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Friday, February 17, 2012

What happens when I miss my writing goals

I joined a critique group back over the summer that has some amazing writers and meets once a week. It has been great for me because I have issues with procrastination and having accountability for my weekly goals has helped keep me on track. But once in a while I miss my goal. The group has a game in which the person who misses their goal has to write a poem which includes a list of outrageous words made up by the other members of the group.

Just for fun I thought I'd share the results of my latest punishment. I should mention that my poetry was found to be so horrific that the group decided I could write prose instead. This is totally unedited BTW.

1.    Serial
2.    Sponge
3.    Ejaculate
4.    Rutting
5.    Specious
6.    Species
7.    Kablooey
8.    Red
9.    Hackles
10. Cream
11.  Fondle
12. Dimwitted
13. Narcosis
14. Nacreous
15. Diversification
16. Green

“Here take this one. “Sheriff Paul pulled a Winchester from the gun rack and passed it across the desk .

Noah reached out and accepted the rifle, holding it in the crook of his arm.

“You sure you can do this? These dogs are mean.”

Noah gave his head a quick nod. It was always easier to nod than to sort through all the words tumbling around in his head.

From the other side of the room Deputy Reese laughed. “I don’t think you oughtta give him a gun. He’s too dimwitted.12  Likely he’ll miss those wild dogs and shoot some kid instead.”

The sheriff pulled open the bottom drawer of his desk. “He’ll be fine. Remember that scraggly cream10 colored mongrel hanging around last month?”

“That one who used bite everyone’s horses?”

“Yup.” Sheriff Paul straightened and slid open a small cardboard box, withdrawing a handful of ammunition.  “Lassiter here took care of that menace with only one shot.”

Noah held his tongue as he pushed the bullets into the rifle. Just this morning he’d sat on the front step of his cabin with that same dog beside him. Noah had sipped his coffee while he’d fondled11 the dog’s silky ears.

Reece shook his head, “Don’t say I didn’t warn you.”

Noah ignored him as he placed his hat on his head and stepped outside. Not too many people were on the street as he looked toward the morning sun. Turning the opposite way, an ominous wall of steel gray storm clouds rose from the line where the prairie met the sky. Behind him, the brilliance of the sun shone against the approaching storm.  Three groups of geese streaked across the expanse. Their nacreous14 wings shimmered in the light.

He started toward the livery where he left his horse whenever he came into town.

A man and a young woman stepped from the mercantile.  He recognized John somebody from the bank, who like everyone in town, ignored him. Emmeline Carter, though, was the only one who ever said hello. Today she smiled at him before she turned to walk beside John from the bank.  

Emmeline Carter, looking as pretty as ever, wore her shiny red8 hair gathered on top of her head, beneath a flat round hat with feathers. Her dress, which matched her eyes, was the color of trees, or thick ferns, or the deep green16 moss which coated the rocks and earth, as soft as a sponge2 beneath his bare feet.

He frowned. Where had that image come from? Then kablooey7, it was gone. He rubbed his temple, his fingers brushing the end of the thick scar that ran beneath his hair almost to the back of his head.

“…and Mr. Foster was pleased with my recommendations regarding the serial1 numbers on all the bills as well as my thoughts on investment diversification15.”  John from the bank continued talking until they reached the front doors of Broken Straw Savings and Trust. Before going inside he handed over the basket he’d been carrying and wished her a good day.
Rather than interrupt them or step into the street to go around, Noah stopped beside one of the posts that supported the roof over the walk in front of the bank. Most of the bark had been peeled away as though a rutting4 deer had been at it. He tried to pick off a loose strand of bark, but the fingers of his left hand did not work as well as his right.

Emmeline continued up the street then stopped at the corner and turned. She smiled again. “Are you following me, Mr. Lassiter?”

He thought she was teasing, but sometimes it was hard for him to tell. “N-no, Mmm-iss Em—Emmy—li-line.” He closed his eyes for a moment and breathed deep. The words came so easily in his head, why couldn’t he make them come out of his mouth? “G-go—ing l-liv—ry.”

Sunlight reflected in her eyes and lit her whole face. He wished that special smile was only for him, but he suspected she smiled like that for everyone.

“You have a good day, Mr. Lassiter.”

She turned and started down the street. He watched her for a few moments as she walked away. She lived with her family in a big blue house at the end of the street. He rode past it whenever he came to town. He turned and continued toward the livery.

“Noah!”

He stopped and swung around.  Emmeline Carter had just screamed his name—his first name. He raced back to the side street, his boot heels thudding against the wood.  Tearing around the corner he skidded to a halt.

Halfway down the street Emmeline stood with her back against the wall of Mrs. Whitney’s dress shop. In the street were the two black dogs, their hackles9 raised, their lips curled back like some weird  specious5, no that wasn’t right,  species6 of wolf, and their menacing yellow eyes were focused on Emmeline.

He stood, his heart pounding, unable to move or think.  He’d felt almost the same way when he first woke up a few years ago, in what Doctor Baumgarten called, a state of narcosis13.

He tried to organize his thoughts, to formulate a plan. Emmeline had called out to him. He had to save her.  Cocking his rifle, he raised it to eye level and aimed at the dog closest to Emmeline.

In rapid succession he pulled the trigger, cocked the lever to ejaculate3 the spent shell and drop another round into the chamber. He pulled the trigger as the second dog lunged for Emmeline’s throat.  She screamed.

Noah didn’t move and he wasn’t sure he was even breathing. As the haze of smoke cleared he saw the two animals lay where he’d dropped them and Emmeline remained frozen against the wall.

His stomach began to quiver and his knees shook. She lifted her head then and met his gaze. Dropping her basket, she ran straight toward him and launched herself against his chest.

His left arm came around her shoulders and he held her close as she cried against his chest, her tears soaking through his shirt to warm his heart.


8 comments:

Kathy Otten said...

Good morning,
I'm afraid I have to work today. I'll be leaving shortly and won't be home until 11pm. Hope you enjoyed the silly romance story. Have you ever played a game like this or used crazy words as a writing prompt?

Sarah J. McNeal said...

I'm a big procrastinator, too, Kathy. Ain't it awful? LOL
I loved your "punishment". I would have had to look up the word "nacreous". Never heard of it before.
Funny blog but also a reminder to us that we have to work on goals every day if we're going to get our work out there in a timely manner.
I hope you had a good day at work today.

Tina Donahue said...

You wrote: "In rapid succession he pulled the trigger, cocked the lever to ejaculate the spent shell and drop another round into the chamber."

LOL - love it.

The way I get around proscrastination (as far as writing is concerned) is this: if I don't get my 5 pages in daily, I don't get to go to bed. And I do like to sleep when I'm tired. :)

Therefore, I tend to get my pages done early to have the rest of the day for my EDJ and other stuff.

jean hart stewart said...

Great blog and creative use of those words. Lots of fun., but I think a lot of work too.

Kathy Otten said...

Hi Sarah,
I had to look up nacreous too. There is one guy in our group who is something of a word smith and he's always coming up with the unusual.

Kathy Otten said...

Hi Tina,
I had a hard time with ejaculate. When I was given the word I was determined not to use it in a sexual context. Ejaculating a shell was the only thing I could think of and the little story built from there.
I don't think keeping myself from be would work for me. I'd just fall asleep in front of my computer.

Kathy Otten said...

Hi Jean,
It wasn't that much work to write the piece as you would think. I didn't have to worry about anything making sense, having character goals or a plot. Removing all restrictions except for the words made it rather easy to write.

Adele Dubois said...

The punishment seems too harsh for the crime, Kathy. Lol. Glad you were able to get a blog post out of it, at least. ")

Best--Adele