Writing Exercise: Pie and Whiskey

I’ve been reading Pie and Whiskey, a collection of short stories, essays, poems, and recipes. (The pie crust recipe is spot on, by the way; Kate Lebo knows her stuff.) The creative work in the book comes from a wide variety of authors and covers a wide variety of subjects, but one thing strings them all together (well, two things):

Pie and whiskey.

So, having read a couple dozen short pieces in the past few days, filled with pie-makers and whiskey-drinkers, I’ve got pie and whiskey on the brain. So that’s this week’s prompt. Pie and whiskey. Wherever it takes you.

Here’s mine.

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Tricks and Treats: On Fear, Bravery, and Halloween

When I was a kid, we lived down the street from our local pastor. Despite some of his congregation’s hesitations about the holiday, he absolutely loved Halloween.

I don’t remember how he decorated his house or if he ever wore costumes. I don’t remember what kind of candy he passed out. I remember two things about Pastor John’s house on Halloween night: he always looked delighted to see us, and he always made us do a trick before we could get a treat.

Apparently, this is a custom in certain areas but it wasn’t a custom in ours. As far as we knew, it was just Pastor John.

At first, the idea of performing on his front doorstep was terrifying. Should I tell a joke or sing a song? What if I wasn’t good enough? What if he gave me a rock instead of candy like those horrible adults in It’s The Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown?

But I did it. I was brave.

To me, bravery is what Halloween is all about.

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Happy Birthday to Me…?

My birthday’s on Saturday and I still don’t know how I feel about it. My mom is probably most frustrated about that fact–she’s been trying to plan a celebration and I’ve been giving her nothing.

Well, not NOTHING. A lot of sighs. Some “I don’t know”s. A whole lot of shrugging.

And now, a video–with several cameos by her grandkids.

How do you feel about birthdays? Has it changed over the years? Does everything change as you get older and WILL ANYTHING EVER BE SIMPLE AGAIN?!?!?!?

Writing Exercise: Two Minutes Out of Control

I am a controlled writer. I have often thought out the words before they hit the page–the first dozen, at least–and they unspool from there in a fairly metered way. I don’t suffer typos (a peeve my smartphone is trying to cure me of through exposure therapy) and I sometimes spend too long deliberating my diction. However, there are times when the writing flows without thinking. These are often the best times. Yes, they might need a bit of editing on the next read and when brought to workshop I have occasionally baffled readers with my oddball phrasing. No, these sentences might not end up in the final draft. But sometimes, whether the words end up working or not, I simply need to turn off my brain and let my fingers fly.

So that’s today’s challenge. Write without thinking. Set a timer for two minutes and simply begin. Don’t go back for typos, if you can help it. Just roll down the hill of your thoughts.

Here’s mine:

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More Forty Than Thirty: A Treatise on Self Care and [Finally] Growing Up

I have often been told (mostly by people who don’t believe in such things) that I am an old soul. I was an intelligent and obedient child, quick to finish my homework and patient about standing in line. I was not, for the most part, a problem–and so, for the most part, I was ignored.

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