The writers have gathered and are awaiting the instructor's assignment. Most have made friends and the room hums with conversation.

The instructor comes forth and places several items on a table. His eyes move over the group and he smiles.

These items are meant to inspire a poem or some prose. They're meant to suggest a mood. This blanket, for instance, might suggest several moods. And this single long-stem rose might suggest a romantic mood. Or the fireplace over there, and the rocking chair beside it. Might they suggest a bit of nostalgia?

Today's writing assignment is to create a mood. You might write about sadness, or happiness. Make your mood so believable that when you read your piece to us this evening, you'll have us feeling the mood you created. If it's nostalgia, you'll have us thinking back in time when we might have spent a week with our grandparents.

Any questions? If not, we'll meet back here after supper and share our moods.

One Winter Day: Day 4

By Sharon (





One Winter Day: Day 4

By susi (

In the bottom of her trunk lay a quilt so worn
the names embroidered on it from before I was born
people known to my grandmother from her younger days
and the names of the children she and Grandpa raised.

Every so often i'll take it out and i'll remember when
it would lay on my parent's bed, keeping them warm, and then,
one day it was folded up and in the trunk it went
and there it stayed, like its usefulness was spent

I think that it must have brought back memories
for my mom of days at her mother's knees
As I took it out of the trunk, I remember
That it was on her bed again in her last December

It certainly put me into a nostalgic mood
And all of my memories of her were so good
As I laid it with care on the bed, I will keep
All those names that will cover me as I sleep

Aunt and uncles, and names of those I never knew
Names that I have known for my whole life through
For tonight I will sleep knowing thru them I've been blessed
And tomorrow, will put this wonderful quilt back in its chest.

One Winter Day: Day 4

By Tom (

Anna M rolled over looked at the clock and shook her head, “Why me, why me oh lord, it is only six fifteen and I do not have to work today,” she mumbled as she kicked the covers off and quickly ran around the corner. She did her thing, took her pills, brushed her teeth, stripped, weighed and then went back into the bedroom to make the bed. As soon as it was made she went to her dresser taking out clean undies and of course looking at the small thin oak stained glass topped box that lay on her dresser. It contained one long stem red rose bud that was very wilted but it had been sprayed with clear lacquer so it would not fall apart. “Morning love, hope things up there are going well. Bet you are going fishing today, hope you have good luck; me I have the day off and will do some cleaning and washing plus buy a few groceries.”

A few minutes later she was in the kitchen wearing that old pink chenille robe and those old purple fuzzy slippers she had been wearing for lord knows how many years. Nuke a cup of water, put a tea bag in it and then while it steeped she went to the window and looked out. It was dark, no new snow and the wind was blowing. “Just another dang typical day,” she intoned as she went back and flopped down in her chair and sipped the tea. She looked at the calendar, “The eighth of January, already the eighth,” she shook her head and it hit her, momma had passed this past eighth of May, her wreck had been the 18th of July and he had passed on the 28th of September. Tears streamed down her cheeks as she missed him, missed momma and she missed Cleon.

After the accident she had begun to drink until she met Leon who was a Physical Therapist. He was only 42, much younger than she but he had a steadying influence on her and although he said he was gay, he had moved in with her. It had been a strange life, he saying he was gay but making occasional love with her and she trying to forget, clawing, scratching and striving to find something to grab hold of and hang on to that would not leave her like it seemed everyone close to her had. One day she came home from work to find a note, “Gone to find myself, thanks for the caring, Leon.” First it had been nearly eighteen months since she lost her husband Ed after a long horrible illness. It had been best for him when he was taken above because he lived in constant pain and finally reach the point he could not even feed himself. She smiled as more tears ran down her cheek and she looked at the door, “Our love is more than love, a love that is eternal and if one of us should be called, the other will await you in heaven.” She reached for a tissue and did not find one so she wiped her nose with her sleeve and went into the bedroom to get some.

She made another cup of tea, she always made two cups with one tea bag, just a habit that seemed to bother everyone except her. She took down the rice cakes and put two on a napkin, returning the remaining ones to their spot on the shelf. Slowly she thought of the day, as she ate one and then the other, sipping her tea. “Why me lord, why not him, why did you take my love, my Ed?”

She arose walked over to the sink, dumped out the rest of the tea, leaned over and opened the the cupboard door and took out the bottle of vodka. She poured the cup full as she recapped it. She looked out the window to see two male Cardinals in the bird feeder, Mrs. Keene’s who lived next door. They were being picky and eating as about twenty small red and yellow finches joined them. The cardinals were not like the blue jays which ran everything else off including other blue jays, no they all shared. She looked to the left to the southeast and it was a beautiful bright orangish red sky.

She watched it until the colors began to fade and the orange orb of the sun was in view. She removed the cap from the bottle, poured the vodka back into it and put it back under the sink. She went back into the bedroom, dropped her robe and looked at herself in the large closet door mirror. “Not bad,” she thought for a sixty-six year old woman. Then she saw his old terry cloth robe and then she looked down and saw the old sheepskin slippers. Again she began to cry. After a moment she remembered his words; she wiped her cheeks, put on some clothes and went to the small desk in the kitchen. She looked up nostalgia which was defined as: “a state of being homesick: homesickness 2. a wistful or excessively sentimental sometimes abnormal yearning for return to or of some past period or irrecoverable condition.”

She walked around through the house, everything was like it was when she lost him, when we was called above; even his part of the closet. She opened his dresser drawer and everything was like it was the day he went. Yes, that is what it was and she was living and hoping for miracles that can never come true.

One Winter Day: Day 4

By Cottage Lady (

Susan joined the group in the living room after breakfast while the workshop director explained the next assignment, that of describing a mood. By day four the participants had gotten to know each other better and the atmosphere was relaxed. Everyone wore warm comfortable clothing and slippers. It was cold and blustery outside and the fireplace roared. Frank pointed out several items as a jumping off point for the exercise: a blanket, a rose, the fireplace and a rocking chair.

Susan pondered these items for a moment, chewing the eraser of her pencil, her notebook on her lap. She mulled over in her mind how tangible items could conjure up a mood, probably every participant’s different depending on their own experiences. The items Frank had used as an example all seemed to have a comforting connotation to Susan. However, she had many memories of items, mostly durable medical equipment, that brought deep grief into her mind as a well spouse dealing with her now deceased husband’s chronic illness over a period of 30 plus years. “I don’t want to go there,” she thought. “My therapist has so often told me to concentrate on the good and positive memories, not the hard times of sadness, despair and isolation that the years had so often brought, especially towards the end.”

Susan did her best to resurrect some of her happier memories, and knew she could identify what they were. “Of course,” she thought, “they were the times when we were still able to take our blue canoe out on different Monadnock Region lakes in September.” Susan always took a week off from her job in September when days started out rather cool with a light fog over the land. Given a sunny forecast, they knew this would burn off, so they set out early with the 17’ flat-back blue canoe winched up on the trailer in back of the car. The canoe had a small outboard motor they could use to putter along. Susan always packed a lunch for them, sandwiches, apples, some chips or pretzels, and a little wine or beer in their small Playmate. When her husband no longer had the dexterity to fish, they each brought along a good book. When Susan and her husband left the house early they could get the canoe on the water just as fog vapors were breaking up through shafts of sunlight.

The most beautiful of all the lakes they visited was Nubanusit in the town of Hancock, about a 40-minute drive away. A large part of it was in a wildlife preserve owned by a local college. The lake was quiet, deep and clear and when you looked down you could see the rocks and boulders on the bottom and felt as though you could touch them. The lake was bordered by magnificent pines, large stones, spaces of sandy shore and a stillness that took your breath away. When the fog wore off, the sky turned that incredible starkly deep azure blue that is so characteristic of New England in the fall. They would motor to a remote and serene section of the lake. Susan would sit in her little canoe chair, close her eyes, feel the sun on her face, and trail her fingers in the shockingly cold blue-green lake. Then she and her husband would read their books. When they got hungry, they would have a lazy lunch in the canoe or pull off to a sandy section, disembark, lay out a blanket and picnic on the shoreline. If they were lucky they would get to see eagles soaring, calling, searching for food for their young in the nest.

Susan sighed contentedly as she fondly recalled memories of those September days, and thought that’s what she would share with the others that evening.

One Winter Day: Day 4

By Phyllis Ann (

Day four arrived just as quickly as day one, two and three. I simply do not know how time flies so fast. I thought about how time had went by in my life like a freight train through a small town, just slowing a little to sound a loud whistle and then on to somewhere in the distance. I quickly dressed as it was a little chilly in my room, and the snow was still coming down in the form of light flurries. Downstairs, people were gathering for their new assignment laughing and eating a light breakfast and enjoying hot coffee and scones. I grabbed a cup of tea, a scone and a napkin and sat listening intensely to the instructor. Well, nostalgia was an easy topic for me. I had lived long enough to conjure up plenty of that.

My mind drifted back to sheets, whatever made me think of sheets at a time like this? It's funny how the mind stores information, some important and some trivial. I thought about the clean, crisp sheets that were on my bed as a child, and how my Mother stood ironing them so that they would be that way even in the summer months. I thought about the sheets on my Aunt and Uncle's bed that we slept in when we visited. How I admired the tiny rosebud print and the lovely clean smell of bedding dried outside. I remembered sleeping on sheets that had been stored at my mother-in-law's house, and how, though clean, they had the faint hint of dust. I smiled as I thought about my grown children coming for a visit once saying my sheets smelled so good, just like Grandma's. I smiled because I knew it was the dust of being in the linen closet a long time. Clean with that hint of a dust smell. I almost laughed out loud but controlled myself. I couldn't help but drift back to when I was first married and those ice blue satin sheets that someone bought us as a wedding present. We only slept on them a few times. We never could get use to how they slipped and slided on the bed. They weren't those fitted kind, and they never stayed tucked in.

I was really tripping down nostalgia lane when I thought about those cute fitted sheets on the children's crib. They had that baby smell and were covered with Winnie The Pooh and his friends. I was jolted back into the present by the lady next to me who was saying something to me about a single rose. "I'm sorry", I said. I was thinking about something a long time ago. She laughed and said, "No matter, I was just making an insignificant comment about the assignment." I would never write about roses, they reminded me of funerals. Although, I thought to myself laughingly, they were what I chose as my wedding flowers. Roses, Glads, and Baby's Breath, Ferns, etc. I could hear someone joking that a wedding was a funeral, and I disagreed but had to chuckle to myself anyway. I guess I had watched too many stand up comics.

I decided that I definitely was going to write about sheets, and I might even write about my Grandmother's quilts and her hand sewn feather tick pillows. After all, we probably spend most of our lives sleeping, and those are an important part of our lives.

One Winter Day: Day 4

By Norma (

A Mood Called Reality

Sometimes you just feel happy - no reason, just happy. The doctor just gave you a clean bill of health, no changes, you’re in good shape. Just because you’re on the elderly side of elderly, you can take on the world. Get that college degree, paint that award-winning masterpiece and sell it for a million. Better yet, in your exhilaration, you have a vision of it being found in a basement all dirty. Some art historian carries it around the world with it finally landing in the newly built Lourve. Your high spirits are still within you the next morning when you arise and find the even bitter cold cannot dissuade you. Your instant Folgers is hot and as gourmet as any expensive grind. The day promises to be productive and filled with challenges!

“You wanna eat this afternoon?,” your dear old friend asks and you reply “You jolly well bet!” You close the office and as cold as it is, the sun is shining - just on you and your buddy. At the table she tells you “Did I tell you about that brain scan I had?” You remember she and her 85 year old boyfriend were joining a test group and got free brain scans when they signed up. Eagerly you urge her on to tell you all about it, and she does. She says “It seems my being forgetful is the result of many little strokes - didn’t even know I had them.” At the time it doesn’t hit you. She’s eating, smiling, and being your friend as she has been for many years. You have shared movies, work, shared projects, silliness, meetings, both had a share of hospital visits to each other. You keep on talking about the happenings of the day, and then……

Then it is 6:00 and you slump and think “I’m just tired - today was a rush.” But a mood of despair insists upon enveloping you, and a sadness settles into your heart like the saying of goodbyes when friends move away, with both of you uttering platitudes about when you will be together again, and knowing it is unlikely. You don’t know what’s hit you - but you know it feels like you are holding up a wall of red bricks. And her voice returns - they found I had had many many strokes. Grief closes its grip - reality of so many losses fills you’re your own brain matter with muddy water. Nothing left to do but sing a sad song and tell yourself how thankful you are for the gift of having lunch together laughing this day.

One Winter Day: Day 4

By Diana Mercedes (

After lunch Rose heated a cup of hot chocolate and sprinkled it with a few mini marshmallows. She liked to watch them melt as she sat in her rocking chair set squarely in front of the fireplace, her blanket tucked into the sides and Jasper purring on her lap.

Jasper, an old cat, never went outside anymore. The lack of activity made Jasper fat. He didn't eat any more than usual, he just kept getting heavier and it was getting hard for him to rest comfortably on her lap. When she rocked forth, the bulk of him gradually slid down to her knees and his claws, still young and strong dug into the blanket and sometimes her.

A foot stool would solve it. With her feet up on a footstool as she rocked, her knees would be higher and sort of create a levy so Jasper's bulk would not overflow.

She had just the one in the attic, inherited, and as she pictured it wondered why she had never used it before. An embroidered flower pattern on a cinnamon background it would look lovely at her feet.

Rose and Jasper drifted off to sleep together, warming one another with their body heat and their mutual devotion. The marhsmallows melted into a foamy patina and except for the pendulum clock in the center of the mantle, there was nothing to hear but the soft breathing of Rose and nothing to see but Jasper's tail, as large as a foxtail fern, curled around his generous proportions.

One Winter Day: Day 4

By Amy (

arriving to the class today i spotted a rose on my desk.
wondering who put it there I questioned the instructor .
He said it wasn't him who put it there .
Pondering awhile I decided to forget the mystery for awhile.
I got busy with my work and finished it up quickly .
As I left for the day ,I quickly grabbed the rose ,why I did not know.

I arrived home that evening and lit the fire as it was a bitter night.
I had laid the rose on the table earlier and , decided now to put it in a vase.
I did this and placed it on top of the mantle .

while i prepared dinner,with a warm fire burning and a lovely rose on top of the mantle to please my eye ,I remembered a romantic evening long ago.

my husband on our twenty fifth aniversary had given me a red rose right before he lit this same fireplace.

What a lovely memory i recalled on this bitter cold night all cuddled up with my blanket watching the dying embers ... I remembered ...

One Winter Day: Day 3 (several authors)

One Winter Day: Day 2 (several authors)

One Winter Day (several authors)

Year's End 2009 (several authors)

Winter Slide Show

The Day After

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