Friday March 31st, 2017

The exercise:

Write four lines of prose about: the guitar.

One of the strings on Kat's guitar broke a while back and it's been sitting in its case waiting for repairs ever since. So I decided I'd get it fixed for her birthday surprise.

I found someone in town who would do it on Monday. Took the guitar out to the car after Kat went to sleep Monday night. Dropped it off on Tuesday (while telling Kat I was up to something else entirely). Picked it up on Wednesday after I got off work (while telling Kat that I was still at work). Got it out of the trunk of the car Wednesday night after Kat went to sleep and returned it to its case. Spent Thursday trying to convince myself that she had no reason whatsoever to open up that case.

Made it to this morning without any suspicions being raised.

Max and I sang Happy Birthday to her this morning before I had to go to work. But we needed instruments, so he got a drum and his ukulele and a shaker out of his room. But it was missing something, you know?

Like maybe Kat's guitar, so that she could accompany us.

She was very pleased with her birthday surprise.


It sits, protected and unblemished, in a glass display case which hangs on a living room wall. A tiny spotlight shines on it at night, so that he can look at it without any of the surrounding distractions getting in the way.

He spends most nights admiring it, more often than not with a whiskey in hand, clinking the ice cubes together and reminiscing.

He was never in a band - never even played the damned thing, actually - but there's no convincing the old man of that, now is there?

Thursday March 30th, 2017

The exercise:

Write about: burning the midnight oil.

Bakery was oddly slow today. Was left with a lot of loaves for the freezer. As in, more than I care to remember (I tallied the various types but did not make a mental note as to the grand total). And the weather was quite reasonable outside, so that wasn't the problem.

I guess we shall see how things go tomorrow.

Tomorrow, aka my wife's birthday!


The Head Librarian strode across the study hall, taking in the bent backs and hunched shoulders of the late night students toiling away at their homework and exam preparations by the light of a hundred torches in sconces attached to the walls and columns above their desks. A faint smile played across his lips as he remembered his days in their shoes.

Oh, the stress he thought he was under back then. As if he even knew what the word meant.

He knew now though. He fully understood the meaning of the word stress all too well. It seemed to haunt his every step, as though it had shoved aside his shadow and taken its place.

Last month's budget meetings had not gone well, as far as the library was concerned. Cutbacks to supplies and staff. Insistence that worn and fading books continue to be used instead of being replaced with newer versions. Even the out of date texts were to remain in circulation.

Which was all well and good, he had decided, as long as both the students and their professors were working with the same misinformation. It wasn't like the outside world would ever test their knowledge in those areas.

He reached the eastern edge of the library and turned left, making his way past bookshelves bursting with books in dire need of a good dusting. No staff for that, though. Not anymore.

Would his job be the next to go? Would the men and women writing the cheques decide that the library would continue to run just fine, thank you very much, in his absence?

If so, he thought as that ghostly smile appeared once more, they would find themselves very much mistaken.

At the end of the row he glanced behind him to verify that no one had followed him before triggering the hidden switch he'd had installed beneath a painting of two dragons sleeping in a forest glade. A door swung open and he stepped inside, quickly closing the entrance behind him.

He paused for a few moments, allowing his vision to adjust to the darkness. Once he could see well enough to navigate without bumping into any of the barrels (or tripping over the hoses attached to them) filling the room, he made his way to the far wall. He examined the control panel there, confirming that all readings were in the acceptable range, then checked the time.

Satisfied that all was as it should be, he turned the large black dial in the middle of the panel, moving its arrow from pointing toward a twinkling sun to aim instead toward a shimmering moon.

It was time to burn the midnight oil.

Wednesday March 29th, 2017

The exercise:

Write something that has to do with: secrecy.

Kat's birthday surprise continues to progress as hoped. Just got to get through tomorrow without her figuring it out.

Bakery was steady busy for most of the day. I'm sure the rain kept a lot of people away though. That won't be the case tomorrow if the forecast is correct.

Fingers crossed and all that.


Oh, the tales I could tell. The scandals, the adventures, the parties. If only I were allowed. Sadly I have been sworn to secrecy.

And the men and women whose secrets I have promised to keep are not the sort of people any sane man would be interested in crossing. And, I must assure you, I remain very much sane. Despite all that I have seen and done.

I have secrets of my own though. And I keep mine even more tightly under wraps than those of my masters. A man who has led the life that I have must be careful to the extreme. If one is interested in continuing to breathe, at any rate.

And I am still quite invested in that matter.

Are my masters aware that I have kept things hidden from them? Oh, I imagine that they are. But I am certain that they have absolutely no idea about the details. And it shall remain that way. It has to. It must.

And so you, dear intruder, have to be silenced.

Quite permanently, I'm afraid.

Tuesday March 28th, 2017

The exercise:

Write two haiku about: bribery.

Yes, the inspiration is Max related. Won't bother getting into the details, as they're not particularly interesting. I will say it's working fairly well so far though!

Kat's birthday is this Friday. Working on a little surprise for her.

I am good at keeping surprises secret, in general, but I find it rather difficult to stop myself from talking about what I'm up to with her.

It's almost like I tell her everything or something.


Chocolate for this,
a few rum and Cokes for that;
I'm bribing myself.

*     *     *

Please do as I ask.
No? Here's a sackful of cash.
Now what do you say?

Monday March 27th, 2017

The exercise:

Write about: the shiver.

Sun came out for a little bit this afternoon. That was nice.

I shall remember that fondly in the rainy days to come...


We both saw her shiver. She muttered something about the cold and pulled her jacket tighter around her shoulders. I turned away to hide my smile and let her pretend that the temperature was the cause, not fear.

I got it, though. The way the darkness was gathering around us, almost like a suffocating embrace. The way the deepest shadows seemed to have more weight and more... substance. I got it.

I didn't feel it myself, but I could see why she did.

"How much farther?" she asked a minute or two later.

"Not very," I said, keeping my tone casual. "You doing okay?"

"Yeah. My feet are just getting a little sore, that's all."

Sure they were. Nothing to do with not wanting to complete the journey. Only her poor footsies causing her concern.

"Want a piggyback ride?" I offered with a grin I didn't bother to conceal.

"Go to hell, Harry."

Oh, darling. That's exactly where we're going...

Sunday March 26th, 2017

The exercise:

Write about: the raid.

Spent the morning with the boys while Kat got some counselling work done. Enjoyed some family time in the afternoon (painting and making a popsicle stick house).

Not a bad day off. Could have used more warmth and sunshine, but hopefully we'll get that tomorrow.


"We attack at sunset."

"Is that wise, sir? It has been a long day already for the men."

"It is wise. And it will be a long day for the men. But it will be an even longer one for our enemy."

"That's assuming the men aren't too exhausted to lift their weapons. Or aim them properly..."

"We will have surprise on our side. It will more than make up for any shortcomings on the part of my soldiers."

"I see that you won't be swayed in this matter. You've clearly made up your mind, sir."

"That is correct."

"Then I shall begin doling out the Red Bull, sir."

Saturday March 25th, 2017

The exercise:

Write a four line poem about: bread.

Hectic, crazy start to the morning at the bakery. Things settled down by 11 and then got pretty quiet for the rest of the day, leaving me with lots of cinnamon buns to put in the freezer, along with three loaves, and bits of most everything else.

Looking forward to taking things a little easier tomorrow.


Such comforting warmth
On a grey, cloudy day;
Smell wafts from the kitchen
And worries go away

Friday March 24th, 2017

The exercise:

Write four lines of prose about: the rat.

Rainy day made for a slower day at the bakery. 15 loaves, 5 croissants, 5 cinnamon buns, 5 baguettes, 5 ciabatta loaves, and a focaccia into the freezer (man, that's a lot of fives... surprised I didn't notice that before now).

Ah well, hopefully Saturday and sunshine make for better business.


"Hey, what are the cops doing here?"

"Aw, man - we haven't even done anything yet!"

"You mean we haven't done anything, nor will we be doing anything."

"Right, yeah... but as soon as they get bored and leave it looks like we've got a rat to take care of."

Thursday March 23rd, 2017

The exercise:

Write about something that was: stolen.

Only had two loaves left at end of day, along with a few butter tarts and some macaroons. Toss in some warm weather and sunshine and you've got a pretty good day, I reckon.

Miles is doing okay. At least he isn't coughing too much, which is when the laryngitis is most noticeable. But Kat is currently not feeling all that great as well (hopefully just a cold and nothing more).

Because of course.


A simple glance, an innocent look. That's all it took for you to steal my heart, as though my life were some tawdry romance book. But it's true - my heart raced, my knees shook. And just like that, I fell in love with a crook.

*   *   *

Walking to a meeting at work, I hear you call. My name, on your lips... a combination that always enthralls. You say I am your doll as my passing coworkers press us against the wall. Tumbling, tumbling, I continue to fall. A stolen moment in the hall.

*   *   *

This empty bedroom is hidden beneath blankets of dust. It is silent here, not even an echo of our former lust. I try to forget you but it seems like I must keep watching these mental movies of us. A bond broken by mistrust and too many things not discussed. Ten years lost, the prime of my life taken from me, and I am standing here now and I just... I just... cannot adjust.

Wednesday March 22nd, 2017

The exercise:

Write about: the mute.

Bakery was fairly slow for most of the day. Did have a lady buy 13 loaves (for herself and some friends, I believe) late afternoon, so that helped. Plus Shannon did want 15 loaves in the freezer for a restaurant order, so it wasn't a problem, really.

Just was a lot of bread to deal with at end of day.

Miles came down with a nasty sounding cough yesterday, so Kat took him to the doctor this afternoon. I guess he's got laryngitis, but it's not too severe.

Not much worse sounding than an infant with a hoarse throat though.


Little Ricky never spoke a word to nobody, as best anybody could tell. That don't mean he didn't communicate though. He had his ways, you know?

Like, if he was wearing one of his red shirts? You best keep your distance, man. He had the fire in him them days. And that temper of his was not something you wanted to mess with. Burning, burning hot, man.

And if he was wearing his black hat? He was sad about something, that's for sure. No way to know what, of course, but I guess the details didn't matter much. I mean, if he wanted somebody to know what was bringing him down he'd have told 'em, right? But he never did, so...

And then there were the times he wouldn't shave for weeks. Months, even. That was trickier business, that's for sure. Because you wouldn't even realize something was up, right? Not until the hair on his cheeks got thick enough for you to see it.

Poor Ricky had hair as yellow as sunshine, so it took a while for it to show.

Anyway. That facial hair was a sure sign that something was troubling him. Driving him to distraction. Keeping him up at night. That boy done got obsessed when certain thoughts or ideas or people (pray that it wasn't you, man) got stuck in his head.

You know, for a kid that never said nothing, Little Ricky sure had a lot to say...

Tuesday March 21st, 2017

The exercise:

Write two haiku about: pride.

Dealt with a migraine for most of the day, so that made things... unpleasant. The rain didn't help much either.

Finally got out of the house mid-afternoon to take the boys for a walk around the farm. That helped everyone, I think, and it was a reasonable temperature despite the clouds. Plus the rain was kind enough to ease off for a while.

Back to the bakery tomorrow. Hopefully without too much of a migraine hangover.


It has been said that
pride goeth before the fall.
So... I guess we wait?

*     *     *

She is overly
fond, I think, of her massive
poodle collection

Monday March 20th, 2017

The exercise:

Write about something that is: nigh.

Spent the morning with the boys and actually managed to get a few errands done. With StrongStart off the options menu for the duration of spring break, I'm hoping for warmer weather to allow for more outdoor time.

We ended up at the park for maybe half an hour just before lunch, but the wind made me feel like I was pushing it. The boys didn't seem to mind though.


Currently things are not
Happening the way that I would like.
Although it may be true that
Nothing comes easy and
Getting used to new things is hard,
Everything must evolve.

Sunday March 19th, 2017

The exercise:

Write about: signs of life.

Apologies for the excessively late posting. Spent the day pruning blackberry bushes and being outside as much as possible in order to enjoy the warmer weather.

Apparently that tuckered me right out.


Scorched and smoking black earth
Has a dark story to tell:
They must have made their homes
From things which burn very well...

You're looking for signs of life
In this bleak, miserable hell?
Well, my friend, I'm afraid that
You'll find yourself S.O.L.

Saturday March 18th, 2017

The exercise:

Write a four line poem about something that has been: uprooted.

Crazy busy morning at the bakery. Ended up closing about an hour early, as all I had left was one piece of carrot cake and one ciabatta loaf.

Still took me another hour to get out of there, as I'd pretty much done zero cleaning at that point.

Looking forward to a day off with family tomorrow.


Excavator digs, lifts, tears;
Apple tree roots reach for the sky -
Making way for fine wine grapevines,
As today's taste buds have passed them by

Friday March 17th, 2017

The exercise:

Write four lines of prose about: the jackal.

Bakery was more of the same today, just two loaves to put in the freezer, along with four croissants. Spring break is starting for schools here in BC tomorrow, so we'll see if things manage to sell all the way out.

I don't know if I've mentioned this before, but I really enjoy working at the bakery. We're friends in the back, always laughing and having a good time together. And the vast majority of customers are happy and appreciative of the goods for sale.

Plus we get to listen to whatever music we want to (within reason during opening hours).

The work can be hard and the hours long, but it's everything else about being there that serves to keep bringing me back, week after week.


I like me life. You go on and judge me all ya like, ya hear? This job suits me just fine, thank ya very much.

Now quit ya gripin' and hand over ya bloody wallet already, yeah?

Thursday March 16th, 2017

The exercise:

Write something which takes place in: the canyon.

Similar day to yesterday at the bakery, just with nicer weather outside. No complaints with that.

Pretty sure I was going to say something else here but can't remember what that was. Like, not even the slightest of clues as to what I was thinking.

Ah well. On with the writing then.


"I think we're lost."

"What? How would that even be possible? There's only one direction we can go in!"

"I don't know. I'm just pretty sure we're not where we're supposed to be, that's all."

"Well, yeah. We're stuck in a canyon with hundred foot cliffs on both sides of us and we're running out of water. I'd say we should probably be somewhere else too."

"That's not what I meant. I'm just getting this... feeling... that we're not welcome here."

"That's fine by me. I wouldn't want this place to decide that I'm a pleasant guest who should never leave. Now come on, we need to find shelter before the damned sun roasts us in our boots."

"Or before we're eaten."

"Eaten? By what, you lunatic? The boogeyman?"

"No... those wolves over there."

Wednesday March 15th, 2017

The exercise:

A while back (I'm too lazy to find it, but I'm pretty sure it was in January some time) Greg suggested using the previous week's worth of prompts as a prompt itself. I liked the idea but wanted to do it randomly in order to avoid the temptation of linking the prompts together, or somehow making them easier to combine into one tale.

So I grabbed my phone and went into the Reminder section and scrolled forward without looking, then set a reminder to use the week prompt whenever it went off.

As you may have guessed, it went off this evening.

So include all of the prompts used in the last seven days in your writing today. For your reference, they are:

- Wednesday: agoraphobia
- Thursday: the replay
- Friday: old habits
- Saturday: an apology
- Sunday: beauty and the beast
- Monday: the gong show
- Tuesday: pie

I wish us all good luck with the task ahead.

Bakery was busy today, leaving me with just two loaves for the freezer and two macaroons to set aside for tomorrow. Even with the near constant rain.

Tomorrow is expected to be warmer and sunny, so hopefully that will bring even more customers to our door.


My Dearest Beauty,

I owe you, without question, an apology for the events of yesterday. It was, clearly, a gong show, as the villagers might say, and I am the one who must bear sole responsibility for what happened.

So here it is, simple and plain: I am sorry.

I could blame my agoraphobia and that would not be incorrect. But it does feel like an excuse, so I shall not. I do not wish to shirk blame, my love. I accept it, fully and completely. I allowed old habits to return - ones I promised you would be gone forever - and I know that is inexcusable.

It is difficult for me to think of what happened. I wince and cringe and flush with embarrassment as each of my missteps is replayed in my mind. How could I have let you down so terribly? Will you be able to trust me at my word ever again?

As an admittedly poor and inadequate gesture, I have baked for you the blueberry pie on which this note is attached. I know it was your father's favorite - why else would he dare attempt to steal them from my garden? - and I hope that it brings you some solace in his absence, as it simultaneously serves to be but a minuscule display of how great my regret is for my misdeeds.

And I promise you that I double and triple checked to make sure that there are no parts of your father's remains mixed in with the filling.

Eternally yours,

Tuesday March 14th, 2017

The exercise:

Write two haiku about: pie.

Spent the day with the boys. Max didn't want to go to StrongStart or Parent and Tot, so we mostly hung out around the house and around the farm. Weather was cloudy and grey and misty, so it was not my most favorite of days.

Back to the bakery tomorrow. Oh, the helping of friends thing ended up falling through, so I guess today was the other half of my weekend?



Which do I like best?
Oh, no, I couldn't possib-
Pumpkin. It's pumpkin.

*     *     *

Would I like a slice?
No, but thank you for asking...
Just give me a fork.

Monday March 13th, 2017

The exercise:

Write about: the gong show.

And to think, the inspiration for this has nothing to do with:

- the play yesterday
- Miles turning 11 months yesterday
- me falling asleep before finishing the blog post yesterday
- Miles getting his first haircut today
- Max refusing to sit on his own for his haircut (and therefore not getting his haircut today)

Instead, it has everything to do with how my night ended at work at the community centre this evening...


Drop-in basketball (officially) runs from 7 until 8:30 on Monday nights at the community centre. By 7:02 this evening I think there were probably already 20 guys in the gym. Likely maxed out around 25 by 8 o'clock.

I believe I have mentioned previously how much I dislike getting those guys out of the building at the end of the night, so I'll just say I was already not looking forward to that nonsense.

Then around 8:15, just as I was about to start my cash out (the only way I get out of there by 9 is if I start that process before doing the locking up rounds), the only person using the weight room comes by the front desk to tell me that the water fountain is running and won't stop and is creating a puddle on the floor.

Run over there, can't figure out how to make it stop. Run back to the desk, start calling people. Finally get a hold of the building custodian, who tells me how to shut it off. Run back and... it's stopped on its own. Mop up the mess as the woman who told me about it is leaving. I decide to close up and alarm the weight room, yelling at the basketball players that they have five more minutes before they have to get out.

They'd already gone five minutes past their supposed playing time at that point.

Finish mopping up, alarm the weight room, yell at the basketball players on my way back to the front desk that it's closing time.

Get back to the front desk... just in time for the weight room alarm to go off. Walk back (because I'm done with running at this point), shut off the alarm, wait for the kid to have his drink of water, make sure the fountain doesn't continue running on its own again, re-alarm the weight room, head back to the front desk. Yell at remaining ten or so basketball players that we're closed now, so please wrap it up.

Get back to the front desk. Alarm company is calling. Tell them what happened. Dig through my notes to find the password to confirm for them that they are, indeed, talking to a town employee and not some bumbling thief. Make sure everybody is out of the building. Finish my locking up rounds. Get back to the front desk. Start doing my cash out. Check the clock.

It is now five minutes past nine.

I decide that I need a drink.

Actually, now that I'm sitting here typing this all up... that drink sounds like a fine idea. Time to hit publish!

Sunday March 12th, 2017

The exercise:

Write something about: beauty and the beast.

A friend of ours runs the drama club at the local high school and I'm sure you can guess which play they're putting on this year. They've been rehearsing and preparing since October for their three shows this weekend. Becky got everyone on the farm tickets for Christmas, so we all went this afternoon to check it out.

It was very well done and all the kids did a great job. Max liked some of his first play experience - though he was not a fan of the darkness during set changes, nor did he like how loud it got when more than a couple people were singing at the same time. But he was interested enough in the tale that I think we're going to try to track down the original, animated version to watch together.

Miles seemed to like the whole thing, really.

I... apparently was so exhausted by the whole experience that I fell asleep before completing this post. 



Lady on his left,
Lady on his right -
Oh man, isn't his
Future looking bright?

"Wait - those two?
With that guy?"
Just goes to show you
What money can buy...

Saturday March 11th, 2017

The exercise:

Write an apology, in the form of a four line poem.

Only had two loaves and a ciabatta loaf to put in the freezer today. Was just about perfect.

My one day weekend begins and ends tomorrow, as I got a call to work at the community centre Monday night. And I might be helping some friends with other work on Tuesday, if I can fit it into the family schedule.

So... I should probably get some rest while I can.


My Dearest Sir...
Or is it Madam?
I'm sorry I'm still not sure,
I really, really am...

Friday March 10th, 2017

The exercise:

Write four lines of prose about: old habits.

Managed to get out of the bakery by quarter to five today, so that was an improvement over yesterday. Still figuring out ways to be more efficient around closing time.

It got up over ten degrees this afternoon. More of that, please.


I still think of you when I'm having a tough day. And when I think of you, I reach for the phone. And as I'm dialing your number, without having to pause to think how it goes, even for a single second, I start humming our song.

And when your new husband answers the phone, in your new home, in your new life, I don't bother to explain to him just how hard of an old habit you are to break - he already knows that for himself.

Thursday March 9th, 2017

The exercise:

Write about: the replay.

Not quite as busy at the bakery today, which meant stuff to put in the freezer at the end of day. But there were enough people coming and going that I was quite behind on cleaning by the time I locked the door, so I didn't get out of there until after five.

Hopefully things will be a little more efficient tomorrow.

Also: it snowed. Again. Sigh.


Slow it down.
Let's go
Over it again...
Watch closely now.

Maybe it's a goal?
Or, well... maybe not.
There are more angles?
I want to see all of them!
One of them must show the truth...
Nineteen thousand fans await my decision.

Wednesday March 8th, 2017

The exercise:

Write about: agoraphobia.

Inspired by the feeling I got when I went out of the bakery this afternoon to bring the sign in from the road. Just seemed like I could feel the weight of the sky on me, even though the sun was shining. No idea where that came from, but it lead to what follows so I won't complain.

I walked home from the bakery today and was still home by quarter after three. I think we were basically out of loaves by noon. It was a nice change from the previous two Wednesdays at any rate.

Kat was on the computer when I got back and the boys were up at her parents house, so I wrote mine out by hand. It got long, in other words.


He studies the world from the (relative) safety of his covered porch. Many would consider it a beautiful day. Perhaps even idyllic.

He finds it unsettling in the extreme. And edging toward terrifying with each passing moment.

Well, that is not entirely accurate. His disorder feels that way. The part of him that is still him, buried somewhere far below the surface, finds the day warm and welcoming. Perfect for an afternoon stroll.

He has tried to keep the anxiety separate, often reminding himself that it's not him thinking those thoughts, feeling those fears. It is a struggle - often a mighty one - but he still wins the battle on occasion.

He has decided right here, right now, will be one such occasion.

With a deep, steadying breath, he leaves the porch behind. By the time he reaches the bottom step he is already feeling the weight of the sky pressing down on him. With every step the white, fluffy clouds grow more oppressive. The sun's rays push him downward with greater insistence.

He reaches the sidewalk covered in sweat. He forces himself to turn to the right and begins to follow the path of the street northward.

Overhead the telephone line droops under the weight of a dozen or more crows. They caw at him as he trudges by. He can feel their eyes on him, judging his nonsensical fears.

He makes it to the end of the street and turns right again. His goal is to complete a walk around his block. All the way around, just once. A simple loop. He tells himself he is patrolling the perimeter of his territory.

But there is a group of six men and women walking toward him. Three elderly couples, laughing and talking loudly, enjoying the sun-kissed afternoon.

He watches their approach, his feet rooted to the pavement. His heart races. They are only twenty feet away now. He wants to scream - in anger, in frustration, in fear.

Instead he turns and hurries for home. Defeated, yet again.

Tuesday March 7th, 2017

The exercise:

Write two haiku about: debt.

It snowed again today.

I think it's high time we're done with that nonsense.


"It is time that I
collect on what you owe me."
Pay the bill? Or run?

*     *     *

A bigger house, a
brand new car - I want them both.
You owe me, daughter.

Monday March 6th, 2017

The exercise:

All right. The Dream Kingdom, part three. Let's do it.


"That's very impressive work," Nystor said as he gazed around the audience chamber, the smoke rising from the pipe clenched between his teeth obscuring his features. "Though, perhaps, a tad too impressive. Allow me, if you'd be so kind?"

Before Dylan could say anything Nystor clapped his hands and all but two dozen of the candles winked out of existence. There was still plenty of light to see by, with the added bonus that the heat in the room dropped to a far more comfortable level.

"Why do you continue to hide yourself from me?" Dylan demanded, though he was more annoyed that his handiwork had been altered without his permission than he was bothered by his companion's concealment. The changes were clearly for the better - he really had gone a bit overboard with the candles - but he was refusing to admit that to himself. "Show your face."

Without giving it proper thought, Dylan blew air through his lips in Nystor's direction. It wasn't hard - barely enough to blow out a birthday candle from a few inches away - but it was enough to push the pipe smoke aside, even though the man was at least twenty feet away.

The first thought that occurred to Dylan was that Nystor looked like a fit grandfather. He was clearly old - the deep wrinkles in his face and the long, silver and gray hair that fell to his shoulders left little doubt of that - but he also had an air of vitality about him. He stood tall and straight, his shoulders were heavily muscled, his hands were strong and nimble, and there was an undeniable spark in his eyes.

He was dressed simply, in a full length robe with the hood down and black leather sandals on his sockless feet. It was the robe that grabbed Dylan's attention, as its vivid red reminded him powerfully of the flowers at his father's funeral. Was that the work of his subconscious or was that the robe's true colour?

But before he could voice his question, he was distracted by the sudden arrival of Josh and Olivia.

Sunday March 5th, 2017

The exercise:

Write about something or someone that is: blunt.

Was going to get back to the yearlong prompt today but I'm not feeling up to it right now. Will try again tomorrow.


"This isn't working out the way I'd hoped," she said as she grabbed her purse. "So I'm ending this date now, before I waste any more of my time."

"I'm sorry?"

"Oh, don't be. It's not your fault you're this boring and uninteresting." She stood up from the table and scanned the restaurant before looking down at me again. "It's just the way you are."

"That's hardly fair! Come on, give me one more chance!"

"Good night," she said, no trace of emotion in her words or on her face. She held her purse in one hand, testing the weight ominously. "Don't make me use this to get out of here."

Saturday March 4th, 2017

The exercise:

Write a four line poem about: fine dining.

Sold out of loaves today, was only left with some baguettes, epis, cinnamon buns, butter tarts, and macaroons at closing time.

Feeling quite ready to enjoy a few days off.


Honey, this is amazing!
Wherever did you get the cash?
My darling, it's quite simple...
Have you heard of a dine and dash?

Friday March 3rd, 2017

The exercise:

Write four lines of prose about: Wolverine.

Pretty excited about this. Not sure I'll be able to see it in theatre, but I will definitely watch it at some point. Likely eventually on Netflix, but maybe I'll manage to get out of the house one night to go see it a little sooner than that.

By mid-afternoon it was looking like I'd have at least a few loaves of bread to put in the freezer at closing. Then I had a customer buy 8 loaves and I thought maybe not.

Then I sold the final 7 loaves between two customers around 3:45, the second of whom also bought the last of the butter tarts, macaroons, and baguette.

And suddenly it was closing time.

Back at it tomorrow before my weekend can begin.


The claws have begun to rust. The wounds heal slowly now, the pain lasts a little longer. Age, it would seem, has caught up with him at long last.

Yeah, you go ahead and tell him that - I'll be over here... like, way, way over here.

Thursday March 2nd, 2017

The exercise:

Write about: the afterthought.

Around mid-afternoon it was looking like I was going to have a lot of stuff to put in the freezer. Then the bakery got busy. I'm going to thank the weather and how much warmer it was this afternoon than it was this morning for that.

Ended up with only one loaf, one baguette, one ciabatta loaf, a handful of croissants, bagels, and cinnamon buns, and one focaccia. Definitely left work in a better mood because of the late day rush.

Going back to starting at nine tomorrow, as last Friday's first hour after opening was rather crazy without me there. Plus Shannon is heading out for a weekend trip to Victoria in the afternoon so she needs to get her baking done on time, not be dealing with the front.

Hopefully it's another good day.

I expect it will be.


Her name was Rosa, but nobody called her that.

She was simply called The Afterthought.

It wasn't just because she was the youngest of ten children. It had nothing to do with being the only girl, though you'd be forgiven if you were fooled by that book cover. Certainly she was very quiet - so much calmer than all of her brothers - but that wasn't it either.

It was all about the gap.

Rosa was seven years younger than her closest (in age, at least) brother. That, at best, screamed accident. At best, it indicated that her parents had decided they were done having children... until one day they decided eh, why not one more?

Not much better, admittedly, but at least there would be some intention there. Some desire for her inclusion in their family.

Regardless of their parents' actual thoughts, the brothers decided upon that second option. So they called their little sister The Afterthought, almost from the very beginning. Never in front of their parents, at least not at first. But of course mom and dad figured out what was going on.

Parents nearly always do, in the end.

The boys were good about including their sister in what they were doing, but they very nearly always made a point of pretending that they'd forgotten she existed before extending a belated invitation to play or to go to the corner store or to go to the matinee at their local movie theatre.

It's not an easy way to grow up, always being reminded that you're constantly on the brink of being forgotten. It does not do wonders for one's self-confidence or self-esteem. It was no surprise that Rosa struggled to carve out a place in that household.

It was, perhaps, even less surprising when, as a still shy and introverted 23 year old, she decided to take her bloody revenge on her brothers.

Wednesday March 1st, 2017

The exercise:

Write about: the scientist.

Bakery was mostly busy today, but had a few quiet stretches that lasted long enough to leave me with ten loaves on the shelves at end of day. Oh and the majority of baguettes that were baked this morning, which was definitely unusual.

Most curious to see if we get another bounce back day tomorrow like we did last Thursday.


Today is the big day.

At long last, the results of my research will be revealed to the world. All of my hard work and sacrifices will be worth it the moment I step behind the podium, microphones from every major news outlet across the globe pointed toward me. Cameras recording, lights flashing.

All for me.

Me, about to be a household name after years of toiling in anonymity. After sacrificing my relationships, my friends, my health. Maybe I'll start eating right and exercising again. Get outside more, enjoy some fresh air and sunshine. I used to do those things. Before.

Before the research took over my life.

Never mind that. All that pain and suffering is in the past. Today is a day for celebration. For celebrating me and my work. To look forward to the easier, happier days ahead. To dream of the attention beautiful women will shower me with.

It's going to be glorious. So let's get this day started right. Up out of bed and get to the kitchen for pancakes with strawberries and extra maple syrup. I've earned this one final indulgence. More than earned it.

Man, not now. Not this stupid pain in my neck and jaw again. I must have slept wrong. Whatever, nothing is going to slow me down today.

Jeez, climbing down the stairs should not make me breathe this hard. Maybe I should put get gym membership on the top of my to-do list. This is dep... no. Not going there today. Focus on the positive.

I think I'll sit on the bottom step. Just until I catch my breath. And this light-headedness goes away. It never lasts too long. Probably happens too often, but that's a concern for another day. Tomorrow, maybe.

Great, here comes the pain in my chest again. Why does this have to happen... have to happen to... have to...