My Best Friend

It’s been my experience that the best blog posts start with a confession so here’s mine; despite being on my second wife, I never wanted to be married. I mean, I think it’s a worthy institution and I’ll continue to fight to my last breath to make sure my gay brothers and sisters get to do it legally, too, but for myself I’ve never been a fan.

When I was in college I was engaged. It was a silly relationship with someone much older and I found myself talking marriage at an age when everyone else I knew was trying to figure out how to come up with the best ramen noodle recipe to go with the cheapest beer. When that liaison played out, I found myself happily single in a social circle that was getting married, divorced and married again.

The first time I tied the knot I did it because everyone else I knew was married and I figured to have someone to hang with on a regular basis, I needed to “grow up”. Simply finding other single people was way too heady for my 27 1/2 year-old self so I said I do to someone I didn’t know very well. Surprise, it didn’t work out despite it’s 8-year-reign of whatever. I didn’t cheat, beat, drink (too much) or gamble and the union produced my now 10 1/2 year-old daughter who is straight up awesome. But the fact is that marriage was doomed because we weren’t friends. Forget the word best in front of that, we weren’t even casual buds.

In may 2008, I’d broken up with someone who was a cheap knockoff of a Sex and the City character and swore I’d never marry again. I was becoming a good father, something I always thought I’d be. But I didn’t think I was a very good married person. I was working through mental health issues, making my crazy work for me in an everyday get through life, way. So when I met the woman who would become my second wife only six months later. I knew there’d be only one way it would work.

We’d have to be best friends.

My wife and I have some deals in common but not everything. She listens to country music for crying out loud. But she enjoys long, meaningful conversations.

Check.

She appreciates parenting, the hard stuff, like getting all “mom” or “dad” on a kid when they need it, and canceling “date nights” when the budget requires we pay for doctor bills, school stuff or prom dresses instead of hitting a movie and a steak at Longhorn.

Check.

She knows that curling up on a couch and binge watching gangster bikers on Sons of Anarchy or killing walkers on Walking Dead is just as sexy as getting as dressed to the nines and clubbing.

Check.

I’ve been traveling for work and I’m pretty much miserable because I miss my best friend. When I was married before, I traveled for work and enjoyed it because I didn’t have to be at home with someone who didn’t dig me the most and vice versa.

My wife doesn’t understand why I was depressed for two weeks after Lou Reed died last fall. She doesn’t get my compulsion to get up in the middle of the night and write. I know she will never comprehend my yelling at the television during Braves baseball games or Jets and Crimson Tide football. But the fact I’d rather sit in a room and blog while she and my 3 daughters, now 18, 10 and 9, put episodes of Pretty Little Liars into their eyes like a junkie puts smack in their veins means that I got married for the right reasons. I’m with my best friend. Now, I just need to make sure I don’t screw it up.

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Here’s the Weezer.

I wrote two books. They got good reviews. The third one, a sequel to the first, Woman Of Troy, is on the way, next month.

The Ballad of Helene Troy, an underdog story about a female musician in New York City, and Soul To Body, about an ex-1990s guitar player trying to raise his teenage daughter after the death of his wife, her mother, are available, digitally, on Amazon.com for your kindles, and in paperback from Lulu.com

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100 Word Song – Lonely Boy

Since we’re a little late and the song’s so good today, let’s get right to 100 word song. My great friend and sometimes writing life partner, Tar Rah aka @Tara_R from the brilliant www.thinspiralnotebook.com has been with 100 word song from the start. She’s even filled in for me and Leeroy when we had things and couldn’t post for the week. She chose The Black Keys’ Lonely Boy for the tune this time. It’s so open, y’all should do great things with it. Go see her and thank her.

For my 100, we go back to Silas and Olive as they get deeper into trouble on the run in 1989 Florida.

Last time: https://lancemyblogcanbeatupyourblog.wordpress.com/2014/03/02/ways-to-be-wicked/

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Silas turned off the shower, opened the door and looked around the bathroom for a towel. He heard Olive laughing in the next room and Bart talking into a cordless phone while pacing the hall. Realizing he had nothing to cover him and everything wide open, he backed into the shower, closed its door, pushed his head against the cold dingy white tile and shouted.

“Liv, bring me a towel!”

Several seconds went until he was startled by black cloth slapping him in the face. Bart’s voice compounded the surprise.

“Get dressed, rook. We’re making a night run into Sarasota.”

My Blog Can Beat Up Your Blog

As always you have 7 days from NOW to write 100 words inspired by The Black Keys’ Lonely Boy. Use the medias that are social to get your 100 word song magic out to the unwashed masses. Make sure to link up with the green Mr. Linky button at the bottom. Thanks for playing.

I wrote two books. They got good reviews. The third one, a sequel to the first, Woman Of Troy, is on the way, next month.

The Ballad of Helene Troy, an underdog story about a female musician in New York City, and Soul To Body, about an ex-1990s guitar player trying to raise his teenage daughter after the death of his wife, her mother, are available, digitally, on Amazon.com for your kindles, and in paperback from Lulu.com

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What A Liberal Looks Like

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Last week, I stood on the 81st floor deck of the Empire State Building watching a morning snowstorm blanket New York City when a voice behind me snarked “beautiful city, too bad the liberals ruined it.” It reminded me of the last Halloween when I was in a Haunted House maze in rural Georgia, bumping into a wall in darkness and someone spat behind my shoulder “this place is set up like the Obamacare website”. That reminded me of last summer when I was in Washington D.C. with my wife and three daughters visiting the Franklin Delano Roosevelt Memorial and a middle-aged woman remarked “it’s his fault why everyone has their hand out these days”. I wasn’t sure if she was talking about me or the 32nd President, whose New Deal helped the country deal with the Great Depression. But, I took it as a compliment because like FDR, I’m a liberal.

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Being a writer, I’ve shoehorned my better instincts into a pledge to enjoy the medias that are social; the Facebook, The Twitter, and Google+, because I advertise my books, blogs (this one and the other one I tri-operate www.leftypop.com) to family, friends and followers. I do so without shame because who needs that that when you’re on the internet. I try to not complain too much about discourse, political or otherwise, online. For every ten like-minded, smart, funny, interesting connectors, there will be one hundred trolling knuckleheads. It makes art fun. Not really. But it’s a lie I tell myself so when my $5 amazon and lulu royalty payments appear in my bank account I can justify going through these motions as a tortured soul for the sake of being what I always wanted to be, a writer.

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It’s offline that really blows.

I live in a very conservative place, politically and culturally; suburban Atlanta, Georgia. It’s nice to look at. The dogwoods are blooming, the kudzu is awakening, and little league teams have started in the numerous parks around my house. The schools are good, here. But the way people talk to and about each other politically and culturally is getting worse. For the first time in my life, I’m sick of being too punk rock for the room.

This morning, I got up, showered, then helped get my 9-year-old daughter get ready for school. We playfully argued about her dressing too light for the rainy day. We analyzed a rerun of Victorious. Then we got in the car, drove less than a mile and dropped her off at third grade. I don’t think I screwed up society during any of this, despite what the guy in line at the convenience store said about me to his friend while I pumped my gas.

“Stupid President is letting Russia invade Ukraine. The liberals are going to get us in another war.”

I should’ve been impressed he knew about current events and got the name of the country correct but I wanted to tell him the last two wars were conservative creations. But my handle clicked then I dropped my gas card then I just got tired.

John Kennedy, another liberal President I admire, once said.

“If by a “Liberal” they mean someone who looks ahead and not behind, someone who welcomes new ideas without rigid reactions, someone who cares about the welfare of the people-their health, their housing, their schools, their jobs, their civil rights and their civil liberties-someone who believes we can break through the stalemate and suspicions that grip us in our policies abroad, if that is what they mean by a “Liberal”, then I’m proud to say I’m a “Liberal.”

I agree with the guy who slept with Marilyn Monroe. That’s what I am, a liberal, not a philanderer.

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As my conservative friends tell me they aren’t anti-gay but pro definition of marriage as a man and woman for religious reasons, I resist the urge to get anthropologically indignant with them, pointing out the original Aramaic the Bible was written in, was likely misinterpreted when it was printed into Greek and later English thus the gay is sin stuff may be wrong. But I draw the line at “religious freedom” bills recently vetoed in Arizona and Kansas and one sitting in the Georgia legislature. They’re Trojan horses containing everything the worst of in society, bigots, believe about same-sex and non-white Christian relationships. I’ve had it with wanting to go back to pre-1954 living and using my religion, Christianity, as cover to do so. This is why I’m a liberal.

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I pray a lot. I make sure my kids are fed, dressed, educated, and don’t rob liquor stores before breakfast. My key worked when I left the house this morning so my wife seems good with me. I’ve never voted against anyone’s lifestyle or their right to make choices with their own body or their own families. So the next time you use the word liberal in a derogatory fashion; out of fear, ignorance, frustration or all three. just remember, you know what a liberal looks like. You’re reading one, now.

I wrote two books. They got good reviews. The third one, a sequel to the first, Woman Of Troy, is on the way next month.

The Ballad of Helene Troy, an underdog story about a female musician in New York City, and Soul To Body, about an ex-1990s guitar player trying to raise his teenage daughter after the death of his wife, her mother, are available, digitally, on Amazon.com for your kindles, and in paperback from Lulu.com

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100 Word Song – You Better Run

I’m in New York City again this week for work. One of the spots we hung out was Greenpoint, Brooklyn, the birthplace of the great rock singer, Pat Benatar. I conferred with Leeroy and he agreed that this week’s 100 word song should be a nod to the recently turned 61-year-old multiple Grammy winner and early 1980s superstar. We went with You Better Run, the second video ever played on MTV, and the tune that made her an icon to teen girls and the object of desire to teen boys, everywhere, in the decade of headbands and leg warmers.

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My story around which my 100 word song entry takes place happens in July 1989, a little past Pat’s prime. But the attitude and lyrics are perfect. Have fun with this one. There aren’t any streets in Brooklyn named after Pat, but there should be.

Here’s my 100, back to Silas and Olive.

Last time: https://lancemyblogcanbeatupyourblog.wordpress.com/2014/02/13/last-cigarette/

Bart pulled one of the thirteen one-hundred dollar bills and handed it to Silas. Silas inhaled some of the marijuana joint then exchanged it for the money. He realized his single day of getting hit in the face was worth the equivalent of two weeks pay of honest work. Olive pranced from the house, smiling, and called to Bart.

“Zola wants you. I’ll take that joint.”

Silas looked away, disgusted by her sudden sunny disposition. Bart left them. She leaned into Silas, choking a bit on marijuana smoke.

“I told Zola we were staying indefinitely and we loved it here.”

My Blog Can Beat Up Your Blog

I wrote two books. They got good reviews. The third one, a sequel to the first, Woman Of Troy, is on the way, next month.

The Ballad of Helene Troy, an underdog story about a female musician in New York City, and Soul To Body, about an ex-1990s guitar player trying to raise his teenage daughter after the death of his wife, her mother, are available, digitally, on Amazon.com for your kindles, and in paperback from Lulu.com

bookcoverpicajjhkasfpaperbackpicturesad

Higher Ground

I stood on the roof of One Liberty Plaza looking out over Manhattan with co-workers when silence swept over us heavier than the February morning snow. The body language of eight middle-aged men screamed. The glass and steel structure reaching into the sky begged a question. When is a building not just a building? When it’s this one.

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That’s the new One World Trade Center aka the Freedom Tower. The dark portion of the building on its right is scaffolding, in place for the completion of its final construction, scheduled to be completed by late summer, 2014. The fog and cloudiness of another snowy day in the city takes away a bit from its beauty but standing there looking at it was breathtaking. After the initial awe, I became sad. I remembered the pretty fall day twelve and a half years earlier when there were two Trade Towers until something evil took them down. But that wasn’t the main source of my melancholy. It was the fact that I, like millions of other Americans, have taken for granted what that horrible day meant, and what this new tower truly represents.

There’s no need to be political, here. I have another website for that, www.leftypop.com, @lefty_pop on the Twitter. Maybe I’ll do some ranting about how we lose our way from time to time, there. But for now, I wanted to show you what made my morning in the city so special, giving me the kick in the butt I know I needed.

After we left the roof of One Liberty Plaza to disperse for lunch and the rest of our day, I walked New York City’s slushy streets, looking back at the new Freedom Tower. While I know I’ll never forget what happened a dozen plus years ago, I need to appreciate the great movement forward in building a new tower and what it represents for all Americans.

You can’t keep us down, no matter how much of a funk we get ourselves into.

*****blogger’s note****

This is for www.trifectawritingchallenge.com ‘s 333 word challenge this week around the 3rd definition of “funk” FUNK
(noun)

1 a :  a state of paralyzing fear
b :  a depressed state of mind
2 :  one that funks :  COWARD
3 :  SLUMP
<an economic funk>  <the team went into a funk>

Today’s song is one of the best “funk” songs ever and it’s message is something we all need to abide. Here’s Stevie’s Wonder’s Higher Ground. Be better to each other, jerks.

I wrote a couple of books. They got good reviews. A third one is on the way, next month.

The Ballad of Helene Troy, an underdog story about a female musician in New York City, and Soul To Body, about an ex-1990s guitar player trying to raise his teenage daughter after the death of his wife, her mother, are available, digitally, on Amazon.com for your kindles, and in paperback from Lulu.com

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Live And Let Die

I’m reading about the death of one of my favorite actors, Philip Seymour Hoffman, and besides the sadness of an incandescent talent gone to the scourge of drugs, the gross amount of details (the amount of heroin used and unused by the fallen star) released by the police has left me asking a question.

Do we need to know too much about people?

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This seems like a very silly and hypocritical query from a trained, college degreed journalist, online columnist for a politics and pop culture site, and owner of 4 social media accounts; Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and Google +. But I honestly think we have too much information available on people, famous and not, especially when they die. I don’t think this is a good thing. Privacy should mean something.

I’m wired in a way that when someone passes away, I want to show respect and bury the bad with them. I don’t believe you take your material possessions with you nor do I feel you take your sins, either. This is part religion part wishful thinking and part aversion to unnecessary gossip. I haven’t always felt this way and when I didn’t, it hurt me and people I cared about.

The publicity around Hoffman’s death is eerily similar to Kurt Cobain’s twenty years ago. The accounts of their personalities and downward spiral into madness are stunning. We knew too much about Kurt and now we know too much about Philip.

I reject the notion that we give out too much on social media. We mute, manipulate, and massage what we put out to stroke out egos and protect our best interests. If I were to drop dead tomorrow, trust me, there’s a lot you don’t know about me, my wife and my 3 daughters and my family and friends. But if for some reason the police start telling you stuff like they are with Philip Hoffman, you’ll turn away, letting it and me die with some dignity as I’ve tried to live with some.

*****blogger’s note****

This my personal response to Trifecta www.trifectawritingchallenge.com

MANIPULATE (transitive verb)

This is also linked to I Don’t Like Mondays blog hop by my friends and fellow Lefty Pop www.leftypop.com editor and writer, Linda @modmomelleroy from www.elleroywashere.com
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Please visit her and get one of her band’s t-shirts like mine – Jehova Waitresses (@jehovawaitreses). Their music is excellent and their band members are awesome.
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Here’s today’s song from Paul McCartney and Wings.

You know what would make lovely Valentine’s Day gifts? My books.

The Ballad of Helene Troy, an underdog story about a female musician in New York City, and Soul To Body, about an ex-1990s guitar player trying to raise his teenage daughter after the death of his wife, her mother, are available, digitally, on Amazon.com for your kindles, and in paperback from Lulu.com

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Jump

Last time: https://lancemyblogcanbeatupyourblog.wordpress.com/2014/01/15/100-word-song-limelight/

Van Halen blared from a silver boombox a few feet above the head of the teenaged male cashier as Silas paid for his final tank of gas before returning to Ft. Myers. He bobbed his head to the song. The cashier spoke through a quaint smile.

“I like their first album, the best.”

Silas’ eyes left the music and focused on the teeth missing from the cashier’s mouth, on each side. He took his change of six dollars and thirty-seven cents and responded.

“Yeah, I agree, but you can’t blame the band for wanting to make money. This song is everywhere.”

He shocked himself with his statement. He’d never thought about money. Olive had begged him to clean out his safe deposit box on their way out of Atlanta a day earlier. There was over four hundred dollars in gifted cash from family members in it but he’d been too scared to tipping the bank off to what he and Olive had done. Now, they were indebted to a drug dealing pimp who’d led Silas into a busted face.

He walked out of the gas station and met Olive at the pump just as she was putting the pump in its place. He shoved the money in his pocket and grabbed her by the waist. He pulled her into his lips and kissed her so hard, Olive gasped when he let her go. He smiled and said.

“Let’s do it.”

Olive crossed her arms and furrowed her brow. She answered.

“Do what? Leave town, now?”

Silas took in a deep breath and formulated a plan in his mind then revealed it.

“Let’s return to Bart’s house. I’ll give him a portion of the money, show him my face, quit, and we’ll go back to Atlanta and empty my account.”

Olive’s grin lit up her face. She shook her head then threw her arms around Silas’ neck and murmured into his ear.

“That’s quite a jump, are you sure?”

Silas lied.

“Yeah, I’m sure.”

*****blogger’s note****

This week’s Trifecta writing challenge.  This week, Trifecta gave us this prompt: QUAINT (adjective)

3a : unusual or different in character or appearance : ODD b : pleasingly or strikingly old-fashioned or unfamiliar

This is a new story episode of Silas and Olive, two 19-year-old lovers on the run in 1989 Florida.

On January 9, 30 years ago, Van Halen’s 1984 album was released. I’m paying tribute with this piece.

My Thursday column resumes on www.raisedontheradio.com this Thursday. Please come by and check out our music posts.

You know what would make lovely Valentine’s Day gifts? My books.

The Ballad of Helene Troy, an underdog story about a female musician in New York City, and Soul To Body, about an ex-1990s guitar player trying to raise his teenage daughter after the death of his wife, her mother, are available, digitally, on Amazon.com for your kindles, and in paperback from Lulu.com

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Do I Wanna Know?

Every day my wife and I ask each other a question that seems ridiculous after over five years of marriage.

“Are we okay?”

Those three words are a peephole into each other’s souls. We’re neither person’s first loves but we’re each other’s last. The stuff that came before us is history, pages of a book that can be used for reference by others, but we never open it because we’ve memorized the lessons.

We ask the question to stave off complacency and keep lines of communication tender lovingly cared.

I always want to know until I don’t want to know.

****blogger’s note****

I had trouble using peephole, my friend www.velvetverbosity.com Velvet Verbosity’s word prompt for her 100 word challenge this week, for my Silas and Olive fiction story. So, I went personal.

I can’t wait for my wife and I to ask “are we okay” at least five times, tonight. It always leads to good conversation.

Today’s song is one of my favorite from 2013 by one of my favorite bands, The Arctic Monkeys. Here’s Do I Wanna Know. Turn it up loud.

You know what would make lovely Valentine’s Day gifts? My books.

The Ballad of Helene Troy, an underdog story about a female musician in New York City, and Soul To Body, about an ex-1990s guitar player trying to raise his teenage daughter after the death of his wife, her mother, are available, digitally, on Amazon.com for your kindles, and in paperback from Lulu.com

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Father And Daughter

I stood crying in front of the greeting cards section in Wal-Mart not because I couldn’t find the right one but because I knew what I needed to say inside of whatever I chose. Today, my daughter, Tay,  turns eighteen-years-old and it’s her most important birthday because her life is about to change, completely and forever. I thought about what I wanted to say then settled on what she needed to read. I bought a card with a cupcake on the front and a simple message about how amazing she is, in the fold. But I added in the margins. I hope she ignores her dopey, self-indulgent writer dope of a dad and takes the words to heart. Here’s what I wrote.

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“Dear Beautiful,

Today you turn 18, an age most people consider a milestone. You’re eligible to do things you’re never done before. But I hope you look at 18 in a greater way, as a gateway to becoming the young woman you’re capable of being.

When I turned 18, everything in my life changed, so quickly, I could barely realize what was happening. I want you to see each now, now, as a challenge, as a goal to be better than the day before. You’ll get knocked down, suffer heartbreak, and question yourself, but how you respond will mean a lot.

In the next few months, you’ll graduate high school and enroll in the college of your dreams. Trust me when I tell you, everything in your life will change. You’ll be a different person, soon.

You’re so smart and talented that when responsibility and the “grown-up” world try to overwhelm you, you’ll survive and thrive.

Embrace the change. Explore the new world. Engage your new life.

You’re going to be sick and tired of me crying over and about you. But give me the benefit of the doubt, you’re leaving me a girl, and returning one day, a woman.

Your successes will overtake your mistakes, but when you make them, please remember my love is unconditional and my phone is always nearby.

Happy Birthday,

I love you forever,

Dad”

Today’s song says everything else I wanted to say but with Paul Simon’s voice and guitar work. Here’s Father and Daughter.

Those gift cards you got for the Holidays? How about using them on my books.

The Ballad of Helene Troy, an underdog story about a female musician in New York City, and Soul To Body, about an ex-1990s guitar player trying to raise his teenage daughter after the death of his wife, her mother, are available, digitally, on Amazon.com for your kindles, and in paperback from Lulu.com

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Starting Over – 100 Word Song

Welcome back from “the break”. I hope everyone had a nice Christmas and New Year. In case you haven’t noticed, it appears the blogging world is back to normal. Leeroy and I decided to take a couple of weeks off from 100 word song since everyone else was in writing hibernation, for the most part.

Not only a I continuing my Thursday column at www.raisedontheradio (tomorrow is a piece on The Buggles of Video Killed The Radio Star fame) but I also tri-created (with my friends Linda and Natalie) a new politics and pop culture site called Lefty Pop www.leftypop.com aka @lefty_pop on the Twitter. We started this week with news pieces on everything from Republican Party infighting to Britney Spears and Dennis Rodman.

To begin 2014 in 100 Word Song mode, Leeroy and I looked at the Billboard Charts for the year 1981. Only two weeks after John Lennon was tragically shot outside the Dakota in New York, his song (Just Like) Starting Over hit the top spot. We thought it was perfect for the New Year, our writing habits, my new ventures, and the Silas and Olive story. I wrote a good bit on my short story Light of Day about Silas and Olive, 2 19-year-old lovers on the run in 1989 Florida. I’ve centralized the over 8,300 words here: https://lancemyblogcanbeatupyourblog.wordpress.com/light-of-day-silas-olive/

Now, to my 100.

Last time: https://lancemyblogcanbeatupyourblog.wordpress.com/2014/01/06/should-we-talk-about-the-weather/

Olive’s slender fingers caressed the wad of hundred dollar bills. Silas saw her wicked smile in the rear view mirror as he drove past the Tampa International Airport exit.

“Silas, there’s thirteen hundred bucks, here. We could fly to Mexico or the Bahamas or Jamaica!”

She overemphasized the last syllable of Jamaica and danced in her seat.

“Liv, with my face like this and those mechanics probably already on the phone with Bart, I think it’s too early.”

He saw Olive frown and prepared for a plea about starting over and taking a chance to fly away. She murmured.

“Soon.”

My Blog Can Beat Up Your Blog

You have 7 days from NOW, to write 100 words inspired by John Lennon’s Starting Over. Use the medias that are social to tell a friend or 100 about your post. With the new year upon us, let’s get more people to play 100 word song. Have fun.