Dictionary Definition

Day 17 of my daily writing challenge. I realized something horrible: I do not own a dictionary! Instead, I opened a book and chose a word at random.

17. Dictionary Definition: Open up a dictionary to a random word. Define what that word means to you.

ThinkWritten.com

corner
verb
cor·​ner | \ ˈkȯr-nər  \
transitive verb
1a: to drive into a corner
the animal is dangerous when cornered
b: to catch and hold the attention of especially to force an interview

Cornered. Trapped. There was nothing for it. My lunch break was ruined.

I’d waited until his desk—the one by the kitchen door—was empty. Perhaps he was in a meeting. Maybe he’d gone to the toilet.

Now was my chance!

I grabbed my Tupperware and made a dash for it. If I was lucky, I could get to the kitchen and close the door behind me before he got back to his cubicle.

I was nearly at the kitchen door when he pounced.

“Hey! You having lunch? Great! I’ll join you!”

My heart sank.

Turns out he’d been lurking in the printer room, waiting for a victim. Too late now. He’d seen the Tupperware.

“I was just going to warm this up and—”
“Oh, I’ll just keep you company.”

Cornered. Trapped. My lunch break was ruined.

I smiled wanly and meekly submitted to having my ear talked off on some tedious topic. As I stood there, waiting for my meal to warm up, I prepared to zone out.

Something in his tone, though, caught my attention.

There was a different note in his voice. A halting, hesitating manner. Normally he droned on, not seeming to care whether his victim listened or not. Today, though, he paused frequently. At a couple of points he trailed off, staring into space.

Eventually he stopped talking and just stood looking out the window. The microwave beeped, but he didn’t hear it. Instead of pulling out my meal, making my excuses and dashing off, I looked at him.

“Brad?” I said.

He was looking away from me, but I could see tears in his eyes.

“Brad, are you okay?”
“Oh! Oh, hey. Yeah. What was I saying?”
“I just asked if you were alright.”

He looked straight at me for a moment, then looked to the window again. He mouthed something, and I stepped closer to hear him.

His words were practically a whisper.

“My mother died last weekend.”

His mother. I cast back to see what I could remember him telling me about her. I seemed to remember he’d lived with his elderly mother. When he wasn’t at work he was her primary caregiver.

My own heartlessness filled me with shame. Here was a man cornered, too. Cornered by his grief and loneliness.

“I’m so sorry, Brad.”

I moved to the kitchen table and pulled out two chairs. I sat down in one and gestured to the other.

“Will you tell me about her, Brad? Will you tell me about your mother?”

He looked at me again. A weak smile came over his face. With a sniffle, he sat down. I passed the stack of napkins to him across the table, figuring he’d need one for a tissue. I took one for myself, just in case.

My lunch sat forgotten in the microwave.

Hopelessly Addicted

16. Addict: Everyone’s addicted to something in some shape or form. What are things you can’t go without?

https://thinkwritten.com/365-creative-writing-prompts/

Tea. I cannot go without tea.

Can this article be done?

What, you need further explanation? Fine.

Coffee vs Tea

Think of coffee. It has caffeine, it gives you that boost you need to kickstart your day. Its bitter flavor and strong smell combine to activate your get-up-and-get-going mode.

Now think of tea. (I am speaking, naturally, of the only tea worth drinking. That is Yorkshire Tea, produced by Taylor’s of Harrogate, Yorkshire. If you disagree, stop reading immediately and just go away.)

Sure, it doesn’t have as much caffeine as coffee. And it doesn’t have the energizing smell of coffee. And though it can be bitter if left to brew too long, it doesn’t have the same tangy bitterness as coffee.

So what is so wonderful about it?

Simply everything.

Tea Time is Me Time

My best friend once told me that life gets 10% better when you put the kettle on. Time and again, I have found this statement to be true.

In these times of social isolation and spending seemingly endless days at home, the one thing that lifts my spirits without fail is when I hear my beloved husband put the kettle on to make me a cup of tea.

(A quick side note to say that the saintly man does not even drink tea himself, but he brews a mean cup of tea. He’s got it down to a science, and now I almost prefer a cup of his brewing to my own. He also seems to have a sixth sense for knowing exactly when I need a cup of tea.)

Tea, since it’s made with boiling water, is much hotter than coffee and stays warm longer. When your tea is ready, you know that you have probably 10 to 15 minutes to enjoy it while it is still warm.

That’s 10 or 15 minutes for you to sip, close your eyes, and enjoy the warmth spreading through your mouth, down your throat and into your belly. The warmth then spreads from your core, slowly through your body, finally reaching your outer extremities. You curl your toes in response to it, and inevitably you take a deep breath and let out a sigh of contentment.

Characteristics of Tea

Just the act of wrapping your hands around a warm mug of tea is addictive. The calm that then descends on me in that moment is what I crave.

Coffee tastes like a swift kick in the butt saying, “Get up! Get to work!” But tea… Tea tastes like a best friend saying, “Come on over and sit a spell.” It’s inviting, it’s kind. It’s comforting and caring.

It also stains your teeth something fierce. Oh, well. I guess that’s the price of addiction.

Defining “Work”

15. Eavesdropper: Create a poem, short story, or journal entry about a conversation you’ve overheard.

https://thinkwritten.com/365-creative-writing-prompts/

This morning, while my boys were having their breakfast, I overheard the following conversation:

“Papá went to work.”
“And mamá went to work.”
“What? Mamá doesn’t work!” (Laughter.)
“[Giggles] Mamá doesn’t work, yeah!”
“Mamá doesn’t do any work!”
“No, mama doesn’t do any work!”

Uproarious laughter. As if they had said something extremely witty.

I had been slicing an orange and I appeared (somewhat menacingly) next to them at the table, orange and knife in hand.

The dark, glowering look on my face (paired, perhaps, with the knife) must have been enough to tell them that Mamá was not happy, because they immediately fell silent.

“Let me make one thing very clear,” I said through clenched teeth. “Mamá does work. She may not get paid. She may not leave the house. But let me assure you that your mother does, in fact, work.”

Awed silence.

Then, a tentative question. “But Mamá… What work do you do?”

What work do I do? What work does any homemaker do? The list of the tedious, thankless jobs I do ran through my head. Scheduling, meal planning, shopping, cooking, tidying, cleaning, washing, folding, ironing (occasionally), wrangling, finding every lost item in the house, activity planning and coordinating, and so many, many more.

So in answer to my son’s infuriating question, I said, “I am CEO, operations director, head chef, chief medical officer, and various other positions, all in the home.”

Puzzlement. I added, “If anyone asks you what your mother does for work, you can tell them, ‘She works in the home.’”

Another little voice piped up. “Mamá, you’re not going to poke me?”

I looked at my younger son in confusion. Then I remembered the knife. I dropped my hand to my side.

“No, of course not my love.” Sweet smiles spread across their faces.

As I went back to slicing my orange, I couldn’t help but feel that I had inadequately addressed the situation. How does a homemaking mother teach her male children to value and appreciate what she does? How do I help them understand that what I do is not to be taken for granted?

How do I teach them not to assume that every mother does what I do? Not to assume that I work at home because I am a mother?

Heavy questions. I sighed. “Just another Thursday morning,” I thought to myself.

The Found Poem

At first I thought this was dumb. I thought, “I’m not gonna do that. It’s stupid.” I thought about writing about three books that had a significant impact on me as a reader. But then I randomly opened a page of the book I am reading now, and so many wonderful words sprang out at me. So I changed my mind.

14. The Found Poem: Read a book and circle some words on a page. Use those words to craft a poem. Alternatively, you can cut out words and phrases from magazines.

https://thinkwritten.com/365-creative-writing-prompts/

A series of Haikus formed from words found on pages 294 and 295 of The Mirror and the Light by Hilary Mantel (2020, Henry Hold and Company, New York.)

Walter is scoffing.
Everybody’s indifferent
Eyes on the gallows.

He never did thrive
To speak truth. Courtesy was
Always beyond him.

He wasn’t hanged; but
Anybody sad or lost
Is swimming upstream.

Correspondence

Day thirteen in my daily writing prompt exercise. This one filled me inexplicably with rage. I looked up famous letters, read some wonderful letters from history, thought of every historical biography or 19th century novel I’ve read and mourned that we don’t write letters like people used to. It’s a lost art. And I’m just as responsible for that loss as anyone.

13. The Letter: Write a poem or story using words from a famous letter or inspired by a letter someone sent you.

https://thinkwritten.com/365-creative-writing-prompts/

Dear JANE KENNEDY,

Oooh! A letter! I love a letter! Never mind that it’s arrived by email. It’s a letter!

Dear, huh? It must be someone I know! JANE KENNEDY. Hmm, this must be serious. You can only mean business if you address me by my whole name, in all caps no less.

Your bill is now ready to view!

Ah. So it’s a bill. I ought to have suspected as much. But why the exclamation point?

An exclamation point indicates excitement! It means joy! It means delight and exhilaration! Why finish that of all sentences with an exclamation point? Could there be more to this letter than I had first thought?

Oh! Be still my beating heart! I shall read on!

Your bill for the amount of $54.75 is due on 04/08/2020.

What?! What roller coaster ride is this?!

You follow an exclamation point with this?! What cruelty! What heartlessness! Why would you raise my hopes with an exclamation point only to dash them down again with such functional, cold and distinctly pecuniary language?

To login to your account, go [this website] or copy and paste the URL into your browser.

Okay now you’re just INSULTING me. Copy and paste the URL into your browser—ARE YOU KIDDING ME?!

What kind of idiot doesn’t know how to click on a link?! Why would you assume I am a digital incompetent? You’ve written me an email, for God’s sake! I’ve signed up for automatic online billing! I KNOW WHAT I’M DOING, DAMNIT!

Sincerely,

Customer Relations

“Sincerely,” huh? Sincerely? Sincerely.

Well. I’ll give you sincere, buddy! I’ll show you sincerity, pal! You want sincere? Well, you got it.

Okay fine I’ll just log in and make sure my payment details are up to date.

A Sonnet Called Hello

I’ve never made any pretensions at being a poet. I’m terrible with rhymes, and each attempt at poetry sounds stilted and downright bad. But here’s a stab at a Shakespearean style sonnet.

12. Greeting: Write a story or poem that starts with the word “hello” or other greeting.

https://thinkwritten.com/365-creative-writing-prompts/

Hello, may I have your name?
No, this isn’t she, this is her daughter.
Yes, our voices do sound the same.
Yes, I’m sure I’m not her.

Yes, you’re right; it’s true.
Many people have made the same mistake.
I look a lot like her, too.
No, no, you’ve no apologies to make.

Sometimes I remind myself of her.
Other times I want to rebel.
Often times people compare me to her—
Negatively or favorably, I can’t always tell.

And sometimes I think how nice it would be
For someone to mistake her for me.

St. George’s Dragon Rant

This is Day 11 in my writing prompt essay series. I’ve actually made it further than I ever thought I would. I may have to start writing at a different time of day than evening, though. I’m starting to forget what my Chico looks like…

11. Dragon: Envision a dragon. Do you battle him? Or is the dragon friendly? Use descriptive language.

https://thinkwritten.com/365-creative-writing-prompts/

Theodore and Demetrius were useless fellows. They would tell you not to believe in dragons!

You’ve probably heard they were valiant warrior saints. Helped out the European crusaders in the first crusade, etc., etc. Poppycock! They never fought alongside any crusaders! If anything, all they did was drink alongside the crusaders!

And when it comes to identifying dragons? Worse than useless! Ask Theodore to describe a dragon (forgive me if I forgo the honorific of “saint” when speaking of both of them—it simply goes against the grain, I don’t mind telling you), and he’ll tell you it’s nothing more than a serpent. Not even venomous! But can you really expect more from a man whose only claim to sainthood is that he was thrown into a furnace?

And Demetrius? Don’t even get me started on Demetrius! He was nothing more than the troublesome son of rich parents who packed him off into the army to be rid of him. Sure, he was Christian, but how did he defend the faith? By getting run through by spears. Laughable.

Anyway, he would tell you a dragon was nothing more than an eel. An eel, for Pete’s sake!

An Introduction

My name is Saint George, and I know all about dragons. And I am here to tell you that dragons are very, very real. They are just as real today as they were in my day.

I, too, am a warrior saint. But while Theodore and Demetrius did nothing better than get themselves martyred, I actually fought the beasts. I once saved a town from a dragon’s reign of terror, and secured fifteen thousand converts to Christianity in the process! Say what you will of Christians, you’ve got to admit that’s some smooth operating.

Allow me to present myself to you, dear reader, as an eminent authority on dragons.

Dragon Problems

When a dragon plagues a town, first of all he starts by picking off sheep. Then he helps himself to larger livestock. Before long, however, he craves warmer blood, and that’s when he starts eating people.

Worse than a plague, is a dragon. The more he eats, the hungrier he gets. And he always starts with the most vulnerable, the poorest of the town. Pick off a couple of peasants, and hardly anyone notices. It’s only when he’s eaten a dozen that the nobles—the so-called quality—start to notice.

Up to this point, royalty looks at the dragon as a useful population control. Keep the rabble down and they won’t clamor for better working conditions! But a dragon soon acquires a taste for bluer blood. He moves up the echelons of society, picking his way through the merchant class once he’s had his fill of serfs. Next, he moves up to the landed gentry, onwards through the lower nobility, and before you know it he’s picking off dukes, duchesses and even princes!

The Dragon That Made Me Famous

That’s what happened in this one town I came upon in Cappadocia, in the country you modern-day folks would call Turkey. I’d been doing some campaigning with my ne’er-do-well colleagues (tiresome fellows! How I longed to be rid of them!), and we broke our journey in this quaint little town.

While Theodore and Demetrius patronized the local watering holes, I looked for lodgings at a respectable inn. It was there that I learned from the innkeeper—a wonderfully informative species of person, in my experience—that they had dragon troubles in town.

It had gotten to the point where they’d agreed to leave the dragon a victim each night, as a kind of—you know—sacrifice. They drew straws for it. Earlier that day, the local princess’s straw had been drawn. She was to be tied up and left for the dragon that night.

I vowed to save the princess from such a fate. Theodore and Demetrius laughed at me heartily and said they wouldn’t wait up for me that night. (Couldn’t wait up for me, more like it. Soused as a pair of eels by sundown, the pair of them!)

At the Lake

My unease grew as I approached the spot where they’d left the princess. I found her bound at the wrists and the ankles, gagged, and tied to a stake on an island in the middle of a small lake outside of town. With what barbarity had the townspeople left her to her fate!

(Forgive me, dear reader, if I do not go into rapturous descriptions of the maid. I am, after all, a saint.)

I motioned to the maiden to remain silent, not to betray my presence. Then I maneuvered my steed into the trees and waited in the nearby shadows.

The moon shone brightly that night, the clarity increased by that celestial body’s reflection in the waters. As I crouched in wait, I was aware of every ripple, every disturbance to the water’s surface. Close to midnight, one ripple appeared from around the lake, and a dark shape moved purposefully towards the island where the maiden was captive and where I, unbeknownst to the beast, lay in wait.

The Beast

Its awful snout emerged first. A pair of large, cavernous nostrils broke the surface of the water, followed by a cruel and crooked horn. A long, thin snout followed, with whiskers dripping as they rose from the water. Its eyes caught the glint of the moonlight before ever surfacing, and the beast never blinked as it lifted its vile head from the depths.

Vile it was, dear reader, and adorned with two more curving horns of ivory, which cut against the reflected moonlight on the lake. Down its neck and across its back it had venomous spines, and its long, writhing reptilian tail curved this way and that behind it as it dragged its low and foul body up onto the shore. Its four legs were stout and strong, and each sported five vicious, curved claws. Its tongue darted in and out of its mouth, and the light of the moon glinted off of long, sharp fangs.

The Attack

I didn’t wait to learn if it was a dragon of the fire-breathing variety. Before it had taken another step towards its victim, I crossed myself and charged from the darkness, brandishing my lance. The beast was entirely surprised, and had no time to react before I plunged my weapon between its shoulder blades, narrowly missing what must be the creature’s heart—if such devils indeed have hearts.

A terrible cry burst from its throat. Although it was mortally wounded, the beast did not immediately perish, and indeed looked ready to turn and fight. I acted without thinking and turning to the maiden, cut her free from her bonds. Seizing the ropes, I threw myself on the dragon, holding its jaws shut. There we wrestled until I was able to tie a rope tight around its muzzle.

Before I could think what to do with its claws, the maiden had removed the girdle from around her waist, and in an extraordinary act of bravery, she approached the dragon. Calmly as though she were approaching her spinning wheel, she slipped the girdle around the dragon’s neck.

For a moment, the beast continued to writhe. But then, feeling the silken fabric of the girdle, it slowed and eventually lay still. Its great, horrid eyes continued to stare at us, unblinking. We only knew it to be alive from its glance, darting from the maiden to me.

Suddenly, the dragon was like a tamed spaniel. The maiden took up the other end of her girdle, and tugging gently on it, she coaxed the dragon to its feet. I stood and watched in utter amazement and she walked to the shallow ford that lead off the island and to the village road. The dragon limped behind obediently.

I spurred my horse and galloped after them.

All’s Well That Ends Well

To make a long story short, we made our way back to the town, the maiden perched on my saddle, the dragon following on the lead.

I won’t go into the details of what followed—I’m not terribly proud of the extortion I performed next. I threatened to release the dragon on the townspeople unless they converted to Christ.

I know, I know, I was heavy-handed. But believe me when I say I meant well. In the end, no one came to any harm, and after they’d all been baptized at the fountain in the town square, I obligingly chopped off the dragon’s head.

Modern Day Dragons

As for dragons today… You do have them, dear readers. Your dragons may not be visible. They may be called by other names. Plagues, dragons, pandemics. They’re all one.

Whatever you call them, just as they did in my time, they pray first on the lowest of the low. Then they move through the population and strike down rich and strong alike.

These modern dragons cannot be ignored. They will decimate your populations and grind trade to a halt. No one will move from home for fear of encountering the dragon.

And just like the beasts of my day, modern day dragons must be managed by competent authorities. Modern St. Georges, if you will. Not clowns like those buffoonish fellows Theodore and Demetrius.

My Fellow “Saints”

But where were Theodore and Demetrius, you ask? How is it that they cannot identify a dragon, even after such a spectacle as this?

The simple answer is, my dear readers: they were drunk. They’d drunk the innkeeper out of his best ale, and had fallen asleep under their stools.

Is it any wonder they met the ends they did, dear readers? I ask you!

L’Amitié

I am privileged to count among my closest friends a small group of extraordinary women. Today’s essay is a tribute to two of these women. I sometimes wonder where I would be without them.

10. Friendship: Write about being friends with someone.

https://thinkwritten.com/365-creative-writing-prompts/

Ours was not an unlikely friendship.

In fact, anyone would expect us to get on like a house on fire.

What surprised us both was just how strong a connection we each felt.

You came to sit with me at my desk.

You were supposed to brief me on your job and how we would collaborate.

We were supposed to talk for half an hour.

An hour and a half later, we had to be reminded we were at work.

That first conversation left us both impressed.

I was impressed by your talents,

Your liveliness,

Your loveliness,

Your wit,

And your open heart.

You must have felt the same,

Because since that day I have enjoyed your friendship.

A friendship that has enriched my life.

Merci mon amie! Je t’aime!


Thursday my dear friend called to say she felt useless.

The baby was fussing, she couldn’t get anything done.

Saturday morning my mother took ill.

Saturday afternoon, I hopped in the car, almost nine months pregnant.

Saturday night my mother died, just before I could make it to her side.

Sunday morning my brothers arrived.

Monday morning we visited the funeral home, the clinic and the church.

Monday at noon I went into labor.

Monday afternoon, just before 5pm, my son was born.

Tuesday, my dear friend rode in like the cavalry.

Baby in stroller, diaper bag on her back, lasagne in hand, carry-on suitcase with maternity clothes & baby clothes dragging behind.

My dear friend. Some days you may feel useless.

But every day you mean the world to me.

The House Finches

Here’s Day 9 in my series of essays. It’s a bit long, but I admit that I was having lots of fun with this one.

9. Animals: Choose an animal. Write about it!

https://thinkwritten.com/365-creative-writing-prompts/

It was the perfect spot for a nest. Or, at least he had thought so at first.

It is just so hard to tell when you start building your nest in the chilly days before spring really starts! There’s no telling what will come out of the woodwork—or out the patio door—when things warm up.

The Courtship

Mr. and Mrs. House Finch had only married the previous winter. It had been a quiet ceremony, attended by just a few close friends they’d gotten to know around the local feeders. He had been surprised she’d accepted his marriage proposal in the first place. He was barely fully grown, and the feathers around his head had only just turned to a blush red. She’d been courted by an older male with a beautiful scarlet head, but something had attracted her to her young mate.

He considered himself a good provider, and had been rather proud of the choice morsels he had presented her during their courtship. She’d been impressed with the variety of seeds he had brought, but he suspected that the dandelion seeds had been what sealed the deal; she was terribly partial to them.

A Doomed Honeymoon

Their first spring had been a disaster. Young and inexperienced as they were, they’d chosen the worst possible spot for their nest. A little nook in the side of a building had seemed perfect in the cold dark days, when they were scouting out locations. It had been sheltered and snug, and without hesitating they swooped in to claim it before another couple could.

It wasn’t until the first fine spring day that they realized their error. They’d just returned home for a mid-morning nap when without warning the nest began to shake and tremble. A horrible loud rumbling filled the air, and before they knew it their home was being dragged into the gears of an automatic garage door. They barely escaped with their lives, and watched in despair from a nearby tree as a shiny red vintage convertible Maserati pulled out of the garage and drove off on its first spin of the season.

The worst of it was, she’d been about to lay her first clutch of eggs. In their confusion after losing their nest, she ended up laying them in a field where a hungry fox quickly discovered them.

A Second Attempt

This year, though, they had to get it right. And as the prime nest location scout, the pressure was on him to come through.

He chose a sheltered spot, on a lovely horizontal beam, tucked right up under a nice terrace. He’d watched the house for a few days and had seen no movement at the door that led out to the garden. A day or two more of watching confirmed it. The lazy humans living in the house never once set foot outside. He told the Missus, and they swooped in to claim their spot.

And it was indeed perfect. They were sheltered from wind and rain, and the nest she built while he kept watch was flawless. And so, they settled down and set about the business of starting a family.

Disaster

She was two days shy of laying her first egg when the worst happened.

The back door slid open.

Their peace was shattered by the piercing voices of two child humans and an adult, presumably the female of the household. Mr. and Mrs. House Finch huddled in terror in their nest while the trio burst into the garden and tumbled about the lawn. Once the first shock had passed, they gathered their wits enough to fly out of the nest and alight on a nearby tree.

As they watched, he felt his mate’s accusing stare. He had failed her last season. Had he failed her again this year? They stayed away until the humans had gone back inside and shut the door. They waited several minutes after they heard the door latch before returning to the nest.

The Trampoline

A few days passed. They became cautiously optimistic that the humans’ natural predisposition to laziness had prevailed, and they had lost interest in the garden. But then, it happened.

One bright morning, the door opened again. Out stepped the male of the family, followed by the two clamoring juveniles. By this time, the House Finches had three eggs in the nest, and the Missus wouldn’t leave them. Mr. House Finch flitted from the nest to a nearby electrical wire, where he puffed up his chest as menacingly as he could and chirruped his loudest at them. To his utter humiliation, this drew only cries of delight from the humans! He flew to the neighboring fence, and watched them anxiously, ready to dive at them should they get too near his wife and nest.

As he watched from his perch, his sense of foreboding increased. The male human was opening boxes and laying out pieces of some great structure. Over the next couple of days (what he heard them refer to as “the weekend”) his worst fears were confirmed. They were setting up, of all things, a trampoline.

There’d be no peace now! Not from the humans, and certainly not from the Missus. From the moment of its completion, hardly a day passed that they weren’t surprised from their afternoon nap by the sound of the sliding door and the children tumbling outside to “bounce.” The stress of it caused them to lose their first clutch. Only one of the five eggs hatched, and the hatchling was weak and puny. It didn’t survive.

“She’s bound to leave me now,” he thought. But there, as so many husbands do, he underestimated his wife’s fortitude. Though the initial shock had thrown her, she did not give up that easily. She knew she had a good two or even three more clutches in her that season. And she, too, had been watching the humans.

What the Missus Observed

Whenever they came out, they stayed away from the nest, as if they wanted to avoid disturbing the birds. Her instincts told her that these humans meant them no harm. Though the noise was nearly unbearable, Mrs. House Finch steeled her nerves and prepared to lay her second clutch. She soon became inured to the startling sound of the sliding door, and she found she was able to sit on her eggs in relative composure. She even came to enjoy watching the children’s delight on the trampoline. She pictured how her own chicks would soon be very much like the two human children. She was at peace.

Then, one fine morning, the eggs hatched. Despite the noise, the disturbance and the stress, they were finally parents. Mr. House Finch came through on his courtship promise and delivered only the choicest dandelion seeds to his wife and chicks. The family of humans seemed to know something had happened, and they gave the nest an even wider berth.

Mr. House Finch’s Song

The couple felt happy. So happy that one day, as the human family sat atop their terrace for their evening meal, Mr. House Finch flew up and landed above them on the roof. He fluffed his feathers and cleared his throat. He gave a tremendous PEEP in order to ensure he had their attention. When all four pairs of human eyes were turned up and fixed on him, he opened his mouth and sang his sweetest song. A song of gratitude.

Thanks for sharing your space! Thanks for letting us be! Thanks for being good neighbors! Thanks for saving our marriage!

Pandemic Dreams

Day 8 in a series of essays based on a writing prompt. We all have those dreams where we feel like we can’t get away from something. Apparently, the pandemic has made our dreams more intense…

8. Dream-catcher: Write something inspired by a recent dream you had.

https://thinkwritten.com/365-creative-writing-prompts/

It started in the pit of my stomach.

A slowly increasing burn, like someone gradually turning up a gas stove.

It crept up, spreading through my chest, and then into my throat, making it hard to breathe.

Panic.

All because I couldn’t fly more than two feet off the ground.

This was supposed to be a flying dream, for goodness’ sake!

I ran down a steep hill and took a flying leap into the air.

Only to skim along frustratingly close to the grass.

I flapped my arms as if they were wings.

I strained and pulled, trying to force myself up.

The panic increased, and I felt I HAD to fly higher.

Because now something was chasing me.

Horrorstruck, I realized I couldn’t get away.

Then I woke up in a cold sweat, the sheets twisted around my legs.

Damn, I thought.

Pandemic dreams really are a thing.