If you like to read, and enjoy quirky, welcome. There are about 30 random things here for you. After you read a short story you may even find some personal comments/insights! The main purpose of creating this blog is for writers. I see so much written about writer's block, and honestly, I don't have it. Occasionally, I write short stories, longer stories, books, plays, one act plays, monologues, and sometimes I even think one is good enough to submit somewhere. Of course, when you submit a story to a magazine that receives 200 stories a month and publishes five, you'd better enjoy the process of writing. I'm not suggesting that I'm a good writer, merely that I can sit down and just start writing.

It is important to write, to constantly be working on your art. If you are constantly plagued by writer's block, perhaps you are being too selective in what you write about. With that in mind, I wanted to share with you some examples of my writing, from someone who can write all the time. Occasionally the topics are a bit strange, but I don't let that slow me down, I love to write and get to a finished product. Hopefully, by looking at some examples, you will say to yourself that phrase that all artists who visit MOMA in NYC say: "Well, I can do this!" That would be good, because you can! One of my posts is about a talking tomato. (You have to be able to do better than that!)

In part I'm trying to get some of my stuff in one place, so keep in mind I never claimed it was going to be an incredible read. You can decide that. I will tell you that occasionally I have a story in me that seems to fit the goal of a publication, and I try to write specifically with that goal in mind. Lately I've been considering publications that publish nonfiction memoirs, so some of the entries you'll find here will have that flavor. Perhaps this is a way to get past writer's block - find a publication looking for something that you'd like to write. It seems like memoir-based publications may be a good place to start, because we're all experts in our own families. I'm using a blog here to share some of the things I've written; the blog format is not ideal, so you need to poke around a little at old posts, to see if you can find a story or something else that may interest you.

Two last items. None of these are finished products. I usually get to a point where I have something written, and then stop. If it is something I may decide to submit for some reason, I'll finish formatting, following the specific rules of the magazine or organization (the rules are alwaysdifferent). If you do see something in here that you may be interested in using, don't hesitate to contact me.

So welcome to my blog. Welcome to my writing. Write, people, write! It feels good.

Please also consider getting a copy of my first book, Saturday Night at Sarah Joy's. All Royalties go to the Hurricane Sandy New Jersey Relief Fund. Please check out the book's blog at:

Thank you!

© 2012 John Allison

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Snow Place Like Home

Tom’s story:  It was a pure cold and windy day.  When I awoke, fresh beautiful snow swirled around our heads.  I opened my eyes just as she was putting a hat, her hat, on my head.

I smiled at her, and said, “hi”.  Her face was so close I could feel the heat it generated.  It was a closeness that I loved, but it terrified me.  She almost pulled back, but didn’t.  I could hear her brain working.  She took a chance, smiled at me, and said, “Hi.  I’m Sarah.”

“I’m Tom,” I replied, not sure where that came from.  I could feel that I was full of many things - complete, but not knowing where they came from.   We stood in the shadow of her house, scarves flipping in the breeze, and got to know each other.  I had no idea anything could feel this good.  I felt like, before this moment, I never existed.  Now I was alive.  I wasn’t able to reach out and touch her, but I could talk and I could smile, and that seemed to be just what she needed.

I waited outside while she ate dinner.  Then she came out with her older brother, Roger, and introduced me.  When I said hello, he looked behind me, as if there must be wires or something.  I assured him that this was my real voice.  I have thoughts, feelings, undefined knowledge about people; enough to know this is not how it’s supposed to go.  I’m being accepted far too simply.  This is an amazing family, I think, or, as they say, my lucky day.

Roger asked if he could talk to me alone for a moment, and Sarah graciously agreed. 
“This is pretty amazing, Tom, “ Roger said.  “Do you know where you came from?”

“Well no,” I replied.  “Do you?”

“Well of course we made you, but you know what I mean.  Where did Tom come from?” he asked again.

“Where did Roger come from?” I asked.  Roger smiled.

“Good point,” he replied.  Then his face got serious.  “I don’t want to bring up anything distasteful or painful, but the reality is that you’re not going to be around very long are you?”

“No, not for long,” I replied.  I felt that I understood what he was saying, even that I learned what I knew from my mother, but I had no direct recollection of learning it.

“So, what if we try, like exactly a year from now,” Roger said, “to bring you back.  Does it work that way?”

I smiled.  “That’s a nice thought, but no.  I think when I’m gone I’m gone.”

“That sucks,” Roger said, and while I didn’t exactly know what that meant he had a look of hurt in his eyes.  “If there is anything we can do, tell us, OK?” he asked. 

I smiled and thanked him. 

The moon rose high above the house, as the sky and the glow from the windows grew dark.  A little while later the front door quietly opened and closed.  It was Sarah.  She came out with a carrot for me and smiled.  “How can I feel like I’ve known you for so long?” Sarah asked.

“You’re just a sweet girl,” I replied.  “But what are you doing out here so late?”

I heard a bump.  Then Sarah and I started to talk, really talk.  I thought Sarah had it all, lived a perfect life, but maybe no person does.  She confided in me so much about her life, her insecurities, and her problems at school.  It was like she had never had anyone else to talk to.  I looked into her eyes, and watched her lips as she talked.  I listened until she asked me what I thought, and then I didn’t hold back.  Funny thing is, I was pretty good at talking to her, even helping her.  I had a million stories at my fingertips, and while several times I said, “There is a girl named Norma …” (examples can be very informative) I was never able to say, “I know a girl named Norma …”.  I had information, and I used it for her.

I’d heard a bump.  Her father had quietly come out their back door and walked around to where he stood in the shadows and listened to us talk.  He said nothing, and she never saw him so I didn’t comment on him.  When she finally went inside, he approached me and we talked.  I remember the first word he said.  He called me Tom.  He never questioned who I was.  What amazing people. 

A nice little snow shower met the kids as they headed for the school bus, and as Mom headed out to work.  Dad said that he had to take the day off, and assured them he’d keep busy.  He did.  He jumped into his car as soon as the bus turned the corner, and was back in about 40 minutes with two framed doors and three big boxes.  He schlepped it all into the house.  After a few hours of hammering, with lots of noises I didn’t understand, he came out and dropped a sheet of plywood in front of me.

“Are you up for a little adventure today, Tom?” he asked.

I stared past him, not moving or making a sound.  I was inanimate.

He laughed.  “We don’t have time to play.”

I couldn’t hold the pose long.  Then I laughed.

He told me his name was Jay, but I could call him Dad.  Can you imagine anyone saying this to you so casually?

With his help, I got on top of the plywood.  He slid me across the lawn, and into the living room.  The warmth of the room hit me; I felt like I’d just run into a solid wall.  He pulled me into the next room.  It was, well it was like outdoors indoors. 

“I probably should have talked to my wife about this first, and we’re gonna need something different very soon, but for right now, this could work, “ he said as he rested his hand on my shoulder.  “Now this is a surprise, so work with me,” he said as he turned out the dining room light and closed the door.

He briefly opened the door, dropped two big buckets of snow on the floor, and looked back in at me in the dark.  “Oh, and welcome to the family,” he said.

Sarah’s Story:  I usually really dislike having to take the same bus as my older brother’s home every day, but he’s very cool and keeps out of my face.  Today I sat with him, staring out the window.  I didn’t tell him that I spent much of the night with Tom, and how important he was becoming to me.  How do you explain it?  We both knew we had met someone very special, but didn’t know what to do next. 

As the bus turned down our street, two of Roger’s friends pulled up beside the bus on their bikes, so he was occupied from the time he got off.  I left him standing with them in the street and turned up the walkway.  I looked up at the house.

Tom was gone.  Completely gone.  I ran over to where he last was.  There were marks all over the ground; all of the snow was smashed down.  This wasn’t good.  Something bad happened, I knew it. 

I heard the shrieking. I didn’t at first realize it was me.  I ran into the house.  “Dad! Dad!” I screamed.  “What did you do?  My god what did you do?  Daaaad!!”

The living room was a mess.  Where a space in the walls normally led to the dining room, there was a closed door.  Why would he do this?  I didn’t know where I was; it was all so surreal. I heard the whirr of fans in the dining room and opened the door to it.  Cold air blew out of the dark room.  I counted three air conditioners in the windows, on “full blast”, and could see another door isolating this room from the kitchen.

In the dark, I heard a voice.  “Sarah.”

My hand shot for the light switch.  There he was, standing in the corner.  It was Tom.

The door to the kitchen opened and my Dad walked in.  “Close that door, girl,” he said smiling.  I ran to him and hugged him tight. 

“What did you do?” I asked, barely able to talk through such a broad smile. 

“Well I did the right thing, hon,” he explained.  “I think we just adopted a snowman.”

“Adopted?” Tom said.  “Is that what this is?  Well I think I like that word a lot.  Thanks, Dad.”

Tom called him Dad!  It seemed so natural to him.  Dad let him so naturally. I regretted not being here today to have seen what happened, what happened between them.  They seem like old friends.

‘Please, please, don’t let this be a dream.  I won’t ask for anything again, ever, I swear,’ I silently prayed.

‘Please, please, don’t let this be a dream.  I won’t ask for anything again, ever, I swear,’ Tom silently prayed.

“What can I get you Tom,” I asked, giddy with happiness.  “What do you need?”

He smiled and said, “Well, I think I lost your hat.”

It turns out that it wasn’t a dream, and my life has never been the same since.  I’ll spare you the details on what happened when Mom came home!


This is a good exercise for you to consider.  Create a world like ours where something magical happens - in this case, a snowman comes alive!  Perhaps it is something you always wish would happen when you were young.  Once you do it, just let things happen.  You don't need a plan, just let conversations begin and see where they go.  I think I often go back to all of the great things that Star Trek offered us.  In the future, people of different species live together in peace (mostly), do good things for each other, help each other, etc.  Every once in a while you meet a "Star Trek personality" in a story - perhaps here, the father.  Create a unique or "strange" situation and have fun with it.  Maybe we humans can learn something from a snowman!

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