Saturday, January 31, 2015

Of Similes and Metaphors

Writing prompt for January 31, 2015: Take an object in your room and come up with ten comparisons for it. For the first five comparisons, use similes; for the next five, use metaphors. For instance, "The dresser, tall and narrow, looked like a coffin"; and then "The dresser, tall and narrow, was an altar." Don't let yourself use cliché comparisons, and make sure each on is truly enlightening, teaching us something we don't already know about the object. (From The First Five Pages by Noah Lukeman, http://www.amazon.com/The-First-Five-Pages-Rejection/dp/068485743X )

My Similes:
*The glass cupboard doors stood like mournful eyes, embarrassed to be displaying the mess behind them.
*The glass cupboard door, dusty and warped, stood like a homeless person, available for all to condemn but knowing only a few would ever look close enough to see what lay inside.
*The glass cupboard doors invited everyone to see the shelves' contents, as though displaying wares at an estate sale.
*The glass cupboard doors frowned upon the thief like overlarge eyes of disappointed parents.
*The glass cupboard doors stood like the eyes of an aloof God, eternally watching the family's triumphs and sorrows without response.


My Metaphors:
*The glass cupboard doors were revelators to the mess on the shelves and in the family's life.
*The glass cupboard doors, so familiar, so unchanged, were the eyes of a friendly God providing comfort to the crying man.
*The glass cupboard doors were unfeeling eyes, reminding her of the utilitarian society in which she lived and to which she would never belong.
*The glass cupboard doors were fickle priests, betraying everything they were supposed to conceal.
*The glass cupboard doors were mirrors, reflecting the mess within her by openly displaying the mess on the shelves.
 
Hm, perhaps I need to clean and organize the shelves behind my glass cupboard doors.
 
 

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

The Gift

Today's writing prompt from Sarah Selecky: Write a scene about a gift certificate. Use the word "flock."

  "Here. Happy birthday," she said, dropping a white envelope onto the table in front of him. It caught the edge and slipped into his lap.
  "Thanks," he replied, trying to keep the disappointment out of tone. "I hope you didn't go to too much trouble." He had thought that this year she might do something special. Make a little more of a scene. But at least she hadn't forgotten.
  She shrugged and wandered to the cupboard to retrieve a mug.
  She wasn't even going to watch him open it. He swallowed a sigh and slipped a finger under the closed flap, tearing the enveloped slightly in his effort to open it. The stiff paper inside read, This certificate entitles the bearer and a guest to assist in the shearing of a flock of sheep at Pine Valley Ranch. Expiration: November 22.
  Shearing sheep? "Wow, thanks. This should be really interesting."
  She settled into the chair next to him, her mug full of steaming water, a bag of her usual spicy lemon tea floating at the top. "It's something new, something you've never done, right? I thought you'd like to try something new."
  A massage place had just moved down the road. That was new. A shooting range had opened across town. That was new, too. Shearing sheep was--he couldn't even think of a word for it. Dirty? Sure to be smelly. What had she been thinking? "It says to bring a guest." At least this was something they could do together. Maybe it wouldn't be so bad after all.
  "Yeah. They all say that. Maybe Johnny or Patrick would go with you." She ended her sentence with another shrug.
  Oh, no. Not this time. She had given him this gift, and this time--this year--she was going to go with him. "I don't think I'll ask them." He ignored the question in her eyes as resolve cemented in his heart. Yes, she was accompanying him to this. He was going to make sure she did.
 

Friday, January 9, 2015

The Garden

Today's writing prompt photo is courtesy of Deb and Sabrina.

He didn't mind the tomatoes so much, although the smell lingered on his hands. He didn't even have to handle the fruit; the scent stained his fingers after touching only the plant. He'd worn gloves once, pruning and harvesting through the leather. But he couldn't determine ripeness without a gentle touch, and he ached for the feel of life against his skin.
  The onions and garlic left no smell, unless he cut them. But he forgave them, even though their scent never truly washed away. Sometimes at night, when he curled up in bed, rolling onto his side and tucking his hands under his cheek, they haunted his dreams. But they never voiced accusation, never asked for mercy as he hovered above them with a knife. And so he never gave it.
  The beans were among his favorite. They grew tall, shading him from the curious gazes of the neighbor's children, and bloomed with beautiful purple flowers. They were easy to harvest, easy to prepare, easy to eat. And there were so many kinds to choose from. He never felt lonely when he leafed through the catalog, trying to limit his years' bean selection to a mere few varieties.
  But, sometimes, despite the life growing around him, he was lonely. And sometimes he was lonely because of it. 

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

The Sweater

This was the writing prompt for today, January 5, 2015, and I missed it because I was working to get half of my ms ready to submit to my critique group. However, now that I've submitted my stuff and read through all of their stuff, here it is: Write a scene that starts with the line, "I didn't mean to steal his sweater. Only the arms."

I didn't mean to steal his sweater. Only the arms. I'm very good at taking the arms off sweaters--I always leave behind very nice sweater vests. Most of the sweaters look better that way, anyway, and I was careful, so no one would ever know they had arms to begin with, unless the owner told them, or the person who had bought it noticed. I wondered how many times someone who had bought the sweater noticed it didn't have arms when they wore it. One of these days I should stick around to watch it happen; it would be worth the delay.
  But this guy caught me, came after me so quickly I had no choice but to take the whole thing. It was heavier than normal, and really large, like it belonged to someone of Andre the Giant's size (may his soul rest in peace). I tried to stuff the hulking tan knit into my pack as I ran, but it wouldn't fit. And all the while this large guy with light hair and really big shoulders is running after me, yelling at me, calling me a thief (which I really wasn't. It wasn't thievery when you left most of the product behind).
  I slid into an alley, running thought the puddle I had skirted earlier. Sliding behind some boxes and a garbage can, I allowed myself five deep, gasping breaths before I shut my mouth and made myself breathe slowly through my nose. Someone crashed through the alley, running past my spot. I waited, counting to one-hundred-and-twenty-three, like I always did; if pursuers didn't return during that period, they weren't coming. And it was my lucky number, which is why I chose it. I listened, but all I heard were the normal alleyway sounds of muffled cars and hushed chatter as life carried on along the main street nearby. The dumpster reeked more than normal, making me wonder what the red-lighted restaurant had served its customers last night.
  Scooting from between the boxes and dumpster, I pulled out of my backpack the parts of my trophy I had managed to stuff into it, then slung my pack across my back. I held up the sweater.
  And almost dropped it. It wasn't just a normal sweater, with arms and a body and a spot for the head. No wonder the guy had been so desperate to get it back--it must of cost him a fortune. I wondered if he ever wore it in public.
  Because it had to be itchy in all the wrong places; what I held in my hands was a full on, top to bottom, body sweater, complete with legs, a hood--everything. And in quite a nice design, too. I didn't have sweater legs in my collection.
  I grabbed my backpack and reached inside for the envelope, ripping out the letter I'd already read, although, to be honest, I hadn't read past the address. I never did. But now I noticed a photo in the envelope as well. It was the body sweater, with a body inside. Hm. They had warned me to bring a bigger pack.
  "Gotcha!" A hand gripped my arm and yanked the sweater from arms, revealing the large man who had been chasing me. I realized I should have counted to two-hundred-and-sixty-four. It was my other favorite number.
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Oh, yeah. And the photo was taken in the bathroom! http://www.gadgetify.com/full-body-sweater-brings-out-the-big-foot-in-you/

The End

Today's writing prompt is this photo along with this quote from Frank Herbert: "There is no real ending. It's just the place where you stop the story."

She crumpled to the stairs, grasping the iron balustrade as she fell, clinging to it, praying that this wasn't the end, that it wasn't over. She needed one more chance to make things right. But inside, she knew the truth. Because even as she formed her prayer, her heart tore open, unleashing its store of hopes, desires, and fears. The hopes and desires shoved their way out, fleeing from such an unworthy vessel, dripping as tears onto the hard stone below. But the fears, smiling, remained.
  The heavens above, sensing her anguish, broke their dam. Rain poured down, relentlessly washing away the evidence of her tears, of her failure, as though neither had ever existed. She slowly sat up and tilted her face to the sky, allowing the rain to cleanse her soul of its fear as it had her hopes and desires from the stone beneath her.
  As the rain began to ease, she realized this was not the ending. It was just the place to stop this story.
  She rose slowly to her feet. It was time for a new story to begin, and this time, she would not fail.
 

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

Cold

From Sarah Selecky: Write a scene that includes frost, cornflakes, and boots.

The fire didn't do it. The mug didn't either. I was still cold.
  I pulled the blanket tighter over my shoulders, the movement sending a shiver through my body, and contemplated the proximity of the fire, wondering if I dared move closer. The cabin had a wood-burning stove, but I didn't know how it worked. I had never had to learn how, before.
  My stomach rumbled. Aware it would send another shiver to rack my body, I tipped the box of cornflakes and filled my hand, a few flakes escaping to the ground. I quickly picked them up and popped them between my chattering teeth, not caring that they had fallen on the worn, wiry grayed rug beneath me. A little dirt and soot wouldn't kill me. Not before the cold did, anyway.
  The fire crackled, sending a spark into the metal screen. The spark flailed against its captor for a second before blinking out and falling to the ground. I dumped my handful of cereal into my mouth, wondering if the spark somehow foreshadowed my future. I was the only one around to notice the spark; who would be around to notice me? No one. They might find me when the snow melted and the roads were again passable. Someone would come to prepare the cabin for the summer crowd. But that was months off. If I could only get warm again, they wouldn't find me at all. But I couldn't leave before my frost-covered nose hairs had time to dry.
  Just as I reached up to feel them, the lights flickered and fingers of frigid air swirled into the room, brushing against me like a lover's caress. My shivering stopped, my body too tense for the movement. The arctic air withdrew, but not before I felt its glee at discovering my warmth.
  I had been found. It was time to leave.
  I stood, letting the blanket fall to the ground. It could not protect me now. Moving the grate away from the fire, I grabbed the box of cornflakes. The fire needed a burst of flame. I hesitated, then ripped the bag of cereal out of the box, clutching it to my chest as I threw the box into the fire. I stared at the flames until my sight started to burn. I breathed in just as boots scraped against the wood porch outside the door. They were too late, this time.
  The air around me swirled, a bright orange mixed with red. I filled my lungs with oxygen and blew until the flames turned blue. They couldn't trace me through the fire, because not even I knew where I'd end up. I stepped into the flames.
 

In the Beginning

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In the Beginning the sun shone black and Darkness reigned over the Earth. It was a time of peace, for there was no war. The world knew no fear, for there were no shadows, no Dokkuri, no stolen souls. And so the people were content.
  Then there came the Light. And the Light destroyed.
  As it parted the darkness, it touched first the ear of a small mouse atop a stone at the tip of the tallest mountain. It warmed the ear and the mouse smiled, welcoming it. But below the mouse sat a beetle, ignored by Light's first ray. It rose with vengeance in its heart, intent on displacing the ear of the mouse, and thus were born Skuggi, shadows of the Light.
  Darkness fought against the Light and the Skuggi created by it, but when it saw its people embrace the Light and worship it, it became bitter and swallowed the Skuggi, making Darkness and the Skuggi one. Darkness battled the Light, determined to reclaim its power, and a great war rent the world. The living things grew afraid; the trees closed their leaves, the animals hid in their holes and the people shut their eyes. But Darkness did not forgive.
  The Light, sorrowing for what it had done and knowing its departure was the only way to restore peace, agreed to leave. But it watched as it left, and saw the people shiver. So it returns each day to warm the world's inhabitants, only to abandon them each night.

Friday, January 2, 2015

The Gate

This picture is the writing prompt for today.


He paused. Benches sat empty beneath trees, barren branches resembling the bony fingers of old ladies struggling to reach the faded gray linen of the sky as though it was a hanky they'd dropped. The path was clean, with no indication that the trees provided a canopy of green to shade passers-by who read or slept on the benches at their feet. Because, if they ever had, they no longer did. He wondered when it was that spring and summer had last touched the park outside the gate, when the parks imitation of death had become a warning for what lay beyond.
  The fog did not travel here, although it pressed at the other side of the opened gate, hovering, rising above the gate's height but not passing over or through, as though some invisible force had forbidden it. Another warning.
  He ground his teeth. He had been offered plenty of warnings, which he had summarily ignored. But he couldn't ignore the way someone had suffered each time. Especially the last. Especially the child. The message was clear: obey or inflict pain.
  He ignored the message and stepped through the gate. The fog swallowed him whole.

Thursday, January 1, 2015

Other People's Problems

Writing prompt for today, January 1st, 2015: Write a list titled, "What other people worry about."

Avalanches
The color of tile grout
A chipped nail
God
Car payments
How to spend money
Water salinity
Blood Alcohol Content
Maximum credit card limit
Face painting
How to clean a fish
Nose hairs
Meteors
Too much alone time
The latest Twitter feed
Green grass
Getting medication
Clean drinking water
The next bullet may be the last
Balding
Spots
Volcanos
Fluoride
Finding food for a child
Being too kind