I write. I wander. I read. I remember.

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I started writing my first novel at age eight. It was about a family of pencils that came alive at night and wandered around the classroom having various adventures. I was several chapters in when a well-meaning adult asked me what I wanted to be when I grew up.

“I want to be a writer. In fact, I’ve already started writing my first novel,” I told her.

“Oh, that’s so cute. Being a writer is hard work you know. Most people never make it.”

This was news to me. I had assumed the only tough part about writing was plot…


They absolutely hate absolutes

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Photo by Jeswin Thomas on Unsplash

One of the drawbacks of marrying a mathematician is you can never use the word never again. Always, best, favorite, worst, all, none, everybody, and only are on shaky ground as well. Instead, you need to embrace words like almost, many, one of, frequently, and rarely.

I learned early on that a comment like, “You never load the dishwasher,” was not going to lead to a reasoned debate about the equitable distribution of household chores, nor even into a fight about the same. …


Awesome actionable practical suggestions. I love it.


What about when the bomb is a virus? Who is responsible then?

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Photo by Chandler Cruttenden on Unsplash

You expect there might be some damage when the air raid sirens go off and you rush to the bomb shelter in the middle of a war. You huddle there with your neighbors similarly clad in nightclothes with a coat hastily thrown over the top. As you listen to the explosions you wonder if your house will still be there when you emerge.

At least, that’s how I imagine it based on my viewing and reading of WWII novels and movies. That’s just the way it was during the war, but nothing could stop the plucky grit of the British…


Perfect is relative to whether you are the grandchild or parent

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Photo by Christian Bowen on Unsplash

There is tons of advice out there on how to be the perfect parent but not as much is written about how to grandparent properly. Are we assuming this is instinctive? I figure I’d better rush in quickly with my completely unsolicited grandparenting advice before I have any personal experience being one myself, since I’m sure reality will totally mess with my perfect preconceived notions.

Anyway, it’s not as if I have no experience in the matter. I was a grandchild myself. I am a parent to three grandchildren. In other words, I have strong opinions based on how grandparenting…


Take a moment to savor these tasty morsels of truly excellent writing.

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Photo by Neetu Laddha on Unsplash

As a reader, I adore devouring the hearty meal of a well-written story. When a writer is hitting all the marks it’s like dining at a Michelin starred restaurant. Every bite is a delight for the senses.

Sometimes there is one bite so exquisite you stop. Your chewing slows as you let the complex flavors roll around your tongue. For a moment all that matters is the taste you are currently experiencing.

This is how a perfect sentence hits the reader as well. …


Here’s a publication giving you a chance to do just that.

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Photo by MJ S on Unsplash

A funny thing happened after I started a publication to give stories a second chance at success. My own writing got better.

It turns out thinking about what makes someone else’s story succeed or fail and trying to offer helpful advice is slowly training me to approach my own writing in the same way.

Not only that, but reading other people’s helpful comments, gives me insight into what other readers value in a story. This input is helping to shape how I tighten and improve my own writing to better serve my readers.

Interested? Read on and I’ll explain how…


Keeping it real and breaking down the details

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Photo by Andre Mouton on Unsplash

Seasoned writers love to make fun of this genre of Medium story. Here is exactly how much money I made and how. But I love them and click almost every time.

Why? Because I am always trying to answer the following questions for myself:

  • Am I wasting my time writing here?
  • Is success possible for ordinary people?
  • What do I consider success anyway?
  • What is a realistic amount to plug into my daydreams of raking in the bucks?
  • How can I make myself feel good about making more money faster than someone else?
  • How can I make myself feel lousy…


Not only did some really big names first publish in their 40s and 50s, but their best work came in their senior years.

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Photo by Laura Chouette on Unsplash

The internet can feel like a young person’s playground at times. Is there really room for me in the sandbox?

You’ll be reading an earnest motivational story where the writer keeps dropping pearls like, “over the years I have learned” and “the longer I live” and “time has taught me” and when you get to the end you find out they are all of 23 years old. Oh, sweet honey child, your life has barely begun.

Youth has a lot to teach those of us in the second half of life. I love reading motivational stuff from writers of all…


Travel Tips

The #1 and #2 least talked about travel dilemmas we all face.

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Image by Free-Photos from Pixabay

How did I find myself with a red light flashing, an alarm going off, three children staring at me wide-eyed and a husband using all his might to hold a door closed that wanted to open and expose me to a Dutch city square?

Toilets and travel can be an interesting travel dilemma.

When you gotta go, you gotta go but what if you don’t know where to go or how to follow the local customs?

Have no fear. Here is a guide to the most important things you need to know about toilets in the places I have personally…

Mary DeVries

Writing, wondering, and wandering across three continents. Living, Learning, and Laughing along the way. https://tinyurl.com/MaryDeVries

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