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Fond Farewell to the Mystery Box

29 Oct

And a fond farewell to Week 26! One of my all-time favorite treats is pistachio ice cream—enjoy it with me as I celebrate another completed week of the Daily Shorty challenge. The last inspiration I pulled from my mystery box was part of the top of a corroded aerosol can, which got me fixated on the thought of hairspray. I covered three pages with various ideas and story starts related to hairspray—I couldn’t shake the image of it—and finally landed on a story as list using that number again: 7. Many thanks, again, to Jen Hicks. I love saying this: I owe you one!

Working Title: 7 Items
1st Sentence: Ever wonder what’s in my basement?
Favorite Sentence: I love bananas just as they are, so I’m in no danger of buying the Nanna-Mousser.
Word Length: 285

Photo of pistachio nougat ice cream by Flickr user Jules 1/2007.

Mystery Box Day 5!

27 Oct

My week is going faster than usual, even, because I’m doing so much editing. Hoping for a much lighter November. I hand-wrote today’s shorty, which is something I haven’t done in a while. I highly recommend going back and forth between hand-writing and composing on the keyboard. There’s something so sensual about running a pen across the page—I think I access my writing brain a little differently. The photo shows today’s inspiration—a little notion that looks like a button (but isn’t) resting on the paper I used to write the story. The notion is embossed with the figure of a… moth… butterfly… dragonfly? I saw a dragonfly at first, so that’s what inspired my story. Now I’m not so sure, but the story, in any case, is a wrap.

Working Title: Naming
1st Sentence: My given name is Maxine.
Favorite Sentence: Try to ride a breeze, you with your thick hide, your body modeled on a grand scale, modeled for strength, for stature.
Word Length: 295

Mystery Box Day 2!

24 Oct

Inspiration sprang from my box today in the form of two rusty nails, which reminded me of one of the things my mother warned me about when I was a kid. Don’t go out barefoot or you’ll step on a rusty nail and then you’ll get lockjaw! I thought that was a really funny threat until I read a coming of age book set at the turn of the century or thereabouts, when young ladies wore bloomers and dresses and tied their hair back with ribbons, and, according to this book, planned their nuptials at the tender age of 14. The main character’s love—a feisty and loyal young man with raven hair—was thrown from a carriage and cut himself on the wagon wheel. And then died a gruesome, slow-motion death owing to, yes, lockjaw. She held his grotesquely grinning face to her budding breast and sobbed the same tears I silently shed under my bedcovers around 2:00 in the morning with my father’s filched mini-flashlight. How would our heroine ever know love again? Oh. Too, too cruel.

Working Title: Sharp Edges
1st Sentence: For a very long string of days, weeks, months, years, I didn’t care if I might step on a rusty nail because I went outside barefoot, if I should avoid the tall grass because of snakes, if the river was too polluted and mucky for wading, if a boy blocked my way at school—I had plenty of kick in both feet—if a girl didn’t want to be my friend.
Favorite Sentence: I was a little rabbit, twitchy and bright-eyed and hiding a soft underbelly.
Word Length: 1,394

Mystery Box from Jen Hicks!

23 Oct

The lovely and talented Jen Hicks, writer friend and Hunger Mountain colleague, recently sent me a mystery box all the way from her home in St. Paul. She just said, hey, what’s your address, and a few weeks later comes a box with random goodies I can use for story prompts. What a treat! Today’s shorty was inspired by the first thing I fished out of the box, the button pictured very badly here because I wield a camera about as well as I can throw a ball—but get out of my way if I’ve got a Frisbee (just sayin’). The button says “Restore Monkey Island” and has a picture of a banana on it. Love it! The story I don’t love as much because I couldn’t compress my vision enough but it’s got a lot of potential for when I can come back to revise.

Working Title: Our Marge
1st Sentence: I tried to call the meeting to order but everybody was too buzzy to listen.
Favorite Sentence: Davies and his pals had stirred up garbage over Marge’s role in a kerfuffle a few years back, when a Baptist group demanded that a number of books be removed from the city library to protect children from “tax-subsidized filth.”
Word Length: 1,060