I’m in an unshakably good mood this morning! I’m toasting the Boy Who Lived and getting ready for my own birthday tomorrow. After a lovely morning run in the rain I realized I hadn’t really posted much the last week or so. I’m very caught up in a contest right now and working on a new novel, say nothing about how editing Book I has been pulling my attention. I have taken some phenomenal pictures in the last week or so that sum up why Vermont is such a great place to live, and why it makes such a rich setting for our fiction. Since I have no new writing to share at the moment, here’s some setting based eye candy for you.
“Write a page long exchange between two very different people; no setting. Write only what they say, no setting, internal thinking, descriptions or actions.”
A little shipper fan fic for you today – totally sfw
“Sheldon! It’s three o’clock in the morning!”
“Oh, good! You’re using the clock I got for you! I was afraid that because of when you came to dinner last night there was some difficulty with it.”
“No…No difficulty. My cell phone has a clock on it and works fine too you know.”
“I’m very happy to hear that. I was wondering because you didn’t answer it when I tried you an hour ago.”
“That’s because I was sleeping, Sheldon.”
“Oh…Well, so was I until an hour and five minutes ago.”
“What are you doing here, Sheldon?”
“I need you to wake Leonard. And then we need a ride.”
“At 3 in the morning.”
“Well, ideally at 2 in the morning, but since you didn’t answer your phone…”
“Sheldon! Why do you need a ride at 3 in the morning?”
“Oh, well…Amy’s water broke.”
“Write a free form poem about the formula for happiness.”
Formula for Happiness
You want to know how to be happy, do you?
A seeker, huh? Pursuer of that golden blessed state we all crave.
This isn’t going to be easy for you to hear, so I’m giving you a chance to walk away.
No? Still here?
Okay you asked for it.
If you want to be happy, you have to realize that you are going to die.
You’re dying right now, in fact.
Do you feel that?
Down in your guts?
Maybe at the base of your skull?
Those are Death’s cold and grasping fingers, just making sure he knows where you are.
And someday that bony hand is going to close over yours.
Still with me?
Whoa, you okay, buddy? Need to sit down a minute?
No? You’re good?
So, now that you get that, what is there?
Heart thumping in your chest, maybe next to the heart of another, if you are very very lucky.
There’s the way the sun kisses the clouds before it wakes up for the day; the moon rising to say good night to Brother Sun and they both hang in the sky for a few minutes.
Your cat’s tufty ears and her whiskers brushing your arm in the morning; your dog’s slobber when you come home.
Sheets fresh from the clothes line in spring; underwear fresh from the dryer on a winter’s day.
The smell of the earth after a rain; dew on the grass.
The first day of summer.
The silent sound that snow makes, muffling the world, softening it.
Hot chocolate and children’s voices calling out to home from the sledding hill.
You can still have all of these things, but you have to appreciate each of them as they come.
And if you are very very brave.
You can have
“Pretend you are sitting in a park. Write an “ode” (poetry or prose) to a person that might pass your bench. Begin the ode with the line, ‘I noticed you were in a hurry…’”
Ode to a Breastfeeding Mother
I noticed you were in a hurry. Of course you were; you have so many demands on your time. Your baby looked like it was ready to be fussy, but trust me it is as beautiful as you think. You looked ready to tip over. I remember that feeling well. You know the baby is going to cry and just thinking about it…you are about a minute and a half away from a wet shirt and everyone knowing exactly why you were walking so fast.
From some people, you get the sympathetic pat of solidarity on the shoulder. Ugh, why are people always touching you if you’re pregnant or have a baby? Why are they always trying to touch the baby, too? Especially if you are trying to feed it? You want to just yell at well meaning little old ladies. Get your germy hands off me and my kid; I just barely got him to latch! And then comes the commentary on your choice to allow your breasts to serve their primary biological function. Why do people feel so entitled to remark on how you feed your baby? It’s a hundred degrees and you’ve got your kid buried under three baby blankets just so some jackass doesn’t accidentally see your super sexy brown misshapen bulgy sore nipple on the one side your little one ever wants to drink from. Because at the tender age of half a year the little dear has decided that you should walk with a list for the rest of your life. Because boobs.
I know it’s not easy. You feel judged when you breastfeed. Then, when you pump or use formula to give the baby a bottle, you feel judged again, and by no one more than yourself. Don’t be so hard on yourself. You are doing the best you can with what you have where you are and the fact that you are even trying to feed your baby in the way that feels right to you is a courageous act. Everyone is going to talk shit about your parenting. Here’s something they don’t want you to know: they didn’t have a clue when their babies were little and they still don’t, even if their babies have grown and maybe have little ones of their own. None of us come with a user’s manual. You feed your baby. You do it when and where you both need to. If you don’t want to cover up, don’t. Men go topless all the time. They’re just nipples. And yours make milk. That’s like a superpower. Don’t get down on yourself either, especially not on your body. Because, speaking of superpowers, you grew another human being out of two half cells. And it made it here for you to carry around. Ignore the people who try to make you feel bad. Try not to thunderpunch old ladies in the throat and just go buy some sanitizer for when they get handsy. And maybe a cape. Yeah, you go buy yourself a cape right now. You goddamned superhero, you.
“Look up the lyrics to your least favorite song. Fine the absolute worst line, then write a story and have one of your characters say that line out loud.”
“I can’t even believe we’re having this discussion. It’s privilege plain and simple.”
“No, I’m just saying…”
“Dude, you don’t get to just say. You don’t have any shared experiences with the protesters. You do not know where they’re coming from and if you pretend you do so you can justify your shitty friends little counter protest, it makes it even worse.”
“C’mon man, we grew up in the same city; I don’t see the problem.”
“Have you ever even been to that part of town? There should me a blind guy in a mask going full ninja to defend the residents.”
“Nerd. It’s not that bad. The police…”
“Are part of the problem down there! Watch the news for chrissakes!”
“I watch the news every night.”
“What’s wrong with Fox?”
“I’ve told you what’s wrong with Fox. It’s a bunch of sexist, white supremacist, religious fundamentalist corporate indoctrination. Read ‘brainwashing’!”
“How the hell did we wind up rooming together again, remind me.”
“Um, your mom and my dad went to law school together. That’s part of that whole privilege thing I’m trying to get you to understand. The whole point of college is to learn something you didn’t freaking know! If you’re just going to be a little Mommy-clone, why are you even here?”
“So liberals like you don’t get to run the country someday. Douche.”
“Lovely. Name calling. Color me surprised.”
“It got your attention though didn’t it? That’s what you don’t understand. You have to get people’s attention.”
“Okay. You’re being a dumbass. Dumbass.”
“Just watch the protest coverage with me tonight. It might change your mind.”
“Or lower my IQ.”
“You’re not willing to consider my perspective?”
“The one that’s about justifying oppression so you and your friends can feel more comfortable? Not really.”
“C’mon, they’re just saying…”
“That they got theirs so other people’s struggles don’t matter?”
“No, that, like, everybody is the same.”
“No they’re saying that if they use those words they don’t have to own up to screwing people over.”
“No, dude seriously. They’re just saying it’s a small…”
“Don’t you fucking dare.”
“It’s a small world, after all.”
“I will cut you.”
“Look directly to your left. Use the first inanimate object you see as a metaphor for an abstract idea. Continue the metaphor for 150 words (poetry or prose)”
I’m sorry to have flaked on this one guys. I did write something, but it sparked an idea that I can’t let go of for a writing challenge. What I can tell you is the prompt was: Using a random word generator, generate one of every part of speech. Write a story/poem/free write using all seven words. Don’t stop writing until all the words have been used.
The generator yielded: N- Obfuscation V (transitive) – Disproving V (intransitive) – blush Adj. – Changeable
Adv. – bitterly Interjection – Fiddlesticks Preposition – Atop
I wrote about 1500 words from that and I’m caught up in it. I’ve been waiting for some sliver of high fantasy to reveal itself to me for a while now and this random word challenge lifted its skirt just a little. Only flirting at the moment, I’m afraid, but this story wants to get to know me better. I can tell.
It’s called The Rift.
“Write a list of 15 songs (like a mix tape) that you would use to tell someone you hate them. None of the songs can have “hate” or “you” in the title. Include links to each of the songs so people can listen to them.”
A Playlist for That Special Someone
- Ugly – The Violent Femmes https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rDEQY4Qliag
- O.D. – Green Day https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gd_UyUCh60g
- Flagpole Sitta – Harvey Danger https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wYsMjEeEg4g
- Dead – My Chemical Romance https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ORsFFjt1x6Q&index=3&list=PL-nvGdMskzabXEnWMKvkK6j5tF9xx3RtO
- Scars – Papa Roach https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rORPLLZzIwA&list=PLFxadKjMro7ZEsekt0y0T8cYunk4kBPtG&index=12
- Chop Suey! – System of a Down
- Whimper and Wail – Nathaniel Rateliff https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oEKzCJPC-M4&index=17&list=PLWdwrO6Ov_l2A3-vgBscpIKwwe4ZIjCit
- Shake It Off – Taylor Swift https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nfWlot6h_JM&list=PL29S3hOCGpU74jFcue5M0nvzIlCTvD0ps&index=1 (Also, just go here, too. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tCZy8cAgBlM)
- People That Are Going to Hell – The Vandals https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=d5oOnQYKU88&list=PL85A04E5CED758CAA
- The Beautiful People – Marilyn Manson https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ypkv0HeUvTc&index=36&list=PL0520710630F13D85
- Platypus – Green Day https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7RLDZaWN8b4&list=PLbz8WUFKyzLGpuxVTnWweJDgkAoMGEs9I&index=1
- The Emperor’s New Clothes – Panic at the Disco https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7qFF2v8VsaA
- Violet – Hole https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cH_rfGBwamc
- Bodies – Drowning Pool https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=04F4xlWSFh0&list=PLF390E5F0589ED769&index=5
- Kill Yourself – Bo Burnham https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ByC8sRdL-Ro
“Write a short rhyming poem inspired by the last novel you read.”
All apologies. I suck at poetry. That’s sort of my husband’s wheelhouse. Besides, the main character of the last novel I read (re-read, let’s be honest) hates poetry. But here goes.
Hair the color of the heart of flame,
Passion for knowledge, for vengeance, none could tame.
Known by many names, but none whole true.
Who is he really, the seeker of the fire burning blue?
See? Bloody awful. And my subject is a super cool character. It can’t be helped. Have no fear, if there’s poetry in our novels, I’ll leave it to Keith to write it. I’m better at things like evil spirits and torture scenes.
“Think of a word. Search it on Google Images. Write something inspired by the 7th image.”
She could hear the drone hovering, not that far overhead, so she knew the cameras were watching. Why had she agreed to this? Sure, if they won it would pay for the wedding, the honeymoon, hell, the everything, but she’d watched The Challenge before. She knew she was in for this at some point in the game. She looked up the rock face again, taking a long slow breath. Her cheeks felt cold. She wondered if the cameras could see just how pale and sweaty she was. If they could, it would certainly be part of the clips tonight. Revealing a weakness to her competitors was not an idea that she relished. She glanced at Drew. He was calmly laying out and inspecting the climbing equipment that had arrived with the Challenge Envelope this morning. Right now she envied his military experience and wondered if he felt as unbothered as he looked. He felt her eyes on him and looked up, eyebrows climbing just a little to express his concern, but keeping the cocky smile that had quickly made their team a fan favorite.
“You okay, Reggie?”
She swallowed hard, nodded, and then smiled back. “Yeah. Million bucks, right?
“Right.” He gave her that look, the one that said if these rocks were made of rusty nails, he’d carry her up them if she needed him to, but also told her that he knew she didn’t.
They spent a few minutes dealing with the daunting equipment. Reg didn’t even know what half of it was called, although he’d coached her as much as he could during their approach. They knew they had the lead, but it wasn’t by a lot. Screwing around or stalling could cost them their place in the top three. No way was she going to let that happen. They’d been through too much already in this game. And she’d asked him to do this. He was sort of shy, definitely not one for cameras or performing, but had reluctantly agreed, knowing that the money could give them the start they both wanted. Everything was ready. The cameras were close now, stirring the dust behind them. As they always did before starting one of the Challenges, they put their arms around each other and kissed. It was for the cameras in a way, but it was still a good kiss, and gave them just enough privacy to check in.
Putting his mouth right next to her ear, Drew whispered, “Can you really do this?”
She nodded, just a little, and whispered back, “”Course I can. This is all us.”
He pulled away grinning and started up the rock face with the practiced ease of an experienced climber, his weekends of recreational search and rescue paying off in his rapid ascent. After a few minutes the expected rope dropped down from the first good ledge. She took a minute to go over everything he’d said this morning, determined to be at the top celebrating the second to last challenge before anyone else finished the approach. Drew knew even open stairs made Reggie nearly panic and had offered to back out as soon as he’d opened the envelope in their hotel room. She’d just said he was a climber and she knew he’d get her through it. She’d talked him threw the underground tunnels last week; almost certain he was going to call an end to things at any minute in the oppressive, cramped, sweaty, dark. She owed him this. He said he’d coach her through the handholds, tell her when she had a good foothold so she didn’t ever have to look down. “Just keep your eyes on me, on your hands. I’d never let you fall.”
That one sentence summed both of them up really. Remembering gave her what she needed to get her feet moving.
Reggie stepped up to the rock face, clipping in just like he’d showed her this morning, checking the connection. Her mouth was dry, but she managed, “On belay?”
She thought she sounded all right, a little shaky maybe, but the wind had picked up a little, so maybe the cameras had missed it. After he rechecked everything, Drew called down, “Belay on!”
One last deep breath. She felt a lot more confident than she expected. This was so in the bag. Acrophobia be damned. “Climbing!”
She could hear him grinning as he called down to her, knowing the cameras were pulling in tight on his dimpled smile. His ‘I love you’ was implicit in his voice, “Climb on!”