Tag Archives: exercise


Fifty-five word short stories, or shorties, are excellent writing exercises to focus one’s thoughts, word choice, imagery and more. Unlike poetry, a 55-worder must have a beginning, middle and end to the story. Like poetry, the impact is precise.

My fifty-five word stories tend toward the serious. I have a friend who has mastered using the 55-worder to zing the reader with the unexpected ending, using either humor or shock. The 55-worder is his domain.

To tip my hat in homage to him and our friendship, I present you with a symbolic fifty-five word story. It’s about a writer with writer’s block stuck in a desert town wondering if she will ever finish her novel.

Morning in a Desert

by Fay Moore (c) 2013

I awaken to drumming outside the window. It must be the madman across the street on his drum set. He’s getting an early start on  practicing, I think.  I arise and peek through the venetian blinds, wondering, Will it be a good day in this desert town? Yes. In a parched place, it is raining.

Here’s a second copyrighted example on the same theme. I sent an e-mail to my daughter using the following almost verbatim. That was the inspiration for the piece above. It’s funny how inspiration strikes:

It’s raining in the desert. I was awakened this morning to drumming outside my window. I thought it was the madman across the street with his garage drum set. He’s starting early, I thought. I peeked outside. No drummer. It’s raining!  How symbolic. Here I am in the midst of dusty barrenness,  yet there’s rain.

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Guest Post — Keep Your Brain Young


Today Karel Henneberger, one of the Writers of the Desert Rose Cafe crew, is filling in for me while I recuperate from shoulder surgery. Over the next couple of weeks, Karel will pitch in to give expert advice.

Karel is a business owner, a teacher, and an author. She specializes in Children’s Literature. She also has a keen sense of humor! So without further adieu, here’s a message from Karel.

10 Ways to Keep Your Brain Young After 50–or 45 or even 30

As our brains age, we may not remember new facts as easily as we did in early adulthood. However, we can do much to help our brains retain “muscle mass.” Regardless of your physical condition, there are many ways to increase your brain activity.

  1. DO CROSSWORD PUZZLES. Not just the pick-a-word puzzles, but the real crossword puzzles with clues and frustration. There are many crossword puzzle books available in grocery and drug stores. Easy ones are great for beginners or when you are frazzled. For more difficult puzzles, subscribe to a crossword puzzle magazine. Crossword puzzles can be done anywhere—in the car (not while driving), in a doctor’s office, or while waiting in line. You can even do crossword puzzles online.
  2. DO JIGSAW PUZZLES. Jigsaw puzzles can be fun to do. And you can get kits to make the end result permanent. Hang a finished puzzle on your wall to add beauty as well as to show off your expertise. If you have dexterity problems, choose puzzles with larger pieces. Special 3-D puzzles are available for advanced puzzlers!
  3. LOGIC PUZZLES TAKE TIME, BUT THEY CAN BE REWARDING and they help you retain your strategy skills. This type of puzzle is best done alone with plenty of time available in a single stretch.
  4. SODUKO may not be for the numerically challenged, but for anyone else, this type of puzzle can become addictive. Newspapers usually carry a Soduko puzzle and your local grocery or drug store will have Soduko books available.
  5. LEARN A NEW SKILL. Take up knitting or crocheting—men can knit and crochet, too. Make prayer shawls or cancer caps for those in need of comfort. Large knitting needles and crochet hooks help arthritic hands remain flexible. And the recipients will appreciate the results.
  6. GO TO COLLEGE. College isn’t just for those in their 20s. Not these days. Some people in their 80s are taking courses. And colleges are welcoming them. Many states offer to pay part or all of older students’ tuition costs, so out-of-pocket expenses are small. Most colleges offer low- or no-cost non-credit courses to seniors, too. Check with your local community college. Some colleges even offer free courses online–you won’t have to take a test or turn in homework, but you also won’t get credit for the course. And with online courses, you don’t even have to leave your chair. Older adults may not learn facts as quickly as teens, but we have years of experience behind us that make up for our slower learning curve.
  7. WATCH OR LISTEN TO EDUCATIONAL TAPES OR DVDs. Your local library probably has a wide variety available. Most allow you to borrow them for a week or more and they’re usually renewable. Topics range from travel and science to religion and history. Some are complete with lesson plans, others are docudramas or made-for-TV shows.
  8. GIVE TO OTHERS. Volunteer. Join a literacy program, be an adopted grandparent, or help with Meals-On-Wheels. Even if you aren’t very physically active, you can do much for an organization online or on the phone. Keep your brain young by doing—something. Helping others is a good way to help yourself and to stay young. Using old skills keeps that old brain working. And learning new skills is an even better way to keep your brain young.
  9. GET “INTO” A SOCIAL NETWORK. Have a child or teen help you get started with Facebook, YouTube, or Flikr. This not only works your brain in new ways, it will draw you closer to those ever-changing youngsters in your life. 
  10. KEEP A JOURNAL. Writing uses several parts of your brain–Your brain must make sure your eyes focus on the paper or computer screen. Part of your brain controls your hand movements–important for hitting the correct keys or making legible letters. Then, of course, there’s the part of your brain–the left side–that makes sure you think creatively. Maybe you’ll write only for yourself. Or you might write memoirs for your family. Whatever. Just start writing.

You may purchase Karel Henneberger’s latest published work at one of the following links:

Kindle owners–

http://www.amazon.com/Writers-Desert-Cafe-An-Anthology-ebook/dp/B00ARYTOYC/ref=cm_cr_pr_pb_t/175-9797514-4820430

If you don’t have a Kindle, you can still get the book by downloading FREE Kindle for PC software from Amazon.com. Go here: http://www.amazon.com/gp/feature.html/ref=sv_kstore_1?ie=UTF8&docId=1000493771

Nook owners–

http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/writers-of-the-desert-rose-cafe-an-anthology-fay-moore/1114018983

Update on the Hubby


Yesterday Hubby went through a catheterization of his heart in preparation for open heart surgery. The heart surgeon needs to know what’s going on in Hubby’s heart prior to cracking his chest. The goal is to keep surprises to a minimum.

Good news: all his pipes are clear, except one. There is 40% blockage in one blood vessel. According to the cardiologist who did the procedure, doctors don’t worry about blockages until they hit 70% or more. More good news: after heart surgery, other vascular issues that have the potential to be life threatening will likely resolve to manageable proportions. Hubby will take lots of medication, but his life will no longer be at risk.

Isn’t it amazing to live in the age of high technology? Hubby has a familial history of early death due to heart issues. His condition has a genetic link. He’s fortunate; modern medicine is saving his life.

His future (notice I speak with certainty) will include blood thinners, diet changes and exercise. A little weight loss won’t hurt either.