Post for 6/27/2014

We were given till Monday, so I pushed it to Sunday.   Now back to your regularly scheduled blog post.


What is my most precious possession?  That is a deep and weighty question.  It can also be quite a delicate one.  The question itself stymied me.  How do you define a precious possession?  I tried to ask myself if there is a fire, what would I absolutely need to get out of the house or I would regret it for the rest of my life.  Of course the gut reaction was to say my wife and children, but that is a bit problematic.  I don’t own them, so they are not technically a possession.  I mean I did donate half the DNA to make my girls, but they are half my possession at best.  Then again, can you truly possess a person?  You used to be able to, but that was a while back and would be frowned on in today’s society, unless there is a safety word and consenting adults involved.

Okay, so on the same line of reasoning I would not count my animals.  I do own them, and I would be financially harmed if they did something and I was sued, but most of the time I feel they own me, and not the other way around, so scratch them off the list.  (I own two black cats, which makes the end of the last sentence quite funny.  Sorry, but I wanted to share how punny I was. )

Alright, not the wife, not the kids, and not the pets.  That definitely leaves a lot of inanimate objects.  Where do I go next?  Well there is stuff that I currently have at home from work.  I would want to get that out of the house so I wouldn’t have to pay to replace it.  Nah, that doesn’t really count either.  Oh, and I promise to get all of it back soon, I promise, if you are reading this from work.

Let’s see, so an inanimate object, that is not from work, that I would regret for the rest of my life if it went up in flames.  That is the rub.  With the advent of cloud storage, everything I have at the house is stuff.  The things I create are on the web.  That is what I would miss if it was lost.  I once lost a musical I was working on when the hard drive bricked.  I still have most of the music, but the plot and parts of the play are gone.  I have never sat back down to try to rewrite it yet.  I will someday, but right now I am trying to find my most prized possession.

Now here is a twist.  What if my greatest possession could be me turning into a ghost and possessing another person.  That would be fine since it wouldn’t be buying another human being.  Of course that would mean I would be supernatural and or a ghost, making me not all human, so the creepiness of humans owning humans wouldn’t be there.  Of course, since I am not supernatural yet, this is also a nonstarter, but I did say yet.  There is still hope.  I once started a story about a man who dies and becomes a ghost, maybe that counts.  No wait, that was also on the bricked hard drive.  ARG!  This is why I love cloud storage.  Besides, I know at least one or two people from the NSA (okay computers, but I can dream) read everything I put up there, so it is almost like I am a published author.

I could say I am already in possession of myself.  I would very much want to get that possession out of a fiery situation.  Do you really possess yourself?  It so, can I sue to get out of that possession?  Would that be weird if you were found at fault with yourself?  Would that open up too many questions?  Have I already asked too many questions?  What about if there is one more?  Should I just move on?

Okay, I think I have it.  My most precious possession is something I would want to save from a fire, but that would be secondary.  My favorite possession is my humor.  I mean my faith, right?  No humor.  I can profess faith, and have faith, but possession means a whole other level when it comes to faith.  We would be back to ghosts and daemons, right?

Hopefully after all this you will agree that I should save my sense of humor.  If not, watch out when I get that whole supernatural thing going.  Then you’ll wish you had agreed with me.  Oh, and ignore that wet spot on the floor.

Prompt for 6/27/2014

Tell us the story of your most-prized possession.

It’s the final day of the challenge already?! Let’s make sure we end it with a bang — or, in our case, with some furious collective tapping on our keyboards. For this final assignment, lead us through the history of an object that bears a special meaning to you.

A family heirloom, a flea market find, a childhood memento — all are fair game. What matters is that, through your writing, you breathe life into that object, moving your readers enough to understand its value.

Post for 6/26/2014

“Stay thirsty my friends,” says the most interesting man in the world as he tries to sell me beer to drink.  “Stay hungry” is a catch phrase for Cooking Channel, a station devoted to the creation and consumption of food.  You know what?  One of the greatest joys you can have on this planet is being satisfied.  You disagree?  Go have sex and then stop in the middle.  What is that you feel my friend?  Frustration?  Anger?  Desire to find completion?  Yeah, nothing good I can guarantee you, unless you are trying to be 100% sure you will not get pregnant.

So why tell me to be hungry and thirsty?  How is that a good message to me.  If you were crawling through a desert with an empty canteen would you want to be told, “Stay thirsty my friend.”  I think you would take your canteen and smash it into the most interesting man in the world’s face and tell him to show off how interesting it is to breathe through a flat nose.  Breathe deeply my friend.  And if someone who was showing me food, helping me with how to prepare food, and then describing how great it is tells me to stay hungry, I would never want to go out with that person ever again.

We human beings desire to find fulfilment.  Why climb Everest?  Not to stay climbing my friends.  It is because it is there.  It is because it is an accomplishment.  It SATISFIES a need, a desire, or even something as trivial as a whim.  We want completion.  Why do you have to catch them all, to make it complete.

Now I know there are a lot of people who don’t need to make things complete, or climb Mount Everest, or desire to break the most interesting man in the world’s nose.  I don’t think there a lot of people who don’t drink when they are thirsty, or eat when they are hungry if they have the ability, or are not sick due to alcoholism or an eating disorder or another debilitating condition.  Human beings want to know what it means to feel sated.  They want to be not thirsty.

These tag lines then become a curse.  They are produced by a culture that is focused on the accumulation of stuff and prestige.  We are taught if you are not hungry enough we will not do well, but I counter with you should know when enough is enough.  You want to accomplish a goal, and set a new one, but savor the accomplishment.  It is a powerful feeling, a great drug.  Be proud of what you have done.  Pat that tummy.  Whistle through those wet lips.  And most of all…

“Find satisfaction my friends.”

Prompt for 6/26/2014

Today is a free writing day. Write at least four-hundred words, and once you start typing, don’t stop. No self-editing, no trash-talking, and no second guessing: just go. Bonus points if you tackle an idea you’ve been playing with but think is too silly to post about.

Post for 6/25/2014

I sit here on my porch at least a couple of hours a day.  My mom won’t buy an Xbox or PlayStation.  She tells me it’ll rot my brain.  She keeps telling me that if I want to be a writer I have to be able to capture life.  So I watch people come and go, laugh and cry, kiss and fight.  My friends, what few of them I have, call me a peeping Fred.  I tell them when I get published I’ll mention them in my forward as the chumps who played Xbox and PlayStation instead of learning about life.  I still would rather play, but I want to be able to sit for a week, so I listen to mom.

She is right you know, my mom.  I think most of the time my neighbors should be on TV they can be so entertaining.  Not many of us have cars, so there is always people outside.  Of course that could be the cockroach problem as well, but hey, my sister wants to be an entomologist, so she is getting job training as well.

Old John Marley comes wandering down the street and I know things are about to get good.  He owns most of the block, but you would never know it.  The only time he visits his little slum is when it’s time to put someone to the curb.  My mom was barely able to keep us in our place last time he came calling.  She had been a little short on money since her habit kicked in.  Don’t ask, she says she is over it.  She took him inside and kicked me out of the house.  By the time the cops got there Marley had said they had settled the differences.  He took a bit of hell from the cops, but Marley had left happy, and my mom didn’t seem too bad off afterward.  She told me she gave up her habit to get rid of him.  I don’t know any better, after all I’m only twelve.

So old John Marley stops across the street, right in front of Mrs. Pauley’s house.  She is the resident crazy lady minus the cats.  She had lived there for like forever, at least forty years.  She had like six kids, all boys who used to try to hang with my mom.  She told me they had a bit of the crazy like their mom.  Mr. Pauley used to keep her mostly in line, but he passed away about three months ago.  I had to go to the calling hours dressed in a tie.  I think ties were created by the devil.  Put on something for church or a funeral that you can get killed with easy if someone wanted to.  I mean, come on people.

After Mr. Pauley’s death, Mrs. Pauley pretty much lost reality.  She would come out on her steps and yell to me how one day she was just going to make this whole place disappear.  She would tell me in her loud six-pack a day voice that no one gave a damn about her anymore, so she might as well disappear.  She was going to show us all a trick or two then.

I would laugh at her and ask her if she had a habit too.  Mrs. Pauley would wave her finger at me and tell me just wait, one day I’ll give you something to write about.  I stopped laughing at that.  I didn’t tell anyone that I wanted to be a writer.  I mean, I would get harassed even more than I did now.  Then I figured my mom must have told her as she walked the street.  But still.  Mrs. Pauley would then wink at me and pick up an ‘elixir’ that smelled of cheap beer my friends tried to make me drink, but even stinker.

Marley waves at me.  I could see him look past me to see if my mom was home.  I just keep on my blank stare since that keeps me out of the most trouble.  I just hope he doesn’t try to talk to me.  Especially if he wants to ask me about my mom, that still creeps me out.  He opens his mouth as if to help the devil answer my fear when God sends a police car to save me from sinning more than I usually do.  I will have to remember to say a prayer someday about that.

Before the police even get out of their car, the front door opens up and Mrs. Pauley is right there, dressed to the nines with a suitcase next to her.  I am surprised at how good she looks, without the crazy in her eyes.

“Good morning, John,” says Mrs. Pauley.  “I see you are prompt today.  I just need one more minute and you can have everything that sits on this piece of land.”  With that she waved at me.  “Remember how I said I would disappear.  You just watch.”

I can’t help myself.  “You said no one gave a damn about you,” I say. I point at Marley.  “He seems to care about you right now.”

Marley gives me a death stare, but Mrs. Pauley lights up like those Christmas trees I see in some people’s windows.  “Oh, just wait.  Everyone will be talking about me when I am gone.  I promise you that one.”  With that she turns and walks back into the house, closing the door.

As the police got out of the car the wind begins to rise up, stronger and stronger.  The sky gets dark and the rumble of thunder seems to surround everything.  I put my hands to my ears, trying to keep some hearing.  Marley tries to say something to the cops, but one of the cop’s hat flies off and he goes after it down the street.  The other guy has both hands on his hat and keeps shaking his head no to every hand gesture Marley is using.  Suddenly I swear a tornado pounds down, surrounding Mrs. Pauley’s house.  I swear to God it just drops out of the sky and stands there.  The train sound is so loud I am sure someone has punched my ticket and I’m about to go on a one way trip.  The cop who still has his hat ducks behind the cop car, and Marley is just flat on the ground making good with his savior just in case, you know.

I am just about to do the same as Marley when the tornado just rises straight up and bam, nothing is there except spurting water from where the house had been still attached to the water lines.  Good thing she had them turn her gas off a week before.  Marley lifts his head and says so many swear words I think he was trying for a world record, or at least score himself a rap deal.  The cop who had lost his hat comes back and assumes the “what the hell just happened here” pose, while the cop who had ducked behind the car looks like he needs to change his pants.  I take a mental picture and just began to laugh.

I hate living here, but the stories I will be able to write.

Prompt for 6/25/2014

The neighbourhood has seen better days, but Mrs. Pauley has lived there since before anyone can remember. She raised a family of six boys, who’ve all grown up and moved away. Since Mr. Pauley died three months ago, she’d had no income. She’s fallen behind in the rent. The landlord, accompanied by the police, have come to evict Mrs. Pauley from the house she’s lived in for forty years.

Today’s prompt: write this story in first person, told by the twelve-year-old sitting on the stoop across the street.

Today’s twist: For those of you who want an extra challenge, think about more than simply writing in first-person point of view — build this twelve-year-old as a character. Reveal at least one personality quirk, for example, either through spoken dialogue or inner monologue.

Post for 6/24/2014

The fear of not being enough of ‘x’,

Be it dad, husband, professor, or man,

Can leave me blinded in a hex,

Unable to follow God’s master plan.


There is always more I could have done,

Always more that could have been said.

Battles lost that could have been won,

More blood inside me that could have been bled,


A voice in the wilderness no one hears,

Trying to do right but instead do wrong,

This personifies all my fears,

My desire to show that I do belong.


But I recognize I am just one soul,

And to do my best needs be my goal.

Post for 6/23/2014

The concept of the lost and found is a funny one.  When it is a physical location in a store or school it really is a place of the lost.  The objects contained within have been discarded, either by accident or on purpose.  It is the accumulation of the debris of the place.  There is little emotionally invested in depositing objects into the lost pile.  One can think of it as the last gasp before being lost completely to history.

The found part is something the seeker brings to the equation.  In this space, finding the lost takes effort.  It is not passive and usually there is an emotional attachment, even if that emotion is the desire not to pay for a replacement.  The finder is on a quest and if successful will result in the joy of reconnection with something thought lost.  If the object of the search is not there, then the feeling of loss deepens.  Thus the found is really defined by the person seeking.

The act of seeking opens you up to finding not only the object sought, but the possibility of finding something else you had lost, but either forgot or missed losing it.  I find this true when just cleaning my house, which seems a place of perpetual loss.  (Having four kids under the age of eight will enable your house to swallow up objects as big as a small pony.  I consider my house one big lost and found.)  You go searching for a screwdriver and you find the book you had set down a month ago and never found again.  That discovery could make the original search worth the effort, even if you did not find the original object of desire.

How does this pertain to my posts about my daughter Angela you might ask?  The first post about her loss is here, and the second post about finding about how she changed the lives around her is here.

In terms of the lost box, it is a case of opposites.  There is a huge emotional investment in your children.  Their loss is devastating and can leave emotional scares that last a lifetime.  They are an accumulation of love, patience, and nurturing.  They are an investment that we hope pays off in the future.  We are hoping they make history instead of being a last gasp.  Putting my daughter in the “lost box” meant leaving a large part of me there as well.

Yet in that lost box I did find something that was there that I could take home.  I learned how Angela had impacted so many people’s lives.  That was the treasure I didn’t know I had lost.  I didn’t even know I had had it in the beginning. I had hints of it, but the magnitude was hidden behind her smile and laughter as she would fly in the air as we played.  I was able to use what I had found to mitigate some of the pain of the loss.  While it will never completely even the equation, it is what I found I had lost in the lost pile that I will treasure the rest of my life.

Prompt for 6/23/2014

Imagine you had a job in which you had to sift through forgotten or lost belongings. Describe a day in which you come upon something peculiar, or tell a story about something interesting you find in a pile.

For inspiration, ponder the phrase “lost and found.” What do you think about or visualize when you read this phrase? For an elementary schooler, it might be a box in their classroom, full of forgotten jackets and random toys. For a frequent traveler, it might be a facility in an airport, packed with lost phones, abandoned bags, and misplaced items.

On day four, you wrote about losing something. On day thirteen, you then wrote about finding something. So, today’s twist: If you’d like to continue our serial challenge, also reflect on the theme of “lost and found” more generally in this post.