Wednesday October 22nd, 2014

The exercise:

Write about: the lumberjack.

Had some time to myself this morning and the weather wasn't exactly inviting me outside, so I used it to catch up on a few emails, put in another print order for greeting cards (winter shots that I think should work as Christmas cards), and chip away at the comment backlog.

I'm caught up to the first week of October now. So if you're interested in seeing what I had to say about your writing from, oh, three weeks ago, feel free to have a look.

This afternoon I took Max into town to run a few errands. We were just going to swing by the library to return some books and then do something else, but that didn't go quite to plan:

We hung out and read books and played with letter magnets and shape puzzles for quite a while. It was nice, actually. Good to find a decent rainy day activity around here.


He sizes up the fallen tree, excitement dancing in his eyes. His body nearly vibrates, he is so eager to commence his work.

He squats down with a natural grace I find impossible to resist envying. One hand runs along the top of the wood, tracing bumps and indentations. Fingernails toy briefly with lumps of bark.

Then, at last, he turns serious. It is time to get down to business. But first...

"Max need chainsaw!"

"Here you go," I say, handing him the small slice of wood that he has decided performs the same function as Papa and Uncle Adam's noisy machine. "Watch your fingers."

"Watch your fingers," he repeats as he begins sawing at the log, a mischievous smile on his lips. "Cutting the wood off!"

"Good work," I say, waiting. It doesn't take long.

He starts up his wooden machinery with full sound effects and really focuses. And I'm proud to say he does a damn fine chainsaw impression for a kid two weeks shy of his second birthday.


Anonymous said...

They shall never succeed if they cannot prove your death. You are our only hope, Belia.
I continued to run through the trees, anywhere far from the pristine courtyards of the palace would do. I found myself vehemently determined to escape the only home I ever knew and the people who had once treasured me.
All the rumors of me being an ice princess, rumors started by Arven during his first introduction to Court, suddenly made me more of a target than the blood rushing through my veins. Not only would the coup track me down until my head was on a platter, but I feared no one would risk their lives to help me. I was much despised by those once called allies.
The darkness was suffocating. I missed the dancing flames that would illuminate every step I took. A stable boy’s lantern or even a single candlestick would have been helpful in finding my way through the unfamiliar woods. But Arven was right, I was the only hope the kingdom had left.
My chest, burning with each breath that I took, soon became unbearable. I stopped, hunched over in the blackness, trying to regain enough air to continue. There were no sounds of horse hooves beating against the dry crumpled leaves or the barking of a hunting pack behind my heels. At least for the moment, I was safe. I took a few steps to test my aching legs, praying they were strong enough from my walks around the gardens to get me to a safe haven. If one existed for me.
I saw a needle point of light ahead of me. Sanctuary!
I took a few hasty steps in that direction. I had been running for some. This soul might have not yet heard of that was happening at the palace. And in my kitchen maid’s dress with my simple moleskin cloak, this soul would not know of my heritage or position.
I reached the door and pounded. “Help. I seek shelter. Please help me.”
When the door finally opened, standing before me was a bear of a man. The candle in his hand flickered across his bearded face, casting shadows over the black eyes that told of insatiable hunger. I had only seen that look before in the serving boy who was punished for spilling wine over Father’s lap; he wasn’t given food for three days.
“You need help, eh?”
I nodded softly. The inside of his hut—a small affair made out of wood and furs—was bare and modest. I could see an ax hanging on the wall behind him and a boar’s head mounted just to the side of it. I looked again and saw him flex his arms as he smiled darkly at me. The flickering flame made that smile more sinister.
“Well I can give you a warm bed if that is your wish.”
He came towards me, ever so slightly. I took a step away from him, feeling once again the tight grip of fear around my throat.
Before he could get any closer to me, I turned and ran back into the woods. His laughter broke through the insects and birds; another animal calling into the night. I did not stop until I could no longer breathe. Even then, my legs twitched to keep moving, to get as far away from the monsters hunting me, to reach that now mythical safety I prayed would be waiting for me at the end of this nightmare.
For the sake of Arven’s sacrifice. For the sake of my people. I had to stay alive. To survive long enough to reclaim my now rightful place on the throne, I had to survive the night.

Greg said...

You are doing well on catching up on the comments! I'm enjoying reviewing what you say as well, though less so when I realise that I messed something up in Vancouver Irrealis. I've added a further comment there as to how I might be able to save that; let me know what you think before we reach the next installment :)
That looks like a nice library and Max is very cute in his baseball cap and coat. I'm not sure he's impressed with the book he's reading though! And your description of his lumberjack work is fantastic, I was laughing as I read it! If I make it over to Vancouver again I'll definitely bring him a chainsaw as a present :)

The lumberjack
Little Red Strappy Dress skipped along the path in the forest whistling a cheerful tune. Her dress was barely suitable for the weather, or for being seen in outdoors in truth, but she'd put her travelling cloak on over the top, fastened it at the neck, and was carrying a basket of Ann Summers merchandise to take to her grandmother on the other side of the forest.
Her grandmother was slightly more glamorous than a nineteen-forties film star and liked to hold parties to which only the more mature, feminine and open-minded members of the forest community were invited. The parties were generally of a theme that made the attendees both chuckle and blush, and occasionally a lumberjack or farm-lad would be invited along to provide entertainment. Little Red Strappy Dress was still considered (by her grandmother) to be rather too young for such parties, so she had to amuse herself by sitting in her grandmother's attic and peering through holes in the floorboard at the revelries below.
There was a rustling in the bushes, and Little Red Strappy Dress stopped to see what was happening. As she attempted to part prickly branches and saw-tooth-edged leaves, a huge hairy head poked out and growled at her.
"Oh my!" said Little Red Strappy Dress taking a step back. "An anomalous woof!"
"Rooaaah!" said the wolf. Little scraps of grey meat dangled from his fangs and his breath smelled like an abandoned slaughterhouse in high summer. Little Red Strappy Dress took another step back, half-turned, and vomited all over the shoes of the lumberjack now standing behind her.
"Oh crap," said the lumberjack, setting his axe down and shaking his boots. "What did you have to go and do that for?"
"An -- an -- anomalous woof!" gasped Little Red Strappy Dress, pointing.
"An enormous wolf?" The lumberjack looked at the bushes, and his eyebrows jumped into his hairline. "Good god, girl, how did you find one of them? That's a Fengris!" He reached for his axe, but Little Red Strappy Dress had already picked it up and was trying to fit it into her basket. Something already in the basket had started buzzing and vibrating. "Give that back! That's a dangerous beast!"
"Anomalous woof!" said Little Red Strappy Dress happily. "Rooooarrr!"
The lumberjack looked at the wolf struggling free from the bushes and backhanded Little Red Strappy Dress, knocking her over. Grabbing his axe, he stood over her prostrate form, ready to defend her.
"Rooaaaarrrgghhg!" said the wolf, shaking itself.
"Aaaarggh!" yelled the lumberjack as Little Red Strappy Dress sat up, her head connecting firmly with his crotch.
"Anomalous woof!" said Little Red Strappy Dress happily, and fell over again.

Marc said...

Ivybennet - some really fantastic details here. You've got me siding with your poor narrator already!

Greg - I still need to go back over that again to see what can be done. I'll be sure to figure it out before offering up November's entry to the series.

Oh yes, do that. I'm sure you'd instantly become his favorite uncle and we'd be hearing all about how great you are for quite some time. Or for however long we all would survive that present...

Hah! I can tell you had great fun with this retelling :D