Showing posts from 2016


Just over a year ago, I was introduced to a crazy group of writers in Fiction 440. The premise of the group is that every six weeks or so a prompt is given which must be used in a complete piece of writing (no poetry, no excerpts) of 440 words or less. The creators of this group come up with the words, and, well, sometimes I'm pretty sure there is a lot of drinking involved!

For instance, this month's words were: Potvaliant, sweaty and toad.

Yes, you ask, what the hell does 'potvaliant' mean! So did most of the F440 folks. Well, I'm not going to tell you...yet.

Read my fictional 438 word story and see if you can figure out the meaning before you read the definition at the end of this post.

Let me know what you think with either a comment here or head to my website: 

The Hand of Fate
Emma’d been sitting in the beer tent for an hour, waiting for her date. Whatever had possessed her to meet here, in her town? What if he was a toad? Or…


Tuesday afternoon, Day 4 of the Horsemanship Clinic, I watched Peter Campbell work a feisty black colt, rearing up and pawing the air, dallied to his saddle horn from my horse, whose expression was blasé, 'whatever, I've got this' as he moved his feet, used his hindquarters and strength to do a job he has NEVER done before in his eleven years of life.
     From the back of a friend's horse, offered up to me as a 'seat to watch your horse from inside the arena', I watched my horse spin on his hocks, calmly lope, move to allow the opening and closing of gates, transition from inside the arena to trotting down the path toward the pond, move like a cutting horse...all like it was no big deal.
     Just the afternoon before and earlier that morning, I had watched Peter Campbell as he rode my horse, who was lost and bothered, sweated pink skinned with the mental stress of trying to understand what was being offered.

     How did this change happen?

In the beginni…


Once upon a time, a young girl dreamed of being a writer. She imagined walking into a bookstore and lifting a novel from the shelf, seeing her name on the cover, her face in the author section. There would be author events, where folks would come and buy her book and she would be asked to sign and take pictures.
     Later, this girl dreamed bigger, imagining more than one book on shelves, possibly even a book accepted by a publishing company! She would be invited to talk to students, young readers and writers, to share her story and encourage young writers to be brave enough to tell their own tales.
     In her wildest dreams, the woman saw her own writing idol/mentor/motivator reading her novel, and greedily, also imagined hearing from said idol about the powerful story she'd written.
     These were my personal fairy tales, dreamed up and whispered about to my loving partner as we settled in at night's end.
     I still remember him nudging me to send in my first novel…


Holidays lean toward the difficult level on my survivor scale, though Father's Day hasn't usually set me off. Usually...a ridiculous term when describing the path of grief.

     I woke this morning, feeling the room spinning when I rolled over to check the time. Hangover impossible, since no alcohol has entered my system in awhile. Settling in, taking a few breaths, a migraine approach seemed possible; perhaps a flu bug, as last night an aching beneath skin level appeared. It passed. I rose, tentative, but moving.

     Since my own father was on the road, traveling home after a southern visit, I called and chatted, wishing him, of course, a happy day. Learning postpartum, so to speak, of a 90th birthday celebration, where 'there was quite a crowd' of long since seen relatives, I felt myself begin the slide down into Funky Town. Not the Funky Town of my college years, swiveling and gyrating gleefully on the dance floors, but my New Normal's Funky Town.


The Final "Normal" Day

Six years ago tonight, I went to sleep knowing my children were safe. Six years ago tonight was my final night of normal, of breathing deeply without pause, of sleeping without wishing for more. I had no way of knowing any of this at the time, of course; nonetheless, my life has taken on a new sense of normal in six years time.
     Tomorrow marks the sixth year without my son's smile to greet me. Now, it is only in my dreams, memories and pictures that I glimpse his shining brown eyes and light up the room smile. It is still too much for me to watch my videos, delve into the scenes of my young, chubby faced son, hear his giggles and see him teasing his sister, my daughter, who misses him as close to my loss as anyone else can come.
     For a number of reasons, or perhaps for no reason at all, this year has seemed harder than others without my Robbie. They are all hard, heartbreaking, terrible to bear...yet, the past six weeks have wrung me dry, twisted in new ways, leaving …


Today, one week away from another year. Will the six year mark be harder, easier, or different in some measurable way from the last five death-iversary dates? Perhaps I will be swooped by hawks, covered in double rainbows, swarmed by beautiful butterflies, and see #34 in new and unusual places. Perhaps there will be none of those things, but Robbie will still be with me despite being gone.

     Recently at Mason's Spring Fling, I was moving past a table when I noticed my novel, They Said She Was Crazy, on a table next to a sign that said 'Books that I Recommend.' Obviously, I stopped, commented, and took a picture. 'ORACLE' the booth stated, and when I looked closer noticed a woman in the midst of reading another woman's cards. She was familiar, but not well known to me.
     As my brain searched for the connection, she looked up, smiled at me and said:

"Oh! You! I knew I was going to see you here today! Robbie told me I would be talking to you."

Kristine E. Brickey Interview



Today has been one of those days where I feel tears threatening at the strangest times. Sitting in my classroom, one of my sweet eighth grade girls is falling apart, asks to sit out awhile. Checking in a bit later, I just hold her hand, let her know that her feelings count, her reactions are real and necessary. She returns part way through class, smiles at me on her way back to 'normal', our secret safe between us.
     That's the thing with loss and sadness and living past despair that wants to eat you alive and tear you apart. It's always hovering, breathing hot steamy moments into a day that seems harmless to anyone nearby.
    Maybe it was that girl's need that sparked my own memories. Maybe it was the email from a stranger, sharing a connection with not being able to visit her stepfather's gravesite. Maybe it was the sunshine that my Robbie loved to soak up from his vantage point on the garage rooftop. Maybe, just maybe it was nothing.
     Listening …


When Curt Smith contacted me about writing an article I was thrilled. After an hour interview, I was still excited but also worried. Emotions were brought up, roiling around inside me again after talking to Mr. Smith about my beautiful Robbie.

     However, today the article showed up online, and I am so glad that I toughed it out and followed through with this opportunity. As I stood in line at Starbuck's, I read the piece, cried as I remembered, sobbed at what my friend, Tammy had shared, and smiled as I finished. Hard. Tough. Important. Someone will pause. Someone will understand. Someone will be angered, but that's because they're not ready, not there yet, too raw or hurt or in denial.

Link to LSJ article:

     It's only been a few hours, I'm still in Detroit participating at MRA 2016 at Cobo, and I've received numerous emails from people sharing appre…