The Cookbook

It was 60 years old, that cookbook. You know, the one with the red checkered cover like a tablecloth. The pages were falling out of the binder. Some pages were greasy with use, others were untouched. I found what I wanted in the section on pancakes and waffles. Yes, exactly what I remembered – mama’s pancakes. I pulled a big bowl . . .

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Life Changing

In my long lifetime I’ve been through many life changing events. An early one I recall was missing the school bus at age 6. I remember running after it yelling, but it went on without me. I don’t think I’ve been late to anything since then.

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Passive

My brain works in passive voice. Words fall onto the page in passive voice. I finish a first draft and spend the next 17 sweeps through it changing verbs. I never fix them all. I don’t even see them. What’s your writing bugaboo?

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In My Day

Out the door, on the bike, and gone. Go anywhere in 5 minutes and be back home before my mom knew I wasn’t there. But it didn’t matter where I was, because the town was so small the whole place was my own personal backyard. Now when I leave my doorstep and close the door on my family I walk into a crowded world where . . .

Write something. You. Yes, you.
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A Bright Sunny Day

When I was a kid there was a DJ on the La Junta, Colorado radio station everyone listened to. He would greet us many days by announcing that it was a bright, sunny day. That was the phrase he always used. I thought it was kind of funny that he used the same phrase so often, but looking back on that old memory I finally appreciate his cheerfulness and encouragement. Let’s have a good day today. After all, it’s a bright, sunny day.

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Freight Train

Where I grew up most of the freight trains came carrying sugar beets. Open topped cars filled to almost overflowing with big white beets. When the sugar factory on the north side of town was operating, the stink filled the whole town. But like the cattle feed lots that joined in the stink, nobody complained about ‘the smell of money.’

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Curse

My grandmother didn’t curse. When really frustrated she would spell out S-H-I-T. Maybe she cursed when I wasn’t around. But her son, my father, couldn’t get through a sentence without some sort of curse word. He used to brag that he talked like a drunken sailor. He never said a goddam thing that didn’t need a strong curse. And me, what position do I take on cursing?

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As a Kid

As a kid I loved shooting rubber bands and spit balls at people. I thought it was funny to tell other kids they had spiders in their hair. I liked calling random people on the phone and asking if the refrigerator was running. That goofy sense of humor went away. Or maybe it turned into a love of puns, obscure literary references, and strange science stories.

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The Best Day

Were there days that felt like the best day of your life? The day your children were born? The day you got married? The day your book was published? The day you survived a car wreck? Or maybe just waking up and getting out of bed is a great day. Another day to be your best day ever.

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The Human Condition

The human condition is an inexplicable mass of contradiction. For example, our ability to believe the most ridiculous things in spite of masses of evidence to the contrary. For example: If I put the cigarettes on the TV instead of by my chair I won’t smoke as much. If I don’t activate my credit card I won’t buy so much crap. If I don’t buy snack food I will lose weight. If . . .

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