Monday November 19th, 2012

The exercise:

Let us return to the random book prompt.

Choose a book, as randomly as you please, and use its first line as your own. Then take it from there, in either poetry or prose. Credit blah blah due. You guys know the drill by now.

The wind is absolutely howling out there. I can hear it knocking stuff over, though I'm not sure exactly what object is making each sound. I guess tomorrow morning will be educational in that regard.


The Racketeer - John Grisham

I am a lawyer, and I am in prison.

You probably think I deserve to be here, don't you? You see my profession and consider this an open and shut case. That's a little presumptuous, wouldn't you say? Well, I certainly would.

There are things I could tell you. Secret things. Deals attained in dark corners, where the sun refuses to shine. Violence promised, and violence meted out. These things might change your rushed judgement of me. Help you along the path to seeing the error of your ways.

But then, that would require some trust on your part. After all, it's just my word against... well, everyone else. I do, however, have one powerful ally that they do not.

I have truth on my side.

Will you sit awhile, listen to my tale? If you're willing, I'm certain that I can bring you around, to recruit you to join forces with me and the truth. We'd be a powerful army then, one to be reckoned with.

One with enough strength, perhaps, to bust me out of here.


Greg said...

I hope none of the light items are lost by the wind then. And that nothing gets broken either. No wind here, just a drizzling kind of rain. Which is quite pleasant actually :)
Your lawyer sounds a little pompous, and definitely very confident, so I suspect they will find a way of getting out of that prison, with or without anyone's help. The last time ties the previous writing very neatly together.

Forgive mine; the book is The Pleasure Gardens of Virigina found here, on Google Books, and I wasn't expecting the opening sentence to be so long!

On one of the first days after his landing in the New World in May 1607, George Percy, a member of the original Jamestown settlement, excitedly recording seeing in the forests, fields, and swamps "ground all flowing over with fair flowers of sundry colors and kinds, as though it had been any garden or Orchard in England." His wife, a much more pragmatic woman who would eventually elope with a Native American and disappear from our narrative, derided him roundly for admiring flowers when he should have been trying to grow food. George, whose purpose on the voyage had been escaping crimes levelled against him back in England, meted out his own form of discipline and restored both order and silence to his house. Then he returned to the fields and forests to marvel some more at the largesse and bounty of nature.
While he was standing there awestruck, a neighbour of his, one Zarachiel Parson, approached him from the West carrying with him a scrap of parchment. Greeting George with a friendly "Halloo!" he proceeded to stare a little at the verdancy of the land with him, and then proffered the parchment.
"I have in mind a Pleasure Garden," said Zarachiel, his bitten, blackened tongue moistening his lips. "One such as was described in certain books available from specific booksellers back in the Old Country."
"Sherbert and Houris?" asked George, who had more than a passing awareness of such establishments.
"I'm sure they can be accommodated," said Zarachiel, his smile twisted by his hare-lip. "I would be in need of a gardener though, for all I can supply the... ah, not-of-the-land elements myself. The setting, you understand, must be correct, so that people understand what it is they're seeing, and do not fall prey to the illusion that this is some kind of bordello."
George nodded, understanding, and an accord was struck between the two men.

Anonymous said...

First, I need to thank you, Marc, for providing this chance to write daily. I am dismantling my parents' home while I move in to care for their various collections, family artifacts, etc. One died and the other moved into assisted living within three months. Suddenly, too, I am managing money situations for which I have no experience. It is a continuing hell that has lasted seven months thus far as people constantly reassure me, "It'll get better."

The only point at which I am reminded that I am an artist is when I come to your blog and do the daily writing prompt. Thank you.

My sentence is from, "The Forgotten Arts & Crafts."

"It is now more than 10 years since the first version of these books were published, and sadly some of the craftsworkers and friends I mention have now died." While it may be fair to claim that they live on in my memory, the smattering of images and events that I carry with me is poor substitute for the give and take of real talk. With them, too, died their real expertise in the crafts whose bare outlines I have captured in my books. In another place I have read that the uniformity of work, far from being a sign of the stultified European world view, is the triumph of real mastery. Understanding wood for handles, really understanding the variations of wood in the natural character of its species, the preparation it underwent, age, specific use, this knowledge allows the worker to master the material and identical products are the result. An amateur works until "he can do it"; a master works until he cannot do it wrong."

-- Anonna

Anonymous said...

I went with the first two sentences of "A Sport and a Pastime" by James Salter, as the first sentence was just: "September."

September. It seems these luminous days will never end. But they will. They must. If only due to a change of the wind. One day it will warmly caress your skin, the next it will chill your bones. You can not stop it. It is the one constant. The wind is there when the sun rises. There when the moon emerges. There when the sun is lost behind a cloud and the rains fall to the Earth. The wind remains, waiting to move you. Ready to propel you forward or to push you back. The tool of the Gods to exert their will on us mere mortals. To change us. To mold us. But I get ahead of myself. Today is bright and luminous. The wind is calm. The Gods are pleased with me. For now.

g2 (la pianista irlandesa) said...

First line from Vaclav Havel's open letter to Dr Husak; found here. I'm not entirely sure where the rest of mine came from, nor am I convinced it came across as well as it could have.

But hey, we're practicing here, right?
- - - - - - - - - - - - -
"Dear Dr Husak,
In our offices and factories work goes on, discipline prevails." The brief insurrection early last week was simply that: brief. So brief that it occurs to me that this may be the first you're hearing of its end, or indeed, even the first you're hearing of it at all. Rest assured, good sir, that all is now under control: negligeble damage to merchendise, no damage to the facility, in fact quite the contrary: with the small modifications made during damage control, we are projecting higher efficiency than ever before.
I hope this reaches you in good health, and we greatly anticipate your return at the end of the summer.
Regards, Timothy Sternson, Primary Factory Manager

Timothy swallowed. It was very strange having to type his own name. He only ever had to sign them, at the desk currently occupied by another.

"And you sign your letters, do you not?" the desk's occupant asked automatically.

Timothy nodded, hating the eye contact he now made but terrified to look away from those calculating eyes. "There's a pen in the top drawer," he mumbled.

"You are to speak clearly," barked the occupant, but still took the pen from the drawer and handed it to Timothy. He managed to still his trembling hand just long enough to sign his name as usual.

"Finished?" He nodded. "Good. Begin another sheet." After a moment's reflection, the new dictation began:
The transfer proceeded successfully and without significant difficulty. One remains to maintain the appearance of normality; will be monitored closely, though does not represent a danger. Dr. Husak will be met upon his return to the country at the end of summer, and proceedures are to be carried out as calculated, and the doctor will decide on the remnent's converstion status.

Iron Bess said...

By: Neil Gaiman

There was once a young man who wished to gain his Heart’s Desire. He sat at the table and called his parent’s to attention. “I wish to gain my Heart’s Desire,” he said. He looked from one to the other feeling like an adult. Feeling important. “I will retire to my room so you can bring it to me there.”
His parents watched him leave then looked at each other silently. Finally the mother stood and began to clear the table. “He is your son,” the mother said. “You take care of it.”
“I’m one hundred percent certain he is yours,” the father said. “I saw you push him into the world. But I’m only ninety eight percent sure that he is mine. I think this ball is in your court.”
The dishes on the table clattered and shook as the mother’s fist came down upon it. “I took care of his first haircut. I took care of his first day at school. I took care of his first zit. I took care of his first driving lesson. I kissed his boo-boos, and bathed his fevers. Where were you during all this? I’ll tell you where…NOT HERE. Not only is this ball in your court it is already in your goal.”
“But he’s an idiot,” the father complained.
“He is that,” the mother agreed. “But we love him anyway.”

g2 (la pianista irlandesa) said...

Something I forgot to mention: Marc, your go at the prompt is almost begging for continuation.

Just saying.

Marc said...

Greg - from what I could tell, nothing serious was damaged, so that's good news.

Great fun you had with that first line - I think my favorite was your initial line about the wife :)

Anonna - thank you for such wonderful feedback! I'm glad this blog can be a bit of an oasis for you, and I hope things do, indeed, get better for you.

I like that your continuation could very easily be what's found in the actual book. Good stuff!

Anonymous - love it! Particularly the way you brought things back around with your ending lines. Very nicely done :)

g2 - practicing is what we do here ;)

Fascinating scene. I appreciate your feelings about mine, but I would suggest the same about yours! I'd love to see this continued.

Iron Bess - that paragraph beginning with 'I'm one hundred percent certain he is yours...' is frickin' gold.

Also: great ending :D