31 of 365

The northern ridge erupted in flames. Trees exploded and sparks flew across the valley, igniting the opposite ridge. The wildfire encroached on them from all sides, too quickly for their legs to outrun. Their only hope for survival was the creek. They plunged into the shallow water and lay prone. Their heads, propped on a stone covered in algae; their bodies, secured beneath a heavy wool blanket. All they could do now was wait.


30 of 365

She poured the thick liquid into the spoon, its convexity threatening to spill onto the floral sheets. She held it to her son's lips. Then the cough returned. The boy hid his face in the pillow, the burst staining the case red. The woman begged God to quiet the cough, but she ached with each syllable of the prayer. Mothers across town had echoed this prayer, and every time He had quieted the cough, He had quieted the child as well.


29 of 365

She woke on the park bench to something rough and wet sliding down her toes. A glance to her feet revealed a salivating mass of pink. It was Leonard, the town pig, sitting on his hindquarters, thoroughly enjoying the taste of her big toe. She retracted her feet and wiped them dry with her sleeve. Leonard snorted in displeasure. She stood and stared at the pig. Leonard stood and held her stare. She walked down the path. Leonard followed.


28 of 365

She had heard her mother tell stories of the great quake. The day the river's current reversed and the sun turned black. The day the earth opened up and swallowed all the flowers. She had never felt the ground move beneath her feet. She had never seen holes appear in the dirt where no holes had been before. These stories gave her nightmares. So when she felt her bed shaking one night, she thought it was another nightmare. She was wrong.


27 of 365

He stood alone at the water’s edge, shoes still laced and soaking wet. His feet sunk further into the sand with each receding wave. The impact came from behind, shoving him face first into the shallow water. He felt a sharp radiating pain in his core when he tried to stand. His legs buckled and he fell back down. The waves crashed over him, grappling with the weight of his body, trying to pull him out to sea.


26 of 365

She placed the damp branches in a metal bin beside the stove, her boots nearby, and draped her wet socks over the top. The cabin was generations old. She tried her best to maintain it, but she at ten years old could only do so much. She was thawing her toes by the stove when the train sped by, as it did twice a day everyday, precisely on schedule. So when the walls shook and a dish fell from a shelf, she thought nothing of it. Then the roof caved in.


25 of 365

He had been sitting near the door, working on his laptop for the past hour. Celeste had spent most of that hour staring at him, memorizing his strong jaw and dark brows. Then she sketched him, committing his likeness to a piece of scratch paper from her purse. She gathered her things, placed her coffee cup in the basket above the trash can, and approached him. By the time the drawing landed on the man's keyboard, she was already out the door.


24 of 365

The pilot was still unconscious and sat slumped in his seat. Graham tried to pull back on the yoke, but the nose of the plane fought his effort and continued to plummet. The surface of the water came quickly. Though with no engine sounds, the descent was nearly serene, like the hush that fell over the crowd as an Olympian dove from the ten-meter platform. Time slowed, breaths ceased, death was imminent.


23 of 365

She sat cross-legged on a blanket in the open-air market. She had spent the week beading her inventory and still felt pain in her knuckles from the task. The first few hours of the morning brought appreciative remarks but no purchases, though this was not her concern. What she cared for were the people beside her. Those that laid out similar blankets with similar inventory, and sat with similarly crossed legs, yet were far from similar.


22 of 365

He worked carefully on the nose, smoothing the deep red clay with his finger. He glazed and fired the piece, and hung it by a nail on the front exterior wall of his house. Earlier that day, he had watched a man with tearful eyes sit hunched on a curb. A woman approached the man, laid a hand on his shoulder, and asked how she could help. It was this woman he sculpted, her face now among the hundreds on his front wall, watching over him and the world.


21 of 365

The daffodils grew where no life had grown in years. They had broken through the drought-ridden ground and found shelter below the corrugated steel eaves. Streaks of rust slowly crept down the side of the house and threatened to poison the soil, but he wouldn't let that happen. He saw the blooms as his welcome home banner. He had no more reason to keep walking than he did to rip nature's beauty from its roots and toss it aside.


20 of 365

She rose from the exposed mattress and parted the metal blinds. She stared into the night, avoiding her reflection in the glass. The hedge on the far side of the parking lot lit up as a pair of headlights rounded the corner. She did not linger. She opened the door and exited into the empty hallway. The door shut with finality. The lonely door to the lonely room that no longer sheltered the lonely girl.


19 of 365

The boy sat perched on the small hill, watching the elderly man push a shopping cart into a mobile home park. Like an ant perusing an empty picnic table, the man wove through the trailers, pausing at some, ignoring others. Something in a carport caught his attention. He abandoned his cart in the middle of the road, and rushed to retrieve the item. Knowing exactly what the man had taken, the boy ran down the hill to warn the others.


18 of 365

The thin bedspread did little to keep out the sharp winter air, which had managed to seep through all the cracks in the house. She had begged him a week ago to purchase a space heater, but received a lecture on the high cost of utilities instead. She was awake at midnight waiting for his return. At 3 a.m., she became worried. At some point sleep found her, and she woke to sunlight shining through the blinds. His side of the bed was still empty.


17 of 365

It began on the adjoining wall, a baseline percussion that summoned the other residents. A tapping came next, dance steps from above. She grabbed a spoon and banged the dishes in her stainless steel sink, falling into a rhythm. The building was speaking and she was a sentence of its discourse. When she had hit her final dish, and the surrounding walls fell quiet, she found her way to her bed and fell asleep.


16 of 365

I figured a happy, melodic hitchhiker was less threatening. So on the roadside I stood, smiling and strumming the strings of my Gibson, hoping someone would take pity. I was thrilled when the VW bus slowed and parked on the shoulder. The back of the bus was riddled with stickers and the words "0 to 60 in 15 minutes." It may take a while but I would get to San Francisco somehow.


15 of 365

She awoke to a bright flickering through her bedroom window. It was the third night in a row. The porch light of the neighboring condo appeared to have a faulty circuit. She tried to close her eyes but her lids glowed with the hypnotic rhythm. She knew that rhythm. She had seen it once before. Di-dah-dit di-di-dah dah-dit. The Morse code spoke to her, and in seconds, she had her phone in hand and dialed.


14 of 365

At precisely 2 p.m., the computer rang with an incoming video call. He clicked to answer and the sound of banjo strings sang from the desktop speaker. He smiled, grabbed his ukulele, and joined in. Each strum entwined with hers. Their notes harmonized to perfection. The pairing spanned thousands of miles, but if he closed his eyes, it was as if she were right there beside him.


13 of 365

With no more room to build out, they built up. They salvaged what they could from the burnt pier to reinforce the pilings of the one that remained. They extracted the skylights from the existing structures on the pier and quickly sealed the voids. Rooms once infused with sunlight now sat dark, though a necessary sacrifice for the good of the town. With the first floor secure, they could then build the two new floors to house the refugees.


12 of 365

There was a parking space on the opposite side of the street. She drove up to the stop sign, made a U-turn after a white SUV, and then cursed the air as the SUV stole her spot. She circled the block once, and then again. As she passed the office a third time, through her rear view mirror she saw a car near the front door pulling out of its spot. Her eyes fell back to the street ahead just as the man rolled onto her hood and up her windshield.


11 of 365

The bus was full of chatter. Cora, alone in her seat, was staring out the window when she felt the rise and fall of the cushion beneath her legs. The chatter stopped abruptly. Cora froze upon seeing Elliot Mitchell next to her. Her heart raced. She became distinctly aware of his shoulder’s proximity to hers. A long silent minute passed. Then the chatter resumed, leaving Elliot and Cora alone in the seat they now shared.


10 of 365

She sat fidgeting with the clothespin, spinning it between her index finger and thumb, squeezing the ends, analyzing the tension of the spring. With her free hand, she pinched the skin of her inner thigh and eased the pin in place. A ghostly white circle surrounded the tip of the pin as it jutted from her leg. She tried with all her might to will feeling where no feeling existed. Her will failed. It always failed.


9 of 365

"What would you want if you couldn't have it anymore?" Hazel had taken to asking questions like this since their world had changed. "I don't know, socks maybe," Henry said, wiggling his bare toes. "What would you want, Z?" She thought for a moment, and then she spoke. "I'd want the wind." Henry caught the eyes of his young sister. They nodded in unison, then gathered their belongings, and walked into town.


8 of 365

A slice of orange hung low in the sky, gently grazing the harbor lights. Mira paused on the hill and looked back toward the dark water. She could picture Ian standing on the bow of his boat. He was pleading with the moon. He was asking permission to hook his fingers around the crescent. The moon would abide and slowly pull him down into the sea. Down to a land half a world away, one just waking and one that would welcome him without question.


7 of 365

Sam walked the streets in the blue light of morning. Houses hummed with running water, but the ground beneath his feet lay still and sound asleep. He sought a small red cottage a few blocks north, and sat on a bench at the property's edge to wait. Soon a song resonated from the cottage. The melody approached him, enveloped him, and then disappeared. He stared into the dawn sky to where the music had gone. Now he would go too.


6 of 365

The kids were all in bed. Her husband was engulfed in cigar smoke and tucked privately behind his desk in the study. She gripped the stem of the martini glass, what was left of the alcohol sloshed from rim to rim. Diamonds in liquid form, matching those at home on her skin. Difficult to choose which was more of a best friend. Those that adorned her body kept her from the gossip circle, those that slid down her throat kept her from the truth.


5 of 365

He worked methodically. The process was simple. Purchase the journal. Fill the journal with his confession. Drill through the cover. Chisel out a large square hole in the pages. Place the clock's mechanism in the hole, and finally, close and secure the cover. He sold his creations online. To date, he had made twelve. Buyers never knew what he had hidden inside. That is, until the day one of his clocks fell off a wall and burst open.


4 of 365

Her heels fiercely pounded the gravel of the parking lot. Passing eyes strained to ignore her. She screamed. The mother's face awash with calm and a soft smile, her hand outstretched to protect the girl’s head. Then the sound of terror transitioned to an endearing weep. The mother swept the girl up into her arms, squeezed her, absorbed her pain. And into their car they climbed, continuing on with their day.


3 of 365

The radio filled the car with the sound of a reporter speaking French. A grocery store had run out of citrus. Elise glanced in worry at the bag of oranges on the passenger seat. Then a recording played, "Couvre-feu commencera à huit heures ce soir." It was 7:59. In a panic, she left her car in the middle of the road, just short of her driveway in the Los Angeles suburb. She hurried inside with oranges in hand and locked the deadbolt behind her.


2 of 365

The suitcase felt heavy on her legs, but she refused to tuck it below her seat and continued to hug it desperately. The man stood on the platform staring at her through the window. For a moment, she thought he was about to step toward the train, attempt to stop her from leaving. But she was wrong. He hadn't moved, he never would. Thus she sat, alone with the weight of the case on her legs, and the weight of her heart on her shoulders.


1 of 365

“The best show is the one after the curtain falls,” the man said, leaning back in his chair and raising his glass. A matching chair lay in pieces on the linoleum floor. The woman snatched her scarf from around the man’s neck and stormed out the room. The air of her departure spiraled and swept the remaining script pages off the table and onto the floor. He chuckled, brought his glass to his lips, and downed the final drops of his drink.

PS365 Goal for 2012

I've spent the last month pondering what to do for this blog in 2012. I knew I wanted to change it up a bit, focus more on writing, find a way to hold myself accountable for writing everyday. Inspiration came by way of a interview I heard on NPR with the illustrator Lou Beach who had dreams of being a writer. In 2009, he began writing a story a day in his Facebook status box, using the maximum character allowance of the box as his maximum story length. Seeing how my own 365 photos of 2010, and the 52 composites of 2011, better honed my skill as a photographer, I figure a story a day with a cap on length is an excellent way to fine-tune my writing skills. At the very least, it will be an interesting journey in learning how to trim the ramblings of an often wordy writer. A story a day for 365 days. Maximum character allowance: 365 (spaces not included). Let the scribbling begin.

Happy New Year everyone!

P.S. I still plan to post photographs. Maybe they'll accompany the stories, maybe they won't. We'll just have to see what the year has in store.