#Writober Day 28: Mending the broken places

first ghost

#OctPoWriMo

Today’s OctPoWriMo theme is Mending the broken places. The suggested form, Pantoum, looks interesting.

Mending is only temporary

Pierced, torn, unraveling forms a hole
Reunite them with needle and thread
The fabric can never again be whole
This tear requires a tight zigzag instead

Reunite them with needle and thread
When left too long the gap needs a patch
This tear requires a tight zigzag instead
I’ll have to find thread and fabric to match

When left too long the gap needs a patch
Hours spent mending can’t fight destroyer time
I’ll have to find thread and fabric to match
Wasted effort or recaptured moment sublime

Hours spent mending can’t fight destroyer time
The fabric can never again be whole
Wasted effort or recaptured moment sublime
Pierced, torn, unraveling forms a hole

#Writober4

The image for Day 28 on the Pinterest board shows a ghost I helped make for my friends’ party in New Orleans.

My take: I love how the perspective of the photo makes the ghost look taller than the buildings. How frightening would it be if a specter with glowing red eyes rose up out of your back yard and grew to gigantic heights?

Micro-fiction: Petra knew she had no business messing with Voodoo, but the lady at the shop in the quarter had said burying the gris gris in the garden would change her luck. Her luck had been so bad lately, she had assumed that meant for the better. Cowering under the glare of the red glowing eyes of the rising, giant specter, she knew better than to assume when messing with Voodoo.

Writing Process and Tools

Emotion: Conflicted

Creepy verbs: sluice

Story Cubes Symbols: clock (1:45), padlock, apple, arrow up, pyramid, magic wand, drama masks, key, magnifying glass

Woodland creature: snake

Collective noun: a flourish of blossoms

Horror trope: witches/warlocks

Oblique Strategies: Would anybody want it?

 

Happy Reading and Writing!

#Writober Day 27: How did I get here?

Getting here

#OctPoWriMo

Today’s OctPoWriMo theme is How did I get here? Today was my last prompt for this OctPoWriMo and I wanted to try a new form, so I chose Ottava Rima.

Today’s theme had me pulling out my old philosophy books: Neitzche’s Beyond Good & Evil: Prelude to a Philosophy of the Future, Freud’s Civilization and Its Discontents, and Does the Center Hold?: An Introduction to Western Philosophy.I’m excited to see where this poem takes me.

Getting Here

In a vision of the ideal future
a clear view of an unattainable dream
I couldn’t imagine a complete fracture
or my path veering to such an extreme
I will need to retrain my embouchure
to make a sound that is not sobs or screams
Everything ripped by a force not a choice
The desire didn’t show the cost was my voice

(Note: The framing of the rhyme scheme and syllables helped me narrow my scope approaching this vast topic. Sometimes putting rules and limits on your work can have exciting results.)

#Writober4

The image for Day 27 on the Pinterest board shows a human form backed into a corner.

My take: This image, though a simple human form, is super creepy to me. It makes me think of other dimensions, time not working correctly, not being able to trust my senses. The bare mattress makes me think of torture and abuse. This could be a possession story, a Hell-Raiser type story, something psychological-torturey. It can also fit with the OctPoWriMo theme. How did the character get here?

Micro-fiction: Carl followed Jasper into the abandoned building and up the creaking stairs. He trusted Jasper, but had a sick feeling in his stomach. Jasper led him down a hall of peeling paint. He thought he heard faint scratching in the walls. He felt it on his skin and shivered. They entered a room at the end of the hall. It was empty except for a gray, stained, bare mattress on the floor. Jasper stripped off his clothes and crawled onto the mattress, pressing his squatting form into the corner of the room. Carl was embarrassed, but couldn’t look away. Then it happened. He started jerking, moving so quickly he became a blur. Carl couldn’t see the features of his face anymore. It was as if the moment and the room were bending, shimmering and waving and then . . . he was gone.

Writing Process and Tools

Emotion: Remorse

Creepy verbs: defame, discredit, disgrace, scandalize, scorch

Story Cubes Symbols: world, long shadow, pyramid, arrow (left), padlock, fish, tepee, bridge, clock (10:30)

Woodland creature: bob-cat

Collective Noun: a glorifying of liars

Horror trope: cults

Oblique Strategies: Be dirty

 

Happy Reading and Writing!

#Writober Day 26: What has been unspoken

what lies beneath

#OctPoWriMo

Today’s OctPoWriMo theme is What has been unspoken. The suggested form is Joseph’s Star.

Sitting with anger

ire
vexation
exasperation
the attempt to negate me
animosity
resentment
gall

huff
conniption
disapprobation
bubbling below the surface
infuriating
impatient
stew

sweat
physical
labor will release
a flashlight beam in the dark
let the light shine through
sleep on it
gone

#Writober4

The image for Day 26 on the Pinterest board shows an array of human forms. This Daniel Richter painting has all the creepies: a cloaked figure, a naked person squatting, vultures, a caramel figure covered in candy, a clown.

My take: This looks like a moment after a Halloween party when a group of people are beginning to make some very bad decisions.

Micro-fiction: “Hanna, thanks for giving Tad your cape, but I didn’t realize you didn’t have anything on under it. It’s raining. You’re going to catch your death. What are you doing? You can’t pop a squat right there. I think I saw a port-o-let. . . .Too late I guess. I’m not ready for this to be over. What do you say? Cemetery? We could break into a mausoleum, see if any spirits are about. Or, Chuck’s clown here is looking pretty homicidal. We could go to the woods and scare people heading home. A cemetery with woods? Perfect. Let’s go!”

Writing Process and Tools

Emotion: Eagerness

Creepy verbs: punish, incarcerate, oppress, exile, blacklist, whip, scorn, brand

Story Cubes Symbols: fire, tent, tree, fish, flashlight, turtle, house, arrow (right), magic wand

Woodland creature: porcupine – a family of porcupines, a prickle of porcupines

Collective noun: a quiver of cobras

Horror trope: slasher

Oblique Strategies: Always give yourself credit for having more than personality

 

Happy Reading and Writing!

#Writober Day 23: Parasites

critter

This is my new pet (he may think the same of me). He doesn’t have fur yet (give him a couple weeks), but he does cheer me and fill me with a warm glow every time I see him. He also looks at me with hungry eyes, like a pet, which could soon be a problem. He reminds me of one of the aliens from those Critters movies, so I named him Critter.

#OctPoWriMo

Today’s OctPoWriMo theme is Fur Babies. I really liked Jane Dougherty’s Serpent’s Tail form from yesterday, so I thought I would give it a try. I love my neighbor’s cat who has taken to hanging out with me while I work, but he makes me think of fleas and other parasites. Thus, I changed my theme to parasites.

The Visit

He comes here to clear
appears with vocal demands
lands and begins to scratch
detaching pricks and brambles
ambles off leaving the sticky bits
habits for me to find
behind when least expected
projected reciprocal belief
thief of time and attention
distraction from my desires
tires of me on an untimely whim
grim our time has come to an end
pretend it is worth protecting

 

#Writober4

The image for Day 23 on the Pinterest board shows a simple, but eerie human head.

My take: This image makes me think that something inhuman is doing a poor job of painting on a human face.

Micro-fiction: After discovering youtube, the parasitic worm was sure it could apply a face that would disguise it among the humans.

Writing Process and Tools

Looking for more creepy image prompts? Head over to Danse Macabre for more Halloween writing inspiration.

Emotion: Disgust

Creepy verbs: scorn

Story Cubes Symbols: magic wand, magnifying glass, volcano/eruption, cane, question mark, arrow, apple, parachuting, rainbow

Woodland creature: moth – a whisper of moths, a universe of moths, a flutter of moths

Collective noun: a troubling of goldfish

Horror trope: Vacant motel

Oblique Strategies: Give the game away

 

Happy Reading and Writing!

#Writober Day 22: Broken Pieces

#OctPoWriMo

Today’s OctPoWriMo theme is Broken pieces. The suggested form is Loop Poetry.

Some pieces were too small to find

Destroyed in an instant
instant change from whole  to schism
schism grew to a frightening ruin
ruin came with a clack, clatter, crash!

Shattered into tiny shards
shards hiding from the light
light glistens from sharp secrets
secrets stab surprise slivers

Fractured into tiny fragments
fragments scattered by force
force, so unexpected and unfair
unfair doesn’t matter once it’s done

Find a replacement in time
time for an intermission of sort
sort through the rubble for the salvage
salvage a frail fragment of hope

 

#Writober4

The image for Day 22 on the Pinterest board shows a series of evil thought.

My take: This image makes me think of reincarnation or the idea that evil passes from one person to another through the ages. It could be showing that power is in ideas that are passed from one person to another.

Micro-fiction: Madame Yazima could feel the power surging. After all of these years, she had mastered her connection to her muse and would finally see her destiny clearly. However, the pure knowledge came with a horrible understanding: power corrupts. She could see the many powerful her muse had corrupted before her. They had all met terrible ends. She knew there was no going back; her fate awaited.

Writing Process and Tools

Emotion: defeat

Creepy verbs: terrify, terrorize, haunt, follow, lurk

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

Woodland creature: mole – a company of moles, a labor of moles, a movement of moles

Collective noun: An ohm of electricians

Horror trope: mutants

Oblique Strategies: Once the search is in progress, something will be found

 

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 20: Mountains or Oceans

mountain panorama

#OctPoWriMo

Today’s OctPoWriMo theme is Mountains or Oceans. This was the second prompt I wrote for OctPoWriMo and I chose Haibun for the form.

The call of the seagull

The gull, a dark speck on the white mountain backdrop, reminds me how close I am to the ocean by wing. If I could rise above, I could see it from here, the crashing waves filling the tide pools, rocking the sea stars and hermit crabs, mussels, and barnacles. But I am not a gull and it seams so far away and so long ago.

gasping with wonder
inside a rising falling
turning of the tides

 

sea star attack

#Writober4

The image for Day 20 on the Pinterest board shows a man with small octopi all over his face. He looks scared.

My take: To go with today’s theme, this guy could have just gotten out of the ocean, but I think it’s much more creepy if these little guys fell from the sky, or jumped him, or grew out of pustules on his skin, ew.

Micro-fiction: Perry had an annoying itch. He wasn’t sure, but he thought he had been itchy since the last time he went to the beach about a month ago. He couldn’t help but scratch at the bumps and now he had scabs all over his face, neck, and shoulders. He couldn’t go out. People thought he was on drugs or unclean. Then the first tentacle poked out of a scab on his face. He couldn’t believe it. He watched it wriggle further as if testing the air, or scouting for danger. Then all the scabs burst to life.

Writing Process and Tools

Emotion:  Happiness – this is an interesting contrast to the image. I wonder how this story could be about happiness

Creepy verbs: repulse, gross out, sicken, fill with loathing, turn one’s stomach

Story Cubes Symbols: world, light bulb, shooting star, die, cane, rook, arrow all directions, magnet, magic wand

Woodland creature: raccoon – a gaze of raccoons, a mask of raccoons, a nursery of raccoons

Collective nouns: a handful of palm readers

Horror trope: evil wizards

Oblique Strategies: Humanize something free of error

 

 

Happy Reading and Writing!

#Writober Day 19: Purple

puple luxury

#OctPoWriMo

Today’s OctPoWriMo theme is purple. The suggested form is Villanelle.

I spent the morning pulling out some purple and it turns out purple in my life is related to Mardi Gras and costuming. Purple is feathers and trims and fancy fabrics, costumes and parties, but purple is also mystery and the sky before a coming storm.

A Purple Party

A perceived glow in the dark nightpurple sparkle and feather hue corrected
purple mystery of effervescent veil
a mask of concern or sheer delight

Lights to flavor celebration’s site
traditions perverted through history prevail
posing as royalty at its height

Twirling skirts under bodice tight
satin bows crowd the long string tail
spirit a barely tethered kite

Luxurious shine of velvet rite
a horizon line about to fail
shiny sparkles confusing sight

Tickles of feathers not for flight
winds of change that burden sails
the evening turns inducing fright

The veil lifts with the coming light
A broken heel, torn stocking, faces pale
The night could have been good, it might
The memories dropped along homeward trail

Note: This is not a Villanelle. I think this poem will work nicely as a Villanell, as I think the first and third lines of the first stanza will work nicely to end the other stanzas, and I think I’ll play around with that version later.

purple sparkly but ominous

#Writober4

The image for Day 19 on the Pinterest board is a picture I took of a great Halloween display in New Orleans with digitally choreographed video and music.

My take: This is an obvious haunted house. The house is watching you, like the movie Monster House. But it could also be a take on the “keeping up with the Joneses” kind of story where halloween decoration one-up-manship gets totally out of hand.

Micro-fiction: Jerry had used his life savings to build on his Halloween display each year. Neighbors and tourists alike crowded the sidewalks to see it. He heard that some local leaders were concerned about public safety and traffic issues, so he made sure to donate to re-election bids and attend private dinners. When he heard a local church had made it their cause to protest his display, it hurt his feelings. At first, it bothered him when the people came carrying giant crosses and the preacher opened his over-sized bible and started ranting on in front of his front gate, but then he had an idea. He projected scenes from the Exorcist onto his windows and choreographed his skeletons on his porch to mouth the lines. Everyone thought the preacher was a great addition to the display. Very spooky indeed.

Writing Process and Tools

Celtic Cross Plots: Would yesterday’s plot work for today’s story? Let’s see.
1. Three of coins: Our character is admiring his great creation – perfect! Our character has created an amazing Halloween display.
2. The Hierophant: This gave me the idea that our character comes into conflict with a religious leader.
3. The Knight of coins: He used all his money for the display
4. The Emperor: I could bring in that his father had been his muse. His father had always loved decorating for Halloween. Perhaps he died setting up their family display and that’s what got our character so focused on creating the best Halloween display.
5. The fool: He never keeps building his display bigger and better for the sheer joy of it even though there may be danger.
6. Knight of swords: He has to ride into battle with the religious leader.
7. Four of swords: I’m coming at the story in a moment of rest after being off in battle (the Writer’s Games are over and it’s not yet time for NaNoWriMo, time to just have some fun 😉 ).
8. Ten of swords: People see our character as defeated. He changes his display.
9. King of coins: The religious leader may think he’s fighting for something spiritual, but our character reclaims his earthly realm.
10. The Empress: He wins out by creating a new display that makes the protesters look like they are part of the act.

Looking at yesterday’s read in terms of today’s story provided some useful ideas. I like the conflict with religious protesters. For my longer story, I can add the backstory with the father and the moment when he thinks all is lost before he has the Exorcist idea.

Emotion: love

Creepy verbs: sink, plunge, submerge, dive, wreck, drown

Story Cubes Symbols: building, hand print, clock, alligator, key, padlock, alien, postcard, fish

Woodland creature: elk – a herd of elk, a gang of elk (that puts a funny image in my head – West Side Story with elk, Hell’s Angels of elk)

Collective nouns: a kindle of leverets (baby hares in their first year of life), a babble of linguists

Horror trope: reincarnation

Oblique Strategies: Intentions -nobility of -humility of -credibility of

 

Happy Reading and Writing!

#Writober Day 18: The first time you were disappointed

Eyes for Lies

#OctPoWriMo

Today’s OctPoWriMo theme is The first time you were disappointed.

Life’s disappointments come early

I got too big
too big for the carrier on a hike
too big for the seat on the back of her bike
too big to be carried asleep from the car
too big to play airplane or horsey
or hold hands and swing really far
too big to play tent under sheets on the bed
too big for stories and a kiss on the head
too big to crawl in with them in the night
too big to believe that they were always right
too big to sit in the cart at the store
too big to even hold hands anymore
I got too big

#Writober4

The image for Day 18 on the Pinterest board shows a tall, slim humanoid form leading a small boy into the forest. The boy appears to have a small shovel in his hand, leaving a trail of dirt and leaves behind him.

My take: I zoomed in on the picture this morning and though I like my first impression that the child held a trowel, I now think it’s supposed to be a knife. What I thought was a trail of dirt, I now think was supposed to be blood. This image is much darker than I originally thought. It works for a creepy story either way.

Micro-fiction: The tall man always came when Tommy’s mommy was “sleeping.” Now he could play with the tall man in the special place and never get in trouble again.

Writing Process and Tools

Emotion: Jealousy

Creepy verbs: bind, ensnare, capture, hide, obscure

Story Cubes Symbols: padlock, monster shadow, fountain, parachuting, building, crescent moon, light bulb, balance scales, eye

Woodland creature: bear – a maul of bears, a pack of bears, a sleuth of bears, a sloth of bears. From all of those different collective nouns for bears, you would think there were roaming packs of bears. The only bears I’ve seen in the wild have been alone, or a mother and cubs. One of my neighbors got a picture of a lone black bear in their yard last night.

Collective nouns: a colony of herons, a flight of herons, a hedge of herons, a rookery of herons, a sedge of herons, a siege of herons, a station of herons – like with the bears, A Compendium of Collective Nouns: From an Armory of Aardvarks to a Zeal of Zebras would give the impression that herons hang out in groups, but I see a heron all the time and it doesn’t appear to have any friends. 😉

Horror trope: a dark and stormy night

Oblique Strategies: Don’t break the silence

Celtic Cross Plots:

  1. Three of coins 2. The Hierophant 3. Knight of coins 4. The Emperor 5. The fool 6. Knight of swords 7. Four of swords 8. Ten of swords 9. King of coins 10. The Empress

This plot worked for my story. It helped me flesh out some of my ideas about the image. I could see how the boy’s father and mother fit into the story and how the shadowy, tall figure influenced the boy.

 

Happy Reading and Writing!

#Writober Day 17: Family

bokeh photography experiment with a wide angle attachment on a zoom lens

Galactic Unions photo by Maria L. Berg

#OctPoWriMo

Today’s OctPoWriMo theme is Family and the suggested form is Kyrielle.

Unbreakable Bond

Whether of birth or of choosing
Family supports and they care
Bonds there is no risk of losing
When nothing is left, they are there

There may be strain and confusion
Misunderstandings and anger
Patience will bring a reunion
When nothing is left, they are there

When times are hard, their arms are strong
When dreams achieved, they celebrate
They hold a light when nights are long
When nothing is left, they are there

 

I did some exploring online yesterday and came across this great post: Invented Poetry Forms-The ‘Lewis Carroll’ Square Poem. If you’re looking to try a new form and you like a challenge. I recommend giving it a look.

I also found some great beautiful poems to read by Paul Vincent Cannon over at parrallax.

And don’t forget the great prompts and community of poets at dVerse Poets Pub.

#Writober4

The image for Day 17 on the Pinterest board shows a comic page for Vampira. I looked on Amazon and didn’t find any Vampira comics, but I did find Vampira and Me which looks like a fabulous documentary. Vampira and Me

My take: My favorite type of horror is the horror/comedy. This image makes me think of the schlock side of horror. What kind of character could we write that might be in love with Vampira? S/he may see her as the ideal woman, even want to be her. This electric chair also makes me think of the Addams Family Values movie (to tie this to the theme of family).

Micro-fiction: How could the electricity be on? Fiona and her brother had played in this abandoned building for years. Today, she finally coaxed her bother into the chair with the creepy arm clamps and rusting helmet. There couldn’t be any electricity to that chair, but somehow, there was.

Writing Process and Tools

Over at Go Dog Go Café I found some daily writing prompts for the Halloween season inspired by Monster, She Wrote: The Women Who Pioneered Horror and Speculative Fiction by Lisa Kröger and Melanie R. Andersen. When you need another prompt to get those brain juices sloshing, head over to Christine’s Daily Writing Prompt.

It’s also a great way to find another book for Readers Imbibing Peril!
st.-lucys-home-for-girlsOne of the prompts is St. Lucy’s Home for Girls Raised by Wolves  by Karen Russell. I love this cover. I’ve heard it’s good. I have Vampires in the Lemon Grove: Stories. Maybe I’ll reread some of those stories, at my peril.

If you’re looking for a quick warm up, there are prompts for 5 lines or less poems and stories at Patricia’s Place.

emotion: disbelief

Creepy verbs: attach, bind, affix, link, adhere

Story Cubes Symbols: hand, building, key, keyhole, light bulb, bee, balance scales, eye, magnet

Woodland creature: slug – a cornucopia of slugs

Collective noun: a pandemonium of parrots

Horror trope: genetic experiments

Oblique Strategies: Towards the insignificant

 

Happy Reading and Writing!