Today I celebrate the completion and submission of my latest story The Price of Ursula’s Candy. For me the piece is cause for celebration in that it came out of me, 1114 words and 9:22 of audio in seven days, beginning to end.   I do not strive to be speedy and voluminous in output. I am more focused on quality, but in Ursula’s case, I feel like Satan’s scribe, in a manner of speaking. I wrote Ursula in the Shirley Jackson tradition of creepy short short stories.

I also want to formally thank the folks who take time to read my stories and share their opinions. For me, their criticism is essential to fully realizing each piece. My deepest thanks to Anthony Postman, Denis Ferentinos, and Madeline Mundt. Each is a busy, creative professional who takes time to invest in my pieces and gracefully point out when I am not paying attention. To my shame, Ursula is the first story to include their worthy names in the credits. Thank you.

And the text of another short short is nearly whole in three days.  I hope to cut an audio version this afternoon. I initially wrote this story when I was a janitor at the Winter Park ski resort, and wouldn’t you know it, the hero is a janitor at Winter Park. Maybe it’s the season or cutting back on coffee and sleeping better? Or maybe a little time off and exercise helps elicit short stories.

Wendy and I took a regular half day hike up the Ophir Creek trail on Sunday. The path runs from the floor of the Washoe Valley and can end at the very top of the Tahoe Sierra, but on this day, we did our standard best speed walk to the boulder field. 53F, no wind. Starting elevation on the gps 5249 ft above sea level. The trail is relentlessly uphill and serves as a test of cardiovascular health, or lack of health:
Climbing, the view improves, and road noise from 395 disappears … that’s the ephemeral Washoe Lake.

Forty-seven minutes and 900 vertical feet later …

A trail snakes through the boulder field at the base of Slide mountain toward Ophir Creek … Super Dog knows the creek and a cold drink are ahead …

Ending elevation: 6152 feet above sea level for a vertical gain of 903 feet …

Ophir creek is flowing with fresh snow melt …

Glory in the morning …