Tag Archives: creative writing

Stormy Skies

I thought about spending some time revising this, but with the amount of essays I have coming up I decided to just post it for your viewing pleasure instead. Here’s another free writing exercise I did for my writing class. We were supposed to write about a scene on a vacation and convey something through the setting. Hope you enjoy it!

Stormy Skies

The beach was under assault. Whenever Ashley had pictured Mexico, she’d thought of sun and sand and clear blue water. But today’s forecast had chosen gray and windy with a chance of hurricane instead. She sat on a chair in her room looking out over the sea, watching the waves crash along the edge of the empty beach. Hotel workers along the strip of wild sea were hastily gathering up beach loungers to be put away until the sun returned. Ashley watched one of the large umbrellas topple down and begin a swirling run along the sand, moving further and further away from the original destination. A worker started chasing after it, shouting something in Spanish to the other men.

Ashley curled tighter under the blanket she’d dragged off the bed. What was there to do in Mexico with awful weather, she wondered. Well, perhaps if the internet was working it would prove a distraction for a few brief minutes. Grabbing for the computer she’d set on the desk Ashley pulled it onto her lap, glad for the warmth, drawing her legs off of the cold tile to meet the heat of the device. She typed in her password, fingers clacking against the keys and echoing in the small chamber.

Once online she scrolled through Facebook before flipping to her email. She let it load for a moment before scanning the ten new messages. It was the third from last that had her fingers pausing over the mouse.

Her brother had emailed her, a rare occurrence to be sure. She opened the little message, smile growing on her face, only to be dimmed as she scanned the actual words.

Dear Ashley,

I know you’re on vacation, but I figured it was better if I told you this now. I hope it doesn’t ruin things for you, but I knew you’d be upset if I didn’t tell you.

Leila was found dead yesterday morning. Her boyfriend found her in the bathroom with her wrists slit. It was a real mess apparently. I guess she’d been off her meds again. I didn’t realize. You probably didn’t either.

I know we haven’t been close for a long time, but I wanted to let you know I’m here for you.

Your brother,

Paul

Ashley stared at the words for a long moment. She was distracted by the clattering nearby as the chair on her porch blew over. She muttered a curse and stood, walking over to the door and opening it, staggering out into the storm, robe flapping. The wind whipped her dark hair into her eyes, blinding her momentarily, but she pushed it aside and hastened over to pull the chair up and tuck it in the porch corner. She grabbed the other one and stacked it on top, hoping the two wouldn’t fly away.

After a long moment she turned to the railing of her hotel, placed her hands against the hard wood, raindrops cold beneath her fingers. The sea air filled her nose, salt and sand forcing their way towards her on the wind. She stared out at the sea, and wondered if this storm would ever end.

557247_3098286476693_1950228887_n

Advertisements

4 Comments

Filed under Writing

On with the Show- Fiction attempts

This is an exercise I wrote a few weeks ago playing with point of view for my fiction class. While I’m not sure the transitions between character’s minds works, it’s something I thought I’d share with you for this week. So without further ado, enjoy!

On with the Show

John wondered what was the appropriate thing to do in this situation. He shifted a bit from his spot watching his wife. Brenda stood just a few too many feet away from him for things to appear normal, but he bit his tongue on the issue. Her eyes kept darting back towards the hallway, shoulders stiff, head turning a tad too quickly a few times too many. He wondered vaguely why she hadn’t just left him in for the night. Wouldn’t that have been nice? Flipping to a random news channel and leaving it on for background noise, petting the cat a bit, grabbing a beer and kicking his feet up without fear of Brenda slapping at his toes with one of her magazines. Well, that was too much to hope for he supposed. He subtly adjusted his beret so Brenda wouldn’t see his facial expression.

Carol was late. Brenda glanced at her watch for the fifth time since they’d walked into the building. She shifted her purse and the plastic Target bag holding the bouquet she’d made John go out and buy. Her fingers tugged at the blooms, checking for withering ones. She huffed yet again. John had bought a handful of marigolds. Men were so oblivious sometimes. When she’d said bouquet she’d expected him to do better than to pick out a flower representing grief. He might as well just stick basil in it for good measure. After all, a hateful plant would do him justice. She glanced over to eye his baggy blue shirt with distaste. Why on earth did he choose clothes so ill-suited to his gangly frame? Sometimes it felt like she was really seeing him for the first time, like someone had flipped on a light switch in a dim room. She was about to remark that his beret was crooked, when the soft clip clop of heels distracted her, pulling her attention back to the tightly bundled figure of Carol. Sighing, Brenda fixed a little smile to her mouth without worrying if it matched her eyes.

“Sorry I’m late,” Carol said with a little huff both in an effort to catch her breath and to dispel the cold air from her lungs. She offered a feeble smile to the couple, catching just a whiff of the anxiety between them. Then again, she couldn’t imagine how difficult this had to be. She glanced at the large bouquet bagged in Brenda’s hand, then the little orange gift bag John was clutching, knuckles going white. Well, best to come well stocked to a starring daughter’s opening night. Especially if you also bore news of divorce. Carol shook off the thought and glanced at her friend more warmly. “Well, shall we go in?”

4 Comments

Filed under Writing

Blind- A Halloween Short Story

In honor of Halloween I thought I’d write another short(ish… ok not really too short) story. Um…I kind of thought I knew where I was going with this, and then I lost it. Sooo…it probably will mostly just seem like weird ramblings having some vague connection to Halloween while trying to have a message too and failing at both. But hey, I can’t just work out the kinks and post it another day…so this is as good as it gets. Here it is!

My pumpkin I carved this year.

          My pumpkin I carved this year.

Blind

Fred looked cautiously out the dark window into the foggy night. He was so sick of this. Always feeling the hairs on the back of his neck standing up. Always looking behind him. Always wondering if something was going to jump out of the shadows and turn on him. For days now he’d hardly slept.

He caught a glimpse of himself in a mirror, jumped at the very sight, trembled momentarily before trying to steady his already racing heart. Darkened shadows permanently affixed beneath his eyes greeted his sight. He looked at his greasy unkempt hair, his sunken cheeks. If he had once been handsome he didn’t remember when. The anxiety building within him was beginning to utterly overwhelm him. If this was his enemy’s goal then the man was succeeding.

Or perhaps man was too kind of a word.

Fred curled in on himself slightly on the couch, wondering when things had gotten so bad. His thoughts raced in frantic circles while he tried to steady himself, pull it back together.

Man, no. That was not the right definition. Though in his crazed state perhaps these things were better left unconsidered. He shuddered at the mere thought of his stalker, the fanged and furred menace that had only recently made him start questioning his grip on reality. Monster, yes.

The teenager wondered again briefly what might happen if he told someone. His parents perhaps. Would they send him to the  madhouse he so deserved? Perhaps. He wished for the seventh time that night that they hadn’t gone to the party. Maybe they could have protected him. Maybe he wouldn’t feel so alone and defenseless on this lonely Halloween night. Especially since some terrible beast was after him.

He’d been walking home probably two weeks ago when it had happened. A strange man with fangs and fur and claws had approached him, growled his name, chased after him when he fled. Fred could still picture those glowing feral eyes, the horns perched on curly hair. The little abnormalities that made this devil all too frightening to behold.

A knock suddenly echoed through the empty house, interrupting his memories. Fred froze in fright for a moment, before reassuring himself it was probably just trick-or-treaters out looking for candy and not really caring that the porch light was off. Idiots. He could be a child-molester, for all they knew.

Fred rose carefully from the sofa and ventured towards the door, carefully trying to avoid any line of sight from the windows, tiptoeing close. Another grave knock rang out in the house. Fred paused for just a moment before venturing a tad bit closer, peering carefully out the little window and hoping he wouldn’t be seen back. He sighed in relief at the sight before him, undid both locks and opened the door.

The girl standing there brightened at the sight of him, dark pretty eyes sparkling, lashes batting in amusement. Fred felt his heart lift slightly, pounding now for a different reason entirely as he took in the short ruffled skirt, fishnets, and low cut bodice. The pink did fine things for her coloring, brought out her fair skins hues, made her dark hair seem more lustrous.

“Princess?” Fred guessed.

She giggled and did a little curtsy that did nothing to lengthen the already ridiculously revealing skirt. “Yep. And what are you… a zombie?”

Fred gave a weak smile and glanced around, suddenly remembering what had caused his appearance to so rapidly decline. ‘Um…you’d better come in.”

He locked the door behind her, though she seemed utterly oblivious to the clicking of the bolts. She examined the house around her with careful attention to the details before spinning to face him once more all smiles. Fred shifted from foot to foot, trying to figure out what Morgana, the prettiest girl in his high school was doing on his doorstep on a chilly October night. Nonetheless he tried to put aside his confusion and fix a dashing presence to himself, asking her to have a seat and offering her something to drink.

Morgana let those long lashes flutter against her pale cheek, and smiled again, though this time with teeth. Had Fred not been exhausted he might have noticed right away, but it took him a minute. Fangs. There were two white glittering fangs situated amongst her other perfect teeth. And not the plastic kind either. They were too real for that. Fred took a step back, gulping. Beauty had never seemed so false.

“What’s wrong, Fred? Weren’t you offering me a drink?” she purred.

Fred shook his head and stepped back once again, back bumping awkwardly against a chair blocking his path. He tried to lubricate his throat enough to allow sound to escape, but his mouth hung open as dry as the cold fall air. Nothing came to him. His already sleep-deprived brain struggled to come up with something to say. Words failed him utterly.

“I think I’ll take that drink,” she whispered. “I think I’ll take it now in fact.”

In a childhood move, he closed his eyes as though hoping this might banish the terror before him. If you couldn’t see it, it couldn’t get you. Wasn’t that how it worked? He recalled years and years of pulling bedsheets over his head, hoping maybe this would keep the monsters away. But the monsters were here. And they were very real. And very much not deterred by him closing his eyes.

A soft breath fell on his bare neck causing more shudders to course through him in repulsion at the very thought of her so near him. What once would have had him shivering for different reasons now was utter disgust in his eyes. Soft lips descended and brushed against his collar, a mockery of something he might once have desired. Fred might have once desired to flee, but in his weariness there was nothing. Only the desire for it all to be over. The desire for sleep, dreams, and of course death. He presented his neck just as he might with an executioners axe, readying himself for the inevitable.

It never came.

A crash echoed in the little room. His eyes popped open gasping, looking at the girl before him who had been all too ready to sink her teeth into his throat, confirming what he had indeed imagined and feared. But his gaze was drawn back to the front window where his horned-assailant stood growling and snarling as his body tangled with the blinds he’d crashed into after breaking through the glass. The cool autumn air rushed to fill the room, replacing all heat with its biting chill. Fred breathed deeply trying again to steady his racing heart. The smell of rotting leaves filled his nostrils as wind rushed into the room.

“You Monster,” Morgana hissed. “Stay back, he’s mine.”

The creature still wrestling with the blinds snarled at her, eyes lighting in the darkness with something so utterly inhuman that Fred couldn’t even place it on the spectrum of emotion. He suddenly snapped to motion himself, pushing the chair to topple behind him and then backing further away from the beautiful girl so intent on sucking the very life out of him. Literally.

There was a moment of calm, and then everything happened at once. Morgana lunged at Fred causing him to topple backwards, just as the creature untangled himself and rose on shaky legs. He let out a growl and moved forward at a pace unknown to man. His clawed hands found Morgana’s body and grabbed for it, picking her up as though she was a Barbie doll. Fred again let his eyes close in a defensive reflex. He curled slightly in on himself once more, listened to the growls and screams before there was silence.

The rustle of the leaves on outside greeted his ears, but otherwise there was nothing. After a long moment he slowly looked up again, finding Morgana’s body strewn across the ground, the creature standing panting over it. Yellowed eyes found Fred and seemed to deem him unhurt.

“Why?” Fred managed to whisper, still not willing to rise from his place on the floor.

“Not all is as it appears,” the creature hissed, voice still a deep guttural groan that normally would have frightened the wits out of the boy. But he was already feeling crazed enough he didn’t flinch away. Merely looked at this strange beast that had guarded him, protected him, killed for him.

“No,” Fred whispered, pulling himself up to hands and knees and then slowly moving to stand. The creature growled and swooped forward, clawed hand catching the boy before he could tumble over. Fred’s eyes were drawn down to the sharp nails now resting lightly on his bare arm. There was such gentleness in the way he was held up, in spite of the deadliness that had caused Morgana to be killed.

“You must rest,” the creature said. “You need sleep.”

The boy didn’t protest, lost for any sense of energy or thought in the moment. This creature that had so driven him to this point, was now the one leading him back towards healing. How could that be? The girl he’d thought was beautiful was evil and mad. This creature he thought malignant had in fact disproved his trepidation by being his rescuer, and now his caretaker.

“What’s your name?” Fred asked gently.

If such a ferocious mouth could manage a grin this was it, the twisting of the corners, a little drool falling down a fanged tooth. “Costin. You are kind, asking such, Fred.”

The boy nodded, too wearied to get anything else out. “Was…was this why you approached me on the street?”

There was the briefest nod that Fred almost feared his addled brain had imagined it. The beast spoke once more. ” Seek to know no more,” he whispered.

His eyelids felt heavy. Had those parting words been a spell? Into the darkness his mind slowly crept, disallowing him from rejoining reality, whatever that might be.

-*-

Monday morning. Fred’s gaze could not be drawn away from Morgan Elliot’s form as she giggled and flounced across the checkered cafeteria floor. He remembered his dream so clearly, the strangeness of whatever had happened Halloween night still lingering in his mind. Morgana… No, Morgan, was busy giggling away with her friends, looking at him occasionally while batting those long lashes. He was trying to separate the dream Morgana from the real Morgan, but it was difficult.

On Saturday he’d gone downstairs to find no signs that his Halloween night had been a reality. There was no body, or broken glass. The room was put to rights and his parents asked after him with no sign that they’d sensed anything the least bit wrong. And Fred had been left to constant pondering about the strange enigma of that Friday October night.

He was drawn from his thoughts by Morgan’s shrieks.

“Monster, get away!” she hissed, baring her teeth in a disgusted grimace, dark eyes fixed on the boy who’d tried to sit at her table.

Fred looked up at that. Monster. It seemed too familiar. He fixed his gaze on Gus, the boy who had shuffled to his feet and was edging away. Fred’s heart clenched as he watched the boy’s uncertain gait move towards the nearest empty table.

After just the briefest moment pondering it over, Fred rose and marched past Morgan. She giggled and simpered at him, trying to reach out and grab his arm. He withdrew his hand as though burned, glared at her, and resumed his resolute walk to the previously empty table, slamming his backpack onto the bench and sitting down across from the rejected boy.

Gus glanced up, golden hazely eyes meeting Fred’s blue. He smiled a bit uncertainly, the grin lopsided as always on his somewhat disfigured face. Fred hesitated but smiled back at the boy, not knowing how he’d never seen it before. He’d never really looked at this other boy in earnest, never tried much to see beneath the scars of untold abuse and hurt, knowing so little beyond that this boy bore a face only plastic surgery could probably ever cure.

“Hi, can I sit here?” he asked.

Gus nodded, though there was just a moment of hesitance. “You’re Fred,” he whispered, voice hoarse as though not used to being taken up in speech.

Fred smiled. “Yes, I’m Fred. And you’re Gus.”

The boy’s eyes lit with something akin to happiness, though Fred probably would have gone so far as to call it joy. The deformed mouth stretched a bit more to try to accommodate his crooked teeth into a blinding smile. Fred let his own smirk rise to the occasion. Never had insane dreams had so sweet of consequences.

“Fair is foul, and foul is fair:
Hover through the fog and filthy air.

-William Shakespeare Macbeth

________________________________________________________________________________

Partially inspired by this prompt: http://themeasureofabook.wordpress.com/2014/10/30/writing-prompt-32/

4 Comments

Filed under Writing, Writing Prompts

Closing the Door- a Writing Prompt

I made myself do a writing prompt today. I noticed short stories were one of the top votes for what people wanted more of, so here’s a short story in dedication of this weeks Daily Post Writing Challenge:

Write a new piece using Nighthawks by Edward Hopper as your inspiration.

nighthawks_by_edward_hopper_1942

So here’s my response to the challenge. Decided to just take my own thoughts on it and roll with it to create a short story.

Closing the Door

The door hasn’t opened since I’ve arrived. It’s a lonely night at Phillies, my typical haunt on quiet nights like these. The cold October air makes a nice cup of coffee in hand a welcome treat. I sip at the bitter drink with relish, glad of the distracting nip the heat gives my tongue. Makes it easier to forget the long work week I’ve had and the emptiness back home waiting for Annie to get back. Ill mothers in New York sure don’t make anything any easier. I’m getting sick of it to be honest.

Hal is working busily behind the counter. He turns and gives me a smile, obviously glad of the company on this lonely fall evening, only the pelting rain on the window giving any noise in the little room.

“Your dame gone again?” he asks curiously, wiping off the counter yet again til it shines. I almost pity the man, forced to try to find work to keep him busy. I hope business doesn’t stay too slow for long.

I smile at the question nonetheless. He always asks after Annie, even though they’ve never made acquaintance. Still, it’s nice to have someone to talk to about it.

“Yes. Caught a train sometime yesterday morning. Thinking maybe we ought to convince the mother to move closer. Can’t keep this traveling going every weekend. It’s not working.”

Hal nods understandingly, probably thinking of his own wife Linda back home with the kids. He’s a lucky man Hal. A wife. A family. I suppose it’s why I worry so for Phillies, not only for my own comfort but to keep this good man employed bringing back bread to put on the table. I often envy him, til I see how empty the place is.

I sip at my drink reflecting on that. I’m just thinking of getting something to eat when the door opens, a bell jingling merrily in its wake. I turn and glance, only to have my jaw drop at the sight before me.

A red-haired woman waltzes in, a man in a smart suit tagging after, holding the door ajar so she can saunter up to the counter and drop into a seat. My jaw is hanging half open, unable to believe it.

She leans against the dark wood, her arms in pale contrast. I gaze cautiously at the red dress adorning her slim form, the wide neckline, short sleeves, the flirty skirt riding up slightly as she sits down. Her dark heels click as she situates herself, turning the briefest glance to her companion beside her, his eyes darting anxiously back as though to ensure all is well.

The tension in every muscle of his broad shoulders is visible beneath the neat tailored lines of his suit, a puppy on the verge of doing some trick, trying to ensure he does it to perfection. His large hand reaches to join hers, swallowing it up. He sits calmly, tall frame hunching comfortably over the counter like his companion, knees folding up neatly to rest on the lower rung of the bar stool. He smiles, lips flitting up as his blue eyes journey back towards the woman who has so captivated his attention.

I sit there unsure how to even react. The cup of coffee in my hand has paused in its journey midway to my mouth, the harsh smell invading my nostrils, wafting into my mouth I’ve left ajar allowing me to taste the teasing steam. A basic instinct of wanting to flee happens first, then a second to rise and take action against events unfolding. But I do neither. Merely shut my trap with a loud clap and sit there gazing on at the scene playing out before me.

“What’s buzzin’ cousin?” Hal cheerfully addresses the man. “You and the girl having a nice night on the town?”

The man gives a crooked grin showing pearly white teeth, looking back at his companion for just an instant before settling into more easy conversation. “Sure are, aren’t we, doll?”

She gives a polite smile, hand moving to smooth the fabric of her dress. “Never better.”

“You two goin’ steady then?” Hal asks.

The man just shrugs, shoulders rising noncommittally to only semi-affirm anything. Hal chuckles seemingly pleased with this answer.

“The usual? Cup of joe?”

She nods and he answers for them both. I sit there feeling invisible for a brief moment, though it suits me well enough. I lean over my cup that’s redescended to the bar, sitting hunched with my fedora partly obscuring my face. Thankfully the couple is completely focused on Hal now handing over two steaming orders, smiling all the while.

“You sure are all decked out,” Hal says, still eager to make conversation as always in spite of the way the couple seems to be looking at each other as though asking for privacy. They seem caught in each other’s gazes, as two lovebirds too often are. “Special occasion?”

A rumbling chuckle comes from the man. “Just treating my baby. I’ve always loved spoiling her.”

“He sure is stuck on you,” Hal says. “Best wishes to you both.”

He turns towards me, but I’ve grabbed a newspaper and am taking to perusing it, though mostly my gaze is moving back and forth, not really paying attention to anything in print. The story in front of me is much more interesting. And I’m not giving up my observation for anything. Not when it seems so apparent that I’ve become utterly invisible to them both, able to view everything I normally wouldn’t.

They chat a bit, quietly amongst themselves, fingers lingering together against the dark wood, his large ones caressing hers. There’s a moment where I think perhaps I’ve been noticed, but curiously familiar eyes seem oblivious, focused only on the sight of love. Hal has busied himself again. He shoots me strange looks every now and then, but I’m just focused on the newspaper, my fedora low over my face.

After what seems an eternity the couple rises. The man thanks Hal with a bright smile, and takes the woman on his arm. She grasps it all too eagerly, clutching her purse in the other hand while looking ready to race out the door. To go home I can only assume, though to what I try not to let my imagination wander too far.

Hal bids them farewell. “Come again Andrew. Nice having you round the place again.”

He smiles and tips his hat to reveal the sandy blond hair underneath. For just a moment I fear he’ll turn and see me, but he doesn’t. And neither does his date, still hanging on his arm. Then the bell rings again as the door opens for the second time before shutting firmly behind them. I glance into the dark street and watch their shadowed forms disappear into the night.

“What’s wrong with you? You look like you’ve seen a ghost?” Hal questions, reaching over to grab their cups and clear the empty counter once more.

“I suppose I did,” I whisper, my voice breaking in spite of my desire to keep it together. I can’t help it. My throat clenches, eyes sting as tears attempt ruthlessly to break free from well designed barriers. “I suppose this means one thing…that Annie is dead to me.”

Hal blanches suddenly. “That’s Annie? You’re joking!”

I shake my head, unable to voice the truth in my broken state. Something in me feels like it’s been torn out. My chest aches, my stomach clenches painfully. I suddenly don’t even want to think of food let alone consume it, no matter how hungry I am.

“Oh Tom, I’m so sorry,” he whispers.

“How long have they been coming here?” I asked, though I’m unsure I want the answer. Everything is adding up now. The weekends in New York. The excuses. The phone calls to give reason for absence. It’d been becoming more and more. I suppose I always should have known.

“A few months,” Hal whispers. “I mean Andrew comes in here all the time with girls. But this one seems to be a keeper. I don’t usually bother to learn their names…I mean…it just isn’t practical. But if I’d known…I swear Tom I would have told you.”

I shake my head. I know full well it’s not his fault. He could never have figured it out. Not with how much he remains in the dark. I always should have known it wasn’t real. It’s me who should have shut the door long ago when I had a chance, when I first thought maybe Annie wasn’t really in love with me.

“What can I do?” Hal asks.

I push my coffee away and put a few bills down. “Take this. That’s it. I…I’ll figure something out myself.”

Hal nods, though he is still looking at me with lines in his usually youthful energetic face. I push off the bar stool, head towards the door, not eager to look towards him again to see the mixture of shocked emotions.

“I’m so sorry, Tom.”

“So am I.”

The bell tingles again overhead and I’m stepping out the door that opened only twice in my hour at Phillies. I shut it slowly behind me, and the sound echoes in the empty air. I wonder suddenly if this is the last time I’ll ever shut it. I don’t see why not. I walk down the same dark street their shadows traversed moments earlier. I walk into the night not looking back. Only knowing that the further I get from the light of the restaurant, the darker things will get. But perhaps that’s alright. I’ll let the night swallow me up, let myself forget awhile. Take my time and figure out how to face the reality, that nothing will ever quite be the same again.

11 Comments

Filed under Writing, Writing Prompts

Goals Needed, Help!

So I want to address some struggles I’ve had lately. I may try to detail them more vividly in a later blog, but for now I’ll just mention I’ve been having a very hard time nailing down any sort of novel idea and feel rather unfocused in terms of my writing direction. This is made all the more difficult by my decision to have a daily writing goal each and every day.

I’ve participated in October Writing diligently, writing 500 words daily and tweeting and logging my word counts without fail. I’ve even written by hand at times when I haven’t had a computer. And this month has showed excellent progress, and yet it hasn’t exactly taken me where I’d hoped.

I had hoped this might get me out of my little writing slump where I feel incapable of coming up with any new ideas or making any progress on current ones. I was wrong. I still have failed to truly rid myself of this troubling problem.

My participation has not faltered. I’ve written at least 500 words everyday. Sometimes it’s been blog posts (some of which have not been published). Sometimes it’s been poetry. Other days it’s been trying to get a bit of novel out one way or another. But I suppose blogging has been one of my bigger projects, and I’ve appreciated having the challenge to allow me to focus.

Nonetheless I still feel something’s missing in spite of my diligence this month. And that is concentration. I’d like to actually buckle down and finish a project. I’d like to stay focused on a goal and see it through. And I know myself well enough to know if I have readership I’ll focus better on something, which is part of the reason blogging has been more successful for me lately (thanks to my wonderful readers).

So, in light of wanting to concentrate more fully, I’d like to ask readers to vote on what they’d like to see more of in this blog. And with that in mind maybe I’ll have more of a goal to work towards.

For a novel excerpt example see here: Braving a New Frontier- First Page Review

For a poetry example see here: Perched upon the Window Sill- a poem

For a writing prompt example see here: One Little Change- a Writing Prompt

For a short story example (also a writing prompt) see here: Soaring- A Writing Prompt

For movie/book thoughts example see here: Easy Analysis: the Reasons Hawthorne Still Shows up in Hollywood

For writing advice see here: What’s in a Name?

For anything not listed in the poll feel free to comment or add your own.

4 Comments

Filed under Writing

One Little Change- A Writing Prompt

I’m going with another writing prompt to get me going. I promise I’ll get back to some other more original works later too, but for now this is what’s getting me working. So here’s my response to Daily Post’s Weekly Challenge.

The idea that everything is connected becomes most interesting when applied to ourselves. For this week’s writing challenge, tell us about your own Butterfly Effect.

I suppose this post is very meaningful to me lately because I’ve been considering a lot of “what ifs” lately. I’m a senior about to graduate from college, and I guess I’m kind of looking back at how I thought life would turn out and wondering why it is that some events have turned out the way they did.

So with that in mind, I wanted to take what I was feeling and apply it to a fictional piece as I often find that’s a meaningful way for me to deal with emotions I’m handling at the present moment. So here’s my short piece I wrote.

One Little Change

It was one of those days my thoughts seemed to tarry and linger. And what eventually started as a cloud of memories soon became a torrent of swirling emotion, the raw inner feelings of my heart.

My gaze had centered in on a black and white photo printed on flimsy paper. I picked up the news and clutched it tighter, fingers wrinkling it along the edges, going so far as to tear through the fragile material. I pulled the article up closer to my face, the other hand moving to fiddle with my spectacles, adjusting the thick lenses to better peer down and seek out that name.

Anne Kristina Rask.

I could hardly breathe staring down at the small face that once had been so familiar, now wearing the marks of many years of life. I scanned the words over and over again, even as my vision blurred with the onset of tears. “Beloved wife and mother.”

Anne.

The memories came back as fresh as yesterday’s, somehow causing sixty years to blur and fade into the past. Her name caught on my tongue like it had back that night oh so many years ago. It was as though I was standing there, staring out at her bathed in moonlight, the sweet rain pouring down upon our heads in a rejuvenating baptism to our new youth. She laughed and caught my hand, the soft skin warm in my grip. I clutched at her, relishing the brief gift.

The sweetness of her perfume died with the lifegiving liquid, natural scent rising in its place, the waters washing away the small bit of pink lipstick dashed across her mouth, smeared from one too many kisses with her date. Her hair flattened back down, her dress clung to her body, nothing hidden. A return to the natural. A return to Eden.

My heart thumped loudly in the quiet of the street. Only the soft drip of the rain in the puddles, the occasional vehicle moseying along the deserted roads. There was silence, a chance to speak into the void. But my voice had been swallowed up, stolen from me. My throat was scratchy as I clutched that hand in mine and wondered.

There were moments it felt as though nothing else existed in this world. Just us in the rain, wandering down the lonely path hand in hand. And I wished it could last forever, drinking in every bit- the sight of Anne drenched, mud sloshing on the bottom of her pink dress, though she seemed oblivious to the dark stains growing round her. I breathed the fresh smell, the soft soothing sound, the dim street lights, all absorbed into me for that brief fleeting moment.

But there were too many wonderings looking back on it. There was too much lingering thought, despair tarrying in every bit of that scene. What if?

What if it hadn’t been raining? Then they would never have shared that brief moment. What if that car hadn’t passed by, sloshing water over their already wet forms, causing them to dissolve into laughter? Then I might have been less of an idiot and actually said what was on my mind. What if I hadn’t walked away from that doorstep all those years ago without saying what was on my mind?

Then it might have been me burying a wife. It might have been my children losing a mother. It might have been my ring on her finger, my love in her heart, my hand in hers forever and always. But my tight lips, my failing tongue, my garbling throat all let me down in my moment of need, causing me to flail about mindlessly and rather than speak what was on my mind, to declare instead I thought the night had gone rather swimmingly. When in reality all I’d wanted was to say the exact opposite, to declare that he was unfit for her and if only she’d see what was right in front of her she might truly be happy.

Might truly be happy…

I gazed down at the page, the smiling woman catching me with a full blow of mocking delight. And I was struck with the reality of what lay before me. Truly happy. She was. She had been. She had loved her husband, her children, her life. There was no hint that she hadn’t. And yet her life was like an original document, and mine a mangled and blotchy copy, trying its best to give the same picture, and yet failing miserably.

All these years. Years she’d spent cooking dinner, sitting on the couch holding his hand, going for walks, traveling, taking the kids to school, scribbling away with her elegant scrawl, lying beside her husband each and every night, growing old and dying still loved and cherished and remembered. And I’d done nothing but waste every hour, letting them slip through my hands like worthless sand, incapable of ever being returned again.

I sat there at the little kitchen table in my small apartment, listening to the rumbling tram go by. I swallowed down my grief with a sip of tepid coffee, tried my best to choke the feelings rising anew by crumpling the paper and tossing it uselessly towards the overflowing garbage pail.

What ifs had haunted me all my life. I had spent too long pondering a brief instant, and not enough pondering why I was allowing each and every day to pass without change, wallowing in my misery, sinking deeper in my despair.

I wondered now that grand what if I never had before, far weightier subject that my usual love drivel. I wondered what life would have been like if I’d let go, moved on, forgotten her. Perhaps things might have been different. A single day pushing myself to be social, to go meet other women, to simply take a walk rather than sulking in my lonesome apartment might have resulted in an entirely different outcome. The briefest change might have resulted in the greatest rebirth.

But who knows. Life is a mystery that way. One path unfolded, all others hidden.

The crumpled newspaper remained lying not far off from its eventual grave. I left it where it was, not daring to touch it again for fear of clinging. I pulled my eyes from it, suddenly seeing it for what it was. An omen of what had come to pass, of what would pass if I didn’t do something.

And so I left the trash where it was and went to sit on the lumpy couch. I noticed the book I’d been reading, dogeared and ready for the next book club meeting. But it was the little slip of yellow caught tight between pasty white pages that caught my attention.

My fingers fumbled to reach it, but eventually I was slipping a small scrap of paper out from its prison. I looked down at the gentle scrawl, the little numbers etched there for my bespectacled eyes to squint at. But I could make out what it was, and the intention, and the Scrooge-like thoughts I’d had as I shoved the little note back down into the other pages as though hoping the story might swallow it up like it usually did me.

I glanced towards the wastepaper basket. But that was done. An old life forgotten and moved on from. A new future writing itself out in the little slip in my hand. I reached for my dusty phone and pulled it up to press little buttons in sync with the numbers on the page. Her voice answered. I smiled and settled into a casual tone.

“Hello Clara. No…no reason. Just felt like a change…”

3 Comments

Filed under Writing, Writing Prompts

Deepest Blue- A Writing Prompt

So I’m responding to yet another writing prompt in an attempt to get myself going on being productive. I’ve been impossibly uninspired lately, which has been frustrating. This response is a bit depressing as it’s from a very troubled character’s point of view. Anyhow, so here’s a little bit of a novel I’m currently in the progress of writing with this section written to fit the prompt.

Take a point in your story where a character is traveling, whether it’s a long or a short journey. Describe not only what your character sees, but also how it makes her feel, what it reminds him of, the emotions evoked.

10245370_10201124957606632_6884294531674329461_n

Deepest Blue

A rather unexpected journey met me that day. I don’t really know how it started, only that I went to my car with my backpack, hopeful to escape the realities of the day. I slipped into the driver’s seat and I was off, driving down the road without a second thought.

For a spring day in Washington the weather cooperated beautifully, sun shining, only a few sprinkles here and there. A rainbow stretched above me, a distraction painted in the sky. And a reminder of renewal, divinity, and promises. I took it as a blessing for my journey and I drove on.

Time faded, blended together, became some unchanging entity as I passed little seaside towns, gazed out at the ocean I’d finally fixed my mind upon seeing on my Saturday trip. Blue. Beautiful calming blue.

It brought back old memories of different times. Of being fifteen and begging a sign. Of closed eyes filling with a different color than the traditional black but instead of cleansing azure, cerulean, sapphire, the deepest richest shades imaginable dancing there before my very eyes. A sign. A symbol. Blue.

I pulled my eyes from the waves, not wanting to linger on these fleeting images of the past. After all, I’d been told doing too much of that was a poor idea. Then again I’d also been told not to drive anywhere by myself. Especially somewhere isolated. And here I was breaking that rule without a care in the world.

My driving came to a slow stop along a small rocky section of beach that didn’t appear to be private property, and yet didn’t seem to be highly popular either. I scanned the shore in either direction and saw no one. And so, I grabbed for my blanket and backpack, and set out to go sit on these lonely shores.

My gaze was drawn once more to the vast waters as I made a small safe place for myself. My little square of blanket on the rocky ground, a haven I’d invented, my hermit’s house, sitting on the rocky beach to look out upon the waters. I found the horizon let my eyes linger  there. I had only been to the beach twice before on family vacations, but I remembered even then how I felt drawn to the water, as though the ebb and flow of the tide was dragging me in with it, pulling me out to sea.

A buzz from my phone interrupted me, and I looked down to see Brielle’s name flash across the screen, the urgency magnified somehow by the quietness of the scenery around me. I looked at it for a brief moment, then placed the obnoxious electronic back into my bag to ignore for later.

I pulled out the paper, began scribbling down my thoughts.
The ocean had always represented the immensity of this life. And the minisculity of my own little brief blip of an existence. There was certainly a sense for me of standing before something that seemed so eternal and unchanging (though from a scientific standpoint I’m sure I might determine it is not). I felt ephemeral. Fleeting. And I allowed those feelings to linger in spite of all the past advice I knew would contradict it.

And then there was the little moment I considered simply going and walking into the waves, letting them close in over me in healing azure. And it would all be over and done. My blip would finish, cease to exist. And no one would remember any differently.

I rose once it was all down on paper and looked towards the sun sinking back into the sea, the ocean swallowing up the orange glowing orb in an illusion of power. Perhaps too this should be where my light is dimmed too, absorbed into these cold northern waters.

And yet I walked back to the car before temptation could take me.

I drove slowly. I tended to be careful in the first place, but today was different. I let people honk, speed past me, wave a finger at me in some disgusted manner. But I was indifferent, focused only on the asphalt bathed in orange light, the sparkling waters slowly disappearing back into the trees as my path carried me from the coast. I let myself drink in the scenery, wondered if I should hold onto the day or forget it ever existed.

The phone rang as I caught one last fleeting glimpse of sea. I answered this time, though with all that had traversed my mind I was too wearied to truly put the fakeness into my voice such a call would require.

“Hello?” I said as I pressed the button to put the phone on speaker.

“Where are you?” she asked immediately, her garbled voice still chiming with some level of anxiety through the little speaker.

“I went for a drive.”

“For half a day!” Brielle hissed.

I shrugged and then of course realized this was useless when conversing through a cell phone. “I felt like driving. I’ll be back in an hour or two.”

There was a long pause and I let it go, relieved to have a bit of silence for a moment, unused to voices after such a long period by myself.

“Did you think about what we talked about yesterday?”

I stared out at the road watching it wind and curve, to where I could not see, only because I’d looked up directions did I know it would take me home. Life. This was just like life. I was so caught in the beautiful image that I almost forgot to respond.

“Yes,” I whispered.

“And?” she asked, attempting to sound casual but the rising tone only adding to my image of her pacing through our shared living room.

“And I…I think I’m going to do it,” I said with a long sigh. “Just let me get home first.”

Brielle’s smile could be heard in her voice. “Really? Good, I’m so glad. Drive safely I’ll see you soon.”

I hung up and focused back on the winding road. I would drive it for now, enjoy the sights along the way. But Brielle was right. I required a destination, a goal. Life was short. I had minimal time to drive these roads. I settled into my seat as my eyes wandered to the taillights in front of me, night closing in fast. I’d drive in the direction Brielle had told me attempting to reach my target. And if not the gardens I so longed for, then I’d settle for the depths of the sea I had only narrowly escaped.

4 Comments

Filed under Writing, Writing Prompts