Category Archives: #amediting

‘OUTPOURING OF LETTERS TO THE EDITOR SAVES FINDLEY FOREST’

outpouring – noun 

[out-pawr-ing, -pohr-]

1 : an act of expressing an emotion or feeling in a very powerful way — often + of

2 : a large amount of something that is given or received in a short period of time — often + of                                   

 

Holly was sad. Her letter to Santa was returned without a postmark on it.  It was wrinkled, and mangled, with paw prints all over it. The paw prints confused her but she was pretty sure her big brother Logan, had taken the letter out of the mailbox before the mailman came.

Christmas was less than a week away. Even if she mailed the letter today, Santa would never get it in time. Her only choice was to write her letter in the snow and hope Santa would see it early enough Christmas Eve.

Outside in an open space between their front yard and Findley Forest, Holly roped off a large rectangle  in the snow. She took her mother’s holly garland off the deck and the front porch for the border of the message. Inside the rectangle, she smoothed the snow with her sled, making a blank plot to write in. Her message was simple:

Dear Santa white

 

“Whatcha doing Holly?” Logan sauntered up to the carefully plotted message.

“Go away Logan!” Holly said. “You stole my letter to Santa out of the mailbox and gave it to the neighbors cat.” She refused to look at him, tears ready to spill over.

“What? I did not!” Logan’s face turned pink. “Why would I give it to the neighbor’s cat? That doesn’t make sense.”

“So you did take it!” Holly stood up, indignant.

“No. I didn’t. And if you’re going to accuse me of stealing, I won’t ask you to go sledding.” Logan turned toward home.

Holly sighed. Maybe Logan didn’t take my letter, she thought.

“You really didn’t take it?”

“No.”

“I’m sorry. My letter came back today and it looked like this.” She showed him the still sealed letter.

“That’s weird. So what are you going to do now?” Logan asked.

Holly opened her arms wide revealing her finished message.

“I hope Santa gets here first on
Christmas Eve, so he sees it in time,” Logan said.

“Me too. Can I still go sledding?”

 

On December 21st, Holly awoke with a great idea! She gathered the cranberry Christmas garland off the Christmas tree, bundled up and ran out into the windy morning to add to her Santa message.

“OH NO!” Holly cried. Her message to Santa was gone. The wind had blown snow across it. She tried to write the message again but the wind kept filling in her letters. She ran into the house, and smacked into Logan, tears streaming down her face.

“What’s wrong Holly?” he asked.

Holly explained.

“I can help.” Logan bundled up, grabbed a bucket of water and said, “Follow me.”

“As I pour water into the snow, write your message, the snow will be stickier and the wind can’t blow it away as you write it.”

Holly agreed. Logan poured, Holly wrote. Every few letters, Logan ran back to the house for more water. Each time, Holly cleared the snow out of her letters that the wind had blown in.

When she was finished writing, she helped him mound up snow around each letter.

Dear Santa blue

Satisfied with their work, Holly ran into the house to get her forgotten cranberries.

“What are you doing with those young lady?” her mother asked.

Holly explained.

Her mother smiled, “Go ahead then.”

She gave Logan some cranberries and instructed him to place them in the letters to help the letters stand out more.

When they finished, they helped their mother bake cookies inside.

While Holly and Logan were cutting out cookies, their mother snuck away to tell their father about the snowy message.

 

Bright and early on Christmas Eve, Holly and Logan bundled up and ran outside to check on their message to Santa.

“Oh no!” they cried. The letters were trounced upon, no longer letters and the cranberries were all missing. Various animal tracks littered the snowy rectangle, leading back to the forest.

“What are we going to do now, Logan?” Holly asked. She couldn’t be angry with the animals because she knew they only wanted the cranberries to eat. The animals had no way of knowing that they were trying to save the animals’ home.

“Well we don’t have any more cranberries, but we can rewrite the message.”

But the snow had turned icy.

“I’m sorry Holly.” Logan led her into the house.

Hot chocolate chip waffles waited for them in the kitchen.

“Why the long faces?” their mother asked.

Holly explained and concluded, “It’s no use. Santa will never know what I truly want for Christmas and the forest will be cut down to make wood.”

“Finish eating and meet your father and me in the garage. But bundle up first,” their mother said.

They met their parents in the garage. Their father was holding his paint gun, their mother, a rake and a large bag of corn which she handed to Logan.

“Follow us,” their father said.

He led them to their special message spot.

“The holly garland looks good out here,” their mother said, smiling. “I’ll rake, Logan you smooth the snow, and Holly, you tell your Dad, slowly, what to write.”

Each family member did as instructed. When they were finished, the message said:

Dear Santa Red

“We have more to do,” said their father. “We’ll make corn mounds near the forest for the animals to eat so they stay away from this message.”

 

On Christmas morning, a thunk hit their front door. It was a special newspaper edition. The front headline read,

outpouring

Below it was a photo with this caption: Dear Santa blue

 

 

 

 

Local children have a message for Santa                                                                                                 and it’s not about gifts for them.

 

The article went on to say that the editor received so many letters and phone calls about saving Findley Forest, the day after the photo originally printed December 22, that she had no choice but to take the letters to the Mayor and forward all calls to the Mayor. Not wanting to risk losing the next election, the Mayor rescinded the agreement with a logging company to cut down Findley Forest, bit by bit.

“Look at this!” Logan showed his family the last photo on the front page. Too excited to bundle up, they rushed outside to see for themselves.

Surrounding their message to Santa were animal prints and a large mound of corn.

Holly beamed, shivered, and shouted out to the animals, “MERRY CHRISTMAS!”

The End

 

This Christmas story is my Christmas gift to you. I hope you enjoyed reading it.

Merry Christmas

Traci

 

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FLUFFY

[Word of the day stories are prompted by a Word of the Day selection by any of the online dictionaries. Once a word is chosen, I set my timer to write and edit a story in one hour, no more time than that. The idea behind this is to promote just getting the ideas written as that is the biggest hurdle for most writers.]

Tuesday, December 12, 2017

sustain – verb

suh-stayn

  1.   to provide with nourishment
  2.   keep up, prolong
  3.   to support the weight of; prop; to carry or withstand
  4.   to buoy up
  5.   suffer, undergo
  6.   to support as true, legal, or just
  7.   to allow or admit as valid

 

Archie gathered the white fluffy stuff into a mound. The more he tried shaping it into a ball, the more the white fluffy stuff spread out. It was no use. No snowman today.

The next morning, fresh new fluffy stuff piled on top of the old. Archie called his friends.

“New snow! Come over and help me make the biggest snowman ever. With this much snow, we can build a whole family!”

Archie’s friends, Barb and Gloria, rushed right over, decked out in winter attire.

“This is his bottom half.” Archie pointed to a low mound of snow.

“Where?” Barb asked.

“Did he melt?” Gloria asked.

Archie squinted his eyes. Only one thing to do, try again.

“Good point. Let’s build a new bottom.”

Together they rolled, they patted, they pushed, and they smooshed.

They shoved and their big ball of snow fell apart.

Huh.

Gloria was the first to say it. “It’s too fluffy.”

Then Barb, “Won’t stick.”

Finally Archie, “We need to nourish the snow with more moisture.”

“Huh?” said Gloria.

“We need water,” Barb said.

“Oh.”

Out of the shed, they each grabbed a bucket, filled it with water, and doused the snow pile.

Quickly they patted and smooshed but the snow turned into ice. They heaped fluffy snow on top and tried to form a ball but no use. The ice was not sticky, just hard.

They gave up and made snow angels.

The sun peeked out, warmed the tree branches and sent droplets of water on top of the kids.

“That’s it! The sun will melt the snow and then we will have enough moisture for the snow to stick together,” said Archie.

Barb and Gloria agreed. They waited, then rolled.

Not sticky enough.

They waited some more, then rolled.

Still not sticky enough.

They waited until dusk, then rolled and rolled and rolled.

Finally, they had a big ball of snow.

“Tomorrow we can finish the rest,” Archie said.

The temperature dropped overnight.

Barb and Gloria arrived the next morning, holding a bag of accessories for their snowman, ready to work. Archie met them outside.

“This won’t take as long. Let’s roll.”

Barb gathered the snow but it had become fluffy again. She formed and the ball fell apart.

Gloria tried. She rolled a ball, patted it, added more snow and it fell apart.

Archie tried with the same results as Gloria.

They gave up and made snow angel after snow angel all over the yard. Tired, they flopped onto untouched snow under the tree and rested.

The sun was out and warmed the trees, sending more droplets of water to the kids below. They laughed as they caught droplets in their mouth.

“I think it’s ready for us to make the tummy of the snowman,” Archie said.

Together, they rolled, pushed and patted a smaller ball into shape.

They lifted the ball onto the bottom of their snowman.

Ooooof!

The smaller ball plopped right through the bigger one, creating a doughnut.

“What happened?” Gloria asked.

“The bottom ball did not have enough weight to sustain the weight of the smaller ball,” Barb explained.

“You sound like our teacher,” Gloria said.

“We need more water but in little bits.” said Barb.

That gave Archie an idea. He ran into his house and came back with a spray bottle.

“I’ll spray the bottom ball while you two shape it.”

“What about the snowman’s tummy?” Barb said.

“It can stay where it is. We’ll make a new one.” Archie answered.

Archie sprayed. Barb and Gloria shaped.

“I’ll test it,” Gloria said, plopping her behind right on top of the partial snowman. She didn’t sink in. “Now the tummy.”

Archie sprayed, Barb and Gloria rolled. Gloria sprayed, Archie and Barb rolled.

“Perfect!” they said in unison.

They lifted the snowman’s tummy into place. Time to make the head.

Barb sprayed, Gloria and Archie rolled.

“Perfect!”

They placed the head on top. It stayed put.

“Time to give him a face,” Barb said. Gloria took the accessories out of the bag.

Barb dug out holes for the charcoal eyes.

Gloria pushed the carrot in for the nose.

Archie smoothed a black shoelace across for a mouth.

“Perfect!” they said.

Until the carrot fell off.

Huh.

“The carrot is too long for the hole you made Gloria,” Archie said. “The hole can’t sustain the length of the carrot.”

Gloria smiled. She bit off the fat end of the carrot. And took another bite. Then just one more. She stuffed the carrot into the hole.

“Perfect!” she said. And it was.

“What should we name him?” Archie asked.

“Fluffy.”

“Perfect!” And Fluffy was.

 

Until a squirrel climbed up three days later and stole the carrot nose.

 

Thank you reader for stopping by today! I hope you enjoyed this short story. If you have written a short story in a 60 minute time frame, using this Word of the Day word, please feel free to share it in the comments. 

 

 

 

LAY VS. LIE

Ever wonder what word to use in the case of lay or lie? Examples:  I lay in bed reading my book. I lie in bed reading my book. Which is it?

Editor and Story Consultant, Lara Willard explains the difference in straightforward detail. You can read it yourself on her blog at:

Lay vs. Lie

sara willard

Lie vs. Lay