Tag Archives: NaNoWriMo

50, 264 words in 21 days*

Best prose of the month?
Written in the final 2 hours of the last writing day.

(*50, 062 according to the official NaNo robot counter)

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“Are they still shouting at each other?”

Caitlin glanced back, and shrugged. “Well, she hasn’t thrown him overboard yet. What in god’s name is Troy doing?”

“Whatever it is, something this big, I don’t imagine there’s much damage he can do.”

“Even if it involves matches?”

“Ow!” Feid put his hand to his cheek, and the world came back into focus. He was sitting on the wooden deck, legs splayed, Caitlin half-kneeling in front of him.

“Sorry.” She eased back, and sat down next to him, cross-legged. “It always works in the movies, and you looked like you were about to go critical.”

“The Prof was telling the truth, ” Caitlin said. “Seems he’s only mad north by north-west. When the wind is southerly, he knows a rebel from a bounty hunter.”

“Think a horse crossed with a whale, and a temperamental one at that, ” the Professor piped up, at his elbow.

Feid looked down, and saw that the small man was grinning from ear to ear, eyes squinted almost shut, nose into the still air.

“Fine day, fine day. Too bad it wants to kill us.”

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“You’re one of them, aren’t you? From… up there. What are you doing here? Walking the dirt amongst the likes of us?”

The stranger frowned, and brought his arms around again to hug his chest, as if trying to stay warm, though the day was warm enough already. “Why do you say that?”

“Your eyes, ” the woodcutter said. “Like two bits of sky. Not like we have now, neither. The part of the sky that’s well beyond the clouds – where the dark creeps in, and the stars reach out.”

The stranger smiled, a weak, pale smile, but there seemed to be real amusement in it. “And they said there were no poets down here.”

The woodcutter grunted. “There ain’t. I won’t ask your name – and I won’t give you mine – but I’ll leave my axe by the wall there, so long as you don’t go blazing up again. I got work to do, and falling asleep ain’t on my agenda just now.”

The stranger nodded. “Fair enough.”

“Right then.” The woodcutter brushed his hands together, to loose the last of the sawdust from his palms. “Feel up to a cuppa tea?”

(10:40 p.m., 16, 748 words / Words written today: 3, 430)

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“Do excuse the rude people, ” the Professor crooned to the fish, holding it close enough that his beard whiskers brushed against its scales. “They are but cogs and pawns and the whistling wind, and know not what they do.” He kissed the fish’s snout – drawing a hiss of disgust from Jil and an exclamation of “Dude! That is just nasty!” from Troy – and purred, “There my lovely, wake and sing for us, there’s a good girl.”

Caitlin’s sight was temporarily obscured as both Feid and Troy threw themselves in front of her, arms held wide, feet planted as firmly as they could manage, given that the wooden planks were still vibrating, as if announcing an oncoming train. In the heat of the moment, Caitlin couldn’t decide whether to be amused, or profoundly annoyed.

“What if it comes from behind us?” she yelled, as another thunder-roll shook the walls.

What remained of the ceiling lay in pieces around them, slabs of drywall jutting at odd angles amidst clouds of settling white dust and broken roof timbers. The Professor sat in the middle of a pile of rubble with a stunned look on his face, still holding one delicate, intact teacup. It steamed faintly.

Average Rating: 4.7 out of 5 based on 170 user reviews.

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Before she could fly down the steps, a vice closed on her arm, tight as a blood pressure cuff, but hot, and hard, and sharp, like metal pulled from the fire while it was still dreaming of becoming a knife.

“Oh, shut up, it’ll heal. In approximately…” Jil held up her own arm, which was completely devoid of a watch, “…now.”

“If we’re not really standing on a mountain in the snow, why are my feet cold?”

“You should know, you’re the psychology expert.”

“I’m only third year. We haven’t covered trans-dimensional astral travel yet.”

“Hunter, ” the Professor said, pointing to Jil, “…gatherer.” Pointing to each of them in turn. “She collects people. For a fee. Someone wants you. Oh, yes.” He grinned suddenly, a surprisingly bright, white, even smile. Odd – Caitlin would not have thought a badger would have such perfect teeth.

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An old one for today, but it seemed appropriate.

where to find poetry

written on posts, on rails and stairs
written in chalk, on walls and sidewalks
in old bricked up alleyways
on boarded up windows
written on napkins, on old cardboard boxes
in the margins of fliers
on hat brims and T-shirts
drawn on sneakers, casts and mirrors
written in lipstick and magic marker
in crayon and finger-paint
written in wet sand, in mud and fresh clay
written with sticks, fingers and toes
written with pen knives, etched with keys
and dried out pen nibs
written on skin, in henna and ink
written on fabric, with wax on silk
carved into stone, wood and bone
written with beet juice, vegetable dye,
spilled coffee, melted chocolate
written on fogged up windows
on dusty furniture, and dirty car doors
written with pebbles, twigs and leaves
written in whipped cream and mashed potatoes
stamped into freshly fallen snow
written with sparklers, words on the air
written on fingernails, with nail polish and Sharpies,
white-out and paint
written anywhere, everywhere,
with everything & anything
words covering the world

permanent or ephemeral,
rain washed, tide erased
or measuring out centuries
this is how we say,
“we were here”

– T.H. (Blue book, Aug. ’09)

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A girl called Transient

Once she wanted
a yellow bike, with streamers
on the handlebars, and white tires;

Once she knew
how to change the bike chain,
and patch the leaks
She had a tool kit in her basket:
allen keys, patches, glue,
compact pump, WD-40, band-aids
an old water bottle
that smelled of plastic and time;

Once she wanted
to be a dancer, not
on the stage, but wild,
pirouetting through forests
and waterfalls, charming
the birds from the trees;
A time when logic was flexible
and the laws of physics
were mere suggestions
and the only key to not falling
was forgetting to hit the ground.

– T.H. (Patchwork Journal, 07.25.11)

Average Rating: 4.8 out of 5 based on 282 user reviews.

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Pieces II

Where did these scraps come from?
An old dress, torn to pieces
an old shirt, abandoned to rags
doomed to a dusty corner
relegated to cleaning up spills
cast by an ordinary life
rescued at the last moment
thrown in with other
misfits and malcontents
awakening in a factory
or some small village
sweltering the the dog days
of monsoon season
nimble fingers picking pieces
seemingly at random
sewing them together
with hand-me-down thread
ends and seconds,
bargain bin leftovers
paper pressed wet onto screens
left to dry in the sun
I can still smell it:
nothing at all like living trees
Later, sold to strangers
at overinflated prices
waiting for a poet to give them
new memories, a borrowed soul,
an illusion, perhaps
of purpose

– T.H. (Patchwork Journal)

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I’m only sort of back, will be back properly in November.  This is likely the last year I’ll be doing the November challenge for a long while (never say never, but…), so I’m going to make the most of it.  We’ve got a great connection with the local library this year, which is something I’ve been trying to wrangle for the last 3 years.  Now that we have that, I feel I can gracefully step aside once Nov. 30th rolls around.  The plan is for this winter to be all about getting my foot in the ring – sending my stuff out into the world, editing the heck out of Fractal Theory (which is *really* close to being finished; and WILL be by the end of this month, come hell or high water), and tying up a lot of loose ends (darned annoying, all this grown-up house-owner stuff that keeps insisting it needs dealing with).

Off to feed the cats, and continue digesting a lovely Thanksgiving dinner (mmm, pumpkin pie).

‘Til November 1st (or possibly sooner)
– T.H.

Average Rating: 4.8 out of 5 based on 181 user reviews.

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Mitch lifted a hand to gingerly probe his temples, which were pounding so hard he thought he might be on the verge of having a stroke.  The name in his mind, the one that seemed to belong to him, felt strange, alien, like a tag some zoo-keeper had arbitrarily hung around his neck.  None of the avalanche of images that had flooded into him seemed any more real than a movie flashing on a screen.

“What did you do to me?”

“It’s more what I did through you, ” Eve said.  “I had to reach someone, and it meant breaking down a few doors along the way.  I wouldn’t have done it if I’d had any other choice, believe me.”

Mitch was filled with so many questions, that picking one seemed to take a great effort.  He finally settled on, “What the hell are we doing here?”

Eve tucked the filthy scrap of cloth into her jacket pocket, and rocked back on her heels.  “I haven’t quite worked that out yet.  What I do know is, that I was stupid enough to drag my cousin into all this, and if anything’s happened to him…  He’s just a kid, and he’s out there somewhere.  I don’t know if they’ve taken him, or what they might have done if they did.  All I know is, I have to find him, and get him back home in one piece, or my mom and Francine are going to kill me.  And I wouldn’t blame them.  Oh, and by the way…”  Her head lifted, and her body went very still.  Then she slowly reached down, and picked up the long metal pipe.  “I think there’s something else down here with us.”

Average Rating: 4.9 out of 5 based on 196 user reviews.

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