it writes itself


My Work

My finished short stories and poems.


This is another piece I entered in a flash fiction contest.


by: C. Alise Johnson


Just before I returned to the company of Trevor, the eight year old I was babysitting, I peaked through the kitchen window into the backyard. I saw him seated on the edge of the trampoline letting his legs swing freely, with his plump face directed toward the sky. I agreed to watch the kid for the promise of a hundred-dollar bill that would be slapped in the palm of my itchy hand. Rumors of Trevor’s habit to cause trouble were confirmed when his parents reminded me not to leave him alone.

Perhaps that is why the view from the kitchen surprised me. I never usually accepted invitations to babysit, but these people had a reputation of coming home pretty sauced up and dishing out large rewards to anyone who could keep Trevor from causing trouble. I treaded across the lawn to give Trevor some lemonade I made but as I got to the trampoline, he didn’t seem to care. I stopped adjacent to his juvenile figure and handed him a glass of summer’s favorite beverage only to have him ignore my offering.

“Trevor, here, take it,” I commanded. He ignored my authoritative offering. I rolled my eyes and looked at my phone for the time. 7:36, damn, six more hours, I thought.

I let a few moments pass before releasing a sigh and joining the eight-year old on the trampoline. I tilted my head and looked at the profile of his face to see his dreamy blue eyes map out something in the horizon. I followed his line of sight and looked at the sky for myself, expecting to see a hawk, or a squirrel in the trees. I saw nothing, but as soon as I looked at the same thing that held Trevor’s attention captive, he ended his spell of silence saying, “Wonderful, right?” Continue reading “Dawn”


What I Don’t Know

I was fortunate enough to hear this unique prompt a couple years ago.

Write an essay on all the things you don’t know.

I Don’t Know a lot

by: C. Alise Johnson

So you ask me what I don’t know, well first off I don’t know how to fit all of this into a 150-word essay. I suppose I’ll jump right in. I don’t know the periodic table of elements, how to split an atom, or if there is even such a thing as global warming. I don’t know the quadratic formula, the unit circle, and I sure as hell don’t know the significance of “imaginary numbers” in math class. I can’t speak Navajo, I never learned how to parallel park a car, or even change a tire. I do not know how to perform open-heart surgery, I can’t start a campfire by myself, and I can’t fly a plane. I don’t know who shot JFK, I don’t know what’s in the missing minutes of the Watergate tapes, or who built the Pyramids in Egypt. I don’t know how to dance the Foxtrot, play the flute, or what’s in Taco Bell meat. I don’t know why the crime rate in the U.S. is so high, I don’t know why terrible things happen to nice people, and I don’t know the cure for cancer.

The list goes on, but for both of our sake it will end there for now. A wise woman by the name of Anatole France wrote, “An education isn’t how much you have committed to memory, or even how much you know. It’s being able to differentiate between what you do know and what you don’t.” I have clearly not learned a lot in twelve years of school. I think that the list of things I have learned might surprise you. I took a philosophy class in my last year of high school. In this class I learned how to learn. I didn’t learn the answers to the things I claimed to not know but rather, I learned the relevance of these things in the long run. So yes, I don’t know the map of the world like the back of my hand, how to time travel, or the structure of DNA in a pig. I also don’t know what it’s like to be the smartest person in a classroom. After 18 years of living my life I want to learn all those things. I pride myself on being an intellectual. Finding out the reasons behind answers is what fascinates me. So to continue not knowing things would be fine with me as long as I had the opportunity to find those answers.



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