Sunday March 17th, 2013

The exercise:

Our writing inspiration today shall be: the north.

There was a harsh north wind blowing today, which made weeding the strawberries quite unpleasant. Still got a fair amount done, but I'm sure I would have gotten a whole lot further if the weather had been kinder.


The wind does not rest here, never pauses for breath. It scours the land, ridding it of all but the stingiest, hardiest forms of life. Relentless in its pursuit of... whatever it is that it is pursuing. Destruction? Oblivion?

No tree stands straight and tall in this place. Those not bent sideways by the zealous wind buckle beneath snowy burdens, cowering behind the meager protection of eroding boulders. 

Once there was warmth in the air. Green things grew and prospered. Flowers scented the air. A city rose from the plains, undaunted by the surrounding mountains.

No longer.

Now, only a handful of stranglers remain. Fools, every one. The wise have allowed the winds to guide them south, to easier lives. These stubborn men and women, bundled in thick furs and rarely far from Death's grasp, cling to their reasons for standing fast - whatever they may be.

It matters not. Soon, they too shall be gone.

Only the wind shall remain, howling and screaming its way across the frozen earth. Like angry ghosts.

Yes, just like angry ghosts...


Greg said...

The north wind is probably chillier still up in Osoyoos than it is over here, so I sympathise. I hope you've got a good coat! Still, when Max is older you can send him out to do it for you... ;-)
That's a charmingly bleak scene you've painted there, capturing the eternal persistance of the wind. It feels rather Siberian, though I don't know of many mountain ranges over that way!
I like the fifth paragraph best, contrasting the people who left with those who stayed for its poignancy.
[Btw, I suspect "stranglers" in the first line of that paragraph is a typo for "stragglers" but I confess to prefering to think that you populated the whole city with murderous, unstoppable savages :)]

The north
The first breath of the north wind was known locally as the kiss of Boreas, a poetic name for a chill touch that froze the skin it caressed. As Boreas danced unseen through the throngs of people at the zoo they shivered and pulled coats tightly around them. Scarves were cinched shut, and mothers adopted a told-you-so face to their children and husbands. Arthur, zookeeper 2nd grade, snake-wrangler 4th grade (and legilimancer-in-chief, but that's a different story) brushed sweat away from his forehead. The north wind always brought him out in a sweat, but of terror and not heat.
He paced around the outside of the lion-house, scrutinising the walls and checking for any cracks, gaps in the windows, missing putty, or ill-fitting doors. He went slowly, and went round twice clockwise, then again anti-clockwise, making absolutely sure.
"Excuse me?" A woman tugged at his sleeve. "Excuse me, but when do you feed the lions?"
"They were fed at 2, ma'am," said Arthur, his customer service training coming to the fore and automatically putting Smile 6 ("The customer's friend!" – imagine this said in a squeaky voice by a perky 19-year-old who doesn't understand cynicism).
"How about the snow lions?"
Arthur looked at the woman, a tight knot of terror writhing in his stomach.
"There's no such thing," he said. "What did you see?"
"The white lions with the fangs, my son went into the lion-house and said they looked hungry."
Arthur ran for the doors of the house, and to his horror saw that someone – possibly the woman's son – had wedged the doors open with a fire-extinguisher and the north wind was howling inside.
"Right," he said to the woman who'd tagged along. He hefted the fire extinguisher and threw it into the darkness of the house. The door closed silently after it.
"My son's in there," said the woman, sounding uncertain.
"Good," said Arthur. "Because it'll need feeding."
"What will?"

Anonymous said...

Heya Marc
Just gonna be a short little post nothing compared to Greg's.

My family has decided to go North. All of my besties are balling. They don't want me to go. They don't want me to leave. I don't want to go but I have to. If I want to live my dream I have to. I have to go North. I have to go. I have to go to the audition. The audition of my dreams.

This is actually true although I am not auditioning for a part up North and I'm not moving. I'm acually auditioning for a awesome violin gig!

morganna said...

Out of the cold and frozen North
Marching with the snow, we come.
We bring death and destruction
To the soft ones huddled in their boxes
We are Fear! We are Death!
We are the Ones Who Tremble Not Before Snow!
This goes along with a short story series I am writing on my blog. Search my blog ( for Snow Monsters to read the story.

Mo said...

Way up north in a place called home I knew life was certain, true, and real. Way down here in a place called real, home is cloudy, dirty, and mean.

Marc said...

Greg - you know, I was going to fix that typo, but then I decided I like it this way :D

Oh man, more of Arthur did not disappoint in the least. Loving the extra titles that are another story :)

Papple - write what you can, this isn't a competition, just practice :)

Best of luck to you in your audition!

Morganna - ah, that's a great intro to your longer stories, definitely makes me want to read them.

Mo - short but powerful. Short and powerful? Either way, nicely done.