1. the ideal example; epitome; quintessence: This poem is the apotheosis of lyric expression.
  2. the elevation or exaltation of a person to the rank of a god.

Lillie skipped down the hallway. The sound of her patent leather shoes creating music as they struck against the oak floor. Her curled pigtails caught the fading sunlight as they flew through the air and grazed the top of her shoulders.

She turned the corner, heading toward her parents’ bedroom, excited for the evening ahead. But her smiled drooped drastically as she slammed into an unexpected wall of wailing.

There on the floor was her younger sister, Lisa. Hair askew, dress halfway on her slim body, barefoot and screaming, it seemed she was having another one of her “episodes,” as her mother called them.

Lisa rarely seemed to want to get dressed in anything other than her Continue reading




1. a person employed to write what another dictates or to copy what has been written by another; secretary.


Sarah lengthened her strides as she paced back and forth. Her hands were clasped behind her back as her mind whirled with ideas and activity, breaking down the problem and rebuilding the solution.

Things needed to be changed, but she seemed to be the only one who noticed and worse yet, the only one who wanted to speak up about it.

“We’re going to to have an honest conversation about what we consider acceptable around here,” Sarah said matter-of-factly. “Life was meant to be lived Continue reading




1. composed of incongruous parts
2. of different colors; especially : spotted or blotched with black and white


Lacey clutched her quilt tightly, pulling it up to her chubby chin. It was tattered in a few places, but for the most part, Grandma Neelie’s quilt was holding up, standing strong against the rough sleeping patterns of a 7 year old.

The quilt was actually Lacey’s favorite thing.

In the winter, she could be found wrapped in the piebald construction, shuffling from room to room, looking more like a burrito with a portion of the tortilla trailing behind her, than a child pretending to be a queen wrapped in royal garb. In the summer months she was often stretched out on the tapestry that spoke of her grandmother’s handiwork, her mother’s taste in clothing, and Lacey’s rough nature.

What never crossed Lacey’s happy mind was the obvious poverty that necessitated the making of the quilt from scraps of her mother’s clothing. Instead, she lived and slept in the quilt and expected it would be that way her entire life.

Her mother was less appreciative of what she mentally called Continue reading




  1. to become rigid or inflexible in habits, attitudes, opinions, etc.
  2. to convert into or cause to harden like bone.
  3. to become bone or harden like bone.


For someone who was 12, Alexander would’ve been considered a strange child, having more in common with his grandfather than his classmates.

His parents would observe his times of quiet play–book reading–and ponder how he would be as a teenager, given he already seemed to have the temperament of an 85-year-old man.

“He may grow out of it,” his father would say.

“Well, he spends so much time with your father that I doubt that,”his mother would respond.

It was true.  Alexander spent every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday afternoon at his grandfather’s house in the country, Continue reading




  1. serving as a substitute; synthetic; artificial: an ersatz coffee made from grain.
  2. an artificial substance or article used to replace something natural or genuine; a substitute.

“This is your dad,”Principal Paulsen asked, looking skeptically at Benjamin. He surveyed the young man’s blue locks, gauged ears, and tattoos. Only the beard added years to his appearance.

Kiki shook her head, feeling ashamed.

“He’s not,” she said quietly, toward her shoes.

Ben felt exposed for the ersatz parent he was.

“Young man, can I see some ID or proof of relationship?”

Principal Paulsen used his 6’4 frame and 300 pound girth to try and intimidate Ben who was almost as tall, but much leaner.

Instead of seeming intimidated, Ben smiled and nodded. He should’ve expected this. Continue reading



  1. a reception at a gallery for an artist whose show is about to open to the public.
  2. Also called varnishing day. the day before the opening of an art exhibition traditionally reserved for the artist to varnish the paintings.

“Matthew,” Adam called as his 6-year-old started running down the hallway. “Slow down, buddy.”

His son ducked into a classroom on the right.

“He’s just excited,” Maria whispered into her husband’s ear, smiling. “He’s just like you when you’re proud of things; you just contain yourself a little bit better than he does.”

“A little bit,” Adam asked, feigning hurt before kissing his wife on her temple. They strolled hand in hand toward Matthew’s classroom for their meeting with their son’s teacher.

As they entered the classroom, Matthew instantly turned into Continue reading


  1. Chiefly Midland and Southern U.S. askew; awry.
  2. Chiefly Midland and Southern U.S. positioned diagonally; cater-cornered.


“Besty Lou Mayfield!”

Mama bust through the door of Betsy’s room like a hurricane in early Fall.

“Girl, didn’t ya hear me callin’ ya?”

She had been calling her only child’s name for what seemed like an eternity before coming upstairs.

“What’s the matter,” Mama questioned, hands on her round hips, a deep Southern drawl coloring her words. “I’ve almost got all the fixins’ ready, but I’m gonna need ya to help with the potato salad and pies cuz we’re runnin’ outta time before the Reeds show up. We can’t have everythang go catawampus on us today!”

“Oh, mama,” Betsy sobbed, tears covering her chubby cheeks, her slumped shoulders trembling.

Mama peered at Betsy like a doctor would a patient. Always one for words, Mama bit her tongue and came to sit on the bed with her daughter. She waited for what seemed like an eternity and a half, silently rubbing Betsy’s back.

“Are ya getting’ cold feet,” Mama asked, when the tears had slowed. “Are ya nervous ’bout the weddin’ cuz Continue reading