Lyrics to Come Along: Pentatonix

One of my favorite Pentatonix songs. Watch the official video HERE.

Come Along


Come along catch a Heffalump
Sit with me on a muddy clump
We’ll sing a song of days gone by

Run along now don’t be glum
Get you gone now have some fun
Don’t be long for the end is nigh

Don’t let moments pass along and waste before your eyes
March with me and the borogoves
Come with me and the slithy toves
And never ask us why

Come come come come come along now
Run away from the hum-drum
We’ll go to a place that is safe from
Greed, anger and boredom

We’ll dance and sing till sundown
And feast with abandon
We’ll sleep when the morning comes
And we’ll rise by the sound of the bird songs

We’ll be here when the world slows down
And the sunbeams fade away
Keeping time by a pendulum as the fabric starts to fray

There’s no such thing as time to kill
No time to throw away

Come come come come come along now
Run away from the hum-drum
We’ll go to a place that is safe from
Greed, anger and boredom

We’ll dance and sing till sundown
And feast with abandon
We’ll sleep when the morning comes
‘Cause i’ll rise by the sound of the birdsongs

Come with me catch a rare type specimen
Cuddle up with a hesitant skeleton
We’ll break our fast with friends

Once we’re fed we shall disappear rapidly
Many moons to the west of here and happily
Our journey never ends

Shut your ears when sirens sing
Tie armbands to your feet
Listen up and you won’t go wrong again
Float along on a verse-less song and then
Get to where the two ends meet

Come come come come come along now
Run away from the hum-drum
We’ll go to a place that is safe from
Greed, anger and boredom

We’ll dance and sing till sundown
And feast with abandon
We’ll sleep when the morning comes
And we’ll rise by the sound of the birdsongs

Source: Musixmatch

Songwriters: Cosmo Sheldrake

Come Along lyrics © Much Much How How Limited

Photo by Jed Villejo on Unsplash
Blog Entries, poetry, Writing

Sonnet 1

Night Song–Sonnet 1

Previously published material.  Cannot be reproduced without written permission from the author.(c) copyright 1999 Karen Vertigan

As heaven puts on her evening gown of deepest blue, I think of you 
Anxious One that I have become when Helios rested from his charge
Do you hear my song slipping from me with all of my earthly feelings? 
It soars high as Aurora’s hem on sprouted wings of rhyme and verse
And flies whitely, in caressing circles, gently touching your smile
My heart, clothed in a timid shroud, begs for release from its bonds 
To touch the soul of the music pouring from your mystic fingers 
Do you know that my love is growing in my restricted chest 
Until the moment it is released with a burst of brilliant words 
That challenge Nyx’s dark dress of despair and loneliness? 
If you are the dreamer in this night, then I am what you dream 
But when you awaken from your slumber, I am your need 
And I grow in my love, stronger when you think on me 
A Nova of starshine that waits in the vast silence of the dome 
For the music of the first kiss…

Published in an anthology of poems titled Connections: Contemporary Verse From Around the World, Sharon Derderian and Robert Lawrence, Editors, Iliad Press, 1999.


Poetic Monday

I went to a website called The Wayback Machine which is an archive for old websites. I used to own a site where I posted things I had written wayback when. I will share many of the stories and poems here.

To Your Eyes

Karen Vertigan Pope

For A Long Forgotten Old Boyfriend… written on Wednesday Morning 2.10.99

Penned on an envelope while musing and found after three years while cleaning out an old filing cabinet which was stuffed with trash worthy papers.

Your eyes are things that capture and hold
And pull me closer to where you are 
Dark and lovelier still, they call out 
With an owl flight voice of such sweetness 
That bearing it is a bright burden 
What secrets do you conceal in the depths? 
Oh, beautiful eyes that you are. I behold life in your eyes 
A flower:  Yes, opening, glittering with dawn’s dew 
A melody:  Yes, touching the soul as only beauty can 
Sensual curves of creativity 
Speak to me in a new language 
Show to me an abstract landscape 
Sings in a voice of such purity 
That rising, it brings me nearer to 
Heaven than ever I have approached before 
And seeing them for the first time I did not know eyes could be so brown
Nobody, not even the song of the lark, has such soft eyes… 
O, beautiful eyes that you are!

Essay, Writing

Love Is Everywhere

Love is actually everywhere you look.  Most of the time it is not earth shattering or even remarkable.  Most of the time it is those tiny moments when we are struck with the simplicity of the emotion. 

If you look, and not even very hard, you will find examples of love flowing in lives.  Touching each of the senses. Some examples:  


I stand in line at the check out in a department store and a woman in front of me is on her cell phone. Not an unusual sight these days.  She gets a particular smile and her face and then tells the phone, “I love you, too, sweetheart.”  My imagination takes over.  Was she talking to her husband? Boy friend?  Maybe a child.  Hearing love is true music.


I sit at a stoplight, eager as everyone else for it to change so we can progress to the next stoplight.  In front of me a man is driving and a woman rides shotgun.  He leans over and kisses her, tenderly and slowly on her lips, passing the time until they can proceed.


I approach the barista and ask her if they have Kenya Coffee.  She smiles and says yes, hands me a bag of coffee beans and rings up my purchase.  All the way home, the scent of the best coffee in the world fills my car.  I get home, open the bag and inhale deeply, allowing the scent to overwhelm me.  Coffee Love.  Perfect.


Everyone has a favorite flavor. For many it is chocolate, or bacon or oranges.  The happiness that happens when something touches our tongue and awakens the sense of taste is delightful.  It is love.  How often do we say, I love dark chocolate or I love lasagna.  Food is love.  Taste is love.  Sharing food is love.  Just ask any chef.


The tactile sense is overpowering at times.  I find myself walking through a store and gently caressing the clothes on the rack, or the yarn in the bin. Judging the textures.  Enjoying the feeling.  Did you know you have nearly as many nerves in your feet as in your fingers?  The best feeling is when I take off my shoes and caress my feet with the carpet under me. The motion is deliberate, moving my feet to and fro.  I allow my toes to clutch the carpet fibers and relaxation washes over me.  Love.

What the world needs now is love, sweet love.  Love makes the world go ‘round.  All you need is love.  Love is a many splendored thing.  When I seek love, I find myself smiling more often.  I am calmer.  I am happier.  Love, love, love.  

I challenge you to find love.  Every day.  Everywhere.

Blog Entries, Writing

Negotiations: A Sweet Love Story

Allen looked deeply into Hannah’s eyes and moved closer to her face.  Their lips touched, for the first time.  Allen lingered, loving the sweet sensations that coursed through his veins and Hannah felt her heart race into overdrive.  Time stood still for them.  Seconds or hours could have passed and neither one would have noticed.  

Allen moved away from Hannah a few inches and saw her eyes were still closed as she savored the tingling in her body.  Slowly she opened them and he smiled at her.

After several calming deep breaths, Hannah said, “The kiss…”


“Does it mean you want to have a relationship with me?”

He hesitated, wondering where she was going with her question. “I thought I made that evident.”

“Oh, this guy really doesn’t know. Not necessarily evident.  People go around kissing each other right and left all the time.”

Allen frowned.  “Do you?  Go around kissing other guys right and left all the time?”

“Well, no, I don’t.  I didn’t know if you went around kissing other girls right and left all the time.”

“Uh… no, I don’t.”

Hannah smiled at him. “Okay, then.  Did that kiss mean you want to have a relationship with me?”

“What?  Are we in middle-school?  Did I just pass you a note that says, ‘Do you like me? Yes? No? Check one.’”

“Very funny.  I repeat, did that kiss mean you want to have a relationship with me?”

“Well… uh… yes, I do.”

“A romantic relationship?  Yes? No? Check one.” Hannah asked him.

“Oh, this girl really doesn’t know. Yes, a romantic relationship,” Allen said.

She took a deep breath and then said, “Okay.  For now, I am not into anything red-hot and racy.  I prefer soft and lovely and cute.”

“Not red, but pink?”  he asked.

“Pale pink.  Not R-rated.  PG with only a touch of PG-13.”

Photo by freestocks on Unsplash

He frowned at her and then asked, “So there are limits?  Boundaries?”


“Kissing is okay, then?”


“What kind of kissing?  Any tongue allowed?” he asked, willing to play the game with her.

“Well, yes, but limited.”

“Limited to what?” Allen asked.

“Lips, but not passed the teeth.”

“So licking your tonsils is R-rated?”

“Yes, if I still had tonsils.  They were taken out when I was two.” Hannah told him.

“Can I lick your cheek?” he asked.

“Is this guy some kind of pervert with a weird cheek fetish?  Why would you want to lick my cheek?” she asked him.

“I don’t know, but it could come up.  It might destroy the mood if I have to ask you if it is okay, later.  You know, right before I actually lick your cheek. Better to get a clarification now. And I don’t have a cheek fetish.  By the way, how long have you had this disease where everything you think comes out of your mouth?” Allen asked.

“Can you believe this guy? Okay.  Touching my cheek with your tongue may be alright under certain conditions.”

“Got it. Use of the tongue is conditional.  What about hands?”

“We can hold hands,” Hannah said.

Photo by Filipp Romanovski on Unsplash

“So, I am allowed to touch your hands.  What about your face?” Allen asked.

“When you say touch my face, what kind of touch are you thinking about?”

“A perfectly pale pink caress.”  Allen started to have a lot of fun with her negotiations.  He decided to go all in with her game. “And your neck is okay to touch with fingers and lips?”




“Can I lick your elbow?”  Allen asked.

“What?  Why?  We have established you don’t have a cheek fetish, but is there an elbow fetish we need to discuss?”  Hannah asked.

“I don’t have a reason now, but it could come up in the future.  I just want to be sure.  And I don’t have any kind of fetish that I know about.  You can keep that thought to yourself.”

“So what’s up with all the licking? I am picturing a St. Bernard, here. And no, I don’t like doggy kisses.”

“A St. Bernard? Oh, this girl is giving me a headache! I am trying to discover what your boundaries really are.”

“Oh, this guy who wants to lick my cheek and my elbow!” Hannah put her fingers up to her the bridge of her nose as if she were really caressing an aching head. “Okay. Again, licking my elbow may be alright under certain conditions.”

“Conditional elbow licking.  Got it.”  He noticed her frown and felt her start to shut down a bit.  He didn’t want the game she started to end, just yet.  “What’s wrong?  I’m making a list for future reference.  Now, what about your chest?”

“Chest?  As in breasts?”

“Well, yes.  All guys want to know about breasts.” He gave her his most serious look.

“If I knew you were a typical guy and not very special, I may have called all this off. Pay attention, Allen. This is a very important negotiation point. Breasts are R-rated. Plus, it should go without saying that all genitals are R-rated, too.”

“I wasn’t even going to ask about genitals. But, what if we hug? I will be able to feel your breasts touching my chest through our clothes.  Are you saying no hugs?”

“Hugs are fine,”  Hannah smiled because she realized he was fully playing her game.

Photo by Priscilla Du Preez on Unsplash

“Back hugs, too?” He asked.

“Yes.  Back hugs are fine as long as your arms and hands remain in the PG position.”

“Okay.  Arms and hands in the PG position. Now, what about feet?”

“What about them?”  She asked.

“Can I caress your feet?” Allen asked

“Only after I’ve had a pedicure. What about your feet?  Can I caress them?”

“Only after I’ve had a pedicure.  Can I kiss your toes?”

“Weird, but the pedicure provision still stands,”  Hannah said.

“You will let me know when your next pedicure appointment is, right?” Allen asked.

“So you do have a fetish. A foot fetish,” Hannah teased.

“This girl really doesn’t know.”  He took a deep breath and then said, “Any part of the body can be an erogenous zone if it is approached correctly.”

“Oh, my.  Do we have to start our negotiations, again?  I feel like Antony Blinken at the Middle East Peace Talks. Like I am getting nowhere.”


“This guy is totally uninformed.  Maybe I need to re-think this whole romantic relationship.  Antony Blinken is the current Secretary of State under President Biden.  You do know who President Biden is?”

“Oh, ha ha,” Allen said.  Then, “We have actually covered a lot of ground in our negotiations.  Nothing red.  Just lovely pale pink.  That is a major breakthrough. Do you want to continue?”

“Continue negotiations?”

“This girl really doesn’t know.  I meant continue with a romantic relationship?  You do realize that a romantic relationship is much deeper than girlfriend/boyfriend.”

“Deeper in what way?” she asked.

“Boyfriend/Girlfriend relationships are like middle school relationships. ‘Do you like me? Yes? No? Check one.’ A romantic relationship involves the heart and real, deep feelings.”

“Deep feelings, like… love?” Hannah asked.

“Totally like love,” Allen said.

“Are you saying you love me?”  Hannah asked him.

“Did you just go back to middle school?  ‘Hannah, do you love me? Yes? No? Check one.’”

“Well, I’m not sure.  We have to kiss again before I can answer your middle school note.”

Allen didn’t hesitate.  He put his hand on her cheek and pulled her in closer.  Their lips met again and he gently touched her lips with his tongue.  Suddenly the kiss deepened and his other hand pulled her into a closer embrace.

Allen pulled away from her, leaving one hand holding her cheek and the other hand holding onto her shoulder blade so she couldn’t move too far away from him.  “I’m ready for your answer.”

Hannah said, “Let me see.  The note said, “‘Hannah, do you love me? Yes? No? Check one.’  The answer to that is ‘Yes.’  My note says, ‘Allen, do you love me? Yes? No? Check one.’”

“Hannah, I love you with all my heart.”  Allen pulled her into another PG-13 kiss that lasted all day. 

Photo by Joanna Nix-Walkup on Unsplash
Road of Change

Road of Change: Santa Fe,The Next Day

Santa Fe The Next Day

The first stop of the morning was a bank where I collected a cashier’s check for the amount I was willing to spend on the car.

Chris, Matt and I arrived at the car dealership just as they opened.  Our young salesman waited for us at the entrance and he asked if I was ready to buy the car.  I told him only if we could agree on the money.

He started his salesman spiel just like I expected him to do. I cut him short and gave him the figure I would pay.

The kid acted flustered for a moment and then left us to collect the sales manager.  The sales manager asked if I wanted to test drive the car again and I told him, “No. I’ve seen the car. Are we going to deal or not?”

The sales manager started telling me about the cost of the car and overhead expenses.  I stopped him and showed him the cashier’s check. “This is what I will pay. Not a penny more.”

The sales manager looked at the check that was actually nearly $10,000 off of the list price and then told the salesman to write up the contract.

Two hours later, I drove off of the lot in my shiny new 2018 Octane Blue Metallic Mitsubishi Eclipse Cross.  The dealership helped me to customize the mirror settings, the seat position, the GPS, the satellite radio, and a hundred other features.  I just hoped I remembered half of it. The owner’s manual looked like an unabridged dictionary, so I uploaded an app on my phone with all the instructions for operating my new car.

Noon and Matt treated us to lunch at a chain seafood restaurant that was next door to the dealership.  As we left the restaurant, Matt said to Chris, “Stay one more night and then you can hit the road in the morning.”

Chris replied, “I was hoping you would ask,” and then to me, “I’ll ride with Matt.” The two brothers walked toward Matt’s car obviously, they had more to talk about.  Whether it was Matt’s idea or Chris’s didn’t matter. Maybe in talking to his brother, Chris could get some of his issues sorted out.

I got into my new car.  I deeply inhaled the new car smell, ran my hands over the dashboard, the steering wheel and the seats. With the touch of a button, I started it up and verbally instructed the GPS to provide a map to Matt’s address in case I lost them in traffic.

By the time I arrived at the house, I had a better feel for the brakes and the steering. I totally enjoyed driving my new car and was well pleased with my purchase.

Before I could get out of the car, Charlotte ran out of the front door and said to me, “We’re going shopping.”  She climbed into the passenger side and told me to turn right out of the driveway. “Wow! I love this car. I can’t wait for Ernesto to see it.  I think we will get one, too.” She spent a few minutes investigating the dials, knobs, vanity mirror and glove box.

“Where are you going to live after you are married?”  I asked her.

“Ernesto and I have an apartment downtown.  He is living there full time and I will move in right after the honeymoon.”

“Where are you going on your honeymoon?”

“Nowhere special.  Disneyland for 3 days.  We would rather spend our money on buying furniture for the apartment.”

“Very wise.  My wedding was unbelievably lavish.  My mother spent so much money in order to impress her friends.  I don’t even remember having fun during the reception. There were mostly people there I didn’t know.  The decadence is embarrassing. It was the wedding my mother wanted for herself, I think. Anyway, I should have done what my sister did–a very small wedding and reception.  She and her husband paid for most of it themselves.”

“That is kind of what Ernesto me are doing. We only have about 60 people coming and most of them are his family. Dad paid for my dress, the cake, the flowers and the photographer.  Ernesto’s family is furnishing the food and the decorations for the reception.

“So where are we going and what are we buying?” I asked her.

“Mom thinks your clothes are deplorable, so she instructed me to get you some new ones.  She gave me her credit card.”

I frowned at my choice of clothes for the day. “I bought these yoga pants to travel in because they are comfy and I can wash them in the hotel shower.  I do have a couple pairs of of jeans with me, but I have gained a little from eating nothing but fast food and my jeans are tight enough to be uncomfortable.”

“We’ll fix that,”  Charlotte said.

“Look, I can pay for my own clothes, but I would certainly love some fashion advice and shopping company.”

“Mom insisted, to thank you for the afghan and the dog. Besides, we can give Dad and Uncle Chris a chance to talk.  Mom would have come with us if she were feeling better.”

We arrived at one of those outdoor malls and hit the shops, trying on clothes, drinking gourmet coffee, and buying plenty of treasures.  I bought two new pairs of designer jeans, a variety of colorful tops, sandals, a straw hat, turquoise jewelry and three shirts for Chris.

By the time we got back to Matt’s house, the guys had dinner waiting–A cool pasta salad and fresh fruit.  I just had time to visit the bathroom before joining the others at the table. The dinner featured a domestic setting and light conversation.  A perfect final evening in Santa Fe.

We played Trivial Pursuit after dinner with Ernesto the clear winner.  

We said a tearful goodbye to him because he would not be here to see us off in the morning.  “I will see you in November, for the wedding,” he said. He kissed Charlotte and aimed for the front door.

Julia left us to go to her room to finish the paper she had due the following morning.

Charlotte went to bed because she had to work tomorrow.  That left Chris, Matt, Barbara and me in the living room.

As usual, Matt took the lead.  “I am going to be sorry to see you go, but I think the two of you need more time to get things worked out.  I want you both to promise me something.”

“Anything,” Chris said.  

I wasn’t as ready to jump into a promise that I may not want to keep, so I hesitated.  Matt directed his stare at me. “Well?”

“What is the promise?”  I asked.

“Nothing you will find a hardship.”

I was wary, but I nodded my head.  Matt said, “Before you two go to bed at night, spend fifteen minutes talking to each other.  Really talking and listening. No fighting. No arguing. No judging. Tell each other how you feel.  What you feel. And you are required to tell each other one thing you love about the other.”

“What do you mean?”  Chris asked.

“Find something about Anne that you love and tell her what it is.  Like, uh, I don’t know. Maybe ‘Anne, I love the way your nose wrinkles when you sneeze.’ Or, ‘Chris, I love your pinky toe on your right foot.’  Everyone has something lovable about them. Find it in each other. And you are required to tell each other that you love them as the last thing you say before going to sleep.  See, not too hard.” Matt stood and held his hand down to Barbara who grasped it and rose from the chaise.

“See you in the morning,” Barbara said.  

I stood up to go to our bedroom and Chris followed me.  “No time like the present,” Chris said. He sat on the bed.  “Anne, I love the way your nose wrinkles when you sneeze,” he said to me.

I must have looked at him like he had suddenly grown two heads because he said, “What?”  A deep frown crossed his face.

I took a deep breath and then said, “Okay, we have to start somewhere.  Chris, I love your right pinky toe.”

We both laughed and Chris said,  “That really didn’t hurt too bad.”  He paused and then said, “Anne Archer, really, I love your eyes.  Your eyes are the most beautiful I have ever seen.”

I looked at him in wonderment.  “I never knew you felt that way.” He shrugged a shoulder and gave me a crooked grin. “Chris Archer, I love how you stand up so straight.  You have amazing posture.”

“Lillian would love to hear that.  She told me ten thousand times to always hold my shoulders back and my head up.  I guess her parenting worked.” I smiled at him, imagining Lillian’s voice in my head telling him to straighten up.

“The other part of the promise is to talk about how we really feel,”  Chris prompted.

I nodded and sat on the bed beside him.  “Okay. Barbara said something to me that I just didn’t realize.  She said I should ask you to join me when I am cooking, going to the grocery store, picking Lily up from school.  Whatever. I thought it was easier to do all those things by myself. I prided myself on my independence and self-reliance.  We probably shouldn’t do that when we are married.”

Chris said, “That’s what Matt told me.  We are on the same team. We can be self-reliant, but still include our spouse in everything.  He said to not just do things with each other, but for each other. Like him looking up information about what to cook for a person on chemo.  Like him reducing his work hours so he can be here to help Barbara.”

“We both screwed up this marriage,”  I said.

“Yeah, we did.”  He replied. “It’ll take both of us to fix it.”

“I know,”  I stood up and Matt grabbed my hand.  

“Anne, I love you.”

“Chris, I love you.”  I walked to the other side of the bed and slipped in between the sheets.  

That night, I spooned Chris from behind like always.

Road of Change

Road of Change: Santa Fe, Second Night

Once again, Chris and I slept together in the same bed.  Right before I fell asleep, I realized I had not thought about being angry with Chris all day.  We spent the whole day together, eating, laughing, cooking, talking and buying cars. No harsh words or rancorous barbs tossed about.

I rose from the bed after I heard Chris snoring to beat the band.  I slipped out of the bedroom and made my way to the patio. I needed time to process all that transpired.

I sat in a chair and pulled my knees up to my chin. The night was chilly, so I pulled my knees closer to my chest for warmth.  A breeze tugged my hair and blew the sand around. Plants rustled with a dry sound. No wildlife sounds. No bugs, no frogs, no coyotes.  I could hear traffic from the nearby city and a plane made its way across the sky. Quiet and peaceful.

When the patio door whispered open, I turned to see Chris standing in his pajama pants and a white t-shirt.

“I missed you,” he said.

“I didn’t mean to wake you,”  I replied.

He said in a chair beside mine and asked, “Contemplating the night?”

“Not really.  More like soul searching.”

Silence fell sharply between us.

“We sure are getting a good look at the sky tonight,”  Chris commented.

I nodded and regarded the sky with him.

“Anne, do you want to marry me?”  Chris asked suddenly after several minutes.

I turned to watch his face in the moonlight.  I saw expectation, fear, and vulnerability. It was so tempting to simply melt into his arms, but I hesitated.  

“I am not ready, Chris.  The anger is too deep.” I whispered.

“Do you want to divorce me?”  he whispered back, like a little boy who is as afraid of the question as he is of the answer.

“I am not ready for that, either.”

“Anne, I emailed Kathy and told her to move on because it was finished between us.  I emailed Dan to tell him that I would fire her as soon as I got back and why, and he told me she turned in a resignation and walked out of the office.  Her parting shot was asking Dan to tell me to screw myself. In so many words.”

I watched the desert for long minutes and then I asked Chris, “When did you email her?”

“Somewhere between Tallahassee and Mobile.”  

“Why didn’t you tell me sooner?”

“You wouldn’t have listened or you would have thought it was a game of some kind.”

“You’re probably right. Chris, I am glad you did that, but it still doesn’t fix everything.”

“I didn’t think it would,” he said.  “It was just the first step in fixing me. She has texted several times and emailed.  I have deleted all her texts and blocked her number from my phone. I blocked her email address, too.”  He gazed intently at the night, not facing me. “Can you ever forgive me?” he whispered.

“I don’t know,”  I told him, truthfully.  I rose from my chair and returned to the quiet house.  I padded softly to the bathroom and then returned to the bed.

Chris returned in about fifteen minutes and I pretended to be asleep, keeping my breaths deep and even and my eyes forced shut. I felt his eyes on my for long minutes.  Finally, he sighed and got under the blanket.

Sometime in the tiny hours of the morning, we fell asleep back to back instead of spooning.

Flash Fiction, Love in an Instant, Writing

Flash Fiction: Love in an instant: At the Copa

Everyday, the same nothingness happened on the long commute home.  Two hours in my car, stuck in traffic, boredom abounds.  Inch by inch, I forge ahead, trying to make the twenty-three mile journey to my haven of solitude.  Twenty- three miles in two hours. Progress stops.

Horns, motors, exhaust fumes.  My car starts to overheat in the summer sun, so I turn off the AC and open the windows.  Nothing moves.  Angry faces stare at me out of their car windows as if the gridlock is my fault.  Sweat tickles my face.

I have a CD of my favorite songs playing quietly so as not to disturb the neighbors in their equally dismal commute. But, that song starts playing and I reach over to turn up the volume just a little.  And a little more.  At the chorus, I sing along with Barry Manilow.  “At the Copa.  Copacabana.  The hottest spot north of Havana…”  

Next to my car, the man in the red Ford F150 smiles and his head bobs in rhythm. His window is open to the elements, too. Blond hair matted with sweat and gray tank stuck to his chest, he starts singing. Hot wind brings in the smell of cigarette smoke and rum.

“At the Copa.  Copacabana.  Music and passion were always the fashion at the Copa.  She fell in love.”  Barry, Red Truck Man and me sing in complete harmony.

We three sing Lola’s story into life:  “His name is Rico.  He wore a diamond.  He was escorted to his chair, he saw Lola dancing there. And when she finished.  He called her over.  But, Rico went a bit too far. Tony sailed across the bar. And then the punches flew and chairs were smashed in two. There was blood and a single gunshot, but just who shot who? At the Copa…”

The musical bridge played and Red Truck Man and I cha-chaed in our cars.  Red gave me a spin and pulled me in close.  Our bodies move in perfect synchronicity. No longer stuck in gridlock, Red and me flew to the Copa to dance the hot Florida night away. One, two, cha cha cha.

Photo by Allef Vinicius on Unsplash

Barry, Red and me start singing right on cue.  “Her name is Lola…” all the way to the end of the song when we sing, “Don’t fall in love.”  It’s too late Barry and Red.  I already fell in love with both of you.

The traffic starts to move forward and Red releases me from our dance.  

For the duration of a song, my wish for the world worked.  Everyone knows the words to the song.  Everyone knows the steps to the dance.  The guy always gets the girl and everyone lives happily ever after. Just like a Fifties’ musical.  Just the way I really want to the world to be.

Flash Fiction

Flash Fiction: The Road Construction Worker: Love in an Instant.

Love can happen in an instant.  Many times I have fallen in love, the affair lasting only moments or a few precious minutes. Like this story.

Photo by Matthew Hamilton on Unsplash

He stood on the road holding one of those signs that commanded drivers to stop. Six feet tall, with dirty well-fitting jeans and a faded t-shirt hidden by a Day-Glo yellow don’t-hit-me vest.  His brown work boots were scuffed and worn from months or years standing on the road, holding a sign.  Or maybe he did real work and that day his turn came up to catch a break.

I was the first in line, waiting for the signal to proceed, but the sign refused to allow forward movement.  It forced me to pause and assess my environs.

Slowly, he turned his face in my direction. He smiled at me revealing bright white teeth.  Eyes made out of blue crystals sparkled in the sun.  I opened my car window and said, “Good morning.”

“It won’t be long, Ma’am.”  he responded, the southern twang adding romance and color to his voice.  The sound of his voice alone told me the story of his life.

I imagined him in a small house in the woods. Pickup in the dirt drive, dirty boots left by the door, feeding two dogs, neither with any sign of pedigree, eating the hamburger he bought on the way home, popping open the can of beer to wash it all down, turning on the news, propping his feet on the coffee table, settling in for the evening.  Unencumbered by the pressures of life.

No responsibilities at work to weigh heavily on his shoulders, to wrinkle his features.  Just hold the sign.  Turn it around.  Shampoo, rinse, repeat.

I imagined him in another job.  Print ad model wearing the same clothes and holding a sign to direct the traffic of people to the store to buy jeans or signs.  Or perhaps the poster boy for the road department.  Watch out for the working class while you drive through the construction zone.

Regretfully, he spun the sign around.  He touched the brim of his yellow hard hat that covered most of his short dark hair and said, “Have a good day, Ma’am.”  He talked to me.  He noticed me.

I drove forward among Bob’s Barricades, asphalt trucks, more men in don’t-hit-me vests.  The love affair ended because I drove away from it, like all my other love affairs.  Involved for just a few moments and then forward into my life.  

I smiled all the way to work that day.


7 Passionate Ideas for Passionate Writing

I am a passionate writer.  That doesn’t mean that I write passionate stories, but rather I write passionately.  And what that means is I treat writing like a job.  True, it is a job I love doing and true, I would rather write than work at (something)Mart.  Passion is the critical element in writing.

Karen Writes' Writing Desk

If I write something bad, which happens more often than I care to think about, I have options:  I can delete it, I can put in that “terrible idea” file and maybe use it at a later time, or I can leave it on my desktop to percolate, marinate, season, age like fine wine or sharp cheese.  Maybe after a few days, I will find it is not such a terrible idea after all.

For me writing often reflects the mood I am in at that particular moment.  Like everyone, I have days that are dark and gloomy as the weather during a winter storm or as bright and sunny as the first of spring.  So, if I am gloomy today and I am trying to write a happy scene, it will not work very well.  I wait until the sun comes out, then I write something happy.  That’s not to say that I won’t write on that gloomy day.  I simply write a gloomy scene or spend time writing a reflective journal post.

I have learned recently that holding myself back while writing will never result in good writing.  What I will achieve is superficial and one dimensional.  To have passion in my writing, I have to get emotionally involved with my characters or my topic and not worry about what the neighbors think.  I have to stop writing what others want to read, because whatever I write will appeal to only one person in a thousand.  The other 999 will not be interested, anyway.

Now, for the advice portion of this post:

  1. Strive to be a passionate writer. Dig deep and find the passion that is there, anyway.
  2. Don’t write for an individual, either real or imagined. Find what’s in that deepest part of your heart and write about it.
  3. Don’t let a day go by without writing something, be it a journal entry, or a chapter in a novel that will later get deleted. Write something.  Every day.
  4. Write about the things inside. If it is emotional to you, it will be emotional to someone else.
  5. Use your favorite method to write, whether it is a #2 pencil and a scrap of paper rummaged from the trash pile or (my personal favorite) a keyboard. I prefer the keyboard because I type fast and fairly accurately, so I can get these random ideas down more quickly.  Also, I have began audio recordings while driving in my car or making breakfast.
  6. Write using your own voice. It makes you unique.  In that way, you will stand out from the crowd.  You’ve heard it before.  There is only one you, so don’t try to be someone else.
  7. Read something every day. Reading is an excellent method for improving your own writing because you are learning about sentence structure, plot lines, information that can be used in a story or article at a later day.  Much of what you are learning is on a subliminal, but reading is beneficial to every writer.

Writing 500 words a day doesn’t take that long to do.  Stephen King recommends writing 1000 words a day, although he writes 2000 a day.   But, I am no Stephen King nor am I trying to be him.  Most days, I write more than 500 words.  All I had to do was to turn off the TV (or Netflix or Amazon) and write.  I put down my computer games and then write.  I make time for writing.  I don’t wait for inspiration.  I start writing and then inspiration just happens.

I write passionately.

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