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WritingAfterDark

Blogs of Writer, Artist, Photographer, & Caregiver Joanne D. Kiggins

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Joanne has published more than 2,500 articles and was award recipient of the 1990 Woman of the Year for Beaver County, Pennsylvania, for her accomplishments and excellence in journalism and to the community. Her co-authored book, “Unforgettable Journey,” won fifth place in the Grand Beginnings romance contest. An excerpt from her WIP, “Unearthed,” placed her fifth in the Absolute Write Idol contest. Most recently, her essay, “Perseverance,” is published in the Stories of Strength anthology in which 100% of the profits are donated to disaster relief charities. Her most recent articles were published in ByLine Magazine, Writer's Digest, AbsoluteWrite.com, and Moondance.org. She has a monthly freelance writing column at Absolutewrite.com. Currently, she is the sole caregiver for her 85-year-old mother.

Wednesday, April 27, 2005

Silly Man - Week 3 Idol Entry

Silly Man
by
Joanne D. Kiggins

People say you always find what you’re looking for when you stop looking.

Dolores noticed everything about customers of her convenience store with one quick glance. A man appeared in the doorway. He had thick, dyed black hair, high cheekbones. His shirt stretched over broad shoulders and chest. Biceps bulged in short sleeves, and his forearms flexed as he leaned on the doorframe. She noticed the smile that was slow to form.

She read people to help pass the time and to determine if the contents might be more worthy than the cover. His reading filled her with contempt. She continued to sweep the floor.

“How can I help you?”

She knew his type; sweet words would pour from his mouth when he found his tongue.

“Would you like to go for coffee when you get off work?” he asked, lifting a picnic basket.

“Sure. My employee will be here in a few minutes. Where should I meet you?”

The corners of her mouth rose slightly. His eyes met hers after taking inventory of her with embarrassing detail.

“North Park by the big willow at the lake. No one goes there. Six o’clock.”

“Sure.”

He slipped out the door before she could ask his intentions. Didn’t matter, really.

The park was empty at dinner hour. She passed no joggers or bikers. Dolores parked near the willow precisely at six. She ambled to the blanket, knelt near him, and pulled the clip from her graying auburn hair allowing it to flow over her shoulders.

“Would you like pie to go with your coffee?” he asked.

She opened her purse, pulled out a small vial and dropped two tiny tablets in her coffee. “No thank you. I’m watching my weight. Would you like sweetener?”

“Yes. You don’t need to lose weight. I think you’re perfect the way you are.”

Here it comes. Fill me full of lies, tell me everything I want to hear, and sound like you mean every word. She dropped three tablets in his cup.

“Believe me, I’m far from perfect.” She bumped her cup and coffee spilled onto the blanket and pie. Dolores dabbed the coffee with napkins and poured a fresh cup.

He reached and ran his finger from her elbow to her wrist. His eyes wandered. “Your skin is so soft. Your smile is beautiful, and your eyes; you could kill with those eyes.”

“Sometimes I wish I could. I’d never get caught then, would I? That would be perfect, wouldn’t it?” Dolores laughed.

“Tell me, why did you accept my invitation?” He swallowed and filled his cup again.

Her eyes met his. She dropped three more tablets in his cup.

“Because you asked. Why did you ask?”

“I thought you looked the type of person I’d like to get to know.”

“What type is that?”

“Friendly, beautiful inside and out, nice smile, intelligent.”

“What makes you think I’m friendly and intelligent?”

“Well. You came for coffee. I’d say that’s smart.”

“What do you consider 'beautiful inside and out'?”

“Someone like you, who isn’t afraid to trust people, who smiles a beautiful smile regardless of what happens in her life.”

“What makes you think I trust people?”

“You trusted me enough to meet me for coffee in a park, didn’t you?”

“Trust had nothing to do with it.”

“Then why did you agree to meet me?”

“I wanted to see if you’d changed.”

“Huh? Changed? Have we met?”

Dolores forced a smile. She grew tired of his silly game. Her eyes took in every inch of his body. What a waste.

“Of course we’ve met. I’m the woman you asked out for coffee. Remember? All you men are alike. Say you adore us, love our eyes, our smile, our soft skin, and work your way down our bodies until we give in to your desires. Then as quick as you’ve led us to believe we’re everything you want and need, you tell us we’re different, we’re moody, and we’re changed. And we have changed; changed into the person you expect us to be. Then you leave.”

“Wait a minute. I didn’t come here for this!”

“No. Of course, you didn’t. I forgot. You like to be in control. After all, you want to spend time with someone you’d like to get to know. You didn’t get to know me; you made me what I am. You twisted me into whatever being you thought I should be. And when I was exactly as you wanted me to be, you forgot what lured you to desire me from the start.”

“I don’t know you. Why are you doing this?”

She ran her finger from his elbow to his wrist. “Of course you don’t, dear. You never knew me. I’m not the same person I was before. Remember? I’m that perfect woman, with the soft skin, beautiful smile and eyes that could kill. I’m everything you molded me to be. But you were mistaken.”

She smiled.

His eyes locked on hers.

“What’s wrong with you? I thought you’d appreciate this. You look so lonely every time I come in the store. What do you mean I was‘mistaken’?” Sweat beaded on his forehead.

Dolores knew his only concern would be that she told him he was wrong.

“It’s not important. You’re right. I should appreciate this. I’ll change. I’ll be fine. Honestly.”

“Are you all right?” He touched her hand. Chills marched over her entire body.

“I’ll be myself again, soon. Now finish your coffee before you get cold.”

“Excuse me?”

His hand jerked. Pain shot up his arm. He dropped his cup and grabbed his chest. He looked confused and disoriented, gasping for air as he slumped to his side and fell onto the ground. His eyes widened with panic, locked on her. “You *****! I had you all wrong.”

She stood just inches from his reach, looked down, and frowned. It wasn’t surprising that he’d not recognized her. Thirty-five years was a long time. Hell, she barely recognized him.

Dolores shoved everything into his basket and tossed it into her car. She wiped the vial of Digitoxin and stuffed it in his shirt pocket. As she walked away, she said, “You did have me all wrong. Silly man! It isn’t my eyes that could kill.”

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Week 2 Idol contest. I'm still in!

Week 2 winners announced.
After our sudden death match (and a good voter turnout, I might add), we finally have results for week two.

Congrats to...

Blue Texas
DJP
firehorse
jdkiggins
pepperlandgirl
Rhush
trumancoyote
and
William Haskins

Week 2 here and gone and I’m still in the running.
Read my entry here.
Title: Fading Into the Past


Congrats on surviving round 2, finalists!
Your next challenge has arrived.
This round, you have two options for first sentences...

"Only one person in the world knew what I had done, and I intended to keep it that way."

or

"People say you always find what you're looking for when you stop looking."

Choose either one. You have up to 1500 words to finish the story.
Deadline: Wednesday, May 4, 11:59 ET.

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Thursday, April 21, 2005

Working on stories as I wait.

Not much editing work has been done on my manuscript. I’ve been too busy thinking of stories and pushing myself to write for the contest. One thing for sure – this contest has rejuvenated my creative writing juices. I’ve put out more words in the past months than I have in the past six months. If I don’t make it to the next round, I won’t be upset; this competition has been a wonderful boost for me. I’ve managed to write six new stories and rework four older pieces. Once the contest is over, or I’m eliminated, I’ll have plenty of material to submit to publications.

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Tuesday, April 19, 2005

Fading Into the Past - Week 2 Idol Entry

Fading Into the Past
by
Joanne D. Kiggins

Mom’s gaze riveted to the bowl in front of her.

“I’m sorry.”

“OK Mom, tell me what you’re talking about here, because I’m lost.”

“That time I slapped you. I’m sorry.”

“Are you talking about when I was in high school?”

She looked confused.

“It wasn’t that long ago, was it?”

“Yes, Mom. That happened 36 years ago. What in the world made you think of that now?”

“I don’t know. I just did and I don’t know if I ever said I’m sorry, so I wanted you to know I am.”

I walked over to where mom was sitting, kissed the top of her head and hugged her.

“Thanks, Mom. We straightened that out right after it happened. Forget about it.”

“As long as you know I’m sorry.”

“I know, Mom. And I’m sorry, too.”

“Are you going to be here for awhile? I think I’m going to take a nap.”

“Sure, Mom. I’ll finish the laundry while you rest.”

Mom went into her room and I tossed another batch of clothes into the washer. I thought of all the conversations she and I’d had in the past few days. What triggered the thought of that day so many years ago?

* * *

It was the first and only time either of my parents ever laid a hand on me. I was on the phone with my best friend Gale who had just told me she was pregnant. Gale knew I could discuss anything with my mom so she asked me how she should break the news to her mother.


“I don’t know how you should tell your mom that your pregnant, but you need to tell her before you start showing.”

My mom walked by the hall a few times tidying the house during my discussion with Gale. I thought nothing of it.

“I have to tell her I’m pregnant and tell her I won’t be finishing school.”

“You can finish this year.”

“Not really. I’ve been wearing loose clothes. I’m five months already.”

“What? Are you sure? I can’t believe you didn’t tell me before this.”

“I just found out. I only missed one period and that was this month. The doctor said there are some women who don’t miss their menstrual cycle for some reason.”

“You’re joking, right? They never said anything like that in sex education.”

“Tell me about it. I don’t know what to do.”

“What did Jim say?”

“He wants to get married. My mom just came home,” she whispered. “I didn’t read the book yet for English class so I’m going to be rushed to write that book report by next week.”

“Yeah, I’m in the same boat.” I tapped the pen against the phone. “Gale, I know you can’t talk about it now, but you have to tell her soon.”

My mom walked by again and I smiled and waved at her.

As soon as I was off the phone I rushed into the kitchen to tell my mom the news about Gale and ask her how she thought Gale should tell her mom. Dishes clattered, pots and pans clanged, and the look on my mom’s face could have wilted lettuce.

“What’s wrong, Mom?”

She dried her hands and threw the dishtowel on the sink.

“I’m calling the doctor.”

“Why? Are you sick?”

“No. I want to know if you’ve been messing around.”

“Messing around. What are you talking about?”

“I heard you and Gale talking. She’s pregnant, isn’t she?”

“Yeah, that’s what I came in to tell you.”

Mom reached for the phone and began to dial.

“I’m having the doctor check you to see if you’ve had sex.”

“I haven’t had sex and I’m not going to the doctor.”

“Oh yes you are.”

“No, I’m not. I can’t believe you’d do that. If my word isn’t good enough, too bad.” I pushed the button on the phone to disconnect the call.

In two quick motions mom slammed the receiver in place and slapped my face. I’m not sure what stunned me more; her thinking I’d had sex, wanting a doctor to check me, or her slapping me. I stormed off and ran upstairs to my room angry because she had insulted my integrity. For nearly 17 years I’d been able to talk to my mom about anything. All of the sudden I found her doubting me. Not only doubting my word but also the relationship she and I had. That hurt the most.

I sat in my room for an hour angry and hurt. It wasn’t until I’d run through my mind the conversation I’d had with Gale that I’d realized why Mom was so upset. She felt I’d betrayed our relationship as well.

She stood in the kitchen staring out the window. Plates, silverware and cups were scattered on the table.

“Mom. I’m sorry I talked back to you. You don’t need to make an appointment with the doctor. I promise you I haven’t done anything.”

“How can I be sure?”

“Because I tell you everything. I was coming into the kitchen to tell you about Gale when I saw you were upset about something.”

“Of course I’m upset.”

“You don’t need to be, Mom. You only heard my side of the conversation.”

“That was enough.”

“No, it wasn’t. You didn’t know that Gale and I had gone from talking about her being pregnant to having to hurry to get a book report finished.”

“What does a book report have to do with this?”

“Everything, Mom. You heard me tell Gale ‘I don’t know how you should tell your mom you’re pregnant’.”

“Yeah and I heard you say ‘I’m in the same boat’.”

“Yes, Mom, but you didn’t hear the part about both of us still needing to read a book for a report that’s due next week. So after hearing ‘pregnant’ and then ‘in the same boat,’ you assumed I was pregnant too, and I’m not.”

“Are you sure?” She adjusted the place settings. Her hands shook.

“Mom. You have to have sex to get pregnant. So yes, I’m sure I’m not pregnant. And yes, I’m sure I haven’t had sex.”

“Oh honey, I’m so relieved. I don’t know how we would have told your dad.”

“I’m sorry I mouthed off to you, Mom.”

“I’m sorry I slapped you.”

* * *

Mom woke up from her nap and came into the laundry room as I finished folding the last basket of clean clothes. Her eyes were as bright as her smile.

“Oh, honey, thank you for doing the laundry. What would I do without you?”

“You’re welcome, Mom. Don’t worry, you won’t ever be without me.”

The conversation Mom and I had before her nap had slipped her mind. I marveled as to what might have triggered a memory from so many years ago and I am thankful that was the only disagreement we’d ever had.

We sat in the kitchen, had a cup of tea, and talked about flowers and gardening.

“How’s Stacey and Quenton?” she asked.

It was then I realized my daughter’s pregnancy and the birth of my grandson sparked her memory of years gone by. I find myself watching her expressions and her eyes to let me know if she has drifted off to reminisce. I wonder how many more trips down memory lane I’ll be taking as Mom’s mind fades into the past?

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Friday, April 15, 2005

Week 1 Idol contest. I'm still in the running.

I can’t believe I’m still in the running.
Jenna’s finalists’ announcement below.
Our top 9 finalists for Absolute Write Idol are (in alphabetical order so no one gets paranoid!):

Blue Texas
DJP
firehorse
jdkiggins
pepperlandgirl
Rhush
rhymegirl
trumancoyote
William Haskins

To read my Week 1 entry go here.
Title: Life: A Smorgasbord of Crossroads.




Okay, finalists! Congrats on surviving round one. Onto round two...

Your theme this week is:
MISUNDERSTANDINGS.
Show us a conflict that stemmed from a misunderstanding.
Again, any genre, any format.

Length: 1000-1500 words.
(Or, if a poem, 25-40 lines.)
Deadline: Thursday, April 21, 11:59 p.m. Eastern.

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Saturday, April 09, 2005

Life: A Smorgasbord of Crossroads - Week 1 Idol Entry

Life: A Smorgasbord of Crossroads
by
Joanne D. Kiggins

Some things are worse than death.

When life dumps a crossroad in front of you at the age of 20, how do you know which direction to take? How do you know if you will make the right decision?

I believe everything happens for a reason; each path we take strengthens us in some way, for some thing. Right or wrong, whatever decisions I’ve made, I’ve learned to forge forward in hope to find the answers. I’m proud I made my decisions by thinking of someone else’s feelings other than my own.

Yes, some things are worse than death. And some things turn out just as they were planned; even when you’ve been placed on death row.

* * *

I watched the fluorescent ceiling lights blur and tried to fight the sedative long enough to ask the doctor if he would keep his promise.

“Please. Remember. Under no circumstances are you to tell them if this surgery confirms a terminal illness.”

“You’re going to be fine,” Dr. Griffith said.

His warm hand touched my shoulder and I drifted off to sleep.

I awoke three days later. Pain surged from my pelvic area to my chest. My nose and throat burned from oxygen and tubes. My wrists and ankles felt raw.

The room was a blur filled with bleeping and swishing sounds. When I tried to speak, a nurse patted my hand and said, “honey, don’t try to talk, you have a tube down your throat.” I twisted my hand in a writing motion beneath the leather straps and wondered why I’d been placed in restraints. “I’ll let the doctors know you’re awake and I’ll get a pad for you to write.” She scurried off.

The clearer my vision became, so too did the horror of the machines and sounds around me. I feared all I felt, heard, and saw meant the worst possible scenario. Scenes, like movie clips, played through my mind. I tried to remember all the events that brought me to this day: constant nausea after eating, tremendous pain in my abdomen, bland diets and baby food for six months, and numerous medications that didn’t subside the pain. Ulcer treatment hadn’t worked.

When all else failed, Drs. Griffith and Liggett recommended exploratory surgery.

“Anything,” I remember saying. “Just find the problem.”

So, there I was hooked up to every machine imaginable, wondering the outcome.

My eyesight had cleared enough to see my mom and dad sitting near my hospital bed. Her eyes were sad, swollen, and bloodshot from crying. His hair seemed a bit grayer than I remembered. Dad scooted his chair closer and folded his arms across his chest; a sign of his stoic stubborn strength. Mom held my strapped hand while tears rolled down her cheeks.

I tried to smile and speak to comfort them, but all the gadgets didn’t allow that. I squeezed her hand and nodded, hoping she’d read my expression as “I’ll be all right.”

Drs. Griffith and Liggett walked in.

“I see our young lady is awake,” Griffith said. His fake smile did nothing for the already hideous atmosphere. “We haven’t spoken to your parents, Joanne, other than to tell them the surgery went well.” The look in his eyes told me it hadn’t.

Dr. Liggett looked at my mom and asked, “Do you know how to sew?”

“My daughter has been in and out of consciousness for three days and you ask me if I know how to sew! What the hell does that have to do with her?”

I squeezed her hand and nodded toward Dr. Griffith, trying to encourage her to listen.

Dr. Griffith took his cue.

“The opening to Joanne’s stomach was obstructed. Dr. Liggett asked if you knew how to sew because that would be the easiest way for us to explain what we did during the surgery. We had to remove half of her stomach and reconstruct the opening with the remaining half. So we used what a seamstress would term as a gusset.”

I had to give Griffith and Liggett credit. They must have been compiling that story during the entire 12-hour operation. I gagged when I chuckled. I wondered how much was true and how much had they left out of their remarkable sewing experience.

“It will be about a week before we can take the tubes out of your throat and abdomen,” Griffith said. “We need to continue to drain and pump to avoid infection while your stomach heals.”

Mom and dad looked satisfied and relieved with their explanation. I was too. For the first time in my life I was happy I was unable to speak for fear I may be forced to answer questions.

Griffith encouraged my parents to go home after their three-day vigil. When they left, he pulled up a chair and sat. Liggett smiled at me and excused himself from the room. Griffith removed the leather straps from my wrists and ankles, explaining they’d been needed to keep me from thrashing.

Then, I wished I were able to speak. A dozen questions formed but I only could write them on a pad of paper.

“OK, What’s the real truth, Doc? How much did you two lie?”

“We didn’t lie,” he answered. “We left a few things out. That’s all. We did exactly what we told your parents. What we didn’t tell them was the obstruction was a malignant tumor the size of a melon.”

“And?”

“The tumor has been completely removed,” he said. “But the malignant cells in the tissue we used to patch your stomach are still there.”

Before I could scribble another note, he gripped my hand and said, “Joanne, you may have at most six months. Do you want me to tell your parents?”

I scribbled a large “NO” on the note pad and shook my head frantically. Then I wrote, “This would kill them. If they don’t know, they can’t worry or wonder.”

Dr. Griffith wrote something on my chart. His eyes glistened in the fluorescent lighting. He wiped tears from them and said, “I’m sorry, Joanne.”

His compassion touched me. I tried to smile, then wrote, “No worry, Doc, too young to die. You watch, I’ll live. Stubborn as my dad. Treatment?”

“We could try radiation, but if you want honesty rather than hope, I don’t think it will help.” He looked away and rubbed his brow.

“I’m so sorry, Joanne. If this had been diagnosed sooner...”

I clutched the pen and wrote, “Treatment now. The works.”

“You realize it will weaken you?”

“I’m tough.”

“We have to wait until these tubes are out.”

“Why? Will radiation hurt the tubes?”

“No.” He forced a smile.

“Start treatment.”

Griffith jotted another note on my chart. “You are tough, and stubborn, aren’t you?”

His face blurred and exhaustion sent me to darkness.

Two infections, another surgery, and 28 days later I hobbled out of the hospital. I was bandaged from stern to bow with a giant size elastic binder supporting the mid-section of my 72-pound body.

Before the surgery, after a divorce, I’d moved back home with my parents. Within a week of leaving the hospital, against doctor’s orders, I drove myself into town and found an apartment. I stopped at the bank where I worked as a teller to tell my boss I’d be back at work the following Monday.

I had friends move my belongings into my new apartment. I settled in and waited to begin a battle against odds. Up until then I’d been consumed with proving the doctors wrong and living. Now I had to face the fact that hiding the truth from my parents would be just as challenging as fighting the disease. Mom and dad weren’t happy with my decision to move out, but I couldn’t hide my treatment and its possible effects if I didn’t.

Three days a week at noon I left work and drove to the hospital. My lunch hour allowed just enough time for technicians to mark my abdomen with a blue felt tip pen and perform the treatment needed. After three months, thirty-six treatments of radiation, and two different wigs to cover my hair loss, I had some hope.

My dad stopped by the apartment one weekend to make sure I had an ample supply of food. I had to scurry to slip on my wig.

“Why do you wear that damn thing?” he asked. “Your hair is prettier than that piece of straw.”

“I’m having a bad hair day, Dad. Believe me, this straw looks better than my own hair right now.” He had no idea I had to fight back tears to spare suspicion.

Eighteen years later, in 1990 I’d completed my first book, Time Goes On, which I began writing before my surgery. I’d forgotten how much detail I’d gone into about the more serious crossroads that had taken place throughout my life.

One day I let my mom read it. When she’d finished reading, she asked, “How much of this is true?”

Nearly two decades had gone by on my cancer-free body; I finally felt it was safe to speak the secret I’d kept all this time.

“Enough that I need to do a re-write. Mom. There are a few things I’ve been meaning to tell you.”

She burst into tears and hugged me. Arms wrapped around each other and tears flowing, I said, “I’m glad I never told you.”

She barraged me with questions.

“Why didn’t you tell us?”

“I couldn’t bear for you and Dad to worry yourselves to death.”

“You never smoked until recently, how’d you get cancer?”

“Genes, Mom. Both your parents died of cancer.”

“I wish you would have told us, we could have supported you.”

“I know, Mom, but it was better this way.” I reminded her that Drs. Griffith and Liggett both died of cancer and I managed to outlive them. I still wonder why I was so fortunate. Everything happens for a reason.

Two years later, in 1992, my dad had a stroke. I quit my job and spent hours helping my mom take care of him. Day after day, I’d massage his left arm and leg and help him walk with a walker. We worked on his speech and his memory. He wouldn’t listen to the home therapist; he listened to me. He told me if anyone could help him to be close to normal again, I could, because I’d been through it myself. I’d had a stroke a year before him, but mine wasn’t nearly as severe.

Within six months he was able to limp to his gardens to work, cane in hand, instead of using a walker.

My dad and I talked a lot while I helped him with his gardens. Every opportunity I had, I told him how much I loved him. He was never one to say the words, but I knew he felt the same.

When I’d say, “I love you, Dad,” he’d joke or change the subject.

“You’re tough, like your old man,” he’d say.

“Yep, Dad. And just as stubborn, too.”

“I’m glad you’re here.”

“Me too,” I’d answer with a smile.

Dementia took over my dad’s brain eventually, but when he was in a state of awareness we talked. I’ll never forget those discussions; they were the best we’d ever had.

“You know how you always say everything happens for a reason?” he asked. “Well I believe that too.”

Before I could respond, he’d say, “You also said that you’ve never figured out why you’re still alive.” He placed his hand on my head, pulled me near, and whispered, “You’re alive to be here, now. And you need to stick around to take care of your mom. You understand?” His awareness soon disappeared. I don’t know if he heard me tell him I understood.

That was the last good talk my dad and I had. He passed away on March 21, 1998. Appropriate that he’d die on the first day of spring. To him, spring symbolized a fresh start, new life.

I think of our talks nearly every day as I take care of my mom, who has the onset of Alzheimer’s. I’m in and out of Mom’s house three and four times a day. I cook her meals and spend hours trying to keep her mind from roaming. She’s not yet to the point that I need to pack up and move back home. But whenever than happens, I will.

Dad was right. And I was, too. Everything does happen for a reason, and my reason for being here was to see my dad through his times of need and to help my mom through hers now.

Life has given me a smorgasbord of crossroads. As each plate fills, I receive another taste of life. There hasn’t been one decision I’ve made that has led me in the wrong direction. I’m glad, 32 years ago I forged forward without telling my parents that I had only six months to live. It made me stronger. It made me realize how precious life is. I miss my dad. And as much as I’m certain I’ll miss my mom when she passes, I know that I was here to help them both through their worst times, as they would have been for me.

Some things are worse than death. For me, the most difficult crossroad has been living to watch death happen.

“I love you, Dad. I understand.”

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Saturday, April 02, 2005

I made Idol top ten! Woo Hoo

I’m totally in awe that my name appeared as one of the top finalists. See lists of finalists here. This will also link you to each winning entry for your reading pleasure.

Each week Jenna announces a theme. This week is Crossroads. THE THEME:

CROSSROADS

Let us meet someone at a crossroad in his/her life, about to make a major decision. Show us the decision. Length: 2500 words or less. Can take any form (short fiction/nonfiction/poetry/screenplay/etc.).
Due: Sunday, April 10th at 11:59 p.m. EST. If all entries are in before then, voting will commence as soon as the last entry is in. Otherwise, voting commences on Monday, April 11th (I'll announce when it's time to vote).
Previously unpublished work only, please. It's OK to have the work critiqued (by a writing group, friendly editor, etc.) before you submit it.
Good luck! May the muse be with you!

Great theme! Crossroads have been many in my life. Now, how do I choose which one to write.

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Friday, April 01, 2005

Judging held up. Announcements tomorrow.

Web mistress Jenna Glatzer announced that the judges are still deciding. She hopes to post the list of winners tomorrow. In the meantime, I continue to edit my completed manuscript and work on my new WIP.

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