Tag Archives: stories

Two Little Girls – An Essay

TWO LITTLE GIRLS – Another Essay

By Donna Jean McDunn Author

I hope everyone had a wonderful Thanksgiving.

Mine was great. All three of our daughters and their families came, so it was a busy four-day weekend. Our oldest grandson celebrated his 13th birthday on November 7th. (That gives us three teenage grandkids with five more to go.) He lives to far away so we weren’t able to celebrate with him on that day and while they were visiting, he enjoyed another birthday party with us.

We also attended a party for my husband’s brother’s 70th birthday and a surprise birthday party our son-in-law planned for our youngest daughter. By the time the weekend ended, I needed another four days to recuperate.

I’m sorry I haven’t posted since November. I’ve been busy editing my novel Nightmares. As soon as all the editing is done, I will share an excerpt of the story here. I just finished working with the content editor who suggested I consider turning the book into a series based on the characters in the book, so I have begun a new story I have tentatively named Visions. I’m still waiting to hear from the line editor and get her opinion of the idea.

I’m also working on another story I began for a writing course a few months ago. The course has ended, but the writing goes on and I really want to finish it. It is tentatively named The Rose Stalker. It is geared to a much older reader than my Nightmares books and is a romance/mystery about a stalker who leaves roses.

Now I would like to share with you an essay I wrote in 2008. It’s not very long, just under 650 words. It’s about something that happened in my childhood that has always bothered me. It still does whenever I think about it and that year, I thought about it a lot, just as I have during this one. Some of the words I used for descriptions may not be politically correct today and I don’t wish to offend anyone, but in the 1950’s these terms were accurate. It’s called:


I grew up in a small town in Iowa during the 1950’s. During those early years of my life, I remember seeing only two people of African American decent at my school. It happened when I was in the third grade.

The teacher had just let us outside for recess. It was early spring and I had on my blue winter coat I’d gotten for Christmas. The day had turned out so sunny and warm; I felt I no longer needed it. So, like several other kids, I took my coat off and threw it on top of a pile of coats already lying on the ground.

My friends and I ran to the jungle gym to play. When I happened to look in the direction of my coat, I saw two African American girls. I naturally assumed they were sisters and the older one was holding my blue coat.

“Hey, this can’t be mine,” I heard the girl say to the younger one as she slipped it on. She held her arms out in front of her. “Look, it’s to small.”

Concerned I was about to lose my coat to a stranger, I jumped off the jungle gym and ran to her. “I think that’s my coat.”

Looking down at the pile still on the ground, I could see the arm of a blue coat just like mine. I pulled it out and slipped it on. The sleeves hung down past my fingertips. “Maybe this one is yours.”

We exchanged coats, giggling about the mix up, until her younger sister poked her in the ribs. “Come on. We’re going to get into trouble.”

“Thanks,” the older one said to me and the two girls ran toward the school.

I wanted to talk to them and find out if they were sisters, where they came from and why I hadn’t I seen them before. I didn’t even know their names. Why did they leave in such a hurry?

I watched as they ran to a door, the rest of us weren’t supposed to use, but before going inside, the older girl turned and smiled in my direction.

I wondered where they were going. Recess had just started.

I rejoined my friends on the jungle gym. “Who are those girls,” I asked my friend, Mary. “I’ve never seen them before.”

“I don’t know their names,” she said. “I heard they go to school upstairs.”

I couldn’t believe it. “Upstairs? Why?”

She stared at me like I must be really dumb. “Because they’re Negro.”

I was eight years old at the time, but even I could see sending those two girls upstairs was wrong.  I knew about prejudice and the riots happening in other parts of the country. I just never expected to see it in my town.

Several years ago, the upstairs in the school had been condemned and considered unsafe for anyone. I had heard rumors that there were bats up there, too. If it was unsafe for us, how could anyone make two little girls use it as a classroom? Did they even have a teacher?

I never saw either of the girls after that day, not in the hallways or during recess or even after school. I asked about them everyday for a long time, but no one seemed to know if they moved away or what happened to them.

I’d like to think situations like that don’t happen in this country today, but I know I’d only be deceiving myself. Even so I still have hope for us and I pray the girls are still alive and well and see how things have changed. It only took forty-nine years! The sad part is we have only just begun to make real progress.

As always, I would love to hear your opinions and thoughts, so please leave a comment.

My short story Trapped, included in the anthology Mystery Times Nine 2012 will be released, according to the Amazon site, on December 7, 2012. The book went to press November 29th. It can be pre-ordered on Amazon now. The publisher, Buddhapuss Ink is located in New Jersey and there was a delay thanks to Hurricane Sandy.

My young adult paranormal/mystery will be released in May 2013, but can be viewed on MuseItUp Publishing’s website: Nightmares

Other places I can be found:

Facebook Author Page 
Facebook Profile Page 

MusePub_Readers : MuseItUp Publishing Readers Group

I’m also on Twitter.

Other Places to view my short stories:

Nothing Ventured, Nothing Gained

A Reason To Live

Saving Katie

Pack Leader

The Golden Stallion

Gus’ Big Adventure



Proactive Means Taking Charge


Did this guy learn to do this by simply reading about it? Or did he become proactive, take charge and just do it? 

 Proactive Means Taking Charge

By Author Donna Jean McDunn

I have a habit of saving things I read on the Internet. Little scraps of ideas or sayings, quotes or names I like and may use in a story someday, sometimes its web addresses of websites or blogs that I liked and want to remember. I’ll copy and paste them into a word document so I can read it again later.

Of course after I do this, I promptly forget about them. Then weeks or even months later, while trying to clean up my computer from all the stuff I’ve saved over time, I’ll come across one of those rare ones I should have been reading everyday.

I really need to apologize to the author of this little gem I found, because I didn’t save her (I say “her”, but it could have been a “him”.) I didn’t save her name or even where I found the original article. So if anyone reading this recognizes the words and knows the author’s name please let me know. I want to give her the credit she deserves.

I had no idea in January of 2011; I would start a blog in 2012 and want to pass on some of the great stuff I’d saved. Now when I find things, I do save the authors’ names and where I find the information, but it’s too late for this particular article to get her consent.

The author starts out with: “Fate does not run your writing career. You do.”

Then she lists ten things she believes anyone starting out in the writing business should be prepared to do. Most of what she listed, I now do and some I had to modify to fit my goals.

  1. looking for new markets…check
  2. finishing a novel and starting a new one…check
  3. beginning a blog…check
  4. finding the perfect agent…working on it
  5. landing a publisher…working on it
  6. establishing your writing career…check
  7. attending a conference to find your footing…someday
  8. locating or starting a critique group…working on it
  9. publishing in that magazine you’ve feared for too long…This one I would change to “sending queries/manuscripts to various markets”…check
  10. finding a writing mentor/partner…check

The list may not apply to you if you’re not a writer. And even if you are a writer, there are many different kinds of writers. Some writers write news stories, articles for magazines, short stories of fiction and/or nonfiction, books of fiction, and books of nonfiction…well you get my drift. Some of the list may not apply to you either and that’s okay, just modify the list by setting your own goals and work toward fulfilling your dream.

So what is your passion? Maybe it’s photography or painting beautiful portraits or starting your own business. Whatever we aspire to do or become can only be accomplished if we take charge and press forward toward a specific goal.

In this same article, the author goes on to further state: “Proactive means taking charge instead of waiting for events to find you.”

I think, to put it another way, if we’re still “dreaming” and wishing for something to happen, but not working toward a goal, then we’re not proactive. We’re not moving forward. We’re stagnant. Have you ever seen stagnant water, it’s not a pretty sight and it smells bad too. Are you stagnant?

What are ten things you should be doing to move forward toward your dream? Have you set reachable goals?

It takes more than just setting goals though. The article goes on to say: “being proactive and taking charge would help you fare much better, appreciate yourself more, and open new doors of opportunity by grabbing 2012 and molding it to your desires”.

I began taking charge in 2008. Not by “trying” to reach my goals. The article said “taking charge”, because by taking charge I’m no longer giving myself permission to be excused if I fail. I’m doing the things that make me uncomfortable, like blogging, socializing on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn, branding my name and sending out queries and manuscripts, searching for markets. I could just write and not do any of the other stuff, and I could say I’m “trying” to be a writer. I’m writing, aren’t I, and learning, but who’s going to read my work if no one knows it exists. Are you really a writer if you don’t have readers. I tried for forty plus years for fate to make me a writer. It never happened and it wasn’t going too, because all I did was “try”. Trying is not doing.

So if trying isn’t the answer, what is? I decided to become proactive, take charge and make things happen. It’s taken time and effort, but I’ve already won; I became a writer and an author in my own eyes that day. And that’s where it has to start. The author of the original article made one final, but important point in her article. She wrote: “If 2011 wasn’t to your liking, make a change. No one else can do it for you.”

Just like the guy in the picture above and the quote here; you’ll never know what you can do until you do it, take charge…and be proactive.

“You miss 100% of the shots you never take.” – Wayne Gretsky

As always, I appreciate your opinions or questions. Please, leave a comment. If you leave your blog or website address or where you can be found on Facebook or Twitter I will follow you, leave a comment, like, or Tweet in return.

It’s been said that writing is a lonely business and that’s true, but if we writers and readers continue to support one another, then we are no longer alone.

I was recently chosen as one of nine winners in The Young Adult Mystery Times Nine 2012 Short Story Competition. The list of winning authors and their story titles can be viewed at: (13) Buddhapuss Ink LLC    Click on “see more” to view the entire list. The winning stories will be published together sometime in September or October. I will update you then.

My first adult short story, “Saving Katie” has been published at: www.thepinkchameleon.com a free magazine. Once on the site, scroll down the page until you see Short Stories. Click on that and the list of short stories will appear. Find “Saving Katie”.

Some of my work can be found online: My children’s story “Pack Leader” can be found at: www.knowonder.com also a free magazine. Once on the site type in the title of the story in the Search Engine at the top of the page and it will take you to the story.

I also have a children’s story, “The Golden Stallion” online at: www.storiesthatlift.com. This too is a free magazine. Once on the site click on the Story Library and then Children’s Stories. There is a Search Engine on this site also.

.In May 2012, my children’s story, “Gus’ Big Adventure” was published at: Bumples Magazine. http://www.bumples.com/  A subscription is required to read these stories, but if you have children between the ages of 4-10, it might be worth it.