Saturday, February 21, 2015

 Wrong decisions? Regret? Wondering how you can move on after trials?
Last week, I had been contacted by a stranger (who is now my dear friend) regarding a published story that I'd written some time ago. His personal and trusting note to me about this particular story and how it led him out of darkness touched me profoundly. His letter reminded me of why I wanted to become a writer, and why to this day, as an inspirational speaker and author, I desire to help others through a very real, identifiable way.
Below is  my story, Around the Bend, published both in Chicken Soup for the Soul Think Positive, and also, in Woman's World magazine.  I hope that if you're reading this, that in some way, my story will help you or others needing encouragement that hope is always... just around the bend.
Around the Bend
  Copyright by Karen "Karina" Majoris-Garrison 

 In the depth of winter I finally learned that there was in me an invincible summer.
~Albert Camus

Saturday, February 14, 2015

Pour yourself a cup of coffee and step away from the winter doldrums with Karina's new romantic short story....

A Written Surprise
Copyright 2014 Karen "Karina" Garrison
No part or entirety of A Written Surprise can be copied or reprinted without permission by author

               Laura Bartley arrived at the quaint Chinese restaurant just in time to see her private table become available.  Every Friday, she treated herself to her favorite dinner in hopes of mending her broken heart as she adjusted to her new life in her old hometown.
            “The usual?” Alice, the restaurant’s owner, asked. “Kung Pao with no peanuts?”

            “Yes, and no fortune cookie, please,” Laura reminded.
            “I remembered,” Alice said, frowning.  “You’re boycotting your future.”

            Laura sighed, pushed a stray wisp of blonde hair behind her ear, and then scooted into her seat. She hadn’t cracked open a fortune cookie since doing so with her ex-fiancé back in Chicago.  They had shared a delightful Chinese meal that evening, but then the slip of paper she’d pulled out from her courtesy cookie hadn’t been so delightful.  You’ll have good luck but overcome many hardships.
Since then, whether coincidence or fate, Laura had suffered many hardships but not an ounce of good luck: she’d learned that her fiancé wasn’t the faithful man he’d claimed to be, she’d lost her computer programming job to outsourcing, and then her mother’s health rapidly declined. Immediately, Laura returned home to lovingly care for her mom. Now, seven months later, even though she didn’t blame a silly little cookie for her life and heart breaking apart, she’d avoided the supposedly good-humored messengers ever since. 
            Turning to the window, Laura wondered if the attractive mystery man she’d seen here for the past three Fridays would show up.  Like her, he always dined alone in the same area and usually wore jeans and a T-shirt, appearing down-to-earth and approachable, unlike her ex-fiance, Marc, who was a trendsetter and often aloof. 
Several patrons entered the front door, and before long, the restaurant was overly crowded.
            “Here’s your tea,” a young girl said, setting down a cup on the table. 
“Thank you,” Laura smiled, sipping her tea and burning her lips slightly when the mystery man walked past the outside window and into the establishment.
            Diverting her gaze, Laura fidgeted with her cutlery. A few moments later, she lifted her head and spotted him discussing something with Alice.  Laura scanned the room and realized that every table and chair was occupied, including the mystery man’s favorite spot.  The only place available if he chose not to order carryout would be the empty seat directly across from her.
            “Excuse me,” Alice said, appearing at her table.  Laura looked up and bit her lip.  The mystery man in all his handsome glory with dark hair and hazel eyes was standing next to Alice.  “Do you mind if he sits here—”
            “I-ah-was expect—” Laura began and then stopped as Alice finished her sentence.
            “until his carryout is ready?”
            Relieved somewhat, Laura nodded.  “Of course.” 
            “Thank you,” he grinned, revealing a white and carefree smile.  He pulled out the chair to sit and Laura noticed he wore no wedding band.  “I wouldn’t normally impose,” he told her, “but Alice said the wait will be longer because of the many orders ahead of mine.”
            Laura returned his smile nervously.  “No problem.  This is a popular place for the locals and it certainly does get busy.”
            “Well, I’m not a local but it’s still the best Chinese food that I’ve ever tasted,” he said. “I live a few hours away, but every Friday I’m here in town overseeing the new gas line project.”  He scooted his chair closer to the table and then held out his hand.  “I’m John Harper, by the way.” 
Laura shook it and told him hers. 
“So, Laura, are you a local?” he asked, and then apologized.  “I’m sorry for being inquisitive.  It’s just that I noticed you dine here every Friday like I do.”
            “Well, I lived in Chicago for about ten years but returned here to my hometown to take care of my ill mother.” 
 “I hope she’s doing better,” he said, his eyes meeting hers in unspoken camaraderie.  “Nothing is as difficult as a loved one being ill.”
 Touched by his warm tone, Laura relaxed and the two of them chatted amicably. She learned that John, a widower, had just seen his youngest of two children off to college.  Their conversation flowed easily until their server brought their dinners. Laura’s meal was steaming on a plate while John’s was packed in a carryout carton.
“Wow, that was quicker than I thought it would be,” he said, his voice sounding disappointed. “Well, thank you for your company and for the use of your empty chair.”
Laura sighed in disappointment when he stood up to leave.  For the first time in seven months, she realized she hadn’t thought of Marc.
Fumbling with his carton, John turned to leave and then turned back. Clearing his throat, he said, “Um, Laura, I’ve been eating alone here every Friday. Even back home, I don’t do much but take care of family and work.”  He hesitated, and then continued, “I think I should just be candid in saying that even though I like this restaurant, I’ve been hoping to see you here.” Setting the carryout carton on the table, he explained further, “It’s not just that you’re very pretty, which you are, but for some reason, and I hope I don’t offend you, from the first time I noticed you here,” he said, “you seemed a little sad.”  His kind eyes steadied on hers. “And sometimes I’m sad too.”
Blinking back a few tears, she smiled.
“In other words,” he said, sighing. “Maybe we can be sad together and enjoy our meals?”
Not trusting her voice, she nodded. A hour later, she told him, “This is the best kind of “sad” I’ve had in a while.”  He seemed pleased and then the new server brought their bills and fortune cookies.  “Oh, I don’t want one,” Laura said, lifting the cookie but the server had already retreated back to the kitchen.   
“You don’t?” John asked. “I love these things. C’mon, let’s open them and then can I treat you to dessert at that little café down the street?”
Hesitating, Laura answered, “The café sounds great but these cookies….”
He lifted a dark eyebrow and Laura’s words drifted off.  After all, maybe it was time to end her boycott of fortune cookies.  Perhaps the man across from her could be the “good luck” part of her old fortune that hadn’t happened yet.
John had already opened his cookie, mentioning that he’d have success in life.  Laura swallowed hard and opened hers, reading silently: You will make some exciting new connections.
“Must be a good fortune,” John said, standing and offering his hand to help her out of her chair. “You’re smiling.”
She read it again and then tucked the note into her purse and heart. 
Lifting her eyes to meet his, she nodded.  “It is, indeed,” she confirmed, and then placed her hand into his.          

Copyright 2014 Karen "Karina" Garrison, No part or entirety of A Written Surprise can be copied or reprinted without 
permission by author


Wednesday, January 7, 2015

“Words - so innocent and powerless as they are, as standing in a dictionary, how potent for good and evil they become in the hands of one who knows how to combine them.”     -Nathaniel Hawthorne

Nathaniel Hawthorne

Wednesday, December 31, 2014



I've been staring at this blank screen for a while.  I've typed several sentences only to erase them and then start again.  After all, would I be able to eloquently speak of all that I'm reflecting upon? 

You see, I'm sure that like me you've had trying days or weeks. Perhaps you've experienced a period in time where it seemed that you tried very hard to do the "right" thing, meet the "right" need, or perform the "right" deed.  Yet, no one seemed to notice.  What's worse--maybe they had noticed but didn't care.  Maybe your efforts to help a friend, a co-worker or family member were performed in vain.  Maybe, like me today, you felt tired.  Weary.  Maybe like me you even felt sad--an emotion that you usually kept in check with a thankful heart.  But sometimes sadness finds a way to penetrate our noble barriers, and then we're left fighting its ugly sibling--discouragement.

Tonight, I felt that way. 

Actually, I'd been feeling that way for quite some time, but tonight, alone, I sat down and allowed my head to bow and my shoulders to slump. 

And then I faintly glimpsed an unfamiliar piece of mail lying next to me on the table.  Tossing the regular junk mail from covering it, I slid the envelope towards me and assumed it was a Christmas card.

But it wasn't.

It was something more than wishes for a great holiday season.  It was a "Thank You" note. 

Right away, I tried to connect what event I'd attended or contribution I'd made.  But it wasn't for any of those reasons I received the card.

I received the card because someone, somewhere, thought of me.  She stopped the daily happenings in her own life to think about mine.  Instead of looking inward, she looked outward.  Part of her handwritten words simply stated: "I just want to acknowledge how grateful I am to you.  You are very generous with your time.  I can only imagine what goes through your mind when you have worked so hard to help others, yet because of what seems to be lack of action on their part at times--makes you wonder if you're making a difference. For the sake of those of us who are committed to growing and learning, I am thankful for your efforts. I know how much your guidance has helped me and I just want to say:  THANK YOU!"

Two words made all the difference to me tonight.  Two words brought me the reassurance that my efforts were not in vain, and it was those two words that lifted my head and ignited the firestorm of determination back into my eyes.  And I am thanking her tonight.  She made the effort to do more than send a text or e-mail by mailing me a personalized card.  She had no idea what thoughts I'd been internalizing previously, and I had not seen her for quite some time, yet she healed my wounds and pulverized the demon of discouragement using the weapon branded with the sweetest words of Thank You

In closing, who do you know that might need to hear these words? 

Look around you and observe.  And then make the effort to impact their lives with the unexpected power of Thank You.

Thursday, February 27, 2014




zephyr (plural zephyrs)
  1. a light wind from the west
  2. any light refreshing wind; a gentle breeze
  3. anything of fine, soft, or light quality, especially fabric

Write a scene (5-8 sentences) using this word or what this word represents using descriptive mood and energy.

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

January's Word That Makes A Person Sigh

The appropriate word can certainly evoke passionate thoughts and conjure the setting for the most promising of stories. Tonight, I gave my class at the Tri State Writers Society the Word of the Month: Petrichor
Meaning: The pleasant smell that accompanies the first rain after a dry spell.
[From petro- (rock), from Greek petros (stone) + ichor (the fluid that is supposed to flow in the veins of the gods in Greek mythology) Coined by researchers I.J. Bear and R.G. Thomas.].
"Hmmm......what an inspiring word, indeed."
Assignment for the group and all others who'd like to participate: Write a short scene (10-15 sentences) using the meaning of this word.  Make it passionate and full of imagery using the five senses.