Short stories, poetry, haiku, expository and technical non-fiction. Report Cards and observations on writing. This began as my repository of exercises from the "What If?" self-help writers group at AOL. It has become more and less, since leaving AOL.

Tuesday, December 26

Christmas Book Meme

Find the nearest book you got for Christmas.
Turn to page 123.
Go to the fifth sentence on the page.
Copy out the next three sentences and post to your blog.
Name the book and the author, and tag three more folks.

Leaving the canyons, the train heads toward the coastal plain, passing through some of the most fertile agricultural areas in the nation. At Oxnard, the hub of this rich agricultural district, the train dashes north through the scenic valley. Crossing the Santa Clara River on a long trestle, you arrive at Ventura, named for the eighteenth century mission, Santa Buenaventura Mission, which stands just to the right of the tracks.
Actually page 122 -- there's a full page photo on 123 of John Grant's Great American Rail Journeys.

Tag yourself if you wish to play along... do me the honor of a comment so I may view your selection.

Happy Boxing Day!

Via Ivy

Wednesday, August 9

What Kind of Writer?

Via Bright Selene's Aesthetic Vibrations comes this quiz. Sharing the same answer, despite the enormous difference in our ages , is a pleasure.

You Should Be a Science Fiction Writer

Your ideas are very strange, and people often wonder what planet you're from.

And while you may have some problems being "normal," you'll have no problems writing sci-fi.

Whether it's epic films, important novels, or vivid comics...

Your own little universe could leave an important mark on the world!

Wednesday, July 26

Once there were three

Once there were three,

brothers all, stepping stones,

sailor suits and Easter caps,

doting grandparents,

proud papa patronizing,

harried, harridan mother.

Pictures exist.

Suddenly the matriarchal patriarch was gone,


felled, sequoia-like,

by a weak heart,

over-work, heat stress

and weak genes.

The three brothers grew gangly,

all kneesles and elbows,

home in the country,

roaming field and forest,

mighty conquerors of fishing lures,

steel traps and arithmetic.

Questing minds sought answers

to insect riddles and clouds,

sand, sea and surf; idyllic times.

A badly broken turkey leg and endless urinals

foretell a life of ill-health and struggle for one;

broken wings and shed skins

an abiding love of all creatures,

great and small, for the little one.

Senior-most scouts the way,

but never finds the path.

A president felled in the prime of life,

while a mother returns from near-death

in New York City(!)

heralds the beginning of the end for Momma.

Mexican moves bring unexpected trouble,

seizure disorders in one,

ulcerations and tribulations for the matriarch,

falling into death so suddenly, it seemed.

But all the signs were there to the hindsight view.

Great upheavals, what's a father to do?

Raise three boys alone?

Seventy years young grandmothers lack the strength,

their own griefs to nurse and nurture.

Halt, lame, one-eyed – no, the red-hats

must focus inwards on their own dates with death,

only a few years hence.

Remarry? With grief so fresh?

Not likely.

Not wanted.


Free at last.

Or so he thought...

Puberty, unbeknownst to a distant pater,

takes one after another,

wrecking havoc with concentration,

giving grief a terrible strength and depth

hitherto undreamed of,

causing sleepless nights, torn sheets,

rending great forests of tissue

as relief is sought in onanistic release and

deep plunges into the troubled waters

of bourbon and branch.

The three went their separate ways after

the eldest graduated to college in Vermont;

middleman to seminary;

baby brother atop The Hill,

Barcelona, European travels

and Greyhound travails,

knocking up fallen angels.

Tune in, turn on, drop out” Leary said.

It's the 'dawning of the age of Aquarius' sang another,

mud was epiphany at Yasgar's farm,

Hendrix setting the world afire by guitar.

Dylan the voice for a disaffected generation of ne'er do wells,

Vietnam, a very public private hell.

Old friends dead, Martin, John and Bobby.

The times, they are a changin'.

Stuck, was the eldest, head in a bottle,

but the view was clear, so he proceeded

as though nothing was wrong,

for nothing is wrong

when you can see the strait and narrows,

is it?

College graduate, medical school, extern, intern,

Bellevue hell and Veteran's Administration horrors,

all stuck out, inch by bloody inch,

despite every considerable obstacle placed in his path,

until only his own body could torpedo his success.

Bombs away! Full steam ahead! There lies madness:

abandon all hope, ye who enter therein.

Medicine didn't kill him, bloody-mindedness did.

And a cruel streak a mile wide,

passing for caring in a careless society.

And a weak heart,

another genetic legacy

in a body already blessed with

more genetic misadventures than any two people

should have to endure.

So it didn't.

Then there were two.

Baby boy blue,come blow your horn,

sheep's in the meadow, pigs in the corn.

Lose your family through shameful neglect,

head in a bottle,

Wasn't THAT stupid?

Almost as bad, baby brother,

working all hours,

all week, all weekend,

for next to no money and major headaches

designing logos,

Three ducks fucking” and bouncy basketballs.

What do you get?

Another day older,

deeper in debt

and a stent in your chest.

That's what baby brother discovered.

After the big crash and burn,

the family elder, clean and sober,

and miserable as hell,

put nose to grindstone

and drowned his sorrows in work.

Discovered you can't go home

to old loves and older lovers.

Meanwhile, the artistic one builds his strength,

bides his time through a period of

outrageous slings and arrows of

employment misfortunes

but finally sees the light,

tells the Robber Baron to “get fucked”

and gets on with being an adult web master

(whatever the fuck THAT is).

Making more money,

than he'd ever dreamed possible,

he set new rules,

rules of moderation.

Works all well and good and I like it a lot ...”

But play time is good, too.”

Weekdays for Mammon, weekends for fun.

That was his plan and he was sticking to it.

Then “dumbass” -- the elder,

having married again, despite cautions to the contrary,

suddenly discovers that

mended broken hearts aren't something you can count on.

Who knew?

Open-heart coronary by-pass grafts times three later,

and he emerges a new, old man,

one lung along for the ride,

sleepless in “Sandman Land.”

But dodging the bullet, given reprieve,

able to breathe and take nourishment.

Just breathing can be a gift some days.

But life is inexorable.

God is an Iron.

Mother Nature gives neither

hoot nor holler

if you live or die.

One hot, muggy summer afternoon,

much like his namesake,

baby boy leaned too far,

fell over dead in his office;

And then there was one.

One is the lonliest number that you'll ever do.
Two can be as bad as one,

it's the lonliest number since the number one...”

This little piggy is going wee, wee, wee,

all the way home...

For once there were three.

Then there were two.

Now there's only one.

This is going to end badly, I fear...


Copyright ©2006 All rights reserved.

Note, this is a work in progress, subject to change and modification.

Friday, June 23

Gee, isn't that so-and-so?

Writer's Weekly Question # 20:

Have you ever created a character based on someone you know? Was it because you liked the person, or disliked the person? How was the character different or like the person you based him or her on?

I suspect many of my characters have bits and pieces of people I have known. But, due to liability issues, I have consciously decided to never base a character on an actual person. So much easier to be able to explain in a deposition that the characters spring full blown into my imagination and onto the page rather than argue which trait is or isn't something that Johnny Doe is known to exhibit on occasion.

Of course, there are exceptions to every rule. If I were to create a character based on an actual person, it would be in a satire, the person portrayed would probably be someone I dislike, and the effect sought would be vilification. For instance, a story about Vice President Dick Cheney hunting liberals on his game farm in Montana and accidentally shooting a conservative lawyer in the face.

Nah -- nobody would believe that one...

Wednesday, June 14

Poem For Alysia

For Alysia

A moment in time,

never to be recalled.

A sunny, dimpled smile,

extinguished in a moment of inattention.

A family, destroyed.

A mother heart-broken,

A father shamed, guilt-wracked, haunted,

A marriage annihilated,

a baby's light snuffed out.

We weep for you, dear child,

for the possibilities now gone,

your laugh now silent,

for what might have been.

For your father, strength I offer,

to endure those long, cold, lonely nights

that lie ahead;

hours of self-doubt and self-recrimination,

a slippery slope to despair, hopelessness,

drunkenness and death.

For your mother, a benediction,

a salve upon her broken heart

and strength, too, to go on,

as a mother must,

broken heart and all.

To your brother and sister,

surcease I offer,

sweet dreams,

where only nightmares

now dare to tread.

To the world,

only a memory

invoked by a head stone,

gray granite,

Alysia Brown,

Aged 3,

Rest In Peace.”

Copyright ©2006 Wil Mosher

All Rights Reserved

Carmel girl, 3, drowns in family pool - Staff

Sunday, June 4

Writer's Weekly Question #18:

Writer's Weekly Question #18:
Have you ever had an experience where someone tried to trick you into believing that something big was about to happen to your writing, when in fact, they were taking you on what could be a huge ride? This can include a contest, an agent, a publisher, or anyone.

Yes, I do it to myself, every time I finish a poem or a short story. Then, because I know better these days, I file said oeuvre away for a week or ten and then reread. That's the real revelation. I can see in the clear light of day the piece isn't anywhere near as good as first imagined. Into the circular file it goes...

You can participate in the “Writer's Weekly Question by clicking on the banner above and doing your homework. It's fun, it's thought provoking and often infuriating. You might even learn something (Horrors!)

Friday, May 26

Looking for an Agent?

Good advice and a list of the most heinous offenders from the Science Fiction & Fantasy Writers of America, Inc.:

Warnings and Cautions for Writers--Writer Beware's 20 Worst Agencies List: "Below is a list of the 20 literary agencies about which Writer Beware has received the greatest number of advisories/complaints over the past several years."
" Note that while the 20 agencies listed here account for the bulk of the complaints we receive, they're just the tip of the iceberg. Writer Beware has files on nearly 400 questionable agencies, and we learn about a new one every few weeks."

  • The Abacus Group Literary Agency
  • Allred and Allred Literary Agents (refers clients to "book doctor" Victor West of Pacific Literary Services)
  • Barbara Bauer Literary Agency
  • Benedict Associates (also d/b/a B.A. Literary Agency)
  • Sherwood Broome, Inc.
  • Capital Literary Agency (formerly American Literary Agents of Washington, Inc.)
  • Desert Rose Literary Agency
  • Arthur Fleming Associates
  • Finesse Literary Agency (Karen Carr)
  • Brock Gannon Literary Agency
  • Harris Literary Agency
  • The Literary Agency Group, which includes the following:
    -Children's Literary Agency
    -Christian Literary Agency
    -New York Literary Agency
    -Poets Literary Agency
    -The Screenplay Agency
    -Stylus Literary Agency (formerly ST Literary Agency, formerly Sydra-Techniques)
    -Writers Literary & Publishing Services Company (the editing arm of the above-mentioned agencies)
  • Martin-McLean Literary Associates
  • Mocknick Productions Literary Agency, Inc.
  • B.K. Nelson, Inc.
  • The Robins Agency (Cris Robins)
  • Michele Rooney Literary Agency (also d/b/a Creative Literary Agency, Simply Nonfiction, and Michele Glance Rooney Literary Agency)
  • Southeast Literary Agency
  • Mark Sullivan Associates
  • West Coast Literary Associates (also d/b/a California Literary Services)

Monday, April 17

Poem for Pamela

April 16, 2006

She was lying on the floor

where he lay her down in panic

calling frantic for help,

“9-1-1, what is your emergency?”

They stood in clusters.

Paramedics dressed in blue polos,

stethoscopes around their necks,

looking down at her in pity.

Former family, another bunch,

a fine, strapping young man,

guilt-ridden, sobbing quietly,

step-mother holding him in his grief.

Her ex-husband, cold, uncomfortable

addressing the medics as brothers in toil,

thanking them for coming, for nothing,

The son did it all.

CPR, two by fifteen,

breathing, beating, her soul's sole link to life

as sirens scream from down the road,

death gurgling back at him.

Black fear had gripped his heart

as she broke under his loving weight,

ribs cracking, lungs crackling wrongness

where once was right.

She was well and truly dead,

my dear, suffering friend.

No amount of wishing or weeping

will bring her back again.

Meanwhile, I sat on the sofa,

talking with my wife,

commenting on her prolonged silence,

indications of the end so near.

Little did I know, even less could I understand,

She'd come to me, said good-bye,

as she shut down, circuit by circuit,

Despite the efforts of love to save her...

In loving memory of Pamela Hilger, April 10, 1956 ~ April 16, 2006.

With sincere condolences and respect to her son and daughter and those who loved her well.

Tags: , ,

Saturday, April 8

Der Windvinder

Photo of The Wind Finder (Der Windvinder)

Der Windvinder

Set off on the sea of dreams,

Me at the helm,

You, in your swimming togs,

leaning against the mast,

ducking the giant blade aiming for your skull,

thrice with every revolution of Der Windvinder.

The wind in your hair,

streaming out like seaweed on the tide,

kelpish fronds waving to me as they beat about your eyes;

Taut nipples straining against the fabric of your top,

I feel a fire down below, slowly rising and falling

with the beat of my heart.

Light as a feather, we windmill our way,

beating to eastward, into the waves,

spray drenching you now,

huddled in the cockpit

Yellow slicker grasped tightly for warmth,

As thrill turns to chill.

But squalls are short-lived,

And rain goes away,

As Der Windvinder makes haste

around the mark and begins her downwind leg,

blades spinning gaily in the returning sun,

pushing us home to hearth and hearts aglow.

Home again, home from the Zuiderzee, now the Ijsselmeer,

as the triumphant sailors wend their way from from the sea,

hot blood flowing in their veins, enervated, horny, exhilarated.

There's going to be a hot time in the Old Port tonight,

home again to hot cider and hot toddies and hot lust, my hot Momma and me.

Home again, home again, home from the sea.

Der Windvinder, and me.

This is a work in progress and subject to revision as the mood strikes. I blame the inspiration for this piece on my friend Gerrit Bosman and this entry on his poetry blog, Rhyme, poetry, limericks, haiku and more word stuff. It is NOT a translation. Trust me on that. His lovely Helen may have "taut nipples" but he isn't allowed to talk about it. She'd beat him to a pulp for even mentioning it. The photograph and the information on Der Windvinder are available here.

Saturday, April 1

Poetry Meme: Where I'm From

Where I'm From

I am from the crumbs of Wonder Bread (“Builds Strong Bodies Twelve Ways”), from Smucker's Strawberry Jam and Chunky peanut butter.

I'm from fish sticks, tuna wiggle, hamburgers and hot dogs and raw milk on my oatmeal.

I am from the one bedroom, third story apartment near the Watergate Hotel, love nest of a May-December marriage.

I'm from the “gruesome twosome” then the “terrifying threesome.” Sunday mornings were reserved for “Fight to The Finish” in my father's bed – a hard way to be roused from a much needed rest.

I am from the hemlocks blowing in the breeze, the home of a coven of crows intent on murder. I have granite in my head and cedars in my heart. “Hidebound” is most often transliterated to “rockbound” in my presence.

I come from stern forbears with big noses, from Stuarts and Holts, from Frickes and Dorothy and Samuel B. Morse.

I am from the sailors and artists conjoined in the snow. Welsh men and Irish women, English and French. American Indian and French Canadian.

From an eight years old chef and a hot mama pilot on Capitol Airlines.

I am from Methodist Deacons and lapsed Anglicans. I shun deities and spit religion out on the ground for good with my pacifier.

I'm from Irish mothers, Anglo-Saxons, Alsatians, and Beserkers from Annapolis; I eat the cockroaches of the sea and ooze whiskey from my pores.

I am partly of the man whose shorts filled with petrol. Descendant of Aunt Townsend, who spent a winter in the Maine woods with two small children, burning whole trees for warmth and hacking away at the frozen moose in the shed until May when the maggots got too thick; the nephew of the robber baron of plastic Mouse Houses™ stealing his mother blind in one eye, and the grandson of the saddest nice man in town (“Why can't you be more like HIM?”).

I am from the frozen north, abandoned, if only temporarily, by all who grew here to adulthood; failed steward of the farm, subject to the adoration of Willow the Wunderhund and a dozen cats, give or take the road kill.

I am a survivor ... of strange men with knives in their teeth and guns in their hands, of stranger men in white coats with knives in their hands carving my heartbreak in my open chest, broken and breathless, of dead progenitors and their mates, orphaned late but hating it the same.

I am secure in the love of a Southern Belle with a fiery temper and sharp-toothed tongue who's fond of cuddles. April Fools are we.

I am from a long line who stop with me.

I am ... but I won't be before so long, but not too soon.

I learned about this from Junebugg. She got it from Donna, who swiped it from Cowpie Patty. It started here and that is where you can find the template with instructions on how to do this. And you are most welcome to play along. Please do, and let me know where I can find out where you're from.

Sunday, March 5

Pain, subsiding now...

Pain, subsiding now
as NSAID’s course my veins
seeking connections to endorphins,
bringing surcease from swollen joints.

‘Til, unbidden, my gut rumbles,
wrenching tight like a rope,
stomach flopping like a fish on the dock
left by over eager boys as they bait another.

Thus continues the dance, pain to pain,
exchanging one for the other.
Well-being a forgotten memory
as yet another spasm wrings from my throat a gasp.

©2006 Wil Mosher

Saturday, March 4

Current Events

Aortic Stenosis Is A Death Sentence

Aortic stenosis

has a rotten prognosis

about eighteen months to two years.

First you can't breath,

except maybe to wheeze,

then you fall in a faint.

It's downhill from there,

a syncope nightmare,

with fatal results in the end.

Only surgery corrects,

and then, only some, get desired outcomes,

maybe five, or is it ten percent?

Warfarin for life,

PTI&R a constant strife,

right to the bitter end.

When you get a mechanical valve,

the strokes tend to be wild,

sans coumadin coursing in blood.

So Doc, if you please,

give me another disease...

one with a brighter outlook.

Something that's easy,

never too queasy,

with a happy ending in sight.

Because I'm truly repentant;

aortic stenosis is a death sentence,

and you're the one wielding the knife.

©2006 Wil Mosher, Glenburn, Maine

Thursday, February 9

MEME: Hay-na-ku Thursday

"Hay(na)Ku" is a form invented by Eileen Tabios in 2005. There is an anthology of the work, published the same year.

Professor Bernstein maintain's a web page desribing the form here.
He created this very clever description of its word-per-line structure:

Is One

Then Two Three

My own contribution to the form is below:

resign myself
to the inevitable.

is never
going to return.

her memory
I dedicate this

Meme: Hay-na-ku Thursday.
It stands

February 9, 2006

There's no compulsion, but if you do decide to participate, leave a link to your entry in the comments here at Snoozelets so I can read your work. This is a very new poetic form and variations, such as the reverse word form order, are still being created. You, too, could pioneer something new!

Friday, January 13

Put Your Title To The Test

at's Titlescorer. Although, it gave low marks (6.7%) to "As the Son sinks slowly in the West," a book about the decline and ultimate destruction of the separation of church and state...

via Michael Allen, the Grumpy Old Bookman.

Thursday, January 5

Homemade Sin: Biting the claws that read me

This Southern asshole Gentleman with the proud moniker of James Lee Hooker and proprietor of the blog Homemade Sin has exponded on his reasons for sharing my hatred of felines (even though I am possessed by 12 of the phurry phuckers) in this entry: Biting the claws that read me. Enjoy!

Northcoast Exile: The Blog Manifesto

Why go to the trouble of writing down the rules when James Winter does such amarvelous job of it? See this entry Northcoast Exile: The Blog Manifesto:

"It's 2006, a new year. As with all new years, it's a time for new beginnings. I suppose the best way to begin is to lay down the rules of the blog in case anyone gets confused as to what can and cannot be done on this blog. So here it is, the Blog Manifesto for Northcoast Exile..."

And The Daily Snooze, too, I willingly add.

RConversation: Microsoft takes down Chinese blogger

For years now I have had a running battle with Micro$oft partisans. First they attempted to strangle the PC world with M$DOS. The Windoze. Internet Explorer virtually destroyed the far better Netscape in the 'browser wars'. Micro$oft bought and paid for the Bush administrations token offense that resulted in little more than a slap on the wrist in the biggest monopoly case to be heard in modern times. Why should I be surprised that they're doing it iverseas now?

RConversation: Microsoft takes down Chinese blogger: "On New Years Eve, MSN Spaces took down the popular blog written by Zhao Jing, aka Michael Anti. Now all you get when you attempt to visit his blog at: is the error message pictured above. (You can see the Google cache of his blog up until Dec.22nd here.)

Note, his blog was TAKEN DOWN by MSN people. Not blocked by the Chinese government."

Via Ray Wong's I, the author.

Wednesday, January 4

Eros Blog: The Sex Blog -- By Bacchus

Eros Blog: The Sex Blog -- By Bacchus: "The Bad Honeymoon
Author John Ross, who wrote a quite readable novel about guns and politics called Unintended Consequences, when asked about his proudest moment as an author, reported that it was:"

You will just have to go and read the rest. Well worth a couple of minutes diversion...

Digital Doorway - Enter the Laughter: Novelty

Digital Doorway - Enter the Laughter: Novelty: "
Does writing your novel affect your blogging, or vice versa?"

That's Marti's plaintive query. Seems she's gotten herself into a fix while writing a scene in her book and suspects it is dangerous to her mental health.

Well, there's an old saying, Marti. "Having to ask is a sign of a sick, sick mind."

It isn't just the blog that is affected. It is every aspect of life. I "become" the novel. I become the cook, the assassin, the Inspector, the garbage man. I fear for my life along with the heroine, my heart often racing a mile a minute. The slow death of a protagonist in a car in the river nearly killed me with bradycardia and dyspnea.

Yep. It affects me. After all, there is always/never a reason to mount a laser cannon on your SUV, isn't there?

Tuesday, January 3


Tempus Fugits
by Wil


Woke up this morning with a start!

Overslept, I had.

Panicing I am, yup, yup.

To town, lickety split.

Dropped off the anchor

to toil amid the bone fields,

While I a langorous breakfast took,

surveying news with coffee and cream.

Thence to the druggist with script in hand,

seeking this and that for ills and chills

and rushing pell-mell to the grocery,

to see what's doing there,

paying fat cat canadian power brokers

for the energy that brings this

stinking poem home to you.

Originally published December 26, 2003

Copyright 2003, 2006 Wil Mosher
All Rights Reserved

About Me

My photo
Well past (by at least a decade) the half century mark. One foot in the grave, the other on a banana peel at the rim of the abyss and the view from here is disconcerting. I am a former student, pearl diver, cook, truck driver, firefighter, EMT, CEO, Town Fire Warden, mechanic, oiler, marine engineer and computer whiz bang. Mostly I sleep these days in an aluminum tube. And So It Goes... I waste my time reading blogs and kvetching about the weather, playing with our Schipperke sidekick, Ignatz McGraw and waiting hand by foot upon my wife, the Queen of our Hovel, She Who Must Be Obeyed (SWMBO).