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‘I am a writer, but I wish I could write like that,’ said Durga, seated at the head of the rustic green, rectangular table. There were nineteen women on the sides, who turned to look. Then, some picked up their beverages and sipped them. In the background, a cash register clinked a tinkle closing in on a purchase. A TV peeping out of a corner behind Durga played, on mute, reruns of Kashmiri youth pelting stones at the Indian military. Somewhere, a coffee machine whirred to life and at the table could be heard the clanking of wooden and metal bangles on Durga’s wrists as she rested her elbows on the wood weighed down only by Priya’s bare elbows at the other head of the table.

They were there for an informal meet-up that Priya had announced on her blog, A Booklover’s Paradise, which was one of the Top Ten Blogs of the Year.  She intended to start a book club and nineteen of her thousands of followers had turned up at Magical Springs Café that sultry July morning.

Priya tucked a loose strand of her bob behind her right ear from which dangled a miniscule book covered in blue Ikkat, and then turned around to look at her friend Menaka, who was sitting beside her.

‘Yeah, how I wish I could write like that,’ established Menaka.

‘Menaka is a writer,’ Priya declared. ‘Her manuscript is with Ladies Finger.’

As in the vegetable? thought Arpita.

Nusrat who was sitting across from Arpita noticed the question flicker on Arpita’s brow and smiled in solidarity. There’s Penguin, there’s Harper Collins, now there’s one after a vegetable, she had begun to form the thought when she saw Arpita’s hard stare. Prissy Missy hunh. So, she turned away and decided to take a look at Menaka’s fingers. They weren’t long or slender, they were stubby and chewed at. Batao bhai, Ladies finger! Whatever.

‘In fact, it was Menaka’s nudge that pushed me to start this book club,’ Priya continued. ‘I had reviewed The Husband’s Secret on my blog and Liane Moriarty commented on my review.’ Priya beamed. Some of the women who had been looking into their swirly lattes looked up at Priya now; there was most definitely awe flickering in some of those eyes. Even the golden stars that dangled off the fake off-white balustrade, which ended on the ceiling, dazzled. ‘I review up to fifty books a year and have 3000+ followers on my blog.’ She smiled in acknowledgment, for she had to acknowledge, right?

The readers around the table, who were merely readers, seemed now in doubt about their presence among the honorable gathering.

Sakshi picked up her large mug and sipped the last shy bits of her staple beverage. Everyone seems to be an author here, she wondered how many more would reveal themselves before the end of the meet-up. Might as well bring down a gavel and declare this to be the moment. Out with it now all you who want to, or forever hold your peace. Though she did not know the technicalities of the art now, art, clearly, she guessed it to be. Not science for sure. Husband’s Secret had been fun, but was that valid anymore, or would only Jane Austen books qualify?

No one had said so as yet; the other readers, hopefully who were merely only readers, that is. Did they seem wary of their opinions on the book because they were, poor things, merely readers? wondered Menaka.

Was Durga a popular author? that other lone writer, Menaka, wondered. She most definitely seemed confident of her writing!

Priya decided to motivate her group because, around the table, enthusiasm seemed to wane. The book club was hers and seated around the table were the followers of her blog. It was time to spruce things up, instill confidence among the women for their respective points of view — important points of view. She nudged the gathering and thankfully the discussion propelled forward, way up until the last speaker. Phew!

It was definitely the ripe moment to take the Book Club forward.

‘Excellent!’ called out Durga, before Priya could take a moment to savor that thought. ‘Now that we have completed the discussion, how about we start a book club?’

‘Which is why I called this meet in the first place, Durga,’ stated Priya. ‘Menaka and I have a plan,’ she continued, picking up on that bite she was about to lose. She swallowed a lump in a hurry and it threatened to go down the wrong tube. Gawd! ‘We’ve been thinking of making this meet a monthly affair,’ she said, coughing it out.

‘Yes, we should. I hope that was the idea behind meeting today,’ Durga answered, smirking at Priya’s lack of confidence. She then looked around for acceptance.

The party of nineteen did turn around. Esther noticed the smile that lingered on Durga’s lips, but then she looked towards Priya, the blogger she followed for book reviews. So did all the others seated across her.

‘I wanted to check everyone’s availability at this meet,’ Priya said to the nineteen women.

‘How many of us can meet on weekdays, show of hands please?’ Durga cut in.

 Most hands shot up.

‘And weekends?’

Fewer.

‘Let’s meet on weekdays then,’ concluded Durga.

‘Great then, let’s decide on days and some rules, right Priya?’ butted in Menaka, wanting to pass the baton back to Priya.

‘I feel a book per month to begin with,’ started Priya.

‘I am part of another book club and we take one book per month,’ said Arpita who was sitting between Esther and Durga. A discussion broke out on this along the length of the table. Finally, the power balance included all the ladies. They had a democratic say as well, after all.

‘Ladies, let’s talk one at a time,’ interrupted Priya. Would the baton pass back to Durga, or would it now be shared among the nineteen women? Priya wondered.

‘Yes,’ restated Durga. ‘I have been in a book club for two years now and we take turns alphabetically. To begin, any lady whose name begins with A can make the first pick, we then take a month to read it and meet the following month to discuss it.’

‘Let’s not meet if we’re very few,’ tried Priya.

Thus proceeding, by the end of that hour, rules were agreed upon. By the next hour, as the ladies returned to their homes, Priya had created a WhatsApp group, Booklovers’ Paradise, adding the women who had shown interest. She named it after her blog, merely needing to tweak the apostrophe to accommodate the plural after all.

But wasn’t the name a bit tawdry Durga argued that evening on the WhatsApp group.

‘It does sound like the name of a motel,’ messaged Arpita who was to pick the book of the month.

‘It has a branding, my brand,’ texted Priya. Who knew this would be so difficult? she wondered. Her idea, her effort, and here were enough to steal it. ‘And since I called the meet, it should be associated with my brand, my blog. After all, the participants are followers of my blog.’

‘Well, we have the potential to attract more people with a better name,’ debated Durga.

Arpita agreed. The rest of the women were typing…, not typing, then typing… and then silent.

After the ensuing altercation between online participants Durga… and Priya…, Menaka, whose manuscript lay with a publisher, sent the final judgment. ‘Ladies, it is Priya’s initiative and I see nothing wrong with the title she has picked. It has to be associated with her blog. We are all followers of her blog and assembled today because of the influence she holds.’

Twelve thumbs went up in the WhatsApp group to seal the deal.

But some weren’t quite sure.  Esther wondered whether Durga would leave the group in fury. Arpita wondered whether she had been sufficiently neutral, Nusrat and Sakshi were baking and sprinkling in their respective homes when they decided to exit the group.

But Durga had no doubts.  She would stay. After all, she read and taught English at the Voice and Accent centers of a call center in Gurugram, and of course she was a writer and that most definitely made her a valuable member of the group.

The following month, the group met a second time. That August, Priya, Menaka, Durga, Arpita and Esther met at a coffee shop inside a mall to discuss Arpita’s pick, A Fine Balance, by Rohinton Mistry.

The following month, Durga, after treading on A Fine Balance decided to host a Monsoon farewell at her place. The book that month was her pick, Malice by Keigo Higashino. ‘Murder and mystery over schnitzel and wine @my place’ she messaged on the WhatsApp group one evening.

‘Awesomeness.’

‘Terrace garden fun.’

Dancing emojis flooded the message board on WhatsApp.

Priya, Menaka, Arpita, Esther, and Karthika, a new friend whom Durga had added to the group, confirmed their attendance.

‘Who has read the book?’ Durga messaged a week before the meet-up.

‘Read it earlier, revising now. Thumbs up,’ messaged Priya; Menaka followed suit. Well, Durga was a writer, now wasn’t she?

‘I’m not missing the wine sweetie,’ said Arpita.

‘Anything for the blossoms on Durga’s terrace,’ said Karthika, remembering the fragrance of the frangipanis, the jasmines, and the chrysanthemums that flowered in pottery that she had made herself. Durga had helped Karthika in making her shop The Potter’s Terrace a reality.

‘How sweet K,’ replied Durga.

Esther sent a thumbs-up too.

‘Looking forward to hosting you ladies,’ Durga continued.

The next day Durga took a headcount, ‘so we have Priya, Menaka, Arpita and Karthika. Ladies, we’re eighteen in the group, and only five of us are reading the book? Please do try to make it.’

‘Esther had agreed too,’ butted in Arpita.

‘I’ll bake a Bundt cake for Malice,’ messaged Arpita early the next morn.

‘I’ll toss an orange and apple salad,’ promised Menaka.

‘I’ll bring along brownies with hot chocolate sauce,’ pitched in Esther.

‘How sweet. Thank you, darlings,’ replied Durga before recalling a final count of five again, ‘Priya, Menaka, Arpita, Karthika and Durga.’

Two days later, Esther was unable to attend that meet-up due to unforeseen circumstances. Nevertheless, the ladies discussed Malice and by evening the WhatsApp group was inundated with pictures of the meet-up. Hugs and kisses overflowed in the pictures, and Priya, Menaka, Arpita, Karthika and Durga could be seen passionately discussing the book, the recipes and the flora; conversations overflowing onto the WhatsApp group. The pictures were zoomed in on baskets of delicacies as rainbow-hued carpets of blooms and blossoms skirted the backgrounds. Esther, meanwhile, spent the evening peering into her TV gathering details of the lynching crimes that had risen in the country.

She managed to join the next month’s discussion, though. They were to discuss her book choice that month, Things Fall Apart by Chinua Achebe. ‘Let’s meet at the Piano Man café,’ she had messaged. ‘It’s within a golf course and is an outdoor café; breezy enough for a balmy October morning in Gurugram.’

‘Hats and halos ladies?’ suggested Durga fanning emojis of excitement into the chat window.

‘Wow! Such creative ideas Durga!’ exclaimed Karthika. The other women agreed. She adds excitement to the group, most clearly, thought Priya. She’s a writer after all. Sitting at her writing table, Menaka sighed. She rued over her lack of spontaneity and sparkle.

With that, on the designated morning in October, as the polluting PM 2.5 began descending down on the city’s air, the rustic café began filling up with hats of every kind. Menaka walked past the vine bower at the entrance to the café wearing a fuchsia pink fascinator. Arpita had on a straw hat with a floral silk scarf tied around it in a bow. Priya’s head fit snug in a soft pink golfer cap. Karthika had covered her head in an aquamarine organza scarf with Cartier sunglasses perched up to hold it in place, and Durga strode in with a straw hat and a printed cream stole tied around in a bonnet to honour the life and times of the book. Esther wore a headband of sunflowers over her silky mocha highlights like a halo. Oh! and the book discussion? It hummed along at a merry pitch.

‘That’s what a good book does, encourages empathy for people different from us. Nice pick Esther,’ endorsed Durga from the head of the cane table in that garden café.

‘I thought it ambles away, though,’ voiced Arpita.

Menaka and Priya liked the book. However, they preferred thrillers. ‘You know, with plot upheavals, suspense and drama. Movement, basically,’ said Menaka with a dance of her chubby hand, the diamond on her ring finger catching sunlight.

‘Literary fiction tends to put me to sleep,’ concluded Priya taking a bite off her bruschetta. Durga interrupted by plunging a hand into Priya’s platter. ‘Let me have a bite, sweets, that bruschetta looks tempting.’

‘Sure, would you like to try my Oreo shake as well, goes very well with the bruschetta,’ Priya offered.

‘Ooh lovely and your quill danglers, aren’t they something, girls?’ said Durga looking around and prodding the ladies.

Esther used the interlude to sip her coffee. How has she stuck on so long? Durga wondered. What does Esther mean anyway? These questions seemed to leave Durga a teeny-weeny nebby. Perhaps, she could catch up with the woman after the book discussion.

Esther was waiting for the valet to bring over her car when Durga spotted her in the distance, beyond the vine bower at the entrance of the café, beyond the creepers that creeped up and down the arch and grew into a hedge forming a waist-high wall around the cafe. Durga hugged Priya a quick little hug lest she miss Esther.

‘Hey, nice book choice there,’ she called out to Esther, putting on her Ray Ban shades as she walked up.

‘I’m glad you liked the book,’ replied Esther.

Durga smiled. ‘So where do you stay?’

‘Phase V.’

‘Ah! What a coincidence. Can I ride along? My driver called in sick this morning and I had to call in an Uber to get here.’

Durga thought she sensed an eagerness in Esther. She read this in the slight curl of Esther’s lips at the corners, a tad bit up, was it? Much like those sad-little girls in her class, wanting to be friends, back in her teenage days. She had been the Hema Malini of her school. Things hadn’t changed much over the years.

‘Where are you from, Esther?’ she asked, sliding into the beige Honda City that had rolled in.

‘Delhi,’ replied Esther.

‘Umm, you don’t look like a Delhiite.’

‘My parents are from Nagercoil, but I was born here in Delhi.’

‘Ah.’

 Durga looked at Esther and wondered what it was she disliked about the woman’s silence. ‘Is that a rosary?’ she decided to ask pointing to the wooden beads dangling from the rear-view mirror.

‘Yes.’

‘Are you Catholic or Protestant?’

‘Catholic. A rosary is used in prayer to the Mother.’

‘Oh! The virgin,’ said Durga with a smirk, inviting it was too.

‘What about you?’

‘I was Durga Ghosh. I married Venkat, he’s an Iyengar. Now I’m Durga Iyengar, you know Tam Brahms.’

Esther knew, for Nagercoil was the southernmost tip of Tamil Nadu and Tam cats they were called. Rarely though eh.

It was a 10-minute ride and there wasn’t much left to say, so the ladies stayed quiet for the most part.

That evening, Karthika revealed her pick for the month on WhatsApp, The Palace of Illusions, by Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni. It had been one of Durga’s best reads of the year, and she could not help her fingers hold down the dancing girl emoji and shooting it across to the group. Priya could not hold onto her excitement either. She sent kisses with hearts so red they beat in imagined 3D. Esther sent up a thumb while Menaka sent a mug of beer, and Arpita clinked it with champagne flutes.

The women made a decision to dress up in sarees this time around, and Menaka decided to invite a friend who had loved the book too. Meera was an ardent fan of mythology and Krishna, much like her namesake. Perhaps, a love that grew over years of listening to her grandmother’s tales of Meerabai, the ones her Dadi whispered at night into her ears as she stroked Meera’s hair, while she lay in the nook of her Dadi’s arms drifting into sweet sleep.

As a new genre, literary mythology fascinated Meera. It offered new and diverse perspectives to universal truths. She had devoured Devdutt Pattnaik, Kavita Kane books, and Chitra Bannerjee Divakaruni flagged the summit of her hunger.

That beautiful November morn, Meera dressed up for the book discussion, as she always did, in the best of her sarees and little jhumkies and a grey coiffure of unblemished strands. At the café under the Metro station, the ladies gathered. Meera was elegance personified in her cotton jute, ochre and orange saree. The discussion continued, caffeine flowed, words and sighs enlivened the café. ‘Your saree is lovely,’ Durga complemented Meera after the discussion. ‘It’s refreshing to hear your thoughts on the Mahabharata, ain’t it girls?’ The ladies nodded. Menaka leaned on a corner of a table waiting to leave with Meera, a smile adorning her face and heart.

The Palace of Illusions had evoked sentiments of love, devotion and feminism, like no other book had thus far. Karna was loved as was the feisty Draupadi, emblematic of the fire that had arisen within each woman at the meet-up that morn. The pictures in the WhatsApp group were aflush with energy, zeal, ochre and orange. Words of praise for Draupadi and her feminist stand flooded the messenger window. Draupadi’s was the voice each woman wanted to represent, to fight for, to justify, to love. And because these were liberated women, they could not help but hail her possible sexual freedom as well. As it were wont to, the discussion meandered towards Sita in Ramayana and her contrary plight. The fate she succumbed to, the hypocrisy of society and the villainy of Ravan.

‘But Ravan was not a bad fellow, to put it lightly’ messaged Durga. ‘In fact, he was an extremely intelligent person. Alas, he desired another’s wife,’ she debated speaking in favour of intellect, for intellect had to be acknowledged now, did it not?

‘I read somewhere that his ten heads were not physical heads, they were a metaphor for his intelligence,’ messaged Arpita.

‘A man with the intelligence of ten heads put together, a Brahmin. Albeit, for his one misdeed. Imagine being called Ravan or Iravanan in Tamil,’ texted Durga with a squiggly faced emoji, didn’t it accurately reflect the face she could see in the mirror across from where she sat? Rubbing the kohl from her eyes, she sighed, ‘dark circles!’

‘But why would anyone name their child that?’ reasoned Priya, simultaneously reading through an email on her laptop, an advertisement request on her blog it was.

‘Apparently, the word Ravan means powerful and victorious,’ explained Menaka.

‘Oh! The fate of that child,’ assuaged Durga.

‘Mohammad, Jesus. Oh! The fate of those children too,’ pursued Durga.

The minutes that followed were silent; no one in the group was typing.

‘No, we are not averse to the name Jesus or its synonyms,’ Esther, who until now had been looking at the conversation intermittently, typed, deleted, typed again and eventually sent. ‘In fact, synonyms Emmanuel and Chris are popular names for our babies, a matter of pride rather,’ continued the stream of messages rather promptly from the, well, rather deceptively quiet girl, as can be seen.

‘Really?’ messaged Durga rolling her eyes - an emoji. Durga dunked a cotton ball into a pot filled with a homemade concoction of equal portions of aloe vera gel and rose water. She then swiped the cotton ball around her eyes, over the dark circles, over and over again. Sigh!

Venkat, whom Durga had loved over and over for years, walked into the room. His fingers flying over his mobile phone, typing out the minutes of a conference call he had been on with the East Coast. Venkat had caught the roll of Durga’s eye right on time and peeped into her phone.

 ‘Ravan might have ten-headed intelligence, but he did commit the one crime. Jesus did not commit any, so the scriptures say and so we believe. He was the Son of God,’ messaged Esther.

‘I did say that Ravan was intelligent too,’ Durga typed. Venkat approved. She sent it quickly for fear of losing control of the conversation due to any delay, as go fears in WhatsApp conversations.

‘We know Esther. He is considered saintly. The good person. The one with high clarity gloss shining through,’ messaged Arpita, who was trying to work a lump of dough into a croissant to bake but had unwillingly rolled it into a Celtic knot instead. Is that Christian, she wondered, stretching the dough into an Om. Later, she would place a warm and flaky croissant on an asymmetrical wooden platter, throw in a sprig of rosemary, sprinkle a trail of breadcrumbs and place a vial of vanilla essence by a corner for rustic charm. She would then take a picture and post it onto the Innovative Baking Group on Facebook, where she often garnered praise and appreciation for her baking skills, her USP, her identity.

Priya, meanwhile, typed and deleted and typed again and deleted again. She couldn’t be bothered with the communal discourse on a WhatsApp group, or should she? The thought did cross her mind. But wasn’t the discourse in the country ochre, orange… saffron anyway. Needn’t Priya only secure her WhatsApp group against libel? This was not libel.

‘As was Ravan, a wise man,’ Durga debated.

‘But he did commit a crime, whatever his qualities. In the Ramayan, he stands in place of a villain,’ debated Esther. ‘That would be the place of Satan in the Bible. Jesus would be comparable to Krishna from the Mahabharata if at all comparisons were possible,’ she messaged in frantic, consecutive lines, her fingers flying all over the keypad, tuck, tuck, tuck, tuck, tuck.

‘I’ve heard that comparison before,’ messaged Arpita along with an uplifted thumb.

‘In the south, as far as names and their interpretations go, a womanizer is often called Krishnan,’ continued Esther. ‘He’s a Krishnan,’ people will often say, though endearingly, in praise of a cousin or a neighbour who has girls flocking after him. And   yet, we know these are merely folklore and the place Krishna holds in people’s hearts cannot be trampled over.”

The group lay silent. No messages, no typing.

‘These converts,’ said Venkat as he walked over to the refrigerator leaving Durga fuming over the messages.

‘Uff! This girl Esther Whatever jumping on us—on me—like a wolf,’ Durga whispered to herself sauntering into the living room for her evening hour of TV.

In the kitchen, Venkat hung onto the door of the refrigerator looking for that wholesome thayir sadam that his Durga had learnt from his Mum to a perfect T. ‘I’ll just have an early dinner,’ he decided against the ayurvedic practice of avoiding curd at night, ‘plus I can’t take thayir sadam to lunch at my MNC anyway, right Durga?’ he yelled from the kitchen.

‘Durga’s salad jai, jai,’ he mimicked with a smile scooping out a spoonful of the thayir sadam as he plonked himself next to Durga on the couch. But Durga was distracted. She seemed to be staring at, wait, ‘a saas-bahu serial?’ asked Venkat picking up the remote from the table and switching over to the news. A journalist was screaming questions at the left-leaning intelligentsia on the issue of the disappearance of a Muslim student from a premier left-leaning university in the nation’s capital. Durga remained distracted, her mind still with her group. It was a first this questioning of her position by a woman so insignificant. Was she losing her touch, she wondered? ‘These Muslims should each disappear one-by one, I say,’ continued Venkat, staring at the TV. ‘Hinduism was always better than Islam or whatever. It will always be. Just wait and watch you non-Hindus, we’ll throw you all out, Muslims, Christians, all you dogs. Just you wait.’

‘Yes Venkat,’ muttered Durga.

The other members of Booklovers’ Paradise slept peacefully through that night and went quiet for the rest of the month, with the exception of Meera announcing the next book, Night by Elie Wiesel.

But on the morning of the book club meet-up Durga was suffering from a wobbly stomach. ‘Won’t be able to make it today. Sorry sweets,’ she messaged Priya with hugs and hearts, and Priya replied with many more.

Meanwhile, in her kitchen, Esther stood holding open the door of a wooden cabinet. Inside sat five loaves of plum cakes wrapped in cellophane sheets, tied up in red and green satin ribbons. The warm smell of the spices had begun to lift the family’s spirits into a celebration since the previous evening when they had been delivered by a home baker friend.  It had been on order for over a month for the book club meet-up. The dry fruits had needed to soak up rum for that long, according to the recipe. But that morning, she decided against bringing the plum cakes to the ladies. ‘Inducement to convert, they will say.’

At the café, no one dressed up in black or white or any other colour of mourning. But weren’t they discussing the horrific details of the holocaust? Well, neither did they dress up in the holiday colours of red and green. Although, through the discussion, eyes enlarged in shock, heads hung low in pity and mouths were covered in dismay as each lady sighed and recollected the horrors in the book. Priya sighed and ended the discussion by reading a few lines from Elie Wiesel’s Nobel Prize acceptance speech for the book:

‘…the world did know and remained silent. And that is why I swore never to be silent whenever and wherever human beings endure suffering and humiliation. We must take sides. Neutrality helps the oppressor, never the victim. Silence encourages the tormentor, never the tormented. Sometimes we must interfere.’
                                -Elie Wiesel

‘True,’ whispered the women, their chins and hearts held in the nook of their palms coming together.

Meanwhile, at work, Durga read through a WhatsApp message that had come through in Venkat’s family group.

‘In 1378, India lost a piece of its land. It became the Islamic nation of Iran.

In 1947, India lost another piece. It became the Islamic nation of Pakistan.

In 1971, India lost another piece. It became the Islamic nation of Bangladesh.

Now, these converts are after Assam and Kerala. Wake up my Hindu brothers.’

Durga responded with an uplifted thumb and forwarded the message to the Ghosh family. There wasn’t a need to verify the facts of the message, they were sent from the Brahmin side of her family, after all. ‘Forwarding,’ she messaged. Venkat would notice. His Brahmin family would notice.

By evening, Menaka messaged the next month’s book choice, Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone. Though fantasy was not to everyone’s fancy, the ladies decided to rejoice in the choice after the despairing Night.

The following month, Priya chose Serious Men by Manu Joseph and soon the book club entered its second year. New members joined the group, some old members marked sporadic attendance and publishers and writers offered to launch books at its various meet-ups. Priya’s reviews were now acknowledged by most writers, Indians and internationals. Durga’s attendance and relationship with Esther had also found a steady distance to traverse along.

But life for Durga was wrought with troubles, and a few days after the group celebrated its second anniversary, she began pouring out her inner turmoil onto a mothers’ forum wherein she unveiled her personal journal of sorts, Fighting Autism: a mother’s journey.

It must be said that many-a-troubled heart found resonance and solace in Durga’s words and the women of Booklovers’ Paradise held her up through her troubled times, sharing the posts and encouraging her with positivity when she needed it the most.  

‘Today’s link…’ Durga would often send. The women would comment and reinforce their faith in her. In one such post, Durga spoke about her exasperation with her daughter’s saree for her 12th grade farewell party. Jaya was finishing school that year and the border of the neel blue saree that Durga had picked was 3 inches thick while all along Jaya had wanted one with a 2.5-inch-thick border. Durga had walked into every shop in Gurugram in her search for the ideal saree. Alas, each variation had a different design, a different shade of blue, or the border of a different thickness. Writing her struggle down in a blog post had helped, though, if some souls could not lead her to the required saree, they could talk about her helplessness and perhaps help another helpless soul by way of shared dead ends. When the women in Booklovers’ Paradise commented, Durga had felt relieved and understood. She was thankful that Priya had not deleted her post, even though Priya was strict against links to third party blogs, forwarded jokes and Good Morning messages on the group. And as Durga sent the blog post to the group, she also decided to post vital details she had received about a Booker Prize winning author whose second book critical of the situation in Kashmir had hit the stands after a gap of twenty years.

‘The famous far-leftist, pro-Maoist, pro-Naxalite, pro-Kashmiri terrorist intellectual Arundhati Roy is Arundhati Suzanna Roy. She is said to be funded by foreign groups to unsettle focused developmental efforts and firm actions by the government. Arundhati Suzanna Roy is a Christian who has retained her Hindu name to spread hatred about India and Hindus through her books,’ said the message.

Booklovers’ Paradise was silent. Esther, munching on an orange while scrolling through her WhatsApp messages, pondered whether to comment against the insinuation about Christians and risk be called unpatriotic, whether to rake up the issue of fake, contorted news (for Arundhati had never claimed to be a Hindu), or whether to debate the issue of having to be defensive in her motherland while the other women in the group were never put in a defendant’s box. Esther decided to ignore Durga’s message for peace and a daughter who was excited about a blue saree with a 2.5-inch-thick border. Instead, she read through the word of God that someone had sent in her family group, ‘bearing with one another, and forgiving each other; as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive. Colossians 3:13’

The following month the group was to read Meera’s book choice. She had picked Lanka’s Princess by Kavita Kane and to set the mood forwarded a riddle with the names of Hindu goddesses. Oh! The women had enjoyed the fun trivia. The following day, Durga forwarded a message detailing scientific evidence of the magical properties of the holy Cow’s urine.

It also seems that the discussion on Lanka’s Princess went well, which would perhaps be why Menaka picked 99 Thoughts on Ganesha by Devdutt Pattanaik as the following month’s book choice. Esther debated whether to continue with the book club. She knew trials formed the corner stone of a Christian life as affirmed by two messages on Corinthians 4:8-9 that someone had sent in her family group.

‘We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed.’

Esther forwarded the message to her group of best friends from school who had reunited on WhatsApp, for shouldn’t she give strength to her flock?

The following year, when Esther’s short story saw the Gurugram morning ray in a Literary Magazine, Booklovers’ Paradise, with Priya, Durga, Menaka, Arpita, Meera and many more, was abuzz with the link to the story. Encouragement flowed in for the hidden talent in the group. Durga, then, was forced to message the quiet, cunning Esther now, wasn’t she? ‘Congratulations! You’ve grown from the short stories you would post on your blog back in the days,’ the private message said, ‘you’re bigger than me now.’

Bio: It was while working on the corporate ladder that Donna Abraham Tijo’s first short story won a contest and was published in ‘Chicken Soup for the on a whimSoul, Indian College Students’ (Westland Ltd, 2011). She then went on to publish her first novella ‘Or Forever Hold Your Peace’ (AuthorsUpfront, 2014) . With learnings gathered over the following years, she contributed a short story ‘My Mama’s Girl’ to ‘Escape Velocity’ (Write&Beyond, 2018). These days she’s adding final truths to her second novel, The Pheeki Lives of Geetanjali and Maryann.






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Tony Spencer applied the first coat of wax to his prized possession, a 1973 Pontiac Grand Prix. Oh, sure, it had flaws, like a smashed door and a dragging muffler, but the interior was a beaut. It had bright-red bucket seats with a gleaming silver gear mount between...

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by

Linda Murray

The rain that had pelted the high mountain jungle all morning stopped abruptly, and the sun gradually dissolved the lingering clouds. Insects hummed again, birds burst forth in joyous song and flowers lifted their dripping heads, spreading their petals wide to receive the sun’s bright blessing. The People, ...

Read more: Brother Bastion

 

 

 

Standard Police Report

by

Frank Richards

Standard Police Report - Inventory of Possessions - Portbou, Catalonia, Republic of Spain

27 Sep. 1940

Location: Hotel De Francia


Noted contents of subject’s hotel room as follows:


- a large steamer trunk containing books in various foreign languages, for example, Les Fleurs du mal, ...

Read more: Standard Police Report

 

 

 

Starburst

by

Brigitte Whiting

We sat, you and I, alongside the lake, watching the sky spread above us in an immense starburst, the Milky Way threaded through its center, seeming to beckon us to follow it.

"A reverse inkblot," you said.

I thought, no, no, nothing as mundane as that, but all...

Read more: Starburst

 

 

 

There Are No More Pets in My House

by

Enza Vynn-Cara

 

There is death in my house.

“It's gone to a better place,” she says. "Now flush it down the toilet and wash your hands. Breakfast is ready."

Like that, she cans Juju, our goldfish. She did the same with Didi, Ma’s parrot, ...

Read more: There Are No More Pets in My House

 

 

 

Revenge of the Fishy

by

Leona Pence & Tom Whitehead

 

 

 

Tom Whitehead: (In the deep husky Marlboro movie guys voice) HEEEEEEEEEEEER FISHY, FISHY, FISHY!

It was an early Saturday morning. He thought it was just another day of fishing, then all of a sudden out of nowhere he...

Read more: Revenge of the Fishy

 

 

 

Temp-Tation

by

Leona Pence

 

 

David Porter watched his wife and two sons as they played on the monkey bars at the park. He smiled in contentment as peals of laughter rang out. Two short weeks ago, he’d been in danger of losing his family.

...

Read more: Temp-Tation

 

 

 

Free Range Souls

by

Enza Vynn-Cara

Samael and Malachi, two brothers working for different bosses, sit on the fence dangling their booted feet each on their side of the divide. One pair of boots is caked in white droppings; the other scrubbed clean. It’s like a dare. Trespassing? Not quite. ...

Read more: Free Range Souls

 

 

 

Einaudi

by

Luann Lewis



An elderly woman shuffled up the sidewalk and took a seat on the bench across the way from me. I watched her slow steps and noticed her feet stuck in matted slippers and her swollen discolored ankles. Breathing a sigh of relief, I felt grateful...

Read more: Einaudi

 

 

 

Campfire

by

Brigitte Whiting


We sat around a campfire in the backyard that evening, our parents and us four kids, aged four to fifteen. Dan, the oldest at nineteen, was in the Army serving somewhere that Mother didn't want to tell us. "You don't need to worry," she said. "I'll...

Read more: Campfire

 

 

 

Jack and the Beanstalk

by

Albert Orjuela

The global wealth distribution has been heavily off balance, the scales of capitalism have plunged so far into disproportion they will fall before they will be fair again.  Jack and his widowed mother have economically crammed a century of mourning into an egregious year but failed...

Read more: Jack and the Beanstalk

 

 

 

Lost and Found

by

Brigitte Whiting

Smelled: a gamey odor downstairs in the basement. Searched for its source but couldn’t find it.

Found: one dead mouse with reddish-brown legs and a white underbelly in the basement bathroom. A deer mouse. Picked it up with tongs, took it outdoors, and tossed...

Read more: Lost and Found

 

 

 

One Hundred Yards

by

McCord Chapman

 

 

A deep sigh came just as Jason was pulling off the highway onto Route 11. He was close and could feel his back tingling as if his whole spine had suddenly fallen asleep. This happened every time he headed into a small town, no...

Read more: One Hundred Yards

 

 

 

Yearning - F2k WINNER!

by

Noel



Trish pushed her hair to the side to show off her sparkling diamond earrings. “Alvin just got these for me. I didn’t even have to drop a hint.”

Heather leaned forward for a better look. “Oh Trish, they’re beautiful. And LuAnn, did I see you drive up in a new...

Read more: Yearning - F2k WINNER!

 

 

 

Flamenco

by

Cedar White

We’re late, of course. Won last-minute tickets to a concert at the Greek, the Gipsy Kings, but now parking is impossible. Ten years of driving in LA and the traffic makes me want to move to, I don’t know, Kansas. Then my date points to a...

Read more: Flamenco

 

 

 

Marbles

by

Brigitte Whiting

 I had plans for that summer and everything changed because of the marbles. But I’m way ahead of myself.

My brothers, Jeff and Mick, hung around Farmer Tom’s place, feeding chickens and riding on the tractor with him, watching while he milked his yellow cow, Bess. I’d...

Read more: Marbles

 

 

 

Ruler of the House

by

Luann Lewis

We never should have bought this old house.  We sunk all our savings into it plus we took on a mortgage so huge that at this point I would have to pay out money just to get rid of the place.

 

I hate the sounds...

Read more: Ruler of the House

 

 

 

Abe, the Teenage Hypnotist from Planet Garfunkel

by

Albert Orjuela

You’re hearing a voice, but no one else hears a sound. It’s a deep distant whisper, soft, safe, and inviting: the words of which you can’t yet make out. The harder you listen, the softer it gets; softer and softer, deeper and deeper. The more you listen to it here, ...

Read more: Abe, the Teenage Hypnotist from Planet Garfunkel

 

 

 

A Night in Fontana

by

TJ Marshall

Brody Carlisle halted his horse on the crest of a shrub-covered hill, slapped his Stetson twice sending dust floating skyward, and after placing it back on his head, coaxed a swallow from his canteen.

To the west, the sun slid behind a scattering of tall pillar-like plateaus. Their...

Read more: A Night in Fontana

 

 

 

Full

by

Luann Lewis

Food. Globes of mashed potatoes glistening with a thin layer of gravy, plump slices of pie gushing with ruby red cherries–food wassensuous. It was sensuous before Abby even knew the meaning of the word.  Sparkling Christmas goodies enticed her as a child. She would sneak from her...

Read more: Full

 

 

 

The Decision

by

Brigitte Whiting

Stan stood on the sand, crumpled by how many people and birds running and sliding into it today. Now, it was getting dark, the last of the purple, streaky clouds turning black against a pale, gray sky.

Go or stay, just two choices.

He reached down...

Read more: The Decision

 

 

 

Swiftwater

by

Cedar White

10

Amos stood on a thick, muscular knoll on the shoulder of a dark river. He shivered, soaking wet from his silver hair to his leather shoes, and stared, disoriented, at the pines across the river. They seemed to stand with their backs to him. Amos felt...

Read more: Swiftwater

 

 

 

Minerva Shield

by

Frank Richards

In July the monsoon rains returned and with them came the little green frogs. Price Aurigena had first seen them in the summer of 1969 when he’d arrived in Korea and now, a year later, they were once again everywhere. Frogs sprang from the ground like exploding popcorn...

Read more: Minerva Shield

 

 

 

Seinfeld Moment

by

Frank Richards

I have studied martial arts all my life: Karate, Judo, Kenpo Tae Kwon Do, Aikido, and Hsing-I, but as I've gotten older, I pretty much stick to Tai Chi. I used to study Tai Chi at a park in Washington, D.C. called Glen Echo Park. It's an old...

Read more: Seinfeld Moment

 

 

 

Wedding Portrait – Life Portrait

by

Glennis Hobbs

July 20, 1942


Escorted by her eldest brother Neil, Annabell walks across the front lawn to meet Bill. her groom. She is dressed in a long gown of pink net overlying pink point d’esprit. A bandeau of artificial roses secures her pink net veil. She also...

Read more: Wedding Portrait – Life Portrait

 

 

 

A River of Words

by

Penny Devlin

Go to work every day. Do your job. Do it well. Always learning, getting better every day. Soaking in the letters that become words, that lead to success.

Meetings, instructions, to-do lists, directions — the words start to drown like a river of brown muddy water rushing through...

Read more: A River of Words

 

 

 

Canada, Marty, and The Exorcist

by

Jen Lowry

On our homeschool adventure today, we dreamed aloud of the places we would travel to if we could. My kids and I agree: Ireland and Scotland are our top two places to visit. We played music from Spotify and sang aloud to the merry tunes of the Irish.

...

Read more: Canada, Marty, and The Exorcist

 

 

 

Monarch Butterflies

by

Brigitte Whiting

I had no idea what milkweed looked like because I'd never seen it, but I'd always wanted it to grow in my yard so I could see the monarch butterflies.


For the longest time, I've hoped the patch of wonderfully fragrant plants with pale purple flowers growing...

Read more: Monarch Butterflies

 

 

 

A Monarch Chrysalis

by

Brigitte Whiting

The monarch caterpillar couldn't decide where to turn itself into a chrysalis. He wandered across my front stoop so many times I was afraid I'd step on it so I stopped using the front door. One time, he'd be crawling up a post of the front railing. Another...

Read more: A Monarch Chrysalis

 

 

 

Truth

by

Angela Hess

I am twisted, bent, and deformed on every side. Everyone trying to use me to serve their own purposes, to justify their own beliefs and actions. Their eyes constantly sliding away from my pure, unaltered form, too brilliant and painful to behold without their chosen filters to dim...

Read more: Truth

 

 

 

The Goldfinch

by

Brigitte Whiting

On a Monday afternoon, I carried a bucket of water outdoors to refill the birdbath. A male goldfinch jumped down from the bath’s rim, and hopped away as quickly as he could to creep beneath a nearby spruce branch. I thought how odd he was...

Read more: The Goldfinch

 

 

 

Of Heroes and Holiness

by

Angela Hess

What does a hero look like?

 

George Bailey is a hero.

 

George Bailey dreamed of traveling the world.

 

George Bailey gave up his dreams to care for his family and community.

 

Rudy left his family...

Read more: Of Heroes and Holiness

 

 

 

My Desk

by

Luann Lewis

Another rejection letter and I feel like a loser. Yeah, I know, I’m not trying to make a living doing this. I even claim to be “writing for myself.” Butwe all want validation and, let’s face it, us writers want readers. So here I sit, ...

Read more: My Desk

 

 

 

My Mobile Space

by

Janet Harvey

 

In June, I will expect to find my special place in Townsville, Queensland. Last year it was in Darwin, Northern Territory, and today my place is in Hobart, Tasmania.

 

 

We live in a truck, a 2004 Isuzu 350NPR turbo automatic...

Read more: My Mobile Space

 

 

 

A Red Squirrel's Narrative

by

Brigitte Whiting

This past summer and fall upturned me. The birdfeeder, usually so generous, abdicated her job, and I had to scrounge for food during the long wet season. My mother told me it was unusual to have such a rainy August and October. She would know. I was born...

Read more: A Red Squirrel's Narrative

 

 

 

Talk-Back, Dear Lia, on FnF

by

Joy Manné

This essay is part of a Talk-Back series – I owe that title to Karen. A Talk-Back is my response to a chapter in a WVU textbook, my communication with its author.

This Talk-Back is a response to the exercise in Lia Purpura’s chapter, ‘On Miniatures,’ (Flas...

Read more: Talk-Back, Dear Lia, on FnF

 

 

 

Reunion

by

Lina Sophia Rossi

“Why the F--- Do I want to see a F—ing alligator jump up to eat a F—ing chicken hanging on a clothesline?”

 

The last time I hung out with my Uncle Dan is when I dragged him to Gatorland to do something touristic. ...

Read more: Reunion

 

 

 

A Fear of Broken Things

by

Angela Hess

“Does he look at you?”

 

My cousin’s innocent question triggers a flashing red warning light in my brain. My baby doesn’t look at me. I assumed he was too young still, but my cousin’s baby is only four days older than mine, and they are...

Read more: A Fear of Broken Things

 

 

 

Wild Roses Growing in the Ditch

by

Louise E. Sawyer


It is a joy to hold a lovely scene, a delightful moment, in memory.
~Marjolein Bastin

Frank was four and I was five and getting ready to start school when Dad and Mom moved us into a new house on Glasgow Avenue—a three-bedroom home that wasn't quite finished—in...

Read more: Wild Roses Growing in the Ditch

 

 

 

Hazardous Happenings

by

Albert Orjuela

At some point, everything comes to an apex.  Status quo can only persist for so long before the natural balance of the universe calls for consumption, and then it all comes down to a choice.  That’s it, a lone decision that ultimately leads down a pathway to a higher level...

Read more: Hazardous Happenings

 

 

 

Dealing with Rejection

by

Carolann Malley


Sending your writing out into the world can be scary whether you write poetry, fiction, or nonfiction. But, at some point, if you are a serious writer, you will do it. Getting a rejection letter back can be more devastating than asking a girl out as a teenager and...

Read more: Dealing with Rejection

 

 

 

Backyard Neighbors

by

Brigitte Whiting


I took an hour to walk outdoors in my yard, first to clip dead honeysuckle branches, pluck dandelions, and then to fill the birdbaths and feeders. And to ponder what to write about one of my backyard neighbors, the gray squirrel, Sciurus Carolineses. Its name is derived from the...

Read more: Backyard Neighbors

 

 

 

Betrayal

by

Angela Hess


My four-year-old son has a friend over. I overhear my son’s friend tell my two-year-old daughter, “Gracie, you can’t come in here.” Then my son’s voice: “It’s okay, she can play with us. Here, Gracie,” he says, presumably handing her one of the toys they are playing with. My mama...

Read more: Betrayal

 

 

 

The Weight of Emotions

by

Angela Hess

  I can hear my parents’ raised voices upstairs. They are fighting again. I turn on the sink faucet, letting the sound of the running water drown out their voices. I thrust my hands in the nearly scalding hot water and methodically scrub each dish in the sink...

Read more: The Weight of Emotions

 

 

 

An Apology

by

Brigitte Whiting

   I'm sorry that I hadn't thought of how I would take care of a puppy. It had seemed like a good idea, accept the gift of a puppy from acquaintances. She had the coloring of a coyote and was named Brindle for those tawny markings. I'd...

Read more: An Apology

 

 

 

Baby Precious

by

Louise E. Sawyer

It was Christmas Day 1950 and my sixth birthday. Under the tree was an unusually long, large box with my name on it. I was excited to open it. I couldn’t wait. When I finally did, I was amazed to look upon the most gorgeous doll I’d...

Read more: Baby Precious

 

 

 

Downsizing

by

M Clare Paris

 
I think about death quite a bit. Not morbidly, nor do I worry about what happens when one dies. Although I enjoy a spiritual life, I am also philosophical about the end of my life. If there is something else, it will be darned interesting. If there isn’t, ...

Read more: Downsizing

 

 

 

Absent But Present

by

Louise E. Sawyer


My father, Thomas George Sawyer, was absent at my birth and absent the first seven months of my life.

It was Christmas Eve 1944 at the two-story white house on Beechwood Drive-my Grannie’s house in Victoria, the capital city of British Colombia on Vancouver Island. Grannie Price, my...

Read more: Absent But Present

 

 

 

Gathering: A Contemplative Essay

by

Brigitte Whiting

I'm always looking for ideas to use in writing: for that prompt at which I first gulp and then slowly retrieve some thread of an idea, for the poem I need for the Monday morning poetry group, for an essay that's due in two days.

I've heeded...

Read more: Gathering: A Contemplative Essay

 

 

 

Seasons in a Wild Turkey Hen's Life

by

Brigitte Whiting

Last spring, a wild turkey hen incubated her eggs for twenty-eight days. When they hatched, she scrambled to keep up with them. Poults to scientific literature. Babies to her. She didn't need to teach them to scratch for bugs—they came with that instinct. Nighttimes during their first four weeks, ...

Read more: Seasons in a Wild Turkey Hen's Life

 

 

 

Lesson in Subtext

by

Joy Manné and Karen Barr

Roles

Teacher – Karen Barr

Student – Joy Manné

Teacher

WELCOME TO WEEK 8 OF SUBTEXT.

There is no word count, but the challenge is to get all ten types of subtext in as few words as possible. Here they are:

Show don’t...

Read more: Lesson in Subtext

 

 

 

Teenage Escape Plan

by

Danielle Dayney

I woke to warm, gooey air smothering me even though the ceiling fan was spinning on high. Dangling lightpulls smacked and banged the glass globe with each rotation of the blades. The base of the fan swayed and groaned, ready to jump from its screws in the drywall any second.

...

Read more: Teenage Escape Plan

 

 

 

Misinformation

by

Glenda (Glennis) Walker-Hobbs

it is a well-believed misconception
the only true poetry
is that which rhymes

the would-be poet seizes upon
...

Read more: Misinformation

 

 

 

Invisible Presence

by

Gerardine Gail Baugh

He sat on the wooden bench directly outside the closed down Ace Hardware, across the street from...

Read more: Invisible Presence

 

 

 

Summer Rain

by

Heather Lander

I’m wishing for the sound of rain upon the roof and down the glass
A rhythm from the...

Read more: Summer Rain

 

 

 

The Unborn

by

Sunbeams

Nature's Ballet........................
Seeds...... floating on a gentle breeze,
Some soared towards the blue sky, out of sight.
Some...

Read more: The Unborn

 

 

 

Death of My Dog

by

Sunbeams

Come lay with me,
the fire is beckoning.
Come feel its warmth and hear its sound.
Come lay...

Read more: Death of My Dog

 

 

 

Portrait of a Starving Cat

by

Glenda (Glennis) Walker-Hobbs

she disdains ordinary cat chow,
pesters humans for their food

she paws at the cookie tin,
flips the...

Read more: Portrait of a Starving Cat

 

 

 

I Remember

by

Glenda (Glennis) Walker-Hobbs

the bewilderment,
in the hollows of his eyes
shadows of the man
he used to be

I remember
...

Read more: I Remember

 

 

 

Inukshuk

by

Glenda (Glennis) Walker-Hobbs

what is this mysterious
stack of stones? a Shinto shrine?
a stone stick man designed by a child...

Read more: Inukshuk

 

 

 

I'm a Poet

by

Louise E. Sawyer

I’m a poet with a propensity
to write three morning pages,
observing my pen as it gallops
across...

Read more: I'm a Poet

 

 

 

It’s Not Easy Being Blue

by

Glenda (Glennis) Walker-Hobbs

my moods are ever changing
shades of blue
like my friends
the sea and sky

mornings after sleepless...

Read more: It’s Not Easy Being Blue

 

 

 

Animal Companions

by

Louise E. Sawyer

Neuron, my animal companion, bonded
to me, but when I brought Little Joy home,
Neuron became Little Joy’s...

Read more: Animal Companions

 

 

 

The Green Hay Pile

by

Louise E. Sawyer

mornings depend
upon

the green hay
pile

owned by cream cavy
Cocoa

beside black brother
Midnight

Photo was...

Read more: The Green Hay Pile

 

 

 

Thank You, My Tech Friend

by

Louise E. Sawyer




Thank you, my tech friend,
pretty with back dressed in rose gold
practical with front framed...

Read more: Thank You, My Tech Friend

 

 

 

What Is Not Said

by

Enza Vynn-Cara




Why do you speak and say nothing?
Say everything when you’re silent?
Am I to...

Read more: What Is Not Said

 

 

 

Ups and Downs

by

Enza Vynn-Cara




Up there
inside the tower
with the air filters on the roof
you watch the...

Read more: Ups and Downs

 

 

 

Telemarketers

by

Glenda (Glennis) Walker-Hobbs





those evil scourges of civilization
call morning, noon and night,
harass me every day
...

Read more: Telemarketers

 

 

 

Oceanography

by

Wynelda Ann Deaver





Ocean holds secrets close. Millions, trillion, gazillions of droplets mixed with millions, trillions and...

Read more: Oceanography

 

 

 

Mystery Man

by

Leona Pence



I once met a man from a far distant land, so handsome and charming...

Read more: Mystery Man

 

 

 

Minotaur

by

Joy Manné

 

Two children, girl and boy,

progeny of servants of King Minos,

...

Read more: Minotaur

 

 

 

Lullaby for a Lost Child

by

Glenda (Glennis) Walker-Hobbs




I

I feel you kick under my heart,
soon my special angel child,
I...

Read more: Lullaby for a Lost Child

 

 

 

Look Up

by

Gerardine Gail Baugh





Stand back and look up. Do you see it? Do you?
Alice's rabbit checking...

Read more: Look Up

 

 

 

I'll be a Poet

by

Glenda (Glennis) Walker-Hobbs





I’ll take my pen in hand

crystallize thoughts into ideas
paint magic with...

Read more: I'll be a Poet

 

 

 

Give Me The Wings Of An Angel

by

Leona Pence





Give me the wings of an angel
To lift me above worldly things
Give...

Read more: Give Me The Wings Of An Angel

 

 

 

Flashing Lights

by

Leona Pence




(My songwriting attempt)


I want to see all the lights upon a flashing...

Read more: Flashing Lights

 

 

 

Eidolon’s Wind Chimes

by

Gerardine Gail Baugh





I miss our disagreements, laughter and silent times.

Memories of listening to your...

Read more: Eidolon’s Wind Chimes

 

 

 

Don’t Piss Off (or on) a Yard Gnome

by

Leona Pence

Prose poem: This one was inspired by the poet’s dogs, Jax and Luna.


I cringed...

Read more: Don’t Piss Off (or on) a Yard Gnome

 

 

 

Do You Remember, AJ?

by

Glenda (Glennis) Walker-Hobbs





June 30, 1967, we met on Parliament Hill,
listened to the Centennial music gala,
...

Read more: Do You Remember, AJ?

 

 

 

Deacon Knox Young is Turning One!

by

Leona Pence



 

Everybody’s gonna have some fun.
Aunt Peggy, Uncle Kris, Sydney...

Read more: Deacon Knox Young is Turning One!

 

 

 

Daddy Dearest

by

Enza Vynn-Cara




Today, I saw you for the first time, without disguise, nestled in the corner where...

Read more: Daddy Dearest

 

 

 

Get Out the Penitentiary

by

Albert Orejuela

More Details...

 

 

 

Tulips or Three?

by

Albert Orjuela

More Details...

 

 

 

Rock and Roll

by

Albert Orjuela

More Details...

 

 

 

Garden of Hearts

by

Albert Orjuela

More Details...

 

 

 

Evil Eye-pad

by

Albert Orjuela

More Details...

 

 

 

Portrait of Solitude

by

Albert Orejuela

More Details...

 

 

 

Break Time

by

RJ Hembree

More Details...

 

 

 

Colors

by

Maggie Fieland

More Details...

 

 

 

Wild Horses with the Snow Covered Mountains

by

RJ Hembree

More Details...

 

 

 

Color Cubes

by

Maggie Fieland

More Details...

 

 

 

Rest

by

Albert Orjuela

More Details...

 

 

 

Camera Smile

by

RJ Hembree

More Details...

 

 

 

To Relax Wild Horses Before a Photo Shoot, I Find it Helpful to Tell a Couple of Jokes

by

RJ Hembree

More Details...

 

 

 

First Step

by

Karen Barr

More Details...

 

 

 

Orchid Alone

by

Albert Orjuela

More Details...

 

 

 

Veg 2

by

Maggie Fieland

More Details...

 

 

 

All Along the Watchtower

by

RJ Hembree

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Ham

by

Karen Barr

More Details...

 

 

 

Winter

by

Maggie Fieland

More Details...

 

 

 

Backlit Great White Egret

by

RJ Hembree

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White Lightning

by

Karen Barr

More Details...

 

 

 

Wild Horses

by

RJ Hembree

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Cow Gossip

by

Karen Barr

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Cooper's Town

by

Albert Orjuela

More Details...