A middle-age woman does a crossword puzzle

Beth Mende Conny of WriteDirections.com does a crossword puzzle.Six across. I need a three-letter word for feline.

Well, I know it starts with “C” because the answer to 6 down was DISC, which ends with “C.”

Hmmm … Feline … starts with “C” …

CHEETAH! No, that’s seven letters. I need three.

Hey, Joe … Joe! … JOE!!! What’s a three-letter word for feline that starts with “C”? Oh, come on. This will only take a second.


You can sleep later.


I didn’t hear you. What?

(Huff) No, I don’t need a four-letter word that starts with “F” and ends with “K.” I hope you wake up with a backache.

(Slam of door. Frown.)

“K”? Is that possible? DISC could be DISK, after all. No. I’m going to stick with “C.” Something in my bones says I’m right, although it could be my arthritis.

Beth Mende Conny of WriteDirections.com does a crossword puzzle about a cat.Wait! The answer to 7 down was HOT. HOT ends with “T.” That means: I need a three-letter word for feline that starts with “C” and ends with “T.” Hmmm …

Jenna … Jenna! … JENNA!!!


Please get off of your cell phone. I need a three-letter word for feline that starts with “C” and ends with “T.”

No, I don’t want you to text it to me.

(Slam door. Growl.) Teenagers!

(Look at clock.)

Of dear. I’ve forgotten to feed Millie.

(Walk to kitchen. Open can.)

Here kitty, kitty! Here kitty, kitty. Dinner!

(Bend down. Pet.)

Do you happen to know a three-letter word for feline? Starts with “C,” ends with “T.”


That’s it, clean your own box!

(Slam door. Drive to attorney.) I want to cut everyone out of my will. Yep, that’s what I said. C-U-T.

(Epiphany) Cut! Three letters, starts with “C” and ends with “T.”

(Fist pump)

(Leave office. Return to car. Look for keys. Can’t find keys. Call AA. Whoops! Redial. AAA.)

(Drive to therapist.)



Mother-daughter conversations

Beth Mende Conny writes about mother and daughter conversations (or lack thereof).

© 2013 Beth Mende Conny

I’m in Panera’s. Across from me is a mother and daughter. I’m guessing the mom’s in her sixties, the daughter in her thirties. They’re talking loud enough so I can’t concentrate on my writing but soft enough so I can’t make out what they’re saying. But I can tell from the body language that the daughter is in a pissy mood and that her mother is trying, unsuccessfully, to engage her in conversation. I don’t like the daughter.

And this makes me wonder about conversations between mothers and daughters. More specifically: Why do daughters expect their mothers to hang onto their every word?

Part of a mom’s job responsibility — and you can look it up in the manual — is to think her daughter is wonderful. The mom is to applaud at recitals, croon at good report cards and take dozens of photos every time her daughter loses a tooth. She is to listen to her daughter’s dreams of becoming a president/archaeologist/rock star/etc./etc./etc., and to make her think they all are possible.

According to the manual (Chapter 3, Subsection 16.4), a mother is to do all this right on the spot, even when she has cramps or has fought with her husband, or is overwhelmed by bills, work deadlines and a dirty house. Read more

Grab the marshmallows!

Writer Beth Mende Conny writes about journals and journaling.I journaled for much of my teens/early 20s, and I swear I’m having a bonfire one of these days. Burn all my journals. They are painful to read. Not so much the remembering of individual experiences and/or people, but the repetition of my entries. Same old themes.

  • My tragic childhood.
  • No one understands me. I don’t understand myself.
  • Mitch, Les, John and other fill-in-the-blank boyfriends.
  • Write the Great American novel/lose weight/move to X, Y, Z.
  • I am depressed, lonely, anxious.

Hand me matches someone! Grab the marshmallows! It’s bonfire time.

Yet here I am, journaling via a blog. So the question is this: “Will I cringe years from now as I reread these musings?”

Which leads to another question: “Is there a way to burn blog posts?”

Are your eyes listening?

Writer Sarah Stup quotationsI love this quote and most especially its author, Sarah Stup.

Sarah is a gifted writer and one of my all-time favorite clients. She has autism and literally types to speak. And what lovely things she shares about life and love. She also writes about difficult things, like the experience of autism —  its sights and sounds, the loneliness.

Of all her pieces — and I’ve read hundreds — this is one of my favorites:

Are your eyes listening?

by Sarah Stup © 2006-2013

Are your eyes listening? 

That’s what needs to happen to hear my writing voice. Because of autism, the thief of politeness and friendship, I have no sounding voice. 

By typing words I can play with my life and stretch from my world to yours. I become a real person when my words try to reach out to you without my weird body scaring you away. Then I am alive.

With writing I reach out to try, and autism or hate or walls of doubt can’t hold me. I am pleased to be typing away — typing away loneliness, typing away silence, using paper to hug you and slap you and join you. 

Click, click, clicking keys are my heartbeat. Listen with your eyes.

There’s lots more of her writing on both her site and blog. Visit!


Wishing on a star

Writer Beth Mende Conny writes about wishing on a star.I stand here in the stillness of a night not yet formed, scanning the blue for an early star, and I wish, as I’ve done since a child: Might I get my wish tonight.

There’s no talk now of dolls and skates and the kisses of boys. There’s no talk at all, just a hole in the soul. I’m feeling old.

Once I thought aging signified a lack of will. These days I’m less certain. When friends speak of bum knees and poor vision, I listen intently, as if we were talking of men and movies and the dreams that once wove us together.

Once I thought the world awaited my brilliant smile and searing prose. Now I see it has outgrown its patience and has gone about its business without me.

For a few sorry moments I am bluer than night, held in place by a force I cannot name. But then comes the whisper, that touch on my cheek. There, there, it says. You will get your wish.

But first you must fill the hole in your soul with new moons and the flutter of wings. You must fill it with smiles of the sacred ones in your life, and a love of all you do and do not know. You must fill it with forgiveness of yourself and life itself.

There, there, comes the whisper. You will get your wish.


The joys (ha!) of working at home

Writer Beth Mende Conny writes about being a work at home mom.I wrote this piece years ago, when I was launching two careers: writer and mom. Both paid poorly and I had to share an office with someone who didn’t clean up after herself. Still I managed, even in the face of adversity, as this piece attests.

I’m a mom who works at home. For those who think I’m being redundant — what mom doesn’t work at home? — let me be specific: I work for a living in my living room.

It’s not exactly an executive suite. There are blocks and rattles where leather chairs and oak filing cabinets should be. But it’s mine, at least a small corner of it, from which I write pieces like this one and others on parenting issues.

Working at home has its advantages. The dress is informal, it’s an easy commute, and there’s an eating establishment right round the corner (unfortunately). But it also has its drawbacks, especially if you have an infant around, as I do. Read more

Family portrait

A family photo of Writer Beth Mende Conny, her mother, daughters and sister.Three generations of women right after getting their pedicures. From right to left, starting at the top: Me; Mom, Judy; Daughter Julia; Daughter Jenna; Sister Nina.