Words that flow…

This fun little piece is from a writing class. The idea is to create a character to tell a bit about myself. So, here is Charlie Turtle!


Hello, it’s nice to finally be able to tell Robbie’s story. I’ve been her friend for years. My name is Charlie and I am an old turtle. I met Robbie when she was very young and I was just a middle aged turtle. It was a hot day on her grandfather’s ranch and she was out fishing with her grandmother. I was biding my time out in the shade near the far bank when she wandered over to put her toes in the cool water.

Dragonflies flew gracefully, skimming over the water painting the day with their understated iridescent brilliance. Everything on an Oklahoma ranch in mid summer is some shade of brown so the little flashes of blue and purple are a nice change. Even the green of my shell was coated with mud to keep me cool and hidden.

The only sound on that hot day came from buzzing locusts somewhere overhead in the scrub oaks and her little toes splashing.

I swam over and took a look. She pulled her toes in real quick when she saw me not knowing if I would snap off her toes. She was right to do so because there are some fierce little snapping turtles in every pond but I am not that kind of turtle. She spoke first saying, “Hi.”

Being polite, I answered back, “Hello.” Her brown eyes got big and she looked at me more closely.

“This is boring.” She pouted.

I couldn’t argue with her assessment. “Maybe so.”

“I wish I had a book,” she huffed as she put her chin in her hands and looked moodily down at the water’s surface.

I asked her what a book was and why she wanted one. She told me about her favorite books. She told me how she liked to write stories of her own. Everyone liked her stories.

“This one time,” she told me in a voice filled with excitement, “I wrote a story about the creation of the world for my fourth grade class. And my story was the only one the teacher read aloud. He smiled when he read it and said it was very clever!” She laughed then and told me in a whisper, “In the end, I made God a woman! That was when I knew I wanted to write stories. It’s the only thing I am really good at.”

I felt this child’s passion reach out and fill the whole of the pond down to its cool dark depths to the top of the sunbaked banks. And it filled me up, too. She looked at me with  direct brown eyes, “That was a secret! Can you keep a secret?”

I sat still holding her gaze with my own for a long moment. “Yes, I can keep your secret. And I will.” So, I kept her dream safe inside my shell. I have never told her story until now.

Robbie became a mother and poured all of her creativity into making a world where her three children could grow and thrive. They are almost grown and there is space in her heart now where her writing can live. She came to see me not long ago and told me her plans to be a writer were not a secret anymore. I could tell anyone I wanted. She thanked me for keeping her dream safe inside my shell all these long years.

I can’t wait to see what stories she writes.

Charlie Turtle

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Landscape of My Reading Life

I’ve been known to dive into a topic for months at a time. Years ago, I decided to read Russia: fiction, literature, poetry, history and biographies of Russia. It was fascinating and educational. I listened to music from Russian and watched movies. It is possible that I named one of my children after a character from that era of reading.

Since my Russian phase, I have take other literary journeys: Orson Scott Card, J.D. Robb, Claire and Jamie, Star Trek Novels, Jack Reacher, Theology, The Cynsters, and many more. Some journeys are an end unto themselves. Some trips through books are just a beginning.

I keep track of my reading (past, present and future) on GoodReads.com and I’d love to be reading friends with you! I have tried several times in my life to catalog the books I have read. This is the one that works best for me. It is easy to search for books by title, author or even isbn. GoodReads folks write a variety of reviews: some are fabulous while others can be ignored. For good or ill, it’s always fun to read the reviews. Beware of spoilers!

Visit my Reading Life on Good Reads and add me to your list of friends. You never know who will spark your interest in a wonderful new series or author!


My dog, Cassie and I at William’s Lake near Toas, NM


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