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The Heroine’s Journey

In one of my writing classes this semester, we discussed character development. The instructor brought in a stack of books that she thought might be helpful. One of those books was “The Heroine’s Journey” by Maureen Murdock. Seeing that book sent me back twenty years. “The Heroine’s Journey” was the first woman’s quest book I ever bought.

Inspired, I pulled the book off my bookshelf and gave it another look. After flipping through it, I remembered what was important about this book. It explained why being superwoman hasn’t fulfilled women.

A quote at the beginning of the book is worth sharing. It is by Marion Woodman, a Canadian poet and prominent figure in the women’s movement.

But if you travel far enough, one day you will recognize yourself coming down the road to meet yourself. And you will say – Yes.

On a lighter note, if you’ve been searching for a meaningful way to bond with your children (of any age), I highly recommend learning how to do the Harlem Shake. Most importantly, do the dance in public places as often as possible. If you need some inspiration, check out this link.
Ten Best Versions of Harlem Shake

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Happy Hour

I’m just finishing up a creative writing class at a local junior college. I thought I’d share some of the writing I did in the class. This first piece is flash fiction. Basically it is a short short story. Many of them have surprise twists to them. Two writers who do this very well are Steve Martin (yes that one) and Vic Errington. I have their links at the end of this blog. Side note, if you are reading this in your email, the formatting is better if you read it at valsroad.com directly.

Happy Hour

Chris and Alex left the office at six and walked across the street to Dick’s Bar and Grill. Monday night football drew a big crowd. TV screens buzzed all over the bar. They found two empty bar stools.

Chris searched the bar area.

“What are you looking for,” Alex said.

“Oh, last time I was here I left with one of the bartenders,” Chris said. “Just checking to see who’s working tonight. Looks safe.”

“Seriously Alex. Are you ever going to settle down?”

“Oh yeah. Let’s see, how’s your divorce going?”

“Well since you asked, it sucks. Everything is a fight, the house, the kids, the 401(k).”

A bartender approached them and wiped the top of the counter with a wet rag. “What are you having?”

“What’s on tap?” Alex asked.

“The usual. Bud, Bud Light, Coors Light, Guinness and Blue Moon.”

“A Blue Moon,” Chris said.

“Make that two,” Alex said. “And a happy hour menu.”

The bartender returned with a menu and then the beers. The foam heads rose and threatened to spill over.

“To closing the Berrington deal,” Alex said. “The most complicated acquisition in modern history.” They raised their glasses and toasted.

Chris looked up at the TV and moaned. “Do you think we could have one season without the Chargers blowing it in the last five –” Chris froze. “Shit, Dev is here.”

“Dev, like internet stalker Dev?” Alex said. “When my divorce is final, I am not doing Match.com.”

Chris slumped down on the counter. “Kill me now God. I hate mistakes that don’t go away.”” Chris mumbled to the top of the bar. “Did Dev see me?”

“Oh yeah, on the way over here. I’ve got a plan. Let me do the talking.”

Chris nodded, head down and made the OK sign.

“Dev. How ya doing tonight?” Alex said. Alex stood up and gave Dev a little punch on the shoulder.

“I didn’t come over to talk to you,” Dev said.

“Listen, Chris here is a little embarrassed. So I’m gonna tell you. That STD exam you ordered. Didn’t pass it.”

Chris slid off the bar stool, offered a weak smile and headed for the door. With clenched fists, Dev watched Chris walk away, and then turned full anger to Alex.

“What test? Wait, are you screwing with me?”

“It’s not worth it Dev. Let it go.”

Dev kicked a bar stool. “I don’t need a disease from that loser.”

As Dev stomped off, Alex signaled to the bartender and put a $20 on the bar. “Keep the change.”

Alex searched outside for Chris. In the back of the parking lot, holding onto the side of a pick up truck, Alex found Chris bent over wiping at tears.

“STD test, didn’t pass it.” Chris mimicked. “Really, Alexandra Sue Mason, where do you come up with this stuff? Dev didn’t know what hit him. I hope he doesn’t pass that info around.”

Alexandra twisted the black pearls around her neck. “You know what Christine, it would serve you right. Maybe this is a warning that you should slow down in the guy department.”

“Cruel Shoes” by Steve Martin Link to Cruel Shoes

“Sisterly Love” by Vic Errington Link to Sisterly Love

Just Added

Just Beet It, Beet It

Thanks to Michael Jackson, I have the title for today’s blog. I’m a newbie gardener and when a vegetable grows in my garden, it is a small miracle. When a vegetable flourishes, I am in awe.


In the weird planting time between fall and spring, only my beet plant thrived. I knew it was past its prime, but I couldn’t pull it out. But today my spring seedlings were ready to plant, and I needed the space. I yanked the beet plant out.


Aye carumba, holy guacamole, oy vey, what the heck? Out popped the biggest beet I have ever seen. I know this isn’t the most exciting thing in the world, but it made my day and I had to share it. Yes, the leaves are drying for some beet chips later this afternoon. I’m the proud parent of the gigantic beet.

Val's Gigantic Beet