Opening Lines

What’s the first line of the last song you listened to (on the radio, on your music player, or anywhere else)? Use it as the first sentence of your post.

(“Changing of the Seasons” — Two Door Cinema Club)

So it’s over? I didn’t realize.

There was a catchy beat playing in his room, but I could feel my heart fluttering in odd and uncomfortable rhythms. I didn’t actually know where he was; as I sat in one of the chairs I twiddled with a twisted corner of my shirt and fixed my stare on the wrinkled fabric, wanting nothing less than to not be in that chair at that moment. Was that a headache building up or was I just tightening my forehead too much again?

Twiddling. Forehead. These were only a few things that had always bothered him.  Continue reading

Writer’s Block Party

When was the last time you experienced writer’s block? What do you think brought it about — and how did you dig your way out of it?

Writer’s block, for me at least, is like being a surgeon who just broke a finger. The imagination that colors every part of my life is broken and I stop thinking straight. It sounds tragic, I know, but I’ve been writing stories since I was in Kindergarten and I’ve been creating stories before that. Not having that ability to create stories makes me feel a little broken.

That being said, July was a depressing month. I had started a short story blog in May and had written a handful of stories I was pretty proud of, but when June hit, that all disappeared. I was writing fairly long stories every single week after a full college year of only writing class essays, and so the only explanation I can come up with for my month-long hiatus is that I ran out of creative juice. Each story was an easy enough sprint, but it felt like I had run for miles. Continue reading

Edge of the Frame

We often capture strangers in photos we take in public. Open your photo library, and stop at the first picture that features a person you don’t know. Now tell the story of that person.

Just two more hours of this. God, people, there are like five more ice cream stands a foot from here, why are you all coming to me?

“Have a nice day,” she said through her practiced smile as she plopped the dripping ice cream cone into the little boy’s hand. He sped away with that cone like his life depended on it, but Melissa just prayed he wouldn’t drop that ice cream. It would probably fly backwards and splatter on his shirt before he even stopped running. There was a large crowd that day because of the weather, and everyone was bumping into each other this way and that. The significant portion of the teenage population, who were either drunk or stoned, were not helping the situation.

This was the worst timing for the Maryville Festival ever.  Continue reading

Odd Trio Redux

Time for another Odd Trio prompt: write a post about any topic you want, in whatever form or genre, but make sure it features a slice of cake, a pair of flip-flops, and someone old and wise.

A lot of great things happened the day I turned eight. It was a time when I worried less about boys and school, and more about making Mom and Dad laugh and carrying the basket of eggs carefully enough to leave each one without a crack. Not once did I ever actually make it to the house without gooey yolk dripping out of the basket, but I tried nonetheless.

I ran into my grandmother’s house laughing, despite hearing the second egg crack. What was that amazing smell? My mother scolded me and took the basket away before I could do any more damage, and the instant she did I was off and running again, trying to find Dad. I heard him before I saw him; I always did. At the end of the long dinner table, he sat smiling and talking with Grandma. As soon as he caught my eye, he paused and prepared himself while I ran right up to him and jumped in his lap. My flip-flops flew off my feet, but I left them lying on the floor in disarray. I rarely wore shoes on Grandma’s farm. Besides the dog and chicken poo that littered the yard, what was there to step in? Nothing dangerous, so it didn’t matter.  Continue reading

Sudden Downpour

It was sunny when you left home, so you didn’t take an umbrella. An hour later, you’re caught in a torrential downpour. You run into the first store you can find — it happens to be a dark, slightly shabby antique store, full of old artifacts, books, and dust. The shop’s ancient proprietor walks out of the back room to greet you. Tell us what happens next!

Unpredictability is always bad. Always.

My timing that day was, as always, impeccable. I live in one of the rainiest towns in Upstate, so carrying an umbrella around at all times is simply a no-brainer. I guess that means I seemed to have misplaced my brain that day. 

The problem with my town is that not only is it rainy; it is always unpredictable. I blame the weather channel for my deep-rooted trust issues. Prediction of sunshine means torrential downpour. Prediction of downpour means the occasional drizzle with five-minute long breaks when the sun shines and birds sing before the clouds get right back to it. Sometimes we even have the freaky sunshine and rain at the same time. 

So I didn’t take my umbrella out that day. Predictions said cloudy, which means the weather channel gave up for the day. I didn’t have very far to walk; just stopping by the local grocery store for my weekly candy fix. A couple miles here and back, and I walk slow, so I’d only be walking for about forty minutes. Not bad for a college student.  Continue reading

On Bees and Efs

Do you — or did you ever — have a Best Friend? Do you believe in the idea of one person whose friendship matters the most?

9:00. Time to teach. I checked the clock one last time to make sure my eyes weren’t deceiving me, sighed, and headed to the pool deck. Everything was unusually warm that day, but that was just overcompensation for the past week. It was so cold, some kids simply gave up and got out just to wrap themselves in their towels. I had no such luxury.

Warm water meant chatty kids. Two four-year-old girls held hands sitting on the deck, waiting to get in. From their constant giggling I could tell they were good friends, probably from school. Now, this can be a good or bad thing. I had a kid once who wouldn’t let go of his friend’s hand, which is never helpful when you’re trying to teach someone how to not drown. Then again, there was also that little girl who helped convince her friend that it was alright; the water wasn’t that bad. I only heard that friend cry for twenty minutes that day. The improvement was tremendous.  Continue reading