Sea Smoke

Can you see sea smoke
Rising from the waves?

Can you see green sea smoke
From the blue sea shore?

Can you see sea green sea smoke
As it slides from side to side?

Can you see split pea sea green sea smoke
As it rises from the ocean floor?

September 2019 Writing Prompts


A Week Of Non-Aqueous Rain

Dear Diary,

…… You know what? I hate starting every entry with Dear Diary. It makes me sound like I should be wearing a hoop skirt or a poodle skirt or a bustle skirt. It sure doesn’t sound a thing like me.

Well, anyway. I figure out how to start my next entry later. I have bigger news to talk about than “Dear Diary” dramas. This whole week we’ve been having nothing but non-aqueous rain. Hahahhaa! Isn’t that a great phrase? I thought so. Non-aqueous rain. Sounds like dirt should be falling from the sky or something. Rocks maybe.

Sooooo, what does it really mean? Ehh, means rain that isn’t real rain. I’ve kept a whole list of all the non-aqueous stuff falling out of the sky. give me a minute and I’ll find it.

…………………………………………………………….   ………………………………………………….   …………………………

found it!

Okay! So, here’s the list of weirdness we’ve been getting instead of rain:

Sunday – beef bouillon cubes. Some were all wrapped up in gold foil. Others were not wrapped at all

Monday – hedge clippers. Nothing special about them. Just…hedge clippers.

Tuesday – ping pong balls. That was a good one. Do you have any idea how hard it is to clean up that many ping pong balls? Here’s a clue – plenty hard.

Wednesday – boxes of Godiva chocolate. Now, everyone got all excited about that. No one minded cleaning up that mess.

Thursday – Bon Jovi cds. Some were in their plastic covers. Others weren’t. I really want to know how those got up into the sky. I really do.

Friday – buckets of milk. Literally buckets filled with milk. Well. I guess they weren’t too filled. Especially when they hit the ground. The colony of feral cats living in town loved that one. No one else did.

Saturday – boxes of computer cords. That was a disappointment. After everything else that had come down, I was hoping for something like….I don’t know. Hershey’s chocolate, at least.

So, here we are at Sunday. And the sky is looking overcast.

Who knows what will come falling down this time?

Talk to you later. Or…I don’t know. Write in you later.


September 2019 Writing Prompts


Fire Whirls

Fire whirls like a dervish
in a caftan of red and gold silk.

Fire twirls like a ballerina
in a tutu of red and orange taffeta.

Fire curls and spirals like a figure skater
in a gown of red and blue sequins.

Fire is a dancer who is dangerous.
Fire is a dancer who is out of control.

Yet, fire is a dancer who can enchant and enthrall
in her gown of red and gold
red and orange
and red and blue sparkling and sparking.

Yet, fire can kill with a look
with just a touch
with a heartless laugh
as she dances her dance.

September 2019 Writing Prompts

Finding Freedom At Last!

Author’s Note: This story is based on a picture I saw on Lisa Lancaster’s latest post. It spoke to me and I just needed to write a story to go with it. So, here it is!  😀

The creature had been born in darkness and black water. So, it yearned for light and land.

The yearning was there inside of the creature from birth. Yet, the creature’s mother discouraged any exploration of their dark home.

“Darkness is safety. Darkness is life. Light is not for us. Light is unnecessary.”

“But why do we have eyes? Why do we see? What is that for?”

“It is only for hunting and for guiding us through the dark. Our eyes serve no other purpose.”

The creature understood her words.

It did not believe her. And the yearning burned inside.

The yearning pulled and pinched and demanded.

The creature tried to obey its mother. Yet, the yearning was strong. So fearsomely strong.

“What is the worst thing that could happen if I search for the light?”

“The light is cruel. The light pierces. The light blinds. Do not seek it out. Stay in the dark. Stay here with me. We will be safe inside this eternal night.”

“No. I need to find it. It calls me. It beckons. I can’t keep ignoring it. I need it.”

“No! It is madness! Stay with me! Please!”

“NO! I will be free of this dark!” The creature slid into the water and swam away from her.

She jumped in and pursued.

The creature’s bioluminescent eyes lit up its surroundings and broke through the water’s gloom.

It swam as fast as it could, barely even knowing where it was going. It just knew that it would find its way out. Somehow it would find freedom.

“COME BACK!” Her voice rippled and surged in the water.

The creature clenched its teeth and pushed through.

Keep swimming. Don’t give in. Don’t give up. Keep going forward. Find light. Find freedom. It’s there. It’s out there. I will see it at last. I will.



The water took on a different smell, a different feel, a whole new look. Its darkness changed. It mellowed. It lightened. It brightened.

It felt good. It smelled delicious. It tasted like fresh water. It wasn’t stale anymore.


It tasted like life. Surprising new and wonderful life. Nothing to compare it to. Exciting, ecstatic, electric life.

The creature raised its head above the water and there.


The light was there.

The light poured in through the mouth of a high ceilinged cave. The cave that had been the creature’s home for so long, for too long.

The creature listened for its mother’s voice.

She was silent.

It looked back at the dark.

She wasn’t there.

She had left him.

She couldn’t face the light.

She’d given up.

The creature turned its face back to the light. Its eyes glowed blue in the semi-dark.

I could go or I could stay.

It’s my choice.

The creature slipped seal-like into the water and swam into the light.

The Daily Spur Presents…The Steamed Mountains.

The Steamed Mountains…

It isn’t the most imaginative name. Certainly not for a place of such great natural beauty. The grass is a shockingly sharp shade of green. There is nothing to compare its vibrancy to. No paint color. No object. It is its own special green. No one and nothing else owned it. The lake is glacier blue, yet its temperature stays at a consistent 76 degrees.

Then, there are the mountains.

The Steamed Mountains…Such a pathetic, small minded name for such majesty and mystery.

The mountains tower over the valley in uneven peaks and ridges, in smoke-concealed ledges. It is a commonly held belief that the mountains have different air than the rest of the valley, a different atmosphere. It’s often been said that if you could cross to the other side of the mountains, you would attain all of the world’s wisdom. You would become like God.

Yet, something about the mountains keeps even the bravest person cowed. It’s an unspoken thing that those mountains were not to be approached except for the deepest need. For, though the other side of the mountain could grant all of the world’s wisdom, it could also bring death. It could lead to insanity.

Yet, here I am at the foot of the mountains.

The mist swirls around my feet as if it’s waiting for the right moment to trip me up.

I look up at the forbidding mountain. It’s so much taller than me, so much older and wicked than I could ever become. It would be easy and natural and understandable to back out and run back to my home.

But I think about my father lying in bed. So weak. So helpless. The Acadian whipflower lives in the heart of the mountain. It will cure my father and strengthen him.

It would be so easy to give up before I can even start.

But my father is good.

My father has shown his love and concern for me in 10,000 different ways over the years. And I know that if our roles were reversed, he wouldn’t question it.

He would climb any mountain for me.

He would face any danger.

Any possibility of madness.

He would save me.

And I know.

I can’t turn back now.

I readjust my backpack.

And I climb the mountain.

The Daily Spur Presents…Don’t Look Back.

“Don’t look back, no matter what you do. No matter where you go, don’t look back.” Grinsha Mineo’s voice echoed in Ashley’s mind as she left the rocks and the cliffs and the mountains of the Frenya Kingdom.

Don’t look back.

It was simple advice. Easily followed. Easily obeyed.

No matter what you do. No matter where you go.

The people in the Frenya Kingdom were kind and compassionate, but Ashley could never truly mesh with them.

They weren’t her family.

They weren’t her home.

Her home…her real home was on the other side of the Great Divide.

Her home. Her family. Her entire life waited for her on the other side of the Great Divide. There was nothing holding her on this side.

Yet, her clothes felt tight and strange on her body. She had grown so accustomed to the Frenyau’s light, billowy clothes. She had felt so ridiculous when she had first put them on. They were so billowy. They had made her feel like a clown.

Ashley approached the whispering pines of the Dishali Forest. “I adjusted to their weird clothes.” She thought about the clothes hanging in her closet and folded up in her dresser.

They seem so foreign to me now. Can I adjust to wearing them again? But that isn’t the only thing that will take some adjusting.

I now know how to fight for my life. I know how to kill, how to clean and care for a sword, how to treat injuries, how to adjust.

Always how to adjust. Seems like that’s all I’ve been doing since I got her. Adjust to this new world. Adjust to this new way of life. Adjust to so many things.

Can I adjust myself back to who I was before? Can’t I just forget everything and be the stupid, vapid girl I used to be?

“Don’t look back, no matter what you do. No matter where you go, don’t look back.”

“No matter what I do. No matter where I go. It seems so simple and straightforward, but Grinsha was never straightforward. So, what does it mean?”

She slowed to a halt.

No matter what I do.

No matter where I go.

Don’t look back.

She raised her head. “Don’t look back no matter what I do or no matter where I go. So, no matter what I do, whether I stay or go home, I can’t look back at what I’m leaving behind.”

So? What do I leave behind?

Which one should I really choose?


But can I really go back home after everything I’ve lived through? Am I even still me?

Don’t look back.

Don’t look back.

Keep looking forward. But which way is forward? I’m standing here in the middle. Between the mountains and the trees.

Which way is home?

Will my family even recognize me? “I wouldn’t recognize me. I’ve changed. Inside and outside, I have changed.”

She turned around and looked back at the Frenya Mountains.

She remembered her first arrival.

She remembered her first training session.

She remembered Nicolo.

“He would have told me to stay.”

I want to stay.


She stared long and hard at the mountains, taking in every detail. So many small details.

So many memories.

“But my family probably thinks I’m dead. Maybe I am dead. The Ashley I was before…she isn’t me.”


Ashley turned around and considered the long narrow path before her.

She remembered her family.

Their shared laughter.

Their mixed squabbles.

Her parents.

Her siblings.

Staying up all hours to talk to her oldest sister about anything and nothing.

They deserve to know that I’m alive. I have to let them know that I am still alive.

Ashley walked towards the dense forest.

She smiled as she remembered her first victory against Nicolo. He’d been so astonished.

“It’s a memory I will never forget.”

If I look back.

Maybe I will always look back, no matter where I am.

No matter where I go, maybe I will always look back and remember this place.



Noctilucent clouds are…some sort of weather thing that involves clouds and ice crystals and…and…

Nathan sighed and set his pen down. “I am so going to flunk.” He picked up his pen and scratched out that sentence. He tried again.

Noctilucent clouds are a natural phenonamon…penominnin….phenmonoamin…

He scratched out that line too.

Noctilucent clouds are clouds that are shiny and pretty and ice crystally and they never happen in this part of the world so whoopty-do about them! Mlah!

He crumpled up his paper and threw it at the wall. It bounced off and landed on his bed.

He sighed and slumped in his chair. “Why did I have to be given this assignment? Why couldn’t it have been given to one of the dumb girls? It reeks of girlyness. Crystals and clouds and all that dumb stuff that I don’t give a whoop for.”

He slumped lower. “But that don’t change the fact that I have to write about the dumb things.” He gave his research books a lackluster glance. The sight of those thick books all stacked on top of each other squashed his soul.

“How can they expect me to write about something I don’t care about?” An idea dinged in his head. “I don’t care about it. But.” He sat up straighter. “What if? What if I make it something I care about?” He grabbed the assignment sheet and read it over. “noctilucent clouds…essay…500-1000 words…”

“I can do this.” He opened the “Science Is Wonderful For Kids And Adults Too!” book and flipped quickly to the page he’d bookmarked.

“Noctilucent clouds, or night shining clouds, are tenuous cloud-like phenomena in the upper atmosphere of Earth. They consist of ice crystals and are only visible during astronomical twilight. Noctilucent roughly means “night shining” in Latin.”

He grinned and rubbed his hands gleefully. “I can definitely work with this.”

Nathan shoved the book aside. He didn’t need to do so. It just felt good to push it out of the way. He set his pen to paper and wrote, Noctilucent means ‘night shining’ in Latin. This seems like a pointless thing to point out. Kind of a whoop! Who cares? kind of detail. But trust me. It’s important. It’s important because that was the alien girl’s name…Noctilucent.


Nathan sat at his desk, nervously biting his lower lip as the teacher read over their essays.

I should have written it on mom’s fancy blue stationary. It would go against the rules, but at least I’d know where mine’s was in the whole stack. Is she reading it now? What is she gonna think about it? Is she gonna hate it? Is she gonna flunk me for not writing a serious essay? Or is she gonna give me extra credit for being creative?

Somehow that doesn’t seem like a teacher thing to do. She read my 2000 word essay and frown and flunk it. She’ll flunk it so hard people on Mars will hear the sound of her flunking it. It will punch a hole in the ecosystem or whatever it is that usually gets holes in it.

Nathan gasped as she reached the end of the stack.

She wrote a very long note on that last one.

Nathan watched the clock tick and tick and tick and she kept writing.

Please don’t let that one be mine. PLEASE! Don’t let that one be mine. I’ll be good all the way from now through the end of Christmas break if only that one won’t be mine.

She set her pen down.

Nathan could feel the doom radiating out of his classmates. Or maybe it was just him sweating.

She pushed her chair back and stood.

She picked up the stack of papers.

All of the students collectively stopped breathing.

Nathan, however, stopped breathing and stopped swallowing.

I’m dead.

I’m doomed to be flunked.

I’m dead. her comments are going to kill me and I will be dead.

She started with the front row of students.

Ruthie Allen.

Kevin Deffnerst.

Grace Peterson.

Angelo Aminici.

Freddie Enns.

They all received their report without any comment. None from the teacher. None from them.

Ruthie, Kevin, Grace, Angelo, and Freddie nervously looked over their essays as the teacher moved on to the next row.

Nathan watched and waited for the protesting howls of dismay.

There were none. Maybe that was a good thing. Maybe the teacher just gave them a plain grade without comments. That was a good thing. Any kid knew that was a good thing.

Jimmy Jarrelson.

Nancy Winetts.

Maury Vinney.

Zack Quarn.

Larry Dwenego.

They all got their essays back.

The silence somehow became thicker and darker as that row read over their essays.

It’s bad, isn’t it? It’s all bad news.

Nathan gasped.


The teacher finally reached Nathan’s row.

Frank Dohorr.

Frank Cyne.

Frank Sweeney.

Frank P. Sweeney (no relation).

And then.

There she was.

Standing at his desk

Standing at Nathan Deffnerst’s desk.

His essay trembled in her hand as if it had been thoroughly thrashed by her red ink pen.

Nathan couldn’t swallow.

I’m gonna die.

I’m gonna die, choking on my own spit all because I can’t swallow.

The teacher gave him an expectant look.

He cleared his throat, startling all of the other kids.

He took his essay back.

She nodded and returned to her desk.

Nathan set the stack of papers upside down on his desk. If he couldn’t see what it said, it didn’t really exist. It was just his essay — innocent white paper and plain black ink.  Not a drop of red ink anywhere on the page.

But he knew he couldn’t avoid it forever.

The four Franks looked his way. They were waiting to see his reaction, which made Nathan wonder what she had written on their essays. Probably something horrible and scathing. The four Franks weren’t affected by scathing comments. So, their facial expressions told Nathan nothing.

Nothing whatsoever. He was vastly unprepared for the horrors waiting on the front of his essay.

He scrunched his shoulders as if to protect his poor essay from further slings and arrows being shot at its paper thin heart.

He turned the essay right-side up.

He stared and gaped.

The teacher had written in that fearsome red ink all over the blank space at the top of his essay.

It took his mind a few minutes to process the red inked words, This is a very entertaining take on the class assignment. You did go over the 500-1000 limit. You slipped into passive voice quite a few times. See the marked pages for further notes on that matter. I also highlighted several grammar errors and spelling mistakes. See the marked pages for my corrections. 

On a more positive note, I liked the ending’s poignancy.

I gave you a grade of B+ for not following the listed instructions, but I do hope that you will flesh this idea into a full story, perhaps even a novel. This idea deserves to be turned into a novel. If you have any questions regarding my marked comments, stop at my desk after class.

Nathan grinned.

I am going to laminate this and plaster it on my bedroom wall.

September 2019 Writing Prompts