This week’s Carrot Ranch Prompt is to write a story about being lost. I have felt lost, turned around, since the phone call last week.

September 9, 2015 prompt: In 99 words (no more, no less) write a story about someone or something that’s lost. It can be lost in a setting (storm, darkness, ocean) or it can be a feeling. Is there a recovery? What are the consequences of remaining lost? What are the opportunities?

For days, she felt like a child at a birthday party who had been blindfolded and spun so many times she didn’t know where the target was.

She inched her way into the unfamiliar territory, crawling her fingers through the darkness. Evaluating faces of friends for clues whether the friendship stood strong. Grieving the loss of an old life as she wholeheartedly embraced a new one.

As she felt her way through the darkness, she wondered whether the blindfold would ever come off. She found a guide, and discovered her support. Slowly, as through a mesh, the blindfold disappeared.

It took a few days, but I finally feel comfortable to share my decision. I got a phone call from a friend of mine who is the Democratic Party Caucus Chair in the Missouri House of Representatives. She is looking for candidates for the House seat in my district. The current Representative cannot run after this term. I still have to be OK’d by the party, but I think I’m going to run.

So I plan to spend the next year campaigning for office. It’s going to be a lot of work, but I look forward to it.


Welcoming Committee

The Carrot Ranch Challenge for this week, and news stories about Germany welcoming refugees, bring to mind my first days in Germany. I was so sure I knew where I was going, and I navigated the train system without a problem. I never felt alone until I reached my destination.

September 2, 2015 prompt: In 99 words (no more, no less) write a story that shows the interaction of a migrant culture on the place of migration. It can be the reverse, too such as a migrant picking up on local customs. The idea is to explore exchanges.

Marie sat on the graffitied bench with her bag at her feet. The fifteen-story gray buildings surrounding the student center looked more institutional than educational, and she wondered whether she had made the right choice.

Of course the train had arrived at lunchtime. Marie didn’t expect a welcoming committee, but after fourteen hours of travel, she had hoped to get the dorm key when she arrived. Her stomach rumbled, but she had eaten her last granola bar hours ago.

A smiling round face approached, with a hand outstretched. “Wilkommen in Deutschland,” the best words Marie had heard all day.

A shift

This week’s Carrot Ranch Prompt is about migration. With a topic like that, I can’t help but think of the terrible ordeals refugees are having in Europe– “terrible ordeals” sounds pretty mild compared to what some people are going through. I hope we take some of those migrants here in St. Louis. This has always been an immigrant city, in an immigrant country. I hope our leaders care enough to bring some refugees here.

But my story today is not about refugees, but something much more personal. I got a phone call this week that has the potential to change the course of my life. My thoughts this week are constantly drifting toward that. My prose today is about that moment.

September 2, 2015 prompt: In 99 words (no more, no less) write a story that shows the interaction of a migrant culture on the place of migration. It can be the reverse, too such as a migrant picking up on local customs. The idea is to explore exchanges.

The phone call had her reeling.

Ten minutes ago, she had been busily going about her business, doing—what exactly? She could hardly remember. Now she sat, hand on her forehead, trying to take control of her spinning head.

Ten minutes, one friend, one phone call. A new life, the possibility floated before her. Still, she had to live her old life. She tried to remember what she was doing before that phone call. Correspondence? Could wait until she was grounded. The children? Were beginning to argue.

She stood up and took her first step toward her unimaginable life.

The Advocate

This week’s Carrot Ranch Prompt is about having another’s back. The post about struggles getting a PTSD diagnosis reminded me of struggles to get other diagnoses, especially for children. It takes a strong advocate, sometimes, to get the right services.

So it shouldn’t surprise anyone that I wrote about advocacy in the school setting. My public information statement that goes with it is that you can often find help with school advocacy through your local P&A (Protection & Advocacy) office — every state has at least one. I am going through training this weekend to become a volunteer advocate.

The prompt:

August 12, 2015 prompt: In 99 words (no more, no less) write a story about a character who is called to have the back of another. What circumstances led up to this moment? What are the character motives? Think about the interaction, the setting, the tone. What does it look like to have another’s back?

The Advocate

Mrs. Smith felt less alone when she walked into the room with her advocate behind her, but she still instinctively cowered when she saw the table with ten people around it. Ten people unwilling to expend resources on her child. Ten people who saw his naughty behavior as willful disobedience rather than inability to comply.

The teachers’ names flew past before she could take them in.

“I’m sorry, can we repeat those introductions, slower, so I can write down everybody’s names?” said the advocate.

Mrs. Smith’s shoulders relaxed. Finally, at this meeting, somebody had her back—and her son’s.

And with school coming up, I also wrote an article about my hopes for this school year. You can read it on ADDitude magazine.

The Box

It’s too long since I’ve written in here. Summer vacation is ending, and I’m using that as a prompt to pick up writing again. I haven’t written anything since we went to New Mexico two months ago.

Today’s Flash is from Warmup Wednesday on the Flash!Friday blog.

His emerald eyes searched mine as he took the box out of his pocket. Looking for clues? A hint of my answer? He looked proud.

“How could you afford it?” I asked.

The jeweler’s box trembled in his hand. He looked down in—was it shame? I couldn’t believe Red would do anything to bring shame.

“I got a job.” His voice was almost a whisper. “They asked me if I’d run for them. Oh, Lissa, I didn’t know what was in those bags.”

I startled. “Do you mean—“ I hesitated. “I can’t accept this.”

Outside, police sirens wailed.

The Great Train Robbery; public domain screen shot from 1903 film.

Birthday Party

Cecilia took the cake from the oven. Chocolate was his favorite. Cecilia was disappointed that he would miss his twentieth birthday party, but she understood. Death has its way of taking people away, and of bringing them back. Once the cake was frosted, all preparations were ready. She set the chairs around the table: one for her grandmother, one for each of her parents. There would be no presents; she hoped Carlos wouldn’t be disappointed.

After she was seated, Kate came in, unannounced. Confused, she noted cake served at three empty chairs. Balloons decorating the table. “Mother, what’s going on?”

Today’s post was a Warmup Wednesday prompt by Flash! Friday.