From Claps to Crickets, My Favorite Twelve

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Now that the Christmas rush (which for me meant 22 people celebrating at my house) is over, I’m going to respond to the prompt by Kay Bolden and list 12 of my stories that could qualify as favorites.

But first, I want to point out that Kay and many others of you are truly Superstars! Your writing entertains, inspires, educates, encourages and enlightens me, making me a better writer in the process. I’m privileged to read your work, and thrilled when you read mine.

Following my “retirement” from the nine to five work force, my “real life” friends started asking me what I do all day.

“I bet you’re spending lots of time with the grandkids,” they said.

“Some,” I replied.

“I guess you’re able to volunteer a lot now,” they remarked.

“Yes, it’s gratifying,” I said, and they smiled approvingly.

“Isn’t it great that you can sleep in and spend all morning reading the newspaper?”

I don’t do that very much,” I began, and they interrupted, “But you can if you want to.”

“Actually I spend a lot of time writing,” I said. “I write full time.” That’s when they looked at me like I had sprouted two heads.

This response is why my writing family here is so important. You get what I mean when I say “Actually I spend a lot of time writing.”

In looking back over past posts, I realize some of my stories received tremendous, gratifying responses and others met with crickets. Either way, the posts I’ve included here are ones that are meaningful to me on some level.

Thanks for stopping by to check them out, but thanks even more for being the supportive writing community that has responded, commented, and provided me with the opportunity all writers want: to be read, to relate to other writers, and to be able to say I am a writer.

One of my favorite stories of the year reinforced the value of journaling. I ran across the story, a description of a horseback riding accident years ago,when I was looking back through my journal. The accident had a profound effect, but without the journal record, I could never have written about it with such accuracy and detail.

In another story published in P.S. I Love You I attempt to show, from the perspective of a grandparent, what a courageous and difficult thing it is to foster children whose parents are unable to take care of them.

When I first started writing on Medium, I never expected to write fiction. I didn’t think I could. But thanks to KD Murray, who invited me to join Warrior Writers and then encouraged me (relentlessly) to respond to their writer’s prompts, I discovered fiction writing as a new and exciting joy.

In this next story, one of my earliest attempts at fiction, I responded to a prompt to write about deja vu. I wanted the reader to experience deja vu through the main character without any inclusion of the word in my story.

And some more short stories that I had fun writing…

One of the first stories I posted on Medium only got a handful of views, but it’s a favorite of mine because it describes my trip to Egypt just before the Arab Spring. I still think about all the wonderful people I met in that fascinating country, and I still mourn our inability to travel this beautiful world freely, without fear.

An acquaintance of mine called one afternoon and said “I read a story of yours that gave me hope. Could you pray with me?” She was suffering from a debilitating terminal illness and had succumbed to despair. We prayed, and she died 24 hours later. I was glad my article led her to me, to our prayer, and to what little comfort I was able to pass along during her final hours. Here’s the story, published in Publishous:

This next story published in Publishous didn’t receive much attention early on, but it’s proven to “have legs.” It’s received more attention recently than it did initially, and it’s one of my favorites.

On morning I started writing a serious piece and couldn’t get in the mood. I dashed off this story instead, laughing the whole way through.

My “Mama” stories (all true) have been great fun to write. Here are a couple of my favorites.

And there you have it. Twelve stories I enjoyed writing and twelve stories I hope you enjoy reading. Happy writing and reading in the New Year!

Writer, editor, publisher, journalist, author, columnist, believer in enjoying my journey and helping other people enjoy theirs.

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