Big Foot made it through

I’m safe for another round. Safe enough to bare my writing soul to the world. The next challenge is to write a personal essay about why I write in 300 words. This will be challenging for four reasons.
1. There are a lot of reasons why I write. So I will have to be concise.
2. I have no tragic story about being abused or neglected or even parents who divorced. They are still happily married.
2. Although I haven’t had a tragic life, this will be deeply personal.
3. Since this is deeply personal, being eliminated would be sad, like a personal rejection.

I will still use a pen name, but since this is a personal essay, I’m hoping my mom at least recognizes my entry and votes for me.

Here’s last week’s entry. This incident is based on what happened to my 13 year-old son last Monday when we went ice skating. His remark when I wrote the scene: “Well at least something good came out of it.” Yes, the scene and the fact that he’ll have a cool scar where as his sisters pointed out, when he does grow facial hair it won’t grow in that spot.

Big Foot

I whiz around the ice rink, stuffing the gloves that Mom made me bring into my pocket. “Move those big feet,” Caleb, my younger brother, shouts as he races past.
My feet have grown two sizes in two months. I had to get the biggest skates you can rent.
“High five,” Caleb calls. We bump knuckles and then …
My chin meets the ice.
I nod at Caleb to keep going and get up to find a bench. Ice isn’t exactly cushiony.
Mom skates up to me. “Andrew, what happened?”
“Fell on the ice.”
“Your feet get in the way?”
“Not even. It was Caleb.” I lift my chin. Mom’s face turns white.
“Where’s your glove?”
I pull it out. She makes me hold it on my chin. I don’t tell her I’d been wiping my nose with it.
“We gotta go,” she says.
“I just need a band aid.”
“We’re going.”

“That needs stitches,” Mom says as we leave.
I shiver. By the time we get to the hospital, my hand shakes so bad I can’t keep the glove in place.
Caleb stays out front staring at a Disney show.
The nurse makes me get on a scale and takes my temperature, although that’s clearly not why we’re here.
She leads us to the trauma room.
I’ve never had stitches before. Never been hospitalized. Never broken a bone. Now I’m in the trauma room.
“Growing boy.” The nurse taps my shoe as I lie on the table.
Mom squeezes my arm. “Want me to hold your hand?”
I shake my head.
The doctor pulls open a drawer, rattles around, says something about a 30 gauge needle. Like a shotgun?
I stare at the ceiling.
I won’t cry.
“You’ll be fine,” the doctor speaks in that high voice used for littler kids than me. “A shot, a few tugs, and all better.”
A tear leaks out. Warm blood runs down my neck.
The doctor pokes a needle near the cut. Now I wish Mom would hold my hand. She doesn’t.
After the burn of the 30 gauge and more than a few tugs, I’ve got four stitches poking out of my chin like an off-center goatee.
“See, that didn’t hurt,” the nurse says as she cleans me off.
“Except for you poking me,” I say.
When I come out, Caleb raises his knuckles. “High five.”
“Not even,” I say.

I am Sun Dance: My historical scene for Project Writeway

The scene I used for the historical scene in the Project Writeway challenge was taken from a book I've worked on in the past called, Robbers' Rhyme. I revised it to fit the challenge. I enjoyed reading comments on the entries and was surprised that Joan Astley's didn't make it when there were good comments on that entry. Again, a matter of taste. This week's challenge is to write a 400 word scene with middle grade voice. Voting is Thursday and Friday. My entry this week is a completely new piece.

Here's last week's challenge:

             When we heard talk of Butch Cassidy’s funeral, we rode two days to Price. Momma was determined to track down my missing brother John even if it meant a show down with Butch Cassidy himself, dead or alive. At twelve I was the man of the house with Pa working the mines at Telluride and John following after Butch Cassidy and his Wild Gang. I was not gonna be left behind.

            “Least I can keep an eye on you, Brigham,” Momma’d said when I was waiting ‘bout a mile out of town in the blossoming sagebrush, begging to come along.

            Soon as we got to Price, Momma hitched up the horse and we walked right up to those coffins sitting out for everyone to see. Momma stood there for a good five minutes looking over the body with its bush of light hair until a woman in a frilly dress was weeping so loud, Momma couldn’t stand it any longer.

            Soon as I was satisfied that the other dead outlaw wasn’t John, I watched the people shuffling past. Lots of women were sniffling and weeping. A man with a wagon full of straw drove by and then drove by again. On the third pass, when the straw twitched like a kid was hiding about to pop out, I told Momma.

            We rode out of town to a stand of stubby pine trees with a boulder big enough to hide us and the horse. Momma kept one hand on my shoulder, gripping it like I’d a mind to run away. The other hand she kept on the gun in her apron.

            “What we waitin’ for?” I asked.

            “Hush up or you’ll be cleanin’ out the barn with a fork.”

            Then I saw the wagon, the one with the straw. The man driving the wagon was talking to himself. Whistling came from the wagon, but the driver’s mouth wasn’t puckered in a whistle.

            “Hush there, Butch,” the driver said in a harsh whisper.

            “I’m dead, remember” said a muffled voice.

            “Good riddance,” said the man. “Though I’ve never known a better man or a better thief.”

            “Mighty nice of you,” the voice said. “Shame I had to die. I had so much more livin’ to do.”

            That’s when Momma jumped out from behind the boulder and pointed her gun.

Vote for your favorite historical scene, the 4th challenge

You can vote for your three favorite historical scenes in this week's challenge from Project Writeway. Project Writeway is like Project Runway or American Idol for writers run by the 4 bloggers on Throwing Up Words. This week's challenge was to write a 400 word scene from an historical time. I chose something I've worked on in the past because I'd already done a lot of research. My friend, Monelle, and I are both still in the challenge but I can't tell you our pen names or what we wrote. Vote for your favorite three before midnight on Friday, February 17.

Project Writeway, Season 1, Episode 4, historical scene

My paranormal haiku/pen name and what I learned from challenge 3

As with the other two contests, I've learned that we all have different tastes in writing. It's been fun to talk to my family and friends about their choices. I love that there are personalities and writing that fit each of us. That's why it's important for me to find and write with my own voice. Humor and gross are not my strengths. If you want that, check out my brother's blog and book he's working on. I Was a Zombie.

This is my entry for the paranormal haiku:


Stench of rotten eggs

Devour goat hearts, two teeth marks

Keep farm dogs inside.

That haiku is about the Chupacabra, a cryptid from South America that sucks animal blood. Here's one I thought about submitting:

Mind Reader

I know your dark thoughts

Your dreams, hopes, fears, and nightmares

Your deepest desires.

Vote for your favorite paranormal haiku

Voting is open for the third challenge of Project Writeway. Thank you for sticking with me during these writing challenges or joining me for the first time. Project Writeway is like Project Runway or American Idol for writers! Each week 1-2 contestants are eliminated. I've made it to the third challenge which is to write a paranormal haiku. Anything not explainable by science like vampires, zombies, chupacabra, the bermuda triangle …in haiku form. That's three lines. The first line is 5 syllables, second line is 7 syllables, third line is 5 syllables.

My friend, Monelle, and I are both still in the challenge this week, but I can't tell you our pen names. Don't try to guess which one I wrote. Just have a good laugh and pick your favorite three. Voting closes at midnight on Thursday and the results are posted next Monday.       

Project Writeway Season 1 Episode 3

Third Challenge: Paranormal Haiku

The good news is that I made it to the next challenge. The great news is that my friend Monelle was the top winner for last week. Results. She has great voice and is very clever. And I can tell you exactly where she was when I heard the news (before her). This week's challenge is to write a paranormal haiku. Wow. That will be a challenge. I thought we could go on a search together to find out what those two elements mean.

Paranormal: Wikipedia says that it deals with experience that are outside the range of normal experience or scientific explanation. Subjects include ghosts, extraterrestrial life, unidentified flying objects, and cryptids. Okay. Maybe I can be psychic about where I will end up when I go away to college (see last week's entry). Of course, I already know that now.

Haiku: From Kidzone I learned that it is a poem with 3 lines, first line 5 syllables, second line 7 syllables, third line 5 syllables. Here is their example:

I am first with five
Then seven in the middle —
Five again to end.

Kidzone also says that because haiku are so short they have to be easily recognizable to the reader. It suggests doing a riddle like "What am I?"

I'll try my hand at a simple one to get the idea.

Colored at Christmas

Switch on, click on, or clap on

I can see clearly.

What am I?


Wish me luck!

Second Challenge: Scene with specific words and a slap

Project Writeway: Challenge 2 was to write a 200 word scene and include the words simplicity, plant, cookies, jam, squirt, bulldozer, and someone has to get slapped. I pulled from my angst ridden teenage years and came up with a scene very loosely based on my high school boyfriend. My husband says the only angst in my life then and now is money. Now I can tell you that my pen name was Caliente and here is the scene:

            Andrew leans against a bulldozer at his construction job by one of the many Eegee’s in Tucson where we’re meeting for lunch. Even with sweat down his front he’s adorable.

            Waves of heat prickle my ankles. I’d love an eegees. The simplicity of frozen ice with a squirt of flavor. A brain freeze with a sugar rush. Except I’m saving for college.

            Inside Eegee’s, Andrew points to a man-sized rubber cactus plant with cartoon eyes and one hooked arm holding a sign for a new flavor. “How about cactus-mango?”

            “No.” I tap my sack with a jam sandwich and cookies. I’m not going to be the reason he  doesn’t go to college.

            “I wish you’d stay here,” Andrew says.

            I shake my lunch at him. “I wish you’d apply for college.”

            My parents didn’t tell me I had to move away,” Andrew says.

            “Don’t bring up my parents.”

            “Liz. Don’t leave. Tell them you’re going to the U of A.” Andrew slurps his slush. I want to hit it out of his hand, make him see it’s not my parents. It’s me. I want to go away.

            Instead, I slap the rubber cactus.

            “Watch it,” the cactus says and groans.

First Challenge for Project Writeway: 150 words

I'm participating in a writing contest on Throwing Up Words. The first challenge was to submit 150 words of a novel. I submitted the beginning of my latest novel, Not of This World. There were 60 entries and I made the top 14 to go on to the next challenge. Thank you to all my family and friends who voted. My pen name was NIcole Shanti. Here's my submission:

            You can learn a lot from listening. And it’s safer.

            So I don’t ask. I don’t speak. I leave the form on the kitchen counter for Mom to notice later when I’m not around.

            Her back is to me as she leans towards the computer screen as though her need to hear from Chris will produce an e-mail. Her shoulders droop and the click of the mouse signals that she’s moved on to searching the internet for stories on the latest natural disaster.

            I spread peanut butter onto slices of Mom’s wheat bread.

            “Marti. We’re waiting,” Dad calls from the front room.

             I plop on the peach jam, flip the top slices on, and stuff the sandwiches in bags.


            With a pop, I open a lunch sack, and drop my sandwich inside. Mom doesn’t flinch. She won’t join us until she’s sure the world hasn’t ended, yet.