Friday January 31st, 2014

The exercise:

Write four lines of prose about: the dentist.

Since I'm sharing the following for informational purposes and not the (limited) dramatics, let me say up front: Max is fine.

Also, let me say that if we'd been able to discover that as quickly and easily as you guys just did, my day would have been much more pleasant.

Anyway. Max has been having a particularly rough go with his most recent tooth. More painkillers, more waking up at night, more chewing on everything in sight. We figured it was just an especially big one, or in an especially tender spot.

Then today we noticed that the tooth directly to the right of his bottom middle teeth, which had been totally fine, was starting to go sideways and a little in front of his neighbour. Which seems to be caused by the tooth coming in next to it, crowding it toward the middle.

We wanted to make sure nothing too serious was going on, so we brought him to our dentist. Who ended up not being in and in fact being out of the office for another week. I cannot be upset by this, since he recently lost a little one of his own. Trust me, there were tears shed in our house when that obituary appeared in the paper.

Anyway, his assistant began calling other dentists in Osoyoos, Oliver, Penticton. The vast majority of them were not in the office, and the handful that were did not have room to see us. We finally got an appointment for Monday in Penticton and that was going to be the end of it until then. But then we mentioned how much worse the pain seemed to be with this one and she suggested that we go to emergency in Oliver just to have someone look at it to make sure it wasn't anything too urgent.

After an hour and a half wait, we finally saw the doctor on duty. He reassured us that Max would be fine until at least Monday and that was that. I was never overly worried, as things were not nearly as bad as they were when we took him to emergency in the middle of the night last summer, but it still wasn't a whole lot of fun.

Hopefully Monday will bring good news, but if not may it at least be quick news.


While the coffee pot fills with a liquid slightly less poisonous than ricin, he retrieves his collection of silver tools from his desk drawer. Sitting down, he places them one by one atop a black velvet cloth, leaving precisely two inches between each device. He remains there, barely breathing as he admires the craftsmanship of each one, until the coffee is finished brewing.

Then and only then, while carrying a steaming mug the size of a small child, does he go to greet his first patient of the day.

Thursday January 30th, 2014

The exercise:

Write something that has to do with: the rumble.

Picked up my last shift of the month this evening, working a 3 to 9 shift for someone who needed the night off. It was pretty quiet, with nothing going on in the bowling alley and only slightly more action in the gym.

This Saturday I get to do a very partial shift, as Kat is going to be assisting an online course for most of the day. So the plan is for me to go in to the gym in the morning to open up and do whatever basics are required, then come home and watch Max. Once he's had his nap and has been safely dropped off with his grandparents for the afternoon, I go back to work to finish things up for the day.

All this is the result of the recent departure of one of my coworkers, whose replacement has yet to be found, and another coworker being up in Penticton until the evening. Oh, and also: my manager already working far too much. Thankfully she had the sense to not help out with this.

Max may or may not be coming with me in the morning. I think it could be fun, but also a severe pain in the butt. We'll see which side wins out in a couple days.


He allowed the car to idle for a long time, feeling the dark rumble of the impatient engine in his bones and in his belly. Around him the parking lot emptied slowly, like an automotive hourglass marking the time until the scrapheap beckons. The air grew colder, the skies blacker.

Still he remained, unmoving behind the wheel.

Without the occasional twitch of his right eye he might have been mistaken for dead. Ambulances would have been called, police cars adorned with swirling red crowns would have screamed into the spaces around him.

But passersby found enough evidence of his continued survival, so he was left alone.

After more minutes had passed than he seemed aware of, he shifted from park to drive. The truck seemed to hum with relief, eager to be on the move at last. Then, with only a moment's hesitation, he shifted the vehicle into reverse instead and slammed on the gas.

The crash of glass and shudder of collapsing bookshelves as he returned to his former girlfriend's thrift shop was so satisfying it almost brought a smile to his lips.


Wednesday January 29th, 2014

The exercise:

Write something which has to do with: snowfall.

Woke this morning to the first major snowfall of the season. Max, naturally, was fascinated:

Also: desperately wanting to go out and play in it. We got there not long after breakfast, though the majority of our time outdoors was spent with me pushing him around the orchard in the wheelbarrow - his idea, not mine.

It was like pushing around a squirming pile of wood.


Silent, fluttering flakes sashay down, down, down. Each patterned crystal has a destination: a fence post, a tree branch, a rooftop, truck bed, abandoned toys. Mostly though? They end up on the ground, piling on top of each other like frozen white pancakes.

Forgive me. That started so poetically before veering off course until it crash landed on breakfast. I should have known better than to aim at such lofty heights. It's just... well, I'm not a particularly smart man. But I'm smart enough to realize that, and with that awareness comes a desire to keep my stupidity hidden.

Behind words, behind silence, whatever it takes. But I have been found out, as usual. It never fails. I have yet to find a disguise that I'm able to maintain for any length of time.

Maybe I should let go, embrace my fate. Like those snowflakes out there. They're not fighting it like I am. Not a care in the world as they tumble from the grey clouds above this city I claim as my home. It seems so simple, really. Just go where the wind takes you. Accept that you have no control. Sounds like a pretty happy existence to me.

Maybe I should go up to the roof and join the snowfall.

Tuesday January 28th, 2014

The exercise:

Write two haiku about: regret.

The final league night went reasonably well this evening. It's looking like there should be enough interest to continue on for a while, which is great. I seem to be organizing things, which is slightly less great. I'm not really looking for the added responsibility, but no one else seems to be volunteering for the job.

Oh well, hopefully the majority of my work will be to show up on Tuesday nights and take care of the lanes. The less phone calls I have to receive and make during the week the happier I'll be.


Close friends left behind,
principles oft compromised...
I regret nothing.

*     *     *

A gaping hole left
by words carelessly spoken;
that day haunts me still.

Monday January 27th, 2014

The exercise:

Let us give the blocks prompt another whirl, shall we?

Our three words to include in our writing this time are: elephant, queen, mouse.

I promise I didn't trade or turn over any of the blocks, that's just the way they came out. What are the chances that I'd pull both elephant and mouse out of the pile? Pretty slim, it's safe to say.

It's looking like my picture will be in the local paper this week, as the alley played host to a fundraising event for Variety BC this evening. As the only staff on site, I got dragged into a couple of those cheque acceptance pictures... with about half a minute's notice.

I am not looking forward to the results.


The queen sat upon her throne, shifting uneasily as the awkward hush in the hall continued to grow. Every pair of eyes examined each of her movements, all ears waited for her words. An unpleasant odour lingered in the air, but she was happy to blame that on her predecessor.

A response was required, she knew that all too well. The mouse who had ruled before her had chosen poorly and she was not eager to repeat that mistake. Unfortunately her people would only permit that ponderous silence to go on for so long.

"My beloved subjects," she began at last, but slowly. As though she were trying to decide which word would come next as she spoke. "We cannot allow this subjugation to last another day. No, not another hour. Not another second!"

Feeble applause. Not a good sign, so early in her reign.

"I have concocted a plan," she continued and the hall grew very still, very quickly. "Wheels have been set in motion. Agents are already in place. We will be free once more." A slow, sweeping gaze around the hall as sweat began to pool at her feet. "By morning the elephant will be dead."

That, she hoped desperately, would buy her enough time to flee to safety before the next murderous rampage ravaged their village.

Sunday January 26th, 2014

The exercise:

Write about: the sprinter.

Max, when he gets excited, can run surprisingly fast. We're going to need to keep a close eye on that kid.

Spent most of the day in town with Max, at the coffee shop and running errands. Once he got comfortable in the coffee shop I think he was obsessing over cutting down on his time from our table to the bathroom. By the time we left... let's just say his best run will be difficult to top.


After far too many missed opportunities, he is ready to seize this moment. He's trained the right way, he's forced the best foods and supplements down his throat. Focused and determined, losing is no longer an option for him.

Losing is for other, less dedicated people. He will run them over if he has to.

His breathing is even as he approaches the starting line. With his goal in sight it is a challenge to be still, be calm. There is no choice, though; until he and those lined up on either side of him are unleashed by the starter's signal, there is nowhere to go.

So he bides his time. He remembers all of the inspirational quotes clinging to his fridge. Breathe in, breathe out. Slower. That's better. Again. Again.

At last, just as he is in danger of falling asleep, the traffic light changes from red to green and the race to the bus stop begins.

Saturday January 25th, 2014

The exercise:

Write a four line poem that has something to do with: sugar.

Spent most of my work day in the bowling alley, as there was a small booking mid-morning (very pleasant) and a boy's birthday party early afternoon (very chaotic). Eight and nine year old boys hopped up on sugar with minimal supervision equals... whatever the hell that was.

Looking forward to a quiet day off with my family.


Icing tipped fingers,
Chocolate on his nose,
Spinning in circles,
Bound for... no one knows.

Friday January 24th, 2014

The exercise:

Write four lines of prose which take place in: the cafeteria.

Hurray, caught up on the comments once more. We'll see how long that lasts, and how far behind I get once it starts to slip again.


"It has to be you."

"Why me?"

"No one else has the required courage and leadership abilities!"

"... no, I'm pretty sure that you mean no one else is stupid enough to start a food fight while Bobby's dad is supervising lunch hour."

Thursday January 23rd, 2014

The exercise:

Write about: the fireball.

When I was texting Kat about Max's visit to the fire hall, I accidentally typed the building as one word. Autocorrect decided that what I actually meant was fireball. I managed to not notice until Kat replied (making fun of me, obviously).

I caught up on a week's worth of comments today which... still leaves me well behind. Hoping to get all the way back tomorrow and yadda yadda promises to not let it slip again yadda yadda.


When he emerged from the shelter beneath what had once been his home, burning debris fell from the sky like hell's rain. After a long look upward he drew his hood over his head, stuffed his hands into his pockets, and began to walk.

Smoke choked the streets of his neighbourhood, limiting his vision to a radius that fluctuated between five and ten meters. He didn't mind that. It meant that he couldn't see what had become of the Miller's across the street, or the Chan's next door, or...

What did bother him, though, was the smell. There was no avoiding it, and thus there was no way for him to not think about its source. All he could do was walk, so he did.

Step by step, alone in a smouldering chaos, he did his best to leave it all behind. To focus on what must come next if he were to survive. Thriving would come later, if it came at all.

As for revenge? That lurked somewhere in the middle distance.

Wednesday January 22nd, 2014

The exercise:

Write about: the performer.

Took Max back to StrongStart this morning and he had his usual blast. It was more crowded than usual but he had no trouble either entertaining himself or playing with others. Plus, once he's fully comfortable, he really does love to have a crowd to perform for.


A spotlight so bright it burns a hole in the stage, its beam glittering and beckoning but it's still a cage. Relax, calm down - I'm not about to fly into a rage. Out there, before all those waiting fans and critics and bored dates, is where I earn my wage.

And it's a good one, I'll be the first to admit. But it requires so much, I must fully commit. Every single night I start again, it's all on the line; I can make it, or I can lose it.

The pressure never leaves. My career, my life depending on what everyone else perceives. I can only pray that they are honest, not petty little thieves.

So why do I do it, why don't I walk away? Why do I dance so dangerously close to becoming one more tired old cliche? I've thought about it, part of me is dearly tempted, but I delay, I delay. I could lie to you, pretend I'll escape one day, but I know I'll always stay.

What can I say? I don't know any other way.

Tuesday January 21st, 2014

The exercise:

Write two haiku about: the turning point.

After not being able to string two strikes together over the course of my first two games tonight, I wasn't feeling especially happy with how things were going. Then in the fourth frame of my last game I had the left corner pin remaining on my third ball. I threw it in the gutter but it bounced up enough to catch the pin anyway.

Technically, those two points shouldn't have counted. But that's a pretty rare shot and I think we can all agree that taking out the corner pin that way is much more difficult than the traditional, boring, hitting it legally style.

Anyway, I was having a rough night and I wasn't about to minus two points off the automatic scoring system. Plus everyone else wanted me to keep it.

I then proceeded to bowl five strikes in a row. I don't remember the last time I managed that. My final score was 264 (or 262 if we're being strict), which is the highest game I've bowled in recent memory.

In other news, today was also the eighth anniversary of my diagnosis as a type 1 diabetic. Which means it was Diabetes Donut Day. I had an apple fritter this year, and it was fabulous.


The struggle drags on,
Then one little lucky bounce
Changes everything

*     *     *

If in the darkness
You hear the train whistle blow,
It's time to turn back

Monday Jamuary 20th, 2014

The exercise:

Write about: the discovery.

I made it. Put it down in the books, it is done and over with. My stretch of working ten of the last twenty days is behind me.

Let it stand as a reminder of why I don't want to work that often in January. Winter is my time of rest; the remaining seasons more than make up for this more leisurely schedule.

Anyway. Technically I'm working tomorrow night as well, but it's hard to count that. Ninety-five percent of the time I'll just be bowling and hanging out anyway. And maybe campaigning for Tuesday nights to become a casual bowling night, rather than coming to a screeching halt at the end of the month.

Finally, here is a picture I took yesterday of Max exploring the wood pile:

Mischievous little monkey.


All that time spent searching through crumbling tomes in stuffy libraries. Fingers, hair, clothing coated in dust as the words tumbled before my eyes, twisting and turning as they attempted to keep their secrets hidden.

Those endless hours conducting interviews with difficult, awkward, sleep-inducing academics. Suffering beneath their pompous gazes, keeping my murderous thoughts disguised by an engaged smile. Thanking them for their time when they had only wasted mine.

The travel. Practically living in airports all over the world. It is a wonder I kept my apartment, that I was still willing to pay rent for a place I so very rarely saw.

So much more as well, but to think that after such dedication and persistence... that my greatest discovery would be within myself.

Sunday January 19th, 2014

The exercise:

I've been doing the Random CD prompt for five and a half years, yet still I'm surprised when I go to use it and realize that it has been months since the most recent iteration.

Anyway, that's my way of saying that's what we're up to today. For those of you who are new to the exercise, simply pick a song as randomly as you like and use its first line as your own. Poetry and prose both welcome, and credit for the opening line goes where it always does: where it's due. Feel free to click on the prompt label at the bottom of the post to see how previous attempts went.

Had a pretty enjoyable day off with my family. Kat made pancakes for us this morning before we went for coffee and tea in town. This afternoon I'm pretty sure I fell asleep on the couch while Max was napping, though it couldn't have been for very long. Then I took him for a walk in the orchard so that Kat could have some peace while she did some cooking and baking.

It was a bit of a trial getting him down to sleep for the night, otherwise there's very little room for complaint.


Breathe Easy by Rachel Sermanni

If I could take this wave to sea, leave this crowded beach, this crowded planet to melt into the horizon behind me... would I? Would I make the water my home, forsaking the comforts of my apartment, family, friends? Would I be dragged under by the weight of my regrets, fighting and fighting until my feet finally touched bottom?

These are difficult questions. My answers would vary by time of day, by weather, by my sobriety. They would be influenced by deadlines at work, by ultimatums from those who care more about my well-being than I ever have.

The sea would welcome me, I think. I wouldn't be much of a nuisance; I can't imagine making any demands of it. Eventually, sooner or later, I would feed some of its residents and that would be it. Likely sooner than later, but who knows?

Perhaps we would be such companionable roommates that the sea would make sure my needs were met. In return, I would... what? Lead a crusade to stop my species from polluting our waters straight to hell? That's possible, I suppose.

Stranger things have happened.

I do know one answer for certain, however. It does not change at any hour, in any of my moods. Would I watch this place get swallowed by a vast, toothless horizon? No, of course not.

For if I go, I would not look back.

Saturday January 18th, 2014

The exercise:

Write a four line poem about something that is: impending.

I would not recommend working an eight and a half hour shift, the vast majority of which is spent interacting with people, on four hours of sleep. It was doable, obviously, and everything went fine.

But I still would not recommend it.

On the plus side, once I get through my Monday evening shift I don't have to work again until next Saturday. I am ready for the break.


Storm painted horizon,
Redder than a desert dune.
Watchers on the wall know:
Vengeance will be coming soon.

Friday January 17th, 2014

The exercise:

Write four lines of prose about: overload.

I'm so done right now. I just finished working my first Friday night bowling alley shift, and I'm reasonably certain it'll be my last. That was way more work than one person should be expected to handle.

I consider myself extremely fortunate to have had such good-natured patrons, as well as a bartender from one of the local pubs in the building. He helped me out a lot, and in return I comped his games. For some reason he still insisted on tipping me for his drinks.

Anyway. I need to get to bed. I have to be back at the gym for my 9 to 5 shift tomorrow. Which is going to begin with all the cleaning up I didn't bother doing in the alley before coming home tonight.

Which is kind of nice, actually. If someone else was working tomorrow I would have felt the need to clean up after myself and then I'd have been lucky to get home before 1 am.


All the signs are present now. Simple math requires a calculator, complicated math is greeted with expletives and nothing more. Any and all questions instantly result in first my face going blank, then my mind.

My system has hit critical overload, it's time to shut things d

Thursday January 16th, 2014

The exercise:

Our writing word for today is: delusions.

Took a quick family trip up to Penticton this morning to do a major stock up on groceries. We should be good for a while now.

It was easily the best Max has been on a lengthy drive in a long time. Getting back home was a little more work, but we've seen worse. Maybe he's finally getting used to the idea of being strapped into his car seat, despite his ability to walk/run.

We won't be testing that any time soon, but it's encouraging nonetheless.


If they tell me
Those same old lies,
That I should not
Believe my eyes,
I may just do
Something unwise.

I own this truth,
It's just for me!
It's not my fault
They cannot see
What's plain as day,
Like a marquee.

They say my mind
Has lost its way.
They say they'll hope,
They say they'll pray.
But I don't need
Them any way.

Wednesday January 15th, 2014

The exercise:

Write about: disorientation.

Made it through work today without falling asleep, so that was an accomplishment.

Also, after mentioning my disappointment yesterday with how Tuesday nights have been going, I had a chat with my boss and supervisor this morning. Looks like we're going to go until the end of the month and then put an end to the 'league'.

Not that it has really been much of a league since, oh, November. Still a let down though, as this wasn't what I was hoping for when I signed up to bowl.

Next Tuesday I'm going to talk to the regulars who have been showing up to see if any/enough of them would want to keep bowling on Tuesday nights into February and beyond. Not as an actual league, just totally casual.

We'll see what happens.


"Yo mama is fatter than Mrs. Fratelli!"

"Who's that?" Lee asked.

"That's the librarian over at South City High School," Deke said. "She's huge. Three hundred pounds, easy."

"My daddy says she's probably over four hundred," Jake chimed in around a mouthful of his grilled cheese sandwich.

"That's nonsense," Deke told him with a shake of his head. "She wouldn't be able to fit through the library door if she was that big."

"Well, when was the last time you saw her outside the library?" Lee asked and the boys forming the semi-circle before him fell silent. Looks were exchanged, mental math was performed.

"Is there even a bathroom in there?" Jake asked in a horrified whisper. Before anyone could reply the bell rang, signalling the end of lunch.

"Okay new kid," Deke said, pointing a thick finger at Lee. "Same time tomorrow, right? And don't forget: if you want to fit in around here, you need to complete all the lessons in Diss Orientation 101."

Tuesday January 14th, 2014

The exercise:

Write two haiku about something that is: dwindling.

Ladies and gentlemen, I would like to present to you, strictly for your entertainment, my three game totals for the last three league nights:

Dec. 17th: 653 (best)
Jan. 7th: 407 (worst)
Jan. 14th: 649 (2nd best)

Am I relieved that tonight didn't go as badly as last week did? Absolutely. Am I still frustrated as hell that last week went so miserably? Of course I am.

I was actually going to skip this week, but then I got a text just as I was sitting down to lunch this afternoon asking me to run things tonight. Good thing, I guess.

Oh, the prompt? Our league, which supposedly consists of six teams, has barely managed to draw out enough bowlers to fill two teams the last few Tuesday nights. The commitment hasn't really been there from the start, but this is getting... sad.

Back to work tomorrow morning for a 7 to 3 shift. I can say with some confidence that this will be the last 7am shift I'll be volunteering for.


Inch by heated inch,
Empty word by empty word,
My patience shrivels.

*     *     *

Another year gone,
the planet grows warmer; so
long, polar ice caps.

Monday January 13th, 2014

The exercise:

Write about: retribution.

That was a very long day. Between watching Max from breakfast until 2 o'clock while Kat was assisting an online counseling class and working a 3 to 9 shift, I hardly had any time to myself to rest or relax.

So I'm going to try to pull something together for this prompt and then go to sleep.

Also: I'm fully aware that I'm getting hideously behind on the comments again. I'm hoping to work on that tomorrow morning.


Way out west
There's a town left blind
By righteous deeds
Of the very bloody kind.

And there sits
Upon his black throne
The one-eyed king,
Miserable and alone.

Sunday January 12th, 2014

The exercise:

Write about: an early return.

All the snow that we'd had here in Osoyoos is gone now, though it lingers still in the hills surrounding us. There was a bit of rain yesterday, but the main culprit is the temperature: highs around 8 yesterday and today, threats of reaching double digits on the positive side of zero tomorrow.

I don't think spring is actually making an early return, as I'm sure winter has not given up on us quite yet. But I figured it's worth a prompt, at minimum.


The leaves still clung to the trees lining Morris Avenue as I drove home that afternoon, their reds and yellows guiding me like torches in the depths of some medieval dungeon. Foot traffic was sparse on the sidewalks; I remember feeling grateful for that.

I kept my eyes on the road, avoiding at all costs the depressing images the rear view mirror reflected back to me with such glee. I'd almost torn it off an hour previously, but I decided that would only make matters worse.

Pulling into the driveway was unexpectedly painful. It felt like a weightlifter had closed a massive fist around my heart and was gradually squeezing the life out of me. I took a deep breath, then another, reminding myself that the world was not ending. New beginnings were already opening before me, I just couldn't see them yet.

Somehow I found myself standing at my front door. I don't remember getting out of my car, the short but windy walk past the rose garden clinging to the porch, the steps. None of that.

I found my key lurking in my coat pocket and briefly contemplated using it. Shaking my head, I decided knocking was the better option. Following through on that thought, I did so while bracing myself for what was sure to come next.

My parents were not going to be the least bit pleased to learn that I'd been expelled from college just one month into my freshman year.

Saturday January 11th, 2014

The exercise:

Write a four line poem about: healing.

The gym was very quiet this morning, which meant I was able to get a lot of cleaning done. Of course it got busy just as the birthday party in the alley was starting, because why not?

At least it was a good group of kids (and adults) that were celebrating, and they were very appreciative of my assistance. And they even managed to get the pizza delivered a littler earlier than they'd originally planned so that I didn't have to stay excessively late.

Still had to leave late, but it wasn't nearly as bad as it could have been.


It's getting better
With each passing day;
It'd be much faster,
If I had my way.

Friday January 10th, 2014

The exercise:

Write four lines of prose about: the fake.

Had a productive, but not particularly exciting, day. Back to work tomorrow for my usual 9 to 5 shift at the gym, though I do believe there is a birthday party booked for the bowling alley at 3... so I'm not sure if that whole leaving work on time thing is going to happen.


I should not have been surprised to learn that it was all false. The smile, the laugh, the compliments, the love. I've lived enough years, seen enough pretenders, made more than enough mistakes; there was really no need to go down that road again.

Yet there I was, dating another prostitute...

Thursday January 9th, 2014

The exercise:

Write about: tendrils.

While Kat and Max were busy at StrongStart this morning I did a bunch of driving around to pick up some things. First I went up to Oliver to grab some photos of Max we had developed for his first year album, then I went across the border to retrieve a couple packages we'd ordered online.

This afternoon I took Max to the barbershop to get the second haircut of his young life, as his hair had been getting in his eyes for a while. To pass time as we waited he spent a lot time pointing at the barber's dog and dancing to the music on the stereo.

I would share video of his dancing skills but every single time he sees me holding my camera or my phone he stops to inspect them. Every time.


They cover the floor,
Climb the door,
Crawl across the ceiling,
Leave me feeling...

I worry they might,
In the night,
Attack one of these years.
Surely those fears...

Wednesday January 8th, 2014

The exercise:

Write about: Gym and Alley.

I figured it was probably about time.

Work was mostly okay today. Could have done without the migraine that arrived late morning, but nobody asked my opinion on that one beforehand.


"My coffee is cold," Gym announced with a slow shake of his head. "Again."

"The way you were adding cream to that thing," Alley said, "I'm not sure that it still qualifies as coffee."

"Well, they should provide heated cream then!"

"For who? You and Bucktooth Nobody?" Alley rolled her eyes and used her right index finger to dig something out of her ear before continuing. "Don't be such a dumbbell."

"I bet tonnes of people would like that, you stupid pinhead!"

"Really? Should I take a little wander around this coffee shop and see who else might be interested? Maybe get them to sign a petition?" Alley sprung out of her seat, bouncing on the balls of her feet as though she couldn't wait to get started.

"Sit down!" Gym hissed, looking around nervously as he shifted his weight from side to side. "You know I hate it when you make a scene. Besides, that cute girl over there is watching."

Seated at her favorite corner table, Libby allowed a brief smile to cross her lips before returning her gaze to her copy of Stephen Hawking's A Brief History Of Time.

Tuesday January 7th, 2014

The exercise:

Write two haiku about: surrender.

Well that was the sort of night that makes me want to quit bowling. Again.

Last time the feeling prevailed for over a decade. This time will probably last for a week.

Either way, I need to get to bed. I'm covering the 7am to 3pm shift at the gym tomorrow and need to get some friggin' sleep.


Please, no more. Enough!
Let it be done, be finished!
The fight has left me.

*     *     *

Hoist up the white flag,
let them see our cowardice...
but keep your knives sharp.

Monday January 6th, 2014

The exercise:

Write about: the climber.

I took Max back to StrongStart this morning for the first time in three weeks. He was obviously happy to be back there, getting into his usual toys and running around the school gymnasium during gym time.

It tuckered both of us out. He fell asleep on the car ride home, but unfortunately he woke up during the transfer inside and we couldn't get him back to sleep until (an admittedly earlier than usual) bedtime.

I certainly could have used a nap myself before having to go do my 3 to 9 shift at the gym and bowling alley.


This morning during playtime at StrongStart Max was exploring the small kitchen setup as he often does. Part of that area consists of a short plastic dinner table surrounded by four little chairs.

What's that? You can see where this is going already? Hush.

I was sitting on the floor nearby while he fiddled with a basket of toy fruit that he'd perched on the table. Then I realized that he was in the process of pulling himself up onto one of the chairs so that he could kneel on it.

Before I know it he is standing on said chair, looking quite pleased with himself.

I lifted him back down... only for him to immediately do it again, of course.

He got distracted by something else shortly after that and by the time we got home I'd basically forgotten about it. After failing to get him back to sleep I was in the kitchen putting together his lunch while he entertained himself in the living room.

Now, the living room has been pretty well childproofed at this point. So I wasn't watching him too closely. I was aware that he was walking around carrying his wooden stool (a new trick he just learned, or found the strength for, in the last week) but I wasn't concerned.

Then I looked up from the vegetables I was chopping for him to find that he'd brought the stool over to the couch (which he has been attempting to climb up on by himself for weeks now) and was kneeling on it, preparing to haul himself the rest of the way up.

I got there before he managed to fall off, but I'm thinking that stool might need to be found a hiding spot for the next little while.

Sunday January 5th, 2014

The exercise:

After our monthly adventures in Mejaran last year, I could hardly not do another yearlong prompt in 2014. But I wanted to give someone else a chance to create the world we all will have the opportunity to play in this time around.

Which means, for the very first time, the writing below is not mine. And that my initial contribution will be in the comments, which... feels very strange, to be honest. Not bad, just different.

Anyway, without further ado, let me allow Greg to introduce you to: Vancouver Irrealis.


It was a moment's inattentiveness from some cosmic observer. In the blink of a quantum eye the entirety of Vancouver slipped somehow sideways a fraction of an inch, and everything changed. It was a slow and subtle change; at first it was nothing more than an odd haze like a heat haze at the edges of the city and out on the water, but the hazes grew more regular and it became harder to discern things past them.

Then the streets and houses of Vancouver itself became affected; sometimes it would seem like they weren't there, or that they'd grown thinner or wider, or suddenly had trees on them that had never been there before. People talked about it as they stood at crosswalks or queued at the coffee shop. But it was only odd, it wasn't disturbing.

Then the first gossamer building slipped into existence in a scintillation of coloured lights, replacing the Vancouver Art Gallery for entirely ten minutes before fading away again. People clustered on the other side of the street, their shopping forgotten while they stared at it, and one or two of the braver ones waved at the people they could see inside. Some of the people inside waved back.

Soon it was established, five times a day on a schedule that slipped steadily back an hour every week, the other Vancouver started showing through, and people could pass from one into another if they timed it right, or if they'd developed a knack for it. Reports came back of a Vancouver very similar to the real one, but different in ways that got to you after a while. Vancouver irrealis pressed in on the real world, and the pressure was bound to have consequences.

The other people were just like the city, almost identically human, but the differences, when you started to see them, nagged at you day and night. Like the faint patterns on their skin, just a tiny bit like lizard skin. Like the extra teeth they had in a mouth almost the same size. Like the fact that their edgemost fingers were the longest instead of the shortest.

Tristam was sat on an outside bench at the Yaletown Brewing Company, a decent pub cum restaurant downtown, enjoying the crispness of early autumn, when Vancouver irrealis manifested itself right there, and pulled him through into the other Vancouver.

Saturday January 4th, 2014

The exercise:

Bringing our little two day theme session to a fitting conclusion, write a four line poem about: a truth.

Work went reasonably well today. Saw my boss for the first time in a month and a half or so, did a bunch of cleaning, ran the bowling alley for a short while. Nothing too exciting, just an average Saturday at the gym and alley.

Hmm, gym and alley sound like names. I shall file that away for later use.


What's the meaning of life
And all that junk?
No matter what happens
Don't lose your spunk.

Alternative endings for this poem: funk, junk, crunk. Choose your favorite and replace as required.

Friday January 3rd, 2014

The exercise:

Write four lines of prose about: a lie.

After hauling wood down to the house this morning, I had a chance to go on a picture taking outing this afternoon. I'm not overly crazy about any of the photos I brought home, but I hadn't had the opportunity to do that in a long while and it's fed my desire to do it again soon.

Oh, a quick heads up: our next yearlong journey, the 2014 version of Mejaran, begins this Sunday. I hope you're up for joining in.


Things had been bad between Sally and George for years by the time they sought out the help of a marriage counselor. It was much too late to salvage their marriage by that point, but the balding, spectacled man had done his very best.

And for a short while things between them appeared to be better.

Their relationship was still a lie, of course, but at least it sounded more like the truth for a few fleeting weeks.

Thursday January 2nd, 2014

The exercise:

Write about: the placebo.

Took the family into town this morning to get Max some new shoes for his ever expanding feet. I don't know if you've ever gone shoe shopping with a toddler, but it's quite the experience. At least it was for us.

Max refused to walk when the salesperson was within sight, so it was quite the process of trying on shoes, getting the guy selling them to us to hide, and then getting Max to walk in them to see how well they worked.

Thankfully we found something that worked on the third try. Otherwise we might still be there now.


The triumph
Of mind over body.

The story
Of perception
Conquering reality.

Take your pill,
Quiet your doubts,
Believe with all your heart.

Just relax,
Know it works,
And let the healing start.

Wednesday January 1st, 2014

The exercise:

Welcome to 2014! Our writing prompt to begin the year is: the pessimist.

I've mentioned here before that I don't do new year's resolutions, but I don't want to rain on anyone's parade who does go that route. So I won't go into the reasons behind my decision.

Instead, I'd like to invite you guys to share any resolutions you've made for this year, be they writing related or not. Perhaps we can support each other to stick with them. At the very least we can offer words of comfort should any goals fall by the wayside.

I worked a 9 to 4 shift today, both to get some extra cash and because no one else seemed interested in working New Year's Day. I'll be picking up a few extra shifts for the next couple of weeks to cover someone who will be away, so my energies will be focused in that direction for a bit.

After that? Perhaps I can come up with some fun and interesting things to do here on the blog.


The list of pros easily outweighs the list of cons of being a pessimist. Aaron had grown up believing this, and it had become a mantra to be repeated under his breath whenever reality attempted to prove otherwise.

High up on that list of positives was the fact that a cynic is very rarely disappointed. Expect the worse and you'll either be prepared or pleasantly surprised. There's no chance of a letdown. Well, except for those times when the very worst doesn't occur to you until it's too late.

Those are rare occasions though. At least they are for the veteran pessimist.

There are many other reasons to forgo optimism, obviously. One could go on for days. Easily. But for some reason Aaron is not in the mood to do so. His mind is elsewhere. On that list of cons, to be truthful.

His thoughts are revolving around one item in particular: pessimists don't get very many invitations to New Year's Eve parties.