The F in the Blue Box: a very short story

Happy Friday everyone! Here’s a little bit of humor to start the weekend off right.




Your last roommate’s name was Mary, right? I found this note wedged behind the bathroom mirror. (It was a little crooked.) What exactly happened to her?

Alex – They’re here! In the hallway outside the apartment. They say they’re from the department of health and my coffee this morning may have been contaminated but I know who they really are… they’re from Facebook! …


Sorry, this post has been removed for publication elsewhere.


Only So Many Hours – is re-writing, revising and editing really “working” on my art?


Over the past weekend I went to a Business of Art workshop and one of the attendees on the first day was also a presenter, a musician named Jogo. One of his parting thoughts was that you should take at least one action every day that works on your art and one action to promote yourself.

I like this idea because as a full-time working mother there are not that many hours in the day for me. I can probably write a little something and do one thing that promotes it. The question is, is re-writing, revising and editing really working on my art? In one respect, of course it is, but I feel like I should be writing something new every day.

There was a time when I was able to do the morning pages every day that Julia Cameron recommends, three pages of long hand writing.  Even though they were most often venting or journal pages, I liked that three pages in the morning for my creative writing as well.

I know that James Lee Burke, who writes the Dave Robicheaux novels, writes at least 750 words every single day. I’ve heard other writers say that they set themselves a limit and they produce that much of new material every day.  Then the editing and the business aspects of being a writer can come later in the day. Of course, they’re working as a writer all day long while I’m spending my day driving to work, working, driving home and then taking care of a small child who demands my attention until very late at night.

So, I’d like to be creating, really creating new material every day. Even if it were just a line or two, but preferably somewhere around three pages. After three pages a day, the creativity in my writing dissipates.

Right now, asking myself to get up early enough to write before I go to work just does not seem to be feasible, but first thing in the morning is my best, most creative and energetic time for writing.  So, what do I do? My best idea so far is to write in my head on the drive in and either use a digital recorder or scribble it down when I get to work.  I don’t get a lot of really good lines that way though.

So, if I have limited time and I don’t create something new, is re-writing or editing “working on my art?” It doesn’t feel like it but I think I may have to accept that it is.

The one action for promotion is not so difficult. I do recognize that there is a very good cumulative effect. After the workshop, I ended up with a long list of actions to take. For instance, yesterday I pulled my short artist’s statement out of what I had written to get into that workshop. I edited it down to a paragraph and put it in my Facebook page. If I fill out one element on that Facebook page every day, within a week it will be done. Some of those same elements are going to go into my website. I’m already signed up with Weebly and bought my domain name so I can do that very soon.

In fact, I started to work on the Weebly page but I realized I need to get a visual image in my head and pick out the visual elements before I really create it. I know what I want for content on each page but I would like at least some of the images to be my own creation, photographs or drawings. Also, do I want the images to be different on each page or the same throughout the site?  I think that will be my task over the weekend or next week.

Is revising and editing working on my art? Yes, I think it is. Is it creating something new every day? It can be, but it doesn’t really feel like it.  I would really like to be creating something new, whether it’s a couple lines of poetry or a paragraph on a story. Today I will just keep my eyes open and see if anything occurs to me that I can scribble down.

I think this is probably a personal question with a personal answer.  How do you handle it?

(Please join me on my Facebook page, where I will be posting a daily note on something interesting or inspiring about writing or life in general. Just click here -> Melora Johnson’s Facebook page.)

Reaching Out Through the Web

Well, it’s been a quiet week here in Lake Woebegone… ahem, erm, I mean Upstate New York.  Yeah, sometimes you feel like there isn’t an original thought in your brain.  Haven’t we had this conversation before?  Let me refresh your memory.

Hasn’t it all been covered, all been written about before?  Perhaps.  (Though I’d dispute even that.)  The fact remains that you are a unique individual.  Nobody has ever existed with your combination of genetics and experiences.  When you take any topic and filter it through those filters, you will be giving your unique perspective on a topic.

One of the writer’s from our group was in today and started talking about empty nest syndrome.  As she spoke, very eloquently, about her experiences and how she moved on to embrace life on her own, I wished I had a recorder of some kind going.  I urged her to write an article for Yahoo! Voices about it and I hope she will.  Even if someone has written extensively about it in the past, perhaps her experience will be positioned in the right place, at the right time, to help someone who needs it.

I’ve heard people lament the advent of blogs and social networking many times.  They consider it the height of self-involvement to think that others would be interested in what we say.  “No one cares what you think!” they rail.

I do.  I care.  I believe that we all have a story to tell and I love to hear other people’s stories.  Not everything, of course.  I don’t care what you had for breakfast, unless it was at an amazing place to eat, or you made a recipe I might like to try.  It’s all about context, whether it’s relevant to the reader.

I recently came across a review of a book that claimed that social media was causing us to have shallow relationships and isolating us from one another.  That hasn’t been my experience.  Facebook has allowed me to stay in touch with family and friends that I had very limited contact with in the past fifteen years.  Perhaps they aren’t all substantive exchanges on the networking site, but they could be, if we chose, and they can set the stage for the opportunity to have more and deeper dialogues.  I’ve also had the opportunity to share writing that I’ve been told deeply touched or helped a person.  That’s a pretty substantial return on my time investment, to me.

In the end, as with all technology, it’s all in how we use it.  If you put yourself into your writing, it’s going to touch people.  Take the time to edit and make sure it’s ready for publication.  Putting it up somewhere on the Internet is still publication.  Your writing is worth that and the dialogue it can generate will be so much the richer for your time and attention to detail.