Monday, July 24, 2017

Spanish Lace

Believe it or not, this mildewy doll in a tattered dress was the inspiration for a poem that won a prize in 2014 from the Oregon Poetry Association.

Spanish Lace
by Linda Ferguson

I love the bite of childhood –

like the imprint of my imperfect teeth

in a slice of orange cheese

or the spiked scribbles of my first

freewheeling tries at cursive writing,

which looked something like Poseidon’s

temper-tossed waves.

Those playing cards told a story too

when I stuck them in my spokes and turned

my girl’s bike into a motorcycle

racing round the corner in a blur

of rolling R’s and blue fumes.

And how about the trumpet-call

of the silent doll on my shelf? With her

black eyes and red Spanish lace, I could hear

her flamenco-style stamp send a message,

like Morse code, only louder and more clear –

I’m strong, I’m fast, I’m here.

If you're feeling the itch to write, the inspiration for a new piece could be right under your nose. Look around you. The mustiest, most ordinary object might have a story -- or poem -- to tell.

*"Spanish Lace" by Linda Ferguson published in the 2014 volume of Verseweavers: The Oregon Poetry Association's Anthology of Prize-Winning Poems.

Monday, July 17, 2017

New Shoes

My creative writing students often want to give fiction-writing a whirl, but wonder how to begin.

One way is to picture yourself literally in someone else's shoes. My story "This Heady Thing Called Love" started just that way. In this short piece, which was just published by Brilliant Flash Fiction (, I imagined a 19-year-old narrator who's getting all gussied up in a short dress and a pair of heels to impress a cad who cheated on her. In real life, at 19 I was sneaker-wearing student who was already in a long-term relationship, but in crafting this story I had the fun of trying on a metaphorical new pair of shoes, with the added benefit of gaining some understanding of an experience that was so different from my own.

If you've been tempted to try your hand at fiction, you might want to do something similar. Take a scenario that you've observed, and try putting yourself in that situation. How would you feel? How would you act? What shoes would you wear?