What I am Living For: A Fourth of July Message

Sarah Lea Stories

Postage Stamp Picture Frame: https://www.tuxpi.com/photo-effects/personalized-postage-stamp

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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Micropoetry Monday: Mystery

Mrs. X and Mr. Y book cover

Side by side in an attic,
profuse with paper flowers,
he built houses out of Legos
& she,
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.

Book Review: Writing Down the Bones

Sarah Lea Stories

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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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Micropoetry Monday: Thanatology

Thanatology book cover

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
nor he,
to quit.

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,
or rather,
a glass case—
a penny over one eye,
a token on the other,
& a dollar bill between its teeth.

FREE BOOK PROMOTION: WHAT HAPPENED TO THE BROTHER OF ABEL?

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

The Saturday Evening Post’s Great American Fiction contest

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.

Micropoetry Monday: Anti-Love Story

Anti Love Stories book cover

He was the man with the golden touch,
she, the woman with the silver tongue.
With his hands & her voice,
they seduced the masses,
amassing great wealth
in the name of the One
whose preciousness & luster
neither tarnished nor oxidized.

When she flippantly told him to take a picture,
so it would last longer,
he took it a step further & said he could have her stuffed,
immortalizing her as a 3-D piece of lifelike sculpture,
rather than a 2-D image that could be contained in a frame.
His proposed tribute to her beauty,
however,
was not appreciated,
& he was tossed out with the rubbish,
where someone reclaimed him & turned him into a mime–
the very worst piece of art.

He was a handsome counterfeiter,
she, a beautiful forger.
He fell for her like new money;
she, for him, like old.
He printed his way to prominence,
even as she wrote her way to it.
But they met their match
when they met the art dealer
who copied paintings
& forged the artists’ initials,
for Mr. and Mrs. Nockoff
had been so used to their fakes,
they didn’t know one when they saw it.

Fiction Friday: Poetry Based on the Book

Like the Fifties,
marriage was the answer to an unexpected pregnancy,
even as adoption was the only answer to an unwelcome one.
A nonmember marrying his pregnant lover
was considered taking responsibility,
but Tony saw adoption as his way of shirking that responsibility.
He would give up a piece of himself—
a piece of his future—
to preserve the elevated status he held in the eyes of his parents.
He could give his child to LDS parents,
only for them to fall out with the Church,
& go another way,
& for the Mormons,
any other way would never be as good as their way.

If his mother ever discovered that Tony had broken the law of chastity,
it would dash her world of crystal palaces & marble temples to pieces.
I prayed it wouldn’t get out that I was seen walking with Tony
or I’d become a pariah in the Church.
Kath was only given a pass for liking him
because she was the only black person in the ward
& they didn’t want to alienate her,
for the Mormons collected minorities like others collected dolls.

As Moses’s mother had placed her son in a basket to protect him,
with the faith that whoever found him would raise him well,
Tony would let his child go off into the Deseret sunset.
He raised his head then,
not looking at me but out there,
as if the answer were written on the wind.
And then he murmured:
“Just as a man rejects his calling to serve a mission,
and is responsible for all the souls he could have saved had he gone,
I will be responsible for all those I bring into the world.”
I wanted to tell him that he was doing the right thing,
although I knew that would be no comfort to him,
for it would be known that he had done the wrong thing
for which he would now have to do the right thing.
In the eyes of the Church,
the act of fornication would never be made right,
regardless of the result,
however precious that result might be.

An Irish-Catholic girl coming of age in the Deep South during the New Millennium finds her family splintered when two Mormon missionaries come to her door, their presence and promise unearthing long-buried family secrets, which lead to her excommunication and exile.