Growing on ‘the Slope’

New homes are going up fast around here, just a few miles west of the Grand Mesa.

I’m hoping the transportation infrastructure continues to improve at least as quickly so we can pedal around this growing Western Slope community even more than we do already.

Did you see that Grand Junction actually turned up on this New York Times list of places to visit this year?

The attractions haven’t exactly been well-kept secrets for a while anyhow, so think about heading our way if you get the chance. The Smiths have been here long enough now that we can point you to some good places to hike, bicycle, eat, and drink beer and wine. Just leave a comment below and ask!

If you drive, be careful and have fun. If you’re coming for the cycling, be careful and have fun.

This area has a lot going for it, including a new Pedestrian and Bicycle Plan, but we have plenty of room for improvement, too.

Pedal on, my friends.


Writing with impact: OHF

“Writing with intent – with a solid grasp of your purpose for writing and disseminating your work – inevitably improves the end result.”

I wrote that right here a few years ago with a purpose I hope is obvious: to help other writers identify and focus on and achieve their own goals, whether those might be writing clear, informative articles, great books, persuasive essays or anything else.

Now I’m writing to share a prime example of writing with intent: Pick any Our Human Family article.

Backlit laptop keyboard

I’ve been an OHF reader for at least a couple of years now and subscribe to OHF Weekly.

Why? Because the writing overall is excellent, compelling and persuasive, and it’s focused on issues that should be important to all of us humans.

Any other questions?

Write on,


Flash fiction: brain workout

February 8: Winners announced!

There is nothing quite like a tight deadline to focus your writing and sharpen your skills, whether it’s part of your job as a daily newspaper reporter or a self-inflicted challenge like a flash fiction contest.

For the past few years, I’ve challenged myself to write a few hundred words over the course of a couple of days to submit a story in the University of Iowa Alumni and Friends Flash Writing Contest.

I nearly talked myself out of it this time around once I saw the choices of writing prompts, which aren’t revealed until the Friday before the Sunday deadline. Having to choose between historical fiction and romance genres, which aren’t among my top favorites, I mulled it over before giving it a shot, choosing the historical route and a story that had to include:

  • No more than 1,000 words
  • A specified character: dog walker
  • An object: paper clip

After submitting my entry a couple of hours before the Sunday afternoon deadline, I’m confident that I now know a whole lot more about the history of paper clips and popular dog names from 100+ years ago.

I also have a new appreciation for what it takes to write historical fiction. Research, research, research, and I submitted somewhere between 500 and 600 words. Imagine writing a book in that genre! When it comes to writing fiction, I’ll stick to contemporary.

We’ll find out who wins in the multiple age categories in a few weeks. I always look forward to that, not because I expect to win – as fun as that would be – but because we all get to read a lot of flash fiction written by children as well as other adults. That’s a reward all by itself.

Write on,


Toying with the “donation” block

Please humor me while I play with the WordPress block for accepting donations from website visitors.

If you happened to see a version of this test that I accidentally published a little while ago, I apologize for that unnecessary notification. (Not that this one is really necessary, but it seems to happen when we post something, right?)

While we’re here, if you’ve used the WP block or something similar yourself and found it worthwhile, I would appreciate hearing about it. Also while we’re here, I thought I’d share an image I put together with Inkscape just now and a new arrangement of words I published just the other day on my nearby Rhyme & verse page.




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Corn Lake January

Scenes from a winter afternoon walk by the Colorado River with Red Dog Smith.

You haven’t met Red? He’s a smart, fine-lookin’ dog.