#Micropoetry Monday: #Nature


The siren of the sea,
rose from the surface each dawn to claim a life,
until she fell in love with the mortal who would mount her…
on the wall.

She was born of a virgin,
but raised by the birds of the air—
God took care of them all—
His flock & Goddess.

The squirrel ate the baby of the mother who housed it;
her branches were the nesting place for the robin.
Birds had lived, children had played,
even as men had died from her arms holding them up.

It was the season of happiness—
of summer reds rather than winter blues.
It was the season of strawberries & sunshine,
of butterflies & rain.

With a dress made of rose petals & a veil of firefly wings,
Serena, upon marriage to Brother Nature,
became the Enchantress of the Forest.

Writing Prompt: Experimenting with Hybrid Fiction


Like the New Wave of French cinema in the fifties and sixties, there is another form of writing taking shape, called hybrid fiction.  I have experimented with a few of these forms, and have found they spark my imagination—take my mind in diverse directions.

The following are frameworks, or foundations, that the hybrid uses as a structure, and then goes from there:

1. Advice column
2. Board/card game:  https://sarahleastories.com/2015/05/01/poem-a-day-writers-digest-challenge-30-theme-bury-the-blank/
3. Christmas letter
4. Church program
5. Deck of cards
6. Last Will & Testament
7. Medical chart/records
8. Obituary (or even an entire newspaper/scrapbook of clippings)
9. Open letter
10. Police report
11. Radio show
12. Recipe
13. Speech
14. “Bressay” (an essay built around a book review):  https://sarahleastories.com/2016/09/18/book-review-womens-wisdom-pass-it-on/
15. Resumes, e-mails, etc.  This is something Sophie Kinsella has done in her “Shopaholic” series; sometimes they are the funniest bits of the book.  However, considering we already know the character of Becky Brandon (nee Bloomwood), it adds context to these bits, so the real challenge is for these to be able to stand alone.

Scholarship Essay for Verizon Internet


Virtual Limits: The Offline Life

I feel fortunate that I remember what life was like before cell phones and the Internet became our primary ways of communicating.  I spent more time outside, looking beyond—not straight into a screen or down into a phone.  The world seemed so much bigger then, just as now it’s contained in a square that fits in the palm of our hand.

For better or worse, my life would be different if the Internet didn’t exist.  I would certainly have a better memory, as I don’t have to remember anything anymore.  I can just google it.

People would play games with family and friends rather than online with people they don’t know.  I wouldn’t take pictures of my food, just to show everyone how good it turned out.  My old acquaintances would fade into the past, and some people, I would still be friends with, because it’s easy to have no filter when discussing politics behind a monitor.  That said, there are many I would have never known at all, due to location, and I might actually see the friends I have more.  I may even get to know my neighbors better, for they are equally distracted by friends in that mystical place called Elsewhere as I am sometimes.  No one but family would see my home movies or pictures of my children.  We would truly live, not live to record.

News would be more objective, because I believe most news is manufactured to generate controversy and buzz online, becoming provocative than informative; it’s shaped to divide, because conflict sells.  Pundits aren’t experts, but personalities—entertainers in one of the lowest art forms known as political theatre.

Authors would find it easier, in some ways, to sell their work, for free content wouldn’t be so prevalent.  Yet, many voices might never be heard, as I’ve found mine through blogging.  Introverts, like myself, would have a harder time breaking the ice—having to do it over the phone or in person—but the quest for likes and followers would be nonexistent.  Magazines would no longer be flooded with submissions, and would be less likely to charge a reading fee.  I wouldn’t even have a blog, my audience reduced to the people I would send my work to, my family, and a few friends.  I would no longer have the instant gratification of being published instantaneously.

School would improve, for cyberbullying would be a Thing That Never Happened.  When writing research papers, I would have to go to the library to cite sources, poring through pages and pages of information I would never use, and some questions, I would never know the answer to.

Our society would invest more in the local economy for harder-to-find items, and companies like Blockbuster would still be in business.  We would have less choice, and yet, the choices we would have might seem vastly more appealing.

 “It is the greatest truth of our age: Information is not knowledge.” ― Caleb Carr

(Word count:  501)

#Fiction Friday: #Novelines from the Book


Opening the door to the elders had been like lifting the lid of Pandora’s box.

In all the years we’d lived in Green Haven, we’d never had company. We were close to no one but ourselves. The Church changed all of that.

We did not cast the pearls of our personal lives before swine, but before these glorious pigeons who brought us messages from Kolob.

We all had different ideas of what Heaven would be, & I often wondered how many good people had died, only to be trapped in someone else’s.

Heaven for Mother was to be with Patrick again, David, to be with her, but in the LDS faith, only men could be sealed to more than one spouse.

When the elders spoke of eternal marriage, Mother’s eyes lit up like the sun, where the celestial kingdom—the highest level of Heaven—was.

The elders added eternity to the years of my life. Through their eyes, I began to see how seductive the idea of life everlasting could be.

The concept of eternal marriage was foreign to me—like the idea of spending 3 hours a week, worshipping a Deity so He would take us back.

The elders were invited for a “second date”, as Caitlin put it. They had been gentlemen, & Mother saw a future with them.

When the elders transferred out to another area, taking their spirit with them, I prayed Mother would be free from continuing this charade.

Writer’s Digest Wednesday Poetry Prompt #368; Theme: Words

For today’s prompt, write a poem using at least 3 of the following 6 words:


If you want to use any of these words within a larger word, that’s totally fine. For instance, ghostwriter, cracked, freedom, handle, checked, knowledge, etc. If you can use all six (as I’m about to try), you get extra credit.


Hysteric Asymmetric

Crackie O’Cain was a know-it-all,
with a sniff upper lip,
yet her left hand knew not
what her right hand did;
when she fused
Personality #1 & Personality #2,
(a.k.a. Thingy #1 & Thingy #2),
she lost her ambidexterity,
becoming one-sided, yet torn in twain.

Wednesday Poetry Prompts: 368


#Micropoetry Mondays: Faith & Spirituality


She was a believer,
he was not,
but they learned from one another—
he, how to have faith,
& she,
how to have faith in herself.

She followed Jesus, but not His followers.
She led a movement,
but her followers strayed & did things in her name she found abhorrent,
& she had to denounce those who had carried her to victory.

She’d prayed to have a testimony of the truthfulness of the gospel,
but her answer differed from those of her friends,
& she spent her life leaping with a net she could not see.

She ended up in The Big Sky Country,
he in the Low;
he got saved where it was hot,
she getting cold where she did not.

Though positivity was part of her Christianity,
she was yet aware of her shortcomings,
& believed herself to be better than them,
striving to overcome with the help of the One
who was better than she.

Book Review: Women’s Wisdom, Pass it On!


“Women’s Wisdom:  Pass it On”, by Kathleen Vestal Logan, was a great way to spend a few hours on a rainy Friday morning; I try to engage in a spiritual or inspirational activity before I start my day, so I am always looking for books that inspire me (in a positive, proactive way).  It shows women over fifty they can embrace the life they have, and women under fifty they can embrace the life that awaits them.  Mrs. Logan shows me I have so very much to look forward to.
Even though I’m fifteen years under fifty, this book still applied to me, as it showed me how I can have a rich and fulfilling life in “the autumn of my life”, summer being my present, spring being my past.  I’ve always thought of summer as the ripening tartness of being, fall, a mellow-sweet lushness.  Mrs. Logan shows us how we should celebrate each season of life (Stephen Hawking said that “intelligence is the ability to adapt to change”); even a summer gal like me who would live in flip-flops and bikini tops all year long if she wasn’t so cold-natured, still loves what every season brings to my life.  I would no more go back to my twenties than fast forward to my forties.  (I like to joke with my husband that 43 is the new 42.)

However, the seasons of life, unlike Mother Earth’s, are not subject to cycle back, but we can make the most out of each season we pass like milestones (not kidney stones).  An acquaintance once told me that it’s never too late to reinvent yourself, for I went back to college at the age of thirty-two, feeling young in my soul, but old amongst “the studentry” (as E.B. White would put it, “the student body being too cadaverous”).  That said, I believe the bit of wisdom I’ve gained from life experience (and from self-reflection upon my life experiences) helped me love college far more than I did when I was nineteen.  “Women’s Wisdom” helped me build onto what I already knew and enhanced it, highlighting the multitude of ways we all can enrich our autumn years so that they are as colorful as the leaves that fall on the cobblestone roads of New England.

One of my favorite quotes by the author was to “live your life not just with purpose, but on purpose”.  Someone once told me there were two kinds of people in the world—the kind who make things happen, and the kind who lets things happen to them, or waits for things to happen.  The former is what living life on purpose means to me.  Opportunity doesn’t always knock; sometimes you have to seek it out.

When I was a child, I read a story set in ancient Japan that solidified what I had been taught about the older generations, and it is one of a handful of stories that have rippled through my adulthood, throwing stones that left a mark on my consciousness:
The Japanese who are of mature age “…base their idea of being useful on their life purpose, or ‘ikigai.’  It guides why they do what they do each day, from exercise to social engagement to productive contributions and engagement with their families and society… older people in the United States are so often stereotyped as frail, lonely and disengaged from society.” (http://www.nextavenue.org/why-we-need-embrace-japanese-approach-aging/).

Mrs. Logan shares her own life experiences, which add depth to her message of how we can gain wisdom.  (Hint:  it’s not just from getting older.)  She also talks about body image, which you don’t think of women over fifty being concerned about, and which was of particular interest to me.  “Women’s Wisdom”, told in the first-person point-of-view, isn’t preachy, but reading it is like you’re having a conversation with a friend over a pitcher of sweet tea on the front porch.  Know that the present is precious, for blink, and it’s gone, but the past and future are long.

In “Wings”, my favorite sitcom, Brian Hackett (one of the main characters) says something like “Ninety percent of the time, you fall on your face, but that ten percent when something works out, it’s the most amazing feeling.”  “Women’s Wisdom” gave a more nuanced approach to “push my boundaries”.  (Weight-bearing exercises come to mind. Our bones actually become stronger when we lift weights.)  I didn’t think I was unselfish enough to be a good mother, till I became one.  I thought I was too introverted to be a good waitress, till I became one.  I didn’t think I was smart enough for college, till I went back and realized I just hadn’t known what the hell it was I wanted to do all those years ago.

“Women’s Wisdom” tells women what they are made for, and, in doing so, they can find out what they are made of.  One of the practices I will apply to my own life was her tips on the kind of journal you should keep.  I already keep a couple of them myself, for writing purposes (I’ve found when I’ve purged my thoughts onto paper, I can let them go), and it helps clear my head, if not my heart.  “Women’s Wisdom” tells you how to do it from the heart.

The good life isn’t just in the big picture, but in the details Mrs. Logan outlines.  I’ve found that good nonfiction books should lead to other good nonfiction books; press one button and the whole switchboard lights up.  This book will inspire you to seek out self-improvement over self-help, show how you can draw from the Fountain of Wisdom and Purpose, and how you can maintain overall wellness.
“Women’s Wisdom” gives you tips on how to be more productive, have a good marriage, and to just be happier, regardless of circumstance.  She shows you what happiness is, how to increase it, and how to move beyond the absence of joy, so that you’re continuously moving towards the right end of the spectrum.  “Women’s Wisdom” is chock full of friendly advice and quotes from others who have inspired her (in addition to online assessments that will help you discover your strengths).  It is obvious that inspiration is contagious.
At the end, Mrs. Logan outlines three keys to a healthy, fulfilling life, and they just might not be what you think.  Those keys will unlock your life’s potential.  That said, one of the greatest life lessons I gleaned from this book was how do I gain wisdom, if it’s not just about getting older and graduating from the school of hard knocks?

In addition to all of this, Mrs. Logan’s book is beautiful, with gorgeous floral photography and a sleek cover.  The font is readable, the material comprehensive, and, rather than be buried in the back of the book, the bibliographies follow each chapter for future reference.

My advice?  Take notes for future inspiration.  I did.





#Fiction Friday: #Novelines from the Book


Mother was dark chocolate and white diamonds—a class act all the way till the final scene.

Mother was the Catholic part of Irish, the Orthodox part of Russian—she was ripe for a religion whose doctrine was determined by men.

Mother’s lack of faith had kept us together, even as her faith would separate us.  The Church would change us all, in frightening ways.

My mother became a stranger in those days.  As she told the elders about herself, I listened, learning about her as if for the first time.

Strange to see Mother waiting on someone, for she had always been the served.  A servant’s heart, they had inspired in her, as we never had.

Mother was like a jewel in rare form around the elders.  She shone with such brilliance, I wondered if the elders were the polish.

When my mother spoke of the spiritual realms of Mormonism, I realized how passionless she had been about everything else.

I began to yearn for the mother I knew I was losing.  God, please don’t let David believe, I prayed, for he is perfect in his unbelief.

Mother hadn’t a son through David, but I could give that to her—through marriage to Elder Roberts—for an LDS family was forever.

If I lost my virginity, I would be diminished in my mother’s eyes, but in David’s, I knew I would still be worth more than many rubies.

Every day, I post 3 tweets:  a #novelines tweet (a line from my novel; any good piece of writing has quotable quotes), a #140story tweet, or a #micropoetry tweet, that is pulled from, or based on my novel, “Because of Mindy Wiley”.  https://sarahleastories.com/because-of-mindy-wiley/.  I post these under my fictional character account, https://twitter.com/KatrynNolan.  Every week, on “Fiction Friday”, I will be blogging 5-10 of my best tweets.

Writer’s Digest Wednesday Poetry Prompt #367; Theme: Struggle


Life is a tug-of-war,
for our right hand often doesn’t know
what the left hand is doing.

We want two things that cannot coexist–
a happy lover and a happy marriage,
stay-at-home motherhood and a career,
the food we want with the body we want.

Like Irena Dubrovna,
there is the fear of wanting,
of getting what we want,
and more than what we want.

It isn’t what we see,
but what we don’t see–
the ringing telephone,
the letter left unopened,
doors not answered.

We cannot fight what we cannot,
or will not,

“For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.” Ephesians 6:12

Wednesday Poetry Prompts: 367


#Micropoetry Monday: Anti-Love


She’d pushed him away for years,
for every time he’d come back
had been confirmation of the love
she always felt she had to test.

It was where they’d made love, babies, memories.
It was where she’d made Turducken every holiday,
& he’d ended it all, starting with the youngest.

When her husband was alive,
she’d climbed into her shell.
When she killed him,
she came out of her shell,
finding autonomy in prison.

Like Mom, she kept the house,
as well as the furniture,
& all the little things they shared—
all except the memories,
which neither wanted,
but could not give away.

She’d loved him from afar,
till she saw him up close.
It was all the difference between a
microscope & a telescope.