The Day Things Got Squirrelly
It was this time of year. I'd just returned from a walk and wanted to be outside for a few more minutes to enjoy the late-breaking, almost-setting sun at the end of of a moody, gray day.
Propping my elbow on the banister, I leaned to the right and faced the sun. Standing in a near meditative state, quiet and still, I took a deep breath.
Despite the cooler temperatures, the sun was warming and it was relaxing to breathe in the clearing air.
Until I felt something on my left leg.
It was down by my calf. There was a light touch to the movement, but there was definitely something clawing at my pant leg.
Alarm didn't register immediately because I thought it was the mini poodle across the way coming to visit ... reared up on his hind legs in greeting, clawing and pawing for attention the way he would.
But when the clawing gained traction, raced up my left side and caught my sleeve at the elbow, I knew it was not, could not, be Tippy. (The neighbor's dog wasn't named Tippy, but my grandmother had a miniature poodle named Tippy and even though I never met the dog, I imagined this dog was much like Tippy.)
As panic began to register, I knew. It was not Tippy running up the side of my body.
I let out a squeal, the squirrel squealed, and with a reflective ear-to-shoulder tuck and swift flick of the arm, I tossed it off.
Shivering against the chill of the crawl, my breath caught, and I watched the squirrel race up a tree.
Stopping and turning in defiance to face me, it delivered a triple-tail flick, a double bark, and another for good measure. Its heart pounding as fast as mine.
A full-body shiver took hold of me and in my own act of defiance, I barked back.
Now it's your turn.
If you've signed up for the Calendar of Days, each week you get a week's worth of writing prompts.
This week Squirrel Appreciation Month is the prompt that caught my attention.
Maybe you have a pasta story (Monday) that includes a family recipe, or something about that time your pet gecko, snake, or lizard got loose ( Friday).
Some of you, I know, participate in Inktober (Tuesday). What are you drawing? What have you learned from almost a month of drawing?
Share what you write .... because people love stories and you've got some good ones. One story leads to another and once you've got a few, well, you've got a Short Story Memoir!
And if you want, send your story to me. I'd love to read it.
A Memoir in Letters
It started with a simple request by mail. Helene Hanff of New York City writes to Marks & Co. in London requesting a book and Frank Doel writes back. It was the beginning of a correspondence that would last 20 years.
Though the letters were never written to be used as memoir, it's a fine example of how letter writing can, and often does, serve as memoir.
Through a shared love of books, the letters reveal quirky personalities, the hardship of war, and the transformative power of friendship. Hanff's humorous, brusque style and bookseller Frank Doel's polite manner combine to make this a thoroughly charming book ... and quick read.
If you're interested in writing letters but need some encouragement and guidance, check out A Snail Mail Guide to Cursive Writing Practice. I wrote the book after hearing so many people shy away from writing because they were worried about their handwriting, didn't know what to write about, and often, not even sure who to write to.
What if I told you to think about letter writing as a conversation. Imagine you're sitting across the kitchen table from the person you're writing to. What would you say? Write that.
That may sound too simple, but really, that's it.
Inside the book you'll find ideas for who to write to and what to write about, along with a primer on learning or improving your cursive handwriting. Because be it loopy and large or compact and not so large, your handwriting is what people so enjoy seeing. Really.
And if you 're still not convinced, request a real postcard welcome. I'll write to you and you'll see, getting mail feels good.
The Story Line blog is where we share short story memoirs, writing tips, and more.
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