Writing 101: Be Brief

Be brief

You stumble upon a random letter on the path. You read it. It affects you deeply, and you wish it could be returned to the person to which it’s addressed. Write a story about this encounter.

Today’s twist: Approach this post in as few words as possible.

Walking down the sidewalk I spot a letter crumpled in a ball on the ground next to the mailbox. I guess whoever wrote it changed their mind about mailing it. I open the envelope and read the letter inside. Turns out it’s a Dear John letter. Looks like it’s better off on the ground.

Buyers, Beware? (#NaBloPoMo)

Buyers, Beware?

The year is 2214, and your computer’s dusty hard drive has just resurfaced at an antique store. Write a note to the curious buyer explaining what he or she will find there.

Dear future antique computer buyer. If you’re reading this then I’m long gone and all that is left of me is the million+ pictures on this hard drive, and also a back up copy of my blog. You’ll want to read that if you want to know what it was like to be a woman living in the 21st century. While the internets was full of lolcats, my computer is full of a random assortment of all the things that were important to me. Photos documenting my life from the time that I bought my first digital camera and met / dated/ married my husband are on here. There are also a bunch of pictures of about a dozen pee sticks that pretty much started off my babymaking years. Sorry about that. I dried them off before I photographed them, I promise.

You’ll find a crap-ton of pictures of my children, from their first ultrasound photos, up through their childhoods as they grew, got married (or not) and were blessed with children of their own. I’m proud to say that I probably have more pictures of my grandkids on here than of my own kids, but that’s only because the new Mind’sEye(TM) technology let me take pictures and video of literally everything I saw by the time I was in my senior years. As a matter of fact, you’ll also find the beginnings of my extensive portfolio of work documenting the daily lives of ordinary people and how they lived. I became pretty good at it over the years. You could probably Google the entire collection if you wanted (is Googling still a thing?) or you could visit the permanent exhibit they have of my work at the AGO (is the AGO still a thing?)

Look deep enough in the files and you will probably find 20 different versions of my resume that tracks my work experience before I became an artist. I used to work with words more than pictures back in the day, but all those words led me to where I ended up so I guess that English Lit degree wasn’t a waste after all.

I also have my library of music on this hard drive. You’ll notice that most of it is music from the 1980’s, I won’t apologize for that.

And you’ll find my extensive collection of audiobooks and e-books on this hard drive. I was a voracious reader, I loved losing myself in other people’s stories.

Anyways, dear old computer lover, thank you for reading this intro. I hope you enjoy what you find here, I certainly had a good life collecting all of it.

And if it’s not too much trouble, please send a copy of this hard drive to my descendants. I would love for them to have it.

Yours truly,


Writing 101: Serially Lost

Write about a loss: something (or someone) that was part of your life, and isn’t any more.

This doesn’t need to be a depressing exercise; you can write about that time you lost the three-legged race at a picnic. What’s important is reflecting on this experience and what it meant for you — how it felt, why it happened, and what changed because of it.

Today’s twist: Make today’s post the first in a three-post series.

It’s hard to believe I used to have so much spare time on my hands that I used to spend hours of it just reading or watching tv or playing video games. Used to be a time that I would sleep in until 1pm on Saturdays. My then boyfriend, now husband couldn’t comprehend how a person could sleep half the day away. It took some effort, had to get up once or twice to pee, but somehow I managed. So much sleeping in back in the day. I used to have time to do stuff after work like go to the gym or wander around the mall looking for nothing. Remember hanging out at the mall? There was even a time when I would plan my weekends around which bars or clubs I would go dancing at. It wasn’t unusual for me to start the evening at 10pm and dance until the lights came on. I was queen of the last call.

I remember what it was like to read a book until the early hours of the morning. Never mind the fact that I had to get up for work or school the next morning. I remember what it was like to play a video game so long and hard that I had calluses on my fingers and thumbs from those damned unpadded controllers. I know what it’s like to wear out a mouse just clicking away on some computer game or another. So many hours playing, reading, relaxing. So much time.

Spare time is a thing that doesn’t exist for me any more. Every moment of my waking day is accounted for. Wake up, prep for work, get the kids out the door, work, get everybody home, dinner, bedtime, rinse, repeat. I’ll be dammed if I can find the time to play a video game for any uninterrupted length of time. Gone are the days when I could hand my kid a disconnected controller and let him think he was playing along. He’s a smart cookie now, something about wanting to collect all the coins on his own has changed the way I game.

If I want to watch a tv show, it better be PVRd because I’ll be making frequent use of the pause button and it will take a minimum of three times as long to watch whatever I’m trying to watch. Read a book made of actual paper? Forget it. It doesn’t have any picture therefore before I even get half way down the first page I will have to answer 72 questions about why I’m reading a book with no pictures and “that doesn’t make any sense mama!”.

Now, if I sleep in until 7am I consider that a win. I listen to audio books while I wash dishes and commute to work, and I read review of all the latest games that come out, thinking wistfully about days gone by. My motto these days is to always be doing more than one thing at a time, that way everything gets done. Not well, mind you, but at least it’s done.

I pick my battles.