There was something for everyone—
from the faceless mountains sculpted
with God’s own hands,
to the beaches of white or brown sugar,
from the ice castles of Sweden to
the watercolor deserts of Africa,
from the Edenic flora of Madeline O’Keefe,
to the pastoral Americana of Grant Wood,
to the wide-open spaces of Andrew Wyeth.
For this land was a nation of immigrants–
all of whom could still find a piece
of what they’d left behind.
He spent the graveyard shift
watching the hairy underbelly of society scratch themselves–
evidence that the earth decayed during the Dreamtime.
Beck’s father still used terms like “lady doctor” & “male nurse,”
just as Beck’s mother still said “seamstress & tailor,”
“sculptor & sculptress.”
Beck didn’t see the world in shades of pink & blue
in the listings of one’s job description;
for him, cosmetologists & mixologists
would always be beauticians & bartenders,
just as the police were “The Flatfooted Fuzz”
to his wayward brother, Call.
“It is what it is,” was Beck’s favorite phrase,
next to “you are what you are,”
for “corporate tool” was listed at the top of his resume,
which was a perfect fit,
as his last name was Lackey.
He’d been blackballed,
for they had ditched their HR & PR personas
to live an authentic life—
fully accepting of the consequences
for blowing the whistle
on the sounding brasses & tinkling cymbals
of the corporate crooks & political partygoers,
so they could live life on their terms,
even if doing so sometimes left them
in the red.
He had a long rap sheet,
she, a wide spreadsheet.
They carpooled their talents,
pulling off a virtual heist
that pushed them to the limits
of their abilities,
& they lived high
while laying low . . .
until the law caught up with them.
The judge laid down the law
& dispensed her prescription for justice,
which was that one work at Wal-Mart,
the other, McDonald’s,
dealing with the general public—
rather than the general population—
for the rest of their lives.
Dinner on a Dive
She was born with a silver spoon in her mouth,
his mother, with a wooden spoon in her hand.
She came from a house of privilege,
he, from the poor house that fell
just below the poverty line.
When they shared a melted milkshake
over a platter of limp fries
at the local greasy spoon,
he realized that she belonged
in the front of the house,
he, in the back,
& so they decided to be restaurateurs,
where she learned too soon
that her silver spoon
had turned green.
A few weeks ago, a piece I read on The Saturday Evening Post (https://www.saturdayeveningpost.com/2019/06/what-i-am-fighting-for-my-home-and-yours/) inspired me to write my version. I simply changed “I’m” to “I am” and “fighting” to “living”; I, however, kept the last line. I guess you could say my version is the homefront one.
In the wee hours of the morning, while everyone else was in bed, I was writing this and realized that it would be a good Fourth of July piece. Mine, of course, is not as eloquent as the piece by Sgt. Pappas, for I’m not a warrior but simply, a writer.
I am living for that big enough house with the wide front porch and Adirondack chairs facing the white picket fence—the house I live in after being touched by homelessness. I am living for the breathtakingly beautiful beaches that I seldom see and the shady, grassy parks with the rusting playground…
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Side by side in an attic,
profuse with paper flowers,
he built houses out of Legos
lives in dollhouses.
But when they discovered an abandoned jigsaw puzzle
in a plain brown box,
they pieced together the mystery of the missing triplets—
knowing not who they were but who they would’ve been
& learning of the one who was plucked from the paper garden
to break down in the weeds.
Eve Grey had 3 types of secrets:
The secrets about herself that she kept to herself,
the secrets about others that she kept for them,
& the secrets about herself that she revealed,
a little at a time.
But she carried with herself,
like a dormant gene,
a 4th secret–
the type of secret that was the most frightening of all,
for it was the secret about herself that no one knew—
not even Eve herself.
When Dr. Janus recovered it
in the form of a memory,
it set off a chain reaction
that bound her to him,
for it became the first type of secret
that must never turn into the third.
When Merlina moved into town
with her crystal ball,
she didn’t tell people their futures
but only their possible ones,
which were exceedingly bright,
so that when she moved on,
those who’d had faith in her
had found faith in themselves,
& those futures
she had wished for them
& predicted to them
had happened only
because they had gone on living
believing that great things
were coming to them.
Although I enjoyed Stephen King’s On Writing more, which was more concrete and less abstract, Writing Down the Bones had many more plusses than minuses. The title fits because Goldberg takes a page from Strunk and White to “omit needless words,” not burdening hers with excessive description or detail (just a handful of unnecessary quotes).
Goldberg wrote in a nonacademic way, which I appreciated, and the creatively titled chapters were short. I don’t often get a chance to read until the end of the day in bed, so short chapters make finding a stopping place easy.
Though I realize all writers have different experiences regarding their craft, I’ve never heard an imaginary voice telling me I shouldn’t be a writer (Goldberg calls this “monkey mind” in another book, which I find cute and funny). Writing has always been the one thing I’m sure of. I am more likely to think…
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When the merry widow met
the grieving widower
at her late husband’s funeral,
Kickstarter Funeral Home
became their haven,
for when her loathsome groom
& the boss who’d made his life miserable
finally bought that farm down under,
they’d connected on a deeper level
by turning his obituary guestbook
into a public way to air their grievances—
giving others the courage to share their story
when she hadn’t had the courage to leave
When someone passed away,
the Tribute Reporter interviewed the 10 people closest to them,
but as she got to know her subject more in death
than she ever would have in life,
she found that some people only wanted to remember the deceased
the way they had known them.
D.D. Wentworth was the thrift store queen
who could always be found scraping
the bottom of the bargain bin
with her ShowBiz Pizza token.
She didn’t have 2 nickels to rub together
to make fire,
but she did have a penny
with a buffalo facing the wrong way
& a 3-dollar bill
with a mustachioed Gerber baby on it.
The millions she secretly accrued,
she left to her fat cat,
& things such as the funny money,
she left to her community.
The Wentworthless Museum
was erected in her honor,
where a furry, lifelike sculpture of a calico
is encased in a glass coffin,
a glass case—
a penny over one eye,
a token on the other,
& a dollar bill between its teeth.
As well as a novella, I’ve published a short story for an Amazon writing contest. If you have a Kindle Unlimited subscription, it’s FREE; it’s also FREE for the next five days (as part of a promotion). Here is the synopsis for “Out of Eden”: How did Cain meet his wife? Where was the Land of Nod? Did Cain ever find grace? “Out of Eden” is a shaggy god story that answers these questions while leading one to question what might have been. A shaggy god story is a science fiction story that attempts to explain biblical concepts with science fiction tropes. https://www.amazon.com/Out-Eden-Sarah-Richards-ebook/dp/B0B38WB5SK/ref=sr_1_1?crid=P[…]den+sarah+richards&qid=1655532985&sprefix=%2Caps%2C214&sr=8-1
Just submitted “Love in the Time of Corona” to The Saturday Evening Post’s Great American Fiction Contest. I originally wrote this as a memoir for my independent study at university and decided to convert it into a short story (not that my life isn’t awesome, but I wanted to use a little creative license). Each section is separated with a little poem; here is the first:
A wife, a widow, & a divorcee walk into a bar,
or, more likely, a restaurant,
because the wife isn’t looking,
the widow isn’t interested,
& the divorcee isn’t impressed.