Making More Room #d’Verse;TuesdayPoetics


Is a room a room if it has no door?

Do many windows make it less, or more?

We’ve rooms for cooking, dining, sleeping—

unkempt or well kept, rooms are meant for keeping

something in or something out—

What is your room all about?

Lift those windows, throw the doors wide

better yet, just get outside.

Venture beyond walls, an open expansion

get out, go on, explore your many mansions.


It’s still Tuesday Poetics over at the D’Verse Pub for poets, and Laura Bloomsbury still says, “For today’s poetry  prompt I’m asking us to conjure a room or rooms in the literal, functional, metaphorical, imaginary, and/or fantastical sense.”

This is my second take on the prompt, as I was really taken by the prompt. P.S., I am writing in my favorite room, the one the birds and other little critters so generously share with me.

Making Room #d’Verse;TuesdayPoetics

dverselogoIt’s Tuesday Poetics over at the D’Verse Pub for poets, and Laura Bloomsbury says, “For today’s poetry  prompt I’m asking us to conjure a room or rooms in the literal, functional, metaphorical, imaginary, and/or fantastical sense.”

That is a most intriguing prompt but as I have little room in my schedule right now, I am going to recycle a poem that I shared at not a pub, but a saloon. The following first aired at the Saddle Up Saloon’s recent open mic. 


Opening, D. Avery 

You’re the door
that opened me
the room revealed
by the open door
the room revealed in me

You’re the lamp that shines
the beam of light
illuminating treasures
that were locked within this room

You’re the room within the room
So am I
I am so many rooms
because my door is open.
Because you said, Step in.

The Hundred Candles #SixSentenceStories&CRLC

six sentence story copysquare-template46The Hundred Candles is inspired by the May 21 Carrot Ranch prompt, but it started out as a Six Sentence Story of 297 words. Though I hadn’t intended to, I went ahead and whittled that down to 99 words. This week’s SSS prompt word is “right” and both versions also include last week’s prompt word, “eternal”, as if that makes up for me missing out on the six sentence fun last week. Denise is the prompter for Six Sentence Story time and the link will be open Wednesday evening at GirlieOntheEdge. For the Carrot Ranch prompt to “write a story about a hundred candles”, respond by May 26, 2020. Use the comment section to share, read, and be social. You may leave a link, pingback, or story in the comments. If you want to be published in the weekly collection, please use the form.


(Six Sentences, 297 words)

All the old stories — Since time began, the stories always started— were as much about all the Sovereigns upholding their duties and making ceremony over the keeping of these little eternal flames as they were about The Hundred Candles themselves.

At one time anyone with even a modest education could recite what each candle represented and even now most people at least recalled that they had to do with ancient ways, ancient heroes, and longstanding mores and morals.

Nobody really believed anymore that the tradition of the Sovereign keeping The Hundred Candles burning was anything more than just that, tradition; nobody actually believed that if the Sovereign failed to maintain this tradition ill fate would befall the people; nor did they believe a Sovereign would ever not keep this custom.

When the people put into power a Sovereign that was not like the others they weren’t bothered that his pride was not in their traditions but in himself; he was different and they felt a thirst for change, felt emboldened by his pride; some even cheered when he said, “The Hundred Candles are just any old candles, ordinary candles that burn out and get replaced, so the right thing to do is to not waste one more candle or one more minute on this ridiculous pastime.”

One by one The Hundred Candles sputtered out, and even though the sun still rose and set, and the birds and flowers still brightened the land, there was a darkness felt as an invisible enemy silently snuffed the lives of the people, one here, one there, more and more, adding up to hundreds of hundreds dead.

There are few left to recount the circumstances of that time, but the stories always begin, When time stopped and the world forever changed-


(99 words)

Since time began, the stories always started— the old stories about the keeping of these little eternal flames, The Hundred Candles. Though the details and specifics were largely forgotten, most people still recalled that the candles had to do with ancient ways and longstanding mores.

Nobody actually believed anymore that if the Sovereign failed to keep The Hundred Candles burning ill fate would befall the people; neither did they believe a Sovereign would ever not keep this custom.

The few left to recount the circumstances of that time begin their stories, When time stopped and the world forever changed-

All About You!

This post is in response to an invitation by Kid and Pal over at the Saddle Up Saloon. This week they are trying to define what they are all about over there. They have invited other bloggers to also think about what their own blog is all about. Do you have an updated “About Me” page? Do you have a mission or vision statement?

As an exercise I answered their call and wrote about my blog in 99 words, then focused it more in 59 words, and finally distilled a 9-word tagline from those efforts. This was a bit of a challenge and was worthwhile as a means of reflection. 

Try it for yourself. You will benefit from the reflection and may end up revising or refining your blog’s info page. And if you leave your linked 9-word calling card in the comments at Carrot Ranch’s Saddle Up Saloon, you may make some new friends.

Anyway, here is my Blog Bluster:

ShiftnShake is where I put my literary art. It is both a display shelf and a workbench, a place where my work with words can be seen, in the state that it’s in. Shiftnshake is my shop. Here I play with words and give shape to stories and poems. I keep my shop uncluttered and comfortable, but leave my pieces of work out to be found by readers who might shape them further through their reading. I welcome you to look around, to converse. Come in, and if there is something that catches your reader’s ear, let me know. (99)

ShiftnShake is both display shelf and workbench for my literary art. It’s where I play with words and put the results out for view. Look around; there might be something on the bench that moves you to laughter or to tears. Pick my word sculptures up; shape them more through your reading and commenting. Sample the stories brewing here. (59)

ShiftnShake— my display shelf and workbench for literary art. (9)

Saddle Up Saloon


Earth In Mind; CRLC Challenge

Earth In Mind,   D. Avery

“Sofie! Marlie! There must be 100 candles on that cake!”

“There are Mommy! That’s how Sofie does it, for when she gets to be 100 years old. But we’ll only light nine of them today.”

Marlie held her Destiny doll up so she could see Sofie’s birthday cake shouldering its phalanxes of candles. “What do you think, Destiny?”

When the doll responded it was in the deep round voice of Madame Destiny, the prophetess. “Light all the candles.”

Liz’s eyes sought help from her husband and Sofie’s mother who walked in just as the decree was issued.

“Brilliant idea!”


“Bill! That’s absolutely dangerous!”

“Not on the patio.”

“Toni, are you sure you want this man homeschooling your daughter along with my wild child?”

“You should have seen the math your girls did today with those hundred candles. It’s all play to them. Guided play.”

“Guided play… sounds like a good way to learn, Bill. And, honestly, I’d like to learn what Madame Destiny has in mind. Let’s light a hundred candles!”

With each candle they lit the two girls wished another hundred birthdays for Mother Earth.

“10,00 more! She’ll be old, Mommy, but we’ll take care of her.”


square-template46The May 21, 2020, Carrot Ranch prompt: In 99 words (no more, no less), write a story about 100 candles. What do they light, and why? Think about contrast or symbolism. Are the candles large, small, or stars in the night? Go where the prompt leads!  

With a slight nod to last week’s ‘absolute danger’ prompt, this week I was led again by Marlie and her friend Sofie. With all five working at home now, the two families are QEFs (quarantined exclusive friends) so can safely celebrate Sofie’s birthday together as well as continuing the homeschooling arrangement. 

Saddle Up Saloon; Open Mic Poetry Time of the Sign

It’s Open Mic Night all week at the Saddle Up Saloon. Come by to share a poem.

Carrot Ranch Literary Community

Saddle Up Saloon

“What’s happening on stage this week, Kid?”

“Poetry. Open mike.”

“Shut the front door!”

“Yep, but it ain’t quite a slam. Fer one it ain’t competitive, an’ fer two—”

“No, Kid, shut the front door, or the back door. Somethin’s gotten inta the saloon, cain’t quite figger whut it is runnin’ about the place. Do ya see ‘em? Jeez, Kid, looks like little … cowboys… in chaps…”

“Pal, have you been samplin’ the wares? Yer eyes is playin’ tricks on ya, is all. Focus, we gotta git tready fer this poetry open mike. Like I was sayin’, with our set up it’s kinda hard ta see an’ hear the spoken word so— ”

“Spoke an’ words? Like spokes of a wheel?”

“Uh, sure Pal, an’ this here saloon’s the hub. So it’s spoken word at the saloon this week. ‘Cept folks gotta write it fer us. So a slim slam…

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It’s A ThreeFer; #WWP, #CRLC, #SSS

It has been a very busy week and I truly thought I might not manage to respond to my usual weekly prompts. The usual excuses– busy with work, generally distracted, wrestling with all the emotions one encounters whilst conducting one’s self  through a pandemic; finding writing to be a frivolous pastime one moment, a necessity the next, or at least, another distraction. It took three prompts to push my pen this week. Denise at GirlieOntheEdge put “gulf” out there last Wednesday for a Six Sentence Story; Charli at Carrot Ranch, on May 7,  prompted us to: “In 99 words (no more, no less), write a story to nourish. The characters can nourish or be nourished. What else can be nourished? A tree? A setting? Does the sunset nourish the soul? Go where the prompt leads!”  And yesterday Sammi Cox prompted us to write about “home” in 114 words for her Weekend Writing Prompt, #156. 

Marlie’s story continues. You might have seen the most recent episode HERE. The first two flashes presented are teased out of a longer combined story to make the word counts while focusing on the respective prompts. The Six Sentence Story at the end continues and concludes the scene(s) with Tommy. 


wk-156-home.jpg            “Tommy, don’t climb the fence! You still have to stay at your house.”

“Says you. My daddy and me been all over the place.”

“You wore masks?”

“Daddy says only muzzims and wimps wear masks. We went shopping for our big party this afternoon. Come over, Marlie.”


“Why not? Your mommy?

Marlie fell silent at the sting of Tommy’s tone.

“Come on, Marlie. I’ve missed playing with you.”

“I’ve missed playing with you Tommy. But I’ll stay at home. Because of science, not my mommy.

“My daddy says scientists don’t know nothing.”

“Goodbye Tommy.”

Marlie stumbled past the dirt pile, the tree fort, went inside to use a tissue and wash her hands.

### ###

square-template40.png“Tommy, don’t climb the fence! You still have to stay at your house.”

“Nu-uh. My daddy and me been shopping for our party this afternoon.”

“I had a party with my mom and dad too.”

“No, we’re having a real party, with daddy’s friends. There’ll be tons of good food— kool-aid, cheese puffs.”

“Yuck! That’s not good food! It’s not nourishing.”

“Who says, your mommy?


“Scientists don’t know nothing. You coming over? I’ve missed playing with you.”

“Goodbye Tommy.”

Marlie stumbled past the dirt pile, the tree fort, went inside to use a tissue and wash her hands.

### ###

six sentence story copy            Liz suspected it had to do with the widening gulf between their family and Tommy’s, but so far hadn’t guessed correctly at the exact cause of Marlie’s grief. Through Marlie’s hiccupping sobs she was able to determine that she had seen Tommy at the fence. She missed being able to come and go, and play with Tommy at the dirt pile and the tree fort, but it wasn’t that; and it wasn’t because Marlie knew she wasn’t able to go to the large gathering Tommy’s family was having; Tommy had said mean words, and Marlie didn’t think she could ever be Tommy’s friend again, but it wasn’t that either.

“Then what is it, Marlie, why are you so upset?” Liz asked, brushing tear dampened bangs away from the girl’s face.

“I’m worried about Tommy, and even all his daddy’s friends; don’t they know they could die?”

Liz quickly tucked her daughter’s sobbing face under her chin to hide from Marlie her own tears, held her tight while she waited to catch her own breath enough to tell Marlie that it would be okay, that everything would be all right.

### ###

Silly’Uns #d’Verse Quadrille Monday


The D’Verse publican known as Lillian

Pulls prompts, her favorite— quadrillian!

No whines wanted here

Just full glasses of cheer

Forty-four word poems— and silly ones!


(Shouldn’t have chosen limericks

As the first is already twenty-six

words; I need more

to make forty-four—



It is Quadrille Monday at the D’Verse Pub for poets, and once again Lillian hosts, and beseeches us to ‘lighten up a bit’, and how better than with quadrille, that fun form of 44 words. “The word for today’s Quadrille is “silly”… can use any form of the word. You can use it as an adjective, a noun, a verb….anyway you’d like. Have some fun with the word! I’m hoping we can all smile today, at least while we think about what to do with this word. And you know, the wonderful thing about a virtual pub for poets? Hugs are encouraged here….as are happy drinks (alcoholic and non-alcoholic) with little umbrellas in them! Our bar stools are close together so step right up…..let’s be a bit silly together!”  Go by the Pub to leave your 44 word poem or to read others’. If  you’re barhopping, you might stop by another virtual watering hole, the Saddle Up Saloon (It’s not quite karaoke night there, all week long). The Saloon is an establishment that shares Lillian’s well articulated sentiment and intent to lighten up and be silly. Thank you Lillian, for serving such a fine fun prompt at D’Verse.

Longings CRLC Challenge

square-template37A second post for the current Carrot Ranch 99 word challenge, which is to “write a story that features long boards. They can be used in any way you imagine, including a name for sporting equipment. How are they used and who is using them? Go where the prompt leads!”

I was led to write more of Marlie and her family’s story in three 99 word segments. These episodes resolve the situation created here when Marlie’s Destiny Doll foresaw a pregnancy. That story was continued here when Marlie saw herself getting a dog. The family’s present circumstances make this a good time to get a dog.



“Is there room on your longboard for me?”

“Sure Mommy.”

Mother and daughter paddled idly in the backyard while Marlie’s dad augered postholes. “So tell me about the fence.”

“It’s split rail ‘cause that’s the easiest, but then we have to put wire mesh on it so Daisy doesn’t get out. She’ll have to stay at home too. These planks will be for a vegetable garden. I’m going to grow carrots for me and Daisy.”

“Are you bored, Marlie?”

“I miss my friends… See those two posts by Tommy’s trail? Daddy’s making a gate there for Tommy. For after.”


Liz hopped off the longboard and splashed through the grass to stand with her husband when he finally lay the auger down.

“Who would have ever augured all this, Bill?”

“What? That I’m putting up a fence before Tommy’s grumpy father?”

Grumpy? Pfft. No. You know. I used to get a little jealous of you and Marlie working from home all day. Guess what?”

“I know; you are desperate to get away from us and our messy projects.” He smeared her cheeks with his dirty thumbs before kissing her.

“Only for eight hours. I’m not such a horrid mother.”


“Liz, you are a wonderful mother. Exhibit A,” and he spun her so she could see Marlie, the longboard now a balance beam. She surprised him by turning back and sobbing into his chest.

“It was easier when I could go to work, Bill, but now I think about the miscarriage every day.”

“Daddy, why are you and Mommy crying?”

“Because Marlie, a while ago we thought we were going to have a baby. But we’re not.”

“I thought that too, that we’d have a baby.” Marlie looked at them shrewdly. “But we are still getting a dog, right?”

Longboard CRLC Challenge

Board Games

He skated into the park on the longest longboard any of us had ever seen; stood nonchalantly mid-deck, told us his name was TuKu.

He held everyone’s attention as his due, reveling in the anticipatory silence as we clutched our boards, shuffled in our Vans. Like a patient teacher, TuKu waited for Sammi to follow suit, but Sammi just kept rocking in place, tip to tail.

“Catch me, Not-So-Ku,” she said, and was instantly on the rail, landing after a double kickflip. We breathed, grinned. Nothing had changed.

“Come on,” we invited TuKu, and followed Sammi best we could.


square-template37.pngMeanwhile, back at the ranch… The April 30, 2020, Carrot Ranch prompt: In 99 words (no more, no less), write a story that features long boards. They can be used in any way you imagine, including a name for sporting equipment. How are they used and who is using them? Go where the prompt leads!

Here’s a second take on the prompt, just something weird that came to me. 


The old wooden skis had hung on the wall ever since I could remember. I’ll never forget how Granpa’s eyes twinkled like stars on a winter’s night as he proclaimed they just needed fresh klister, already warming in a crucible. Smiling through his snow-white beard, Granpa spread and scraped molten wax onto the bases of the skis, rubbed it smooth with the heels of his wizened hands. He told me he had waited his whole life to make these longboards sing.

I held the door. Then SWISH! Granpa was kicking up fresh powder, carving tracks along the Milky Way.