Life: Enter At Your Own Risk

Copyright- Claire Fuller
Copyright- Claire Fuller

Upon arrival we received instruction manuals. How Your Body Works and How the World Works. At the age of accountability, loosely defined, we were told to choose for ourselves. But choice, when faced with the lesser of two evils, was a useless proposition. A supplemental chapter was given to people of a certain age. Like the age of accountability, this age turned out to be not as certain as one might think. None of us could claim ignorance when it came to what was happening all over the world. Food insecurity was real. But we were not powerless. In theory.


The fall semester has begun. It’s going to be a tough one, but the end is near. Or is it the beginning of something else? Thanks for reading. Be sure to check out more Friday Fictioneers here.

If Memory Serves

In her haste to be of service to the world she made a great mistake. Generous to a fault, in the end, fault was all that remained. She lacked the moral vocabulary to sustain her good intentions. A petulant moment often snowballed into an avalanche of despair. A soul can only claw its way back from hell so many times.

She was such a soul.

Her loves disintegrated under the weight of her passion. Her hope suffered from neglect. Blessings were burdens, and burden was her constant companion year after year, birth after birth. One so wholly advantaged and yet entirely oblivious to the power she possesses cannot be entrusted to guide the lives of children. One by one she leads them into the depths of a great chasm that takes a lifetime to escape. 

Some never do.

She lived in a small town, the kind of town that doesn’t forget. A town where victories are commemorated in cornerstones along Main Street and villains appear on the front page. Fathers and mothers of scholars and scoundrels can count on the comings and goings of their progeny to be well documented by the town historian. Neither grand affair nor petty grievance escapes notice, lest the good townspeople lose sight of who did what to whom and want for something to debate during an election year. Towns like this are common. So common, in fact, that her life could have been anyone’s life. Any place on the planet.

But the world was too large. She could not be a citizen of it. There was no home beyond the boundaries of her town, no protection, no redemption. So, she occupied one place forever.

They called her Peace.

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My New Love/Hate Relationships

I love discovering a new idea or a fresh way of looking at an old idea. If scientists were to scan my brain while I am exploring a subject about which I am passionate, they would observe synapses lit up like a Christmas tree.

Mastering a skill is thrilling. Anyone who has learned to tie his shoes knows this is true. We are at our natural best when we accomplish a goal which initially seemed impossible. Humans, every single one of us, when we have risen to a challenge and stand victorious at the finish line, we experience exhilaration that makes us want to shout out YEAH, BABY!

Teach a man to fish, and all that jazz. There is something to the whole self-reliance thing, and what better place to grab hold of knowledge that helps us to reach that all-important independent state of being than school, right? WRONG!

Conformity, mediocrity, and soul-sucking monotony are the hallmarks of the scholastic experience beyond kindergarten. This is especially disappointing at the college level. The process of signing up for the classes you need, on the day you need, at the time you need, with a professor who isn’t a complete horse’s ass, or worse, biding time until retirement or death, takes the joy right out of learning before you ever step foot in a college classroom.


In case you are wondering, I’ve been up since 2A.M. The insomnia has officially set in and my brain is working overtime for no reason at all. In this moment, I am listening to rain pouring onto the already saturated ground in my garden. My new discoveries at the Texas Native Plant Society’s plant sale last weekend are getting a good soaking. Springtime rains are much appreciated here in North Texas. So, I am not complaining about the rain. It’s just that I planted drought tolerant plants. I hope they don’t drown before the scorching heat of summer gets a chance to beat the life out of them.

Which brings me back to my momentary disdain for academia. It seems the learning process is designed to beat the life out of us. The theory of natural selection makes much more sense to me now that it ever did. Survival of the fittest wins out in a world where those who can, do and those who can’t, invent ways to beat the life out of those who dare to think they can. (Not talking about dedicated educators here.) Please don’t get all butt hurt because your mother is a hard-working, underpaid school teacher.

Of course, this feeling is magnified by my being on the verge of spontaneous combustion at any moment. I know that in a few weeks, the pressure will subside and all will be right with the world. That is, until the summer session begins.

I love being a student. I hate the college experience.

I love being a woman. I hate menopause.


Times Are A Changin’

It has come to my attention that the world doesn’t stand still at my command. Days begin and end, as do semesters, without a care for how many things need to be crammed into them. While I’d like to think I could stop time and make it wait for me to catch up, I cannot. Damn the relentless tic-tocking!

I missed posting a story for Friday Fictioneers last week. It was written, but I just didn’t get around to posting it. So, if you will indulge me, kind readers, you will get two, similar but different, stories for the price of one this week.

Last week’s prompt, courtesy of Georgia Koch, inspired this story:

Copyright Georgia Koch
Copyright Georgia Koch

Sink or Swim

Madeline stepped off the train. She’d made the first decision solely for herself in more than twenty years. The crowd waiting to greet the other passengers with hugs, bouquets, and squeals of delight was almost more than she could stand.

She felt dizzy. She made her way to the bench at the end of the platform. There was no luggage to claim. She’d arrived with only the small satchel her mother had given her all those years ago when she was a young bride.

She wondered for a moment if it had been a good idea to rock the boat.


This week’s prompt, courtesy of Ted Strutz, yielded the impromptu recycled story below, entitled Adaptation. This word has been on my mind a lot lately. My life, each and every moment of it, is one continuous adaptation. The time for my mediation practicum is finally here. I am excited to reach this point and am looking forward to what’s in store next as I get closer to graduation. Much of my writing energy will be consumed these next few months by class assignments. In light of this, posts will continue to be limited. I hope you enjoy these stories. Thanks for reading. Be sure to check out more Friday Fictioneers here.

Copyright: Ted Strutz
Copyright: Ted Strutz


Madeline stepped off the train, her future a mystery. The crowd, greeting other passengers with hugs, bouquets, squeals of delight, was more than she could stand. She felt dizzy, powerless. Her energy drained, like someone had pulled the plug on her just as she summoned the strength to make the first choice solely for herself in more than twenty years. She made her way to the bench at the end of the platform. There was no luggage to claim. She’d arrived with only a satchel filled with odds and ends from her old life.

That life, dead to her now.



Entertaining The Neighbors

Copyright: Jan Wayne Fields
Copyright: Jan Wayne Fields

My table set, guests on their way, I wait. I imagine the last time I saw them. Saw anyone.

“Which day did you tell them?”

“Did you say Saturday? Sunday?”

“Which day? Which day!”

The voices make me second guess myself. I pace. I stop. I stare out the window onto the view I’ve grown accustomed since…since that day. That terrible, terrible day I fell for the girl next door. How lovely she was. Her smile, kind and fragile, my heart’s delight. My soul’s torment.

“They’re not coming!” I shouted to no one. “Oh, wait. They’re already here,” I whispered.


Never fear, Friday Fictioneers are here. Yes, I know the story is creepy. Sad really, in a Tell-Tale Heart meets Ina Garten sort of way. That’s what you get on a grey, cold January day when I’m cooped up waiting for classes to start. For those interested, okay, you two over there, I’m feeling better despite the bleakness of the season. Thanks for reading.