On Writing

Description vs. Feeling

[aesop_image imgwidth=”500px” img=”https://wordsmithholler.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/10/bookshelf-413705_1920.jpg” credit=”Pixabay” align=”left” lightbox=”on” captionposition=”left” revealfx=”off”] Sometimes a writer decides to describe items; a bookshelf filled with classics, a few popular authors, and a dictionary. Sometimes a writer decides to describe feelings; a bookshelf of proven ideas, untested ones, and the long unvisited prefixes memorized years ago for the ACT exam. Descriptions of items provide a snapshot of the moment. An inventory a detective gives to a murder scene. Descriptions of feelings give the reader a moment…

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My Craft My Favorites Stories

A Moment of Pure Truth

Christopher stood over the maze of workday and eyed the ocean. A thin fog cloud floated passed his perch on the 45th floor. On the docks, sea lions barked at tourists. East Bay traffic sought a faster path, ships hauled electronics in and almonds out, and the blood-red sun sunk into late afternoon north of the Golden Gate. In the conference room, five people sat in executive chairs around a table. Their faces reflected gloomy…

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Tidbits

Other Worlds

[aesop_image imgwidth=”300px” img=”https://wordsmithholler.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/10/planet-519937_1280.jpg” credit=”Pixabay” align=”left” lightbox=”on” captionposition=”left” revealfx=”off”] Imagine Earth waits for a comet hit. Three days and all life dies. Meanwhile, Elon Musk announces a space ark capable of traveling vast distances at light speed. People rush to fill the spaceship with everything important for a last ditch escape. The ark takes off for a distant planet identical to Earth in every way. Scientists believe the trip will save life and make humans a multi-planet species. The…

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Conversations

Moments Before the Ambulance Arrives

A Conversation “We found him out here just laying on the sidewalk? “Nude?” “Yep. He looked dead.” “And then he jumped up?” “Yeah. Jumped off and started yelling.” “All that stuff about ‘do you know who I am?’ and “you should listen’? “I think he must have been a big shot once. I don’t think he is anymore.” “He ran for awhile and then collapsed?” “Strangest thing; seemed to run out of energy. He ran around, bumped…

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My Craft

The Headless Maze Buster

I stand in my spot three quarters into the mystery maze. I hide in the dark, jump out, and scare the bejesus out of the little kids. My partner, Larry, hides across from me. He stands under three feet tall and dresses like a clown. He tells everyone he is height-challenged. I call him a dwarf. The correct term, I think, is person of short stature. I like dwarf. Larry doesn’t mind. He knows he…

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On Writing

TBR Pile

All great writers read books. Alberto Manguel talked about reading: “Maybe this is why we read, and why in moments of darkness we return to books: to find words for what we already know.” I read too and I have quite a few books on my To Be Read (TBR) Pile, including: Stranger in a Strange Land, Robert A. Heinlein The Umbrella Man, Roald Dahl Tomorrowland, Steven Kotler Merle Haggard, The Running Kind, David Cantwell The Mermaid’s Sister,…

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Tidbits

Tracks

My favorite Trolley Problem involves making the track changer decide between killing one person, or chosing a path where another track changer waits to decide if he should kill one person or five. Of course, this goes on and on until we kill 10, 15, 20 or more! Build a roundabout and everyone dies. Kant (duty) vs. Bentham (common good). Or pick up the one person and add him to the five, then kill them all…

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My Craft My Favorites

Patiently Waiting in the Cupboard

The mouse sat with the candle light filling his eyes. The light flickered in syncopation opposite his heartbeat with a fast shadow or a flash of color. He drew closer to the sound of laughter. He could be patient. If he sat still enough, and long enough, their eating and laughter would end. Nothing would disrupt his patience. He had to believe it. His wait could last a while. A wooden spoon, dipped in tomato…

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Tidbits

Peaches

Cling. Yellow flesh. Sweet and tart. Melting vanilla ice cream on hot cobbler. Peanut butter and jam. Spicy cinnamon, cloves, and nutmeg. Schnapps. The red and orange caramel around the crust of a pie. Burning the roof of my mouth. Grandma’s kitchen. The sticky, sweet, smell of canning. They disgusted him. The black birds sitting on the wire looking down at the peaches. The small, green, fruit barely larger than a seed. Skin stretched around the…

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