Monday February 28th, 2011

The exercise:

On this final day of February, let us write about: delays.

Kat's flight was delayed by almost three hours - thankfully I knew about the first hour and a half before I left home. Luckily I brought a book with me that helped cover the other hour and a half.

You can find all the honeymoon pictures I posted on Facebook here.

Oh, actually, that's just the first 200. Because apparently there's a limit to how many pictures you can have in a Facebook album. So here's the rest.

Don't worry, there's only 14 more in there.


Standing at the top of the cliff, looking straight down at the still pool a hundred feet below, Jimmy was feeling very annoyed. He looked over at his older brother and scowled.

"Why can't we just do it now?" he asked, the words sounding polite and patient in his ears.

"Because I said so," his brother replied. "And stop whining."

"I wasn't!"

"You still are."

Jimmy folded his arms across his chest and clamped his mouth shut. Looking away, he contemplated doing it right then, without his brother's permission. Like a real rebel.

"All right, get ready," his brother said. Jimmy's scowl disappeared in a heartbeat as he made his final preparations. "On three, okay?"

"Got it."

"One... two... three!"

In unison they threw their rocks straight down. They seemed to twist and turn forever before they finally landed with a thunderous splash, just as their sister and her friends arrived at the edge of the pool.

Their shrieks of terror let Jimmy know that the delay had been worth it.

Sunday February 27th, 2011

The exercise:

Today we're doing a slight variation on the random CD prompt that (I think) I've only done once before. Pick a song at random, or just one that comes to mind, and use the song title as your prompt.

Definitely feeling better, but the cough is still hanging on to my lungs with both hands. So far it has failed in dragging them out of my body through my mouth, but I'm remaining vigilant.

Watched House of Flying Daggers this evening. Beautiful movie. A bit difficult to suspend my disbelief at times, but utterly enjoyable.

Picking up Kat from the Penticton airport tomorrow afternoon. The time apart has been good, but I'm quite ready to see her again.


Locked In The Trunk Of A Car - The Tragically Hip

It smells like doughnuts in here. Why would you put doughnuts in the trunk of your car? Shouldn't they always travel up front, within easy reach? Unless I've been kidnapped by the sort of people that always leave a box in the trunk, for emergency purposes.

Oh God, did I let fat people take me? How incredibly embarrassing.

Okay, maybe I should be focusing on coming up with an escape plan. What I'm going to do when they open...

Seriously, though. Do fat people even do this line of work? In the movies kidnappers are always fit and in shape. Skinny, if anything. Never, ever fat though.

Not that I'm exactly a top flight athlete myself, but at least I'm within spitting distance of fit. I'd never let myself get to the point that called for an emergency doughnut supply. In the bloody trunk, of all places!

Right. Focus. This could be serious.

What if they're planning on eating me?

No, they've got doughnuts. I'm safe.

Until the doughnuts run out, at any rate. I mean, if it only smells like them back here, that means they took them out. Probably working their way through them right now. While I bounce along, hitting my head at every pothole.

I really need to pull it together here. Come on, I can do this.

I could totally go for a doughnut though.

Saturday February 26th, 2011

The exercise:

A four line poem about: the chase.

Feeling a little better today. I did some writing, rested, read, watched Taken, rested some more, and watched Fantastic Mr. Fox. When you're able to properly relax, being sick can be all right.

Also: I'm one week away from 1,000 days in a row and I have no idea how I'm going to mark the occasion. Suggestions are welcome. As long as you don't suggest me writing a thousand four line poems. You can just keep that to yourself, thanks very much.


We're getting close,
I can almost smell him;
My twin brother,
My fetid phantom limb.

Friday February 25th, 2011

The exercise:

Four lines of prose about: the hitman.

Just finished watching In Bruges on Netflix and had to continue the theme of the evening. We recently signed up for the free one month trial and so far it's looking like we'll keep with it once the monthly payments start. It's hard to argue with the price and convenience.

Kat's in Vancouver this weekend for a workshop, so I'm home alone, sick, with a whole lot of Netflix movies I haven't seen. I think I can predict my weekend's activities pretty safely.


The gun in his pocket felt heavier than usual as he approached the train station. He told himself that was nonsense, that he was only imagining it, but his steps slowed all the same. As he drew to a halt twenty feet from the entrance, he looked around, trying to figure out what was happening.

And the little voice in the back of his head told him for a final time, "You shouldn't have taken this job."

Thursday February 24th, 2011

The exercise:

Let's write about: the roadside stall.

I'll conclude our Jamaican odyssey with these three. First up the inspiration for this prompt, one of the many roadside stalls to be found all over the country:

We bought a pineapple and the guy sliced it up for us. It was... pretty much the best thing ever. We spent our final night just outside Falmouth on the north coast. We were right on the beach, part of which you can see here:

We decided to get up early (okay, early for me) to see our final sunrise before heading to Montego Bay to catch our flight home:

I'll probably share a few more pictures at random, but this marks the end of the photo overload for now. Once I have all of them uploaded I'll share a link to the full gallery in case anyone wants to see them all.


The car pulls up in front of my stall, a cloud of dust momentarily obscuring the vehicle and the passengers within. Customers at last! I put on my most charming smile and ready my sales pitch.

"Hey, how's it going?" the driver says through a rolled down window.

"Just another day in paradise, my friend!" I reply with a laugh. Why isn't he getting out?

"Can you tell us if we're heading in the right direction for Blackwood City?"

"Yup, you're on the right track! But it's a long way to go still, maybe you'd like some -"

"All right, thanks man!"

And with that they're gone in another brown and grey haze. I sigh heavily before taking out a cloth from my back pocket and dusting off my display of hand grenades.

Wednesday February 23rd, 2011

The exercise:

Today we're writing something that takes place: inside the fort.

Kat has been battling what has come to be known around here as The Jamaica Flu ever since we got back. Now that she's starting to get a bit better, it's obviously my turn. I've been fighting it off for the last few days but it's starting to wear me down. Hopefully a good sleep tonight will help.

Anyway, back to the fun in Jamaica. While we were in Kingston my aunt and uncle took us out to Port Royal (the link is definitely worth the read if you want to learn some pirate history), where we had a little tour of Fort Charles:

I'm the sort of guy who just has to climb up something like that the moment I spot it. So here's the view from up top:

And a shot along the barrel of one of the many cannons:

It was an interesting place, but the sun was out and there was little shade to be found so we had to get out of there a littler sooner that I would have liked. Still with me? All right, let's get to writing.


Their enemies at the walls
And their supplies running low,
They gathered in the courtyard,
Lit by the moon's ghostly glow.

No one called for surrender,
Not a tear dared to appear.
They agreed to one last charge
Into death's arms with a sneer.

The drawbridge lowered at dawn
And every last soul poured out;
With swords and daggers held high,
They left this world with a shout.

Tuesday February 22nd, 2011

The exercise:

Two haiku about: doctors.

As promised yesterday, here are my favorite pictures from the entire trip that don't have Kat or myself in them. Behold, the national bird of Jamaica:

That there would be a doctor bird. Here's a closer look at this striking hummingbird:

And one last one for good measure:

Considering how much I love birds, and hummingbirds in particular, watching these guys come and go while we ate lunch high up in the Blue Mountains was absolutely amazing. I'll never forget it.


Wearing a white coat,
he endorses the best meds.
I change the channel.

*     *     *

He sounds so sincere
when he tells me it won't hurt.
He's a damned liar.

Monday February 21st, 2011

The exercise:

Today's task: write about the hustler.

On our first full day in Kingston, Kat and I went hiking in the Blue Mountains with my aunt and uncle who were visiting from Montreal with my aunt who lives in Kingston. The drive was... well, let's just say that if I was behind the wheel, we probably would have turned back long before we reached the hike.

As it was, my uncle drove and we ended up enjoying a beautiful stroll:

There were ferns and flowers everywhere:

Afterward we stopped for lunch at a cafe just around twenty or thirty corners - so, about a minute's drive away:

That's Kat with my aunt. My uncle had wandered off somewhere, looking at some flowers I think. I'll share a few more pictures of this lunch spot tomorrow. They're some of my favorite of the entire trip (that don't have either of us in it).


Keep smiling, laugh a lot. They don't suspect a thing. You're just trying to help, that's all. There's nothing in it for you. They want to trust you.

"So we continue on down that road and we'll be there in about twenty minutes?"

"Yes, but it's not very well signed. If you want I can lead you there."

"Oh, there's no need to go out of your way for us. I'm sure we'll be fine."

"No, I insist! I'd hate for you to get lost around here. There are people around here... they're not bad, just desperate, you know?"

Like me.

"All right, thanks a lot man. Don't drive too fast though, we don't want to lose you!"

"Of course! I'll take it nice and slow."

They don't stand a chance.

Sunday February 20th, 2011

The exercise:

Let's write about: going out for a drink.

On the way back from Black River we stopped in at Pelican Bar. What's so interesting about stopping for a drink? When it's at a bar one kilometer offshore:

A local man built it on a sand spit and it's only accessible by boat. So obviously it's a major tourist draw. Here's the view looking back to shore:

It kind of looks like it would blow over at the first sign of wind, but so far it's holding up:

We spotted a dolphin on the way back home, but I didn't get a picture of it. It was very cool though; we must have been only a few feet away from it at one point. I think tomorrow I'll share some Kingston pictures with you, where we visited with my relatives and went for a hike in the Blue Mountains.


They stood huddled together in the cave entrance, safe in the cool shadows as they watched the afternoon sky. Their once fashionable clothes now hung from their limbs like torn rags, their bare feet dirty and blistered. No words were spoken; they did not have the energy to spare for them.

The air rippled where the dark met the light, the heat nearly crying out in frustration at its inability to breach their sanctuary. They pretended not to notice, but they were all aware of it.

After an hour or more had passed, a large black cloud appeared on the horizon. A wave of energy passed through them and they became restless, suddenly finding it difficult to wait a moment longer. But they had no choice, not if they wanted to survive.

At last the cloud moved before the sun, casting its shadow over the land below. They emerged from the cave then, moving as quickly as they could manage. It was time to go out for a drink.

Saturday February 19th, 2011

The exercise:

A four line poem about: green.

The first seeds of the season went into the soil today. In the greenhouse, but still - it might as well be spring already. Now somebody tell that to the howling, freezing cold wind out there.

Right, I promised boat trip pictures. Our guide picked us up on the beach behind our guesthouse, arriving right on time in his motorboat. Here's a shot of a particularly undeveloped stretch of coast we cruised by:

Shortly after that we came across a group of feeding pelicans. We hung out with them for a while and our guide borrowed my camera to take a few pictures. I think he might have done that once or twice before:

Here's us in the boat:

When we finally got to Black River it didn't take us long to spot a crocodile:

But this guy, hanging out on the beach, was definitely the highlight:

I'm going to have to share a link to the full collection of pictures once I get them all uploaded - I feel like I'm skipping so many in order to not swamp the blog with them.


Black seeds buried in brown soil,
We're all feeling so keen;
Now we'll add some clear water
And pray it comes up green.

Friday February 18th, 2011

The exercise:

Four lines of prose about: wrong turns.

Continuing the Jamaica story, we hopped in our rental car and left Negril behind. We were heading for Treasure Beach on the south coast and after several wrong turns and too many potholes, we stopped for a short rest at this pretty little spot:

After a few more wrong turns and a hell of a lot more potholes, we arrived at our guesthouse and wandered out back to find this:

Looking the other way:

It was a long, tiring drive, but the destination made it totally worth it. Speaking of the drive, here's the rental car, parked out front beneath bougainvilleas:

I think tomorrow I'll share some pictures from the boat trip we took along the coast and up Black River to see the crocodiles.

Oh, I've finally caught up with all the comments that were left while I was gone. So now I can get back to my usual routine of posting the day's prompt and then replying to the previous day's comments. Hurray!


Henri stared at the brick wall standing in his way and sighed, the cigarette between his lips hanging on for dear life. The wall was not meant to be there, not according to the map his assistant had provided him with that morning before he left the office. As he pulled the cellphone from his breast pocket and flipped it open he didn't even entertain the possibility that he had made a wrong turn on his own. 

This was obviously his assistant's fault, and she was about to suffer the consequences.

Thursday February 17th, 2011

The exercise:

Let's write about: melting.

We took a taxi out to the West End in Negril to watch the sunset one night. It was a beautiful location:

With a beautiful sunset:

With a beautiful wife:

I wrote today's piece either later that night or the next day, I can't remember.


We watched the sun
Melt into the waves,
The heavens lit
By its final rays -
I thought we'd reached
The end of days.

But if it was
The passing of light,
It was not time
To give up the fight -
As after day
There's always night.

Wednesday February 16th, 2011

The exercise:

The prompt for today is: timeless.

I didn't do a heck of a lot of writing while I was away, but today's piece is one of a handful of poems I managed to get down on paper.

On one of our final days at the resort Kat and I took a trip to the Royal Palm Reserve, just outside of Negril. Here's some proof:

It was an overcast day, but the sun did eventually come out:

And we saw some cool ducks - the first picture is of West Indian Whistling Ducks (they did not make any sound that I would even consider to be a whistle), while the second is a Muscovy Duck:

We also came across some herons and a hummingbird, but they didn't sit still long enough for me to get a picture - that time.

Just a quick note: I've begun working my way through the comments that were left while I was gone, so hopefully I'll be caught up by this weekend.


The birds are singing
And the waves are too;
I'm splayed in the sand
With nothing to do.

The breeze is gentle,
The sun is burning;
That damned minute hand
Just keeps on turning.

Well, at least it would,
If I cared to find
That daft instrument
That keeps track of time.

Tuesday February 15th, 2011

The exercise:

Two haiku about: the sailor.

I thought I'd start off by sharing a few pictures of the resort we stayed at in Negril during our first week away. It was a beautiful location, and it was nice to be completely taken care of for the first few days. But after we'd settled in we were ready to get out and explore, to see some 'real' Jamaica. It was just a bit too sheltered for our liking.

But yeah, beautiful spot:

We had a room in one of the buildings at the left of this picture:

The grounds were amazing. This silk cotton tree is (if I recall correctly) about 175 years old:

More pictures to come tomorrow!


The captain said he
should show more initiative -
so he mutinied.

*     *     *

In all directions
nothing but water to see -
sweet serenity.

Monday February 14th, 2011

The exercise:

Hello, hello! I'm back in town, tanned, tired, and... some other 't' word.

I'll get some pictures up tomorrow, once I get some sleep. For now, do what you can with: left and right.


So we managed to survive a week of me driving around Jamaica on the left side of the road. It wasn't too big a deal, as I'd driven on the left in New Zealand for almost two months.

But I had forgotten about the windshield wipers / turn signal issue.

You see, here in Canada, driving on the right side of the road, the wiper control is on the right side of the steering wheel and the turn signal is on the left. When you're driving on the left, it's reversed - wipers on the left, signal on the right.

Which, until you can re-train yourself, leads to a whole lot of wipers dragging across bone-dry windshields whenever you're about to turn.

By the end of the week I had it pretty much down, which was nice. But then today, driving home from the airport in Kelowna, it was a struggle to get back to the 'normal' controls.

This driving on the opposite side of the road business is more complicated than you'd expect.

Sunday February 13th, 2011

The exercise:

As a thank you for hanging in there (well, you better have!) these last two weeks, I'm serving up one of my favorite prompts: continuations.

The name of the game is to carry on the story from where the last person left it. Enjoy, and I'll see you guys tomorrow. Well, not see you, but... you get the idea, dang it.

Note: I'm away on my honeymoon so this is a scheduled post. The very last one!


The man stood on the beach, the wind pressing his clothes tight against his body while the sun remained hidden behind the clouds. A storm was coming.

Behind him, about twenty paces away, a woman awaited his return in the otherwise empty parking lot. She sat in the idling car, smoking a cigarette with an expression on her face that indicated she disliked the taste. Her gaze alternated between the clock on the stereo system and the man's back. The radio station was playing a Doors marathon.

As Riders on the storm came on the man suddenly turned and ran back to the car. He jumped in, slammed the door, and threw it into reverse. Without looking behind him, he pressed the gas pedal to the floor.

The woman waited until he had brought them out of the parking lot and to the road before saying anything.

Saturday February 12th, 2011

The exercise:

A four line poem about: the flight attendant.

We're flying back to Toronto tomorrow and I'll be back in action here on Monday night. But until then...

Note: I'm away on my honeymoon so this is a scheduled post.


Somewhere over the Atlantic
I pulled her aside to ask her
For some more intimate service...
She told me where the exits were.

Friday February 11th, 2011

The exercise:

Four lines of prose about: the last night.

Saturday night will be our final night in Jamaica, and I suspect I will be thinking of it by this point already.

Note: I'm away on my honeymoon so this is a scheduled post.


He kept to himself that night, even more than he usually did. It seemed like he was constantly looking over his shoulder and jumping at shadows. You could hardly blame him though.

Nobody wants to get shivved on their last night in prison.

Thursday February 10th, 2011

The exercise:

Your prompt today: the photograph.

I think I'll be taking a few while we're away. I will try not to drown you in them upon our return.

Note: I'm away on my honeymoon so this is a scheduled post. Yes, still. I'll be back eventually.


A moment,
Captured in black and white,
In Paris,
Their hats tipped to the right.
Ties undone
And collars loosened up,
Each holding
Their spirits in a cup.
Two soldiers
Preparing to ship out,
Both knowing
Fear and terror and doubt,
But neither
Daring to let it show,
Just grasping
Joy before the blood flows.

Wednesday February 9th, 2011

The exercise:

Let's see what you come up with for: the project.

Note: I'm away on my honeymoon so this is a scheduled post.

Note the second: I'm getting very tired of typing that.


With a steady hand he hammers the final nail into place. Stepping back, he wipes the sweat from his brow and surveys the finished project.

It had taken up his weekends and evenings for the last two years, but he was certain it would all be worth it when he set her in the water for the first time. His very own boat, every inch of it.

After countless hours of work it was ready.

And all it took to undo it all later that night was a carelessly discarded cigarette and about twenty minutes.

Tuesday February 8th, 2011

The exercise:

Two haiku about: the bartender.

Note: I'm away on my honeymoon so this is a scheduled post.


Puffing a cigar,
his knuckles covered with scars -
the king of this bar.

*     *     *

He mixes cocktails
the way he likes his women -
it's all about looks.

Monday February 7th, 2011

The exercise:

Here's the word of the day: climbing.

Note: I'm away on my honeymoon so this is a scheduled post.


There were three trees in the Peterson's backyard. The oak in the middle of the lawn had only been planted the year before and so was hardly taller than I was.

The fir in the back left corner was fighting a losing battle with some disease I couldn't spell or pronounce. They had removed all of its branches in an attempt to regain control and I thought it looked rather depressing. They should've just taken it out.

The last tree, a pine in the back right corner, was the oldest and healthiest of the bunch. It loomed over the neighborhood like a watch tower, full of prickly needles and covered with sticky sap.

So of course it was this tree that Fluffy the cat chose to climb to the top of when I was taking care of her.

Sunday February 6th, 2011

The exercise:

Today we're writing about: the explorer.

We should be getting our rental car today, leaving the resort behind for a week of exploration.

Note: I'm away on my honeymoon so this is a scheduled post.


Open roads and open spaces,
Foreign words but friendly faces.
Keep the windows all the way down,
Breathe in the scents of every town.

Enjoy each moment while it's here,
Because it can never be clear
How many breaths are left to go.
So keep driving... but take it slow.

Saturday February 5th, 2011

The exercise:

A four line poem about: the gift shop.

Note: I'm away on my honeymoon so this is a scheduled post.


"Everything in here
is so fantastic!"
"Are you bloody drunk?
It's all cheap plastic."

Friday February 4th, 2011

The exercise:

Four lines of prose about: the teddy bear.

Note: I'm away on my honeymoon so this is a scheduled post.


Burpy Bear had mismatched eyes, a missing ear, and left a trail of white stuffing wherever he went. But no matter what they promised, threatened, or begged, Anthony's parents could not convince him to part with his bear. And with good reason.

Burpy Bear was the only one Anthony had told where the bodies were buried.

Thursday February 3rd, 2011

The exercise:

Write something that takes place at: the police station.

Hopefully that's one place we won't be visiting.

Note: I'm away on my honeymoon so this is a scheduled post.


The man enters the station, removes his sunglasses, and looks around. His lips curl into a grimace when he spots the half-empty box of donuts on the front counter.

"Way to promote that stereotype, boys," he mutters.

He approaches the desk, his teeth squeezing the life out of an innocent piece of gum, and stares at the officer seated there. She is on the phone, speaking in short, urgent whispers. When the man opens his mouth she holds up a hand to stall him.

"Sorry about that," she tells him after hanging up three minutes later. "What can I -"

"I'm here to bail out my son."

"Ah, you must be Mister -"

"Just take my money and get me my boy," he says, pulling out his cheque book.

"I'm afraid I can't do that, sir."

"Why." It was not a question, but a challenge. A dare.

"He escaped about twenty minutes ago. But if you don't mind waiting a bit, I'm sure our boys will have him rounded up shortly."

The man blinks once, puts away his cheques, puts on his sunglasses, spins on his heel, and leaves the station. If he finds his son first, he thinks, that would save everyone a lot of trouble.

Well, everyone except his son.

Wednesday February 2nd, 2011

The exercise:

Write about: the alarm.

Note: I'm away on my honeymoon so this is a scheduled post.


The alarm clock
Lies in pieces
On the floor,
Sad, pondering
The reasons it
Rings no more.

The smiling man
Lies in peace
On his bed,
Content, dreaming,
With his reasons
To play dead.

Tuesday February 1st, 2011

The exercise:

Welcome to February! Let us write two haiku about: beaches.

Note: I'm away on my honeymoon so this is a scheduled post.


Sand between my toes,
Salty air in my nostrils...
Sounds like paradise.

*     *     *

Waves always crashing,
Birds singing at my window -
How am I to sleep?