Writing Wednesday: “An Electrifying Feel”

A photograph of a misty cityscape.

A ray of light glitters on the skyscraper
and blinds me on my way down the stairs,
past the sleeping neighbours in my apartment building—
past the doorman—a woman—who nods to me silently,
acknowledging the headphones and wry smile
glittering on my face.

A thick mist blinds taxi drivers for a few blocks,
white and grey on the concrete world,
and sits and rests from its time in the sky
gathering droplets to cover this city on some night
or some day or afternoon
when the cluster of moisture ascends back home.
My walk down the street fills me with tension
but no fear. The haze around me is a repeat
of the moments my eyes and ears opened this morning
to the honking and faded taxi cab on the curb.

My clunky, comfortable boots smack the concrete,
like kneading it for baking, like turning the molecules
from liquid and paste to elastic crumb.
Dirt lines the sidewalk, dry as sand, and sifts under my heels.
these combat boots are not for battle–just for fashion,
and the pounding menace to delight every step
on my way to an okay job that keeps my mind off
who made all these molecules and why.

My cousin waves quickly at me through the bakery window
down the street from my open-concept office
her face and hands covered in almond flour.
She and her celiac disease founded “G-F-Delish”
and though the wheat dominating the world does not hurt me,
her cakes and pies and cookies are divine. I return her wave
and cross the gratefully empty intersection, Work looming
high above, the sky reflecting in the windows.

The office has a single floor in this building
like all the other businesses above and below us.
My job title boasts Senior Information Technician
on my business cards and resume,
but amongst the simple network setup, the modem, the router,
the dongles on desktops without wireless adaptors,
I am the Data Analyst and Bookkeeper for
this beloved startup, in the heart of a beloved city.
At my desk, my computer, my software,
I alter, needlessly, the lines and borders
above and below the numerical statistics on my screen.

The founder works a second job, building this new company
on the side. She is kind and assertive. She hired me on conditions,
not demands or requirements or experience,
out of the pity and knowledge that I couldn’t make rent.
A year into the job and we have grown,
and our finances improved, with the charts in this program,
the numbers from my keyboard, and the co-workers
quietly sipping coffee or tea or water at their desks.
These women around me, with their myriad shoes,
blazers and cardigans, humble their prowess,
and continually build us up—build the business—
build the world.

We are small, like bacteria in the gut regulating acidity,
and we are mighty enough for ourselves,
for the paychecks and satisfaction;
for the clients and customers here and around;
for the clattering of keyboards;
for the joy of production.

Writing Wednesday: Writing Prompts

A close-up of a notebook and fountain pen with faded writing.

I absolutely love writing prompts when I’m trying to go through a writing exercise. Often, freewriting—just starting from nothing and going at the words—leaves me blank. I like to have a jumping point for my writing.

Now, I’m a poet and a prose writer, but I remembered an event I went to where the mediating author gave us prompts based on our own experiences. So I figured I’d include some journaling prompts for any of you personal writers! You can, of course, adapt any of the prompts for any form of writing you see fit. And don’t feel confined to the guidelines. Writing prompts exist to inspire you, so take what works and leave what doesn’t.

Prose
  1. Write a short story from beyond the grave.
  2. Challenge yourself to a flash fiction under 500 words.
  3. Get three sentences from three different books, and use them to create a story with the theme of “exile.”
  4. Write a flash fiction without using one of the following letters: S, R, N, or T. Your optional theme is “distance.”

Poetry
  1. Using sonnet rhyme scheme (English or Petrarchan—your choice), write a poem about a blind date.
  2. How many synonyms can you think of for one of the following words? Use them in a poem addressing the notion of “paradox.”
    • Path
    • Write
    • Turn as a verb
    • Turn as a noun
  3. Write two connected poems: one celebrates something and the other inquires about it.
  4. Write a concrete/image poem (one that has a shape) that contradicts the content.

Journalling and Personal Creative Non-fiction
  1. Think of your earliest memory—and then add a butterfly to it.
  2. Create an onomatopoeia for something a family member or friend does. Write about that activity or action.
  3. Think of something that stands out in your memory that is red, yellow, or blue. Describe it, only naming it once.
  4. Write about the first time you saw something sublime in nature—the ocean, a mountain, a canyon, a waterfall… What was it like?

Feel free to leave any prompts, or your feedback, in the comments!

Writing Wednesday: October Goals

For this week’s Writing Wednesday, I’m sharing goals for the upcoming month instead of posting some of my creative writing. I figure it’s time I get a bit more transparent and permanent with what I want to achieve. Call it accountability, if you want; I’m calling it a reminder.

I love October. It’s my favourite month of the year. I love the way it’s written, the linguistics of the word, the change of season, my birthday in the first week, Thanksgiving in the second week (#Canadian, don’t forget), the chance of frost in the third week, and Halloween in the fourth week. It isn’t a December mess with Christmas and New Year’s fighting for a week.

So it’s only natural my biggest goal is a terrifying one. I have to counterbalance the wondrous ambience of this month, aye?

Word Goal 1: 70,000 by October 7

I have to reach 60,000 by September 30, and then I can do the 10K in the first week of October. I’m behind on my word count (and scene completion) goals right now, but I have a good feeling about this weekend and my writing.

Word Goal 2: 80,000 by October 15

The deadline for this goal falls near the end of a week-long break from university classes, so I’m confident I can achieve this one.

Big Goal: Finish this draft of THE PILGRIMAGE

I want to have this done by November 1. That deadline might cause some trouble, since it’ll come very quickly. I write by scene and have yet to complete approximately half of the story. I don’t know how word counts will reflect the completed scenes, so I can’t set a word count goal. My original goal for this story was 70,000, but once I reached 35,000, I knew that was too low. We’ll see how this goes!

I have pinpointed 4 struggles.

  1. The keyboard for my desktop finally wore out under my 110WPM fury. I am stuck with my laptop and its terrible keys that are much too slow for my fingers. I’ll be replacing the keyboard in the second week of October when I’m back up north with my family and have access to decent electronics shops. Until then, however, I’m left with this aged machine.
  2. It’s midterm season for university. My time management skills have improved, so the second and third weeks of October will be a test of those skills. Luckily, I don’t have many tests this semester, which means I won’t have to stressfully study as much.
  3. I’m trying to maintain relatively good grades and progress with readings in my courses. A lot of my time is spent reading and re-reading material for class, and I read unfortunately slowly.
  4. I want to participate in NaNoWriMo this year, but I also want to edit THE PILGRIMAGE during November. I’ll see if I can balance writing something for the heck of it and editing something I take seriously. There’s no shame in giving up one. (I’d be giving up NaNoWriMo, as is my tradition.)

I’m going to do what I can: manage my time carefully, remember to look after myself and my Self, and wake up earlier. I can function more easily by waking up earlier instead of staying up late. (The quiet mornings also give me a good space in which to meditate and do yoga.)

I’m shocked at my own motivation, to be completely honest. I won’t question it. I’m going to embrace the fiery in my ribcage and get this story told.

What are your writing goals for October?

Writing Wednesday: “Plane of a Face”

the rhetorical roller coaster throws me for a hypotenuse and I fall

straight edge straight down straight across straight up

a corner…

a tunnel…

a freedom and an insurmountable height, straight ↑

what’s your angle?

turn my face into a light bulb, an onion bulb, a tulip bulb, a bulbous mass of

cells and cellophane

wrapped in sharps, shape edges

a package a packet a pamphlet a parcel

mould me in rectangular, angular, ruler lines

a compass curve — an abyss’s swerve

turn my triangles upside ↓

Writing Wednesday: Depression

1. A balloon

In a bundle of carnival balloons held by a clown’s hand, I am the one floating near the clown’s head. I do not soar. I do not reach and inspire. I bob along.

Perhaps I am a pleasant colour to one child. They ick me, but by the time their parents place them asleep in the car seat, I’m gone. I slipped away at some point and became forgotten; lost; away. I do not drift to the sky. I skid into a dark place and deflate.

2. A rock in a river

Once, I was large and imposing. I splashed down into the world, into a creek, and let the water crash around me. I enjoyed the view and the rush.

But now the water is poison and strong. I am whittled away to a stone, a pebble, a grain of sand, until I disappear into microscopic debris. I am sent elsewhere and might well have not existed in the first place.

3. A blanket

Somehow, I am a barrier. I lie between the real world and the comfortable world. I want to be in both places, but can’t be in them together: I must decide. So often, I return to the comfortable world. The one without light, without movement, without action. A suffocation and one that needs no effort.

There is no production. There is no development. There is only easy, comfortable, decaying stasis.

Writing Wednesday Analogies For Depression 24

Writing Wednesday: Predictive Text Poem

Yeah I’m sure the best price

online for a few weeks of my own

and a bit more than a year

or more than a year.

I am not a problem with the following:

models and battery life performance

after one of our refurbished Cisco

available to buy and sell used or new

on a map and I.

I am a the the

same time of the most I don’t have to feel for a bit

like to be a good day out out

for the next couple of years.

Writing Wednesday: Miscellany

A small compilation of words I’ve scribbled and typed in random places.

En route to Toronto

a heron lords over

a pond of ducks

acres of undeveloped

wild land, still young,

likely extinct farmlands

overtaken by wildflowers and grasses

trees like teens

not solid enough to

hod their stand

against Mother

gone in a train ride

 

the greeting of car horns

prompted only by your presence

a wailing hello

or an acerbic good afternoon

Bedding

She inspected the corners of the mattress while he stood in the doorway. “Some people make their beds because it looks neat or shows discipline,” she said.

He nodded his head.

“But I make my bed so it’s perfect to dive into at the end of the day. Like fresh snow, right? There’s an expanse of it, untouched, pure, and you want to make your mark in it—but it needs to be perfect. No dawdling about it.”

She punched the pillow a few more times, then smoothed it out and pulled the cover onto it.

“I don’t toss and turn in a well-made bed.”

In Memoriam

There’s a small shrine or memorial set up fora woman who died on the curve in 1993. It seems forever ago, as if the wooden cross should be faded and worn, but someone tends to that dedication and maintains the white paint.

I wonder when the hell I’m gonna learn how to drive. When I’m gonna pass by, behind the wheel, and feel a pang of guilt for the industrious beast I control–for the fact that someone in my position killed a girl like someone killed my brother.

The county widened this stretch of road, winding through the marsh, because everyone always drive too fast. I watch my father go 60, sometimes 70, when the signs say 40. Something stirs inside me uncomfortably every time we drive through this small, lazy S-shaped road.

Writing Wednesday 01

#WritingWednesday--01. A poem. Succulents. Abusive ex.

 

a grudge I can’t let go of

7 years / seven years
gone to a
South American
whose name I continue to forget.

toxic.
a different kind of
Internet Predator ™
whether he knew / intended / wanted
the title (or not).

I WAS SO SAD & HE GAVE
ME
ATTENTION
until I lived off
the words on the screen
from him ~~~~

and became even sadder
as my existence and
happiness
relied on HIM