Tuesday December 31st, 2013

The exercise:

On this, the final day of 2013, write two haiku about: the passing of another year.

That would be me realizing that on Tuesdays I don't need to put specific labels on the prompts (I just tag them with Haiku Prompt), so I am free to use long, wordy, unwieldy things for writing exercises.

I will try not to abuse this new knowledge.

Happy New Year to all of you. I hope 2013 was a good year for you, and that 2014 is even better. Thanks for dropping by this blog as often as you do, however often that may be. Your support and comments are always appreciated.


One more year slips past,
and as always much too fast -
it's not meant to last.

*     *     *

A new day, new year,
new you? Just by putting up
a new calendar?

Monday December 30th, 2013

The exercise:

Write about: caution.

I was back at work this evening for the first time in two weeks. It was a bit of a struggle at times, but overall it was good to get back into things. Spent most of the night in the bowling alley, which was definitely a plus.

Still plugging away on the comments. Hoping to catch up, or at least get very close, tomorrow.


The highway is littered with warning signs, urging drivers to slow down, keep their distance, watch out for wild animals trying to dash across the asphalt. Many of the signs are battered and bent, most sit atop posts that twist and turn in every number of ways.

It is not just the road itself that brings tidings of doom for new arrivals. The ditches on either side are like parking lots for abandoned cars. If a vehicle is in need of a spare part, locals come here before visiting the nearest wrecking yard.

Assuming, of course, they are able to get in and out without incident.

They still try, despite all of the warnings. Despite all of the evidence on display that the ghosts that rule this road are best left unchallenged. No soul has ever reached the end of this stretch of highway.

That will never stop them from trying though.

Sunday December 29th, 2013

The exercise:

Write about: grace.

Today I'm aiming for less yabbering and more commenting. Gotta get caught up somehow.


No one has every claimed that I move with grace. Comparisons are more in the league of elephants and hippos, not swans or gazelles. That's fine, though. I don't mind.

I have other qualities. Ones that more than make up for this supposed lack.

There's a lot to be said for intimidation and fear. Even more that can be accomplished with both on your side. The effort on my part is minimal, really. I just use the gifts my genetics have bestowed upon me. I don't need to practice for hours on end just so that I can dance, or play piano, or whatever those suckers have to do in order to get a girl to look their way.

Me? I just walk into a room. Game over.

So why does everyone think that I lack grace? Why doesn't anybody realize it's those pipsqueaks that lack size, strength, brutality? Man, who the hell needs grace anyway?

Not this guy, that's for damn sure.

Saturday December 28th, 2013

The exercise:

Write a four line poem about: strangers.

Well, we managed to get to the airport safely early this morning and our flight was only delayed about half an hour. We had a little grocery shop in Kelowna and headed for home, with Max doing really well the whole trip.

And, since we arrived with plenty of time to spare for dinner, I have no complaints.

Good lord am I ever behind on comments. I hope to start rectifying that tomorrow.


Like a ship in the night,
I pass, safely out of sight.
But they're easily seen,
Careless, like I've never been.

Friday December 27th, 2013

The exercise:

Write four lines of prose about: mercy.

Feeling a little nervous about tomorrow morning's adventures, as Calgary is getting a severe and sudden dose of winter overnight. This afternoon it was 6 degrees out there; by the time we're supposed to leave for the airport it's going to be -20.

At least they are calling for the winds to have calmed down by then. Which is certainly a good thing, as I wouldn't expect too many planes to be taking off with gusts of 70 to 90 km/h going on.

Hopefully at worst we'll be delayed a little bit. As long as we're back home, safe and sound, by dinner tomorrow I won't complain too much.


The suitcase is full to bursting. Duffel bags, never meant to carry such loads, give grim protest against the contents of their innards. We have done our best, but it is not enough, more bags are needed.

Tomorrow we must throw ourselves on the mercy of the check-in staff, hoping that the combination of lingering Christmas spirit and a cute baby boy will save us from excess baggage charges.

Thursday December 26th, 2013

The exercise:

Write about: going back.

I always struggle to come up with the first writing prompt after a theme week has concluded. This was no different, though it did help that my brother-in-law Jake lent me Stephen King's 11/22/63 a few days ago.

We had a very nice Christmas in Calgary, with lots of snow and pleasant temperatures outside. Indoors featured fun family moments and a surprisingly (relatively) healthy Max. We're all hoping his improvement stays on its current track and that his cold will be left behind long before we board our plane for home on Saturday morning.

Today we went out to visit a classmate of Kat's from her online counseling course, before going bowling this afternoon with my family. It was just Jake, Kat, my dad, and myself bowling, while my sister and mom watched Max.

That was definitely a two person job.


There are moments in the past that linger long past the time that they are welcome to do so. Not content to remain part of our history, they reappear at random. While we wait in line at the grocery store. During lulls in telephone conversations. At night, in our dreams.

So often in our dreams.

We all have them. None of us are immune.

Yet so rarely are these moments brought into the light, dissected, shared. Are we ashamed of them? Or do we just fear them and the mystical hold they have on us? A little of both, perhaps.

No matter the reasons, no matter the exact details of a haunting moment, they follow us like shadows. But these shadows have weight. They are heavy, and they seem to only grow heavier with the passage of time. We drag them here and there, allowing them to slow our steps.

They are tiresome, these moments that refuse to live in the past. That insist on invading our present. I have had enough of mine. I will not carry this burden another day.

It is time for me to go back, find my moment in the fog of memory and emotions. Confront it in the past where it was born, and leave it there forever.

Wednesday December 25th, 2013

The exercise:

The 2013 edition of the Christmas week countdown concludes with writing that begins: Have yourself a merry little Christmas


Have yourself a
Merry little Christmas,
With loved ones and
Dearest friends close at hand.

May Santa Claus
Bring you the gifts you need,
And maybe one
Or two that are more grand.

Let the spirit
Of the holidays in;
Take a moment
Or three to soak it up.

And may dinner
Find plenty of food tabled,
And the finest
Drinks swirling in your cup.

Tuesday December 24th, 2013

The exercise:

Twas the night before Christmas, but Two Haiku Tuesday is still Two Haiku Tuesday, so your haiku shall begin with: O Christmas Tree

I've been doing my best to choose opening lines that wouldn't make it excessively hard for Greg to continue his story, but this one was a challenge. I think it's workable though, and I'll even offer this little compromise: if you want to join your two haiku into one, six line mega-haiku, then only your very first line has to be the carol's opening line.

Me? Aside from the continuation/connection of the previous two days, I haven't been able to tell a continuous story this week, so I'm just going to do two separate haiku.

Also: I've found it rather remarkable that so many carols seem to be named after their opening line. It's gotten to the point that I can't be bothered repeating the title anymore, as you may have noticed.


O Christmas Tree so
tall and fine, please tell me the
biggest gift is mine

*     *     *

O Christmas Tree, do
you ever wish that Christmas
lasted all year long?

Monday December 23rd, 2013

The exercise:

On the eve of Christmas Eve, our writing shall begin with the first line from the Little Drummer Boy: Come they told me

Max has very definitely caught himself a cold. We're doing everything we can for him and he's basically fine during the day. It's just the struggle of sleeping with a congested nose that's the main problem.

On the plus side temperatures were above zero today and I had the chance to play a couple games of Scrabble with my mom tonight. I won the first one by a narrow margin, and then... well, let me just say that she took her revenge in the second.


Come they told me. There is glory and fortune to be found at the end of our blades. More drink and food than I could ever imagine. I would have my pick of the finest women in the land.

They made it all sound so grand. Fascinating, isn't it, what can be accomplished through omission.

There was no talk of sleeping outdoors on rainy nights. No word of enemies who struck from unseen locations at unexpected hours, leaving nerves wrecked. I heard nothing about the open wounds, the death of comrades, the nightmares.

The endless nightmares.

Now, here I stand, in some godforsaken meadow, watching the sun rise above the horizon with only dead men and terrified horses for company. Not knowing what happened by the light of the moon. With no direction or destination to guide me from this place.

There was definitely no mention of this.

Sunday December 22nd, 2013

The exercise:

We're just three days away now. So start today's writing with the opening line from It Came Upon The Midnight Clear which, fittingly enough, is: It came upon the midnight clear

My parents arrived safely this afternoon, so now all of the gang that shall be here is here now. Max had a very busy day of throwing balls around the house and visiting Calgary's indoor farmers market, but unfortunately he seems to be coming down with a cold.

We're all hoping that a decent night's sleep will set him right again.


It came upon the midnight clear, emerging from the darkness of the surrounding woods like oil spilling from a punctured barrel. Slithering toward the encampment in the meadow, it blinded the men on guard duty before smothering those who thought themselves watched over. Considered themselves protected. Safe.

The horses stamped their hooves, an action usually resulting in clouds of dust. But none appeared. They swished their tails as they turned their heads this way and that. There can be a sad difference between knowing something is wrong and being able to pinpoint that problem.

They were spared, at least. Unlike all of their masters. Well, not quite all of them.

I do not understand why I was allowed to live.

Saturday December 21st, 2013

The exercise:

Just because it's Four Line Poem Saturday, don't expect the countdown to Christmas to take a day off. Your first line will still begin with the opening line of a carol, in this case Silent Night.

So we're all starting with: Silent night, holy night

Here's a picture I took of Max this morning in the backyard:

He's not too sure about all this snow, but he does enjoy walking along the cleared sidewalks. I just have to carry him across the intersections, as well as any uneven bits on the sidewalks.

Though I don't always see those coming in time.

My parents are arriving tomorrow. I can't wait for them to see their grandson again.


Silent night, holey night.
All is calm, all is bright -
Which is why I like to
Practice golfing at night.

Friday December 20th, 2013

The exercise:

The countdown to Christmas continues with Four Lines of Prose Friday requesting four lines, the first of which must begin with: I really can't stay

That would be the opening from Baby, It's Cold Outside.

We are safe and sound here in Calgary, where there is a whole lot of snow. Getting here was mostly good, as Max was awesome on his first plane ride. No real fussing, making friends, lots of laughs.

The worst part of the whole trip was the drive here from the airport, as it was getting late and he was tired and hungry and very much not wanting to be in a car seat. But we survived and he's settling in quite nicely.

Will try to share some pictures tomorrow.


I really can't stay hidden here for much longer. Crouched down like this for so long... I'm fairly certain my legs are about to atrophy. My thoughts are drifting, my focus is shifting like grains of sand in a desert tornado... wait, do deserts even get tornadoes?

But I don't dare move, not with Santa Claus due to arrive at any moment.

Thursday December 19th, 2013

The exercise:

Christmas Week, the 2013 version, continues today by requesting that you use the first line of White Christmas as your own. After that you get to take it from there, either in poetry or prose.

As a reminder, in case you need it, the line goes a little something like: I'm dreaming of a white Christmas

We're off to Calgary today to spend the holidays with my sister and her husband. My parents will be joining us on Sunday, at which point I don't expect to see Max again until it's time to come back to Osoyoos.

Speaking of the little man, this will be his very first plane ride. Fingers and toes and all that crossed in the hopes that it is a good one. At least it's only an hour from Kelowna to Calgary, so even if it's rough it won't be excessively long.

Oh, I almost forgot to mention: this is a scheduled post, written Wednesday night. I should be back live on Friday.


I'm dreaming of a white Christmas...

"All of the indications we're seeing now are pointing toward snow beginning to fall on the 22nd of December..."

Yes! Perfect!

"... and continuing to whiten our lives, without a single break, until well after the big day!"

Okay, that seems a little much.

"All told, we can expect approximately five feet of snow between now and Christmas."

Um... maybe not quite that white.

Wednesday December 18th, 2013

The exercise:

Now that we're down to just a week left before Christmas, I figured it's time for my nearly yearly countdown to the big day. Back in 2009 I used the title of various Christmas songs and I thought I'd tinker with that just a little bit.

This time around, we're going to be using the first line of my chosen Christmas songs as our prompts. You can connect each day's writing to the next if you wish, but I think I'll have to pass on that again this year. Disappointing, as I've always enjoyed those week long stories. Perhaps I'll make up for it by doing a theme week early in the new year.

Either way, the first opening line for us to use as our own comes from Silver Bells:

Silver bells, silver bells, it's Christmas time in the city


Silver bells, silver bells, it's Christmas time in the city. The copper chimes have been covered up and put away, the golden gongs retired for this year. Silver notes alone fill these streets, echoing from house to house.

All day and all night, in the warmth of the sun and mirroring the moon, the bells ring on. Relentless and unstoppable, the church towers vibrating with their music. Spreading Christmas spirit to every corner of this town, from richest to poorest and back again.

Or so they claim.

Me? I say we'll all be completely mad by the time they finally silence the silver bells once more.

Tuesday December 17th, 2013

The exercise:

Write two haiku about: luggage.

I finally put together three good games at bowling tonight, rolling a 245, a 210, and a 198. Missing that third 200 game by two points drives me a little crazy though.

There's always something, isn't there?

Anyway, it was nice to go into the Christmas break on a high note, as we don't bowl again until January 7th.


Step off the airplane,
ready to relax, then they
say my bags stayed home.

*     *     *

I pack carefully,
forgetting nothing. Except
for my underwear.

Monday December 16th, 2013

The exercise:

Our writing word of the day is: bingo.

I spent the majority of my shift this evening in the bowling alley, as I once again ran the Special Olympics league. It was their last week before their Christmas break, so they bowled two regular games and then requested a session of bowling bingo.

Once I figured out how to set that up on the system (and after I finally got it to work) a whole lot of fun was had.

Bowling bingo consists - at least how I ended up running it - of a team per lane, with a scorecard filled with various 5-pin bowling scores (strikes, spares, 15, etc). Teams get points for every square they achieve within a certain time limit. This evening they asked me to set it to fifteen minutes and one team managed to get all the squares... with the last one coming with less than ten seconds left.

Pretty great way to end the night.


This farmer has no dog,
Though one day I will.
I have a young boy now,
So I must. But still:
I can give you my word,
I will guarantee
I know exactly what
His name will not be.

Sunday December 15th, 2013

The exercise:

Write something that has to do with: blackmail.

The temperature has actually been getting above zero here the last few days. It's been quite nice, though I don't expect it to continue for much longer.


We took a trip up to Penticton this morning to do some shopping, deliver some apples to a market customer, and visit with one of Kat's friends and her family. Kat's friend has two daughters, the eldest of whom was the flower girl at our wedding. She's turning six early next year and her little sister just turned three.

Both of them, I think it's safe to say, are very fond of Max.

It's been a while since they've seen each other and in that time they've gotten a lot bigger and Max has started walking. The differences are kind of startling when you see them interacting. One thing, however, has not changed since the first time they met.

They are utterly fascinated with watching me change Max's diaper.

On a previous visit, when he was very little, I had to change Max on their parent's bed. The girls got right up there with him to get a better view and were bouncing all over the place. He seemed to think they were a little strange but didn't appear to mind.

On this visit I needed to put a new diaper on him right before leaving and the younger sister came right over and stood over us the whole time, while her older sister dropped in for a quick visit or two. Other than trying to grab her shoes and dress a couple times, Max was content to just stare at her.

When things were all taken care of she kind of giggled before declaring: "I like him. I like him a lot."

Oh, Max. I'm compiling so much blackmail material for your teenage years already.

Saturday December 14th, 2013

The exercise:

Write a four line poem about: warmth.

Work went pretty smoothly today, though I did, for the first time, have to kick a couple guys out of the gym shortly after closing. If I hadn't been working a booking in the bowling alley right up until five o'clock that probably wouldn't have been necessary.

By the way, the Canucks have now won seven in a row. Just thought I might as well keep the updates rolling, since I started it yesterday.

Also, Greg? A shutout in hockey is when you defeat your opponent without letting them score a goal against you. I figured that would be a term they use in football as well, so I didn't bother explaining it.


A north wind is blowing,
Howling at my door.
I wait by the fire
Until it is no more.

Friday December 13th, 2013

The exercise:

Write four lines of prose about: the shutout.

Three games ago the Canucks number one goaltender, Roberto Luongo, lost his bid for a shutout with just 8 seconds remaining. Last game the Canucks backup keeper, Eddie Lack, posted the first shutout of his career. Tonight Luongo was back on the ice and the Canucks blanked Edmonton 4-0, giving Vancouver a nice six game winning streak.

So yeah, I've got the word tumbling around in my head. Might as well make a prompt out of it.

And hey, I haven't talked hockey here for a while, so I must have been past due by this point.


As Dennis circled the house searching for an open door or window, a lone thought kept echoing inside his skull. It was either the fourth or fifth time he'd gone all the way around that he decided to finally stop to give that thought voice. It was definitely after he had trampled the flower garden, he knew that much for certain.

"Linda you can't shut me out like this," he shouted, focusing hard to avoid slurring his words, "it's supposed to go below zero tonight!"

Thursday December 12th, 2013

The exercise:

Trying something a little different today: the blocks prompt.

One of the presents Max received on his birthday was a big bag of wooden blocks from Kat's parents. Each block has a letter or number and some symbols or pictures on each side. Here's a picture I took shortly after they were opened:

So the plan is this: every once in a while I'm going to reach into that bag and pull out three blocks at random. Whichever number or word is facing me on each block gets jotted down and then we get to use all three words in our writing that day.

We'll see how it goes, but I think there should be some interesting combinations.

Let us begin with: owl, egg, yo-yo.


"You should have held out for more money." I tried to block out my partner's voice and focus on the task at hand. But, just as it had for the previous twenty minutes, that effort met only with failure. "Seriously, man. They must be making a mint off of this."

"Work is work," I countered, inching my way across the rock face. "We can't afford to be picky, not in this economy."

"Right, because there are hundreds of other guys out there lining up, ready to do a job like this? Please."

"Can we discuss this later? I -" A sudden gust of wind cut me off as I jammed my fingers and toes into the closest cracks I could find. I reminded myself that looking down was a bad idea. "I think I can see the owl's nest from here."

"Great. Really happy to hear that." I clenched my teeth together until my jaw began to ache. "You know we're screwed if that giant bird comes back while we're in the middle of stealing her eggs, right?"

"Not going to happen." A little bit closer. "She'll be out hunting until dusk." Almost within reach. "Plenty of time."

"All this, just so some rich prick can give his kid a one of a kind yo-yo for his fifth birthday." Another blast of wind. "I bet the brat cracks the egg on his first try. Better get at least five of them, save the extras for the inevitable request for more." The distant flap of wings... drawing nearer? "You really should have held out for more money."

Wednesday December 11th, 2013

The exercise:

Write about: slipping.

Took Max to Strong Start this morning and found it rather overwhelming with all the kids there. I guess library day is a popular time to show up, as there's usually not nearly that number of bodies moving around.

Max enjoyed himself as usual, though I think he found it a bit much as well.

We're going to be heading to Calgary for Christmas this year to spend it with my sister Sue and her husband. My parents will be meeting us there but unfortunately my sister Nicky won't be joining us. We're flying out next Thursday which just seems... much too soon.

Really need to finish getting ready for that.

Also: if anyone has any suggestions for a countdown to the big day this year, please do let me know.


His grip
Has loosened;
Steps in
To make him pay.
Too late,
He sees it,
And suddenly his
Is slipping away.

Tuesday December 10th, 2013

The exercise:

Write two haiku about: wounds.

Had a pretty up and down night at bowling. As in my first game was up, and then things went down. But at least my first game was more up than my last game was down, so my average on the season ticked up a point.

Oh, the prompt? There were several pin tangles tonight that I had to go to the back to fix - I even caused one myself. It's pretty awkward behind the scenes (it's really a bad fall just waiting to happen) and I managed to ding myself up twice. The first time I caught my shin on one of the bars as I was stepping down to untangle things, the second time I lost my balance and threw my left hand up to catch myself.

All I ended up catching was the back of my hand on a corner of something hard. Well, and my balance I guess, since I didn't actually fall down.

Hopefully not too sore tomorrow from all the fun.

In other news: since I'm not getting around to emailing him tonight, I'm using this space to direct Greg's attention over here.


Though there is no blood
staining my clothes, my heart is
wounded all the same.

*     *     *

Emotional scars
litter my psyche; Doctor
Fraud was a bad choice.

Monday December 9th, 2013

The exercise:

Today's writing theme is: that's a wrap.

Use the prompt as you will, but I'm going to do a little look back on the yearlong journey through Mejaran. I hope it's of interest even to those who did not participate in the collaboration.

Plus there's a little surprise announcement at the end.


When I first wrote the introduction to Mejaran back in January I had absolutely no idea where the story would go. I intentionally left it as open to interpretation as possible, as I just wanted to provide the setting and allow the story to grow from there.

And grow it did.

Characters and relationships were created, twists and turns materialized. At many points during the year I truly had no clue what was really going on, nor what was coming next. Reading back over every entry was vital before attempting to write the next one.

Some things I wrote were misinterpreted or misunderstood, others were taken in directions I never considered. I'm sure I'm not the only one in that category. It all made for a very compelling experience, as far as I was concerned.

Allow me, if you will, to end with a couple of minor trivia notes and a little announcement.

Since I was creating the world we would play in, I took the liberty of naming a few things after people in my life. The first, and perhaps most obvious, was the village itself:


I think at some point I had come up with something for what the ran stood for at the end there but I've totally forgotten it now. Mostly it was just an ending that seemed necessary to make it sound more like a place name than Meja did, to my ear at any rate.

Well, maybe that wasn't the most obvious name origin. I imagine Doctor Maximus Jaycox could take that prize. Fun fact: Kat and I didn't care for any of the longer versions of Max when we were naming our son (Maxwell, Maximilian, etc), which is why we chose what we did. The only one I was pulling for was Maximus, but I was aware I never stood a chance with that.

Finally, a place name origin that none of you could have guessed: the mountain range looming over the village.


That would be Max's only cousin, inspiration for the Nadaga Mountains.

I hope those of you who participated in the monthly installments enjoyed yourselves. I know I certainly did. So much so that I would like to do it again next year. But with a little twist to get things started.

In the just over two thousand day history of this blog, there have been a grand total of zero guest posts. All the writing that has appeared on the main page has been my own. That's going to change in January.

Because I have asked Greg to write the introduction to the setting we'll be paying monthly visits to in 2014. I am looking forward to what he comes up with, and I hope you all will join me in exploring the world he sets out for us.

Sunday December 8th, 2013

The exercise:

After entries in each of the first eleven months of the year, today we make our final visit to the village of Mejaran. Things have really come a long way since January, and I've greatly enjoyed the voyage.

I will write more about the journey tomorrow.

But for now, let us return one last time to this village and the citizens who call it home. Allow me, if you will, to bring you the beginning of the end...


The village of Mejaran became a very different place in the years following the events surrounding what soon became known to all simply as The Betrayal. Many lives were sacrificed for the changes, but those transformations were suitably drastic.

No longer would the people suffer under the thumb of two Ladies and two Principals, offices filled by bloodlines rather than competency. The community had never been large enough to require such bureaucracy; only the madness brought on by the river's divisive path had demanded it. Sanity, however, had made a long hoped-for but entirely unexpected return.

Only one Lady and one Principal watched over Mejaran after The Betrayal, and each was elected to office every two years by a democratic vote at the north bridge, which had become a historic landmark of sorts. Villagers from both sides of the river cast votes of equal weight, though the winners of that first campaign were unanimous.

Lady Jocelle and Principal Liefert were declared the victors to no one's surprise, but equally little fanfare. The blood in the streets and stench of smoke in the air was still too fresh. It would linger for generations.

It was not a time for celebration. There was work to be done. Bodies needed burying, the injured needed proper care, debris cleaning up, and buildings repaired or rebuilt.

Punishments needed to be meted out.

Azmar got off the lighter of the two who took the fall for The Betrayal. He was placed in stocks in the middle of the north bridge and left there for a full week before being transferred to Mejaran's cramped prison. Rain provided his only drinking water, food was strictly forbidden. He suffered dearly, to be certain, but he did receive many visitors over the course of those seven days.

Which is more than could be said of the man left to hang limply directly above the disgraced estate agent, his corpse twisting this way and that in the wind...

Saturday December 7th, 2013

The exercise:

Write a four line poem about: picture day.

I can't believe it's already been a month since Max turned one. This is getting a little ridiculous.

To celebrate (or because it happened to be happening today) we took him to see Santa for the first time. Max did not care for being held by a strange man in a red suit, but I think the picture they took with me holding Max next to Santa and Kat on Santa's lap might turn out okay. We'll see.

Work was pretty fun today, if a bit hectic at times. One of the local wineries had their Christmas party at the alley and I ran it on my own for the most part. There were around thirty bowlers and they were a good group.

Looking forward to spending tomorrow with my family.


He's fed, he's clean,
He's as good as he's ever been!
Capture this fast,
Because it surely will not last!

Friday December 6th, 2013

The exercise:

Write four lines of prose about: the challenger.

Had a reasonably productive day, mostly inside. I did brave the windy cold in order to get a load of firewood to the house, but I was not crazy enough to get a second.

Apparently it's going down to -14 overnight and tomorrow's high is supposed to be -13.

What the crap. It's not even officially winter yet.


"Seems like the promoter is having a more and more difficult time digging up a decent challenger for the champion to face each time out," the sports reporter from The Times observed as he glanced over the notes he'd jotted down during the fight.

"At this point I'm legitimately surprised he hasn't asked one of us to get in there," the writer from The Daily News said with a sad shake of his head.

"Oh, he's asked me all right," the first man replied, causing all heads in press row to turn his way. "But there's not enough money in the world for me to get in that cage with that friggin' bear."

Thursday December 5th, 2013

The exercise:

Write about: the briefcase.

Okay, I didn't have time to give it any thought today (and it will require a lot of thought indeed), so the adventure in Mejaran shall draw to a close this Sunday. And I was only a little bit tempted to do it on Saturday with four line poems.


Wally was a funny old fellow. Dressed in his wrinkled brown suit and poorly knotted black tie, it was never hard to spot him around town. The thick grey beard and long ponytail helped him stand out from every crowd he found himself in too.

Not to mention that tattered briefcase of his. It must have been just as ancient as he was, perhaps more so. If that was even possible.

If Wally was making his rounds, hitting up all of his usual haunts, that briefcase was guaranteed to be with him. The barber shop, the library, even the bowling alley. As sure as the sun setting in the west, that thing would be right there with him. Just as attached as his feet or hands, Wally never, ever put that thing down.

Which made stealing it a pretty tall order.

Wednesday December 4th, 2013

The exercise:

Write about: the monument.

It is friggin' cold out right now. At least we were able to get Max out on the deck for a few minutes this afternoon to get some fresh air:

I need to get new winter gloves, as I'm pretty sure he was warmer than I was.


The monument is a simple affair, standing just over six feet tall with four sides polished until they gleam even under a grey sky like this one. Names have been engraved on every inch of the thing, or so it seems. Maybe they could fit a few more on there if they had to. I wouldn't want that job, that's for sure.

I can sense the ghosts of those honored by this structure in the air around me. Hear their whispers like dead leaves rustling, feel their touch on my skin like an arctic wind. There are other living visitors here, I see them turn up their collars and complain about the weather.

Will any of them notice as they leave that the air will grow still before they reach the parking lot? Perhaps a fellow will glance back and be startled by a breeze a few feet away that he can no longer feel.

I scan the names on the southern face, not searching for my assignment but instead for his friends. These spirits are never interested in reading their own names. Maybe at first, when disbelief is the chief emotion clinging to what remains of them. But not now. This is an old monument, and so these are old ghosts.

They move slowly around me. They lack the speed and enthusiasm and confusion of younger spirits. Acceptance has set in.

For the majority of them anyway.

I find the names I seek and settle in to wait. The ghost I have come to see could be a while in coming - who knows what other haunts he might have? So I get comfortable, relax my body, and ready the traps secreted away in my coat.

Tuesday December 3rd, 2013

The exercise:

Write two haiku about: aim.

Bowling went about average. Well, almost - my total for the three games was two points under what I needed. Which wasn't nearly enough to drop my average, so I'm in a holding pattern until next Tuesday.

I also got to run the show tonight, as my boss (who usually works and bowls on Tuesday night) fell ill today. Which is not surprising when you consider that he's been working outside the last couple of days, in below zero temperatures with well above crazy winds.

It's been hard finding windows of opportunities to get Max outside to play.

Anyway, things went smoothly and my bowling was only interrupted by pin tangles twice. And I certainly didn't mind adding a couple of hours to my time sheet while also having fun and bowling.


Holes in the windows,
holes in the wall. His target?
Has no holes at all.

*     *     *

Reaching for the stars,
he falls a little short. Too
bad clouds can't hold him.

Monday December 2nd, 2013

The exercise:

Write about: something special.

With the current schedule of other employees at the gym, my regular shifts are now Monday nights (3 to 9) and Saturday (9 to 5). Normally the Monday shift will be just gym work, but tonight I had to cover for someone who couldn't come in to run the league that starts at 6.

Which is not a very typical league at all...


The owner of the alley and gym is a big supporter of the local Special Olympics effort, and a large part of that is providing their bowlers with a league night to call their own. They come in every Monday, along with four or five coaches, and bowl three games.

It was pretty fun interacting with them this evening, as well as seeing their passion for the game. And, in particular, how much fun they had bowling. This is a group in which knocking all the pins down in a frame is worthy of celebration. Doing it on the first ball? That's monumental.

There were, of course, exceptions. There always are. But the vast majority of the bowlers were hooting and hollering for each other at the slightest provocation.

And that's not to say they're not very good. Some of them could easily bowl with us on Tuesday nights. One of the ladies tonight, in her third game, posted a higher score than any I've managed so far this year.

But what really struck me was how sincerely pleased they were with the smallest (from my usual point of view) accomplishments. It was a reminder of how enjoyable bowling can be, when you bring the right attitude to the alley.

I'm hoping to be able to remember that tomorrow night when it's my turn.

Sunday December 1st, 2013

The exercise:

Welcome to December. Our writing word of the day is: remote.

Kat and I went out for a coffee and tea date this morning while Max hung out with Kat's parents. We're trying to make it a weekly outing now that things are settling in around here for the winter.

Speaking of which, apparently the expected high for Wednesday is -8, with an overnight low of -15.

Uh, I'm not ready for that quite yet, thanks.


On an isolated mountain top
A lonely guru sits.
He stares blindly at the horizon,
At the end of his wits.

His thoughts stuck on a long ago scene
That just keeps on playing,
While he regrets every single thing
He remembers saying.

A living room filled with motes of dust
And screams escaping throats;
Just how long would the peace have lasted
If he'd kept the remote?