Posts Tagged ‘31 day writing challenge’

Cora walked through the ashes of her home. Nothing was left, nothing. Melted glasses, tattered shreds of curtains, a still-smoldering sofa pulled out into the dirt road. The appliances were blackened hulks of themselves. She felt something hard against her toe, and heard a metallic clink of metal against glass; there, at  her foot, gleaming dully in the hazy light, were her orange sewing scissors splayed open. She stared at them: the thumb handle was twisted and concave, black against the bright orange handle.

Gingerly, she picked them up out of the soot, running her thumb over the rough, pocked surface of the melted plastic, feeling how cool they were in her hand now. How odd that they had survived! She took her thumb and felt the edge, gasped at the sharpness of it. These scissors, always comfortable in her hands, now disfigured, but still sharp…

She snipped them shut: snip-click, a little grating noise as the sooty sides came together, snip-click, the sound they made when cutting fabric. Cora turned them over in her hand, and thought how the thumb hole now resembled a tear-drop: were the scissors as sad as she was? She lifted them to her nose and breathed in the smell of fire, melted plastic, tasted the smoke that still lingered on them. Burnt, salvaged, something of hers from the fire.

Describe an ordinary household object using: 5 visual descriptions, 4 tactile descriptions, 3 audial descriptions, 2 olfactory, and one about how it might taste.004

*Postscript – while I own the scissors pictured and they were found in the aftermath of a house fire, I made the story up.

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It is late in life and I am feeling a desperate need to speed up my writing and artistic process (e.g., I really need to get a novel published and start selling art seriously). This means, I have been hopping around the Internet, picking up all the free advice I can get, looking into Webinars (I hate webinars), forums, and downloading great advice that I will (maybe, possibly) use. I even have my first ever coaching session scheduled for tomorrow morning (I wouldn’t even dream of doing this except that I know the life coach personally, and she has been an encouragement in my life for a couple of years now, and she made it into a challenge).

Yesterday, I joined a writer’s group and downloaded a 31-day writing challenge, the first of which is a challenge to write about my favorite childhood book and the emotions it evoked.

Um. Yeah. That’s a hard one. There’s a little pink book my mom used to read me, called “Big Little Kitty”. Original, huh? But I can hear my mother’s voice as she sing-songs through the story:

Karen Kay is four and a little bit more. How old are you?001

Muffin comes into Karen Kay’s life when she is four (and a little bit more) on Christmas Day.


They have wonderful adventures until one morning in the spring when Muffin ran away.

It was time to see the world.

While Muffin is out gallivanting, Karen Kay is at home, pining away. Muffin goes to the city, and Karen Kay plays – sadly – with her little-girl doll and the teddy bear Squeaky Ben.

One night, when the stars were very bright and snow had turned the garden white…

Karen Kay gets a wonderful surprise, the sort of surprise my father would never have allowed me to keep, let alone see:

Six pink ears like Muffin’s ears, six blue eyes like Muffin’s eyes, a wonderful, furry kitten-surprise!


And Muffin? Well, Muffin was leading the way and meowing proudly as if to say, “Look at us, look at us – we’re home, Karen Kay!

What do I have to say about this book? I probably fell in love with cats because of this book: I imagined myself as Karen Kay, the spurned cat owner. I would beg my mother to read it and bask in the words. “Look at me, Look at me!” Oh – how a kitten in a stocking at Christmas would be almost as good as a horse hiding in the garage!

We lost the original book, of course. I picked up the copy I presently own at a library discard sale or a yard sale. It didn’t matter to me: I had to own this “Tell a Tale” book from 1953 in my possession. Karen Kay and her little hussy-cat, Muffin, who went off adventuring in the city, only to return after she was knocked-up and had little fatherless kitties to bring home to her rich mistress.

I may be a bit jaded about cats and their sexual lives, now. After all, I’m “sixty and a little bit more” and I’ve known a few cats.

On a side note, I owned a cat that I once fancied I would name “Muffin”. The name never fit her. No name ever fit her. She came into my life when she was a not-yet-weaned kitten and I was an 18 year old college drop out. She stayed with friends when I traveled, she moved to Oregon with me, she lived in the country and in town, and she moved to Portland after I got married. She survived several other cats and the introduction of dogs and children into our lives. She hated being an indoor cat and remained an outdoor cat until she went blind and deaf. She died on my 36th birthday, at the grand old age of 18, in the laundry room while I was folding laundry and talking to her.

My husband helped me give her a proper burial.

She was never named “Muffin”. She was – and will forever be – simply, “Cat”. With quotation marks.004

This photo captures the very life-essence of my “Muffin”.

Excuse me while I wipe away the water leaking from my eye…

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