Friday September 7th, 2012

The exercise:

Write four lines of prose about: the stranger.

Tomorrow will be the last farmers market we'll have peaches and nectarines for this year, which is a little sad - both because they sell well and because they're delicious.

On the plus side, we're just getting into apple season. We'll have Galas again, our first McIntosh apples, and next week we'll likely have one or two more varieties.

Plus, you know, veggies and stuff.

It is the bountiful time of year.


It's disconcerting, this feeling that's been with me ever since I first set foot in this town. Leaves me with the impression that I'm at a distinct disadvantage, and I don't care for that at all.

Everyone knows who I am - I'm the new guy, the stranger, the come quick and point me out to your friends - but I don't know who any of these people are.

Can't say I'm enjoying this sensation in the least, and it's left my trigger finger feeling extra sensitive.


Dawn M. Hamsher said...


I walked into the Meetup writing group and sat nervously waiting for the others to arrive. As they came in, they chatted with the host about health issues and family problems, things you only discuss when you know someone really well.

When they finally did begin the writing discussion, it was not as advertised. I'll remain a stranger.

Greg said...

@Dawn: Hmm, that sounds a little more than a writing clique than a writing group. I think I'd have opted to stay a stranger there too!

@Marc: aw, the last of the soft fruits already? They seem to have the shortest season! Still, I like apples a lot, and the bounty of autumn vegetables makes cooking at this time of year much easier.
Heh, I think your piece captures the hardship of moving to a small town rather well. Except (maybe) for that last line. Maybe....

The stranger
"Pass the strainer," said Abigail, owner, chef, head-waitress and 90%-of-room-service at Artichoke Towers, 3.5star hotel. Her mother, who'd turned ninety some weeks earlier, mumbled something and moved out of sight.
Abigail was wondering what was taking her mother so long, and starting to fret about the pasta, when she heard a sudden kerfuffle and a strangled cry. Her mother appeared, holding a young man in a judo grip and pushed him towards Abigail: "One stranger," she said proudly.

Anonymous said...

The stranger

I stood up out of my seat so she could cross over to her own.
Once seated, we buckled up and her soft, blue eyes twinkled as she struck up conversation with me.
By the time we'd landed, I'd told her my life story and we'd exchanged numbers.
A month later she rang me to meet up again - this stranger was becoming a firm friend.

Iron Bess said...

Hi Greg,

I just wanted to let you know that I did not abandon this site. Things are slowly returning to normal in my life. I had a super stressful summer which culminated in the passing of my mother. My brain refused to allow me to be creative in any form, even though I have a tendency to want to escape into fantasy land when things go wonky.

I finally feel up to the task of sitting and perhaps doing a little writing here and there. So hopefully I will soon be returning.


Marc said...

Dawn - I'm with Greg on this one, that doesn't sound like a very inviting group.

Greg - aye, maybe...

The 'judo grip' was a great detail that really made the whole thing for me :D

Writebite - ah, random encounters blossoming into something special. Funny how life can work, no?

Iron Bess - I regret to inform you that Greg has not managed to take over the blog in your absence :P

On a more serious note, I'm so sorry to hear about your loss. If this blog can help you through this in any way, shape, or form, I would be honestly thrilled.

I hope the creative juices start flowing for you again soon - you have been missed.

Aholiab said...

Marc, I try to always read your prompt without reading your contribution so that I'm not influenced. However, I gave in today, read it, and loved the twist at the end. Of course that meant, "Don't use a gun. Don't use a gun." was my mantra while I composed!

Greg, you completely caught me off guard with your ending; laughed out loud at the delightful misunderstanding!

The Stranger

Dinnertime after the first day of school is always a boisterous time in our home - my two brothers, my sister, and I all regaling our mother about our teachers and friends while we set the table. We race to greet my father when he opens the front door as he gets home from work. There is a sudden moment of shock when we see his face, then watch as he leads another man in and sets an extra place for him at the table. We sit at the table eating our favorite meal in silence, watching the stranger with averted eyes, knowing that tomorrow there will be another obituary in the newspaper.

Marc said...

Aholiab - that's probably a good way to do it; I know that's how I'd try to approach it. But at the same time it's always a treat when someone plays off my take in some fashion :)

That is an incredibly intriguing ending you have there. My mind is spinning with possibilities.