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Anita O’Day — My Research

Since my mom didn’t talk about her career as a singer, I decided, when I decided to write The Reluctant Canary Sings, to find out what her life may have been like. I hoped to learn something about her experience from other female vocalists who started during the late thirties and early forties. When I found Anita… Read more Anita O’Day — My Research

Bobbi’s Fashion

When Bobbi Bowen, a consummate tomboy, decides to enter a singing contest–with a lot of encouragement from her friends–she has to think about costuming.  In the depths of the 1930s she had no money to buy anything new. But money isn’t her biggest concern. Here she is, talking to her friends as she continues to… Read more Bobbi’s Fashion

Dodger and Betsy

Writer’s Prompt: Your challenge, if you choose to accept it, is to figure out how two hippos named Dodger and Betsy got into the parking lot of a Catholic School. Our guests from America stepped out into the parking lot and there were the hippos. I thought I’d told the children to make sure the… Read more Dodger and Betsy

My Dad’s Five Facts

I’ve already written about my lack of knowledge about my mother. I know less about my dad. He died when I was 16 (he was 47), before it even occurred to me that he had a life BF. I always thought of him as a plainsman to the core, but I did learn a little… Read more My Dad’s Five Facts

Writer’s Prompts

Every couple of weeks, I meet with a writers group. Each time we meet, we go home with a three prompts to build a story or essay or poem around. Here’s my story from a couple of months ago: In my defense, I was left unsupervised–in fact, Kay and I were supposed to be the… Read more Writer’s Prompts

Cole’s Chicken

My writing group met last night. We’ve begun exchanging prompts and this time we had three. I looked at them over and over, but couldn’t find any inspiration until yesterday, thinking about my visit with my grandson and that grandson’s middle name–Danger. I used the my selected prompt as the first two sentences of my… Read more Cole’s Chicken

Awesome Elm and other Impressive Trees

The gigantic elm tree in this picture canopies the second-story room where I write—and the porch where I just like to hang out and listen to bird song. This morning, air fresh from last night’s storm, a bird sang high in its branches. Actually, it sounded more like shouting for joy, maybe trying to start… Read more Awesome Elm and other Impressive Trees

What Are Peonies?

Have you noticed them yet? They’re blooming now—great big pompoms of flower. And fragrant. Unlike roses, they still have a strong aroma. We humans haven’t bred the scent out of them to get bigger blossoms. Didn’t have to; they’re already huge. Every year, when I was a kid, the peonies would bloom and my grandmother… Read more What Are Peonies?

What Is Enough?

Years ago when I worked for the Nebraska Game and Parks Commission, I wrote a lot about our responsibility toward stewardship of land and its creatures. I’ve worried a lot lately about how that concept seems to have disappeared from much of our public discourse. A recent article by Jeffrey A. Lockwood begins with a… Read more What Is Enough?

Smashed Jack-O-Lantern

Author’s note:  I started with the first sentence as a writing prompt and, since Halloween’s approaching, I thought it would be fun to write the required five paragraphs. When I got home that night, I noticed that the smiling jack-o-lantern in my front yard was crushed. I stood on the sidewalk and just looked at… Read more Smashed Jack-O-Lantern