welcome readers & writers! in this cyber space please find: + a photo writing prompt + a place to post your creative writing response (poem, memoir, short story or the like) to the prompt + a community of readers and fellow writers excited to read your writing + morsels of genuine fiction, poetry & creative non-fiction as the blog is updated. share a response as often as you'd like. everyday discoveries from my life, captured on film, will serve as prompts. this is not a place where we will critique one another's work; however, words of encouragement or praise for writers who share their work are most welcome. writers, share your story, poem or creative non-fiction response to the photo by clicking on comments; word count is flexible. cheers! demery

Monday, January 3, 2011


readers & writers, happy new year! hope your holiday season, however you celebrated, brought with it moments of goodness and joy. our family enjoyed some time at home, a quick trip to san antonio (pictures coming soon) and a visit to family in atlanta. i'm thankful for plenty of rest & play.
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writers, so glad to be writing with you again. i'm rested, renewed, and ready to heat up this keyboard with some poetry, short stories and creative non-fiction. please join me in today's writing warm up by clicking on comments below to post your creative writing response to the photo above, of an antique table place card holder which belonged to my aunt ruth. the comments section is open to readers as well. here's my spin on the pic:

She eases into her chair, taking care not to bump the table, set with fine china and heavy crystal, with its countless glowing facets reflecting candlelight and the tiniest twinkling Christmas lights. Other guests are settling in as well, in pairs, with the exception of Aunt Gertrude, who takes her place at the head of the table. 
Catherine, seated at the foot of the table, doesn't know anyone at all. She'd taken a nursing position at the children's hospital in D.C., summoned with just a weekend's notice to pack and report for duty. It was a dream job, so worth the rush. Not to mention the fact that she was still getting over her broken heart (and the broken arm that came with it after her boyfriend shoved her into a wall). Clocking some miles between herself and his endless voicemails, text messages and flower bouquets of apology was just what the doctor ordered. Literally.
It just happened to be Christmas Eve now, on her third day in the city. She was sitting here, in this gorgeous, cluttery house because her best friend back home had a great Aunt Gert, who lived alone in Maryland and reportedly "just loves" having new people over on Christmas Eve. "It'll be kind of an open house," Ella had said, "tons of folks in and out all night long." At the time she'd accepted the invitation, Christmas with a house full of strangers seemed preferable to Christmas alone in her still empty apartment, a homemade meal much more appealing than the turkey pot pie chilling in her otherwise empty freezer.
Now, doing her part to pass steaming dishes along - "Clockwise!" Gert had declared in her warbly, Hepburn voice - and listening to the chatter of the seven other people around the table, all of whom seem to be long time friends with Gert, Catherine feels silly and waif-ish. Gert had even spelled Catherine's name wrong, writing a spidery "Katherine" with a K instead of Catherine with a C for the place card. 
After they fill their plates and bow their heads for grace, Gert raises her glass as far as she seems able, and says, "To Kat. Welcome, dear girl." Six faces turn Catherine's way.  Six more glasses lift, and six voices warmly reply, "To Kat." Catherine tries to smile as she raises her glass and glances around the room. It doesn't occur to her until she meets the glossy green gaze of the angel place card holder that she is starting over. This is a chance to be whoever, however she wants to be. "So," she thinks, "maybe I will be Katherine with a K - Kat.  Maybe a girl named Kat has courage." She lets this sink in a moment as she takes a sip of the rich red wine. "Maybe Kat will be strong and confident and joyful and independent. Maybe a Katherine with a K will deck any man who pushes her around; better yet, maybe Kat will know the difference between a violent jerk and a real man and choose differently next time. If there is a next time.
Catherine studies Aunt Gertrude, a "spinster," Ella had affectionately called her. Never married. Gertrude was laughing, head tipped toward the ceiling, dentures gleaming. Surrounded by great friends and beautiful things, Catherine thinks how Gert looks nothing like a lonely old woman and everything like the woman Catherine - Kat - had always wanted to be.  Kat lifts her glass and clears her throat. "To Gert, our lovely hostess," she sings out. Everyone smiles and lifts their glasses, "To Gert!"


  1. LOVE this piece. Secretly, I love the name Gertrude. It's on my short list of baby-names (I admit it, I have one :) Probably too much information lol. But what a wonderful story! I'm sending it to my friend Kathryn (with a K:)

    Have a great day, dear! Can't wait to see your pictures of San Antonio. I love that city SO much.

    ~ Bess

  2. What a lovely piece! To Gert. :)

    Happy New Year! Glad you are rested, and ready to write. :)

  3. First day back at work. The worst day ever. It’s like all your Mondays bundled up together in one miserable ball. What I hate the most is the return to the routine. When away. you relax, you enjoy. You eat and drink when you want and you switch off. Things happening when they happen. Then you return to work and people ask you to do stuff. You spend half the first morning counting to minutes to lunch. You spend half the afternoon clock watching, minute counting till home time. But it’s the realisation, three or four days in, that you have slipped back into your old routine. Having your coffee at the same time each day. Having your lunch at the same time each day. Eating the same small selection of sandwich fillings day in, day out. The same people nagging. The same people annoying. The same people causing you grief.
    Now don’t get me wrong. There is an upside. You get to catch up with your friends. You get to hear their news. You get to have a few conversations that don’t involve someone bitching about someone else. That won’t happen for two or three days if you are lucky. You enjoy the company of people you like and who like you.
    But let’s face it. Regardless of how nice your work friends are....you wouldn’t be there except for the fact it’s where you get the money you spend when you are away from them.
    Happy New Year!!

  4. Bess - I love that you have a baby list and that Gertrude is on it! Super cool. My Aunt Ruth's aunt's name really was Gertrude, and from what I hear she was a firecracker. Thanks for reading and forwarding to your Kathryn with a K!

    Linda - Happy New Year to you! May it be filled with lots of Gert moments for us all :)

    De Langer - I was just thinking of you yesterday and hoping you'd be back soon to write. Thank you for writing with me - and Happy New Year!

  5. Roy Blount Jr turned me on to this unusual poetic form, so I've been playing around with it.


    The place card had my name misspelled,
    a silly oversight I thought,
    my spirits, by it, were not felled -
    the place card had my name misspelled,
    with heartbreak I was not o'erwelled
    until my coat and hat were brought.
    The place card had my name misspelled -
    a silly oversight, I thought.

  6. Chuck, I really like this form of poetry. I'd like to try it... does it have a name? Your poem is light and lovely; you've often connected your writing to what I've written - and I really like that! It extends and lends layers to my stories!! Fun stuff. Thank you for writing with me.