Category Archives: Fun

After the Grinning

by Diane Attwell Palfrey

photo by luigi diamanti |

photo by luigi diamanti |

Cheshire Cat dissipates,
stripes drift from wonderland
as though he was never there,
never part of Tulgey Woods
where eyes hang at night
like miniature moon drops.

Providing paw prints
and parentage,
he changes his name
to Boris W. Pinkerton,
the ‘W’ impressive or so he thinks,
a delicious male title after years
of explanation on gender identification
and riddles surrounding
his pink princess palette.

He’s on a health kick, too.
Bounces on a Bosu.
Claims to tail curl 50 pound
weights when Zumba class
seems more credible
since he likes to get jiggy,
even joined a seniors’ dating site
to wink or grin at mollies
regardless of their status.

And travel plans are underway.
Sicily, Tuscany. Vineyards purrrrfect
for golden afternoons where a fat
indulgent tom might listen to Pavarotti
instead of tone deaf roses,
or court Italians with alluring accents,
all bellissimo – retire in a place
where catnip is lower class,
lapping wine shows proper pedigree
and flowers don’t need paint.

Diane Attwell Palfrey is a poet and prose writer and a long-time member of the Cambridge Writers Collective. Her poetry has been published by the Waterloo-Wellington CAA, Serengeti Press, Craigleigh Press, Hammered Out, The Ontario Poetry Society, Cruickston Charitable Research Reserve/RARE, Calvary Assembly, & several editions of Ascent Aspirations Anthologies. Diane was also the 1st place winner in the 2009 and 2010 Cambridge Festival of the Arts – Poetry Contests.

Wax and Wane

by April Bulmer
I fall through the mother space
crawl from her on hands and knees.
I live among the mushrooms now:
their soft, moist pleats.
I take one in my teeth
and my eyes are as big as beetles.
A caterpillar like a drop of rain on a leaf.
A mad man so nervous
his cup of tea trembles.
My heart is a deck of cards.
I play the Queen of Hearts.
Her hair the shade of blood.
At night even the moon dreams
it waxes and wanes.
How it swells and shrinks
on currant cake and drugs.
Queen of Hearts

April Bulmer has published six books of poetry. Her work has appeared in many national and international journals including the Malahat Review, PRISM international, Arc, Harvard University’s Journal of Feminist Studies in Religion and the Globe and Mail. She recently placed second in the Trinity College Alumni Fiction Contest and was a judge for the Hamilton Literary Awards

Limerick Fun

by Lee Anne Johnston


There was nothing intrinsically amiss
With that rite of passage, the first kiss.
I was fourteen, and curious,
My parents found out, and were furious
And the boy, I don’t remember his name!


There was once a young man from Dundee,
Who was as tight, as the proverbial flea,
The coupons he clipped
The cashier she flipped
As he left with three bags free.

pic by stockimages |

pic by stockimages |

Lee Anne is a prose writer and has been a member of the CWC Since 2008. Her love of writing started when she learned to read as a young child. She holds a BA and an MA in English from the University of Toronto. One of Lee Anne’s current works in progress is a Victorian piece set in the City of Cambridge. It is chock full of drama, rich language and time period references. Lee Anne currently lives in Cambridge with her husband and daughter.

Frontier Woman

by Wendy Visser

photo by Boaz Yiftach from

photo by Boaz Yiftach from

I wrote a ‘researched’ prose piece years back, in the voice and character of Calamity Jane which has been published several times and has become one of my favourite performance pieces. If you can believe it, I use a chair with a rung- and ‘mount it’ as if it’s a horse, and no performance about the old west is complete without the boots, hat, and toy guns strapped around my waist. My Calamity Jane speaks in a Montana drawl so all put together, usually goes over quite well.

Frontier Woman
© Wendy Visser

I was born in Northern Missouri, in a town called Princeton ‘round 1852. No one really knows the exact day, as things was never exact in the West, ‘cept if you was shootin’ at somethin’. Record keepin’ was for the sheriff who could read and write so’s he could keep track of all the desperate hombres passin’ through, leavin’ their likenesses tacked to the wall in the sheriff’s office.

I was named Martha Jane Canary after no one I can remember in particular, ceptin’ my mam thought the name held great expectation for parlour sittin’ and tea drinkin’ in some fancy establishment she most likely would never see in her lifetime. I don’t recall much about Princeton ‘cept the sheriff’s office, the saloon open day and night upstairs and down and one church just open on Sunday. The preacher and the undertaker was one and the same. Poured the holy water on ya comin’ in and poured the dirt over ya goin’ out.

We high-tailed it to Virginia City, Montana, when I was around twelve, give or take. Now there’s a town! Saloons on both sides of the street with a few stores saddled in-between. A barber shop and bath house for the men, a milliner’s shop tucked beside the fabric place for the ladies and a general store frequented by both. The town boasted two graveyards but only one church, still open one day a week.

My mam and pappy couldn’t see eye to eye on most things includin’ what each of ‘em saw fit to have their eyes on, accordin’ to mam’s version. Pappy up and disappeared one winter mornin’ after he’d fetched his frozen long johns off the outdoor line where mam had hung ‘em the night before; warmed ‘em up by puttin’ ‘em on, filled himself up on mam’s flapjacks and ham and just strolled off with those lukewarm clothes he was wearin’, his eyes awanderin’ and awishin’ on somethin’ way off in the distance. Mam and me- we never did figure out what it was he was seein’.

Mam hired on in minin’ camps in Wyoming and Utah where I learned to keep the men’s firearms cleaned and primed for the unfortunate wildlife that would wander into camp. One of the miners saw potential in the way his gun and me fit together like we was made for each other. I remember his voice like an inside echo, “ If you’re cleanin’ and primin’ and aholdin’ that gun as smooth as a new born babe, then I’d best be teachin’ ya how to use it.” Twern’t long ‘fore I was outshootin’ the miners and the visitin’ gamblers who’d be shufflin’ their decks with one hand and pocketin’ miners’ pay with the other.

I could sit a horse like it was part of my own body and soon enough my horse skills led to a job deliverin’ messages up and down the mines sprawled everywhere in the hills. I’d be back and ‘outta the saddle ‘fore them other critters had one boot planted in the stirrup. The extra wage lightened mam’s load, but she was none too happy ‘bout forfeitin’ the parlour sittin’ and the tea drinkin’.

Plenty of rumours ‘bout how I got the name – Calamity. Been said any man messin’ with me would be courtin’ calamity. Lookin’ back though, I think, it was that some men weren’t too comfortable with a woman dressed like them who could outride ‘em and outshoot ‘em and who got hired by the Seventh Cavalry of the US of A in Wyoming. Hell, I even scouted for General George A. Custer ‘fore his last stand. For the record, I was not the one scoutin’ for him at Little Big Horn when he and the troops were run over by 5,000 Indians fightin’ to keep their country, their way of life, their spirit. Some men thought the frontier where the sky and earth are one solid line of loneliness and peace belonged to them and a woman ain’t got no right to that. Women should only be acrossin’ the prairie to get from one town to the other.

I finally settled in the Black Hills of South Dakota in the town of Deadwood and everyone was livin’ crazy on account of the gold rush and dyin on account of small pox. Entire towns, includin’ mine, almost wiped out. I was kept busy nursin’ and buryin’ but I never caught the pox. Tough I guess or jist plain too ornery.

Married Burke and moved to Texas but I don’t yatter too much about them times. Better left to the historians to fill in any blanks ‘bout the kind of wife I might have been. I did go back to Deadwood. Deadwood was family. People there took real good care of me and my girl. Even helped pay for her bein’ educated back east in some high-fallutin’ school. My mam would have liked that. Would have been dustin’ off the china, polishin’the spoons and boilin’ the water for tea if she were still here. But me: my every breath was meant to be that mighty fine prairie dust separatin’ the hairs on my skin washed by the wide open trails of gentle blue sky this side of paradise.

Wendy Visser is a long time CWC member. Her work has appeared in journals and anthologies nationally & internationally and many of her poems have received awards. She is the author of ‘Riding A Wooden Horse’,an award-winning collection of poetry and her second poetry book,’This Side of Beyond’ was launched in November of 2011.

Easter Photo Prompt


Photo Prompt


250 words or less. And go…

You May Be a Writer If…

girl with pencil on lip

photo by Ambro on

by Becky Alexander

You May Be  a Writer If…

  1. You sit up in bed from a sound sleep, grab the pen and notepad on your night table, and scribble down the brilliant thought that woke you up.
  2. If, having completed #1 above, you wake up in the morning, grab your notepad and read, “Bish that fidnit schiddle ploop,” which is absolute proof that our brains form thoughts before they transpose them to ‘word’ (pun intended).
  3. You have stacks of finely bound journals in your office.
  4. You continue to scribble on cheap yellow legal pads, and not those finely bound journals as they are’ too good to use’. You are saving them for something special…like what, your obituary?
  5. You are suddenly struck by inspiration, and need to write immediately.
  6. You find yourself driving in heavy traffic, searching frantically for a scrap of paper somewhere in your car, because inspiration has suddenly hit. Watch out for that tree.
  7. You own one of those spiffy little hand recorders, so you can record your inspiration while you drive.
  8. You keep saying to yourself, “I must buy one of those spiffy pocket recorders some time. And WHERE is that danged gas receipt?”
  9. You talk to yourself.
  10. When you are talking to yourself, you change voices, to the amazement of any family member who may walk in and find you delving into such pleasure. 

Becky Alexander is a Cambridge writer. Her work has been published in five countries, and has won hundreds of awards. She runs Craigleigh Press with her husband Dave Allen.

Happy Thanksgiving

Wishing our Canadian Friends a Happy and Healthy Thanksgiving

photo by David Schwindt

What will you be thankful for, and thinking about, on your pre-Turkey walk this year?


by Lee Anne Johnston

Image by kongsky |

Sometimes I think we writers take ourselves a little too seriously. I am a writer. I have much to say. I have much to say about the sad, inequitable state of the world. I know what I’m talking about, as I write murder mysteries.

While pondering about what to write for this blog, thinking of what might be helpful to other writers, I thought of my favourite moments in the Cambridge Writers Collective. You know what? They are the silly moments.

One writer almost never takes himself seriously, and his work is incredibly intricate and poised. Another acclaimed writer shared a short story last week that had me in stitches. I laughed like a goof. The power of words extends to pure pleasure and this is a good thing.

I’m going to continue writing my stories of death and family dysfunction, but I always keep in mind a lecture I attended by P.D. James, one of the most literate and prolific murder writers of all times. She said that murder mysteries are a modern extension of the medieval mystery plays which were produced and performed entirely by the Catholic Church. At the end of a murder mystery, the crimes have ended, the perpetrator is punished, and harmony in society is restored. Life, and writing can be hopeful and even touched by grace, whatever one perceives that grace to be. For me, it’s a giggle.

Lee Anne Johnston is a devoted member of the CWC and writes historical murder stories as well as varied flash fiction.

Link Round-up

by Marcie Schwindt

Links to 10 helpful things I’ve found around the web this week:

Beat Procrastination and Get Motivated with The Procrastination Equation

What Makes A Good Almost Kiss?

Pitching Your Potential

Sub Ops Ten: Ten Things About Submission Opportunities

Hiveword: Online Fiction Organizer

How do you decide whether a particular conference is worth it?

Revise for Focus: Plot and Subplot in the Right Proportions

10 Things No One Told Me About the Publishing Process

The One Thing You Must Do If You Want to Write Storybook Apps

The Secret Train Car in Bloomingdale’s

Marcie Schwindt loves to read and write fast-paced, character and travel driven stories. She writes under the names Marcie Schwindt, Marcie Walker, and Amber Willow. Find her on Twitter @marcie8