Archive of ‘writing workshop’ category

The Almost Kitten.

“Mommy, come sit next to me!” Tori calls out to me as I open the driver’s passenger side door and quickly dump my computer bag in.

“Sorry, honey, mommy’s got to drive the car.”

Moving at hyper speed, I slam one door, open another and turn the key in the ignition before I’m fully in my seat.

As the engine roars to life, I glance at the clock. 8:03. If I don’t take off my shoes when I drop her off at daycare, I might actually make my 8:15 meeting.

I’m about to slam into reverse when I see it. A little black and orange blur streaking out from underneath the car.

My hand pauses on the gear shift. Was that a cat?

Yes, it was. There, cowering in front of my cranberry-colored front door is a tiny little black and orange cat.

I don’t remember seeing that cat before.

Should I get out and make sure it’s okay?

It’s probably fine. Probably just a neighbor’s cat out for a morning stroll.

That cat looks scared though. She doesn’t look like she’s supposed to be outside.

But if I don’t get moving right now, I’m going to be late. Again.

“Stay here for a second, honey. Mommy needs to go check on something,” I call back to Tori as I get out of the car.

Walking slowly so as not to scare it, I clack up the sidewalk and crouch down, holding out my hand.

“Come here little kitty,” I croon.

Meowing plaintively, she sidles over, pouring her body into my outstretched hand.

My heart melts.

With two cats already inside, there’s no way I can bring her in. But the garage is heated. If I bring out some blankets and some food, she’ll be fine for the day.

Tonight we can post signs around the neighborhood. Somebody might be missing her.

And if nobody claims her, I think, looking down into those trusting green eyes, we could just keep her. There’s always room for one more…

Just then, our neighbor’s daughter stumbles out of the house.

“Hey Judy,” I call, “Did you guys get another cat?”

She looks at me blankly. “Wha-at?”

“A cat. Do you guys have a little black and orange cat?”

“We’ve got a black and brown and white one…”

“Well, I just found this one,” I say, scooping up the kitty and carrying her across the lawn. “Do you know who she belongs to?”

“That’s Sookie! She’s not supposed to be out here.”

A sweet and sour mixture of relief and regret floods my system as she takes her from my arms.

“Oh, okay, good. I’m glad I found her then.”

Getting back into the car, I think about stopping at Petsmart at lunch. Kermit’s out of treats, after all. It couldn’t hurt to just peek at the kittens while I’m there…

All I Want For Christmas is…

Dear Santa,

Remember me? You should. You saw my boobs last year, after all.

You’re welcome.

Now, in return, I have a couple of little favors to ask. Don’t worry. I don’t need any extravagant gifts. I’m not asking for small boxes filled with sparkly things or large suitcases filled with money. I just need…you.

The mere mention of your name is enough to stop a hard core tantrum in its tracks. The reminder, “Santa’s watching,” stops my naked daughter’s mad prancing and gets her to sit still long enough to get her pajamas on and zipped.

The threat, “do you want me to tell Santa you’re being naughty?” is pure magic. It works whether I want Tori to sit down and eat her dinner, cease waving her dirty diaper around or stop throwing things at the cat.

It even makes bedtime go smoother. And that? Is a miracle.

So here’s what I need. I need you to hop on down our chimney once a month, every month of the year. You don’t have to bring anything big. Heck, a little play dough would be enough to keep her happy.

It’s not the actual present that matters. It’s the idea of getting a present—or, more to the point, having said present being taken away.

And while you’re at it, can you sprinkle the world with some of that magic snow, or reindeer poop, or whatever it is you use  and make the adults around me believe in you again?

Just think how much better we would all behave if we all thought someone was watching us all the time. I mean, sure, there’s God, but that threat is so old no one pays attention to it anymore.

After all, the Christian Right has already convinced the rest of us we’re going to hell simply for daring to believe that everyone deserves to be able to go to the doctor and kiss in public if they want to.

So what we need is you. We need a little Christmas magic 365 days a year. Do you think you could handle that?

Don’t worry. We’ll all pitch in to get the reindeer extra treats. And maybe even a little Jack Daniels for you.

Thank you,

Amber (the flashing mommy)

P.S. If you do want to bring me a suitcase full of money, I would gladly accept it. Just saying.



The Language of Hair.

A woman’s hair can say many things. It can speak volumes about beauty and sex, power and desire. It can be playful or woebegone. Do its best to attract attention or help its owner blend into the woodwork.

My hair? Has been known to do all of these things.

For most of high school, it was fairly nondescript. Whether short or long, its dishwater blonde locks  clung to my down turned face and cowered around my stooped shoulders. But as I came into my own, it gained more personality, sporting golden highlights and glorious curls.

In college, it suffered from an identity crisis. At times it was dark and goth. At others, it mimicked the sparkling blondness of the cheerleading crowd. But when I was feeling most like myself? It was red. Glorious, unforgettable red.

It’s impossible to hide with red hair. No matter where you go, or how you’re dressed, you stand out a little bit.

Red hair says certain things about you. It hints that you’re a little bit hot-tempered. A woman not to be messed with. Someone with the soul of a firecracker, and in possession of a great deal of passion.

It forces you to stand straighter. Meet people’s eyes. Walk around with an attitude of, “yeah, that’s right, I’m right here, buddy. You got a problem with that?”

Most often, the answer is no.

So, if you see me, take note of my hair color. If it’s brown, blonde, or some variation thereof? You can be relatively sure that I’m feeling pretty mellow, and not in the mood to make waves.

But if it’s red? Regardless of whether it’s long and curled or short and sassy, you’d do best to watch your step. I am ready to take on the world—and I don’t take kindly to those who stand in my way.


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