Writing Excerpts – May 23, 2016

{ Change, A Blind Date, Dinner }


Welcome to Week #16 of my almost-daily writings. This week ended up being mostly fiction, and some of it tended toward genres that I don’t usually even care for. It’s strange where our words take us sometimes. 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.



(Dead leaves – fiction)

A dull rainbow of dead leaves covered the ground. Even though she knew the wind would eventually blow them away if she just left them, she found a rake in the garage, plugged some earbuds into her phone, and got to work. As her muscles warmed (she knew they would be screaming in protest later), she listened to music and felt the repetitive raking motion calm her mind.

When the playlist ended, she looked around at the piles and felt satisfaction. Should she just finish the job and haul the leaves to the compost bin? No, she would leave them for her son to take care of when he got home from school. Heaven knew the kid needed something to do besides watching YouTube.

She thought about how much she loved her quiet life as she put the tools away and went back inside the house. As she closed the door, the house phone started ringing. That was strange. Nobody ever called the house phone these days. Frowning, she picked it up. And her life was no longer quiet.



(Tunnels – fiction)

Nobody really remembered how long they had been living in the tunnels. There were ancient stories about devices that used to hold their history. But if those devices had actually ever existed, they had long since disappeared. Most people she knew believed the stories were a myth, somehow related to the collapse of a former civilization and the beginning of their own. But after so many years, who knew what was real?

(Hmmm… don’t see where this could go. How did they eat? Clothe themselves? I suppose they wouldn’t have to wear clothing. Wouldn’t the first ones who lived in the tunnels have given the task of recording history to the few people who could still read and write full words?)


As he made his way through the forest, carefully stepping over branches and avoiding ankle-twisting stones, he wondered how many tunnels ran beneath his feet. With all of the burrowing creatures around, it seemed like eventually the number of tunnels would cause the ground to collapse in places. Yet he never saw that happen.




What does it take to finally make a change? How far must one be pushed physically or mentally? One of the things I remember most about our first years of paying off debt and listening to Dave Ramsey on the radio is him saying, “Most people won’t change until the pain of where they are exceeds the pain of change.” And it is so, so true! We can ignore (endure?) an uncomfortable situation for years. Maybe we don’t know how to make the change. Maybe we are afraid of what will happen when we change, or when we make a change that affects others. Maybe we get so overwhelmed by the everyday that we cannot even imagine taking on something new, or disrupting our familiar routine.

But then one day, we begin to consider how ridiculously we are existing. We start to realize that the stress of ignoring our money is causing our health and our relationships to decline. We begin to understand that our ever-expanding house packed full of stuff is becoming a burden of taxes and cleaning. We look in the fridge full of restaurant take-out leftovers and wonder when the last time was that we ate a home-cooked meal.

While some life changes are inevitable, there are some that we must consciously choose to make. And then we must create a plan and follow through.



(A blind date – fiction)

What was she doing? As she took a last look in the mirror, she asked herself why in the world she had ever agreed to go on a blind date. Why, why, why? They hadn’t even spoken on the phone or exchanged emails, so this was about as blind as it got. Her friends were over-the-moon excited that she had finally said yes, but she was feeling like she had lost her mind. Twenty-somethings got fixed up, not women in their 40’s.

She tried calling her best friend to cancel, but it went to voicemail after a few rings. So that’s how it was going to be, no help from her friends. She was on her own, back in the dating world. She felt like an idiot, but she was far too polite to stand the guy up, so she got into her car and drove to the restaurant where it had been arranged for them to meet. Suddenly, she wasn’t mad, but she realized she was crazy-nervous. She had a difficult enough time talking to people she had known forever, how was she supposed to make conversation with a potential romantic interest.

Part of the problem was that she really only knew how to make friends with men. She was really good at that. She had always worked with mostly men, and found they were so much easier to talk to than women. So maybe she should just go into this thinking that she could make a new friend? No. She needed to remember what it was like to make man-woman talk, not just buddy-to-buddy talk. She sighed. What had she talked about with her husband? Nothing really, which was the main reason the divorce had gone so quickly. Neither one of them had cared enough to make a fuss. Still, they had been married for 15 years, and then she had been happily on her own for the past three years. She wasn’t sure she was ready to even think about trying to make a life together with a new man.

Yikes, was she ever getting ahead of herself! Who knew if she would even like this guy?



(Dinner – fiction)

The table was set for dinner, but nobody would ever sit down to eat. In another home, the television had been left on, but it went silent as the electricity stopped flowing. The thriving small town had been abandoned, so quickly that the smell of burning food was just beginning to drift through the air. Eventually, homes would catch fire from gas stoves left burning, but nobody would be there to see it. Even the battery-run cameras and alarms that had been connected to wi-fi were useless. There was no wi-fi now, at least not in this area. People who were still driving away from the town were desperately checking their phones for a signal, but so far nothing. It had only been an hour since the emergency sirens and alerts were sounded, but some were already 70 miles down the road and had yet to meet another vehicle.

The other towns around them were also completely empty. No matter what direction people drove, there was no one else to talk with, to discuss the craziness of the past hour.

Some began to wonder why they had met no cars coming the other way? Where, exactly, had the people from the other towns gone? Had they received instructions about which direction to drive, where to meet? Why hadn’t the residents of their own town?

Or – some were afraid to even think it – was no one else left? It seemed inconceivable, but were they the only ones to survive? And what was it that they had survived? They began to realize they may never see most of their friends again. With no communication, they would have no way of knowing where they were. Should they return, go back home? Was it any better here? How would they get gas to continue driving? With no electricity, the gas pumps wouldn’t work.


Are you a writer? Do you ever write anything that surprises you?



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2 thoughts on “Writing Excerpts – May 23, 2016”

    1. Kathleen, thank you so much for your kind words. Now that I’m getting a collection of fiction starts, I’m considering cutting back on the daily writings and focusing on writing more for the existing stories.

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