Thought-Partners in Prose

  By: Kelly McDonald and Elizabeth Derrick Smith “ Writing is a lonely job. Having someone who believes in you makes a lot of difference. They don’t have to make speeches. Just believing is usually enough. ” Stephen King , On Writing, p. 74 It didn’t take long for me to understand the stark reality of writing, as Stephen King succinctly stated. I had learned early in my first creative writing class that the feedback from a workshop was key to my writing successfully. When I realized this, I resolved to keep our class workshopping active by inviting a group of students to take part virtually when the class was over. We could continue to collaborate on our writing after the class ended. But writing workshops are hard to maintain, especially after classmates disappear at the end of a semester. However, one has remained, Elizabeth, who reviews my rough ideas, sometimes just vague sketches, and gives me suggestions of where to go next. Once a week, going on three years now, Elizabeth and I

The Ransom of Red Chief

By: O'Henry   Editor's Note: This fictional short story, now in the public domain, introduced many of us to the writing of William Sidney Porter, who wrote under the pen name of O'Henry. Its use of irony is a classic example of the intrigue of good writing. The editors of The Pensieve are proud to highlight this work. It looked like a good thing. But wait till I tell you. We were down south, in Alabama – Bill Driscoll and myself – when this kidnapping idea struck us. There was a town down there, as flat as a pancake, and called Summit. Bill and I had about six hundred dollars. We needed just two thousand dollars more for an illegal land deal in Illinois. We chose for our victim -- the only child of an influential citizen named Ebenezer Dorset. He was a boy of ten, with red hair. Bill and I thought that Ebenezer would pay a ransom of two thousand dollars to get his boy back. But wait till I tell you. About two miles from Summit was a little mountain, covered with cedar tree

Not Quite Golden

By Kelly McDonald Editor's note: This is a 'flash' essay, which means that it tries to tell a story or creatively reach a conclusion, while keeping the word count to a minimum. This essay uses the Brevity Standard for flash essays which is 750 words or less.              This year, on May 31st, Beverly and I will celebrate our forty-seventh wedding anniversary. We are three years away from that magic number of fifty, but I’m already reminiscing about the significance of the nearly one-half century that we have worked and played, laughed and cried, lived and loved together. Golden wedding anniversaries are traditional celebrations in our family. My siblings and I coordinated such an event for my parents nearly thirty years ago. Beverly sponsored a similar celebration for her parents. Friends and family stood in line to congratulate their success in creating an extended marriage. I think our parents were content in their recollections of fifty years together. And so am I. The