I don’t know what the statute of limitations is on saying thanks and posting old business, but, “Ha! Better late than never,” I always say.

Well that and, “It’s easier to ask for forgiveness, than to ask for permission,” but that’s a post for another time.

Anyway, so back in 2015 (oh so long ago), my favourite writerly website, Writer Unboxed, held a year-long flash fiction contest.  The instructions? Write a 250 word story (with a beginning, middle, and end) once a month, based on a different picture prompt each time.

I wrote this one and it was chosen as a weiner,err, winner for the March submissions, so thank you to Jo Eberhardt and the crew at WU for putting on and hosting the contest.   It was a great experience!

Oh, and I’m sorry for being late with my thanks, and I’m sorry for my shameless self-promotion.



Glory remembers the relevant things: the heavy thumping of the soldier’s boots as they marched near the shallow grave her mother frantically dug for them to hide in; the green strip of fabric ripped from the hem of her mother’s dress to cover her mouth and nose so she could breathe easier under the dirt; the feel of her mother’s hands—shredded and bleeding—in hers as they lay there together, hoping for silence and not discovery.

The coughing up of Nigerian silt for weeks after coming to Canada.

This wall is not her wall to paint. But those girls were not their girls to take. She carries her survivor’s guilt like it was a canvas satchel stuffed with boulders. She was lucky. Five minutes later and her mother would no longer have been at the school.

Photo by Rebecca Pagel
Photo by Rebecca Pagel

She paints a white girl on the brick wall even though she knows there are many colours with fear – white, yellow, black, red—and she paints the bubbles for her sisters.

219 bubbles to be painted in all and, one after another, they float lightly, freely, ironically, out from the paintbrush. There’s no freedom for her sisters yet, but she knows she needs to keep hoping.

In the bubbles, where the small white reflection of light would go, she paints their eyes as she feels them now: dark, terrified, resigned, frantic.

And underneath each bubble, in her beautiful cursive writing, she writes all their names: Esther, Maryam, Yagana, Awa, Rejoice, Lydia, Comfort…


State of Mind

Newport, Oregon. January.  2016

The sun is setting, throwing its last rays of light down onto the streets and into the crooks and corners. The wind is brisk, and my daughter and I walk the pier with our collars up and our chins down. The fishing boats have come in from the ocean, and the men have settled their crab traps down on pallets behind the buildings.

They all wait for tomorrow so they can start again.


We try to teach our children about the value of hard work; the importance of manual labour to strengthen their minds and their bodies; the meaningfulness of being in the outdoors; the beauty that is calloused hands and sweaty brows. But it’s hard, because their moments of idle play outside in the sun, the rain, and the snow, and their willingness to do hard work, have been usurped, disrupted, by Steve Jobs’ and Bill Gates’ toys.


“If I wanted to destroy a nation, I would give it too much and I would have it on its knees, miserable, greedy, and sick.”

John Steinbeck in a letter to Adlai Stevenson.


The Daily Post Photo Challenge: State of Mind : “Photos show us the surface of things, but they often tell much deeper stories about the objects they depict — and about the people who take them.”


“When the shadow of the sash appeared in the curtains it was between seven and eight o’clock and then I was in time again, hearing the watch. It was Grandfather’s and when Father gave it to me he said I give you the mausoleum of all hope and desire; it’s rather excruciatingly apt that you will use it to gain the reducto absurdum of all human experience which can fit your individual needs no better than it fitted his or his father’s. I give it to you not that you may remember time, but that you might forget it now and then for a moment and not spend all your breath trying to conquer it.”

William Faulkner, The Sound and The Fury


Veteran at NLCC Cadet Corp 2012 Inspection

The theme of today’s photo prompt from The Daily Post is Time.

Lest we forget the gift of their time for us.

Monochrome Madness – Curves

Thank you yet again to Leanne Cole at Leanne Cole Photography for showcasing my photo for this week’s Monochrome Madness. The theme was curves.

This was the featured picture:


There’s nothing I love better than the curves on old cars – their sloping fenders, trunks and hoods; the lines on their bumpers; the hubcaps…

I could go on.

These particular shots were taken just off the highway en route to a small town called Cache Creek in British Columbia, on what used to be the Gold Rush Route.

Here’s a quote about traveling from the illustrious John Steinbeck : “I know people who are so immersed in road maps that they never see the countryside they pass through, and others who, having traced a route, are held to it as though held by flanged wheels to rails.”

Enjoy the view from off the road, folks.






Famous Blue Raincoat


What’s your song? The one that suits you best?

Is it one that brings you to your knees?

Or one that empowers you?

Gladdens you? Tells a story? Recalls a memory?

I know it’s hard to pick just one, but if you could, what would it be?

What’s mine? Well, thank you for asking (I was going to tell you even if you hadn’t asked).

If I may?

It’d be “Famous Blue Raincoat.”

Leonard Cohen.

Love this song.

(Actually, I love most of Mr. Cohen’s songs, but this one especially. It gets stuck in my head for days and there’s no getting it out.)

(Shhhh, maybe I don’t want to get it out.)

I’m not sure if I love it and connect with it because, well, maybe it’s a bit about forgiveness and a bit about understanding.

And because it’s about love – unrequited.

And because it’s about betrayal and how no one’s the same after.

And because it’s about the sadness that happens in your own self when you see someone searching and hurting:

“I’m writing you now just to see if you’re better…”

 “You’d been to the station to meet every train / And you came home without Lili Marlene.”

And how you can still continue to love someone, even after…

But anyway, I don’t want to completely analyze the song, or completely break it down with all the reasons it’s important to me, because that’s just boring.  And because it takes away from the whole emotional impact of the song, so I’ll leave you to it.

And thanks to The Daily Post for their blog prompt – today’s being: “This is your song.”

Happy Tuesday!