Writing in the Margins, Bursting at the Seams

Writing in the Margins, Bursting at the Seams: March 2013

Saturday, March 30, 2013

Band Concert

"Kid's got Van Gogh's ear for music," Schmidt whispers. "I can blow my nose more musically."

The band director pulls a handkerchief from his pocket, shakes it open, and hands it to Schmidt.

This was written for this weekend's Trifecta Writing Challenge in which we were to include in idiom in a 33 word piece.


Thursday, March 28, 2013

Palm Sunday

Evangeline Witherstead pauses just outside St. Christopher's Catholic Church and turns her attention to the daffodils struggling their way out of the thick layer of mulch suffocating the flowers. Evangeline scowls. Frank Difazio always applies too much mulch to the church's flowerbeds. In fact, Frank does everything generously: Lavishly bowing at the children whenever they drop a quarter in the collection basket. Accidentally kicking over the kneeler behind him in the middle of the Consecration. Laughing too loudly at Father's jokes, occasionally even going so far as to append a loud clap when something really tickles his funny bone. Honestly, Evangeline thinks now. The man is a doofus.

"Aren't they beautiful, Evangeline?"

"I beg your pardon?" Evangeline turns to see Deidre Jacoby smiling inanely.
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Monday, March 25, 2013

Spring Rain From the Porch

Do you want me to tell you where the raindrops go when the sun shines bright and yellow busses are watery sidewalk reflections occasionally destroyed by bright red rubber boots?

Do you want me to explain deliberate cruelties, large and small? Thoughtless words. Torture and war. Poisons scattered without regard to outcome.

Do you want to understand that I have not done enough good so far in this life? Shall I rest easy in my discontent, knowing I never will because I value my own time too much to give it away generously?
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Saturday, March 23, 2013


Arrows rain from the sky, piercing dreams of rebellion. I remember when freedom was more than whispered memories birthed silently as we worked under the watchful water-masters, gathering drops of dew to quench the king's thirst.

This was written for this week's Trifecta Writing Challenge. We were to use the words remember, rain and rebellion to create a 36 word piece.


Friday, March 22, 2013

The Next Big Thing

Thanks to author Deb Batterman, author of Shoes Hair Nails and Because my name is mother, for tagging me in The Next Big Thing at Goodreads. You can read about it here.

Wednesday, March 20, 2013


"I dream in golds, shimmering rays of sunlight dappled with fairy dust." Lenora smiles and I almost feel sorry for her. "I dream in moonbeams."

Ray rolls up Lenora's left sleeve, ties a band around her upper arm, and places a red rubber ball in her hand. "Squeeze," he says, and she does.

The ball reminds me of that clown with the bright red nose and orange hair, two acute triangles protruding from either side of his head. "You remember Bozo, Ray?"
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Saturday, March 16, 2013

Shadow Man

At the periphery, shadow and soul step together, every move reflected, a reminder of missteps I've taken in this long, empty life. I walk into mist; sever self from my shadow; step alone.

http://www.trifectawritingchallenge.com This weekend we're asking for exactly 33 words inspired by the following photo.  Please remember that if you use the photo on your own blog, you must give proper credit (with clickable links).

Good luck!
Photo credit: Bérenger ZYLA / Foter.com / CC BY-NC-ND


Thursday, March 14, 2013


Two men. Pin stripe suits. White shirts, crisp and clean. Ties, one green, likely in favor of St. Patrick's day. The other red, with tiny flecks of gold. Bethany walks up to their table in her too-short shirt and sets two glasses before them, neatly arranging them to fit on the circular white coasters just above the knives. The man on the left straightens his silverware, shakes his head. "I still don't know how you did it, Bob."

Bob gives a throaty laugh. Sips from his drink and appraises Bethany's legs.

"Are you ready to order?"

Bob scans the menu and lifts a finger in the air. "Hang on...Don't go anywhere."
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Monday, March 11, 2013

Three Thousand Feet From the Clouds

Darkness falls outside. My wife spins the face of her watch from the inside of her wrist and settles it on knobby bone. "It's time."

I stand and plant a kiss on her bald head.

"Don't forget your net."

I give it a shake and force a smile. "Got it."


"Yep." I pat my pocket to show her. "Will you be OK?"

She nods and rubs her forehead. "Be careful."

"I will. See you later?" I hear the hope in my voice.

"Yes," she says.

Six years ago, the boss installed the elevator in my living room. My commute is a breeze: Three thousand feet up and into the clouds.

I am the prayer catcher.
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We're not permitted to look at the dresses until we're assigned a consultant, someone who inquires with eyebrows raised about color and size and price, of course. "Ask my daughter," I say, pointing. "I don't pay for prom."

Technically that's incorrect: My husband and I kick in a hundred bucks towards the occasion. But between up-dos and nails; shoes and makeup; flowers and a limo; tickets and alterations for a made-in-China gown costing between two- and twelve hundred dollars, our contribution is laughable.

We select an armload of dresses and are directed to the bank of rooms at the back of the store. Our consultant misspells my daughter's name on a pink sticky note in the shape of a heart and affixes it to her dressing room door.
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Friday, March 8, 2013


My parents utterly and completely believed in their right to have a place in this world. They laughed loudly; smiled broadly; closed every party while I sat like stone wondering where I fit.

This was written for this weekend's Trifecta Writing Challenge and is the first line to a short story I'm working on. The word was stone.

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Wednesday, March 6, 2013


The next morning, Gerri finds her brother sitting at the breakfast table in his usual spot at the usual time.

"What's new?" Frank asks, spreading a thin layer of butter across his toast, brown and crisp. The knife makes a satisfactory scratching sound. Frank's dogs gather at his feet in response, sniffing the air.

"Quit my job." Gerri pulls out a chair and flops into it, her eyes gleaming.

Frank lifts his eyebrows at this. "I hope you're joking."

"Nope." She grins and breaks off a piece from Frank's toast. It makes a loud crunching between her teeth not unlike the grinding of her teeth when her boss was being overly-demanding.

"I always eat two slices of toast in the morning, Gerri."

She shrugs. "So?"

"So you just took some. Now I won't get the full two slices."
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Tuesday, March 5, 2013


"Tell me that story again, Grandmother. The story about Billy and Cassidy."
I nodded and began.
Cousin Billy came back to the mountain one day showing off his Mustang lke he was the only one in the en-tire universe who'd ever acquired a new car. He pulled up beside Cassidy. Rolled down his windows with the touch of a button. "What's goin' on, Cassidy?"
Cassidy shrugged. Kept plodding her feet forwards like she had somewheres important to go. "Meemaw went missing, 'bout three months back."

 Read the rest here. 
Thanks for Studio 30+ for featuring me today.

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Meaningless Symbols

Carolyn Jamison pulls onto campus and finds a parking space in the bottom lot. She scans the front plates of the cars across from her, decorative, of course; Pennsylvania requires only back plates: Steelers. JESUS in the Keystone State. i > u.

She steps from her car, approaches this last plate, tries to juggle the various meanings in her head.

She assigns a number to the letter i (9) and another to the u (21). 9 > 21. No. The expression makes no sense mathematically.

I is greater than you. She frowns: Grammatical mistakes drive her mad. She slides the is over in her mind, like a Chicklets-gum square from one of those plastic picture puzzles, inserting the word am in its place. I am greater than you.

The expression is heavy and mean and ugly. She glares at it. As she watches, it falls at her feet, splinters apart and loses its meaning. Three harmless symbols splattered upon asphalt.

She steps on the >, crushing it beneath the heel of her boot, nodding, satisfied, as she hears it snap. She rearranges it into an uneven equal sign. She replaces the expression on the metal plate. I is equal to you.

She shrugs. Still incorrect grammatically, but at least the equation is balanced.

She smiles, hoists her messenger bag up on her shoulder and heads up the hill towards her algebra class.

This was written for this week's Trifecta Writing Challenge. The word was juggle.


Friday, March 1, 2013

The Pollinators

Six months after the bees disappeared, the homeless did too.

They planted us in the fields; Taught us to see the invisible...gather impossibilities...guarantee your survival.

We are the pollinators.

Without us, you starve.

This was written for this week's Trifecta Writing Challenge. We were to write a first person narrative in 33 words. 

I heard this story on the radio this morning.