Ribbon for #50PreciousWords


Vivian Kirkfield’s 2018 Writing Challenge began in celebration of Dr. Seuss’s birthday, March 2. If you participate, you can potentially win prizes. Click on Vivian’s name to find the challenge. Here’s my story:

Ribbon’s Adventure (50 Words)

Ribbon’s home is a drawer.
Squashed, she imagines adventures:
parties, parades and presents. Continue reading

Writer’s Bog

Pond with algae, bare trees and a lonely evergreen

For all of us writers blogging, slogging and bogging down in the publishing labyrinth, I decided to publish my tips and shortcuts. My bookmarking system had started to feel like the snake pit from Raiders of the Lost Ark. This organizes and sets out part of my writing journey, including some books on writing I love. Feel free to leave me some of your favorite sites or books.

Tip of the Day: When I know a paragraph is duller than untoasted white bread, I look at my links for sensory words or my own ABCs of Fairy Tales for some sugar and spice.

Copyright 2016 Brenda Davis Harsham Continue reading

Open Door Haibun

When one door closes, another opens;
but we often look so long and so regretfully upon the closed door
that we do not see the one which has opened for us.

Alexander Graham Bell


I’m attending a Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators conference in a few days. I’ve written three children’s books, and SCBWI is an invaluable resource for improving craft and making connections.

molding words like clay
making characters breathe,

When I say I’m writing books, the first question anyone asks me is have I been published. Yes, I’ve been published in the past and recently in on-line zines and on my blog, but their questions really mean has any publishing company paid money to publish my work. Not yet. I’m looking for an agent. Most editors want agented submissions. Agents have become the first gatekeepers. To get through that gate is my immediate goal.

hands on the gate
splintery wood is rough
words can smooth

I wrote “Author” for the first time as my occupation recently. I learned the poet Emily Dickinson was rejected for publication during her lifetime. She was never published until after her death. Was she an author? I would say yes. If she was an author during her life, then I am, too.

To quote Maya Angelou: “Success is liking yourself, liking what you do, and liking how you do it.” I am already successful because I love writing novels.

This is a new career for me, and publication will take time. I’m on the path, I have passed through the first door — I believe in myself. Next, I hope to pass through the gate.

words soar like birds
song echoes over lake water
feathers fall, they float

Path in woods

I know many bloggers are on the path with me, and I want to thank all of you for your feedback and your support. My shoulder surgery is a few days after the conference. This may be my last post for a while, as I won’t be able to lift my laptop until my arm is useful again. I will miss all of you in the meantime. Keep writing! XOXO, Brenda

Copyright 2015 Brenda Davis Harsham


World Building




brainstorming plot
world building with my son
ideas bloom

Note: I had the vast pleasure today of discussing a science fiction idea with my oldest son. I’ve been developing a young adult novel set on a moon colony. He was jazzed, and he contributed lots of ideas toward my world building. Now, he wants to work on writing his own SF novel this summer, and my second son wants to be part of it. Such fun!! Hope you have a great week!

Goodbye Hope: a Monody Haībun

Last night in my email, was another writer’s bane, the let-you-down-gently words that sink in like thorns. I didn’t have high hopes, how can one in my place?  I have time for writing, time for dreams, time for children-rearing, but no time for marketing.

Another so kind rejection in the mail.
How can I go on when to go on is to fail?
It’s nicely worded, not harsh at all,
And yet, it’s kind words hurt like an icy fall.
Why do I need for my words to be heard?
Why not chirp quietly on a branch like a bird?
Oh, hope, so fragile, so easily flown away,
Will you come back soon, stay for another day?

Why do any of us write? We have words inside us, needing to come out. It’s that simple. When my boys hit age three, they had to run. They ran and ran, circling me like dolphins around a boat, chirping and loving, laughing and falling. They ran because they had to, and I did not stop them. I tried to keep them safe.

Can I parent myself, the young writer? How would I do that? I know I need to write, and so I will. I will let myself write, and as I send my words into the world, I will try to keep myself safe.

Not everyone has to like what I wrote. I write for my own reasons, and I share magic and joy where I can. Even if only one person is touched, has a better day, feels the magic, then that’s enough. My work is enough. My words are enough. I will keep sending my words into the world.

As for my kind rejecter, I will smile, and I will remember that that person’s day is too long, too busy, too full to take on my words. That’s okay. She has a busy life, too, and only so many hours in it.

sycamore grows in summer
its roots leave words in the soil
the leaves read the shining sun


Note: A Monody is a lament, a dirge or an elegy for someone or something departed. A Haibun is prose, culminating in poetry, with its heart beating in the natural world. This was partly inspired by a series of recent rejections, by the weekly poetry prompt by painttheworldwithwords to write a monody and by the weekly Haībun Thinking prompt, with a freestyling example by Al.