Ups and Downs

Raise your hand if your life turned out exactly as you imagined it when you were twenty two.


My latest story for Short Fiction Break, “Hanging Out,” is about a woman grappling with her choices in life. Literally. As she dangles dangerously from a cliff above the Italian Riviera with her best friend from college whom she hasn’t seen in years, Amanda realizes she’ll never be twenty two again. And that’s okay.

Read it here:


Story Lines

Ahh, to know the future. To peek ahead, to know how our lives will turn out. What’s the harm? Certainty is so much more comfortable than uncertainty.

But certainty has a dark side. In my latest story for Short Fiction Break, a palm reader’s certainty about her future has cut her off from her present. When an acquaintance suddenly puts a crack in that certainty, the power of possibility floods back into her life. A life she thought was finished, but she now sees is unfinished. Uncertain. Full of possibility.

Read it here:


Grand Prize!

Yea! My short story took the Grand Prize in Short Fiction Break’s Winter Writing Contest! I am blown away. Thank you, judges. Thank you, readers. Thank you, people of planet Earth (I’m feeling generous right now). And especially, thank you Write Practice and Short Fiction Break for hosting the contest.

Check it out!

From the judges:

““The Appointment” by Erin Halden. This poignant tale masterfully blends reality and imagination, painting a world of color and light. It takes us along a magical journey to a bittersweet resolution. Its full emotional experience, strong writing, and well-developed characters won the judges over, and we’re pleased to declare it the winner of this contest.”


Wet Cement

I live in a city full of turn-of-the-century Victorians and foursquares, stained glass windows and front porches… and curious patches of sidewalks with quotes and bits of poems and random thoughts pressed into them. Why or how this came to be, I have no idea.

Of all the curious patches I cross as I walk the neighborhoods, this one, on Selby Avenue, brings me to a stop every time.

wet cement

It has no rhythm to it, no beautiful words. It’s awkward, clunky. Not even particularly inspired. Wet cement,/ Opportunity./ It only takes a second/To change this spot forever.

The first thing I think is, someone lost the actual poem that was supposed to be there and just made something up on the fly. Next I think, someone somewhere is laughing, thinking about people stopping to ponder their little prank, like the guy who put the glasses on the floor of the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art and visitors thought it was an inspired statement on the lowering of culture in the modern world. Ha.

Wet cement. Formed, yet malleable. Like a blank canvas, a blank page. The lens of a camera before the aperture snaps. There, waiting to be given its final form. For someone to make a mark.

We all have one chance to stamp our words, thoughts, ideas, and pranks into the wet cement. One chance to change our spot in the world forever. To make a mark that will last long beyond us, stamped into the sidewalks future generations will walk upon and, perhaps, stop and ponder. Formed, yet malleable.

A funny thing happens when I walk by a stamped patch of sidewalk. The silence of the unstamped ones screams at me. Why are those empty? What wisdom or beauty or prank am I missing, because no one put it out there?

Opportunities wasted.

So please, people, fill those sidewalks. Give me something to ponder. And if I think of anything, I’ll do my best to stamp it, somewhere.

Welcome to Base Camp

Hello. I’m Erin. This is my first post, on my first site. Well, proto-site. I’m still figuring everything out.

I’m a writer. Well, proto-writer. I’ve been writing for years. It’s the only thing I know how to do, really. Sometimes I get paid, sometimes I don’t. I’ve written documentaries, series television, fiction. I was editor-in-chief and sole reporter for Spot News, the main daily newspaper on Jupiter (at the age of seven, no less.) Yet I hesitate call myself a writer. I write to figure stuff out, because my brain is incapable of working things out the way normal people do. And I have a mountain of stuff to figure out. In fact, when it comes to figuring stuff out, I’m still at base camp. The view from here is staggering. And foggy. Maybe someday, if I ever claw my way through the clouds to that summit, I’ll be able to call myself a writer and not flinch. Maybe.

This will be a site dedicated to figuring stuff out. I will do my best to make sense, but I make no promises. I welcome all insight, thoughts, ideas, critique, outbursts, breakdowns, confessions. Anyone who wants to  join me on the climb. You must be open to rough weather, treacherous heights, equipment failure, daring rescues. And the occasional ray of sunlight illuminating the beauty of the world around us.

Welcome to Base Camp.