Friday, April 28, 2017

2 Minutes. Go!

Hey, writer-type folks. AND PEOPLE WHO JUST WANT TO PLAY BUT DON'T IDENTIFY AS 'WRITERS' - all are welcome here! Every Friday, we do a fun free-write. For fun. And Freedom!

Write whatever you want in the 'comments' section on this blog post. Play as many times as you like. #breaktheblog! You have two minutes (give or take a few seconds ... no pressure!). Have fun. The more people who play, the more fun it is. So, tell a friend. Then send 'em here to read your 'two' and encourage them to play.


It’s like candyland. I don’t have any interest in winding my way through your narrative unless I get to stop and have some good conversations along the way. Go ahead and plot out everything you got. Put it on 3x5 cards and force it into flow charts. Let the plot drive, but plots aren’t alive. So, unless you’re lucky, be prepared for one hell of a boring ride. Or one hell of a crash.

Me, I’m letting the characters drive. Less work for me, and they always seem to find the places I wouldn’t have thought of. How can I write the characters’ story? That would be like them trying to write mine. They’re alive, damn it. They live in my mind and they don’t pay rent, so let them pick up some of the slack for all the time I’ve spent.

Now,  if you’ll excuse me, I have some people to invent.

#2minutesgo Tweet it! Share it! Shout it from the top of the shack you live in! I will be out most of the day, but I'll be back...


  1. Crime
    They say it don’t pay, but look at all this shit I got, son. You don’t have to hear the truth, though it’s spitting like a tommy gun. My own personal theatre. My own personal chef. I get two massages a day, bitch. How much your minimum wage job pay?


    OK, so it may hurt some people, but I got that coming to me. I got hurt in ways you don’t even want to think about. I may have taken the easy way out, but isn’t that what life’s about? 

    I got cars you don’t even know about and a dozen watches that shine like the sun. You got jack shit. But you don’t sleep all night waiting for a cop knock, hand under your pillow holding a hot gun.

    I guess it’s a question of the long game. You wanna be safe? You gotta be tame. You wanna be like me? It takes a certain kind of person to play this game.

    And you’re not it. Now, close your eyes. Don’t worry, you won’t feel it.

    But it’s easier when you don’t see it coming.

  2. Memory

    You killed it. Sure enough, you did. Just like you yelled and screamed when I was a kid. It didn’t matter then and it doesn’t matter now. I got a brain made out of leather.

    There are memories in there. Some of them good, some bad. Some blank places where my brain has tried to do me a kindness. Said, he shouldn’t have to live with that one. Let’s erase it. Or just misplace it. 

    I remember her, though. First day of a new school. Trying to decide if I was dressed right to be cool. And she sat next to me on the bus. And our knees touched. And she smelled like cheap mall perfume. I’ll never forget that smell. 

    The years after may have sucked, but at least it started well.

  3. Happy

    Her eyes were bright and open. She wrapped herself in the soft paper she collected and smiled. From the kitchen, smells baited her. She could smell bacon and coffee. Had much interest in the former. Zero interest in the latter. 

    Santa Claus. 

She was ten. She wasn’t an idiot. She knew there wasn’t any big man with a beard and a red robe just like she knew her grandma wasn’t in heaven playing a harp, watched over by another fat man with a beard.

    She shook off the momentary sadness. Let today be about fictional fat men. She would open her presents and feel the presence of her grandmother once again.

  4. Man

    He struggled in the deep mud, afraid to move, afraid not to move – terrified that the movement might make him sink further. In his mind there were fireflies, deranged, snatches of light and movement which tempted him. To do what, he didn’t know. They were a suggestion. An urgency. He could not silence the metallic clanging from inside his sinuses.

    He was dying. Had been dying. Years, now, he had been dying. Waking up, coughing up balls of rust disguised as mucus. Spitting red and black into the dry, desert sand. And he wondered at that now. If this accumulation of mud spit was of his making. Was life like that?

    He wasn’t sure.

    The sun was setting and the sky exploded with sound and light and he knew that his brain was dying. He didn’t care. He was tired of thinking.


  5. This one's ongoing. I'll post the rest later, on my blog.

    There's something deep in the dripping forest that's darker than anything else in this world. You'd best pray you never find it.

    A beach shaped like a razor clam. A vulvar shell like a lover's wild promenade. Beads of moisture and salt.

    "Don't look for it. Promise me."

    "One day I'll find you. I swear."

    They tellin us we gotta meet up wi' a lady named Fleur De Lis. That funny. But it what they tell us. That Cajun French or summin. Know what that mean in English? Flower of the lily.

    Fingertips oxidized brass smell. Grooved smokin' abraded calluses. An undersea cable drama.

    Because you're always there. Spitting lore and ill-judged bromides: "You might win some, but you just lost one." A hill you might not want to die on.

    "You might not find me."

    Her bland face was sexual the way a cheap motel is sexual. Dirty. Cut-rate. Worn. But you stay the night anyway. And suddenly it's no longer about sex but about adherence.

    "I'm sorry, Mikey."

    About loyalty.

    "I saw you up there earlier. A girl with a voice like yours should never apologize."

    Cover all the deserts in geometric panels. Spin a million offshore blades. Panels, blades, desperate boats, great cedars. Components of the flag of the refugee nation.

    Have you ever felt bad about something, wished you could take it back? Downtown, a hawk roosts on a ledge thirty stories up. Calm and pitiless. In its mind already sorting bones.

    I am sobbing. I never sob. I haven't seen a honeybee in five years. Must I compose a requiem for all that's lost?

    "Yes. Yes, you must."

    "But why me?"

    1. Love the Spitting lore and you know I love the hawk. I kept pulling lines out and then finding ones I loved more. This is my favourite: "Her bland face was sexual the way a cheap motel is sexual.

      The structure of this pieces, in and out of abstraction. Man, I just love it.

    2. Forgive the typos. Arg.

    3. In and out of abstraction! I love that. Probably sums up many of the pieces I've written. Here, though, for anyone interested, is the rest. Very musically oriented, this. You might even say R&B!

    4. I'll read all the rest of the pieces soon, probably tomorrow.

  6. Drink to me only with thine eyes?
    A courtly love, but I crave more.
    With body poised, induce my cries.
    But hold my gaze, taste my ardor.
    And I will sup on thee as well,
    Each drop of nectar as it drips.

    Passion will rise, a searing swell,
    To be caught on our waiting lips.
    So drink of me and take thy fill.
    And I'll take all I can from thee.
    A banquet of delight will spill,
    Entwined as one, divinity.
    -Tamara McLanahan

    1. Damn, but you can poem, lady. I suck at critiquing poetry. This is lovely. Classic. You nail the form every time.

  7. My muses are poets...literally. Hence the outpouring of that particular commodity of late. Published in three days, so Yay for that...

    Every picture tells a story
    Every poem tells a tale.
    From Cervantes and his windmills
    Down to Ahab and his whale.

    If you seek, you may find it.
    As the pages all unfold.
    From the Fleece that is golden,
    To King Midas and his gold.

    There are worlds that are waiting,
    If you'll only take a look.
    So take flight and peruse them.
    Each new mesmerizing book.
    -Tamara McLanahan

    1. Yay, indeed! My grandfather loved poetry and he would have adored this.

  8. Taut as a bow, she plucked his strings.
    Her fingers moving quick and sure.
    And swept away, aloft on wings,
    Allegro that he must endure.

    But changing pace, adagio,
    Moonlight sonata held him rapt.
    Pressing sublime, sostenuto.
    Poised on the edge, the tempo apt.

    She knew his chords, she hummed his tune.
    An able maestro as he yearned.
    A melody, a blissful boon,
    The music of their bodies learned.

    ~Tamara McLanahan

    1. Again, nailed that classic vibe. And the return to music and rhythm and feel. Love it.

  9. “There’s something wrong with you,” he said. ”You’re not my wife at all!”

    The cyborg he’d been calling Phyllis lowered its hand, its fist unpeeling. Its manner changed in an instant - it began to adopt the tell-tale characteristics of a synthetic; the upright posture, the blinkless gaze, the complete absence of the humanising tics and habits you never notice until they disappear.

    “You’re right,” it said. “She’s gone now. I had to delete her. It’s most unfortunate.”

    “You had to delete her? You had to delete her?”

    The cyborg took his shoulder and guided him to a chair, helpfully pulling it out for him.

    “It’s like this, Henry,” it began. “You have to understand that this… this body is not Phyllis’.”

    Henry nodded, reassured by the solidity of the chair beneath him.

    “Your wife’s body was non-viable. She couldn’t have survived whatever the surgeons and the doctors did. The Chief Surgeon explained this to you. You signed the form.”

    Henry reached out toward the mechanism and then stopped himself, unsure of how to behave with this artificial body he’d taken for granted until a few seconds ago.

    “But you deleted her. Her brain’s inside you. You can’t just do that.”

    The chrome-faced cyborg remained impassive. Henry wondered what it was doing – was it thinking or was it waiting an appropriate time, giving him time to think, time to remember the events of the last twelve months?

    “Your wife’s brain was incinerated… with the rest of her body. The cancer was too widespread, too aggressive. There was nothing that could be done.” It reached out toward him, glass-fibre fingers closing on his upper arm with a finely regulated force. “Cyberdyne scanned it though. Her neural biases and her memories were all recorded. Uploaded. I had them all in central storage until just now. Until the Purge, at least.”

    “The Purge? You make it sound like she was a corruption. What… Why…”
    The Phyllis-that-wasn’t slumped, its face turned down. “She was going to hit you, Sir. I had to override her. Cyberdyne Directives forbid that Simulacrum use damaging force on humans. It’s one of the Prime Directives. Our heuristic principles manage primary contraventions instantaneously. There was nothing I could do about it. It’s an automatic safeguard.”

    Henry pulled away, the chair falling on its side as he stood.
    “You just killed her,” he said. “What do your Directives and Principles say about that?”

    1. I envy your ability to do this. I can write a lot of different stuff, but I can't write sci-fi well - although I love reading it. Cool idea well crafted.

    2. Thank you, Dan! You should be my agent!

      I dunno. Maybe I'm a one-trick pony? I could see a lot I could improve with this but it was just me shooting off the hip, so there's always scope for betterment.

      As for sci-fi... I grew up as a sci-fi junkie. It's in my DNA...

  10. The pall of her brother’s last question hung between them like a third person at the table, its mouth set in a frozen scream. When he was little, there’d always be a certain sparkle in his eye, a crook of his mouth that gave him away, but apparently this was no joke. “Why…” Her voice cracked; she cleared her throat and continued. “Why me? If you want to make the big move, be the big hero, why don’t you tell him?”

    “Because you have his ear. I’m just the family fuck-up. He listens to you.”

    She shook her head and took another sip of wine, wishing she’d ordered something stronger. He didn’t listen to her when she said running for office would be too great of a strain on him. He didn’t listen to her when she said that maybe he should take a breath or two before speaking off the cuff. So many other things, trying to keep him and the family out of trouble. Yet he continued to run everything by her, pretending to listen, nodding at predetermined intervals. Then he’d give her a proud smile, the same smile he’d given her when she ran to him with her first good report card, and send her on her way. Sometime during high school she got the idea that all he wanted was an opportunity to hear his own thoughts out loud. She could have been the damn door, for all it mattered. Yet that was her job in the family. Her brothers all had their jobs. And she had hers.

    “Because I’m supposed to be his conscience, right?” She drained the rest of her wine and signaled to the waiter for another.

    He shrugged. “You’re the girl.”

    She could have crushed the stem of her glass. God, she hated his smile. It reminded her too much of the woman who’d taken her mother’s place. “Why, boys aren’t allowed to have a conscience in this family?” She shoved back a lock of her exquisitely highlighted hair. “Okay. Okay, I get it. The boys are supposed to be ruthless, unapologetic. Take what they want. Kill the wildebeest. I’m supposed to have babies and be his moral touchpoint? Soften his image? Be content selling jewelry and handbags while you put on hardhats and conquer the world? Please.”

    “I just think it would go down easier coming from you. Even if he doesn’t always do what you suggest—”

    “Try never.”

    “Rarely does what you suggest, if he hears it enough, it could reach a tipping point.”

    He had a point. Still… “It’s going to cost you, little brother.”

    “I’m…prepared.” Oh, he didn’t look prepared. He didn’t have clue one of the kind of shitstorm this was going to rain down on his head. On all of their heads. It was going to make all the divorces, all the bankruptcies look like high tea in frilly frocks at the Ritz.

    She sighed. “Fine. I’ll start after dinner. How’s this?” She put on her best compassionate face. “Daddy, we know how unhappy you are here. It’s okay to leave. It doesn’t mean you’re a loser. It means you’re doing what’s best for you and for the family. You’ll always, always be a winner in my book.”

    His eyes narrowed. “Meh. Maybe. Try it again. But this time, start crying.”

    1. Ah, when the awareness comes, this ramps up perfectly. And that first sentence kills.

  11. It was just another sunny spring Sunday afternoon, the kind where the wind sings its celebratory air, when I found her curled up in her own special chair. She wore headphones holding back wind’s hymn from her ears, on her cheek I saw tracks of her tears.

    “What’re you doing?” I asked, with the hard-earned knowledge never to tell a woman not to cry.

    She looked up with red eyes and said “We’re going to die.”

    I figured this was another of those things I secretly termed “femotions,” — cathartic expressions of feminine emotions —
    I now understood not to try damming or I’d be damned, you see, as just another male whose feelings ran the gamut from A to B.

    “Yep, we’re all somewhere along that path. Can I help?” I asked. Perhaps I could help if I took on whatever her task.

    “Yes,” she said, and opened her fist, within which I found crumpled a smudged page titled “Funeral Playlist.”

    “You let me handle this,” I replied, because I’d already begun one for when I died. I never thought this morbid, collecting songs for the grieving, reminding us of loved ones our sides forever leaving. But what I wrote, like that uplifting breeze,
    came swiftly as I penned titles with ease.And they didn’t echo much of sadness nor strife.

    With memories wistful, soon I had her own fistful, a soundtrack celebrating the love of my life.

    1. I like the rhymes and internal rhythm of this piece a lot, Joe.

  12. She paced the street hungry. She hadn't showered in days. Street living does not go hand in hand with hygiene. Her hair looked great but she could feel the grit on her scalp. Her teeth were getting that fuzzy feeling.

    When the man in the fancy foreign car pulled up and rolled down the window she stopped and turned towards him. The car was nice, probably warm. His face was nice. That couldn't be the face of a killer, could it?

    She opened the door and got in. They drove a bit and he showed her all the nifty things a Citroen could do. They hit a drive thru for food.

    It seemed she'd have a safe place to stay for at least a night so she went with him to his hotel. He directed her to the bath so she took the time to shower herself, wash her underwear and hang it to dry.

    As they lay in bed, she exchanging his gifts for his fantasies, she wondered what tomorrow would bring.

    1. Real and sad - the truth hits hard right from the details regarding hygiene in the first P. You captured that living day to day feeling really well.

    2. It hurts to see how many homeless adults we have, but the street kids absolutely break my heart.


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