There’s this book that says get rid of things that don’t make you happy, which was damn near everything in my house. Except for these hiking boots that are nearly as old as me. Gran and I used to camp all the time when we were young, but then just sort of stopped. Life got too busy, I guess. Makes more sense to hike now, anyway; the way I see it, when Death comes, I’ll be ready to go the hell to sleep.

My daughter looked up from the letter and snorted. “He isn’t missing, Mama. He’s taking a hike.”

jan wayne fields
@jan wayne fields

 Friday Fictioneers! (Although it is Wednesday. Forgive me!) Thank you, Rochelle, for the prompt, and the fun opportunity to tell a story in 100 words!

[NOTE: Ending was slightly altered to incorporate helpful feedback from a reader.]


The Dollhouse

Janey shoved her newest doll into the small case provided to her at the residence. She owned so many that the ruffle-lined limbs hung over the shelves, giving the appearance of drunk whores balanced precariously on somebody’s balcony.

She hated dolls. Always had. Couldn’t decide if her mother thought she loved them, or presented them as some sick sort of joke–a reminder to her disfigured daughter of the beauty she could never attain.

But they were gifts from her mother, nonetheless.

Janey kept them displayed near her tiny shower–the dust mingling with the smell of mildew and lavender.


PHOTO PROMPT © Rochelle Wisoff-Fields

Not my first time with the Friday Fictioneers, but my first time with this blog. Thank you, Rochelle, for the prompt, and the fun opportunity to tell a story in 100 words!

What She Read

I have bits of poetry scribbled on random Post-Its, To-Do lists and notebooks throughout my house, and yet I can’t seem to put any of them together. While I wait for inspiration to make another visit, I have been reading. I used to be an avid bookworm, but parenting and work consumed much of my intellectual energy, and I found myself mindlessly scrolling through my phone at night rather than doing anything of value. Now that things have settled into a more reliable routine, I’ve been able to dust off my Goodreads account! I’m 28 books into my goal of 50 for the year, and I thought I would share my 5 favorites. (And then, if you’re curious, perhaps I can share the 5 I liked least!)

Avenue of MysteriesAvenue of Mysteries by John Irving

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Perhaps the most touching Irving book I have ever read (which says something, because Owen Meany broke my heart!) This is an unorthodox story of faith, relationships and unconditional love from the unlikeliest of people. Highly recommend.

Team of Rivals: The Political Genius of Abraham LincolnTeam of Rivals: The Political Genius of Abraham Lincoln by Doris Kearns Goodwin

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Thoughtful, comprehensive and impeccably written narrative of the man who steered our nation through its most turbulent times. Lincoln’s compassion, wisdom, political savvy and literary acumen made him an indispensable leader. I learned so much from this book and find myself wanting more.

In the Heart of the Sea: The Tragedy of the Whaleship EssexIn the Heart of the Sea: The Tragedy of the Whaleship Essex by Nathaniel Philbrick

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This is the true story that inspired Moby Dick; however, whereas Melville’s novel ends with a monstrous sperm whale attacking a whaler, that disaster marks the beginning of the ill-fated Essex whaler and her crew. Containing all of the hallmarks of a nautical catastrophe in the nineteenth century, the book relays in graphic detail the realities of starvation, dehydration, and the struggle to choose between one’s conscience and one’s chance for survival. It is a haunting portrait of man’s obsession with the beautiful, mysterious, dangerous and unpredictable ocean. Humans are made to live on land, not water, and yet our souls somehow long for it, despite the peril lurking below.

Screamfree Parenting: The Revolutionary Approach to Raising Your Kids by Keeping Your CoolScreamfree Parenting: The Revolutionary Approach to Raising Your Kids by Keeping Your Cool by Hal Edward Runkel

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I’m not a screamer, but I definitely have my (many) moments when I’m helplessly wondering what I could possibly be doing wrong as a parent because my sweet pea simply won’t listen. It was helpful to have this reminder of being a role model for the adults I want my children to become, versus focusing on getting my children to conform to standards. Runkel doesn’t say to let them run wild; on the contrary, he stresses the importance of space, boundaries and consistency. The goal of parenting, though, is to raise adults who will go off on their own, so consider the values and principles you want to instill. SUPER helpful and I have a feeling it will be read more than once!

The Traitor's Wife: The Woman Behind Benedict Arnold and the Plan to Betray AmericaThe Traitor’s Wife: The Woman Behind Benedict Arnold and the Plan to Betray America by Allison Pataki

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Interesting take on the strategic influence Peggy Shippen had on her husband, Benedict Arnold. Peggy reigns over Philadelphia society and is in love with John Andre–the handsome British soldier who is dispatched to New York. Despite her allegiance to the Crown and the luxuries it endorses, she marries war hero Arnold. Although nearly twice her age and struggling with an injured leg, Arnold offers the promise of wealth and popularity. When the colonial government fails to give Arnold the accolades and recognition she feels he is due, Peggy cunningly convinced him to betray Arnold to the British (in large part, it is suggested, because of her continued infatuation with Andre.) All in all, a fun read that wraps up a bit too nicely.

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