Stars

She moved to a house in the country so she could see the stars. I thought of her this morning as I rolled my trash barrels out to the alley for trash pickup day. It was still dark. I looked up at the sky and picked out the constellations I recognize. She knows what she’s doing, my friend, because looking at stars is good for your soul.

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Desert Rain

Outside my window there was just a desert rain. It lasted about 2 minutes. It made dots in the dust on the windshields of all the cars on the street. It plinked on the skylights of the flat roofs. It didn’t get the ground or the sidewalk damp. When the weather forecast says scattered showers in the desert, this is what you get.

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Favorite

Emily Saliers, half of the Indigo Girls, is talking on NPR right now about her first solo album. It got me started thinking about favorite bands over the years. I loved Fleetwood Mac and Gloria Estefan and Dianne Schuur. I just loved women’s voices of all kinds.

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You are here

Hey, you. Yes, you, reading this. You are here. You are interested in writing. Why not write something? It doesn’t have to be the world’s greatest 50 words, it just has to be something. Write something, anything. That’s what strengthens that writing muscle. That’s what frees your monkey mind from being so critical. Just write!

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Yellow

Dan crouched behind the leafless lilac bush. He quickly rolled up 5 new snowballs. His mittens were soggy but he hardly noticed.

“Come out, you yellow bellied coward,” Tom called.

Snowballs at the ready, Dan stepped out and began to fire missiles at Tom, who was next to the garage. “Take that, you villain!” Dan shouted. Tom ran an evasive zigzag across the snow. He carried a giant snowball – as big as a basketball. It was aimed straight for Dan’s head.

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Red

“Aren’t we lucky?” she said. The sun lit the sky with red and orange and yellow in a blazing sunset over the ocean. She sat on a lounge chair on the balcony of her Greek hotel with a glass of wine in her hand. She looked at Gretchen and smiled.

Gretchen raised a pistol with a silencer and aimed it at her. She . . .

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Orange

Snow closed the road. The radio said there were people working to clear it but we might be sitting by the side of the highway for quite a while. My spouse smiled at the kids. “At least we won’t get scurvy. We have that bag of oranges in the trunk. And a carton of strawberries!”

“And blankets,” I added.

Their only concern was that they couldn’t get a signal on their phones.

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Process

You asked about my writing process. I work best very early in the morning. I write quickly, whatever comes to mind. I go back hours later. That’s when I look for passive verbs – I’m terrible about passive verbs. I rearrange sentences and paragraphs. I add detail. Then I leave and go back hours later and do the same proofing and editing again. Maybe by then I think it all makes sense and I move on to the next thing.

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Love

I would love to go to London with you. We could use my frequent flyer miles.

What?

Well, yes, I think they can be transferred.

You and who? You want to go to London on my miles but you don’t want to go with me?

What?

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The Best of Times

“I wish I could go back to that time in my life, the best of times, and live it all again.”

Her companion wheeled her chair closer. “Oh, when would that be?”

“I guess in my early 30s. When my children were young.”

“That was a happy time for me, too,” her friend said. “I was so madly in love with my children.”

“Yeah. Great grandkids just aren’t the same. I mean, I love them, but . . . ”

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