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Sandy Reay


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©Patrick Bone a cartoon drawing of a boy wearing a red cap, black shorts, and black socks, reading a book called Strange Stories
©Patrick Bone

Damn The Dream

How I Met Celebrities


McCavity, a Real-life Mystery Cat


The Dead Deer

Times I Flew First Class



Story telling is part of who we are. The earliest bards traveled to tell stories. Poems and songs evolved because the stories were easier to remember if they rhymed, and easier if the rhymes were set to music, which engages both sides of the brain.

  • Did you have show and tell in elementary school?
  • Did you know any story-tellers when you were a child?
  • Did someone read to you at night, to help you go to sleep?
  • Do you have funny or strange stories about things that happened to you?

Would you'd like to share some stories or comment on any of the stories here?
Please contact Sandy


Check out There's a Dead Boy in the Attic (poem) and The Ballad of Alice the Ogre (song)




photo collage of Judy Collins, Theodore Bickel, and Woody Allen

Do you have a story about meeting a celebrity?
Please contact Sandy.

Check out Sandy's meeting with John Stewart


How I Met Celebrities #1

Click-bait memes ask questions. The one that hooked me was "What was the first concert you attended?" I didn't answer, but I started thinking about concerts. I ignored the school field trips to hear the Denver Symphony because that music lulled me to sleep.

When I was around fourteen, my parents dragged me off to Red Rocks to meet with friends of theirs. We went in the afternoon, scored a place in the front row, and had an early picnic supper. Theodore Bickel (I know, who?) had gone to school in England with my parents' friend. During sound check, Mr. Bickel spotted my parents' friend and invited all of us back stage before the concert.

I met Mr. Bickel and the two opening acts: Judy Collins, one of my folk-singing idols, and a short red-haired comedian no one had heard of—Woody Allen. He grabbed my upper arms, pulled me close, and whispered words I'll never forget: "I'm so nervous I think I'm gonna throw up."


Rose Mofford holding a baby with a page from a document that included the picture



Do you have a story about meeting a celebrity?
Please contact Sandy.


How I Met Celebrities #2

Through my family in Arizona, I was invited to a birthday party in a hotel meeting room in downtown Phoenix. One of the other guests was Rose Mofford, the first woman Governor of Arizona. I exited the car in front of the hotel. My date spoke to the valet, and I watched a limousine pull up behind me. Two men appeared and helped Governor Mofford out of the vehicle.

With a purse hanging from my left shoulder, camera bag hanging from my right, hugging a wrapped present, I walked up to Governor Mofford. Two large men flanked me. I shifted the present to my left arm and held out my right hand. "Hi, Rose. I'm Sandy Reay," and told her who my sister was.

She waved off her bodyguards, tucked my hand under her arm, and smiled. "Let's get this party started, shall we?"

During the party, I took photographs of the guests, including a photo of Governor Mofford holding a baby. I sent a copy of the photo to the Governor's office and got a letter back from her office asking for permission to use that photo in a publication about children.

When I met her again, she remembered my name and called me her "favorite photographer."


horizontal lightning




Do you have a story about an unexpected adventure?
Please contact Sandy.



I was outside gardening when the simultaneous flash and crackle happened directly over my head. High over my head. Iím glad the lighting went sideways, not down. But my hair stood up.

I havenít felt that in over 50 years, since six school friends and I took a VW Beetle west over Rollins Pass from Boulder, Colorado, to Winter Park. We climbed out at the top to lift the car over a trench designed to keep eastbound traffic from going down the side we drove up.

We waved our hand and sparks flew from our fingertips to anything metal, like the radio antenna or a ring on someoneís hand. Adrenaline gave us will and strength to lift that VW out of the trench and rolling again.

Too bad we didnít time itówe could have set a record for fastest time seven people squeezed into a VW Bug.



Facebook post from Sandy Reay, Author, with three hashtags: #writing, #interpretation, and #misinterpretation. It also includes a description of the image, which is below.
cartoon meme from Facebook with two panels. Panel 1 shows two crying dinosaurs with meteors hitting the ear. 1 is comforting the other. One dinosaure says, "We will be together forever...." Panel 2 shows 2 dinosaur skeletons in the same position as the first pane, in a museum display. Text: 65 million years later. The sign in front of the display: "Fighting Dinosaurs.

Do you have a story about a misinterpretation of your writing?
Please contact Sandy.


I posted these two memes together on my Facebook page because they reminded me of my ninth-grade English class.

We studied free verse, poems with no meter or rhyme, no fixed form. Our assignment: write a free verse poem.

If you signed up for my email newsletter, you know I have a problem with deadlines. A band mate once called me, "the chronically late Sandy Reay," and I believe that will be in my obituary. Or should be.

I threw a poem together the night before it was due. My inspiration: the sound of the rain on the roof. I don't remember the whole thing, just the first few lines.

It rained last night
The earths was washed
Cleansed of all it's sins

The next day, I turned it in and didn't think about it again. The teacher took our poems home to read and grade. She brought them in and selected a handful of "A" poems to read out loud to the class.

She did not tell the class who wrote the poem and asked the poets to remain anonymous.

After each poem, she asked, "What do you think this means?" and "What does it say about the poet?"

She read my poem. I had to remain non-responsive while my friends and classmates decided universally that the poet (me) was deeply religious and definitely a Baptist.

They couldn't have been farther from the truth.

I write songs, playing with the rhymes, aliteration, and rhythm of the words. In the editing process, I change words, partly to improve those three qualities. Somtimes, I replace the original words with words that have different meanings, trusting my subconscious mind (the creative voices in my head) more than my rational mind (the critial voice).

And sometimes, I find that I like the different meaning better.

Facebook post from Sandy Reay, Author, with three hashtags: #writing, #interpretation, and #misinterpretation. It also includes a description of the image, which is below.
Image: photo of two men shaking hands. One man is taller and smiling. The shorter man looks confused. Text on smiling man: English teachers finding deeper meanings in poems. Text on confused man: Poets who didn't intend it.

I majored in English Literature/Education in college. For four years, I listened to professors expound on the true meaning of each poem/play/novel we read and which scholar had the most accurate interpretation.

All of that was based on research: where the writer was born, their religion, family life, where they lived, where they went to school, documented experiences, letters they wrote, how they traveled, what their contemporaries wrote about them—whatever facts critics could dig up to prove that theirs was a scholarly endeavor and not just wishful thinking.

At first, I tried to discuss this with my professors. I had a to make a choice: get good grades or waste my time arguing with people whose minds were locked.

My opinion threatened their livelihood. If they were poets, playwrights, or novelists, they wouldn't be teaching. They'd be writing.

My conclusion was that writers connect words for various reasons, but scholars/critics/teachers are not privy to those reasons. And interpreters of poetry, plays, and literature write fiction.


What do you think of ascribing meaning to someone else's writing?
Please contact Sandy.


Times I Flew First Class

The First Time

Many years ago, my chronically-late significant other dropped me off at the Denver Airport for the first of three flights that would take me to Athens, Greece. Since I didn't check in before loading started, my seat was given to someone flying standby. My ticket went to the bottom of the stack of people waiting for flights. I had a scheduled six-hour layover at JFK, so I didn't worry about it. I hung around the gate because I had nowhere else to go, and the agent had my ticket.

As the agent called two names and gave them seats 1A and 1B. Lucky people flying in first class. One man, with his wife (he announced in a loud voice) demanded he be given his assigned seats; he would not be happy with any other seats. Each time the agent tried to speak, he shouted her down louder than before. The muscle in the agent's jaw twitched.

Being the shy, quiet person I am, I butted in. "Excuse me," I told the man and turned to the agent. "I think you should give him exactly what he wants, and move the people currently sitting in those seats to the first class seats he clearly doesn't want." I managed to keep a straight face.

The agent froze for a moment. "I can do that."

The man said, "You're reassigning people to first class?"

"Yes, sir."

In a much quieter voice, the man said, "I guess that would be okay."

The agent gave the man his tickets with his new seat assignments. After he and his wife walked down the ramp, she asked me, "What's your name?"

I told her.

She found my ticket. "Your not going to get on this plane, you know."

"I know. It's okay. I have plenty of time at JFK before my next flight." I walked away. She called after me.

I turned and walked back.

She smiled. "Do you want a window or aisle seat?" She held up my ticket.

"I don't care as long as it's the farthest seat from that guy." I waved my hand toward the ramp. "Thank you!"

"No, thank you. Have a nice flight."


The Second Time

Over twenty-five years ago, my significant other took a contract to work in Maryland. I found myself flying from Denver to Dulles Airport in Washington DC every three to four weeks.

One trip, I asked for tickets to DC but didn't specify Dulles. The agent booked me into National, and I didn't notice when I saw my tickets. As usual, I changed planes in Saint Louis. When I found my next flight, I realized that I was going to the wrong airport.

Frantic, I rushed to the service desk and fidgeted in line. When I got my chance, I explained to the agent, a woman, that I'd mistakenly booked a flight to National instead of Dulles. "I'm sorry. I wasn't paying attention and never asked which airport. Can I change my flight?"

The male agent in the next line leaned over and whispered something to my agent. They changed places. He asked, "What seems to be the problem?"

I went through my story again.

"I heard you the first time. I just wanted to hear it again. In all my years on this job, you're the first person who has ever said, 'I'm sorry. It's my fault.'"

He canceled my flight to National, booked a flight to Dulles, and let me use his phone to call my significant other to explain the change and give him my new flight number and arrival time.

Then he apologized to me for charging a $50 fee. But, he gave me two $50 vouchers for my next two flights.

With my new ticket and vounchers in my hand, I said, "Thank you," and turned to go.

He stopped me. "By the way, the flight you're on is full. I bumped you to first class. Is that okay?"

I kept a straight face. "No, I wanted to sit in coach."

He nodded. "I'd have to put you on someone's lap."

"Is he cute?"

The agent laughed before I did.


Have you ever gotten a lucky break with an airline?
Please contact Sandy