Friday, June 9, 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.

You want a refund for that bum advice you got? You seek redemption in the knick-knack crap you bought. You’re rethinking things and everything looks weak and shimmery on the edges. Like your brain stood up too fast. And part of you is thinking, shit, I’m fucked. While part of you is thinking, how can I make this charming phenomenon last?

You get lost in the spin and noise so you silence it with more new toys. You’re like the preacher’s daughter – always teasing the boys. Except you tease yourself. I’m no doctor, but that’s gotta be bad for your health. Aim for what you want. But pick carefully. 

Everyone wishes for wealth.

You got to try something different, fool. Don’t you see that? I know it’s easy to rationalize. Believe me, I got writer’s eyes. But you lose something every time you stay the course. You die a little every time you accept the second-hand mangled version you could have tapped at the source. If this was the Old West, hell, you’d already be on your horse. 

Of course. 

Of course. 

Quit nodding. It doesn’t mean you’re listening. It doesn’t mean a damn thing. Like your cousin’s Christening. At least everyone got to enjoy a potluck with that one. Son, with you it’s gonna take an intervention. 

So, before I go, I thought I’d mention…

No one cares as much as they say they do. It’s a game, putting the foot on the other shoe. It’s not pretty, but I’m not gonna dress it up for you. You’re lucky if you meet a dozen people in your life worth the price of admission. You don’t have to believe me; it’s true. 

Hell, it’s simple addition.

#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. Billy built a house made out of I Don’t Give a Fucks. Not real aesthetically pleasing, but try to blow that thing down. You’re going to get winded. You might pass out and die. Billy might find you, purple, on the doormat. But remember, of fucks, he has run out. He’ll roll you into the hedges for the raccoons.

    Sally met Billy at the bowling alley when he was seven beers deep into not giving a fuck. It came off cool and aloof. She liked him. He wanted proof. Nine months later, those two made you.

    Now, you got to decide what to do.

    You didn’t get a good example, but you got a good warning. You don’t want to wake up to a fuckless morning. So go get some dandelion fluff and build you a house that will blow away while you’re making it. Trust me, it will work out better in the long run.

    1. <3

      That whole last paragraph.

    2. Your first piece is not only well told, it's some of the truest words I've read this month. Thanks for sharing it.

      And this one? Yeah, that last paragraph is nothing short of awesome.

  2. There was an old woman who lived in shoe. I know. I’ve seen it. I’ve driven by it a hundred times. The shoe, I mean. I never saw the old woman, but I think she was ashamed of her kicks. Adobe tricks. Cause it ain’t a pretty shoe. Ain’t no wingtip or mule. It’s like one of them old time boots they used to make kids wear before Chuck Taylor was born. 

I did always want to meet her, though. Just sit down and chat. Tighten the laces. Put her through the paces. Why? Why put that much work into an ugly brown joke that exists only so people will say, oh yeah, that’s right by the shoe house.

    I bet the mailman skips that damn house. I would. Like double dutch. There’s some things you should never touch. And clichés are most of them.

    Build a shoe that looks like a house. Paint a picture with your blood. Burn the inside of your thigh and notice that slight lag before the pain sets in. Build that. I want to live there. That spit second. Split level. No backyard, but your feet will never be cold again.

    1. That MadeRap™ gets me every time... "There’s some things you should never touch. And clichés are most of them," is my favorite line in this one...

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  4. Kit walked into the kitchen just as the sun started making the world a brighter place and found three towels full of corn in front of the refrigerator. The smell of fresh coffee filled the room and Ginny stood next to the pot pouring herself a new cup.

    "Sh...nikies what is that doing here?"

    "Claire and Nick had some extra, sugar," Ginny said. "They thought we might want it."

    Kit bit her tongue to keep from saying something that would hurt her roommate's feelings. Okay, it probably wouldn't. She'd probably laugh if Kit told her that there were four people living in the house not fifty, but Kit tried not to say anything that could be misconstrued as ungrateful.

    The truth was that Ginny was not Kit's roommate. She was family and it had nothing to do with biology. They'd lived together for five years and Kit knew that Ginny and all of their neighbors lived for Summer. They planted and sprayed and pruned and watered, waiting for their labors to bear fruit...or vegetable.

    Kit was up at the crack of dawn to pick freaking figs. She was up early as hell and wearing long sleeves to pick something she didn't eat. They had blueberries and cucumbers and peas and blueberries and figs and more tomatoes than anyone could ever eat in a lifetime. Now they had corn. For someone who grew up in suburbia this seemed insane. Who grew shit? That was what the store existed for, right?

    Kit shook her head and watched Ginny's lips turn up as her eyes laughed at Kit. She knew. She always knew.


    Kit tiptoed into the kitchen, trying hard not to wake anyone. No one had made coffee and she couldn't convince her roommates to invest in a coffeemaker that was programmable.

    Five years. She'd spent five years picking figs and cussing them the whole time. Five years of early mornings and mosquito bites and itchy arms because the leaves on the fig trees made your arms itch even with the stupid long sleeves in the dead of summer. She'd done it for Ginny. She'd done it for love. Now Ginny was no longer with them, but Kit couldn't give up the stupid figs.

    She started coffee, grabbed a bucket, and marched out to tackle the tree. She'd gotten to where she liked the sounds of a small town waking up. Birdsong and church bells; cars and kid's laughter. It was soothing. Minutes later Mae joined her with an empty coffee container.

    Mae raised her coffee cup in Kit's direction and said, "Thanks for this." Kit nodded. Mae circled to the other side of the tree and they worked in companionable silence for a good thirty minutes. The silence was broken by Mark and Brady grunting greetings as they joined the girls. Lisa and Marcy were the next ones to show. By 8:30 they were ready to call it a day and take showers. Kit looked around at the kids, teens, and adults scattering to the four corners and smiled. She hoped Ginny had spent the morning with them, somehow. They all hated the figs as much as she did, but they would keep picking them. Mae would keep canning them. They tradition would continue. That was what family did.

    1. I mean, I love you and all. But you suck. <3

    2. ahhh... traditions like that tell the real stories of families... thanks for writing this one!

    3. Yeah, in only a few words we as readers can sense the rich back story. Nice!

    4. Agreed. Tradition is so ripe when it comes to story. The weird, unique stuff we do because we do it. You nailed this.

  5. "Nature, whose sweet rains fall on unjust and just alike, will have clefts in the rocks where I may hide, and secret valleys in whose silence I may weep undisturbed. She will hang the night with stars so that I may walk abroad in the darkness without stumbling, and send the wind over my footprints so that none may track me to my hurt: she will cleanse me in great waters, and with bitter herbs make me whole." — Oscar Wilde


    O England. We lived and loved in a caravan in Dorset. On holiday with my mad friend and his half-mad family, I would steal across dim eventides to you, in your own small caravan where you stayed and helped your mum. Her problems were like prisms floating off in someone else's periphery. Her heart was good but her mind was shattered, weary of shadows, trying to reassemble on the abandoned half of the moon. She even liked me. Mothers always did, though. We were fourteen or fifteen, then. Sixteen at a pinch. The tender shimmer of our confidence barely burgeoning, yet reciprocal. Our summer days were dishrag grey with pendent cloud and a fine mist that felt like tidal spray on our upturned faces yet tasted of nothing much. Like sweat without salt. We treated the sun like an interloper.

    Teens have a homing call, and we were no different. Scrawny pigeon things, we were, skewed preemptive magnets in our brains. In a village hall, someone half-arsed a disco, strung some weak synaptic lights, set up a turntable and blared Anita Ward and Tubeway Army 45s most of the night while locals and tourists partway mingled, got heartily, lustily sick on Southern Comfort, gorged on plastic bowls of salted peanuts, and largely failed at sex.

    Avid, irreverent, spectacular, reticent. Are frenemies electric?

    Does aristocrat rhyme with wrong side of the tracks?

    Partially. I'll come in, but I stutter on the high notes.

    Prince and pauper, some bright daughter. See those eyes.

    Those Tesla eyes. Scattering. Dost thou know who made thee?

    Your music the gauze of summer draped, festooned across this eternal valley.

    Silver jubilee? Impromptu street party? Nah, mate. That was then. Now lifelong enemies.

    Edison. Faraday. Tell me when it's time to jettison.

    Right. Are you at last the axe for the frozen sea within?

    Will you let us in? Kettering. The unbearable lightness of Kettering.

    The unpaved road to whose damn heart, my loves?

    Yes, we pause on the stinking asphalt of a busy road, Wellingborough Road, that dumb weekend, dripping blood from our off-kilter mouths, our sliced-up knuckles and forearms torrenting, a-stagger in some pointless random place reeking of stale beer and layers of old oil, broken glass embedded in our wounds and spitting out the bloody fragments of our teeth, now serrated like steak knives by steel-toed boots, our bells truly rung, ding-dong, ding-dong, while anxious drivers honk their horns and the restless weekend lopes along, regardless of, indifferent toward, our savage choreography… but have you once spared a single thought for Kafka or Kundera, let alone fucking Kettering?

    It sounds like some cold North Atlantic breakfast, made with rice and fish, eaten by men in thick woollen sweaters, listening to wheezing organs and melancholy strings while robustly stabbing the hope out of an assortment of sea life. I'm outside the hut and utterly lost. Antichrist, domesticate, concussed, you appalling fuck, come love me. I have barely anything left to give.

    What is left?

    The song of a bird that has come to love its cage.

    O England.

    1. I love this on so many levels... for the story itself, for its allegory, for its science. "Tesla eyes" is one of the most succinct descriptions that I've ever read. Awesome.

    2. God, the way you wield words, brother. This left me breathless. This I may straight up steal. ;) " Our summer days were dishrag grey with pendent cloud and a fine mist that felt like tidal spray on our upturned faces"

  6. “… come listen to me, the Teller of Tales …”  ~ Brian Jacques

    The children would gather around the fire when the old man would sit and light his pipe. It was his silent way of telling them, “Come, listen to me, the Teller of Tales.”

    The children were not the only ones who would grab for the words, the lines, the tales, the dreams the old man would weave into something palpable, like the log upon which he sat or the lap upon the young ones would cuddle. So too would be the tousled head that would rest upon a mother’s breast, a father’s grizzled chin. All of the warm and comforting.

    Such a blessed distraction from the star that stared down upon them night and day, growing bigger with each rise and fall of the sun. One couldn’t really call them nights anymore, since the star’s light rivaled the twilight of dawn and sundown.

    “Come listen to me, the Teller of Tales,” the smoke would say to their little noses.

    “Come listen to me, the Weaver of Dreams,” his eyes sparkling in the campfire would say to their frightened eyes.

    “Come listen to me, the bringer of sleep,” his comforting voice would say in its tone so soothing, never rushed or strident, never angry or dismayed, never giving in to the inevitable forever sleep that approached the world in a ball of ice and iron that had slipped from the belt of the great god planet and through the fingers of his red-faced minister of war. And now it was coming into the embrace of the mother of planets.

    The old man would begin his stories the same each time: “In the beginning…” which gave the children a little anchor to end their days, something they could moor themselves to like the sea otters to some sea leaf before drowsing hand-in-hand with their loved ones. For no one wanted to be separated from them when the great sleep ultimately came when the ever-dawn became ever-night.

    1. Joe, this is beautiful... and when you publish your book of tales, it would be an awesome first story in it..."ever-dawn became ever-night" is a phrase that will stick with me for a long while... well done!

    2. Something wonderfully timeless about this. A far post-apocalyptic future, the distant past? It doesn't matter. What matters is story and its infinite variety.

    3. Thank you, gentlemen. Leland, I have a double handful of older original stories about men who have issues with intimacy, from commitment right down to being touched by some else. I was going to publish it instead of my Westerns. It's holding-pattern title is "...But Don't Touch." And David, I did indeed write this without any arbitrary place or time. It just seemed it could happen wherever a reader placed it -- any place, anytime.

    4. I agree with those two miscreants.

    5. Y'all are my Three Miscreanteers.

    6. We might need a Miscreanteer uniform

  7. with apologies to children of the corn a redux:

    They always told us , “be home before dark.” But they never told us why.
    So Danny Sandusky stayed behind that day of the full strawberry moon, tearing his brand-new Schwinn through the Jameson’s cornfield. It wasn’t even the 4th of July and the corn was already as high as an elephant’s eye, the white, underdeveloped cobs forming on the stalks like moonbeams come to life. Like albino fairies waiting to be born.
    Earlier that day, Tommy Jacobsen had pushed him off that new Schwinn, left it in the dirt and laughed at the streamers his mom had put on the handles, the horn and the bell. He’s called him a pussy for his brand new bike, though his eyes were full of envy and the hatred it could bring.
    Danny didn’t know why they hated him so much; his father was a doctor and the richest man in town. He didn’t know that the Jameson kids went without dinner when the weather went wrong, or that their mother sometimes refused to go the church unless it was winter, cause she didn’t have a dress to wear.
    They didn’t know Danny’s father was a drunkard who beat his woman after dark; then made up with her with strings of pearls and whispered apologies. He kept his secrets and they kept theirs, never knowing how much they shared. And all the time, what both sides wanted, was an end to the pain, just a place where they might belong.
    So Danny tried the hardest, not to lead but to fit in. He wanted them to like him. The farmers’ boys just wanted to win.
    So they made him their chosen sacrifice, the night of the strawberry moon. Any kid over five knew the reason in that country-- the quickest way to lose your way was in some cornfield, well after dark. When the full moon fogs rolled in from the plains like liquid fear, so thick you couldn’t find your hand in front of your face.
    Danny honked his horn until he broke it; he rang that brand new bell. He rode that Schwinn till the ires went flat, crying for help, but no one heard him, deep in the fog night, somewhere in hell.
    They never found him in those acres of corn. Though the neighbors all came out and searched for days. And if some saw the Jamesons riding a bike with a new back wheel, or a handstand, or some fade plastic streamer, tooting a signal that once was a horn. No one ever mentioned it; no one ever said it-- that Danny was out there, feeding their corn.
    Some secrets can’t be spoken; some stories can’t be told. But I heard Missus Jameson got a dress or two that year. Maybe a string of perals. Maybe the winter that followed that, wasn’t as lonely…
    Wasn’t that cold.
    Poor men and farmers forget too soon; they’re not always sure who comes and goes. They measure their lives by the moon and the weather, by the crops, in good years and bad. They don’t spend much time in wishing and hoping, just insuring they take care of their own, making sure they get what they have to have.

    1. Spooky and believable... I really like it.

    2. It's not only the nod to Children of the Corn, but this genuinely has the feel of a Stephen King tale, in its child's perspective, its spookiness, and its small town/rural ambience. I'd even throw in Bradbury too, as a comparison. I love it, in other words. :)

    3. I totally agree with DA. LOVE this: "So Danny tried the hardest, not to lead but to fit in. He wanted them to like him. The farmers’ boys just wanted to win."

  8. The alarm clock did not go off that morning. When he awoke, the sky was light, but the sun was hiding behind dense fog. He got out of bed. There was no sputtering from the coffee pot when he pushed the switch. The house was eerily quiet. He opened the refrigerator door, and there was no comforting light.

    The electricity was out.

    He picked up his iPhone. No signal. Odd. There’d been no thunderstorm, no lightning, no wind.

    He opened the front door. There was no sound. None. He stepped through the door into a fog that was more San Francisco than Omaha, the city he’d gone to sleep in last night. He walked down the sidewalk. And walked. And walked. It shouldn’t be this far to the street. All he wanted was the newspaper. Still he walked.

    He stopped. This wasn’t right. This wasn’t real. Couldn’t be. He turned 180 degrees, and walked back toward the house. But no matter how long he walked, he did not make it back to the house. The panic began to rise up from his stomach to his throat.
    He vomited to the side of the walkway, and when he was done, he wasn’t entirely sure of which way to walk, or if to walk at all.

    The child’s voice surprised him. Somewhere off to his left. A whisper, not a scream.
    “Help me. Please. Someone. Help me.”

    “Keep talking, I’ll follow your voice.” He was surprised at how loud his own voice sounded.

    His feet, still bare, felt wet grass on their soles. But he could not see. Only the mist.

    “Be careful, Mister.”

    He strained to determine the direction of the voice. “Careful of what?”

    “There are monsters out there.”

    “No such thing as monsters sweetie.” His voice sounded so brave. “Am I getting close?”

    “I think so.”

    “Maybe you can sing for me. You’re not talking enough for me to track where you are. Did your mommy or daddy teach you any songs?”

    “Puff the magic dragon….”

    “That’s a nice song…” He continued walking, more sure of himself now.

    “Lived by the sea…”

    And with the next step he took, the grass no longer tickled his feet. It was, oh God, open air.

    When they found the body in San Francisco Bay the next morning, they assumed he was another jumper from the bridge. But the medical examiner couldn’t’ explain the intense burns on his face and chest, nor why he was barefoot.

    John Doe, real name unknown, lies in a pauper’s grave, the century’s first dragonkill. He will not be the last.

    1. Wow, this went in a direction I wasn't expecting! I love stories that do that. From Stephen King's The Mist to, what? Game of Thrones? Is it me or are there so many ways to read this? Is it about the power of imagination? The power of dreams? Or is it literal? I loved this, Leland.

    2. You're most kind...this came to me in a dream, so I won't pretend to understand it, but I knew I had to write it down.

    3. I'm glad you did! And yes, it totally works without needing anything further.

    4. TOTALLY AGREE! (and am jealous of your creative dreams. my dreams are boring)


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