Thursday May 31st, 2012

The exercise:

All right, after reading Greg's comment on yesterday's post I couldn't resist. The challenge today is: the crossover.

Take two (or more, I suppose) characters from different stories (yours or someone else's) and bring them into a scene together. Per Greg's inspiration, I bring you Josie (from yesterday) and Henri (click on the label if this is your first encounter with this fine gentleman).

The day off was glorious, by the way. Should take one more often.


Standing outside the smudged glass doors of the lonely motel, Henri breathed cigarette smoke out of his nostrils and considered his options. They were, in short, not very good.

He either had to get a room here or sleep in his rental car. Seeing as he was stuck with the convertible his secretary had booked for him and the local weather idiot was calling for a torrential downpour overnight, he stepped inside the lobby with a muttered oath.

"What exorbitant amount must I pay for the privilege of a room in this ghastly dump?" he asked the bored woman behind the counter, his words clear despite the smouldering cigarette between his lips.

"You're going to have to check that attitude at the door if you want an answer before the sun comes up," she replied without looking away from the TV set up on the counter to her left. From what Henri could tell it was tuned into a sports match of some sort.

"Judging by the number of keys on your board back there... Josie," Henri said as he squinted at the name tag attached to her shirt by some unseen and weakening force, "you're not in any position to turn away a paying customer. So I'd suggest playing a little more nicely."

"I bet you'd like me to play nicely with your miniature package," Josie said, eyeing him up and down with naked distaste. "But this ain't that sort of establishment and you do not want to see what happens if you insist on pressing the matter."

Henri regarded her in silence, blinking away the fumes from his cigarette while he tried to decide what to make of this woman. The only thing he was certain of was that he'd never, in his extensive and miserable travels, met a motelier anything like her before.

"How much for the night?" he asked at length.

"Fifty for a single, seventy-five for a double. Though you should know that all of my rooms are non-smoking."

"And you should know," Henri said as he slapped a fifty dollar bill on the counter between them, "that all my rooms are very, very pro-smoking."

Wednesday May 30th, 2012

The exercise:

Let us see what we can do with: the rate.

The deck is done! Well, the decking is basically finished (we need like, a third of a board to reach the edge). Now we need stairs and a railing. And eventually we're going to connect around the front of the house to the front steps.

But for now, it's done!

Not only that, but I'm actually taking tomorrow as a day off. I honestly don't remember the last time I had one of those.


Josie reached for the remote and turned the TV volume down when she heard the lobby door jingle open. From her stool behind the reception desk she watched the man approach, silently calculating whether he had more oil in his hair or mustache.

"Evenin' sweetheart," he called out, smiling widely enough to display his sparkling white teeth. "How much for the night?"

"Fifty bucks for a single, seventy-five for a double," Josie replied after a brief pause, during which she contemplated telling him the motel was full up. For the rest of forever.

"And what, dear angel, are your rates?" he asked, leaning a forearm on the desk and blessing her with a conspiratorial wink.

"I just told you," she said with her best imitation of a welcoming smile. "Fifty for a single and -"

"Oh goodness me," the man cut in before laughing too earnestly. "I do believe you failed to understand my question. You see, lovely lady, what I meant was how -"

"I understood you just fine, sleazeball," Josie said, her smile vanishing as she pulled the shotgun out from under her chair and leveled it at the man's mouth. "Now either pay for your room and get your key, or get the hell out of my motel."

Tuesday May 29th, 2012

The exercise:

Two Haiku Tuesday would like you to discuss: patience.

The deck is slightly closer to completion. We had to pause to figure out where the stairs would be going in and get a couple of supports drilled in before we covered them over with decking. Maybe tomorrow we'll finish it off?

Spent the morning in the garden with Kat, doing some much needed weeding. It'll be good to put the deck behind me (underneath my feet?) so we can finally focus on the farm.


It's fine. Take your time.
What's the hurry? There's... no... rush...
Come on! FINISH IT!

*     *     *

If you wait for it
true love will enter your life;
trust in the process.

Monday May 28th, 2012

The exercise:

Write about: the circle.

For the life of me I cannot remember what inspired that. Oh well.

We now have about two-thirds of a deck. Would have more but I ran out of screws this afternoon and didn't have the time to go to town for more. I'll take care of that tomorrow and then hopefully we'll finish it off in the evening.

Saw a beautiful orange bird by Kat's parents house this afternoon, pretty sure it was an oriole. I think I've found my new hummingbird.


Ryan sat behind the wheel of his rented convertible, drumming his fingers against the steering wheel as he waited for the light to turn green. Across the intersection from him a woman was waiting to turn left in her minivan, a cellphone pressed to her right ear. She vanished and reappeared over and over again as traffic flowed between them.

The radio in the rental was stuck on an oldies station, so it had been turned off shortly after he'd left the lot. Ryan preferred the music in his head, to which he began nodding his head. It was a useful distraction from the task at hand.

From what he could gather, the phone call was not going in the woman's favor. The hand not holding the cell began cutting the air with violent slashes, the distance between her lips grew with every shouted word. Ryan's fingers began to ache from the beating they were giving his steering wheel.

At last the light changed, each direction receiving an advance turn signal. Ryan waited for the minivan to present its passenger side to him and then slammed his foot on the gas pedal. As his front bumper smashed into the woman's vehicle he couldn't help wishing that there was a less messy way to join The Secret Circle.

Sunday May 27th, 2012

The exercise:

The word of the day is: finally.


Full explanation in a moment. First though, I just wanted to say we managed to get slightly more than half of the decking done today. Which was enough for Kat and I to eat dinner out there this evening. Progress increased significantly once Kat's dad and I silently agreed that it wasn't going to be perfect and that good enough is exactly that.

If all goes well it should be done Tuesday night, at which point I shall share some pictures.


I saw my first hummingbird in Osoyoos shortly after we moved here, which is coming up on two years ago now. We were living with Kat's parents at the time and a couple of those speedy little birds enjoyed frequenting the flower garden at the front of the house.

After a while I realized they came by around the same time every day, so I started trying to get a picture of them. Thing is, they only ever stayed for maybe five or ten seconds each visit, so if I wasn't there waiting for them with my camera ready I didn't stand a chance.

So I camped out a few times, hoping my timing would work out. I think it did once, but by the time I raised my camera it was gone. Needless to say, that first summer here passed without a single picture capturing their beauty.

Last summer I saw them around the property several times, but we'd moved in to our place by then so I never tuned into their schedule. Plus it was a cooler year and the hummingbirds didn't seem to care for it, as they didn't stick around for long.

So, again, no pictures.

But today, at long last today, I finally got one. We suspect they have a nest in the horse chestnut tree, which is not far from our new greenhouse. I probably would have succeeded in my efforts sooner, but whenever I was heading up to water our plants my mind was strictly on the task at hand. Today was the first time I remembered to bring my camera with me.

I practically ran back home afterward, I was so excited to load the picture on to my laptop.

Anyway, it took almost two years to get a picture of one of those guys, but I'd say it was worth the wait.

Saturday May 26th, 2012

The exercise:

Write a four line poem about: trust.

We had a better than expected market this morning. It was certainly a beautiful day, but we were surprised to find ourselves so busy. Plus we're still selling mainly plants (tomatoes, herbs, cucumbers, squash, and the start of our peppers) and we keep thinking people will have filled up their garden spaces by now.

Happy to be proved wrong.


I trust my abilities,
Surely first place lies in store.
Second place!?
I guess he trusted his a little more.

Friday May 25th, 2012

The exercise:

Write four lines of prose about: guilt.

Didn't get to bed until almost three last... er, this morning, so I slept in until after ten. Kinda screws with your whole day when you do that.

Anyway, we're ready for another market tomorrow morning. And our decking is sitting beside our house, waiting for Kat's dad and I to descend upon them with hammers and screwdrivers and such.


Shortly after I pulled the car out of the driveway last night to take Kat to the hospital, she admitted to feeling guilty for dragging me along to have something checked that could very well turn out to be nothing. Never mind that it could also have been something very bad.

So I told her how I saw it: I would be perfectly happy if the whole trip turned out to be a total waste of time, because that would mean that both her and the baby were fine.

I'm glad to be sitting here tonight, having confirmed that to be true.

Thursday May 24th, 2012

The exercise:

Write about something or someone that is: cursed.

This late posting is brought to you by a 11pm to 2am trip to Penticton's hospital and back to make sure everything is okay with Kat and the baby. I'm glad to report that all is well.


Terry returned to the table wearing a scowl and the imprint of a hand on his right cheek. The boys nudged each other in the ribs as he retook his seat, undeterred by his muttered threats.

"I think that one might have knocked a tooth loose," Terry said as his tongue examined his dental work. "She swore like a sailor and hit like one too."

"Maybe she was really a he," Harold suggested, much to the amusement of everyone at the table whose name was not Terry. "Maybe next time you ought to make sure before dropping one of your lines, huh?"

"I don't understand what's going on tonight," Terry said, pausing to take a significant taste of his beer. "I've never had any trouble picking up two or three broads in one night. But this... I can hardly get five words out before they unload on me!"

"I warned you about Wendy," Ben said with a solemn shake of his head.

"And I told you that was a load of horse crap," Terry countered.

"All the same," Ben said, shrugging slightly, "I don't think it's ever a good idea to part on bad terms with a curse-wielding Gypsy."

Wednesday May 23rd, 2012

The exercise:

Your word of the day is: imprisoned.

We are now officially ready to install the final level of the deck. The boards have been ordered and should arrive either tomorrow or Friday, and we're planning on putting them in on Sunday. Hopefully we'll managed to get it all done in one day.

It's been a long day and I am ready for bed.


These walls are so cold against my bare skin. I want to shrink back from their touch but there's no room, they close in from all sides.

Won't someone free me? Have I not suffered enough? I do not claim innocence, but surely I am due to walk free beneath a cloudless sky, through fields of gently swaying wildflowers. To feel the sun warm my flesh.

Oh sweet, impossibly distant sun.

Time passes so slowly here. I would sleep to hurry it along, but I fear my dreams. I fear never waking again.

I fear waking to find my icy prison cell unchanged.

Forever unchanging.

Tuesday May 22nd, 2012

The exercise:

Write two haiku about: the executioner.

Drove Kat to her first prenatal yoga class this evening. Unfortunately that meant a trip to Penticton, as that's where the nearest classes are offered. Eventually Kat is hoping to take the training to teach it herself, so that locals have a more convenient option.

While she was stretching out with the other expectant mothers, I hung out in a coffee shop up the street and did some writing. For the record, I'd already chosen today's prompt. It had nothing to do with the screaming toddler who hung out less than ten feet away for about twenty minutes tonight.



Beneath the black hood
a scarred man pays his debts and
asks for forgiveness

*     *     *

He keeps his axe sharp
and his wit sharper; his jokes
are just so killer.

Monday May 21st, 2012

The exercise:

Write about: the blend.

We managed to get the vast majority of our tomato plants into the garden this morning, despite the threat of (and brief periods of actual) rain. The remaining plants were late seedings, so they need a little more time to size up before they join their compatriots.

It's definitely been a Vancouver kind of day, grey and wet. At least it's an exception here; the sun's meant to return either tomorrow or Wednesday.

Until then... I'm feeling like writing. We'll see if anything comes of it.


The question is growing tired, having hung in the air unanswered for too long. I see this but make no move to rescue it. Instead I work the remote, flipping through channels faster than strictly necessary.

Nothing but commercials. They blend together until the underwear model is ordering pizza while the insurance broker shaves with the newest razor on the market.

My brain accepts the story my eyes are weaving for its benefit. No need to second guess or question.

Speaking of questions, there it comes again, more insistent this time. I suppose she's losing patience with my silence. Or maybe she just couldn't stand watching the poor bastard suffer, seeing it losing its grip in the space between us.

She's always cared a little too much for my liking.

The channels continue to blur. I sip my beer. Some time later I hear the front door slam, calling out to let me know she's left me alone at last.

Sunday May 20th, 2012

The exercise:

Write about: branching out.

Wherein I finally get around to explaining what I was talking about almost two weeks ago.


I've been wanting to do something with my photographs for a while now, I just couldn't figure out exactly what that something might be. This may not be my end goal, but it's a manageable beginning.

Manageable beginnings, by the way, are far superior to never even starting because I'm aiming too high or too big.

The idea for this was actually sparked last year when we received our application for the Penticton farmers market. Part of the package is a list of all possible things vendors might be bringing with them to sell; all we have to do is tick what applies to us.

One of the items was photography, followed shortly by cards. And I thought, hey that could be neat. But there was absolutely no time for me to get organized for last season so I left them unchecked, with the thought that I'd like to be prepared to do it this year.

So far I've had quite a few very nice compliments at the market and a few sales as well. I'm hoping as more tourists start arriving in the summer the sales will pickup, but at least this is one thing we're selling that we can bring back week after week without having to worry about it spoiling.

The plan, assuming things go well, is to add a few more photographs during the summer, and then a few more towards the fall. I'm hoping it gets to that point, but I suppose that's out of my control. For now I'm just trying to enjoy this new ride I'm on.

Saturday May 19th, 2012

The exercise:

Write a four line poem about: the surfer.

We had a pretty good market this morning in Penticton, with lots of people out enjoying the sunshine. Sold a lot more tomato plants, which frees up space in the greenhouse for... pepper plants!

And also more tomato plants.


Tall, tanned, and ready to ride,
He stands barefoot on the sand;
Board in hand he hits the waves,
While his worries wait on land.

Friday May 18th, 2012

The exercise:

Four lines of prose about: tweaks.

We had a busy morning sorting out tomato plants (what's coming with us tomorrow, what's getting planted out in the garden shortly, and what's not quite ready for either). It was good to get that done, as I'd been avoiding it for a few days.

Excited to have Kat with me at the market tomorrow morning for the first time this year. They're calling for sunshine and it's a long weekend, so it should be a good one.


"It might be time to give up on this one," Kevin said over his shoulder as he headed for the kitchen. The sound of running water drowned out his next words.

"Nah man, it just needs like one or two more tweaks, max," Owen countered, putting down his screwdriver and picking up a hammer. 

Kevin waited until the banging stopped before repeating his earlier observation: "That's all well and good, but I think this burn might require a trip to the hospital."

Thursday May 17th, 2012

The exercise:

It's been six weeks since the last time (yes I checked the archive... yes I was out of ideas for writing prompts), so let us have another go at the Random CD prompt.

To review: pick a song as randomly as possible (YouTube, iPods, and radio stations that stream online are all excellent options) and use its first line as your own (giving credit where it belongs), then take it from there. Poetry or prose, whatever your imagination chooses to work with.

I just spent the evening planting potatoes and am quite tired of digging holes at the moment.


Michigan Left - Arkells

Driving to work today, I had the radio on, tuned in to one of them talk stations. Lord knows I wasn't listening to none of that junk they call music nowadays. If you ask me, anything made after Sinatra quit crooning ain't worth hearing. Gives me a headache just thinking about that racket.

Anyhow, I was stuck behind some idiot who was taking the speed limit signs a little too literally, so I didn't need to pay much attention to the road. If some sort of accident or emergency befell Mrs. Featherfoot I'd have had a good two hours to react to it.

Right, so these two yahoos on the radio were talking politics. Not my favorite subject, but it was helping to take my mind off The Great Snail Race in which I was an unwilling participant. From what I could gather, our nation's fearless leader had done something stupid. Again. The way people seem to be thinking these days, that's a surefire way to get re-elected.

Seems to me we should just keep these weekly transgressions quiet. Maybe play up (or heck, even make up) some screw ups by the opposition. That might actually get them enough votes to have a decent run at the top spot next go around.

That ain't a half bad idea, actually. Maybe I should have my own radio show. I could be agreeable to that sort of thing.

As long as they don't force me to play any of that newfangled noise they're calling music these days.

Wednesday May 16th, 2012

The exercise:

Write about something that: lingers.

I feel like we're almost on top of the potting up at last. There's still lots to do, of course, but nothing too urgent.

This freed Kat and I up to finally get the leeks transplanted out into the garden this morning. Those little buggers have been staring at us with guilt-inducing eyes for at least a week, maybe two. Hell, I wouldn't put three out of the question.

Anyway, it's done now. Cross it off the list, on to the next task.


This evening I went back out to the garden to get some weeding done. We've been ignoring the garlic in favor of other things but I wanted to at least get started on it.

It's a pretty fun area to work in, as the green and red leaf lettuce that Kat seeded last fall has finally chosen to show up in random spots all around the garlic. On top of that are a romaine or two, and what appears to be a cabbage plant. It's a bit ridiculous, really.

Anyway, I spent an hour or so in there, yanking out the weeds and leaving the produce to continue growing. We'll probably transplant the lettuce at some point, but that will come later. When I was done I came back home, had a shower, and then did the dinner dishes.

And right now? My fingers still smell like garlic.

Oh, and did I mention I was wearing gloves while I was in the garden?

Tuesday May 15th, 2012

The exercise:

This week Two Haiku Tuesday brings us: the billionaire.

Inspired by listening to this song a few too many times today. I suppose I should mention that there are a few bad words in there, the first of which is right at the start. But it's feeling like summer recently and that's a good summer tune.

Another hot one here today, so Kat and I headed to the garden a lot earlier than yesterday. We managed to get some more planting done, as well as some thinning and weeding of earlier seedings. I finally finished getting the wood chips around the strawberries before we headed for the shade to do some more potting up.

Unfortunately the deck has been moved down the priority list for the moment, but we're making good progress on the farm side of things so I'm hoping to get back to the woodworking in the next few days.

Last, but most importantly: happy birthday Mom!


Paralysis by
analysis means all this
money does no good

*     *     *

On a private jet,
flying high above it all,
he longs for a friend.

Monday May 14th, 2012

The exercise:

Let us see what comes from: the egg.

It was a hot one today. Kat and I ended up sitting in the shade outside the new greenhouse this morning, potting up more seedlings. We had planned on doing work in the garden but the sun was set to broil and the greenhouse work badly needed doing anyway.

We took our first trip of the year to the beach this afternoon, relaxing under a tree before grabbing some gelato. It was good to have a proper break during this busy, busy time.


Abandoned by its creators,
It sits upon the forest floor;
Vibrating ever so slightly,
It dances to an unheard score.

Suddenly a slight crack appears,
A black line upon its red shell;
No souls are here to bear witness,
But perhaps that is just as well.

The creature within is silent,
Watching and waiting for a sign;
It will not step beyond its cage
Until I come to make it mine.

Sunday May 13th, 2012

The exercise:

Let us write about: sloppiness.

Took the morning pretty easy today after a long yesterday. In the afternoon Kat's dad and I did some more work on the deck, making some nice, visible progress. It's now bolted into the side of the house for stability and we got the first three joists in place.

This evening we went up to Kat's parent's place for a Mother's Day dinner for Kat's mom and my very own mom-to-be. And now... I am sleepy.


Kelly stood leaning against the door frame, surveying her son's room. As her eyes took in the three inch deep pile of clothes on the floor, the pizza box on his bedside table (ordered three nights previous and still holding two slices in its stiff clutches), and unfinished homework covering the bed, she contemplated asking the mayor to declare the place a disaster area.

No, she thought with a firm shake of her head, that would just get Jason out of cleaning this mess up himself.

She'd tried withholding dinner but he'd just escaped to Blake's house to fill his growling belly. Threatened to confiscate his phone and he'd just looked confused before asking her which one he should hand over.

So, after consulting with his absent father, she'd settled on a more drastic solution. Kelly felt a twinge of something in her belly as she lit the match, but she pretended not to as she flicked it into the room and closed the door.

Saturday May 12th, 2012

The exercise:

A four line poem about: shade/shades/shady.

I seem to be big on multiple choice prompts lately. Probably my tired brain refusing to make a decision.

The first market went pretty well this morning. Managed to sell quite a few tomato plants, which will free up more room in the greenhouse for... more tomato plants! Hurray.

Kat and I requested a new stall location this year, as our old spot got way too much sun. Our greens were wilting and looking entirely unappetizing almost before the market opened each week. It's only one market in, but I'm loving our new spot - much shadier, more central (so we'll actually feel more a part of things, whereas before we were at the very end of the market), and we're beside the baker we always get our bread from.

Plus, on the other side of him is the lady who sells coffee. Pretty ideal overall, I'd say.


Sunshine afternoon,
Lounging under a tree;
Watching butterflies,
Picking daisies for me.

Friday May 11th, 2012

The exercise:

Write four lines of prose about: the widow/widower.

Busy, busy day. Heading to our first farmers market of the year tomorrow in Penticton, so lots of preparation to be done. I'm flying solo this weekend, as Kat is stuck in an online class. She'll be there with me next Saturday though, along with a by then 15 week old baby in her belly.

If you'd like to read the story that inspired my writing yesterday, it can be found here. Shandi shared the start last night but I haven't had time to read the rest yet. But I definitely will, as I am hooked.


Alone at the kitchen table, Betty toyed with her glass of wine, spinning it around and around. The house was quiet, much quieter than she was used to. She found it unsettling, though if asked she wouldn't have been able to say why.

Understanding that particular feeling would have required acknowledging Nathan's death.

Thursday May 10th, 2012

The exercise:

Write about: the man (or woman) I used to be.

Inspired by something someone read at my local writing group this evening. I started to jot down the beginnings of mine while I was there, but we didn't manage to get any writing done so I decided to just get it out here.

This morning Kat and I did some work in the greenhouse (so many plants to pot up...) and then this afternoon I was back at the deck building with Kat's dad. I can almost picture how it'll look at this point, which just makes me want to work on it more.

Darn farm responsibilities getting in the way of my fun.


Craig sits at a corner booth on the third floor of the downtown library, staring out the window as the city begins its transformation from day to night. Shops close, bars open, streetlights grudgingly come to life. The sidewalk soldiers exchange their business uniforms for casual disguises.

He used to belong down there, among the eager masses. Hunting for the next promotion, the next hot date, whatever was just around the corner. Never satisfied with enough, unable to even define such a passive word. Striving, striving, striving.

There is no nostalgia lurking in these thoughts. He does not miss those hectic days, nor would he change a single one of them should some magical being make that offer. No, they were the building blocks that piled inexorably atop each other, constructing the man he had become. Take even one of those away and who might he be instead?

With a shake of his head, Craig returns his gaze and attention to the newspaper before him. The crossword puzzle is nearly finished, likely as complete as he'll be able to make it. A stubby pencil rests beside it, waiting for him to admit this.

A check of his gold wristwatch, a quiet sigh, then he picks up the pencil and begins to erase his answers one by one. Once he finishes he gathers his things and makes his way to the elevator, riding down to street level. He escapes through the front doors just before closing and makes his way to his apartment, jostled by the crowd.

A crowd he once belonged to.

Wednesday May 9th, 2012

The exercise:

Show me what you've got for: the offer.

T-minus six months until baby is due to arrive. Goodness me.

Kat's dad and I got the final beam constructed and installed tonight. The plan is to pick up the joists tomorrow and try to figure out what we're doing with them. Once that's sorted out we'll get them all attached and then we get to explore our options for the decking.

Can't wait to get this thing finished.


The stink of the open-air sewers hung heavily in the air, assaulting us from every angle. Every surface seemed coated in it, greasy with the castoffs of a society too vainglorious to ever be seen in such a place. I may have belonged there but I should have gone alone.

I should never have brought my daughter.

We wound our way through the crowd of lost souls and diminishing futures, hand in hand. I did my best to shield her from contact, to keep her pure and untainted. There was no real hope for either though, not once we set foot in the market.

The stall I sought was at the far end of a narrow alley lined with snoring drunks. My daughter squeezed my fingers a little more tightly as we approached the three-toothed vendor but gave away no other indication that she might be scared. Such a brave one, my little girl.

"What you want, Rogers?" the vendor asked, cleaning the dirt out from beneath his fingernails with a rusting knife.

"The same as always, Oliver." It was difficult by then to not sound as resigned as I felt. "Food or work. Work or food. You got either?"

"No jobs today," Oliver said. He took a moment to hock a wad of dark saliva on the ground before continuing. "A bit of food though, if you can afford it."

"What's your price?" Some questions you ask even though you don't want to know the answer.

"That depends," he replied, running a discolored tongue across his lips as he gazed at my daughter, "what you're willing to offer."

Tuesday May 8th, 2012

The exercise:

Write two haiku about: forgetfulness.

Got another piece of the deck foundation done this evening, hoping to get the final beam in place tomorrow night. Then we do the joists, then we actually get to put the decking on!

Took some of my pictures, a partial Best Of collection I guess you could call it, in to get developed for something that will be revealed next week (assuming all goes to plan). A professional photographer runs the shop and while he was looking them over said the following, in order:

"That's a nice shot."

"That's nice too."

"That's a beautiful shot... you've got some nice stuff here."

I'll let you know when my feet hit the ground again.


Does anyone know
where we are or how in the
world we wound up here?

*     *     *

Armed with an empty
shopping cart, he stands helpless,
grocery list at home.

Monday May 7th, 2012

The exercise:

Write about something that is: unexpected.

Kat and I were out in the garden again this morning, planting more carrots, lettuce, and stir fry greens. It was getting pretty hot by the end there - I guess summer might actually be lurking around the corner.

This afternoon I picked up our brand new banner, as designed by a farming friend in Cawston. It looks pretty amazing. We'll be testing out how best to attach it to our market tent this week, so I'll try to remember to get a picture. It'll definitely add a really nice touch to our display.

Very, very pleased with it.


The flowers I saw coming a mile away. Same with the offer to pay for dinner and then subsequently the movie. An awkward kiss goodnight, of course, and then promises to do it all again soon - or at least something similar.

Together, that was the important part.

I knew the phone call the next day would arrive at some point, though I wasn't sure if it would be morning, afternoon, or night. It was difficult to tell what sort he'd turn out to be in that respect, but I was confident I'd see his number on my caller ID before the day was over.

Though I will admit that when I answered I was not expecting to hear someone claiming to be his wife screaming at me.

Sunday May 6th, 2012

The exercise:

Slightly more awake tonight, so let's write about: the celebration.

Spent most of the day working on our deck with Kat's dad. Progress was finally noticeable late in the afternoon, giving me hope for the rest of the project.

Getting that thing level is a major, major pain.


Emily moved through the crowded house, sharing wide smiles with every person she bumped into. The music was too loud for actual conversation, but that was fine by her. She'd never been any good at small talk.

The kitchen was stuffed full of people snacking on the spread on the counters and table, but she still managed to make her way to the fridge without resorting to yelling Fire! at the top of her lungs (though she was sorely tempted at least twice). Once there she secured two ice cold bottles of beer and made her escape to the back deck.

Things were much quieter out there, just a few smokers braving the chill to feed their addictions. Emily kept moving, using the shadows and grey cigarette haze for cover. Without a backward glance she was out the gate and striding down the alley, opening a bottle as she went.

Big house parties full of anonymous faces were always a great source of free booze.

Saturday May 5th, 2012

The exercise:

Write a four line poem about: sacrifices.

Sleepy and want to go to bed, so good night.


For the sake of sleep
I will sacrifice;
This little poem
Just ain't gonna rhyme.

Friday May 4th, 2012

The exercise:

Write four lines of prose about: the salesman.

It was miserable and rainy for most of the day; the sun did finally make an appearance just before dinner. Much too late to do anything in the garden, but I did manage to get some more plants potted up in the greenhouse while the clouds did their thing.

The first farmers market of the year is tomorrow morning but we're taking a pass in order to get more work done. Hopefully that will lead to us having more things ready to sell next weekend.


Barb watched through her living room window as the salesman approached her porch, a black briefcase in one hand and the makings of a sleazeball smile on his lips. She found it difficult to remain hidden by the thick mauve curtains, she was so excited to finally test out her new security system.

A squeal of delight was already forming on her tongue as the man aimed a long, steady finger at her doorbell.

Sadly that cry and the joy it was birthed from never saw the light of day, as the salesman deftly jumped back from the trapdoor beneath his feet and, without the slightest change in expression, rapped his knuckles on the door.

Thursday May 3rd, 2012

The exercise:

Let's go with: voices.

It was a chilly, rainy day here but that didn't stop us from getting the remaining cabbage, broccoli, and cauliflower transplanted into the garden. Not much choice, really, as it was badly in need of doing and at this point we can't afford the luxury of being delayed by inclement weather.

Tomorrow isn't meant to be much better, but then the sun and heat are scheduled to return for a lengthy visit starting Saturday.

At the moment I'm patiently waiting for the neighbour's dog to bark himself hoarse.

Okay, not patiently at all.


He follows instructions very well, the report concluded, but rarely displays any leadership skills or initiative. Not likely to advance beyond the lowest levels of the organization but will be a reliable foot soldier.

Robert crumpled up the paper and hurled it against the wall. His eyes locked on the dinner table across the room, its surface decorated with fine china and two bottles of red wine. He was halfway to the table with every intention of overturning it when he came to a sudden stop.

"Childish," he said, his lips hardly parting. "Won't change anything." A firm shake of his head set his long hair to swaying. "No, of course it wouldn't."

He had to do something, though. But what? It had to be dramatic. And satisfying. And send a clear message to those who were blind to his greatness - this was the most important factor.

"Yes, of course," he declared nearly an hour later, finally moving from his position in the middle of the room. "That's perfect. Thank you."

In crucial moments like that one, he could always rely on the voices in his head to be his trusted guides.

Wednesday May 2nd, 2012

The exercise:

Write a little something about: the man upstairs.

Enjoyed my writing group this morning, even though only one other person showed up. We had a good chat, wrote a little bit, and then ended early - which was definitely fine, as I've got plenty of farm work to do.

This afternoon Kat and I finally got around to seeding some beets in the garden, then transplanted some cabbage and cauliflower. Temperatures were in the low twenties, so it was quite comfortable.

I also got a few color copies of our poster done at the local printing shop before putting them up around town to advertise our box program. Hopefully that will help us fill out the rest of our slots pretty quick.


I never met with Mr. Fisher face to face, not even the day I signed the rental agreement. I filled out my copy, which I received from his lawyer, and then slid it under the door of his second floor apartment the next afternoon. I knocked but there was no answer, though I was certain I heard movement within.

After moving in, it took me about a week to realize that my apartment was directly beneath his. I'd called several times with questions about the building, mostly about the finicky laundry equipment, but had to leave a message on his answering machine each time. Answers would arrive in my mailbox, or under my door, on unlined paper in precise handwriting.

It was during the fifth or sixth call that I pieced it together. The distant ringing of a phone, the shuffling of feet above me, the faint beep of the machine. He was home, just refusing to talk to me. It was difficult not to take it personally.

My friends joked about it, claiming he was freakishly ugly, or a recovering mime, or not a he at all. I shrugged it off, but couldn't stop myself from wondering what his deal was. None of the other tenants in my building seemed to know anything, or so the few that would actually discuss it claimed.

I've never been a big fan of the unknown. I like my facts, I savor knowledge. Curiosity becomes fascination becomes obsession. By the end of my first month Mr. Fisher occupied my every spare thought.

So late one night I began to bore a hole in my ceiling.

Tuesday May 1st, 2012

The exercise:

Write two haiku about: hearts.

Because last Tuesday Kat and I heard our baby's heartbeat for the first time and I wanted to write a haiku about it... but it had to wait since we hadn't announced it yet.

More fun with tomatoes today, as well as getting some cabbage transplanted into the garden. Taking a break tomorrow morning to go to my local writing group, then back to work in the afternoon.

T'is the busy time of year.


Your heart beats so fast,
little one, though your birthday
has not yet arrived

*     *     *

He leaves behind a
trail of broken hearts that he
never cared about