Monthly Archives: August 2012

If I told you

You will blush if I tell you what he did to me.

If I told you about the way he kissed me, his passion devouring my lips like fine chocolate, you would be okay, your face impassive, colorless.

Even if I told you about us falling into bed, hungry as wild animals deprived too long from succulent, wild kill, you would merely smile at the imagery.

But if I told you about the way he looked at me, with his eyes wide open and tender, with his heart fully on his sleeve, talking to me, loving me completely, you would blush because what came next obliterated everything rational.

It’s hard for me to tell you what he said, to actually say it without blushing myself, but you must know, I have to share this: “You feel like breathing,” he said.

This week’s word: blush

Lillie McFerrin


Simple, shy, and unassuming, she was always shocked to read accounts of her escapades that described her as a “cold, calculated killer.” Though admittedly her world was a dark existence, devoid of deep, meaningful relationships, it was anything but dreary. The fact that plying her trade meant keeping out of sight during the day felt as natural to her as the habitual preparation required for every kill: better put, she loved her job.

Who could have guessed that the world could produce such a quiet, stunning creature so physically beautiful that her unwitting victims practically begged her to kill them? She had no shortage of suitors, it’s just that she couldn’t help devouring them at night.

Join the fun that Lillie McFerrin inspires with her “Five Sentence Fiction” prompts. This week’s word is “Night.” Hurry…you have through Wednesday to link up.

Lillie McFerrin


How dare she!

My readers have been clamoring for a new post (ok, it was only one reader, and he wasn’t actually “clamoring”). Nevertheless, it got me writing…

Without sleep, or morning quiet time, or exercise, or healthy food, or adequate hugs, or a challenge, I look like this darling kitty. I may be exaggerating, but if so, not by much. Do not mistake me for high maintenance. I repeat, with emphasis: I AM NOT HIGH MAINTENANCE.

High maintenance costs big bucks, right? It’s designer clothes, Manolo Blahnik (I had to look up the spelling) shoes, diamonds in various karats, and a host of impressive friends only one level separated from Kevin Bacon. After all, I scream when I have to go shopping, and even louder when I have to take time to try anything on, get a haircut, paint my nails, or have my eyebrows threaded. I would rather, honestly, be doing just about anything else, even cleaning up the scary pile of dishes in the kitchen.

To clarify, high maintenance is falling apart if hubby doesn’t notice the designer clothes, Manolo Blahniks, diamonds, new hair cut, pretty nails, or freshly arched eyebrows– without inquiring about the costs. Complete, unquestioned adoration is required, plus deep pockets, and an even deeper understanding of the important syndromes: the “honey I have a headache” syndrome, the “I’m too tired from shopping and drinking champagne to fix dinner” syndrome, and the “Are you really going to wear that?” syndrome.

I, on the other hand (she says grandly), am quite happy in sweats, jammies, t-shirts with tiny holes, jeans, flip-flops, and various other mantles of schlumpiness. I don’t even care if hubby does not notice how pretty I look in them, and I don’t get headaches (low testosterone works wonders), nor come home too drunk to fix dinner (I have other excuses): decidedly low maintenance, albeit often a bit low on the low-maintenance side, like having blood pressure so low that I can’t donate blood. Perhaps I could go shopping and then give blood.

Ah, but I banter back and forth with myself, and with you, dear readers, while avoiding the honest-to-goodness reasons I DO qualify as high maintenance, the reasons ALL OF US do too.

Life is fan-flinging-tastically measured, and not necessarily to our individual tastes. That dream we had yesterday and tuck away for tomorrow may never happen if we don’t amp up the expectations (of ourselves, of others), and make it happen, or at least delve in far enough to realize, upon careful examination (or trial and error), that it is a different dream we want after all. By not exploring our yearnings, by not heeding our most poignant needs, by not being honest, we are short-changing ourselves, and a host of other people who look to us for inspiration (or for excuses). We must not stand idly by…or life will, in its inimitable and accidentally pernicious way, pass us by.

I have been watching my mother, now 84 and struggling with some dementia, my whole life. If there is such thing as a bone that is lazy, she does not possess it. She worked hard every single day I knew her. I’m certain that even when she was on vacation, she worked hard to keep everything clean and organized, to keep herself perfectly dressed and coiffed. But what I do not know about her, sadly, is what her dreams were. Perhaps they became dreams for others, the inescapable wishes every parent has for their children: that they will be safe, happy, and decent members of society (and that they will come visit every now and again). Did she have dreams when she was a child? Surely she did, but I am quite certain that once she began having children, she relegated them to the past, chalked them up to whimsy, or figured that someday she might get back to them.

Why is this relevant now? Because she is unhappy. Her life is nearing its end, and I’m sure she is thinking, “Was that it?” I am seeing the bitterness that she has always carried yet masked in her busyness, in her caring for others. I believe she never gave herself permission to explore her desires, though she always encouraged me to explore my own.

Furthermore, I believe she didn’t know how. Life threw her many crooked wrenches, and each time it did, she used them to re-build her life as best as she could, but never to her ultimate satisfaction. Her ability to dream; perhaps based on the expectations of her generation, or because she grew up with an alcoholic father, or perhaps even because she never got over my father, was stifled by the story she wrote for herself, the one in which the plot did not include her own satisfaction.

This morning I decided that I am just fine with my high maintenance needs, the ones I listed, and the ones I have kept tucked away behind certain expectations. I may not desire fancy things, but I do crave the kinds of pursuits that speak to me as an individual, not merely as a person playing a role. A mother who takes off for a week to dive into the ocean and take photos? How dare she! A mother who gets take-out because she was so busy writing she lost track of time? How dare she! A mother who goes back to college in the middle of homeschooling her children? How dare she!

Next week I am taking off for the day, to pick up one writer, then another…on a trek to Santa Barbara to have lunch with three other writers, writers I’ve yet to meet face to face. A whimsical, wonderful day for me, despite the responsibilities that cry out for me to stay home and take care of them. How dare she!

The Knitted Tree

Leaving Main Beach in Laguna (Laguna Beach, California), I spotted this knitted tree. Having heard and read about random yarnstorms (also called yarn bombing, urban knitting, guerilla knitting, and knit graffiti) in big cities across the globe, I was familiar with the phenomenon, which Knitthecity (London) defines as “the art of enhancing a public place or object with graffiti knitting,” but I was not prepared for the kapow of energy and unexpected intimacy I felt with the tree and its then-unknown artist. Putting down my beach gear, and hollering to friends and family that I would catch up with them in a bit, I grabbed my camera and began shooting. As I became more familiar with the wrapped branches, I fell into silent revery, the colors beckoning me to come closer, to explore.

If you click to enlarge the gallery below, you will be privy to some of the whimsical and soulful details knitted into the wraps.

As I explored further, I discovered a small plastic bag with something inside. Being careful not to tug too hard, I extracted the note, which contained words no longer legible, as rain or morning mist must have seeped inside the bag long enough to blur everything into a blue smudge. But I could read a name, or at least part of one: M i c h, and silently thanked Michelle (or Micha, Michael, or Michaella) for touching my heart at the end of a day in which I had vowed, just a few hours before, to remember to notice, to breathe deeply, and to appreciate life and it’s inhabitants even more fully than I had been doing.

A day or so later, I suggested to two sets of visiting friends that they should stop by “The Knitted Tree,” having an unidentified urgency in my gut, an unbridled desire to share the magical branches with others who appreciate random acts of beauty. Little did I know (Or did I?) that my next visit to Laguna Beach would have me standing before the same tree, only this time in its naked form. I should have felt sad at the absence, and I was surprised that the emotion I experienced instead was a fresh and unexpected kind of reverence, the kind that comes from knowing that I had serendipitously witnessed a fleeting gift, that I had received a message of hope that spoke to me regarding life’s unending challenges: There will always be something beautiful and unexpected around, literally, a random corner…and sometimes that redeeming or soothing or mind-blowing something will have been placed there by the hands and heart of someone who wanted to make me smile and celebrate my miraculous life.

Thank you Michelle Boyd and Twisted Stitchers for your Beach-umbrella-themed project, for receiving permission from the Laguna Beach Arts Commission to install your beautiful work from July 1-July 31, 2012. On July 25th, 2012, I was deeply moved by your gift. Thank you.

Thoughts and photographs are the creation and property of Britton Minor and The Jaded Lens Photography/Writing


“Keep going, just like a…” he hollered, and I began to respond, even before he was finished speaking, having heard those words ‘ad nauseum’ my entire life, and as such, bellowed back on top of his words, “I can’t, it’s not working, I’m not a butterfly, and I told you already, I’m not good at this.”

“Doesn’t matter, just keep going, keep flapping your wings!” he said silently, though I heard him loud and clear, out of long habit.

I found this kind of encouragement from my father so frustrating when he was alive, believing him to be an optimistic fool, the kind of man who wouldn’t know a brick wall if he ran smack into it, someone who actually believed in impossible dreams, achieved them, against all odds, then transferred such dumb luck into an unrealistic faith in me, his only daughter–a girl so ordinary that even bees didn’t land on me, even if I wore bright yellow.

It was thirty years later, at the summit, as I took in the surreal view of pastel clouds and razor-sharp mountains, drinking in the thin, pure life-giving air, when I knew that he had been right all along, and that whether or not I beat the cancer viciously fighting against me, I would be victorious if I would only “keep going.”

A sudden flash then, an epiphany even, as the saying on his office door, the one everyone read as they came inside to seek his advice in near droves–everyone except me, that is, for I had ignored it and his advice completely until now–pierced my vision, as if it were written across the surreal scene before me: Success is perseverance in disguise.

Lillie McFerrin

This Five Sentence Fiction post is a response to Lillie McFerrin’s weekly one-word writing challenge. This week’s word: perseverance. Click on the badge above to visit her site, access the link to other entries, and even add your own creativity to the mix.

It is my great honor to dedicate this post to my sister, Ellie, who fought valiantly against cancer for 16 years, and who never stopped trying to encourage me daily to seek my wildest dreams and embrace my writing passion fully. I love you sis.

photo copyright Britton Minor and The Jaded Lens Photography. All rights reserved.