Saturday, March 25, 2023

The State of the World

“Losses and damages are part of our future,” the IPCC chair declared, before asserting that “. . . effective and equitable climate action now can lead to a more sustainable, resilient and just world.” 
     Oh gentle dreamer! All is love and kindness at the principle level, but humanity can’t agree on bupkis when money’s involved. Still, naiveté is preferable to the BS of the deniers and the Koch brothers. Then there are the survivalists, planning to retreat to a Pacific island (really? An island?); or into a walled compound with private security (private contractors, with guns? And families outside?). That can’t end well.

Inspired by Sorry, not today. Image by Sepp Photography. See the IPCC’s Sixth Assessment Report here.

Tuesday, March 21, 2023

Sorry, not today.

What? My turn again? Crap, that was fast. I’m feeling very uninspired right now. Does it have to be exactly 100 words? And I have to find an image? Oh, that’s just too much. What with the state of the world right now, I feel a headache coming on. Does anybody read this stuff anyway? Can I call myself a writer, if I have no readers? And why do we want to archive every single moment of our lives anyway? Why do we take selfies? I feel this has taken a dark turn. Sorry, I have to lie down now.

Inspired by absolutely nothing. Selfie by Nancy.

Friday, March 17, 2023

Toddle’s Wake

Mom’s favourite Christmas was the one where all I’d wanted in the world was a turtle . . . then a second bargain for my birthday. The first—Tiny—was great fun to play with; but the second—Toddle—did little but loll around under his plastic palm. Still, he held on, until the week we were moving back to Canada and decided it’d be best to set them free in the pond off the highway. Poor Tiny, paddling in small anxious circles staring up at me; while Toddle, possessed with a strange new energy, straight off, leaving us far behind in his wake.

Inspired by Not Kool. Photo—Christmas 1968—by Barbara Schulze.

Monday, March 13, 2023

Not Kool

Mom bought me a turtle because she felt bad. Jonesing for change to buy cigarettes she soon discovered my cherished collection of 50-cent pieces. Money is money, and back then those coin-operated laundromat vending machines didn’t discriminate between two or four bits. When did the remorse set it? When the pull-grind-plop-slide of the dispenser coughed out her ill-gotten Rothmans? After her first drag? As soon as I returned from school? It was a little painted turtle from Woolco. One morning, it died; its dried-out carapace stuck to the ersatz rock in its tiny fake pond. Under the plastic palm tree.

Inspired by The Power of Instinct. Image by WillYouAddToTheStory on Etsy.

Tuesday, March 7, 2023

The Power of Instinct

She’d crossed thousands of miles of sea to return to the beach of her birth. She was sick and ailing, already dying as she left the water one last time to crawl ashore and nest, trying to give her brood—and her species—a chance at survival. She didn't make it. But the evidence on the beach, the crisscrossing tracks of flipper marks like tire treads, the deep pits in the sand, proved that others of her kind had laid their eggs and returned to the sea. She remained behind. Ashes to ashes: a scavenger had pecked out her eyes.

Photo by the author, taken in Bahia Conejos, Mexico. Inspired by Watching and the rest of our recent eyes + animals stories.

Saturday, March 4, 2023


Procrastinating in my upstairs home office, out the window, I see a rat. Then, in a flurry, the wide wings of a red-tailed hawk enter the frame. Diving low, the hawk throws its talons underneath our back gate, catching the rat in mid scurry. I see only the back of the bird, settling its wings. Then the bird turns, and I have a front row seat as it bends to tear flesh off with its hooked beak and swallow the bloody bits whole. My work forgotten, I have this sudden urge to start narrating in my best David Attenborough voice. 

Illustration of a red-tailed hawk by Marta Lynne Scythes. Inspired by the “eye” stories: A Touching Story and The Dog Ate my Retina.

Tuesday, February 28, 2023

A Touching Story

One small thing she’d taught him was that it’s okay to touch your eyeball. Be careful, but don’t be squeamish.
     His first girlfriend and her first contacts, constantly stopping along the street, a small mirror from her purse, and a moment to fish out the grit—a useful skill for when they broke up, and he took in a cat to comfort him, a long-haired thing that shared his bed and shed on his pillow. And all that time in front of his bathroom mirror, he thought of her, searching for whatever it was that was making his eyes water.

Inspired by The Dog Ate My Retina. Image by DALL·E.

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