirds were ferociously hungry this spring. I’ve never filled the feeders so much, but I only hung two feeders instead of three. There are many fuchsias, though. One has cascaded down from the hanging pot and I have watched the birds visit each of those flowers before visiting the nearby feeder. Other times, they treat the blooms as their dessert.

What is beyond sweet is the promotion work done by The London Independent Story Prize. The gorgeous and generous highlighting of their winning artists is amazing and much appreciated. I’m also grateful to Nina Fosati and everyone in the Hamburg Writers’ Group for their help and many, many thanks to Kim Chinquee and the Hot Pantsers for theirs! Also wonderful is the promotion the Journal of Compressed Creative Arts does for its writers. My story is here with much gratitude to Randall Brown for including it in this year’s amazing group of stories. I am honored. Thank you!

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At 10 months, new cat sprawls about when not terrorizing the dog. I’ve had her out on a leash and harness. She is a skittish thing, afraid of everything. I ordered “The Tiny Tawny Kitten,” a little Golden Book written by Barbara Shook Hazen and read it to her. New cat doesn’t believe it was my favorite story as a kid.

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The reestablishment of the once railroad ties steps is slowly taking shape. We’ve been to the campfire area a few times. Letting it seed out last year seems to have worked, but now there is greenery up there to mow. The labyrinth and all paths leading to it are the best maintained. I’m not up to discussing the garden. I don’t want to talk about my mild inconveniences and minor tragedies. It doesn’t seem fair to mope. At least not online. I think there is so much more people agree on than not, but it’s so hard to get anyone to shut up long enough to see the obvious things. How is observable, data backed science something to debate? Opinions are not fact. Health emergencies aren’t about your rights…

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Speaking of opinion, the moon looked sneaky one night. Actually, that sounds like a great first line. After I post this, I’ll go see if it works. Who knows? Maybe it will lead to a story with a happy end. One with Covid contained and my Facebook family and friends intact. One where I have an agent, a book deal, and can report being annoyed over faulty sock elastic and feeling dread over how to effectively transfer feathers without feeling guilty for having such belligerent nothingness on my mind.

Thank you for stopping by and for the read. I appreciate you!

What’s a marriage without an anniversary fight?

The above picture shows exactly how far the annual putting up of the screened-in tent proceeded until we were both hot and sticky, then pissy enough to walk away. That was on Memorial Day; it’s rained every day since then so there the parts lie rusting. I can only hope the canvas isn’t growing mildew. I don’t know why. We put this up annually, it’s the same parts, yet every year we find a way to have it not go together smoothly the first time. This year was particularly awful. Husband was on the ladder, holding the top while I was to run around to all the corners and slip in the posts…and I found we’d assembled the panels incorrectly. Everything needs to be undone and reassembled. Good times…

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The long weekend was productive in that the garden bed I’ll be using is tilled and after years of having them, the gates are all on so I can dump compost in there without the dog deciding that some bits weren’t ready for the heap.

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I missed the blooming of the crab-apple tree, but the lilacs are out and so are these purple flowers though I’ve forgotten their name.

The weekend before the ugly one, we had a lovely time over lunch at Julie’s with Robert Little. He was in town for an impromptu visit from Chicago. Jim and Julie Tuttle joined us, as well as their grandson. (The dumpster photo involves a joke I’m not going to explain.)

I haven’t been writing too much, or submitting, but after a drought, I have an acceptance! Thanks to John Xero at 101 Fiction, my piece born from a Kathy Fish Reunion prompt called “Landscapes” will go live on 2 June 2019. I also received word that “Firstborn” written from a prompt in Kim Chinquee’s Hot Pants office on Zoetrope made the long list in this year’s Micro Madness Contest for National Flash Fiction Day NZ in conjunction with Flash Frontier. I guess my so called writing career isn’t dead yet…or is it? Check back soon to find out for sure!

🙂 Thanks for stopping by and for the read!

The unlikely happened, I went a few places, and there’s a hummingbird in my lilies

There’s a tale of elder love on the radio this morning. It’s airing about 20 minutes before the week in politics program. A taste of hope before the chaotic contention. Around here, it happens the opposite way; I do a madcap rendition of cleaning/weeding/organizing/hauling buckets of water to the new trees/mowing before I achieve a calm to read and/or write. Even now, I typed the first three lines before walking away. There was a sink full of dishes, now washed.

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The wood shed roof is as complete as it can be – the two ends aren’t done because Husband didn’t have the panels for it. He says he could piece it together with remnants, but he’d prefer solid panels. It’s watertight though, something it hasn’t been in years. Walking back from getting the paper, this blue and white striped sight is quite cheery.

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I had an A M A Z I N G run. On the 24th, I got word that my story, “I Am Promilla” won the Postcards Poems and Prose Magazine’s “Clutch” Flash Fiction contest. June 27 will long be remembered as one helluva day. “We’re Toast” was accepted by Bending Genres, Former Cactus took “Tilt-A-Whirl” AND Spelk accepted “The Difference Between Us.” I could not believe it, but it happened and these are all venues I love. I am delighted – plus, on Tuesday, I received payment for “Pirouette” which will be included in the Bacopa Literary Review.

We’ve done a bit of weekend visiting with family recently. There was Ash’s Graduation Party,

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And then a quick trip to PA to see Niece from Boston & The Twin where mint leaves were muddled for juleps.

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Monday has me traveling alone to another gathering of family of a different sort – a funeral. As the amazing Kathy Fish recently hosted another Fast Flash Reunion on Zoetrope, I’m sure I’ll revisit the prompts to make sense of all the interactions that are coming at me in a furious pace, kind of like the Literary Orphans reading assignments. And the library just emailed that “The Female Persuasion” is in so I’ll be finishing that up soon, too. I better get going, there’s a lot to accomplish in this lull…

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like capturing pictures of hummingbirds in my lilies!

Thanks for stopping by and for the read!

Summer is a Whirlwind

Here it is, officially summer and already most of the projects have at least a dent made in them. Half the woodshed roof is done.

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The massive pain that were the rose bushes in the front yard have been ripped out and replaced with an Azealia bush and a maple.

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Plus the roadside portion of  the garden shed is painted and the redigging of the ditch on the hill was started last night, and several new steps to replace the front ones are complete. The next two weekends will be filled with grad parties and visits, so I’m glad we are so far ahead – compared to previous years that is…even with a minor injury of a run-in with the woodspliter. It’s much healed.

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It’s not been all work all the time. I do make a point to enjoy the beauty of flowers and trees we’ve planted and listen to insects and birds though I wish I didn’t have to listen to the pair of cardinals attacking the window outside my office, but one can’t have everything.

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On Wednesdays, I’ve been going to one of the multiple SPoT Coffees to write with Mary or Gina – yesterday it was both. Without them and Friday nights at the Comfort Zone with the Hamburg Writers’ Group, I’m afraid I’d lose my way. I can’t say thanks enough to Nina and everyone else who keeps me writing. And the Kathy Fish Fast Flash Reunion starts tonight! You know where I’ll be!

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Thanks for stopping by and for the read!

The Day After the Day of Love

I’m disgusted. I could write about guns. Or mental health care. Or schools. I have written my misogynist representative. I’ve attended forums, school board meetings, bitched on Twitter. I hope this school shooting is the last one. There is no animal you can hunt with an AK47 and if you want to whine about how you think I want to take away your rights, save it. If you don’t believe children should be safe in schools, you don’t deserve to hold anything in your hands to protect you from the truth. As Kathy Fish so eloquently wrote in Jellyfish Review, it’s gotten to the point where children can be classified as targets. That’s wrong; end of discussion. We need sensible gun restrictions and the laws we already have enforced.

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In other news, Husband brought home a lovely bouquet on the 13th so I’d have an extra day to enjoy these beautiful blooms. (Translation: He was in Hamburg that day to run an unrelated errand and also wanted to avoid the last minute rush of other husbands on Valentine’s Day at the Hess Brothers Florist shop.)

I found out I was on the long list for the London Independent Story Prize and couldn’t say anything for a day. On the 8th, I went to JD’s Brew Pub to hear J.T. and the Law play, and to keep my mind off possibly losing. They have gotten better and it was great to hear J.T.’s brother sing a song called “Galileo” and Anna sang Maddie Larkin’s songs beautifully.

Last week’s meeting of the Hamburg Writers’ Group consisted of me, Patrick, and Michael. The conversation about craft and submitting was both interesting and inspiring. I read the piece that was long listed and Michael said he thought I’d win. I still had doubts. On Saturday, I went to the library for my shift. It was hard to concentrate on reading submissions because I kept refreshing the LISP page to find out who won. With Lent coming up, I wanted to go out to have a glass of wine with a meal before I couldn’t. Husband let me use his phone to check. Just as we were finishing our meal at Julie’s, the winners were announced. As anyone who was in the restaurant that afternoon can tell you, I won.

 

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So, today is the last day to submit to the American Short(er) Fiction contest and I’m preparing my entries. I’ve sent out some queries to agents and next week, I send pages to my darling, awesome novel critique group after the incredible Nina Fosati has gone over the book again. In this revision, she’s highlighted the parts she particularly likes. I’m now in love with the color turquoise and I’m seeing a lot of it, which I really need because “new book” is pure dreck at the moment.

Writing…not for the thin skinned or the impatient.

Thanks for stopping by and for the read. As always, these are merely my creekside reflections so I expect your experiences to vary.

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Projects, Procrastination, and Self-Censorship

If you’re keeping tabs, more work was to continue in the kitchen. A dishwasher wasn’t exactly promised, but darn close. Anyway, that has been shelved because of a touch of mold in the bathroom has led to chaos, repainting, and tile. Or will soon.  *Sigh.*

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I completed Kathy Fish’s fabulous Fast Flash Workshop and highly recommend it. In the writing I was doing there, I went deeper than normal, which was a little unsettling. I didn’t post the “object” prompt because that led into something longer.  I thought I was being brave when I sent it to the incredible Nina Fosati for her thoughts. Her response was to go even deeper . . . so I’m considering it.

Let’s say it involves a messed up situation and I’ve self-censored about it this week already. Seriously, I had trouble with one piece that I really liked, but couldn’t get to end right. I imagined someone and it fell into place. Great. But then, it was accepted and someone quoted a line and this thrilled me and I went to post a link on Facebook .  . . and realized I shouldn’t. Luckily, I had a three-year-old memory pop up and pimped that instead.

It’s a miserable drizzly day here and I’m struggling to find bright spots.

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The baby waterfalls was the best I could do. I’m behind in my work count for Nano, my reading at both magazines and the extra reading I’m doing for the Best of the Net awards and a new member of Hamburg Writers’ Group sent a book that I said I’d read the first chapter of . . . and haven’t opened. So, thank you for stopping by. I know it wasn’t much, but I need to get back to the work I love and ignore the impending torn out drywall and paint drips.

*These are my creekside reflections and I hope your experience varies.

Words. Oh so many words . . .

I’m day two into NaNoWriMo and day four into the fabulous Kathy Fish Fast Flash workshop. So, I’m writing. A lot. On top of this, there is the reading I’m doing. There are 14 participants in the workshop, so each day there are those to read on top of my normal reading, work reading at r.kv.r.y. and Literary Orphans, and because I just don’t get enough, I’m a reader for Best of the Net this year. My group was assigned 46 stories to read. I’m up to 14 and there are two I like. It’s an interesting process to read so much, in so many styles on so many subjects.

Before NaNo began, Husband and I went out to dinner at Julie’s and then we went to the antique shop that Jody owns. I ended up with earrings – now I need to earn them.

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Local Authors Live at the West Falls-Colden Library went incredibly well.

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Again, many thanks to Mary Jo Hodge, Mary Akers, Kim Chinquee, Jeff Schober, Gina Detwiler, Deb Madar and Barbara Early for their stellar work.

Okay, I’m off to immerse and ignore the rising creek.

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Thanks for stopping by!

*These are my creekside reflections. Your experiences should vary.

Tearing myself away from honing #amwriting

Kudos to the wondrous Kathy Fish for hosting the Fast Fiction Reunion on Zoetrope this weekend. I met some wildly talented writers and had a blast. Plus, I wrote two new flashes. Yeah! It hasn’t been that long since I finished a piece, but it feels that way. Now, if I could just make time to submit…

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I’m in the middle of a minor kitchen project and when I say “I,” I mean Husband is doing the work and I’m coping with the displacement of things so of course this morning, Allison suggests coming round to drop off the “appreciation gift.” My life resembles a sit-com at times.

I’m honing “Near Eden, New York,” based on great suggestions from Nina, Mary, and Gina, plus my own thoughts after leaving it alone for a few months. My synopsis needs work, too. Being a writer is such fun, let me tell you. But I do take time to enjoy the roses.

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Literally. This is the sight that greets me on my way out the door.

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Sadly, the peonies are already waning.

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The bulbs that I can’t remember the names of are thriving in these days before the official start of summer. I hope you’re enjoying your time, no matter what you’re doing. As for me, I’ll be diving back into Tara and Pete’s story. It’s a lovely place to be.

Thanks for stopping by and the read!

 

 

(These are my creekside reflections. No sense getting worked up about them if they don’t agree with yours.)

Nope, no NaNoWriMo this year.

This is the first time in years I haven’t committed to National Novel Writing month and it’s jarring. I’m far too involved with this book about Pete and Tara to drop it for something new. At roughly 43,000 words, I think it’s going to end up being 80,000. The midway was reached at 40,000, though I didn’t realize it at the time.

Otherwise, I’m typing this at the office. I’m off work, so don’t think I’m blogging on company time, or that I’m working for a company for that matter. Actually, you can think whatever thoughts you want. I’m just waiting for Husband to come pick me up. Then it’s fun times ahead with a trip to the post office then home to make dinner and catch up on laundry before posting this to wordpress.

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That’s a picture of what it looks like from my work desk. Past the bench, there’s a table (Made by Husband) where the Bemer mat rests. The orange Post-it is where the metal brace is going to go so yours truly won’t have to stoop to press the controls. Yes, that’s my job, hooking up people and pressing buttons. Also, I serve water. If you try Bemer – and you should – drink water, it helps so much with the treatment.

I have two pieces that will be up shortly. I am so excited! One was a piece written during the Kathy Fish workshop and the other is a Pete and Tara story. Many, many thanks to the amazing Cristopher James at Jellyfish Review and Les Weil at The Flash Fiction Press. I don’t know which one of these acceptances makes me happier and I’m overwhelmingly grateful to have that as an issue in my life.

Speaking of gratitude, I sent the first pages of the Pete and Tara stories to Mary Akers (Congrats on the gorgeous edition of Bones of an Inland Sea) and Gina Detwiler for critique this month and they didn’t kill me for not finishing up with Dreaming Lettie. Again, it was a matter of being caught up with Pete and Tara and since I’m not writing it the way I usually write a novel, I feel I need to keep an eye on all the moving parts in here to make sure it turns out right before I go on to something else. I’m also polishing as I go, so hopefully, when I reach the end, I’ll be done. And that’s another thing that’s bothering me. I’ve always known the end before I begin a book and now, I’m working without that. It’s slightly terrifying. Such a lovely problem, too.

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The Best of 2016 came out! If you want a copy, email me and let me know. It was a great experience working with Nina Fosati and Nelson Locher on this edition of Hamburg Writers’ Group writing. It is a great group of people and I’m glad Mary Jo Hodge suggested I join and that Jim Miner allowed me entry.

Thanks for stopping by!

 

 

 

*These are my office reflections. Your experiences may vary.

Even if it isn’t fun, it will be memorable.

notblueThe large calendar continues to be useful. I even put the notation, “Blog!” on last and next Thursday’s squares. When I realized that meant writing one during Stepson’s wedding week, I switched that around and so you’re reading this now and not then – or last week.

Husband and I still have a lot to do to get ready for the guests that will be staying with us and normally I’d be outside mowing or weeding, but the humidity is brutal. It was bad yesterday, too, but I managed to get the rest of the wood in, Husband pulled out the old tractor to see if that transmission can be married to the one we’ve been using and I pushed the steps to the south lawn closer together. All of this with chipmunk scurrying underfoot, under leaves, under steps and in the trees. They are plentiful and brave this year.

I had an AMAZING run of acceptances recently. Christopher James took “It Only Hurts When I Smile” which came out of Kathy Fish’s workshop! It’s scheduled to appear in Jellyfish Review on 17 December. Kae Sable took “Something to Talk About” for Dime Show Review and it’s live. I felt unsure about “Birth Control” and put it up in Hot Pants in Zoetrope to workshop…and the incredible Kim Chinquee loved it as is and took it for New World Writing. It’s live HERE. And on Sunday, A. E. Phillips wrote to say she’s taking “An Alice is An Alice is an Alice” for both the print Fall Issue and the 2016 Year End Collection of The Donut Factory. Two weeks, 5 acceptances. Hell yeah!

(I did enter the bizarro world where the rejection from Apogee was welcomed. All that winning was starting to freak me out.)

Both “Birth Control” and “Something to Talk About” are very new and from the stack of flashes involving the characters Pete and Tara.  I thought the piece I wrote on Tuesday where Tara meets Pete’s mother for scones (with clotted cream – Thanks Mary Akers!) didn’t work and I was disappointed in myself. I went back yesterday and found it isn’t bad at all.

I was discouraged that only one sunflower came up this year – I planted two rows – but look at the multi-headed one that came up!

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Saturday, I’m back to my piece of heaven — volunteering at the West Falls-Colden Community Library. I won’t be there as often this season as I’ll be working some Saturdays. (Yes, Virginia, I did get a job.) And I’m glad I put that in the book, because I nearly forgot! So much is going on in the next two weeks from Husband doing things he’s never done before – including getting his hair and beard tended to by a hairdresser – to hosting a group of writers hours (I hope I have hours to prepare!) after our houseguests leave.

So, barring that it’s too much and does kill me, I’ll be back in two weeks to tell you all about with pictures of Husband in a tuxedo!

Thanks for stopping by!

*These are my Creekside Reflections; your experiences may vary.