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By JoCoWrites

Springtime. A time of new growth, new beginnings. What seeds would you like to plant now and watch grow? Would you plant awareness, learning to bake, patience? What have you been wanting to start – writing a book, taking walks, getting more sleep? What is it you’d like to cultivate this year?

By Katt Cooper

If it isn't one thing.

My dad broke a rib leaning over the center console of his car last year. He healed and life went on.

Then the hospital called. Labs showed kidney failure. Dad scoffed. No symptoms, feeling fine, the nurses must be wrong.

Something was wrong.

No one could say for sure, but it was the type of something no medical professional says “let's check back in six months and see where you're at” type of wrong. A test here, a test there. Specialist A through N tossed their hands up in defeat. Specialist O, from Oncology, was the only one to raise their hand with an answer after dad had to be taken to the ER.

Multiple myeloma. Cancer of the plasma cells in bone marrow. Makes your bones brittle and weak. The broken rib made more sense.

It's hard to see your parent in a hospital bed when just that last week you were sharing the news of your big promotion and laughing over his superior pickleball skills vs my sisters mediocre ones.

The panic was sickening and hard to communicate to my boyfriend who waited patiently as I shared the diagnosis back at our apartment through tears he rarely sees. I asked questions of my best friend who works in the medical field. She gave reassuring answers about the treatability and recovery rate. Mom went to support groups and found the answers to her questions. The panic resided the more we learned about the process.

Panic and information collection in December. Chemo in January. Check ups through February. Transplant in March.

He's cancer free now and ready for lake season with the neighbors, but now he has to worry about sun burns on his bald head. Don't worry, I got him the perfect hat.

By Cheryl Morai-Young

Get Over not being able to see your father one last time before he took his last breath January 10, 2023. Get Over not being able to see your sister one last time before she took her last breath August 14, 2020. Get Over not being able to see your stepdaughter one last time before she took her last breath April 25, 2019.

Get Over they can't visit you or see you on Zoom or talk with you over landline or cell Get Over they live in a different universe than you with no forwarding address that you can find Get Over they rarely come to you in dreams and if they do you can't hold on as they fade back into memory

Get Over you still wish Get Over you still want Get Over you

Never and maybe and okay, done. Thank you for listening. Goodbye.

By Diane

I have a dilemma. I’ve long thought of myself as a writer. Except I rarely write anything outside of my journal. I have little confidence in my ability to string together words that others would want to read. And now here’s this prompt – Get Over It. So here I am, getting over my fear of writing and submitting this piece for public perusal. After all, that’s the purpose of this blog – providing a place for writers (novices and veterans) to submit their work for all to read. I don’t have to try to write the Great American Novel or a weighty essay on What’s Wrong with Modern Society. All I need to do is write what feels, sounds, and looks right to me and click post. Once my writing is out there where anyone can see it, and the sky doesn’t fall and I don’t become an instant pariah, it’ll hopefully be easier to get over my fear of writing for others and just go for it. Maybe every month should have a national Get Over It day.

By JoCoWrites

National Get Over it Day was created in 2005 by someone having difficulty getting over an ex. Celebrated on March 9th, people all over the country use this day to help themselves get over everything from gnarly traffic to poor grades, family arguments to spilled milk. What is there in your life, big or small, that you would like to see in your rear-view mirror instead of front and center in your thoughts? What techniques have you found useful for letting go of those pesky, tenacious worries?

By Charles

Be the Change

In life we all face challenges that put us to the test. We try to overcome them, and at each do our best. While none of us is perfect, I think it’s plain to see, It’s the effort that we put in that shapes who we will be.

We can be the change that shapes the world we know. Whether highest on the payroll or lowest of the low, You can make a difference in how mankind comes through. Be the change you want to see, it all begins with you.

You know the mighty redwood was once a humble seed, And so it is with people when they do one good deed.
An act of kindness blossoms, takes root down deep inside And before long a canopy of caring’s spreading wide.

We can be the change that shapes the world we know. Whether highest on the payroll or lowest of the low, You can make a difference in how mankind comes through. Be the change you want to see, it all begins with you.

It’s easy to lose hope these days when you scroll your feed; The news just seems to focus on the things that make us bleed. But hope can be rekindled if we all just take a chance And do the things within our grasp to help us to advance.

We can be the change that shapes the world we know. Whether highest on the payroll or lowest of the low, You can make a difference in how mankind comes through. Be the change you want to see, it all begins with you.

We can be the change that shapes the world we know. Whether highest on the payroll or lowest of the low, You can make a difference in how mankind comes through. Be the change you want to see, it all begins with you.

By Anna

Rice. One-third of a cup of rice can be a meal. A twenty pound bag of rice contains 80 cups of rice. In the U.S., long grain rice is the cheapest and easiest to buy in bulk – 20 pounds for $15. Once when my Aunt Helen visited, she saw I only had one sauce jar in my fridge and proceeded to laugh and post an image on social media. Granted, she also took me out for lunch and let me keep the leftovers. In my undergraduate years, I would skim the line between hoarding free food from all the campus events and trying to eat it for so long I got food poisoning. I used to ask people with meal plans if I could have their leftover Chick-Fil-A sauce to put on my rice. In a good month, I could spend $15 on food. Long-grain rice takes longer to digest than short-grain rice because it is high in amylose, a starch molecule. Rinsing rice removes some of the starch, preventing grains from clinging to one another, so the rice isn’t as sticky. Soaking rice can decrease the cooking time required. Then, the rice water can be used as a plant fertilizer. Leftover rice can be used in fried rice or left to ferment. When I was sixteen and a waitress at Winstead’s – a local diner – the manager joked with me that during the War the owner was clever and put the horse meat signs on the bottom face of the door so that, though the signs were posted, no one would see them. None of my coworkers believed me when I told them all the foods that can be bulked up with sawdust: bread, meatballs, and even rice crispy treats. Isn’t it common knowledge that undercooked potatoes fill your stomach and take longer to digest, or is the potato famine remembered in name only? It used to be that during bad harvest years, there were prohibitions against wasting grains to make alcohol. Every gallon of beer could use two pounds of wheat. The idea of prohibition may seem preposterous in this great country of full of microbreweries. In such a country there is no need to know about blight, blotch, and ergot. My father made note when he traveled to India and saw the people savor the rice rather than chicken on the plate. When I first tried my bamboo steamer, the rice was hot and sticky but I ate it all straight off of the mat. Do you think of rice as a side dish, when it comes for free next to your entrée? Or do you eat every grain and kiss the bowl? If there is not enough rice to feed us all, may the rest of us at least know how to cook it properly.

By JoCoWrites

How Would You Change the World?

The United Nations has declared 2023 as the International Year of Millets in the hope of raising awareness about the health benefits of the grain. Is it possible to change the fortunes of poor Indian farmers, while also combating climate change, food scarcity, and increasing our foods nutritional value?

Tell us about your ideas for changing the world. From world-wide synchronized chanting to composting toilets, we want to help put your ambitions into the universe and see if they take hold.

By Beth Gulley

#7 Fundamentals What fundamentals matter most to how you express yourself? Think about projects or work you have produced of which you are particularly proud. What are some fundamental principles of skills present in these projects that you have mastered? How could you use this mastery in other spaces and places?

I started to answer these questions, and they turned into a poem.


Listening —to myself, to others, to the physical/metaphysical space around me

Rhythm —of words, of silence, of the structure of a day, of the circular nature of the process

Cutting —filler words, convoluted ideas, fear of what others thing of me

Structure —for aesthetics, for logic, for comfort in patterns

Sharing —ideas, stories, hope, myself

Words —nouns, verbs, articles, conjunctions

By Lisa Allen

Learning How You Learn (page 74)

Identify five learning moments in your life when you gained a deep understanding or insight. Write down five attributes of the experience, like where you were, who you were with, and what was happening.

  1. Watching my grandmother make strawberry shortcake when I was 3, 9, 13, 37. Every age, really, until she got too tired, then too old, to cook. I only cared about the strawberries. She sliced them thick and dumped sugar in the bowl. She lifted the bowl and flipped the berries up and over by moving it forward and back while flicking her wrists—we do it this way because a spoon will bruise them. Bruised berries are never as sweet as they could have been, she said. Then she'd set the bowl of berries in the fridge and make me wait.

I know that if I do that now, if I can just wait until the sugar has done its work, they’ll have released their juices and be softer, happier, sweet as sweet can be.

I think of bruised berries when I think of her, a single mother before we knew what a single mother was, butchering chickens and ironing clothes to feed her five kids.

I thought of bruised berries when I was angry at one of my children. I think of bruised berries now when I want to yell at my father or an employer or a neighbor or myself. Bruised berries, I sometimes mutter. Crushed before they can sweeten.

  1. In court, testifying to be emancipated from my mother. I was 16. In my memory the courtroom looks like a big box store without merchandise, two card tables set at opposite sides of the room. I remember her lawyer asking me why I don't love her. I remember her winking at me as I left the witness box, the way she smiled. She smiled, didn't she? What were we wearing? What did the big-box room smell like that day? Can't tell you. I must have missed a day of school but I don't remember that either. I know my dad was there but he's nowhere to found in this memory. I remember the lawyer's shoes: brown wingtips. Shiny.

The lesson: memory is forgetful, a liar. It spins stories, fills in its own blanks.

  1. Dad didn’t believe in tornado warnings, conflated sirens with invitation, unfolded lawn chairs at the edge of our garage door so raindrops beat my bare feet. Together we assigned shapes to the cumulonimbus clouds & laughed at their anvil heads, their crazy hair.

In elementary school we practiced—single file, heads over knees & knees flush with cinder block every Wednesday. Clockwork.

Dad practiced when he was in school, too, his copper haired head over knees & tucked under his desk—but his threat was nuclear, not the Kansas wind. A bogeyman with a button.

When my kids went to school, practicing was called active shooter drill. They were taught to run zig-zag through the halls. Strategy.

Will I ever get the answer to this question: how many things can we practice?

  1. My teachers—all women—taught me to look for clues. Sky the color of bile means the tornado is coming & silence is not comfort. It’s just the tempest taking form.

I knew that night before the sirens blew. The darkness covered everything but the sound: a rocket launch in my backyard, a whale’s call.

1:21 a.m. I am barefoot, sweater thrown over a too-big nightgown. How is it they haven’t heard the sirens? I pound on their bedroom doors. Let’s go I bark. OK, OK. Give me a minute, they say, their voices quiet and sweet, like I’d just snuggled them to sleep.

All their lives they've seen me stand on my postage-stamp porch, tilt my chin to the storm.

They mosey. One needs his phone; the other doesn’t open their door. Now! Can’t they hear the wailing, the vortex in my voice?

Rain riots the windowpanes. Two of us run down the first flight of stairs, wait. I yell. My son runs up to get his sibling & I stand in the in-between.

Sirens, still. Trunk crack.

It’s like they’re getting ready for a date, I think, slicking their lips. Maybe hoping for a kiss.

It’s all my fault. I prepared them for the wrong disaster.

  1. Baking apple pie with my stepmother. I was home for the holidays, dating a man they hadn't yet met. As she rolled pie dough she said, If you ever tell your father this, I'll deny it, but don't get married. Find someone you really like and get your own place close to his. Visit each other. Have fun. But leave it at that.

She wove my grandmother's blue rosary into my wedding bouquet, sewed my veil from yards of tulle. Welcomed my husband into her family with genuine warmth and home cooked meals and a place to stay for family vacation when we couldn't afford to go anywhere else.

When he and I divorced, I took the kids to spend a week with her and my dad every summer. And every summer she'd book a massage for me, send me off with the edict to not come home until the street lamps came on.

It's been 14 years and she still hasn't said I told you so.