DWP No. 022

 

PLEASE READ THE FOLLOWING INSTRUCTIONS FOR WEEK FOUR | DAYS ONE & TWO

 

Firstly, thank you to all of you who participated in Writing Practitioners’ very first edition of ADD-ON [001.01.19]. I hope you found it fun and interesting, and I do apologize if this wasn’t really your thing. I enjoyed this writing process so much that I’ve already come up with a new ADD-ON idea for the month of February, so I hope you’ll join us again then!

 

Every month will be broken down into three weeks of themed writing, and then, the last week we’ll finish off with something a bit more challenging with an added opportunity to submit “Make-Up” writings.

 

After an easier writing load last week, to begin WEEK FOUR, we’ll dive into a two-day prompt.

 

Instructions:

  • Please use TWO days to complete 1,000 words of writing.
  • Attempt to submit 500 words on Tuesday (No.022) and 500 words on Wednesday (No.023).
  • You will have until midnight on Thursday to submit your work before the Comments Section closes.

 

WEEK FOUR | DAY ONE of TWO-DAY PROMPT

Use 1,000 words to describe a picture.

p.s. if you need to leave an actual comment about a question you have or whatnot, please use [brackets] to get my attention. this way, I can easily distinguish between your needs as a person versus your submissions as a writer.

11 Comments

  1. It’s the witching hour. As the resident insomniac, I’m doing nightwatch on the late shift. I have a U-lock in my lap, an improvised weapon, as I sit on a camp chair talking to an older woman, her hair gray except for the purple she’s died her bangs. Beside her sits a baseball bat. We’re guarding the back entrance to the camp, Occupy ICE. It’s in an industrial nowhere. Not far away another watch is set up. In my top pocket is a walkie-talkie but there’s some assurance that the other watch is just a shout away. I hate this part of the night. After 2 when the bars close is when the Proud Boys and neo-Nazis will drive through. They’ve already been through twice tonight. So far they’ve pulled guns, but mostly they’ve squealed off, doing a few manly donuts to have us know what’s up after we hit them with spotlights, the bear mace and bats we have at the ready but have yet to use. The blinding light has served us well. The peckerwoods who’ve rolled through are scouts there to scope the place out. If they don’t feel intimidated they’ll bring the numbers and there’s no telling what will go down. So far they don’t know how many we are or what we’re capable of. We want to keep it that way.
    It’s Grandma Dee that notices Maggie has been walking around all night, a blanket over her shoulders.

    “Are you OK, Maggie?” She asks.
    “I can’t sleep,” she says, “I was sleeping in the queer tent, but I’m scared they’re going to go after that tent first.”
    It’s easy to find the Queer Tent because it’s spraypainted on the outside.
    “C’mon, you can sleep in the tent I’ve been using.” I clean all my stuff out of a two-person tent that reeks of feet and make a bed of the padding and sleeping bags that were in there when I got there.
    “I have to leave in the morning, so you should take over this one,” then I give her a big hug, something I’ve never done before, “I’ll be back in a few days.”
    “Lies, Lies,” she mumbles sleepily.
    When I get back to the night watch, my arms full of my own bedding, Seth is talking with Grandma Dee. My arms are full of my own bedding and things. I throw them down angrily, and storm away.

    “Is this pissyness?” I hear her say over my shoulder. I let her think so, rather have her think it’s more camp drama, an immature temper-tantrum, maybe. That I’m so moved by Maggie’s fear, her inability to ask for help right away, that anyone should fear going to sleep in a tent marked queer lest they get jumped in the middle of the night. I can’t have them see that I’m crying. I walk a few yards away and pull myself together. I can’t have Grandma Dee or nightwatch see that I’m crying. Not tonight, not while shit’s real and could pop off at any moment.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. I’ll refrain from comment until I finish this piece tomorrow. In the meantime, is this (defined as free-for-all general fiction) your forte? What is your genre/style preference, if you don’t mind my asking?

      Liked by 1 person

      1. But I think non-fiction/new journalism/creative non-fiction is what I’m best at. I’m not sure it’s what I prefer. I just have the most practice at it.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. The voice of the scene sounded non-fiction, but I couldn’t decide if I thought this scene depicted reality on purpose or for some fiction-type effect after reading your sci-fi specific prompt last week.

        Like

  2. Warm, nearing hot, the sun blasts through the unusually large set of windows that essentially creates the south-facing wall of the tiny attic space. Twinkles of light catch crusted pieces of dust as they are thrust from the place of their death into a new life, swimming through the unknown, toward an unknowable end. The direction of the light rays slice diagonally through the space and shed light solely upon two human figures.

    “What do you mean a picture? Like a picture?” he asks with a small mime as if holding a camera; “Or a picture?” he emphasizes with an attempted mime of arms opening wide over his head and around as if to encapsulate the grandiosity of a thing. “A picture,” a small girl child responds with so much matter-of-fact attitude that he begins to sweat. Rubbing his hands on the tops of his knelt thighs, he stares into the pattern of the antique Persian upon which the two sit—quite uncomfortably, he would explain and rather quite comfortably, according to the girl.

    He thinks some more. “A picture is … It’s … it’s … a picture is like … shit no … not like … that’s not helpful … um … a picture … okay look,” he scoots himself closer to the girl child and adjusts himself into a cross-legged position. She blinks, somewhat taken aback. “What?” he inquires. She blinks again, twice. She whispers a tiny sound to clog the hole from which Silence filled the room, “You were saying?” Gazing upward at the now-plugged hole, his attention returns, “Yes, oh, right. A picture.” He takes in a slow deep breath, “Imagine for me, will you, a scene you remember.” She looks at him, unmoved. “Close your eyes,” he attempts. She stares daggers. Pleading, he nudges her back into a comfortable seated position. “Close your eyes,” he instructs. She complies. “Imagine for me something you’ve seen before in your life. Anything. Remember all of the little details of the scene before you,” he guides. Eyes softly closed, the girl child simply asks, “And now?” He returns to his knees and excitedly rubs his two hands together in front of him, “Okay, now. Tell me. What do you see?”

    A tiny ladybug lands awkwardly on the outer edge of the window frame and peers curiously into the attic, “Ah ha! There she is.” Flustered but energized by the sight of her, the ladybug swirls up and around the window to find an entrance. Near the top of the house where wall becomes roof, the ladybug spots it. Toward the middle of the roof, the lady sees the hole through which Silence attempts to leak into the home. “God bless you, Silence,” the lady whispers as it approaches the hole. “What are you doing here?” Silence asks. “I need to talk to her,” the ladybug responds, and then it adds, “But actually, this is none of your business.” “Well, I can see where I’m not welcome, but I’ll have you know, she’s up to something.” “Yea, obviously,” the ladybug retorts. “Why else would I fucking be here?” “Right, well,” Silence begins, “I’ll see you around.” Ignoring it, the ladybug got to work.

    “I see a tiny red insect flustered and fluttering its way toward me,” she begins. “Where are you?” he urges. “Here, in this attic,” she responds. “Oh, that’s nice. When did this happen?” he continues. “Now,” she answers. He looks around. “The ladybug will be here any moment. I believe there are messages on order,” she quietly explains as she opens her eyes and makes immediate direct contact with his. Suddenly, he hears a silent buzz swoop by his right ear. “There it is now. Hello,” she greets the ladybug as it approaches and lands clumsily atop her left shoulder.

    “Darling,” the ladybug starts, short of breath, hunched over its knees or what could be considered its knees. “Darling, you’re needed. Immediately.” She sighs with a hint of frustration. “No, no, no, don’t be frustrated now,” the ladybug insists. “Can I help?” he intrudes. “Ah!” the ladybug screams. “Who the hell are you?” “Never mind,” she interjects. “I cannot be there if I am stuck here,” she explains calmly to the ladybug. “Ugh! Why do you do this? Sit and pose for some picture? Why? Why!” the ladybug dramatically laments.

    Liked by 2 people

  3. The Mona Lisa is priceless. Such a tired word. And yet it is wordless. It is not my favorite picture or piece of art. I don’t have one. But all my life I have heard about this amazing piece of artwork. The Mona Lisa has been described as an enigma, a teenager, a piece of junk, and so much more. I never understood her or why this picture is so amazing. What did it do for viewers? Why was there so much discussion over what to me was rather a nondescript painting?

    Three years ago I was in Paris. Actually 4 years ago I was in Paris. No, I lied. My first trip to Paris was 5 years ago. I went the following year, then one more year after that. My first time I stayed at a yuck bag hotel that was so small I couldn’t even unpack my mammoth USA All the Way Olympia brand (Made in Seattle!) luggage. After a half day at this joke of a hotel, I happened to remember I had a Rick Steves book on Paris in my bag. I bought it as a joke when I was in Madrid at the only English language bookstore in this great vibrant city. All I knew about the Rick Steves brand was that it was highly commercial, highly detested for how it overran overlooked cities and villages with ugly American tourists, and there was nothing original in their method.

    Wrong. Wrong. And again wrong. After that disgusting hotel that wasn’t so much disgusting as disappointing, I got out the Rick Steves book, power read up on his recommended hotels, found this winner which shall remain nameless for this piece, in the 9th district or arrondisement as the French like to say, close to the Eiffel Tower and super walkable, and promptly fell in love with Paris. That trip, and the other 2 that I took, to Paris, I got around the city by bike.

    Here in Seattle I do not feel safe on a bike. In Paris I was on that bike all day long into dusk. I saw all the usual tourist sites, and I did it all on bike. The roads are well marked for bikes. Traffic knows how to cope with bikes. Heck, I was even able to bike along the Seine on a bike.

    I had been dreaming of the Louvre and, by default, the Mona Lisa, since high school French class. I had taken French since the 7th grade with Richard Crystal. He belonged to the Elks club and my father Valentine Sanford was also an Elk and an accomplished electrical engineer. He was also an immigrant from the USSR and Mr. Crystal would comment to me privately about his immigrant ways- his dirty hands, his mistaken English, as if I could do something about this. I was not Crystal’s star pupil- he had plenty of those. But he liked me and for a shy 9th grader perhaps that was enough.

    Liked by 2 people

  4. All of space and time was covered in a haze of blue. Fog hung heavy over the trees, begging to rest. Countless spires of conifers lined the cascading hills that were forever falling into the bottom of the lake. This place is holy.

    This is where sky and earth and water hold one another, blending bodies and blurring intimacy. The sun holds no weight here, under blanket of grey and chilled fingertips. Everything is imperfect as it was meant to be. The curves of mountains show jagged hip bones and sharp elbows. She is not awake nor is she sleeping, but somehow somewhere in between. There is a silence in the way rain falls and birds chirp and crickets sing when there is no one there to hear it but you.

    Wind rolls over the surface of the lake that shimmers wildly in the fading, white light. The closer you are to the water, the darker it becomes, giving you a glimpse of depth like a person who is too afraid to say it aloud but you know it’s truth anyway. Far off, the shore swells into the mud and the twigs and lost branches, asking them to come home. There is a frantic and subdued urgency in the way the water moves. There are no waves, but soft ripples. It seems as though the hills are resting the weight of their body on top and the lake is desperately trying to not show them how bad it actually hurts.

    Infinity is a place that doesn’t exist anywhere and also exists everywhere. This is infinince. The sky is weightless but dense with itself in its purity, as if trying to kiss the cheek, that soft place just under the eye. Woven through the treebanks, exposing itself as soft and fragile. Resting like fingertips tracing lips. The feeling is in the tenderness; gentle enough to trust but not too afraid to touch. The trees stood like tickled skin in its affection.

    Everything is damp, glistening.

    In the middle of the lake, at the end of the dock, three figures stood with their back to me.

    Liked by 2 people

  5. Perhaps it was that the proffered task itself was more or less a drastic deviation from the workload assignations of prior days past, or rather it was that the letting-loose-of-the-leash was having an altogether not unpredictable uncorking effect on the energistic bottle of pent up, but ultimately blindly flailing, potential that had been swelling and increasing in pressure over the recent week – or, more likely still, perhaps it was the playful truculence (at least I hope it is predominantly playful) and general, immutable sense of background mischief I can never help but to employ that necessarily precipitated my reactive behavior, but whatever the cocktail of motivations may have been, there was certainly no way I wasn’t opening up a juicy thousand word prompt without some sort of bloated 150+ word sentence that would also serve, in no small part, to agitate you, dear reader, as well as substantiate an entirely irrelevant and altogether pointlessly fabricated “foundation of diction”, as I have just so imagined it to be called, and which it will continue to be called in the vacant echo chamber around me, and which arguably holds no literary merit whatsoever. Come to think of it, setting upon the task of describing a picture in a thousand words is arousing from the silt-laden memory pool of my youth the fondest memories of plunging headfirst into timed writing assignments in class and attempting to wrap the whole thing up nicely and neatly (both in content and length) with the most exquisitely crafted of syntactic constructions that masterfully explores the fine details of the issue while simultaneously summing up my personal view regarding the provided prompt with a single sentence, though of course one would be hard pressed to find another who could ever attest to the success of those no-doubt laborious extrusions.

    And another thing (before I dive in, because I don’t want any pushback about “Oh,-it’s-just-a-stalling-tactic” BS or “He’s-just-trying-to-distract-from-the-fact-he-isn’t-ever-going-to-talk-about-a-specific-picture,-he’s-just-gonna-dance-around-it-with-a-little-smoke-and-mirrors-dog-and-pony-vocabulary-distraction” act, because obviously that’s what I’m doing so you can just accept it and shut up your damn mouth about it now) is that all this business is instigated by a brief collection of lines and symbols that indicates to an idea that suggests some sort of relational interplay between written/spoken language and visual images, and that the real “Magic of the Moment”, as it were, in any given individual capable of apprehending the phrase in question, understanding its meaning, and elaborating independently on how said meaning (whatever that happens to be for the individual) impacts and alters their own personal psychological frame of reference, is that such complexity is perceptible at all! That we (we, of course, as in ‘We who loosely and most often awkwardly subscribe to some collections of other one’s like us who may be willing under any varying degree of will or coercion to write) would be so available to subject ourselves mentally, and largely without pay, to what can be, quite honestly, agonizing interpersonal strife in the inner life of the writer, is a mysterious club that perhaps only those who have endured the harrowing halls of self-immolation via written expression will ever hold membership to, regardless of their communicable ability to relate such an experience to another – though humanity is perpetually the better for it, benefitting by extension to no end from the tribulations and unearthings of literary pioneers past.

    Liked by 2 people

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