Coffee Share 190323

This is a Weekly Coffee Share hosted by Eclectic Alli.
Alli manages a weekly list of posts from a small group of bloggers who want to just stay in touch, chat about blogging, writing, travel, photography, children, pets, work, life hacks or just about anything else that might be of interest.
Link to Last week’s list Link to This week’s list
Link to my Story Blog.   Come share a laugh with me.

So — what do you think of our new coffee joint.  It has everything we need: good drinks, great snacks, good friends and plenty of comfy seating that feels safe, warm and inviting, but it suffers some from a common human weakness — it’s new and unfamiliar.  Today, I’m not sure that “unfamiliar” is a good thing, because I want to set a tone of comfort, safety, and inner refreshment, and it’s hard to do that when the couch fabric and wall tapestries are all new.

So, I stopped by earlier to figure out where things are and make sure this virtual meeting spot has everything we’ve come to depend on.  It does.  The coffee is fresh and someone kind person has laid out all the sweeteners and creamers we commonly use.  The restrooms are very clean and are right down the hallway.  We will still have to stir or add wood occasionally to the fire because it is not one of those soul-less gas flame units, but is the real thing with the wood bin next to the brass poker.

With the smell of fresh cinnamon scones in the air, fresh coffee and snacks nearby, fresh apples and bananas on the counter and a virtual tab for all of this that I set up so we can just help ourselves – and good friends around the coffee table – I think we have everything we need for a great visit.  Oh, and I almost forgot, for those of you who are tired of the snow, that built-in shelf next to the fire place must be picking up some heat from the fire because all those quilts are warm.  Would you enjoy a warm quilt with your coffee?  Pick a color and I’ll grab it for you.

“Okay — let’s do this,” Gary said as he settled back into a corner of the couch.  “Ah.  I’m going to need this coffee and/or brisk conversation to stay awake in this coach.  This is really comfy.”

Last week I described the plum tree in out back yard and Maria asked for photos. Maria rarely asks for anything so I’m keen on delivering.    Here’s a close up and wider shot.  It’s a good thing she asked when she did because the next morning after I took these shots  we had a strong wind and rain gush that knocked most of the blossoms off.  You can see that it is still a younger tree, but the fruit it does produce doesn’t last long around our home.


As a nice postscript to how spring has arrived to northern California, even more alligator lizards have come out from behind the herb garden to play on on the sunny bricks, but this new generation doesn’t want me or my camera too close so we’re stuck with this free-use Google shot.

alligator lizard 2These guys are only about 4-6 inches long from nose to tail-tip, really playful to watch (from a distance of at least 10 feet) and are always welcome.  We have a small patch of ivy beside our front walk and on Tuesday, I was leaving to run some errands and almost stepped on a huge lizard I thought had moved on.  This guy lives somewhere in this ivy, is just over a foot long and frankly does not look or act as playful or inviting as his much small peers in the back yard.

Last weekend, Beaton had me laughing with his coffee share that gave us a quick tour of how to become an internet troll.  I’ve named such narratives, “Rhetorical Tutorials”, and Beaton got me thinking if there might be a fun theme here, creating instructional essays about things you would never really want to do.

I’ve mentioned before that I’ve wanted to write entertaining essays for decades, and Beaton’s piece reminded me of one I wrote in high school titled, “The How-to-do-it-almost-all-by-yourself Zit Removing Manual”.  I thought it was hysterical because we were all struggling with zits, AKA acne or pimples.  One friend in particular was suffering badly and among us, he was the most keen on getting a girl friend and so was overly interested in any method that might vanquish these horrid blemishes.  He inspired me to put pen to paper and I produced  a 6-page hand written manual with about 8 screwy ways to deal with the problem.

I took it to church with me the first Sunday after it was done and shared it with 4 of my best friends.  We had a great laugh.  The next day, Monday, I took it to school with me and by my 2nd period class, had shared it with another 3 friends, again resulting in laughter all around.  In my 3rd period, Electronics, class, I picked up one more.  When I got to my next class, I reached into my pack to share it with my zit-afflicted friend and — horrors!  It was gone.  I must have left it in my previous class.  I ran back to recover it, but no joy.  It really was gone.  My teacher knew nothing about it and had to get going on his next class.  “I’ll keep an eye out for it Gary.”

I left despondent, because I doubted I would ever see it again, and I was right.  Whether it made it to the trash or someone to this day pulls it out to show his or her friends in the retirement home what they studied in high school in the good old days – I’ll likely never learn – but it was both, really funny and a painful loss.

writing by handI learned that I had the potential to be a writer in high school.  I had put together a story of a conflicted romance between a young man in his first job out of school and two different women.  One gal who shared many of his interests was just fun to be with, while the other was more edgy and frisky, leaving this guy struggling between his deeper friendship-based relationship and his hormones.  I had a couple of chapters drafted and an outline for the rest of the story, when we started a new quarter where I began a creative writing class.  On a whim, I brought my draft to class the first day and after we were dismissed I went up to talk with the teacher about whether she might help me finish the story. Her eyes lit up as she read my sample and when she was finished, she put it all down on her desk and said, “I have a better idea Mr. Wilson.  I’ll exempt you from all the assignments for this class so you can work on this story.  If you finish it by the end of class, I’ll give you an “A”.

Wow!  I was excited and I had bi-weekly feedback from my teacher about each chapter. I worked like mad making the story line hold together and typing up each chapter.  To this day, I recall one later night when I was trying to get a chapter ready to submit and in the middle of a typed page was a line that I wanted to ready, “… he stopped for a couple of beers.” I had fat-fingered the last word making the sentence read, “… he stopped for a couple of beets.”  I laughed for the next 10-15 minutes until I realized that I had to retype the whole page.  Ugh.  Painful were the days before white-out liquid paper.

My teacher and I even got into the makings of a real argument over the story line where I included a rape scene.  My protagonist stepped in to stop the rape and the victim responded in a way my teacher did not agree with.  I loved this teacher.  She made me make my story much more real.  I’ve gone back and read it again and ugh – it’s classic bad high school level writing, but she gave me that “A” and I was hooked.

How about you all?  How did you get started writing?

I’m looking forward to reading your coffee share for the week.  Thanks for stopping by.


To select another story, please visit the full index by clicking here.

Gary photo n bio

11 thoughts on “Coffee Share 190323

  1. That’s a problem with living up north: we don’t have lizards around here. Bummer… Cool you got into writing in high school. I did very well with all of my assignments, but my story telling back then was worse than awful and I knew, so I stuck to no-fiction back then. Have a great week!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I started writing in a writing class at school. It was a supernatural class. I loved it and wrote a few stories one of which I sent to a magazine and it was rejected and I was so upset over the failure I quit writing for many years. The last 10 years I have made up for that, but I only ever sent one other thing in for a contest and I got an honorable mention. It helped get my spirits back up.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Pleasantly surprised to find my name in this post, hahaha I am imagining what the zit popping story must have been it must have been quite a couple of laughs and I bet unlike it ending up in the trash someone probably used it to impress “friends” thats what I would have done, wait I would have taken the idea and gone another way with it..
    Back in high school I used to run a nice lil racket, where for a small fee, I would draft cute love notes the other guys would send to their sweethearts during study break.
    It worked out fine until my diary somehow ended up in the hands of one of the girls who put two and two together and realised that the only thing she really like about her boyfriend was the cute letters and it wasnt even him who wrote them, and she outed me to the rest of the girls as the architect and all the guys got dumped; and there might have been a bit of drama and girl fights as suddenly I stopped being that wallflower guy blending in the shadows with head behind a book, to one of the cool kids bagging trophies as president of the public speaking club and writing an award winning play for the school drama club.
    The former cool guys were not amused
    They wanted to kill me, but fortunately that was also the year I became a school Headboy, it was like a worm becoming a butterfly fun times.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. hahahaha – Beaton, you are not going to believe me – but something very similar happened to me, not in high school, but in my first job out from trade school. My best friend, who appears in several of my stories and his off and on girlfriend who both appear in my story;
      this same great friend was having issues with this girl and as he explained the details, I concluded he could just write her a loving letter explaining his side of all this stuff they were dealing with. That evening, I even wrote him a sample of what I was trying to explain. He took my letter and said he would read and consider it that very evening after work. When I arrived for work the next day, he thanked me for the great idea and said he used my sample. “Oh great! What did you finally change?”
      “Well, nothing. It was perfect.”
      gulp! “But it was supposed to be an example.”
      “And you said it all better than I could have.”
      From that time on, I lived in fear of her finding out for the very reasons you experienced first hand.

      Thanks for triggering a great memory and I’m very glad you survived to tell us of it. = too funny.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. hahahahahaha oh my word, it must be writer’s curse to be haunted by words you have written coming home roost just like the cows, for most people its the chickens, but for some its the cows that come home to roost…

        Liked by 1 person

  4. I had an ornamental plum tree in my previous house. Although it did not produce fruit, it had beautiful lavender blossoms to herald spring.


  5. Thank you for the cinnamon scone, Gary! I’m not sure ‘why’ I started writing, but I know we had a lot of car trips and moves, so maybe I was keep myself company. I was also an avid reader, which seems to also inspire writing. I recall writing about things I saw on a drive from Virginia to Florida, where we were moving, at age 8. I recall another short story I wrote on a drive to TN, same age. The joy I felt seems to have stayed with me. Have a great week!

    Liked by 1 person

  6. LOOOOVED the coffee share scene! I could feel the warmth from the fireplace.. A blanket, coffee and good conversation.. Heaven!

    Beets, too funny! Bummer you lost your story, it sounded like a great one!

    Liked by 1 person

  7. I began writing, I think, through years of wandering alone through nearby groves and pastures, making up and telling myself stories. In later grade school, I wrote my first poem– , but the response to it was to ask where I had copied it from and a reiteration of the assignment to write one of my own. I did take joy in writing research papers. I returned to creative writing during college, when I started journaling; I felt safer, writing what nobody else would read. Then started pulling out a few poems from my journals and submitting them for publication.

    Later on, I made a collection of poems that I particularly liked, which collection I gave to a couple of my siblings. From that, some folks asked for permission to publish individual poems. And then, bespoke chapbooks. I mostly write for myself, still. To find out what I am thinking or feeling.

    (Oops! Not my Stray Coffee Breaks account…ah, well!)

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Ooo, I love it Gary! Thank you so much for sharing your wonderful tree with us!!! It almost feels like I’m in California 🙂 Next after saying goodbye to my horses (when I left California,) it was hard to say goodbye to my garden, especially all the young fruit trees that I had been neutering so closely. Thank you so much for sharing your tree.

    I like your intro to this post. Speaking of new designs and layout, I’m thinking about, and will probably upgrade my account to a more business blog. The main reason being that I need more space. I’ve used up 97% of the space available on the plan I have now.

    I don’t remember how I started writing. I’ve just always enjoyed it. When my grandma passed away (maybe 15 years ago?) my dad found a big box with letters and drawing that I had sent to her. The first letters started when I was 5 years old, and continued on a regular basis for many years. They were all about horses, horse facts, and my favorite horses at the riding academy. It was pretty detailed letters explaining each horse personality. My grandma was not a horse person….I read a lot, and the more books I read in English, the easier it gets to write in English. 8-9 years ago my English was very basic. I actually started my frist blog 9 years ago, just before moving to the US, while I still lived in Sweden, to improve my English. I used a dictionary in every other sentence. It took forever to write a post.

    Thank you for the wonderful coffee. My apologize for being so late. I hope your new week is fabulous!!

    Liked by 1 person

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