Sunday October 31st, 2010

The exercise:

Happy Halloween!

NaNoWriMo begins in... just under six hours for me. Woo!

So the final countdown day's prompt shall be the working title of my novel to be: the jester's journey. Feel free to incorporate Halloween themes into your writing.


After working on Lessons in the Dust last year, an admittedly dark and at times depressing story, I wanted to change things up this November. I decided at the outset I wanted to go third-person instead of first and, more importantly, to tell a more lighthearted and (hopefully) funny tale.

This proved to be a rather major pain in the ass. Last year I had an idea that was bouncing around my head for months and finally had an outlet when November came. No such ideas existed this time around. Which meant I not only had to come up with a storyline, but it also had to fit the above guidelines. I was actually starting to get a bit worried until this jester and his silly journey finally formed.

I have a basic outline of what I want to happen, fully expecting that a lot of it won't end up happening. But I'm open to whatever comes and interested in seeing how it turns out.

Oh yeah, that little announcement I was alluding to the last few days? You'll get to see it as it's written, in all it's (mostly) unedited glory, as I'll be posting it over here on Protagonize. When I'm done writing for the day, I'll post what I've written and update the first chapter with any thoughts I might have on how things are going, any particular struggles I met that day, etc. Sort of like a novel writing diary. And I'll be tracking my word count over there as well.

This is probably a bit crazy. And almost certainly stupid. But I'm doing it anyway. So please feel free to follow along as me and my jester go on our journey for the next thirty days.

Saturday October 30th, 2010

The exercise:

A four line poem about: the last princess.

Since it's a combination of another novel character and the fact that we attended our last market of the year this morning.

It actually went very well, with a lot of people stocking up on apples for the winter, so a very positive market season ended on a very positive note.

Little announcement coming tomorrow.


All her sisters have passed away,
Much to Sarah's (public) dismay;
Now o'er the kingdom she'll preside -
All thanks to some sororicide.

Friday October 29th, 2010

The exercise:

Four lines of prose about: the gypsies.

A small bit of cheating today, as we get to write on a group of people rather than an individual. I really haven't clarified how this group will work in the story yet, but I know they'll be relatively important.

Two more countdown days and then the writing begins!

Last market of the season tomorrow. Thank goodness. Here's hoping the final day will be a good one.


The family sat huddled around the struggling campfire, which cast ominous shadows over their dark faces and gave a red glow to their nearby wagon. The man, tall and thin, played a soft, lilting tune on a wooden flute while the woman nursed the baby and stirred the rabbit stew warming in the pot above the fire.

Gerald sat watching them from behind a tree, unsure if it was safe to approach, but hunger urging him to take the risk.

"Come join us before you collapse from starvation," the man suddenly called out, never taking his eyes from the flames, then carried on with his playing as though he'd never stopped.

Thursday October 28th, 2010

The exercise:

Next in line from my story, following quite sensibly from yesterday's prompt (if I may say so myself), is: the squire.

The knight's squire is a bit of a late arriving character to my story, as originally I just had the knight on his own. But then I thought of all the possibilities (and extra words!) a squire would bring and it was a done deal pretty quickly. So it was good to have a stab at writing him today, though I'm not sure this is how he'll end up once I start writing in... four days? Eek.

My sister Sue and her husband Jake should be arriving shortly to spend the weekend with us. Very excited!

Also: I have a little announcement I'll be making in the next day or two. It's nothing huge, but I think you'll like it.


The woman lead Dustin down a wide hallway, then a narrower hallway, and then through a passage barely wide enough for them to fit through without turning sideways. He was about to ask the idiotic woman if she'd gotten them lost when they reached a staircase leading up.

After a short climb they arrived at a small balcony overlooking a grass courtyard. Below them a small group of young men were preparing for sword practice, most of them chatting excitedly amongst themselves while their instructor looked on with a scowl.

"Alistair?" the woman called down to the instructor. "Please have Jeremy and Richard pair up this morning."

"Oh, I like the look of him," Dustin said as a tall boy emerged from the pack, a wooden sword resting on his left shoulder.

"Oh yes, I'm sure Jeremy would make a fine second choice," the woman told him. "But I suspect young Richard will soon win you over. Here he comes."

"You. Must. Be. Joking."

A second boy was now approaching Jeremy, dragging his sword along the ground behind him with his right hand while his left scratched his rather impressive belly. Richard loosed a mighty yawn as he came to stand before his practice partner, who was regarding him with complete distaste.

"Just watch," the woman told Dustin, patting him on the shoulder without taking her eyes away from the two combatants. Dustin gave her a doubtful look before pulling a handkerchief from his pocket and polishing his armor where her fingers had trespassed.

With a snarl Jeremy came rushing forward, sword held high over his head in a two-handed grip. Richard belched loud enough for half the academy to hear and held his ground, his sword's tip still buried in the ground behind him. As Jeremy brought his weapon whipping down toward his head, Richard finally stirred.

He brought his sword up with such force and speed that it nearly knocked his opponent's sword from his grip. As Jeremy stumbled back Richard feinted high and then slashed low, connecting with Jeremy's left shin with a mighty crack.


"My bad," Richard said with a slight shrug before attacking again, this time striking Jeremy's right shin. Another apology, another attack. Repeat. Again. And again.

"Richard," the woman began as she turned to face the knight, "is by far the meanest child to ever walk these halls. He makes an enemy out of every person he encounters. There is not a soul here who would shed a tear if he died in some unfortunate accident. And yet... he survives. No, he thrives. You want durable? He's your squire."

Wednesday October 27th, 2010

The exercise:

The countdown to November continues with: the knight.

More background work today. I think I'm going to enjoy writing his scenes. Does that make me a bad person?


Sir Dustin Drake - "Dusty" to absolutely no one with any interest in living - strode into the academy's reception hall and stopped to examine his surroundings. Stroking his well-oiled mustache, he sniffed twice to show that he was unimpressed, then moved to the welcome desk to his left.

"Good morrow, sir knight," the woman seated there said. "How are you on this beaut-"

"I am in need of a new squire," Dustin informed the air five inches above her head. "Preferably a more... durable one this time."

"Oh... I see. And what exactly happened to your previous one?"


"Oh, good heavens! I'm so sorry -"

"Yes, terribly sad and all that," Dustin said as he inspected his fingernails. "But whatever can we do but carry on? So." He leaned towards her, placing his hands on the counter between them. "What are my options like today?"

"I think," the woman replied after a slight hesitation, "I have just the young man for you. Please, follow me."

Tuesday October 26th, 2010

The exercise:

It's Tuesday, so we're doing two haiku. The countdown to NaNoWriMo continues, so they will be about one of my novel characters. It's also my birthday, so that's getting worked in there (real subtle like, see if you can spot it!).

So. Two haiku about: the dragon's birthday.


On our birthdays we
don't blow out any candles -
we light up humans.

*     *     *

On his first birthday
Bradley's parents got him two
feisty knights - disarmed.

Monday October 25th, 2010

The exercise:

There are seven days remaining until NaNoWriMo hits me square in the face, so I've decided to do a little countdown here on the blog.

The plan? To have one of the characters (well, their title at least) from my planned novel be the prompt for each of the next seven days. Some days I'll use the prompt to write a background scene involving the actual character (as I did today), other days my writing will have nothing to do with the novel.

So let us begin with: the king.

In other news, I helped our carpenter build and install our new basement door today. It was good times.


"Your highness," the doctor called from the doorway, "the queen would like to speak with you."

King Owen looked up from the map sprawled across his writing desk and stared at the weary, overworked man who had spoken. The doctor would not meet his gaze.

"Is this it then?" the king asked, a slight hitch the sole betrayer of his inner turmoil.

"Please, come quickly," was the only reply the doctor was willing to offer.

The king stood slowly, took a moment to collect himself, then joined the man in the hallway. They moved in silence the short distance to his wife's resting room, as a heavy darkness began to settle on Owen's shoulders. As the men reached the doorway Bethany, the queen's favorite attendant, came hurrying out in tears. When she saw her king she fled in the opposite direction without uttering an intelligible word.

Owen watched her escape for a moment before blinking his eyes clear of tears. He entered the room and approached the four poster bed, where he found his wife lying beneath deep purple blankets. She looked too pale, too thin. Too close to the end.

"Owen, my love," she whispered, the words still filled with fondness. "I fear that I don't have much time left to me."

"Elena, do not say such things."

"It is only the truth. You must be strong. For the crown. For the people. But most of all, for our daughter."

"I cannot raise her without you! I cannot teach her to be a proper princess, I will ruin her future -"

"Hush, my husband. You will make me proud, I know it." Elena paused to catch her breath and to rally her strength for her final words. "Treat her well but do not spoil her. Teach her the ways of the kingdom. Give her space to be a normal child. And, when the time comes... let her marry for love."

Sunday October 24th, 2010

The exercise:

It's been too long. Let's do some continuations.

All you need to do is carry on the story from wherever the last person left it. Oh, and you should also probably have fun doing it. That's just a suggestion though.

If you're new here, feel free to click the continuation tag at the bottom of the post to see how previous installments went.


"Honey, can you grab the laundry for me?"

"Of course."

The man peels himself off the couch and grabs the empty laundry basket at the top of the stairs. As he descends he passes the house keys resting on the ledge halfway down and, after a slight hesitation, decides not to bother bringing them. They're renting in a safe neighborhood and there's been no trouble for the last year and a half they've been there.

It really is time to stop being paranoid.

He goes outside and down the steps before turning right and right again to reach the laundry room. He's not fond of having to go outside to wash and dry their clothes - especially when it's raining - but at least the machines are not coin operated.

He steps into the tiny room, the washer on his right, the dryer about two feet away to his left, and begins throwing the dry clothes into the basket. It's not long before he's finished and heading back up the front steps to the porch. Once there, he reaches for the door handle, twists it, and pushes.

And finds that it is now locked.

Saturday October 23rd, 2010

The exercise:

A four line poem, based on: only one remains.

All I'm going to say about this morning is: at least it wasn't windy.

And now we're down to one more market. I am looking forward to sleeping in on November 6th. Also, I might actually have the energy to write a half-decent four line poem that day.


They say they that will fight
Till only one remains;
But when the victor sings,
Who will hear his refrain?

Friday October 22nd, 2010

The exercise:

Four lines of prose about: the white-haired woman.

Kat was painting cupboards today and came in with some paint in her hair. It's been washed out now, but it was a rather... memorable image.

Second to last market of the year tomorrow morning. Lots and lots of apples to sell... and not much else.

Hoping the rain holds off and the wind isn't too miserable.


Time had not been kind to her, though it certainly could have been worse.

True, the arthritis had stolen her ability to knit. And obviously the hip replacement had ended her running days.

But she could still drop a deer with one bullet at a hundred paces.

Thursday October 21st, 2010

The exercise:

Write something that takes place in the major city of your choosing, in the year 2110.

The electrician came by this afternoon, hopefully for the last time, and hooked us up with an outlet for the stove we bought at the thrift store a while back. And now we know it actually works!

The plumber is coming tomorrow morning to install the toilet and do a couple other odd jobs. After that, it's just us and the carpenter to finish what's left to do.

I am starting to get excited about NaNoWriMo. A few minutes ago I decided how I'm going to count down the final seven days before November hits... but I'll save that for Monday, when it shall begin.


New York, 2110

The invasion had taken us all completely off guard. Looking back now, it's embarrassing how obvious the signs were. But back then we were just too busy looking the other way. Which made it real easy for them to stab us in the back.

We still don't know where or when the technology they used against us came from. At first there was talk that the Russians were behind it, but then word came that they'd be invaded as well. So our wounded gazes turned to the Chinese (also innocent - and about to be invaded, as it turned out), still oblivious to the simple truth:

We brought it on ourselves.

They patrol the streets now, looking for people like me. Rebels. Mad men. Survivors.

They search from above, their war cries freezing the bravest and strongest of men in their tracks.

So we keep to the shadows. We move at night and hide during the day. We scavenge what we can. Work together when it's safe to do so. We pray.

We pray that this new era of the Animal Kingdom will be a short one.

Wednesday October 20th, 2010

The exercise:

Let's go with: transformation.

Put together our bathroom vanity this afternoon. All I have to say is: whoever made those instructions should be buried up to their neck in a field of hungry ants.

Tonight we bought a used fireplace for a really good price. Now I want to chop even more wood! Perhaps one day I shall not talk about fireplaces or woodchopping.

That day is not today.


These were trees in a forest at some point. Now they're stacked in the field, waiting.

Now some of it has been chainsawed down to size and chopped to bits with that axe you see there.

And now it's burning away to nothing in the fireplace, warming the house in the process.

It's been interesting watching transformation on such a large scale. It makes you think about other conversions we don't get to witness. Like how and when and where did that bit of cardboard that's doing such a fine job of containing the milk come from?

Tuesday October 19th, 2010

The exercise:

Two haiku about: lawyers.

Don't feel any need to play nice :)

It's a beautiful day out and I'm just waiting for the carpenter to arrive so I can help him fix up the cabin doors. I think I shall chop some wood for a while...

One week until my birthday, just under two weeks until the start of NaNoWriMo. Exciting times!

He charges by the
second and moves just like a
doped up three-toed sloth 

*     *     *
He'll argue for you
with all of his heart and soul,
though he has neither

Monday October 18th, 2010

The exercise:

Let's write about: the woodcutter.

I chopped some wood today for the first time since I lived with my parents. Which, as my dad would happily attest to, wasn't that often to begin with.

It's pretty fun though, and rather satisfying. When the logs split properly. When they don't, it just hurts.

Anyway, looking forward to a winter of sitting by the fire.


His axe is shoulder high,
There's fire in his eyes;
Trees tremble when he walks,
Squirrels scatter when he talks.

His home is always warm
During the fiercest storms,
And the wood pile he's made
Just never seems to fade.

But a question for you:
Whatever will he do
With all his vaunted brawn
When the forest's all gone?

Sunday October 17th, 2010

The exercise:

Use the title of one of The Doors' songs as the topic for your writing today. If one doesn't immediately come to mind, there's a handy listing of them over here. Bonus points for making use of a line or two from your song in your poem or prose.

Back to reno work today. The big accomplishment? We got most of the subfloor put into the living room and kitchen area. We've been waiting a long time to get started on this and it is extremely satisfying. It makes such a difference, it really looks so much better already.

I appear to be getting excited about flooring. There's really no hope for me now, is there?

Day off tomorrow. The schedule calls for a whole lot of sleep and not much else.


They say space is real, real quiet. They, whoever they happen to be, must have never set foot on The Crystal Ship.

Well, that's not her real name. The letters on her shiny hull would try to convince you she's called The White Knight. But after a day or two with Captain Crystal Matthews in charge, nobody was calling it anything else.

If the captain is awake and not eating, then she's yelling. A button out of place, a less than spotless shoe, a salute that isn't perfectly crisp - anything can set her off. And if you're caught making a mistake in the course of your actual duties? You've probably got a fifty-fifty chance of being jettisoned from an escape hatch.

Sans escape pod.

And we've got another two years before we reach our destination.

I reckon that's plenty of time to figure out a way to make this Crystal shatter.

Saturday October 16th, 2010

The exercise:

A four line poem about: fading.

Kat was taking a class this morning, so I went up to Penticton to do the market with her mom as my assistant. It was weird not having her there but it worked out just fine. Business was steady and I'd say it was a good market for mid-October.

It's quite possible we'll get a frost tonight, so we picked as much of the peppers, squash, and eggplant as we could this afternoon. I guess we'll see in the morning how much survived the night.


There's a frost coming,
I feel it in my bones.
It won't be long now
Till summer's long gone.

Friday October 15th, 2010

The exercise:

Our four lines of prose this week shall, in some minor or major way, involve something that is: yellow.

T'was a quick pick this morning, as things in the garden are really slowing down. Besides apples, all we're bringing to the market tomorrow are peppers, eggplant, ornamental squash, zucchini, patty pans, pumpkins, and potatoes.

At least it won't take long to set the stall up :)

Oh yeah, I promised a bird picture today. So here you go, one I took a while back but never got around to posting - and it even fits today's theme:



He'd painted the walls of the spare room yellow the day after their doctor had confirmed a little girl was on the way. As soon as the walls were dry he'd put up posters of princesses and unicorns, and began constructing a crib he'd seen in a magazine. His wife had to drag him out of there just to have dinner every night. 

But he never set foot in that room again after the car accident.

Thursday October 14th, 2010

The exercise:

Today we shall write about: strange creatures.

More cabin reno work today - got the cabinets prepped for painting, Kat painted some walls and got started on the guest bedroom ceiling, and... some other stuff I can't remember right now. Back to harvesting tomorrow morning for the market.

Might be the last time, with the frost threatening to arrive any day now. We shall see.

We shalllll seeeeeeee.

Sorry, I'm tired. I'll get to my take on the prompt now.


I've observed to Kat many, many times since we moved here that Osoyoos has an impressive array of strange insects. Like, what the hell is this?

Another angle of his brother or cousin or... wife? *shudder*

Needless to say (but apparently I'm saying it anyway), the zoom on my camera was used to its fullest for both of those pictures. Thankfully neither creature got offended by my presence and tried to eat my eyeballs.

Anyway. Today I decided enough was enough. I wanted an actual answer.

After a bit of wandering around the internet, I came across this very helpful page - I'd link to their home page but there's a picture of a snake there and nobody wants that. Anyway, I'm pretty certain that I've got two pictures of a Western Conifer Seedbug - it looks about right to me, at least.

So, I learned something today. I don't think I'm about to become an entomologist any time soon, but I am fond of knowing what exactly is crawling around outside my home.

Apologies for the bug pictures today. I shall make it up to you tomorrow with something a bit nicer. Birds, perhaps.

I should stop typing and hit publish now. Writing when tired is kind of fun though.


Wednesday October 13th, 2010

The exercise:

The word of the day is: pyromaniac.

I came upstairs for breakfast this morning to be greeted by a wonderful sight: there were workers in the vineyard next door, picking grapes. Soon, so soon, the bird guns will go quiet again.

I literally could have watched them all day. Unfor... fortunately there was work to be done in the garden, so I couldn't linger too long.

Then on my way out to the garden I saw a pheasant go running out of the peas and into the orchard. That is one big bird. I will do my best to hunt it down and get a picture of it.


It had been a good summer: warm, dry, full of lazy days at the beach. Lots of forest fires.

He'd spent day after day watching the trees burn, in person when he could do so without being seen, on the TV news reports the rest of the time. The lightning strikes had been incredible, their power and beauty truly awe inspiring.

No one noticed the extra fires he felt compelled to start, and if they had there was no reason to question them. The wind must have carried a spark further than they'd expected, that's all.

But now fall had arrived and the days were growing colder, wetter. It was time to begin lighting the logs in the fireplace - a nice, safe, controlled environment to have his fun in. To tide him over until the big fires could be played with again, hidden within the natural ones brought on by nature.

At least, that's what he kept telling himself.

Tuesday October 12th, 2010

The exercise:

Two haiku about: cavemen.

Alternatively: two cavemen haiku. Whatever floats your boat.

We got most of our garlic for next year planted this morning and we should finish that up tomorrow morning. It was fun to be back out working in the dirt again instead of just harvesting.

No reno work got done today, other than taking a load of garbage to the dump and picking up some more supplies at the hardware store. But we should be back in there on Thursday, after planting and picking/delivering this week's restaurant order tomorrow.


Home ruined again?
That be seventh time this week!
Me hate dinosaur.

*     *     *

Ugly face, no charm,
but still get all of the chicks -
Grog has biggest club.

Monday October 11th, 2010

The exercise:

Seeing as today is Thanksgiving here in Canada, I have a question for all of you fine folk: what are you thankful for?

We got back to work in the cabin today, with much appreciated assistance from Kat's parents. We got the old oven onto the truck, moved the old fridge downstairs for extra storage, put the new fridge (kindly donated by Kat's aunt and uncle in Penticton) in its place, and I finally finished up the insulation work in the basement. Plus lots of cleaning and Kat graced a few more walls with another coat of paint.

Hurray for progress!


I'm thankful for wide open spaces. For being able to see distant hills and know that only a handful of houses, some trees and grapevines, and maybe a road or two stand between us. For the massive swathe of sky I can contemplate during my daydreams.

I'm thankful for the birds that call the area around this house home. They might get a bit noisy sometimes but their chirps and calls are about a billion times better than car horns and the constant hum of traffic.

I'm thankful for this new home. For the silence and amazing night sky that surround it. For warm summer nights and crisp fall days.

I'm thankful for being blessed with the love and support of friends and family, both old and new. I surely wouldn't have made it this far without them.

I'm thankful for writing. I'm pretty sure my head would have exploded by now without this creative outlet.

I'm thankful for the land. For the garden, for the orchard. For the chance to work outside in both. For the opportunity to hibernate through the winter.

I'm thankful for my wife. Who and where would I be without her? A much less happy, less satisfied place, there's not doubt of that.

I'm thankful for the people that read and comment on this blog. I'd still do this for my own sake if you guys weren't around, but it's a hell of a lot more fun with you here.

Sunday October 10th, 2010


It's been brought to my attention that today is 10/10/10. So to celebrate(?), the first sentence of your writing today will begin with: On a scale of one to ten...

One of our guests for dinner last night was also one of our wedding photographers, and he brought with him a disk with the pictures he'd taken, as well as a slideshow (with music!) that he'd created out of the best of them. I could literally watch that show all day.

Anyway, I'll get around to uploading all the pictures somewhere at some point, but I thought I'd share a few here:


On a scale of one to ten, the car cowering before me was a minus five. Only one of the three tires in place looked like it was even in the neighborhood of full, and I suspected no one around knew where the fourth tire was lurking.

The windshield had a crack wandering from the lower right corner to the upper left, and I could see at least five different colors on the exterior. Where the paint wasn't obliterated by rust, that is.

"Does it even start?" I asked without much hope for an answer I wanted to hear.

"Sometimes," came the reply from the mechanic. "More often when it's warm out. She seems to like the sun."

I wandered around to the back of the car to inspect the trunk. It was, to my great surprise, properly shut and I had to get him to pop it from up front. Which he did by reaching through the open window, since the driver's side door was jammed.

It opened without so much as a squeak of a hinge and a smile appeared on my lips. My grin only grew larger when I saw the downright roomy confines of its interior.

"It's perfect," I announced, much to the man's surprise. "I'll take it."

You could, I had surmised after some brief mental calculations, fit enough explosives in there to level my office building. And maybe even that horrible coffee shop across the street from it.

Saturday October 9th, 2010

The exercise:

A four line poem about: sleepwalking.

Long day today. Up at quarter to five this morning, off to Penticton for the market (went very well), came home to crash for a couple hours, dinner and drinks with seventeen people (also went very well), and now... I shall sleep.


I am so very tired
Of prying my eyes open,
Just to find myself naked
In my Aunt Mary's garden.

Friday October 8th, 2010

The exercise:

Four lines of prose that take place at or near: the border.

A lot of Kat's family is coming here for Thanksgiving dinner tomorrow night, which is mostly exciting! The non-exciting part is that we'll likely be exhausted and not fully able to enjoy their company, what with being at the market tomorrow morning.

Likely in the wind and rain.

But there are certainly worse possible things to endure. And you gotta know the food is going to be excellent.


The miles sped past as we approached the border, the sun roasting us inside the rental car like two turkeys on Thanksgiving afternoon. I would've let loose another string of obscenities in the general direction of the rental agency for giving me a car without air conditioning, but it seemed the least of my worries at the time.

When we finally reached the border crossing I guided us to the end of the short queue of cars and received a final warning grunt from my recently acquired passenger.

As though I needed another reminder of the gun that was concealed within the newspaper on his lap.

Thursday October 7th, 2010

The exercise:

Let's go with: the thrift store.

We found a used kitchen oven at the thrift store in town today for pretty cheap. It's sitting down in the cabin right now, waiting for us to plug it in and see if it actually works. Fingers crossed!

Also: I'd just like to thank everyone out here on the 'front page', or whatever you want to call this, for their wonderful comments on yesterday's topic. I really wasn't sure what sort of reaction it would get, so I'm glad to see it struck a chord.

On another note entirely: here is a picture I took today. I'm thinking about creating a photography blog, but have no idea when I'll get around to it. Maybe mentioning it here will help... but probably not.


I'll take the pants
From the eighties,
And the shirt
From the seventies,
Paying for it all
With pennies.

I'll be back
Next week
To scour your
Fine boutique
To play grownup
Hide and seek.

You want to know
What I hide?
Well if you
Look inside
The dolls you'll see
Why they've cried.

Wednesday October 6th, 2010

The exercise:

Let's talk about: bullies.

It's been in the news lately and I read something this morning that injected it into my brainwaves, so I thought I'd try to give it some air and get it out here.

Fiction is still welcome, as always.


I've been grateful in the past for the internet not being around when I was in high school, mostly for the lack of distraction. I can't imagine how badly my grades would have suffered if things like YouTube and even Protagonize had been available at a time when I should have been studying for tests and doing homework.

I'm reasonably certain I would've been banned from using the computer on a quite regular basis.

But this idea of cyberbullying? It just takes my gratitude to a whole new level.

Every school has a collection of jerks that enjoy picking on the smaller, the weaker, the less popular. But, worst case, the picked on got to escape - either in the safety of their own home, or moving to another town, or just leaving for university after graduation.

But now? The internet can be accessed anywhere. It doesn't matter where you are, a Facebook comment, a blog post, a YouTube video can reach you. Combine that with the anonymity of this world wide web of ours and there's really no stopping it.

Kids can be incredibly cruel, often having absolutely no idea how much damage their words inflict. And they have so many more tools at their disposal these days.

It makes me worry about what my own kids might face one day.

I know the answer, in part, is to raise them to believe in themselves, to nurture a healthy self-confidence. But it's all so fragile, really. It doesn't take much to bring it all tumbling down.

Seeing these kids turning to suicide to escape their tormentors is deeply, chills me to the bone, terrifying.

Tuesday October 5th, 2010

The exercise:

Two haiku about: advice.

It's so beautiful outside right now. Twenty-two degrees just before five in the afternoon, not a cloud in the sky. It's hard to believe it's October.

Good thing the rain and cooler weather will be here soon to remind me :(


You want the answers
to all of life's big questions?
Check the internet.

*     *     *

Hey, what do you think -
Does this tie go with this shirt?
Like butter on bread.

Monday October 4th, 2010

The exercise:

Write about: searching.

I enjoyed the movie last night, but I had the advantage of not having read the book first. Kat was not so fortunate. I can relate.


I wander between the rows,
Grass tickling my bare feet;
I'm searching for a tasty snack
To help beat this heat.

I find the perfect apple
And lean in for a taste,
But I end up making spiders
Homeless with my face.

Thus begins the spastic dance
Brought on by cobwebbed eyes;
If there's a spider in my hair
I'll scream 'till I die.

Sunday October 3rd, 2010

The exercise:

Let us write about: working vacations.

I wasn't going to make a prompt out of this, but it's really too long to talk about otherwise. So here we are!

Going out to the movies tonight for the first time in ages. I'll let you know how Eat, Pray, Love turns out in tomorrow's post.


So. Jamaica at the end of January, start of February next year.

Our original plan was to honeymoon in France, but with the garden taking up almost all of our spring, summer, and fall, that only left traveling in winter. And the weather in Europe isn't exactly ideal during that time of year. So we started considering other options.

Cuba was in the running for a while, but then Jamaica entered the conversation and it was pretty much game over not long after that. I haven't been there since I went with my family when I was four and I've been wanting to go back for years. Plus it's a chance to visit my mom's sister and check out where my mom grew up.

And, you know, beaches, sunshine, awesome food, etc.

Around the same time as all this was happening, we started talking about how it would be neat for Kat to teach yoga in various tropical locations during our winter, in order to avoid the weather here and since the garden wouldn't need our attention for months.

So, naturally, we ended up combining the two. Our second week in Jamaica will be spent exploring the island on our own schedule. The first? Kat will be teaching three yoga classes a day at the Breezes Grand Resort in Negril while I sit on the beach and write. And drink. And write. And maybe drink some more.

We get to stay there for a week at a cost of what otherwise would cover just over a single night's stay. So Kat doesn't get paid outright, but if you consider the discount we're getting... I sure ain't complaining.

I can't wait.

Saturday October 2nd, 2010

The exercise:

A four line poem that deals with: code names.

We have a few regular customers at our market stall. There's Onion Guy (he gets four onions every single week), Aurora Girl (she really likes our Aurora apples), Crazy But Buys A Lot Lady (self explanatory, I reckon), and a few more. If only they knew how I refer to them.

Had a pretty good morning, much better than we expected to be doing at this time of year. Probably helped that the temperature was in the low twenties and there wasn't a cloud in the sky.

Mmm, day off tomorrow.


We all had our
Top secret code names;
I'd tell you mine
But it's really lame.

Friday October 1st, 2010

The exercise:

Welcome to October! Around these parts, Friday is a day for four lines of prose. Normally I just give you guys a topic to write on, but today I shall do something a little different.

You can do what you like with your first three lines, but your fourth line must end with the word diamond.

Have fun, and may this be a good month to you all.


"You're an odd man, Mr. Davies," I said with a shake of my head.

"And just what, exactly, do you mean by that?" he asked around the unlit cigar he'd been chewing on for most of the night. I pointed at the glass display case that took up three quarters of his study and laughed.

"I don't think that most people would so proudly showcase their ownership of the world's largest fake diamond."