Feb 5Liked by Suleika Jaouad, Holly Huitt, Carmen Radley

Great story! What delightful daftness!

My last dog was an enormous black greyhound. So many people would ask ‘Is he an ex-greyhound?’ and then look baffled when I replied ‘No, he still is.”

I used to walk a poodle and get asked if he was a Cockerpoo. To this I’d answer, ‘No, he’s all poo.’

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Feb 5·edited Feb 5Liked by Suleika Jaouad, Holly Huitt, Carmen Radley

This is a wonderful prompt and brought a smile to my face! Next weekend I am heading upstate New York to clean out my deceased daughter's storage unit, and I have been feeling heavy and dark all week. This prompt helped me to lighten up! I often get asked if I am Italian. I have dark, ethnic looking features and most people automatically assume I am Italian, especially if they know I am from New York. I spent my adolescence on "Longuyland", and my adult life in upstate New York. I never lived in New York City and I don't have an accent, but nearly all of my friends did, and still do! So I am pretty good at feigning a solid New York City accent {I am actually Hungarian and Irish, as I always clearly inform my inquisitor}. In my mind, I think "just tell them you are Italian! From New York City!". How fun it would be to announce, in that "Longuyland" accent, "Yes, I am Italian and from New York City to boot". My questioner's eyes would widen as I explained how I grew up in Brooklyn in a tiny 3rd floor walk up. Right in-between a pizzeria and an Italian bakery! "Wow, how lucky you were!" Yes, I was SO lucky and I am still battling the bulge to this day! Often when I would leave my building, I would brush shoulders with shadowy, quick-moving figures who I was certain were in the Mafia. Now the mouth of my new admirer opens wide as well. "Did you feel safe living there?". I would answer yes, I felt both nervous and safe, and even dared to date the sons of these shifty characters who were seemingly very polite, tipping their hats along with mumbled two word greetings as I dashed out the door and ran next door for my morning espresso and cornetto. I would paint a picture of all of us girls (I have two sisters) sitting on the "stoop" all afternoon, drinking and eating our sodas and slices, flirting with the local boys and watching the world go by. Ah, those were the days I would say with a dreamy look on my face as I continued to stroll down my make-believe Italian past. I am lucky today to live out a little bit of this fantasy through my middle daughter, who lives in Crown Heights. I will be sure to stop there for an espresso, cornetto, a yummy slice of pizza and a little fanciful daydreaming as I travel up north next week.

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Feb 5Liked by Holly Huitt

True Story:

Let’s Pretend

Visiting hours have ended. The patients on B6—the hematology and oncology floor of the hospital where I work—are settled for the night and the lights turned down. Except for the insistent ringing of a call bell somewhere down the hall, the floor is quiet.

I’m standing at the nurses’ station waiting for my attending, Dr. Bush, to arrive. The nurses have already settled his patient—one of those urgent after-hours admissions—in her room. As the resident on-call, it will be my task to admit her—to take her medical history, examine her, and write orders.

The elevator opens and Dr. Bush, accompanied by a man he introduces as his patient’s husband, steps out. He then proceeds to tell me what he knows about the woman whose care will be my responsibility.

“The patient is a fifty-one-year-old Caucasian female who presented to my office this afternoon with a one-month history of shortness of breath, cough, and night sweats. She has never smoked. Her weight is down seventeen pounds. She is being admitted for further evaluation and treatment.”

This all sounds pretty routine. I’m just not sure why the patient’s husband is here. Visiting hours are over.

“This is the problem,” Dr. Bush says as he slips the patient’s chest X-ray into the viewing box. The screen lights up with hazy white fuzz balls that spell out the word “cancer.” In capital letters. In both lungs.

Dr. Bush turns to the patient’s husband. “Paul?”

The man straightens his shoulders and looks me in the eye. “The word cancer is not to be used around my wife. Do you understand? It would kill her if she knew.”

Dr. Bush repeats, “Do you understand, doctor? She is not to hear the word cancer. Tell her anything, just not that.” Apparently, they have already collaborated on the case.

Suddenly what appeared to be a sad but straight-forward admission becomes a moral dilemma. What am I going to say when she asks, “What did you find, Doctor? What’s the matter with me?”

The name of this game is “Let’s Pretend”. Let’s pretend she has pneumonia. That would explain her bloody cough. Let’s tell her she has a bad case of asthma, and that’s why she feels so short of breath. Or we could simply admit we can’t be certain just yet, but we’ll get to the bottom of it. Don’t you worry.

What am I going to tell her when she gets worse instead of better? How will I explain that the medications we usually use in cases like hers don’t seem to be working? When morphine is the only thing that helps?

How will I tell her there’s nothing more we can do for her cough? Her breathing? Her survival?

So, no, Dr. Bush and Mr. Whatever-Your-Name-Is, I do not understand. This is not the time for games. This woman has work to do. She needs to update her will and appoint a POA. She has to decide about a Do Not Resuscitate order. She needs to think about how she wants to say goodbye to her children and grandchildren. How will she break the news to them? Who will choose the prayers and music that will lay her to rest?

Without so much as a nod, I pick up my stethoscope and start down the hallway to the patient’s room. I knock lightly at the door and let myself in. The patient is already on oxygen and an IV is running. A heart monitor records her pulse. I can hear her wheezing from the doorway.

She hoists herself up in bed when she sees me, and that simple maneuver sets off a coughing spell that takes her breath away.

“Come in, doctor,” she says when she can speak again.

I explain that I’m the resident on-call for the night, and I will be asking her some questions, examining her, and ordering some tests. She waves me over to her bedside, inviting me to get on with it. I take a seat and open my laptop.

“So,” I begin, “what is it that’s bothering you?”

“You mean besides global warming and the war in Syria? Besides homelessness and the problem of world hunger?” she says. “Besides corporate greed and the fact that my health insurance isn’t covering this?”

She pauses to catch her breath.

I go along with the ruse. “Not to mention puppy mills and gun violence.”

“And the fact that my husband is an idiot.”

I shrug my shoulders, as if to say I wouldn’t know about that. But I do. He is.

“What’s bothering me, Doctor, is that I have cancer.”

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Feb 5Liked by Suleika Jaouad

I was despairing as a child- and pretended that I had an Uncle Johnny in Texas that had a four leaf clover farm and everyone there was happy. Some older friends knew this was fantasy and called me a liar-- what I wanted was my mother to come back.

Isabelle Eberhardt- was mentioned- as an older person, I wanted to be her-or thought I did for a while--dauntless.

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Feb 5Liked by Suleika Jaouad, Holly Huitt

Dearest Suleika and Crow Jonah! what a treat to awaken my soul to this morning is today's most delightful essay and prompt... a million thanks.

i think about all the playful, yes-at-times-mischievous, ways we each come to inhabit different versions of ourselves, different possibilities of being; dream ourselves into being in a different place-time-self than that which currently may make us feel entrapped.

oh...i have a zillion of stories, but as i am not the best story teller, i will just leave it at expressing my heartfelt gratitude for your post today.

much love


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Feb 5Liked by Suleika Jaouad, Holly Huitt

This was/is an important story/prompt for me. It made me realize that I need to "lighten up."I think, I just think, I may be the PETA WOMAN. (Oh god, say it's not true). I always thought I was so "chill," so "ride with the tide" (even though my highly anxious state of being) on the outside and parts of me on the inside. But I am a metaphorical bunny-patched PETA WOMAN. Sigh. Sometimes, the truth hurts. Now is one of those moments. Oh wait, this is supposed to be about lying. Ha/ha A story of lying brought me to my truth. Ironic. Oh, no, wait, I feel GREAT! I am like Sloth-Mode chill. (total lie).

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Feb 5Liked by Suleika Jaouad, Holly Huitt

Dear Crow Jonah, you are delightful in your genuine fabrications. I must say lying and fabrication has not been in my being , as far as I can remember. The only time it comes to mind is when I used to ask my sister, who was 5 years older, if I could borrow some of her clothes. She always would say “no” so I’d wait until she left our house, go into her closet and pick what I wanted to wear, throw it out the window, and get dressed in her clothes in the dark in our garage and wear it that evening- usually for a date. I made sure I put the article of clothing back before she came home. The next day my sister said “ did you wear my blouse last night? “Oh no! I would never wear your clothes without your permission “. I am s lousy liar and eventually she found out the truth, but it was scary and fun while I was doing it. Another time I tried the lying was at age 15, I was smoking 🚬 n my room, it was summer and my parents were sitting in the backyard sunny ng themselves. My bedroom window faced them from the second floor. They yelled up to me to come down, while going to the window to respond, while having the cigarette in my left hand. Of course the smoke was coming through my window, while I was responding. My mother yells up, seeing the bellowing smoke “are you smoking?” “Of course not I say I was lighting some incense.” Again they knew because I was such a lousy liar. When I read your story and prompt it made me yearn to have those magical and delightful experiences of your innocence of lying. But I did have one fantasy that I loved. A girlfriend I had been talking n elementary school with had a dad who had a nightclub in Egypt and I used to tell my parents I would go to that far off nightclub, from our home in Lynn, Mass, and become a famous belly dancer!

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Feb 5Liked by Suleika Jaouad, Holly Huitt

I love this prompt. Truth can be boring. Or inconvenient. But seldom both at the same time. Thanks for making me smile this early on a Sunday!

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Prompt 229

Think of a time you were reluctant to tell the truth. Consider what it would’ve looked like to lie instead. Then indulge the fabrication to its logical—or illogical—end.

This one is timely!! But I have a twist on it.

I work part-time as a custodian at an elementary school. I am retired, and I soon learned I needed a way to get out of the house and have some social interactions for my sanity. The school job is perfect. The teachers are like family, and the kids are funny. A dream job.

The kids are full of surprises! I feel their innocent perspective – everything is new, no biases, no fears. Just plain old wonder and joy. So life-giving.

One day, as I was pushing my trash and recycling barrels down the hall and the kids were headed home, a little girl came up to me. I had no idea who she was, but, with a big grin she asked me: “Do you like science?” I was somewhat surprised at her question, just out of the blue. I told her, emphatically, “I do!”. Her response was a big smile. She turned and ran down the hallway to go home. I thought, what is going on in her mind right now? Did she ask this question as an attempt to validate her interest in science? Or maybe I just looked like a science nerd and she wanted to confirm her suspicions about me. Who knows?

I chuckled silently and felt very lucky. In some odd way I think I left her with a good impression. So, I told this to my co-worker. He laughed and said, “You should have told her yes, and then said you WERE a scientist”. Ha! That made me laugh. Maybe so, but I did not think it appropriate to lie. She may have been more impressed if I had, but I was not a scientist in my current role. At one point in my life, I was a computer scientist – but that did not count in this context.

Such a joy these kids are. They remind me of how it feels to have hope about the future.

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Feb 5Liked by Suleika Jaouad, Holly Huitt

Thank you Suleika and Crow Jonah. You made me laugh this morning. I love the wry humor. I’m not a good liar but I am good at irony. Though I have made up stories in my head. There was a cat named Chloe that lived at the vet clinic where I once worked. She was hit by a car and was paralyzed in her back end. She was so spunky. She had a playpen where she stayed after hours. Her playpen had to have X-ray weights so she wouldn’t move her around with her pen. She would literally go exploring pen and all. I always thought Chloe needed a little book of her story.

Several years ago Todd and I adopted a 5 year old white husky named Sasha from a local shelter. She was beautiful. White with ice blue eyes. Sadly she had Cancer and had gone to the summerland. She slept on the bed at night but she had occasional inconvenience. So Todd bought a picnic blanket that was lined with water proof material. We called it Sasha’s magic blanket. When we put her magic blanket on the bed she would happily jump up on it. Sasha’s magic blanket is still on the bed and Maisie and Rayder seem to know it’s special.

Mine isn’t as funny as Suleika and Crow. I’ll play with this in my journal more today. Not sure I did the prompt correctly. I’m sure I did some little tricksy things but they aren’t popping up yet.

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Feb 5Liked by Holly Huitt

This prompt also made me think of the last poem of James Tate, American surrealist poet, found in his typewriter after his death. It is a series of "lies" and sometimes when I'm feeling the sting of rejection or etc, I imitate it just for fun. Always makes me laugh.

by James Tate

I sat at my desk and contemplated all that I had accomplished this year. I had won the hot dog eating contest on Rhode Island. No, I hadn’t. I was just kidding. I was the arm wrestling champion in Portland, Maine. False. I caught the largest boa constrictor in Southern Brazil. In my dreams. I built the largest house out of matchsticks in all the United States. Wow! I caught a wolf by its tail. Yumee. I married the Princess of Monaco. Can you believe it? I fell off of Mount Everest. Ouch! I walked back up again. It was tiring. Snore. I set a record for sitting in my chair and snoring longer than anybody. Awake! I set a record for swimming from one end of my bath to the other in No Count, Nebraska. Blurb. I read a book written by a dove. Great! I slept in my chair all day and all night for thirty days. Whew! I ate a cheeseburger every day for a year. I never want to do that again. A trout bit me when I was washing the dishes. But I couldn’t catch him. I flew over my hometown and didn’t recognize anyone. That’s how long it’s been. A policeman stopped me on the street and said he was sorry. He was looking for someone who looked just like me and had the same name. What are the chances?

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Feb 5Liked by Holly Huitt

While shooting the breeze with friends by the lake a couple of summers ago, conversation turned to the mysterious young woman and her two children who occupied a cottage across the bay. Sound carries across water so we could just barely make out the eastern European language they spoke. As it turns out, we each I had already invented a backstory for this woman. She was obviously fleeing her husband, a notorious international crime boss, and the Canadian wilderness was her best bet to keeping her and her children safe. After her cover was blown, the cottage was sold and an older couple from the UK moved in with their unfriendly Germany shepherd. They are without a doubt retired agents with her majesty's secret service...

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Feb 5Liked by Holly Huitt

When my “fictive” grandmother (a lie built into the relationship) had Alzheimer’s and was in a home, my mother and I went to visit her. When she saw us her face lit up. She asked my mother, “how long has it been since we’ve seen each other, Babe?” My mother answered truthfully, “about a year.” She was disappointed in the answer. She was also in a loop. Five minutes later, she asked again, “How long has it been since we’ve seen each other, Babe?” My mother answered, “oh, it’s been about six months.” Frown again. “That long?” Each time around the loop my mother shortened the time. “We saw each other last week,” she finally said, to smiles. What I wanted was to keep leaving the room and coming back in, just to see her face light up again. She didn’t remember me, just my mother. Instead we left photos and signed the guestbook so her daughter would know we had visited. It was the last visit, as I returned to grad school on the East Coast and she died a few months later.

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Feb 5Liked by Suleika Jaouad, Holly Huitt

We have a Greyhound but honestly, you had me at the rat named Ski Patrol. ;)

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Feb 5Liked by Suleika Jaouad, Holly Huitt

It was nice to read Crow Jonah’s story while drinking my tea this morning. He is a character.

I thought about the act of lying and had a difficult time coming up with personal stories because in all honesty, it hasn’t been a part of my overall nature.

Having shared this, as I was sitting looking out the window at the beautiful snow & thinking about lying, my memory was suddenly flooded with one thing I was dishonest about and that is taking my sister’s & mother’s clothes without their permission when I was in college on breaks and into my early 20’s.

When I look back at this time in my life, the word “obnoxious” comes to mind. I was obnoxious in going into their closets and dressers when they weren’t home. But I always got caught.

A few examples: The time I took my sister’s brand new beautiful white summer blouse & wore it out with friends that night. The next morning when our father saw my sister upset as she was trying to get stains out of her blouse, he asked her what had happened. When she told him what I had done, he asked her how much the blouse cost and told her I had to repay her for it. You would think I had learned my lesson then, but fast forward to only two weeks ahead in time and I did the same thing with a pair of her slacks that I loved. That night I accidentally got a tear in one of the pant legs and again, our father had me repay my sister for the pants. Or the time I had another pair of her slacks on & in an effort to get out of the house without her seeing me, I rolled the legs up to my knees and put elastic bands around them. I put my long winter coat on up in my bedroom, which was a warning sign to my sister. As I was about to walk out the front door, she told me to open my coat. Suffice it say, I was caught once again and had to the pants off.

Another time I was sitting at my desk at work one beautiful autumn morning and my sister called me saying, “I know you have my blouse with you to wear out after work tonight.” My reply? “No, I don’t. Check your closet again.” She proceeded to tell me exactly which blouse I had taken. Busted again.

These are but a few examples. I was relentless and looking back, I don’t know why I did it as I had a beautiful wardrobe of my own! Again, obnoxious.

My sister ended the problem by (literally) putting a padlock on her closet doors.

I also knew it had to stop when I flew out to CA to see one of my best friends and her new husband. The night before I was supposed to leave, I told my mother and my sister I was going to pack for my trip and suffice it to say, the two of them jumped out of their seats and headed towards the staircase. I asked them what they were doing, to which they replied, “Locking our doors so you can’t pack any of our clothes!” Wake-up call. Big this time.

I don’t know why I was dishonest about taking their clothes without their permission. Sometimes when I simply asked if I could borrow something, they let me. I look back at that time now and understand their frustration. And my blatant obnoxious behavior. We joke about it now. Maybe Karma is real, because in college people used to think they could borrow my clothes without my permission. I put my foot down and put it down hard. Ask to borrow something; don’t just assume you can take it. Which is what my mother & sister were saying to me back then.

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Feb 5Liked by Suleika Jaouad, Holly Huitt

Crow’s bit about the PETA Sargent of Arms in the Montessori mumu with a bunny emblem embroidered at the breast. Soooo funny 😂

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