Sweaters, Shoes, and Books: More on Letting Go

Last Sunday, I wrote about cleaning out and clearing out and making way for all things new. Part of that process includes a giveaway: gifts from my shelves to yours.

Don’t get me wrong. This isn’t about, “hey, I just cleaned out my closet and wouldn’t you love a few of my pill-ridden, old sweaters….” And, no I won’t raffle off those doc martin wannabe shoes, the ones with monster heels and rounded toes that oozed “cool” ten years ago but now holler “red nose, balloon animals, and Lucky the Clown.” Those things, I will toss or burn, thank you.

What I am giving away is a book near and dear to my heart, On the Fly: Stories in Eight Minutes or Less.

This book represents my writing journey in many ways. Some of my early pieces appear on the pages and signify my willingness to put myself out there.

The book’s premise is based on writing prompts, which is a technique I depend on, often, to urge me forward into creating new pieces.

And, the book as a whole is the product of a collaborative effort between an amazing group of women writers. We called ourselves the Lit Star Collective.

We published this book not for profit, but in order to document our time together, to showcase the work we had done, and to spread the word about the kind of writing that can happen in a very short time — well-formed images and prose can emerge, like tiny treasures, from a flurry of words when you let go of inhibitions and dive into the work.

On the Fly is a book of flash fiction, flash narratives (a term coined by Lisa Rivero), and creative nonfiction. Each piece originated from a prompt (given by our instructor, Ariel Gore), was written in eight minutes of timed writing, and is presented in either its raw form or a peer-edited version. Sometimes the prompts were one word; sometimes they were a phrase. Always, they inspired great writing.

As a teaser, here’s an excerpt of a piece by Catherine Anderson, a devoted Mother and a prolific Writer. She blogs, at Mama C and the Boys, about raising multi racial families (by birth or adoption), single parenting, and the writing that evolves from those life experiences. In On the Fly, Catherine expands on the prompt, “Where I’m From.”


Where I’m from, is mapped out all over my nose. Bulbous, just like Pepe’s. Loved that man. As grandparents go, he mapped that out pretty well too; if I live to be old enough to see these boys have children of their own. The French-by way of Guadeloupe-sailor and storyteller with chocolates and exotic perfume samples hidden in his silk robe for me to find in his suitcase every other December when he came to visit. You have to forgive a few things, like how he espoused that black people were beneath him, and Jewish people were, too. It becomes tricky to understand how come his mistress of twenty-five years was half black and half Jewish. Look deeper inside my cells and you will see his wife, my Meme, curled up in a little ball in my abdomen abandoned over and over her entire life. First, by her mother who died of typhoid when she was three, then by her father who left her in a hotel room with a cousin he didn’t know so he could remarry. And then every day she waited for Pepe to come back to the marriage he had consummated on land….

…There’s more. Of this narrative and of other amazing short pieces.

On the Fly includes several other writing prompts, too, that will stir your muse. If you’re a writing prompt junkie, or if you’d like a peek into the works of sixteen women writers, leave a comment. On Sunday, May 1st, my pals at Random.org will choose three lucky winners who will each receive a copy.

To read more of Catherine’s work, you can visit her blog or follow her on Twitter.


14 responses to “Sweaters, Shoes, and Books: More on Letting Go

  1. What an awesome idea to publish work from your prompt group! Love it.

  2. I really enjoy writing prompts! I often meet at some coffee shop with a group of friends who all love writing, and we go through all kinds of random writing prompts and then laugh and critique and learn from each other’s writing techniques. I’m definitely entering this drawing.

  3. Thanks for “prompting” an idea for me, and for the chance to read the results of your writing group’s response to Ariel’s prompts. I’m anxious to read the rest of Catherine’s story.

  4. Christi, On the Fly looks terrific! I’m going to order a copy right now (please don’t put my name in for the drawing, because I already won Toxic Feedback–which I’ve used a lot, btw).

    Thanks for the mention. I don’t think I’ve ever coined a term before! πŸ˜€

  5. What a wonderful concept for a book. I’ve heard great things about Ariel Gore from writers in the Portland literary community, and I’m excited to check out her site. (I have a few pairs of Doc Martens in a box someplace, I have to admit… and perhaps I should go through a few of those boxes as part of my spring cleaning!)

    • Laura, I took two classes from Ariel, and I gained so much from them both. I walked away with a ton of new material to work with, mostly from the quick writing prompts. And, her class was a great venue for a writer like me, just getting my feet wet in the process. If you end up taking one of her courses, let me know. I’d love to hear how it goes for you!

      • Thanks for the information! I’d have to really think about who I know who knows her, or has taken classes from her, but I’ve definitely heard a lot of positive buzz about Ariel Gore. It’ll be fun to learn more about her work and teaching.

  6. I found your blog through your finalist post on the Write It Sideways Blogging Contest about “The Dilemma of the Mother Writer.” It was a beautiful piece, and it really touched home. Thank you for saying it is okay that we don’t have to give up one for the other.

  7. Mieke, Thanks so much for doing the double click over there and over here. I’m honored to hear that the piece spoke to you πŸ™‚

  8. Thanks, everyone, for stopping by and leaving a comment.
    The WINNERS are: Pam, Beth, and MZMackay.

    Congratulations! I hope the book prompts a whole boat load of writing πŸ™‚
    You should all three receive an email from me soon.

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