Flash Fiction: The Old Hospital

There was no electricity in the old hospital, yet sunlight, streaming through broken window panes, cast a pale glow over the empty rooms. The building had been condemned, and bold signs ineffectively warned trespassers away. College kids arrived at night, leaving beer bottles and cigarettes in their wake. Daytime brought younger teens who played hide-and-seek through the crumbling interior.

Cheryl was on the fourth floor, when she found a dusty walk-in closet lined with cluttered shelves. She didn’t like hide-and-seek or the old hospital, but the sound of footsteps in the main hallway made her quickly step in and shut the door.

Flash Fiction: The Clown

Evie was in Venice when she first saw the clown. She was there on a vacation with her two best friends, three days after their college graduation. Four hard years of studying, six months of saving. The decadent trip was a dream they had worked toward together. Evie, Sarah and Adele.

It was the first evening of their trip, late in the gloom of impending night, when Evie caught sight of the clown. He stood in the back of a long black gondola, rowing the empty boat in the midst of the Grand Canal. Forward stroke, then back. Forward stroke, then back.

Flash Fiction: A Country Mile

“There’s nothing in a country mile,” Jack told Evelyn while they shared a bistro table at a tiny sidewalk cafe. The streets were bumper to bumper and pedestrians streamed past in a blur of summer dresses and lightweight suits.

“Where did that come from?” Evelyn asked, as she casually lifted her glass of white wine. They’d been discussing investment strategies and a way to expand her boutique now that the neighboring book store was going out of business. The country mile had appeared suddenly, and inexplicably, in the middle of their conversation.

Thinking Places for Writers

A.A. Milne was onto something when he gave Winnie the Pooh his "thotful spot." A quiet place to think, think, think. But you don't have to visit the Hundred Acre Woods to find your best ideas. You may not even need a quiet place.

For writers, thinking places are personal finds. They may be indoors or outdoors, tranquil or busy, empty or full of other people. They are any place where anxiety washes away and thoughts come more easily.

Billie Joe Armstrong and American Idiot's Final Days

Familiar voices sound through the theater in the form of recorded clips from politicians, advertisers and TV shows. The curtain rises to reveal a stark backdrop which is papered in mostly black-and-white posters and interspersed with TV screens in various sizes and styles.

Scruffy young adults are scattered around the stage amid a few pieces of worn-out furniture, and a blonde is suspended by her ankles on chains that extend high above it all. A powerful voice belts out the first line, "Don't want to be an American Idiot!" and the band joins in to rock out with Green Day's famous anthem . . .

Book Review: Grammar Girl's Quick and Dirty Tips for Better Writing

I'll just come out and say it: I love Grammar Girl. If you haven't been to her website, it's a great place to have fun learning about grammar and usage. Yes, that's right: I just used the words "fun" and "grammar" in the same sentence.

Grammar Girl, a.k.a. Mignon Fogarty, has a regular podcast discussing grammar and usage, and she also posts articles for those of us who prefer to read her tips. Her book is more of the same (in fact, I recognized some of it from the website) but all in one handy, well-designed package.