Writing Sketch

His wife always saves her best students for last. An illusion, a recital inspiration Edward thinks, to keep eager parents and young students coming to their lessons. Edward listens from the doorway in the kitchen as his wife’s most gifted student strikes the final chord of a Chopin Etude, sustaining it to silence. A small applause begins and restless bodies move away from the piano toward the kitchen. Seizing the interlude before the young piano students rush for the table in the kitchen spread with cookies, candies, and sticky drink, Edward inches his feet along the floor in a Parkinson’s shuffle. He curses this disease that leaves him searching for words, shaking, and dependent on a cane.

The children are fast. They swirl past him, a small school of brightly colored minnows he thinks, carefully dividing around him on their way to the kitchen table. Children are easy and direct, Edward thinks. The parents are another matter. The parents avoid him, gaze past his watery blue eyes and shaking hands to a middle distance uncertain what to say or how to begin. These stillborn conversation pass with awkwardness Edward would be glad to deflect if it were not for the woman, the mother of his wife’s best student. Edward looks for the woman; he dreams about her; he anticipates the gentle, end of evening kiss he knows she will bestow without pity. A kiss, a taste of another life. Inside the tangle of his thoughts, Edward escapes to fragments memory. He is a twenty-year-old Irish man fresh to America, a superman, a lover, and singer of bawdy Irish ballads, a man not yet betrayed.

Edward’s unsteady arm brushes against a glass bowl of jewel-colored jelly beans. He watches from what seems like a great distance as the bowl falls and splinters into shards, skittering jelly beans across the floor. Edward sways looking down. He wants to taste the sweet lemon-yellow jelly beans before they are crushed under foot, but he can not reach them.

“Edward?” Her voice pulls him to the present.

“Hello,” he says, aware of her for the first time, aware of her son across the room laughing with a girl.

“Let’s move you away,” she says. Taking his arm, she guides him back and away from the busy parents with brooms and dust pans sweeping up jelly beans spread across the floor. She tucks his arm beneath hers, beside her breast, and Edward breathes in what is her.  He wants to taste her. He wonders what the flavor of this old desire might be.  He considers the flavor of loss. Bitter or sweet? She bends in close to him, close enough for him to taste the flavor of delight that is her.


Story Dam

8:00 a.m. – Writing Prompt

Morning comes early, although by most standards, at 8am the day should be well underway. I hear a high wind in the trees and look out the window and see dark clouds to the west. Rain is coming. The rooster is slow this morning and his crow is half-hearted but close. He has escaped again and will needed to be rounded up before the days is over. The autumn air raises the hair on my arms and legs as I pull back the feather blanket and hoist myself from a bed fitted too tightly into an alcove. I find my clothes heaped and cold on the floor. I slip into them waiting to feel warm. The smell of woodsmoke mingles faintly with the smell of wine and food from the night before. Opening the wood box I see a few embers glowing enough to catch a fire. The animals know. At each door waits a cat. Another cat hangs on a screen and still another scales a mullioned window.  A sliding door opens and closes. Footsteps thunder up a set of stairs, and the day has begun. From the bed he calls.
“Coffee? Coffee! Coffee?”
“Yes, it’s coming.”

Write On Edge: Red-Writing-Hood

House – Writing Prompt

Alan and I studied the abandon house on our way home from school. Set above a steep street on a narrow footpath, the house never changed. Curiosity has us stopping to tie an already tied shoe just so one of us could spy a way into the house. When we found a car sitting in a garage, its tires flat and cracked with age, we discovered a path up to the house.

Looking both ways, Alan slipped into the walk beside the garage and up the steep path to the house. I went next. In silence, we surveyed the yard.  Then nodding toward stairs leading to a back door, we moved. At the top of the stairs Alan pushed open the door, and we leaned into a tiny kitchen. Time stopped. Alan and I looked at each other. I held my breath and shut my eyes. I could feel Alan’s trembling hand grab my arm, pulling me backwards with a jerk.

Writing Prompt ~ 160 characters–In my case it turned into 160 words (I should have slept in this morning.) that would either elicit or express fear.

Write On Edge: Red-Writing-Hood

Down By the River – Writing Prompt

The first night they came Charlotte whispered for me to come to the window. She and I crouched in the darkness behind the curtain looking down to the street below. On the sidewalk across from the house, at the bench overlooking the river, first one then the other arrived. They embraced under the streetlight.

Days later we recognized a pattern to their meetings. They arrived at the same time every night. The woman came from the same direction. She came from the Plaza de la National winding her way down toward the quay. She stopped at the bench across from our house and waited, looking into the darkness. She wore a long tweed coat pulled tight against her thin shoulders and a dark cloche hat. We imagined we could hear her shoes on the paving stones as she walked. The man came up the stairs leading from the river in a dock worker’s coat that, even at our distance, seemed too small for the labor he did. His watch man’s cap pulled close around his head made him look bigger. We called them The Lovers and giggled.

“Who are they?” Charlotte whispered.

“I don’t know,” I said.

We watched them for a long time that first night. They held each other but did not move. River fog wrapped around them. Only once did we see him kiss her then push her head beneath his chin. He rocked her. She buried her face in his shoulder. They stood in the dim light pressed together for more than an hour. Charlotte and I watched. When I heard the church bells from Saint Stephens strike one, I turned to Charlotte, but she had already fallen asleep. I was alone at the curtain. The last thing I remember thinking before yawning and turning away from the window was secrets do not keep. In bed I thought of my Latin exam in the morning. I thought of Etienne sitting at the desk beside me looking a my exam paper before we both moved on to the next question.

Red Writing Hood – Personal Ad Prompt

Wanted: Stud-Muffin for Muffin Maker

You: Tall, dark, handsome and funny. Passionate about love and life; you’re able to spend your afternoons in my bed. My mornings and evenings are taken. Discretion is a must. You’re smart. Wit is a plus. Must have money because I don’t want to pay the check every time we order in. Young would be good, but I would consider an older gentleman if he kept up appearances. I want a well toned, athletic body, a Greek God body, not a couch potato. Sports enthusiast OK, but sports can’t take away from our time together.  You’re well read and cultured. I do not have to explain a movie, an opera, or a painting to you. You cook because I will not. You have your own transportation. You change the sheets on your bed once a week in the event that we spend time at your place. I am your lover not your wife or mother. You will answer my calls. My number is on your speed dial. You will long for me when I am not with you.

Me: I am not looking for commitment. I do not want a relationship that leads to marriage. I am looking for pleasure only. Your pleasure is mine and my pleasure is yours, pure and simple. I am not looking for the complication of love or connection with a soul-mate. I am the kind of woman men notice from a distance. I am the kind of woman other women despise. Think Barbarella and you get an image of me. I like fur. I like little blue boxes from Tiffany. I like surprises and vacations to tropical beaches. You will like me in a swim suit. You will be proud to be seen with me at your side. I decide when and where we meet.

Writing Prompt From:

Let’s have fun this week. We want you to write a personal ad for your character, like one you would find on a dating site. The ad should tell us about your character, but should not be a laundry list – and no cliches about walks on the beach.

Make it interesting, unexpected. Is there something your character is trying to hide that you can tell by reading between the lines? Would we know which character it was (if you have a recurring one) by reading the ad? Will something be revealed?

If you are going to do creative non-fiction, write an ad for a friend – or an enemy. Write an ad about the self you want to be, or even the one you were at a different time in your life.

We’re not looking for the ad to be part of a piece – we want it to be THE piece.