Sunday November 7th, 2010

The exercise:

T'is that time of year (around here at least). Let's write about: falling back.

I enjoyed my extra hour of sleep last night. I'm not so crazy about it getting dark an hour earlier though.

Writing is... in progress.

Update: day seven. Not entirely pleased with what I wrote today, but those days are bound to happen. Will try for better tomorrow.


Tony polished his beloved cherry wood bar and eyed the new guy on stool number five. Hair receding into oblivion, too many pounds around the middle, and a Blackberry glued to his hand, constantly reading and sending messages. The guy obviously needed a drink.

So why was he nursing a Diet Coke?

Tony grabbed a bottle of cheap vodka from under the bar and a shot glass from the dish rack. Maybe the guy's had a bad stretch of luck with money he thought, pouring a generous amount into the glass.

"Here," he said with a smile as he placed the drink on the bar between them. "On the house."

The guy stared at it for a moment, an unreadable expression on his face. Tony noticed that his fingers were squeezing the life out of his handheld.

"No thanks," the guy said at last. "I gave that stuff up - don't want to fall back into bad habits, you know?"

"Sure," Tony said, tossing the drink down the sink. "How long you been free?"

"Three weeks, two days, and... eight hours."

"Good for you," Tony said with a nod. "Hang in there. It'll get easier, but not much. Worth it though."

"Sounds like you see a lot of guys like me in here."

"Not really," Tony said as he moved to serve another customer. "I'm just speaking from personal experience."


Greg said...

Ah, so Canada's gone back an hour now? We keep a rough track of you all for work, since nowhere seems to want to share DST with anywhere else! Someone asked me about it recently, so I did discover that DST works against farmers, so I can see that you'd be less happy :)
I really liked your story today, it conveyed its message well.

Falling back
There's smoke in the air and a patina of hoar on the windows. Up in the trees there's the angry chatter of squirrels, and yellow and red leaves litter the ground. People shuffle through, taking care with their feet, not wanting to slip and fall.
Anna-Mix stops and lifts her head, sniffing the air. There's a scent there she's smelled before, something purple, almost liquorice. Unconscious of her actions, her hands slip into her pockets and her shoulders hunch inwards.
She doesn't move, not in our customary three dimensions, but somehow she's still falling back, dropping through an Anna-Mix-shaped hole in the air. Just beyond her shoulders, in a place that's so far away from here that even light-years don't suffice to measure it, there's pinpricks of light, ancient constellations regarded only by alien eyes. Then she falls through, and the rip in the world closes around her, and there's only the smell of smoke and the crunch of dried leaves.
The shadows close in, hungrily, and the people left behind don't even have the chance to scream.

Zhongming said...

Marc - I enjoyed reading day 7 as well as your piece over here, i'm still pretty amazed that you can keep up with that 2000 words per day. Fantastic work!

Greg - that's such a fine piece of writing, i can almost picture myself in the scene!


Fall back

"Fall in!” The sergeant shouted with his thunderous voice and somewhat firm serious looking face. Those who were still asleep suddenly woke up after hearing that scary voice. Most of them half awake and rubbing their eyes wondering what the hell just happened.

It was 2am in the morning. After that they quickly changed into their gears and move down the stairs as fast as they could. The whole platoon gathered around the parade square in just five minutes after that command.

"Fall back!” This time round, the sergeant speak to the whole platoon with a smile in his face and said “well done! I’m pleased with the overall alert level that you guys have shown. Keep it up!”

morganna said...

Christalos tossed in her sleep. falling falling back falling in blackness falling we are who you will be now, coming, forever we are now what we will become Her eyes opened. Why was she dreaming of the memory chant? Tell us who was, to remember She shivered, hearing it echo in her waking mind, too. Do this in memory of us. Do this in memory of us, the living and the dead. That wasn't right. The chant ended after living. She closed her eyes again, trying to go back to sleep, willing away the dream. Girl! Save us! Christalos' eyes sprang open again. It was her grandmother's voice. The voice came again. Girl! I don't have much time. Do as I tell you. A long string of instructions followed. Christalos moved her lips as they flowed into her mind, trying to remember them all. The orders ended with Trust no one. Go alone. Christalos whispered, I will obey, and rose from her bed of leaves. She sprang into the sky, flying for the first time in weeks.

And, read the whole memory chant

Anonymous said...

Dude doesn’t call. Girlfriends out on dates.
Another lonely Friday night. Another SyFy monster movie on the telly.
Vegging sunk into the couch. Falling back into the arm’s of Ben and Jerry. Cupid arrives after all! Chubby Hubby’s on the lips.

Anonymous said...

ack, typo! that's *arms*

Heather said...

Marc- The realities of alcoholism. I hope Mr. Balding Too May Pounds sticks with it, but perhaps some where other than a bar. P.S. I love living in the Us probably as much as you love living in Canada. (Plus it is just too cold North.) I just get to complain because I took the time to vote.

Greg- Loved the descriptions! You've out done yourself. Truly fantastic work!

Zhongming- Again, a snippet of a life I will never truly understand. Good job!

Morgana- Interesting. I liked the dream sequence in the beginning. I think I will read the memory chant and then revisit your piece. I suspect I will have a different perspective then.

Alleycatadventures- I liked it a great deal. Still smiling at all of the subtleties and not-so-subtleties.

My husband is in Seattle all week so my writing time is limited even more so than usual. I rarely edit, but I do usually take some time to think about what I want to write/ express. Not this week though.

The stylist pulled the old woman's hair taut before pinning it up. In those short moments, the old woman saw the girl she use to be. Smooth skin, wide eyes, a clear focus. The stylist relaxed grip reapplied the wrinkles and loneliness, but the woman's mind continued to fall back through her life. Lost in her past choices, some defensible- others clearly not, a tear fell. Was it worth it? All the lying and deception? The claims of achievement? The sexual favors she'd exchanged? She had the money, the lifestyle, the fame. But did she have anything more tangible? Not a friend. Not a lover. Not even a puppy. Looking back to the mirror, she saw the woman she had become. Old. Embittered. A socialite who knew how to play the game. She missed the driven young woman she had been. Maybe if that doll face of a girl hadn't been so focused, the old woman wouldn't be so alone.

summerfield said...

marc, day 6 is thrilling but i haven't forgot about colin's secret.

i had a hard time with the prompt and the muse almost threatened to leave but i'm holding her hostage at all cost.

greg, great imagery. i agree with heather, you've outdone yourself, yet again.

zhongming, very timely, your piece. i can hear the officer shouting his commands. very good.

morganna, i like the dream sequence and the memory chant.

alleycat, "falling back into the arms of ben & jerry" is brilliant. i've done that in the past when i was much younger, now b&j remain frozen, literally, in my freezer.

heather, so true, even for the ordinary people like us.

i am so proud to be in the company of such good writers. thank you so much.

falling back:

Lenore contemplates the irony of her new life as she sits in her tiny apartment with one table and one chair, one plate and set of mismatched cutlery, one glass, one mug for her coffee. She has stopped crying a long time ago, yet occasionally she finds herself yearning for the old life - the many friends she had, the numerous places she travelled to, the lavish parties which sometimes she hosted and sometimes she graced with her presence; the endless shopping. Oh, the money that just kept pouring in. Didn't everyone love her then? Oh to be young and beautiful. To be the most sought-after star.

But after the fire, everything changed.

She remembers herself standing on the ledge outside the window of her 12th floor apartment, the fire raging inside, the thick smoke billowing out. She was left with only two choices: to burn inside, or to jump, either to death or to safety. She chose to jump, the bare tree right below would break her fall. In the instant between ledge and tree, a thought occurred to her: she was up high on the 12th floor, she's been living the high life, literally and figuratively. And now, she's falling back to the ground, where her feet should've been. The bare branches ravaged her face, her beauty is gone in an instant. Falling back is hard, the reality even harder.

Marc said...

Greg - yeah, we fell back. My body is still trying to adjust.

Fantastic descriptions and imagery today. Great ending too.

Zhongming - ah, the army does love to torture its soldiers, doesn't it?

Morganna - wonderfully gripping. I will make time to get all caught up eventually, I promise.

Allycat - haha, very nicely done.

Heather - well, let us see what you can create in a more ad lib setting :)

Great imagery and powerful sentiment. I think you'll do just fine this week.

Summerfield - some days you need to take extreme measures with your muse. I hope the situation calms down soon :)

I love the contrast between the before and after. And the reason for the change made me cringe - great work.

Watermark said...

Falling back

Falling back
on years of toil,
Falling back
through tears that hurl
themselves through, to the core
bringing out emotions, to the fore -
Diving and sifting through

Anonymous said...

I certainly enjoy the variations sprung from a single prompt presented here!

Marc said...

Watermark - simply beautiful.

Allycat - me too! :)