Inspired by V.J.’s Weekly Challenge #56: Language

This week, let’s think about language. Notice the places where words flow confidently and those where words falter.


You did too much

My mother admonished me after I made my way down the stairs into the living room…two days before Christmas in 1986. After I discovered blood where there shouldn’t have been any. My hand smoothing my slightly rounded belly – as if that would stop what was happening.

What I feared was happening…

As I called out from the small confines of our brand new second floor bathroom. A short distance from a third bedroom…finished a few months earlier. Space for a new family member.

My voice unheard over the cranked up stereo down below…You Better Watch Out You Better Not Cry…in anticipation of the holiday to come. My 4 year old daughter over the moon excited about Santa. And her grandparents’ visit.

You Did Too Much

Four words.

Language that jumpstarted slivers of guilt.  Mixed with grief and anger and fear.

Compounded by my doctor….who, hours later with eyes averted, added…

These Things Happen.
It’s Probably For The Best.

What did I do?…

The unanswered question wrapped around my heart…until the day almost a year later…when my beautiful healthy son was born. And I exhaled.

No words necessary.

Our family of four complete.


moon sliver copy


What’s in a Name

This post inspired by V.J.’s Weekly Challenge #38: What’s In a Name?
what’s in a name? Specifically, your blog name.


So how did I come up with…oneletterup?

It was a process…a metamorphosis from one idea to another.
Quickly realizing there were many like-minded WordPress writers who had already scooped up my blog name ideas. Containing the words diaries or letters or journals

I took that as a sign. To dig deeper. As this blog-to-be was just taking shape in my mind…and I surveyed the saved boxes of diaries, journals, stories – and old letters.

Especially the letters…hundreds of handwritten letters from as far back as when I was 7 years old. Precious pieces of everybody-has-a-story history. Letters from girlfriends, camp friends, grandparents, mother, father, sisters, brothers.
Also, just as interesting, were the letters I had written to my parents…from camp, summer jobs, college or from the privacy of my childhood bedroom.

Something…intuition I couldn’t ignore…kept me from throwing them all away.

Despite advice from well meaning loved ones…
What do you need all those letters for?
Burn them. They’re awful.
Nobody cares.
It’s all in the past anyway!

However…the past – and its people – and their stories – are important.

I needed to write…and use the letters…and the diaries…
and (as I was to discover) the photographs that had piled up high.
Source material? Inspiration? Family history? Because it was fun? And perhaps cathartic at the same time?
All of the above.

I had already begun writing about my family and friends over the years. Sharing at various writing classes and groups. One short essay published online.

For the most part, though, my life had been full of responsibilities pushing the writing down low, if not completely off, the list. Until a year ago. When I was ready. And strong enough to ignore all the discouraging voices…inside and out.

Stories were swimming
Beneath the surface.

I needed to dive in
Put words on the page…
…one letter up….at a time.


Tuesday Photo Challenge – Challenge

Here is my entry for this week’s challenge hosted by Frank at Dutch goes the Photo

…Sign, sign, everywhere a sign
Blockin’ out the scenery, breakin’ my mind
Do this, don’t do that, can’t you read the sign?…

(from Signs: by the Five Man Electrical Band…from my high school days…)

Signs often present challenges…
With instructions for what we are supposed to do.
Or…more specifically…what we are not supposed to do.

We can obey them…or not.
After all, we do have a choice…made all the harder when signage deviates from the usual.

Such was the case during a visit to Virginia Beach in 2006.  We were looking forward to a few relaxing days to unwind before the 600 mile road trip home. After the stress of leaving our last born to freshman orientation…and indoctrination into the wild untamed life of college in Richmond.

But what was this?

Virginia Beach “Resort Area”

I was startled to note that a large beach town would need such a directive.
Did visitors usually wander around spewing the f-bomb? Describing dog doo doo in loud outside voices?

It was a challenge NOT to shout out an expletive.
Not because I had the urge to.
But because there was this big sign bossing me around…planting the thought…
Posing a challenge.

And then further down the street…

Another set of challenges…for some.
And unfortunately there will be those who rise stoop to the challenge…and harass people and break laws anyway.


Virginia Beach is a large thriving tourist destination.

And “the Resort Area” (ie: main street) is only walking distance from
its public beach…which showcases swimwear of all imaginations.
“…refrain from…wearing revealing attire…?”
Now, THAT’S a challenge.

(We had a lovely time despite the signs. And I only cursed in my mind.)