All posts by k rawson

YA author, freelance writer, technoligista, mom

The Smallest of Things

Waikiki Beach, Cape Disappointment } Erik Sundell, Google Maps

They weren’t just whales. That was the first thing she would let them know in her speech today. They had cultures: distinct ways of socializing and hunting. They had their own languages and each pod had a distinct accent.

They were individuals.

They were Granny, a twenty-one foot female with a frayed tail that watched over her daughters’ young like a midwife, and once took on a trio of great whites like a gladiator. They were Tika, a large male with a gnawed dorsal fin, who was known for trailing sailors around the cape to play in their wake.

They had personalities. They felt joy, they felt sorrow, they felt love.

She had to let them know this—and everything about them—and how very much it mattered. Because if she couldn’t save them—these whales—these great and magnificent creatures—what hope was there for the smallest of things?

150 words

This has been an edition of What Pegman Saw. To read more stories inspired by the prompt, click here.

Today (June 15, 2019) is Orca Day in Cape Disappointment State Park, so if you’re in the area, head on over! Cape Disappointment hosts inaugural ‘Orca Day’

At present, there are 76 southern resident orcas. With such low numbers, orcas face extinction within 100 years.

The One Where Harry and Hermione Save the Muggles

House Guard Parades, London | Google Maps

“Harry, could I speak to you?”

“Why of course, Minister.”

Hermione let the door fall closed behind her. “Please. Let go the formality.”

“What is it?” Harry motioned to the chair in front of his Auror’s desk.

She blew a strand of fuzzy hair from her forehead. “I’m worried. I’m wondering if you recall what it was like—way back to when Voldemort first came back. Do you remember?”

Harry brought a hand up and rubbed his forehead reflexively. It had been paining him more and more of late. “No, why?”

“Now that we’ve eliminated all the pro-pureblood laws, I’ve had more time to monitor the Muggle situation. And I’m worried. I believe certain politicians are acting under the Imperious Curse.”

“How can that be?”

“Think about it. Rising intolerance. Increase of fascism. Brexit.”

Harry sat back, nodding thoughtfully. “What do you think we should do?”

Hermione smiled. “Fix it. Don’t you think? We’ve fixed worse problems, you and I.”

160 words

This has been an edition of What Pegman Saw. To read more stories inspired by the prompt, click here. My apologies for going over the 150-word limit. I couldn’t resist this bit of fan fiction. Now I see why the later Harry Potter books turned into massive epic sagas. I found it hard to trim words!


What Pegman Saw: What For?

Balbulol Dive Resort, Indonesia | Lera 76, Google Maps

Mr. Vanadel called my papa lazy, and it was true he was no fisher anymore. Instead he sat on our slant porch carving rosewood into asmat. When Mr. Vanadel said he should take them down to shore to sell them to the tourists, Papa just said, “What for?”

It was the same thing with everything. Him, so many times going out to sea, putting gas in the boat, then fourteen-hour days, earning pennies on the pound. He’d come back poorer than when he left. And if the rains fell, or the tides turned swell, or the winds blew in from the south, no man among us could break even. Which to me is why he said it, why I heard it more and more, and why I got to wondering if it made any difference if I finished school. Because the thing I had to ask myself, was: What for?

150 words

This has been an edition of What Pegman Saw. To read more stories inspired by the prompt, click here.

This seemed like such an idyllic place when I picked it, but I didn’t read far before I learned about the wrenching poverty suffered by most of the population. To learn more: Behind the beauty of Indonesia’s Raja Ampat islands lie poverty and neglect

What Pegman Saw: A Second Opinion

Kumiko Guest House, Varanasi | Martin Yao, Google Maps

“They say he is the best astrologer in all of Varanasi. In all of India, perhaps.”

The politician let out an exasperated breath and stared up the long flight of stairs. The astrologer’s office waited at the top. “But is he better?” he growled. “Better than all the rest?”

They both knew what the other astrologers were saying: that the only thing certain in the upcoming elections was change.

“You can always choose to ignore them, Narendra. Many of the youth say it’s time to leave the old ways behind. Chart our own course.”

“Nonsense.” He’d relied on astrologers in developing policy decisions from terrorism to Pakistan. The fact that he’d aspired to office at all was due to chance reading as a boy. He grumbled, leaning on his cane as he and started up the stairs. “I just need an astrologer to give me better news.”

147 words

This has been an edition of What Pegman Saw. To read more stories inspired by the prompt, click here.

Inspired by: Varanasi astrologers predict instability in politics and this awesome photograph I uncovered at

Source: University of Hawaii at Manoa Library,

You May Choose

Selma, Alabama | Google Maps

You may choose
To sleep in on a Tuesday
Roll late out of bed when you hear your sister call,
saying what you doing girl—don’t you know what’s on about?
you may never get to say no
you may have yourself a daddy-man
you may be sick, you may be poor
you may have nothing left to give, and still you have to give it all
it ain’t up to you.
Only thing you got, Child
is one day to use your voice
better use it while you can.
Raise your voice.
Catch a ride uptown
or even take the bus
or walk it, if you must,
even barefoot and pregnant, with a child on each arm.
Send them to wait in the vestibule
while you do it.
Then you go inside
sign your name and show your picture
and walk into the voting both where
You. May. Choose.

150 words

This has been an edition of What Pegman Saw. To read more stories inspired by the prompt, click here.

As of today’s writing, women in Alabama can still vote.

What Pegman Saw: The Teacher

Chute Sacree Trail | Souvaroff Eric, Google Maps

Dadabe was the wisest man in all of Madagascar. He could scent the wind and know the weather ten days out. He once brewed a tea from a pink-petaled plant that cured Samoely of fever.

He was a farmer all his life, baring the rich soil nourished by rainforest to grow his crops. He stood proud at the riverbank waving as I left for camp.

The camp was Madagasikara Voakajy. I alone was picked from my village to go. At the camp, I met other kids from up and down the highlands.

“Today, we will talk about sustainability,” they said.

We all loved our forest—it was not a thing they needed to teach. What we didn’t know was that the practices taught by our elders were destroying it. With our new wisdom, we could cultivate the land for generations to come.

When I saw Dadabe, I would teach him.

150 words

This has been an edition of What Pegman Saw. To read more stories inspired by the prompt, click here.

For generations, Malagasy farmers have relied on a system of slash and burn, using the ash to fertilize their crops. The practice gnaws away at hundreds of acres of precious rain forest every year. Madagascar’s deforestation rate is the highest in the world.

These same people rely on the forest for fresh water and medicine. Madagasikara Voakajy is an environmental organization training Malagasy youth in sustainable farming practices. The kids learn skills like making compost and crop rotation. These techniques enable them to farm the same plot year after year instead of razing more forest. Adults, excited by the high yields, often approach the kids for guidance.

To learn more about Madagasikara Voakajy, see these resources:

What Pegman Saw: The Pittsburgh Promise

Pittsburgh Perry High School, I think | Google Maps

Pittsburgh Perry High School, I think | Google Maps

“Don’t be hanging with no corner boys,” she’d say.

DeAndre could still hear the growl of his grandmother’s voice while he waited backstage for his name to be called.

There would be no one in his family to hear his name called today; no one to see him stride across the stage in the graduation gown, no one to run a finger on the raised text of the valedictorian medal. His grandma passed away last October. His dad was still in Joliet, and his mother—well, who knew where she was. But somehow, he felt his grandma with him.

He would be the first member of his family to go to college, he realized as he walked tall across the stage to collect his diploma. And, as he tossed the cap into the air after the ceremony, he made a wish, a promise, a vow:

He would not be the last.

151 words

This has been an edition of What Pegman Saw. To read more stories inspired by the prompt or to submit your own, click here.

As college grows ever more out of reach for working families, it has long been inaccessible for those hoping to raise themselves from poverty. Scholarships like The Pittsburgh Promise aim to change that by funding the college education of urban Pittsburgh youth. Even though such scholarships don’t make it easy, they make it a little bit more possible.