Write… Edit… Publish: New Beginnings

My apologies fellow WEP'ers.

I'm rather late to this party! I've just been soooooo caught up in a-million-and-one things… but I won't bore you with the details!


This month the theme is New Beginnings. Remember how it works?  You are welcome to submit any of the following – flash fiction, poetry, non-fiction, playscripts to a word count of 1,000 words OR artwork and photographs accompanied by your written inspiration in creating your works. There's something to suit every taste! Check it out!    

                                                       JANUARY BLOGFEST - NEW BEGINNINGS

I've decided to go with a piece which I wrote a few months ago. It's approximately 333 words. I'd appreciate a full crit. Thank you.


It was tucked into the bottom right-hand corner, on page four of the local Art Newsletter.

Dusty Sloane will be remembered as the poster girl for 21st century retro-women, with her quirky out-dated style and kitschy art collection. She died at the age of 28, a free-spirited and larger-than-life character, linked to a string of eligible bachelors; a hard core philanthropist, who gave tirelessly of her time and money. The Sloane Foundation has set up a trust fund in her name, to assist struggling artists.

Let me give you the real version.

Dusty Sloane was a troubled and uncontrollable woman. An adrenalin junkie, with a penchant for living on the wild side, and an uncanny knack of beating the odds at every turn. Possessing the wiles of Cleopatra and the je ne sais quoi of Marilyn Monroe, she had me chasing her like a lemon after a strong shot of tequila.

She was a conservationist too, always saving something. Save the whales, save the rhino, save the children. But she couldn’t save herself. My gut feeling? She chose to die. Self-destruction was inevitable.

I shuffle verbal snapshots like a deck of well-worn playing cards.

Pick a scenario.

“You know what’s your problem? You need to lighten up. Live in the moment!” Carpe diem… her mantra. One of many plucked from an overflowing arsenal.

Pick another.

“What do you really want from this relationship?”

“I could ask you the same thing.”


“Why can’t you enjoy it for what it is?”

She was under no illusion. It began, it would end.


The writing was on the wall. Always had been.

                                          *          *          *          *          *

I picked up the pieces and decided to make a fresh start. Sold the condo. Moved into a new neighbourhood. Grew a beard. Created my bucket list. Bought a dog. Not just any dog, mind you – a German Shepherd. I've always wanted one. Six months later, I enrolled in a part time art class at the local gallery. Time to pursue my own dreams. Or maybe I just can't walk away…


  1. Denise on January 24, 2014 at 11:58 am

    Poor Dusty. The odds caught up with her in the end. Was interesting having the media version and the ‘real’.version. It’s a very poignant piece Michelle. I find no fault with it. I feel it could be developed into a longer story. You’ve left it nicely open ended. (A few dead or missing bodies this prompt.)

    Thanks for posting for WEP even though you have been super busy. I really appreciate your support and of course the support of all the lovely posters.


    • Michelle Wallace on January 30, 2014 at 8:23 am

      Thanks Denise. I agree that it needs to be developed into a longer piece. And I confess that I have a thing for open-ended stories, which is simpler for me, meaning that it's also a bit of laziness on my side… need to work on that…

  2. Crystal Collier on January 24, 2014 at 1:56 pm

    Interesting. I love the theme–the go out and live your dreams push. I think too often we get caught up in a "trapped" mentality and forget to see the posibilities in the world around us. It's not until something crazy or tragic occurs we open our eyes. =)

    • Michelle Wallace on January 30, 2014 at 8:26 am

      To be honest, I hadn't thought about that… go out and live your dreams… though she did go overboard with that motto… whereas he has yet to do so…

  3. Alex J. Cavanaugh on January 24, 2014 at 2:32 pm

    Dude, walk away or you just might go down the same path.

    • Michelle Wallace on January 30, 2014 at 8:27 am

      I'm thinking that this dude cannot help himself… she wields a certain power… even from beyond the grave…?

  4. Yolanda Renee on January 24, 2014 at 4:04 pm

    Ha, ha, Alex, – I liked Dusty! I say go girl – couldn't tame her, good for her. Sorry, just a little fiesty after hearing how out of control my libido is and how uncle sugar is trying to get me under control – or some such nonsense! LOL Great piece Michelle!

    • Michelle Wallace on January 30, 2014 at 8:30 am

      A real wild child…  quite oten, this type of persona seems wired for self destruction…

  5. Robin on January 24, 2014 at 4:47 pm

    I would use "the obituary" instead of it to start. It took me too long to figure out what I was reading and it jolted me out of the story.

    I would just delete "Pick a scenario." The previous sentence is so good that it stands on its own.

    The description is wonderful. I think my favorite is "she has me chasing her like a lemon after a strong shot of tequila."

    I am not in love with the last sentence. I don't know why. Maybe if it was something about why he can't walk away I would like it better.

    All in all, really liked this. Well done!!!!

    • Michelle Wallace on January 30, 2014 at 8:34 am

      You're right… I don't know why I didn't use the word "obituary".

      With regards to the last sentence, I was thinking that he cannot seem to walk away from the artistic world… I should have elaborated further because it does sound chopped…

      Thanks for the feedback, Robin.

  6. Tyrean on January 24, 2014 at 8:52 pm

    Love this piece. It's a really good clip of life, especially with the juxtaposition of the "media" and the "real" obituary. You've really captured the heart and mind of your character.

  7. Donna Hole on January 25, 2014 at 7:15 am

    This has good description and a strong narrative voice. Not sure until the very end that Dusty is the POV character, but the voice is sassy and I like that. A good beginning overall.

    • Michelle Wallace on January 30, 2014 at 8:36 am

      I really appreciate your feedback Donna. Thank you.

  8. Lexa Cain on January 25, 2014 at 8:23 pm

    What a lovely falsh pic piece. I especially liked the lemon chasing tequila line – clever! It's a big thumbs up from me! 🙂

  9. Misha on January 26, 2014 at 3:45 pm

    I love how this guy's version is at odds with the one printed in the papers. At the same time, I love that he doesn't exactly feel like I can trust him as a narrator. 

    • Michelle Wallace on January 30, 2014 at 8:38 am

      I love your observation, because you've opened up possibilities that I hadn't thought about… so now I'm questioning his credibility, and their relationship…

  10. DG Hudson on January 26, 2014 at 4:06 pm

    I've known a few friends like that. They almost burn too brightly, too passionately. I thought this was written very well. I'd like to know if this was a lover or husband who was missing her, and how they met. Is that why he goes back to sign up for art classes? I do like the 'pick a scenario' part. Thanks for letting me know that you posted, late doesn't matter. Enjoyed this, MIchelle. 

    • Michelle Wallace on January 30, 2014 at 8:40 am

      Thanks D.G. This is a lover… that I know for sure… but he MAY have been one of a few…

  11. Nilanjana Bose on January 26, 2014 at 8:45 pm


    I liked the tone, very convincing.  Liked the obit juxtaposed with the narrator's 'real' take.  The entire flash very crisp and tight.  Enjoyed it.

  12. Michael Di Gesu on January 27, 2014 at 6:46 am

    Hi, Melissa,

    Really liked this piece. I agree with Robin… That line was FANTASTIC! Also deletling "pic a scenario."  The last paragragh I'd tweak a bitl. More like a guy's POV. Maybe something like this…

    "I pick up the pieces to make a fresh start… 

    Creating a bucket list. Check.

    Sell the condo and move into a new neighbourhood. Check. 

    Grow a beard. Check.

    Buy a dog, and not just any dog, but a white German Shepherd. A bitch with a free spirit that matches hers. Check. 

    All is complete within six months. Only one more thing… 

    Enroll in an art class at the local gallery.

    It's time to pursue my own dreams.

    That is…

    If I can walk away.

    I think it present tense it's more direct, compelling and to the point. Also breaking up the sentences adds more drama. I hope it helps. Just a suggestion of course.

    • Michael Di Gesu on January 27, 2014 at 6:52 am

      So sorry Michelle,,,, I wrote in the name Melissa by mistake. I had been to her blog just before yours…. I do apologize. you don't have a delete comment. Or I would have deleted it. 

      I'm so embarrassed. Again, I apologize.



    • Michelle Wallace on January 30, 2014 at 8:44 am

      YES. I love what you've done with the last part. The present tense makes for better continuity because it's in line with the rest of the piece. Thanks Michael. 🙂

      • Michael Di Gesu on February 3, 2014 at 4:45 am

        My pleasure, Michelle! I'm more than happy to help! Hope all is well on your side of the world.

  13. Sally on January 29, 2014 at 2:45 pm

    I like the two different view points of the same woman.  A woman who obviously lived life to the full. 

    • Michelle Wallace on January 30, 2014 at 8:47 am

      Thanks Sally. I'm thinking… which version is closer to the truth? That may determine how I proceed with the rest of the story…

  14. Morgan Shamy on January 30, 2014 at 2:04 am

    Loved the writing! And oh to live like that! I always enjoy your posts, Michelle. 🙂

    • Michelle Wallace on January 30, 2014 at 8:49 am

      Phew! Quite a hectic liestyle! Probably never a dull moment… thanks Morg. 🙂

      • Michelle Wallace on January 30, 2014 at 8:52 am

        *typo alert*… and that should be 'lifestyle'… though it's filled with lots of deception too, so lie-style is not far off the mark…

  15. Julie K Pick on January 31, 2014 at 8:34 am

    I also loved the lemon chasing tequila line! An excellent glimpse into another suspenseful story!    I'm sure that you'll take all of this helpful feedback into consideration. It was interesting watching the process, Michelle.

    • Michelle Wallace on February 1, 2014 at 3:28 pm

      Glad you enjoyed it Julie! The comments gave me lots to think about…

  16. Cathrina Constantine on January 31, 2014 at 5:00 pm

    Great piece. Truly enjoyed.

  17. Vanessa Morgan on February 1, 2014 at 4:37 pm

    Maybe this small piece could be the beginning of something bigger 😉

    • Michelle Wallace on February 6, 2014 at 3:57 pm

      Yep, there's definitely an entire story just waiting to be told…  thanks Vanessa! 🙂

  18. Suze on February 2, 2014 at 10:32 pm

    'she had me chasing her like a lemon after a strong shot of tequila.'



    • Michelle Wallace on February 6, 2014 at 3:58 pm

      I'm not surprised. I knew that would be your fave line…  🙂

  19. joylene on February 5, 2014 at 2:00 pm

    Dusty sounds special. Can she come back to life? Because I sense a huge story here. 

    • Michelle Wallace on February 6, 2014 at 4:01 pm

      I need to go into my mental box and resurrect Dusty and her story… (wonder if I can do it)?

  20. Mina B. on February 5, 2014 at 2:47 pm

    I like this.  Moving forward or still holding on?  Really well done.

  21. Sherry Ellis on February 13, 2014 at 8:09 pm

    Dusty was a wild child!  Nice job with this! 

  22. Michelle Wallace on February 13, 2014 at 10:40 pm

    Dusty's done and dusted… that's what often becomes of a wild child…

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