Sunday February 28th, 2010

The exercise:

This late night post is brought to you by the Canadian men's hockey team and the Vancouver 2010 Closing Ceremonies.

Your prompt: emotional roller coaster.

Mine shall be a recap of my thoughts during the gold medal hockey game this afternoon. I didn't do this while watching the game, but it's all pretty vivid for me still.



Man, Canada versus U.S.A. on the last day of the Olympics. This is either going to be a great end to the games or put a real downer on things.

1st Period

Canada goes up 1 to 0

Woo hoo!

2nd Period

Canada goes up 2 to 0


The U.S. score to make it 2 to 1

Alright then, game on.

3rd Period

Hang on... hang on... maybe score one more for some breathing room? Hang on...

The U.S. score with 25 seconds remaining

*expletives deleted*

Between the 3rd Period and Overtime

It's not a big deal if Canada loses. I'll get over it pretty quickly. It's just a hockey game.

Man, who am I kidding?


(I'm watching the online video stream, which has a delay)

Why are there horns honking outside? Did... no... did they?

Thirty seconds later

No, the stream can't be that delayed. Oh, people are cheering now... did...

Canada turns the puck over in their own end, a U.S. player has a clear shot on net

If those are Americans I hear cheering I'm going to be hella pissed.

Big save, Canada takes it back the other way

More honking and cheering? Did they... come on... come on...

Sidney Crosby scores the game winning, gold medal winning, Canada winning goal

*total freak out*

Saturday February 27th, 2010

The exercise:

Last night was good times. Lots of laughs with good peoples. Even a little bit of writing got done :)

I didn't get home until quarter to two so I'm feeling a little bagged today. But I really enjoyed getting to meet everyone last night and I'm looking forward to more Protagonize meet-ups in the future - maybe even a massive one that could become an annual event. 

That would be sweet.

Your four line poem this week, in honor of Canada tying the Winter Olympics record just now, is: gold rush.

Team Canada gets a rematch against the Americans in the men's hockey final tomorrow for a shot at breaking the record.


Alright lads, let's circle up the wagons
Because sweet Lord at last we done struck gold!
So get yourself ready for enemies
Whose naked greed will make your blood run cold.

Friday February 26th, 2010

The exercise:

In a touch of a rush over here, so I'll get right to it.

Your four lines of prose this week shall be about: pub night.


I'm going out to a pub tonight for my first face to face encounter with other writers on Protagonize. Scheduled to appear are locals Nickb (creator of Protag) and Asheyna, and all the way from the UK Dark Liquid (a fellow moderator) and his wife Druidx.

I'm both excited and nervous and excited.

Though I imagine after a round or two I'll just be excited :)

Thursday February 25th, 2010

The exercise:

Yesterday was a good day for Canada at the Olympics - four medals (one gold, two silver, one bronze) and the men's hockey team beat Russia.

Today, not to be out done, we had the women's hockey team beat their arch rivals the Americans to take home the gold. Good stuff!

Your prompt has... nothing to do with either of those :) Here it is: the broken radio.


Covered in dust
And fragments of us,
The old radio
Doesn't know
Why it
Is silent.

It's not at fault
For playing that waltz
At just the wrong time,
Bringing to mind
The night in Paris
You cheated on me.

Covered in dust
And fragments of us,
The hammer doesn't know
Why its blow
Was required,
But I am too tired

To explain
This pain.

Wednesday February 24th, 2010

The exercise:

Those of you who were enjoying my Hard Road posts might be interested in checking this out.

Today's prompt: rivalry.


Team Canada versus Team Russia.

Men's hockey.

So much history. So much emotion. So much national pride on the line.

The game was meant to be played on February 28th. It was supposed to be for the gold medal.

Instead, Canada faltered in the early stages of the tournament. Now the two teams that together form one of the most storied rivalries in hockey history meet face to face tonight. The winner moves on to the semi-finals and a shot at bringing home a medal. The loser goes home. The puck is about to drop.

Game on.

Update one: 4 to 1 for Canada after the first period.
Update two: 7 to 3 for Canada after two periods.
Update three: 7 to 3 final. Bring on the semi-finals!

Tuesday February 23rd, 2010

The exercise:

Your (slightly later than usual) prompt for this week's Two Haiku Tuesday: through the woods.

Had an appointment to get my back worked on and then went for dinner with Kat tonight, thus the lateness.


Sun slips through branches
Bending low under the weight
Of last night's snowfall

*     *     *

Dead leaves underfoot,
Brittle as my ancient bones,
Leading me back home.

Monday February 22nd, 2010

The exercise:

So far, after ten days of the Olympics, my commute has suffered the following: one missed Skytrain. That's it. Equals about two minutes of my life. I suppose it helps that I've avoided downtown like the plague, but I normally go there about once every two months anyway, so no big sacrifice.

I mention the above because today's exercise is to pick a Winter Olympic sport and write a poem or short story about it. Or involving it, or however you want to include it.



Gliding through the wintry woods,
A rifle strapped to your back;
It’s easy to get lost in time,
Though it’s hard to get off track.

Do your eyes see hungry wolves
When you look at your rivals?
Do you wonder if this is sport
Or more about survival?

Pause to take aim at targets
That are stationary prey;
Now back to your skis to complete
The hunt in your ancestor's way.

Sunday February 21st, 2010

The exercise:

I think it's time to pull out the Random CD exercise. So go find a random song and use the first line as yours, either in poetry or prose.


Dixie Chicks - Favorite Year

We were young and so inspired;
We would drive and talk all night
And we would never get tired.

We always fought the good fight,
At least that's what we were told
When we spoke by candlelight.

But now we're not quite so bold,
We just don't want to get fired -
When did we become so old?

Saturday February 20th, 2010

The exercise:

This week's four line poems will be inspired by this picture from the October 2009 issue of National Geographic:


The sands had tried to swallow me
Ever since time began,
But I remained there peacefully
Until the dawn of Man.

Friday February 19th, 2010

The exercise:

Your four lines of prose this Friday shall be about: the rest stop.

Also (if you drop the 'the') a great song by Matchbox Twenty.


Eyes struggling to stay open, shoulder muscles burning, nerves pinching together in my butt like the cheeks of a child in the presence of an overly affectionate aunt... it was definitely time to pull the truck over and have a rest.

And then, as if a highway god had been monitoring my thoughts, the headlights of my old Ford found the sign: Rest Stop 500m. I breathed a long, noisy sigh of relief and pulled off where the sign indicated as I eased off the gas, my foot taking its sweet time to transfer over to the brakes.

As the front of the truck smashed through the rotting wood railing mere inches from the edge of the highway and I hurtled towards the mass of jagged rocks two hundred feet below, I remembered much too late that this stretch of road belongs to Loki.

Thursday February 18th, 2010

The exercise:

Your prompt for today: losing keys. Which also happens to be a great Jack Johnson song.

I kind of did a half-assed job with mine, since I did it after writing this, which kinda broke my brain.

And yes, I did consider making you guys do a sestina as well. But then I realized that was a fine, fine way to not get any comments and I relented.

Speaking of which: good luck to Greg and Archi in the Winter Poetry Tournament's final.


Have I lost my keys
Or just my mind?
It seems that old age
Is most unkind!

Now where did I place
My black notebook?
If I could just have
One little look

Inside its pages
I'm sure I'd find...
Whatever it is
That's on my mind.

Wednesday February 17th, 2010

The exercise:

Not only have I just completed the first draft of a story I've been working on for over a year, my last drumming class was last night too. I'm feeling kind of... adrift, at the moment. Like something's missing.

So today's prompt is: the void.


They had told the child to stay away. Filled his precious, fragile skull with dire warnings and terrible stories of those who had not listened to their parents. Promised that disobedience would result in grounding for life – should he survive the experience.

But it was not enough.

The boy sat on the edge of his father’s land, his tanned legs dangling in the impenetrable darkness like wooden stir sticks in black coffee. He stared, wide-eyed and completely captivated, into the Void while distant shouts went unheard. They were looking for him, desperately, a small part of his consciousness knew. He would return in another few minutes, that part of him decided.

It was just so black, he marvelled to himself. He’d never seen anything quite so solidly, unquestioningly black before. He had thought that his bedroom, in the middle of the night with the lights out and the curtains pulled shut, was the darkest thing that had ever existed. But now he knew better.

He scooped up a handful of dirt and released it into the Void. He had to lean all the way over, his chest resting against his knees, to watch its scattered tumble. It seemed to fall for a lifetime.

But it must land somewhere, he thought, his brow crinkled with concentration. Surely there was an end to the Void. There must be. But what lay on the other side?

There was, he decided suddenly, only one way to find out.

Tuesday February 16th, 2010

The exercise:

Last night I put up the final two chapters of the first draft of A Fighting Chance over on Protagonize. It took a while, but I finally got there. Now the fun part awaits: the rewrites.

I'm not sure when I'll get started on it, as I definitely need to give it some mental space. I also have Lessons in the Dust (my NaNoWriMo novel) waiting on me, which I plan on tackling first. I'll let you know when I get started and how it goes.

Anyway, this week's Two Haiku Tuesday prompt is: satisfaction.


Those two little words
Brought me so much joy I'll write
Them again: The End.

*     *     *

Job satisfaction
Has a unique meaning for
Crime scene cleanup crews.

Monday February 15th, 2010

The exercise:

Back at work today after my little four day weekend. So our prompt shall be: the return.


The house is dark, empty, and cold,
As though it has been sold.
But I know he's just running late,
So I still lie in wait.

Hunger is messing with my mind,
It's been years since I've dined!
But I will be strong, good, and true -
I have a job to do.

At last I hear a car door close
And my teeth are exposed.
The front door opens just a crack,
Now I launch my attack!

He hollers at me to get down,
While laughing like a clown!
Master's home! I can hardly breathe!
Now I can have my treat!

Sunday February 14th, 2010

The exercise:

Happy Valentine's Day, to those that celebrate the occasion.

A writing prompt for all of us, regardless of how we feel about today, is: cupid.

If you're not fond of this created holiday, try not to be too mean to the little guy :)


A red arrow nocked,
His eyes scan the crowd.
He drifts lazily,
Like a pink-cheeked cloud;
A silent presence,
Like a cheerful shroud.

He spots his target,
Patiently takes aim.
But a gust of wind
Leaves the young man maimed.
Cupid rolls his eyes
And sighs, "Not again!"

Saturday February 13th, 2010

The exercise:

This week's four line poem topic is: double date.

Kat and I are going out for our Valentine's Day dinner tonight... with my parents. Now if that ain't romance, I just don't know what is.


Four hearts
Beating as two
One love
Just in four hues

Friday February 12th, 2010

The exercise:

Kat insists that this week's Friday Four Line Prose be about: cookies.

And who am I to argue?

Also: the opening ceremonies were rather impressive tonight.


Emily slipped silently into the kitchen, not bothering to turn on the light. She paused on her tiptoes and listened hard, her eyes scrunched up and her ears wide open.

Not hearing any movement from the floor above where her parents were sleeping, she allowed a wide smile to appear on her lips, her white teeth appearing in the darkness as though she were the Cheshire Cat.

The cookie jar was all hers.

Thursday February 11th, 2010

The exercise:

Your prompt today, from the stormy town of Comox on Vancouver Island, is: invalid.

I appear to have tweaked a muscle in my lower back and I'm in a rather unreasonable amount of pain. Invalid is probably too strong a term but I've always been fond of turning into a great big baby when I'm hurting.


He lay prone on the white bed,
As he had since we'd first met.
I sat there with my face set
And listened to what he said.

Another name was spoken,
And I promised to collect
The debt owed by his subject,
And thought not of how broken

We both truly were.

Wednesday February 10th, 2010

The exercise:

Your prompt today, from the rainy host of the Winter Olympics, is: the great escape.


The opening ceremonies for the 2010 Winter Olympics are Friday night here in Vancouver, so that can only mean one thing: I'm getting the hell out of the city.

Kat and I are heading over to Vancouver Island tomorrow to spend the weekend with my parents. We'll be coming back on Sunday, which could be interesting traffic-wise. But it's bound to be better than trying to get to and from work on Friday - particulalry the commute home, when people will be flooding into downtown for the events and celebrations.

I'm sure my commute next week and the week after will be quite the adventures, but I'm glad that I'll be able to avoid what's expected to be the worst day. I'm going to do my best to enjoy the experience of the world coming to visit but I'm not exactly a big fan of crowds. We'll see how it goes.

And, in all sincerity: go Canada go!

Tuesday February 9th, 2010

The exercise:

Tonight is drumming night so I'm keeping it short and to the point. Your Two Haiku Tuesday topic this week: bonfire.


Conversation flowed
Like rivers to the ocean
'Til the fire was lit

*     *     *

I see the faces
Of fiery demons screaming -
But I still find peace

Monday February 8th, 2010

The exercise:

Today's prompt: cliffhanger.

Because I enjoy a good one every now and again. And I like torturing my readers with them too :)


Muscles burning with fatigue, sweat saturated skin, the sensation that the sun was focusing its heat on him alone, the forty feet of sheer rock face above him, and the one hundred foot drop to the forests edge below. None of these things can pry the smile from Marcus Danielsons face.

Up here outside worries are given no time or space to grab hold of his mind. Marcus doesnt think about the recent concerns hes been having about his wifes strange behaviour. He doesnt even allow himself to remember the odd look she had given him when she passed him his climbing rope this morning. Every fibre of his being is focused on foot and handholds, both the ones he is currently making use of and those awaiting his tanned fingers and toes.

Marcus pauses in his ascent to hammer another spike into the rock, giving it a hard tug before moving on. It is a beautiful day for a climb and he is fortunate to have such an accepting supervisor who understands his deep need to get above and away from it all when work stresses approach unmanageable levels.
He may not be aware of thinking about any of this, but as his fingers slip off of the rock ledge above him and he begins to fall, one has to wonder whether his subconscious was fully concentrating on the dangers at hand.

Sunday February 7th, 2010

The exercise:

The NFL's Super Bowl is being played today - I'm sure the vast majority of you don't particularly care about this, but that doesn't mean we can't make a writing prompt out of it! Personally I don't have much invested in the game; I have a team I'd prefer to win but I won't even be watching it tonight and I think that says it all.

So today we're going with a list prompt. Pick two or three (or more, if you're feeling super keen) words from the following and make use of them in your poetry or prose: super; bowl; Sunday; colts; saints; Miami; trophy; competition.


The silent saints of Miami
Guide and protect my family;
As we walk these sun-speckled streets,
Our souls vibrate to salsa beats.

On Sundays we ignore the heat,
Dressed in black to hear Padre preach,
To give thanks to our watching saints,
With no regrets, with no complaints.

Saturday February 6th, 2010

The exercise:

Your four line poem topic this week: these games we play.


You say you're sorry but I know better -
Words mean nothing when they come from your mouth.
Beg for one more try but you'll never change,
You will always be the cat to my mouse.

Friday February 5th, 2010

The exercise:

Your four line prose today shall involve: dialogue.

Give me four lines of dialogue and try to really paint a scene with it. And, as always, have fun!


"'Ow many driiiinks 'ave I 'ad? The waiteress said nine but I'm not shure I truss 'er."

"Well I've onerly haaad eighth!"

"Fine, you win agin - 'ere the car keysh."

Thursday February 4th, 2010

The exercise:

We're going to try something a little different today.

The exercise today is: part two. Go digging for a previous bit of writing you've done, here or elsewhere, and continue it. I think we're all guilty of writing things here that could easily be continued (I'll gladly admit I'm the guiltiest of all) so let's start making amends!

Due to the beg... er, requests of several of you, I shall be continuing this today.

It got a little long. And yeah, there will most likely be a part three some time.


The man made no move to continue, instead taking up position in the middle of the road and sheathing his swords across his back, the blades forming the most dangerous ‘x’ in the eastern provinces. He would wait for them to come to him and then let fate decide his hand. And theirs.

A cloud of dust on the horizon was the first visual indication of their approach and it wasn’t long before he could discern the dark silhouettes of five horses and their riders amidst the light brown cloud that nipped at their heels. The man crossed his arms across his chest and shifted his weight slightly to the right as the riders spotted him and slowed their mounts to a more cautious canter.

“Hail,” the lead rider called as they drew to a halt twenty paces away. He sat confidently upon his mount, a black beast thick with muscle and heavy with the scars of regular combat. The man’s thin black hair lay slicked back against his head and his beard was well trimmed. The markings on his chest plate indicated he was a captain of the royal guard.

“Hey,” the man replied with a slight nod, causing the captain’s eyes to narrow slightly. The man looked up to the clear sky overhead and added, “Lovely afternoon, isn’t it?”

“What business have you on the royal road?” the captain asked as his men formed a solid wall of steel and horseflesh from one side of the path to the other.

“I come with a message for the king,” came the reply in a bored tone. “Say, I don’t suppose I could catch a ride with you kind gentlemen? I hear it’s a long way to walk.”

“I do not think so,” the captain answered, allowing a sneer to corrupt his expression. His men laughed quietly, knowing enough not to anger their leader through overly obvious adulation. “Perhaps, if we deem the message worthy of his royal ears, we can deliver it to his highness for you and save you the trouble. What is your message and what name should be attributed to it?”

“Well that is mighty, mighty kind of you. Unfortunately these lips of mine are quite insistent on their need to speak directly to the king, so I’ll have to take a pass on your generous offer. But I would appreciate the use of that fine horse you’ve got between your legs there. This road of yours is making my feet awful sore.”

“Turn back,” the captain growled as he drew his sword, his men following suit without hesitation, “or be left to feed the vultures.”

“Going back is not an option, my friend. But perhaps my name will change your mind?” The man reached over his shoulders and pulled his swords free in unison, his body taking up a Tonzen warrior stance with practiced ease. “I am Rohman Greywood, lone survivor of the massacre at Desmond Manor perpetrated by your so-called king. I will have his head before I go to the Great Sky Dream and I will have yours as well if you dare stand in my way. The choice is yours.”

Wednesday February 3rd, 2010

The exercise:

Your prompt today: hibernation.

It's been one of those days.


The grey, dark time of year,
Though not as long as it appears,
Is never welcome here.

Strong urges to go south,
To place sweet pastries in my mouth,
To stomp my feet and shout,

That is what winter brings,
Along with the deep blues it sings -
Such a miserable thing.

So I shall stay in bed,
With covers pulled up to my head,
And 'till spring I'll play dead.

Tuesday February 2nd, 2010

The exercise:

Your Two Haiku Tuesday prompt this week: the getaway.

Drumming class again tonight, so I'll just get right to it.


The slick bank robbers
Were caught thanks to their sleeping
Getaway driver

*     *     *

I'm ready to leave,
To run, to walk, even crawl,
'Til I feel alive.

Monday February 1st, 2010

The exercise:

Welcome to February. I was considering putting an exclamation mark at the end of that welcome but I just couldn't muster the fake excitement for long enough. Maybe next year.

I've been catching up on my hideously large backlog of National Geographic issues lately and read something that inspired today's prompt: cave exploration.

And yes, for those of you keeping track, that was from the June 2009 issue.


My sky is earth
My skin is mud
Rain clouds gave birth
To this damned flood

I splash and run
Through deepest dark
I just want sun
Or a small spark
From a headlamp
That would lead me
Out from this damp
But I can't see

My face meets rock
It's a dead end
Hell's a short walk
From here my friend

Water rises
A bit too high
No surprises
I say goodbye