Saturday March 31st, 2012

The exercise:

A four line poem about: white lies.

It's Kat's birthday today, and I managed to pull off a little surprise party for her. I'd outline all of the careful omissions and lies I had to tell in order to do it, but I've honestly lost track of them all at this point.


For all my deceit
I must apologize,
But it was needed
For this birthday surprise.

Friday March 30th, 2012

The exercise:

Four lines of prose about: the town elders.

Two guesses where I was when I wrote mine, and the first one doesn't count.


"I seek the honored wisdom of The Town Elders."

"Surely you must know where they can be found, my child."

"No, Sister - my search has proven fruitless thus far."

"It is two o'clock in the afternoon on a Wednesday, they can be but one place, doing but one thing: the corner table at Tim Hortons, having coffee."

Thursday March 29th, 2012

The exercise:

Let us see what we can do with: results.

I got my blood test results back on Monday, and everything looked good. Well, my 'bad' cholesterol was a little high, but my 'good' cholesterol was so high that it more than made up for it. My doctor was actually rather impressed, as apparently it's more typical for men to have lower 'good' levels.

Anyway, the overall message was to keep doing what I'm doing, which is always nice to hear.


These were not the results I had been searching for. Looking at the documents and equipment for the tenth time this hour, I cannot fathom where things went wrong.

The phone on my desk begins to ring and I let it. Distraction is not a luxury I can afford right now. Not when there should be a bottle of bluish-green liquid sitting in front of me, but instead there's... this.

"Aren't you going to answer that?" Michelle asks. That's her name. She's been quite adamant on that point.

"No," I reply without looking up, "not until I figure out how I created you."

Wednesday March 28th, 2012

The exercise:

Write about: the carpenter.

Canucks won again tonight. With five games to go in the regular season they're guaranteed one of the top two playoff seeds in the Western Conference. First is within reach, but it'll take St. Louis losing a few games to happen.

Either way, I'm looking forward to the start of the playoffs.


Carl surveyed the proposed work site, his teeth clenched around the stem of his wooden pipe. He'd carved it himself years ago and it was badly in need of replacement. But there were too many memories in those teeth marks for him to let it go.

"So what do you think?" his partner Mitch asked, rubbing his hands together to ward off the early morning chill.

"I don't care for it," Carl said, his eyes narrowing. "But we need the money."

"And this would keep us busy for years," Mitch added.

"Yeah, assuming we survive to see it finished."

The two men turned their gazes upward in unison, each picturing the finished product. Carl dropped his head first.

"If we do this," he said after a lengthy silence, "you get the top half."

**  Inspired by this  **

Tuesday March 27th, 2012

The exercise:

Write two haiku about: the week that was.

They can be about your Movie Week story, if you wrote one, or about any event(s) that occurred during the previous seven days. Or, if you can manage it, you can even just continue on with your story.

My first one is about the guilt I felt being the only one who knew what prompts were coming. Though, I must admit, there was only a little bit of guilt and a fair amount of evil-mastermind-ness.

Though on that note I must add: job well done, my puppets. Er, presponders. Which, obviously, is short for prompt responders.

Yes, obviously.


Knowing what's to come,
I'm feeling like I have an
unfair advantage.

*     *     *

A ghost seeks justice
while traveling a path paved
with good intentions.

Monday March 26th, 2012

The exercise:

We bring Movie Week to its conclusion with: Confessions.

Of course you're welcome to continue on with your story as long as you like, or as long as you need to, but the movie title prompts end today. For now, at least.

Had a bit of a resting day today, which was much needed. Back to work tomorrow though.


By the time the detective reappears in the morning the tension in the cell is nearly visible. He calls the redhead out first and I follow them down the hall to a cramped interview room.

"Have you -" the detective begins, but the man cuts him off in a raspy, dry voice.

"I did it! It was me, okay? Just make it stop, please!"

Triumph floods through me like a shot of whiskey, warming my soul. The promise of rest and peace are mine at last. I'm surprised to find no lingering rage within me but don't dwell on the absence for long.

I choose not to stay to hear the grisly details of my murder. They're not important now and, quite frankly, I'd rather spend eternity in blissful ignorance of those particular hows and whys. 

As I pass by their cell I see a second detective drag the dark-haired suspect to another interview room. Again I follow, but this time I try to tell the policeman not to bother, that the culprit has been uncovered.

They enter the room and guilt seeps into me at the sight of the sleep deprived suspect. I want to apologize, to explain that I had no choice but to harass these innocents so that the lone sinner would be caught.

"Anything new to say this morning?" the detective asks as I turn to leave.

"It was me," the man whispers, freezing me in place. "I killed that woman. I'm so sorry. Just, please, make the voices stop..."

Sunday March 25th, 2012

The exercise:

Movie Week reaches its penultimate day with: From Dusk Till Dawn.

Third and final greenhouse bench completed this afternoon. I shall have to get some pictures to share with you. Not that they're super pretty or anything like that, but they were a lot of work and they'll do the job we need them to do.


Outside the light is fading, an expectant hush descends on the city. Night creatures come to life, call to each other in familiar tones from rooftops and trees, slink along alleyways.

Inside four men sit with their thoughts, some more comfortably than others. The blond can hardly hold still, his fingers twitching as though they held an invisible saxophone. The redhead and brunette are as active as statues, barely breathing. The man with raven hair, more a boy really, is nearly hyperventilating.

A detective appears at the door, tells them they'll be kept overnight, leaves. So. They are my captive audience until sunrise. Time to get to work.

I move from man to man, alternating between whispers and shouts, calm, pleading, and hysterical. Ghost lips against living ears, so close that I feel infected by their stench. But I keep at it, repeating the same words over and over and over again.

"My name is Angie McKay. If you killed me and do not confess, I will haunt you for the rest of your days."

Saturday March 24th, 2012

The exercise:

Movie Week combines with Four Line Poem Saturday to give you: Downfall.

Greenhouse bench number two finished this morning in rather chilly conditions. The sun did come out after lunch to make the rest of the day pleasant, but it was a bit rough on the hands while putting the bench together.

Watched the Canucks game online this evening and enjoyed the second half of it (where they scored their three goals to win it). The start was less fun (where they gave up two goals and were looking pretty uninspired). They've clinched a playoff spot with seven games left in the regular season, so now it's just a matter of which of the top three spots they'll take into the postseason.


Which one of you did it?
Which bastard made me crawl?
I will make you suffer.
I will be your downfall.

Friday March 23rd, 2012

The exercise:

Movie week bumps into Four Line Prose Friday with: Unforgiven.

It was another ridiculously beautiful day here. Spent most of it outside. Spent a portion of my inside time with the door open. This is good stuff.

Managed to get the first of our three greenhouse benches constructed this afternoon. Planning on getting at least the second one done tomorrow.


The noise in the station is like the buzzing of insects to my ear; there are too many voices for me to understand any of it. I glide from room to room, holding cell to holding cell, until I find four disheveled men slumped around a shared cell, not speaking or even looking at one another.

After studying each of them for several minutes apiece, I realize that at last I'm feeling something.

And that something is rage.

Thursday March 22nd, 2012

The exercise:

Movie Week hits Day 3 with: Memento.

Another beautiful day here. Spent some time in the garden, clearing out last year's weeds from the strawberries, and sorted out designs and supplies with Kat's dad for our greenhouse benches.

Hoping to get started on putting those together tomorrow. But right now... we write!


They have suspects in custody. I heard the young black policeman tell the reporter from the Daily Spark, right there on my front porch. I want to go to the station, see these four men with whatever passes for my eyes these days. But I'm not ready to leave just yet.

What if I'm not able to return? It's silly, I know. I don't want to haunt this house, or any place really. I'd like to think I'd been good enough in life that heaven awaits me in death, but don't most people think that? Surely most people don't end up spending eternity amongst the white fluffy clouds.

Do those four men think they'll be keeping company with angels once it's all said and done? More likely they're not the sorts to think that far ahead.

I suppose that's not fair to lump them all together like that - only one of them is responsible for my death. Unless they worked together, but that doesn't feel right somehow.

I should go meet them. But I want to take something with me, just in case. I scour the house for a long time, I think, until I find what I'm looking for: a framed photo of me and my dad, taken many years ago, the day before he died in the car accident.

As I float away from my mortal home I carry it with me. Not in my hands - that's impossible in my current state. But it's lodged firmly in my heart.

Wednesday March 21st, 2012

The exercise:

Movie week continues on to Day 2 with: The Departed.

As a reminder, your writing doesn't need to (and probably shouldn't) have anything to do with the movie itself, just its title.

You may have noticed the blog has been lacking in pictures recently. Well, there's a good reason for that: I haven't been taking very many. And no, there's no good reason for that.

Anyway. Today was beautiful and nearly wind-free, so I brought my camera with me on a trip into town and stopped to take this picture of the lake:

More days like this one, please.


I move through the house, allowing my gaze to fall on anything that catches my attention. The broken coffee mug on the kitchen floor, the unfinished letter on the dinner table. There is no pen nearby and I make a note of this absence.

Could be nothing. Could mean everything.

Surveying the living room from the short hallway that separates it from the kitchen, it's impossible to ignore the bloodstained carpet. Detached. That's the word for me. I should feel something though, shouldn't I?

After all, that's my blood I'm looking at.

That's what those police offers said anyway. After they'd had my body taken away. Maybe if I'd been here for that an emotion or two would have bubbled to my ethereal surface. Maybe a memory would have been sparked.

As it is, I feel nothing. I remember nothing.

Tuesday March 20th, 2012

The exercise:

Two Haiku Tuesday would like to welcome you to Movie Week with: The Usual Suspects.

All prompts this week will be movie titles; I've actually got all seven chosen already, as well as the order they will be appearing in. I'm hoping I've selected the movies and their sequence in such a way that will lend themselves to week long stories, but I suppose only time will tell.

And yes, if you're not up to beginning a story with two haiku, I do have an alternative for you: do what you can with six sentences, rather than six haiku lines.


One more dead woman
to add to the rest. Police
know who to round up.

*     *     *

Four men in a cage,
crooked and guilty each one...
but who struck this time?

Monday March 19th, 2012

The exercise:

Let's see what you can do with: tumbling.

Sorry for any confusion yesterday, but the theme week didn't start then. As a matter of fact, it doesn't start today either. It starts tomorrow.

With Two Haiku Tuesday.

Don't worry, if you're not up to starting a story with two haiku I will have a second option. Personally, I think it's a fun challenge - but I've been known to be a little crazy sometimes.

Also: if you're new (or just want to reminisce), I've added a link to previous theme weeks down on the right side, just above the Previous Writing Prompts cloud. Which has become rather large without me noticing.


Once seemingly secure,
Now stumbling, bumbling,
Tumbling  down.

In blackest silence,
No anger, nor screaming, nor tears,
Nary a frown.

Without warning,
Approaching faster than thought,
An unwanted birth.

With fiery thunder,
With burning fury, with scorched lips,
Star kisses Earth.

Sunday March 18th, 2012

The exercise:

Let us see what we can do with: controls.

Morning drywalling, afternoon chopping wood, evening comatose.

Oh, hey. Heads up: I've got a theme week planned for this week. As before, you'll have the choice to either take each day's prompt on its own or to concoct a story that spans the seven days.

But to be honest, I think what I've got planned has some fun possibilities for those who wish to take on the week long challenge.


Haley studied the instrument panel, silently comparing the readings with their ideal ranges. Everything was showing what she expected it to, including the one dial that was glowing red, indicating that it was outside its mandated range: Current Elevation.

Glancing out of her side window, Haley felt like she could brush her fingertips along the tree tops. Every few minutes she heard the hull of the airship being tickled by the tallest pines.

It was nerve wracking, stroke inducing stuff, but they didn't dare fly any higher. Radar and federal scouts were scouring the clouds and discovery by either could end only one way.

So Haley took her shift at the controls and tried to remember to breathe, and while Luis and Wade were in the pilot's seat she tried not to think.

Saturday March 17th, 2012

The exercise:

A four line poem about: simple.

I spent most of the day helping Kat's parents hang drywall on their basement ceiling. Arms, neck, and shoulders are not happy with me right now.

Just wait until I tell them we're going back for more tomorrow!


The salesman promised it was simple,
The ad proclaimed ease.
Four days later it's still in pieces...
Someone help me please!

Friday March 16th, 2012

The exercise:

Four lines of prose about: after life.

Kat and I attended an information session for vegetable farmers this morning, put on by the main local supply store. It was a bit overly focused on chemical solutions to pests and weeds for our tastes, but there was still some useful stuff.

Plus it was good to meet and hang out with other farmers in the area.


For the vast majority of humans, after life comes death. What happens after death, I understand, is a matter of some debate.

I'm one of the lucky ones, I suppose, since after my life on Earth came... more life. Good luck for me and very, very bad luck for those who stuck me six feet deep and expected me to stay put.

Thursday March 15th, 2012

The exercise:

Beware the ides of March, for they bring tidings of: fast.

Okay, maybe it's not such a scary time after all.

All definitions of the word welcome, of course. My take was inspired by my experience yesterday morning - I had to go in for a blood test that required me to fast for it. Those ones are firmly entrenched at the bottom of my list of blood tests.

I may or may not actually have said list of blood tests, ranked from Misery to Just Shoot Me.

Okay, I don't. But I should.


"And how long have you been fasting?"

"Since ten o'clock last night," I reply over the rumbling complaints coming from my belly.

"Twelve hours, right on the dot," the lab tech says with a smile. "Very impressive."

"I know the instructions say twelve to fourteen hours, but I can't imagine you get many people who are at the far end of that range."

"Just the keeners," she says, tapping away at her keyboard.

"Yeah, well, my stomach starts eating itself at thirteen, so I've got a pretty narrow window to work with."

Wednesday March 14th, 2012

The exercise:

Today we write about: karma.

At my writing group last Wednesday someone brought up Bruce Cockburn's Call Me Rose, which begins 'My name was Richard Nixon, only now I'm a girl. You wouldn't know it but I used to be the king of the world'.

She suggested that it would be an interesting prompt to start off with "My name was", insert the name of your choice (either famous or not or fictional), and go from there. So feel free to go that route, or take another spin altogether.


My name was Brad Pitt but they don't call me that anymore. I used to break hearts on an hourly basis - even in my sleep. I couldn't walk down the street of any town in America without being mobbed by paparazzi and autograph hounds.

It was all rather tiring. I just wanted to be left alone. Now I am of average height and looks, my hair has more bad days than good, and acne considers my face prime real estate. Girls don't look twice at me, boys don't need to decide if they'd be better off with me as a friend or foe.

In fact, nobody seems to care about me one way or the other.

It's all quite lonely and depressing, really.

Tuesday March 13th, 2012

The exercise:

Two haiku about: the meadow.

It was hailing when I woke up this morning. Didn't last long, and the sun was out for most of the remainder of the day, but... come on. I don't need that right after I get out of bed.


I know where you've been.
Your windblown hair carries the
scent of wildflowers.

*     *     *

Winter has passed on,
life returns to the meadow;
wild horses rejoice.

Monday March 12th, 2012

The exercise:

It's been less than a month since last time, but I felt inspired to bring around the first line prompt again.

So take the opening line I provide and then go with it where you will, be it poetry or prose. Ready? Here we go:

There's a ghost wind blowing...


There's a ghost wind blowin',
Givin' voices to the trees;
I can hear them talkin',
Yeah they're talkin' to me.

George is in the cherry,
Old Rosie's in the pine,
Wishin' they got married
When they still had the time.

The willow is cryin',
Must be my Grandma Sue -
Spent her whole life lyin'
To save a face or two.

The ash is dear Andrew,
Callin' out for a smoke,
And sweet gentle Matthew,
Well surely he's the oak.

The ghost wind keeps blowin',
Givin' voices to these trees;
Please don't you stop talkin',
Yeah keep talkin' to me.

Sunday March 11th, 2012

The exercise:

Today's theme: cravings.

The clocks went ahead an hour here this morning and I've been out of synch ever since. Time changes always screw me up.


The cravings have grown stronger and stranger with every passing day.

They started out innocently enough: a hotdog from a street corner vendor, smothered with relish. Sure, I'd been a strict vegetarian for the entirety of my adult life. But if my baby wanted me to chow down on a frankfurter, who was I to deny him?

Besides, it's not like I could be sure there was really any meat in there anyway.

That was just the beginning though. One night I found myself in Henry's Grill, ordering a rare porterhouse steak. When my knife sliced into it my plate was covered with spilled blood. You'd think my stomach would have rebelled and I would have come to my senses, right? Hell, Gary turned a miserable shade of green just from me telling him about it!

But I dug right in, finishing that bad boy off in record time. That's what the waiter told me, at any rate.

Today, though, today was too much. I've locked myself in the bathroom and I'm not coming out until this one passes. I was walking by the elementary school and caught myself watching the girls on the swings, licking my lips. I wasn't seeing them as they were, though. Not all happy and yelling and full of life.

No, in my mind they were barbequed and topped with ketchup and sauerkraut.

What sort of creature is growing within my womb?

Saturday March 10th, 2012

The exercise:

A four line poem about: the wizard.

Greenhouse is up, I'll have some pictures to share in the next couple of days. Now it's time to build some benches and transfer some stuff over from the old greenhouse.

Feeling sleepy.


Gnarled fingers pinch a worn wand,
While secret words slip from dry tongue.
After years filled with failure,
He's sure this spell will make him young.

Friday March 9th, 2012

The exercise:

Four lines of prose based around: used.

So the greenhouse framework is up, we just have to get the cover up and attached tomorrow morning and it'll be ready for benches and plants and all that good stuff.

What's that? No, no, the missing part did not arrive in the mail today.

Hmm? Well, funny story. Turns out? It wasn't actually missing. It was just mislabeled. Or the number stamped on its side was smudged just enough to make it look like something else.

Depends who you ask.


"Where in the world did you find that car?" Pierre asked, staring at the vehicle in disbelief.

"There was an ad in the paper," Corey replied with obvious pride. "I got an incredible deal on it!"

"Yes, well, I imagine that they pretty much give away used demolition derby cars."

Thursday March 8th, 2012

The exercise:

Today we write something to do with: scrambled.

It's been a long and tiring day, so I'm just going to get on with it.


Rudy sat in his darkened living room, the drapes drawn tightly together, listening to the static on the radio. A writing pad sat teetering on his lap, threatening to fall after every nervous tap of his pen.

Outside the streets were silent, aside from the distant footfalls of soldiers enforcing the curfew. Rudy hadn't heard a shot fired after sundown in weeks, which meant either the army had made their point or the rebels were getting more clever.

He didn't even dare to think which side he privately rooted for. It was silly, he knew, but his survival relied on caution.

Which was why he was on edge that night.

The stranger's instructions had been simple: write down the words in the exact order they were spoken, then deliver the transcript to him the following morning. It would mean nothing to Rudy; the stranger would unscramble the message himself.

His threat had been even more clear: tell anyone and his entire family would die, Rudy last of all.

The static faded and was replaced by a female voice, speaking slowly, carefully, with an accent he didn't recognize. Without pausing to think, Rudy began to write.

Wednesday March 7th, 2012

The exercise:

Give me what you've got for: the conspiracy.

Went to my local writing group this morning and enjoyed myself as usual. We wrote on a couple of interesting prompts, at least one of which I think I'll bring over here at some point.

It felt like spring this afternoon, so I went up to our current (far too small) greenhouse and seeded some more onions. Hoping the missing part for our new greenhouse will arrive this week so that we can finish putting it together this weekend.

This evening I went up to Oliver to watch the final movie in this year's film club series. Kat took a pass on The Skin I Live In and... I wish I had as well. So. Strange.


"They're up to something," Bernice declared, eyeing the other women over top of her teacup. "I can smell it."

"You're getting paranoid in your old age," Lucy replied. After a moment's consideration, she placed a lemon tart on her white napkin. "I mean, honestly. Those boys are saints."

"And you, apparently, have gone blind in yours," Bernice countered with a wave of her hand. "I, for one, will not shed a tear when the authorities figure it out and strap my grandson to the chair."

"Bernice!" Helen gasped, hand at her throat. "How can you say such things about a six year old!"

Tuesday March 6th, 2012

The exercise:

Two haiku about: the traitor.

More sunshine, more wind. Oh, woe is me.

I will eventually have other things to talk about besides the weather, promise.


He's in your meetings,
Taking precise little notes
On carbon paper.

*     *     *

He smiles when it rains
And laughs when the blizzard comes;
Crooked weatherman.

Monday March 5th, 2012

The exercise:

We're starting off the week with: the old ways.

It was threatening to hit 20 degrees here today, which sounds lovely, right? I'm sure it would have been, had the wind not been screeching from sun up until sun... actually, it's still going out there.

At least it's a warm wind?


Mikhail turned into the narrow alley, leaving behind the sunny, crowded sidewalk. Strangely, no pedestrians appeared to notice the elderly man's departure from their midst.

He moved slowly, prodding the ground ahead of him with his wooden cane. It seemed to him only yesterday he had strode this same path, kicking garbage and stray cats out of his way.

The door was up ahead on his right, unmarked and unlit. Mikhail rapped his cane against its faded yellow wood twice, paused, then four more times. He frowned as he watched flakes of paint flutter to the pavement.

On silent hinges the door swung inward and Mikhail stepped inside. The air was thick with cigar smoke, a familiar comfort that eased some of the tension from his shoulders. The mute doorman accepted Mikhail's coat once the door had been locked shut, then held up two fingers to let him know in which room the meeting would be found.

Mikhail made his way down the hallway, cane and shoes clicking against tiles like an out of synch clock. He paused outside the second room he came to, collecting his thoughts.

Inside, he knew, his fellow Keepers would be impatiently awaiting his arrival. He liked being the last to arrive and, despite his efforts to conceal his pleasure, the others knew it.

Oh well, he thought as he reached for the doorknob, I'm far too old to change my ways now.

Sunday March 4th, 2012

The exercise:

Your word for the day: blocked.

Greenhouse construction was going well this morning... right up until I realized there was a part missing. Sigh.

Will be contacting the manufacturer tomorrow. Hopefully they can send it relatively quickly. Otherwise, we'll just have to figure out how to make it work, either by making a suitable replacement or some other creative measures.


This paralyzed pen
Will never dance again.
Words stumble and trip,
No songs escape its tip.

No stories to tell,
No poems as well,
No dreams or rages...
Just empty pages.

Saturday March 3rd, 2012

The exercise:

A four line poem about: the journey.

The power was out from 8:30 this morning until a bit after noon. The fireplace did its best to keep us warm, but it was a struggle.

Looks like we'll be getting started on constructing the new greenhouse tomorrow morning. I expect it'll be mostly leveling the ground and getting the foundation ready, but it'll be good to get going with it.


Here is where I am,
There is where I want to be,
And between the two
There's so much for me to see.

Friday March 2nd, 2012

The exercise:

Four lines of prose about: credit.

So... you should check this out. The current issue is of particular interest. Pages 4 and 19, to be exact.


It's been a long time coming, but that right there is my very first publishing credit. I heard through my local writing group that The Okanagan Sun was looking for a story, somewhere around 800 words and preferably having something to do with spring, and I decided to offer my services.

That's actually a pretty big step for me, as not that long ago I would have let someone 'better' or 'more deserving' or more whatever take the spotlight.

But I did it, and now I'm just a little farther along this writing journey of mine.

Thursday March 1st, 2012

The exercise:

Let's see what we can do with: unfinished.

Very pleased to welcome March's arrival. There may have been a few flakes of snow drifting down from the clouds this morning, but there were few enough that I could ignore them.

Which, obviously, is exactly what I did.


You're lurking in the garage,
Watching me with headlight eyes,
Your engine heart not beating,
While I tell the same old lies.

"Money is real tight right now,
I just can't afford the parts.
Maybe in a month or two,
When the busy season starts."

"Time's not on my side these days,
There's so much for me to do.
One day I'll get you running,
That much I swear to you."

Now these hands are failing me,
Death's rapping at my door.
My time can't be up so soon,
I just need a little more.

The dust on your hide is thick,
I can barely see the paint.
So I'll free you from this cage,
We'll roam the roads as saints.