Friday December 31st, 2010

The exercise:

Let us close out 2010 with four lines of prose about: paranoia.

It's been... quite the year. Incredibly busy, incredibly good. I'm about ready to slow things down a little, but still keep all the goodness.

On the cabin front: a few baseboards left to do, a bit of painting still needs to be done, some light fixtures, outlets, and light switches need to be replaced.

Screw it. We're moving in tomorrow.


There's mice in the walls, that's all, that's all. It's not government men, listening to all my phone calls. It's not an alien, hurt and trapped after a fall.

It's just mice, that's all... right?

Thursday December 30th, 2010

The exercise:

The prompt today: blame.

So it turns out it wasn't the nail gun's fault yesterday. Because the other nail gun stopped working this afternoon. Because the compressor has apparently done enough work for its lifetime. So Kat's dad is buying a new one, since this one is quite old and he'd been thinking about it anyway.

Oh, also: the building supply store was sold out of our baseboards so I couldn't get the last three we needed.

Hurray for frustrations!


You blame me,
I blame you,
But we're still
Stuck like glue.

Because... well,
Of this glue,
That somehow
Got on you.

And on me,
Thanks to you.
Yes it is.
It is true!

There you go,
Face all blue,
Yelling like
You're a shrew.

But we're still
Stuck like glue,
And the blame's
Still on you.

Wednesday December 29th, 2010

The exercise:

With 2011 fast approaching, today we write about: moving on.

Another light fixture went up tonight, some painting got done this afternoon, and a few more baseboards were put in tonight. If the frickin' nail gun hadn't died this morning, a whole lot more baseboards would be in right now. Ah well, tomorrow will hopefully see the remainder finished.


All our bags had been crammed into the taxi which was waiting at the curb out front. The house was empty, not a single sign of our presence remained. Twenty years erased in the space of a few days.

I stared around the living room, feeling nothing at all. I wondered if, now that all signs of life had been eradicated from between its four walls, it should now be called the dead room.

You placed an arm around my shoulders but said nothing. I was grateful for that. In the silence I could hear Kevin running across the floorboards upstairs, and Ginny washing dishes in the kitchen. It was almost like they were still with us.

"Well," I said after a final look around, "I guess it's past time we should be moving on."

Without another word, we exited the house and climbed into the cab. We left the door unlocked, as there didn't feel like there was any point in securing it. We had left nothing behind.

Tuesday December 28th, 2010

The exercise:

Two haiku about: home.

Had a lovely drive back to Osoyoos today. The sun was shining, there was hardly any traffic, and there was snow where it was supposed to be: anywhere and everywhere but the road.

Oh, I promised snowshoeing pictures from Mount Washington. Here's one by me:

And here's one Kat took of me:

So. Much. Snow.


Home is where my heart
was broken, so now I live
on the open road.

*     *     *

Four walls, a few doors,
five windows, floors and a roof...
yet it's so much more.

Monday December 27th, 2010

The exercise:

Let us begin this final week of 2010 with: the record.

This article is what inspired the prompt. But not my writing. That happens sometimes.

Thankfully I managed to get internet access here, because I totally forgot to schedule a post before leaving my parent's house. The trip to Vancouver went fairly smoothly, hopefully the same will be said after tomorrow's journey home.


Turn the lights down low,
Let all those busy thoughts slow;
You've got nowhere to go,
So let that mad wind blow.

That wild storm will pass,
But oh this moment will last.
Rain splatters against glass,
While Miles comforts with class.

Kind of Blue is here
To fill you with peace my dear;
This record is my seer
And this will be a good year.

Sunday December 26th, 2010

The exercise:

Your prompt: in the snowy woods.

Kat and I went showshoeing on Mount Washington this morning and it was beautiful. I'll share a picture at some point.

We're packing up and heading back to Vancouver tomorrow morning. We'll spend the night there and then it's back to Osoyoos for us. 


I had to hurry, as the tracks were quickly being filled with new snow. It felt like Mother Nature was working against me and for my prey.

Rude old cow, isn't she? Hardly playing fair at all.

I pushed onward, rifle at the ready and my eyes straining to catch any movement between the fluttering snowflakes and stolid tree trunks. At least the uniform blanket of white was in my favor - as long as the prick had any color on his body at all he'd stand out like a white politician in Harlem.

As I came to a small clearing in the woods the tracks disappeared. I stared at the snow before me, trying to make them reappear by force of will alone.

It was while I was in the midst of this fruitless task that I heard the gun cock in the tree above me.

Saturday December 25th, 2010

The exercise:

A four line poem about: Santa Claus.

Merry Christmas!


He travels the world
Creating millions of smiles;
What I wouldn't give
To have all of his air miles.

Friday December 24th, 2010

The exercise:

Four lines of prose about: elves.

Santa`s or otherwise, it matters not to me.

Christmas is less than an hour away here, but to those living where it has already started: I hope Santa was kind to you :)


The workshop grows quiet, the tools are put away. Their work is finally done, at least for this day. They gather outside to wave Santa on his way as he lifts into the sky on his mighty red sleigh.

And at last, with satisfied smiles, it is time for the elves to hit the hay.

Thursday December 23rd, 2010

The exercise:

Let us write about: traditions.

Quiet day inside. Stormy as heck outside. Ventured out into the wind and rain a couple times and managed to get this picture:


I grew up playing a lot of board games with my family. I don't remember exactly when I started playing Scrabble with my mom, but it quickly became my favorite game to play.

So now whenever I'm home I make sure to play at least once with her, as I don't get to play it much otherwise. Kat's more into Trivia Pursuit and when we play games with our friends it's usually more along the lines of Carcassonne and stuff like that.

Anyway, we played our traditional game tonight and it got me in a sentimental mood I suppose. So I thought I'd write a little about it and see what sort of traditions you guys would like to share.

Also: I won. (Sorry mom, had to say it)

Wednesday December 22nd, 2010

The exercise:

Safe and sound under my parent's roof once more, I bring you this prompt: the flood.

Had a smooth trip over to the island this morning as we thankfully beat the Christmas rush. Now to sleep in the same bed for the next five nights and get some rest before heading home to finish up the renovations. 

Both of my sisters and my brother-in-law will be arriving on Friday and then the whole gang will almost be here. Unfortunately my oldest sister's partner won't be joining us, as I believe he'll be with his family in San Francisco.


In the basement,
Up to my knees,
There's water
Where it should not be.

The streets are gone,
They're rivers now;
Let's turn the car
Into a scow.

The rain won't stop,
Our end is nigh,
So I guess I best
Say goodbye.

Tuesday December 21st, 2010

The exercise:

Two haiku about: outer space.

Not sure I'll have internet access today either, so I'm scheduling this just in case.

We're heading to my parent's tomorrow, where I'll definitely be able to log on. So until then, stay safe and have fun!


Silence engulfs me.
Other than the stars, I am
alone with my thoughts.

*     *     *

The final frontier.
Going where no human has...
Is that a Starbucks?

Monday December 20th, 2010

The exercise:

We're on the road today, heading for Vancouver. Not sure if I'll have internet access tonight, so this post is scheduled.

The prompt? Give me some captions for this National Geographic picture:


"Does anyone remember where we parked the car?"

*   *   *

"Hey, who invited the photographer to the party? Because I know I sure didn't."

*   *   *

"We really need to get another toilet - these lines are getting ridiculous!"

Sunday December 19th, 2010

The exercise:

Your prompt today: the teacher.

The last door is up (and even has its first coat of paint), the baseboards are installed in the living room, and the two exterior doors have trim around them. So that's it for renovations for the next week or so. 

We'd have done more but we had to stop early since...


So, somehow or another, I was convinced to help teach a class at Kat's yoga studio this afternoon. Still not sure how that happened.

It was a brand new class, created by Kat and one of her students, who happens to be very into art. They wanted to do a class that brought together restorative yoga, art, and music. They were getting together a week and a half ago to do a run through and I volunteered to be their guinea pig and to help them figure out the drumming portion.

At some point during that practice session it was decided that I would be better at teaching the music parts since I've taken some drumming classes and neither of them were very comfortable doing it. I took some time to think it over and eventually decided to do it.

For the record, I'm reasonably certain I've never taught anything in my entire life. Not on such a 'official' scale at any rate. And I've never had any interest in doing so.

Anyway, today was the introductory class and it went really well. Admission was by donation to the food bank, but we're starting a proper series that people have to pay for in the new year. Hopefully enough people enjoyed it today that they'll sign up for the classes in January.

At which point I would actually get paid for teaching.

So. Strange.

Saturday December 18th, 2010

The exercise:

A four line poem about: strange behaviour.

Allow me to share a song with you. It has been playing on repeat in my head since around 3:30 this afternoon: We have floors, we have floors, we even haa-ave two doors!

Ahem. So yeah, the floors are finished. The bathroom and one bedroom door are up. Tomorrow we'll get the last door up and as much of the baseboards done as time allows. Also: we really need to get a lot of those construction materials and tools out of the cabin so we actually have room to move in.

One week until Christmas! It appears I won't be doing a countdown like I have the last two years, just not enough time or energy to focus on it. I'll have to do something extra special next year.


The celebration has begun,
As though a championship has been won!
Is that the cause of all this fun?
No, it's just because the flooring is done.

Friday December 17th, 2010

The exercise:

Four lines of prose about: broken.

Because it is Friday, not Saturday. Friday. Hear that, brain? Stop thinking it's Saturday already.

I got one bedroom finished today, and we're into the final room. Progress was severely delayed (I'm tempted to say 'derailed') by a broken jigsaw blade, but the flooring is getting finished tomorrow, one way or another.

I'll be working on the final bedroom floor and Kat's dad will hopefully get some of the interior doors up. Well, at bare minimum we want the bathroom door installed before we move in. Which is probably going to happen after Christmas.

We're heading to Vancouver on Monday, then over to my parent's place on the island on Wednesday. Not sure exactly when we'll be back in Osoyoos, but we're hoping to be ready to move in when we do. We'll see how the next few days go.


"Bobby, did you break Mama's brand new vase?"

"No, Mama." Then, after a lengthy silence in which Bobby's mother gives him The Look, he says quietly, "Maybe."

"No dessert for two weeks, Bobby."

Thursday December 16th, 2010

The exercise:

Today we're: plugged in.

Because the cabin got hooked up with the internet today.

The laminate is in around the closet, leaving the rest of the bedroom to go, which is very straightforward. Kat's dad is taking tomorrow off work, so the plan is for him to get started on the other bedroom while I finish up the one that's been started. If the laminate isn't finished tomorrow, it's going to be awful close.


After a miserable day at work, James just needed to escape. An hour away from reality, that would set him back to rights. Then he could face another dinner alone, another lonely night in bed.

He tapped the entry code into the keypad outside his apartment and stepped inside after the door slid silently open. Dropping his briefcase in the entranceway, he moved into the living room and collapsed into his favorite armchair. Years of use had shaped it into a tight, welcoming embrace for his lanky frame.

James pulled the cable out of the right arm and tucked his chin against his chest. Reaching back with practiced ease, he plugged it into the jack at the back of his neck. A sigh of relief escaped his lips as his dull living room was replaced by a computer generated image of paradise.

Unfortunately for James, the sigh covered the sound of his bedroom window being forced open.

Wednesday December 15th, 2010

The exercise:

Today we go to: the river.

Living room is finished, starting on the first bedroom tomorrow. Might even finish it, if working in and around the closet isn't too much of a pain.


Rushing water brushes
His dangling toes,
While his mind swirls with thoughts
That only he knows.

The sun kisses his brow
In farewell today,
Before the river takes
His soul far away.

Tuesday December 14th, 2010

The exercise:

Two haiku about: stars.

Things went much more smoothly with the laminate this evening - we managed to get half the living room done. If we can get the rest of the room finished tomorrow then we'll only have the two bedrooms left. Fingers, they be crossed.


Look! A shooting star!
Make a wish and hope that it's
not a UFO.

*     *     *

They watch us at night,
like the twinkling eyes of
a million angels.

Monday December 13th, 2010

The exercise:

Our writing today shall take place: on the subway.

Well, we got the laminate started tonight. Hopefully we get it figured out tomorrow and things start to move a bit more quickly.

On the positive side of things: the painting (other than the interior doors) is finished! Also: I set up an appointment to get our internet hooked up down there on Thursday.


There are only four other people in the subway car with me and I don't like the looks of any of them. The kid blaring his music loud enough to share with the rest of us probably has a gun somewhere in those ridiculously baggy jeans. Maybe even a sniper rifle down a pant leg or something.

I bet the girl in the glasses pretending to read her book has enough explosives in her backpack to send us all to heaven and back, twice over. I'm on to her game.

The woman speaking softly into her cellphone? Arranging a drug deal. I can see it in her eyes.

And the old guy who wants us all to think he's sleeping is definitely a serial killer. Though I'll admit the drool is a nice touch. Quite convincing.

I lift my newspaper higher but keep my eyes bouncing between the lot of them. I'm ready for whatever is about to happen. One false move and the dynamite strapped to my chest will show them all who the boss is in here.

Sunday December 12th, 2010

The exercise:

Today we're going to revisit the first line prompt. I'll give you the start of your first line and you take it from there, in whatever direction you choose, poetry or prose.

Here you go: The burglar moved through the house...

More painting done this afternoon, leaving only one last coat of paint on one wall for tomorrow morning. Kat and I also had our first meal in the cabin, as we warmed up our lunch in the oven and sat at our freshly moved in dinner table in our freshly moved in chairs.

Flooring tomorrow night!


The burglar moved through the house, wincing as his erratic heartbeat seemed to echo off the walls. His bare palms were slick with sweat and he wiped them on his pant legs as he came to a stop at the bottom of the stairs. Peering up into the darkness, he listened intently but heard no signs of movement. Releasing a breath he hadn't realized he was holding, he carried on into the living room.

He wished a flashlight had been allowed but the rules were firm: no lights, no weapons, no gloves. Just get in, get the goods, and get out. It was up to him to figure out how to do that without leaving any fingerprints.

Sliding one foot in front of the other, he made his way across the hardwood floor. He resisted the temptation to look out the front window, knowing that they'd be watching and waiting to pick him up once the job was done. It wasn't lost on him that they would be gone at the first whiff of the cops.

His mother had warned him to stay away from them but what choice did he have? His family needed the money to avoid getting kicked out of their apartment and reputable employers weren't exactly knocking the door down to offer him a decent job.

He forced himself to focus on the present as he eased the painting off the wall to reveal the safe it had been concealing. They'd provided him with the combination, though he had no idea how they'd gotten a hold of it. He told himself it didn't matter as he turned the dial with trembling fingers.

As the safe clicked open the alarm shrieked through the house. He grabbed the envelope lurking inside and ran for the door as footsteps sounded on the floorboards overhead. 

He was reaching for the door handle when the first bullet tore through the back of his left leg.

Saturday December 11th, 2010

The exercise:

A four line poem about: ice.

Snow is falling, we're sitting by the fireplace after a dinner featuring roasted chicken. This afternoon I did some painting while Kat moved some stuff into the (essentially) finished kitchen. It's been a good day.

Tomorrow's plan: get the first coat of paint on the last living room/kitchen wall, move some more stuff into the kitchen, maybe get started on painting the interior doors.

But for now, I rest. And hope that Georges St. Pierre knocks Josh Koscheck into next week in a little less than an hour.


In the middle of a frozen pond,
Isaac lay on his back.
He marveled at the stars above,
Until he heard a crack.

Friday December 10th, 2010

The exercise:

Four lines of prose about: magic.

Because we're off to see the latest Harry Potter movie in about ten minutes :)

More painting got done today, still on track for Monday night flooring.


"I don't think you cast the spell right," I told Jerry as I took a step back.

"Nonsense! I did it just like it said in the book," he countered, holding his ground.

My last thought before I turned and fled from the slavering monster Jerry had summoned was that Jerry had never been a very good reader.

Thursday December 9th, 2010

The exercise:

Today we're writing about: the professor.

Got some painting done today. The current plan is have all the painting finished by Monday night, at which point the laminate will begin to go down. And then we'll get the baseboards in. And then we shall move in.


"What did the professor call you in for?"

"I don't know."

"Maybe it's something good then?"

"No. The professor's reward for being good is to not call you into his office."

"That's true. Well, that last guy's been in there a while now. Maybe his hours will be over before he gets to us."

"Yeah, that'd be nice. So what did you do to get this dubious honor?"

"Fell asleep during his lecture."

"Oh. Oh dear. I've heard what he does to people that do that."

"Bah. That's just a stupid rumor. It can't possibly be true."

"Is that right? Well then, maybe we should check with the guy coming out of his office now. You know, the guy with his eyelids sown together?"

Wednesday December 8th, 2010

The exercise:

At g2's request (insistence?), in honor of Pretend to be a Time Traveler Day the prompt shall simply be: the time traveler.

Now also seems like a good time to re-recommend The Time Traveler's Wife.

Tonight we finished off the kitchen counter and finally got the trim around the bathroom window. So now we have painting and flooring left, for the big jobs.



The man stood at the corner of 5th Avenue and Davis Street, his gaze alternating between the sky and the rather large silver watch on his left wrist. The crowds parted around him, many of them giving his mismatched shoes or too-small leather jacket a second or third glance. The rest simply ignored him, too caught up in their own important business to notice or care.

With an aggravated sigh the man spun on his heel and stormed toward the newsstand half a block away. The vendor eyed him warily as he snatched one of the locals from the middle shelf and shook his head.

"Not the good news you were hoping for?" the vendor asked.

"This doesn't make any sense," the man muttered, again checking his watch. "They were supposed to come for me at exactly ten minutes past eleven in the morning on August 12th. And it's already twelve minutes past the hour!"

"Well, I may have no idea what the heck you're talking about," the vendor said with an uneasy laugh, "but I do know that today is August 21st."

The man's face went pale and the paper slipped from his suddenly numb fingers, fluttering to the pavement like an ink-stained butterfly. He couldn't believe it. His dyslexia had yet again cost him another year in the past.

Tuesday December 7th, 2010

The exercise:

Two haiku about: the drunkard.

Lazy day today, had a nice sleep in after getting up early yesterday and knowing I have to get up early again tomorrow. I'm bringing the car up to Penticton to get it inspected before the warranty runs out next week.

Random picture I took yesterday:


Whiskey in his veins
and cigar smoke in his lungs,
he's unstoppable.

*     *     *

He talks too much and
listens too little. The wine's
in control again.

Monday December 6th, 2010

The exercise:

Today we write about: Christmas lights.

Too soon? Nah. Plus, this Coldplay song is stuck in my head something fierce.

Did some painting and kitchen sink work today. Oh, and we finally got the medicine cabinet off the floor and onto the bathroom wall (where it will hopefully be safer from harm). The sink just needs a few more parts and it'll be all hooked up - maybe tomorrow night.

I need to get on my Christmas writing. Dad, if you're reading this, send me your words already! :)


His wife stood in the front yard being swallowed by her parka as she stared up at him on the roof. He gave her an encouraging wave which was not returned.

"You're sure this won't be a repeat of last year?" she called up to him. "And the five years before that?"

"Nope, I've got it all figured out this time around," he replied, adjusting the life-size Santa ornament so that it could be more easily seen from street level. "I promise!"

"But it looks like you have even more lights this year," she countered, eyeing the double string along the fence and the fir tree in the front yard that was struggling to remain upright under the weight of all its decorations. "Like, twice as many."

"That's why I have four backup generators going! Don't worry, sweetheart! It's going to be amazing!"

He climbed down the ladder and joined her in the front yard. Wrapping an arm around her shoulders, he produced a remote control from his pocket and aimed it at the house. With a wink at his wife, he pressed the button.

And the power went out in the entire neighborhood for the seventh consecutive year.

Sunday December 5th, 2010

The exercise:

Today we write about: bubbles.

This morning we installed the linoleum in the kitchen, this afternoon we put in the new counter, and this evening we almost finished installing the new kitchen sink. After yesterday's frustrations, today went amazingly well. Other than a few air bubbles in the linoleum that I'm hoping will work themselves out.

At some point this week we'll start putting in the laminate. It's been a long time coming.


Henri Durand lives in a well protected mansion in the middle of the countryside west of Toulouse. It is equipped with state of the art security equipment and guards patrol the perimeter twenty-four hours a day. A ten foot wall surrounds the heart of the property and the man has not been seen outside them in the last ten years.

Henri is responsible for hundreds of innocent men and women dying every week. He used to take a more direct role in those murders, but now he sits in his sanctuary and keeps his hands clean, waving his telephone and mouse like a demonic orchestra conductor might move his baton.

He believes he is safe there. Untouchable, even.

But me and my sniper rifle are about to burst his million dollar bubble.

Saturday December 4th, 2010

The exercise:

A four line poem about: the chef.

Well, we removed the old countertop and kitchen sink and picked up the new counter from the store today. And that's about it.

Unfortunately it's not as simple as sticking the new one where the old one sat - we bought an eight foot section of counter, which is about a foot longer than the previous one. That place is in desperate need of more counter space, but now we have to do some construction to extend the old counter to where we want it. There are other complications as well but I can't be bothered to get into them right now. I'll show you in pictures eventually.

Anyway, hopefully we'll get it finished tomorrow.

Also, in other news: three weeks until Christmas!


He's in the kitchen,
Red-faced and screaming,
While all of his staff
Are off daydreaming.

Friday December 3rd, 2010

The exercise:

Four lines of prose about: the assassin.

Got a bit more work done on the cabin today, and tomorrow we tackle the new kitchen counter. Hopefully all goes reasonably smoothly.

Finally starting to get used to not having to write madly every day.


The poison-tipped blade was still concealed within his sleeve as he closed in on his target. The room was crowded, the air bursting with drunken conversation and too-loud music, just the sort of perfect chaos he liked to work with.

The man he'd been hired to kill was seated facing away from him on a large black sofa, surrounded by beautiful, stupid women who would not notice he was dead for at least five minutes.

A mere three feet away, the assassin let his dagger fall into his hand as he readied for the blow; but just as he did so an intoxicated partygoer stumbled into him, causing the tip of the blade to slice open the assassin's middle finger.

Thursday December 2nd, 2010

The exercise:

Let us write a scene in: the library.

Quiet day today. That's a good thing.

Oh, here's a picture of one of the birds that left those footprints the other day:

Took that picture through the window, otherwise I never would have gotten that close. Damn birds could barely hold still for half a second.


I walk down the rows
Of mystery books,
Romances, fantasies,
And books by crooks.

I move deeper,
Where the grey dust
Lies heavy and thick,
Like literary rust.

Here the light is poor
And the reading rich,
If you happen to know
Where to find the right niche.

Here's the tome I seek
To help me move my pawns...
But wait, what is this?
All the pages are gone.

Wednesday December 1st, 2010

The exercise:

Today we welcome December with writing that takes place: in the airport.

Well, that was a nice, relaxing day. No need to write 2,000 words really opens up the day. Even if I did feel a little lost at a couple points.

This afternoon I finished up the interior window trim (with help from my lovely assistant Kat) and this evening Kat's dad and I got the bathroom another big step towards completion. So all that's left right now before we can move in: a good deal of painting, some sealing work in the bathroom, install new kitchen counter, and putting in the laminate flooring.

That sounds like a lot, but compared to where we started it feels like hardly anything to me.


The man stands staring blankly at the black and white television displaying departure and arrival times. His flight has been delayed, again. He is unsure if this is the sixth or seventh time, and even less sure if the number matters.

He needs a shower, a fresh change of clothes, some sleep. But he has access to none of those things. The airport is rustic, to be kind, and there are no showering facilities to be found. His luggage is being held captive by the airline, or the baggage handlers, or someone. It doesn't matter - whoever has it, that person isn't him. And sleep? He is on his own, with unscrupulous men all around (not least of whom is the security guard). Falling asleep means getting robbed, at best.

So he continues to stand, flies circling his head, cigarette smoke polluting his nostrils. He just wants to get home but is beginning to despair of ever seeing his front door again.

Then the power goes out in the entire building, casting everything and everyone into darkness, and the man's day somehow manages to get worse.

Tuesday November 30th, 2010

The exercise:

On this, the last day of November, we shall write two haiku about: footprints.

There were some little birdies walking around outside my window this morning:

Going to try to hit 60,000 words for November tonight. Update later.

Update: day thirty. Managed to hit my target. I am looking forward to not feeling the need to write 2,000 words tomorrow.


Footprints in the snow,
turned pink by your dripping blood,
make you easy prey.

*     *     *

Candy wrappers and
crushed beer cans? It seems that you
left more than footprints.

Monday November 29th, 2010

The exercise:

Let us write about: the night shift.

Because I just saw a truck go by, clearing snow from the road.

Had a day of rest today before hitting the renovations again tomorrow. I'll see what I can do about cutting and fitting some more window trim and then in the evening hopefully I can do some more work on the bathroom with Kat's dad.

Second last day of NaNoWriMo writing is going okay. Update to come.

Update: day twenty-nine. One more day and then... I'm going to have to take a break, unfortunately. The story will be finished, however. Just not this year. It's time to focus on other things for a little while, Christmas in particular.

I'm not very happy about not finishing the story this month, but I think I gave it my best shot. I'll be sure to let you know when I start working on it again.


Gary sat staring at his computer, the words on the screen blurring just enough to make him rub his eyes. Opening them again, he began reading the article from the beginning for at least the tenth time.

"I should just give up and get some sleep," he mutters, but he doesn't shift from his seat. The lights are out in his study, only the white glow from his laptop illuminating the crowded space. There are open notebooks and pens and pencils scattered all around the desk, and several reference books have set up a perimeter around his feet.

He had stopped being productive at least an hour ago, but he didn't want to face the morning without having accomplished something tonight. So he starts the article over for the eleventh time.

There is no wife waiting for him to come to bed - she left long ago, having tired of his inattention and the complete lack of progress he had made in his work. If he was going to ignore her for his pursuit of money and fame, she had observed on her way out the door, he could at least have some hope of attaining either if he wanted her to stick around.

Gary didn't really mind her leaving though. There was less distraction this way, no nagging feeling of guilt to bother him while he worked. It was easier this way, he kept telling himself. Over and over until he believed it. He didn't yet, but that was only a matter of time.

And so he began reading the article for the twelfth time.

Sunday November 28th, 2010

The exercise:

Let us write about: the fair.

Kat and I went up to Penticton today to check our their Community Christmas Fair. Let's just say that it didn't quite measure up to what we were used to seeing in Vancouver. At least we were able to pick up a few Christmas presents.

Going to give the NaNoWriMo story another go this evening. Update later.

Update: day twenty-eight. Figured something important out, feeling good about things again. Only two days to go!


I ride the roller coasters,
I drive the bumper cars,
And though I'm always moving,
I don't get very far.

I eat the cotton candy,
I snack on deep fried bull,
And though I'm always chewing,
I don't get very full.

There is magic in the air,
There is joy all around,
And though I should be going,
There's more fun to be found.

Saturday November 27th, 2010

The exercise:

A four line poem about: the author.

See what I did there?

It's a balmy three degrees out today, so I'm thinking of taking a trip to the beach, maybe do some tanning.

Update: day twenty-seven. Just couldn't get going today. Hopefully tomorrow will be better.


He writes with ink-stained fingers,
Happily unknown;
If he didn't hear voices,
He'd feel quite alone.

Friday November 26th, 2010

The exercise:

Four lines of prose about: the poet.

Reno work continues - today we began putting up the inside trim on the windows, and Kat put primer on pretty much the remainder of the walls that still need painting. Tomorrow there will be more window trim work and getting the bathroom closer to completion and more painting.

Haven't done any writing yet. It'll be interesting to see how it goes, now that word count doesn't matter - it's just all about moving the story towards completion. I'm reasonably certain it's not going to happen before the end of the month. Blargh.

Update: day twenty-six. T'was nice writing without worrying about how many words I'd cobbled together.


He sits at the window, rhymes and metaphors tumbling together in his mind. They form beautiful images and powerful lines as they coalesce into the most important poem in the history of the written word. With excitement racing through his veins like cracked out rabbits, he picks up his pen and prepares to fill the blank page with his genius.

Only, the ink has run dry.

Thursday November 25th, 2010

The exercise:

Welcome to the 900th day in a row of Daily Writing Practice. I think I shall celebrate the occasion by writing the 50,000th word in my NaNoWriMo novel this evening.

Ah, right. A prompt, you say? How about... the random CD prompt?

Go pick a song at random - use YouTube, your iPod, a CD you pick out of your collection with your eyes closed - and use its first line as the first line of your poetry or prose today. Click the label at the bottom of the post to see how things went in our many previous attempts.

Update: here you shall find day twenty-five, wherein lies my 50,000th word. As with last year's magic word, it comes courtesy of Kat. Though I must say that 'home' was a whole lot easier to work in than 'bunny' was last year.


Cocoon by Jack Johnson

"Based on your smile, I'm betting all of this might be over soon," I said, squirming feebly.

The dragon snorted, black smoke billowing from his nostrils. The stench was overwhelming, but it was still better than the flames I had been expecting. He dragged me further into his cave, my back gouged by sharp rocks and what I suspected were human bones - I never opened my eyes to confirm that though.

Still smiling his wicked, sharp toothed smile, he flung me against the back wall, my shoulder meeting stone with a sharp crack. The pain was intense but I fought against the darkness threatening to steal my consciousness. If I passed out I wouldn't have a chance to escape.

Not that my odds were significantly better awake. But, you know, positive thoughts equal positive outcomes, or some crap like that.

"I don't suppose a big sack of gold would convince you to let me live?" I asked, shifting to a sitting position.

"Human," the dragon rumbled before shooting a column of flame at the ground at my feet, "please shut up. You are giving me a terrible headache."

My jaw dropped open and then I snapped it shut, my teeth clicking together painfully. This was not going at all like I expected it would.

But perhaps, I reflected as the dragon sat down on his hind legs, that was a good thing.

Wednesday November 24th, 2010

The exercise:

Let us write about: the thief.

Still cold out today, but at least the wind took the day off. It's supposed to get back up to around zero in the coming days, which seems more... November'ish to me.

Writing is going slowly today. Update to come.

Update: day twenty-four. Just under 1,000 words to go before the official 'win'. I would be looking forward to that a whole lot more if there wasn't so much story left to tell.


"Can you describe the perpetrator for us, ma'am?" the police officer asked, notepad at the ready.

"Of course I can!" The woman looked shocked to be even asked such a question.

"I didn't mean to offend you, ma'am. It's just that many robbery victims are so traumatized by the experience that they have difficulty recalling important details - you know, like height, hair color, that sort of stuff."

"He's five foot nine, one hundred and sixty-five pounds. Brown hair and eyes, walks with a slight limp. Oh, he also has a small scar below his right eye."

"Wow, that's incredible! And you're sure about all this?"

"How could I not be?" she asked, looking at the man as though he might not be completely right in the head. "He is my husband, after all."

"Ah... I see. And what exactly did he steal?"

"Oh, officer," she said sadly, slumping against the door frame. "That man stole my heart!"

Tuesday November 23rd, 2010

The exercise:

Two haiku about: music.

Rest is good. Writing is going okay. Update later.

Hmm, with even a half assed effort I could have turned the above into a haiku. Oh well.

Update: day twenty-three. On track to hit 50,000 words on Thursday.


He never dances
when the music plays; he fears
his own two left feet.

*     *     *

The hills come alive
at the sound of music - so
please use your headphones.

Monday November 22nd, 2010

The exercise:

We're going to try something a little different today. Inspired by something Summerfield wrote here in response to a prompt a few days back, we're going to do up some fake business cards. The sillier the better, I reckon.

Finished all the caulking that can be done right now today, as well as chopped up some more firewood. The fireplace is working fantastically in the cabin - I was able to work in just a t-shirt and jeans again. But I am very, very tired and I will be taking tomorrow off.

Writing... should be interesting tonight. My brain is not firing on all cylinders at the moment.

Update: day twenty-two. Not totally happy with it, but there it is. Hoping to get the words moving tomorrow.


Consistently wrong for over thirty years - Brad Anderson, Weatherman

I get paid to make stuff up - Mildred Williams, Author

Dragon problems? I can keep you safe all knight long - Sir Dustin Drake, Dragon Slayer

Need someone to whip it out and squirt white stuff all over your home? Stan's your man! - Stan Davies, Professional Caulker

Defending the innocent, the guilty, and everyone in between since 1995 - Sam Gray, Lawyer

Sunday November 21st, 2010

The exercise:

Today we get to write some science fiction. Because I very, very rarely write sci-fi and I wanted some practice.

We finished installing the fireplace in the cabin today, and I finished a major phase of the caulking. It'll be good to have some more heat in there, because it's bloody cold out there. Stupid wind didn't stop blowing all day.

Novel writing? Yeah, I should maybe start working on that now.

Update: day twenty-one. Hurray for getting on a late night roll. Me sleep now.


Richard maneuvered his spacecraft into the docking station with practiced ease, barely noticing the loud click that indicated a secure attachment. Powering down with the flick of several switches, he unbuckled and made his way to the rear of the craft.

He gathered his bags from his sleeping quarters and walked to the exit door at the right side of the ship. He was distracted, his thoughts focused on seeing his wife for the first time in three weeks and not on where he was going or his surroundings.

So Richard didn't notice the creature that followed in his wake, blending into the shadows and moving on silent, padded feet. So he left the door open behind him as he stepped into the space station, knowing that it would close automatically after five seconds. Which was more than enough time for the creature to slip through unseen.

It would be another two days before the creature would make its move. Later, there would be reviews of the visual recordings and much finger pointing. But initially there was no time for that.

People were too preoccupied just trying to stay alive.

Saturday November 20th, 2010

The exercise:

A four line poem about: predictions.

There was no new snow here today. That was good, since Kat had to drive to Penticton for a class, but I was looking forward to a nice blanket of white. It still got very, very cold though. Chopping wood was slightly less fun than usual.

Writing update later. Working on getting past the 40,000 word mark.

Geez, that sounds like a lot.

Update: day twenty. Less than 10,000 words to go until 50,000. A lot more to go until the story ends. The race continues...


I thought you'd go right,
But then you went wrong.
So it looks like I
Have to say so long.

Friday November 19th, 2010

The exercise:

Four lines of prose about: cold.

Snow arrived here while I was sleeping last night. Here is one of several pictures I took before I remembered I should eat some breakfast:

A lot more is forecast to be coming tomorrow, so I shall probably have another picture or two for you then. Novel writing is ongoing, update to come later.

Update: day nineteen.


We had locked all the doors and windows that night, knowing that he would be trying to enter our home while we slept.

We tossed some extra wood in the fireplace. Brought out our warmest blankets.

But Cold still found an untended crack to slither through a few hours before dawn and we paid dearly for our mistake.

Thursday November 18th, 2010

The exercise:

Today brings us: dirty work.

We bought a new kitchen sink, kitchen faucet, and five light fixtures today for the grand total of $3.58. Hurray for using Air Miles on gift certificates!

NaNoWriMo, I hear you ask? Here is day eighteen.


This evening I went down to the cabin with Kat's dad to work on getting the fireplace installed upstairs and to learn how to caulk. I only had time to do a small section but the difference was amazing.

It is messy stuff, but that didn't stop me from enjoying using it. It's a very simple, quick way to cover up gaps and I'm looking forward to hopefully finishing up what needs to be done tomorrow. Things are really coming together now. There's painting to be done and cupboard doors to be put up, the kitchen counter and sink need to be installed, and the laminate needs to go in. Several other jobs as well that I'm forgetting at the moment. But I feel like the end is almost in sight.

And then I shall celebrate the day we move in by burning my work jeans.

Because those things are beyond filthy at this point.

Wednesday November 17th, 2010

The exercise:

Let's go with: the detective.

Writing update later.

Update: day seventeen. The word count is a bit off on this one, since I kept going past midnight in order to finish at a good place. Ah well, just makes for a head start on tomorrow.


"What do we got today?"

The lab geek jumps a foot and a half. He looks like he wants to tell me off but thinks better of it. Smart kid.

"One dead, via a gunshot to the head. Bullet entered here, came out here." He rotates the image on his computer screen so I can see the exit wound. "Only prints on the gun belong to the deceased. No sign of break and entry, all the doors were bolted from the inside."

"So you're calling it a suicide?" I ask, lighting a cigarette.

"Looks like a pretty open and shut case, detective," he says, waving the smoke away from his face. Ah, he's one of those.

"Sure seems that way."

So why is my gut telling me it's not?

Tuesday November 16th, 2010

The exercise:

Two haiku about: water.

I've already cracked 2,000 words for today but I'm hoping to do a bit more. Will update in a bit.

Update: day sixteen is finally up. Sorry, Protagonize was down for a while there and I couldn't post it. Now I sleep.


Falling from the sky,
drowning the whole world as I
kiss your love goodbye.

*     *     *

Water in my eyes
since you let your balloon fly -
now off comes my tie!

Monday November 15th, 2010

The exercise:

I'm back in Osoyoos, to bring you: the babysitter.

While we were in Vancouver we were staying with Kat's friend Susi. Susi and her husband have a little boy named Owen (yes, that's where the king's name came from) who turned two yesterday. He is adorable. Anyway, we spent some time watching him to give his parents a little break, so that's where the prompt came from.

Did more writing that I expected to over the weekend, but I'm still working on today's portion. Will update once all three days have been posted.

Update: here you go - day thirteen is here. Day fourteen is here. And today's writing is right around here.

These are really the first few chapters that I didn't properly look over before posting, so please let me know if you see anything terribly amiss.


"Harold and I went out for dinner and a movie last night."

"Oh, how nice! Who did you get to watch the kids?"

"You know Darlene, the Sutter's daughter?"

"Oh yes, lovely girl. Did your boys like her?"

"Well, I think they would've liked her better if she didn't take her job title quite so literally."