Tuesday August 31st, 2010

The exercise:

Two haiku about: the rain.

Why yes, it did rain again today. Why do you ask?

As of today I've been married for one month. That went by quick!


The clouds have burst wide
open but he's staying dry
by dodging raindrops.

*     *     *

A single raindrop
in my pond ripples outward,
becoming much more.

Monday August 30th, 2010

The exercise:

I do believe it's time to bring back the random book prompt for a second visit.

So grab a book, steal its very first line to use as your first line, and then make it up from there (giving credit where credit is due, but of course). Feel free to click on the tag at the bottom of this post to see how things turned out last time around.

Right now it's raining outside and I'm pretty sure it's the first time it's done that here since the wedding night. Oh, timing, you are an enigmatic beast.


First line from: Blue Horizon by Wilbur Smith (I haven't read it, just found it on a shelf; I think it's one of Kat's dad's books)

The three stood at the very edge of the sea and watched the moon laying a pathway of shimmering iridescence across the dark waters. Grey men, the three of them, both in hair and beard, but standing tall and straight against the stiff, salty breeze.

They had been waiting since nightfall without speaking; a few nocturnal seagulls and lazy waves gently slapping the beach provided the only sounds. Their eyes never left the water and had anyone been watching they would have sworn they did not blink.

But, of course, not another soul was around. They'd made sure of that.

When the ship at last arrived, traveling the moon's silver road like a starlet strolling down the red carpet at a movie premiere, only the slightest tremble of a bottom lip, of a frail finger, of a thick eyelid betrayed any hint of their anticipation. Still they did not speak. Still they did not look away.

Still they did not breathe.

Sunday August 29th, 2010

The exercise:

The prompt today is: gunshots.

Inspired by the pointless airguns the vineyard next door is using in an attempt to keep the birds off their grapes. In reality all it does is make them fly up into the air every few minutes and then get back to eating. Oh, and it also does a wonderful job of shattering the peace and quiet.

Today we: successfully froze peppers, beans, cherry tomatoes, and plum tomatoes; we also got some beefsteak tomatoes in the food dehydrator. Mmm, dried tomatoes.


Gunshots and babies screaming
Provide the soundtrack to my street.
There ain't no point in dreaming -
The second that you're born you're beat.

We just have two rules to mind:
Shoot or be shot, stab or get stabbed.
The only escape you'll find
Is when you feel the needle jab.

My daddy is behind bars,
My momma's married to cheap wine,
All my friends own busted cars,
And we're all just waiting to die.

Saturday August 28th, 2010

The exercise:

A four line poem about: the orchard.

We sold a lot of tomatoes this morning, but not all of them. So we'll be freezing a lot of them tomorrow for use in the winter months, along with some peppers that were also left over. If we're feeling particularly ambitious we'll even do up some pickling cukes.

So much for our day off... but I suppose you don't really need too much time off when you're doing what you love.


So much sacrificed fruit dots the ground -
When they tumbled did they make a sound?
The air is bereft of bees humming;
The apple harvest must be coming.

Friday August 27th, 2010

The exercise:

Four lines of prose about: partners.

We picked a ridiculous amount of tomatoes (cherry, roma, and beefsteak) this morning. Hopefully it all sells at the market tomorrow morning!

It should be a fairly busy one, as the Ironman competition is this Sunday and it starts in Penticton. I hope those crazy people and their friends/family/fans are hungry.


I keep my gun leveled at the teller's head as he stuffs my bag full of cash and glance over at my partner. She's standing by the door, holding her gun loosely at her side, keeping an eye out for the cops outside and any potential trouble makers inside.

In her tight black dress and three inch heels she looks even more stunning than she did the day we first met, five long years ago.

It's almost enough to make me feel guilty about the double cross I'm about to pull... almost, but not quite.

Thursday August 26th, 2010

The exercise:

Your word of the day: unbreakable.

I was weeding in the garden this morning and managed to break my trowel in half. I looked down and noticed a label just above where it had snapped. It read: Lifetime Guarantee Unbreakable!

Oh really now?


Tonight is the night. I am going to do this, and I'm going to do it right. I will own that damned spotlight.

My determination is unbreakable. My tenacity unshakable. My will unmistakable.

"Alright everyone, last call for poets before I close up our open mic night for this week. Anyone else interested in giving us a peak at their creative boutique? ... Nobody wants to show us their technique? Alright then, until next time my poetic geeks."

Next time. Next week I'll knock them dead with my rhymes. By then I'll be at my prime...

Wednesday August 25th, 2010

The exercise:

Let's see what we can do with: the notebook.

For those of you who were curious about my camera yesterday, I'll direct you over here. The zoom is pretty fantastic on that thing; I'll have to take a couple pictures of the same thing, one zoomed all the way in and the other zoomed all the way out, for comparison purposes.

But for reference, I was only standing a foot or two away when I took the bee picture and I don't think I was zoomed in all the way. I might have been though. I'm so helpful!


The familiar leather feels strange in my hands, as though it has seen years of abuse since I picked it up last night. I turn it over to find that tiny nick in the top left corner, where I sliced it with my scissors three weeks ago when I was foolishly cutting wrapping paper at my desk.

"Go ahead, open it."

I do as I'm told and discover my hand writing within. But the words themselves are not familiar. Could I have done this after a night of heavy drinking? No, the lines are straight, the content legible.

"So this is your proof?" I ask without looking up at the old man sitting across from me.

"Do you need something more?"

I stare at the date above the very last entry and try to process it. October 23rd, 2054. Forty-four years from today.

"Couldn't you just have told me who's going to win the fights this weekend?"

"Would you really have believed a man showing up at your door, claiming to be you from the distant future, who told you to bet all your money on Wilkerson?"

Damn it. That's totally something I would say.

Tuesday August 24th, 2010

The exercise:

Two haiku about: bumblebees.

Went for a wander around the garden last night with my camera and found a whole lot of bees still hanging around in the sunflowers. I snapped a few pictures, I liked this one best:

A friend of Kat's who wasn't able to make it out for the wedding arrived just a few hours ago - it's kinda nice to have just one visitor after having sixty all at once :)


My dear Bea mumbles
and bumbles but I love her
just the way she is.

*     *     *

Bumblebees buzzing
around and around, an air
club coalescing.

Monday August 23rd, 2010

The exercise:

Your topic today: the driver.

I learned how to drive the tractor today, so I reckon I'm officially a farmer now. It would have been a lot more straightforward if I'd already known how to drive a standard.


Headlights in the night,
Twin spotlights
On the asphalt stage,
So much rage in every cage,
Are you aware that I despair
Making it anywhere?

Eyes dead ahead
Focused on the road instead
Of my childish fears,
Your dear thoughts are clear
While I worry about this flurry
And wish you'd get us home in a hurry.

Sunday August 22nd, 2010

The exercise:

The prompt today: the tourist.

Kat and I played tourist on our day off today at the Osoyoos Desert Center. We did the guided tour at noon (thankfully it was a cooler day or we would have melted) and it was really good. Learned all about black widows, rattlesnakes, and the less venomous flora and fauna of my new home.


He's come every summer, without fail, to visit our sleepy little town. We all know him by sight, if not by name, and exchange friendly greetings at every encounter.

But nobody seems to know where he comes from, or why exactly he keeps returning here. Some say he's searching for something, others that he's just escaping the hustle of some big city for a few weeks of peace and quiet every year. I've heard my mom say she thinks he's wooing one of the local spinsters.

Me? I've got no idea, to be honest. But I intend to find out.

Saturday August 21st, 2010

The exercise:

A four line poem about: leftovers.

We had a decent market this morning but there were a few things leftover at the end of the day. So we called up the restaurant, which is conveniently located between the market and home, and asked if they'd be interested in taking them at a discounted price.

Which they were, because the chefs love our produce.

I think now would be a good time to mention that the executive and sous chefs at the restaurant are two of the most easy going, nice guys I've ever met. All those TV cooking shows with the angry, temperamental cooks is just a bag of lies, as best I can tell.

Well, no. I have heard some pretty terrible stories about other restaurants (mostly in Vancouver). But that is just not the story here. And I'm quite thankful for that.

I... should get on with my writing.


No, not the lasagna -
Anything but that, I beg!
It was tasty the first time,
But now it's grown a leg!

Friday August 20th, 2010

The exercise:

Four lines of prose about: the recipe.

Yesterday Greg asked what the 'purple thing' next to the patty pan squash was in the picture. Well, he's in luck, because I also took a picture of... the eggplant:

This also ties in nicely to today's prompt, as I'm currently scouring the net for a relatively simple recipe for baba ganoush, since a lot of people that come by our market stand aren't sure what to do with eggplant. I'm planning on printing out a few copies to give people tomorrow morning.

Although, really, the round variety we grow could just as well be used as a pretty cool centerpiece...


"Are you absolutely certain about this?"

"Of course!"

"You're sure it's not a typo?"

"Stop being silly and go get me a couple of nice, tender thirteen and fourteen year-olds for my baked teen dish."

Thursday August 19th, 2010

The exercise:

The topic today is a word that randomly got stuck in my head while I was out in the garden: methodical.

Keeping it simple after yesterday's bonanza of nonsense.

Here's a totally unrelated picture of our patty pan squash that I took last weekend at the market to make this post seem longer:


You say that you're methodical,
Your progress periodical.
But you do not work in a lab,
You drive a bloody taxi cab!
So although you seem quite nice Joe,
I have to say that you're just slow.

Wednesday August 18th, 2010

The exercise:

So Heather mentioned that she was in need of a prompt that would 'force' her to write fiction. Well. I do love me a challenge. This is what I've concocted:

I'm going to give you a scene, along with a small cast of characters, and you get to write what happens there. Warning: I may have had a little too much fun coming up with this.


A pub. There is a bar along one wall, several tables placed haphazardly about the room, and a jukebox in the corner. The jukebox only plays ABBA songs.


Barry: standing on the bar, Barry is a unicorn. With a drinking problem (thus the whole 'standing on the bar' thing).

David: seated at a table by himself, David is a dragon. Who happens to be a hopeless romantic. That only speaks in rhyme.

The bartender: is Superman. Not as in he's a really super guy, but the actual Superman. Why is he working in this pub? You tell me.

The waitress: is named Molly. She's a mime. With a French accent.

One last character is about to enter the pub: yours. He/she can be whoever/whatever you like. They can interact with other characters or merely observe things. I leave that decision in your capably creative hands.

Heather, if you can get non-fiction out of that... I'll have the nice men in white coats come pay you a visit.


The sign over the door loudly proclaims that this establishment is called "We Wuv Whiskey". I pause to listen to it a few more times to make sure I heard it right, then pass through its doors. The opening notes of ABBA's Dancing Queen is the first sound to reach my ears. The second comes from the unicorn staggering across the bar to my left.

"I am not cut off, ya cranky old wanker!" He (at least I think it's a he) shakes his massive head from side to side, causing the empty beer cans that adorn his horn to rattle loud enough to drown out the jukebox for a moment. "Why don't ya go race a speeding bloody train and let a 'corn drink in peace?"

I quickly decide that a seat at the bar is not in my best interest, so I scan the room for an empty table. It appears the only remaining unoccupied table is next to a dragon who seems to be using his talons to write something in his napkin.

Maybe I should keep looking for another place to eat.

"Come lad, come have a seat now!" the dragon calls in my direction with a friendly wave. "Don't be afraid, I'm allergic to cow!"

I'm not sure I believe him but I'm starving and it would be rude to ignore him. So I moo softly and make my way over to him, the bell around my neck marking my progress for all to hear. Easing myself into a chair, I scan the menu that occupies the middle of the table.

"Never been here before?" the dragon asks through a thin puff of smoke. "I highly recommend the boar. Although the omelette also makes me roar. The fries, however, I do not adore."

Oh, how terribly nice! I nod my thanks and he smiles graciously before returning his attention to his napkin. I steal a glance while I wait for the waitress to arrive and, if my eyes have not yet failed me, he seems to be working on a poem entitled Oh Molly, My Sweet Honeybee, How Many Villages Must I Raze To The Ground For Thee?

Poor fellow. I know exactly how he feels.
Well, perhaps not exactly, but close enough.

*   *   *
I'll stop there, otherwise I could easily go on for another hour. And I just don't have that kind of time. Right now :)

Tuesday August 17th, 2010

The exercise:

On this 800th day in a row of Daily Writing Practice, write two classified ads - in haiku. They can be related or not, up to you.

I was trying to figure out what inspired this and then I remembered reading this. So, there you go: credit where credit is due and all that good stuff.


Lost: My creative
spark, my well of ideas.
Please help this author!
*     *     *

Found: A voice inside
my head that for the love of

Monday August 16th, 2010

The exercise:

Write something involving zombies.

I don't know where that came from. But it's here now, so let's just all play along, okay?


Harry had never been a very bright boy. The letter 'A' had never graced a paper he'd written or test he'd struggled through with crinkled brow and sweaty hands. He would sit at the back of his classes, quiet as a shadow and desperately hoping the teacher wouldn't place him in the glare of the teenage spotlight to answer a question that he didn't even understand, much less know the answer to.

I always figured he just had a lot of empty space where brain matter should have been. A literal 'in one ear, out the other' sort of guy.

Which is why I'm having trouble figuring out why the zombies went after him first.

And what exactly does it say about my intelligence that they're coming after me next?

Sunday August 15th, 2010

The exercise:

Another lovely, restful Sunday is in the books. Let's write about: the law.


"I'm the law in this house," Dad would bellow at us whenever one of us did something to displease him. "Whatever I say goes!"

Usually we'd just nod silently with our eyes on his plaid socks. If Tommy was in one of his smartass moods he might snap Dad a crisp salute - and then run like hell.

We couldn't wait to move out so we could reign over our own homes. It would be all our rules, all the time.

Funny thing is, now that we're all grown up with families of our own... our laws sound a whole hell of a lot like Dad's.

Saturday August 14th, 2010

The exercise:

A four line poem about: cover.

Inspired by the buskers at the farmers market who do an awesome cover of the Rolling Stones' Dead Flowers. I didn't even know that was a Stones song until I looked it up when we got home.

Had another good market this morning. We had cherry tomatoes!


Take cover, child,
There are real sharp words flying;
Stay quiet, child,
Momma will soon stop crying.

Friday August 13th, 2010

The exercise:

Hey, look at that: it's Friday the 13th today. Sorry, I only just noticed.

Anyway! It is also four lines of prose day here, as it is every week. This time around I want you to exaggerate.

Give me four lines of silly, over the top, nonsensical exaggerations. The weekend has arrived - let's have some fun!

My first one is an actual thought that went through my head this morning. The rest I made up just now.


The nice thing about our cucumbers is that they're so big I don't even have to look for them when I go to pick them - they look for me.

*   *   *

The wind was blowing so hard you could actually see it as it went past you - looked kinda like small children and large cats, I was surprised to see.

*   *   *

There's a weed in our garden that has roots so deep they're harvested by a farmer in China; I hear he makes a tidy profit selling them to tourists as aphrodisiacs.

*   *   *

It's hot enough outside to bake a turkey.

Thursday August 12th, 2010

The exercise:

On the way to Burrowing Owl there are a couple building remnants which date back about a hundred years, to when the area was ruled by cattle ranching. I've been wanting to get a picture of them and this morning I finally had a chance to bring my camera with me:

So today we're going to use that picture to inspire our writing. Tell a story during that barn's construction, it's glory days, its current condition, whatever.


The sign says keep out,
But I don't think that I will.
I'll just take a peek,
Since I've got some time to kill.

It smells old in here,
Worse than my grandma's attic;
There's not much to do -
Very anticlimactic.

I guess I'll climb up
And maybe look for some bats.
Nope, no luck up here,
Just more dirt and some stray cats.

Here kitty, kitty,
Let me give you a wee scratch.
That's... was that a crack?
I hope the ground's a good catch...

Wednesday August 11th, 2010

The exercise:

Write about: the switch.

Learned something interesting tonight while harvesting corn for the restaurant's order we're delivering tomorrow morning: corn leaves and paper deliver very similar cuts.

Tiny and painful.

I think next time I'll wear gloves.


"Hey Mike!" the girl at the door greets me with a sparkling smile. "I just gotta grab my purse and then I'm all set!"

She disappears down the hall and I watch her go - well, part of her anyway. That is a great skirt she's picked out.

I can't say for sure if it's Kelly or Jade that I just saw, or even which one will come back. That's just one of the hazards of dating an identical twin - I'm always wondering if they're pulling a switch on me.

Whatever though, I guess it doesn't really matter. They're both hot, right?

Jade (I think) comes bouncing out the door, a tiny handbag dangling from the crook of her arm, and we head for my car. I breathe in her perfume, not because it helps me tell them apart (they both use the same scent), but because I like it.

I open the passenger door for her (so I can get a good look at her legs) and then slam it shut. As I walk around to the driver's side, I wonder once again if tonight will be the night I finally tell her about my twin brother Jerry.

Ah, what's the point? He's still safely locked up in that mental institution...

Tuesday August 10th, 2010

The exercise:

Two haiku about: insanity.

Because why not?


Is it still madness
When everyone's doing it?
Welcome to my world.

*     *     *

I will not forget
your pretty smile, for I have
nailed it to my wall.

Monday August 9th, 2010

The exercise:

Today's prompt shall be: fighting demons.

Not inspired by anything in particular, it just popped into my head while brainstorming a topic for today. Thankfully it was quickly followed by an idea of what to write about - this does not always happen.


I pull my cellphone out of my jacket pocket and flip it open with a practiced flick of my wrist. As I bring up my list of contacts I take another look around the crowded room, unsure if I want to see a familiar face or not.

Scrolling down the list of names, my hand begins to tremble as the highlight reaches Manuel. My thumb hovers over the call button but refuses to descend. I know I should call him but can't bring myself to do it.

"So what'll be?" the bartender asks, her bored expression assuring me that she can't possibly know what hangs in the balance.

"Whiskey on the rocks," I reply after a slight hesitation. I flip my phone closed and put it away, my sponsor uncalled and unaware of my trespass.

It looks like the demons are winning the battle tonight.

Sunday August 8th, 2010

The exercise:

Inspired by our first taste of this summer's corn this evening, your prompt shall be: in the corn field.

Today was a day of rest, and the rest was good.


We wandered down the row of corn,
Completely lost and unconcerned;
For the sun was high in the sky
And there were lessons to be learned.

Like how to interlace fingers
With the prettiest girl in school:
Don't grip too tightly, nor loosely,
Don't sweat, make sure to play it cool.

And how to talk about nothing
And everything at the same time
Without tripping over your tongue
Or transforming into a mime.

But all too soon the sun fell down,
Forcing us to find our way back,
Slightly wiser and more in love,
To the rest of our high school pack.

Saturday August 7th, 2010

The exercise:

A four line poem about: the parade.

Excellent market this morning, mostly thanks to peaches and nectarines. Also, we were in a park instead of on main street due to the Peachfest parade and we went an hour longer than usual since we didn't have to clear off the street.

It was lovely being on the grass instead of pavement, but carrying in fifteen twenty pound boxes of nectarines instead of just unloading off the back of the truck was not particularly fun.

Can't complain though with how well they did, and it was nice not to have to carry any back out.


The floats are coming down the street
And I have found the perfect seat;
All alone on this quiet slope,
I'm watching through my rifle scope.

Friday August 6th, 2010

The exercise:

Four lines of prose about: the fire. There have been a lot of forest fires around here lately and the valley is getting rather smoky today. Hopefully a nice breeze kicks in soon and clears things up (and maybe some of those fires get put out too).

A couple more pictures for you today. First, some more sunflowers (these are called Firecracker) in the garden:

And a picture of the beach our honeymoon resort was on:

Back at the farmers market tomorrow morning after taking last Saturday off due to some event that required our attendance.


Get to the river - if we can get to the river we'll be okay.

I must have repeated those words in my head a hundred times as we raced between the trees, bone-dry pine needles crunching underfoot and an inferno on our heels.

We fell more than jumped into the river when we finally reached it, the cool water a soothing balm on our singed skins, and we floated slowly downstream on our backs as we struggled to refill our lungs with air.

Our position provided us with a perfect view of the lone spark as it arced overhead to land on the far side of the river.

Thursday August 5th, 2010

The exercise:

The word of the day is: proof.

Oh hey, the power just went out. And now we're back, after 30 minutes or so. Quite the lightning display going on at the north and west sides of the lake. Can't hear any thunder here though.

Where was I? Ah yes, proof.

So we received many lovely and generous gifts for our wedding, but the one I want to mention today came a day early: my free proof copy from CreateSpace of my NaNoWriMo novel, Lessons in the Dust.

Right now there is a book with my name on the front, and my words in between the covers, sitting on my coffee table. It needs a lot of editing, but that's still pretty damn cool.


The judge had let him walk, something about "insufficient proof" or some nonsense like that. As though she couldn't smell the blood on his hands, or feel the violence he wrapped around himself like a poisonous cloak.

So he's free now, not even a single cop keeping an eye on his comings and goings. Free to kill again. Free to steal another father's little girl away in the middle of an unsuspecting night.

Just like he took my Isabel.

Well, that's what he thinks anyway. Me and my newly purchased .38 Special have a rather different view on the matter.

Wednesday August 4th, 2010

The exercise:

Your topic today: a night to remember.

Got back from Naramata this afternoon after a lovely honeymoon with my new wife and have been trying to catch up on what I've missed ever since :)

We're back to work in the garden already, with a restaurant delivery tomorrow morning and a daunting army of weeds arrayed against us. Unfortunately my comments on the last few days worth of writing will have to wait until tomorrow - but I will get to them.

The wedding was excellent, and definitely memorable for all involved. The ceremony, though delayed by the marriage commissioner's late arrival, was perfect. The pictures with the wedding party in the garden, amongst the sunflowers, and in the orchard were great fun. The food was looking fantastic when...


Dinner had been served,
Each plate held a full load,
Then the wind arrived
And rain soon followed.

The sides of the tent
Were pulled tight together,
And the party stopped
To observe the weather.

Lightning flashed
And thunder rolled;
The desert became
Rather cold.

The tent began to sway
From side to side;
I just had to laugh,
Though I nearly cried.

Just when all seemed lost,
The danger just too great,
The storm died at last -
We stood tall in its wake.

The guests gave a cheer,
For we had survived,
And I have no doubt
That so shall you and I.

Bonus ramblings:

Osoyoos probably hasn't seen a storm like that in years - usually they pass on very quickly, but this one lingered for over an hour and things were looking grim. But the guests took it all in stride, and most were having fun with it, which was a huge relief. And then, at last, at last, it blew itself out.

By the end of the night we'd opened up one side of the tent and it was like it had never rained (other than the carpet underneath the tent was a little wet in places). Apparently the rental company has three tents, but only one with sides - the two other events (both weddings I think, but I'm not totally sure) that night both ended early because of the storm.

I'll leave you with a picture my dad took, under much brighter conditions earlier in the day:

Tuesday August 3rd, 2010

The exercise:

Two haiku about: the resort.

Note: this is a scheduled post. I'll be back tomorrow, with wedding and honeymoon news. And perhaps a picture or two. If you've all been good in my absence.


Breakfast included,
great views, haunted by hungry
ghosts... sounds good to me!

*     *     *

Sitting on the beach,
I listen to the wind and
converse with the clouds.

Monday August 2nd, 2010

The exercise:

Your topic today is: the honeymoon.

Note: this is a scheduled post since, funnily enough, I'm away on my honeymoon right now. Well, the first one anyway.


"This is bloody miserable," Richard declared with a look of complete disgust on his face.

"Well I don't think it's all that bad," Michelle replied with a shrug. "It really could be worse, you know."

"I really don't see how," he muttered darkly as he inspected the terrain around them.

"Just imagine if, instead of honey, this moon was made of fresh sewage!"

Richard didn't bother replying - he just turned and slowly, ever so slowly, waded back towards their mostly sunken spaceship.

Sunday August 1st, 2010

The exercise:

Welcome to August! Your task to start off this month is: better together.

Note: I got married yesterday, so this is a scheduled post.


Barring something truly spectacular happening (think earthquake/atomic explosion/dragon attack), Kat and I got hitched yesterday afternoon. I'll have to tell you all about when we get back from out mini-honeymoon in Naramata on Wednesday (we'll be going for a proper honeymoon, probably in the spring, when we can afford to be away from the garden longer, somewhere(s) in France).

I don't think there's any question that we're better together - after five years there's just far too much proof to even think about mentioning. I consider myself a very, very lucky man to have found such a wonderful, loving, perfectly matched partner.

And so there was no doubt in my mind, for at least the last year, that this would be our first dance: