Category Archives: Writing

The Artists’ Retreat

It’s time once again for the Friday Fictioneers. This week, my offering is 92 words. The photo prompt was provided by Janet Webb.

“Are you sure this is it?” Rhoda asked. “This place looks a little . . . run-down.”

“Yeah,” Zeke answered after he switched off the ignition. “Everything’s just as my uncle said it would be.”

Rhoda snorted. “The fence is in better condition than the barn. Remind me, whose idea was this again?”

Zeke blushed. “It’ll be fine once we spruce it up a bit. I like it already.”

“You would,” Rhoda commented wryly. “You love anything that’s untameable.”

“I’m sure there’s enough here to inspire even you,” Zeke replied. “C’mon, let’s take a look inside.”

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The Vandal

Here’s my story for this week’s Friday Fictioneers; it’s 105 words long. This week’s photo comes from David Stewart.

“Checkmate,” Philippe whispered when he spotted her.

Adriana upended a cauldron over the priceless statue, molten metal cascading in clumps.

He crept out of his hiding place until he was inches behind her.

“You’re under arrest!” he exclaimed. He whipped out his handcuffs, poised to slap them on her.

But she elbowed him, and his knees crashed into the pavement. She grasped a chunk of his hair, yanking his head back, her brilliant blue eyes boring into his.

“Boy!” she spat. She bent down, her chestnut-brown hair brushing his cheek. It inflamed him.

She planted her lips on his. He was his own man no more.

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The Everyday Artist

Since I’m back to blogging occasionally, I thought I’d once again try my hand at the weekly Friday Fictioneers prompt. This week’s photo prompt is courtesy of Rich Voza. The challenge is to write a response that’s circa 100 words; mine is about 130 words. You’ll find it below the break.

**********

He landed the plane in the midst of a radiant dawn.

It took much too long for the passengers to disembark, the stewardesses to scamper off, the copilot to drift away.

But finally, solitude was his.

He enjoyed these fleeting snatches of bliss, when he was alone with the plane, basking in the sunrise.

It renewed his vigor, his hope, even as the world worked to drain his vitality.

He unwrapped a cigar and slipped it into his mouth as he studied the swirling orange-and-yellow horizon.

He didn’t light the cigar; he merely liked to taste the stem, to chew it, as he pondered the indefinable essence of things.

He cracked open his notebook, jotted down a few impressions.

It was enough to sustain him for the day.

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Hunkering Down

I’m so tired. But I’m still behind on NaNoWriMo. I’m on par for my goal, and I set that goal so that I wouldn’t get freaked out about not achieving whatever the ultimate goal was. I don’t like failing. But now I want to get to the NaNo goal, too, not just mine. Because that equals more success.

Why am I so far behind? It’s not like I have a full-time job. People with full-time jobs manage to keep up with NaNo. I must be deficient. Then again, when I read posts in my region’s NaNo Facebook group, people sometimes refer to writing while at work. I don’t do that. When I’m at work, I’m working. If I have downtime, then I’m grading or planning for class.

I feel the darkness consuming me again, or at least nipping at me, because it’s ever-present. I’m trying to hold on to it and use it for my novel.

I’m stuck right now in the novel. One of my main characters, the one with the mental health issues, is supposed to be brooding. I can’t think of anything for her to brood about. I think, well, maybe I should just pretend like I’m writing a blog entry. But she’s already too much like me–the mental issues, the lack of friends, etc. I don’t want her to be a carbon copy of me. But if I’m mining my mental health experiences for her, how can she not be? Methinks I must not have much creativity.

Well, she can brood about the past, I thought, like I occasionally do. Except I realized I know nothing about her past. I know nothing about my characters in general. They’re just placeholders in the plot. That’s how I always write. How can I produce character-driven work if I focus more on the novel’s plot than on the characters themselves?

Most writers know their characters intimately. I don’t. Well, I know their vibes, but I don’t know specifics, like what they majored in when at college. I must be a hack.

I think I’m exhausted or confused or both. For the past hour, my hands have been shaking much more than usual.

I just grab characters and throw them into the story. Or throw a story at them and let them loose. This doesn’t sound like the approach of a successful novelist.

Now that I’ve said my piece, I’m going to try to hunker down for a night of writing. Sorry, I know I’m getting so behind on blogs right now. Hopefully I can get out of the writing rut and have the story flowing again.

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Ye Olde Country Cafe

Rochelle provided this week’s prompt for the Friday Fictioneers. She’s also generously taken over management. Mine is 130 words. I’m afraid I can’t help being verboseYou can read the other stories here.

Bayard wouldn’t quit griping about his hunger, so we stopped in the next town. Little Chimney.

“What kind of name is that?” Bayard quipped.

Soon we found what seemed to be the only restaurant around. “Ye Olde Country Cafe.” Bayard snorted.

The bell tinkled as we entered the establishment. There was nary a soul in sight.

“Where’s the service?” Bayard complained.

“I don’t know,” I replied, “But I need to go to the bathroom.”

When I returned, I didn’t see Bayard anywhere. I ventured into the back room. The window opposite looked onto a gorgeous garden.

I couldn’t resist.

As flowery fragrances consumed me, a hand yanked me backward, another one clamping over my mouth. A knife grazed my collarbone.

“We don’t take kindly to trespassers here,” a voice rasped.

**********

I actually stopped in a place called Big Chimney once. I saw nothing but a gas station and a Hardee’s. It was a bit eerie.

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Soulsickness

Beyond the tundra

Furthest north

Lies the jagged, beautiful crystal.

Gorgeous lethality

At the globe’s summit,

One can see nothing for miles,

An eternity of ice.

Seemingly bright, but composed of the purest darkness.

The oblivion consumes me

Devours me

Insinuating itself within

Planting a seed in my heart

Rooted deep.

It cannot be exorcised.

I am tainted,

Leprosy of the soul.

Sequester me,

Lest I become a pariah.

How do I extinguish the scourge

Without destroying myself?

Must I accept its presence,

Forever there?

Even if the ice penetrates me so?

So cold that it burns?

I cannot ignore it,

For it tortures me so.

Perhaps like the saints of old

I can persevere through the pain.

But I am no saint.

Yet somehow

It must be borne

This frigid hell.

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X-Ray

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