#Writober Day 25: At the heart of it

Turns out at the heart of it I found ghosts and love 🙂

#OctPoWriMo

Today’s OctPoWriMo theme is White. The suggested form is Musette.

Blank page

vacant
with potential
wakens

nothing
glaring light blinds
reeling

bleached bare
marks to be made
a flare

Note: I found this poem form more challenging than expected. I like it and think I’ll try some more musettes.

#Writober4

The image for Day 25 on the Pinterest board shows a red, glowing orb structure hanging in a swamp. Someone has traveled far to get to it.

My take: My first thought of this image was that the thing in the swamp had to be alien, but today I’m thinking that it’s more of a mutation, the swamp’s heart.

Micro-fiction: The throbbing became deafening and as I watched in awe the mound lifted from the swamp as if the cypress were a unified body drawing up their roots. There, before me, was a huge heart that glowed red with each beat. I felt that this was an ancient truth that only now wanted to be known.

Writing Process and Tools

How to Write Flash Fiction from Wiki How

Emotion: shame

Creepy verbs: malign, befoul, bespatter, vilify, villainize, revile

Story Cubes Symbols: rook/castle, die (dice), all directions, arrow, cell phone, lamb, fountain, worried smile, book

Woodland creature: skunk

Collective noun: a raffle of turkeys, a rafter of turkeys

Horror trope: werewolf

Oblique Strategies: Is there something missing?

 

Happy Reading and Writing!

#Writober Day 24: Breathing

Today’s theme inspired more bokeh photography. My little skull candle woke up with dragon breath, sang a haunting tune, then did some fire breathing. I find shape bokeh with objects and people challenging, but so rewarding and fun.

#OctPoWriMo

Today’s OctPoWriMo theme is Breathing.

Breathing

The inhale smells like lilacs and gardenia / The exhales are either coffee or beer
In rush memories of lust and longing / Out pour vile words then pangs of guilt
Spirits rise to exhilaration / The fall, time will exact
Hope fills the empty spaces / Which empties the full ego
Each delicate touch renews / and darkness soon replaces
Every smile replenishes / The strength to fight depletes
Opportunities to dance increase / while self-control decreases
Voice to song now automatic / There is nothing left but focus
To act exhausts and rejuvenates / No passion to reject
Give positive word / in exchange for the negative
profit from the cleansing and face the loss
let pleasure be the antidote for pain
Breathe yourself alive

#Writober4

The image for Day 24 on the Pinterest board is a picture I took of my friends’ Halloween decorations.

My take: Dolls can be very creepy, especially the abandoned, the found, the out of place dolls in the world. Symbolic representatives of innocent human life and yet dead-eyed plastic gender-role training tools. These dolls gathering in a festively lit tree bring up so many questions.

Micro-fiction: Myrna sat down at the table in her back yard. She took a sip of her wine, looked up at the tree, and sighed. This was usually the only peaceful moment of her hectic day, but last week she had noticed the first doll. Every day there were more odd, old, filthy and broken dolls in her magnolia. Today’s additions appeared to include conjoined twins. Who would make a doll with two heads? Nothing made sense. She had given up wondering who would sneak into her yard to put dolls in her tree and she didn’t want to get close enough to see how they were attached. She took a deep breath then gulped down her beverage. The leaves rustled and giggled.

Writing Process and Tools

Emotion: Frustration

Creepy verbs: avenge, revenge, deserve, return, balance, serve

Story Cubes Symbols: hand, parachuting, worried smile, alien, bee, pyramid, house, question mark, foot print

Woodland creature: humming bird – a bouquet of hummingbirds, a charm of hummingbirds, a glittering of hummingbirds, a hover of hummingbirds, a shimmer of hummingbirds

Collective noun: a cog of robots

Horror trope: bio-chemical attack

Oblique Strategies: How would you have done it?

 

Happy Reading and Writing!

#Writober Day 21: Screaming into the wind

#OctPoWriMo

Today’s OctPoWriMo theme is Screaming into the wind.

A Voice in the Leaves

air
pushed
blown with
force and speed
I felt them even saw
them in the movement
of the trees’ branches and leaves
listen to them whisper and rustle
they scream their truths in the wind
holding my weight against the storm
debris tossed and twirling
susurrous echo fades
without the
w
i
n
d

 

#Writober4

The image for Day 21 on the Pinterest board shows a small boy with a stick. The boy appears to have abused a large stone monster with horns and command a group of others.

My take: Last year’s Halloween party theme was “strange brood.” There’s something about evil children in films and stories that is so creepy, and this guy looks like the leader of the pack. Did he turn the tables on the monster in his closet and under his bed? Or is he really a monster that has taken human form?

Micro-fiction: Gerald was darkly frustrated. What good was having the command of an army of monsters when they only wanted to scare for fun? He was going to have to trick them into doing his bidding. They would scare his sister to death, one of these days.

Writing Process and Tools

Emotion: Rage

Creepy verbs: offend, befoul, sicken, repulse, foment

Story Cubes Symbols: fish, hand, tree, clock (10:30), alien, flash light, question mark, sheep, book

Woodland creature:hawk – a cast of hawks, a kettle of hawks, a leash of hawks, a molting of hawks, a schizophrenia of hawks, a screw of hawks, a stream of hawks
Again, from all of the collective nouns, one would think hawks hung out in bunches at all times, but every time I see a hawk, he’s hanging out by himself, usually in a dead branch overlooking the freeway.

Collective noun: an ooze of amoebas (I just said, “Nice” out loud to no one).

Horror trope: mutants

Oblique Strategies: What are the sections sections of? Imagine a caterpillar moving

 

 

Happy Reading and Writing!

#Writober Day 16: Father Time

#OctPoWriMo

Today’s OctPoWriMo theme is Father Time and the suggested form is Blitz. I have enjoyed the blitz for in the past and Morgan’s right, it does have a bit of a running out of time, ticking clock feel to it. Let’s see what happens when I put some time into it. 😉

Time To Time

Time keeps on ticking
Time after time
Time in a bottle
Time for a change
Change your ways
Change your tune
Tune up
Tune out
Out of sight
Out of time
Time is precious
Time can tell
Tell a tall tale
Tell me a story
Story book life
Story time
Time enough for . . .
Time for work
Work at what you love
Work force
Force for good
Force for change
Change the channel
Change your mind
Mind over matter
Mind the time
Time keeps on slippin’
Time stood still
Still as a statue
Still doing time
Time flies when you’re . . .
Time crawled
Crawled under a desk
Crawled along with traffic
traffic of humans (how can humans be so horrible to each other?)
traffic stole your morning
morning glory
morning is coffee time
time is what you make it
time moves on without you
you space off
you stare out the window at the day
Day light
Day break
Break through the monotony
Break a habit a day at a time
Time to get to the point
Time marches on
On
Point

 

#Writober4

The image for Day 16 on the Pinterest board is an illustration by Russian artist Anton Semenov. It shows a blind creature with a beak holding onto an ill looking child.

My take: The cloth that I see as binding his eyes, could be a head band. What I took as nostrils could be tiny eyes. Though, at first impression, I took the scissors to be a horrible old medical tool, they could be the tool of a tailor and that changes the narrative of the child from being ill to perhaps being an over-worked apprentice.

Micro-fiction: I don’t remember how I came to be the tailor’s apprentice. Maybe she found me in the rubble when I lost my parents. Now I follow her, walking the grimy, sticky streets until my feet bleed. The smells of death in the thick air cling. When we find them, she shows me the delicate stitches, the careful way to hold the edges together. For now, I tie the knots.

Writing Process and Tools

Read to get inspired: This morning I found this great list to links to flash fiction stories at Lit Hub: 11 Very Short Stories You Must Read Immediately. It’s a good list with links to famous flash pieces. I enjoyed it.

For further reading,Flash Fiction International: Very Short Stories from Around the World is an intriguing collection of stories from around the world. John Dufresne, whose books on writing are always good, wrote FLASH!: Writing the Very Short Story which is full of good examples. I wrote a review of the book a while back.

Today’s emotion: Nostalgia

Creepy verbs: attack, onslaught, outbreak, raid, invasion, intrusion

Story Cubes Symbols: lightning bolt, sheep, fish, key, airplane, monster shadow, thought bubble, bridge, postcard

Woodland creature: rat – a horde of rats, a pack of rats, a rabble of rats, a swarm of rats

Collective nouns: a rumba of rattlesnakes, a lock of hair

Horror trope: zombies

Oblique Strategies: Don’t be afraid of things because they are easy to do

 

Happy Reading and Writing!

#Writober Day 15: Mother May I

under a sheet

#OctPoWriMo

Today’s OctPoWriMo theme is Mother May I. And the poetry form suggested is a Ballad. “Mother May I” makes me think of a domineering, strict mother. Definitely something for a Halloween themed poem.

She Keeps Me Digging

Refrain:
Dig a hole, a deeper hole
Oh, Mother, Mother may I?
This time I doubt the dirt will hide
Your dark deeds though we may try

I dug until my back would break
that first time I split this earth
You hovered over with that shaming sneer
I shrunk in the shadow of your girth

I dug until my blisters split
the second time was harder
I hit some rocks and up one flew
You locked me in the larder

Refrain

I dug with an aching, heavy heart
knowing love’s sweet kiss
I knew the danger, but couldn’t stop
That day you hovered in bliss

The yard is getting lumpy
I find it hard to mow
It’s strange how no one notices
as your violent temper grows

Refrain

My hands are quite arthritic
I can barely hold the handle
But the truth it must come to light
Someday, I’ll hold the candle.

 

#Writober4

We’re just about half done with Writober 2019. Hard to believe. As usual, I have fallen behind, but yesterday I sent in my final story for The Writer’s Games and November’s planner pages are almost done, so this week will be a good time to catch up. How are your stories coming along? I hope you’re having a lot of creepy fun.

The image for Day 15 on the Pinterest board is one of my photographs. It shows a body under a sheet surrounded by evidence markers.

My take:. The story question here is: what happened to make emergency services abandon this site in the middle of processing it and the surrounding seen? Did the monster that killed the person return? Were they all abducted by aliens? Where did everybody go?

Micro-fiction: Detective Lisa Murray bent over the body. She was about to lift the sheet when she shivered with cold. She looked up. The sun still pushed through the trees. She heard a voice. “Excuse me, ma’am. I must ask you to order everyone off my property. Hurry now, please.” A man spoke clearly in her ear, but the closest person was ten feet away. “It’s me, Fred. The dead guy. I want to go to the light but I need all of you to clear the area. Now! There’s deadly gas coming up from underground. Get out of here!”

The detective stood up and ushered people out of the yard. When they were a safe distance away, she tossed a match. Fred had not been wrong. “Thanks Fred,” she said as she watched him burn. No need for forensics. She knew how he died.

Writing Process and Tools

dictionary.com’s word of the day is flagitious adj.

1. shamefully wicked, as persons, actions, or times.
2. heinous or flagrant, as a crime; infamous.
That’s a great word for our story today.
Today’s emotion: loneliness ( the story, or character)

Creepy verbs: belittle, discredit, disparage, blister, roast, squash

Story Cubes Symbols: postcard, arrow (down-left), airplane, magnifying glass, arrow (bow and arrow), shooting star, magnet, drama masks

Woodland creature: cougar

I had some fun with collective nouns yesterday. I have this great book A Compendium of Collective Nouns by Woop Studios. It’s a beautiful book full of lovely graphic art illustrations. Let’s see what it says for cougar. It didn’t have anything specific for cougar, so I went to cats. With a kitty on my legs, I would probably say there’s a comfort of cats (if there were more than one), but if there were a bunch of strays staring through my window, I might say there was a glaring of cats, or if they had recently torn up my couch and curtains, I might say I had a destruction of cats.

Collective nouns are fun. I wrote a couple posts about them if you want to read more. For our story today, I’m going to open to a random page and choose a collective noun.

Collective noun: a hotbed of quilts

Horror trope: ghosts

Oblique Strategies: Reverse

 

 

Happy Reading and Writing!

I hope you’re having a lot of fun with your flash fiction and poetry.

Review: A Compendium Of Collective Nouns

Over the weekend, I went to West Seattle and had brunch with an old friend. After we ate, we walked around the shops. In a home furnishings store, I noticed a beautiful book and had to have it. So I am now the proud owner of: A Compendium Of Collective Nouns

A Compendium of Collective Nouns: From an Armory of Aardvarks to a Zeal of Zebras from Woop Studios.

The collective nouns in this book were researched from The Book of Saint Albans, An Exaltation of Larks: The Ultimate Edition by James Lipton which I talked about in my post Exploring: Collective Nouns, and other historic examples of collective nouns.

A collection of collective nouns is fun for anyone and everyone who enjoys playing with words, and this book is beautiful as well.

A Disguising of Tailors

This is the page I turned to in the store that turned this book from, Oh, I want this, to I’m taking this home with me. As a person who worked many years as a seamstress and tailor, I absolutely love the idea of being part of a Disguising. I’m going to extend that to A disguising of costumers because it’s just perfect. As you can see, the full page graphic designs are also eye-candy.

A Duplicity of Spies

This page is full of fun collective nouns. I especially like:

  • A venom of spiders
  • A duplicity of spies
  • A scurry of squirrels
  • and A galaxy of starfish

I highly recommend treating yourself to a copy of A Compendium of Collective Nouns: From an Armory of Aardvarks to a Zeal of Zebras from Woop Studios.

Also from Woop Studios:

A Raft of Otters: Collective Nouns Flash Cards from A to Z

A Zeal of Zebras: An Alphabet of Collective Nouns

 

How can you use collective nouns in your writing?

Happy Reading and Writing

 

Exploring: Collective Nouns

A Cover of Coots

A Cover of Coots

Yesterday’s writing group was incredibly fun, thanks to Ralph Cornish presenting an exploration of collective nouns. We’re all familiar with at least a few collective nouns that we use in regular speech: a hill of beans, a mountain of debt, a litter of pups. But there are so many more fun and interesting collective nouns. The earliest list dates from around 1450.

For our group writing exercise, Ralph wrote out a selection of collective nouns and let us pick one from a bowl. We then wrote about our selection for 15 minutes. I grabbed A Transparency of Toupees. That made me so happy.

Ralph picked his selections from a fun, beautifully illustrated book, An Exaltation of Larks: The Ultimate Edition by James Lipton. an Exaltation of Larks cover

Mr. Lipton sorts the terms of venery (term for hunting game) into six families:

1. Onomatopoeia – a gaggle of geese, a murmuration of starlings

2. Characteristic – a leap of leopards, a skulk of foxes

3. Appearance – a knot of toads, a parliament of owls

4. Habitat – a shoal of bass, a nest of rabbits

5. Comment – richness of martens, a cowardice of curs

6. Error (resulting from an incorrect transcription by a scribe or printer, faithfully preserved in the corrupted form by consequent compilers) – a school of fish, originally shoal

The book contains more than a thousand terms. Here are some of my favorite:

An ingratitude of children

An untruth of summoners

A rhapsody of blues

A wince of dentists

A business of flies

A smack of jellyfish

A labor of moles

An illusion of painters

A worship of writers

A conjunction of grammarians

A browse of readers

Here’s hoping we all find instance to use colorful terms of venery in our writing.

What’s your favorite collective noun?