Posted in drafts/jewelsintherough, Prompts for Writers, Writer's Prompts, Writing, Writing and all its cousins

Flash Fiction, Week One

The following exercise is inspired by a writing prompt from, Flash 52: 52 Writing Prompts for a Year of Writing by Jamie DeBree

Richard pours tea and we raise our cups in a celebratory manner. This is our quintet—well, sextet considering Richard. Basically, it’s a group of stressed out writers looking to profit more than gas money from words.

“How’s it going? Any new ideas, progress?” Richard asks.

Sheila’s hand shoots up first. “I don’t know how I did it,” she beams, “but this week,  I managed 50k in between the twins’ naps.”

Another hand goes up. 10K. 6K. More cheers and tea.


That’s me; it’s my turn. I clutch my yellow notebook to my chest. The notepad is as blank as when I opened it to its first college-ruled page, two weeks ago. How would they know if I did 50K or zero? It isn’t as though we inspect each other’s drafts, at least not during the first part of the month.

“I’m still outlining,” I say, which is neither truth nor lie.

An uncomfortable silence ensues. And then a collective murmur of well, that’s a start.

Sheila’s eyes scan the group. “I’ve been hiding something,” she says.

Let me guess, she isn’t human? She hired a ghostwriter? She hasn’t typed one alphabet but instead fibbed to make herself feel better?

As if sensing my skepticism, she plops a copy of her manuscript onto the table and then retrieves a small, plastic bag from her purse.

Are those…poppy seeds? No, poppy seeds are smaller. And darker.

“Okay, I know certain things improve brain function, and that’s why we drink  tea and  meet twice a month and share our thoughts. But these babies,” she continues, grabbing a handful of the seeds and dropping them into a cup, “are like…bees to flowers, bubbles to baths, syrup to waffles. This is brain food!”

Within minutes of sipping from a teacup, she’s reciting passages of Spoon River Anthology.

“Amazing!” Richard says.

“I’ve retained four plays, three anthologies, every word of Ethan Frome and created my draft in two weeks—all with the help of these Z seeds.”

Suddenly, I’m reminded of a time I came home sporting a nose ring and red hair. Ma took one look and admonished, “If the entire class jumped off a bridge, would you do it, too?”

Would I?  Am I seriously considering Sheila’s claim?

I imagine four to five completed novels a year, a new car, a full-tank of gas instead of the fumes I’ve driven on the majority of the day. Surely similar thoughts are running through the other’s mind.

Would you be silly enough to do it, too?

And so it begins…


Shonte Sanders aka Whatevertheyaint


* I didn’t follow the premise to a fault, but I did keep the basics as far as setting and characters. The original prompt calls for a man in his thirties, a folding table in a huge parking lot, an electric kettle, a teapot and teacups, and five women approaching. Feel free to continue to add to this piece by sharing (300 words or less) in the comments section. Ready? Let’s Go! Have fun 🙂

Posted in everyday living, life and reflection, Perhaps...I'll Let You In, poetry, random, Writing

Untitled, September 2016

this is a comfortable life,
the repeating of words
did you brush your teeth?
please pick up your shoes
the toilet’s still broken
please, pick up your shoes!
tasks and outcomes
faucet still leaking
more piles to pick up
it’s fine, really
we take on titles
our names irrelevant
with each metamorphosis

this is a satisfying life,
the repeating of words
why don’t you buy a wallet?
please fix the gazebo
the wipers are broken
seriously! pick up your shoes
plausible outcomes
brake-fluid still leaking
more hats to pile on
we take on roles
our names irrelevant
with each version
of ourselves

SmS aka Whatevertheyaint 9-2016

Posted in Your Turn

Mosey on over to the Facebook page. Share your words, share your art, share your music; or simply look around.  And if you’re a frequent guest…or even a lurker, let me know what you’d like to see more of in the upcoming year.

Have an awesome December, and may 2014 be the coolest present yet.

What They Aint is a medley of

  • artwork
  • poetry
  • writing prompts
  • music
  • essays
  • random
  • resourceful links
  • artists/interviews






Additional Comments? Feel free to share below:


Posted in Writers I Like

Winners of Bring On the Words: Rick Puetter



Oh, how life’s cares bound up my heart!

I faced each day with dread

My life was so devoid of joy

Held woe I could not shed

What could I do to ease this curse–

To find from pain release?

I lifted goblet to my lips

Drank full, the world to cease

And as I slept upon my bed

A dream appeared to me

It seemed that I in water swam

Then sank into the sea

And down and down my body sank

Pulled down into the deep

I felt my lungs about to burst

Prepared for final sleep

But on the bottom’s rippled sands

Were sunken ships arrayed

The ships not in sad disrepair

But stately were displayed

No rotting timber marred their hills

No mud-encrusted sterns

This not a death-bed of the deep

These ships by God ne’er spurned

This not a graveyard damp and dark–

Wrecks ravaged by petards

No ghostly sailors beyond hope

No soul from heaven barred

But proudly sails were hoisted high

Filled full by current drafts

The sight did draw from me a sigh

To see such spritely crafts

And as these vessels strained to move

To free hulls from the sands

Me thought I heard a Captain cry

“Me hardies next stop land!”

And spirit crews did then appear

Trimmed sails and manned the ropes

So lively did the sailors move

My God, it gave one hope!

Then clouds did move from overhead

And light of moon did gleam

Jeweled rays of light cut through the sea

And lit this brilliant scene

Then slowly from their watery graves

The ships began to move

Their hulls now free from sandy bar–

Untimely death reproved!

And as the vessels sailed away

In water I did rise

Then somehow walked a sun-lit beach

With life restored as prize

And gazing at the sun, amazed

I clutched myself in tears

Oh how my life had been so blessed

I’ll cherish all my years!

Then I awoke upon my bed

My fears all swept away

Oh was this dream or was this truth?

I really cannot say

And yet I’ll always carry this–

This vision of my dream

And whether true or whether false

I’m stronger so it seems

And I can see those sunken ships–

Can see them sail away

And now can face the world again!

Find joy in every day

*Rick Puetter


This is such a compelling piece. I read it several times in judging and many more since then. I hope you all will find it  inspirational as well.


Care to read more? Visit Rick Puetter here:

Posted in drafts/jewelsintherough, Writing

Camp NanoWriMo

this one time, at writing camp…”

I have an issue with challenges.  I take them on (as long as they don’t include jumping off bridges or parachuting) with a zeal and determination so strong I’m often looked at as being crazy.

Translation: I’m stubborn and driven.

In November 2011 I joined Nanowrimo and, after several sleepless nights, brain fatigue, and–according to staff–a car that continued to roll as I jumped out each morning (I ALWAYS managed to make it to the clock on time.  Well, almost always), I completed a draft.  My first, somewhat flawed novel!

2012 found me struggling to make it pass 3,000 words.  If you’re familiar with Nano, you know that the goal for National Writing Month is more like 50K.  I forced my way through a couple of chapters, wrapped my hands in ace bandages and splints, and eventually listened to that other voice in my head, the voice of reason.

Now it is 2013 and, after receiving an email about CAMP Nanowrimo, I’m in the trenches again.  Well, not really the trenches.  More like…a retreat?  That’s what the web page says.

So, as I pack up and head to the cabin, I hope that my cabin mates are as eager as I am, that they don’t snore, that we don’t get eaten by bears, and that we all reach our writing goals.

Happy camping.


How about you?  Are you participating in Camp Nano this month?  If so, what are you working on? Do you plan to collaborate with someone or go it alone?  And, if you’re looking for a partner, would you care to join me?

Posted in life and reflection, Your Turn

As I Randomly Sign Off on 2012: Transitions

After all, we are the designated driver of our lives.  Put anyone else in the car seat and there’s no telling where you’ll end up–possibly somewhere you don’t want to be.

But first, we have to be willing to navigate.

Change” isn’t so bad.  It’s the fear of removing one’s self from the familiar, from one’s comfy little habitat,  that can become debilitating.

Ever since I embarked upon a transition, I’ve felt more in tune with my TRUE self.

Fix whatever ain’t working.  In the end, you’ll be glad you did.

Go, go, go, go.  Get moving!

How far can you go?  As far as you want to if you’re willing to try.

I am my only restraint”  Remember that, and don’t hold yourself back.

Just because you’re unsure of what the outcome will be doesn’t mean you can’t step out on faith. (“Faith” being the key word)

Keep dreaming, but also work in harmony with your dreams.

Love yourself first and everything else will turn out lovely.

Make it happen.

Nobody can do you like you.

Omg, what have I done?” (This will be the first reaction upon making a major, life-changing decision:-)

Pardon me, but I’m HAPPY now. (And this is the ideal outcome, although it may take a while, after making a huge, life-altering decision)

Question yourself if necessary, but don’t doubt yourself.

Realize that transitions are inevitable. They’ll happen with or without you.

Stand tall, stand firm.

The road gets all twisty sometimes, but you’ll be okay.

Under  no circumstances should one completely burn their bridges.  Might have to cross over em again to get to the next destination.

Void is a life robotically lived.

What’s over yonder?  We’ll never know if we aren’t curious.

Examine where you are at to get where you want to be.

Yearn for something; it makes life worthwhile.

Seize today!


Your turn:

What major transitions did you face this year?  How did they turn out?  What advice would you give others dealing with a similar situation?  If you had to sum up 2012 in one word what would it be?


Do share in the comment section.

Posted in everyday living


I have been told that I am very rational. There are times in which I’m uncertain whether this is a compliment or a polite way of saying, “You should be crying, yelling, having a nervous breakdown; instead you’re just…standing there. What is your deal!”

Okay, in a couple of situations people pointed out the latter as well.

My reasoning may be faulty, but I feel there has to be some logical reason for every action and reaction in life.  The person who talks to everyone as if they’re idiots from some unknown galaxy? Well, maybe that’s the way they’ve been taught to communicate.  Perhaps their parents conversed with one another that way.  Maybe the rude person in question is having a rough day. That lady who threw a worn garment in your face and demanded a refund, even though the sweater was 80% cat hair and 20% sweater? (And, yes, that happened years ago when I was pregnant with my first child, hormonal, and working customer service)  It is possible that poor lady was…crazy!

Yet, here I am, trying to find a logical reason why this month has been so challenging.  And attempting to find a way to deal–rationally.  And because I can’t, I simply avoid. (See the post: Access & Avoid)

This month: I lost a person I grew up with to lupus, and it hit home harder than usual because…I too have lupus and we were a team, a support group. When this person was diagnosed twelve years ago, she had a family and army of friends who stood by and willed her on.  And to go to her funeral was very hard.

This month: Carpal tunnel wrecked havoc.  Had to halt nano, make a couple of trips to the doctor, pray and recite my daily mantra.  (See, the  post: The Walk-through Daily Mantra) 

To process what nerve damage in both hands means would only make me frustrated, so I search for positive things to do which require minimal movement.

Mind you, holding a book isn’t an easy task. But reading  Poems that Save your Life, a book of inspirational poetry, has lifted my spirits some.

What is my favorite so far?  It’s Fine Today, by Douglass Malloch. The lines which resonate most?  These:

It’s today that I am livin’

Not a month ago.

Havin’; losin’; takin’; given’;

As time wills it so.

Yesterday a cloud of sorrow

Fell across the way,

It may rain again tomorrow,

It may rain–but say,

Ain’t it fine today?