The Dollhouse (Excerpt from a Short Story)

Photo by Krzysztof Kowalik on Unsplash

THE DOLLHOUSE (with an introduction)

by Jennifer Ward

“The Dollhouse” begins with a single universal moment—a woman coming to terms with her mother’s death. The story unfolds with the task of her sorting through her mother’s things which we know is a difficult thing to do. The feeling of nostalgia finds her when she discovers her mother saved something that meant a lot to both of them during a difficult time. This is a story about remembering, feeling, and acceptance. The sudden confluence of the past and present builds a sad yet, meaningful moment. This excerpt was taken from a short story in which the details of her life and her mother’s life develop even more. 

 – Jennifer Ward


I stood in the center of my mother’s attic for the first time in years. She’d passed away three weeks before, and I had the task of sorting through her belongings. Items she once cherished were now buried in a maze of dusty boxes. My head felt heavy as I wondered what I’d leave behind someday after I died.

The attic ceiling was low, but I managed to reach a small space by the window. While slumped on a wooden stool, I thought about getting the house ready to sell by the summer. My sisters and their families weren’t due to arrive from Pennsylvania until the following month. I was alone. This would take a while, and there was no easy way around it. At the very least, I needed to forge a path.

As the morning light filtered through the front windows, my eyes fell upon a dollhouse nestled in the corner.

My face lifted as I recognized it—a white colonial-style house with jet-black trimming. I ran my fingertips across the roof, raising a coat of dust. The dollhouse wobbled a bit from past years of use. As I looked inside, I noticed that most of the rooms needed repairs. To my surprise, the living room and kitchen were restored to their original beauty with a bit of sanding, paint, and love.

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Three Educational Platforms Where You Can Learn From the Best

Photo by John Schnobrich on Unsplash

By Jennifer Ward

I love learning. Anyone who knows me will tell you, “Jenn will always be a student.” But I also juggle a lot. I teach two subjects full-time. I’m a part-time graduate student. I write. I volunteer. I am always looking for freelance writing and editing gigs. Believe it or not, I can still carve out time to learn.

As an Aquarius, I am creative and quirky. I have a lot of interests. My hobbies are varied. I’m curious about a lot of things – even strange things. So for me, I never tire of learning. I’m always looking for something new to absorb or take on.

Considering my lifestyle, the most logical approach to learning is using my laptop. I can learn from any location and receive information asynchronously. It’s digestible and approachable. Over the years, I’ve used a few different platforms. They may not all be for you, but I suggest you read on and see what they are about.

MasterClass – This educational platform offers quite a variety of interests. If you are a writer like me, there are a ton of brilliant authors teaching the craft. I’ve taken courses taught by Joyce Carol Oates, Margaret Atwood, and David Sedaris, to name a few. Each course is delivered through a series of lectures via videos and suggested activities. Most classes come with a workbook you can download too. The individual annual subscription costs $180. Is it worth it? That all depends on how much time you want to invest.

FivverA lot of us know Fivver as a seller’s platform, but did you know it is a learning platform too? If you are looking for ways to polish your writing skills or learn more about SEO, Photoshop, Google Analytics, or other business and graphic design courses, this is a great place to start. A badge is added to your profile each time a course is completed. The price of most classes is listed under $50.

TEDed – As an educator, I use this platform to show videos and ask questions about various topics. But it is also great for anyone who wants to learn independently. Most of the videos are under 5 minutes, accompanied by questions and prompts that encourage deeper thinking. Are you curious about the Sahara Desert and energy problems? Ever wonder how social media influences our brains? These topics and so much more are on TEDed, waiting to be discovered.

I hope you will try one of these platforms (if you haven’t already). I would love to know what your favorite subject is. Let’s start a conversation in the comments below.

Happy Learning!

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