ReBlog Duet Cut & Paste Extravaganza! (Pt. 3)

Word count = 394 / Reading time = 1 minute, 20 seconds unless you visit one or more of the linked blogs as well.

It’s rare that I post more than once on a given day.  In fact, I think this is the first time I’ve done so.  I think.  So please forgive me if I’ve intruded too much on your limited time today.

On February 28th, I wrote & posted my first piece of flash fiction, “Sick Day”.  Several Bloggers asked me for a sequel, but instead of writing one myself, I challenged them to write their own and promised I would reblog them.  My only rule was that the story had to be 200 words or less.  They were free to take it in any direction they wanted to go.

Today, my friend Sophia from Sophia Ismaa Writes posted her follow-up to “Sick Day”, the third Blogger to do so.  The first Blogger, Em, took the story in a different direction than I would have; then, Viola Bleu posted a follow-up to Em’s version.  Sophia’s sequel, reblogged below, rather than further developing Em’s & Viola Bleu’s storyline, picked up where mine left off and is more in line with what I would’ve written.  All of them are great, and I am grateful to all three Bloggers for collaborating with me.

Sophia included my original “Sick Day” in her post, but if you haven’t yet read it and want to before you start reading her sequel, click here.  After you read Sophia’s story, if you’d like, you can read Em’s story followed by Viola Bleu’s.

Without further ado, I give you the fabulous Sophia Ismaa!

“Sick Day” Sequel

After a good five minutes of attempting to regulate my breathing, my shock and fears gradually subsided, and a sense of calm took over.

For as long as I had lived and remembered, my entire life had consisted of routine, tradition and sticking to the familiar. I had not played risks with my career, love and health. I was the epitome of the law-abiding citizen.

To read the rest, click here, and please spend a few minutes browsing Sophia’s lovely blog when you’re finished reading.  Sophia issued her own challenge at the end of her post, so feel free to jump in with your own offering.  If you do, please let me know, so I can see what else develops.

Y’all have a great rest of the day, and I’ll try not to bother you from here on out.


This One’s for the Women

via Daily Prompt: Uncompromising

Word count = 243 / Reading time = less than 1 minute


I hope y’all can forgive the unfancyness & insophistication of my poorly composed photo and see through to the deeply heartfelt sentiment underlying it.  It was the best I could do without ripping off someone else’s better looking image, and I wanted to express my own thoughts instead of sharing someone else’s no matter how much prettier it may be.

I know this will come as small comfort to those of you who have endured or are enduring any form of abuse or oppression at the hands of a man or men, but I want you to know that, in my job as a probation officer, I take an uncompromising stance against men who abuse or mistreat women in any way.  I use every means at my disposal not only to punish an abusive man but even more importantly to educate him and try to make him change his way of thinking about and treating women.

I am fortunate to have always had a large number of strong, supportive women enriching my life.  Since I began blogging in 2016, I have been repeatedly amazed by the writing, art, and thoughts shared by the women of WordPress.  I am often humbled by your talent and consider myself lucky to hear what you have to say.

So all you Women, ALL of you, stay strong, stay proud, and stay YOU!  Celebrate yourselves today and every day.

Take care, be well, and happy blogging!



Rewarding with a Reblog

via Daily Prompt: Fact

Word count = 695 / Reading time = 3 minutes plus however much time you spend at Candy’s linked Blog!

As I’ve mentioned in several recent posts, one of the things I love about WordPress is its power to inspire.  It’s been quite a while since I wrote a serious new poem.  As I was scrolling through my feed today, I came across a post from my friend Candy Lebby, who blogs at Fantastical Murmurs.  Her brief, simple post, two haiku about crows by the deceased English poet Ted Hughes, inspired me in several ways.

I visited my awesome Nashville Public Library’s Web site to see what works of Hughes’s are available, so I can read some more of his work.  I remarked to Candy how much I’ve always enjoyed crows and the ways they’re represented in literature.  I recalled two of my all-time favorite poems, Edgar Allan Poe’s “The Raven”, of course, but also Stephen Dobyns’ “Six Poems on Moving”.  And finally, I was inspired to write my own poem about a crow.

Now, I have to admit, it’s difficult to write while sitting in court; it can be quite chaotic.  And although I often enjoy long periods of inactivity, they are punctuated by the frequent demand for several different types of distracting action on my part.  Although my poem is a touch rough and ragged, I’m pretty damned proud of it considering the time frame and the circumstances of its writing.  I hope y’all will let me know what you think of it in the comments.

Following my poem is a reblog of Candy’s post with a link to her delightful blog.  Please spare her a few views as soon as you finish reading and commenting.   Thank you, Candy!

The Crow

Grown weary of merely watching,

from the comfort of my covered deck,

the furtive scheming and solemn antics

of a murder of somber crows careeening

from tree to skeletal tree,


I determined to lure one in,

if I could, to keep as my very own pet.

The plan, devised around research revealing that

crows bear grudges and recognize human faces,

required time, patience, persistence, and food.


If they can bear a grudge, thought I, surely they must

also be capable of good will and attachment.

I ventured down from my lofty perch,

scattered generous handfuls of seed along

the border of their wood, retreated,


but only a little, then daily repeated, retreating

less each time, watched closely for signs,

of which ones might be warming, won over

by me beneficence, willing to suffer

my further encroachment.


They cawed amongst themselves without surcease,

a symphony of rough sawblades at work,

saying things like, I imagined, “This guy’s alright,” or

“I don’t trust him,” and “My, he sure is handsome!”

as they all grew fat and lustrous.


On a chill and rainy day, I swear one, set apart by

his notched beak and a particular glint

to his gaze, as frigid water sluiced

down the gutter of his beak-scar, and

he sidled closer, hopping, eyeing me,


said, “I am so damn ready to bust outta this woody prison!

No crow here gets me, I don’t fit in,”

he lamented, pecking seed from my palm with

more vigor than usual, raising his wings,

and I knew he was The One.


He walked up my arm, perched on my shoulder,

proceeded to preen my windblown, rainsoaked

curls with gentle beaky tugs and his tough, blue tongue.

Slowly at first but with growing assurance, I

turned, walked, mounted stairs, paused on my porch.


I could not welcome him into my home unchristened,

so with thoughts of his fabled distant cousin,

the raven, in fact, so aptly named by my

long-departed poetic hero Mr. Poe, I asked,

“How do you feel about the name Nepenthe,


noble crow, since I anticipate your presence

will bring me peace?”  He lifted midnight wings,

fluffed iridescent feathers, raised his princely head,

and cawed, magnificent, “Forevermore!”

So in we went.

Again, please let me know what you think, whether you like it, love it, or hate it, in the comments below.

And now the long-awaited reblog that inspired my poem:

Crows caw, piercing shriek

Flocks of black darken the sky

Congregation roosts

Please read the rest of Candy Lebby’s post at Fantastical Murmurs!



ReBlog Duet Cut & Paste Extravaganza! (Pt. 2)

via Daily Prompt: Typical

Last week, I did something new and atypical that turned out to be all kinds of gratifying fun.

When a couple of fellow Bloggers made some complimentary comments and requested a sequel to a piece of flash fiction I posted, titled “Sick Day“, instead of choosing to write a sequel myself, I challenged them to write their own, in 200 words or less, and offered to feature them on my blog.

My friend Em at Earthly Brain posted the first sequel, which I’ve already reblogged, here.  Then, my friend Viola Bleu at Ideas Become Words posted her sequel.  It begins like this:

I saw the knife and saw it move, catching a small amount of light on the blade as the hand of my boss lifted it high above his head.

And you can read the rest here.  If you haven’t already read parts 1 & 2, I recommend you do so by clicking the links above, but whether you do or not, please do see Viola Bleu’s great work at Ideas Become Words.

I’m still waiting for one more friend to post her sequel and will reblog it as soon as she does so.

I was surprised by how much I enjoyed this collaboration and will definitely try it again down the road if y’all have enjoyed it as much as I have.  I’m also open to being challenged myself, so if any of you out there get a hankerin’ to do the same thing, feel free to ask me to participate.

Please do let me know what you think.

Take care, be well, and happy Blogging!

Not Exactly a Cut Above

via Daily Prompt: Above

Word count = 395 / reading time = 1 minute, 40 seconds


I rated this 2 of 5 stars on Goodreads, where this review is also posted.

During the first few dozen pages of Bone Music, the writing was so bad in places that I laughed aloud. The plot throughout the novel is so transparent I imagined I could see the bones of its outline showing. The book almost reads like the written version of a paint-by-numbers portrait. By the time that protagonist Charlotte “Charley” Rowe/Trina Pierce a.k.a. Burning Girl’s initial antagonist was explicitly revealed to be a puppet of someone she trusts, which I had figured out long before Rice revealed it, I was on the verge of giving up and shelving this as “did not finish”.

But at just the right moment, Rice revealed it to be a work of science fiction rather than simply a formula fiction thriller, which allowed me to suspend my disbelief long enough to keep reading a few more pages, at which point the pacing kicked into high gear and things began to become a bit more interesting.

At times, the dialogue is cheesy, and when it comes to psychology, romantic feelings, internal monologues and motivation, Rice gets a lot wrong. The characters in the novel rarely rise above the level of stock characters; it was hard for me to imagine any of them as real people.

Still, once things got rolling, the story did become more interesting. I do enjoy reading about strong, powerful, and empowered female characters, and Charley is that in spades. I also enjoy reading about abusive or controlling white males having their assess kicked (because they give guys like me a bad rep), and Charley does her share of that as well. One more thing I liked about Bone Music, I don’t recall seeing any spelling, grammatical, or technical errors in it, which seems to be becoming increasingly rare in modern publishing.

Although I ended up enjoying the book despite its flaws, I don’t know that I liked it enough to read any more in the series. I guess it’ll depend on how many news stories I’m hearing at the time about men behaving badly. If there are as many such stories when #2 comes out as there have been in the news in 2017 – 2018, I reckon I’ll be in the mood to read about some stand-ins getting hammered by a bad-ass woman.

ReBlog Duet Cut & Paste Extravaganza! (Pt. 1?)

via Daily Prompt: Restart

Word count = 426 / Reading time = 1 minutes, 45 seconds (Plus however much time you spend perusing the linked Blog)


Inspiration.  Connection.  A chance to restart every day anew.  Three of the many things I love about blogging in general and the WordPress community in particular.  Every week I find something new to love about both.  Today, it’s collaboration.

Yesterday, the Daily Post prompt ‘Dim’ inspired me to take a stab at writing flash fiction, and I dashed off a 164-word fantasy bit, “Sick Day”, with which I was rather impressed and that garnered several gratifying comments and requests for a sequel.  Half my fizzing brain spent the rest of the afternoon and early part of the evening whipping up possibilities, but my household duties kept me from putting fingertips to keyboard before I finally fell into bed exhausted at 10:00 PM.

But not before having an epiphany: why not invite the Bloggers who made constructive comments and/or expressed a desire for a sequel to write their own sequels?  I know, genius, right?  So I asked several of my fellow Bloggers to write their own versions of the sequel with a link to my original post and a promise that I would reblog their stories with a link to their Blogs.  My only rule was that each sequel had to come in at 200 words or less.

The first Blogger to accept my challenge was my friend Em from Earthly Brain.  Despite her disclaimer that she doesn’t (can’t) write fiction, I think you’ll be delighted with her amazing, well-written, delightfully neurotic sequel, which flows seamlessly from my original.  Em’s post starts with a link to my original post as well as a screenshot of the story, so if you missed mine yesterday and didn’t click my linked title above, you’ll see it when you visit her Blog.  Which I hope you’ll do.  You owe it to yourself!  And if I hear you didn’t visit Earthly Brain, I may just summon up the owner of the enormous arm in the story and send him after you…

I posted my picture above for two reasons.  1) I found my favorite tie buried in the back of my overstuffed closet and was so tickled I wanted to show it off; and 2) I’m just feeling exceptionally handsome and snazzy looking today!

Without further ado or fanfare, I give you the fabulous Em!

Sick Day continued

You’re safe in the tunnel. I tried to induce sobriety in my body.

Every inch of me was trembling with horror.

You’re dreaming.

Continue reading and see Em’s original post at Earthly Brain here.

Take care, be well, and happy Blogging!



Sick Day

via Daily Prompt: Dim

Word count = 272 / Reading time = less than 1 minute

Hello friends & fellow Bloggers!  I have not posted since last Thursday because I’ve been too busy with work then chaperoning a weekend trip to Georgia for my daughter’s Junior Thespian troupe to the annual conference down there.  I hadn’t expected to post today, either, still having plenty of catch-up to do at the office, but when I saw today’s Daily Post prompt, I decided I could sacrifice half my lunch break because it inspired me to make my first-ever attempt at flash fiction.  At 164 words, I think this qualifies as such.

I hope you enjoy, and please do let me know what you think!

Sick Day

The dim light of a gray dawn failed to elevate my mood as I locked my door then turned toward my car, and a sudden cloudburst doused what little cheer I had begun trying to muster.

As I exited the highway and turned onto the treacherous county road winding through the rocky hills on my final approach to work, I found myself once again bemused by how I’d arrived there.  The drive had become so routine that my mind disengages, and muscle memory takes over.

But when a sudden, stentorian ripping sound drew my eyes skyward as I approached the tunnel bored through Crummer’s Knob, and I saw an enormous, hairy arm begin to emerge from the slit in the torn clouds, I was instantly present.  Heart pounding and coated in a sheen of chill sweat, I entered the tunnel, pulled to the side, killed the ignition, and reached for my phone.  “B-Boss,”  I stammered, “I don’t think I’m gonna make it in today.”

An Attempt

via Daily Prompt: Assay

Word count = 371 / Reading time = 1 minute, 30 seconds

Pardon the archaism as I assay to impress all you discerning Bloggers out there.

It occurs to me that many of us here in the blogosphere are prospectors, our posts the ore we assay, sifting countless samples daily to determine quality, to tease out the ingredients of good stories, photos, and poems, not simply to enjoy the work of others, but to learn  how to forge quality gems of our own.  I spend an hour or two several times a week browsing the wares of the few Bloggers I follow as well as what’s on display in the Community Pool and in response to the Daily Post and other writing prompts.  Of course there is much on offer that doesn’t interest me, is of poor quality or in bad taste, but I always find plenty of items of exceptional, polished quality.

My own offering today is a poem I wrote shortly after waking up inexplicably at 3:00 AM one morning following a graduate poetry writing seminar the previous afternoon in which we discussed language poems.  I let the odd hour stand as the title.  If you are of a certain age or your mind is of a peculiar bent, you may even be able to wrangle some meaning out of this, but mainly, it just sounds good when read aloud.

If you feel it needs further refining, be sure to let me know in the comments down below.

3 A.M.

I have not come to expect

except to accept and

expect gradations.


While great nations inspect, or

insects grade expectations,

for why not be exact?


Exact a toll or for

bloom the tell holes?


Not just exact science

but an exacting appliance.

Application of convenient

alliance in austere convents.


Ah, conventional’s dear, as opposed to

unconvinced beer:  trust me,

this is all science friction.

Enough fiction breeds sparks,

as does bad diction,

but neither so much as poor depiction.


So much as is too much

but is too much ever enough

and so much is too tough.


Because as much as is too much

is not as much as it must seem

and never as much as one touch.


And ever touch as one must.

And ever touch as one must.



Just Another Day In Court: A Reblog

via Daily Prompt: Encrusted

Word count = 284 / Reading time = 1 minute, 15 seconds

As I sit up here at the Judge’s side, the court room gallery is encrusted with a steady parade of defendants and chronic offenders.  I often have lengthy stretches of time to scroll my blogroll or read the latest issues of The Atlantic and Harper’s magazines between furious flurries of performing my various job functions.

Today, one of my favorite Bloggers, the ridiculously creative, incredibly talented, and delightfully prolific Judy Dykstra Brown, blogging at lifelessons, posted a poem about the kinds of people I encounter daily in my job as a probation officer.  I couldn’t resist the urge to reblog it.  Judy asked that I post a few stanzas then provide a link to her blog.  I told her I’ll try not to botch it.

Before I present her poem “Science and Politics at the Redneck Bar”, though, my plug:  lifelessons is a diverse and varied blog.  Judy often posts several times daily, and her posts range from pictures of her own incredible art projects, her lovely photographs, her original poetry, and thoughtful essays about her interesting life.  Please, do yourselves a favor and pay her a visit!

Science and Politics at the Redneck Bar

It’s easier to talk than think,
especially when you’ve had a drink
or two or three or six or seven.
That’s when you’re sure you’re going to heaven.

And anyone more liberal
is surely going to go to hell
along with those who worship God
with rituals that you find odd.

And even worse is all of those
in turbans, robes or hippie clothes
who don’t believe in God at all.
They’re destined for the biggest fall.

Continue reading here.

Really, y’all, check her out.  You won’t be disappointed!

God Is Not a Christian

via Daily Prompt: Constant

Word count = 163 / Reading time = 45 seconds


(Rated 3 of 5 stars on Goodreads)

God Is Not a Christian packs quite a wallop for such a small book. Tutu propounds a constant message of forgiveness, tolerance, reconciliation, peace, and above all faith. Reading this collection of speeches and essays made me feel that I am a small, insignificant, moral failure and wish that I had the courage and strength of Tutu’s convictions.

I rated it 3 stars instead of 4 solely because Tutu preaches the same message over and over again against a variety of situations (Apartheid, support for a transgressive Israeli government, failings of the Middle East peace process, and the flaws and failures of South Africa’s new government following the end of Apartheid) which he freely admits on page 184, writing, “You know that I am repetitive if anything at all.” Still, the repetition makes his message ring out like a bell, like a clarion call of faith, forgiveness, tolerance, and peace. I will definitely read more of Tutu’s writing!