Write something that is either about or takes place on: the street corner.
Ah, the last day of February. It can never come too soon.
There are signs of lettuce, thyme, onions, and leeks in the greenhouse already. It is a good time of year.
Red light, green light,
Traffic comes and goes;
Over cracked concrete
This human river flows.
Food carts, false hearts,
Everything's for sale;
Suits, dresses, blue jeans,
Each soul has their own tale.
With glee I see
Greetings and goodbyes,
Taking it all in
With binocular eyes.
Write about: the rune.
Since Kat was required to attend the first year class of her online course yesterday, she had today off - which meant she was able to join Max and I at Mother Goose this week.
He seemed to enjoy having both of us there. In fact, during one of the very few, very brief quiet moments, he decided to start babbling. Very loudly.
Since he'd not done that there before, it took me a moment to realize the noise was coming from my son. Startled the hell out of me.
A hooded figure moved in the darkness of the monastery, maneuvering around chairs and avoiding loose floorboards with practiced ease. Stopping before a large oak door on the lower levels, an iron key was fit into the lock and turned. The door was pushed inward, the figure entered the room, and the door swung shut and automatically locked itself.
All was accomplished noiselessly, as though a ghost was responsible.
But this man was no ghost.
A match whispered to life, lit a thick candle which sat upon a desk in the middle of the room, and then was blown out by a dusty breath. The flickering light revealed a small space, its walls brimming with books large and small.
The man did not lower his cowl then, as if he feared the shadows that remained in each corner of the room would bear witness against him. After taking a moment to gather his bearings he moved to a shelf opposite the entrance and extracted a thin tome, no wider than a finger, no taller than his hand.
He brought this back to the desk, placing it gently upon its surface. Easing himself down into the only available chair, he allowed himself a few measured breaths as he studied the cover.
Saint Zephyr's Collected Runes
Much was sacrificed to fill those pages. Powerful spells lurked within. Spells of last resort. Spells that were meant for a night such as that.
With a wrinkled finger that hardly trembled at all, the man reached out and turned to the first page.
Write two haiku about: children's television shows. They can be about a specific show, the genre in general, or an entirely fictional show. Me? I went for the first and last options.
Kat has needed the house to herself for her online coursework quite a bit lately, so I've been taking Max up the hill to hang out at Kat's parents place. We may or may not spend some of that time watching kid's cartoons.
It's definitely a mixed bag. There are some I enjoy, others I pray Max never wants to watch. But for now, at least, I get to decide which ones we see.
riding a train, leaving Dad
with much to explain.
* * *
being taught, like what to do
when the zombies come.
Write about: the memorial.
The days seem to be speeding past lately. So much I want to do, so little of it actually getting done...
Here lies my self-confidence,
Taken from me much too soon;
Felled by vile, spiteful critics
Who just sing their same old tune.
It is a sad admission
That most of them lived within;
I found it too difficult
To flee knives under my skin.
Perhaps a resurrection
Will one fine day be achieved;
And though I am filled with doubt,
I'm used to being deceived.
Write about: the application.
I am sleepy and it is time for bed. So...
"How are your university applications coming along?" Dale's mother tried to sound nonchalant but anxiety was squeezing her vocal chords; the end result was somewhere between chain-smoking frog and tortured boar.
"Oh, you know, fine. Mostly." Dale didn't bother to turn to face his mother while addressing her, as he was far too consumed by his work. Besides, even a momentary loss of focus could lead to instant death for his video game character.
"Mostly?" His mother's voice had now overcorrected, sounding like a close relative of mouse with its leg stuck in a trap. "Anything I can help with?"
"No, it's cool. I got it."
"You're sure?" Dale's mother was, to say the least, not sure at all.
"Yeah, no worries." A brief pause to launch a rocket at his fleeing opponent. "I mean, it's not like any of these places I'm applying actually care about grammar... or grades... or criminal records..."
Write a four line poem about: hope.
Our greenhouse work for this year began this afternoon, which was rather exciting. While Kat's mom watched Max, we got onion, leek, shallot, sage, rosemary, and thyme seeds started.
With the sun shining, it rather seemed like spring had arrived.
Seed, soil, and water...
Heat, patience, and time;
And if all goes well,
This food shall be mine.
Write four lines of prose around the idea of: making the call.
Inspired by what transpired just south of Penticton this evening, on Max's first nighttime excursion that took us beyond Kat's parents house just up the hill.
For the record: the 'he' in this tale is purely speculative. Easily could have been a 'she', I just had no intention of getting close enough to find out. Especially with Max in the car.
He's doing sixty km/h in an eighty zone - something's up.
Okay, now he's swerving into the oncoming lane - I'm thinking drunk driver.
... And now he's speeding - too bad I have no interest in getting close enough to see his license plate.
Now that we're stopped at the lights and he's the only car in the far left turning lane I can see his plate clearly... and he almost caused an accident when the lights went green - time to call 911.
Our prompt for today shall be: step by step.
Had a successful cross-border excursion this afternoon to pick up a couple packages from a receiving service. Amazon's free shipping within the US made the drive worth it, especially when you add in the thirty cents per litre I saved on gas while I was down there.
Anyway, on to yesterday's doctor's office fun.
A step-by-step guide on how to completely change the atmosphere in a doctor's office waiting room, written by Max (age 15 weeks).
* Opening scene: A quiet, solemn doctor's office waiting room. No one is speaking, each patient appears to be in their own little world. *
Step 1: Choose your target(s). In this example, a mother and her teenaged daughter, who have just entered the scene.
Step 2: Say 'Hi' very softly while gazing at your targets with a slight smile.
Step 3: Realize that your targets, with heads down, did not know you were talking to them.
Step 4: Spend the next five or so minutes staring intently at one of your targets. In this example, the daughter.
Step 5: The instant, the absolute *instant* your target looks up and makes eye contact, laugh like a little maniac.
Step 6: Whenever anyone else in the room notices how amazing and adorable you're being, laugh at them too.
Step 7: Continue like this for a good five minutes.
* Closing scene: A happy, laughter-filled doctor's office waiting room. Everyone is talking. A few are wiping tears from their eyes because they were laughing so hard (including my Daddy). *
Addendum from Daddy: Never seen anything like it.
Inspired by Greg and g2's recent continuations in the comments, I've decided to make it an official prompt once again.
So continue the story from wherever the last person left it, and try to leave it at a good point for the next person to carry it forward. If two people happen to post around the same time, well, the next person can just choose which version they'd like to continue.
Had a pretty amazing experience at the doctor's office this afternoon. I'll share it tomorrow, as today's post is plenty long enough already.
Jake boarded the subway at his usual stop, briefcase in hand and his head bursting with work related thoughts. Deadlines, reports, coworkers - the usual companions to concerns about groceries, bills, his lackluster dating life, pickpockets, the weather.
The compartment was standing room only, which was to be expected during the afternoon rush to get home from downtown. Jake found some open space near the far end, between a relatively slim man in a reasonably expensive suit and a short woman transfixed by her mobile device. He felt safe there - as safe as he was likely to feel until he stepped inside his apartment - and didn't have to worry about making it back to the exit in a hurry since his stop was one of the last on the line.
Lurching into motion reluctantly, as though it resented all the weight it was forced to carry, the train resumed its journey southward. The gentle swaying motion and the white noise of wheels against tracks put several of the seated passengers nearby to sleep but Jake remained alert and guarded.
Which was why he was one of the first to notice the train slowing down, well before it reached its next stop. Breathing through his nose, he tried to remain calm as everyone in the compartment began exchanging nervous glances. A few jokes, less laughs. Rationalizations began to appear as the train came to a gradual but very complete, very total stop.
That was when the lights in the compartment went out.
Write two haiku about: the calendar.
If you happen to be curious about how Neil Gaiman's Calendar of Tales project that I mentioned a while back turned out (well, is continuing to turn out), then this link might be of interest to you.
Thinking about sending in some photographs for this second stage. Just have to decide of what and then make it happen. A couple of those stories make me really wish I could draw... instead I shall pass the link on to a much more artistically talented friend.
Twelve months, twelve stories;
never before have I wished
for a longer year.
* * *
Pinned to the wall of
an empty house forever
trapped in September.
Write about something or someone: vulnerable.
Trying to get this finished on time and actually get to sleep at a decent hour tonight. Wish me luck.
Well, I suppose by the time you read that it will be much too late to wish me anything of the sort. So... never mind that.
Undercover work isn't for everybody. It's not for guys with a wife and kids, or even a girlfriend. Not for anybody with brothers or sisters or parents who are still around, whether you're on speaking terms with any of them or not.
So, not for anyone with anything to live for, really.
I know the boys back at the station are keeping a close eye on me - as close as they can without raising suspicions, at least. They can do that for now, while I'm on the outskirts of the organization. There's not much to be gleaned out here, though.
In order to get the real goods I'm going to have to leave this safety net behind. Stick my neck out, hoping that these goons have been convinced by the work I've already done. Earn their trust, earn my way into their inner sanctum.
And from there I can finally bring these bastards to justice.
Maybe I'll even walk away from it all unscathed, so that I can do it all again in some other city.
I felt the urge to use the first line prompt today, so I'm just going to go with it. Use the following line as your opener and then take it from there:
It didn't take long for me to realize that I should have stayed home that night.
It didn't take long for me to realize that I should have stayed home that night. The invitation would have been impossible to resist, even if I'd known ahead of time what lay in store for me... but a little warning wouldn't have gone amiss.
The cloudburst that caught me crossing Tenth Avenue failed to send me crawling back to my apartment, but did succeed in making me wish I'd chosen a dress that at least thought about reaching below my knees. At least it was black. That was something, I suppose.
That bug-infested washroom in the gas station at Eighth and Monroe should have put an early end to my evening. If only it hadn't contained just enough paper towel to dry my hair.
I almost managed to reach the party before snapping off one of my high heels in a crack in the sidewalk. Attempts at breaking the other one at approximately the same level resulted in the cheap piece of crap nearly tearing in two.
So I walked through the door barefoot, praying that everyone else would be too high society to look down their noses all the way to the ground.
And that was when I saw Richard, my ex-husband.
Write a four line poem about: madness.
We took Max to a family fest that was being held at our community center this morning. It was mostly aimed at slightly older kids, but it was still worth going to. I was entertained by the magician, at any rate.
Plus we got a call this afternoon letting us know that we'd won one of the door prizes. Won't find out what it is until Wednesday when I take Max to Mother Goose.
Fingers crossed for a brand new truck!
... okay, now that I've joked about it, you just know it's going to be a toy truck for Max. That's not what I meant, universe, and you know it!
'Twas surely madness
That made him do those things,
But we fought till the end
For our dear, beloved king.
Write four lines of prose about: destiny.
Met up for coffee this morning with a friend we hadn't seen in quite some time. Really enjoyed it, and she seemed rather taken with Max.
Because of course she was.
"You can do it, son!"
"But I don't -"
"Believe in yourself, like I believe in you, and there can be no stopping you!"
"Dad, I really don't think it's my destiny to finish my Chemistry homework..."
In (dis?)honour of Valentine's Day, let us write some: unromantic poems.
I noticed that this was trending on Twitter earlier in the day but wasn't feeling inspired at the time. Plus, I prefer to be able to wander beyond the character limit that comes along with that service.
For the record: yes, I do have a Twitter account. I don't really use it for much other than following a select few people that I find interesting and/or informative. At one point I was seriously considering opening an account for Daily Writing Practice (tweeting out prompts and general writing things), but never got around to it.
Now? I'm just pleased whenever I get the blog done before midnight slaps me across the face. Which, incidentally, did not happen tonight. Yet again.
Ingrown toenails can't stop me
From pacing outside your door -
It doesn't matter to me
That it's almost half past four.
I won't leave till you agree
That I am the one for you;
You'll either love me forever
Or find my body turning blue.
Let us return to the list prompt. In our writing today, we have to use each of the following words: stars, circle, smoke, age.
Went to Mother Goose with Max again this morning and... I wasn't the only dad! Exciting times.
Sit down and be still child. I have much to tell you and little breath left in my body with which to do so. This is important. Vital.
I speak to you of the Age of Wonders.
There was a man who walked these very woods in those days, a great man. A magician - a real one, not like those charlatans you see on your televisions and computers and such things. He needed no smoke, no mirrors. Just the right ingredients for a particular spell and a moment of concentration.
He could have ruled us all, if he so wished. We were lucky that he had other desires. I have always thought so, at least.
Quiet child! I will not be interrupted. No time for that, not much time at all...
I met this man only twice. It would have only been once had I any say in the matter, but I did not. It is that second meeting that I must speak of now. Pay very careful attention. Pretend that your life depends on absorbing all that follows.
Do not look at me like that. You are in no danger at this moment. Be at ease, for now.
On the night of my second encounter with this master of magic, the stars seemed brighter than usual. As though they had slipped closer to our planet in order to get a better view of what would pass before the sun rose to chase them back to their rightful places.
I had received my instructions a week previous, delivered by a messenger with a ghastly scar on his face. It did not take me long to find the circle I was directed to stand within. The magician described its position well and the trees surrounding it seemed to lean away from it, as though in horror.
Can't you see how they shrink back, all around us? Especially, to my eye, the one you are sitting against now...
Write two haiku about: asking for help.
So I decided to look online for Sudoku tips. This site was quite helpful, the 24 page tutorial particularly so. Though I'm not sure I can properly express the outrage I felt when I came across this on page 20:
"I can't see any more logical answers to a cell - time for a guess!!!"
A GUESS? Here I was, straining to find some logical deduction that was managing to elude me, when a frickin' GUESS was required to solve the puzzle?
Anyway. My first guess didn't work out, so I went back and tried again. Puzzle solved. And summarily burned.
Well, now that I've asked,
the answer seems pretty damned
obvious, don't it?
* * *
A slow swallow of
pride; an admission that
I don't know it all.
Write about: being stumped.
I am slowly going crazy, crazy going slowly am I...
So our local paper, which publishes once a week, has both a crossword and Sudoku puzzle in it. I've never bothered with either, and I'm reasonably certain that I've never ever finished a Sudoku game.
A couple weeks ago I was in charge of watching Max and he was having a nap while I was reading the paper. After I'd finished reading the articles that had caught my attention, and not wanting to disturb him, I decided to fumble my way through the crossword. Once that became sufficiently frustrating it occurred to me to try the Sudoku puzzle.
It was rated as being a beginner level, so that gave me hope. I was interrupted several times but I did eventually finish it. Feeling quite proud of myself, I decided I'd give the next week's game a go as well.
It being rated as advanced didn't deter me, though I now wish it had. I managed to get partway through it before reaching a point where I just could not figure out what to do next. Coming back to it a day later, I thought I had a breakthrough and made decent progress. After being interrupted again, I came back and made some more.
And then I realized that I had made a mistake. Couldn't tell you where exactly, but something was obviously wrong. My options at this point were to burn it (in the fireplace - I wasn't that upset) or start over again by writing it out on a blank piece of paper.
Being more stubborn than wise, I went with the second option.
Eventually I reached that same point where I'd become stuck previously, but this time I figured out what actually needed to happen next. So more progress was made. Started feeling good about the old brain box. And then...
I got stuck again. And I am utterly, completely stumped this time. I feel like there's a logical path I need to take that is just out of sight for me.
It is driving me frickin' nuts.
I should really just burn the stupid thing.
But I so, so want to figure it out...
Write about: the orders.
Finally finished ordering our seeds today. Probably a good thing, considering we should be starting to get going in the greenhouse in a couple of weeks.
The silence in the room was unsettling, both for its intensity and its unusualness. It was much more common for its occupants to be shouting at each other in order to be heard over the general tumult, often multiple times to clear up confusion brought upon by misheard words.
But at that moment an especially unfortunate soul was heard passing wind. No heads turned in his direction then, but he knew immediately that he would not be hearing the end of it any time soon.
A few dry lips were licked, several awkward swallows were forced down. No words were spoken for what felt like hours.
In reality less than a minute passed before Pierre, the head chef with the monstrous temper, finally spoke.
"Table eight wants WHAT for dinner?"
Write a four line poem about: the trainer.
Just stumbled upon this, courtesy of Neil Gaiman. Could not possibly agree more with Gilbert. Not sure I could be more disgusted with Roth.
He's an expert in his field,
He knows how it's all done.
But when it's time to explain
His IQ shrinks to one.
Write four lines of prose about: the trapper.
Up until last night, the plan was to spend most of today in Penticton. But then Kat's mom and baby yoga class got cancelled and suddenly we had a free day.
So we went out for lunch and then took Max for a walk by the (mostly frozen) lake. There we ran into our neighbour (mother of three kids) and one of the women from Kat's local mom and baby group (mother of twins).
Oh, and this was after dropping by the bakery to get some bread and visit with the owners (parents of a seven month old boy).
This parenting stuff sure seems to be a fine way of becoming part of the community.
While the coffee percolated on the stove he went over his mental checklist one last time. The traps needed checking and there would be hell to pay if he forgot one. He had no hopes of avoiding responsibility for it, either - the smell would give him away eventually.
And the very last thing he wanted was to deal with his wife finding a rotting rat corpse stuck in one of his traps in some dark corner of the kitchen.
Today we return to: Mejaran.
Click here if you're wondering what the hell I'm talking about, or just need a refresher.
If you wrote on the prompt last time, feel free to continue on with your piece. If you're new you're welcome to go back and join us from the beginning or simply start here. You can connect your take with what's already been written or go off in a direction all your own.
The choices, they be endless.
In other news: Max turned three months old today. To celebrate, it would appear that he's getting a tooth or two in.
The cramped kitchen in a hovel on the outskirts of East Mejaran (as it was unofficially known) was further filled with the sounds of dishes being washed and a blade being sharpened, not to mention tension thick enough to feel crawling across bare skin. Yarel, not yet free of his teenage years, was responsible for the steel scraping across a whetstone. His mother, Jocelle, was stationed at the sink.
"If you're so displeased with the jobs that Ladies Helen and Margaret are doing," Yarel asked as he tested his blade against his thumb, "why don't you take one of their positions? Or better yet, both?"
"Don't be a fool, boy." Jocelle didn't bother turning to face to her son, choosing instead to continue scrubbing at a particularly stubborn stain on one of their three bowls. "I am not qualified for such lofty heights, nor would anyone in the village support my candidacy."
"Well you clearly have many ideas about how things ought to be run around here," her son countered, returning his weapon to its sharpening stone. "Why give up without a fight?"
"A fight?" His mother turned now, but only to spit on the dirt floor at his feet. "Who would fight with me?"
"Others who are as unhappy with our rulers as you are. I bet Orsana would stand with us."
"Child, just because that lumbering oaf gifted you that blade it doesn't mean she's your friend. Besides, what does she have to complain about? Everyone turns to her for their blacksmithing needs - she's probably the richest person in the village!"
"She is too my friend," Yarel said sullenly. "And she has plenty to complain about. I've heard her."
"That changes nothing. Do you know how many women there are around here who are better suited to be a ruling Lady than I am? A dozen, at least!"
"That's nothing," Yarel said, balancing his knife upside down on a fingertip, "a few slit throats couldn't fix."
"For you to speak of such horrors with such ease," his mother hissed, her eyes bulging dangerously, "you truly are your father's son!"
"But of course, mother." Yarel tipped his finger slightly to the left, letting the weapon fall into his waiting hand. "Who else could I possibly be?"
Time has slipped past me without me noticing once again, so let us return to: the Random CD prompt.
Find a song as randomly as you like (from your own music collection, online radio streams, good old YouTube, etc) and use its first line as your own. Then? Take it from there, in poetry or prose.
I think we all know by now that credit goes where it's due for the borrowed lyrics, but I'll say it again anyway.
Went back to the Mother Goose group with Max this morning. A few new faces to go with those that were there last week. Still lots of fun. Still the only dad.
Oh, and don't worry, I haven't forgotten - we'll be going back to Mejaran tomorrow.
Knights of Cydonia by Muse
"Come ride with me through the veins of history."
By all rights, that should have been the end of the conversation right there. Most days I get pestered by an obvious nutjob I just walk away. Maybe after a snide observation or three, if it's been a rough one.
That night in the bar though, something was different. It could have been on his end: the earnestness in his eyes, the steady hand he held out to me, the way he fit into those jeans. Or, and I'll admit that this is the more likely option, it could have simply been the two pitchers of beer I'd taken care of shortly before he strode into my life.
"So what, you've got a time machine parked out back or something?" I asked, laughing loudly at my drunken wit. "Like a DeLorean? You don't look like Mikey Fox to me."
"This is your one and only chance," he said with unnerving calm. "You do not want to let this opportunity slip away."
In response I pulled out my phone and began scrolling through my contact list. The names were a little blurry but I knew they had one thing in common: I hadn't spoken with any of them in months.
"Sure, what the hell? What have I got to lose?"
"That's not the question you should be asking," he said with the first appearance of that damned smile of his. I pushed myself to my feet, swaying gently as I waited for his elaboration. "I would suggest instead: what have you got to gain?"
"Riches beyond imagination?" I asked, trying to sound like I didn't really mean it.
"Something like that."
Well, with a hook like that what was a girl like me to do but go with him? So I went.
Write two haiku about: confidence.
My first poem was inspired by an idea I have for a story opening - since it's been bouncing around my head for the last two days, I figured I should at least get this much out.
The second one? Well, it is Two Haiku Tuesday. I had to write something!
With a cocky smile
he does the crossword in pen
(with Wite-Out nearby).
* * *
At night he walks these
seething streets with only his
name for protection.
Write about: the sword.
So this was pretty amazing today. Very... powerful, and humanizing. Inspiring.
All of that and more.
I have sat upon this wall for far too long. Inactive, growing dull. Wasting away to nothing, my lethality hidden... no, smothered by this pathetic, ornamental covering. As though what I do is shameful. As though my purpose is not honourable.
I should be spilling blood for my master, vanquishing his enemies. Striking fear deep into the souls of those who dare to oppose his will. Held aloft on a rain-soaked battlefield riddled with bodies.
But my master has grown lazy with the passing of the years. Old age has made him complacent. Weak.
He has precious little time left to him now. I take comfort in that.
For soon another will rule this house. A man with young blood stampeding through his veins. He will free me from this dusty scabbard and together we will do what must be done.
Until then... I can only wait. Dream of glory and battle... and wait.
Write about: the hawk.
Not entirely sure what kind of bird this is (might not even be a hawk), but we've been seeing them around quite a bit lately:
My sister and brother-in-law have returned to Calgary after a fun (but much too short) visit. Already looking forward to the next time we'll see them.
Preaching patience like a priest.
The hunt could take all day,
He wouldn't mind in the least.
Watching and waiting
For any sign of his prey.
One false step and he
Descends like night upon day.
Write a four line poem about: fog.
Because it took a long time for the sun to burn away the fog here this morning, and now it has come back under the cover of darkness. So we'll likely see more of the same tomorrow morning.
And also because: how have I not used that as a prompt before?
Max spent most of today with his aunt and uncle. I think everyone involved enjoyed themselves.
The world is concealed and consumed
By the cold grey breath of this land.
Blindly we continue to march,
Guided by an unseen hand.
Write four lines of prose about: the valet.
January is behind us once more, hurray! The sun came out to welcome February back to the party, so I went out this afternoon to take some pictures. Here's one from partway up the mountain just east of town:
Tomorrow morning Max will meet my sister and brother-in-law from Calgary for the first time. So very, very excited about that.
They're only here for the weekend, but I figure that's more than enough time for Max to convince them they need to move here.
Randall moved through the empty hallways of the lower decks, a freshly laundered suit over his shoulder. Above him he could just make out the shouts of panic as passengers stampeded aimlessly, desperate for an authority figure to tell them what to do.
He shook his head and smiled sadly before dragging his attention back to the task at hand.
He didn't know what he'd discover inside Room 792, but the key he'd found inside the suit would show him soon enough.