Genesis, Again…


Integratron, Landers, California. Google map writing prompt.

Charles and Colleen were the modern-day Adam and Eve. Their home: a prefab shelter in the middle of a compound surrounded by chain-link fence and force-shields intended to keep out the monster-sized cockroaches that had survived the nuclear conflagration of a millenia ago.

Charles propped in a chair against the exterior of the shelter, contemplated Terra Firma’s future.

Picking up on his thoughts, Colleen patted his knee and smiled. ‘Humans lived here before, Dear. We can do it again.’

‘Ever the optimist.’ Charles winked back. ‘It’s not the living here that bothers me, Love. It’s whether or not we can do so without repeating the past. If we fail; then this shelter will be nothing more than a huge roach motel.’

A static discharge filled the silence.

‘And another one bites the dust.’ Charles smiled.

Wc: 135


Thank you to What Pegman Saw for his unique take on writing prompts using inspiration from google maps. If you like this story and would like to read others; or better yet, submit your own 150 word max story. Then join us out at:

Smudge Girl – Complete!


I finished her, at last. I think I repaired the eyes fairly well, and though I’m not very happy with the blanket as I was unable to really recreate the blanket I wanted, it still will suffice. She has been quite a learning experience. 9.5 hours and 19 layers of graphite, all told.

As I look at her now, I am reminded of the many children we tended to in third world countries. Even when they smiled, you could see the everpresent sadness in their eyes. They will forever be a reminder that no matter how hard we think we have it here in the good ole US of A, it could be so much worse. We should consider ourselves blessed beyond measure.

Hope you all have a good week… and, I’m off, looking for another picture to create….

They Cried



“They Cried”

They cried, silent screams clutching at their throats.

Shoved into a packed hell on wheels.

Fear’s stench overpowering their breath

no light, no sight, only the click-clacking of steel upon steel

the last sound many would ever know

smoke from distant incinerators already drifting in

filled with the sickening sweet odor of death

None ready to meet the Maker of them all,

they stumble, they fall from the car

sorted, tatted,

they cried,

silent screams

clutching at their throats

as gas filled lungs


Starfire McQuinn

11 Jan 2017

wc: 86


Author’s Note: I was profoundly touched by Rochelle’s sharing this week. And so her story was my main muse. It came out as a bit of free verse, a form of poetry that lends itself well to expressing the deepest of emotions. I  hope you’ve been touched as well. Thank you, Rochelle, for giving us the weekly opportunity to write our best at: . Please, feel free to join us for the 100 word weekly challenge write! 🙂


“Smudge Girl” – Stage 6-7


Stage 6- It’s amazing how good sunlight will change the view… Still more work on shading, trying to get her to look human, giving some definition to the nose. Trying to muster up the courage for the second eye…


Stage 7 – I think I lost a couple of photos, so I’m gonna call this stage 7. Anyway, I’ve gotten her more hair, two eyes, a tendril down the forehead. Now that I’ve done two eyes, and come out a little from the cold med haze, I notice that they are not in perspective with each other, like I’m looking at two different people.  Grrrrr…I feared this would occur. It drives me freaky nutso. So now, it will be sitting back, thinking of how best to approach that issue. Meanwhile, I gave her face a little more shading and gave her some blessed eyebrows.


“Smudge Girl” – Stage 3-5


Stage 3 -Slow and steady wins the race… and all that. Another layer working on shadings… the minutae is so fine it’s hard to see between the layers. So subtle the shades. Me, well, I’m just loving it. Being down with a bad head cold complete with resident sinus and ear infections on top of it. I’m only awake a few minutes at a time to work on her. It’s good in that it slows me down and gives me time to listen to what she wants to be.



Stage 4- still more shading and definition going on. Still, a few minutes at a time. Been so under the weather and tripped out on cold meds to think about much.


Stage 5 – More shading on the face, good definition on the one eye. Now, she stares at me, daring me to keep on trucking…is she really staring, or is it just the meds??? giggles at all the little frogs hopping across the screen…. yep, definitely the meds.



Stage 2: “Smudge-girl”


Adding in the first layer of shading on the hair. Have to say I don’t feel so confident about it. I want it to look realistic without looking stringy or matted. Hair is such a difficult process if you want it to look anywhere near real. Sigh…

Adding a little shading along the jaw line really helps keep the whole in perspective, defining the eyes even more so. Now, she’s staring at me as I work. Creepy!

“Smudge-girl” art progression project.

Over the Christmas holiday, I decided I was ready to take a new/old art technique to the next level and start a portrait from a photo I found on google images (no photographer attributes were given). And so, I have. I am working and photoging in stages and am enjoying this little journey. I hope you enjoy it along with me….


I started with a #2b graphite stick and laid down the basics of outline and shading. Even at this stage I’m beginning to relax and enjoy the peaceful serenity of bringing life to a blank sheet of Bristol. I find myself smiling and remembering a time when I used to do this kind of art in about twenty minutes to complete portrait. Today, this is about an hour’s work already. Taking my time, forcing myself to hold off on too much detail by reminding myself this is just the background and not to overwork it.

I truth, it’s been about 30 years or more since I really worked with this “smudge” technique. It wasn’t until one of my graphite art friends made a suggestion on a picture I had done with some horrid grass that changed things. They posted a link to a wonderful graphite artist somewhere in the UK/Europe that teaches this “smudge” (as I call it) technique. (link at bottom of post). Anyway, long story short, I started working in graphite again with a purpose to improve.

I did several landscapes and felt more and more confident as I proceeded. Suddenly, my grass looked almost real, my trees were more than mere stick figures, and there was a three-dimensional depth that I  haven’t been able to produce since my accident. I’ll tell ya, it does something good for the soul. So, after several months I decided I was ready to do a face, any face… so the face search  began. I found this one (mine doesn’t really look exactly close enough to the picture I found). As I began to lay down the basics, I found that beyond the most basic of outlines, the face is beginning to take a life of its own on the paper. She still holds the basics of the original photo… but, there’s something different about this little one coming out.

So, the journey to seeing this little one come to life has begun…

Promised link to art tutorial video: