Tuesday January 31st, 2012

The exercise:

The last day of January brings with it a request for two haiku about: fashion.

Feeling sleepy, so that's all you're getting out of me right now.


All the latest trends
are not meant for this old soul -
give me tried and true.

*     *     *

What are you wearing?
To be completely honest,
I'm not really sure.

Monday January 30th, 2012

The exercise:

Your writing challenge for the day: questions and answers.

Mine is based on a dream I had Sunday morning, just before I woke up. There was actually a lot more to it, so I might pull the 'full' version together and post it as an opening chapter on Protag for others to play with.


We walk out the front gates of the prison, the warden giving me the evil eye. The bastard hadn't even said goodbye, just See ya later.

Quentin points me toward a black sedan - must be new, I don't recognize the model - and we walk toward it in silence. I look around, uncomfortable with such distant horizons, but rejoicing in it at the same time.

"So what's the good word, Questions?" I ask once we're protected by his ride's leather interior. I hate that I'm more relaxed in here.

"They don't call me that no more," Quentin says, starting up the engine. I raise an eyebrow and wait as we pull out of the parking lot. "I'm The Solution now."

"Sounds like you've done well for yourself these last twelve years." I didn't mean for that to sound bitter. But I don't care enough to clarify.

"Yeah, thanks to you," he says, keeping us under the speed limit. "Mostly."

"What's that supposed to mean?"

"Those names you been feedin' me have all been solid - except one."

"Who?" I ask, but I'm pretty sure I already know.

"Duncan Matthews."

"I told you I wasn't sure about him!" Yelling is probably not a good idea, but it feels good. "I told you to make sure!"

"Relax, Jailbird. It was one little mistake, it ain't nothin' to worry about."

"Mistake? An innocent man is dead!"

"Ain't nobody innocent in this big bad world of ours. Besides," Quentin leans over and pops open the glove box to reveal two handguns, "Mister Hunter has given us the opportunity to set things right."

"Us?" My voice is weak and thick with fear.

"Welcome back to the real world, Jailbird."

Sunday January 29th, 2012

The exercise:

Your theme for today: rooftops.

Kat and I went snowshoeing at Mount Baldy this morning and accidentally discovered a new trail. I was convinced that we had started at the same point as usual and just veered off it without noticing (I was in the lead, just following cross-country ski tracks and obviously not paying much attention).

But when we re-emerged from the trees we saw that our trail actually started several feet down the hill from where we were. Ah well, it was still good fun, even though I found it a little disorienting.

Oh, we also stopped at the lookout over Osoyoos on the way there and I took the following:


Travis took the stairs up to the roof two a time, his telescope clutched in his sweaty right hand. His boss had forced him to work late in order to finish the Benson presentation ahead of schedule - which just meant more time for important revisions - so he was bumping up against his personal deadline.

He emerged onto the rooftop, twenty-two storeys above street level, just as the sun dipped below the concrete horizon. After taking a few moments to catch his breath, Travis moved to the southern edge of his apartment building and set up his telescope.

As night swept over the city his precious stars began to appear, in ones and twos. He trained his magnified gaze on each one, but always returned to his absolute favorite.

There was just something especially captivating about Mrs. Jackson.

Saturday January 28th, 2012

The exercise:

Write a four line poem about: the way you write.

Kat and I went (five pin) bowling tonight for the first time in a very long time. I bowled regularly growing up but recently I've only gone once or twice a year at most.

Anyway, I did much better than I was expecting. It was the sort of night that could tempt me to get back into it.

Not sure that's a good thing.


Bang head against wall,
Confront blank pages with fear;
Just keep repeating
Until inspiration appears.

Friday January 27th, 2012

The exercise:

Four lines of prose about: the grey area.

Hey, look at that. We're almost free of January!


The security guard came rushing over as soon as he saw the first flick of the lighter; well, it was really more of a purposeful walk, but his thick legs did their very best.

"Excuse me sir, there's no smoking allowed inside the building." Receiving only a face full of smoke in response, he pointed at the sign on the wall and added, "It says so right there, in black and white!"

"Well then I would suggest," Henri replied as he used his briefcase to smash open the nearest window, "that this here is a bit of a grey area."

*For those of you not familiar with Henri, feel free to click his label below to see other occasions he's visited the blog*

Thursday January 26th, 2012

The exercise:

With items provided by many of you, we're going back to the list prompt. I'm actually splitting this into two separate prompts because I got so many responses - thank you! So pick any two of the following and include them in your writing today:

- a fishing rod
- a basket filled with balls of multicolored yarn
- paint
- a red Chevy pickup truck, covered in fresh snow

Fun fact: just before posting this I checked to see when I'd last used a list for a prompt: September of 2010.

Fun fact number two: I'll be making up for that this year, as I'm planning on using the rest of the objects you guys sent my way next Thursday.


Judith mixed the oil paints on her wooden palette as she studied her fidgeting subject. She was having trouble matching the green of his vest, which was unusual for her. Normally she could do this sort of thing in her sleep.

"Douglas, hold still," she told her nephew. Maybe a touch more white? No, still not quite there. "I'll have your portrait finished much sooner if you stop fussing."

"If you want my picture why don't you just use a camera like everybody else?" Douglas turned to look longingly at the sun-dappled back yard. "It's like, way faster."

"Honey, anybody and their dog can take your picture," she replied, adding a dab of black. Nope. "A painting, on the other hand, is something extra special that only a handful of people can do well. It takes more time and care, and you'll remember these moments for the rest of your life."

"Only because this is gonna take the rest of my life," he muttered darkly.

"Watch your tongue, young man." Why in the world was the color not turning out the way she wanted it to? "Where did you get that vest, anyway?"

"Daddy bought it for me on the way here," Douglas replied in a bored tone. "He said something about it allowing him some extra quality time with his fishing rod this weekend."

"Is that right?" Judith put down her palette and stood up, beckoning the boy over. Douglas rushed to her, seeing her smile but completely missing the anger flashing in his aunt's eyes. "Well then, I think it's time we took my boat out to visit your father on the lake so that I can have a word with him."

Wednesday January 25th, 2012

The exercise:

Write about: crows.

Thank you to those who replied to my call for assistance yesterday, twas much appreciated. I'm planning on revealing my nefarious pl... er, innocent fun tomorrow. So there's still time to send something my way if you haven't had the chance to yet.


He sits on a fence post,
Not far from the front gate;
Keeping watch on the house,
Just waiting for his date.

On his back a ghost sits,
Whispering instructions;
She has waited so long
For this introduction.

In the house mourning dawns
And a soul is set free;
Out the window it slips -
The crow is first to see.

With a cry he takes flight,
Brings old ghost to meet new;
Husband and wife made one,
After too long as two.

Tuesday January 24th, 2012

The exercise:

Two haiku about: outcasts.

Inspired by a couple of unfortunate players in the NFL's conference championship games last weekend. I even went and wrote my first haiku about one of them, or at least what I expect the end result will be.

If you'd care to help me out a little, do the following:

1. Look up from your writing.
2. Pick out one object that grabs your attention.
3. Send me a quick email with it. Subject: One Object. Body: The object. That's all.

I'm planning on making a prompt or two out of this. So, really, you're just helping yourselves. Or something.



He is leaving town
with a new name, just because
he missed a field goal

*     *     *

The circle has closed.
He stands beyond its safety
as the wolves draw near.

Monday January 23rd, 2012

The exercise:

Write something to do with: the grifter.

Bonus points if you include one of my favorite comic book characters.

Today I learned a valuable lesson: loading up a wheelbarrow with firewood (even though it may be two-thirds of your usual amount) and then pushing it through a snowy orchard is a fine way to set yourself up for a heart attack.

I think I'll just wait until it melts away before trying to get a decent amount of wood down here.


The cards lay face down on the table, two in front of each man, and the dealer waited for the bets to be placed. Dusty ran a finger along the edge of each of his cards but kept his gaze on his opponent, whose eyes remained hidden behind dark sunglasses.

"It's been a long night," Dusty said and the observers seated around the players nodded as one. Pushing all his chips onto the middle of the table without looking at his hand he asked with a slight smile, "What say we bring it to an end?"

"Player one is all in," the dealer announced, turning to Dusty's opponent without a change in his neutral expression. "Player two?"

"Yeah, why not?" the man said, turning to the men and women gathered around the game with a laugh. "It's only money, right?"

Dusty allowed his smile to grow wider as the room filled with nervous laughter, certain that the night would belong to him. How could it not? He'd promised the dealer fifty percent of the winnings.

Unfortunately for Dusty, his opponent had guaranteed sixty.

Sunday January 22nd, 2012

The exercise:

Write about: the city in the sky.

Had a pretty quiet day around the house here. Might have had a little to do with a donut coma.


Tina stood at her living room window, staring at the layer of permanent clouds below. On days like that one she liked to pretend that it was really just an open field, covered by an overnight snowfall.

Maybe, she thought as she sipped her mint tea, one morning I'll forget the truth and try to go for a walk.

She would not have been the first.

It was a difficult adjustment, but it wasn't a bad life. The solar panels took care of the city's energy needs, and with no need for traditional currency everyone was on relatively equal footing. The Council members had the nicest homes, but that was to be expected. After all, it was thanks to them that the city existed in the first place.

But Tina missed the trees, and the lakes, and the feel of solid ground beneath her feet. And the guilt of being among the chosen few to populate the city followed her everywhere, a constant ghostly companion.

And the wondering never seemed to stop. She wondered if the city was sustainable. She wondered when she would be allowed to leave. She wondered when the first murder would occur, and who the historic victim would be.

But most of all, she wondered whether or not any of those left behind on Earth's surface had survived.

Saturday January 21st, 2012

The exercise:

A four line poem about: your type.

Today marks the six year anniversary of my diagnosis as a Type One diabetic. But, far more enjoyably, it's also my third annual Diabetes Donut Day.

I went back to the Canadian Maple this year - I'd actually forgotten that's what I had the first time, I just remembered I'd had an Apple Fritter last year and wanted something different.

Also: there's enough snow on the ground for Kat and I to go snowshoeing in the orchard. So that's what we did.


If I'd been given the choice,
I would have surely picked none;
But I had not the privilege,
I was just labeled Type One.

Friday January 20th, 2012

The exercise:

Four lines of prose about: the band.

It's snowing at the moment. Which would be fine, but I need to go out and grab some more firewood at some point if I want this fire to last until morning.

And I'd rather not go out there right now.


"Hi Mom, what's going on?"

"Honey, you need to come home to talk some sense into your old man."

"Mom, he's eighty-five now - isn't that old enough for him to make his own decisions?"

"But sweetie, he's getting the band back together - and they're using the living room as their practice studio!"

Thursday January 19th, 2012

The exercise:

I think it's been long enough since the last time I busted this out, so I declare it's time to do some: continuations.

For those that haven't experienced one of my favorite prompts before, the basic idea is to carry on the story from where the last person left it. Try not to carry on for too long, and do your best to stop at a place that presents some interesting possibilities for the next writer. 

If you'd care to see examples of previous efforts, feel free to click on the label at the bottom of the post.

Weather update: still cold. Lots of snow. Fireplace good.


As dawn arrived the city woke as it usually did. With blaring and beeping alarms. With muttered, mumbled, miscellaneous curses. With hot showers, cold showers, no showers. With cereal, with toast, with eggs and bacon. With coffee, with tea, with juice.

Conversations were photocopies of the ones that had gone on the day before, and the day before that, and the day before that. Silences were no less tense, no more comfortable than usual.

The kids got along as they always had, or had not. Their parents parted ways with no change in affection, no subtle differences in meaning.

All was as it usually was.

But as each citizen of the city emerged from their homes, apartments, lofts, they quickly realized that this was no usual day.

Wednesday January 18th, 2012

The exercise:

Going with the theme of the day, write about: the blackout.

Winter has decided to give us a proper visit, having camped out in the orchard and doing his best to blow the house down. It's currently -14, though with wind chill it's more like -25.

Thankfully it's only supposed to last a few days, as I'm already missing the more timid temperatures that have become the norm this winter.

Oh, hey, I promised duck (there are some geese in there too) pictures. Here you go:


They sat in the darkened house, together yet apart, listening to the air raid sirens echoing up and down their street. Each replayed in their heads the argument the German pilots had so rudely interrupted.

She tried to control her breathing, afraid she might pass out only to wake to find him gone.

Don't be silly. He'd never leave like that.

He stared at the ceiling, as though he were searching the skies for enemy planes. His hands clenched and then relaxed, over and over again in futile fury.

When the sirens fell silent, their neighborhood emerging untouched, neither moved to turn on the lights. Eventually she cleared her throat, preparing to speak, but he was faster.

"I'm signing up, Mom. Dean says they're not checking birth certificates anymore, so they'll let me. I can't just sit here waiting to be blown to pieces anymore."

He got up and left the room, wanting to begin packing his things immediately. She sat for a while longer before finally whispering her lonely thought to the empty room.

"But it won't bring his father back."

Tuesday January 17th, 2012

The exercise:

Two haiku about: chess.

A long time ago, way back when I still worked at EA, I joined an online chess site at the urgings of several coworkers. We played a bunch of games against each other and had a lot of fun. We gradually began playing less, several of them left or were laid off, and then I quit too. I continued playing for a while but then eventually stopped altogether.

But recently I've been bitten by the chess bug again so I got back in touch with the site (having to get them to switch my account from my work email address to one I actually have access to) and I'm at it again. It's free to sign up at RedHotPawn, so if you'd care to challenge me to a game I'd be happy to play.


Surveying the board,
the king whispers to his queen,
"The pawns look nervous."

*     *     *

Attacked from all sides,
the king cries as he brings his
gun to his temple.

Monday January 16th, 2012

The exercise:

Today we write about somebody or something that's: for hire.

The more observant amongst you will have already noticed that there are two new additions to my list of Pages over on the left there.

The first, Recommended Reading, is just a collection of books that I've enjoyed and, as the title suggests, I'd strongly suggest you check out. I've divvied it up into three sections (books on writing, fiction, and non-fiction) and I'll add to it as I discover more books that I feel belong there.

The other page? Well, that's going to require a bit more explanation...


Writer For Hire is something I've been wanting to do for quite some time. I can't say for sure when I first thought of doing it, but it's definitely been more than a year. What can I say? I take my time with things.

There are various reasons for the delay, but I'll get to that in a minute. First I should probably detail what the page is and my hopes for it.

In a nutshell, if someone would like something creative written but are not up to tackling it themselves, or if they simply enjoy my writing and would like something created just for them, they can hire me to do just that. I'm also making myself available to do editing work.

I'm hoping this will be an extra source of income to help Kat and I along while we continue to establish our farming business. As you're all writers yourselves, this isn't necessarily targeted at you (but of course you're more than welcome to make use of it!), but perhaps friends or family might be interested (that would be what the referral discount is for). Either way, I needed somewhere to host this offer and this seemed like the best place... for now, at any rate.

Anyway, you can find all the info on the page itself.

Now, the delay. Mostly it was caused by a lack of belief in myself and my abilities. The idea of people wanting to pay me for my writing seemed ridiculous at first. I've come a long way since then, both in my writing and personally, but some of that still lingers.

It's certainly rearing its butt ugly face as I type this and prepare to hit Publish Post.

But I'm in the process of editing a novel right now and getting ready to send it out into the big bad world. So I better believe my writing is worth something to somebody (preferably a lot of somebodies), otherwise I am wasting a rather remarkable amount of time and energy.

I'd appreciate any feedback you fine folk have to offer on this. I'm trying to look at it as a stepping stone along the way to making a decent living off of my writing. Nothing too grandiose or massive, just a little baby step.

Fingers crossed, toes crossed, eyes crossed... here I go.

Sunday January 15th, 2012

The exercise:

Your theme today: the introduction/introductions/introductory/you get the idea.

No snowshoeing today, but we did go for a very nice walk in the afternoon. Went down by the lake, which is mostly frozen with a few bits of open water. One of those bits was by the shore we strolled past and there must have been a hundred ducks in that little area.

I'm vaguely annoyed at myself for not bringing my camera. I'll have to get back there tomorrow and hope for similar photogenics.

I know that's not a word and I don't care. So nyah.


Cassie checked her watch as discretely as possible and gave her parents a reassuring smile. Even the blind man two tables over knew it was fraudulent.

"Is Paul always late for important dates?" her mother asked as she used a slender finger to spin her wine glass in place.

"No, of course not," Cassie said, her back stiffening only slightly.

"Then one can only think that he does not consider this important," her father observed. He swirled his scotch on the rocks, the two ice cubes colliding like miniature icebergs. It was his second drink of the evening, but the first with the correct number of ice cubes in it. After the waiter had been sent back with the extra ice cubes from the first scotch stuffed in his shirt pocket, there would be no further mistakes.

"Don't be silly, Daddy," Cassie said. "He's been looking forward to meeting you both since I invited him last week. Some sort of emergency must have come up."

"Oh, is he a doctor then?" her mother asked, perking up noticeably. "Why didn't you tell us you'd bagged yourself a respectable man this time?"

"That's not what I meant," Cassie said as the waiter returned to their table, steering well clear of her father. "He may have been in a car accident or maybe the -"

"Pardon me, Madam," the waiter said, his left eye twitching ever so slightly. "I hate to interrupt, but your presence is required at the door."

Cassie excused herself and followed the man as he took the long route to the entrance, again avoiding any possible interaction with her father. Once they arrived the waiter simply stood aside and pointed her toward her waiting fiance.

"Paul! Oh my goodness, what happened?"

"I was working late at the zoo," he replied through swollen lips, his left arm hanging limp by his side, "when the wolverine got loose again."

Saturday January 14th, 2012

The exercise:

Write a four line poem about: the UFO.

We had a little bit of snow here today, just enough to dust everything in a fine layer of white. Might be going snowshoeing up on the mountain tomorrow, as long as we don't wake up to more snow than I care to drive through.


I can see the bright flashing lights -
It's aliens, no doubt.
Well they can holler all they want,
But I ain't coming out.

Friday January 13th, 2012

The exercise:

Write four lines of prose about: playground rules.

Happy Friday the 13th! Only the first month of the year and we have one already - let's just pretend that's a good sign, shall we?

Kat and I went down to the states this afternoon, for the first time since we moved here. Which is sad, seeing as the border is like ten minutes from our front door.

Anyway, we did a bit of shopping and filled up on gas - at 89 cents a litre, compared to $1.18 here in town. I think we'll be making that trip a few more times.


"... so absolutely no touching of other students in a manner that could possibly be interpreted as aggressive." Miss Brown studied the children arrayed before her and her dusty tome, then asked if they understood.

"Yes, Miss Brown," they replied in weary unison.

"Excellent, that means we can now move on to Playground Rule Number 543..."

Thursday January 12th, 2012

The exercise:

Write something about: the twins.

After watching that movie last night, and starting to read Her Fearful Symmetry this morning, it was pretty much inevitable.

Working on something today that I'll be sharing with you guys pretty soon. Both nervous and excited about it. I think that's a good sign.


The woman sat down across from him while he was perusing the dessert menu. She was late, but he didn't mind. He knew she would come.

"What do you want?" she asked after allowing him to order the crème brûlée.

"My darling Felicity, calm down." He eased his wine glass to his lips and sipped. "You know we won't do anything to your twin as long as you do as we wish."

"If you know what's good for you, you'll pick up that phone," she pointed at the cell phone resting near his right hand, "and have Lauren released before your dessert arrives."

"I will make that call as soon as you agree to our terms, and not a moment sooner." He watched her squirm in her seat as she looked at the rooftops of the buildings surrounding the square. If she was searching for the snipers, she would not find them. He'd only brought the best with him. "As we both know, you have been making life very difficult for my boss in recent months. Profits are down, and when profits are down, he is not a pleasant man to be around."

"From what I've heard, he's never much fun to be around," she pointed out, now scanning the crowded sidewalk across the street from the cafe.

"Indeed." He took a longer sip this time. "Your... interference has only made his temper worse than usual. So. Let us come to an agreement. You stop killing his men, stop blowing up his buildings, and stop being in this country, and we let your sweet, innocent sister go. She doesn't deserve what will happen to her if you insist on continuing to be disagreeable. But, rest assured, it would happen. And my men would enjoy themselves greatly."

"How many men do you have watching us right now?" She finally returned her gaze to him. "Come on, you can tell me. What's the harm?"

"Twelve, give or take three," he said after a moment's hesitation.

"So, given what I know of your operating budget, that leaves, at most, eight men guarding my sister." She stood up as the waiter arrived with his dessert, smoothing her skirt with one hand. "That shouldn't be a problem for her."

"My darling, whatever are you going on about?" He leaned forward and picked up his fork.

"It's a wonderful plan, I'll give you that. But there's just one problem," she said, beginning to turn away. "You've got the wrong twin."


"I hope you haven't compounded your stupidity by holding her at your headquarters," Lauren said over her shoulder. "Otherwise your boss is in more trouble than you can imagine. If you want to save his fat ass, you better get moving, darling."

Wednesday January 11th, 2012

The exercise:

Write about: the loner.

As Kat was feeling tired and not really up to it, I went to see the latest installment of the Oliver Film Club on my own tonight. I quite enjoyed The Topp Twins, though it did make me miss New Zealand quite a bit.


He sits on the park bench with his thoughts for company. He is aware of the screaming children gathered around and on the swings, jostling to be next in line and soaring through the air, but he doesn't really hear them.

Young mothers walk past, pushing or carrying their most recent accomplishments, registering only as reflections on his sunglasses. Though each one notices him, no greetings are offered.

A hot dog vendor is doing brisk business to his left, but the tempting odors maneuver around and away from his nostrils. As if they wish to avoid attracting his attention, fearing they might draw him closer.

The sun is ferocious in the early afternoon sky, but if its rays are warming his body he gives no such indication. His jacket remains buttoned, his hands loiter in his pockets.

Tumbling, blackened thoughts have his full attention. Potential solutions, ranging from unworkable to sheer lunacy, attack a single question from every conceivable angle.

The question that had invaded and then infected his mind in the glacial seconds that had followed his layoff notice.

What am I going to do now?

Tuesday January 10th, 2012

The exercise:

Two haiku about: the butler.

Holy jeez, you guys did an amazing job with yesterday's prompt. Top notch stuff all around.


He will serve you tea
with consummate manners while
wishing you were dead

*     *     *

Alfred wants to quit
but he knows too much. It sucks
working for Batman.

Monday January 9th, 2012

The exercise:

And we're back in business with: small town blues.

A bit much for what I just went through, but I figured it was a more inspiring prompt than 'The Saga of The New Laptop Adapter'.

I see I have a lot of comments to catch up on. Thank you!


The problem: a fraying laptop adapter cord which must be held in just the right spot in order to charge the laptop battery. It is progressively getting more and more finicky and less willing to be placed in said right spot.

The only local option to find a replacement (Osoyoos): closed, because it is Sunday.

Next nearest option (Oliver): their one possible solution won't work with my laptop. It is now too late in the day to try the next nearest option, so that will have to wait until Monday.

Next nearest option (Penticton): the first of many possible locations to stock what I need has six or seven adapters. The helpful and knowledgeable staff help me to find the one that will work with my laptop. I return home relieved and victorious.

Thankfully there were several other things I wanted to do in Penticton, but I hadn't been planning on making the drive any time soon. The utter lack of options nearby kind of forced my hand though.

For the vast majority of the time, I quite enjoy living in a small town. It's just on rare occasions like this one, where a somewhat specialized item is needed, that the lack of selection around here makes me miss Vancouver.

But only just a little bit.

Sunday January 8th, 2012

The exercise:

Write about: homework.

Tech issues are ongoing. I only have a few minutes of battery life left, so I'll get to the comments whenever I have a working adapter again.

Hopefully tomorrow.


Miss Brown wants to know
Where'd my homework go.
I ask what she meant,
'Cause it never went.

Saturday January 7th, 2012

The exercise:

A four line poem about: tech support.

Having some laptop issues around here this evening. At first I thought the battery was dying, then I suspected the adapter of flaking out. Turns out the adapter cord is getting wonky. Hopefully I'll be able to get it replaced soon, as holding it in place so that it actually charges the battery is a pain.


Please help, I don't know what to do!
My laptop is screaming at me!
Jeff sighed and told his coworker
To gently tap his Caps Lock key.

Friday January 6th, 2012

The exercise:

Four lines of prose that have something to do with: water.

Judging by the increase in comments here lately, I do believe we have some New Year writing resolutions going on. So I just wanted to say best of luck sticking with it, and please do let me know if I can be of any help.


The glass sat empty on his desk, exactly where he'd left it the evening before. Not even a hint of water remained, as though he'd tipped it upside down and waited for all of it to drip into his mouth. Every last drop.

Poison and all.

Thursday January 5th, 2012

The exercise:

Inspired by Greg's comment at the start of this year, your prompt today is: the revolution.

Fair warning: I've got another theme week in the works. Not sure when I'll actually do it, but I'm already looking forward to it. Should be fun.

Today I worked on a couple pieces of writing that I hadn't looked at in a very long time. One held up quite well, the other... ah, needs a bit of work. I'm up to the challenge though!


Professor Webster stepped out of his office, locking the door behind him. As usual, the hours he'd made himself available to his students had passed without any interruptions to his research. Publicly he told any colleague that would listen that he was deeply concerned by this apparent lack of interest in learning the finer points of European history.

Privately he was just glad not to have to waste even more of his precious time on those brainless freshmen.

The hallways of the university were quiet that night; the big football or baseball or whatever game had obviously drawn the majority of the student population. Professor Webster's opinion on sports was not significantly different than his thoughts on his listless pupils.

Stepping out into the night's chilly embrace, he could hear the ghostly remains of cheers coming from the distant stadium. With a shake of his head he turned in the opposite direction, already reaching for his car keys. He'd parked his car - a sensible, prudent, fuel efficient model - in his reserved space in the second row. He'd already placed his briefcase in the passenger seat when he noticed the note tucked under a windshield wiper.

Glancing around, he took the piece of paper and slipped into his car, locking all the doors with the press of a button. As the overhead light began to fade, he read the handwritten words one more time:

The revolution begins tonight. Be ready.

Wednesday January 4th, 2012

The exercise:

It's been a long time - let's make some more unfavorable comparisons.

Not inspired by anything other than me simply remembering we hadn't done that one in a while.

Starting to feel dangerously close to healthy again. Combine that with a rather pleasant 10 degree day and some good progress on writing projects and that was a pretty decent Wednesday.


Heads turned as the car slowly pulled into the garage. It was like watching a terminally ill smoker shuffle into his doctor's office for the first time in twenty years, expecting to be healed the day before they were set to pull the plug.

*     *     *

Mitchell swung a golf club as though it was a poisonous snake. That had been coated with skunk spray. And had just been informed that it was Mitchell's doing.

*     *     *

His cough sounds like the mating call of a deranged dingo.

*     *     *

She always dances as though an angry hive of bees have just been released under her dress.

Tuesday January 3rd, 2012

The exercise:

Two haiku about: hell.

Will next week's Two Haiku Tuesday ask for heavenly haiku? It's quite possible.

It's also entirely possible that I'll forget by then.


A dust covered room
with no possible escape -
my allergic hell

*     *     *

Please scream louder, my
demon begs. I'm this close to
my next promotion.

Monday January 2nd, 2012

The exercise:

Write something that takes place in: the elevator.

I forgot to mention it, but yesterday Kat and I celebrated our one year anniversary of moving into this place. And today, since I obviously missed renovating so much, I helped Kat's dad patch up a hole above the door in the basement. It's really needed doing since the start, but because it's mostly out of sight we managed to ignore it until now.

Hopefully that will cut down on the number of spiders down there, at least a little.


Surely, the elevator must be over its legal capacity by now. I was certain we couldn't cram more people in here two floors ago but people kept forcing their way in, unwilling to wait for the next escape shuttle to deliver them to their weekend.

Normally I just avoid this nonsense by taking the stairs down but I'd promised Olivia a ride and there's no way she was going to make it more than three flights before keeling over. Her bulk is taking up more than its fair share of this inadequate box, but at least she's got cushioning. The same can't be said for Mr. Bony Elbows in front of me.

All eyes are on the digital display over the door. No one speaks - it would just distract us from praying to reach the lobby without another -


Never mind. Maybe the folks on the fifth floor will have enough patience to... nope. Is that Todd in accounting making that groaning sound, or the overtaxed cables as they struggle to not drop us to our doom?

Note to self: never skip the stairs again. No matter what.

Assuming I survive this time.

Sunday January 1st, 2012

The exercise:

Welcome to 2012! Let us begin the new year by writing about: a fresh start.

It would seem that I am sick again. Though I'm not sure 'again' is appropriate, seeing as I don't think I ever fully recovered from the last one.


Sally sat in the living room of her new apartment and stared at the envelope the young man had dropped on her coffee table on his way out the door. That had been nearly an hour ago and she hadn't moved an inch, aside from a slight jump when the phone had rung in the suite below hers.

He'd called it a chance for a fresh start, as though someone her age got such things. The place was nice though, she had to admit that. Well beyond what her old salary at the newspaper would have allowed. She wasn't crazy about the bathroom, how claustrophobic it made her feel, but maybe she'd get used to it.

Bending forward while whistling a breath out her nostrils, Sally finally picked the unmarked envelope up. It had more weight than she was expecting, but that could have been her imagination placing too much importance on its contents. Holding it in her lap, she noticed that the bruises on both wrists were completely healed. Repressing a shudder, she tore the envelope open and dumped it out beside her on the couch.

The driver's license was the first item she grasped, a small frown appearing momentarily on her face. The picture was terrible, as always, but despite the new hairstyle and color she could still recognize herself. The birth date had been moved forward by a couple years, which she appreciated, but it was the name across the top that she struggled with.

No matter what the witness protection officer had told her, she just couldn't picture herself as a Megan.