Everyday Stories 2016 – Recap

Everyday Stories is my annual “30 Stories in 30 Days Inspired by 30 Found Photographs” writing project. If you’re looking for a place to start, or want to find a story you liked, you can see all the story photos and first lines here. Thanks for reading!


Cruise November 1
“This would be a great workout,” Gwen said as she slowly waddled out to deeper water. It was more of an observation than an idea, as Gwen was done seeking out exercise regimes.

es2016-38Road Trip November 2
Kerri knew that Adam had a lot of opinions. It never seemed like a big deal when they were in Ogden – everyone there has a lot of opinions – but they were barely out of Utah when Kerri realized he had a few too many to fit comfortably in her Civic.


Suits November 3
Phil was shaking his head as he measured the grounds into the coffee maker. “It’s just like oat bran, Bev. Mark my words, it’s the same damn thing.”

nov4-sneakSneak November 4
There was nothing about his parents’ tour of Seattle that should have made Matt and Karen amorous, but as Matt’s mom liked to say, the Lord works in mysterious ways.

nov5-starlightStarlight November 5
Jules wouldn’t answer her phone. Mark had tried five times since he’d gotten her voice mail the night before, and would’ve tried a dozen times except he knew her cell put a tiny numeric figure next to the names in the call logs.


Burrow November 6
Considering the year she’d had, if anyone had been foolish enough to ask “How’s life?”, Gail would have told them, “I’ve had plenty.”


es2016-55Scat  November 7
I wish you could have been there last night. Allen and I went to Dig, that music place downtown? Yes, exactly. We stopped in to get a glass of wine, and well, you know me and Chardonnay.


Meteor November 8
Brad and I were at mom’s to help her move furniture. As we stood in the kitchen drinking coffee, mom noted that Janet Reno had passed away, adding, “Hopefully all her passé fashions will die with her.”

nov9-deepTrails November 9
It’s hard for me to find dad’s grave on a sunny day, let alone today. For whatever reason, I can’t develop any muscle memory of this place, so when I come — which isn’t often — I’m stuck wandering row to row in search of his name.


Quiet November 10
They’d come to the lake to get away from the world, but Julie knew right away that the world had followed them there.


Love November 11
When we lay in the dark, I can’t see her face. I can’t see the way she sways when she walks. I can’t see the smile that so easily slays me when we stand in the light. Yet she is clearer to me then than at any other time.


Liar  November 12
You might wonder why I would tell people my nephew has Tourettes when he actually doesn’t. First of all, and there’s no way to put this nicely: toddlers are liars.


Ice November 13
If she was asked what led to her divorce – an uncommon question considering the delicateness of the subject – Gabby would laugh and say, “Mostly it was the ice cube trays.”


Penned November 14
As the phone rang at their flat, Liam read the scribbles on the booth wall, wondering if Elizabeth was tired of the calls from curious strangers, or if this Jack fellow could actually perform the unusual act he was being credited for.


Roar November 15
Everything Kelly does is stupid. At least that’s what her brother David tells her. Lions and giraffes don’t play together, that’s stupid. Spiders don’t have 10 legs, that’s stupid. A volcano wouldn’t still have a point on the top, that’s stupid.


Fishy November 16
I wanted Mom to see me nodding in the rearview mirror so I’d moved to the middle, putting my head directly between the mirror and the world disappearing behind us.


Fade November 17
It was Sarah Means who brought it to Jeannie’s attention that she was going to be all over that year’s Prism. Sarah didn’t tell her directly, because Sarah no longer talked to Jeannie.


Charged November 18
If you grew up near Plainville, you probably heard about the Park Terrace pool incident. That’s what people called it, an incident, because what else could they call it? If it had been a gunman, it would’ve been a killing, but a lightning bolt?


Wave November 19
James focused on the waves washing over his feet, whisking the sand from around them, the world slipping out from under him. There wasn’t much to enjoy about the water in Oregon, frigid on the even the hottest days, but he reveled in this.


Snow November 20
Lacey wanted to get the walkway done before Jenna arrived. If she did, she could say Phil did it earlier and Jenna wouldn’t make a thing about it. Unfortunately, she was still shoveling when she heard Jenna’s Honda crunching the snow at the curb behind her.


The Key November 21
It was only a matter of time before they turned on each other, and 40 minutes into the search, that time had come. This was their third day at the no-frills cabin they’d rented through a classified ads in Sports Afield.


Portrait November 22
Astrid bought the Voigtlander at Ms. Fischer’s yard sale the summer after Mr. Fischer’s funeral. All winter, Ms. Fischer – she had never invited anyone to call her by first name – had kept the home exactly as it had been when her husband departed.

nov23-easyEasy November 23
Amy’s Fodor’s Travel New Orleans guide was blooming with colorful sticky-notes and bookmarks, each tab color-coordinated to various highlighted lines on the 9pt font, single-spaced, legal-sized pages of her intended itinerary.


Owned November 24
I’m going to keep sitting here until someone says I can’t. Call it trespassing if you want, but that’s not how I see it. I’m reclaiming what’s mine, what’s everyone’s, and if some bastard comes down here to give me shit, I’m not budging.


One Star November 25
If you watch one of those Pike Place propaganda pieces on the Travel Channel or Food Network, you’ll think the place is like a game of bombardment played with fish, that it’s start-to-finish fun.


Twins November 26
If Winterset were to be buried Pompeii-style, every life stopped mid-moment and preserved for scientists to uncover and assess, future archeologists might expect the sheer bulk of the materials affixed to the Lawson’s family fridge to form an accurate snapshot of daily life.


Sausage November 27
Agnes was still peeved about the comment, though she couldn’t put her finger on exactly why. Phil had said it loudly to everyone within earshot, not to her in particular, but there was a glint of mischief in his eyes when he glanced her way.


Paint November 28
In my favorite picture of my mom, she’s painting the walls of the apartment on Hemlock Ave. We moved a lot back then, Hemlock being one of seven different places we lived between third grade and my senior year.

nov29-stompStomp November 29
Don urgently went over the song structure one last time, but all Abe could think about was how he’d never noticed that Don sounded a lot like that crank from Law and Order.


Saved  November 30
One by one they’d disappeared. Whether it was distance or death, people had been whisked out of Karl’s life faster than he’d been able to replace them.