Wednesday, July 4, 2012


 Greetings, Writers! Congratulations and thanks to all of you who sent me 99-Word Stories with the theme and/or title “Fireworks.” Your work is proudly presented below, in celebration of today, July 4th.

I’m pleased to say there were more real stories in this batch of submissions. That means in what you read below you’ll find people making choices and changing. That’s good progress.

Now I’m going to throw out a bigger challenge, because I know you’re ready for it. For next month’s blog, the deadline will be August 1, and here’s what I want from you, whoever you are (the invitation is open to all):

Write a 99-word autobiographical story based on either of the following favorite fairy tales: “Cinderella,” or “The Ugly Duckling.” You may write from any point of view, and set the story in any time frame. But don’t just retell the fairy tale. Write a story from your own life.

Yes, this is a harder assignment, but it will be more fun, and what you come up with will be a fine and important story. Remember the basic rule of story: Something happens to somebody.

I look forward to reading and posting whatever you send me!

Meanwhile, here’s July’s post, an explosion of colorful stories about FIREWORKS—


by Ann Bruno

July is a glorious month when we celebrate our independence. It is a month of picnics, barbeques and fireworks.

When our children were young we took them to Washington, DC to see the fireworks. We sat on the lawn at the foot of the Washington Monument and watched the fireworks. We were in awe, it seemed that the entire sky lit up with the most beautiful colors and shapes. It was such a spectacular display to behold. The look on my children's faces was full of awe. I have never seen a more beautiful array of fireworks than in Washington, DC.


by Marie Rose Elias

 Catholic school failed helping me know God. He was not in my home or present in my daily upbringing.

Dysfunctional kids chose to visit the park—our tithes having bought chocolate.

Adult with misguided vanities while raising children alone became excuse enough for not searching for God. I was busy working, socializing.…Looking for a husband takes time.

Somehow I knew something was missing within. I walked into worship three years ago, something grabbed hold of my heart! His love burst forth in my heart like explosion!

Independence Day! Tears of joy, to be home!


by June Kosier

It was June the 15th and I hadn’t gotten any firecrackers yet.
As a member of the Daughters of the American Revolution, I just love anything patriotic. I especially love the red color of firecrackers. It perturbs me though that something patriotic and so American comes from Mexico.
I had been to several places and none of them had any firecrackers. Well I had one last place to try.
 I asked the man “Do you have any firecrackers?”
 “Yes,” he replied. “Over there in the sun section. Be sure you plant them in full sun for best results.”


by Denise Dreany

At fifteen Jack had a crush on her but he couldn’t speak. She was disappointed.

He went into the army and when he returned, love had lost its meaning. Gone. He moved away. He had a good life, a job, a house, but he lived alone.

After her marriage and divorce she looked for him. She found him in the country. In celebration, they tossed sparklers into the air to watch them swirl and spin in the darkness. He heard the sounds of distant guns and the hiss of falling bombs. The sky lit up.

Jack was fifteen again.


by Anthony Karavias

Fireworks come in different colors and a variation of displays. The colors are mostly red, white, and blue, as is the American flag—Red for valor, White for purity, Blue for justice. With these colors in stripes, and stars on a field of blue, Old Glory to me, means independence.

When I married my wife it was red, an act of valor (spirit of love). She was appropriately in white for purity. It was justice for me to have perseverance—and besides, blue is my favorite color.

I scooped up my wife, and since then we are still flying high.


by Jerry Giammatteo

A storm was approaching. Nervously, I sat on the enclosed porch overlooking Long Island Sound. Thick, foreboding clouds presaged the gathering darkness.
There was a faraway flash of lightning and a rumble of thunder; then another, a little closer; and another, closer still. Though only 7:30, the sky was suggesting midnight.

Finally, a bolt illuminated the porch and terrifying blasts shook our bungalow. I wanted to flee to my bedroom, but steeled myself. Torrents of rain fell.

Then, it was over. I walked into the house relieved, having taken nature’s best shot. I was respectful, but no longer frightened.


by Kinga Hosszu

There are seven steps to making a firecracker. Steve had memorized them all. He’d made over a thousand in his fifteen years; a good business for extra cash.

But this one he’d keep. The biggest one ever.

He swept the gunpowder into a thimble and secured the fuse with tape.

“This will be the mother of all bangs,” he thought as he rested it against some books.

He didn’t see Mittens jump. He only saw the firecracker tumble toward the ground, and Steve lunged, but clawed through empty air.

Then he saw the flash.

He never heard the bang.


by Rita Kushner

The cruise on the QE2 to Bermuda was to be our second forever honeymoon.

Toasting with glasses held high on the upper deck, we cheered the barges alongside, displaying a magnificent shower of fireworks, sparkling colors in great majesty, a not-to-forget performance.

And I truly have never forgotten. No sooner had we sailed under the great span of the Verazzano Bridge into the dark, roiling waters of an angry Atlantic Ocean when demonic, nauseating motion-sickness overcame me and continued throughout this disastrous voyage.
The trigger for this desperate memory is the magnificent, fantastic MACY'S JULY FOURTH FIREWORKS EXTRAVAGANZA!


by Elaine Polson Shiber

She hated the Fourth of July. Waking up to that dreaded noise, knowing she’d have to watch while the big twelve-year-olds lit cherry bombs, two-inchers, and more; and they ran while she hid. She feared she might lose a finger or an eye, or even die. She was five.
She liked the snakes that oozed quietly, and when it got dark, the sparklers.
Now she goes to concerts on the Fourth and claps in time to the “Stars and Stripes Forever,” and oohs and aahs at the fireworks exploding above her head.

She’s one of the big kids now. She’s fifty-seven.


BY Eric Shyman, Ed.D.

The fireworks boom. I look to my son.

The fireworks boom again. I look to my dog.

On the third boom, my wife and I look at each other.

To us, we have two babies, both braver than we could ever expect. We smile, place the marshmallows on the ends of our sticks, and continue to watch as our son alternates his gaze from the lit-up sky to the flaming white puff. He claps, says “mmm mmm marshmallow,” takes a bite when it cools and gives the rest to the dog. “Say ‘mmm mmm,’ Dixie.”

Dixie continues to chew. 



  1. Yay, John! How nice to celebrate the 4th by receiving this latest Joy of Story -- and with seven of my students (from three different writing workshops)displaying their work. Thanks again for providing this venue for aspiring and professional writers. How about getting the whole Posse to contribute! That could be fun. Happy 4th to you and yours. XXX

    1. Thanks, Eileen. Of course I'd be pleased to receive stories from as many members of the Posse (deputies?) as want to send them!

  2. What a great idea, John, and I like your writing lead for next month too!

    1. Thanks, Lesley. I hope you'll send me a story.