J Camp Day 15

getting lost
“Get lost,” she said, closing the door with a dramatic flourish, something she’d harbored fantasies of but had never actually done. “Bye-bye,” she said, to the oak paneled door, bowing and backing away as if to attest to the gravity of the moment. She hadn’t thought about it. They had been talking, then hotly debating, which evolved into a rant, an argument, several accusations, and ultimately, a crossing of a line in a sea of sand she hadn’t known existed until now. She had tolerated the small crises when they arose, and met them with compassion. Still, when he tried to sneak something in: a package, a golf bag, a box of detritus, she called him on it. “Please remove it asap,” she wrote in dutiful, polite emails, paper trails of the millennium. There was always an excuse, high dudgeon. So much drama! For a lawyer, she expected something more. Something somewhat more dignified. The debris of one marriage, two marriages. It was too much. “Storage was never part of the deal,” she said, when she found a rental van backed up to the garage, discovering a deceit he had hoped to conceal until the deed was complete and then what could she do but protest inertly? “My brother in law moved,” he lamented. “It’s only temporary!” he cried. How did he manage to pass the bar? How had he survived this long in a liberal hotbed of assertive women and sensitive men? His mother had coddled him. His wives enabled him. “I told you. This is not your storage solution.” Then it came to her that all the times when she said no, he had feigned concern but had ultimately rejected her protests. In his head he muted her voice, her opinions dismissed as irrelevant. She didn’t want to be that gorgon, but now she craved to be heard, to bear the weight of relevance. “Go now,” she said gently, to herself, bowing and backing down the long hall toward the kitchen. Go. Now. To that place of lost treasure.

J Camp Day 3

Three Wishes

If she had known there were only three wishes, she would have chosen differently. Obviously. But there had been no instructions, no bullet points. It was another example of the inefficiency of the system. Some opined that the system had grown too big for its own britches, that the safety measure and stop gaps had gotten out of hand. Cynics said the lawyers were behind the crack down. Others insisted the problem was created from a complete lack of imagination. Governor Moonbeam was retiring after eight decades of public service. Some said he would be missed. He told his successor, young Kennedy, “don’t screw it up.” She presumed he meant the ten wishes stockpile of surplus gold. But there were no guarantees, if the three wish rule was enforced. So far, everyone operated on the honor system. She was down to one wish. The books said choose happiness. The ads said choose gluttony. She was pretty sure there was some middle ground. One wish. Puppy breath. Snow. Public nudity. Art. Music. Zero gravity. Invisibility. Hemingway in his Spanish Civil War days. Elizabeth, the Virgin Queen. The Columbia Gorge at sunrise in her living room every morning. Polar bears. Bumble bees. Tree toads. Wild salmon. Stories, stories, stories.

a gift for fiction

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Journal Camp Day 25

What I Never Told Anyone

  1. You’re smokin’ hot!
  2. That hat makes you look fat.
  3. No cake for me, thanks.
  4. I’ll have seconds of that liver!
  5. That mushroom tapenade doesn’t look like dog food.
  6. I’ll have the duck feet.
  7. Let me wax the car, darling!
  8. Move over, there’s room for all of us.
  9. Give me your tire iron.
  10. I love to go car shopping!
  11. Why yes, I’d love to get into a bidding war for that condo!
  12. Fried clams: mmm!
  13. There are never enough wildfires.
  14. Oregon pinot noir: meh.
  15. Travel is over-rated.
  16. Self-care is a waste of time.
  17. My chosen tribe doesn’t get me.
  18. True love is an illusion.
  19. God takes all my plans very seriously!
  20. Who needs income equity?
  21. Democracy as we know it is in no danger whatsoever.
  22. Creative writing is for fools.
  23. Canada is just too nice.
  24. Civility is for suckers.
  25. Watch out – that dog looks dangerous.
  26. Please, let me shave that beard for you.