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Grab Bag Day 6: Song

16 Sep

When I bought seven songs for my song-prompt week, I actually added an eighth “bonus track.” “Landslide,” by Fleetwood Mac, inspired the day’s shorty.

Working Title: Relationship 1 to 7
1st Sentence: Phase 1. Even your hair.
Favorite Sentence: But here’s what you don’t get: I’m not your mother.
Word Length: 272

Photo of Stevie Nicks at Fantasy Springs Casino, Indio, CA, 2/1/2008 by Chris1345.

Songs Day 7: Goodbye Week 19!

10 Sep

Another week of shorties under my belt! New York style cheesecake is one of my all-time favorite treats and this piece is a BEAUTY, yes? Mmm, congrats to me. Today’s story prompt was the song “Anyway You Want It,” by Journey. Now THAT was a blast from the past. I love the idea for the shorty the song inspired but the promising start wound down to a disappointing finish. Maybe a strong revision will save it.

Working Title: Stick a Fork in It
1st Sentence: She used to have the same trouble in tennis.
Favorite Sentence: She pulled the fork out of her leather bustier and he shivered in anticipation.
Word Length: 1,077

Photo by FASTILY (TALK), July 2010.

Songs Day 6: Amusing Myself

9 Sep

I made FIVE false starts trying to write a shorty in response to the song “Walk of Life” by Dire Straits, one I very much enjoyed way way back in the 1980’s when I was so young and the world was before me… heavy sigh. Sometimes I have to just throw my hands up and write myself a joke story to meet my daily shorty commitment. Next!

Working Title: Sheer Rear
1st Sentence: She called herself “Her Hiney-Heiness” and she loved to say that she’d built her empire on her “royal rump.”
Favorite Sentence: Greta spread her arms wide and stood to deliver her signature goodbye line, “A woman who loves her cheeks lives in peace,” then blew a kiss and slapped her own rear.
Word Length: 722

Photo by Tinou Bao February 2006.

Songs Day 5: Gutting It Out

8 Sep

The day’s shorty was inspired by “Stuck with You” by Huey Lewis & The News. Not one of my favorites from this band (there was a time in my youth when I had a very strong affection for Huey’s chin dimple) but I have a nostalgic appreciation for the melody and easy lyrics. But I had to push hard to come up with a story for this one. Still, with a strong revision, what I finally got might be a keeper.

Working Title: Rubber Band Test
1st Sentence: One last trust-building exercise and we could all go home.
Favorite Sentence: Brenda, on the other hand, had encased her ample, hour-glass figure in a shiny skirt suit, but one that was more Mother of the Bride than Lipsticked Mover and Shaker: puffy shoulders, a frilled peplum around her hips, and that godawful candy pink—she looked like a wedding gift on stilettos.
Word Length: 1,182

Photo by Bill Ebbesen, July 2010.

Songs Day 4: The Tubes!

7 Sep

I knew well the music and some of the lyrics of “She’s a Beauty” by The Tubes just by virtue of being a kid in the 1980’s. I had never actually listened to the song with any attention, so I was surprised to discover that this is not a love song. Ha! Far from it. The shorty it inspired has the same attitude as the song, I think, making this story the first in my week of prompt songs that feels connected in any way to its inspiration.

Working Title: Every Minute
1st Sentence: I said I’d never live in this goddamn town and I meant it.
Favorite Sentence: Not six years later he slid off a bridge in an ice storm and just like that I’m Mrs. Ford Dealership.
Word Length: 334

Photo by Pnicholaspate, August 2011.

Songs Day 3: Ponderous Anthem

6 Sep

Today’s song happens to be one I don’t care for, “Simple Man” by Lynyrd Skynyrd. I find it ironic that the singer belts out these lyrics about how important it is to be a simple man to soaring, anthem-like music, and that over-serious, too sincere framing drives me a little nuts. I was hoping that sense of irony might make it to my story, but no. A sad mother-daughter tale with a not-so-simple man at the heart of it. Meh. Next.

Working Title: Fooling Around
1st Sentence: I never knew my father.
Favorite Sentence: The sun was down completely now but there was a high, bright moon that shone on the water burbling like it came up from a split in the earth.
Word Length: 595

Photo by Andrew King, March 2010.

Songs Day 2: Ogunquit Redux

5 Sep

At Ogunquit again, this time with the husband and a Jacuzzi, for a long weekend in the last blush of summer. As I write, I’m sipping a “mocha choca,” an espresso-blasted hot cocoa prepared lovingly for me by a very nice young woman with an accent I can’t place at the Cafe Amore, one of my favorite places in the village. I’ll remember this when I’m trudging to the gym in thigh-high snow this winter. For now, I drink my buzzy cocoa and post Day 2 of my song stories: Today’s shorty was inspired by one of my all-time favorite singer-songwriters, Tracy Chapman, singing the sad, sweet “Give Me One Reason.” This shorty could not be more different from that song in tone, yet I wrote it while grooving to Tracy on a loop, so go figure.

Working Title: Growing Old Together
1st Sentence: There was a time when their enthusiasm for the same fringe metal bands, when simultaneous swooning at the sight of a banana split, when their mutual hatred for sitcoms crammed with beautiful, over-tanned people living in gigantic New York City apartments… well, when all of that, put together, all of that said LOVE.
Favorite Sentence: So much so that when they discuss the minutia of whatever the fuck they think they believe—you know, when they start talking shit about life cycles and other dimensions and mystical-wistful, wordful casserole—first they start pointing, and then they start getting red in the face.
Word Length: 505

Photo by 2candle at en.wikipedia. CC-BY-SA-2.5,2.0,1.0; Released under the GNU Free Documentation License.

Song Stories!

4 Sep

Today I start a week of shorties inspired by songs. To select my songs I created a Pandora radio station and spent about 20 minutes entering singers and bands I like and giving a thumbs up or thumbs down to songs the site selected for me. Then I saved the station and went on with other things. Last night I went back to the station and wrote down the titles and artists of the first 7 songs Pandora gave me, whether I liked them or not. I bought the songs from iTunes and loaded them onto my iPod. Today I began my series by listening to “Little Bitty Pretty One” by Frankie Lymon & The Teenagers. Because this song is impossible to hear without dancing, I got up and danced like a fool for a good 20 minutes while replaying the song. Then I sat down at my computer, turned the volume down, and continued to replay the song while I wrote.

Working Title: He Swayed
1st Sentence: They met at a sock hop.
Favorite Sentence: She carried two children and worked for Legal Aid while he dipped and swayed through a few classes in archaeology, then did a light be-bop through some good WWII history—Hitler and Stalin, that’s the real shit.
Word Length: 593

Photo by Flickr user “shortiestar3000” June 2006.