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.


David said...

Previous comments - @Greg - liked your take on the Tropics. I would love to see you write a story without a twist - consider that a challenge. I love your stories, but as Heather said, I'm starting to anticipate the dark turn.

@Morganna - as Greg said, I like the sentiment in the last line of your tropics poem, a great reminder. As for your haikus, after another two days of kids off from school and ridiculous amounts of ice, you captured the need to get away.

@Zhongming - I liked your two haikus - one spiritual, one physical, found them to be nice counterparts.

Here's my take for today:

Inhale. Why am I doing this? Exhale. This is crazy. Focus on your breathing. Too many people around. That’s the key to meditation. The lobby is full. Let the thoughts flow through you. I don’t want anyone else to be hurt. Inhale. I can do this. Exhale. My training will get me through. The mind is a blank. I’ll sit on the marble floor. Breathe. Right in front of the security guards. Inhale. I’m scared. Exhale. It is bigger than me. You need nothing. I sit. You are nothing. People stare. You are everything. They smell my rags. Inhale. It is time. Exhale. Lotus position. Focus on the breath. Inhale. I take the lighter from my pocket. Exhale. I light my clothes. Inhale. Heat. Exhale. Burning. Inhale. Pain. Exhale. I hope they understand.

Zhongming said...

Marc - fantastic poem! Love the way you've driven it.

David - thanks for your comments on my haikus! 

About your piece today, I like the narrator's meditation wild thoughts and I like his determination to focus on his breathing. Well written :)


Here's mine:

The alarm

What is time? Can you imagine living in a world without time? The human realm of 24/7 completely gone? The world has nothing left but just you? What will you do? What would be your purpose of living? What is greed, hatred and jealousy? There are people who work all their life in hope to have better life, more luxury, entertainment and more time. A world without time concept, possible? World without alarm? Yes? No? Subjective? You're free to think out of the box! 

Heather said...

Marc- We were lucky enough not to have an alarm clock the other day as well. Unfortunately, it was due to 18 inches of glittering white snow instead of a white sand beach.

David- I liked the idea/ concept of your piece. I would like to know more about your character. Maybe in a follow-up piece sometime? Aside from mental illness, what else would drive someone to such an act. I do not understand. Also, I found the short sentences conflicted with the idea of trying to get into a more meditative state. The two presented paces didn't match up for me.

Zhongming- Your piece flowed really well today, both in grammar and presentation of ideas. Very, very well done!

Mine is too 'telling' for my taste.

"How are you doing ladybug?" I asked the little girl securely strapped in her car seat. She didn't respond. I had come to expect her silence in the car. I knew if I really wanted a response, I would have to divert my attention from the road. She always cued into my eyes, even in the rear view mirror. I glanced into the mirror. She was twisting her deep brown hair, apparently oblivious to everything else around her. Smiling, I looked back to the road.

Traffic was a touch lighter than moderate. "It looks like the promised blizzard seems to be sending people to the stores to stock up on eggs, milk, and bread. I always think that is kind of funny," I offered my thoughts to the silence, preferring the sound of my voice to the on-going weather information playing over the radio. "I wonder if people crave crazy amounts of french toast when they were snowed in."

I pictured the Brown family sitting around their kitchen table, a mound of french toast in the center, little Deshaun politely requesting the maple syrup. The response of his mother was a sharp inhale of breath. Alarmed, I realized that it was me inhaling sharply. The rear tires had slid out from under the car. "Ice!" We were driving directly toward the center barrier. I began spinning the wheel, trying to direct us away from the collision. We continued driving toward the barrier. I spun the wheel harder.

The car finally responded. We veered sharply away from the wall, only the back bumper making contact, and swung wildly back into our lane and then partially into the one next to us. I turned the wheel the other direction, not as sharply, this time, but enough to bring the car back into the lane we started in. The vehicle rocked roughly before skidding across another patch of ice.

We sailed across two lanes. A salt truck sat between us and the shoulder of the road . I tried slowing down. He sped up. My daughter and I slipped in the hole between him and the next car. Another concrete barrier sat just before us. Spinning the wheel, the car turned away from the barrier and scraped against the packed snow instead. We stopped. I took two deep breaths and reached for my phone. I didn't know who to call. We weren't hurt and the car was functioning well. I put my phone back into my purse and continued to settle my breathing.

"Weeeeee!" my daughter called out, a large smile on her face, "Can we do that again?" I wished for her silence.

David said...

@zhongming - i like that yours is actually an alarm attempting to wake people up to a better life.

@Heather - perhaps too telling, but feels authentic, down to the frustration with the child. If it was just "clever", the child would have had the last word.

As for mine- i agree, it's too fast paced. The idea is there, but this first draft would need some work. Dont think you'll be seeing a follow up. But, a hint, think of the Buddhist monks who burned themselves during the Vietnam War.

Greg said...

@David: I like your piece, and although I can see Heather's point about the shortness of the lines belying a meditative state I actually thought they worked rather well -- you depicted someone who was consumed by concern over what they were going to do and what they needed to do to get through it. The short sentences worked very well for that. If you'd gone for longer and more meditative structures I think it would have been harder to see the link with 'alarm'.
@Zhongming: Your piece reads like propaganda; a wake-up call to the masses, but from whom? And for what purpose? The last line, the upbeat, chirpy, you're free to think out of the box sounds so much like a corporate slogan! Very well done.

@Heather: there's a real sense of urgency and panic in the penultimate and ante-penultimate paragraphs; your writing is absolutely spot on there. I caught myself holding my breath as I was reading, and I could feel the narrator's sense of relief. I really enjoyed it.

@marc: Your poor alarm clock! Let's hope that there are none while you're on honeymoon. (Curious fact: Every North American hotel I've stayed in has had an alarm clock in the room. No European hotel ever does.)
I like the short lines and the rhyme scheme for your poem; it brings across the peacefulness without the alarm.

The Alarm
Sweet solitude:
A tent, pitched on grass
grazed by no sheep,
where no cows pass,
and even the goats stay away.
A river shimmers, white
beneath a cloudy sky,
and is almost silent at night.
Yet I ask myself why,
every day I wake with the dawn:
despite having no alarm,
I see in every morn.

Marc said...

David - excellent. Nothing more to say.

Zhongming - a world without time... sounds like something I wouldn't mind trying out.

Heather - totally had me on the edge of my seat. Glad to see a happy ending. Well, a safe one at least.

Greg - so do Europeans just wake up when they need to, or do they not have early morning meetings?

Love the description of the camp spot.

Greg said...

I always seem to have early morning starts and meetings, so I use the alarm on my phone to get me up. The list of services usually includes a wake-up call in European hotels (I don't recall if that was available in North America, though I'd have thought it would be) so perhaps Europeans make good use of that?