A Stunning Prose piece, Recurring Dreams Of a Happy Child

Of Water and other Dreamy Things

I  had the BIGGEST IMAGINATION when I was a child. One recurring dream I had was that our house was full of water and I could swim all around in it like a big aquarium. Now, I am sure there are all kinds of interpretations of this, but for me…it sparked this lovely piece of prose. Enjoy!

Water Bubbles Under the Sea

Of Water and Other Dreamy Things


          I used to dream of water. Not the kind of water that winds down hills, shifting itself, a great endless slinky stepping across land to a vast and hungry sea, but a strange, floating, weightless water that filled our tiny house from wall to wall, window to door, toy box to floor. Iridescent blue, glowing, breathing, holding great bouncing bubbles in its belly, it welcomed me. Moonlight crept in the windows, wrapped its arms around each bubble, and danced a quiet waltz down my arms, across my back, and into my floating brunette spirals.

          I swam from room to room. From my bedroom I swam, down the quiet hall past my brother’s room with the great clown walls, past my parents ’room with the drawers of pencils and paper and the gray flat table where Daddy drew lines that made buildings grow up, to our white-flushed simple bathroom. There I’d float before the mirror, a tiny princess. I’d brush my teeth and get ready for school; my jeans legs pulling on easily without the usual tug and jerk. Jeans weren’t heavy in liquid dream. Mom didn’t have to shove her arm up the pant legs to tuck in the extra length., knuckles scraping knobby bone. My sleeves hung like moss, a velvet hug on cool skin.

          I used to dream a lot of things and not always in my sleep. I used to hear monkeys in the woods. They sang to me as I sailed on wooden swing, feet stretched toward sky, waiting for the night to bring its firefly dreams. A crimson sky would yield once more while toads tucked themselves safely under stone.

          I used to dream. I was a magical child.

If you enjoyed this, please like and comment, and check out these prose pieces as well:

“Clarity,” Winner of the Arrowhead Awards Best Prose Work, 2004



Help Your Writer’s Block with Free Download – Writing Prompts




Coffee/tea? CHECK. Motivation? CHECK, well, mostly check.
Blinking cursor? CHECK

Now what. That blinking cursor is doing its thing, so why aren’t my fingers moving? Come on brain! Fingers! Type something…anything?



It has happened to the best of us. We follow our routine, settle in for a good few hours of writing
and…nothing. I won’t say those awful words. The term used to describe this condition, but you know them.


Disgruntled. Dismayed. BAFFLED. This has never happened before. What do I do?  Am I a good writer or not? I am a FAKE. Or maybe you are more seasoned in dealing with these episodes and you know that all you need is a little inspiration. You turn to Google. Old friend, old pal. And go right down a wormhole of inspiration until it is 4 hours later, your left butt cheek has developed a cramp, and the cat is drinking your coffee.


Remember those college assignments? You know, the weird writing ones…write about a giraffe, a unicycle, and a teddy bear…um, ok? Well, your writing didn’t necessarily go in the direction you thought it would, but your limits were pushed, your pen challenged. Your mind a purple explosion, but alas, words.


Writing prompts can be the key to getting you off the giraffe unicycle, out of the laughing baby and viral videos, and into the right frame of mind to START TYPING. Writing, at least for me, is a bit of a physics lesson. Take Newton’s first law, the law of inertia, for example…bear with me, I have a point here….which states basically that an object in motion tends to stay in motion and subsequently that an object at rest tends to stay at rest unless acted upon by an outside force.

If your writing is at rest, let writing prompts be your outside force. There is no shame in this. We all need mental stimulation sometimes to get the creative juices flowing.


Now, I promised you a freebie…see the link below as my personal thank you to YOU, my reader (is a writer without a reader still a writer? Hm. Prompt #1.) and enjoy the writing prompts that I have compiled for you.


Writing Exercises and Prompts free pdf


Shameless plug: the FOLLOW button is GREEN.


Happy writing y’all!



The Poet Cleaning ~ (a poem about being a poet/writer)

2 Boats on Seashore Beside Brown Tree

Ripped from the belly of the sea
pregnant with vowels
our tails slap hard
pendulous swings,
our eyes are benign, panicked moons,
sitting inside our heads.

They must be plucked out.

We climb outside ourselves,
hold the knife steady,
scrape against the grain,
shedding our silvers
until we are clean,
carve a canoe-slice across our necks
another, neck to belly,
our insides slide free.


It is a great honor to be a writer. Pouring yourself out like we do is both burdensome and liberating. This poem is about the process of self-examination, opening up our authenticity, and putting our inner-most thoughts on display, even if that process can be uncomfortable or revealing.

Scroll down for a “categories” box to help you explore blog posts that may be of particular interest to you. If you enjoy my writing, I invite you to follow this blog. Click out the green “Follow” button, on the right for computers, at the bottom for mobile devices.

Please leave your thoughts, interpretations, and responses to The Poet Cleaning in the comment box below.

Thank you,


Advice on Writing With Diversity – Here are 7 Great tips!

Writing With Diversity

We all want our writing to be authentic. I have heard all of my writing life “write what you know.” While this is a great guideline, I think it is important for our writing to appeal to a diverse group of readers, while being sensitive to cultures, races, religious groups and sexual identities not our own. “Write what you know,” to me, is insufficient. How do we walk this line carefully and include diversity in our characters? Here are a few guidelines to consider while developing diversity in your writing.

  1. What is your purpose? No one wants to read “token” characters that are thrown in merely to achieve a diverse character line up. If you are truly committed to adding in these characters, or making them your protagonist or antagonist, proceed with caution. You do not want to produce a book that feels “inauthentic” or “forced.” Feel the characters and develop them with a genuine care for your readers. All of your readers…not just the ones that look, sound, and love like you. A genuine care for your readers will spill over into your writing.
  1. Do not over do it. You do not want to include such a peppering of diverse characters that you are losing your focus on character development. Each character needs to be real, relatable, and come alive to your readers in such a way that they are enjoyable, memorable, and entertaining. Readers do not want to feel like they are reading a melting pot of jumbled characters simply for the purpose of including diversity.
  1. Choose a diverse feature or two that you want to include and be thorough in your character development. DO YOUR HOMEWORK ON THIS. Go to websites. Watch videos of the people you are portraying. Read some samples or blogs written from the perspective you are going to include in your writing. Scroll through pictures. Learn all that you can about that culture so that you can describe your characters with ease. Put yourself “in their shoes” as much as you can.
  1. Ask questions. Talk to your friends, coworkers, Facebook friends that are similar in some way to the culture you want to include. Do this with care and respect. Share with them that you have a character you are developing and would love to have their perspective, input, and opinion so that your writing is believable and so that you do not accidentally include statements, phrases, or descriptions that would be offensive or divisive. Most people will appreciate your intentions to be inclusive and will be happy to help. Again, be careful with your approach so that people understand you are not just trying to “use” them, but to honor them in your efforts. Learning colloquialisms, character traits, hearing personal family stories, or learning about grooming habits that may differ from yours…can all be very helpful in your understanding of the characters you are creating. Also, Ask a few people if they would mind reading a passage if you need feedback, so that they may help you to weed out any potentially troublesome areas, but reserve this approach for people who have responded to you with support and understanding.
  1. This may go without saying but be VERY careful if racial slurs must be included in your writing. Some storylines simply may require it to truthfully tell the story. But be well-educated on how to do this properly. Your audience must not feel like these are included merely to offend and shock. Make sure the purpose of including them is from an attitude of authenticity to the story.
  1. STAY AWAY from STEREOTYPING your characters. Really, don’t we face enough of this in society? Personally, I attempt to push these societal stereotypes in my characters, and I encourage you to do the same. Gently or with ferocity is up to you. But take a good look at your characters to be sure you have not inadvertently stereotyped them. Ask for feedback from trusted sources to be sure that you are not falling into the trap of supporting inappropriate, racist, homophobic, sexist ETC. perspectives. Take a moral inventory here. Readers do not want to feel the author’s voice is judgmental or biased (typically referring to fiction here as there are many genres for opinion-related non-fiction.)
  1. Describe your characters with ease as a PERSON, not a representative of a certain culture or race. We are all human beings with great diversity even amongst our own race, religious background, sexual preference…and we all share certain human characteristics. Find the common ground that makes your characters HUMAN to your reader. Trying also to not interject yourself and your own personality traits and human experiences into your characters will naturally make your characters have a vast array of qualities. This will help your writing to have variance with a flow that seems natural and does not detract from the story. Remembering that your readers do not all look like you, sound like you, worship like you, love like you will help you to vary your characters honestly.

Writing to appeal to a wide audience, without offending, alienating, excluding, or labeling can be tricky and intimidating. Writers who are committed to being inclusive can, and often do this well. Find novelists that do this well and study their work. I wish you the best in your writing and thank you for reading. This list, by far, is not comprehensive, but it is a good start. I welcome your thoughts, comments, and varying perspectives.

Don’t forget to like, comment, and follow my blog. Have a wonderful Sunday!

Christina Ward

“Clarity,” Winner of the Arrowhead Awards Best Prose Work, 2004



The swinging wooden doors of The Red Marlin slapped shut behind me as I shuffled in to take my seat at the bar. Trish was there with precision handing me my drink and placing a wrinkled white napkin on the table in front of me. Her freckled shoulders wore the imprint of recent sunbathing and her lips were creased with satisfied aging. They lifted and shared a weathered smile. I glanced around the place and sucked in a gulp of my drink. A few of the regulars were there, fishermen mostly, sharing stories of their recent catches. I had become accustomed to their voices swimming around me every evening as I sat and drank until they became so entwined with the sounds of the rolling waves that I felt they were one voice. Jack was there as usual sitting barefoot on the stool by the bar. His mocha skin blended with the knotted wood of the walls as if he were a part of the scenery. I watched his fingers plucking out sweet notes from his guitar, as he sang softly of the sad way we all forget to notice when things pass us by. I pulled out my notebook and began to sketch out the faces while they floated about me in air that hung with salt and fish.

I heard the doors swing behind me and turned to see a new face floating in. He shuffled over to the seat beside me and ordered a scotch and water. He had on a sharper face than most around here. His khakis were pressed and trimmed with a crisp black belt. I could almost hear them crinkle as he crossed one leg casually over the other. Voices lifted in not-so-conspicuous irritation at his intrusion. I had to smile at Jack choosing to sing the one about people and their money and their misguided lives. I had already begun sketching out the outline of his jaw when he moved it to speak in my direction.

“Is the food good here?” he asked me. I recommended the fried oysters and he promptly told Trish to bring him some. I tried to go back to my sketching but the man apparently wasn’t going to cooperate. I much preferred for my subjects to go about their business and let me study their faces and wonder where their thoughts were going. But he seemed intent on sharing them with me himself. He rolled out his life story to me like he was carefully peeling the winding skin from a fleshy Granny Smith. The insides were both sweet and sour, stirring their way into the thick air around me. He told of his acquired fortune and his wife Marjorie. His face softened when he spoke of her. He ordered another scotch and water and shifted on his stool to sit closer to me.

“Have you ever wondered what it would be like to walk into the ocean, all nice and slow, and let it cover over you until it drank you all the way in?” He asked me as he leaned in very close to my face. The alcohol buzzed in my mind as I groped at his question.

“I think that that would be nice. Like walking into clarity.”

“Exactly.” He said and reached out to brush a stray piece of hair from my cheek. I smiled at him and reminded myself of his wife. I mentioned her again and he pulled away from me slightly, loosening his tie. He ordered another drink and told me of the cancer, and the hospitals, and of her passing away.

Jack had stopped playing and the air was growing still except for the ocean song drifting in through the open windows. The night air crept in and lured us to go for a walk along the beach.

“What is your name?” I asked him as I drug my toes through the sand. He didn’t answer. We walked slowly, occasionally grabbing onto each other to steady ourselves. My head swam with whispers from the ocean and its treasures within. The sand was cool and damp and squished beneath my feet as we made our way to the water’s edge. We walked along the white tipped edge like a sobriety exercise and giggled at our stagger. He stopped suddenly and stared out over the vast gray of the water.

He began to take off his shirt. I was laughing until I saw the blankness of his face reflected by the swollen moon. I watched him take off his belt and pants and stand there wearing only his skin. The sea lapped and tugged at our feet. I said something I don’t remember to him that I was sure he didn’t hear, and watched him walk slowly out into the water. He turned briefly and waved a thin smile at me. He held out his hand. I lifted my dress above my head and let the moonlight wrap itself around my skin. The hairs on my arms lifted from the chill. The water licked my skin as I made my way through sucking currents. I took his hand.




Thank you for reading “Clarity,” a piece of prose I wrote in college. I entered this piece in the Arrowhead submissions in 2004 and it was accepted and subsequently printed in the Arrowhead that year. I was awarded the Best Prose Award for this piece and was invited to read it, along with a poem also printed that year, at the awards banquet. My two sons were there. It was a proud moment for me, and one I reflect on when the weight of “being a writer” becomes burdensome. If you are a writer, you understand this all too well. I hope you have enjoyed “Clarity” and will share your thoughts with me.


**Note: Published under the name of CJ Jarrell



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