And So It Begins

The writing.

Well, the writing began quite some time ago, decades really if you count that space epic written in pencil on lined notebook paper when I was ten.

But the official writing for the grand Anthology Workshop in Vegas starts now! This week marks the first anthology prompt, and it’s due next. I’ll be half-crazed, carpal-tunneled, and nearly blind by the time this thing’s done.

Six paying editors. Six shorts.

Then read all six shorts written by the 49 or so other authors.

Then Vegas in February to see how our stories stack up to the editors’ opinions and tastes.

Great fun. Completely terrifying.


When Harper receives word of a childhood friend’s passing, her grief doesn’t behave the way she wants it to. Determined to force the tears, she revisits the girls’ shared playground to discover a long-ago fault and a here-and-now forgiveness.

The decision to revisit Pineville was made last night over a sink full of scalding dishwater with her hands covered in suds and tiny particles of spaghetti dinner. As always with bad news, Harper had gone into one of her cleaning sprees to process, so the steaming water also served to scrub cabinet faces, fridge shelves, and the very back of the oven.

She’d not even planned on doing the dishes last night. She’d planned on letting them sit. To see if one of her live-in adult children would take the mound of plates and casserole dishes as a cue to get busy and pull their weight. Some people dread the empty nest. Harper couldn’t seem to get her fledglings to take flight.

But the message had come mid-meal and Harper shewed everyone out of the kitchen. She needed the elbow room and mental space to process the death of her childhood friend. She and Deb had grown distant during middle school then didn’t speak after high school, as happens with many BFFs once life and love and pursuits carry people far and away.

Harper hadn’t been carried far and away. Her circumstances, and if she were honest with herself, her own choices, had pinned down any ideas of dreamy moves across the country with a load of steel I-beams. So she’d stayed put in her family’s home. Sometimes she imagined a black hooded figure with a can of spray paint dancing on top of the smothering I-Beam pile, splattering each long metal giant with their appropriate labels: guilt, obligation, duty, entrapment.

Not Deb though. Her dreams had taken her far.

Well, until now.


Thank you for hanging out for a bit. Check back on the first week of every

month for a free fictional short, and be sure to visit my Amazon page.

Copyright © 2019 by B.A. Paul
All work is licensed for your personal enjoyment only. All rights reserved. This is a work of fiction. All characters and events portrayed herein are fictional, and any resemblance to real people or incidents is purely coincidental. All work published on this site, or parts thereof, may not be reproduced in any form without permission.

Beth's passion for writing started in grade school with an epic outer space adventure scribbled on 158 sheets of wide-ruled notebook paper with not-sharp-enough pencils. That manuscript was lost in a basement flood.

Thirty years, marriage, two kids and several dogs later, she's garnered enough story fodder to resurrect her passion—and this time she backs up her work!

She currently resides in Indiana with her family and a couple of meowing fur babies who enjoy walking across her keyboard.