Hold on, there is a point to this — Help!

This is the fourth consecutive year I have been honored to be a judge in the FAC annual teen scholastic/literary/poetry event. This year was even more exciting because I am still alive and it was the first reason I have had to shuck my pajamas since last year. Just kidding! But seriously, FAC added a short story contest. Yay!the-pose-533x800.jpg

FAC logoA little aside: Forney Arts Council hosts the annual event but an invitation to participate is extended to several surrounding cities. Just FYI Forney is a booming little town about a stone’s throw east of Dallas Texas.

Just look at the beautiful poets and writers of our future.

Some of them receiving their first check for following their passion.

winners FAC compition

The winners

I am so proud of every single one of them. I know their parents and teachers are too; and the fabulous lady (Tiffany) with a passion for art that keeps this thing going.

Hold on, there is a point to this post —

What was it? ….

Oh yes, Help!

I need your help. It won’t cost you a dime and only a minute of your time.

What? Why? How? You ask?

Well, you see I am scheduled to give a talk/presentation next month on the art of the short story. Actually it is The Art of the Short Story & Micro/Flash Fiction.

The problem (other than the typical butterflies) is I know why I read and write short stories/flash fiction but I would love some input as to why others do.

Is it attention span? Time constraints? Challenge? Amusement? Something else?

If this thing works right I have inserted two polls, one for writers and another for readers. If not…  the comments section is always open.

Thanks Y’all.

Why do you read short stories?
(polls)

Why do you write short stories?

(polls)

The Gift I Mentioned

If you are a mother, had a mother or love a mother – Happy Mother’s Day Y’all!!

This is my gift to you, my family, friends and followers and please – share it with everyone you know and love.

The newest release of More Short Stories & Such.

More Short Stories & Such (731x1024)

About More:

More Short Stories & Such is the newest compilation of short stories and flash fiction written by Janna Hill.    This anthology contains all of the short favorites including the newest (2017) release August Wolf, the acclaimed Door Number Four, Once Upon a Dead Gull and many ‘more’. The stories range from heart rending to heart racing; from fantasy to bizarre.

You’re Welcome.  😀

I wear your shoes

We had pulled over and began hiking a random hill in Eureka Springs Arkansas. I thought we were going for a leisurely drive so I was not dressed for such an occasion; nonetheless I followed the others up the hill. I slipped and giggled, the sound caught my son’s attention.  His eyes scanned me quickly. Seeing I was unharmed he shook his head and smiled.

“Are you wearing Mamaw’s shoes?” he asked. I nodded and laughed, brushing away the dirt and leaves before wriggling my foot back into the loafer.

“You should write about that.” He said, resuming his sure footed trek.

He did not need to say more, we both understood.

Mama's Shoes (800x484).jpg

I wear your shoes

I have your purse …

Filled with scraps of paper –

Scribblings of ancient phone numbers,

and a message from me, the old me.

I have your wallet –

Your social security card,

a useless driver’s license,

a few crinkled one dollar bills

and a handful of change.

I have your letters –

A few anyway,

Written to daddy

Unstamped envelopes with no address

Because there is no zip code

for the dead.

I wear your shoes –

Black loafers with a silver buckle

They fit my feet comfortably

But they pinch my heart

The sole, too thick with patience

and forgiveness and tolerance

Slows my step and weighs me down

The pain of the soft ebony leather

is almost more than I can bear

I place one foot in front of the other

and wonder…

Will this mile ever end?

___________________________________________________________________________________________

Taken from the poetic memoir Getting Me back (The Voices Within). Those are the actual shoes written about in the photo above.

Tomorrow morning, Sunday May 14th, I will share a [more upbeat] Mother’s Day gift with my followers (please share it with yours), in the afternoon I will  happily celebrate the day with my children (I hope you spend the day with yours), Sunday night I will cry myself to sleep knowing that next Sunday May 21st marks the fourth year of her passing. Mama & Cameron.1.jpg

Monday I will blow my nose, find something to laugh about and get busy living because that is how it should be.

Sometimes Truth Is Stranger than Fiction

Once upon a time, a long, long time ago I worked as a nurse. Nurses Janna & Jess.jpg

My daughter (on the left) is a nurse and many of my friends and family are still working in the field of nursing.

I could write forever about the combined experiences of a nursing career. As a matter of fact a few of those experiences fueled scenes in the fictional Clan Destiny series where the main characters (Clara, Linda and Maggie) are nurses. Mary Latrull (another fictional character) likes to pretend she is a nurse and would probably be a good one except –

Oops. I veered off track.

I mention the series now because this is National Nurses Week.

Happy Nurses week comrades, family and friends!

Oh poo, let me ramble off road for a minute and we’ll make this one of Tuesday’s Tell All.

Thinking on the series: when the books stood alone, before they were renamed the Clan Destiny series and before the reviews disappeared from Amazon I had a few comments that the stories were too “far-fetched” and unbelievable.  Yeah, nurses with paranormal abilities. Ha! I’m not sorry, that is why I called it fic-shun.

A handful of people (mostly “nurses”) suggested the medical terminology and/or procedures were incorrect. I know it was wrong but I had to call those to attention. Why? Because I kept “procedural” scenes to a minimum for lay reasons and if practice or terminology has changed that much in the last few years I honestly wanted to know. But nope…

The real thing ‘said nurses’ took issue with was the (occasional) disrespect and unprofessional behavior that I portrayed.  The strange thing is those scenes were all too real. Allow me to share.

Examples:

In book one Maggie curses a bit, insults a doctor and she and Clara have a confrontation, nearly coming to blows while on duty. One ‘said nurse’ says, “#1 no nurse would talk to a doctor like that and #2 Cursing and fighting on duty like hoodlums would never happen.” Truth? It happens. Been there, done that. Nursing is a stressful profession and nurses are human, sometimes we act stupid.

In book two Mary (as a patient) leaves the hospital against medical advice without signing the proper forms.  Another ‘said nurse’ says, “A patient would not be allowed to leave without signing the necessary documents.” I laughed myself silly. Truth? I have chased more than my share of irate, deranged and determined absconders while pleading with them “just sign this and you can go.” Hospitals, clinics and care centers are not prisons; you cannot hold someone against their will and you cannot make them sign a form to c.y.[own]a. (cover your [own] a**)

In book three Maggie, Linda and Clara laugh (in private) and refer to a patient, Mr. Stenchman, as Mean-as Stinky man or Mean-ass Stinky pants. An offended ‘said nurse’ says, “You should not depict nurses in such an unprofessional and unflattering way.” Truth? Sometimes we are unprofessional and ugly and sometimes the patient is a mean-ass stinky man.

I could rattle on about sordid affairs, fist fights, missing bodies/body parts, resurrections insurance/benefit/patient abuse, medicare fraud and more but I won’t. Not today.

Yes, sometimes truth is stranger than fiction.

I may write a true tell-all one day but until then I’ll keep changing the names to protect the guilty, add a little ‘what if’  and focus on the fictitious person – not the true profession.

For all of you nurses [with or without imperfections] keep being the best that you can be. Thanks for shoving your own sh*t aside for 8 to 16 hours a day and caring even when it seems like you don’t.

 Happy Nurses Week!

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The Last Man Standing

A blast from the [not so distant] past. The Last Man Standing has since been laid to rest and frankly I’m feeling a bit nostalgic.

The Real Janna Hill

We went for the annual camp-out this past weekend. I expected a small crowd and a somber mood considering it was our first gathering on the lake since my dear aunt left this world last June and this was her thing, she loved it.

Only thirty five or forty of us were in attendance so the crowd was small but the mood was far from somber. I should have known better than to think that.

We do not dwell on sorrow. No, we mustn’t… we cannot.  And we did not. Instead we laughed and reminisced about our rambunctious youth spent on the shores of Navarro Mills.  A time when our numbers were more, a time when strength and stamina ran hard through our veins, a time when we were too confident to recognize the gift.

Remembering makes us aware of our weakness but we remember anyway because it also brings…

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