Friday, October 1, 2021

Sorry, Pumpkin. Fall Frenzy Contest

Kaitlyn Sanchez ("Math is Everywhere" Blog) and Lydia Lukidis (NO BEARS ALLOWED) are hosting the annual Fall Writing Frenzy

Fall Frenzy stories are inspired by a selection of fall images that range from from funny to spooky and must be 200 words or under, written for children (BB to YA,) posted by October 3 before midnight, and by non-agented writers only. 

I hope you enjoy my cringe-worthy entry inspired by a pumpkin and my awkward adulthood. I mean adolescence. (Who am I kidding? STILL AWKWARD!) 

Halloween- Credit: Samantha Hurley / Burst


Sorry, Pumpkin

By Lauri C. Meyers

200 words

I tugged the pumpkin top, but orange fleshy strings clung to the sides, desperately trying to keep itself together. I felt like the pumpkin, as I struggled to fit in with the cool girls at Hannah Hamilton’s party. Gemma and Ari were already scooping out globs of seeds. I had to keep up. Sorry, pumpkin. I yanked the lid free, then heard a squeal. Three wet seeds stuck to Hannah’s cheeks and forehead.

Mental minutes passed as I watched one seed slide off her face and imagined the repercussions of this blunder. Obviously, I could never eat in the cafeteria again. My daily uniform would be hoodie up, strings pulled. Moving to Peru needed to be seriously considered. I opened my mouth to say goodbye, but then a splash hit my nose and bitter pumpkin slime dripped onto my tongue.

“Yum, pumpkin spice,” I said. Laughter erupted around me.

“What face are you going to carve?” Hannah asked, as if I was welcome to stay. She pressed a paper towel into my hand. “I hope it’s hilarious, like you!”

“Like a huge grin with braces?” I said.

“LOL!” she said. “Instagram us!”

Sorry, pumpkin. Time to put on a smile. 


Wednesday, June 2, 2021

What is Your Intention for Today?

I need to brag for a sec that I have been writing my fingertips off this last two months. My last post was about saying goodbye to my old writing space and embracing my new area. Grief is a strange thing. I can see now, I was grieving the changes to my writing norms. Sharing my grief helped me let go, and I have felt so FREE!

To take advantage of the momentum, I joined “Study Hall” with Marcie Colleen in May. I can’t say enough about this program. I spend a lot of time studying rhythm, but this session helped me work on my writing rhythm.

In this program you share four manuscripts with a small group of writers and critique work. You get a critique from Marcie each week, too. My group shared high-quality critiques, and I am grateful for them.

Every day Marcie asked us what our intention was for the day. Not a list of top 50 things on your to do list. Not your goals for publishing. Just, what is something you want to be your focus today? Then, we could cheerlead each other as well.


She also arranged a one-hour writing sprint each week day, where you wrote and knew you were in it with others as well. The times changed each day, which works for me, because I like structure but not constraining schedules.

On Fridays we would have a Q&A of whatever you wanted to ask. I gained a lot of insight and direction in those sessions.

I’m on my own in June, but have continued to ask: What is your intention for today? I made a pdf to write down my intention each morning. Here is a link if you would like a copy too!




Friday, April 16, 2021

Goodbye, Office

I’ve been meaning to write this post for about a year. But… Well, I suppose writing it meant accepting a reality I wasn’t ready to embrace. Until now. 

I used to write in the guest bedroom. I had a huge table to spread out all sorts of piles. I had a hutch with a rollout keyboard tray that stored mountains of binders. But more than all that, I often had a few blessed hours of peaceful quiet.

When Covid hit, my husband got the guest room (you would have to call it office now as it no longer services guests) to set up shop when he started working from home. I’m not jealous or anything; he is the one supporting the family.

I became a transient writer who floated from space to space trying to find comfort. I avoided the bedroom for some time, even going so far as to start a construction project to delay the inevitable. 

Demolition Day! 

My “Book Nook” reclaimed that hidden space in the attic of the first floor


Eventually I settled in the bedroom.

In October I decided I needed paper space and found this cute vintage campaign style drawer cabinet. It’s a military style with handles on the side so you could carry it to a new front. It unfortunately does not fit copy paper, but the drawers perfectly hold journals. 



Collapsing under my piles of WIPs in November, I found a hand me down file cabinet which I painted and upholstered. I love that it opens from the top like a box of chocolates, and I savor picking out the MS that is getting focus each day. 

My birthday in December brought a mechanical keyboard. Okay, it brought a few of them, before I settled on “brown switches” to give that perfect typewriter tactile experience. Love this.  

In January I had a toddler-level meltdown that the desk I was working at was too tiny. (IT WAS!) I got myself a desk from Amazon for $100. [Um, stinking skunk butt, it’s only $75 now. Well, I wish I hadn’t seen that…] It has a little storage space and a nice big surface for working and for keeping pretty little things on, like my mousepad from Donna Marie, my first year of NaPiBoWriWee mug (or whatever is holding my tea that day), and the glass trivet I made during a NJSCBWI event.



And it’s all mine. And it is enough.

And I can finally say, “Goodbye for now, old office, dear friend, and faithful companion. Perhaps we shall meet again…

“…But like don’t wait for me, because hubby is going to work from home a few days a week forever. So like you’re kind of in his hands now. Sorry about all the stressful conference calls you have to endure. At least you don’t have to listen to me babbling about whether a wave shushes or swishes for hours on end. But yeah, miss you too.”

Oh. And of course, Hello New Office. Nice to meet you.

Saturday, April 3, 2021

Muddy Monster - A Spring Fling short

Ciara Oneal and Kaitlyn Sanchez are hosting a Spring Fling gif challenge: 150 words of less story for kids inspired by a gif (y'know one of those little picture video doo dads)

I've been working like a dog on a home improvement project (a more physical creativity perhaps) and could use a writing exercise to keep me in shape, so here goes!


Here's my gif and 150 word story. 



Muddy Monster

By Lauri Meyers 


A muddy monster trekked inside,

With dirty pies to host a feast.

Showed the gift, but Mommy cried,

“Get out! Get out! You vicious beast!

 

Mother shooed it down the hall.

Confused, the creature ran away.

Stopped to hear the mother call,

“Where’d my darling daughter stray?”

 

The monster looked at slimy feet,

Considered grimy dripping shirt

Normal self was clean and neat-

But… a bit more dirt can’t hurt.

 

She dug a mine for worms and gold,

Cooked a pot of mud and stewed,

Ignored her name while hours rolled

Until her belly growled for food.

 

She squelched up to the door, but caught:

“The monster’s back! Where are you?”

She had to get by Mom, she thought,  

What could a muddy monster do?

 

Hello hose, and goodbye mud.

Open the door, ready to lie:

“I fled a creature made of crud!

I missed you so... May I have pie?”


Friday, February 12, 2021

Charmadillo - A Valentiny story

 Love is in the air (along with viruses and snow, but let's focus on the love!) With Valentine's weekend here it is time to celebrate with Susanna Hill's annual Valentiny contest

The Contest:  since writing for children is all about “big emotion for little people” (I forget who said that, but someone did so I put it in quotes!) and Valentines Day is all about emotion, write a Valentines story appropriate for children (children here defined as ages 12 and under) maximum 214 words in which someone feels brave! You have until a minute-to-midnight on Valentine's Day to enter.

Here is my entry in 204 words about an armadillo bravely telling his true love how he feels, sort of. 

I couldn't find any armadillo clip art, so I had the *bright* idea to draw some. But all the colored pencils were trapped in rooms with zooms, and all I could find were crayons, and also I can't draw very well, and well, maybe this wasn't my brightest idea after all, though I did have a nice giggle while crayoning and I hope they bring you a giggle too. :) 


**UPDATE: Charmadillo win 12th place!**



Charmadillo

By Lauri C. Meyers

 

Charmadillo sniffed the air

And smelled the lovely Shelly there.

She snorted dirt while pigging out.

He loved her soft pink digging snout.   

 

He should say “hi” or “whatcha eating,”

But his heart was loudly beating.

Too shy to speak, he hatched a scheme

To tell sweet Shelly she’s his dream.

 

He would write some words of love

And pass the note from up above. 

“Your snout is pink, your bands are fine,

Won’t you be my Valentine?”   

 

He watched the letter fall below…

But then his fear began to grow.

He tried to snatch it back again,

But it was deep inside her den!

 

The situation turned him pale.

He rolled himself and hugged his tail.

His armor wasn’t tough enough –

Inside he felt all squirmy stuff.  

 

He tried to dig a hole and hide,

But something stirred from deep inside.

What if his dreadful doubts were wrong,

And sharing feelings made him strong? 

 

He paced nearby for her reply,

Jumping when he heard her cry:

“Charmadillo, I can’t read.

You want a candied centipede?”   

 

The lunch of termites he prepared

Showed his love how much he cared.

She didn’t know the words he wrote,

But showed her love and… ate the note.  


Wednesday, December 9, 2020

Gingerbread Girl to the Rescue - Holiday Contest 2020

 The tree is decorated, the house is lit up, and far too many cookies are in my belly-- the holidays are here!

I hope you are all staying healthy and finding ways to make new memories in this weird time. One of our favorite traditions is making gingerbread cookies. Even though I am a perfectly smart, sensible, scientific young lady, I can't help but open the oven carefully every year just in case a gingerbread comes to life and runs amok. Which brings us to this year's annual holiday contest from Susanna Hill. 

The challenge: Write a 250 word story for kids about the holidays with the theme of a Holiday Helper. To see the entries click here


Gingerbread Girl to the Rescue

 

By Lauri C. Meyers

 

“Who wants to make gingerbread?” Ella asked.

“I’m shopping,” Mom said from the couch.

“Reading the news,” Dad said, not looking up.

“Ugh, lame,” Charlie grunted while tapping his screen.

Ella frosted dozens of gingerbread girls in colorful dresses with peppermint bling. When she got to the last cookie, she wished she weren’t alone.

“Hmm. You’re not wearing a dress,” Ella said, piping red frosting. “It’s a cape!”

The cookie winked and jumped off the table. She grabbed Mom’s phone, Dad’s tablet, and Charlie’s videogame and ran out the door.

“Run, run, give it a whirl,

You can’t catch me—

I’m the Gingerbread Girl!”

The family chased her around the yard, but she sped down the road.

“Grab a bike!” Ella yelled. They pedaled after the cookie.

 “Pedal, pedal, give it a whirl,

You can’t catch me—

I’m the Gingerbread Girl!”

 

Gingerbread Girl jumped on a swan.

“We need kayaks!” Ella yelled. They paddled after the cookie.  

“Paddle, paddle, give it a whirl,

You can’t catch me—

I’m the Gingerbread Girl!”

 

The swan squawked and dove in the water flipping Gingerbread Girl into the air.

“Cookies can’t get wet,” Ella gasped. “You have to fly!”

Gingerbread girl fluttered her cape and glided into the sky.

 

“Get the kite!” Charlie called.

“I need my nerf gun,” Mom yelled.

“I’ll take the hot air balloon,” Dad said.

“And I’ll have fun with my family,” Ella said.

 

“Play, laugh, give it a whirl,

You can’t be bored—

with the Gingerbread Girl!”


Thursday, October 29, 2020

Puppywolf! Halloweensie 2020

Susanna Hill is hosting her annual Halloweensie Contest! To play: write a 100 word Halloween story appropriate for children, using the words skeleton, creep, and mask and enter it here.

My 100 word story is Puppywolf. Happy Halloween!


Puppywolf

By Lauri C. Meyers

 

“I can be a werewolf for Halloween!” Puppy woofed.

             “You would need a mask,” Cat replied. 

“I can sharpen my teeth on this skeleton!”

             “You mean your chewy bone?” Cat asked with sass.

“I can howl at the moon. A-woo! A-woo!” Puppy howled.

“Sounds like a screech owl.” Cat covered her ears.


“I can stick up my ears and growl.”

“That ear is still floppy.” Cat laughed.


“I’m a werewolf,” Puppy said. “And I smell cat!”

             Cat hid under the couch.

“I can creep in the shadows, finding my prey, and… pounce!”

Cat hissed. 

“Save your pouncing for trick-or-treaters, werewolf!”

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