Writing 101: WordPress

Night Shift

gravescr
Plein air colored pencil by Lenee Cobb

We’re camped at a place called Graves Creek. It’s midnight. The lantern glow and diminishing campfire flames, the nearby rush of river with rising shadows of mountains I can barely discern above silhouetted tree tops, and the oxygen-rich air of this rain-forest valley conspire to keep me awake by offering me an experience too wonderful to miss should I sleep.

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When Storms Come

Digital Camera
Photo by Lenee Cobb: Still wondering how to get the date OUT. No one has been able to figure it out yet. Photo was taken last week–November 2016.

Fall and winter equate to Turbulent times, but not just this year. No. Throughout history.

I spent a few hours this evening going through a box containing memories: . . .

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Tiny but Self-Sufficient

This last summer I had the pleasure of taking the oldest two of my granddaughters on a tour of the reportedlyhauntedManresa Castle  in Port Townsend.

After traipsing up and down multiple staircases, always on the lookout for anything mysterious, . . .

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Day 20

Memory Full
Memory Full

Memory Full
By Leneé Cobb

One must be sure to get inside the carved grooves of this wooden box when dusting. Inside all the ornately carved flowers that decorate the lid, there used to be a picture of an English cottage in the summertime that invited you to visit, if only through a daydream. This is the only thing I have left that belonged to my Grandma and Grandpa Williams. I open it.

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Writing 101: Day Nineteen: Don’t Stop the Rockin’
Today is a free writing day. Write at least four-hundred words, and once you start typing, don’t stop. No self-editing, no trash-talking, and no second guessing: just go. Bonus points if you tackle an idea you’ve been playing with but think is too silly to post about.

Legend of the
Port Townsend Huckleberry Pucker Muffins

One year, for a family barbeque my husband’s cousin Henry was hosting, I used my world-famous, okay, maybe not world-famous, but at least locally popular, coffeecake recipe but instead of including the typical streusel, I dumped in a bunch of red huckleberries and took a batch of these over to Henry’s . . .

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Writing 101 Day 18: Misses Pauley

Today’s prompt: write this story in first person, told by the twelve-year-old sitting on the stoop across the street.
Today’s twist: For those of you who want an extra challenge, think about more than simply writing in first-person point of view — build this twelve-year-old as a character. Reveal at least one personality quirk, for example, either through spoken dialogue or inner monologue.
Refer to some of the exercises we’ve done on character, dialogue, and even sentence length to help craft this person. All of these storytelling elements can combine to create a strong point of view.

Bad Days and Good People

Valerie clapped the ball into the far corner of my square, making me have to lunge backwards to get it. I barley caught the ball with a frantic left swipe but it went high and out of bounds and she won the game. I sighed. She walked up to me all perky-like. “Do you want to play again?”

“No.” I was getting hungry and feeling a little lightheaded so I walked over to the porch . . .

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Day 17: Today’s Prompt: We all have anxieties, worries, and fears. What are you scared of? Address one of your worst fears.
Today’s Twist: Write this post in a style distinct from your own.
Well, I don’t know iffen I kin do that. Wait here, while I go and slip into something more casual. Okay. Now let’s see how you like this writing outfit.

Three O’clock Hero

The little spider was in my house and I didn’t like it one bit. As long as they kept themselves outside I had no problem with them but once they trespassed into my living quarters, they were fair game for any human to kill, no questioned asked unless one got away. There’s only one problem with this picture

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Day 16: MILLERSYLVANIA

continued from MILLERSYLVANIA PART IV

and The Stray Sod

Letter  to the Sheriff continued:

The spring of my senior year I hiked again up the hill to the backside of Millersylvania and again visited the grave with another counselor and our kids. It had, like always, a freshly made stick cross. Nothing had been done about it yet so this time, instead of just telling the staff, I requested the ear of XXX, who was still the ranger. I told him like I am telling you now about the gravesite and where it was and he said, (I still remember it) “There is no such place.”

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Day 15: Today’s Prompt: Think about an event you’ve attended and loved. Imagine you’re told it will be cancelled forever or taken over by an evil corporate force. How does that make you feel?
Let’s consider your voice again. This topic can be tricky, as you might not be sure what your voice sounds like — yet.
Today’s twist: While writing this post, focus again on your own voice. Pay attention to your word choice, tone, and rhythm. Read each sentence aloud multiple times, making edits as you read through. Before you hit “Publish,” read your entire piece out loud to ensure it sounds like you.

My town hosts a couple events every year that tend to change the lives of all the local residents for a week or so. You see, this small town has one road bisecting it and that road has two lanes: one going east, the other going west. To get in and out of our town one must drive on the highway. This highway also has two lanes, one going east, and the other west. However, not everyone that lives in Sequim lives in town. Many of us live off the highway, either on the north or the south side. That’s why, when our town hosts a major event, things get crazy.

Festival flowers. Photo by Callie Cobb
Festival flowers. Photo by Callie Cobb

Sequim’s Annual Irritation Festival

It’s time for the Irritation Festival in Sequim. What? You heard me.

Every May the City of Sequim puts hosts Warshington State’s oldest parade and festival. Because it’s the state’s oldest festival, people scurry to this itty-bitty town from all over, including people such as Seattleans, Tacomamoens, Puyallupponicians, Humptulipians, . . .

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Day 14

Today’s Prompt: Pick up the nearest book and flip to page 29. What’s the first word that jumps off the page? Use this word as your springboard for inspiration. Today’s twist: write the post in the form of a letter.
Well, the book that was handy was an old, I mean vintage, Louis L’Amour book titled Chancy. I love Lois. On page 29, it was hard to find the page numbers since all of them were way up in the center next to the binding, was a sentence: “I’ll spook their horses.” Now which word would have jumped out at you? Yes, well, the same one caught my eye. Here goes.

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Day 13: Serially Found:MILLERSYLVANIA PART IV
On day four, you wrote a post about losing something. Today’s Prompt: write about finding something. Today’s twist: if you wrote day four’s post as the first in a series, use this one as the second installment — loosely defined.

How many readers have witnessed a murder? How many have found someone who’s dead? How many have gone to court as a witness in a murder trial?
In past posts, I’ve mentioned the stray sod. You do remember there is such a thing, right?

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Day 12

Today’s Prompt: Write a post inspired by a real-world conversation.Today’s twist: include an element of foreshadowing in the beginning of your post.

Realization

By Leneé Cobb

As we walked through this southern California winter haze, my heart was locked in a sheath of Steelecold metallic, and gray. No longer was it just brittle and chilled like the cement jungle of L.A., all cracked and in need of fresh paint. My heart was beyond that, beyond stone, refined, and hard. I kicked a pebble forcefully across the sidewalk, daring it to fight back, staring it down through Clint Eastwood eyes. “I want to buy a gun.”

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The Assignment: Day 9: Point of View

Today’s Prompt: A man and a woman walk through the park together, holding hands. They pass an old woman sitting on a bench. The old woman is knitting a small, red sweater. The man begins to cry. Write this scene.

We encourage you to give fiction a try, even if that not what you normally do — it can be a fun way to stretch. If fiction feels like a bridge to far, take some element from the scene that speaks to you, and write a non-fiction piece about that.
Today’s twist: write the scene from three different points of view: from the perspective of the man, then the woman, and finally the old woman.

Okay, we see what the assignment was. I didn’t want to write anything dealing with death and loss, I didn’t want to write anything to do with relationships ending.

Also in that assignment description were these words: “Shifting point of view can be your best friend if you’ve got writers’ block.” This assignment gave me a severe case of writer’s block. So it’s now Friday morning and I am warning you all to read my answer to this assignment at your own risk. Writer’s block can do strange things to a person, just ask Johnny.

Never Say Never

Sub-titled Something Crazy by Lenee Cobb

(Should I even put my name to this? Probably not.)

It was a beautiful August day in the park in Winchester County, Idaho. Little ol’ Miss Suzie thought to finish the red sweater she was knitting for her nephew Sam while sitting in the park. Most boys wouldn’t appreciate a red sweater their auntie made, but Sam was different. He was in show business. Suzie knew he’d be thrilled to receive it.

Now, this particular park in Winchester County Idaho happens to be located next to the fairgrounds. It’s a pleasant place, a quiet place, normally. But today was the final day of the County Fair and there was a rodeo going on and because Miss Suzie was aware of that, she came prepared. She chose to sit on the bench beneath the leafy elm tree for the shade. It was a long bench and there was plenty of room for her to spread out her knitting supplies. She whipped out that red sweater, tucked her little ol’ transistor radio inside her apron pocket and made herself right at home.

Miss Suzie had her earphones on and was tapping her right toe to the rhythm of a Neil Diamond tune, not thinking much about anything ’cept knit one pearl two when the 800-pound Black Angus bull named Tornado mowed her down. Kabam! Why, she thought as the park bench fell backwards with her in it and a huge pair of bullhorns skewered the ground on each side of her head, God Almighty, I haven’t felt like this since Reverend Love’s traveling Salvation Show passed through here years ago. Why lookie there, there’s cuckoo birds a carrying on and multi-colored stars exploding.

Tornado flipped right over her, landing on his back and ripping up the ground like a plow and loosening his horns as he rectified himself. He looked back towards the fairgrounds, saw what it was he was running from, pondered charging it, even stamped a foot and snorted, then remembered what had happened earlier and blinked his eyes, thought better of charging, and turned, intending to speed towards the cow herd he’d seen coming in here. Only thing was, there happened to be an elm tree in his way he hadn’t anticipated. His eyes were burning red and his vision was blurry. But, Tornado wasn’t the only wild thing roaming loose that day. . . .

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Day Eight: Death to Adverbs
Today’s Prompt: Go to a local café, park, or public place and write a piece inspired by something you see.

Foliage at the back of the park. Photographer: Lenee Cobb

Once upon a Childhood Fragrance
By Leneé Cobb

Spring floats upon the April breeze along this one section at our community park. It’s back here, along the stream as it meanders among tree roots and rocks. Every year I make it a point to hike to this specific area at the back of the park so I can breathe its peculiar fragrance. I know it comes from one of these trees growing along the banks and this year I’m determined to discover which one, and put a name to it.

This particular tree harnesses memories of the Chugach Mountains in Alaska, reminders of childhood’s fresh wonder. It transports me back to a time when there was nothing created that would want to hurt me or anyone else. A time when moose, bears, and wolves were nothing to fear and birds flittered about for my pleasure to chase, days when . . .

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Writing 101 Day 7

Tug-of-War
By Leneé Cobb

Although I assured my best friend I was fine—fine enough for her to take a shower—she’s been in there less than five minutes and I can no longer speak. She didn’t want to leave my side to take one but I insisted. She looked like crap. She’s been up for days and I don’t know the half of how she got here. It’s a good three-hour flight from where she lives. She left her newborn baby to be by my side and when she lay down on the couch in the room for a brief shut-eye last night, she was out cold and sawing logs within seconds.
I’m fighting to stay with it—until she gets out—until my husband gets back. He went to go get a cup of coffee. This is so rough on him. I worry about him a lot.
This was supposed to be timed a little different—better—if there is such a thing.

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Writing 101 Day 6: Second attempt

This assignment deals with character description.We’re supposed to describe people we recently met. Now that ought to really freak some people out. These assignments are given to us on a daily basis and that leaves only a limited amount of self-editing time. These are my “within less than a day Scribblings.” For that reason, the following story (and others found within this blog,) may read much better at some future date. Please add your comments to areas that I can improve upon, etc.

Note to my readers: Just because the following story is to strange to be fiction doesn’t mean it really happened . . . recently, anyway.

Another Lodge of Legends Mystery
by Lenee Cobb

My name’s Friday, Gal Friday at the front desk, the one checking people in.

It was Christmas Eve and I came on duty for the swing shift at a local establishment catering to tourists that had a bad rep. for drug-dealing and hourly rates. It hadn’t taken me long to figure out which of my co-workers was making the arrangements. It was easy for her to do working the front desk here. She’s been making cash deals for the up-scale rooms. I got her canned. But this story is not about her.

The hotel sat back from the main highway, out of sight and out of town and because we were now short-handed, not only did I have to work Christmas Eve, I also had to work the night after Christmas Eve. But first things first.

On this Christmas Eve, it’s snowing outside and since I came on shift at seven, the snow’s continued to accumulate. It’s about six-inches deep and ten o’clock. A young man with an imperfect complexion comes in the lobby, tall and skinny fellow, carrying a small backpack

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Writing 101: Day 5: Be Brief
Today’s Prompt: You stumble upon a random letter on the path.

Between the Lines

by Lenee Cobb

As I pulled the car to the side of the logging road and parked, the sun filtered down through young leaves and spritely-tipped branches. What would have been gray and spooky a few moments ago now appeared welcoming. . . .

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Writing 101: Day 4

What About Loss?

. . .
There’ve been people I’ve known in life and death that have given me a lot to live up to in life and death. In some cases, because of their sacrifices, I live. Their bravery demands I live a better life. Those no longer living, are they not here? Their legacy lives on. They’ll only be forgotten if no one tells their story. I plan to do what I can to make certain they’re known and remembered for generations to come.

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Writing 101 Day 3

Assignment Day 3: Write about the three most important songs in your life — what do they mean to you?

Memorable Music Part 1

(because I may add to this at a later date.)

There are three songs from my childhood that stand out above the others:

She’ll be coming around the mountain, Tumbling Tumbleweed, and Mockingbird hill.

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Day 2

Assignment: Today, choose a place to which you’d like to be transported if you could — and tell us the backstory. How does this specific location affect you? Is it somewhere you’ve been, luring you with the power of nostalgia, or a place you’re aching to explore for the first time?

The Stray Sod

As we climb out from inside the cavernous roots of the cedar tree, we must be careful not to slip. The bark is slick with moisture. The air outside is thick with rising sap, worm-turned earth, river spray, and sweet fern. Only when one bends down to look beyond the roots of the giant cedar can they spot the tunnel winding inside the wild rose bush halls.

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———–
I’ve enrolled in the WordPress class Writing 101. I might teach a class in Writing Life Stories and I might format and edit the work of others, but I’ve never Blogged until now and I’m always learning. Is now the time to make certain that Blog/Blogging is always capitalized? Let me know. Writing is a discipline and writing more will help me improve. I look forward to your feedback here.

Assignment 1The Unlocked Mind: I’m supposed to practice unlocking my mind by free-writing for 20 minutes. This is strange because I have so many things I could write about that to write about nothing in particular seems a little wasteful. I’m thinking I should have put more thought into this before I set the clock.

Should I divulge family drama? Never on a Blog, at least not fresh drama. So my writing about what we’re going to decide to do about the neutered male cat who still acts like a Tom is out. The discussion I had with a neighbor about finding dead bodies is out–well, most of it, anyway. Don’t even ask what started us on that subject.

How many of you know that if you find a bunch of bones way out in a wilderness area (that you suspect might be human,) that you’re supposed to bring at least one bone back with you to show the authorities?

I’d thought the crime scene shouldn’t be disturbed. I was wrong. Always bring a bone back so authorities can discern whether or not the bone is human before they allot time to go investigating. But of that  conversation I’ll say no more here.

Ziggie Zorro on left. Photographer: Callie Cobb
Ziggie Zorro on left. Photographer: Callie Cobb

My daughter, her friend and I took my dog to the dog park over the weekend. This was during a sunny break in an otherwise rainy day. As we were leaving, the dog bounded out of the fenced enclosure before I could get the leash on her. She was free, FREE! Doing the Happy Dog prance smiling over her shoulder as the fenced dogs took notice, barking her, “Good luck!”

She ran towards the ducks and the pond and as I ran my grandma run after my dog and I shouted out a bad word beginning with an “S” and elderly-er ladies with their dogs at the park shook their fingers at me saying, “We heard that” and grinned.

I apologized even as my heart plummeted towards my stomach.

I raced on, well, maybe not fast but and maybe raced is the wrong verb cause I’m a grandma, wondering why my daughter and her friend (who had inadvertently let the dog out of the fence,) were not running to help me catch Ziggie Zorro. Sirens flashed red inside my head. The doggie police. Loose dog chasing ducks and running up to strangers OH MY! To make matters worse, my dog dogs not look friendly to everyone. Oh no. She’s been described as a hell hound by one of the phone repair men.

Ducks flew skyward and into the pond  presuming safety.

I stopped. It was like watching a train wreck in slow motion. I just knew she’d dive in after them. She stopped and looked back at me at other people, and at all the dogs behind the fence, ears pricked, as if she wanted to make sure she had witnesses to this event. She was saying,  “I can do t his and I probably might. Dogs of the world, you can live your dream through me right now.” She was smiling.

I called out to her ever so sweetly., “Ziggie, come here!”

Ziggie Zorro on the run. Photographer: Callie Cobb
Ziggie Zorro on the run. Photographer: Callie Cobb

I thought I’d never get my puppy dog back. But Ziggie stayed stopped at the waters edge….and the dog park ladies smiled and as their little doggies barked through the fence, saying God knows what at my dog, my dog ran back to us all. Free will. Embarrassment, relief, gratefulness. What’s your day made of?

Did anyone get any photos of the blood moon?There were many people claiming something terrible was going to happen during the blood moon. Did you witness something terrible happen?

I can’t write about the fact that my family went ahead and spoiled me long before my birthday so now, there is not much to look forward to on my birthday. It will be just another day in the neighborhood no different from any other.  So now what? Don’t get me wrong, I enjoyed all those moments. I appreciate everyone’s thoughtfulness and I realize that this–date substitution– happens often to people. Actual dates are substituted with dates that work within the schedules of those around us. Yet, the “So, now what?” feels like a let down  before the day arrives. There’ll be nothing for me to look forward to except the fact I’ll be another year older–but I know that’s not true. Really I do.

We re-scheduled last Christmas. It had to happen for us two days earlier. We rearranged calendars and crossed off days with a bright red sharpie and still became confused. I rushed the grand-kids through all our craft projects. The dog ate the sharpie. Things were crazy here. However, we did not experience the Christmas Eve rush of frantic fellow shoppers. Surprisingly, when our Christmas Eve came, that  really felt like it was Christmas Eve.

Blackberry buds beneath an April shower. Photographer: Lenee Cobb
Blackberry buds beneath an April shower. Photographer: Lenee Cobb

When Christmas came for the rest of the world we didn’t feel let down or low. We were able to share what glow we’d gathered with others in a warm, mellow, stress free way.

Perhaps my birthday will be like Christmas in that regard. Besides, I’ve always felt that if no one remembered my birthday, it’s still special. Springtime, to me, is the best time to be born. Slightly chilled warm air, light showers, shiny Easter grass and Daffodils, Hyacinths, and flowering fruit trees and berry bushes. I conclude there are only two things I should do on my birthday: take a walk and be thankful.  I’ll enjoy the day in a mellow, less stressful way. Yep. That ought to give me something nice and boring to write about later, something all introspective-like.

Maybe I’ll take Ziggie Zorro to the park—-

P.S.

Writing is something I find I cannot do in twenty minutes. Like the ol’ chip commercial, I can’t eat just one—-Yes, this took longer. Did everyone else taking the class really stop writing after only twenty minutes?

11 thoughts on “Writing 101: WordPress

  1. OMG! You are hilarious! I must say that halfway through that doggie story I had tear rolling down my cheeks as I was practically falling off my chair laughing! I could just picture it all vividly because you wrote it so very well. Kudos! Of course it could be partially due to the fact that I have a little toy poodle who also has such a charming personality and I could well imagine my little doggie thinking some of those very thoughts had she been in the same situation. And I loved your closing paragraphs, too. No – I love ALL of it. You are a wonderful writer. And by the way – my favorite genre to write in is life stories because I know that the best way to write is what you know and I’ve lived through so much in my life – the good and the bad. I can hardly wait to read more from you. Amazing job!

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  2. I got confused (my fault not yours) and thought the dog was going to lead you to some human bones. Not that I was disappointed at all! And then, I was thinking, whoa, she wrote ALOT in 20 minutes– until you confused. But heck, I don’t think that’s a bad thing though. Keep it up!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’m giggling at the confusion free-writing can generate. I can definitely see how the readers would think exactly what you thought. Ah, laughing–embarrassed. I am so sorry, readers. Thank you so much Bukkhead. I’m so glad you caught that. I also confess to editing the heading of this page, when, after I published it, I discovered I wrote Writing wrong, and that just would not do.

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  3. I loved it! Mine a little over twenty minutes and I had to go back and do a little editing of things like capitalization and spelling since my Ipad doesn’t seem to be as robust with that as my laptop. I was also a little concerned your pup was going to come back with a bone for a bit but then you closed off that line of thought. I enjoyed the whole feel of your post and look forward to more.

    Liked by 1 person

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