Thursday, July 31, 2008


That's what I'm changing my name to. I just tripped over a gear bag, fell flat on my face, slammed my shoulder into a steel tank, and my head into a tab projecting from a toolbox. Ouch. I used to be graceful and a whole lot less clumsy. I have an icepack on my noggin.

July 30--Write about an eclipse--The shadow of the earth glides like black death over the face of the burning star in the sky turning day into night, sending birds to roost, and causing dogs to howl. The scene is lit by an otherworldly orange glow that turns skin to a sickly red and looks like it should reveal secrets writton on faces like hidden tattoos. The prepared ones stand in silence, faces upturned, wearing glasses with black lenses to keep from incinerating their retinas, looking like ranks of religious believer adoring their prophet. The wind has dropped, barely a leaf stirs as if the entire planet is holding its breath waiting to see if the day star will reemerge from captivity.

One of these days I'll be really happy with what I write about this prompt. Every time I try I get a little closer. See you later, aching cranium and all. I've got the Bananagrams!

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Hey Jenny!

Where'd you go? Missing one night's no reason to give up. I skipped Saturday and I'm back at it. We miss you.


Squaring Away

I'm trying to give myself a little break now that the Red Licorice sweater is finished. (Finished!) So I've been planting lilies, weeding and mulching the garden, and slowly knitting Sudoku squares. Only 50 to go! (Oh wait. Let's see--9 times 9 is, um, [oh, sh*t] 81. I have to knit 81 squares. Why did I think I only needed 54? Not that it really matters since there's no deadline on this throw and I like making these little squares [which, by the way, are closer to 6" than 5"] but 81 seems like a LOT more than 54. What a doofus I am.) Only 77 more to go!

Not a Word

Bob, I'm taking my travel diary to work today in hopes that I wrote more than a passing entry about the Bonairean elections. After doing errands yesterday I spent the rest of the day planting a half dozen more lilies (they were 75% off) and finishing mulching the garden. But at least I was thinking about writing! Thanks for the encouragement.

July 29--Write about a scent--In the early morning when I go out for the newspaper the pink and white Stargazer lilies are barely open. They are just stretching their petals wider in the morning sun. I lean over to smell them and I'm disappointed. Late last summer I passed a cluster of bedraggled plants on one of the last days Walmart's plant department was open. The warm sweet smell of the single lily flower that was still blooming stopped me dead. Now I don't really like the color pink, I'm more of a red girl, but I could not resist the sensual powdery fragrance of the Stargazer lilies. There were three plants on the tray. I bought all three and planted them across the front of my house. This morning the first of the blossoms opened. Their scent was barely there. I was disappointed, but as the day heated up, every time I walked past, the fragrance grew stronger and sweeter. By late afternoon it was intoxicating. So intoxicating that I bought three more to plant along the lot line. I foresee a long love affair with lilies, the Stargazers in particular.

See you tomorrow.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Under the Arcturan Star

Barbara, thank you for the excellent ideas this morning. They opened something in my fevered imagination, and I'm just going to follow the feeling and wait until the words start to flow. I think I'm starting to fall in love with Visitors all over again.

Every night - she sends her mind out to where he is and takes the reading of his heart. And every morning she wakes to the echo of his presence. She breaths in the morning air, already wet and heavy with moisture. Then she stretches across her bed, across the damp and twisted sheets. His presence slowly fades from her awareness until he is gone. Her baby is awake in the crib, talking to himself, entertaining himself. In the bright smear of morning, she gets out of bed to feed the baby. She greets him as she nears the crib, soft and gurgling as the sounds he makes. She places her long-fingered hands under his arms and around his back and neck, then lifts him up and out of the crib.

Bob ;-)


Good idea, Bob. I've never read pulp sci-fi, or pulp anything for that matter, but it sounds interesting to put it in Visitors. You're right, you need some "out there" stuff to go with Eva's chromatophores and the fact that she's an alien. Hey, Malcolm and Fine are half-human, right? So where's the dad? Did Eva eat him during the deed a la praying mantis? There's gotta be some drawback to having the Arcturans on our planet. And I love Morty. More Morty, please.

July 28--Every night--Every night I sit here and try to write something anything that will fire my imagination and free my creativity make me want to write more not go to sleep not lay down and read my book for a few minutes then fall asleep but I don't it doesn't and I'm afraid it never will again. I know I can still write I do it at writers but I can't seem to get excited about it or even just motivated to do it. I have stories that are begging to be finished stories I can't stop thinking about but do I put down my knitting and write? No I don't. Other people can do more than one thing at a time. Why can't I?

Despair was oozing under the door last night. Can you tell? See you in a hour, Bob.

Monday, July 28, 2008

It's Fiction

Right now, I'm thinking that the story about the Meuzin and the Paladin (or an extended version thereof) will go into the rewrite of Visitors. I need more exotic, pulp science fiction stuff. And maybe a little more Morty. Too much of what I have now is embarrassing, maudlin crap. Not to mention confusing.

There isn't enough time before the library closes to write from a prompt. I'll be around to mow the lawn tomorrow morning. 9:30 or thereabout.

Bob ;-)

Monday, Monday...

I'm channeling the Mamas & Papas, lucky for you this is visual and not audible. I'm a terrible singer. Well, I finished my first adult-size sweater yesterday. Of course, it'll be months until I can wear it because it's wool and heavy wool at that. But I love it. It's red and the yarn's called Licorice so it's a Red Licorice sweater to commemorate me quitting smoking with the help of bags and bags of red licorice. Enough patting myself on the back and on to writing--

July 27--You're in a movie theater--He's sitting there next to me, eyes riveted to the giant screen. I can see the shapes and colors reflected in his eye. His bangs hang in a tangle over his forehead. I'm tempted to reach over and smooth them but I can't, too many people would see me and then they'd tease him--and me too probably. I can feel the heat from his body radiating my way as I watch his hand dip into the jumbo tub of popcorn we're sharing. My older sister told me that the fake butter they put on it makes zits but I just couldn't say no when the counter guy asked if we wanted extra. Especially when Jeremy said yes so eagerly. God, dating's expensive. Movie tickets were eight bucks each and the popcorn and two soda was twelve bucks. I'd better get my arm around his shoulder or a hand on his leg so I can get a little payback for all I've spent on him today.

Better go make my lunch and get ready for work. I'm totally frustrated with this whole writing thing. I keep thinking we need a break but I'm afraid if we quit we'll never start up again. And that would be a shame, as well as a waste.

Sunday, July 27, 2008


All done. Ahhh.

Despite the fact that it's nearly 80 degrees I had to have Durwood take my picture in the first adult sweater I ever knitted. I love it, it's red, and it commemorates the red licorice I used (and still use on occasion) to quit smoking. Knitting's much more fun than smoking. Hands down.

Saturday, July 26, 2008

Look! Look! Look!

(It's a 3-Look!-er. That's how excited I am.) Yesterday when I was blogging I commented that if I worked hard, I could finish my Red Licorice sweater this weekend. Well, I picked it up and was knitting and caught sight of the finished pieces and thought, hey, I could sew/crochet them together and weave in the tails, then when I get the Left Front done I can just zoom it on there, knit the collar, put on the button and be done. So that's what I did. Look! An almost-sweater! Pretty cool, huh?

And I worked on the Left Front too. It won't be long now.

You Think?

I agree, Bob, that the meeting had a different feeling. Lately I've been feeling like Jacob Marley dragging the chains of my past deeds when it comes to writing, and I'm damned if I can figure out how to throw them off. Maybe telling stories rather than writing them is an answer. Beats the hell out of me. And it's driving me freaking nuts.

July 25--Write about asking for mercy--"Please." The word rang in my ears from every direction. Dirty hands held out, dirty faces upturned as I passed. Every additional plea, every voice, every face streaked with tears warms me. Fills me with the heat of my power. I walk through the town on purpose. In my house I am insulated, used to the obsequious faces, the submissive postures. All around me are clean and groomed. Too boring. I walk among the peasants, I appreciate the cleanliness of my home because of the stench out there. I see their filthy hair and dirt-smudged faces. I see their tumbledown hovels and the scurrying curs. They should eat the dogs; they are too poor to have pets. When I am feeling especially bored I fling a handful of coins into the mud and watch them scrabble unself-consciously for the money. It amuses me.

Not the most sympathetic woman I've ever written about, but she might be fun. So, Bob, is your piece fiction or a retelling of an old story? I like it's possibilities.


Friday, July 25, 2008

A Little Closer

The group felt different last night. Not good, not bad. Just odd. More than anything, though, I was impressed with us. I think we may have come a little closer to figuring out just what the problem is. Besides not being motivated, that is. Barbara, your idea of actually telling a story that you've been working on is brilliant.

Write about a conversation: They lay in each other's arms, staring at the ceiling. She had been telling him a story she'd heard many times from her father's grandfather. It was about the Third Paladin and his fateful meeting with the Grand Meuzin. The Grand Meuzin had agreed to the conversation after years of entreaty by the Third Paladin. They met in the Golden Palace, in the Hall of Wonders. She described to him the exotic beauty of the place, the pools and the lush roof gardens. The Grand Muezin came alone, as did the Third Paladin. The Third Paladin had spoken first, offering a long and heartfelt welcome. About halfway through the welcome the Grand Meuzin had interrupted, not rudely but with concern in his voice. The Third Paladin listened, and soon decided that the Meuzin was making sport of him. When the Meuzin finished speaking, the Grand Paladin thanked him for the meeting, stood up and walked away. He never looked back. The Third Meuzin watched him go. In this way, the Meuzin saved the lives of twenty thousand.

Bob ;-)

Getting There

First of all, let me say, it's Friday! Yippee! I hoped to go diving with friends today but they can't so my new wetsuit's stuck staying dry, but next weekend I'll get to go for sure. Hmm, I just realized there's OW cert dives this weekend. Maybe I could tag along with them. I'll call JJ and see where they're going.

I'm just past the armpit of the Left Front of the Red Licorice sweater. (Check out the upper right corner by the needle keeper.) Yay! Once it's finished and the tails are woven in, I can put the pieces together, pick up stitches and knit the collar, sew on the button, and be done. Done, do you hear? Done! If I do very little else this weekend it's a real possibility I could have it done before I go back to work on Monday. Wouldn't that be something? I was knitting at work yesterday and Mr. Boss commented on the color of the yarn. I told him it was Red Licorice; he said it looked like Pizza Puke. So nice.

I can't keep away from the Sudoku squares. They're small and easy to pack around. Plus they're kind of like potato chips--can't knit just one. 53 more to go!

Now It's Really Friday

Nice meeting last night, guys. I hope we threw out one idea that helps, Jenny. Rewriting's a bitch. Maybe we can find a tutor?

July 24--Write about a conversation--All I hear all day is "she said" and then "I told her" over and over until I'm ready to scream. Doesn't everyone need quiet to work? How does she think I can accomplish anything? Things that she told me to do I can't do because she never shuts up. Sometimes I wonder if she really has these conversations she insists on sharing with me verbatim or if she's just babbling out conversations with imaginary friends. I can't scream at her to shut up. I know that would be wrong, she'd fire me, and I need this job. She knows it too. It's probably why she's doing it. Seeing how far she can push me before I snap. I'll bet she goes back to her office and laughs at how she can do whatever she wants and I have to keep my mouth shut and take it. Last week I clenched my fist so tight my fingernail cut into my palm and I think I cracked a molar from clamping my jaws together to keep from screaming. Maybe I can get some doctor to prescribe Valium for me. Or I could dissolve one in her over-creamed and sugared coffee. That'd shut her up.

Eh. It's writing.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Thursday, Which is like Friday, only Not Exactly

It's like Friday for me because it's the last day I work this week. Most weeks, actually. I finished your critique this morning, Bob, and I printed out my submission the other night so I'm ready for our meeting tonight. Now I just need to find some breakfast, get dressed, find a book to read, and I'll be ready to go off and keep the world safe from scuba diving.

I like your scribble, Bob. Nice fishing image, you reel the reader right into the mystery that is Bennie.

July 23--Write about being late--Fran paced. Up and back. Up and back. As he paced he smoked one cigarette every half hour. He was trying to quit and had set up a rationing system. When he spent the day in the office he barely smoked all day. Company rules wouldn't let him smoke in his office and he'd be damned if he'd stand out front under the awning with the rest of the smokers. He always felt embarrassed for them when he drove buy a building with that motley huddle of addicts clustered near the ashtray, linked only by their common addiction. He hated it, hated that feeling of need, the nearly unbearable tug of nicotine, not to mention the habit of having that burning tube between his fingers, the graceful lift to his lips and the ecstatic feeling of that first inhalation, the rush of the drug along his veins. Ah, it was irresistible. He ground out the butt he had dropped at the same time he lipped another out of the pack. Damn that Rogers. Damn him. How dare he be late and force Fran to smoke and pace? Well, no more Mr. Nice Guy for old Rogers. Even if he repays the loan and all the vig, he's going down, and not quick and easy either. Fran adjusted his shoulder holster while lighting up.

That's it. See you tonight.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Dream Suitcases

Amazing, Jenny. Just amazing. And the "don't let the bedbugs bite" exchange has a very smart edge to it. And Barbara, I like how you narrate so much detail into your paragraph. It could easily be part of a much longer essay.

So here's my try at the first time I saw...

The first time I saw Bennie he was on his old Schwinn, pedalling along Doan Road like somebody was chasing after him. The bike had these big balloon tires, and there was a car antenna fixed up to the back tire strut. Up there at the top, a squirrel tail trailed in the wind. He was quite a sight, sailing along like that. Something you don't see every day.

I asked Hank what he knew about Bennie, but he didn't know much of anything for sure. Hank had an ear for news about people, so I figured that if he hadn't heard anything, there wasn't much of anything to know. Either that, or what he'd heard wasn't fit for a kid. So I let it go at that.

The next time I saw Bennie he was down by Anderson Creek, fishing. He'd cast the line out into the water, then slowly, slowly reel it in. He stood in the shade of an elm tree, and his Schwinn was leaning against the tree trunk. He'd give the fishing pole a clean snap at the end so that the line would go way out in the creek. I watched him do this a few times, then walked over.

"Catch anything?" I asked.

"Nope," he said, staring out over the water. "Nothing I wanted to keep."

"Nothing very big in this creek," I said. He just reeled in his line, then I said, "There's some good-sized carp in the river."

"Don't like carp," he said. Then he looked at me for the first time. It was a deep, sad look and it scared me a little to see. "Don't like carp at all." Then he turned to walk away.

"I'm Philip, but everybody calls me Petey," I said.

"I know," Bennie said, getting on his bike, the fishing rod balanced on the handle bars. "I know."

Bob ;-)

What Bob Said

Nice dialogue, Miss I-Can't-Write-Dialogue. And I love what Jessup and Faith pack. Excellent characters. Okay, Bob, Hollace seems like the kind of guy who'll make her be quiet and patient. Nice name, too. While the two of you are spinning fiction, I can't seem to get away from memoir these last few days. Not that I'm complaining, you understand, writing is writing and anything's better than the wasteland that was the last few months. Months, people!

July 22--The first time I saw _____--The first time I saw a shark I wasn't a bit afraid. We were diving off Key Largo with the kids and a five-foot Nurse Shark swam by and tucked itself under a piece of reef. I was entranced. It was a beautiful blue-gray color with a whitish belly, and it was so graceful. I turned to look at Don and he had his hand on top of his head making the "shark" hand signal as if I might have missed it. His grin looked as broad as mine felt. David looked interested; Ann looked cautious. I swam closer, transfixed by the rippling of the gills as it drew in water to breathe. I got closer, my hand outstretched. I had heard that shark skin is rough and wanted to feel it, but Ann caught my fin and pulled me back. When I looked at her she was frowning at me and shaking her head "no." She caught my hand and towed me away from the fish. I never have been that close to a shark again. Darned Ann.

That's a true story. Evidently sometimes kids are smarter than parents.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

I actually opened two days in a row -- the home so late and lack of sleep was my own choice. I thought I could deal with the consequences, but today I'm regretting it. It will be fine by tomorrow, though. I'm up for a "reverse nap" -- came home from work to sleep, and now up to eat dinner and post before sleeping again. My body hates me right now.

That dialogue I wrote is pretty much a true story. Heard it from a friend last night, but decided to try to use it as a dialogue exercise.

Bob, the contents of the suitcase that you choose to highlight, the order they come in, they set a nice "icky" tone that suits the piece. And Barbara, I get that anxiety, and how it's weird how some things can gain anxiety rather than lose it over time. So, I have no idea how I'm going to respond to the suitcase prompt, but why not go for another trifecta? Here goes

The twins packed each night before bed. For this shared belief, they had no need of leaps -- dream suitcases, they knew, would one day save them. In Jessup's tonight he packed a pair of high tops, a water pistol, a copy of Catwings and My Father's Dragon, a blue cloth leash. In Faith's: a bag of gumballs (minus the yellow ones), a purple tutu, a pack of cinnamon flavored dental floss, a roll of scotch tape. Before bed the twins each pawed through the other's suitcase, making a mental list of the items. Then they zipped and put the cases under the bunk beds.

"Goodnight, Faith." Jessup said. " Sleep tight. Don't let the bedbugs bite."

Faith pulled the covers up to her chin. "If they do, hit 'em with a shoe," she said.

"If that doesn't work, hit 'em with a Shop-ex clerk."

Both twins closed their eyes and went through their own versions of counting sheep. Tonight, for Faith: One red gumball, one blue, one green. Two red gumballs, two blue, two green. And for Jessup: One winged cat, one dragon, one fine-toothed comb. Prepared, the twins drifted off to sleep.

Cool Tuesday

Jenny. First you tell Barbara and me that you can't write dialogue, and then you write this scene in the priest's office. Now I know you can write dialogue.

Packing a suitcase: It was a good old suitcase. Still in okay condition. The locks and the clasps all worked just fine. Hollace was putting in a handful of boxer shorts, fitting them in the corner next to his tee-shirts. There on the bed was a bunch of socks.

Jeanine called out from the living room. "How're you coming with that suitcase?" Hollace noticed a sulky edge in her voice. He wished that she would have come into the room before saying anything.

"A few minutes yet," he said. "Just a few minutes." He wanted to get out of this place in the worst way, but he wasn't going to be rushed. Just cool your jets, he thought, making his mouth go tight and grim. The vacation had gone badly. The family picnic, which was never easy, had degenerated into name-calling and humiliating handshakes. It wasn't his fault, dammit. No way was he going to cave this time. Nor was Hollace looking forward to the long drive back. Not in Friday traffic. Not with gas so expensive. And Winnetka was going through a record heat-wave. There were rolling blackouts, exhausted people were gathering in high school gymnasiums for a little relief. No, this vacation had gone right into the toilet. So just cool your jets.

Hollace folded over his sweaty shirts and laid them in the suitcase. Then he stuffed the socks in around the edge and closed it up. Hollace glanced around the room with the dumb clown painting and the broken air conditioner. He walked the suitcase out into the tiny living room. Jeanine was standing at the window, staring out across the highway. Big, threatening clouds were hanging up in the sky.

"I think we're in for some rain," she said.

"Yeah, maybe we can drive though it," he said, opening the door, walking out. But that was the last thing he said. The Riviera was tilting at this very slight angle and he knew. The tire was flat.

Bob ;-)

See? I Knew This Would Happen

Man, I never should've cast on that first Sudoku square. I finished it at work yesterday afternoon and put it all away in the bag. I even zipped the bag shut. What did I do after supper? Did I pull out the Red Licorice Left Front like a good girl? No, I did not. I cast on another Sudoku square like the bad girl I am.

Hey, Abby! I finally found some sticky stuff so I could put Hula Boy on my dashboard. I think he kind of looks
like David, don't you?

Well, That Bites

Jenny, I thought you were the one who made the schedules, or did you get promoted beyond that? You need to up your scheduling-person bribes so you don't close one night and open the next day. Seriously, they've got it backwards--open one day, close the next one would work soooo much better. Your quick scribble is interesting and, sadly, too true.

July 21--Write about packing a suitcase--With each item that goes into my suitcase the butterflies in my stomach get bigger. Don't get me wrong, I really want to go (really, really, really) but the whole craziness of the getting there is what makes me nervous. What if my cab doesn't come on time and I get to the airport with less than two hours before my international flight? What if there's more than three ounces of lotion or toothpaste in my quart ziplock bag? What if I have the wrong kind of ziplock bag? What if I miss a connection? What if? What if? What if? My mind churns like a demented hamster on a wheel. There's a calm adult voice in the back that smiles indulgently at the crazy hamster part of me, sure that despite any glitches I will eventually arrive at my destination. With each trip I try to scootch my suitcase closer to that calm adult voice. Sometimes I think I might succeed.

You'd think I'd get less nervous with each trip instead of more. Oh well. Off to make some lotion. Have a day. See you Thursday with Bob's critique and my submission. Eek. We need to take some time and re-do the schedule too.

quick freewrite before bed (or should I say nap -- gotta open again tomorrow)

The priest looks us up and down, scans our paperwork, eyes us up some more. "You are a mixed marriage," he says.

Josh is Lutheran. We're doing this for my mother. Getting married in the Catholic church, that is. The marriage itself -- that one was our idea. "Yes," I say. "We're a mixed marriage."

"I can pencil you in," the priest says, "but if a real marriage comes up, you'll have to go to the deacon."

"A real marriage?" Josh says. I put my hand on his knee and nod at the priest. He looks at our forms again.

"Wait," he says.

"What?" I ask.

"You have the same address."

"Yup," Josh says. I nod.

"You must stop having sex," the priest says. "Right now. And young man, if you don't have a place to stay before the wedding, you must move in with me."

"You're making the deacon marry us, but you wanna be roomies?" Josh says. My hand is on his knee no longer to soothe him, but to physically keep him in his chair.

"I am the vessel, son," the priest says, "and this is your everlasting soul."

"Don't worry, Father," I say. "He only pulls that one out for special occasions." My mother isn't going to like this. She's not going to like this at all.

Monday, July 21, 2008

Cool Stuff...

Jenny, I like the beginning of the falling story a lot. It's so primal, so utterly Punk. But fun and sort of breathless at the same time. It has this effortless, inevitable feeling to it that I find very appealing. And Barbara, I like the description of your character's state of mind in Friday's piece. It feels real, you know?

Bob ;-)

I Caved.

I knew I would. The idea kept scratching at my mind and poking me to "cast on just one." So I did. But I managed to hold off until nearly 9 o'clock last night. That's something, right? The color's Almond, a nice creamy white, and I'm using US 5s to get a nice firm square. Only 53 1/2 to go. Plus all the banding and edging, of course.

In my defense, I am over 4" into the last "red blob" of the Red Licorice sweater. And I only have to get to 10" to start the raglan decreases.
I give you... The Left Front. Ta-da!

And Jenny?

Stop over-thinking. Prompt writing is down-and-dirty fast with very little punctuation and even less thought.

Oh, That's Familiar

Been there, felt that, Jenny. I flipped back in my notebook and on the 4th of July I ended my (super short) writing with "Sappy, I know, but it's the best I can do at the moment." Kind of an "F-you, writing" sort of thing. Still counts, that's the beauty of this whole prompt writing thing, ANY words count kind of like NaNoWriMo. Which we are soooo not doing again anytime soon.

July 20--Write about passing time--"Jes' passing time." That's what Noah called sitting in his yellow metal rocking chair under the shade of the catalpa tree. He'd sit there in his overalls and chambray shirt, dirty work boots planted firmly on the ground, and fan himself with an old straw hat that had once been spiffy but had not aged well. He'd have a sweating glass of Della's lemonade in his other hand and would sip on it when he "got parched from all the talking" like it was my fault he told me stories. I'd giggle from my seat in the cool grass and tell him I needed more. "More stories?" he'd say and shake his head. "I never knew a girl liked stories like you do." He'd take another sip of the perfect sweet-sour drink and launch us off on another adventure. Sometimes we were in the wild west with the Sioux (he called them his blood brothers), other times we'd be with Rogers' Raiders in the war. Noah lived just long enough to see me married, but his stories were always my children's favorites and the grandkids like them too.

Now it's time to get ready for work and make my lunch. Boo. Although, it is payday. Maybe it isn't such a "boo" day after all.

Sunday, July 20, 2008

It was that kind of night

It was that kind of day. She was trying to write something so she could successfully meet day 3 (only 11 more to make a habit) of her obligation. She'd been trying since she got home around 9. She'd played around with different ideas, but couldn't get anything down on paper. She was stuck and watching the clock. She knew she needed to get up at 5 am tomorrow, and she was constantly counting how many hours of sleep she would get. As she lost each minute, she got even more stuck trying to write anything. It was getting close to midnight when finally she gave up and narrated this bit in the third person so she could just go to bed, damn it, but still have written something. She hopes tomorrow it will be real writing and that after 14 damn days it will be easier.


The writing contagion is spreading. Good for you, Jenny, for scribbling those few lines even though you were so tired. It'll pay off; I promise. I love the idea of everything and everyone falling since falling is one of my greatest fears. I never stand at the top of a stairs without imagining falling all the way down it. I appreciate handrails--a lot.

July 19--Write about a time you got what you wanted--Everything at the party was just the way Sheila had planned it. The food was perfect. It looked like a photo shoot for Gourmet magazine and tasted even better than it looked. The flowers were spectacular, a riot of color, fragrance, and imagination. The wine was exactly as she ordered, served in the correct glasses at the optimum temperature by silent and efficient waiters. The guest list was impeccable, a clever mix of society, intelligentsia, and business people hand-picked to produce the stimulating buzz of conversation every hostess dreams of. A quartet played smooth jazz under the gazebo by the pool. Sheila stood on the top step of the terrace ticking off everything she had done to make her party the rousing success it should be. So why was everyone standing in quiet little clumps hardly talking, barely drinking, and eating nothing? Didn't they know how much trouble she had gone to for them? Didn't they appreciate her hard work?

It's a hot sticky day. Better stay inside and write.

P.S. See my blueberries? Yum.

The recurring dream

I'm so tired, but I'm trying to start a habit, so here goes. . .

In the dream, everyone is falling. Men tumble off of rooftops and out of windows; women from verandas and steeple tops. In the parks, children fall off of benches and seesaws and cry over ragged knees and torn elbows. Even the squirrels, flying from tree to tree, misjudge the distances and careen to the ground. The strangest things fall from the sky: a teapot, an Alvin and the Chipmunks LP (the Christmas album), a set of dentures. The twins find themselves walking a power line like a tightrope, and panic, feral, claws at their bowels.

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Mexican Shellflowers & Farmer's Market Loot

According to the package label which I efficiently cut off the bag and taped into my garden notebook, these flowers are Mexican Shellflowers or Tigridia (no further Latin name listed). They grow 18-24" and bloom all summer in full sun. These are planted on the south side of the house in front of the brick facade and stay happily in the ground year round. Away from the radiant heating of the bricks they might need to be dug up in fall like gladiolus.

I went to the Farmer's Market this morning and scored big for my $20. I got beets to roast, some little
onions to put with them, a pound of Crimini mushrooms, a "grab bag" of tomatoes and a container of fresh mozzarella for salads. The empty paper boat held my breakfast of 3/$2 crab rangoons. They're really why I get up early and go down there. I came home with $.45 in my pocket, not a bad shopping trip.

One Front Down, One To Go

I have shown great restraint in not casting on even one tiny Cotton Ease square for my Sudoku throw experiment (even going so far as to put it all in one bag and go to Michael's to buy bamboo needles to knit them with but I don't know how much longer I can hold off). I finished the Right Front of the Red Licorice sweater (here's another picture of a red blob; you must be getting tired of them) Thursday night after my writing group meeting and cast on for the Left Front yesterday morning before starting to clean house so I would have a sweater part to just pick up and knit a few stitches on. To keep from being tempted to Sudoku, you understand. I suspect my self-control is wearing thin and may snap today.

You Are So Right.

Sometimes I think writing is more a physical act than a mental one, that you have to keep your actual writing muscles (including your brain) supple to be able to do it with any measure of success or satisfaction. I think we're all perfectionists who dread making a mess on the paper but suspect we have to make messes to get anything remotely resembling a decent story on the page. My intention is to keep making messes until I make one I like. Again last night it was a struggle to force myself to write a bit, but I managed not to slough off. Very strange but interesting ideas, Jenny, keep at it.

July 18--Write about a recurring dream--Andy's eyes flew open. It was so dark in his room that the only things visible were the red LED lights of his alarm clock. He hated those numbers glowing ghoulishly, seeming to float in midair, but more than them, he hated not knowing what time it was whenever his eyes opened. He thought of the LED segments like red maggots frozen in space and glowing with decomposition. Not knowing was Andy's greatest fear. When he was a kid he started having dreams of being called on in class and not knowing the answer. He studied harder. His dreams evolved into not being able to answer any question from anyone. That's when he started to wake himself up several times a night. Now that he was an adult his dreams had changed again. Now he dreamt that he didn't know where he was and lately in his dreams he didn't know who he was. It took longer and longer to get to sleep and he woke more often to make sure he remembered who he was and to make sure the red LED maggots still glowed.

I like this guy; he's got possibilities.

Friday, July 18, 2008

two days and counting . . . baby steps

Check out this website: -- I'm officially smitten with it! Can you be smitten with a thing (as opposed to a person)? No matter, I am anyway.

Hmm, it's been rolling around in my head since last night that the twins Faith and Jessup and the twins Azrael and Sariel might come together in the same story. I'm not sure exactly how, but I'll sleep on it some more. In the meantime, thinking isn't writing, right Barbara? Even if nothing comes of it, I've got to put words to the ideas.

At the pound, Faith and Jessup wandered among the metal cages. The twins, though unshakable in their shared system of beliefs, varied in their pet aesthetics. While Faith cooed at scrawny kittens and shaggy lapdogs, Jessup barked at labs and panted at retrievers. Their mother followed carefully behind, clutching her collar closed with one hand and patting at her children's heads with the other. She stopped before a cage that was shared by two squirming forms and gasped. "Are those things children?" she asked.

A Good Night

I felt like things went well last night, although I wish I'd remembered that it was "project" night and brought something to do, but I'm happy with the writing I did. All that writing made me tempted to not write before bed but I forced myself to keep my streak going--at least a little.

July 17--In a state of disarray--She felt as if her brain had been riding the Tilt-a-Whirl for an hour. With every passing minute, control slipped farther away leaving her gasping in the middle of the minefield of her thoughts. Self-doubt and recriminations put her dead center of the same whirlwind of insanity that had landed her in this loony bin, excuse me, residential treatment center six months ago. Guess they cut back her dosage a bit too soon.

That's all, folks. I was tired.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Here We Are

We have been down in the muck. Good, rich, stinky muck. My problem was that I struggled with it. And it felt lousy. Heavy and messy. Nothing worked. I think my turn-around began to happen when I tried just waiting. That usually works. See you tonight.

Bob ;-)


Just a quickie to say I finished the latest (and last for a while, I swear) pair of Country Sunset Landscapes slippers last night. Now I can concentrate on finishing the Red Licorice sweater fronts and then cast on a Sudoku block.

Today Is Writer's Day

I looked at what I just typed and thought, wow, like a holiday. Sorta, but mostly it's a chance to chip away at the slump. I feel my writer-self emerging from the muck, like Svar in Jenny's Paper People story. I do love that story, Jenny, you have to send that out if you haven't. Bob, your description of the sun behind the storm clouds is very vivid and evocative.

July 16--Half an hour before sunrise--In the pearl gray reflection of false dawn when the sun is a half hour from rising, Julia awoke on the inhale of a single breath. Not a slow gradual awakening when each sense comes to awareness on its own, hearing first, then smell, then the others follow--touch, taste, and finally sight as the sleeper rises into awakening. For Julia it was as if her senses burst into awareness in the instant between heartbeats. She lay still in the cool predawn, ears straining for the echo of whatever might have awakened her, heart racing, and breath causing her breasts to quiver. She stretched out a careful foot ever so slowly, feeling for the reassuring warmth of Roger's foot but found only an expanse of cool cotton sheet. She stretched her hearing past the strident and bossy sounds of the wren that nested in the forsythia outside the window, listening for the contented sound of Roger slurping coffee or quietly turning the pages of the newspaper, but there were none to hear. She rolled over and peered at the bottom of the door, looking for that line of light that would mean he was enthroned on the toilet with one of his beloved adventure novels but no light seeped there. She hoped he had walked to the bakery down the street a few blocks to buy crullers for breakfast and would be back soon. She dozed off for over an hour, waking when the sun was fully over the horizon and streaming into the empty kitchen. The curtains were open, coffee was made, the front door was open, but the paper was still on the porch, both cars were in the garage, but there was no sign of Roger. His keys were on the hook next to the back door, his shoes were under the table where he always left them, but where was he?

I was excited last night by this writing. It came so easily and it's longer than what has come before. See you tonight.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Another Rainy Day

We are the writers. Reinvented. Reinvigorated. (Another "R" word, too, but it escapes me at the moment.) Great piece, Jenny. It makes me think that you might not be loving your job all that much these days. Here's my it was that kind of day:

The rain came down in waves almost, spattering knee-high from the sidewalk. A battering, soaking rain. People started running for the tents, but these were mostly filled already. Barely able to see where he was going, Sanders ran with those around him. A willow tree was up ahead, and that's where he ran, already soaked to the skin. A dozen or more people were there already, watching those running yet, talking to each other in low tones. Sanders leaned over, hands on his knees, to catch his breath. He wiped the rain out of his eyes with the sleeves of his shirt. The rain on his skin was cold. The wind made it colder. The dangling limbs of the willow drifted back and forth in the strong breeze. The girl next to him asked if he was alright. Sanders said that he was. She had one of those glow-tubes wound around her neck. It flashed rhythmically, hypnotically. She had a concerned look in her eyes. Sanders knew that he must look bad, so he worked up a smile and said that maybe he should sit down. There on the ground, he felt a little better. He was still wet and cold, but he didn't seem to mind so much. The rain was slowing down, too. The sun was shining out from behind this dark bank of clouds, illumining the rim a blinding yellow-white. Sanders tried getting to his feet, tried standing up into the cool wind. He had to put his hand out to catch his balance. His hand connected with someone, and when he turned to say he was sorry, he was looking at Slim. The sunlight falling on her was almost orange, a warm, pale shade that caught in her hair. He said he was sorry, then he said this to her again. She said that once was enough.

Bob ;-)

Flowers Blooming & Yarn Buying

Warning! Picture heavy post.

Pretty things first today. The rose Dad planted is blooming. I wish I had Smell-O-Vision on the computer because they smell so sweet and rosy. Reminds me of my Grandma Angermeier's garden when I was a kid. She had roses of every color and they all performed their best under her loving care. And the Mexican Orchids I planted when we first moved back are still growing and surprise me every year with how amazing the blossoms are.

I succumbed to tempt
ation and went to Jo-Ann's to replenish and upgrade my Landscapes stash (I had a coupon), but I refused to buy the Rose Garden--just too overtly pink; I couldn't do it even if it is Landscapes. These are Autumn Trails and Pastel Meadow. It's as pastel as I can stand.

I also picked up one skein each of the last 4 colors of Cotton Ea
se to complete planning a Sudoku afghan. I randomly assigned each of the 9 colors a number, then I'll knit 5" bias squares (9 of each color), arrange them according to the Sudoku solution I chose, and then band and edge the 9-patch blocks with the charcoal--eventually. First I have to finish my sweater and then I want to cast on the Seascape shawl/scarf, finish what I swear (but my fingers are crossed I must confess) will be the last pair of slippers for a while, then I can knit a block for the afghan and figure out how much yarn I'll need of each color. I don't think I'm going to worry about dye lot so the squares might change slightly when laundered and make it more interesting looking. That's my plan, anyway. (I stole the idea from a quilter I met at The Clearing last month. She made a quilt like it that week and I thought it'd be a fun summer throw for the couch.)

A Trifecta! Yay, Us!

Nice to see you again, Jenny. All of us are on an "interesting" name kick, it seems--Azreal & Sariel are excellent, as is Eldon. The robot's name was Rhubarb. Hey, if we can't write stories, at least we can invent cool names. Lovely gruesome images, Jenny. Bob, I like the endless left-turning in the wind and rain. We're clawing our way back to being writers, you guys.

July 15--It was that kind of day--It was that kind of day. A day when everything was right. Right as rain, right on the money, and all the other "right" cliches that mean everything was going my way. I just missed dripping jam on my blouse and remembered to pack my lunch. The bread wasn't moldy and the lunchmeat wasn't
sticky and rank or slimy. I filled in every box in the crossword puzzle in the paper and I managed to finish the Sudoku even though it was a medium one. The bus was on time and there was a seat for me and not next to one of the smelly homeless guys who ride around endlessly day after day and talk to themselves about people who aren't there. I got to work on time in clean clothes and with no runs in my panty hose. My report on the Fenster project was well-received by the management team and my boss put a complimentary letter in my file. Roger from Legal asked me out to dinner on Friday, and Laurel said she'd take that writing class with me. This much good luck makes me nervous. I think I'll take the stairs.

Later, dudes. Maybe I'll swing by B&N on my way home from work to see the new arrangement. I do have a coupon that expires soon...

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Yes, Jellicoe is cool. What was the other name (the robot's?)? That was a good one, too. Eldon's not too shabby either. This isn't an epiphany or really a response to any prompt. It's just what came, and I'm overdue.

The twins, they say, were so evil that they killed their parents on the night they were born. They certainly looked the part, what with their sheeny black hair and their paper skin (looseleaf white, haphazardly lined with blue veins). In the alley where they lived, they tore into rats and cockroaches and dumpster trash with their canines, pointed into fangs. Azrael and Sariel were their names, and some say they were two incarnations of the same soul -- two bodies, one being.

Tomorrow if you're in the neighborhood you should stop by Barnes & Noble. Our music remodel is done, with just a few touch-ups left in the gift area on the bookfloor, and you can see what's been taking over my life the last 2 weeks. When my blood pressure goes back to normal, I hope at very least these little prompt or postcard things will come easier.


I especially like the way you have the L's and the B's line up in Hermie's cereal bowl. It's just gently wierd enough and visual to make a lasting impression. I also like that you've named your character Hermie. Hermie and Jellicoe. Some names... So here's my try at an epiphany.

Richard kept on driving around to the left, rain popping on his windshield and the hood of his car. The driveway was laid with wide, rust-red bricks set in a herringbone pattern. Stunted weeds and plants grew up between them. The driveway kept turning around to the left. What with the slow turning of the driveway, the rain, and the plants growing right up to the edge of it, he could see only ten or fifteen feet ahead. Richard yawned. He was beginning to wonder when the house would show up when a flurry of great raindrops came down on the windshield with a sharp slap. The windshield wipers droned a rhythmic back and forth across the glass. The air was blowing on him from the dashboard cool. Still, the inside of the car was beginning to feel very small and stuffy. To distract himself, Richard thought about the meal he would be having with Caroline later that evening. She would be wearing the black evening dress. The one she knew that always got him so worked up. Although he wasn't seeing anyone else, he felt as though he was cheating on someone. This so confused and exhausted him so that he had begun sleeping badly. His friends had noticed this and offered their own remedies. Some had suggested that he cut things off with Caroline. Although this seemed like a drastic move, he considered this in the back of his mind. Through the trees, now, he could see a car port, and a solitary figure standing next to the house. Eldon. The man was dressed in gray livery, and standing at an informal sort of attention. He looked exactly the way Caroline described her dead father. It was uncanny. Right then, as he rolled down the window, Richard decided that tonight's dinner with Caroline would be the very last one.

Bob ;-)

Progress Report

Knitting first. I reached the armpit on the Right Front of the Red Licorice sweater on Sunday and started the raglan decreases last night. See in the upper left corner? It's getting narrower. Go, me!

And I worked on the Country Sunset slipper at work yeste
rday and finished it after supper. One down, one to go.

After supper I also took my little clay bowl out into the garden and harvested blueberries. And I didn't even eat any between the garden and the house. Do you think there's something wrong with me? (Aside from the normal stuff, I mean.)

Today Feels like Summer

July 14--Write about an epiphany--Hermie writhes when she thinks of how trite it sounds. How she was lying in bed that summer morning when everything changed and the voice of the jovial morning TV guy (you know, the bald one) seeped under the door. "Seventy-eight percent of..." At that moment Blaine turned on the hair dryer and drowned out the voice. Seventy-eight percent, she thought. Seventy-eight, seventy-eight echoed through her brain like there was a tunnel between her ears. She got up, pulled on a ratty t-shirt and some saggy butt pants and wandered down the hall for coffee. "Good morning, sleepyhead," Blaine said as she slid behind him to make a pit stop. "Seventy-eight," she said vaguely not sure where it came from. By the time she was almost finished with her first cup of coffee, seventy-eight had taken up residence in her head chorus-lining back and forth, chanting and high-kicking like a bizarre cross between Vanna White and the Rockettes. Hermie read through the paper amazed at how many times seventy-eight appeared on the pages. She ate a bowl of Alpha Bits and noticed how often an upside-down L and a B lined up side by side to make a sort of seventy-eight floating there in the milk. Through her shower the words conga-ed through her mind sending their rhythm to her hips. She seventy-eighted herself out the door to her car, her toes tapping the beat in her shoes. The radio announcer blended right into the refrain, "Seventy-eight year old philanthropist Severn Eightenhowell passed away at his home at 7887 Seventy-eighth Avenue last night. Mister Eightenhowell used his...

And that's as far as I got before realizing that I have no idea whatsoever where this came from and even less where it's going and why. But I'm happy it came.


Monday, July 14, 2008

It's Monday!

Up and at 'em, people. Another week has arrived--and it's all downhill from here. Plus it's payday in the dive shop world. (That's a good thing.) I spent a couple hours at my desk over the weekend; didn't write a word. (Not so good.)

July 13 (Happy 27th, Ann!)--Write about a theft--It's a cliche, I know, but I felt violated when I realized that someone had rifled my office. What could they want? I had my laptop with me and none of the files I keep there have any sensitive or valuable information in them. As soon as I saw the mess I backed out of the office and called Security. I only called to follow company policy, not because I had any faith in the bumbling Leon's detective skills. Leon always called to mind an overweight Barney Fife with no Sheriff Taylor to keep him on track. I spent the rest of the day sorting and reorganizing and refiling. Nothing seemed to be missing. It was only as I was in the elevator on my way to my car that it occurred to me that perhaps the mess was made to cover up someone putting something into my office.

Have a day!

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Garden News

(Anyone solely interested in knitting news ignore this post or skip down to the previous one.)

The big news is that Durwood picked his first tomato of the season yesterday. You can see by the look on his face how much he loves his tomatoes. Tomato Boy is limited to six plants and complains endlessly but we need room in our small garden for the asparagus (thanks, Dad), herbs, and a few other things.

Some bunnies decided that our lilies are the yummiest and nibbled off a bunch of stalks. Durwood suggested that I put them in a vase to see if they'd open. I thought not, but was willing to try, so I snapped off some of the long stalks, stripped off the bottom leaves, and plunked them into water. Lo and behold, in a couple of days this is what we've got--and more open ever day. Amazing! (I thought the casual on-the-table pose was okay, but Durwood wanted a more formal pose. Whichever you like better, you can't deny how pretty they are--and how messy our table is.)

Help! I've Fallen (into Landscapes) & I Can't Get Up!

I was feeling all smug yesterday (always a bad sign) because I'm zooming along on the right front of my Red Licorice sweater and it looks like I won't have too much trouble meeting my completion goal. *knock wood* I even knit a few rows while watching a movie with Durwood after supper. (It was The Bucket List; I highly recommend it. I love me some Morgan Freeman.) Then after Durwood went to bed I thought, "I only have one (active) thing OTN. I need to knit more slippers." So I skulked back into the stash corner of the bedroom and extracted a zipper bag of Landscapes, and before you could say Jack Robinson, look what I had. *sigh* Evidently, for me, Lion Brand Landscapes yarn is like crack--or nicotine. Gotta have it.

Possibly the Longest Prompt in the Book

Hold onto your notebooks, kiddies, it's supposed to be real windy today. I like the colors and the "shimmering crowd" in your paragraph, Bob.

July 12--"Throw away the lights, the definitions and say what you see in the dark." (after Wallace Stevens)--The thin blue-green glow of phosphorescence trailed off my fingers as I pulled them through the dark water. With our lights turned off and the reef illuminated only by the pale blue light of the moon, the cold fire of the minute creatures that live unseen in the water column seems like magic. My focus shortened to the tips of my fingers and the distant sounds of the surf and the snapping shrimp receded. I settled gently onto the sand barren between the rocky shore and the drop-off, careful not to crush any tube anemones that had emerged like nocturnal blooming flowers from the seemingly empty sea floor. My light floated from my wrist on its lanyard like a rectangular balloon as I played the phosphorescence like a virtuoso pianist at the climax of a symphony. Sleek silver tarpon flashed by at the edge of vision, their prehistoric stainless steel scales magnifying the moonlight as they stalked their unsuspecting prey.

I don't even know who Wallace Stevens is. I'll Google him later.

Saturday, July 12, 2008

Here You Go

Jellico is a cool name. Evocative, I guess you'd say. I also like the gentle suspense you get out of that pargraph. It makes me think of the opening of Ursula LeGuin's "The Lathe of Heaven".

A cool breeze came out of the north, flapping the tent fringes, kicking up the water. Massive clouds swept overhead. People walked around, pulling sweaters closer around them, turning away from the wind gusts. Sanders stood in the crowd, looking for the people he was supposed to meet: Tom and Lyle and a tall, sad-eyed girl named Slim. Carnival rides lined the shore. There was a ferris wheel, and a merry-go-round and couple other rides, their lights shining in the growing dusk. A band was playing near the ferris wheel. Hundreds of people stood around, listening, eating, shouting to each other over the musical noise. A woman nearby laughed uproariously, almost a scream. She had this glowing, flashing necklace wound around her neck. People were decorating themselves with these things. Sanders thought it wonderfully distracting. The crowd seemed to shimmer: drifting blues and mauves and sea-greens. Sanders was just about to leave when the rain broke.

Bob ;-)

The YH Emailed Me!

Squee! I nearly flipped when I opened my email last night and discovered an email response to a comment I made on the Yarn Harlot's blog. OMG, she knows I'm alive. She read my words. Maybe she looked at my blog and saw what I'm knitting. OMG, OMG, I think I just wet myself.

Ahem. Now that I've gotten that out of my system, here's what I've been knitting on this week. It's the Right Front for the Red Licorice sweater. I'm glad I waited to do the fronts last; they're the narrowest pieces, which means they'll go more quickly now that time is ticking away toward my Sept. 6 completion goal.

And I've got a quandary; you can help. I want to make that lace scarf, Seascape, from here and I have 2 skeins of yarn that I bought before the pattern came out. I should have bought 3 skeins so I'd have enough to make the scarf but I didn't. I tried to find another skein but the lady who bought the other 5 won't share. Drat. So I've been
searching for something to coordinate. I'm leaning toward the non-sparkly one so I don't feel like I can only wear it for dress-up occasions. I will say that the colors in the photos are not true at all. Opinions?

How Come it Only Storms at Night?

I like it when it's sunny and nice, but I also like a good thunderstorm and lately they've only rolled through in the middle of the night. I was just lucky that I awoke for a minute around 2:30 AM to hear it. Sneaky storms.

July 11--It was as if...--Nothing felt familiar, as if he had fallen asleep in one city and awakened far away in another one. Even the air smelled unfamiliar. Jellico felt around with his hands and feet trying to figure out if he was still dreaming. You know how it is, your dream is so vivid, so real, that you aren't sure when you first wake up if you are awake or still asleep. He was surprised when he couldn't reach the edge of the mattress. The sheets felt cool and smooth--and endless. Next he lay perfectly still to listen for any familiar sounds. He heard water running far away or maybe it was a breeze blowing through pines. He sniffed, no smell of the forest, no resin-y tang in the air, no smell of water so he knew he wasn't near the sea. He turned his head on the pillow thinking he had heard a breath nearby but he still didn't open his eyes, clinging to the thought that it was all still his dream. Then he heard the rasp of fabric and the slide of a shoe on tile. A voice he recognized and had hoped never to hear again said, "You might as well open your eyes, Jellico. I know you're awake."

See? Things are getting better, more story, less bitching. Plus I had to use "Jellico" again, it's such a cool name.

Anybody out there?

Friday, July 11, 2008

Rainy Day = Good for Writing

I feel all energized and hopeful after last night's meeting. I hope you do too. Here's my prompt writing from last night:

July 10--Write about a postcard--How can you write what needs to be said on that little square of pasteboard? Once you write "Dear Mom" or whoever, you've used up at least a quarter of the space. Maybe we could make a rule that the address does double duty as the salutation. (I can't believe I remembered that word.) The picture on the reverse will tell the recipient where the postcard's from so there'd be no need to say stuff like "having a great time in Vladivostok" either. So maybe a simple "miss you" or even a friendly "I'm on vacation and you're at work" would suffice. And, let's be realistic here, how many people do they know who are vacationing in Marakesh? So unless you're sending the postcard from some ho-hum destination like Portland or Appleton, you don't really even need to sign the thing. Hmmm. I guess there is enough room on there after all.

Enjoy this rainy day and use at least part of it to write!

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Writer-ing Day!

Yippee! See you tonight, maybe we'll get a submission, maybe not, but we WILL write and we WILL be encouraged by our creativity and imagination, no matter how faint and awkward it may be. We will. Because I say so. So there.

July 9--Write what you wanted to do--"Please, I... " Her hand fell to her side, palm up, fingers curled in despair. She had been so certain that the job would be hers. So sure that she had been the best of the lot, that she would be the one in the sparkly gold costume and high-heeled tap shoes. But for all her rehearsing and lessons and trying to please, once again she was one of the ones shoving her taps in her bag, flinging on a sweater over her colorful scarf-made-into-a-skirt, chosen to catch the director's eye, and walking out into the autumn chill to catch the subway to her waitress job with the rest of the losers. All she needed was one chance and she knew she'd be set. She was not destined to schlep coffee and tuna on rye for the rest of her life. She was a dancer, an artist, damn it. She said it out loud. "An artist." The woman next to her nodded and looked her in the eye as if to say, sure you are, honey. That's when the tears began to flow.

Okay, I was pretty happy with this drivel last night and I still like it this morning. It's not great literature but it's slightly more interesting than what came before. I'll take it.

See you later.

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Fish in the Future

Here's a little something about a gate.

Richard sat in his van, waiting for someone inside the gate to buzz him in. Rain fell, making a racket above his head. The gate itself was a pretentious wrought-iron thing, with the letter K over the top. Right then, Richard thought the whole thing was over the top. The grounds inside the gate were wildly overgrown. Roses and hostas, their leaves big as an elephant's ear, yarrow, and big, gray bushes of Russian sage were squeezed together. Over on the right was the corner of a brick pool that disappeared into the teeming underbrush. Richard thought it looked like it might contain some of those big, multicolored carp sometimes seen in the lobbies of swank hotels. Later on, Richard would find out that he was exactly right. The intercom buzzed and crackled: "Follow the driveway around to the left. When you get to the house, pull in under the carport. Eldon will meet you there." The great gate opened, squealing on it's hinges. Richard pulled forward onto the grounds. "Eldon," he thought. "Eldon?"

Bob ;-)

B**tie Call (edited to deter spammers)

I'm sorry. I couldn't resist.

I finished the Summer Fields booties last night. I sit and watch the colors of the yarn stack up and I am so entertained by it. I'm very tempted to order some of every color of Landscapes from Lion Brand since no one in Green Bay carries the full line, but I'm resisting. That would be silly plus there are 11 colors and 3 skeins of each at $6/skein would be just too much moola.

I really like the pattern too. I've made it enough that I nearly have it memorized.

And I cast on the Right Front of the Red Licorice Sweater before I turned in last night. I'm a knitting machine. But I still want to smoke. And I want to RIGHT NOW. Sorry, I'll be going to work now.

(Between the time I signed off, left for work, and signed on here I got two spam comments! Two! I know, I know, I shouldn't have put that word in the title of my post, but really. So now commenters have to type a verification word. Stupid spammers.)

It's A Start

Jenny, neither Bob nor I are having much better luck. I'm thinking that just taking satisfaction in showing up at the paper no matter what comes out on the page is a step in the right direction. You've got an interesting idea in your little drivel. I like that it's salt water and that it keeps refilling. Bob said he may not have a submission on Thursday and I think it's not going to be the end of the world. Bring your Bananagrams and I'll bring a book and we'll muddle through. I told Bob that I didn't think we were in critical condition--yet--because we still write exercises when we're together. That's my theory and I'm sticking to it.

July 8--Write about a gate--Lucy's fingers looked like bones as she reached out to touch the wrought iron gate. Her hand shook and her nails looked like pools of blood against the stark white of her flesh. She looked at the generous garden stretching from the sidewalk to the porch steps, and thought it looked like something out of an early Hitchcock film or maybe one of those late '60s horror flicks with Bette Davis and Joan Crawford made up to look like grotesques. She smiled at her imagination and shook her head at how suggestible she was. The woman in that house down the flagstone path was her grandmother. No matter how angry Mama had been, she never wanted Lucy to hate or fear her grandmother. Lucy lifted the latch and pushed the gate inward, surprised that the metal hinges made no sound. As she stepped through and paused to close it behind her a chilly mist began to weave around her ankles and spread across the lush lawn and twine through the towering blue spruces that staggered toward the garage. Lucy stood bemused, tempted to probe the hedge for a smoke machine.

Okay. A week into writing daily and I see a little bit of story seeping into the gibberish. This is a good thing.

See y'all tomorrow night.

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

I'm trying to participate. I really am.

I've been making myself "write" -- well at least get out words, but I'm getting more and more frustrated and they're mainly strings of curse words. Since I'm not getting much of anywhere with the prompts, I decided to go with the idea of "postcards from the beach" since that Bob fish thing was fun. So this wasn't nearly as fun, but here's today's (and notice not a swear word in sight!)

The heat in the garden was agonizing. It had people doubled over stone toads and melting across wooden benches like clocks in a Dali painting. Giovanni knelt before the birdbath and poured fistfuls of tepid water over his head.

This is the miracle of the birdbath: its water filled eternally from some unseen well. The water was salted, naturally. If priests were to come with their scientists (or scientists with their priests) to test the pH or algae levels or any such variables, they would find the water was the same as the ocean's, the coast a pilgrimage away.

But there were no priests now, just garden-dwellers melting into the landscape and Giovanni -- if that really was his name -- kneeling before the birdbath, the salty water dripping into his eyes. "Sweet Jesus," he whispers, and, "Oh God, the heat."

Takin' A Short Break From Sweater-ing

I've been working hard knitting Red Licorice Sweater parts so it'll be wearable in September when I go back to camp but I decided to give myself a little break by knitting a couple of small, fast things before I cast on a sweater front.

I had been wanting to knit a Flamingo dishcloth so I bought some pink cotton and...

The head's not exactly right but it'll do for a dishrag.

Then the lure of Landscapes drew me in and I cast on a pair of these (BTW, I use ONE strand of Landscapes, not THREE!). I do love that yarn. I want three skeins of each color, even the pastel ones.

Stupid Gray Box

There I was, all ready to post my Sunday night writing yesterday morning, and I couldn't get online. Of course I had waited until too close to time to leave for work so I couldn't call Infinity to get help fixing it. As is my wont, I left and hoped that the passage of time would heal it; I'm a big believer in benign neglect. Don tried to get on yesterday--no luck. I tried late last night--nope. I even tried my laptop, for God's sake, which takes for freakin' ever to boot up--nada. So this morning I called tech support (which doesn't scare me because Infinity's tech support is on the east side of GB, not in Pakistan or a suburb of Bombay) and just got a callback from a nice young man named Dennis. All I had to do to fix the DSL was turn off the gray box and reboot it. That's it. Switch off, turn on, et voila! Internet. Bah. This IT tech stuff's a snap. (Oh, man, now I'm going to computer hell for sure for that smartass remark. Maybe I'd better buy an Ipod or something today to make up for it.) Enough of this computer crabbiness, on to Sunday night's writing.

July 6--So it has come to this--Here I sit alone in a pool of yellowish light listening to the raindrops tap on the window over my bed. I'm alone. I didn't mean to be alone at this stage in life. I meant to have someone there, someone on the other side of the bed, someone whose warmth would warm me on cold winter nights, whose arms would comfort me when the lightning and thunder are too close. At times someone was there that I thought might fill the bill, might want to spend his life with me, but I was always wrong. Evidently I'm not a very good judge of people, so I'm giving up. I've bought an electric blanket for cold winter nights and a white noise generator so I won't hear storms. My life is full. Why complicate it with love?

And from last night...

July 7--It was his idea of a good time--Who else but a guy would think something so boring and pointless is the height of fun? What could he possibly see in it? I mean, really. Sitting on hard splintery wood seats on the edge of a dusty field baking in the sun, drinking beer, and yelling obscenities. Oh yes, what girl could resist an invitation to spend a day like that? I can, that's for damned sure. Although I could maybe be talked into an afternoon of shoe shopping.

I'm not saying any of this is "great literature" most of it is barely drivel, but I'm excited to be putting out even these few words every night.

Great image in your piece, Bob. I felt like I was right there with you. See you in a few minutes, yard man.


Monday, July 7, 2008

Sticky Monday

"Even the ticket agent looked shopworn." I like this phrase a lot, Barbara, especially the way it flows off the previous sentence. Such feelings of loss and exhaustion... So here is the last time I cried.

Five women sit in chairs, waiting. Ceiling lights are off, just three lamps around the perimeter send light into this twilight room. The women are waiting for me to find a poem to read them. I am paging through a collection of Emily Dickinson, searching for something short, with not too many hard words. I ask if they remember Emily Dickinson. Some have memories yet from high school. I find a poem and begin reading. The women listen. This is the fourth or fifth poem of hers that I've read this afternoon, and I imagine that they may be getting used to the syntax. I know they appreciate the rhymes. I read: This is my letter to the world - That never wrote to me. So far, I'm doing fine. My voice is clear and my enunciation strong. But Emily has other plans. By the second line from the end, I have to stop and sigh, and my voice trembles. I make it through to the end, but I cannot continue. I have to tell them that I have to read some other poems, that these are making me cry.

Alright, I didn't start bawling, but I was right there at the edge.

Bob ;-)

Sunday, July 6, 2008

Lazy Sunday--I Hope

My plan for today is to not do stuff, because I have spent the last two days zipping through errands and chores--and I'm tired. I want a day off, a real day off. Although I know that I won't be able to resist doing a few things. But I'm going to try!

Nice drivel, Bob. Here's my latest:

July 5--Write about a time you cried--Tears flowed unchecked as Kay watched the small plane taxi away from the gate. Hot wind blew across the tarmac carrying the kerosene scent of aviation gas along with the clean smell of the sea right across the road. Kay watched as the yellowed white of the plane moved down the runway, the whine of the engines rising to an almost unbearable level as the front wheel lifted and it looked like it was trying to sit on its tail. The plane looked old and seemed poorly maintained, shabby, she thought. Even the ticket agent looked shopworn. What possessed Pat to fly with Windward Islands Air, an airline no one had ever heard of?

Not bad, but cut short because I was so sleepy.

Enjoy the sunny day!

Saturday, July 5, 2008

Here You Go...

Okay, Barbara. Here's some drivel I came up with about the morning after the 4th of July: In my neighborhood, black and white and tan plastic bags are piled at curbside. They've been out there two days now, baking in the sun's relentless heat. Trucks with over-slung back-ends move along the streets, stopping at the piles of bags and rubber garbage cans. Tanned men that travel with the truck wear bright yellow plastic tops over their shirts and orange gloves on their hands. They throw the bags in the back of the truck, tip the garbage cans in, then move on to the next house. Empty boxes that bottle rockets came in litter the lawns they pass. Sidewalks are marked with black where the rockets and roman candles were shot off. The faint tang of rotten eggs hangs in the air. And when the garbage truck comes around the corner again, there is that added aroma of decay, faintly sweet and bitter.

I'll try again Monday.

Bob ;-)

Sweater Back Finis!

See? I said yesterday how much I enjoy making raglan sleeve openings because of the whole decreasing thing and here's proof. Yesterday afternoon after weeding, then cleaning up and going to Walmart, I sat on the couch and knit and dozed and knit, and by the time it was suppertime I had a sweater back. With breaks to make deviled eggs, coleslaw, and Jell-o with fruit in it for our picnic supper, of course. Pretty cool, huh? And the tab of even knitting at the top matches the tab of even knitting at the top of the sleeves. D'you think they planned that?

We went to the farmer's market this morning and got fresh mozz, round zucchini & baby patty pan squash, tomatoes, some small-ish onions we're going to put on the grill with the zucchini and country pork ribs tonight, beets to roast, kohlrabi (because we wanted something different; we still haven't figured out what we'll do with them, but I'm on it as soon as I post this) and of course 3 Crab Rangoons for $2 for breakfast. Mmm, fresh veggies are the best--and even better bought from the people who grow them.

Post #500!

Hope everyone enjoyed their 4th. I weeded, ate my 3 blueberries, went to WalMart, made coleslaw, deviled eggs and Jello with fruit in, and we had a traditional Fourth of July picnic-type supper with brats on the grill. Just the two of us. It was a blast. And I finished the back of the sweater I want to wear to The Clearing in Sept., so the whole day was a triumph.

July 4--Write about a voice--That voice is a lot of why I fell in love with him. It flows through your veins like warm honey, sweet and soothing. I hear his voice and I smile, and any knots in my muscles relax. I can be irritated with him, frustrated by something he's done or not done, and still when I hear his voice on the phone I'm glad. Sappy, I know, but it's the best I can do at the moment.

Anybody else writing? Even a little? Hey, Bob, do you want me to lend you a prompt book too? I could bring a couple for you to choose from next Thursday if you'd like.