Stories to Read Right Now

Turn the White Snow: A “White Winter Hymnal” Story

As this is still my most popular post (that even garnered some fanfiction!) and it’s holiday time again, I thought I’d reshare my short story interpretation of White Winter Hymnal. Enjoy 🙂

Amy L Sauder

Like many this year, I was introduced to the Pentatonix version of “White Winter Hymnal.” I fell in love with the song and wondered about the story behind it.

What had happened to Michael? Why was everyone wearing red scarves? After much googling around, I found out the original version was by Fleet Foxes, and was excited to know it hadn’t come from an already-existing story….I decided to create my own 🙂 Enjoy and Merry Christmas!

Turn the White Snow

I was following Michael to the schoolyard, sludging through the snow. Little Mary trailed behind when she fell on a patch of ice. It wasn’t too big of a spill, ‘cept her red scarf shuffled to the side and she gasped, froze. “Mary,” I teased, “keep careful or you’ll lose your head.” I knotted the scarf ‘round her neck one more time to calm her. She beamed up at me…

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Relationships, Stories to Read Right Now

Penguins Can’t Love Snowmen

He just showed up out of nowhere, all prim and proper with his top-hat and button-up. She tried to style with her tux, but the waddling and flops don’t quite work for that. He says it’s endearing. Still, her wings can’t straighten the mess of hair atop her head, and well no one ever offered her a hat like his. Of course, penguins can’t love snowmen.

Snowmen are around people and well, penguins can’t do people. The crowds, the laughter, the cheeriness when all penguins do is squawk. People make her shudder. So penguins stay far away – far away from people and cheer and snowmen. No, penguins can’t love snowmen.

Funny thing about penguins – they’re a flight risk. Just waiting for the snow to melt, to leave them out in the heat suffocating and sweltering and the people stand around and gawk at penguin bumbling. “Perform for us, penguin, do your silly way.”

Maybe being with a snowman, there’s always a little bit of winter around. And yet penguins can’t love snowmen.

His carefully crafted smile is worth measures of penguin attempts where beaks can’t turn upward. He props his hat on her head, and it doesn’t quite fit, but maybe that’s just how it should fit – off-kilter is the penguin way, right? Her waddles forward are okay when paired with a snowman that can roll with the punches. But penguins can’t love snowmen.

She asks if he’ll ever melt.

She asks if she can waddle slowly and he’ll take his time as if it’s a natural pace.

He says the snow will stick for “another 3000 weeks, at least.”

He says 3000 weeks is enough time for some waddling about.

The funny thing about snowmen is maybe they’re as real as penguins. And I’m not quite sure why penguins can’t just love snowmen.

 

 

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A Seussian Red Cross

For our most recent staff retreat, I was given the opportunity to write a poem, in the style of Dr. Seuss, about our team. What other workplace asks you to write such fun material? 🙂 Enjoy!

 

Seuss

A Seussian Red Cross

In a land of nonsense, quite grand they do say,

Where children and grownups quite ridiculously play –

The Who’s & the Horton’s, Sneetches & Zax,

Grinch & Lorax & Cat in the Hat –

 

There’s only one group to handle that clatter,

One crew enough to tackle the matter.

The Seussian Red Cross jump into the fray,

The Seussian Red Cross will save the day.

 

We’re led by our captain, the Betsy of Pratts,

While Amber and Bryan have Betsy’s back.

 

The Grinch stands no chance with Crystal around,

Sending cards & good cheer to all soldiers’ towns.

 

When Thing One and Thing Two muck up the house,

Alyssa’s team shows them what we’re about.

Providing for needs, while home disarrayed,

Working hard to ensure the family is safe.

 

When Green Eggs & Ham cause a terrible slump,

When “in a box with a fox” causes a bump,

When Sam-I-Am has no clue what to do,

Traci’s team brings calm to the hullabaloo.

 

And while the medics of Seussville need quite a lot,

The Blood Services team transports blood on the spot.

 

What a crew, what a team!

But don’t forget behind the scenes.

 

Eileen’s got a group drawing Who’s far and wide,

To help out the town, in blue and grey skies.

We can’t do this alone – not if we tried.

 

This they know, as do Lyn’s own patrol,

Who wrangles the money from high and from low.

 

Then there’s Brooke and Biz Ops,

Her behind-the-scenes team.

They help with buildings and fleet and little big things.

 

Oh the Places You’ll Go, thanks to Beth in HR,

Oh the Thinks You Can Think if you travel so far.

She gives money and vacation and holidays too,

Our own personal genie in this land of Seuss.

 

We can’t deny, it takes a full crew,

And Trish spreads the news with gusto renewed

By coffee and lattes and java and such.

You really just can’t compete with this bunch.

 

There’s so much about Seussville to love & to cherish,

But the Seussville Red Cross is greatest of greatest.

 

Red Cross

 

 

 

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Poem: Happy UnBirthday

With recent birthday celebrations, I thought I’d share a little poem I wrote awhile back for some friends’ birthdays I missed. I make belated birthday greetings all the rage 🙂 Let me add that this is even more brilliant when spoken aloud in a ridiculous voice!

Happy Unbirthday

Happy Unbirthday to You.
I speak to all of us here of course,
But specifically Amber & Kim who
I really wish a happy unbirthday as a matter of course.

You see, while all of us have an unbirthday today,
Amber & Kim celebrated their un-unbirthday not long ago.
So while we all can celebrate our unbirthday in some way,
Only Amber & Kim can celebrate it today so close –
To their un-unbirthday.

Here all us unbirthday fellows sit around,
In joyous occasion of our recent un-unbirthday comrades.
And really us unbirthday folk celebrate year-round,
Except for one un-unbirthday a year we celebrate scads.

And now, to the recent un-unbirthday two
Present and accounted for.
We almost got to enjoy the occasion with you,
But now we’ll just have to wait 364 – or 348 – unbirthdays more.

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My Creative Projects, Stories to Read Right Now

Shovels & Ash

Caila has travelled to and fro to scatter wishes. Village, city, forest and field, a wish in every place her feet would touch. She would wish on that first star every night, she would wish with a tap of her heels, and she would wish by meadows of clover and weeds. The wishes piled up, yet the fulfillments dwindled.

But then an idea quite greater than a wish presented itself – hope. Be it a whisper of fate, a cry of desperation, or another chasing after the wind, Caila added hope to her wishing, and her seeking altered. She sought, not for a far-off needle in a multiverse-spanning haystack, but for the tangible surrounding her. And hope gave her wings, literal wings that wishing had never granted. Who needs love and wealth and purpose when one has wings? It was a glorious sight, an angel on earth, and Caila adored herself and her long flowing wings that spanned the earth and sky alike.

Yet all was not perfection still. Large cities barred their gates, and villagers shook their heads at her audacity. Dreamer they called her now, the Dreamer who burdened the world. When she danced through the streets, the wings would knock over boxes, loads, even animals. She apologized in course, but is apology enough when the action continues?

So Caila took to the sky – she could with her wings – and as her body wearied of fighting gravity, she in time recalled a story. A boy with wings that flew to the sun. The ending, rather than a word of caution to her, was a word of possibility. So she flew up and up, until the sun set fire to her wings and she plummeted to the ground – the wings were mere ashes covering her body now. She had found freedom – no wings to hold her, so she danced through the streets once again.

The ashes tumbled from her sleeves, her hair, her shoulders, and began to cover the world following her travels. Caila, the ashen dreamer, roamed the earth, though neither Caila nor Dreamer was she named now. Ash, they called her, the whole world. Towns shooed her away with the brooms they swept up her ashes with.

Of course one day, Ash came upon a shovel – it was bound to happen after roaming the entire world. She scooped up a pile of dirt, reached out her hand and sifted the dirt through her fingers. Not unlike the ash, she thought. One scoop of dirt was not enough for the shovel nor Ash, and soon there was a gaping hole in the ground. The hole stretched through, all the way through, into the depths of the earth, out the other end, through the sky and stars and planets and galaxies, to a world that Ash wished she could know – a world full of shovels and wings and wishes.

Ash touched the ledge with her toes, then her heel, and finally she felt no ledge at all. Her body fell down the hole and found no end. Always plummeting, much like Alice, only never to stop. After a time unknown, she looked up the hole she’d made and saw that her body had not moved from its original leap. She reached up and climbed out of her determined hole, defeated. She plopped herself down next to the hole, and her mind roamed where her body no longer dared to go.

About the world she imagined, person after person scowling upon her dreaming. Her body may fit in a room, cabin, village, forest or sky, but her spirit was much too large to squeeze into the place. “Admit it,” Ash whispered. She was always at her essence the same person living the same life with simply a different way of striving – her name changed, yet always left the same dissatisfied her. Caila looked down at the hole that was no longer there – it had been filled over by her ashes as she sat.

She traced her fingers through the grey ashen circle that clashed with the surrounding brown dirt. Her fingers, then her hands, finally her arms joined with gentle strokes of her hair, until the whole story had been written in the ash, a tale of a dream. Haybales, sun, brooms, shovel, all of it lay before her a piece of art, while the breeze slowly tugged it out of legibility. For that moment though, no one could touch the truth that had been proclaimed here, none could deny the reality of a fairy’s tale.

Caila hinted a smile, then opened her mouth as agape as her jaw would allow, and screeched. All of the pain left, hidden in that screech, as it slowly transformed to a squeal, a joyous sound that scattered the ash – tumbling away in an instant, and all the ash, the wings, the desire, the dream – none of it mattered anymore. She laughed and, though it was no melodious laugh – yet neither was it a horrendous guffaw or braying – it was a song in its own right. She found something of far greater worth than her own name, her own tale. A song of a journey, a journey forward.

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FanFiction: His New Stargazer

Tomorrow my crazy-dedicated writer friend Megan Fatheree will have a new book out to purchase, called “The Half-Shape Child.” It’s a YA sci-fi romance adventure that’ll get you laughing and crying and all emotions in between. To promote this book, Megan is asking buddies to write fanfiction (because who doesn’t love a lil fangirling, amiright?) Here’s mine:
 
 

 His New Stargazer

 
“He’s just so down-to-earth.”
 
“Ha ha.” Fiona rolled her eyes while shoving the pasta in the oven.
 
“Seriously, it’s a sensible thing to love him. I’m not throwing my heart to just anyone.”
 
Fiona moved her hands to her hips as she nudged the oven shut. “You don’t think it’s suspicious? He’s not sensible, he’s secretive. Won’t say anything about his travels, won’t speak to anyone but you about his wife, and even then it’s all general.” Fiona counted with her fingers. “Her eyes were the color of honey. She loved stargazing. She freakin’ died of a tragic heart attack, but you can see the paranoia in his eyes.”
 
Tania grabbed her sister’s wrist. “Stop. Just give him a chance. He cares.” Tania peered through the window, but he wasn’t back from his walk yet. “I’m not going to pressure him to talk about the most painful moment of his life.”
 
“Uh huh.”
 
“And,” Tania added, “he may have been a galaxy-traveler, and she may have loved stargazing, but he’s totally fine with me being a homebody.”
 
Fiona gagged. “Yeah, yeah, you’re his escape, or whatever romantic nonsense.”
 
Tania looked through the window again. There he was, down the path, strolling so casually, looking into the sky, perhaps dreaming of the life he left for her. “He’s no romantic, just steady,” Tania said. “Dedicated to the simple life.”
 
He saw Tania through the window, smiled and waved. She beamed and held up her hand. “He’s here.” Fiona opened the door.
 
“Fiona. Tania.” Was there a lilt in his voice when he said her name? She couldn’t tell. Maybe it was the same. She touched his arm then went to check the pasta.
 
Fiona pursed her lips. “Tell me what you’re hiding.”
 
“Fiona!” Tania yelled.
 
“I know there’s something you won’t tell her; you’re no good for her if you can’t just be open and trustworthy.”
 
“How did you know I was hiding something?” He smiled, not even deterred.
 
“Please, I’m sorry,” Tania said, “don’t listen to her. Don’t let her ruin the evening.”
 
Fiona stood in front of Tania, and held up her hand. “No more secrets. She may be okay with it, but I’m not.”
“Fine.” He sighed. “The truth.”
 
Tania felt water filling her eyes. Why would Fiona ruin a pleasant night like this?
 
“The truth, Fiona,” he said, “is I love your sister. I am very trustworthy. I should never have a second chance at love, but with Tania I think I do. And if it’s alright with you, I’d like you to step out of the way so I can propose.”
 
Fiona shook her finger. “That’s not what I meant.” She took a seat at the table. “But I believe you. You’re a liar, but she can trust you.”
 
He stepped forward ‘til he was just inches from Tania. She smiled as a tear trickled down her cheek.
 
“And for the record,” Fiona interrupted, “I hate it.”
 
“Yeah, yeah.” Tania laughed and waved her hand in dismissal.
 
“Marry me?” he asked, holding out a simple bronze ring with intricate stars etched around.
 
“Absolutely,” Tania whispered. And as she admired the brown band on her finger, she realized for once she liked stargazing.
 


 
To figure out just what his secret is, plus travel the galaxies in this new world, look to buy “The Half-Shape Child” on Amazon or iBooks tomorrow!
 
Visit my blog next week for an exclusive interview with Megan Fatheree herself, where she gives us some tidbits about this exciting new novel of hers.
 


 
Fatheree_author_photo

Megan Fatheree was homeschooled from Pre-school through 12th grade. During this time, she was blessed to be able to focus her efforts toward the craft of writing. She is now in her early 20s and a full-time author. Some of her books include “Precious Jewel”, “Eminent Danger”, and “Rose-Colored Glasses”. She loves what she does and wouldn’t trade it for anything. She looks forward to all the great adventures that lay in store for her in the near future.
 

for the Writers, Stories to Read Right Now

A Poem Written

You pick up a pen and start writing.

          Perhaps a tale of faeries and nymphs,

          perhaps an epic of swashbuckling adventure,

          or perhaps a poem of rich imagery and theme.

Regardless, you’re writing now.

Refusing to be bested by a mere blank page,

          you begin to dream up the words.

          You imagine the depth of the prose,

          heartrending emotion unleashing

          salty tears and deep belly laughs.

          Or perhaps only solitary groans of anguish and writer’s block.

          Or really indifference and some sort of forced caring.

But you are an author,

          and your characters are so beloved that you cannot shut them in.

          They are like a fire in your bones that cannot be quenched

          until all know their exploits and defeats.

Or so you hope.

          Pray….

          Coax….

          ….

Relationships in your head trump the world,

          characters demanding your time to distraction.

          “Leave me to my solitude and buy a book!

          Or perhaps you wonder why you can’t hear them,

          elusive head-people taunting you with their absence,

          with tangible people or social media

          or needless research taking the brunt of the blame.

          The characters must be in there somewhere

          “Come out, come out, wherever you are.”

          for you are a true writer.

But the idea is beyond the reality,

          the slights imagined and exaggerated

          “because they’re supposed to be.”

          So you claim.

An imposter is all you are.

          An imposter posing as the authorial idea.

          Every true author is.

          Right?

          Posing as something they’re not until proven otherwise.

          “Or perhaps never proved at all.

But wouldn’t it irk you, dear writer,

to become an awkward, neurotic, obsessive

only to discover that the ideal

you believe in is the true imposter?