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Sounds Last Day!

17 Dec

Creme CaramelCongrats to me for finishing off Week 33! Crème caramel all around! And the best sound of the week served as the day’s story prompt: gargling, selected by the husband from

Working Title: The Test of Time
1st Sentence: So at first it was like the bunny slippers and the way she said “YAY-hoo” when she meant “YAH-hoo” and how she always slid her movie ticket into her left jeans pocket, then every once in while, between popcorn grabs, she’d slip a finger into the pocket to reassure herself that the ticket was still there.
Favorite Sentence: Like you’re supposed to achieve multiple pitches while gargling, like you’re supposed to communicate a range of emotion while gargling, like the main point of gargling is to see how long you can gargle.
Word Length: 517

Photo by Miansarri66.

Sounds Day 6

16 Dec

Horse and SleighThe day’s sound prompt was sleigh bells, selected by the husband at Meditating on the sound took me past Christmas to horses, which inspired the shorty.

Working Title: Ponytalk
1st Sentence: I couldn’t have a pony because, my father said, you can’t eat ponies.
Favorite Sentence: Eventually you get used to the awful images of mustang loaf, chicken-fried hoof, Clydesdale casserole, pickled horse lips.
Word Length: 655

Photo by Engle & Smith 3/2010.

Sounds Day 5

15 Dec

Hands ClappingApplause! I started my day with a round of clapping, chosen by the husband at

Working Title: Bravo
1st Sentence: They say that you will see a light, that it will appear far away, at first, a pinprick that you can’t help but follow, but as you rush toward it, the light glows brighter, it becomes a sunburst, and it is the light, the light, that you become.
Favorite Sentence: There was something about the way she read it from her list in the morning, once everyone was seated, once Stephen Clough’s sobbing body had been dragged to his desk and draped over the seat where he could more tidily mourn the loss of his mother, again.
Word Length: 622

Photo by Evan-Amos 1/2011.

Sounds Day 4

14 Dec

Cash RegisterThe husband chose the sound of a cash register from to prompt the day’s shorty. I went literal and got an idea I like, but it was tough to execute. I have hope this one will come alive with revision.

Working Title: Cashier
1st Sentence: Here comes somebody’s granny, a little snap-bean buttoned up in a coat much too warm for the season and topped with a red knit cap, sporting it like a sundae with a fat cherry on top.
Favorite Sentence: She had a huge head festooned with spiky ribbons in her thin brown hair, ribbons that shone no more than her intense, ink-black eyes, eyes that you wouldn’t want to see under a street lamp on a dark night, eyes you wouldn’t want following your unprotected back, eyes that even now wanted to consume Angie whole.
Word Length: 1,328

I wish cash registers still looked like the one in this photo by Kroton 5/2011.

Sounds Day 3

13 Dec

WitchThe sound prompt for the day was boiling water, selected by the husband from Naturally I thought of a witch stirring a brew.

Working Title: Seeking Witch
1st Sentence: Dear Hiring Committee: I write to apply for the position of Assistant Director Witch at Berkitt House.
Favorite Sentence: Enclosed please find three spells I have crafted for a range of needs, from damning individuals who catch our attention by happy accident, to orchestrating grand political feats through the meticulous application of curses designed specially to pull the levers of power.
Word Length: 430

Photo of an illustration by Alexander Sharp from The Goblins’ Christmas by Elizabeth Anderson (1908).

Sounds Day 2

12 Dec

Railroad TrackFor the day’s shorty prompt, my husband chose from the sound of one of those old car horns, the kind that sounds like, “Ayoogah.” Meditating on that led me to the folk song I learned and sang as a child, “I’ve Been Working on the Railroad,” because of the line “Dinah won’t you blow your horn.” That in turn led to another song I loved to sing as a kid, “Polly Wolly Doodle.” I always loved that song because of the image of a grasshopper “pickin’ his teeth with a carpet tack” while sitting on a railroad track. That and the rhyme “LOO-siana” and “Suzy-Anna.” Anyway, that song inspired this story.

Working Title: Polly Wolly Doodle
1st Sentence: My third grade teacher loved to schedule singing time most every day, when she set herself up on a stool with a guitar and led us in various folk songs.
Favorite Sentence: “Okay,” she said, “like a melly-belly-merripoose, then.”
Word Length: 615

Photo by Powerkites 16, 10/2008. I can’t see the grasshopper….

And now: Sounds

11 Dec

Cricket BallI’m writing this on December 18 but per usual, I’m back-dating to match the day I wrote the story I’m documenting in this post. First a word on this ongoing story-a-day challenge: This last week has been the hardest full week so far. I absolutely could not do anything more on this project than just get each day’s story written, and many days that was a close-run thing. But I did it. And I’m building a little energy again for documenting the process. The shorty for December 11 was inspired by the sound of a cricket chirping, which my husband selected from the site The sound reminded me of an unpleasant childhood memory that I spent something like two hours avoiding, because I knew it wouldn’t inspire a good story. So I took notes and tried various brainstormed sentences. I associated from cricket to something else to something else to something else. Nothing would take hold, so I gave in and wrote the memory-story as best I could. I was right, it’s no good.

Working Title: Cricket
1st Sentence: “Don’t kill it,” I said, “he’s not hurting anything. I’m going to take him outside.”
Favorite Sentence: He didn’t know that this mystery, this cool slick surface under his feet, will never be solved.
Word Length: 396

If I knew anything at all about the game cricket, I might have let my mind wander to a story about it. Damn. Photo of cricket ball by Marie-Lan Nguyen, 2005.