This week’s exercise is to write a conversation-driven piece featuring two characters. Here’s what I did:

The Final Visit

The ceiling fan greets me with its incessant humming. Thirteen days since the stroke, I’ve been lying here on this bed, just waiting. I look beside me and I see him standing there. Not a good sign.

“You,” I say to him. But he doesn’t answer.

“You have come for me,” I continue, “at last.”

“Yes,” he replies.

“I understand.” I look away to the window. It doesn’t offer much comfort.

“How many have you taken?” I ask him. “How many since … since that day?”

“I don’t know. I’ve lost count.”

“Do you take pleasure in doing it?”

“No. Not at all.”

“Is it hard?”

“Yes.” I look at him. He’s looking down on his feet. “Every time,” he continues.

“How can you just keep on doing it then?” I ask.

“It’s what I do. It’s what I am.” A pause. “It’s what you made me to be.”

I look at him. He doesn’t look at me at all.

“Did you think I wanted you to do this?” I ask him.

“I did. Back then.” He turns to look at me this time. “Right after you traded my life for Mama’s, I thought you wanted me punished or something. Punished for something I’ve done to you.”

“You must understand. I had to make a choice. I struck a deal with the goddess Kendra in order to save someone’s life. In exchange she would ask something of me, something precious. I never thought she would make me give up a soul for the one she saved. It was either Helen or you. It was either give up my wife or give up you. I had to make a choice.”

My eyes are welling up with tears. But I continue. “It was never easy for me. It was the hardest decision I have ever made.”

His eyes locked into me. His stare is cold, unfeeling. “So you gave me up. Your eight year old adopted son to the Goddess,” he finally says.

“So I did”, I say to him, wiping my tears. “But I never thought she would turn you into one of her servants.” I stare back at him now. “I never thought she’d turn you into a Harvester.”

Silence.

“Did you hate me?” I finally ask.

“Yeah. I did.”

“Now?”

“No.”

“Why not?”

“I would have done the same thing.”

I look at him. I weep openly now. He sits beside my bed.

“Thank you,” I say to him. “For understanding.” He nods silently.

I stare out the window. The orange sky paints a warm, tangerine glow on the town square. A boy is running towards a flock of pigeons, spreading his arms, laughing and jumping. At that moment the church bells toll. It is time.

“Will I see Helen again?” I ask.

“Yes.”

I turn to him and say, “I’m ready, my son.”

“Take my hand, father.”

I reach out and grasp his hand. I feel warmth, comfort and above all—release.

And then I feel nothing.

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Micro Stories Revisited

March 27, 2007

A few weeks ago, we had a creative writing exercise which involved writing nanofiction, specifically writing a very short short story in exactly 55 words (see Micro Stories). A certain chap named Pradeep was kind enough to leave me a comment and lead me to a really cool site which compiles other works of nanofiction. You can access site this site through:

http://www.squidoo.com/nanofiction

Enjoy.

Micro Stories

March 9, 2007

This week’s exercise is to write 55 fiction or Nanofiction. These are complete stories with at least one character, a discernible plot, and consists of exactly 55 words (excluding the title). The challenge of this exercise is to be able to write nanofiction stories that follow the 55 word limit but are still good enough and interesting to read. Out of a given list of titles, I did three:

The Arrival of Morning

“I’m not gonna miss this meteor shower,” says Chonita as she lies down on the blanket with her digital camera, some Mr. Chips and her iPod. Eyes closed, she thinks about the praises she’ll get when she shows the pictures to her class. Suddenly she hears “Wake up, Sweetie!” It’s Mom. “Breakfast is getting cold.”

The Agony of Defeat

Arms crossed with eagle eyes glued to the screen, Victor prepares for a final round of Marvel vs. CapCom. Kick, spin, punch, dodge! Jump, tumble, duck, evade! He sees an opening and unleashes a deadly combination but alas, his foe’s preemptive strike spells his doom! Again, the kindergarten kid shows him the meaning of humiliation!

Love Potion #2

Emboldened by unrequited passion and driven by unquenchable desire, Gino slips some of his Love Potion Number Two in Daisy’s Pepsi bottle. “Victory is mine,” said Gino, “my soul is in heaven, my heart in cloud nine.” Suddenly, someone is tapping his back—it’s Daisy! “Could you buy me another one? Bob drank my Pepsi.”

Adjective Prohibition

March 2, 2007


This week’s exercise is to write a character description or profile of yourself that doesn’t use a single adjective.  Minimum of 300 words, maximum of 600 words. Here’s what I did:

Who Am I?

I was born on January. So naturally, that makes me a Capricorn. According to Wikipedia, individuals born under this sign have ambition, display patience, value responsibility, exemplify stability, demonstrate trustworthiness, and possess intelligence and persistence. However, Capricorns are also characterized by their coldness, conservatism, rigidity, materialism, and dullness.

So which am I, really?

I do admit to concocting dreams (illusions, actually) of world domination so I guess that qualifies as a form of ambition. But I also see myself as the prince of all slackers. Most of the time, I just want to sit on the couch and watch DVDs all day. Or maybe that’s just laziness.

Displaying patience? Of course. When we have band practice, I usually arrive on time and I have to wait for an hour or so for the rest of the guys to show up (if they ever show up at all). But, my temper boils when I’m caught in traffic.

Valuing responsibility? At home, I pay for the telephone bills and my brother’s tuition fees. Except for that time back in November when I had to borrow money from a friend because I miscalculated (again) my budget.

Exemplifying stability? Are we talking stability in terms of finance, spirituality, mentality, or sense of balance? None of the above, I guess.

Demonstrating trustworthiness? I am the world’s number one keeper of secrets. That should make me the godfather of reliability. Although I couldn’t help spreading gossip sometimes to people who turned out to be whistle blowers. But that’s their problem, not mine.

Possessing intelligence? I solve Sudoku puzzles everyday.  It is with pride that I divulge this fact. However, I haven’t had the pleasure of completing a puzzle yet.

Persistence? Didn’t I mention that I try and try (vainly) to complete a Sudoku puzzle? I rest my case.

And who says I’ve got coldness? Those who have embraced me can attest to the warmth of my personality. I got the hots, baby. You want it? Come and get it.

Conservatism? Of course not! I have a penchant for liberalism. I am the rock god of progressivism. I eat change and innovation for breakfast.

Rigidity? I’m an instrument of fluidity (because I got glass skeleton syndrome). Materialism? I embrace minimalism (because I can’t afford to buy stuff). Dullness? Check paragraph eight.

So what am I? A walking contradiction? Beats me.

Fifty Five Words Revisited

February 23, 2007

Last year, I posted a creative writing exercise (Fifty Five Words) that deals with exactly fifty five words. I met PinchMe through Mylot.com and this person gamely shared his fifty five word short story. Here it is:

The Episode Before Relaxation

Shandry stored the black lid canister in his breast pocket.
No one else was looking as he did it.
Noise from the marketplace grew to surround him.
The nervious tension finally left the air.
Luckily he knew the place well.
His actions were not suspicious.
Everyone kept to themselves.
He returned home.
Sitting down.
Puff!

Fictional Love Letter

February 16, 2007

This week’s exercise involves writing a fictional love letter based on any one of the following scenarios:

– A criminal in love with a police officer, or vice versa
– A teenager in love with a forty year old teacher (specify subject), or vice versa
– A love letter to Elizabeth Ramsey
– To Manny, from Eric Morales with love
– A corporate employee in love with an overbearing HR personnel

Here’s what I did:

Dear Ma’am Suzie—the most beautiful Math Teacher in the planet:

How do u do it? … How do u affected me so?

With a slyt brush of ur hand, you send a gatrillion electric surges into my system juz like a death row prisoner being electrocuted for being in love two much. With a curve of ur mouth, you are causing an anti-gravitty field that allows me to hav a sensation akin to an astronaut in zero gravitty—floating n floating as if I will nevr fall.

But I am falling. So fast, so deep … into a bottomless pit of an abbyss that can not be measured by miles, kms or even sonar coz that’s what you are—you are infinitie in your beauty and wisdom. Oh, when you do those mathematrical problems, I wish I was d solution so that you can deliciously recite me off your sultrie lips or gracefully write me on the black board using ur delicately tender juicy fingers.

I have falling in luv with you so much that it hurts a lot even when I’m not aching. I love you. I love all of you and especially you.

Romantically imprisoned to you,
Harold
6th Grade

P.S. Mwah!

Harold,

You put this letter on my desk instead of Ms. Suzie’s (we switched tables a week ago) but I couldn’t help but read it. I guess you mean well but as your English teacher, I must say that you need to work harder on getting your grammar and spelling right. If this was your homework, I would grade it an “F”.

Try again please.

Mr. Celestino Contapay
English Department

Tanka-delic

February 9, 2007


This week’s exercise is to write a poem about dancing. The poem must be in a form of “Tanka”. Tanka is a Japanese syllabic form composed of 5 lines and arranged into a tercet (3 line stanza), followed by a break and then the final couplet. Tanka’s syllable is structured to 5-7-5-7-7 pattern. Here’s a sample of Tanka poem:

My son’s wedding day   (5)
When past memories overtake   (7)
Dreams of the future   (5)

A boy running to his mom   (7)
A man walking to his wife   (7)

I did three:

A Dance Partner Laments

Give me flamenco!
Alas, she did the tango!
This ain’t my lingo!

I prefer the salsa!
But she wants Macarena!


R&B Cadence

Michael Jackson kitsch!
Move it, you son of a b**tch!
How-why-when-where-which?

I don’t know—don’t really care.
Just wave my hands in the air!

What Gino Felt Last Christmas

Dance, dance—I could not!
But that lady—she was hot!
Grind with her—I ought!

Wiggled this and wiggled that!
She enjoyed it—I’m sure of that!