Thursday December 30th, 2010

The exercise:

The prompt today: blame.

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

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

Hurray for frustrations!


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

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

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

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

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


summerfield said...

marc, this is like the abbott and costello baseball thing! it's so funny.



"Maddie, please. We discussed this a number of times. No one's to blame."

"But he's hurting, Cynthia. Lee's been hurting for so long." Maddie coughs on the phone; she's been smoking again. "Why can you not make up with him. Aren't you lonely? The trouble with you is you are so proud. Why can't you just make up with him? You know you love him, and he loves you so much. That's why he's been single all these years."

"Maddie, please." I say again.

"And you, none of your relationships amounted to the degree that you and Lee had. You yourself said that a number of times. Why can't you...?"

"Maddie!" I interrupt her. "Maddie, listen to me. Lee and I will never be again. It's been twenty years, for God's sakes!"

"But, I'm just worried about you. Lee still wants you and he's been very good to you. You should consider getting back together." I roll my eyes and put the phone away from my ears. I feel blood rising to the veins in my temple and I am about to explode. But Maddie's been a very good friend, both to me and to Lee, but at times like this, when she's keeping at this drama, I feel like she's more on Lee's side than mine.

"Maddie, you only know one side of the story and that's Lee's side. Once again, I tell you that I will not discuss what transpired then. So you do not know the complete story. Please, if you're my friend, you'd skip the drama."

There is a long pause then I hear Maddie coughs hard. When she speaks again, her voice is hoarse and she sounds tired. "Okay, so what are you making for New Year's eve then?"

Zhongming said...

Wonderful poem that is!

Blame (Continuation from the snowy woods)

Memo of day five, 8:46pm Sunday, 24th Jan 2000.

The three of us looked pretty worn out, exhausted to the extend that we just fall flat onto the very ground that we're standing on. The tiny snowflakes just floats in the air shortly after we collapse with our last bit of energy. I thought I had enough of all these bullshit that is happening to me. 

The trekking path seems to get more narrow as we walked.
While the backpack gets lighter which isn't a very good sign at least until somebody some lights shed onto us. 

So i began to think of it positively so as to calm myself for the whole "trip-that-went-awfully-wrong". I try not to grasp anything or blame anyone for my plight. Then acceptance starts to engage my mind. I begin to think of it as an adventures trip than "trip-that-went-awfully-wrong". 

Then I realize that I actually feed my mental mind with "real" food, "peace". I felt entirely at ease after a mindful meditation ever since our collapse. 

Then we heard...

An audible noise of multiple footsteps that coupled with crashing sounds of dead leafs moving towards us. My intuition spells to me that trouble is around the corner. It sends down a fair amount of chills down my spine when i see what I'm not supposed to see...

Zhongming said...

What coincidence, Summerfield! We both put up our post at the same time! And oh yeah, I really enjoyed the dialogue between your characters :)

Greg said...

@summerfield: I like your passage, it's got an enigmatic quality to it while still telling the reader a lot. I can really feel the narrator's weariness with the conversation coming through. Great work!

@Zhongming: I like the narrator's decision to turn away from blame and find a positive light for the excursion; I know a few people who could learn from that!

@Marc: So close to completion! Well, I guess it means you can enjoy New Year without having to do any work on the cabin, and then finish it off quickly when the baseboards are back in and you've got the new compressor.
I love the little poem with its short, repetitious beat, and the idea of the narrator being glued to another person! I think the last verse is my favourite.

Charles Ascugimento, Head of Building Security, waited as the last of his staff straggled into the Tsunami meeting room. He'd named all the meeting rooms after natural disasters to remind people to consider all eventualities. Stephen/Stephanie, the store detective, waved to him as he/she came in, and Charles pretended not to notice.
"Thank-you all for coming," he said, the speakers making his voice seem to come from all corners of the room. "As you are all aware, this is a no-blame culture." A ripple of bitter laughter quickly subsided as he glared.
"Some time this morning a fire alarm was set off by a young boy who had wandered away from his mother intent on mischief. This required an evacuation of floors twelve and thirteen while we determined the location and nature of the incident. These things cost money." He leaned forward to emphasize his words.
"Now: I could use the duty roster to find out who was near the alarm at the time. I could use the responsibilities list to find out who should have been looking out for waifs and strays and should have intercepted this boy. I could have you all subjected to psychometric testing and psycho-anti-therapeutic trials to find out if any of you are intent on sabotage." He paused to let the impact of his words settle. "But this is a no-blame culture. So I have picked a name from a hat at random, and so Sheila Bryant will be being stoned along with the young boy who caused this issue at four o'clock this afternoon."
Sheila started sobbing.
"Thank-you for coming everyone. Please get back to work before we have any more incidents like this."

Sean said...

I had no idea where to start with this so it began as free writing. It ended up as a poem...sort of.
Thanks Marc for getting me to connect my finger and brain to the keyboard.

Daily Writing Practice prompt: Blame

blame me
blame him
blame her
blame them
assign fault where fault due...after the fact
blame before it happens and you are knowledgeable
you are now an accomplice
Finger pointers and finger waggers love to ASSign fault
ASSigners of blame love for others to accept responsibility
that way they can brandish the magic “R” word with out using it on themselves
responsibility is strong and forthright
but it can be good and bad
When something bad happens it is a pundit’s Responsibility to blame, or ASSign Responibility
To blame and shame for one’s own fame
Now I will blame morning brain for these words
slogging through morning mind fog
tripping over words
falling over half buried thoughts
brain drizzle, dribbles, and droppings
lack of coffee is to blame

gada said...


Who can you blame
when all that fame brings you
is grief
all that money
is of no relief
nothing matters
when your heart is gone
stolen by a thief

Watermark said...

Great pieces everyone and happy new year! Mine's a bit long :)


The fireworks lit up the sky in splendour and a thousand faces turned their attention to the drama above their heads. I, on the other hand, was too busy fiddling with my camera, which had decided to stop working, just at that moment when the first big bang resounded.

We had arrived at the harbour early afternoon looking for the perfect spot. The place was already swarming with keen firework hunters who had taken up refuge from the scorching sun under all the shady oaks and eucalyptuses in the area. Luckily I had predicted as much and had brought along the necessary gear in the form of an umbrella. The tripod and camera had been set up to cover the entire panorama. I had put the camera to test with a few clicks and minor adjustments that would guarantee the once in a year snapshots of the awaited new years celebrations. I would capture the harbour, water, sky as well as capricious passers-by in a timely manner and we would licence the copyrights from this extraordinary device and become rich and famous. There had been no doubt about it. Well, that had been the plan anyway.

The fireworks were meant to last for a full twenty minutes. Ten had already been wasted. A smoky sky continued to be set ablaze and other professional photographers were engaged in filming the scene, much to my growing ire. The harbour shot up streams of fire, creating a semi-halo effect. I drew my attention back to the camera and thought how this was not meant to happen. Another five minutes passed and frantic as I was to fix the darn thing, I knew that I could either battle with an aged yet familiar predicament further or give in. I decided to give in.

Only five more minutes remained and I knew that the finale would be spectacular so I walked up to where my husband stood and watched. Cheers and screams of awe filled the air around us with explosions of colour raining down. The sound of a thousand rumbles of thunder in one tore through the place until finally a sudden calm rang in our ears. The smell of burning filled the air along with the claps, pounding music and continued cheers. It was all over for us.

“Woah!! Did you get all that?”

I turned toward my husband who was holding his brand new camcorder now filming the crowds around us, and shook my head.

“The darn thing conked out. Here.”

I handed over my grandfather’s old camera which I had promised we would finally get rid of if it broke down one more time. At least one of us had caught the new year’s festivities on film despite my silent blameworthy glances which I kept casting on my old, inherited camera.

Marc said...

Summerfield - ah, an excellent follow up to your last entry. Very nicely handled.

Glad you liked mine :)

Zhongming - I hope you keep writing this story, because I don't plan on getting tired of it any time soon :)

Greg - I had missed Charles! He's so wonderfully... cantankerous :D

Sean - I like what you did with that. My favorite part: "... brandish the magic “R” word with out using it on themselves"

Gada - that has a wonderful rhythm to it. Well done!

Watermark - happy new year to you too :D

That was fantastic, I could totally picture that scene. You really brought me there :)

Heather said...

Tears welled in my eyes as I looked at the pale blue paint. I'd spent two months searching for a store that still could mix the color. Excitedly, I ordered three gallons of it. I had to make sure I had enough. The color was discontinued and it was unlikely I would be able to get more. It was worth the effort and wait. I fell completely in love with it even before it dried.

But now it was marred. Marred in a way that was beautiful in itself which left me in turmoil. Staring back at me, a bright red crooked smile on her face, was the image of my oldest daughter the way she saw herself. Mocha Brown pony tails stuck out both sides of her head. She wore a pink suit with rainbow striped tights. Her legs were as big as an elephants. I stood next to her. My hair was long and straight, the same Mocha Brown. I wore blue jeans and the sweater she had picked out for me for Christmas. My husband, her father stood next to me. She was holding her baby sister's hand. The baby's blonde hair stuck out wildly in every direction and just above the ovals that were her feet, a blanket was wrapped around her body up to her neck.

To the left was a tall white house with three windows, a door, and a Brick Red roof. On the other side was a swing set. Tufts of grass poked up anywhere a more permanent structure or people weren't positioned. The sky was a deep blue with bumpy white circles and black birds that looked more like lower case m's and a bright yellow sun that smiled down on the scene. Above each of our heads, in shaky Sunset Orange letters, our names were written: Me, Mom, Dad, and Baby.

I looked down at the known 'Me'. "Did you do this?" I asked her, pride and anger making my voice sound higher than usual.

"No mommy. I didn't do it," she responded, her ponytails swinging rapidly from side to side as she shook her head vehemently in denial.

"This isn't your hand writing?" I looked at her seriously. Mother's have a way of eliciting the truth with their eyes.

"No mommy, not me," she said looking directly into my eyes.

Marc said...

Heather - I could feel the narrator's conflicting emotions. I think I would feel the same way :)