Drag it to the curb!

Cleaning a corner of my office…going through a box of stuff from when I taught a 9th grade creative writing class. In the box, I found a stack of half-pages detailing an extra credit assignment I offered the students at the end of 2019. Though I rarely read my own work to the class, in this case I had shared my story “Curb Day” which is about dragging items out of your house and life. Finding this assignment now (as I drag to the curb what I no longer need from that job) seems very resonant! Use it if you want to.


  • Number from 1 to 10.
  • Pretend there was a day when the trash collectors would take ANYTHING…start with the phrase, “I would drag to the curb…”
  • List 10 things you would drag to the curb.
  • Find an item that seems like it wants your attention and circle it.
  • 5 minutes: Describe the item in detail. Pure description.
  • Let the dragged item become part of a brief narrative/story.
    • You can be the narrator/main character, or you can assign someone else to deal with the item.
    •  You can write in 1st (“I dragged…”) or 3rd person (“they/she/he dragged…”).
    • You can fictionalize as much as you want to.

You can even change your mind about dragging it to the curb, and drag it back into your life!

The allure of old velvet

(Maybe there’s enough leftover to deck an ottoman?)

(Here’s something I forgot to post, from sometime in January…better late than never. We’re having a yard sale this weekend, and it’s junk week, so maybe posting this will inspire me to dig deeper. At least the velvet in question will now get its literary due.)



Last night, I lay awake and imagined getting rid of all the extra stuff I truly don’t need, and even made decisions about what to let go, magically simplifying, solving my problems of stuff. But course when I woke up, it wasn’t so simple.

For instance, a vintage black velvet dress: I’ve had it since the late 1980s, since college. I used to wear it frequently. It’s big and slouchy and at some point at least a decade ago, I realized I was done wearing it. But I couldn’t get rid of it. I put it in my version of purgatory: the fabric bin.

A few years ago, I took it to a clothing swap with some friends, and someone asked if they could harvest the buttons, and I said sure. (I survived that regret.) But when it was time to pack things up to donate, I couldn’t let the denuded dress go…and so I lovingly carried it home, in tatters.

I bring it out every so often and touch it. It’s got perfect drape; it’s like fluid fur. They don’t make velvet like this anymore. I want to make something of it. A skirt? A hobo bag?  Why? It’s gorgeous, and it’s been with me so long, and…

Often in dreams I create quilts of my many hoarded scraps, think about them and design them while I’m not sleeping at night. I have yet to make the first sketch while awake, the first cut.

This year, I intend to stop hoarding and follow through with these dreams and ideas, or get rid of the stuff.

But today I have to write, and prepare for tomorrow’s class, and so I continue to dream…

Publication day for Shadows And Tall Trees 7!


Today is publication day for Shadows And Tall Trees 7 from Undertow Publications! You can support small press publishing and read some weird stuff by shopping here, and you can also find it on (that gargantuan online book seller). Gorgeous cover art and weird words inside, whichever edition you choose.

(My story in the anthology, called “Curb Day,” was inspired in great part by Junk Week in Yellow Springs, which is coming up next week…so it’s timely if you live in my little town.)