Tag Archives: Reading

Bubble – A Short Story

She sat in the passenger seat with her bare feet on the dashboard with her knees bent up in front of her. Her hair was blown over her face as she turned to look at him. She could feel him looking at her, the sun glinting off of his aviator sunglasses. He smirked with slightly crooked teeth. She laughed.

She was 17 and in love. He was 18 and didn’t really know what he wanted, but she was too amazing to ignore. It was the summer and they were free.

They were on their way to the aquarium. Nineties’ rock was playing on the radio. She hated it, and yet she liked it just because it reminded her of him. He sang along with the ballads. It was his way of letting her know. She never really got it. She was too straightforward for that.

Neither of them saw the bride in the torn dress on the side of the road. They were in their own world, wrapped in a bubble. A bubble of brightness that blinded them like the reflection of the sun off the road. The white limo blended in with the blur. It was too late when the truck came into focus. It was too soon after the accident; there were still no police there to direct the cars around.

He saw it, but didn’t react. He didn’t want to break and startle her. He didn’t want to have her last feelings be ones of panic and fear. She deserved better. He kept singing to her. He took the last minutes he could to enjoy her as she sat with her head back, eyes closed, listening to his voice with a small smile on her pink lips.

No matter what he did, it would have been to late. He leaned back, gently took her hand, and closed his own eyes.

When he first opened his eyes they stung from the bright white. His eyes focused. She was there. Still smiling.

“Wake up, sleepyhead,” she put her hand on his. A scar that wasn’t there before ran from between her thumb and forefinger up past her wrist.

And at that moment, he knew what he wanted. Because if her smile wasn’t there, he knew he never really would have woken up at all.

 

The end.

He’s Back – A Short Story

The M&M’s I had just dropped into my mouth shot out again and ricocheted off my desk when I read the text message.

I was sitting alone at my desk. The window was open letting in the night breeze that smelled like pine after it came in off the trees across the street. Clothes I had meant to pick up lay crumpled on my floor and bed. It was late and the rest of my family was asleep, but I had an addiction to surfing the web at night. I wasn’t looking for anything specific so I always found something interesting.

The buzz of my cell phone on my desk shocked me a bit out of my web stupor, but that was nothing compared to the shock of what the message said.

He was home.

He was home and he was letting me know in a text message. You’d think that he would call me, would want to hear my voice. But then, you’d also think he would have called me as soon as he knew he was leaving that place in the desert… as soon as he was at the airport… as soon as he touched back down in New Jersey. But he got all the way back home until he text-messaged me. Waited until now to tell me he would be at my house in a few minutes.

I wasn’t ready for this. How could I deal with him now? After four months of being on my own. Alone. The first month of feeling empty, like I was missing my third arm or something. I could function, sure, but something felt wrong. The second month I got used to living without that extra limb. The third month I stopped writing everyday. I wrote only twice a week after that. It was too weird feeling like I was writing to myself. He didn’t seem to notice either way. I had only gotten three letters from him in the whole four months. I had only gotten two phone calls… the last one being about him having Joe pick him up at the airport instead of me. About how he wanted to spend his first day back with his friend instead of his girlfriend. Who he’d been dating for one and a half years. Who thought about him everyday he was in boot camp.

I guess that should have been a give-away. How do I have the right, after that, to be surprised that he didn’t even call to let me know he was coming home? His own girlfriend.

My phone buzzed again. He was at my house.

I was numb. I don’t really remember what happened. I answered the door and there he was, looking the same, smelling like cigarettes again already. And then he was gone. I was alone again after 15 minutes with the boy I waited four months for.

He had only come by to take back his heart and his XBOX.

 

The End.

The Spider and the Butterfly

Early one morning, Stella the spider decided she needed a new web. She had been using her old one for over two weeks now and it was looking a bit ragged. The recent rainy weather and latest bugs caught destroyed more sections than she cared to fix. A fresh start would be fun and reviving. She finished off the rest of her food and had a nice drink of water so she would be energized for her task. Then she began to work.

On a nearby bush, Tyrone the butterfly was just waking up from his metamorphosis. His chrysalis was beginning to crack and open. Soon, he was able to spread his brand-new wings for the very first time. They were purple and green and a little fuzzy. He thought they were beautiful and couldn’t wait to try flying with them.

Stella was busy, busy, busy spinning, spinning, spinning her intricate web. She paid a lot of attention to the construction so it would be strong.

Tyrone wasn’t very good at flying just yet. He was dipping and flipping and making turns that surprised even him. He was going to need more practice.

Just as Stella was finishing up a corner of her new web, Tyrone flew by and stumbled right into it, ripping it down from between the sturdy branches where Stella had been working. Her web had been strong, but not strong enough to survive a crash with a fully grown butterfly.

Tyrone landed in a heap on the soft moss that covered the ground. Stella was jostled from her perch and she, too, went tumbling to the ground and landed next to Tyrone. Tyrone’s fuzzy wings were covered in the silky, sticky webbing that had just been part of Stella’s beautiful creation.

She was stunned for a moment, surprised to find herself on the ground, a string of webbing still connected her to her web up above. She shook her head in surprise, and when finding her bearings, spotted Tyrone.

“You!” She shouted.

Tyrone looked up at the spider and was immediately filled with guilt.

“Oh, I’m sorry,” he said. “I didn’t mean to ruin your web. I didn’t mean to disrupt you at all. I’m new to flying, see? And I’m not very good at it yet. I didn’t have control there for a moment.”

Stella took a deep breath to calm herself. “I am very upset that my new web is ruined. I’ve been working very hard on it all day.”

“I’m sorry,” Tyrone said again. He wiggled and twisted to remove the silky web from his wings, but it stuck in places. “Is there anything I can do to help?”

Stella sighed. “No, I’m afraid not. Only a spider can spin her own web. I’ll just have to start all over again.”

“You… you’re not going to eat me, are you?” Tyrone asked.

“Oh, no,” Stella laughed. “I don’t eat butterflies.”

“Oh,” Tyrone looked relieved. “I’m glad to hear that. Do you know the best way for me to get this web off of my wings?”

“Hmm,” Stella said. “Probably just a good fly around. The wind should help blow it off. And anything else will be washed away with the next rain.”

“Thank you,” said Tyrone. “Thank you for the advice, even though I ruined your web.”

Stella sighed again. “It was a lot of work. I am very disappointed it’s gone. But there isn’t anything else to be done about it now. I just have to start working again.”

“I’m sorry,” Tyrone said again.

“I appreciate your apology,” Stella said. “But now I should be getting back to work.”

Tyrone nodded as Stella started to climb the thin thread of her web back up into the branches.

“Oh, I know how you can help,” Stella said as she paused her ascent.

“How?” Tyrone asked, eagerly fluttering his wings.

“You can practice, practice, practice your flying,” she said. Tyrone smiled. “Keep practicing until you are an expert flyer who won’t crash into and destroy my web again.” Stella smiled, too.

“I will,” Tyrone said. “And I’ll be extra careful to keep a wide berth around you and your web.”

Stella climbed up to continue spinning her web again.

Tyrone jumped up to continue his spinning flight again.

They lived on, near each other, in peace.

 

The End

There’s a Moose in the House! – A Short Story

Once upon a time there was a moose. He was a very big moose. He lived in the forest, where there was plenty of room for him. Even with all the trees and rocks and other animals, there was still plenty of room for this big, giant moose.

He wasn’t any bigger than a normal moose, really, but have you ever seen a moose? Generally, all moose are rather big. Bigger than horses, and I’m sure you’ve seen a horse.

But being so big was what made this moose so uncomfortable when he had found himself lost one day.

He didn’t know how it had happened, but the moose had wandered far from his woodsy home and ended up in a town full of houses. There were hard, black roads, and fast, metal cars, and open, grassy spaces, and lots of wooden houses. None of that was particularly appealing for a moose, so he began at once to try to find his way home.

He didn’t feel like he was doing a very good job of getting any closer to home, when he spotted a nice knobby piece of wood. He thought, “Maybe just behind there will be the forest, or at least the way to the forest, and I can find my way back to my favorite copse of trees at last.” So he pushed on the friendly-looking piece of wood.

But it wasn’t an ordinary piece of wood, even though it looked very natural. It was, in fact, a door. A door into somebody’s house.

The first thing our moose saw was a living room, only he didn’t know that’s what he was looking at. He saw a couch and a coffee table. He stepped right over the ottoman and almost caught his antlers on the overhead light. He saw the fireplace with some old, burned up bits of wood inside and didn’t like the look of that at all. He stumbled away from the fireplace as quickly as he could and bumped into the piano which made a loud, if not melodious, sound. Confused, he walked on.

He walked through a very narrow opening, which we know to be a hallway. And somehow he managed to get into a very small and shiny room. It was a bathroom. It was a rather smooth room so the moose was able to slide back around, but in doing so, his rump bumped the shower faucet and a sudden spray of cold water splashed on his back and he yelped with surprise and shuffled out of the bathroom away from the sudden rain shower.

“What a strange place,” the moose thought to himself as he walked back down the hall in the other direction. He found another friendly-looking piece of wood, but it wasn’t the door that he had come in through and that he hoped would lead him back outside. Instead, it led into a bedroom.

There wasn’t much in this bedroom. There was a painting on the wall of a tree, but not any type of tree our moose had ever seen before. (It was a palm tree.) There was a desk and a dresser and a bed. Now, the bed looked big enough for a moose so our moose decided to investigate. He gently lowered himself down onto the bed and was pleasantly surprised by how soft and comfortable he found it. He nuzzled down in the soft, warm blankets and found himself so at ease that he fell asleep! He must have been tired; it was a long walk to the town from his home in the forest. He napped for two hours before he woke up, slowly opening his eyes and becoming very confused. He didn’t know this place or why he was there. Then he remembered that he had gotten lost and stumbled into this cramped space trying to find his way home.

Remembering his predicament made him even more homesick. He wanted more than ever before to get out of that place and back to the big, cozy woods with all it’s comforting sounds and lots of fresh mountain air.

So he carefully climbed out of the bed and wandered into yet another room in his search for a way out. And aha! He had found another door. He couldn’t push this one open, but had to pull it open by grabbing it with his big moose teeth. But instead of the opening to freedom behind that door, there was only a blast of cold air and some strange-smelling lumps (that’s food, to us). It wasn’t the way out, the moose sadly realized and nudged the door closed again.

But then, he turned around and saw another door! Excited, he trotted up to his and pushed with his nose. This time, pushing worked and he was greeted by another rush of air. But this rush of air was like a welcoming hug because it was fresh, outside air with the comforting smell of his forest home floating around.

The moose was very happy to the out of that tiny, cramped cave (which was actually a house) and outside again. He immediately started trotting along the road, up the hill, simply because going in that direction reminding him of climbing the mountains near his favorite copse of trees.

And it was a good choice, too, because after walking and walking and walking for a very long time along the road, the moose eventually came to his forest once more. He was delighted to see a familiar rock and then headed straight for his favorite spot from there. When he arrived, he felt so happy. And also very tired. He had walked for another long time since his nap and he needed more sleep. So he lied down on a nice, comfortable pile of crunchy leaves, soft needles, and springy moss for another nice, long rest.

 

The end.

The Horse Who Wouldn’t Nap – A Short Story

There once was a horse who loved to run and jump around his favorite field. There were rocks and logs in the perfect places for running around and leaping over. He would spend hours and hours out there, never stopping to rest, even though his mother said he really should.

The little horse didn’t understand why he had to stop. He was having so much fun and didn’t want to stop. Nothing else was as fun as running and jumping around those rocks and over those logs in that field. His mother always insisted, though.

One day, the horse didn’t listen to his mother and wouldn’t stop. He refused to take a break and rest like his mother wanted him to. He continued running and jumping and jumping and running.

What the little horse didn’t realize was that he was getting more and more tired. He noticed that he was starting to run slower, but he just thought he needed to try harder. He also felt himself getting more and more frustrated with himself, which made him angry. He didn’t think that stopping and resting would actually help him.

Still he refused to stop and rest. And then, when he tried to jump over a particular log, he didn’t make it all the way over. One of his legs hit the log and the little horse fell to the ground with a loud whimper. It hurt a lot.

The little horse’s mother came running to help him. She helped him walk back to their stable so he could lie down in the hay in his stall. His mother comforted him and helped his leg feel better, but she also reminded him that he probably wouldn’t have hurt himself if he wasn’t so tired and that’s why stopping to rest was important.

The little horse didn’t like being hurt. He was able to run or jump for days while his leg healed. He didn’t want something like that to happen ever again. So ever since that day, the little horse did as his mother asked, and took a break in the afternoon to have a nice nap so that he was properly rested and re-energized to have lots more fun and feel good for the rest of the day.

 

The end.

The Cat in the Garden – A Short Story

There once was a boy, who wasn’t really a boy. He was only 17 so he wasn’t a legal adult yet, but he was beyond boyhood. He never considered himself a teenager either. Being a teenager seemed to him to be a time of rebellious experimentation that he never got to experience. No, this boy, this man, had been living on his own since he was 15 years old.

His parents had died. Instead of going with the strangers from Social Services, he ran away. He didn’t run far, but they never found him. Maybe they never looked for him — there was no one around who would have checked in on the situation.

He’s been completely alone for over two years now. Two years may not seem like a long time to some people, but these years contained the growth of a new universe for this young man.

When he ran away, he didn’t go far. Just across town to the wooded area behind Public Works. He had grown up taking camping trips with his family and when he learned from Social Services that he wouldn’t be able to stay in his house, he figured the woods would be a good place to live.

He never stole anything, but he was still able to find everything he needed, even clothes. It was amazing what people just threw away. Especially people who lived in town homes. They had the most lucrative trash — he didn’t know why. Not only was he able to build a home for himself, he was able to provide his own food.

Picking old vegetables and fruits from the trash is dirty business, but he did what he needed to be done. The seeds stuck to the gooey flesh weren’t trash anyway. They had so much potential. He rinsed them off, gave them their own special plot in his wooded abode, and cared for them until he had a disorganized garden of tomatoes, berries, garlic, cucumbers, peppers, onions, and more, even corn.

He ate like a woodland king when the weather was warm enough. He ate like a city bum when the weather was cold, however. He frequented dumpsters much more often in the winter, especially those behind restaurants. He had no money and no way of earning any. But still he lived a life full of adventure.

One day in late spring, he came back to his home to see he had a visitor. As far as he knew, no person ever knew his plot existed, but this cat had come to find him.

“Hello there, furry little one,” the boy said, kneeling down.

The cat did not run away, but timidly approached and sniffed the boy’s outstretched hand. The cat then rubbed his head against the boy. It meowed and looked up, hopeful.

“If you’re hungry I’m sorry I don’t have much for you,” the boy said, opening the canvas bag of food he had just collected, mostly stale bread. “Definitely no cat food and no meat either.”

The cat stuck its head in the bag and pulled out a piece of bread that was soggy with some type of sauce. It then began chewing.

“Well, alright, if that suits you,” the boy said. He sat down and they ate their small meals together.

The cat stayed with him for almost a week. It stayed and napped for hours at a time. And sometimes it left for most of the day. The boy didn’t know where this domestic cat had come from, but he sure liked having it around. It had been such a long time since he had any sort of company, anyone to talk to. And the cat kept the squirrels and rabbits away from his crucial garden. On his “grocery runs” as he thought of them, he made sure to get something extra — fish or meat — for the cat, too.

On the sixth day, however, when the cat came back from one of its long outings, someone had followed it. The boy was napping in his hammock when he heard the rustle of footsteps approaching. They were too near before he could think of anything to do. He sat up, panicked and shocked, as a woman walked right into his secret garden.

“Oh!” The woman said, perhaps equally as shocked when she moved the branch from her vision and saw what, or rather who, was before her. “Oh! I didn’t expect to… Have you seen a big, grey cat? Oh, there you are!” She spotted the cat scratching its claws on a thick, rough tree.

“Come here, you.” She bent down and the cat immediately bounded over and leapt in her arms. “You’ve had us worried sick. Thank you so much for finding him,” she added, looking up at the boy. “He’s my daughter’s and she’s been so upset since he’s been missing. She’s on the spectrum and doesn’t have many friends…”

She trailed off as she took in the whole of her surroundings. The hammock, the old canvas tent stuffed with blankets, the fire pit, the handmade rain barrel propped up in a tree (so the boy could shower), the garden, the old pots and pans, everything that the boy had collected in the last two years. Her gaze lingered on an old blue speckled pot that looked very familiar.

“Do you… You don’t…” She kept looking between the things and the boy, searching his face for some kind of clue. “What is this place?”

The boy looked down and licked his lips. “It’s just a place I like to hang out. You know, to get away.”

“That’s a lot of food,” she said.

“Well your cat is good company, but can eat a whole lot,” the boy tried to joke.

The woman nodded, but didn’t look convinced. “This is Spaghetti,” she said, nodding to the cat. I’m glad he was able to keep you company.”

The boy only nodded.

“Look…” she started, looking nervous. “Thank you for looking out for him. Do you… Would you like to have dinner with us tonight? As a thank you. I’m sure Juliet, my daughter, would like to thank you, too. She’s 14. Maybe you two would get along. After all, Spaghetti seems to quite like you both.”

“I…” The boy started, but then the words got lost in his throat with a croak.

“No pressure,” the woman said. And she finally smiled.

The boy looked up and saw another entire universe in that one smile, one filled with love.

“Okay,” he managed. “I’ll come.”

“Do you have to ask your parents? I can talk to them if you want,” she said.

The boy looked down again. “No.”

The woman nodded to herself and left it at that. “You can follow me. It’s not a far walk,” she turned and gestured kindly, still holding Spaghetti firmly in her arms. “What’s your name?”

“My name’s Romeo,” the boy answered.

The woman almost stopped and asked “Really?”, but checked herself just in time. Instead she said, “I’m Emily. It’s nice to meet you Romeo.”

Romeo nodded again and tried out his own smile.

 

The End

The End of the Year Book Tag

I really don’t like to get ahead of myself — like thinking about the end of the year when summer isn’t even over yet — but I do like fun book-related things. Ariel Bissett created this BookTube tab, but I’m going to do it on my blog (because I don’t have the resources to make YouTube videos anymore).

Here are the 6 questions:

1. Are there any books you started this year that you need to finish? I’ve been trying really hard to only read one book at a time. So the only book I have started is the one I’m currently reading and there’s a 99.99% chance I will finish this book by the end of the year. There are books that I started this year and decided not to finish, but that decision’s been made so I won’t be picking them up again.

2. Do you have an autumnal book to transition into the end of the year? Hmm… haven’t really thought of that setting-wise. There are a few books I want to read soon that have orange-y reddish yellow covers, but I don’t think any have any specific autumnal themes. Oh! Except Before the Devil Breaks You by Libba Bray, which is the third in a supernatural series set in the 1920s that I’ve really been enjoying. It’s autumnal because creepy + spooky = Halloween-y and Halloween is in the autumn.

3. Is there a new release you’re still waiting for? Yes! Oathbringer by Brandon Sanderson! I’ve been waiting 3 1/2 years for it. It comes out November 14 and I will buy it immediately.

4. What are three books you want to read before the end of the year? I want to reread the first 2 books in The Stormlight Archive before Oathbringer comes out. So that’s The Way of Kings, Words of Radiance, and Oathbringer. For a whopping 3,325 pages. I don’t really care about finishing them all before December 31 at midnight or anything, though. I also have, like, 15 more books I want to read soon, like, in the next couple of months <<blush>>.

5. Is there a book you think could still shock you and become your favourite book of the year? I don’t know what may “shock” me… but I do have high hopes for Oathbringer and Strange the Dreamer by Laini Taylor. Hmm… maybe a shocker will be Time and Time Again: A Collection by Tamara Ireland Stone because I don’t know much about it or the author; I bought it based on the cover and blurb. So, yeah, I hope I like it. It would be awesome to find it to be a new fave!

6. Have you already started making reading plans for 2018? Nah. It’s enough that I even planned anything for the rest of 2017. I guess I could consider “Read what I want, when I want” a plan. And I suppose I want to continue practicing reading only 1 book at a time.

So that’s the tag! I had fun with it. Enjoy the rest of your reading year!

Milo & Mira and the Lost Bunny – A Short Story

One of Milo and Mira’s favorite places to play outside was a little area behind the lake in their town. It was next to the boat ramp, had picnic tables and grills, and lots of little trails to walk.

One day, when Milo and Mira were exploring this little patch of forest, they stumbled upon a tiny baby bunny, all alone. They knew that the bunny was too small to be on its own so they figured it had gotten separated from its family and was lost.

“Oh no! This bunny is too small to survive on its own. We need to help it,” Mira said.

She leaned in like she was going to pick the little bunny up, but Milo stopped her. “I learned in school recently that humans shouldn’t touch wild animals, especially babies, if they can help it.”

Mira stood up. “Why not?”

“If we touch that bunny, it will smell like us – like humans. Then, if we find its family, they will smell human, not the baby bunny, and be too scared to go near it.”

“Oh. So they would just leave it?” Mira asked.

Milo shrugged. “Maybe. So it’s best if we don’t touch it.”

“Hmm… What should we do then?” Mira asked as she and Milo looked down at the little bunny. It was tucked into a small little ball, twitching its nose, and shaking. “It looks really scared.”

“I would be scared, too, if I was lost,” Milo said.

The two children thought for a while about how they could help the little bunny.

“Let’s see if we can find its family,” Mira suggested.

Milo agreed and they set off to search the small wooded area for a big mama or papa bunny looking for her or his lost baby. They decided to split up – Mira taking the north side of the main trail and Milo taking the south side – because they thought they would be able to cover more ground faster that way.

Mira didn’t bother looking in the water because she knew bunnies didn’t swim very often, especially if they had a new family.

Milo checked under all of the picnic tables and even in the disused grills.

Mira checked the bushes. It took a long time because there were a lot of thick bushes behind the lake.

Milo was also checking some bushes near a group of trees when he spotted an old log lying on the ground. He thought that might be a good place for some bunny rabbits to live. He crouched down very quietly and peered in the hole at the end of the log. Sure enough, there was one big bunny with three more baby bunnies huddled inside!

A huge grin spread across Milo’s face. He backed away from the log, slowly and quietly, and then ran to go find Mira.

“Mira! Mira! I found them!” He yelled as he reached Mira.

A huge grin spread across Mira’s face, too. “That’s excellent! Now how to we get the baby bunny back to its family?”

“Remember, we shouldn’t touch it with our bare hands,” Milo said.

They took a moment to think.

“What if we used some sort of basket?” Mira suggested.

“We don’t have a basket,” Milo said. “And if we got one from home, that would smell like humans, too.”

“Do you think we could make one?” Mira asked.

“Let’s try it,” Milo agreed.

They gathered some small, bendy sticks and reeds and a pile of nice, soft leaves. They helped each other to weave the sticks and reeds together. They couldn’t figured out how to weave the sides up so they ended up with more of a tray than a basket. There were a lot of gaps, too, so they spread out the leaves to make a sort of bed for the bunny to sit on without falling through.

Milo held the makeshift tray with both of his hands underneath, very carefully. They walked back to where they had originally found the little lost bunny and were relieved to find that it was still there. Very slowly and carefully, they scooped up the little bunny onto the tray. Mira had to help push it on a little bit, but she held big leaves in her hands so her skin wouldn’t touch the bunny. It was very skittish, but once they got it on the tray, it curled up very small again and hunkered down, shaking.

“Follow me,” Milo said as they started walking to the log where he had found the bunny family. They walked very, very slowly and very, very carefully so they wouldn’t drop or upset the little lost bunny.

When they got to the log, Milo pointed it out to Mira. She helped him keep the tray steady as he knelt down in front of the hole. The little bunny lifted its head and started sniffly around excitedly. Then, before Milo and Mira had gotten the tray all the way to the ground, the little lost bunny hopped down off the tray and landed awkwardly in the soft grass. Then it bounded right into the hole of the log.

Milo and Mira quickly looked at each other with a surprised, “Oh!” Then they crouched down as quickly as they could while still being really quiet and peer in the hole.

The little bunny had hopped right up to the big bunny, who was now snuggly the little bunny close. The big bunny’s and all four of the little baby bunnies’ noses were twitching like crazy. Luckily, none of them seemed alarmed that the lost bunny smelled like humans. Instead, they all looked very happy and excited to be all together again, especially the little lost bunny.

Milo and Mira stood up and backed away. They looked at each other and smiled. They had helped the lost bunny get back to the safety and comfort of its family.

Without needing to say anything, they were both ready to go home and spend some quality time with their own families.

 

The End

Wonder Walk – A Short Story

One day, a little girl took a walk through the forest. As soon as she entered the trees, she saw a bird flying. It was gliding up and down, dipping between branches, and flitting through shadows cast by the trees’ leaves.

When the bird landed on a branch for a rest, the girl said, “Hello.”

“Hello,” the bird tweeted back, cocking its head.

“Why are you flying all alone? Aren’t you lonely?” The girl asked, wishing she had someone to walk with.

“Oh no,” the bird replied. “Mother Finch always reminded me that even when I was alone, I didn’t have to be lonely.”

“Hmm,” the little girl said, thinking.

“And she also always reminded me that it is a wonder to wander.”

“Oh?” the little girl asked.

The bird nodded its head and ruffled its feathers and leaped off into the air again for another bout of flying.

“Hmm,” the girl said again, to herself this time. “That sounds nice.”

And she continued on her walk.

Soon she came upon a beautiful purple flower hanging high in a tree.

“Hello,” the girl said.

“Hello,” the flower radiated a pleasant scent.

“What are you doing up there?” The girl asked, tilting her head back to look up.

“I asked the tree if it would help me climb up to the sun,” the flower replied. “Mother Wisteria always reminded me to get a good dose of pure sun each day so I would stay healthy.”

“Hmm,” the little girl said.

“Mother Wisteria always reminded me that it’s okay to ask for help. And Mr. Tree doesn’t mind.”

“Yeah?” The little girl said. “That sounds nice.”

And she continued on her walk.

She came to an opening in the trees where moss grew on the ground right up to the edge of a small pond. The water in the pond was smooth as glass and was the color of a deep blue gem.

“Hello,” the girl said.

The pond did not respond.

“Why are you so quiet and still?” the little girl asked.

“Mother Lake always reminded me that it’s good to be quiet and still sometimes.” The girl tasted a sweet moisture in the air that drifted off of the pond.

“But why?” The little girl asked. “It doesn’t sound like much fun.”

“There is a time for fun. When the fish want to jump and the ducks want to swim, I move and splash and play with them. But when I have some time to myself, I like to be calm. It helps me to reflect.”

“To reflect?”

The pond remained silent and still.

“Hmm,” the little girl said, leaving the pond to be quiet and still so it could better reflect.

She continued on her walk.

Five little bunnies jumped out of the bushes ahead of her.

“Hello!” the girl called.

“Hello! Hello! Hello!” The little bunnies answered back. They hopped and darted around so quickly, it made the girl a bit dizzy.

“Why are you all jumping and rushing around like that?” The little girl asked.

“Because!” one of the bunnies said.

“Mother Rabbit always said!” another bunny said.

“It’s good to jump around!” said yet another bunny.

“And to hop!”

“And to chase!”

“And to skip!”

“And to move!”

“Because moving makes you feel good!”

The bunnies hopped and laughed and dashed off into the bushes again.

The little girl smiled. “Oh, I see,” she said.

And she continued on her walk.

Then the ground became firm as she came to the side of a great stone mountain.

“Hello,” the girl said.

“Hello.” The air felt cooler in the shadow cast by the mountain.

“Why are you so hard?” The little girl asked.

“Do you see the animals and plants that call this place their home?” The mountain asked.

The girl looked around and did notice lots of other creatures looking quite comfortable. “Yes,” she said.

“I am hard so they are stable. Mother Earth always reminded me to be strong and confident in my place. Then I would be best able to help others find their place as well.”

“Ah,” the little girl said. “That is nice.”

Then she asked another question. “May I climb to your peak?”

“Yes.” The mountain remained solid under her feet.

So she continued her walk up the mountain until she reached the very top. It had taken her a long time and night had settled in.

On top of the mountain, she was higher than everything else in the forest. She could see the tops of the trees and the sky stretch all around her. The moon shone golden and bright in the sky, even higher than she, surrounded by countless yellow stars.

“Hello,” the girl said.

“Hello.” The light of the moon bathed the mountain and the forest below in a soft, warm glow. The stars twinkled.

“How did you get all the way up there?” the little girl asked. She craned her neck as far as it could go, but no matter how hard she tried, she couldn’t see all of the illuminations scattered across the black sky at once.

“We have always been here,” the moon replied.

“But what do you do up there?” the little girl asked.

“We are possibilities. We live in the sky because, as Mother Universe always reminded us, it is big enough to hold all dreams.”

“Oh,” the girl said. “That is lovely.”

“Thank you,” she said to the moon. “Thank you,” she said to the stars.

Then she turned and looked down. “Thank you,” she said to the mountain, the pond, the animals, and the plants.

And then the girl finished her walk.

She settled. And fell asleep. And dreamed.

 

The End

How to Write

I have often wondered how to write. Ever since I was a little girl, ever since I knew how to read and could consume stories, I wanted to be a writer, an author. But how to do that? There were no instruction manuals, were there? No steps to follow like how to become a vet or an accountant or a gym teacher. Or was there? Authors knew how to write. Why not ask them? They’ve written books about how to write! So I’ve been reading them ever since.

I actually probably haven’t read that many, compared to some aspiring authors. Mostly, I read stories. I couldn’t stay away from stories. Adventuresome stories, funny stories, educational stories. I wanted to be taken to worlds away. I wanted to go there myself. I wanted to bring others with me.

Right now I’m reading Zen in the Art of Writing by Ray Bradbury because it has found its way into my life from several different angles lately. I was so excited to be inspired by this thin little volume, for it to give me what I needed to be the writer I wanted to be.

So far, I’m disappointed. I haven’t finished it yet, but it is, so far, not what I expected. It seems to be more memoir than writing manual. But! Alas! Maybe that’s what writing IS! It isn’t a skill to be learned through the study of a manual, but a lifestyle to be discovered through living! Zen in the Art of Writing can be a bit repetitive, as it is a collection of essays from over decades, but something that Bradbury mentioned again and again is how he wrote 1,000 words every day.

Monday, he wrote. Tuesday, he wrote. Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, he wrote. He mailed off his stories every Saturday to be published in magazines. Sunday he let all of the ideas bubble up and excite him before the next week of writing.

And look at me. Here I am, sitting at my computer (using a typewriter app because no distractions), writing. This is what I need to do. My stories will never be like his. My process won’t be the same as his, either. But the pure passion he writes with… That is inspiring. It doesn’t really matter what he’s saying, I guess, but just the fact that he is saying it with gusto.

My whole life I have wondered how to be a writer, but I’ve done it. I’ve been writing my whole life. Not perfectly consistently, not exactly what I wish I had been writing, but I’ve written. I have this hang-up that to be considered a writer, I have to publish something. Like, professionally, officially publish something. I’ve tried to convince myself that no, that is authorship, not being a writer, but really my head refuses to separate the two.

I am a writer because I write. Have I not “published” things on my own website? Have I not won prizes and recognition with my poetry and short stories? Have I not kept a diary or journal for over 18 years of my life? Have I not entertained and enthralled my mother, husband, and children with my stories? I write so I am a writer.

So, how to write, then? It is akin to asking one how to live. No one answer is the correct answer for everyone. Contrarily, no two answers will probably ever be the same for any two people. We must live each day to live our lives, even if we’re not sure what we are doing as we do it. The same with writing. Write every day. Share it if we want. (Do we find it beneficial to share our lives with friends and family, for example?) As we write, as we live, we discover, we experience, and we figure out how. A new adventure, every day.

Edited later to add:

“Self-consciousness is the enemy of all art, be it acting, writing, painting, or living itself, which is the greatest art of all.” – Ray Bradbury, 1965