Admitting Denial


DzdgFAeXcAAiTMq.pngIt’s funny because it’s true. If you agree it’s because you know.

If we were to talk about the elephant on the page, what color would it be? The funny truth so succinctly portrayed is that writing is a consuming obsession.

The man in the picture may have at least two obsessions, two powerful habits that impact his life and perhaps those around him, but why is it that only one of them is generally acknowledged as a bad habit? Only one of his habits has a tried and true twelve-step program that has been adapted and adopted by other quitters of other bad habits and depravities. Yes, he can find support and counseling for his addiction to alcohol and even his compulsive gambling. But his compulsive writing? All bets are off.

His inclination, (he might say destiny) is to seek other writers, (some might say enablers). Unlike the group…

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Am I Blogging Now? Wonder Bread

It’s pancakes for breakfast! Get something started.


FullSizeRender.jpg On the left is the gift that keeps on giving.   (On the right is a freeloader)

I started this blog almost two years ago simply as a place to post the flash fiction and occasional poetry written in response to prompts at other sites. ShiftnShake is a place of literary art. I write, but not my thoughts or feelings or what I had for lunch. I don’t post cat pictures. So what’s this?

No, that’s not a cat picture. It’s a picture of my sourdough starter that’s next to a cat. That sourdough starter is the other organism that lives in my household now, one that last weekend competed for my time and attention with the characters in my head who wanted me to write; it won. Or maybe it wasn’t a competition, but complementary parallel play. Maybe, like some of my insistent and chatty characters, that glob of dough…

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Raw Lit: From Mite to Might

Carrot Ranch Literary Community

By D. Avery

Their colors are those of Tibetan prayer flags, but these squares are not yet whispering in the wind. An unassuming plastic wrapped cube; they appear to be ordinary post-it notes. These are not ordinary post-it notes to be used for mundane purposes. This five-colored cube is composed of post-it notes destined for a special purpose. They will remain in their pristine packaging, neat and orderly until I’m ready to apply them to their designated task. For now I am inspired by their contained order while the story they will eventually help shape and organize swirls free-form in my head.

Ha! I happened to notice the word count (opening paragraph) — exactly 99 words. That’s seriously funny. And if there had been a prompt with “prayer” or “flag” or “post-it” those 99 words would suffice, no more, no less. 99 words come more easily since my early days…

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Sally’s Cafe and Bookstore – New book on the shelves for Christmas – #Shortstories – After Ever: Little Stories for Grown Children by D. Avery

Smorgasbord Blog Magazine

D. Avery has a new release just in time for Christmas… A short story collection Ever After: Little Stories for Grown Children.

About After Ever

Big stories come in small packages. Told with the sure-footed brevity of fairy tales, After Ever is a collection of stories that explore dark depths and uncertain endings, flash fiction that often leaves room for interpretation and speculation. These are stories in which the grim tragedies of life befall characters of all ages. There are no happily ever after fairy tale endings, but there are flashes of resilience and hope. The heroes of these short stories are ordinary people who recognize the mystery, beauty, and small wonders contained in their ordinary lives.

Sample and savor each story individually or as a banquet of offerings both dark and light, tales of lives tragic and magical.

What the early readers are saying;

An interesting and eclectic…

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Outing After Ever


Buy After Ever HERE

There’s a new book on the shelves. After Ever is a collection of flash and short fiction.


The book is out.

That is, a book is out, my latest, and my first public display of fiction. My struggles with publishing this collection have been as much with myself as with formatting and editing. I won the struggle, but not easily.

Earlier I wrote about vacillating between “pride and paranoia, delight and dread”. The self-questioning continued when a friend asked me what it was I wanted from publishing. I didn’t have a ready answer. Other friends were encouraging and reminded me that my words had “a right to breathe and populate the page”. Agreed, but why publish, why make my words public when I treasure my privacy? Is publishing an act of bravery or of vanity? Maybe it is more an issue of identity.

Because I am private and respect the privacy of those I serve, I haven’t posted much about being a teacher. That word, Teacher…

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An Up & Down Update

The stress of pushing the publish buttons…


Untitled 22Over a week ago I admitted to being a writer, provided as evidence the reveal of a shiny new book cover that is to contain a collection of short fiction. The update is that I continued to struggle with formatting issues, in my ineptitude too ridiculous to discuss. Now I am somewhat less inept. I also found more editing and revising to do, the net result being further delay to completion of the publication of this collection. So still I wait.

I am not sure exactly what it is I wait for. A book, available to any and all…

I can tell you how the waiting goes, what it is like. The cliché simile might be a seesaw or a yo-yo, ups and downs. I vacillate between pride and paranoia, delight and dread. It is exciting to know that soon I will have a book out in the world; it…

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This Floating Life

2383793_9b0ef8a2.jpgBy D. Avery

If you haven’t stopped by the Annecdotist’s blog lately you should. In addition to thoughtfully thorough book reviews, Anne Goodwin will also treat you to her thinking on matters related to writing, recently on how to deal with “writerly disappointments”, to, as she says, “feel the disappointment without wallowing in despair”. Anne notes in this post that the cure for disappointment is success and says that, “alongside mourning lost dreams, a writer must work to celebrate any success, however small”. She has promised a post on celebrating success and I am looking forward to it; the discussion has already begun in her comments. Initially I’m thinking it might be a greater challenge for most to celebrate our own successes than to admit our failures even. Writers have to balance the seesaw of setbacks and successes, walk the beam between self-indulgence and self-promotion, all the while wondering where to set the ego down or how to carry it unobtrusively. At least with this blogging thing we have each other through it all. Charli Mills of Carrot Ranch says, “As for success, it’s great to receive recognition from peers. I think success is the result of a willingness to be vulnerable, to put yourself out there, to show up to a group and participate.” Hmm.

A Floating Life; the Adventures of Li Po, by Simon Elegant, a fictionalized telling of the 8th century Chinese poet’s life, had me thinking about this. Li Po lived at a time when poets traveled far and wide not just for an audience but also for mentors and competitors. Now with the Internet we are able to find writing groups to participate in and fellow poets and writers to learn from without limitations of time and distance. We might even find an audience. While not the Emperor’s court, we might find some small successes in the blogosphere, and might even celebrate them here. Maybe Anne is right and celebrating small successes will help one through the rough patches of self-doubt and other discouragements. But maybe it will seem like shameless self-promotion, that other writerly scourge. I did have a gratifying week recently, receiving some writerly recognitions. These acknowledgements felt good but who really cares? How does one quietly shout from one’s rooftop? Should one shout? How does one speak of one’s small forward steps without sounding like a braggart? I don’t know. I will wait on wise Anne to unravel these conundrums.

In the meantime I want to recognize the many blogs that encourage and support fellow readers and writers of poetry and prose, to celebrate all who host and manage these sites, as well as all who contribute and participate. I thank you all for these promptings and opportunities to practice and hone my craft and to learn and grow with you.

This is not an exhaustive list of sites offering prompts and challenges, but are ones that I have participated in. I hope I have left no one out and apologize if I mess up or confuse names.


Anne Goodwin           Carrot Ranch           Coleen Chesebro       chevrefeuillescarpediem    Sammi Cox     dVerse Poets’ Pub               Freya Pickard @ Pure Haiku                Haiku Horizons       Irene Waters          Kat Myrman                                          Kiwinana               Mindlovesmiserymangerie            Norah Colvin             Ronovan Writes        Sally Cronin          Six Sentence Stories               Sue Vincent                                     Drabble      SeriousFlashFiction        The WriteStuff

Thank you all for your support!


balance, keep going

rushing stream bridged with each stone

reach out, step across


3.14159 26535 89793 23846…

Happy Pi Day. Try some March Mathness, and put some Pi in your poetry..


It is Pi Day, that is in the states where we write today’s date 3/14 it is. (Another fun fact is that Einstein was born on this day in 1879.) In another life of mine I sometimes teach math. Kids of all ages have heard of Pi and are fascinated with it. I have had them write Pi-etry and Pi-ku using the digits of Pi to determine either syllable or word-count. Below is my take, using the first 21 digits to dictate syllable count. The second poem is my more free form ode to Pi, or M’ode à la Pi . 

My math students did a remarkable job of writing with the Pi-ku challenge. I challenge you to take a cross-curricular leap and use Pi or the digit sequence of Pi as your inspiration to write a poem today. Use as many or as few digits as you wish…

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Currents of life have kept me away from Marcia’s resplendent lagoon lately, but I have drifted back today. I had resolved in the beginning of the year to get out a bit more than I am used to, so here I am and it is here that I will share some of my outings.

I was recently featured at Pure Haiku, one of my haiku being chosen to represent Freya’s theme of Ocean. That new association got me an invitation to participate in Freya’s Escape Pod Emulation. While I am not much for science fiction, the idea of being left alone in an escape pod was kind of appealing. (You’ll have to read her post in April to see what five items I take with me.) But in thinking about that escape pod I was led back to this post.

Don’t we all dream of alone time to read and write in, of having no interruptions? Yes, that e-pod does sound good, doesn’t it?

The metaphor commonly used isn’t e-pod, but island. I can tell you from personal experience that in filling out your wish fulfillment form, be clear that it be a deserted island, for an island is, somewhat ironically, more of a fishbowl. But if we were truly interested in being on a deserted island, we wouldn’t be reading and writing in the blogosphere, would we? If we are all islands, then the blogosphere is a series of bridges, or boats. No matter what we tell ourselves, we instinctively reach out to others, to give and to get help. Freya mentions that the E-Pod Emulations, a fun interview format, is a way to give back to the writing community.

Sound familiar? I am here at Marcia’s blog where her tag line is “writers helping writers”. Marcia has graciously featured me here at the Write Stuff and encourages my poetic leanings. I have been dabbling more with that genre lately, responding to various prompts from different blogs. Each place has its group of respondents who write and also read and reply to one another; I have yet to stumble upon an unfriendly place and am grateful to the individuals that host these groups of writers and provide the prompts that inspire me to lift a pencil.

So while alone time in an e-pod or a deserted island is attractive, and even necessary at times, we do all benefit from the support and camaraderie of one another.

Meanwhile… You may have seen festive balloons dancing in the blue skies over Carrot Ranch. They are celebrating more than the publication of the Volume 1 Anthology; Charli and her buckaroos are celebrating four years of what is a ballooning literary community that welcomes readers, writers and those interested in the discourse. This community dispels the myth of the insular lone wolf writer; they provide a pack, a tribe of like-minded people who want to try their hand at flash fiction. In the year since I stepped into the blogosphere via the Ranch I have learned and grown so much because of that community. I wouldn’t be much of anywhere without them and am proud to join in the celebration.

I am sure that we all celebrate the groups that we are a part of and the individuals that keep things going. We know that a comment is worth a hundred balloons. These celebratory balloons are markers, beacons for those who might want to reach out from the shores of their own island and share with others their writing, their thoughts, and their encouragement.

Thank you Marcia!