Robin Hawke

Work Clothes
March 31, 2012, 8:46 PM
Filed under: Uncategorized

The box shuffled from the back bedroom to the den to the garage to the back porch. After a yard sale, the box of size 32/30 polyester pants went back to the attic. Ten years later, the box came down from the attic and its contents were dumped, though cleaned and pressed, into a black garbage bag.

March 30, 2012, 9:19 PM
Filed under: Three Sentence Stories

The need to keep her grandfather’s memory alive meant she kept his dominoes and the hat with the small brim. An odd set of pick-up sticks went into the yard sale. When it didn’t sell, it joined the dominoes.

March 29, 2012, 9:22 PM
Filed under: Three Sentence Stories

“The largest franchise in the region—you are working for the best franchise in the South. We are holding you accountable for great work experiences. Help us serve the customers.”

Thank you to everyone who has put up with my five minute McBlogs.

Property Line
March 28, 2012, 9:59 PM
Filed under: Uncategorized

They stood on each side of the chain link fence and gabbed. They pondered and gossiped and smiled. An observer wondered if they would be so comfortable talking over clipped hedges.

That first sentence is a mess, confusing. Feel free to rewrite it for me! I’m tired of fussing with computer commands. The speed of my thoughts and my writing is–for once–faster than the hourglass.

May 19, 1982
March 27, 2012, 9:54 PM
Filed under: Uncategorized

The letters—keepers?—nestled between family pictures. When I read them I learned the weather was sunny yesterday, rainy that morning. A description of a haircut  provoked a giggle and a glance at the date.

A Lab Named Cane
March 26, 2012, 10:25 PM
Filed under: Uncategorized

Two guys named a chicken joint after their dog. The chicken was good; the fries were not. The dog died; the business survived.

I had connectivity problems today. I like writing first thing in the morning, as close to waking as possible. It’s late in the day and my second trip to McDonald’s. Fries are on the brain-fried mind.

March 25, 2012, 4:12 PM
Filed under: Uncategorized

Theirs, the gruel of tough times. A sprinkling of brown sugar and raisins rarely made it better. Or worse.

March 24, 2012, 10:07 PM
Filed under: Three Sentence Stories

The neighbor’s dog yapped. Unconcerned, the black dog climbed the picnic table to sit in the sun. Furballs caught the breeze, tumbleweeds of indignity.

Deep South
March 23, 2012, 7:01 PM
Filed under: Uncategorized

Blooming redbuds lined the highway.When their presence fizzled, wysteria, ropes of it, took their place. The deep south with its faded romanticism and mauve draperies hid its iron red clay under tangles of vines.

I dislike blogging on the road. It challenges my established processes. If I were at home, I’d play with lined and fizzled. I’d try to make the last sentence dance by figuring out what it is about wisteria vines that reminded me of an entire culture. But I’m on short cut road.

How early?
March 22, 2012, 10:21 AM
Filed under: Six Word Stories, Three Sentence Stories

Beep Beep. Snooze. Beep Beep Beep.


On the road with an ancient laptop. Spent yesterday getting the wireless card working. The hours devoted to troubleshooting technology are as numbing as that third sentence.

Versatile Award
March 21, 2012, 6:45 PM
Filed under: Uncategorized

Ohhhhhh. Receiving awards is a mixed blessing. I love receiving. Not so recently, Pam Young and KD both awarded me the Versatile Blogger Award. Thank you and apologies for the late acceptance.

Hem, hem. I’m blushing as I accept the award because this blog has been mired with a problem many of us face, too little time. I write my posts as quickly as I can, try not to think of taxes and dishes, and, to tell the truth, hope that someone is paying attention because I’m not reading the blogs I care about. I’ve missed opportunities to support others, but I’m going to take this one and pass it on, even if I haven’t fulfilled its requirements. I’ve run out of time as I’ll be blogging from parking lots for the next few weeks; I must pass it on now or be totally uncool.

Interesting info about me? Pending. Ask Robin. (Still uncool.)

My nominations—these people have supported me through recent lean times, showing they are versatile:

1) jmmcdowell

2)  Mythrider

3) Write a Book with Me

4) Word by Word

5) Woman Wielding Words

6) Ironwoodwind

7) My other book is a Tolstoy

8) Write Am I

9) 4amWriter

10) Postcard Fiction

11) hyperbatic

12) columbibueno

Nominees: please feel free to pass over or pass on the award. Thank you for your visits.

March 21, 2012, 1:05 PM
Filed under: Three Sentence Stories | Tags:

Grandfather took her window shopping. There was toys and mannequins that moved and clockwork that ticked and things that popped; there was his beam from myopic eyes; there was his hand holding hers; there was square blocks with broad avenues with window after window, thick plate glass that went up the sky. Joys wrapped up, they went to eat at a restaurant where he knew the owners and called the waiter by first name and she ate oysters by dozens.

When a sentence doesn’t read well, it is often because I have omitted a word in parallel structures. Above, I tried to string experiences in pleasing patterns. The goal was to write a list with repeating structures and without repetitive rhythms. 

March 20, 2012, 2:54 PM
Filed under: Three Sentence Stories

I went into a brazen sleep that taunted the others. While I dreamed, they watched. Shoes, sleeping bags, tarantulas held their thoughts while I drifted on blue.


I use -ing words to shorten sentences, but worry that I rely on them too heavily: original ‘taunting’; now: ‘that taunted’. I haven’t heard or read any advice about this usage. Does anyone have a suggestion when two words might be better than one?

Yoshino Cherry
March 19, 2012, 5:10 PM
Filed under: Uncategorized

March 19, 2012, 2:36 PM
Filed under: Three Sentence Stories

People with jobs enjoy grass; flowers on the side please. His mother, who disliked taproots and beggars, requested short, manicured spears. Clark, owning time, served violets and dandelions to the family table and complained about tips.


There was a story on the news about the number of graduates living at home. When I added the phrase after the semi-colon I found the story. Immediately the title became clear–ordering and serving often indicate class distinctions. As I wrote each sentence, I edited to follow the analogy of perfect grass with a serving waiter to find the verbs and nouns. For example: ‘requested’ was originally ‘begged’, then ‘bidded’—notice I added the ‘beg’ back in to repair class differences.  The word ‘enjoy’ could be tightened; I left it in only because I was afraid of beating up the story. It was simply fortunate that violets and dandelions are weeds, edible and beautiful colors. 

The comma is missing before the word please: does this omission help create a perfunctory voice?

Piece Work
March 18, 2012, 6:25 AM
Filed under: Three Sentence Stories

She ripped out the seam for the fifth time. Cursed. A glance at the clock told Celia her hands tended not profits.

A Place Outside
March 17, 2012, 7:00 PM
Filed under: Three Sentence Stories

Did Mathilda know she’d never buy a hammock like the one she slept in as a child? The rope hammock her children used, white made green by magic marker, provided a place for dilly dreams and was stolen on a summer day. Mathilda’s grandchildren would too sway with summer breezes—though Mathilda combed garage sales to find a bright Guatemalan weave—on white braided rope.

When I didn’t see a red squiggly line underneath the word dilly, I looked it up and found to my pleasure it was recognized as an adjective. I left in the words ‘would too’ as an echo of those ‘would not’ would too’ ‘would not’ fights children have. 

Good Night
March 16, 2012, 3:31 PM
Filed under: Three Sentence Stories

Two American boys, two American girls, brothers, sisters, strangers shared a compartment on an overnight train to Copenhagen. They agreed to pull out the seats for a more comfortable night. The brothers slept; the sisters didn’t.

More than a Record
March 16, 2012, 12:56 PM
Filed under: All Writing Challenges

I’ve been through a lousy period. NaNoWriMo did a number on me. In October, I was writing, blogging and satisfied with my progress. In November, the baneful month, I wrote reams, splashing daily word counts across my blog. In December, distracted by holidays and travel, my goal was to maintain. I pulled out my NaNoWritings in January and began the work of providing form and structure for Judging Jade. My progress was slower than a three legged turtle before I realized why: I was writing backwards.

The discovery led me to the conviction that I should always begin with something mysterious–I can’t find the word for it. It’s the opposite of understood, but it isn’t misunderstood. Whether it is an image, an act or a word that propels me, I need something that seeps, ticks, maybe even dives. I’m not entirely sure what, but it operates on a gut level; it’s a conviction. Then, it is time to scrabble around uncovering the subneural, subconscious, subgut. (It’s a puzzle: how do I connect eating scrambled eggs with throwing popcorn and why do I want to?) The answers come slowly, but eventually the tide comes in. The result, if I’ve worked it right, has depth and layers.

During the NaNoWriMo process, I wrote an explicit record of what my characters did. There was no mystery and an alarming lack of subtext. There was nothing left for me to explore. Trying to enrich a recording of events into a reading experience is a slow path to hell. What I can’t do, maybe others can, is take a series of events and convince myself there’s something to uncover. So writing every detail down as I move characters from A to B is not part of my writing process. Feeling my way through images and flashes of phrases is what I need to explore tidepools before creating a landscape out of found sea urchins and seashells. And if my landscape pleases anyone else, it is because I have found the deepest pools of meaning.

I’m overdue—so overdue—picking up an award. And I received a second. I’ve never felt less of a Versatile Blogger, but I’m trying to get back to that place where words flow from the inside out not outside in. Please help me get back into the blog current by asking me questions on my Interview Robin page.

March 15, 2012, 5:52 PM
Filed under: Three Sentence Stories

The flu doesn’t land on an empty nest. The virus predator circles like a hawk on the fringes of the clear zone. Waiting.

A hawk has taken up residence in the woods to the north. Predators are a sign of a healthy environment, so my thoughts went opposite, opposite health to sickness, opposite soaring or circling to nesting. I know similes are out of fashion, but I don’t know why. Is it because their use is plentiful before this century or because they are taught in fifth grade and remind us of  novice writings or is there another reason—anyone?

Live a Little
March 14, 2012, 6:48 PM
Filed under: Three Sentence Stories

I heard a gun pop. I screamed before my throat closed on a gurgle. I rejoiced in a brief resurrection on the evening news.

We are all influenced by what we’ve read. Above, I imitate the best opening lines I know, from “No Saints or Angels” by Ivan Klima, translated by Gerald Turner:

I killed my husband last night. I used a dental drill to bore a hole in his skull. I waited to see if a dove would fly out but out came a big black crow instead.

I don’t think I succeeded in stringing together three sentences beginning with ‘I’, but it was fun to try.

March 13, 2012, 5:24 PM
Filed under: Three Sentence Stories

The patron insisted on a signature. The artist grabbed a permanent marker and scrawled his trademark, bottom right. It faded—proving that permanent markers are as temporary as marks of recognition.

I struggled with the final phrase of this story. I began with  ‘permanent markers are undependable’ and, in quick order, substituted ‘as temporary as fame,’ ‘as recognition,’ and ‘as immortality.’ None of these worked for me, not true enough, though I minded Warhol’s pithy fifteen minutes. The image of a shooting star came into my head, showing me one solution. Aren’t stars living?  When we reference stars of past eras, aren’t we recognizing their immortal gifts? The final phrase became “as temporary as stardom.” I reread all three sentences and realized the story I intended to write was about work that spoke for itself–yet the insistence of collectors against anonymity. For examples, read Etsy listings in which the artist describes the work as signed. Wouldn’t that be understood? Or if the work isn’t signed, would it matter? Either one likes it enough to buy or one doesn’t?

This is the first time I’ve discussed my process in the body of the post. Do you like this experiment?

Once More
March 12, 2012, 12:08 PM
Filed under: Three Sentence Stories

Before the time changes again, before the hour reappears, I will make many commitments to be better. Better at, better for, better with. If I don’t, how will I enjoy the sweet colors of the sunrise, today the palest of yellows?

March 11, 2012, 3:54 PM
Filed under: Three Sentence Stories

The stairs were narrow.There was no elevator. The daily trek up five flights, a toll on all relatives with groceries, was glorified for keeping Suzanne’s Parisian (bent and crotchety) grandmother spry.

March 10, 2012, 4:29 PM
Filed under: Uncategorized

I’m about to tweak my blog: lately, I’ve devoted less time to it (more on this in a coming post) resulting in a lack of variety. I’m committed to a three sentence story every day, but I’m wondering how to generate more interaction between writing visitors.  Any suggestions? What would you like to see here? Trials of a writer, or lessons learned, or critical endeavors? I’ve many loyal visitors and I want to thank you by keeping this place shiny and worth a visit. I appreciate all feedback!

Big and Little
March 10, 2012, 2:57 PM
Filed under: Three Sentence Stories

Trudy practiced her forms, punches and kicks, determined to exact precision. With a newly earned green belt in the closet, she tooled the city dressed in powerful confidence. Epiphany struck when she stood beside three massive men on the subway platform.

Intelligent Design
March 9, 2012, 7:50 PM
Filed under: Three Sentence Stories

A specially-designed squirrel-proof bird feeder was thrown out of clay, fired then glazed, filled with specially-purchased, songbird-designed seed, and hung on a steel cable. A squirrel jumped onto it, losing balance, as intended. The feeder swung against a tree and broke its lid, scattering seed for multiple squirrels.

Bat Call
March 8, 2012, 5:59 PM
Filed under: Three Sentence Stories

Bruce’s wealth initiated his exile from community. His way back in: his choices of fighting crime, of helping fellow man, of being there in the nick of time, of hero status—these ousted him among have nots. His technological ingenuity, the mask, and the cape divorced him from other haves.

March 7, 2012, 2:05 PM
Filed under: Three Sentence Stories

Teresa’s slow, methodical ways matched intent with action. That was before she met Jim. Jim threw ideas in the air, stirred anything settled, and Teresa liked to think she coped.

Another Cup
March 6, 2012, 8:32 PM
Filed under: Three Sentence Stories

Heather became addicted over dinner. Draining cups of coffee, she prolonged time spent in brilliant, witty, perfect conversations. The high was short; she needed another jolt after she bused her tray and before she sat down to homework.