Flash Fiction “Non-musical anthem”

Non-musical Anthem

A proactive member of the human community, each day for me is testimony to renewal, commitment and recovery. As the fertile earth awaits new growth, my journey anticipates bright hours of hope and mindfulness.
My mission is open-ended. I will welcome new friends, cherishing the old. I will stimulate my spirit to fresh vistas and refresh my ongoing creativity, embracing my enduring values. In this changing world, I will nurture vitality and vitalize the lives I touch.
I will seek to thrive in peace and harmony and will my Self to Be all I have been and all I am.
Anna Di Bella
Past National President, NLAPW
All Cities Branch, NY

From Treanor Baring, Past Website Content Editor:

It has been my pleasure to work with many talented, competent and thoughtful women at NLAPW at the National Level. Thank you to all of the poets, writers, artists and members in music who have shared your talent with others through this blog. It has been a great honor to serve as the website editor for the NLAPW and to expand the audience for your work through the website and Pen Women Press.

I do expect that the new editors will continue to care as much about our mission and getting YOUR work out there as I have. I look forward to their contributions with the anticipation that they will maintain the quality, integrity and professionalism that we’ve initiated.

 


 

Poem of the Week–Cream

Cream

My mother stands in the kitchen
pouring cream over sliced bananas,
cream skimmed from the top of
a milk bottle delivered that morning,
her flowered housedress
hangs loose on her frame.

On holidays she hand-whips cream
laced with powdered sugar and
vanilla into white mounds— her apron
catches stray spatters. She scoops
thick clouds onto pumpkin pie,
as light splays silver on her hair.

Years later she chooses cream puffs
from a bakery. I see her sitting at
the table late afternoon with tea and
the newspaper, a wrinkled hand
lifting a fork to thin lips with a smile,
her glasses tipped on her nose.

Behind her, a window opens to farmland
where once the clink of glass bottles
left on the step could be heard and
cream always rose to the top.

Lorraine Walker Williams
SW Florida Branch

Flash Fiction–Paradox

Paradox

On a day when divorce was distinctly possible, she threw up, went to work, then to her son’s baseball game. For one moment, breeze, sun, voices combined and something utterly inexplicable occurred: she felt purely and completely happy.

by Louise Kantro
Modesto Branch, CA

Flash Fiction–Too Fat to Fit

Too Fat to Fit

We drove 300 miles to the Iowa State Fair–Ian, Leo and me. Planned to stay with Sis, so we did. Next day we walked. Ate things on a stick. Grandsons kept walking as they ate –cotton candy, pork-chops, funnel cakes. Tried midway rides, some twice. Sun warmed farmer caps and strollers, as we listened to horse-drawn wagons and talent scouts.

Packing for home next day, Sis rushed super-mega toilet rolls to my back seat.
“Why we taking these to Wisconsin?” asked Leo.

“They’re too fat to fit,” Sis said, “my toilet holders.”

“Why not just stack them on the counter?” he said.

Linda Newman Woito
Iowa City Branch, IA

From the author:

I still am laughing out loud, to this day, when I think of Leo’s obviously ADULT rational response. I think Leo wins the day, and for me, the story is about him, not the sister.

Reader response?

And happy, belated Valentines day:

“FRAME”

Oh you’re so pretty!
I think you’ll fit just fine!
I might have to hang you
and call you my Valentine!

Dianne Lynn Benanti
Palm Springs Branch, CA

Flash Fiction–The Ring

The Ring

Traffic whizzed by; she waited at the café table. Running her fingers through her gray hair, she recalled.
“You’re so beautiful,” Angelo had said, frowning. “Why do you look so young? You deceive me.”
It was one of those smack-in-your-face moments. She loved him. He loved her.
She shook her head. He’s not coming. Rising she crossed the street. In an instant, brakes squealed. She was on the ground – pain, blood. Someone picked up her head, cradled it in his lap. In that moment she looked up, a death smile on her lips.
It was Angelo, fingering a velvet ring box.

Christina Laurie
Cape Cod Branch, MA

Flash Fiction: Ester

Ester

My mother died when I was thirteen years old. Never mind that my father died the same day-he shot her twelve times and then turned the gun on himself. Ester, I loved her so much.

Years later I was in labor with my first child. I cried with heart pain not labor pain, wanting so much for my mother to be there. Hours passed and I was still in labor-couldn’t my body just let go and move on?

That’s when the new duty nurse came in and said, “Hi, I’m Ester. I’m here to help you have your baby.” Mom.

By Mary E. Edgerton
Bayou City Branch, TX

Visit our bookstore to order our beautiful new art calendar, books of poetry and powerful stories of healing for graduation gifts for the seniors in your life

A conversation with two collaborators

Why be a Pen Woman? This conversation with two Iowa Pen Women who wrote Mary & Me: A Lasting Link Through Ink together, says it all!
mary & me cover

The length of the friendship never brought astonishment. After all, the majority of Baby Boomers could likely claim a long-standing friendship in their lives. No, it was always the letters: the-pen-on-paper, inside-a-stamped-envelope, mailed-in-a-mailbox letter that was awe-inspiring. “You’ve been writing a letter every week for almost thirty years?” The question always evokes disbelief, particularly since the dawn of the Internet and email…
…This book explores a friendship that began in June 1986 and will most likely not end until “death do us part.” The fact that one of the women in this relationship had never really had other female friends outside of her sisters, while the other woman had too many to count, is all part of the story.”


—-Excerpted from the introduction of Mary & Me: A Lasting Link Through Ink, co-written by Iowa City Branch Pen Women Mary Potter Kenyon (Letters 2014) and Mary Jedlicka Humston (Letters 2007). Available from Amazon, Barnes and Noble or Familius Publishing. (http://www.familius.com/mary-me)

The following article “A Q & A Conversation with Two Collaborators” details how these two Pen Women coauthored a book and what they learned in the process.

Q: What was the most difficult thing about collaborating with another Pen Woman?
A: Mary Potter Kenyon: I admit to being a control freak, and so there was that to overcome when working with someone else on a project. While Mary and I had been friends for years and were used to critiquing each other’s writing, I had the most experience working with a publisher. There were occasions when I felt a little bossy, nixing her ideas. When we decided to work with each of our strengths, it was easier. I’d sold three other books through book proposals and had been teaching community college classes in proposal writing, so it made sense for me to write that. Mary was the better editor, so I relinquished a lot of that to her.
A: Mary Jedlicka Humston: Distance. Living 90 miles apart required extensive planning for face-to-face visits. Busy schedules as well as snow, ice, and blizzards occasionally hindered our work sessions. When the weather cooperated, we accomplished amazing results. Frequent emails and phone calls became crucial.

Q: What was the thing that surprised you the most?
A: Mary Potter Kenyon: Because I shared the work with a coauthor, and other women’s essays were also included in the book, I was surprised how little of the manuscript was solely up to me. I’d just completed three non-fiction books in the previous three years, with two taking more than a year to finish. With Mary writing half of each chapter, and essays filling in pages between each topic, we were able to complete the book in a few months.
I was also surprised to discover many similarities between Mary and me that hadn’t been fully revealed through all those years of letter-writing.

A: Mary Jedlicka Humston: Two things. I knew that communication would be crucial, but I didn’t realize its true importance. Communication created an environment of openness which allowed us to be creative and provided a great working relationship.
Bellevue event
The other thing? Writing Mary & Me deepened our already strong friendship. I thought I knew a lot about Mary, but I learned even more about her in our collaboration.

Q: What are the differences in the way the two of you work? Do you have different styles?
A: Mary Potter Kenyon: Mary revises much more than I do. I relied on her to be the one to repeatedly go over everything with a fine-toothed comb, but there were times when it was a little frustrating for me when a single word or phrase would bother Mary to no end. I don’t rely on other beta-readers as much as Mary does, perhaps to my own detriment, but it works for me when I have to meet a deadline. Now that I’m a newspaper reporter I believe it is a saving grace. No one sees anything I write until it ends up on the editor’s desk. For our coauthoring project, however, it was Mary’s endless revising that caught several serious errors.

A: Mary Jedlicka Humston: Mary wrote chapters in order. I did not. I am an editing fiend and have a hard time letting a piece go. She helped me know when “enough was enough.”

When we arrived at the speaking stage of our book journey, we realized we had totally different styles. Mary has an outline and can speak from it with ease and comfort. I like to have everything written out, so I don’t forget key points. I practice voraciously so my delivery appears natural and not stilted.

Our bios:
Mary Potter Kenyon graduated from the University of Northern Iowa and lives in Manchester, Iowa. She is a reporter for the Manchester Press newspaper and author of five books, including the award-winning “Refined By Fire: A Journey of Grief and Grace.” She is widely published in magazines, anthologies, and newspapers and teaches writing courses for community colleges. She is a popular speaker on the topics of grief and writing. E-mail: marypotterkenyon@gmail.com

Mary Jedlicka Humston, a former high school teacher, graduated from the University of Northern Iowa with a BA in English education. Her poetry and essays have been widely published, both nationally and locally. She has presented programs on cancer, dealing with chronic illness, prayer, writing and the Little Free Library movement. She resides in Iowa City, Iowa. E-mail: maryjedhum@gmail.com

Poem of the Week–Black Feather

Black Feather

Not four and twenty blackbirds baked in a pie,
but rather thousands, falling from the sky
in Arkansas. Drum fish decomposing
in adjacent waterways. All gone.
And now her. A flash of a solar eclipse.
A glimmer of light extinguished.
Our niece who days before celebrated
a swarm of flies ringing the air with oscillating
haloes along the windswept dunes. Gone.

She has become our newest astronaut circling
earth with her baby brother from another family
incarnation, poisoned by Agent Orange
his dad inhaled in Nam. Two years of radiation
and chemo battering his frail body. Holes
in the ozone layer, holes in the heart as large
and gaping as the cavernous surface at Ground Zero.

Out there, sailing on updrafts of the spirit’s current,
she joins the throngs of all who have gone before
while the bones of those remaining, shrink, all
but disappear, as the spaces between cartilage
yield invisible nets that glisten in the sun,
ready to catch those departed with a wink,

a blink, a nod, a strand of kelp in the shape of a dragon,
makeshift necklaces of shells, ribbons of yellow, pink, red,
signaling fierce loss, fiercer love. Prayers wending
their way on upturned palms, incense, breath,
the wing of a fly, a filament of iridescent fish scale,
a solitary black feather.

by Calder Lowe
Modesto Branch, CA

Flash Fiction–Omega and Alpha

OMEGA AND ALPHA

Hundreds have camped here at the launch area for weeks. Lucky ones have tents. Others, only tarps or blankets. People are smelly and irritable. Food and water are scarce. It’s been a very restless night with the ground rumbling constantly from earthquakes spreading across the globe. But hope rises with the dawn, at least for those holding the lowest numbers. The World Aero-Space Administration just announced all conditions are perfect for a safe flight! The same prayer rises from each of us, “Please, God, don’t let us destroy Mars as we have Earth. Forgive us. Save us.”

Virginia Nygard
Vero Beach Branch, FL

Poem of the Week–I am a Bubble

I am a Bubble

Sometimes easily burst, other times, not.
I can linger around and just float into space, without direction
Or I can land heavily and drop onto someone for anchorage.

I can be colorful—tinges and hues of reds, pinks, blues;
Transparent, translucent, opaque.
I don’t mind being transparent for I like to be sociable.

One very special bubble-strong and firm showed me the ‘light’ to persevere and to ‘hang’ in there.
I felt love and confident to move on.

I’m flying and enjoy floating with other bubbles.
I re-explored ‘new’ horizons that were really explored previously.
Passing the time on old territory helped me see that I had total control of the situation, rather than being controlled by it.

I’m a happy bubble and have been all day.

Vera Ripp Hirschhorn
Boca Raton Branch, FL

Members–still time to enter the biennial competitions for music, deadline for entries is February 29, 2016! Click here for more info.