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For weeks I have been asking my girls to go to the beach with me so I can take some sunset pictures. I have some nice sunset pictures but I haven’t gone out in over a year and it isn’t far. It’s about a 25 minute drive. I also recently inherited my daughter’s Canon digital SLR and I wanted to get some practice with it. Hence the desire for sunset pictures. I can go myself but my eyesight is worst in the twilight hours which means I would have to stay out at the beach until it got completely dark before I could drive home. Each time I ask, they are doing something and cannot go with me, or it has been overcast when they can go.

Until yesterday. It must have been my Irish luck on St. Pat’s Day! My older daughter and I went to lunch then to pick up some wine she ordered at Francis Ford Coppola‘s Rosso & Bianco Winery. When we left there, my daughter got adventurous and took us on a discovery journey of some back roads. We ended up driving to the coast. It took us almost 2 hours to make the 35 mile drive through the winding mountainous road which narrowed to one lane in many places. When we made it to the coast, we were way north of any part of the coast we normally go to. We were north of Fort Ross, just south of Sea Ranch. We stopped at Sea Ranch for a bite to eat and a relaxing look at the ocean before starting on our drive home which would take us about two hours.

On the drive home, the timing of the sunset toyed with us. I was sure I would get a chance at a picture for about ten minutes then I was sure I would miss it because there was a layer of fog coming in. My daughter developed a headache and drove through with no sign of stopping. I watched the time and realized I was going to miss it because it was slightly behind us and I didn’t think my daughter would pull over. In fact, there were few places where we could safely pull over without causing a disturbance to the many cars behind us. I kept watching glimpses of the sunset in the side view mirror. I didn’t want to ask her to stop because I knew she had a headache.

Then she suddenly veered off the lane of traffic onto a small area next to a steep drop to the ocean, a couple of hundred feet below us. I didn’t even get mad. I just jumped out with camera in hand! I began shooting pictures. I was spellbound by the gorgeous sunset! I ended up taking 38 pictures of the sunset, each one in wonderful focus! I was amazed because I had been having a lot of trouble with the focus. In fact, at least one third of the 200 pictures I took this afternoon were out of focus! But my sunset pictures were not!


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arturo islas Arturo Islas, click on photo to get to Arturo Islas Page

“Every one of you has inside of you the power to catch fire.Right now, with your writing, you are simmering.But at some point in your life, at least one time, you will catch fire.My hope is that you will do it some time during this course.”

We listened to his hushed, gentle, captivating voice as he spoke to us, becoming almost inaudible, when he spoke the phrase “catch fire.”We had been brought together on that hot day in late September of 1975, in the basement of Casa Zapata, the Chicano theme house, to take a course in Chicano Writing from Arturo Islas, the first Chicano in the United States to earn a Ph.D. in English and who would, later that year, become the first tenured Chicano professor at Stanford University.

Arturo’s teaching in the English Department was legendary and his Chicano Writing course was so popular that students dreamed of getting in then feared that they’d fall short of Arturo’s expectations once they got in.The class, taught only one quarter per year, had a maximum enrollment of ten students. (more…)

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This week’s Writers Island prompt is “second chance.” Below you’ll find a couple of short, 100 word fiction pieces with “second chance” as the theme, although not necessarily the title.

Her Turn

It was the second chance she had thought would never come.The years had not been kind to her and her dreams had faded.Now it was finally her turn.The letter had come in the mail, long after she had given up waiting for it.She was heading back to school.She was afraid, to be sure, but she was more excited than afraid.She would be older than the other students.Old enough to be their mother, in fact, her own children were no longer students.But that wasn’t important now. This was it.It was finally happening.

Only Coffee?


Candace hadn’t been to the new coffee shop.She had heard many wonderful things about it.When Tom called and asked if she’d go out for coffee, she had hesitated.”We can go to Nueva Luna, that new place.It’s supposed to be quite good.”

Now she sat in the corner enjoying the plushness of the velvet pillows, yet dreading what Tom might want.They had both felt the vibes.That much she knew.Was she reading anything into this?She guessed she might be.She feared it, in fact.She wanted Tom’s attention.But did she dare risk it?

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