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Texture Last Day

5 Nov

Election fever has set in with a vengeance. I’ve done a pretty good job avoiding the news for some time now but the energy of the Big Day is pouring over me, now, and I’m finding it very difficult to focus. No surprise that the day’s shorty is lackluster. It was inspired by my last texture prompt, a small die (as in one of a pair of dice) that the husband handed me this morning. For some reason after pressing my thumb into each side of it I began to tap my fingernails on it. That reminded me of the sound of high heels on a hard floor, so that wound up prompting the story. Yes, I know, a sound, not a texture. What can you do.

Working Title: Phyllis Power
1st Sentence: We always know when Phyllis is on a tear, because we can hear the frantic clip-clopping of those heels from a mile away, like a horse galloping on marble.
Favorite Sentence: She says this frightens her but she doesn’t seem frightened when she talks about the probing.
Word Length: 906

Photo of Egyptian dice (600-800 BC) by Swiss Museum of Games.

Texture Day 6

4 Nov

I put something over four hard hours into this one. I had three starts that refused to grow, so then I just made myself try to blend them. I cut one and made a story out of the other two. Didn’t really work—get comfortable on that hard drive, story # 188—but I always hope the sweat equity counts for something. The texture, today, came from one of those small, air-filled plastic pillow thingies used to cushion shipped goods. I was trying to get a good picture of it when someone came along to make enquiries. Don’t know what Maria thought of it, but holding this thing made me think of tearing into a bag of chips.

Working Title: Snack Time
1st Sentence: When I’m squeezing the plastic bag, fat with air, with both hands, my fingers clawing for purchase, and at the same time pulling the two sides of the bag away from each other, desperate to break that fused seam at the top so I can get at those greasy, crispy, salty, cheese crackers that I can already smell and taste, yes, I do realize that this could end badly.
Favorite Sentence: I’d wake up at 3:00 in the morning, feeling like I was lying in a Jello-ey sling, my butt skimming the floor, the rest of me upslope from that center of gravity.
Word Length: 771

Texture Day 5

3 Nov

Today the husband dropped a Styrofoam ball into my outstretched hands. And in response I wrote a creepy story he much approves—the husband really enjoys creepy—which is only right.

Working Title: Your Words
1st Sentence: The squeak of Styrofoam still makes my heart skip.
Favorite Sentence: For example if I stab my single allotted Styrofoam ball with a pen—one sharp squeak—and then hold up the pen, the ball sitting nicely atop, and announce that I have made a doll, I get a check-mark.
Word Length: 1,052

Photo by Saurahb R. Patil 12/2011.

Texture Day 4

2 Nov

Many years ago—I think I was still in high school—a man in our rural neighborhood plowed under his wife’s strawberry patch as punishment for something they had argued about. She was known for the amazing strawberries she harvested every summer, which might have been the problem—they were deeply religious and he often cited her pride for those berries and other accomplishments (she was an incredible seamstress and a wonderful cook) as regrettable sin she should repent. As even I know, despite two thumbs that will never shade green, it takes many years of devotion to get really sweet, fat berries, so when he destroyed her patch he was destroying years of work and love. I cried when I heard the story, because it struck me as such a cruel, hateful thing to do. The wife, also known for her unbreakable good cheer, replanted and carried on. Back to the present: The texture of the day was a small, soft, squishy puffball. It reminded me of cat fur and so inspired the first sentence of my story.

Working Title: Seven Seasons
1st Sentence: When they came for her she was huddled in the open back door, her old orange tom curled in her lap, purring like a lawnmower.
Favorite Sentence: Ammi dragged a plow through Hester’s strawberry patch—chopping the plants like slaw, turning under the ruined roots and crushed berries, obliterating seven seasons of kneeling in the dirt, seven seasons of sun-spiked sugar, of fatter and fatter fruit.
Word Length: 829

Photo by Brian Prechtel, PD-USGOV-USDA, 5/2003.

Texture Day 3

1 Nov

The husband handed me a piece of a geode this morning (it looks almost exactly like this picture I pulled from the Web), the texture (and inevitably the look) of which inspired one aspect of the protagonist of this gleefully short story. Yesterday the look of my “texture prompt” definitely inspired the story more than the feel of it. Maybe I should do my best to lock onto my story idea while holding my texture prompt with eyes closed, so that it’s more likely I’ll focus on the sense of touch in the inspired story? Or maybe I should just be glad every time I get an idea that develops into a story and not give into the temptation to grade my process. Yeah, that.

Working Title: The Measure of Trish
1st Sentence: You think that a woman who believes in the healing power of crystals, who eats little else but shredded wheat in almond milk, who wears long, black cotton dresses that hide her sandaled feet, making her look as though she doesn’t walk but float, a woman who is as likely to have fresh sage in her pocket as car keys, that woman will never reach across a wobbly, pressed-wood table in the fluorescent-lit break room of your personal corporate nightmare, grab a handful of your hair, and smash your face straight down into a flabby slice of custard pie.
Favorite Sentence: That woman has never in her life resisted the call of cured pig.
Word Length: 291

Photo by Mauro Cateb 1/2011.

Um… 6 months. Yipes.

31 Oct

I am shocked and thrilled that I have written a story every single day for six months straight. And honestly, I’m afraid to say much more than that. Taking this project one day at a time has been crucially important since, oh, I finished May, so I’m not going to change tactics now. As for my virtual celebration treat, is it not exquisite?? I wanted to put up a picture of caramel apples—my all-time favorite Halloween treat—but although I bought the stuff to make them, I wound up devoting that time to watching a couple of Halloween-themed shows the husband and I love. And I couldn’t find a good picture online that I was free to use. So this fabulous caramel apple cheesecake will just have to do. I can’t say I’m disappointed. As for the day’s shorty, it was inspired both by a “page weight” my husband handed me this morning, an object archivists use to hold down the page of a book that shouldn’t be touched by the reader, and by Halloween. The page weight looks and feels like nothing so much as an oddly weighted shoe string, which inspired the first line of the story.

Working Title: Through the Veil
1st Sentence: I don’t see her at first because I’m hunched on the sidewalk, yet again re-tying my shoe.
Favorite Sentence: As I round another corner I see the little ones, today’s little ones, leaving their houses with moms and dads and big sisters, glitzed up in princess outfits and velvety leopard print and big-toed bird suits with gauzy feathers—the people in this neighborhood are a bit too costume-proud if you ask me, but hey, Halloween’s for showing off, I guess.
Word Length: 770

Photo by Flickr user Everett Mar 10/2008.

And now for some texture….

30 Oct

Trying a new set of prompts this week based on texture. I have asked the devoted husband to present me, each morning of this 27th week of my Daily Shorty challenge, with an object that has a notable and uniform texture. Today a rubber eraser, which inspired the first line of my shorty. After the first paragraph, the story went bonkers, in the same way that one of Barthelme’s really goofy, “What on earth is he on about” stories skip across the page just for fun. Not to suggest that my shorty lives in the same house as a Barthelme story. More to say that I thought of him as I wrote it. My story is out on the sidewalk, gazing up at a Barthelme story’s window, blowing kisses.

Working Title: Majick and Me
1st Sentence: His hand was encased in a latex glove, which made it feel fat and dense and rubbery.
Favorite Sentence: Everything is so much more peaceful, in the break room, if I just pretend that yogurt inflames my mucous membranes.
Word Length: 1,194

Photo of Donald Barthelme, courtesy of Special Collections, University of Houston Libraries.