Friday, August 28, 2009

Friday's post

I didn't have time on Thursday, but here is today's prompt.

Prompt: The word "saturnine," which means gloomy, sullen, and sluggish, or sardonic and bitter.

I realize a couple of these pieces have been rather dark and gloomy, you could say saturnine (ha ha). I'll try to find a happier prompt next week. And I also realize I haven't named any of these people. It just happened that way. I'm really just freewriting, and I guess I can't think of names while I'm doing that.


The man’s face is stone. Hauling a girl into the cell by her upper arm, he is unaffected by her screams. He releases his icy grip and she falls to the stone floor, sobbing. The door shuts with a screech and a slam. The hint of a bitter smile creases his hard lips as he turns and walks away, the girl’s moans echoing off the walls.

She lies on the ground for a long time, willing herself to get up, but her will isn’t strong enough. Instead, she feels the cold from the floor seeping into her back and chilling her bones. From the grate in the ceiling, light streams down from the sun that had been hidden by cloud. It falls on her face, and she blinks in the brightness, tears in her eyes. It feels warm, and she doesn’t move for fear she will scare away the beautiful light. Then the moment passes as a cloud covers the sun again, and now she is blinking in the dimness.

She finally gets up, but painfully; the bruises on her body are tender, and she winces at the pain in her knees. Pulling herself to a sitting position, she brings her knees to her chest, draws her veil over her head, and huddles for warmth under the patch of light, where she waits. And waits. And waits.

The girl doesn’t move. It is futile to try; this cell seems built to hold her forever. She has stopped shivering from cold and fear; it seems the cell has numbed her body and her mind.

After many days - she never counted them - of waiting in the patch of light, the cell door opens, and she is dragged once again, out into blinding sunlight and heat that could bake a loaf of bread. An instant later, a blindfold is placed over her eyes, but she is too exhausted to be afraid, too parched to cry.

She is hauled, dragged, then carried across the dry ground for an age, and is finally dropped to her knees into a bank of sand. She waits for the shot to come, for the pain and the blood. Will it come from the front or the back? she wonders. It seems a strange thing to wonder at this moment, but she stopped thinking rationally a long time ago.

She waits, seeing nothing, hearing nothing.

Finally, she feels brave enough to peel the blindfold off her eyes. When she can see in the bright sunlight, she is all alone in a vast sea of sand.

Wednesday's prompt

I wrote this on the 26th, but forgot to put it up.

Prompt: write from the point of view of a woman (actually 3, but I ran out of time) from Marmora.

I had to look up Marmora. There's one in Ontario, one in New Jersey, and one in Greece. Greece sounded so much more interesting.


I could hear Papa’s voice on the balcony, loud and booming through the blue-framed windows. From the kitchen, I couldn’t tell what he was saying, but I knew he was telling one of his funny stories – probably one he had told a hundred times already. His voice crescendoed, and then he paused, and it seemed as though the whole house held its breath.

In my mind’s eye, I could see him quietly uttering the next words with a nonchalant wave of his hand the way he always did, as though the punch line was nothing. Suddenly, all the friends and family crowded onto our tiny balcony burst into guffaws, and I smiled.

I placed the last of the hot keftedes and spanakopita triangles onto platters. They steamed and filled the kitchen with the savory scent of mint, paprika, and feta. My mouth watered, and I couldn’t help snatching one of the little meatballs for myself.

I carried the platters out to the balcony, still loud with the sound of laughter and chatter. The warm, salty evening air mingled with the rich spices; it was the smell of every summer I had ever known. One of my uncles stood so I could sit in his chair. I thanked him with a kiss, then popped another meatball in my mouth and settled in to listen to another of Papa’s stories.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

A mid-year's resolution

I want to write fiction very badly, but I've been having a lot of trouble with commitment and ideas. I've expressed before that I think I have writer's ADD. Anyway, I found this site that gives writing prompts, and I'm going to try (repeat, TRY) to use them to write for a few minutes every day, like 500 words or less.

So with this photograph prompt (that came from Flickr's le vent le cri), here is my little piece.

(Keep in mind, it's very rough)

She kicked off her little yellow flats and leaped into the snow, squealing and throwing the little flakes into the air.

“Isn’t it cold?” he asked her.

She turned to him. “The snow?”

“Yes, of course the snow. You’re barefoot.”

She giggled, her cheeks and nose pink by now, her breath coming in little rhythmic puffs of steam. Snowflakes dotted her wild hair like stars, melting and dying only to be replaced by twenty more. Ducking her head and shoulders, she bolted for him, and in shock, he didn’t move, didn’t even take his hands from his pockets. He fell to the cold ground with a thud, and she just laughed.

But instead of laughing along, he kicked and struggled to get free.

“Ow!” he wailed, pushing her off him. He frowned and got up, brushing the snow off his jeans. “You got snow in my shoes.”

He hobbled on one foot while taking off his other shoe and beating the melting slush out of it. She was still sitting, only this time she was glaring at the white field, which was edged by gray spindle trees. It was still and quiet, with no birds tweeting in the trees. The snowflakes were falling harder now. It was hard to tell the difference between the white-gray sky and the white-gray snow. Her toes were pink, and she wiggled them to chase away the cold that had finally numbed them.

He was now standing above her, his hands back in his pockets and his shoulders drawn up tight.

“You used to like playing in the snow with me.”

He didn’t say anything.

With a deep sigh that came from some inner source of regret and sorrow, she heaved herself off the ground. He didn’t extend his hand to help her.

She slipped her cold, wet feet back into the flats, hardly remembering why she had chosen to wear them on such an icky day to begin with. They were pretty, but he hadn’t noticed.

Stuffing her hands in her jacket pockets and mimicking the stiff, hunched-shoulder pose that he was holding, she trudged up the white road. The footsteps they had made on the way down were already nearly invisible, buried by the new flakes that fell fast as she walked away, leaving him standing alone, gazing at the gray spindle trees, and wondering where was the fun in all this cold.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

If it's not one thing, it's another

I'm so frustrated at all these "healthcare plan opponents" who are just inciting fear and spreading rumors. Everything has been blown wildly out of proportion, and people are protesting things that aren't even factual anymore. "It's going to be FASCISM!!! Or SOCIALISM!!! They'll kill old people!!! The government is taking over our lives!!! It's just like 1984!!!!!!"

I want to slap them, tell them to wake up, chill out, take a breather, and look at the facts. You know why? Because I really want this public option insurance. I am a hard-working, college educated, legal American, who doesn't pop out kids to get welfare, who lives within her means, but still can't afford health insurance.

I can't go to the doctor. Not if I need to, not if I want to. Not if I get swine flu this fall, or bronchitis, or even strep throat. Not if I need a prescription. Not even if I can pay with cash! So many clinics won't even let me talk to a doctor without insurance.

It feels like all these protesters are just selfish. If it works for them, it works for everyone else too, right? Maybe I'm totally wrong on this, and maybe I'm the one with all my facts screwed up, but all I know is that the current system is not working for ME.

I wish I could say this somewhere where it would get some attention. I'm afraid the six of you who follow my blog don't have much say in the matter either:(

Maybe I should write my representative in Congress.