No Time Like Now — by Michele Potter

No Time Like Now — by Michele Potter

Well, this week another friend passed away from rotten miserable cancer. I hadn’t seen her for quite a while but kept in contact through social media. A little over a month ago, she notified everyone that she had stage 4 liver cancer. She didn’t ask for anything, as was her usual, just that everyone knew and would think about her.

I wish I had gone to see her and talk to her one more time.

Regrets, we all have a few. For everyone I have known who has passed away too soon, I have regrets: that I didn’t visit, I didn’t do this or that, I made excuses, etc. And now they’re gone, and procrastination won’t help a bit. Too little, too late. And here I am feeling sorry for myself instead of having empathy for her family. Someone kick me, please.

I suppose as I get older (which is a better alternative than not having any more birthdays!), this scenario will play out even more frequently. And, at some point, it will be my turn to share the bad news. I’m hoping to just pass away quietly in my sleep after I reach the 100-year mark, but we don’t always get what we want, do we? Perhaps I should get my affairs in order, so to speak. But then what? Just sit around and wait? No, I don’t think so.

I want to put the word out now. If I suddenly kick off, everyone left will have to set it up. And I don’t want one of those “celebration of life” things sometime down the road. Get right on it, no waiting around. I want a wake, with some party atmosphere—don’t be all solemn, please—because you know I love a good party. Serve some booze, wine and beer are fine, maybe ham sandwiches, too. Don’t forget chips. And music. Not that whiny stuff, something more Led Zeppelin-ish. And for God’s sake, mix it up a bit. Tell jokes. Talk about all the stupid reckless crazy things I did in my life. I wouldn’t mind a few motorcycles in the funeral caravan, either. Someone could even ride mine, I guess.

If there’s time, for example, if I suddenly get stage 4 liver cancer, I will plan it out myself. I’m not terribly afraid of dying, but I am afraid of not living enough. Every single friend or family member that passes away before me is a kick in the stomach; it’s not something that I will ever get used to. At the same time, every single one reminds me that there are still things to do and life to live.

We all have to go sometime. Let’s enjoy the time we have now. If you were thinking of visiting an old friend (like me!), make that a reality, not just a thought. There is no time like the present. Literally.

OMP Admin Note: Michele Potter is a writer and OMP Network member – one of a group of networkers who will be blogging on a regular basis on various causes and issues.

Michele is an incredibly diverse and talented writer who I hope will collect her short stories and make them available on Amazon someday soon. In the meantime, her story PERCEPTIONS is available in the guest author section of the flash fiction anthology BITE SIZE STORIES VOLUME ONE.


A Global Alliance of Writers — The One Million Project

The day has arrived and the One Million Project’s long awaited short story anthology for Cancer Research UK and EMMAUS Homeless programs is available on Amazon. For more information click on the link from Sebnem Sanders a writer from Turkey.

Family Ties or Otherwise

Family Ties or Otherwise

By Michele Potter

Having recently attended two family reunions, I have been thinking about the power of blood ties. I was lucky enough to grow up close to extended family in the Midwest. Picnics in the summer, holiday gatherings, and sleepovers at cousins were all part of my childhood. At the time, I thought everyone had the same kind of experience and completely took my family for granted.

Once out in the world, it came as a bit of a shock that many people, because of distance, dysfunction, separation, or loss, had little or no family. The people I met shared stories that hurt my heart. One girl told me how she had found her father, dead from a self-inflicted gunshot; she said she felt nothing but disgust. Another said her parents’ bitter divorce and long custody battle had effectively made her feel like an orphan.

My family had their differences and disputes, but we always knew deep down that we were there for each other. I remember my teenage years as a perpetual war of wills with my mother, but in the end, we called it a draw.

Through the years, we have lost members, a sad time for gathering together and sharing. At my age, I have attended too many wakes and funerals for people close to me. Where once I considered such rites maudlin and unnecessary, my views have changed. Being the person in the receiving line accepting condolences changes one’s perspective.

I think of all this because a dear family member is dying. Cancer is making its final assault, and his days are numbered. Throughout the long process, he has made every effort to see and talk to everyone, attend reunions, and keep a positive attitude. “There’s always someone worse off,” he often says. I think of the many times I’ve wallowed in the “pity pot” and feel ashamed.

He has stayed with us longer than the doctors predicted, which I believe is due to the support and love from all sides. I cannot imagine coming to the end of one’s life and not having family ties. Recently, he asked me to gather some funny family stories to tell at his funeral. He wants people to laugh.

I hope we can all laugh through the tears.

OMP Admin Note: Michele Potter is a writer and OMP Network member – one of a group of networkers who will be blogging on a regular basis on various causes and issues.

Michele is an incredibly diverse and talented writer who I hope will collect her short stories and make them available on Amazon someday soon. In the meantime her story PERCEPTIONS is available in the guest author section of the flash fiction antholgy BITE SIZE STORIES VOLUME ONE.

An Exam Called Life


Up until my high school days, I hated almost all my exams. I hated the competitive ones and I hated the non-competitive ones. I hated them just religiously, without any discrimination. And I hated them because I thought exams were a discrete hammering on a child’s natural intellect. But as the numbers on my age changed, so did my views and beliefs.

Surprisingly over the last three years at college, after sailing through a university level of education and a gruelling series of examinations, almost on my own, I have understood one simple thing; exams are more than just a reality check. Exams are actually the stimulants that trigger your intellect and enhance your ability to cope with the real world. It helps you deal with the insane amounts of difficulties that you face ahead in your life.

My under-graduation is nearing an end. Only a few of months have passed since I have last written an exam and I am anxiously waiting for my results. I don’t even know if I will pass, but trust me, I don’t hate exams as much as I did some years ago, (though I am still not too fond of them).
A clichéd saying in my country goes; “An engineer might not have studied for an entire year, but s/he will still be a master of his subject on the night before an exam!” And I am proud to certify the above statement to the fullest of my beliefs.

It was a rainy night in the serene town of Vellore as monsoons had just touched upon the sea shores in the southern parts of India. I had just one exam left and it was the most difficult one. And I remember calling upon every friend of mine over the phone, inquiring about their progress with the syllabus and irritating them over and over again. I knew I was being moronic but trust me, this is the only anti-depressant available to a student at such a strenuous time. If friends are behind you in the race to complete the syllabus, you man, are safe!
But, I was lagging behind!
I instantly realised that I have to spend another sleepless night or I might completely screw up in the exam the next morning.
I wanted to cry over my fate.
I wanted to go and kill those teachers.
I wanted to run far away.
I wished I had studied this before.

But amid all of this, a strange realisation took place in me.

I curated a bunch of previous year exam question papers. I called up a few (trustworthy) friends and inquired from them about the important questions that the teacher might have unwantedly spelt out in the last few classes.
Having gathered all these things, I started to prepare, ‘just to pass’.
And I kept on studying, desperate not to fall asleep at any cost.
But life happens.

I woke up at eight in the morning, cursing myself, and found my books lying on the floor while my pen and notebooks were pressed under me. I got up with a jolt and hurriedly began revising all that I had studied the night before and eventually went to write the exam, leaving the burden of my fate on the shoulders of the almighty (though I was not a believer of god back then, hardships and struggles can always do the impossible, they say!).
I came out of the hall, thirty minutes before the exam was actually over and surprisingly I was unimaginably optimistic about the exam. I didn’t know whether I did well or not but I knew one thing. I did my best. I gave in more than I actually could.

It is today that I suddenly realise that exams are an exact analogy of life, scaled down to a hundred and eighty minutes (or however long an exam is). Whatever I did for that exam that day was actually a teaching in disguise. It was a lesson of what I should do again in the future if I faced something deadly in my life.


For anything deadly that might collide head on with me in my life ahead, I should trust my past experiences (curate a bunch of previous year exam question papers).

Then I should call my friends for help or pray to god for the right direction (inquired from them about the important questions that the teacher might have unwantedly spelt out in the last few classes).

My priority should always be to just ‘survive’, (start to prepare ‘just to pass’).

And the last thing I should do is to leave the result in the God’s will (write the exam, leaving the burden of my fate on the shoulders of the almighty).

I am sure I will come out as optimistic as I did in my exam that day.

So you see? Exams are much like those vaccines that we used to get injected with in our childhood. We all know that vaccines of a particular disease are nothing but the disease itself. But this disease instead of harming you actually sets up a system of immunity within your body. It helps your body fight against the real disease which you might face someday.
Actually, exams are just an emergency algorithm to life’s problems.

The Solitary Nature of Writing

I’ve been sitting at my desk since early morning. The sun came up but stays hidden behind the clouds. My back hurts and I’m getting hungry, after too many cups of coffee. I need to stand up and stretch.

But Noah, the protagonist in my story, won’t let me take a break. He is trying to find some closure and I don’t know if he will. His stubbornness is making me crazy. Why are you such a blind fool? I yell at him in my mind. My phone buzzes. Again. Finally, with a great wrenching, I pull myself back into the “real” world. I hate to leave Noah and his problems alone. I’ll be back, I whisper.

The life of a writer favorably compares to that of a hermit. Someone who enjoys spending hours cut off from reality—and other humans—is predisposed to being a writer, in my opinion. The “civilians” in our lives may try to understand our compulsion to create settings, characters, and twisting plots, but most never come to grips with it. Small children, of course, are exempted from being expected to understand.

Is there a way to do both? To write prolifically and maintain an active social and interpersonal life? I admit to often being torn between the two. Although getting words down the way I want is incredibly rewarding, I treasure my time with family and friends. A balancing act is required. Writing is not like other jobs; it can take over one’s life, especially while in the midst of a project. Taking a break means having to review and basically start over on return. And far too often, when I do return, I stare blankly at the screen, finally write a few words, read them, and give up in disgust.

When I first discovered online writing communities, I didn’t think I would get too involved. I’ve never been much of a joiner but thought I could use some exposure. Within an incredibly short time, I was hooked. I read literally hundreds of stories in a variety of genres and writing styles, filled with wit, wonder, and wild imagination. I met people from all walks of life, from around the world; their comments and support of my writing gave me new motivation and joy in the craft.

Now my favorite site is shutting down. Yes, there are other sites where I have been lurking around in the shadows, but I’m not quite ready to commit. It’s too soon. I must grieve for a while first.

In the meantime, I am back to my solitary writing habits: bursts of crazy fluid energy followed by long dry periods of doldrums. At least now I know I’m not the only one who does that.

Lessons learned: Writing is an isolated pursuit, but taking the leap to put one’s self out there can bring many rewards. I feel privileged knowing the people who have devoted time to the One Million Project. And I am honored to write this blog. Even though I pulled my hair out doing it. Thank you and good night.

Finding Courage in the Pursuit of a Dream

I am a child of the 60’s and 70’s. I grew up with the Cold War, Vietnam, the Civil Rights Movement, Women’s Liberation Movement, Haight-Ashbury, and Woodstock. I listened to the Beatles, the Stones, Dylan, Hendrix and the Doors. Songs of revolution, peace, and love filled the airwaves. No CD’s, DVD’s, cell phones existed. I listened to my music with the pops and crackles of vinyl, as I dreamed of how I would change the world in the Peace Corps and with my pen.

In my youth, I sought a plethora of ways to express myself. I sang in the choir and played in the symphonic and marching bands at school. I was in the Drama Club in high school. I wrote stories in several genres – fiction, non-fiction, romance, horror, and suspense. Just like the majority of avid readers out there, I dreamed of writing my first novel.

I came from a family of rebels. My Irish grandfather and grandmother fought against the military oppression of Ireland in the early 20th century. They left Ireland hoping to find freedom and new opportunities in New York City. My father was a first generation American raised in the South Bronx. Life wasn’t easy for Irish immigrants at the time. His family lived in tenements barely fit for habitation. Involvement in a gang made him grow up quickly. But my dad was a dreamer who prayed every night for a way out of the harsh realities of his life. He was a storyteller. He was a tortured soul who always seemed unhappy with his life despite its hard-won blessings.

The reason I tell you about my past is simple. Creativity requires courage. My immigrant family spent their days surviving. Their courage helped them overcome the hopelessness of their circumstances. They used their creativity in their efforts to survive, and survive they did. All of my grandparent’s children went to college. Even my father, with five children of his own, worked nights and went to college part-time to get a degree at age 40.

When I began to consider my life’s path, I was told to “get a real profession” to support myself. Fairly common advice from someone who knew what it was to grow up poor. I didn’t have the fierce resolve needed to follow my dreams. I listened to my parents’ advice and decided to pursue a nursing degree.

The nursing profession had a dire shortage of nurses in the late 70’s and early 80’s. I had a job months before I even graduated. I never felt at one with my choice of career. Although I worked hard, tried to increase my nursing education and advance my career; something was missing.

Over the years, I had attempted to find another outlet for my creative self. I painted, wrote stories, and began journals usually stopping without finishing them. Two years ago, I decided (along with a million plus other people) to write a blog. Two weeks later, I abandoned it. It’s a familiar story for many who struggle to align their creative self with the realities of everyday living.

Decades ago, I read a book entitled The Courage to Create by Rollo May for a college course. One quote from May’s book exemplifies my feelings about the role of creativity in my life.
“We express our being by creating. Creativity is a necessary sequel of being.” ~ Rollo May

My life hit a low patch not so long ago. I was soul searching trying to figure out what I wanted in my life. I didn’t know if I had the courage necessary to fulfill those dreams. Over the years, my negative self-talk helped to squash my feeble attempts at writing or any other creative efforts I’d undertaken.

Who was I? I didn’t have a MFA. Never published, I was one of the millions of ‘wanna-be’ writers. I continued to push away any story ideas caught up in my inner belief that I couldn’t write.

A good friend of mine is an artist who has worked with sculpture, painting, photography and glass art. We have known each other for almost 40 years and have watched each other’s struggles with the creative process over many of those years. She gifted me with the book Big Magic: Creative Living Beyond Fear by Elizabeth Gilbert.

One of Gilbert’s ideas resonated with me. She believes all ideas are part of the universe. An energy unto themselves is searching for the right conduit to be realized. I always thought an artist was born to their talent. It was an innate part of their being.

Gilbert wrote about her belief that everyone could create, but only some people will embrace the ideas presented to them by the universe. If those ideas aren’t acted upon, they will continue to look for the right creative soul to bring them to fruition.

She uses one example I easily identified with – a commercial airs on TV for a new invention and someone watching will announce they had the same idea years ago, and if only… Haven’t we all either had the same feeling or know of someone else who did?

If we close ourselves off and refuse to acknowledge our desire to create, can we reach self- actualization? It’s a valid question. I didn’t live in constant angst or depression because I couldn’t write. I have a wonderful life, but some switch flipped when I started writing in earnest. Writing wasn’t a chore, but an outlet for my unrealized creative passion. Something else happened as my focus on writing was renewed, I discovered a way to help others.

I joined the Kindle Write On forum and through my association with some of the other writers, I became involved in The One Million Project (OMP). Over 90 writers, artists, musicians and media professionals from around the world have pooled their creative energies into a volunteer effort to raise money for the charities — Cancer Research UK and EMMAUS. This global network volunteers their artwork, stories, music and time towards raising money to help the homeless and fund cancer research.

OMP has compiled a collection of 24 short stories and original artwork into a book, The One Million Project. The OMP is a NON-PROFIT hoping to raise 1,000,000 British Pounds for charity through the sale of this book, and all continuing revenues will go towards the One Million Project Foundation which will continue to raise money for charity as well as invest in the Arts/Creative projects. 90% of all money raised in perpetuity will go towards this purpose.

I cannot help, but think, if creativity is a force in the universe looking for a way to be fulfilled, The One Million Project is the culmination of its efforts to ease the pain and suffering.

Kate McGinn

OMP Admin Note: Kate McGinn is a writer and OMP Network member – one of a group of networkers who will be blogging on a regular basis on various causes and issues.

Kate McGinn’s fiction can be found on Amazon in the flash fiction series BITE SIZE STORIES (Volume Two) along with five other guest writers. Her full length book EXODUS is also available on Amazon.


Homelessness vs. the Doing Model of Life.

I can’t presume to understand where you stand on this important issue because I don’t really understand where my truth lies. I worked for forty years as an educator and understand the value of hard work, but can also see the toll this system can take on those who choose to not buy in, are thrown out of the system, or can’t benefit fully from the work ethic valued in the States.

There are so many things to consider when we look at the homeless issue and we tend to sweep this under the proverbial carpet instead of facing the problem head on. Let’s consider a few things to help sort out our truths.

Should we blame the homeless and label them lazy and feeding on the good intentions of the gullible? I frequently hear people say, “They could get a job and a home if they wanted to but it is easier to live on ‘the system’” This is what a large percent of the population in the States chooses to believe.

Should we blame the system that took away many jobs and made it impossible for those desiring to earn a living wage? We live in a global society and the lives of individuals do not have the meaning or value that they once held. Employers do not need to be loyal to their employees anymore. Again, the liberal in the States see this as the truth and hate the rich for being greedy and bleeding the less fortunate dry.

Is it the failure of our mental health system that has allowed large numbers of individuals to descend into mental illnesses without help and withdraw from society? I tend to see this as an important issue because many homeless are suffering from depression, if not more serious mental illnesses, but it is simply one consideration.

Should we hate the homeless because they challenge our WASP values? For those of you who don’t understand WASP, it stands for White Anglo-Saxon Protestant values. White Protestants are taught the Doing Model from the time we are born. It is a linear model written about by Dr. Susanna McMahon in her book, the Portable Therapist, hat tells us we must work toward achieving goals and gaining external rewards. From birth to death we are known by what we have attained, what we possess, what we have achieved, and how we compare to” the people next door”. Those who subscribe to this model believe that others who come from a different religion or belief system just don’t get it and should be feared because they will be the cause of the collapse of our society. This philosophy is truth to many.

Should we just allow the homeless to live under our bridges and in their cars in the back alleys where we don’t see them and simply forget they are there? This is where most of us stand … in blissful ignorance. But the problem is growing and needs to be faced.
I guess you could add a few ideas here as well, but we are assigning blame and I believe that none of these beliefs will provide us with a solution.

Today, I live in the mountains of North Carolina in the United States and we have a fairly large population of homeless. I watch TV and see the numbers of homeless around the world increasing as wars and other conflicts remove people from their homes. Most of us never see them and are rarely faced with the need to be concerned. But, their numbers are growing around the world and the epidemic of homelessness will shake the fabric of the world we know in the future unless we can deal with it.

I spent forty years as an educator and could see the devastation that lack of a stable environment had on the students I taught. When they didn’t get a good night’s sleep or a proper meal, it was impossible for them to concentrate on the tasks we asked them to perform in the classroom. These tasks had no value because their paradigm and life status did not allow them to understand why they should memorize useless information, read things that had no value in their world and calculate mathematics that never had a purpose for them. When tired, hungry, and facing useless tasks, they would rebel and eventually leave school. Thus we create a population of uneducated and worse yet for the WASP, a populace that doesn’t value the Doing Model. They drop out of school, then society, and many eventually become discontented and the other values we hold may be discarded as well: honesty, respect, etc.

As I consider homelessness, I think back over people I have known who fit that definition. One former student, let’s call her Sally, was a member of my GED class in Florida. She was studying to get her high school diploma at a college where I taught. Her skills were limited and she struggled with the course requirements, but she came to class regularly. I believe that she was truly attempting to get her diploma, but I also understand that she was in school to be out of the elements. i.e. the class was warm and dry.

We frequently talked after other students left, and she shared that she was homeless and had been for over ten years. Life choices, limited potential and mental instability brought her to me at the age of about 35. She confided in me that she slept in the bushes near the school. She knew which gas stations and restaurants were open late and had bathrooms she could use without being noticed. She was able to keep herself relatively clean and had no objectionable odors or behaviours. I questioned her as to why she wouldn’t use the shelters in the area instead of sleeping outdoors. She shared that she was safer outside than in a facility where she could be raped or bothered. She knew where she hid her things and no one could steal what little she had if they didn’t know where they were. She also had a very good understanding of where the soup kitchens were for hot meals and where she could go for free food. In her mind, things were in order and she accepted her life’s journey as a homeless person.

However, about six months after entering class, she shared that things had changed. She had begun to steal from the grocery store closest to the school. I told her that I was required to report anything that she shared concerning her stealing, and warned her to not share this with me and to try to never steal, but she was able to justify her behaviour to herself. She believed it was OK to steal because she had needs and others had plenty. Before I could report her, she disappeared for over a week and upon returning, told me she had been in jail; caught shoplifting. In the next months, she would disappear several more times again for stealing. In jail, she learned that the police were not as likely to pick her up in a city about 35 miles away and she moved on. I was able to confirm where she was, as she enrolled in another program a friend of mine taught in the city she learned about.

This student chose her lifestyle and how she accepted her life situation. She never accepted the Doing Model of life and probably never will. I have often wondered if she might have been helped if we didn’t just put the mentally unstable out on our streets to fend for themselves or if we offered more humane alternatives.

Before I met Sally I taught at a vocational school, also in Florida. One of my students shared being homeless because he lost his job when a plant closed. He was studying a vocation in hopes of making his life better down the road. When I knew James, he was living in his car and used the school’s facilities to keep up a presentable appearance. James was a good student and learned quickly. Only a few months into training, he was offered a job in his chosen vocation where he could make money and learn the trade hands -on. He moved on and I hope that his determination to have a better life paid off. We might consider him a success because he was back to the Doing Model and attempting to make it work.

Other students I taught were not homeless but lived off the system. They collected welfare and lived in free or reduced price homes. They collected grant money for going to school and knew how to work the system. Some truly were studying to learn a trade in order to join in the Doing Model and fit into our society. Others were “working the system” and lived off the government, better known as you and me. These individuals do not follow the Doing Model but belong to the Taking Model. They take all they can until the system catches up with them. Then, they make excuses for the failure of the system … never accepting personal responsibility.

Recently I have encountered several individuals who might be homeless if not for me. As I said, I have retired from teaching and now live in North Carolina. It was there I met a couple that seemed to be down on their luck and they shared their stories.

Irene’s husband had kidney failure and underwent dialysis for almost eight years. He was on the waiting list for a kidney but was failing. He was unable to work and they lost everything. Irene was persistent and was finally able to convince the powers that be to take her kidney. It would be donated in exchange for another kidney for her husband. As it turned out, testing showed she was a match and she gave him one of her kidneys. The kidney saved his life, but made him an invalid, as he was unable to return to work or do much of anything because of the anti-rejection drugs and their side effects.

Ten years down the road, Chuck was still an invalid and Irene was forced to retire from working as a nurse because of physical limitations. Between them, they collected about $3000.00 US dollars a month from disability and retirement.

I own a large Lodge in the mountains and have a husband suffering from several limitations. They agreed to rent an apartment in the lodge and help with the care for my husband as part of the rent.

As it turned out, they never paid any rent, helped somewhat, but when their car was repossessed I became nervous. Since I could see that they had money coming in and did not understand and where it went, I questioned Irene about our agreement and asked her to keep track of the work she did, so we would both see the benefits of our agreement. About one month later I helped them get another car, and shortly after, they got into their car and drove down the drive without a word. They took most of their belongings and it looks like they won’t be returning. I believe that the Doing Model failed them and resentment took the place of gratitude. I gave them a home, food on the table, and friendship, but I couldn’t give them what they seemed to want … respect. The Doing Model, which I live by, says that you need to earn respect. Who is to say which of us is correct?

I currently have a young man living with us at the Lodge. He followed the Doing Model and became a Master Electrician. He had a good job and the benefits offered by earning wages. However, ten years down the road, he suffered from employment fatigue. Many who believe in the Doing Model literally work themselves to death or to the death of a relationship. They put in so many hours earning money for the boss; they don’t have time to enjoy the fruits of their labours.

Bill understood that he needed to escape the rat race and walked away from everything. He found a worksite called WorkX that matches people looking for a barter system where they share their labour for room and board. That is where we found him and he has taken his place at the lodge helping with chores in exchange for room and board. He has recovered enough from burnout, to apply for a job in his field and will be going back to work soon. I can only hope that he doesn’t get caught up in the rat race and lose focus.

Maybe that is where I stand. The Doing Model of dedicating our life to work is not for everyone. The Taking Model of stealing from others doesn’t work. The Hobo Model where you are free to roam the world, sometimes without shelter or food, might be appropriate for some. The Native American Model of doing what must be done and enjoying life works for others.

How people became homeless, how they feel about it, and the consequences of it must be considered before we can find a solution. We are on the brink. The OMP hopes you will join us in finding a solution.

Let us know what you think……………

By Nancy PS Hopp


OMP Admin Note: Nancy PS Hopp is a writer and OMP Network member – one of a group of networkers who will be blogging on a regular basis on various causes and issues.

Nancy is a writer I encountered on the writing site WriteOn. I was impressed with her thoughtful and mature flash fiction stories, often based on her own experiences and background and asked her to join the One Million Project network, as a valued member.

One of those stories or a brand new one will appear in the guest writer section of an upcoming volume of the anthology BITE SIZE STORIES series.