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!”

Saturday, October 3, 2020

Waiting ... for a Fall Frenzy

 The Fall Frenzy picture prompt challenge is here. The event is cohosted by Lydia Lukidis and  Kaitlyn Sanchez.   

The challenge is full of fun fall pics, any of which could inspire a good sprint of writing to warm your fingers as the chill of fall sets in. The 200 word limit is a good reminder to keep your writing tight. 

This one inspired me to go YA, a bit unusual for me, but we all need some change :) 

Image 1, courtesy of Unsplash


Waiting

By Lauri Meyers

 

Fuzzy socks. Wool blanket. Coffee. I leaned against the porch railing, not letting some cool air keep me from finally seeing Tommy Hendricks on his morning run. Actually, I saw him every morning, but from the safety of my couch peeking through the bay window. I was turning 14 tomorrow, and it was time to pull down the curtains. Today, Tommy would see me.

A yawn slipped out, and I saw my breath. I pulled the plaid blanket over my legs, careful not to hide my perfectly picked Steelers sweatshirt. I touched my hair gingerly hoping the hour of twisting and teasing had resulted in the desired “I rolled out of bed not at all worried about my hair” messy bun.

7:45 and my fingers were going numb. I picked up the coffee hoping to warm my hands. I heard the thump, thump of his Nikes hitting the road. His hoodie hugged his chest, and my hands started to warm up. I took a sip of coffee. The taste of burnt pencils clung to my tongue. I sputtered and gagged.

“Morning,” Tommy called.

“Morning,” I said, dying of embarrassment as he passed.

“Go Steelers,” he yelled.

OMG. Tommy saw me.



Sunday, July 12, 2020

Stuff I Like to Geek Out About

I was scrolling through old pictures today looking for a certain picture of a mushroom, and it occurred to me that I like a bunch of totally random stuff. You may call it "eclectic" or just cut to the chase and call it geeky... but with this many things that interest me, I'm rarely bored.

Things I like to learn about in no particular order...

Shells (I have another box too)


Butterflies  (& tangentially butterfly gardens)



Gardening (and making zucchini bread when the harvest is good. And taking pictures of my harvest shaped like smiley faces. Also, have you eaten zucchini flowers before?)


Astronomy




Bugs

Cows (And statues of cows)

Mushrooms
Lichens *totally different from mushrooms, but equally weird
Birds (also birds on things. It just always cracks me up when a pigeon lands on a statue's head)






Trees & Identifying trees. Also trees that have grown around things/eaten things/overcome things. Nature amazes. 


Chances are there will be poems, articles, or picture books with these topics at some point in my career.
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