Monthly Archives: September 2012

My Goldilocks Moment

by Diana Sears McDaniel.


As I was in the parking lot of my mother’s nursing home removing Mother’s Day gifts from the back of the truck, a small group walked casually in my direction. I wondered why the woman was following the man instead of walking by his side but didn’t really give it much thought. I was too busy congratulating myself on finding the gorgeous, deep golden yellow potted iris that would find a home in Mom’s garden after the blooms faded.Smiles and nods – good children to good children – as is usual in such settings. We were all enjoying some sun and fresh air between thunder storms on this Spring day.

Then they turned to head to their car and I did a classic double take. The third member of the party was a large black bear! It was easily 7 feet of glossy black fur and wicked claws just out for a stroll on a sunny Sunday afternoon. I’m afraid I goggled. Possibly, I reeled. If I knew for sure what plotzing was, I might own up to that. I know there was a naughty word bouncing around in my brain but I managed to keep it contained.The man had the head and the woman was holding the tail so that they made a small circus parade across the lot. When they carefully loaded the bear in the back seat, I saw that it was only the pelt so had no width which explains why I didn’t see it until they turned.

No words managed to struggle out of my open mouth before they waved and disappeared around the corner, so I will never know important things. Like where did the bear come from and why was it at a nursing home.

Did grandma bag it just before her collapse? Was it a family friend who came to visit for Mother’s Day? Do these people take a bear skin with them everywhere for religious reasons? Or, were the kids tired of waiting for their inheritance and thought Mama might finally cash it in if she woke up to find a bear in bed with her?

I scurried as fast as I could to the entrance of the home, fumbled at the door lock button, flung open the door and prepared to hear the tale. However, disappointment and frustration was my lot.

There was no excited buzz among the residents or staff as I crossed the lobby. No gaping mouths in the hallway as I made my way to the room at the back. Mother hadn’t seen it so it hadn’t been touring the facility. I was afraid to ask at the desk in case I was having some sort of episode. I did get one of ‘those’ looks from Mom when I asked her if she’d seen the bear.

So, you tell me. Do I need medication or is there a perfectly reasonable explanation for meeting a bear in a nursing home?

Read more and Comment


EVP stands for electronic voice phenomenon and is when ghost hunters use a small hand held digital recorder and will sit in a quiet haunted location and ask general questions. Sometimes you’ll hear a response but most of the time the spirits will answer in a frequency not of our realm. Later on the recording will be put on computer and run through a digital sound enhancer like goldwave where sounds on other frequencies will be identified. I was recently on an investigation where the ghost seekers were asking questions and we picked up an EVP that said repeatedly “get out! get out!” If you watch Ghost Hunters and Ghost Adventures, you’ll see that EVP’s are the best evidence gleaned on a paranormal investigation. It’s very easy to do so try it at your home sometime. Just be careful what you ask for you might get an answer you’re not expecting.

Read more and Comment

The Story of Us

WELCOME, readers, to a website that I hope will promote and illuminate what we readers love the most…stories. As you read on the opening page…(by G. K. Chesterton) Fairytales are not written to tell children that dragons exist. Children know full well that dragons exist. Fairytales are to show children that sometimes dragons can be defeated.

And we story writers do our best to give them the triumph they desire. Which stories linger in our memories longest? Answer: those that connect with us emotionally in some strong way—and so they became unforgettable. Writers don’t write mere plots—we write emotions.

To start a story with the perfect first line that hooks the reader, present something—a person, name, or situation—in that sentence that the reader will, without conscious decision, understand on the deepest level. Two examples: “Call me Ishmael.” The name alone creates a picture. It’s Eastern, therefore slightly exotic to most of us. By not mentioning any last name the reader imagines someone who works at a menial job, and that he’s being uncharacteristically bold when he asks you to call him by his name. He sounds despairing. You immediately think he has something significant he wants to tell you. You wonder what it could be.

“Last night I dreamed I was at Manderley again.” A little anxious. She dreamed something that bothers her, and it’s far from the first time. We can tell somehow it’s a ‘she’ speaking, but the choice of simple, uncluttered words tells us this is a quiet, unhysterical woman, and therefore her anxiety is not dismissed. We want to hear the rest.

The key to great first lines: We want to hear the rest.



Read more and Comment