Writing Excerpts – May 16, 2016

{ Fire, (fiction) Alone, Unwritten, Calm }


It seemed like I wrote so much this week, but when I went to pull it together into a post, so much of the writing was just weird random thoughts or tangents. I omitted a lot of it. I guess part of the daily writings is simply to get the mind and fingers working, so even those weird little bits serve their purpose. But still, they’re pretty boring to read. 😉

For this Week #15, I am continuing with the prompt list you can find HERE.

Note: This series of Writing Excerpts was originally inspired by Jeff Goins’ My 500 Words challenge.



I love fire. We heat with a woodstove, so I have a fondness for fire that goes beyond the love of a pretty picture. Over the years I have become a master of “keeping the home fires burning” at our house. I can get a fire going with just a few coals and miscellaneous bit of paper and chunks of bark from the woodbox. Sometimes I think I know more about our woodstove than I do about how my husband’s mind works. 😉

And I have so many memories of campfires. Sitting around the fire, looking up at the stars. You can really only see the stars well as the fire burns down. Burning sticks and swirling them through the air to make shapes and words in the dark. Toasting marshmallows. Cooking hot dogs. Those sandwich pie makers. Smoke in my eyes. Saying “I hate rabbits!” never really worked.

My older son loves bonfires. We have an area in our yard for burning. Right now it’s piled at least 8 feet high, ready for the next time my son’s friends have a free weekend to come over. I think these weekends will become fewer as college and life begins separating them more and more over the coming years. Even when the smoke blows toward the house, I just shut the windows and think about how they are creating memories in a safe place.

What is it about a campfire that brings words out of our mouths that we normally keep to ourselves? Is it some sort of magic? An alchemy of wood, heat, smoke, darkness, and that special light that only a campfire throws off?



(Alone) fiction

She dashed into the bathroom and locked the door, aware that she only had two, maybe three minutes at the most to be alone. Sitting down on the closed toilet seat, she let her head drop back and her eyes close, savoring the relative quiet of a room without ringing telephones, needy children, and cranky adults. Okay, so one adult had smiled at her and said “thank you” this morning, and not in that fake “you’re the best (because you’re doing something for me that I’m perfectly capable of doing myself)” kind of way that she hated.

This place was not her calling. But every time she thought about quitting, the guilt made her stay. Who did she think she was to even consider walking away from a job that paid decently for the area and was fairly close to home? Why should she be so special as to think she deserved to work somewhere else? Besides, there really was nowhere else to go.

Wow, she suddenly realized that she sounded like one of those women who could never seem to walk away from a bad relationship. She knew them, the mothers who showed up to enroll their children in the middle of the year, living with family, adamant that their most recent boyfriend not be allowed to see the children and incredibly vocal about all of the reasons why. Then, a month or two later, they were gone. Records requests would come from their previous school, and you knew the “family” was back together again. And you predicted that the next year, when the mom showed up again, she would probably have another baby with her.

Was her current job like a bad relationship? It’s not like it was life-threatening or dangerous, but it killed her soul just a little bit every day to be working here and go home too exhausted to do anything to refill the places inside her that had been emptied during the day. If she didn’t act soon, she would be just a shell. Maybe she already was and didn’t realize it yet. She looked in the mirror, wondering if her eyes had that empty, defeated look that she saw far too often in others.



(The unwritten)

For some reason, I read this and my mind thinks about Metallica’s “The Unforgiven” — who knows why? It just does. And what’s up with the Metallica references these past few weeks? The other day as I was leaving work, a guy came out of his house and got on his motorcycle. When he started it, Metallica was playing. Reliving my youth much?

But getting back to the original prompt. Unwritten thoughts, unwritten feelings, unwritten ideas, unwritten dreams, unwritten stories. If we don’t write it, can it actually happen? Sure. But if we do write it, is it more likely to happen? If we write scary things, are THEY more likely to happen? Everyone says that a written goal is more likely to be achieved. Yet our fears stay inside our heads. Sometimes we speak them if we are very brave. But writing them… makes them real. Is it ever good to leave something unwritten? Or, as writers, should we record EVERYTHING no matter what? Sure, sometimes we’ll write confessions about how we feel (inadequate, afraid, etc.). But then we try to follow it up with solutions or plans to change, or what we’ve done to overcome whatever the problem is.

I guess that’s why I’ve seen recommendations for writers to keep two journals. One that may eventually be seen, read, discussed, brought to life. And another that is so private, it should basically be burned unread upon one’s death. But once again the question… would writing scary things in the private journal make them more likely to happen? I realize it’s more of a mindset to write the positive things and keep them as visual reminders. But the bad things? Is it possible to write them in order to put them out of our minds? Is that why people write letters and then burn them? Do the thoughts then go away? Become real no longer?

(And as I’m writing this, “The Unforgiven” is playing in my head.)

What if there are alternate universes or planets where all of the fiction books ever written become reality? Their world begins with the story as it was written, and then simply continues. Imagine millions of worlds like that. For books of a series, time might stop, rewind, change to accommodate the next book in the series. Nobody would remember any differently.




What a perfect writing prompt for a Sunday morning!

I appreciate calm, actually I crave it. Calm, quiet, no drama… I think that’s a nice way to live. Ah, but then “nice” can become boring, can’t it? Sometimes a little storm coming through to shake things up helps us to appreciate everything more when it calms again. Of course, I suppose there are people for whom things are never calm. Do they like it that way? Or do they not know how to step away from the chaos?

Is it possible to live a completely full and extremely interesting life and have it be calm at the same time? Probably not, but perhaps it’s possible to balance the interesting times with the calm and quiet times. So how does a calm, quiet, and introverted person go about sparking the beginnings of interesting things in her own life?

Maybe I’m just meant to be calm. And boring. For some reason my interests don’t seem to mesh with anyone IRL. I mean, it’s not like reading is a group activity. 😉 


What are you writing this week? Tell me about it!



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