47 Word Writing Prompt Challenge

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Back again for my new weekly writing challenge. This week we’re doing 47 words. I might be a day behind or I might be right on time, maybe it’s Friday, maybe it’s Saturday or Sunday! But I am late in getting it out even for Sunday delivery so here we go. The theme is breaking habits.

Sometimes I put so much thought and emotion – okay all the time – into my writing that I wind up avoiding it all together, even if not intentionally. Writing this makes me think twice about my theme, maybe it should be focus? See? Too much thinking. Sure focus is another thing I need to work on but let’s do one theme at a time. Since my writing can take so much mental energy I become easily distracted. And I give in a lot, especially to over-thinking which is the killer of doing!

Part of the reason I give in a lot is because I have bad habits, things I can turn to instead of ___________ I like to run the TV in the background for distraction. Isn’t that very idea counter-intuitive? I’ve discovered that a lot of us do this. There’s just this need for some kind of noise in the background. Even then it’s not just the noise but the activity. I’m plenty happy if there’s at least something moving, running around on the TV, while I keep it mute or very near so. Still I make sure to put something on that is at least a tiny bit interesting. Ugh…no…that means there’s always something to fall back on.

There are times where I’ll write in spurts. I’ll write some 1,500 to 3,000 words then just kind of sputter to a stop. This is normal I know, I’ve heard about the method of writing for 20 or 25 minutes at a time then take a break. My bad habit here is that my break winds up taking WAY more time than it should. A break at work is like 5, 10, 15 minutes if you’re lucky. The other night I chose to play logic puzzles on my phone. I picked hard (doh, you know that’s going to take longer whereas medium will take under 5 minutes, oh but my reasoning was let’s see if I can’t be awesome and do a hard one super fast) and 45 minutes later I gave up on the puzzle mad that I’d abandoned my writing which is something I actually care about. Guess what? Then I was tired as it was well passed bed time.

I have bad habits. I love to eat, plenty of bad habits right there. I like to watch TV and movies. More there. I like to play games. Oh gosh… These are not wholly bad things. They themselves are not bad habits but in the context of my life they become bad habits. Just like reading is not bad, no no, but reading when you should be working or cleaning or maybe you read for fun when you’re supposed to be reading for school? You see my point.

So along with this prompt let’s break a few bad habits, at least on my end.

  1. If I’m not gonna watch it, no TV. (Not only will this help my writing practice but it’ll save energy and money! And yes there are gobs of other points we can make and habits we can break with regard to the TV but we’re keeping it simple, for now.)
  2. Breaks are to be no more than 10 minutes between writing sessions.
  3. Don’t eat just because you can and/or are bored.

I’ll check in next week with how this went. For now, here’s my 47-word flash fiction piece centered on breaking habits. By the way, you can translate this how you wish for your piece. If you decide not to write fiction please don’t forget to mention that. And now here’s my piece:

That Day

I don’t know what I was thinking, that day. When I look back, I don’t think I was. I was fed up. Tired of not doing anything and doing everything the same.

First thing, I started doing, not doubting. When the magic came, I went to work.

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There we have it for this week’s flash-fiction prompt, 47-words no more no less. If you have a website/blog please link back to this here original post and post your story and/or link in the comments below. I may eventually use photo prompts as well seeing as I like to dabble in photography. I’ve got some cool images we could have fun with. πŸ˜‰ You can expect another flash fiction prompt next weekend.

Thanks so much for visiting and/or participating!

38-Word Writing Prompt

Hey hey there folks & happy Wednesday! How is your week thus far?

One thing, or rather a couple things I’m adding to my goals is writing more short stories and attempting more writing prompts, my own and those provided by others. It’s not news that writing is an art, a skill, an exercise that requires practice. I think an issue I run into is being too strict in my thinking andd approaches to writing. Not across the board, no, I’ll write anywhere anyhow I can. I will find something to write about if I feel like it. However, while I can do all of that it doesn’t mean I do.

Much of the time when I set up (mentally physically and both) to write I’m thinking WIP WIP WIP, which right now means work on your novel Elpy! And that’s good because that’s what I should be doing; there is a lot of work to be done on that front. But a couple weekends ago my partner inadvertently reminded me that I can work on other projects. Which in turn reminded me that I should.

Some days I’m inspired to write about something that is not related to my current story, or work in progress (WIP). I usually shelve it as for the future project or I forget to make note of it swearing eventually I will. The other week I was reading Popshot (Quarterly), a great illustrated literary magazine (UK based I believe) that still publishes in print. The current issue’s theme is fantasy. I read some pieces and it just hit me. Damn I would like to write a short story, yes I would. So yes I did, okay I started it. πŸ˜‰ And it’s good to flex these little muscles. In a recent yoga class (video) the instructor took us through an unalignment class. She talked about how we reach plateaus after doing things for a while, and that sometimes we even regress. It’s good to do things differently to train the body differently, testing yourself in new ways, reawakening the parts that don’t always get used. Really great stuff.

The point is probably obvious, this applies to all facets of life not just exercise. At least I know it applies to me and my writing. I’ve been in a kind of slump with my novel. It’s not that I can’t write, I do, but I’m just not finding that natural flow with my story that I’ve had so many times before. I’m feeling a bit stagnant and not allowing myself to open up and let the story come.

Twice now I’ve done the 99-word Flash Fiction Challenge at Carrot Ranch Literary Community. (Thank you Charli. πŸ™‚ ) I’m so happy to have found Charli Mills & the Carrot Ranch (thank you Ritu at But I Smile Anyway for sharing your posts based on Charli’s challenges). Charli Mills has some awesome posts (some because I haven’t read that many, yet) in which she talks her life and/or writing as well as providing these prompts. My 99-word prompt about a mail carrier comes from her fabulous post about writing characters. She truly provides a dynamic literary community as her title says and I look forward to using this resource to improve my writing.

Inspired by writing challenges in the past (by the way, Charli’s is not the first I’ve seen of challenges I just tend to fall away from them), I’ve written a few blogs saying I might start writing my own prompts and/or writing exercises but then I don’t keep up with these ideas. What I’d like to do for real for real is once a week – probably Fridays – I’m going to create a prompt, a writing challenge of my own. I do this not to replace my use of Charli’s, nope I’ll continue with hers, but rather to increase my writing practices. I want to challenge myself with different parameters, push myself and my creativity. Committing myself to blog challenges can help this as well I get to share some of my writing with you all. Seeing as you can’t read my novel until it’s out this is another way to share. Plus I see that other writers like to get in on the challenge and it seems there can never be too many. So I figure, why not join the community of challenges and prompts by inviting others to follow along? Right? Lovely.

So every Friday I’ll have a new prompt for you. PAUSE [I wrote this post and intended to publish it on the 7th of February. But it needed to be edited, links added and I was too tired to finish. Then I didn’t have time. Then another day passed and another. But I like what I did hear so I’m going to go ahead and post this on a Wednesday. Feel free to write your own 38-word story for the challenge. This Friday, the 14th, I will post a new one.) RESUME from the 7th: Today’s is 38-words. Yes I said ONLY 38 words for your story. I will tell you the story behind my number. It will often be the same as today, meaning it will increase. I do believe we’re in the 38th day of the year right? There you have it. In addition to only using 38 words (no more, no less) I want you to follow the concept of doing things different. Interpret that as you may, new ideas, different habits, etc. Please do title your piece.

And in case you don’t already know, a 38-word story would be considered flash fiction. πŸ˜‰

Post your piece in the comments and link back to my post on your site should you have one you’re posting on. Or you can just post your link back to your story. Let’s get started!

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Believe me, I will

Two more feathers today. I flex them, I think I do. It took a lot for me to believe. Then they grew.

If I keep believing I’ll have a full set. I will believe, I will do new.

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Sweet! There you have it, my 38-word story on doing things different. Whatcha think and whatcha got for me?

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My Review of Strange the Dreamer (Strange the Dreamer, #1) by Laini Taylor, narrated by Steve West

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Audible Audio edition

Info from Goodreads:

The dream chooses the dreamer, not the other way aroundβ€”and Lazlo Strange, war orphan and junior librarian, has always feared that his dream chose poorly. Since he was five years old he’s been obsessed with the mythic lost city of Weep, but it would take someone bolder than he to cross half the world in search of it. Then a stunning opportunity presents itself, in the person of a hero called the Godslayer and a band of legendary warriors, and he has to seize his chance or lose his dream forever.

What happened in Weep two hundred years ago to cut it off from the rest of the world? What exactly did the Godslayer slay that went by the name of god? And what is the mysterious problem he now seeks help in solving?

The answers await in Weep, but so do more mysteriesβ€”including the blue-skinned goddess who appears in Lazlo’s dreams. How did he dream her before he knew she existed? And if all the gods are dead, why does she seem so real?

Welcome to Weep.

Audible Audio – Published March 28 2017 by Hodder & Stoughton

My Review

Ok how do I rate this after being so conflicted at the beginning? Easy!!!

5/5 stars

I discovered this book thanks to SilverWolfReads and her giant book haul from her trip to NYC. I believe I added these in June 2019, you can find these additions in TBR New Additions Part 1. There are a whole host of other books I added to my TBR thanks to her blog, including Trail of Lightning by Rebecca Roanhorse which I listened to before this book and loved. That moved a lot faster from the start and made it that much more difficult to survive Strange the Dreamer’s slow start. But thanks so much for sharing what you read!!!

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Funny thing is I’m listening to the last chapter as I write this or at least start writing this. That’s how impressed I am with where this story went and ended. Some endings can change how you feel about the whole story, be it book or movie. I saw Three Billboards Outside Ebbing Missouri and was all wrapped up in it until…the ending. Then I was pissed because I did not think it was a satisfying end to such a movie. This book however just kept getting better and better.

In my post Currently Reading (which will change as my reading does) in January/early February, you might have read that I was not enjoying the beginning of this book. Here’s what I said:

I’m in about Chapter 10 I think? So far I’m disappointed because this book is taking so long to be interesting. Lazlo, the main character (MC), really feels flat to me at this point. Given the number of roaring reviews I’ve discovered there to be (saw, didn’t read just glazed over a few) I have faith that this book improves but if I was given an ultimatum I’d be tempted to DNF this.

You know a book is taking too long to really grab you when you almost forget you’re actually supposed to be paying attention to what you’re listening to and you struggle to want to.

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I wish I could remember exactly what chapter it was that changed things for me. I know what happened in the story that did it but I don’t want to tell you anything more than what the summary from Goodreads does. My reviews will not contain any more of a summary than that because I don’t want to spoil the story. Some people like the standard review in which people provide their own summary, the kind we were taught in school. However, I have found that I don’t usually want to know too much more because I like the surprise of discovering the details myself. I know that people warn you if they’ll be spoilers but sometimes just knowing too much before you start is a spoiler, not unlike a movie trailer that shows you all the best parts of the movie.

For instance – the following example is made up and has nothing to do with this book – let’s say a summary tells you the story is about a mystical mountain covered in fog all year long except for two weeks in the summer. No one has visited the mountain ever since a hiking party of 10 disappeared save one individual who came back mute and blind. But then a small boy gets lost, last seen walking in his sleep towards the mountain. Who will brave the mystery to find him? Then let’s say I write a review that doesn’t “contain spoilers” per se, but I tell you that the people have rumored there’s a herd of magical ponies that live midway up and that’s what they’re afraid of. That might be a common detail but you wouldn’t have known until you read the story or someone’s review. I wouldn’t have minded discovering the ponies for myself like a fun little prize in my cereal box; I know it’s in there but if my brother gets it out and shows me, the surprise is done.

That said how I feel about the book now does not change how I feel about the beginning. Don’t like, not gonna like it but this story is a testament to the power of word of mouth. Were I any less patient with books, quicker to DNF I would have quit this early on. But I can thank all you lovely fellow readers out there for letting us know it gets better because HECK YEAH it does!

It took a long time for me to get into Lazlo as well. I still think he kind of feels flat, not the most dynamic and fleshed out of characters, in my humble opinion but he grew on me. There are other characters that appeal to me and appeal to me more. But I can almost promise you (almost because I don’t know you so I could be wrong) that once this story gets going you’ll find it hard to resist.

I respect Laini Taylor’s creativity and imagination. This book could do without a lot of the information – IMHO – especially in the beginning but the story (I think I’ve said that enough) as a whole is emotionally intense and magical with themes true to real life. You might start off uninterested or less than interested but you reach a point where you have to know what happens next. Then you can’t put it down or push pause. The progression this story takes is like climbing a mountain, once you get to the top it is breathtaking. There’s plenty of tension and mystery, wonder and perceived terror. And there is heart ache and super cool twists and turns. Yes there is violence and talk of horrible acts, including rape and murder. However, I absolutely recommend this story and will without a doubt continue with this series. The next book is Muse of Nightmares (Strange the Dreamer, #2).

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While I can’t complain about the beginning enough, I also can’t tell you enough how much I like the ending. Great cliffhanger but also so grating! AH! Laini, you have a new fan. πŸ˜‰

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Hardcover edition (cover)

Have you read this? Are you planning to? Let me know if I introduced you to this book or tipped the scales for you, maybe even give me a nod on your own blog if that applies. Giving credit to my fellow bloggers, aka sources, when they’ve introduced me to a book or books is super important to me. I do my best to take notes when I add books thanks to them. In fact I have a unpublished post draft that is just for notes of this kind.

Thanks for your visit, please come again! Follow me if you like what you’ve read here and elsewhere because there’s plenty more to come. πŸ˜€

99 Word Flash Fiction Prompt – 30 January Prompt

This prompt is from January 30th and while I missed the February 4th deadline to post at The Carrot Ranch Literary Community for Charli I’m doing this regardless.

She wrote a great post about writing characters and paying special attention to their core traits. I have added the books she recommended to my TBR. Dynamic characters are crucial to a good story. It will not hurt me to learn how to improve my character development. If you’re a writer or just interested in the process of writing definitely visit the above link and read her piece.

By Any Means

A woman hustles children from the car to the house. She doesn’t look at me. I am a fixture in the background. I am just their worker bee.

The black clouds above me don’t fit at 2:38 in the afternoon. The rain is pelting my face like it has something against me. Lightning scolds a nearby tree. None of these people care about this mail right now. They will pay me no mind but they will watch and wonder about my safety in secret. They’ve been taught to fear what they see.

This too shall pass. My family waits.

There you have it. My flash fiction piece of 99 words no more no less about a postal carrier in an extreme situation. What extremes do you see?

2020 Currently Reading

Okay instead of having my TBR page (like I did in 2019) telling you what I’ve read, what I’m reading, and what I plan to read this year, I’m going to have this post “sticky”. Here, always found at the top of my blog, you’ll see what I’m currently reading and/or listening to and what I just read. If I know for sure I’ll tell you what’s next. There might also be some notes about how I’m feeling while reading/listening. Feel free to comment.

Currently Reading/Listening to:

  • The Bone Jar (Detective Lew Kirby, #1) by S.W. Kane – Kindle edition – mystery, thriller
    • I won this through a Goodreads’ Giveaway (thank you!) though I didn’t discover that fact until last night. Probably I should have waited to finish some of these books but I had my tablet and…sigh… Who doesn’t need a good mystery book in their lives? I used to read a lot more of this genre.
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  • Inheritance: A Memoir of Genealogy, Paternity, and Love by Dani Shapiro – Audible audio, narrated by the author – memoir
    • Wow. I’m a little more than half way through this audio book. It’s super intriguing. This far in I can’t believe there’s still so much more to hear! I highly recommend this book if you’re interested especially in this subject matter (I always have been). I expect this book will continue to be a 5 star read that I will finish sooner than later.
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  • In Search of Black History with Bonnie Greer by Bonnie Greer – Audible original, Audible audio book, narrated by the author – nonfiction, history
    • This is a really, really informative book and essential reading. Most of these stories and facts I did not know, sad to say, but I am thankful for this resource to have crossed my path. The only reason I haven’t finished it (I’m on the last chapter) is becasue I want to listen with more focus.
    • This is a book I will come back to again and again so that I may better retain the information. I recommend it to everyone.
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  • Akata Warrior (Akata Witch, #2) by Nnedi Okorafor – hardcover – fantasy, YA
    • Really enjoyed the first book, Akata Witch, and so far this one does not disappoint.
    • What’s disappointing is my ability to sit down and read an actual physical book! Lol.
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  • Kind of Coping: An Illustrated Look at Life with Anxiety by Maureen Marzi Wilson – harcover – nonfiction, graphic novel
    • This is a cute but interesting little book. I’ve read half of it so far. I appreciate the light-hearted nature of this book though the subject is something very serious. I do recommend it to anyone with anxiety or who knows someone with anxiety. It’s nice to laugh while relating about something that’s not so funny, and sometimes drop a tear to know I’m not alone when feeling X.
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  • Thick: and Other Essays by Tressie McMillan Cottom – Hardcover
    • This find is thanks to the podcast Reading Women. Do check out my page about the podcasts I listen to, mostly about reading and/or writing. Those lovely women raved about this book. There have been others talking about it as well and then I saw it on display at a local bookstore. I said okay, let’s go, you’re coming with me. It’s been looking at me ever since and well, today I figured what the heck, they’re essays so I can read them as I please. So far, so good. I’m looking forward to seeing the life of a person so different than me through their lens.

I desperately need to finish Voyage of the Basilisk – The Memoirs of Lady Trent #3 by Marie Brennan (started, oh, forever ago last year). So I’m kind of also currently still reading that though admittedly I keep forgetting about it…hm…what does that say about this series that I’ve liked but…ugh…

Recently Finished: ( since I’m behind these are from June, July, Aug)

  • Vicious by V.E. Schwab, narrated by Noah Michael Levine – Audible audio – urban fantasy, maybe mafical realism?, super powers…

Finished August 6, 2020

  • Now this is a different book and it was great. It’s all about anti-heroes.
    • 5 stars on the story/book, but if I had to I’d knock it to 4.5 because of the narrator. He’s not terrible, horrible no. In a lot of ways he fits, but I really didn’t care for the newscaster feel to his performance, though he did manage different voices well. So it strangely works, but…
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Finished August 4, 2020

  • This was as great as I’ve heard other bloggers say. Not that I read any real reviews because I wanted to be surprised, but in my opinion it’s worth the hype. And I teared up a few times. 5 stars
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Finished July 20, 2020 —> My 5 Star Review

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Finished June 24, 2020

  • Found this as an Audible daily deal and I couldn’t resist. Let me tell you, I do not regret it. This was a really intriguing and different story. And narrator did a beautiful job. 5 Star review coming soon (promise, just need to post it).
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Finished June 19, 2020

  • What’d I say, I had to get to it. New fan of this author, as well as the narrator.
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Finished June 15, 2020

  • I devoured this book! I didn’t know there was already a second but jumped on it quickly. Really looking forward to more.
    • This book comes to me at a great time, the time we’re living in. It’s good to experience the experience of others even through fiction. There is ugliness and wretched human nature, but also beauty here. Review coming soon[er than later]
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  • Akata Witch (Akata Witch, #1) by Nnedi Okorafor – Hardcover – YA, fantasy, children’s middle grade
    • Just started this 8 May after finishing Lagoon by the same author. I’m about 3-4 chapters in and interested. The main character is a young albino girl born in New York City to Nigerian parents who moved back to Nigeria. She gets bullied and makes new friends, so far and there’s something going on, something different about these kids. Even though Sunny gets bullied for being albino, which some in their culture affiliate with witches, she is touch and sassy. It’s great.
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  • The Name of All Things (A Chorus of Dragons, #2) by Jenn Lyons, narrated by Saskia MaarleveldDan BittnerLauren Fortgang – Audible audio version – Adult Epic Fantasy
    • I actually started this at the very beginning of May. I think the third book comes out this fall so I decided I should go ahead with this.
    • So far I don’t love that the main narrator is new, well different from the last book. I get it, it’s someone else reading the story of what happened but from an audio book perspective it isn’t great to now hear your main character with a totally different voice. That said I’m enjoying it, four chapters in. Looks like this book is going to be a lot more about dragons than the first.
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What Else I’ve Read this Year

Now that we’ve moved into August, I see that it is not efficient to leave the list of titles and notes that I’ve already finished. Therefore, I will continue to share notes and thoughts of what I’m currently reading and recently finished however I will archive older notes and just list the books I finished and a short bit of thoughts, that is only if I don’t have a review available. Recently finished, by the way, will refer to books I finished in the last month and so far in current month.

Finished May 8, 2020

  • Got another five-star read here! As I write this this was my most recent finish and it was great. Very unique and original first contact story that takes place in Lagos, Nigeria. I recommend this book and this author. To read my review CLICK HERE.
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Finished April 30, 2020

Awesome fast-paced story. I think it was even better than the first, not that the first was less than but rather this adds to what was already built there. Definitely a five-star read/listen. I really like listening to Tanis Parenteau read this story as well.

In this story you get new scenery as well as some really cool new characters. I highly recommend this story though I will be anxiously awaiting the 3rd book. The author says on Goodreads that she has two more books planned for this series, four total. HECK YEAH! πŸ˜€

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Finished April 24, 2020

  • I really enjoyed this short novella and give it five stars. It’s different, it’s original, it’s an easy read, and I highly recommend it.
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Finished April 19, 2020

  • Update: I really enjoyed this book and gave it 5 stars. This story is intense and emotional. Read my Review HERE.
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Finished April 3, 2020 —> My Quick Review Here

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Finished April 22, 2020 —> My Sort of, For Now Temporary Review

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Finished April 4, 2020 —> My Review – 3 stars

  • This has been on my list since March of 2019. Ms. Victorious over at Victorious Pages
  • The Ruin of Kings (A Chorus of Dragons, #1) by Jenn Lyons, Audible Audio edition narrated by Feodor Chin, Vikas Adam, Soneela Nankani
    • So I went back through my notes to see how I found this book. It does not appear I learned of it through any book bloggers. Honestly I don’t know how I found this book! I think she was on a podcast but I can’t find the one. It could have also been NPR but I don’t think so. Maybe it was a fellow blogger and I didn’t write it down…? Ugh…notes are great…
    • This is an epic fantasy, which means it’s a really big book. Which is also part of the reason I chose to listen to it: not a heavy book and much cheaper because I used the book “credit” I get from audible for the month. I’m in Chapter 26 and still have 19 hours to go. So if you need a big long story, here you go.
    • It is a long drawn out storytelling that’s for sure. But I don’t say drawn out in a bad way. It’s getting more and more interesting. I won’t be surprised if in the end I say it could have done without being this long but we’ll see. So far I like it, not super in love with it, but it’s cool. πŸ˜€
    • Upon finishing: What I said above came to be, I really liked this book. However, I don’t feel that it would necessarily be served by cutting it down. This is a journey and taking the journey makes for a complete story. Could some sections have been shorter and the story still great? Sure thing. But it’s still an excellent book. I’m giving it 4 stars. I do recommend it and I will continue with the series THAT I DIDN’T KNOW WAS A THING! πŸ™‚
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  • Strange the Dreamer by Laini Taylor , narrated by Steve West- Audible audio book
    • [Here’s what I said before:] I’m in about Chapter 10 I think? So far I’m disappointed because this book is taking so long to be interesting. Lazlo, the main character (MC), really feels flat to me at this point. Given the number of roaring reviews I’ve discovered there to be (saw, didn’t read just glazed over a few) I have faith that this book improves but if I was given an ultimatum I’d be tempted to DNF this.
    • You know a book is taking too long to really grab you when you almost forget you’re actually supposed to be paying attention to what you’re listening to and you struggle to want to.
    • This book I found thanks to SilverWolfReads after her trip to NYC and her giant book haul. Please do visit her blog (click the link above) and read my review of this book. I most recently finished this book & after what I’ve said above you’ll be surprised to know I’m rating this 5/5 stars.

We’re just getting into May and the sun is shining more and more. This last month has been pretty good for reading. However, as the weather warms I won’t be inside as much but I will need to get some sun – time to read and write – and I’ll be doing yard work which is conducive to listening to audio books and podcasts. πŸ˜€

A little while ago I wrote a post for anticipated reading among other things. I’ve since finished some of those, altered plans a little bit and added on to it.

Reading Plans for May & June [I promise I will update the following soon!]

  • At the time of writing I’ve just started Akata Witch (see above). I was going to read the first then some V.E. Schwab but since I already have Akata Warrior I will read that immediately following Akata Witch.
  • After those two I’ll start A Darker Shade of Magic by V.E. Schwab (finally πŸ˜‰ ).
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  • I don’t know what I’ll listen to when I’m finished with The Name of All Things (A Chorus of Dragons, #2) but I have The Wise Man’s Fear (sequel to The Name of the Wind), The Ten Thousand Doors of January by Alix E. Harrow;
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  • Let’s see what else? Hmm… do you think I should just read A Darker Shade of Magic trilogy in a row? I also have Planetfall by Emma Newman on my mind and Where the Line Bleeds by Jesmyn Ward. Any thoughts?

I really love engaging with folks in comments. I’d love to hear what you think about this list and I really thank you for taking the time to read this.

Stay safe & well!

Black Lives Matter.

Me, Woman – I have Gray Hair

Hey hey everybody! The weekend is almost here, how lovely. I don’t know about you all but we’ve had a nice mild winter where I live. It’s been so nice to be out and about without freezing my tail off (or my dog’s) or having to shovel mountains of snow. That said, I hope, hope, hope this isn’t a negative thing (think: climate crisis, bugs, bugs, extra hot weather, bugs, crawling flying biting things called bugs…oh yeah, and mosquitoes πŸ˜‰ ).

Let’s get started with today’s post.

It’s here, my first post pertaining to my personal life, getting it together and being a woman in her (my) mid-30s. Well it might not be the first, for real first because I’m sure I’ve gotten into personal stuff before…right, Elpy, keep it going…

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Right, any who I’m going to start off with gray hair.

I have brown hair though I do love dying it and or highlighting it therefore sometimes it’s not so brown. So fun, love it. The first gray hair I found was somewhere during my mid to late 20s. I yanked that sucker out and held it up against the white wall in the half-bath of my apartment at the time. I was like WHAT! WHAT?! Oh my gosh no. It can’t be. This has got to be a blond, light-colored hair, whatever just not gray or white. But no…

In the last five years my gray hairs went from being a little sparse to hey what’s all that SILVER stuff at your temple? Huh what? As is apparently common, the new hairs that like to spring around and do whatever they please at my temple, just one side of course, are gray/silver/white. That patch is alive and well and out there for the world to see. There are also more stragglers popping up around my head than there used to be.

No worries said I the colorful YOUNG LADY (LOL!), I will dye my hair anyways. And away we go to the salon where we cover all those shining beauties up. Be gone! Away with you revealing truths of wisdom and maturity! How dare you give away my true identity!

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Wait what?

Think about it; if it weren’t for our fear and frowning when it comes to aging we would not detest gray and/or white hair in the way that we do. In fact once you reach a certain age people begin to applaud your beautiful gray or white hair. I have long noticed my mother’s gray AND white hair is SHINY. It is so absolutely beautiful, kind of white in the front, framing her face, and gray in the back. It’s lovely. No offense father, your head is real shiny too! πŸ˜‰

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Did you happen to notice that gray was trending last year? That young people, women and girls in particular, were purposefully dying their hair shades of gray? Did you see that women of all ages and shades were ARE embracing their gray hair? Yeah, it’s true, gray hair is beautiful.

But there’s still that fact and that stigma that it represents a changing of the tides. That you are getting old. It’s not the same as when you looked in the mirror and there just was your hair (some of you lovely people are born with streaks or pops of gray or white hair so of course you have always seen the forest through the trees). And I’ll be honest, sometimes the transition from your initial color to gray/white is not so great. It’s just not all the time. But what does it mean that we are so quick to run from it? I’m in no way shaming either group. Don’t like your gray hair? COVER IT! Love it? Let it be. Not sure? Feel it out. To each their own. High five to you all for doing what’s best for your time.

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But again, what about this automatic response? What does it say about our cultures and society that we spend so much time hiding our age instead of learning and teaching each other to embrace it? We are so obsessed with youth we neglect the value of aging. Will we eventually succumb to our obsession with vanity and just get old, neglecting lessons and wisdom to make sure we’re still beautiful?

Of course being young is easier than being old, but in what ways? Would I go back in time for anything? No, not unless I could go back with this brain, this experience and knowledge, this wisdom, this humility. Aging equals living. Aging equals experience. Aging equals lessons learned and knowledge gained. Aging equals gaining.

Perspective folks, it’s all about perspective. If you view aging through a negative lens only, then you will see it as a loss. Whereas by the above logic, aging can really be a gain.

Life is hard, it can be really hard. And as we get older a lot more things are bound to happen that might break our spirit. So it would seem to me that it is essential to learn to embrace it, not shun it. I know so many wonderful older people and their spirits’ are still so bright – LOOK right there, I say STILL so bright as though we’re guaranteed to lose our light as we age. That’s wrong no, it’s negative experiences that cause our light to fade, it is not age specifically. Our light does not leave us, but it can be buried or hidden or perhaps we lose the ability to see it.

I know I’m not all that old and some of you might say my goodness she does not know what she’s talking about. But I have aged and I sure do know what I’m talking about when it comes to having gray hair!

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One moral of this story is, embrace what’s yours. That does not stop just because you’re no longer shiny and new. That advice does not pertain only to women and men who want to show off their bodies. That message isn’t for the young. Embrace your life. Embrace you. As long as you’re alive, you’re visible whether you realize it or believe it or don’t, you’re still here.

So you ask, what did you do? Well I’m still learning just how I want to embrace these lovely shiny things. I do so love their shiny quality. I used to, and still will, call them my sparkles. My stylist said she heard a client refer to her grays as her tinsel. Do we not love tinsel people!!!

I let my gray grow out without covering it for months (not intentionally). I kind of started to like it. I didn’t love it but I also didn’t hate it. I found that I could part it on the side a little and flip some of that gray over for a nice little funky style. And then my guy suggested I take control of it when I asked. And why wouldn’t I? I said hey, what do you think about my grays? He said well I think if you made it look even more intentional it’d probably be pretty cool. And that’s what I’m working on right now, playing around with having some gray over there more so than not.

I am so SO excited to get it right because I think it’s going to be so cool. And bonus, creative people have got to let our imagination show in all kinds of ways. πŸ˜‰ I’ll keep you all posted on how this is going. Apparently dying even a little bit of brown hair gray is… tricky.

How do you feel about aging? Gray hairs? Do you embrace your age or are you struggling?

Please stay tuned for more talk on aging. Let’s get into this subject, gray hairs, wrinkles, creaks & cracks, the works!

In case you were wondering, gray is the common American spelling of the word, while grey is more commony used in the UK and elsewhere. πŸ˜‰

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Talk from the TBR Table

I feel like this is a really fun title that I’ll maybe use more than once. πŸ˜‰ For sure! How ya doin? Having a good week so far?

This post is inspired by Lois over at LoisReadsBooks. She made a post about books from her TBR that have been there a long time and that she plans to finally read this year. Heck yeah go Lois! Click the link above to visit her two-part post. πŸ˜€ Blogger love!

Her post got me thinking that it would be in my best interest to revisit my TBR and commit to read some books that have been on there a long time. Now this isn’t new in the world of book blogging at all. In fact Destiny @Howling Libraries does something to this effect with a fancy methodology and all. She calls it TBR Lows & Highs. Sofi @A Book. A Thought loved what Destiny was doing so much she’s also taken up that method for cleaning the TBR. I quite like it really, you ought to check it out, but I think for now I’m gonna keep the cleaning simple. Over at Life Inside My Library Mind she put together a 2019 TBR Backlist, a simple list of 12 books from her backlist that she’s been meaning to read. There are others I follow who work through their backlists or try, and who wouldn’t want to? (Um all of us distracted by all the new shiny stuff…duh.)

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At the end of the day, I liked Lois’ version straight to the point, pick some books, let’s tackle these. However I am still going to be cognizant of my acceptance that I do not read very fast or as often during the warmer months (we’ll see this year!). So I will resist the urge to make a super long post about the books from long ago TBR that I’m going to read. Alas….I behave…

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This is a really great reason (excuse) to browse my TBR and just look at all the beautiful books I have imagined reading. I look forward to the process although not really the decision making. Why’s that? Oh decisions and I have a love/hate relationship and I plan to keep the list under five. What? I already said I am not a fast reader. Even though audio books mean I will certainly hear a book a month there’s only so much money I can spend on books. I know, it’s rough. πŸ˜‰

Here we go. Afer meeting my brain mates (all me) at the TBR boardroom table I’ve decided on these five books. These are books I added a long time ago and will read some time this year. I’ll tell you the book, when I added it, why (if I know or recall), and why I’m choosing it now. Oh and click on the title to visit the book’s Goodreads page. (In no particular order)

1. The Best of It: New and Selected Poems by Kay Ryan

Published in 2010 – Poetry

I added it September 2012

Kay Ryan’s poetry appeals to me because she packs a punch with few words. I was so impressed with her talent in brevity, I think it’s admirable skill.

It’s been a long time since I’ve even read poetry and this is a great place to start. That’s why I’m going to pick this up this year and read it, preferably sooner than later.

2. Borderline (Anna Pigeon, #15) by Nevada Barr

Published in 2009 – Mystery

I added it in March 2013

I used to read Nevada Barr’s Anna Pigeon series as much as I could years ago then I stopped reading fiction for about five years. When I got back to reading Anna & Nevada were much farther down the road and I never got back on the horse.

Disclaimer: I might wind up with a different book in this series once I really figure out where I left off but this was what I had on my TBR so we’ll start there for now. I would like to check back in with this mystery/thriller because I remember really enjoying it although they did tend to take a while to get into.

3. Bear Heart (Klawdia Book 1) by K.J. Colt

Published in 2013 – Fantasy

I added it in October 2014

I “met” (online) K.J. Colt through a Goodread’s group that was created to help self-published authors. It served the dual purpose of weeding out self-pubs that needed more work because, especially back then, self-pubs had a real bad rep among readers. So we shared out self-published works with each other by judging our covers, our blurbs and finally the books should they make it to that stage. It was a lot of fun but stirred up a load of controversy. Apparently the group’s founder received death threats and all kinds of nasty negative attention because of the group. On top of that countless people whined and cried about the constructive criticism they received and how their books weren’t chosen. I would expect you have some kind of thick (or thicker) skin if you’re going to be an artist and put your work out in the world but way too many people couldn’t handle being told they weren’t the brightest star in the class. For instance, someone was told they really needed to hire an editor. They got extremely emotional and cried that it wasn’t fair because they couldn’t afford an editor. Okay well then your book is going to have to wait. Stuff like that… anywho…

So K.J. Colt – who wasn’t yet a bestselling author, you go girl! – was one of the members of that group with her book Concealed Power (The Healers of Meligna, #1). I really did enjoy the series, well mostly Books 1 & 2 then things went a little downhill for my tastes and tolerances. I became quite critical of the last couple. That said I still really admire K.J. Colt for her talent and creativity. She invited me all those years ago to read Bear Heart and I never did (meant to I swear!). Klawdia is a kick-ass secondary female character in the Healers of Meligna series. This is her series and I really would like to venture in to it.

4. A Darker Shade of Magic by V.E. Schwab

Published in 2015 -Fantasy

I added it in April 2016

Well I maybe…nope I don’t remember how I first heard of this and her (the author), maybe from a podcast, maybe a fellow blogger, I don’t recall but I know loads of people are and have been talking about V.E. Schwab.

This year I’m going to finally read it because last year I got a sweet deal from bookoutlet.com on the whole trilogy. And well I need to get caught up on this woman’s work!

5. Barkskins by Annie Proulx

Published in 2016 – Historical fiction

I added in August 2016

You might already know that I love birds, they are my favorite class of organism. It should be more obvious than ironic then that I should also love plants. And whomever loves plants, fancies trees. I can’t say for sure but I may have found this through a Lithub.com article.

Going back through my TBR this book stuck out. Sure it isn’t fantasy but it sounds interesting regardless. I remember it sticking out to me back then, so let’s go ahead and venture there.

6. H is for Hawk by Helen MacDonald

Published in 2014 – Non-fiction/memoir

I added in August 2016

Well given the title and the cover image I think it should be obvious, I picked this book because it has something to do with birds. And the overall story – also in part about her training birds of prey – sounds intriguing. I don’t recall how I came across this book in the first place but when I did, done deal.

I know I said five books, I was only going to pick five, but this was right below Barkskins on my TBR list and I happen to own a physical copy of this already (thanks bookdepot.com) so why not? My thoughts exactly.

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There you have it. Six books from way down my TBR list on Goodreads that I plan to read this year. When and how, physical or audio, is yet to be determined (except those already owned physically, lol).

It almost feels hard to pick these to read when there are so many NEW books I’m discovering and adding. It’s like all these old ones lost their appeal because they’re not new to me anymore. How strange, they’re still a mystery to me! These are the only books I can tell you I’m going to read over the course of the year. Otherwise I’m not going to do seasonal TBRs anymore, just monthly, and those are going to be two books, a physical and an audio book. I know I can handle that. Any extras are bonus. Okay this is long enough. Stay tuned to see where I go… That’s it for Talk from the TBR Table!

Thanks so much for your time? Have you read any of these or want to? Are you doing any kind of backlist “work” or cleaning?

2019 TBR List New Additions Part 3

At first this list was going to include November and December additions. But then I saw just how many books I added in December. That month alone made up for all I didn’t add in the months before. Funny I say that as though I should be adding TONS and TONS of books all the time. That would be overwhelming. So 2019 TBR List New Additions Part 3 covers one month and you will agree it’s more than plenty.

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A lot of the books I found and added in December were thanks to The Bookseller’s Year in Reading from LitHub.com. In fact, I think all the books added in December were thanks to at least a couple of Lithub.com articles. That said here I’ve linked you to Part 3 of the above list so you can then find the links to Part 1 & 2. As I write this I’ve only read Part 1. Books I add from the other parts will be new additions for January.

I don’t recall all my sources for the rest of the books I added/found in December but if I do I will tell you. The titles of each book link back to its Goodreads’ page. If you’d like to first read my New Additions Part 1 CLICK HERE. If you’d like to then or first read New Additions Part 2 CLICK HERE. I encourage you to check them out and share your thoughts should you have any.

Let’s get started with my final 2019 TBR List New Additions.

December 2019 TBR List New Additions

  • The Overstory – Fiction by Richard Powers – this and above from article not list
  • The World-Ending Fire: The Essential Wendell Berry – non-fiction/essays by Wendell Berry – I found this on the Bookseller’s list however I heard of Wendell Berry in the spring from my great Uncle. I had every intention to look into this author thanks to him.
  • Underland – Non-fiction/science by Robert Macfarlane – This book was recommended by multiple booksellers.
  • Lanny – fiction/fantasy by Max Porter – I found this on the bookseller’s list however I first found it in another Lit Hub article months ago.
  • Lent – fantasy/historical fiction by Jo Walton
  • Birthday – fiction by Cesar Aira, translated by Chris Andrews
  • Morelia – fiction by Renee Gladman

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So there you have it, the last of the books I added to my TBR in 2019, in fact many were on the second to last day. Many of these books, more than I expected and would/will probably choose, are non-fiction. It’s not that I’m too cool or not cool enough for non-fiction it’s just that usually I have some go-to topics when it comes to real life stuff, but we’ll see. We’ll see what 2020 brings us. I was going to write about, very vaguely, what interested me in each book but that would take way too long. If I pick them up this year and read, perhaps that’ll be when I tell you what appealed to me, well at least I’ll try to remember or I’ll make up something about why it does now! πŸ˜‰

Any of these books on your radar/TBR?

Thanks as always for visiting. Come back soon!

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Here’s What’s Up: Going Forward New

Hello everyone, I hope you’re doing well today. I started off the day (if you don’t include the wee morning hours I was up) doing a yoga class on Yogadownload.com. I really really recommend this website for streaming yoga videos. They have loads of different teachers, styles, levels, and duration. I discovered it through Groupon and their offer for a discounted subscription. I am so glad that I did.

Many many years ago I practiced yoga on a regular basis but then I moved and didn’t keep up with it. Through yogadownload.com I discovered their New Year 20-day challenge, a different yoga class every day. I didn’t start on the first of the year but am currently on Day 12. Did I say I’m loving this? Oh yes, I am.

CHECK ONE BIATCHES FOR NEW YEAR’S RESOLUTION: START BACK IN YOGA!

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A couple mornings ago, the class message was getting out of autopilot, something we all probably settle into easily. Saying I was going to get back to doing yoga once I’d lost some weight and regained fitness and found the right class was my autopilot. In this regard, I have certainly broken out of autopilot. But in most other areas of my life I am still very much in autopilot, which is not all that different from sleep-walking…

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One such area is this place right here, my blog. I know it can take some real work and soul-searching to find your brand and find your purpose. We all know my purpose is to build my author platform but I continue to struggle at knowing just how to do that. In the last few days I’ve been revisiting some old ideas, exploring what I can offer.

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So here’s what’s up!

Several years ago I thought about (I’m very good at thinking about doing things) blogging about getting my life back together, starting with my yard. I struggle with some pretty heavy anxiety and it’s only gotten worse. My yard back then was better than it is now – which isn’t saying much – and I swore I was going to reclaim it. I thought it might be good for me and for readers to witness the actions I took to take it back and make it a wonderful and peaceful space to be in. Needless to say, that did not happen, neither the blogging nor the reclamation.

This need to reclaim space in my life applies to my house, my health, my work and my business (which are different entities). One reason I didn’t share the process is because I was afraid of saying I was going to blog about it then not follow through. I guess that’s proof that a big part of me believed that I would not or could not get it done. I didn’t want to get people’s attention and then just drop it, like I do. Sadly enough, I did not reclaim my yard, or my life. So was I afraid of failing or…

I’m revisiting this as I investigate my possible brand because reclaiming my life is very much a central theme for this year. But how does this play with another central theme of my brand, powers of observation? Simply put, reclaiming my life is reclaiming…my life…hm…myself, my everything, my craft, my business. This is essential for me to be able to fully open my eyes (third included! πŸ˜‰ ) and operate at least closer to 100%. I’ll be happy with like 75% though I still aim for 100.

There is so much I want to do with my life, it simply does not work to be dysfunctional in so many ways. I need a proper work space for all of my projects, as well as regular exercise, and a healthy home space. My powers of observation don’t have to be honed to see that if I am to do better, I need to exist in a better space. What I see around me is chaos that weighs me down. What I see inside me is chaos that wants to work.

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And so it is that I am going to share my journey. I have overanalyzed every part of this each time I think about sharing. Is it wrong for me to “use” this chaos, this dysfunction? Can I do this? Is it interesting? No it’s not wrong because it’s a real experience that so many can relate to and everybody likes to hear about people rising up out of the dust (in my case that’s a little literal πŸ˜‰ ). Of course I can do this but I must be committed and disciplined. Yes it’s interesting because with each step I take to improve I am taking another step towards a better me. And a better me has a lot more to offer. Besides, to get to know me as an author, well, is to get to know me as a person and vice versa.

Do I know just how this is going to work and look in terms of this blog? No, no I don’t but if you stay tuned you’ll see it. πŸ˜‰ I will continue book blogging as well because of course writing is my craft which means reading is my study (and one of my favorite hobbies). I love talking about books, learning about new books, and sharing my thoughts even if I’m just complaining about book stuff. In addition I’m going to write about perspectives (mostly mine to start but we’ll see who else πŸ˜‰ ) in aging. I’m in my mid-30s so I’m not old. But if you’re a teen or in your 20s then probably I am old to you. If you’re 50+, you’re laughing at me a little. πŸ˜€ But let’s have this conversation, getting older is not easy but it is a necessary part of this darn journey and I think it’s well, different for women. Men if you’re reading please do feel free to share your thoughts and contradictions!

And darn it, I think today’s culture disempowers aging and the aged (whatever that means), sucking away the gifts age brings for the vanity of youth.

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In summary, here’s what’s up, this year I’ll be talking about reclaiming my life, getting myself together as a result so I may pursue more ventures, book blogging stuff, and getting older as a woman today, this will probably include a lot of things that are yet to be determined.

Guys, this is gonna be a good year.

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Thank you for your time please feel free to comment and do follow me to keep up with the good, the bad, the ugly, the strange, the hmmm, the beautiful, the wow and all the other stuff. πŸ˜‰

Flash Fiction Challenge from Carrot Ranch Literary Community

One thing I think I will try to do more of (probably I’ve said/thought this before, so forgive me) this year is writing challenges. Sometimes in my skepticism I think these are awesome practice for the writer but does someone else want to read this? Well of course silly! People probably want to see, read, experience what you can do with a smattering of words. We like stories right!? So here’s a 99-word flash fiction challenge from Carrot Ranch Literary Community. I however discovered this challenge (and blog) thanks to Ritu at But I Smile Anyway. So thank you both. Here we go.

Instructions are, watch this gif about a day in the life of a park bench. Pick a time frame to write 99 words (no more, no less) about. The title is the time i picked.

17:00

Pidgey, Pinky, Plump, Pokey, plus many extras today, the gang was all there. Will she forget their names one day soon? Will she fade like the light and become one of the birds no one tries to remember?

Pokey, the old one wandered off like they do, drawing her attention to the bouquet in the trash bin at the end of the bench. Were they old news, pitched because they’d served their purpose?

No, it is an old woman especially who knows heartache. Her brain might be collapsing in on itself but she still knows well what life is.

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There you have it, 99 words no more no less. I’ll be putting this up per the instructions over on Charli’s blog. Go check it out and see what others have come up with. And don’t forget to visit Ritu’s blog as well, both links are near the top of this post.

Thoughts?