What We Never Knew – Fiction

Time for another installment of   Friday Fictioneers  hosted by Rochelle.  100 words or so based on the image below. Click on the froggy link (after this piece) and come join us!

I hope people will also enjoy the afterthought I’ve added to this piece…the music that inspired me:

walking trailWhat We Never Knew

The museum came to number objects in the house for their Dust Bowl exhibit. Grandpa hadn’t changed much since Grandma had disappeared.  The farmhouse and barn they’d built was as Midwest as ever.  It’s all a Bed and Breakfast now – west of Topeka.

I was spending one last night at the old place.  I was sitting cross-legged on an old feathered guest bed reading Grandma’s last letter home to Grandpa:

…I know you’ll never understand the workings of my frail mind, dearest love.  I’m sorry.   I’m not strong enough to stay.  Stella refused to come with me…

Your loving,



**I’ve been trying – for a year or more – to write something, anything, to show my totally lost feelings for the  words to this song – and these images.  These words and these images so relevant to us – always.

I’ve read that, during the Dust Bowl,  women hung themselves over the impossibility of living up to the expectation of keeping a clean house.  As a woman, this fact won’t leave my mind.

Here is the song that inspired this story.   Thank you for reading and listening.


photo prompt Copyright Dawn Landau

When Mom Died – Fiction

This is a piece  I’ve written for Flash Fiction For Aspiring Writers – a weekly photo prompt for writers.  Write 100-150 words (give or take 25 words).  The purpose is to have fun while improving our writing skills.  Yay to that and thanks to Priceless Joy for hosting this weekly prompt.  Please drop by to read and/or participate…it’s a great help to many of us to have these sorts of prompts and a great deal of work for the host.  Thank you so much, PJ.

When Mom Died

The day we buried Mom was something love is made of.  I was twelve years old.  Uncle Jim spoke so magically about her. He proclaimed her to be the only woman he’d ever truly loved.

Uncle Jim’s partner was seated beside me. Uncle Karl. He looked down at me uncomfortably. I sensed his gaze and took his hand. I squeezed it tightly and looked up into his face.

Later, at Uncle Jim’s and Uncle Karl’s condo, I approached Uncle Jim.  He looked at me. It must have been the saddest look I’d ever seen cross his face. There were tears on his cheeks. He motioned to Uncle Karl.

“Why don’t I just start calling you Dad?” I asked.

Uncle Jim and Uncle Karl exchanged questioning glances.

“Mom told me right before she died,” I said.

Oh!, What an after party there was then! We were all so carried away by a joyful peace.


other stories for this prompt

Image Credit: Dawn M. Miller

Places of Honor – Fiction

Here’s a short piece I’ve written for this week’s Mondays Finish the Story Challenge.  Participants are given a first sentence and a photograph.   The “challenge is to finish the story using 100-150 words, not including the sentence provided.”  This sounds like great fun!  Following my story, there will be a link to the other stories submitted for this prompt.  I hope you will visit and even consider participating.

Here is the picture.  I’ve italicized the first sentence we’ve been given this week:

Places of Honor

The old typewriter had a mind of its own.  I had programmed it to sense my touch and my mood,  and to make a sort of sense out of my deepest secrets.  Eventually, we forged quite a remarkable relationship.  Little Miss Underwood was getting me published all over the place.  Life was  so glossy and daring.

I was heartbroken when she broke.  My husband, Sam, did his best to console me.  “We’ll drive right into town and buy you one of those computers you’ve been wanting.”

“You don’t think you could fix her?”  I asked.

“Aw honey, I’ve fixed her so many times.  She can’t be fixed again.”  Sam put his arm around my waist and drew me close.  “She’s been a real work horse of a typewriter,” he said.

I have a laptop now but, like a faithful magic charm, Little Miss Underwood maintains her place of honor on my desk.


**Other Stories For This Prompt**

photo prompt © Barbara W. Beacham

When Peacocks Danced – Fiction

Here’s a little something for this week’s Sunday Photo Fiction .  The piece is supposed to be about 200 words somehow having something to do with the photo below.  I’ve put a link to other stories for this prompt.  Take a peek :)

Thanks to Joe Owens for hosting this challenge.

sunday photo fiction 2.21.15

When Peacocks Danced (200 words)

Sam and I lived up at Whitmore Gulch; on the ocean side of the Santa Cruz Mountains, near Half Moon Bay.  We were  herbalists.  Our land had just produced the best crop of Lavender we’d had in over a decade.  Lavender scented and colored everything around us.

“Is your cell phone charged?”  I sensed the worry in my husband’s voice and cupped his face between my hands.

“I’m only driving to San Francisco,”  I assured him.

“For a friggin month?” Sam asked.

“For as long as it takes to finish my novel.”

Sam locked the door to the horse trailer.  He whispered something into Mayebelle Horse’s ear and then  turned to face me.  He flung his arms wide open and turned round in a circle.  “This is the most beautiful place in the world.  What’s wrong with finishing your novel here?”

Peacocks strutted across the lawn squawking; the  males opening their colorful tails in a lover’s dance.  The dog ran down from the porch barking.

I pointed to the unfolding scene.

“You don’t think it’s gonna be noisy in San Francisco?” Sam asked.

I called Sam every day, just around the time the peacocks would be dancing.


**other stories for this prompt**

photo prompt © Joe Owens 2015

Parking Lessons – Fiction

Time for another installment of   Friday Fictioneers  hosted by Rochelle.  100 words or so based on the image below. Click on the link (after this piece) and come join us!

crystalsParking Lessons

We were driving down Main Street. It was the last practice run before my daughter, Sara’s,  driving test. “You probably won’t get tested on this but it’s worth practicing one more time.” I said.

“What’s that, Dad?” Sara asked.

“Parallel parking. Pull up here, at the Exxon Building, and park in front,” I instructed.

“Okay, Dad.”

“Turn more left now, Sara.”

The car jerked suddenly.

“Left, Sara!”

And then it was too late. We’d backed into the building’s front window. The glass seemed so thin when it shattered, and the car leaked a bit of oil onto the lobby floor.


photo prompt  – © Marie Gail Stratford

At A Book Signing – Fiction

Flash Fiction For Aspiring Writers  is having their first challenge this week.  It will be each Wednesday.   100-150 words more or less.  I’ll put the link to this week’s stories at the end of this piece.  Drop by to read or write or both :)  Thanks to PJ for hosting this challenge.  Here’s the photo and my story (163 words):

dawn's.challenge pic At A Book Signing

We were seated in the balcony cafe that overlooked the book store.  My book signing was set to begin in just about an hour.

You seemed nervous and more anxious than usual.  “I’m not sticking around for the book signing,”  you said.

“What do you mean?  Wait.  What?”  What does he mean by he’s not staying?

“There’s a lot about this book that isn’t true, Charlene.”  Poor Ted.  He really did seem anxious.

“It’s a fiction novel,  Ted.”

“But some of it is true. I don’t cope well with truths and lies all mingled up together.”

“You didn’t seem to mind it very much when you were reading every word Anais Nin ever wrote.”  I stood up.  I sat back down again.

“Well everyone knows she exaggerated her life,”  you said.


“And it’ll shock people to find that out about you.  That’s all.   And I can’t be here when that happens.”

“Which part scares you most,   Ted?”

“The fish story.”

“But that’s true,  right?”


** find other stories here **
photo prompt copyright Dawn M. Miller