A Great Cloud of Writing Prompts

Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us.

Hebrews 12:1

We are on day 194 of 15 days to slow the spread.

Saturday morning, I wanted to sleep in. It was the first weekend in September that I didn’t have somewhere to be, either for filming or for clearing out the theater.

On a side note, I’ve made myself a note to keep my Saturday mornings as clear as possible.

While I wanted to sleep a little longer, my back decided that it was time to get up. I’ve had back issues for years and regularly see a chiropractor.

Someday I’ll tell the story of the first back injury. It’s not quite James Thurber’s The Night the Bed Fell. It was more like the night I got twisted in the covers and fell of out a bed that was quite high off the ground. I landed on my tailbone and I’ve had back issues ever since.

I think I just told the story, so we’ll mark that off the to do list.

Back to Saturday, so to speak.

Whilst my back wanted to be up, the rest of me wanted to sleep. So, I moved to my office to sit in the comfy chair. I was never quite able to drift back off.

I spent some time looking around the room. I’ve got the comfy chair positioned so that I can see my shelf of books and memorabilia. The walls are covered with posters and program covers from shows, some of my own art work and a generous selection of memories important only to me.

I realized, again, that I am blessed.

Sometimes, especially during our 47 years of house arrest, also especially since I’m nearing retirement age, I think that I’ve not done much.

I mean, I’ve never been to Spain, but I kind of like the music.

The not going to Spain is another story which shall not (yet) be told here.

Sure, I’ve not traveled all the places I’ve wanted to go.

Sure, I’m not writing his from a beach house whilst wearing a sweater with patches on the sleeves.

Sure, by the time you’re reading this (and sharing with thousands of your closest friends), I’ll be working away at the day job.

But if I’ve learned anything from this pandemic, it’s that I’m really blessed.

I’ve always known it, but perhaps have never really acknowledged it.

In my home office, which my wife graciously insisted I make my own, I have my set ups to write, to read, to work the day job, to do the occasional art project, and to very soon to virtual calls in the bright red suit.

I can do all this surrounded by memories of things like the costume hat that I wore when I sang in a

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barbershop quartet in college.

Or the flag that I received from the Logistics Task Force from the 820 Airborne Division because some online friends and I supported them with care packages during the second Gulf War.

Or the pictures of my parents from their senior year in high school.

Truth is, I’ve had this stuff, and much, much, more for years.

It’s just that Saturday morning it gave me a case of the warm fuzzies.

Along with a good bit of chastisement.

As a writer, I am never, not even ever, out of source material.

If I find myself staring at a blank screen all I really have to do is to spin my chair around and take a moment to stare at my walls.

Truth is, I’ll never get it all written.

Truth also is that, if I ever do get the chance to retire, I’m not going to be able to fit in all of the stuff I have in my office downtown.

By current count, I won’t have to worry about that stuff for two years and nine months.

That sounds ever so much better than three years.

I digress.

As I write this, the trees outside my window are still healthy and green. But I just watched a single brown leaf drift slowly to the ground. It’s coming.

That’s just one of the reasons I need to keep my Saturday mornings clear.

Just like there’s a shift in the weather, I’m feeling a shift in the writing.

I don’t have to struggle for topics. I don’t have to worry about not wanting to write about current events.

Because, I really, really, really, don’t want to write about current events.

I’m surrounded by writing prompts. Witnesses if you will, and the race set before me is to write about them.

My race bib from the last time I walked the Monument Avenue 10K reminds me that I’ll be walking, and not running that race.

I’ll still get there.

Photo by Kenrick Mills on Unsplash




We Can’t Stay Too Long at the Fair

We are on day 191 of 15 days to slow the spread.

In a non-pandemic world, today would have been the opening of the Virginia State Fair.

I know that because it’s raining.

There’s no fair this year. Just another one of 2020’s disappointments.

But, if you’re having cholesterol withdrawals, you can go next weekend for State Fair Food Weekend. So, there’s that.

Go support the businesses. It’s been a hard year for everyone.

I haven’t been to the Virginia State Fair in years. Truth is, I’ve never made it to their new location.

There’s just something about that exit in Doswell that always has our family turning into the Kings Dominion employee parking lot.

I’m not doing that this weekend either. Typically, I’d be gearing up to work Halloween Haunt either as a monster or a merchandise supervisor…not that there’s really that much difference.

But Kings Dominion is closed for the year which means no Haunt or Winterfest.

And so, like we’ve all learned, or tried to learn, I’ll be doing things a bit differently this year.

Next month I’ll be joining the other Haunters at Blood Lake Haunted Trail in Midlothian. Click the link for the schedule and details.

After the scary season is over, I’ll be donning (Donner-ing?) the red suit and going online with Jingle Ring. Here’s a preview.


In my free time I’ll be writing and helping Chamberlayne Actors Theatre find a new home.

Somewhere in there I’ll find time for writing projects, for yard work, and oh yeah…the day job.

Don’t judge me for being too busy. My blood pressure demands that I stay busy enough to keep off of Twitter.

Speaking of health, I had my annual wellness visit yesterday. We’re waiting on blood results, but all was pretty good.

In other words, he didn’t tell me anything I didn’t already know.

Watch the diet. Get more exercise. Get the flu shot.

You know the drill.

All of those things that are so easy to do when you have a busy schedule.

I’ll work on it.

Maybe right after I get me a turkey leg and some fried Oreos.

Photo by Sebastian Davenport-Handley on Unsplash