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Fifth Tuesday Stories
July 29, 2014

Writing Challenge: What if your character could tell you what he or she thinks about your writing? Maybe she doesn’t like how you portrayed her, or he hates what you’re doing to his life in the story. Your character’s rant or diatribe is your 250 word challenge piece.

King of the Pectrites
Katelin Cummins, 2nd and 4th

My name is Pectitus, king of the Pectrites.
I am telling you because I think you have forgotten.
Do you not realize that this is my race’s last and only hope for survival?
Do you WANT us to die and become extinct? (more…)

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Fifth Tuesday Writing Challenge
July 30, 2013

Writing challenge: Here it is: Fortune cookie fortunes. Select a fortune from the following list, then write a story, poem, or essay in which you use the fortune in some way. Maximum length, our ever-popular 250 words.

Desire
Andy Pfeiffer, first-and-third

Fortune: The object of your desire comes closer

Cracking. A message in a bottle, if you will. A gateway to the dream. Meaning. Life. Love. Death. What is it about this time? The future?
What is it about? How can it be so vague? Is this open to interpretation for the masses? For each individual person?
Clarity. That’s what I desire. But what is clarity? Clarity about what? This message? What I desire? Clarity about clarity itself? Something more, something less?
Am I clinging on to hope or hopelessness? It remains unclear. Is it hope I want, or can I not have it? I ask myself again, again, again, but nothing is clear. Nothing will ever be clear.
I feel a cool breeze, the whispers of the wind, calling my name. I split. I run. I go towards the voice, but it manifests nowhere. Where am I? What is this place? There is nothing here.
Rolling hills of green. No, a long array of snow. No, a vast, endless desert. Why is it changing? What has happened? Clarity. I need clarity!
I look outward to the horizon. I see it. A blurry image comes into focus.
And then I wake up.

Sixty shades of red
Millie Mader, first-and-third

*Writer’s note: My “authentic” fortune cookie says: “You Will Make a Name For Yourself”

I can hardly believe it. Here I sit across from Robin Roberts, who is interviewing me for Good Morning America.
“So, your protagonist is named Red Ford,” she says. “Any connection to Robert Redford?”
“I never reveal my sources,” I say.
“Well, another question, then. You write under the pseudonym of Grandma Moses. Can we let our audience know your real name?”
“I never give out personal information.”
Taken aback, Robin asks, “How did you come by all this information? Were you an acrobat or a contortionist in your youth?”
“I may have exaggerated a bit for the story.”
“Well, we are here to promote your ‘imaginative’ work of fiction. What did you hope to accomplish with this triple-X rated novel? Does it have a message?”
“I’m here being interviewed by my favorite anchor. Also, I will no doubt end up quite wealthy. I guess the message is to be a ‘creative’ writer. The Grandma Moses’s name will once again be on everyone’s lips.”
Robin seems perplexed. “Will the public ever know if a real Red Ford exists?”
“No, but public speculation will continue for a long time, and that’s what sells books.”
Robin seems frustrated. “Do you plan a sequel?”
“No, there is nothing left to write about,” I say. Our interview is over.
****
I am being honest here, as the whole novel was a figment of my imagination. Grandma Moses will enjoy a life of luxury—and will become a household name.

The anti-charmer
Brandy Larson, second-and-fourth

Fortune in my cookie: “A beauty is someone you notice, a charmer is someone who notices you.”
charm – to delight or captivate, from
charme – Middle English, a magic spell
Charming was an adjective sometimes applied to me back in the day. Perhaps charm has no expiration date?
Once upon a time, on a Thursday night at a popular eastside club, I sat at the bar surveying the crowd. The blues band was on a break. He sidled up to the empty bar stool on my left. He was not someone I noticed, but apparently someone who noticed me, an ordinary looking guy, tall and seemingly self-possessed.
He opened with some predictable small talk. Then, apropos of nothing, he said, “Prove to me how creative you are in three minutes.”
I am known by my friends for my wit and the ability to think on my feet, or in this case on my shapely behind. I found myself nearly speechless – for once. Happily I kept my jaw from dropping. Any charm I possessed was vaporized on the spot.
The logical thing to say, “Why not prove to me how creative you are,” unfortunately never entered my head. I continued speaking, proving nothing and struggling to swallow the cocktail of surprise, disgust and indignation in the back of my throat.
What registered on my face? I can’t imagine. Having been a teacher, I must have managed to keep my expression somewhat neutral, practiced at saying one thing while thinking or feeling another.[You jerk, why should I be in the position of impressing you?]
Mr Charmer was not proving to be charmed by my stream of consciousness remarks on the topic of me, and happily decamped to try this on another unsuspecting female. He’d probably come up with this line reading an Esquire advice column – how to pick up girls. Perhaps this was an improvement on (and quicker than) him launching into proof of how creative he could be in three minutes. And maybe slightly less annoying.
The band returned and I soon hopped back onto the dance floor displaying some spontaneous, free-spirited dancing.
Let him who hath eyes to see…

Fortune cookie rap
Judith McNeil, first-and-third

Never wanted to be the chocolate in a Godiva bar
Never wanted to be an astronaut surfing planets or stars
Never wanted to be the star of stage or page
Never the color red, but more the color beige
So all this not wanting came to a head
When today’s fortune cookie I read
Had to fling myself to bed ’cause of what it said
“In your future lies wealth and fame and many people will know your name”
No, no, I screamed in psychic pain
’Cause I’ve been there, done that, and it didn’t end well
In fact in a couple of life times I spent time in hell
So I’m just as happy being an average joe, with an average life,
With not far to go
I can smile into the mirror and I can sleep good
Without fortune cookie wisdom telling me what I’m due
And what I should be
No more fortune cookie advice for me.
Wait up! There is no dilemma, just crazy schemes
To lure me down to earth
With fortune cookie dreams

Excerpt from the chronicles of fortune-cookie man
Katelin Cummins, second-and-fourth

I have a super power. Fortunes come to me when I eat cookies. It doesn’t even have to be a fortune cookie. Any cookie works. So I keep a stash in my backpack. When I’m walking around town, I’ll eat a cookie. Then BAM! It hits me when I see a particular person.
I munched on an Oreo when a girl with curly red hair from the 5th grade walked by. Bingo! I knew her fortune and ran up to her.
“Fortune-Cookie Man!” She jumped in clear excitement.
“Yes, it is I!” With my hands on my hips, I puffed out my chest to show off the bold yellow “FC” printed on my blue t-shirt. My cape flapped in the breeze. Someone should’ve taken a picture.
“Do you have a fortune for me?” She clasped her hands together under her chin.
I cleared my throat and held up my finger. “A book is in your future.”
She gasped and spread her hands apart. “Oh! I’m going to be an author!”
A baby’s cry came from the house we stood next to and a book flew out of the window. Unfortunately, it hit the girl’s red curly head.
“Ow!” she said with her hand to the bruised spot.
An angry voice shouted out the window. “I finally got this baby to sleep and now you’ve woken her up! I’m gonna strangle you loud kids! ARGH!”
We scampered away in a flash.
All in a good day’s work for Fortune-Cookie Man!

What I did on the weekend
Jerry Peterson, first-and-third

Derek Wilson
Mrs. Beaumander’s class
Marshall Middle School
May 6, 2013

It all started when my friend Cody Debbs and me broke open our fortune cookies at the Sizzling Wok. Mine says “There’s a book is in your future.”
Cody laughs and tells me it’d better be a new X Men comic.
Well, on our way home, we decide to ride our coaster wagon down Courthouse Hill, on the sidewalk. Not many people use it, and you can get some real speed going. So Cody piles in the front and I jump in behind him, and we push off.
Part way down the hill, he makes a hard swerve for the cut in the sidewalk by this driveway, almost pitching me out, then whips us through the cut on the other side of the driveway and back up on the sidewalk. We’re really moving out now, and Cody’s looking back at me, howling like a maniac, and he doesn’t see this guy coming out of the courthouse with this armload of books. I yell, but it’s too late and we wipe him out. He comes down on top of Cody and I get this lap full of books and we’re heading for this bush at an awful speed. We crash right through it, hit a tree on the other side, and all spill out of the wagon.
When we quit rolling, the guy hauls himself up and he’s mad and he’s a judge. He sentences Cody and me right there to read this book he’s got with him that’s now in the grass, a book about some Spanish dude who tries to knock over windmills. He tells us we gotta write a report on it in a week if we want to stay out of jail, and, Mrs. Beaumander, it’s a really big book.

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Fifth Tuesday Stories

Fifth Tuesday stories
January 29, 2013

Writing challenge: You, or a character of your creation, believe the world is going to end on a set date. You or your character get ready for it . . . then it doesn’t happen. What do you or your character do now? . . . Maximum length, our ever-popular 250 words.
(more…)

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Fifth Tuesday Stories

Fifth Tuesday stories
October 30, 2012

The challenge: Write a short short story, poem, essay or a mighty short film script about the supernatural, which must include a ghost, a vampire, a werewolf, a witch, or any combination, or some other unreal critter. (more…)

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Fifth Tuesday stories
July 31, 2012

The challenge: A wish. Write a short short story, poem, essay or a mighty short film script about a wish made or a wish granted . . . your wish, somebody’s else’s wish, your dog’s wish. You’re the writer. You pick, you write, then polish.

“A fish on a dish, is that what you wish?”
(lyrics from The Incredible String Band)
Brandy Larson, second-and-fourth

Wish, noun, desire or longing for a specific thing
inclination, petition, invoke (upon), entreat, expression (of desire)
ME wisshen – OE wyscan

“Be careful of what you wish for,” Mom said, and “don’t wish your life away.”
I think this is mainly said to children.
“Your wish is my command,” the genie said.
“When you wish upon a star, your dreams come true,” Jimminy Cricket said (“Pinocchio”).
“If wishes were horses, beggars would ride.” Proverb
“Dreams are wish fulfillment,” Freud said.
One can mistake wishes with reality – an example of wishful (magical?) thinking.
And how about “wishy-washy?”
What is a wish, really? For me it is a form of manifesting. Wishing has an element of intent. And intent has the power to make something happen.
Children wish to grow up. Teenagers wish for romance. Young people might wish for glamor or fame. Middle-agers wish for excitement, or maybe retirement. And elders might occasionally wish for youth! Full circle.
Who has not wished on a star, wished for luck or wished for change? We’ve all wished for time to speed up – or to slow down. Or wished we’d done things differently?
What have you wished for?
I’ve mainly wished for romance, but not recently…
Wishing has the flavor of hope and, if not angling directly toward happiness, at least hoping to perhaps gain help in some circumstance or other.
Animals also must have wishes. I know my cat, Aslan, meows a certain way when night is coming and he wishes to be let out. Horses enclosed in a stall wish to run. Dogs in the house wish to get out. Foxes wish they could jump high enough to nibble at the tempting grapes.
I guess there’s no end to wishing.
My wish for you? May all your wishes come true.
(more…)

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Fifth Tuesday Submissions
January 31, 2012

The challenge: Write a short short story, poem, film scene or essay with a two-word title. One of the words must be either heart or hearts . . . Burning Heart, Busted Hearts, Mending Hearts, you get the idea. Hey, Valentine’s Day is coming. No more than 500 words. Winner receives a critique of her/his first 50 pages from Chris DeSmet plus dinner on the town with Chris.

Here is a link to the submissions. https://tuesdayswithstory.files.wordpress.com/2012/02/5th-tuesday-2012.doc

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Some of the “old” members of the group will remember me. I wanted to let everyone know that my book, The Journey Takers, comes out this summer.  It is the same book once called Generations: A Journey Through History that the group once edited many moons ago – and many versions ago, too. The writing group there in Madison is in my acknowledgments!!

I am driving from Massachusetts to California this July to promote the book – and I have a stop in Madison. I am speaking at the Sequoya branch of  the Madison library on Thursday, July 8 at 7 p.m. I would love to see some members of the group. – Leslie Huber

 www.thejourneytakers.com
Leslie also has a website at www.understandingyourancestors.com

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