Return of the Community Storyboard! New Guidelines!

(Sorry!  We forgot to make the blog public when we returned!  Oops!)

We’re back!!!

After careful consideration and discussions with a panel of experts (we hear voices), we are implementing some not so drastic changes.  In the spirit of keeping this a fair and fun community for everyone, we have rearranged some privileges, made some editorial changes, and adjusted our guidelines.  Some of you who had free posting privileges prior to our closure may now find that you are restricted and need an editor’s approval before posting.  After a history of consistent quality posts, you may regain privileges to post without editor approval.  This is not anything personal or a judgment against your writing or talent, but we are striving to take the CSB in a more positive direction.  To do so, we need to establish more quality control.

Going forward, we ask that people remember that this website is about feedback.  The ‘C’ stands for Community and we mean it.  Even if you dislike a piece, please feel free to comment on it with respect and integrity.  Consistently coming to the editors with an issue about works that are represented on the blog does not help the author in question learn and grow.  If discussions do get heated and cross the line of civility, the editors will step in and there will be the risk of removal of offending party(ies).

Without further ado, here are the New Guidelines!

  • This blog is intended to feature Short fiction, non-fiction and poetry, as well as art pieces and musical works. We would prefer if your submission was no longer than 1000 words long, unless it has been arranged prior.
  • We ask that you limit your posting to 1 piece per day unless you are an editor or have previous permission.  The exception to this rule is during contests, prompts, and themes that require more than one post per day.
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We hope everyone has a good time here and shares in the joy of reading and writing–Thank you, the editorial team.

Keep a look out for a post about coming events such as an artist contest and the bi-monthly theme, which will be replacing the weekly prompts.

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It Goes, Bump…in The Night


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Mysterious Romania -Christmas Traditions in Romania

Christmas is a major annual celebration in Romania, full of significance and traditions. Romanians, who are predominantly Orthodox, celebrate Jesus Christ’s birth. Introduced once with the Christianization of Romania, the observance of Christmas was interrupted during the Communist period (1948—1989), as concepts as religion, Jesus Christ or the Church were banned. Instead of being visited by Santa Claus children received gifts under the fir tree from Old Man Frost/ Mos Gerila.In fact, the whole month of December is a festive period for Romanians. Celebrations start already on 30th November, St. Andrew’s day. On 1st December is Romania’s National Day. On 5th December, in the evening, children wait for the arrival of St. Nicholas/Mos Nicolae who leaves gifts in their shining boots. 6th December is St. Nicholas’s day. Winter festivities end on January 7, with the celebration of Saint John. Christmas celebration proper starts on 24th December in the morning. By that time, the Christmas tree that people buy from the markets must be already decorated. It is the day children usually start caroling their neighbors till late evening. Music plays an important part of Christmas festivities all over Romania. This music is related to Christmas carols. The songs are named colindă. Some people say that certain elements of the carols performed around Christmas have their roots in the Roman Saturnalia and pagan rituals related to the winter solstice and soil fertility. There are areas in the country where children or even grown-ups go caroling till New Year.On 24th December women cook the traditional foods for Christmas dinner. Pork is traditional meat in Christmas various delicacies. 20th December,the day the pigs are sacrificed is called Ignat day, Saint Ignatius Day. There is a tradition that asks the housewives to prepare and share from the meat of the sacrificed animal that very same day.On Christmas morning people go to church for the religious service, and then they return home to wait for the carol singers. All family will be present at the Christmas dinner and taste the delicious traditional sarmale/ minced meat rolled in pickled cabbage leaves/, carnati/ spiced sausages, cozonaci//sponge cake/ and placinte/pies.( You can see a plate with sarmale and some cozonac in the images)Women called Cristina/Cristiana and men called Cristian celebrate their name day on 25th December.Christmas traditions in villages- pigs must be sacrificed on 20th December. Starting from that day on, pigs that are still alive will no longer gain weight; tradition says the animals dreamed about the sacrificing knives during the night.- crumbs from the first cozonac are thrown to poultry or cattle, to protect them from getting ill,- no washing of dishes on this day. Plates and casseroles are washed on the next day and the water is sprinkled where animals are kept,cowhouses, stables.-people say that if Christmas day is a warm one, Easter will be cold and the other way round,- nobody must sweep the floors and take the garbage out of the house until the following day,- no chicken meat is eaten during Christmas days as doing it will attract all kind of misfortunes on the family. It goes without saying that children are most anxious for Christmas and Santa Claus – Mos Craciun who will bring them beautiful gifts – sweets, toys and books. They will recite poems and sing songs for Santa Claus.A silent night, a star above, a blessed gift of hope and love.A blessed Christmas to you all who celebrate it!

Source: Mysterious Romania -Christmas Traditions in Romania

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Z Land

​Have you ever had a wonderful, beautiful, tragic, romantic, heart-rending dream before?


There is this girl (I don’t know how old we are in my dream) but, if it’s in relation to her age, I should be late 20’s.

Lord, I hope I’m not a dirty, old man in dreamland…. 

All I can remember about her (after waking up 3-4 times at intense moments during the dream, then losing the flow of the dream and then trying to get back to sleep like a crazy person) that she has fair, smooth skin…light hazel eyes, reddish brown or dark strawberry blonde hair pulled back in a low pony-tail, and a smile….

A smile that makes me wanna cry..

Usually does… 

She evidently has a recurring role in my psyche somehow, because I have “known” her since I was a teenager; you know….when us boys start dreaming about the fairer sex.

I can’t remember how many times I’ve seen her but, it’s long enough between episodes that I almost forget about her; then, she reappears.

I don’t know her name yet but, this is what happened last night…

Best that I can remember.


I am sitting on a couch, talking to unknown people, subject unknown.

Dream talk….

When a door into the room opens up and “my girl” walks in carrying groceries…

I freeze…..it takes me a second….don’t I know her……….?

The closest I could get to Lady's likeness...




 She’s seen me just as I see her and she drops the groceries, runs to the couch, crashes down on top of me and wraps her arms around my head. Laying her own beautiful red head down slowly; she’s looking into me; those pale green, sleepy, painful eyes…

Oh…there you are. Now, I remember… 




I’m looking at her again…her wet cheek dug into my chest and shoulder, her arm across my chest, her legs across my lap; she says…

(tears in my eyes now in really real)

She say’s…(I can’t see)

“Where have you been?”

So soft, so tenderly….

“Where have you been for soo long?”

Her eyes are glistening now…….accusing…..forgiving…..hating me.




I don’t want to be back in the awake place…

No one likes me here…. 

Guess what now?… I’m thinking…..”I should have stood up when she walked into the room, instead of just sitting there… been a gentleman”

Why that thought? It’s only a…..dream, right?

I must truly respect and cherish this lady; esteem her greatly I must.

Then, smiling to myself like a freaking Cheshire cat, I say to myself…


“Thank God…she’s back.”…then, of course, crying myself to sleep…..still smiling.

Glad that “she’s” back…

I’m fighting to find sleep, trying to find her again.

But’ I couldn’t…

I had left her there…in my…”our” dream…apparently again.

I’ve eft her sitting there beside my spot; haven’t I? Clutching at empty air like a gasping person, be it out of despair or need…terrified that I had faded away from the couch and left HER, once again (Crying again now in this really real; my hands are shaking)

Oh my god…..she’s probably still sitting there holding my empty air.

I flatter myself…. 

Maybe shes screaming my name!wpid-wp-1417907323877.jpeg

I am empty air.

What a bastard I must be…in this awake place.

I understand a few things more clearly this day; a true zen moment has occurred in my life; other than the fact that I am empty air in a dream romance….

Maybe it’s real to her….

Maybe…..it’s real to me.

Wanna know why about the zen?

A) I do not know this “lady’s” name

B) I have NEVER had a dirty dream about her

C) I have never kissed her.

But last night…last night…(crying in the really real, again)

I think dreams are real…

Last night was the first time, THE FIRST BLESSED TIME I ever heard her voice!

She actually spoke to me, and I can feel her fingers in my skin as surely as I can hear myself sniffling now!

Maybe thats why I couldn’t stay there….

What a bastard I must be…in this awake place.

If heaven is where dreams come true…then I either came one step closer to it last night, or I saw it on a hill….


I felt heaven there…in a dream…on a dream couch with bad cushions; my dream lady holding me…crying into my shoulder…shaking…Her loving me and me not knowing her…

Be back soon Lady…..

I know it and I can’t wait.

But, what if it’s years, like last time? Will you come? Will it be your turn to forget?

Or, will it be like that one time, where we passed each other on a crowded street and only had a second or two to die inside…..as we brushed by each other, the people shoving us along, keeping us apart?

Adrift on the waves. 

Here’s what I promise to the Sandman or God; whomever is in charge of dreams…

I’ll behave and commit no sin, I’ll eat all of my vegetables and pick up my dirty clothes.

I will eat tomatoes…..

I’ll beg the Lord for forgiveness and beg him to let me see you again …maybe I can stay a little longer next time…and we can talk…on our dream couch…


What a bastard I must be…In this awake place.

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#Sharing #CoverReveal #SummerMagic

The Write Stuff

sm cover at 30 percent

One more thing before I head to bed. I finally decided to expand Summer Magic by a few more poems and put out a print version, so I asked my cover designer, Nicki Forde, to come up with something that was the embodiment of a magical summer night. When I got to her house today, she had three covers for me to choose from. All of them were beautiful, but THIS one just stole my heart away! It’s everything I imagined, and more! Going to bed now, to dream of dark summer woods filled with fairy lights! *happy sigh*

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The Gate

“Are you in there, Daddy?”

Dad smiles back at me, his eyes shining, a look of glee on his face.

He grins wider and squeezes my hand harder…

He has no idea who I am does he?

*She can’t hear me can she?*

*I’m looking right in my baby’s eyes and squeezing her hand but, she just looks at me with her sad, pouty face she’s used on me since she was 2 years old, right after the time she dropped her very first piece of birthday cake. That was a very unhappy girl; she was sitting there, so big on a big pot, in a big chair so she could reach her big plate of cake on the big table.*

*Such a big girl….
I remember it like it was yesterday….
How long ago was that…yesterday?*

I look into my daddy’s eyes and I can tell he see’s me but, like the Doctor says “The lights are on but no adults are at home, only a 3 year old”

I wonder if daddy can understand what I say to him?

What’s he thinking?

I hold his hand tighter and lean towards him; Daddy likes this and grins bigger.

“Daddy, Mama died”

I burst into tears….
I can’t help it.

It’s not fair.

My mom knew me to her last
breath; my mommy died with her ungrateful child’s name on her dry lips.

My dementia ravaged dad is frowning.
He probably doesn’t know he is….
Did he hear me, does he understand what I’m saying?

He’s grinning again and patting my hand; a comfort pat.
He remembers what tears are, at least….maybe.
I shouldn’t get too excited though.
We all know what tears are.
Some more than others.
Tears are in our DNA.

I’m grasping at straws….

*Lisa’s dead?
My wife of 62 years is dead?
My junior high school crush is dead?
The girl down the street that used to beat me up everyday, when we were kids, is gone?
Lefty is dead?
My Lisa…..gone.

And here I sit on my big, flat dumb ass; I can’t do a damn thing about it except grin and giggle, pat Casey’s hand and drool like an idiot.*

*I’m trapped in here.*

*It’s like my body is a car and I’m in the passenger seat and I can’t move or talk and no one’s driving.*

*I’m dead in here*

*Is this hell?*

My heart keeps me alive out of spite, I’m sure of it.

*Am I in purgatory?*

*Am I not getting to spend eternity with my lover, my best friend?*

….. dead

My Honey Biscuit is gone.

I’m trapped in here.


*I’m watching my baby girl fall apart right in front of me, at my very knee, and all I can do is slobber and mew like a cat.*

It ain’t fair…

Something outside the window has caught daddy’s attention, so much for reaching him today.

I just can’t handle this right now….

“Daddy, I’ll come back tomorrow morning, we’ll have breakfast, OK?”

*I hear Casey leave; she doesn’t want to shut the door*

Poor baby. Such a great kid.

*Be strong, kiddo*

*I don’t think we’ll make breakfast.*

*Your mom is here to get me*

*Bye, baby girl*

*Thanks for being there for me, it meant everything, more than you’ll ever know*

*Lefty says you’ll be just fine, so I guess it’s OK to leave*

*See ya on the other side, Case’ *

note: I hate crying when I write


The Dying Rain Falls

To  busymindthinking: Memorial Day 2016 is coming…

You told me a story once….

And, it touched me….

I have to pay tribute to this much, too shortened friendship.

It’s amazing how things can move you….isn’t it?

What’s the point of life if we can’t be moved by others experiences.

Without movement, we go stale.

Because I think of her now, when it rains.
The Dying Rain

The rain began to patter on the window that looked out over my best friend’s small garden.

I was holding her frail hand, the one with her “green thumb”.

I smile at this…

She always giggled when she told me that she could kill a plastic plant…

I’ve seen it happen.

But now her eyes were closed, her breath labored.

….. today was a good day for her, considering everything….

She may have been asleep but, her fingers gripped mine as hard as she could squeeze.

I could barely tell I was holding her hand at all, as weak as she was.

It’s so painful, beyond belief really, to try and imagine strength draining away from the strongest person you have ever known.
….like sand in an hourglass.

I laced my fingers thru hers, gripping them a little harder, tracing the veins on the back of her hand with my other fingers.

I can’t believe I’m losing her….

My bestest friend in the whole world is dying………Dying!rain3


I can hear the thunder in the distance, the rain coming and going, the branches of the trees scraping lightly across the panes of glass

In the storm graying light of the small bedroom I turn back into time to think of our lives together.

I have done this more than usual lately….

Six months…..

Too fast…

…..Way too damn fast.

Doesn’t it seem weird that when you are about to lose someone close to your heart, a piece of your very soul, that we start to reflect on our memories of them more, as if though trying to burn them deeper into our hearts and minds….

It’s as if though we are afraid that we might forget something important….forget them?

I look at her face as she sleeps….

She’s so beautiful……..even now.

My flower is fading….rain7

The sun is leaving her eyes.

The rain reminds me that I must not cry……

Cloud tears trickle down, the beads of sky diamonds ornament her window…..


I won’t weep…..

Not now at least, she gets upset when I cry.

I sit there, holding my friends tiny hand, staring out the jeweled window as the storm drums the shutters.

The lightning is bright, the thunder is closer….the rain, more insistent…..

I can smell the trees.

I begin the stroll down our memory lane; it isn’t raining here.

There is only laughter, joy and our high school prom.

There is only skinned knees, gum in our hair and boyfriends we shared.rain4


I am brought back from my breaking heart to the bedside when I feel her stir under the blankets….

The thunder moves her.

Her eyes are open and I follow her hooded gaze.

She is looking out the window, watching the storm.

Shadows of the window panes, rain drops and lightning dance across her face…..

She is quiet….Still.

Oh, so still…..

I notice a small tear is running down her pale cheek and across her dry lips…

I reach up and wipe the tear away with my finger.

I feel guilty that I am alive.

She grabs my hand and presses it to her lips and then….she drops my hand with a tired sigh.

She turns her face toward me….dream9

I raise my finger to my lips and kiss what’s left of her tear….

She gives me that shy grin of hers and turns back to the storm.

“Will you do me a favor?” she asks in her beautiful, weak voice; the stormy sky reflecting in her dimming, pretty eyes.

“I don’t know” I say “I’m kinda busy” I grin.

She squeezes my hand again before turning to look at me, her gaze imploring.

“I’m serious” She says.

My face softens, I will not cry….

“You bet” I whisper, both my hands pressing hers to show my promise.

I can’t squeeze hard. She lives very close to pain that I can’t imagine.

She turns her face back toward the window as the rain dances across the roof, the thunder making the panes tremble….

She says “Think of me when it rains….”rain6

I cannot cry in front of her….

I will not….

My best friend in life is slipping away like a dream, like water thru my fingers….

“I hope it rains forever” I say….

Her eyes are closed now…

Her fingers relax in mine….

“It doesn’t hurt anymore…” she whispers.

I thank God for this small answer to my anguished prayers….and I curse him.

“No…don’t go…” I say

I feel like an asshole for being alive.

I never thought that would be the last thing she would hear from my lips.

No God….not her….

Not my friend…..

Take me instead, I’ll go. I’ll go right now!


She dropped my hand.

Her heart has finished its toil.

I can’t breathe….I gotta get out of here….I…….can’t…..breathe….Oh my God! Oh my God!!!

She has gone from me into the storm….

She lives where lightning is born….rain8

Our joined lives continue as memory….

I guess I can cry now….

But, I think it still upsets her…no matter.


I will dance in the rain with the memory of my friend, and we will laugh…

I rejoice in the fact that as long as I live, she will be there with me.

She will watch our children grow.

She will watch our children become best friends.

It is time for me to weep for my lovely…

I thank God for Heaven and eternal life….

Oh my God, why is it so hard to breathe when I think of her?

I can already hear her voice in my head…

“Cry baby”

I smile….

rain1It’s true….

She’s here…..right now.

She is alive in the thunder and rain.

I will think of her….

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In My Head, Goes “bump”

Where does inspiration come from?

It comes from recent rain and rainbows, music from your past, a babbling brook that loves to download (2)gossip, fresh cut grass that makes your tennis shoes green, or a beautiful woman that takes your breath away.

It can come from babies laughing, a word on a roadside sign, the way a person treats another or it can come from a sudden flash of understanding and perspective about something you weren’t even thinking about in just that moment; as a matter of fact you haven’t thought about it in sometime then…”BOOM” there it is….

Then, there’s the other place that inspiration comes from….

It can come from the dark, when your eyes are closed and your mind is supposed to be at rest.

It can come to you in the night; where things go “bump”

When it comes, it is the type of nightmare that nightmares hope they never have….

It’s real….

I would not categorize what happened to me last night, whilst in my heavenly repose, as a nightmare.

I did not twitch, jerk, wet my bed, sweat or wake up screaming tangled in twisted blankets and all of my pillows on the floor.

I woke up quietly.wpid-wp-1417908021574.jpeg

My eyes did not jerk open in alarm or horror.

They didn’t open the way eyes normally do.

They opened the way they do when you’re afraid of what you might see.

“Am I back?”

Not “awake”….”Am I back?”

I remember whispering that this morning after I laid there for a while, in the dimming light, only a small, gray sliver of light from the window to stare at.

That’s what struck me a little later.

I had gotten up slowly, musing on how real the “episode” had seemed and how much of it I remembered.

It wasn’t like your typical dream, or mine usually; running thru our fingers like water or sand as Dickinson would say.

This one was sticking….

I dressed slowly, I got up slowly, I moved slowly….

I was exhausted from a burden that I carried in my heart and mind.

As I walked up the echoing sidewalk toward the office under a cloudy, morning sky, I stopped.

Why did I whisper “Am I back” and not “Am I awake”?

Did I actually go somewhere else?

Did that mysterious part of my brain know something that I didn’t?wpid-20150109_062042-picsay.jpg

How else could I return from the undiscovered country of my mind unless it has known how to get there and back in the first place, like it’s been there before, as if though it were a real place.

One thing was for sure…

I don’t wanna go back there.

It is a dark place where you go to scratch at old wounds and make them bleed.

It is a place where you cannot cry, only watch.

It is a place where you only talk to yourself.

But, in Gods infinite goodness, there was no running or screaming in this “place”, nothing chasing me, nothing breathing in the dark…..

The only monster there, is me.

This is the place we go to, to re-visit mistakes and regrets as a restrained and gagged bystander, as a silent witness to your own stupidity and ignorance.

It is the place where you re-live your past and there is NOTHING THAT YOU CAN DO TO CHANGE ANY OF IT.

The only power you have is to toss your head in your sleep and moan “no….”   “No….”

You don’t gasp “wake up” because you don’t remember that you’re asleep; you know…I know, that this is as real as it gets.

In the awake place we can force ourselves to quit dwelling on the past, to get on with our lives, to quit “beating ourselves up”; we’re only human after all, we all make mistakes.wpid-img_20150220_121756-picsay.jpg

Not there, not in the undiscovered country of our minds.

The monster that is you sits across from you in a small room and tells you a story.

It is not a long story but, it is true.

….oh, so true….and dark.

“Am I back?”

You cannot protest, you cannot cover your ears, you cannot look away.

I have to look at myself.

The worst part is, is that you are unable to make excuses.

Your monster that is you, knows that you’re a liar….

He knows how I can be….or was.

And he will never….EVER, let me forget.

But, you still try to soften the condemnations….

This isn’t real….

“Am I back?”

When the monster that is you has finished with your tale, you just sit there, swathed in fresh guilt and regrets, all of the old wounds begin to fester anew.

The fresh whip marks across your shoulders, face and back burn and gape.

No one can punish you with such ferocity and relentless spite and contempt, as can the very own monster that is you.

s,v,“Look what you’ve done” it keeps saying…..

And I looked…..



I opened my eyes.

My eyes did not jerk open in alarm or horror.

They didn’t open the way eyes normally do.

They opened the way they do when you’re afraid of what you might see.

“Am I back?”


I’m sitting here in our break-room writing this. I am looking around at the vending machines, a gurgling coffee pot and occasionally glancing up at the humming lights. I’ll tap a key or two on my laptop as a new thought or memory about last night comes to me.

“Am I back?”

I can’t tell…..

It feels….

….like that other place.

Wish I may... Wish I may…

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