ENG 162 Fall 2013

ENG 162 at Eastern Maine Community College in Bangor ME, taught by John A. (Don't ever, ever ask!) Goldfine johngoldfine@gmail.com

Saturday, November 02, 2013

Week 11 Prompts--when words mean something beyond themselves....

Prompts 52-55. Write reactions to three of these four on your blog.

Less is more! Don't hammer your reader! Trust your material! (DH Lawrence talked about trusting the story, not the storyteller. Trust your story and trust your reader! The idea is to let the words mean something beyond their obvious everyday selves....)

52. There are a dozen stories on every page of Uncle Henry's--tales of divorce, death, wasted money, plans that went nowhere, hopes destroyed only to rise again, dreams deferred and dreams turned into nightmares. And as I read it, I see a million Maine cellars, attics, living rooms, barns, camps, boathouses, garages. Faces, voices, images of people too. You could do worse than Uncle Henry's as a source of writing ideas--how about looking through Uncle Henry's to find a prompt? Find an ad, copy it so we know where you're starting, and speculate on the tale behind it--thinking as you write about meanings beyond the obvious.

53. The things I see as I walk along the street--that's heaven to me. Or is it?

54. Pick a prompt from http://onemillionfootnotes.blogspot.com/. Tell us what it is and run with it.

55. Sometimes humans are defined as tool-using animals. Nowadays, the scientists talk about chimps both making and using tools, but, hey, we're Number One! Tools in their chests, drawers, and wallracks; tools scattered on the table; tools used and unused, new and old; tools of love, tools of war, tools of work, tools of play. Tools can say a lot.


Blogger Alexis said...

43. Bathroom Sink heavy chrome faucets 3 dr w/granite - like stone counter $75 Brewer, ME.

Richard tries his hardest to please everyone in his life. His three young kids take complete advantage of him and his wife has his ‘you know whats’ in her back pocket. Every night he dreams that he is the man of the house and he controls what he wears to work and eats for breakfast. He has always wanted a super cool stereo for his minivan to listen to his Yoyo Ono albums but his wife doesn’t think he needs that kind of extravagance.

Richard has just moved his family into a lovely home in the country side. His wife made the blue prints, hired the builders, picked out the paint, and gave him the bill. Day after day she complained that the house just wasn’t good enough and changes need to be made. So like a good little house husband he picks up his tool box and fixes what needs to be done. He mows the lawn, fixes the pipes, cooks dinner, puts the kids to bed and thinks about that stereo system he just can’t have. While reading the kids bedtime stories he pictures himself the hero, the strong and brave man with those pages.

One day Richard returns from work to find his wife outraged in the bathroom. He runs in to see her throwing bottles of lotion, towels, toilet paper, and shaving cream everywhere! “Martha what has gotten into you?” She turns around and looks at him with astonishment. “You mean to tell me you have no idea what it is that is wrong? Have you absolutely no intelligence whatsoever! Look around you Richard!” “I am sorry honey I have fixed all the things on your list and moved you into the house of your dreams. What could possibly be wrong?” “Look at that sink! I wanted marble! Does this look marble to you! I wanted 4 drawers, two on each side and this one has 3. What kind of cheap oddly proportioned bathroom sink is this? Fix it now!” Richard had enough! “Well tell me everything else wrong with this damn house then?! I will rip everything out you don’t like.” Martha proceeded to walk around the house grabbing odd things she felt needed to go and throwing them behind her. Richard trailed behind her with a box, catching and gently putting everything in the box.

Once the rampage had blown over Richard was going to take his revenge! He snuck out of bed, put on his Pokémon slippers, and slithered down the stairs into the basement. There, in the basement he would do the unthinkable! Richard took all of the items his wife had ban from the house and sold them on Uncle Henry’s. Item after item he typed in a description and chuckled to himself. “I will have my revenge; I will have my van stereo of my dreams! I will drive back from dropping the kids off at soccer, with no Martha and I will sing the greatest hits of Yoko Ono!”

There was something missing from the room, but nothing was missing.

After unpacking my forty million boxes I lay back on my bed and took a deep breath. “It is over”, I said to myself.

Everything had its place. And in its place everything will stay. Me, being the very meticulous person I am made sure everything was right where it should be. All my boxes were correctly labeled so unpacking was simple enough. My jewelry and perfume station is set up just how it was at home and my shoes are all aligned beside my closet. “Now what?”

I sat there and twiddled my thumbs for a bit until I thought of what I should do next. I thought maybe organizing the kitchen would be best. Once arriving to the kitchen I realized my mom already did that. My lamps in my room? Nope, my brother already put those together and also put in the light bulbs. Vacuum? No, my sister did that as well.

So, dressed my feet and took a stroll into the living room. We are on the third floor so there is no noise from above. It is kind of nice when you want to sleep but it sort of seems dead sometimes. The walls let little sound through, as far as people below us? You can’t usually hear anything. The only noise at the time was the dull hum of the washer which had already been started by my mother. The throw blankets were apparently not clean enough to be put in the living room yet so in they went.

“Well this is nothing like my old bedroom at home. It’s a little smaller, not as colorful. The carpet is kind of um…brown? No dog barking constantly over a friggin’ squirrel. No little sister coming in asking me to paint her nails. No brother begging me to add songs to his iPod and now without parents to tell me to turn my shit down.”

Looking back, silence…was missing. The silence I am use to. The constant silence of a busy family, it was like white noise to me. Now, without any noise at all, in true silence, something is missing.


Being a woman, we have many things at our disposal. You just have to know how to use’m. Honestly, use’m or lose him! To be a true female you must be in touch with the power your have not only over yourself but others. I am not talking playing the girl card, “Oh, Mr. Help me, I’m broke down and I need a lift.” I mean using the brain power we have to get what we want.

Take being female from a girlfriend perspective, you have to understand the thought pattern or your significant other. Is he someone who has to ‘be in control’, come up with all the ideas or is he more easy going? Ok, so he is one of those who like to have come up with that good idea for dinner. Whatever, go along with it. Let him ‘think’ he thought of Applebee’s for dinner instead of Longhorn’s. When in actuality you said, “Ah, I would to have an amazing steak, like the one you got last weekend” then he proceeds to say, “Ya, ya it was at um, Applebee’s. Steak. Steak good. Let’s go to Applebee’s again.” Then the two of you have a great dinner without argument over where to go, thanks to your subliminal suggestion.

The older sister perspective, “Hey, um so I am going to my friend’s house tonight and won’t be back until late so cover for me okay?” you say to your younger brother. He then assumes he has the upper hand and goes, “No way! I can’t stay out so you can’t either. You better just be back on time.” “Ahhh, come on. Stacey really wanted me to bring over some of the pictures from our vacation this summer to show her. She was particularly interested in ones of you. Weird huh?” He then runs upstairs and grabs a bunch of pictures of himself, printed from this summer at the beach. “Just, um, bring these to my dearest Stacey and I guess I’ll cover for you.” Once again, the female brain has overcome any obstacle that stood in her way.

The most ancient and most sought after tool of all time, the thought process of the female. Do we deceive, alter perceptions, and manipulate situations to our benefit? Sure. Over time females have evolved to make the most out of the great gift, ‘tool’, we were granted.

Sunday, October 19, 2008 8:39:00 PM  
Blogger johngoldfine said...

Aw, alexis, 46 is so much 'The Book'....

Tuesday, October 21, 2008 9:42:00 AM  
Blogger johngoldfine said...

45 has that evocative, meaning-beyond itself feeling. A piece about loneliness, about being on your own for good and bad, about bravery and love...yes, they're all there between the lines. Nice.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008 9:46:00 AM  
Blogger johngoldfine said...

43--a piece about every woman's worst fear, a man without enough 'you know whats' to keep the monster in check and to make the marriage an equal business, a fair give-and-take.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008 9:51:00 AM  
Blogger nkassigned08 said...

45. A Process
2241. He realized that he never knew what he was going to write until he had finished writing it.

Each stroke on the keyboard takes a small amount of thought. But the idea, that the letters produced form, is a slow process of build-up and revision.

Whole paragraphs appear and disappear. The excitement of one word after the next slowly forming the whole that was once intended; is stripped away by the anger of not being able to clearly state a plot point of the piece.

Four sentences are cut to one and the piece takes a new direction.

Heavy and Dense sentences are lightened by changing words, and thinned out by adding supporting sentences; or turning them into two or three new sentences.

Many short simple sentences are turned into a few longer, more thought provoking sentences.

The fight to slow the mind to make clerical revisions is waged and letters are changed and added to make the word first intended.

Words are again added and removed to push toward the newly formed direction and the piece takes a whole.

There as a whole the piece is nothing like once intended but it has its own merit, the direction that it took makes it stand stronger, then the piece once intended. Though the feeling of betrayal to the original idea, makes it hard to see the work as anything but a malformation of what should have been.


Wednesday, October 22, 2008 2:54:00 PM  
Blogger johngoldfine said...

Hey nka, isn't that the way of it? I've always been wary of outlines, both as student and teacher, because for my money they tend to kill the chance for inspiration, for life and breath in the writing, for serendipity and surprise. In other words, I don't like to know where I'm going and like, on the contrary, to be open to confusion and puzzles. Probably makes me a better writer and a worse teacher....

I smiled when you wrote here about plot points, remembering what a tussle you had with week 5....

Thursday, October 23, 2008 9:07:00 AM  
Blogger michelle said...

It was another one of those days where I spend most of my afternoon driving the "taxi" that transports my children to their activities. On this day I was taking my son to the Y where he trains 3 hours every day, on his own, for basketball. The little guy had held, or more aptly, drooled on his first basketball at age four months when we put him in a stoller on the court and his older brothers played a game around him. He has never been without a basketball in the intervening 16 years. The child is driven, in a way none of my other children have exhibited, to succeed at this sport. He wants to play for a Division I University. He wants to attend college on a basketball scholarship, because he knows we can't afford for him to go any other way. He's a straight A's honor student, which he manages to pull off even with his daily schedule of training.

I rattled off a list of last minute nags as he got out of the car in front of the Y. I watched him in my rear view mirror, as I prepared to pull away from the curb, it was then that I saw the folded piece of paper flutter from his gym bag. The wind was blowing hard and he didn't notice the paper as he ran into the building to escape the cold. He's still wearing shorts and tank tops despite the fact it's almost November.

I shoved the car into park and jumped out. The paper had been blown into the street and I could see it lying on the pavement. Cars whizzed by, as it fluttered back and forth from one lane to another. I stepped into the road waiting for the traffic to clear. Was this piece of paper important to my son?

Darkness was settling and the traffic was heavy as people were trying to get home for the night. I watched as the paper was lifted by a passing truck and blown into the gutter on the opposite side of the street. There it lay amongst a few leaves and a crushed McDonald's cup. Not a single driver saw the paper, nor paid attention to the mother that was desperately trying to cross the street to get it. The paper, and the mother, were oblivious to the passing world.

The traffic light at the top of the hill changed and I was able to gingerly make my way across the street, retrieve the paper and return. I knew my son had a strict training regimen and thought that this piece of paper contained the many drills he does daily. I began to open the paper as I entered the front door of the Y and made my way toward the gym. I stopped somewhere near the front desk, for it was at this point that I realized the paper did not contain his training drills. The paper had a hand written statement on it. Whether he wrote it himself or it was a quote from someone else, I don't know, but it clearly was written in his handwriting and had meant something to him.
I read it-
"I'm scared of what I won't become and you are scared of what I could become. Look at me, I won't let myself end where I started, I won't let myself finish where I began, I know what is within me, even if you can't see it yet. Look me in the eyes, I have something more important then courage, I have paitence, I will become what I know I am!"

I folded the paper and headed for the gym. I could hear him before I saw him. There was my son, alone in the empty cavern. There was no group of kids playing pick up games, just my son, alone. The echoing sound of a bouncing basketball ringing through the open space. He didn't see me, as his back was to the door and he had his iPod stuck in his ears. He was shooting 3 pointers, over and over and over. I thought of the paper I held in my hand and how it reflected on this child who was so determined to succeed. How this paper held his dreams, his determination the very essence of who he was. I thought of how, just moments before, it had fluttered unnoticed by the rest of the world in the street outside. Lost in the crush of traffic, blown around by the winds of life. Of how I had stood there, trying to protect it from the passing rush of the world.

His gym bag lay open by the door. I dropped the paper in beside his spare ball, weightlifting gloves and water bottle. I silently slipped out, having done my job as protector and leaving my son with is dreams.

Thursday, October 23, 2008 9:18:00 AM  
Blogger michelle said...

The man's office is a snapshot of his life's devotion. He has two desks. One is littered with sheet music, books, instrument repair kits, and a picture of a toliet seat, I don't know the significance of that. The other desk contains his computer, with only enough available space for his keyboard and mouse. The remaining space is taken up with CD's, a sound system, more sheet music, a couple of pictures of his kids and a picture of himself in a blue feather boa.

The room itself is cluttered with instrument cases, a very large tuba, a keyboard, sitting atop two speakers, and a couple of hard wooden chairs. There is a cabinet, whose doors are open and it has vomited it contents onto a nearby table. Books and papers litter the table top and have spilled onto the floor. Cardboard boxes containing uniforms and who knows what else are stacked under desks, along the walls and near the cabinet. The floor is partially covered by a worn oriental rug that could of used a good vacumning about 10 years ago.

On the walls are hung pictures of the many young people who have passed through his life in the past twenty years. Awards and certificates of recognition are sprinkled in amongst the photos. On the windowsill sits coffee cups, of which he will never use as he doesn't drink coffee. A stuffed bear, several sets of novelty drumsticks and a few baseball hats. All gifts given to him over the years. In the corner is a coat rack with the blue feather boa hanging from one hook, a cowboy hat and a blue and white striped scarf from another.

The man sits in a ripped leather office chair, whose broken spring in the seat has left small tear marks in all of the his pants. The chair creaks with each movement that he makes. His door is always open, his cell phone always on, he is always available to anyone who might need him.

His office, and all of it's contents, reflect a life of service to others and an enjoyment of that service. He is doing what he has wanted to do since he was 10 years old, teach.

Thursday, October 23, 2008 9:51:00 AM  
Blogger michelle said...

I always enjoy the Uncle Henry's ads that state "Wedding dress, size 8, never worn, bought new for $2,000 will sell for $400." Or the opposing side "Engagment ring, no longer needed, paid $2,000 will trade for a good hunting dog."

Marriage is a risky investment, and not just in a monetary sense. Money is the least of your concerns when love goes wrong. The emotions that get tied to items such as wedding dresses and engagment rings are what the sellers are trying to get rid of. The lost money is a small sacrifice to pay just to be rid of the thing that reminds you of something so painful.

When I got divorced I took my 1 carat engagment ring, wedding band, and 2 carat anniversary band to a local consigment shop. I was pretty much homeless at the time, using a post office box and a Tracfone. All of which I'm sure I wrote down as my contanct information on the paperwork I filled out to leave my rings there. I didn't care what they sold for, or even if they sold. I didn't ever want to see those rings again.

Life rolls on, years passed away, and I got settled. I stopped using the post office box when I bought a house. The Tracfone is long gone as I have a "real" cell phone as well as a house phone. For the most part I forgot about the rings at the consignment shop, content that they were out of my life. If they ever did sell, the shop wouldn't be able to locate me on the information I had left there so many years ago. Oh well, I didn't care, it was the pain I was glad to be rid of, not the money I could of made.

That is until the price of gold shot up and I saw the ad in the newspaper. Some out of state group was coming to the Hampton Inn to buy your unwanted gold wedding bands, engagement rings, etc.

The years have dulled the pain of my violent marriage but now I ache for the money I could of made from those rings!!! I can't remember my post office box number or the phone number for that stupid Tracfone. I couldn't just walk into the consignment shop and tell them the rings were mine. I would need to prove it, and since I can't, the rings and the value of them now are lost.

I should of held onto them and when the pain they represented faded away ran an Uncle Henry's ad myself "3 CWT diamond engagement ring, wedding ban and anniversary band, buy her rings for life all at one time. Excellent condition, all emotional residue removed prior to sale, get them now for $6,000"

Thursday, October 23, 2008 10:26:00 AM  
Blogger Alexis said...

I was worried, as I always am that what I wrote has nothing to do with what you wanted. I am very pleased to see you liked my pieces. Thanks.

Thursday, October 23, 2008 1:10:00 PM  
Blogger johngoldfine said...

Boy, michelle, that last graf in 43 sizzles with mordant humor. The rest of it isn't too shabby either, with a different kind of whaddaya-gonna-do humor.

"Rings for life all at one time...." I'm still smiling over that because it works on so many different levels, all of them ironic, funny, sad.

Friday, October 24, 2008 9:44:00 PM  
Blogger MTracy said...

43. This is a real comfortable sofa. It does come w/a slip cover. I was in the process of making a new slipcover but broke my wrist in 2 places so that ended that for a long while. Don't have a picture but I will call you if you send me your number. You can call me if you like

We have had this sofa for ten years now so it is nice and worn in. We have three children and they have done a lot of jumping on this sofa so when you sit down you sink completely into the cushions. Since we have three children there have been many spills so you might want to keep the slip cover on at all times. We also have a few cats and they like to use the arms of the couch as a scratching post so some of the threads are now loose. I have had this slip cover on for about three years so there are a few little stains, which is why I decided to make a new one. When I was in the process of trying to make my sofa look like new I broke my wrist so I have given up trying to freshen up this sofa. I am going to do it the easy way and just by leather this time.

Friday, October 24, 2008 9:48:00 PM  
Blogger shaws1998 said...

43. 1998 Coachman Catalina Lite 24' Travel Trailer. Sleeps 6, full bath, stove, ref. microwave, air, furnace, awning, exc. cond. must sell $7,500 cash talks, consider interesting trades, what you got.-Details-Gardiner, ME

It was just three years ago that we were buying a camper very similar to this one. We had sold our house, and the buyers wanted to be in our house within thirty days. We were homeless. We had land that we had purchased, but that’s all it was…no house, no driveway, no well, no septic…just land, and the contractor that we had lined up to build the house.

So, we packed everything up, put it in storage, and bought a little 27’ contained camper and plopped it on my parent’s property. We moved out of our house in September, so with the cold weather coming, my husband decided to get some hay bales from my uncle and pack them all around the bottom of the camper for insulation. Then, we went out to Home Depot, bought some PVC piping and connected to my father’s sewer and water line. Needless to say, for the next few months, we were bombarded with every “red-neck” joke in the book. And, it just so happened that it would be about the same time that the movie “RV” starring Robin Williams was released, so of course, our good friends had to so kindly invite us over to watch it.

Our lovely abode consisted of a kitchenette with a the smallest microwave ever invented, a mini fridge, a mini stove and a kitchen table that converted into my daughter’s bed at night. In the Living Room, we had one little chair with a couch that turned into my son’s bed at night. Lucky for my husband and me, our bed sat right beside the bathroom which had just enough room for a toilet and shower that only a five year old or a “little person” could fit into.

The kid’s had a wonderful time. It was like being on a big long camping trip. Me? Well, we did get to spend a lot of good quality time together as a family in the evenings. There was really no place for anyone to escape to. It’s a good memory, but not something I’m looking forward to doing again real soon.

Friday, October 24, 2008 9:59:00 PM  
Blogger shaws1998 said...

45. Pick a prompt from http://onemillionfootnotes.blogspot.com/. Tell us what it is and run with it: Every time they entered a room they discovered another puddle of pee from a cat or a dog.

When my son was little, he was utterly obsessed with dogs. Obsessed may even be an understatement. He wanted to be a dog when he grew up. Although we were very proud that he was so forward thinking at such a young age, growing up to be a dog, wasn’t quite the goals that we had in mind for him.

“O.K.” we thought “Maybe he just needs a little prodding”…so we tried to plant different ideas in his head.

“What about a doctor? You could help sick people.” we’d suggest.

“Mmmm…nah…I’m gonna be a dog.”

“Well, what a bout a policeman? You could help get the bad guys!”

“Mmmm…nope…I’m wanna be a dog.”

“What about a fireman?” I asked.

His eyes lit up! That was it! I could see it in his eyes. I was thinking, “We finally got him off the dog kick”, when I heard him say…

“I could be a fireman’s dog!

O.K. plan B. Maybe if we bought him a dog, he would get over wanting to be a dog. Every time you would so much as even look at this dog, she would pea all over the floor! That did the trick. My son was cured! He finally decided that the life of a dog didn’t look quite as glamorous as he thought, and maybe being a human wasn‘t quite so bad.

Friday, October 24, 2008 9:59:00 PM  
Blogger shaws1998 said...

46. Sometimes humans are defined as tool-using animals.

It’s so true what they say…”One you have it, you could never go back”. The internet…probably the single most greatest tool of all time.

What store could you ever find that would satisfy all of your purchasing needs? You can find that perfect car to buy, find a home to purchase, have your prescription drugs mailed right to your doorstep, buy your groceries, or even purchase soil straight from Baghdad…or so they say. The internet is literally that “one stop shop“.

The research on the internet is endless. Right from the comfort of your home, you can research what college to attend, find that perfect place to vacation in, study religion, research, in detail, any disease known to man. And the list goes on. You can basically “Google” any word there is out there and get countless information on the subject.

The internet, in numerous ways, has made life so much easier. Who would of ever thought that it would be acceptable to attend a college class in your pajamas? Or, let’s just think of that Aunt Linda that you could never seem to find the time to sit down and write a letter to, address the envelope, fold the letter and stuff the envelope, write the return address, place a stamp on it, take it to the mailbox, and put the little red flag up. Or, maybe first, you’d have to go out and purchase a stamp if you didn‘t have one. I mean that’s just too much work to go through to send out one simple letter. What do you do now? Shoot her a quick email, or do what a lot of people do trying to deceive you that they were actually thinking of you and you alone…send out one of those “mass” emails.

Or, what about the communication tools there are out there. When I was a kid, I can remember having a pen-pal the next town over. I thought that was just the neatest thing EVER! Now kids can sit down at their computer and write to someone in China the same time that they’re writing to someone in Africa. Wow…now that’s the mother of all pen-pals.

It’s hard to even imagine life before the internet. What would happen if we woke up tomorrow and there was no internet? Face it…we’d be absolutely lost. How would we even know how to function in our day to day lives without the greatest tool ever known to man…the internet.

Friday, October 24, 2008 10:00:00 PM  
Blogger johngoldfine said...

Michelle--the paper piece is one that is beyond my commenting on. And you say you aren't a poet! Aw gee, that's another Eyrie possibility, if you want to consider it.

It just keeps striking me over and over that I haven't anything to say about something as finished as this. Definitely week 9, all the way.

Saturday, October 25, 2008 10:27:00 AM  
Blogger johngoldfine said...

Hey michelle--basically the same comment on the teacher piece that I had on your blog piece: you go a few steps too far in the close because you're afraid of not being clear enough.

You write: "His office, and all of it's contents, reflect a life of service to others and an enjoyment of that service. He is doing what he has wanted to do since he was 10years old, teach."

I'd revise that to read: "He is doing what he has wanted to do since he was 10years old, teach."

Dropping that first sentence to me seems to increase, not diminish, the effect and the point.

Saturday, October 25, 2008 10:32:00 AM  
Blogger stevens said...

45. They could smell the heat from the radiators before they could feel it.

The atmosphere in the room was frigid. They walked in removed coats and scarves and sat down silently. Mary sat arms and legs crossed, corners of her lips pulled back toward her ears, chin up. She faced the closed window looking past the falling wet snowflakes falling out in the lamplight. Herbert sat on the other end of the duvet hands fidgeting together leaning wrists on knees his top teeth gnawing at lower lip. He jumped to the bar and poured one drink then another. He made a step toward Mary, hand outstretching then retracted arm and leg. She watched his reflection in the window and turned facing him offering an outstretched hand thumb and fingers positioned to take the glass. He walked to her and placed the glass in her hand without touching her with his hand. He did not have to. The corners of her lips relaxed. They heard the radiators clank as steam began circulating. The room was warming up.

Saturday, October 25, 2008 10:21:00 PM  
Blogger johngoldfine said...

mtracy--for 43 to really work, the writer has to go a little over the top--the details have to be even more extreme than the ad--we need to hear how that wrist got broken, realize that there are 10 cats, and not only three kids but also a shaky granddad and an even shakier drunk husband both spilling stuff daily, and so on...

Sunday, October 26, 2008 8:53:00 AM  
Blogger johngoldfine said...

And, shaws, did you sell your 27 footer with an ad in Uncle Henry's?

The description of the miniature life in that camper was very enjoyable, though I don't see this one as actually hitting the mark for week 9.

Sunday, October 26, 2008 8:56:00 AM  
Blogger johngoldfine said...

Hey stevens, 45 rings my bell! Very nice sketch; I admire that willingness to let something hang, as long as it's hanging fruitfully and not confusingly--and this is definitely leaving fruitful images in my mind. It works!

Sunday, October 26, 2008 9:14:00 AM  
Blogger johngoldfine said...

Life w/o the internet--it was pretty darn close to that around here Friday, shaws.... The big computer crashed and working on that little laptop is impossible for me with my crap typing and that tiny screen dnd the touchpad idiocy and the impossible hunched posture I get into. So I took the laptop, plugged in the big screen, plugged in a usb port keyboard and am using the laptop as a cpu but not having to mess with it otherwise.

So, yeah, I got right into your piece!

Sunday, October 26, 2008 9:20:00 AM  
Blogger johngoldfine said...

Shaws, someone said, "The more I learn about humans, the more I love dogs." Fireman's dog sounds like it would have been a pretty good compromise. Anyway, it could have been worse--he could have wanted to grow up and be a musician! That's what happened to my son....

Sunday, October 26, 2008 9:24:00 AM  
Blogger stevens said...


Keg refrigerator full sized refrigerator \ freezer converted to hold full - sized keg. Includes co2 dispenser and all connections. Serve beer from refrigerator compartment while reserving the freezer section for your mugs or mixers. Asking $175 OBO-Contact Information-Princeton, ME

There is not much to do in Princeton Maine so my buddies and me took up drinking and playing poker at my house. At first my wife did not mind too much. I started with a six pack from the IGA then moved up to the 30-packs. All the empties and the cigarette buts and empty frozen pizza boxes left around began to wear on my wife. When we started to advertise with flyers on telephone poles the cases of beer were too much to manage so we one weekend when my wife was visiting her sister in Machias we took refrigerator and converted it into a kegerator. Hat was the last straw. She said, “Take the friggin’ refrigerator and get the hell out of here.” I have to pay the light bill for my apartment so I am selling the kegerator in Uncle Henry’s. Since I took up coffee brandy I don’t need it anyhow.

Sunday, October 26, 2008 9:17:00 PM  
Blogger stevens said...

46. Twenty thousand dollars it cost the Department to train me and my German Shepard Bear to track suspects and sniff out dope. Now they have us taking the rear of this meth lab raid. I can see breath from silhouettes around the van ahead. Semi-automatic rifles and bulky flack jackets are the order of the early morning. I cannot even see the point officers that I know are only minutes away from battening the door of the lab in this rural residential area. Captain said he was concerned for the welfare of the animal, as if I am not. Bear sighs in the back seat, as if reading my thoughts which he does sometimes I am convinced. I glance back to see him in his own flack jacket rustling a bit to get comfortable on his royal blue insignia state police blanket. Suddenly van lights go out as the strike team scatters. My cell goes off requesting Bear at the lab; two suspects are in custody, one fled to the woods. As the words reach me Bear stands, stretches and waits tail wagging at the back door of the cruiser. In 30 minutes we have the suspect cornered in a shed and the tactical team does the rest. On the way back to the car I approach the local reporter interviewing Captain and get drawn in. I make sure the kudos are for Bear.

We get home after shift at 3:30 and I prepare Bear’s dinner before the rest of the family gets home. I say to him “I hope you don’t mind Captain calling you the ‘best tool for the apprehension of perpetrators that this department ever purchased’”. I squat and bear walks over for an armlock and a pat on the side. “You aren’t a tool you are part of this family.”

Monday, October 27, 2008 4:50:00 PM  
Blogger MTracy said...

He waited until the next day to correct the errors in what he wrote while half-asleep.

Finally 8:00, all the kids are in bed I can finish the dishes in the sink and then sit down and do my homework. I get through three dishes and I hear, “Mom I want a drink.” I open up the cupboard and grab a cup; I walk back to the bathroom to fill it up with water for Keaton. I bring it to him so he can have a drink, I walk back to put it into the bathroom and I hear “Mom I need to go to the bathroom” So, I tell him to come on in. When he is finished I tuck him into bed for the second time and walk back to the kitchen to finish the dishes.
When I am all done with the dishes I sit down at the counter to start my homework. I look at all the prompts we can choose from and I try to search my brain for anything left in there. Come 8:00 I swear everything starts to shut down so trying to get it started again is a struggle. I manage to come up with a few ideas and start to type them on the computer. I can’t seem to put my thoughts on paper and have them make sense. They all make sense when I am saying them in my head but the second I try to put them down it all seems to come out wrong. I started off thinking that I could get at least two of these done; to hoping I can finish one so it makes a little sense. I finish the last sentence and go back and read what I just wrote. I change a few words so it sounds better and see there are a lot of spelling errors. I notice my eyelids are starting to win the battle and I can barely keep my eyes open. I look over at the time and realize I need to go to bed if I want to function at all tomorrow. I turn my computer off and wait for a new day to look over my work.

Monday, October 27, 2008 9:25:00 PM  
Blogger johngoldfine said...

Aw, stevens, I'm sure stuff like that in 43 never happens! What is this Allen's Coffee Brandy of which you speak?


Tuesday, October 28, 2008 10:44:00 AM  
Blogger johngoldfine said...

Ach, stevens, a dog story and you know I can't resist a dog story.

This is definitely one of those cases where you take just one step too far! Drop that last sentence! Keeping it offers crystal clear clarity about Bear's place in the family, but dropping it allows us into the mind of the dog handler to feel his love for the dog. Big difference.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008 10:48:00 AM  
Blogger johngoldfine said...

Hey mtracy--you're working too hard, which you already know, but I mean in the more-is-less department. What if your piece for week 9 read this way:

Finally 8:00, all the kids are in bed I can finish the dishes. I get through three dishes and I hear, “Mom I want a drink.” I open up the cupboard and grab a cup; I walk back to the bathroom to fill it up with water for Keaton. I bring it to him so he can have a drink, I walk back to put it into the bathroom and I hear “Mom I need to go to the bathroom” So, I tell him to come on in. When he is finished I tuck him into bed for the second time and walk back to the kitchen to finish the dishes.
When I am all done with the dishes I sit down at the counter to start my homework. I look at all the prompts we can choose from and I try to search my brain for anything left in there. I manage to come up with a few ideas and start to type. They all make sense when I am saying them in my head but the second I try to put them down it comes out wrong. I started off thinking that I could get at least two done; to hoping I can finish one.... I turn my computer off and wait for a new day to look over my work.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008 10:55:00 AM  
Blogger Veronica said...

45. As the cat walks by, its tail rubs insistently against his leg.

When I was younger always had some sort of pet, a fish, a bird, dog some type of animal companion, but the best one was a cat. She was different colors of gray with tuffs of hair coming out of her ears and between her toes, so we called her Tuffy. There was a lot going on in my life at this time, school, my parents divorce, fights with my siblings, and then the every day stuff like what to wear, what to eat, do I have to do my homework. When ever I got home I would call for my cat and ring a little bell and she would come running. At night she slept right next to my head, and when I cried I would hold her almost like a stuffed animal for comfort. I couldn’t think of a day without having my cat, she helped me get through a lot of things that were going on. Eventually one day we had to put Tuffy down, she was sick and suffering. Tuffy was my pet, my companion, my best friend and I was horrified at the thought of her not being there, but I didn’t want her to suffer either. So in the end I felt I helped her like she helped me, I didn’t let her suffer and continue on in the pain she was in.

43. Mice for sale. No white \ albinos. All colorful ones. Ready to go. Pets preferably, but will sell for food as well. Adorable and full of energy. $1.50 ea. I also make frequent trips to Bangor.

Sara had always wanted pet mice, just two of them, all fuzzy and cute. Eventually she took the chance and got two pet mice but didn’t ask what sex they were. She named them Alex and Jesse. Sara put them both in the same cage with pine shavings, a wheel, water bottle, food dish, and a toilet paper tube. At first she held them every day and was just fascinated by them, but eventually she grew bored of them, they never did any thing new or different, just ran around, squeaked a little, and pooped a lot. So she stopped paying attention to them and just did the necessary tasks of feeding, watering and cleaning them. After a few weeks Jesse started getting bigger, but Sara didn’t think much of it. One day when she went to clean out the cage she noticed a new addition to the cage, several new born mice. Apparently she was the owner of a male and female and they were now parents. Months passed and the family of mice just grew, but Sara didn’t have the time or the money to have separate cages for the mice. Eventually it came that time of year for Christmas presents and most of her money was spent on food and shavings and such for the mice. So Sara got the bright idea of selling the mice for money. She figured they would sell well since they were multicolored, not just plain white. So she put an add in the Uncle Henry’s for colorful mice at $1.50 each, hoping to get some money to help her during the holidays.

44. I don’t get to go for walks often, but when I start I always tell myself I need to go for more walks. I love how peaceful walks can be and everything I can see. I don’t usually walk far just up the road to the corner, where the ice cream place is. After I make it to the end of the road I remember why I end up not going for walks as often, I have to walk back home and it always seems to talk longer to walk back. As much as I dread the walk home, I love the start of every walk. It’s always so peaceful, with no one around to make noises and talk. I can hear the squirrels in the woods and the leaves crinkling under my feet. Once in a while I can hear dogs bark from one of the houses I pass, which there are few of. I also like what I see as I walk. There’s lots of trees and very few houses, the road is seldom used so I don’t have to worry about cars driving by. Then I reach the end, and I can Twigs Ice Cream, the new fire station and all the cars zooming by on the busy road. I turn around and remember how much I enjoyed the walk, and have to force myself to walk back. In the end I remember how the beginning of a walk can be fun and peaceful but how dreadful the walk can be.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008 3:14:00 PM  
Blogger nkassigned08 said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008 12:55:00 PM  
Blogger nkassigned08 said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008 12:55:00 PM  
Blogger nkassigned08 said...

46. A to B

I want to be a writer, something deep inside of me awakes at the scent of pen ink or the feel of the quick stoking of the keyboard. A page becomes a limited space to convey my story. My imagination and works become my implements, to finely tool the words to make a black and white version of the images in my mind.

Four years ago I went to stay with my sister in Calais for a month. When everyone would go to bed I would stay up for hours working on my book. I placed my self on a five page limit, the limit was reached before I would get into the pace of the piece. The last twenty pages were all done in one night, the pieces that I had laid were finally coming together.

My brother read it and said that I needed to work on my spelling. He also told me not to stop working on my writing. He said that there were solid plot devices and that with work I could come up with a good story.

Over the last few years I have not opened the work to look at it, but I have started over from the beginning and then let it trail off again. My ideas and works never hitting the page awake the author within. The old pages yellow in an old bedside table in a closet, hidden from those that would read them.

Hundreds of days have passed without fulfilling my five page a day goal. The thrill and feel of escaping into a world that I design around myself feels as though it happened in a dream or a story of someone else.

Instead of dreaming of new worlds, I spend my life dreaming of being able to dream of new worlds. To this day I have been a man that dreams of being a writer, but I have never used my ability to write to become one.


Wednesday, October 29, 2008 1:17:00 PM  
Blogger nkassigned08 said...

44. Avoiding Hypocrisy

The wind was pressing hard against my face, on a warm summer day this would have been a refreshing breeze; but it was not summer it was a cool day in Autumn and the wind was full of small beads of rain. On my mile walk into work I was drenched in the first five minutes. My eyes squinted just enough to see the road ahead of me.

I advocate walking as much as possible, I think that walking is a health solution to a lot of current problems facing modern day Americans. So, some days I walk in the rain and dry my pants with a hand dryer.

While I was working associates commented on how wet I was, but I had a story to share. One customer came up, I asked if she was enjoying the weather.

'I had to walk in it, the wind was blowing me around.'
'Yeah I walked into work today.'
She smiled and repeated my words then said 'yeah I was out in flip flops and I had to cross the road, the wind almost blew me off my feet, so when I went across again I took them off. You would think walking across the road it would not be that bad.'
'yeah, but it is. I walked facing it. When I got here the front side of my pants were like seven shades darker then the back.'

The way I figure it; I saved two dollars, burned some calories and had something to talk about for a few days.


Wednesday, October 29, 2008 1:38:00 PM  
Blogger johngoldfine said...

Hey nka--46 describes a common stage in the life of many writers. I was stuck there most of my adult life. You do a nice job with the sadness, mystery, and frustration of the situation. To push week 9 harder, dropping the first graf might yield dividends.

Thursday, October 30, 2008 10:37:00 AM  
Blogger johngoldfine said...

nka--just realized there are two versions of 46--my reaction above is to the longer one.

Thursday, October 30, 2008 10:38:00 AM  
Blogger johngoldfine said...

I prefer the longer one--richer, fuller, more flavor.

Thursday, October 30, 2008 10:39:00 AM  
Blogger johngoldfine said...

The walking one confuses me--partly because the punctuation and page layout doesn't let me know for sure who's talking when, or not without focusing on that to the exclusion of other content and meaning. I think, though, that you're depending on your title to carry a lot of the meaning and intention, and that's something I'd discourage. The work is the work, the title is something else--a dispensable throw-in.

Thursday, October 30, 2008 10:42:00 AM  
Blogger johngoldfine said...

44--veronica--works with a few simple materials and pictures, but by careful repetition and variation of these few elements, you really concentrate the reader's attention and by the end we do definitely realize we are not reading about just walking, but about something bigger too.

Thursday, October 30, 2008 11:04:00 AM  
Blogger johngoldfine said...

Oh, veronica, I'm really hating sara, and I hope that's what you intended. Hate people who buy pets they don't want, who buy inappropriate pets for kids at Xmas or Easter, who tell kids too young to take responsibility that feeding the dog is now their responsibility, who let pets run wild and loose and get hurt.

Thursday, October 30, 2008 11:08:00 AM  
Blogger johngoldfine said...

Veronica--week 9 I'm always looking for a lighter and lighter touch. What if the ending read like this:

"Eventually one day we had to put Tuffy down, she was sick and suffering. Tuffy was my pet, my companion, my best friend and I was horrified at the thought of her not being there, but in the end I had to help her like she had helped me...."

Less is more?

Thursday, October 30, 2008 11:11:00 AM  
Blogger nkassigned08 said...

the longer 46. was the one I actually posted, the two that U have deleted were an issue with the site logging me off.

Thursday, October 30, 2008 11:14:00 AM  
Blogger MTracy said...

As the cat walks by, its tail rubs insistently against his leg.

My husband comes home one day after work and tells me that there is a Siamese kitten at the shelter in Bucksport. I humor in him and ask, “How did you hear about the cat?” He said, “He is only 5 months old and one of the guys that I works with has been telling me about it. He said the guy keeps bugging him to go look at the kitten because he is so adorable. “I don’t doubt that he is adorable, so I wouldn’t go seem him if I were you because you know you won’t be able to leave him there once you see him.” It’s not that I don’t love animals but we have 2 dogs and 3 cats so we already have enough going on in our house as it is.
A few days pass and he says, “So I went and saw the kitten.” “I can’t believe you don’t have him in the car, you don’t do you?” I asked. ‘No I don’t have him in the car but would you be mad if I did”, he asked. “No, I wouldn’t be mad but we can barely pay for the expenses of the animals we have so I am happy you didn’t bring another home.” A little while later I start asking him about the kitten. He said that he has been there since he was just weeks old. Someone had found him in a field and brought him there and he has been there ever since. I wanted to know what he looked like and if he was friendly. Of course he said he was so sweet and purred the second he picked him up.
The next day Bill comes home from work and peeked his head in the door and says, “Honey, you love me right.” “That depends.” I holler back. I look in his direction and here he comes in the door with a cat under his arm. I can’t believe we have another cat (well, actually I am not surprised at all). I wanted to know what made him go back for the cat and that’s when the truth came out. He said that he had already told them he would take the cat the day before but he had to wait until today to pick him up. They needed him to get checked out by a vet before he could be adopted. I just shook my head because I knew my husband couldn’t leave a cat at the shelter and I don’t blame him because I wouldn’t be able to either.

Thursday, October 30, 2008 8:50:00 PM  
Blogger johngoldfine said...

Mtracy--I would sooner go into a house infected with bubonic plague than go into the dog section of the animal shelter. The dogs know exactly where they are, what's happening to them, and say as clearly as communication can say: 'For the love of God, please get me out of here! I promise, I swear, I will be your dog forever and a day: loyal, obedient, funny, smart, whatever you want. Just please please please, save me...."

Yep, I would not go to a shelter, and reading your piece brings that back to me, a compliment to the writing.

But week 9 now.... Here you want words to carry some metaphorical or symbolic power, and the piece as you've written it is so clear and finished that there's nothing left for the reader to imagine. But if you made a cut, the piece would sit differently, would allow the reader to fill in some blanks.

Here's how I'd cut it at the end to achieve this:

The next day Bill comes home from work and peeked his head in the door and says, “Honey, you love me right.” “That depends.” I holler back. I look in his direction and here he comes in the door with a cat under his arm. I just shook my head because I already knew....

I added 'already.'

That unties the knot and lets the reader imagine the scene. This is a piece about love and marriage, not kitties, and that shorter ending insists on that.

Sunday, November 02, 2008 6:08:00 AM  
Blogger nkassigned08 said...

re 44. Avoiding Hypocrisy

The road to work cuts a straight path into the trees. The small hills make it so that you can not see to the other side.

From my back door I could not even tell that it was raining, but once I walked onto the sidewalk of the road the wind blew rain straight into my face.

I thought about what I would do if I was offered a ride. As the other times people had offered me rides I would get in to avoid being rude, not because I was trying to get out of the rain.

There have been many chances for me to go to get my drivers license, I passed them all up. At first because there was no money for it, then because it was not necessary. Right now I am in between both of those reasons, so I walk and I make the best of the rain.

Fellow associates will look and laugh, some think that there is humor in my reaction to the rain. Sometimes it fells like I am in a betting pool. As far as I see it walking in inclement weather, for the twelve years before I was born my father walked six days a week in any weather, he was the towns postal worker.

On occasion I get to share my story with people.

The rain had drenched me clear to the skin and droplets were forming on the cuff of my pants and dripping into my shoes. Only the front of me was wet, the wind was constant into my face.

Days of rain bring a variety of customers, and they all have something different to say about the rain. Most of the responses can be read off peoples faces.

A young women walked up to the counter, her hair was wet and she look tired. A small smile was still on her face.

When the chance arrives I strike conversations with the customers, rainy days offer more chances then sunny days.

'Are you enjoying the rain?' I asked.

'Yeah, I had to walk in it, the wind was blowing me around.'

'Yeah I walked into work today.'

She smiled and repeated my words then said 'yeah I was out in flip flops and I had to cross the road, the wind almost blew me off my feet, so when I went across again I took them off. You would think walking across the road it would not be that bad.'

'Yeah it is, the wind was blowing straight onto my face. When I got here the front side of my pants were about seven shades darker then the backs.'

I handed her the pound of white american, thanked her and wished her a good day.

I see the rain as important; I think that more people should walk. The way I see it if the road was smaller, my walk would have been dryer.

One day my passion for walking will be too much of an inconvenience, and I will be forced to schedule time in to go out and breath air and walk off my stress. Until them I plan to enjoy walks in the rain, stories with others who ended up in the rain, and bouts with those who want to convince me to go for my license.


Sunday, November 02, 2008 12:12:00 PM  
Blogger Rene said...

2272 She looked over at him just after he had looked away, though his face still pointed toward hers.

Oh! I didn’t know we were taking new people this year. Who is he? He’s my age. He’s cute.

These thoughts raced through my head as I walked into the green room at the United Methodist Church. I was running late for the camp counselor meeting, and was the last one to arrive. Conversation stopped as people greeted me as I took my set, my eyes covertly taking tabs of the mystery man.

“Oh, does everyone know Rene?” Pastor Michele asked after the greetings. Everyone acknowledged they knew me from various church activities except the mystery man. Our eyes met briefly before he quickly averted his eyes. I was waiting to see how he was going to respond.

“I don’t think Andrew knows her,” Glenna said in her southern accent. Andrew shock his head no to signal he did indeed not know me.

“Well,” Pastor Michele began, “this is Rene’ Harvey. This will be her second year going to Camp Mechuwana. Rene’, this is Andrew East. He runs the music at the Brownville Jct. Church, and his mother is the local wildlife painter. He will be helping Doug this year with the boy cabins.”

Andrew and I looked at each other from across the table while Michele introduced us. His eyes were lit up in his smooth face. His face didn’t give away any emotion to tell how he was reacting to meeting me.

After the introductions I would catch Andrew looking at me out of the corner of his eye. As soon as he noticed I had caught him he would avert his eyes back towards Pastor Michele, who was sitting next to me. He didn’t say anything to me during the meeting, but weeks later at camp he finally braved the water and spoke to me.

Sunday, November 02, 2008 5:01:00 PM  
Blogger Rene said...

46. In my family you need to have a wide range of knowledge to shift through the crap they try to tell you. You never know what they are going to try to tell you next. One such member of my family who is well known for this is my Aunt Dawn. She is always taking a topic and twisting it to the point of destruction. One such topic my aunt decided to butcher was human anatomy.

A few years ago my Aunt came up with the bright idea to convince everybody that she was pregnant. The only issue with this gag is that she had a complete hysterectomy the previous year. She had tried to tell us that her female parts magically grew back. All of them. Anyone with a basic knowledge of the human body knows this can not happen. Everyone she told just smiled at her and said, “Oh, how interesting.”

For me, my tool of knowledge is my most used and sharpened tool. If I didn’t have knowledge my family would have turned me into a basket case by now. I don’t know how many false ideas I would have adopted for real without the guidance of knowledge.

Sunday, November 02, 2008 5:09:00 PM  
Blogger Rene said...

44. The things I see as I walk along the street--that's heaven to me. Or is it?

About a month ago down town Milo burned. The fire burned down three businesses and a game shop/home. Nobody was hurt during this fire, but the destruction was heart wrenching.

Every time I walk past this section of town I am filled with a sense of loss. The best store in town was lost in the fire, True Value. I use to do my gift shopping in this store for birthday’s and holidays. The other stores were not that important to me, but I feel bad for the owner’s losses.

With downtown burned, and a lot of houses up for sale, I wonder a lot about what is going to happen to this small town. I’ve heard on the news that down town is going to be rebuilt eventually, but there was no mention about how in the mean time Milo with function. Until Milo is back on its feet again I will just have to wait and see what happens, and hope that as a town we can make it through the winter.

Sunday, November 02, 2008 5:15:00 PM  
Blogger johngoldfine said...

rene--your 44 is effective--very small, very close to home and personal, very modest but affecting piece of writing.

Tuesday, November 04, 2008 8:22:00 AM  
Blogger johngoldfine said...

rene'--I think you miss a bet with Aunt Dawn--she sounds like a piece of work and the reader is frustrated at not hearing more about her miracle pregnancy and its aftermath. She's not one of those crazy ladies who goes looking for newborns to snatch, is she?

Tuesday, November 04, 2008 8:25:00 AM  
Blogger johngoldfine said...

I very much like the meeting between rene' and andrew--all the eye action in the midst of the crowd--and that teasy ending which leaves the reader drooling for a little more, b ut in a good way. That was exactly where to close chapter 1.

Tuesday, November 04, 2008 8:28:00 AM  
Blogger johngoldfine said...

NKA--very fruitful piece.

Sometimes a piece feels pressured, driven; other times it feels as if inevitable because it comes rolling out so smoothly, so clearly, so naturally.

Your hypocrisy piece strikes me as the second kind. I like the way it keeps looping back to its several subjects, examining them from different angles, the way it is satisfied with itself and not pressing to make its point (though it does make it.)

Tuesday, November 04, 2008 8:40:00 AM  
Blogger Rene said...

No, she doesn't snatch baby's but I wouldn't put it past her to do something crazy like that. Maybe I'll write more about her at a later time.

Tuesday, November 04, 2008 11:10:00 AM  
Blogger Katie Harlan said...


At that particular point on the night, his eyelids were the heaviest part of his body."

He’s had his crunchies and made his rounds to get “scritches” from everyone. Now he’s sitting in the center of the room. So much might happen if he closes his eyes. There is so much potential for missing things. But man, his eyelids are getting so heavy. His head slowly swivels around the room.
“The TV is on but it’s just Grampa watching a football game, nothing interesting like animal planet. Gramma is in her chair reading a book and her lap looks awful comfortable but that would definitely be the end of my staying awake if I jumped up there. Must.... keep.... eyes.... open.....”
And here I am, peeking over my laptop and laughing at my sleepy little pug. The wrinkles on his head are starting to smooth out and his tail has gone straight. His round little head keeps dropping slightly and he’s fighting it and lifting it back up. “Does the heavy lid champion of the world* want a Mumma lap?”, I ask, putting down my computer and spreading a blanket on my lap. I instantly have 32 lbs of pug on my lap. Within seconds my arm is serving as a chin rest and those heavy little eyelids finally close with a sigh of contentment.

* Yes, I actually call my dog that. It cracks me up. Yes, I probably watch too much UFC and boxing. =P

Wednesday, November 05, 2008 2:57:00 PM  
Blogger Katie Harlan said...


14k yellow gold engagement ring,. 35 carat diamond, beautiful ring $200 or trade for a gun.-
Vassalboro, ME

I’d rather have a gun than that woman any day. What was I thinking? One year ago I placed the ad to sell my gun to get the money for the ring she had to have. So what does she do? She runs off with my best friend. My trailer is finally quiet but now I don’t have a gun or a buddy to hunt with. Dang it all. Women!
I hold up the ring to study it in the light. I sigh as I remember her throwing it in my face. I crack open another Budweiser and wonder where I went wrong. Should I have watched less sports and paid more attention to her like she was always nagging? Aw hell, she was always nagging. What do I need that for? I should have known she was no good when my dog didn’t take a likin’ to her. Hunting dogs know best.
What I need is a gun. Then I could shoot that no good friend of mine. I can shoot the both of ‘em! I can’t believe I ever parted with my gun for that miserable woman. Lord, just let me get a new gun and a deer this season and we’ll call it even, okay?

Wednesday, November 05, 2008 4:05:00 PM  
Blogger johngoldfine said...

43....well, Katie, of course I'm supposed to discourage stereotyping, but I confess this made me laugh, so I won't compound my hypocrisy by lecturing. Just don't be applying for your NRA lifetime membership anytime soon.... They have your name on thier Mocker Of Guns list.

You give this poor mope a voice, a motivation, a problem, and even a prayer, all in a very few slickly chosen words.

YOu might have a career as a country-song-writer in your future with lines like "I placed the ad to sell my gun to get the money for the ring she had to have. So what does she do? She runs off with my best friend. My trailer is finally quiet but now I don’t have a gun or a buddy to hunt with."

I can't do an emoticon with a big enough smile for that....

Thursday, November 06, 2008 9:31:00 AM  
Blogger johngoldfine said...

Katie, nice vignette in 45. (Vignettes are coming right up!)

Thursday, November 06, 2008 9:38:00 AM  
Blogger eeml said...

Kids desk - wooden old style - $10 Wooden bunk beds w/mattresses and bunkie boards and ladder (solid, could use a coat of paint or urethane) - $50 Large dresser w/mirror wood finish (5' or more long) - $50 Glider rocker, light wood finish w/blue padding - $10 Plastic kids playhouse, about 3' x 3' $10-Contact Information-Warren, ME

The kids are grown up, shipped out to college now. Mom's been sifting through the evidence of their childhoods, sequestered in the basement, a little misty-eyed. Sifting through boxes of stuffed animals, action figures, blocks, Barbies, she is bombarded by memories, each child growing up before her mind's eye. Still, she knows its time to clear out some space, after all, there's not much chance of the pitter-patter gracing her house again.
So, it's time to get rid of her son's old desk, the bunks worn out by years of nights up and mornings down, the old playhouse, find a better home for them, let them grace another young mother's memory years from now.

Friday, November 07, 2008 9:19:00 PM  
Blogger eeml said...

2286. Dogs sleep like quotation marks.

Its sometimes amazing to me the serenity with which Abby, our Aussie mix, sleeps. With a smile on her face, she compacts her body, legs bunched up like a bundle of sticks, pointing every which way.
When my wife and I are both downstairs, shes sleeping on the couch. About nine o' clock, she follows Erica upstairs, making sure she gets to bed safely. Two hours later, Abby will come down, poke her head around the corner, as if to ask "When are you coming up?". She might sit with me for a few minutes, then go back up and sleep on the landing, halfway between my wife and I.
She may sleep like an angel, but its also amazing how quickly that quotation mark turns to an exclamation point when a car door closes within a three-block radius.

Friday, November 07, 2008 9:43:00 PM  
Blogger johngoldfine said...

"amazing how quickly that quotation mark turns to an exclamation point when a car door closes within a three-block radius."

Nicely put--very light on your writerly feet with that.

I too have noticed some dogs like to hang halfway between the bosses if the bosses are separated.

Sunday, November 09, 2008 9:18:00 AM  
Blogger johngoldfine said...

You've found a graceful and no-argument-here way of closing the Uncle Henry's piece.

I'm still floored by the not-your daughter piece--I left two comments, not just one.

Sunday, November 09, 2008 9:20:00 AM  
Blogger Carrie said...

From Uncle Henry’s:
12' barbie bike. my daughter grew out of. hardly ever used. $30 OBO-Contact Information-Westbrook, ME

For six months before her birthday she asked for the bike. It was almost a game between them. Her mother would ask her to pick up her room or eat her vegetables and the little girl would say, ok- but only if you get me my princess bike. Then the big day came, it was her 10th birthday. She woke up excited like most kids are for the birthday and ran down the stairs. Her parents made her wait until after she ate breakfast before they gave it to her. She acted surprised but she knew all along that they would cave and get it for her. She rode that bike all day long, and the next, and the next. It was on the fourth day that it happened. By that time she had started to get a little too comfortable on the back, and she wasn’t paying attention to where she was. After that truck nearly hit her, and the scrapes and bruises from falling off the bike she never rode it again.

“Some nights, he believed he could see the way.”

Some people stay up at night worrying. About whether or not the will get the job they really want, how they will make the next car payment, buy groceries and pay the rent. I like those people stay up worrying about these things, but more often then not, I am awake at night making lists.
It is my way of bringing order to a chaotic world. I make lists of everything; to do lists, grocery lists, lists of books to read, and most recently lists of the homework assignments I need to get finished. When I make them, I know that I most likely will not cross everything off, especially on the lists of all the places I wish I could go. Nevertheless, for those few minutes late at night I feel at ease and for once can relax, at least enough to go to bed. It is when I wake up in the morning and reality strikes that I am lost again.

When people talk about what separates humans from other animals the tools that we have the ability to create is the first thing that is mentioned. While I feel that the technology we create is important, there is another ability we have that is often overlooked. That tool is the power of speech. Yes, other animals do speak but they do not have the ability to communicate the same way that we Homo sapiens do. We are the only animals on the planet that has the ability to talk to someone in China, without leaving Maine. An order that a general gives in Washington can affect the lives of millions of people around the world. This ability to change the world, for good or evil with one word is something no other species has come close to.

Monday, November 10, 2008 6:40:00 PM  
Blogger eeml said...

I find it pretty amusing whenever I hear one of these "The difference between humans and the other animals is..." statements. Invariably, there comes along a researcher that finds some animal that possesses the skill in question. Tool use - chimps amongst others, self-awareness - dolphins and elephants got it covered. And everytime somebody proves we're not alone, another claim of our mental superiority is made, like some sort of genetic pissing contest. If the only proof of this superiority is that we're the only animals foolish enough to work forty-hour weeks, enslave our own, make false promises, piss where we eat, it is our own intelligence that should be called into question.

Monday, November 10, 2008 7:18:00 PM  
Blogger johngoldfine said...

"Genetic pissing contest"!


Yeah, why are we so defensive anyway?

Tuesday, November 11, 2008 8:42:00 AM  
Blogger johngoldfine said...

Carrie--three pieces here, each about the same length, but one seems to me to jump out as a keeper, as one which gets at the essence of week 9.

Which do you like best?

Tuesday, November 11, 2008 8:51:00 AM  
Blogger Katie Harlan said...

Education is a tool for success. That’s why I want to become a teacher. The children of today need good role models and a strong foundation for the rest of their lives. But I don’t want to be just any kind of teacher, I want to be a special education teacher. I believe that every child, regardless of what they can or cannot do, deserves that same foundation. Every child deserves that same foundation and that same chance at being successful.
Sure, the children I work with might not go on to be the next presidents, but how does that make them any less worthy of my attention? I think that the children I help teach are going to do things far greater than what anyone has in mind for them. And I think that’s the kind of attitude the people around them need to have. Low expectations aren’t doing children any good.
I’m eagerly getting my hands on any and all resources I can that will help me understand how to teach children with exceptionalities the tools they need in life. Their educations will be different than the other childrens’, sure, but I know we can make this work. I know that I can give them the tools they need to be successful. It won’t always be easy but it will always be rewarding.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008 2:40:00 PM  
Blogger johngoldfine said...

Katie--this seems completely straightforward, word-for-word and requiring nothing of the reader, except to...read it. But week 9 asks you to involve and enlist the reader, to hint, inveigle, cajole.

Thursday, November 13, 2008 8:35:00 AM  
Blogger Katie Harlan said...

Aww, I know, I'm not that great at being subtle in the last one. But can I still have credit? I just crashed my new truck and my hunting dog can't smell anymore. Not to mention I missed the sale on corndogs at the Super Walmart last week and my boyfriend ran off with a waitress....

Thursday, November 13, 2008 8:26:00 PM  
Blogger johngoldfine said...

Well, you play those pathos cards pretty well--how can I say no to someone whose hunting dog ain't sniffing no more?

Friday, November 14, 2008 8:13:00 PM  
Blogger Sarah Dionne said...

45. There appeared to be a reason for it.

"Everything happens for a reason."

There are the people in life that no matter how hard we may try we can't forget them. Maybe it was you'r childhood bully who picked on you relentlessy day after day, maybe it was the teacher who you sware was just out to get you and maybe it's one of you'r parents who fucked up so badly along the way of parenthood that you built not only a resentment but also a fortress to protect yourself.

These are the people in my life that i try to remember not because it makes me sad or feel bad about the past and the things i can't change but because they are the people who make me look at the things i do have. They are the ones who make me work twice as hard to be the best version of myself i can possibly be.

Mine was my father. He was a tall man with the most thunderous voice i have ever heard. He seemed to tower over me with his dark hair and seemingly black eyes. He had a beer belly because well I'll just say he was a fucking alcoholic.

I was a child who grew up in fear. Fear of what each day would bring should i slip up somewhere along the way, I tried hard to make sure the house was clean the dog fed and the rest of my chores done before he returned home from work in the evening. He was a particular man who believed that everything had it's place especially in his castle that he ruled.

He was a tirant but not all the time which made life more difficult because i wanted nothing more then to love him and for him to return the feeling. He made me strong and vigillant as a young child for i knew that the only one who was going to look out for me was me.

I don't tell you this to play the pitty card or even to make you feel bad i tell you this because EVERYTHING HAPPENS FOR A REASON.

I grew up and had two children of my own realizing more and more every day that just because you are cut from the same cloth does not mean you have to be a part of the finished product.

I read to my children every night because mine never had the time. We eat dinner at the table because it gives us a chance to be a family and talk about our day. Not because mine never did it but because i enjoy it, it gives me a chance to bond with my kids and let them know that i love them and am there to listen.

I am a full time student working toward law school because i want to be the one who makes a difference in the lives of those who need it the most. I want so much to be the voice for the ones who cannot speak for themselves.

When the road was rough and dark and my way was hard to find i stumbled upon myself and my reason for being here.

The tirant of a man i called father was my push maybe because he was so hard on me and showed me how much i did'nt want to be like him maybe because i wanted to be a vengful bitch and slam in his face all the great things im going to do with my life no thanks to him.

Whatever the reason maybe i know that i am the women and mother i am today because of the man and the father i didnt have as a child.

Sunday, November 16, 2008 9:05:00 PM  
Blogger johngoldfine said...

Sarah--for me the key to week 9 is saying less, is trying to find a way to write that will allow you to be the opposite of explict.

I like the piece about you and your father--it has some fine moments. I'm not asking for a rewrite but it seems to me to be the opposite of week9. If you had simply described cleaning the house in preparation for your father's return and then given us his return, or even described a family meal then and now--that might have worked for week 9.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008 9:24:00 AM  
Blogger Ally said...

52. Spring cleaning and accepting reasonable offers on:
-2 piece hutch w/glass doors 81" high 52'" wide and 17" deep
-oblong coffee table w/2 end tables
-deacons bench
all are dark stained solid wood
also have
-white wicker headboard w/full size bedframe and matching nightstand
-solid wood round dining room table/w leaf (2)
-cedar hope chest
-ethan allen couch-wood frame, wedgewood blue
-light pine dropleaf kitchen table w/bench
Craigslist is a beautiful place – Uncle Henry’s didn’t have much to gossip about today. This posting was listed as “Out with the old” and that raised my curiosity. Out with what old? The husband and anything he ever touched? The two-piece hutch could have held their wedding china and mementos. The coffee table could have held his feet while he was stretched out watching sports on tv. Low and behold, the couch is listed also. Does is have an impression of his backside in the cushion? Maybe I should buy it to find out. The kitchen table, also listed to go, is where it is said most marital arguments take place. Was she a bad cook? Or was he just too picky? The last item that drew my attention was the cedar hope chest. Hope chests are enduring symbols of all that is important in life. Out with the old, in with the new?
54. The longest sleep, he realizes, takes the longest time to come; feeling faint, wake up on the floor; somehow the ambulance came – nice people they are; bright lights, rapid-fire questions – he only wants sleep; his wife’s voice is distant – where is she? She passed away years ago; make them stop, he cannot hear her voice; comfortable now, warm bed; can hear her voice faintly again – where is it coming from?; why can’t he hear her clearly?; why is it taking so long to see her again? He’s ready, what’s taking so long?
55. Tools can say a lot. How about an empty toolbox? Whenever I open mine, it seems like everything is missing. A friend bought it for me a few years ago, nicely organized, molded plastic so I always know where to put things back. That’s all good in theory, but most of the pieces are missing now. I have to go pilfer from my husband’s large toolset to ever get what I need. My question is, where are all the tools? I have plenty of allen wrenches, that’s for sure, but cannot find a screwdriver for the life of me. Did I leave it in the last screw I drove? “Cluttered desk = cluttered mind, empty desk = empty mind.” I’m wondering if that saying applies to toolboxes.

Sunday, April 05, 2009 9:58:00 AM  
Blogger cindylou said...

Week 11 Prompts

52. There are a dozen stories on every page of Uncle Henry's--

Fight the winter blues, light therapy panel. Lightenuptoo. Never used. Internet price $169. Will take $25.-Contact Information-Poland, ME

I’m not using this thing. I’ve decided I’d rather be blue. Embrace the darkness. Love that it gets dark at four in the afternoon. More time for my bed. Sink into the black hole. It’s nice in here. Nobody’s bothering me. Nobody wants to come here with me. You people go ahead, stay up there in the light. It’s bad for your eyes, bad for your skin. Too many cheery people. Or people pretending to be cheery. No pretending down here.
Damn, here comes spring. The longer days of sunlight. The time change giving me yet more daylight. Soon it will be summer and I’ll have to stay up and awake until after nine at night.

53. The things I see as I walk along the street--that's heaven to me. Or is it?

Worlds collide. Strange beings are slouching along my main street. Where are they from? How did they get here? Alien beings somewhat like me. Same number of limbs, head, ears, eyes in the same place, skin somewhat the same color. But hips lower, hands lower, shoulders lower. Strange hats, bills sideways, or stocking caps pulled down to their eyes. The eyes. That’s the biggest difference. Not really looking at me or at each other. Looking inward. To a world inside themselves. Or outward to another world.

54. Pick a prompt from http://onemillionfootnotes.blogspot.com/. Tell us what it is and run with it.

The last bit of light sunk into the dog’s eyes.

Fourteen years. A good long time to have a hunting companion, but not long enough. A day that only Fall in New England can bring. One more hunt for an old dog. One more duck. Oh no, two ducks down. One close, easy on an old dog. She sprints back like the young hunter she once was, shakes the water in a rainbow spray off her brown coat. Drops the duck in his hand. The crippled duck has swum too far away. Can he ask this of her? No choice. One more long retrieve. Slow to return. His heart pounds as he watches her struggle back against the current, thankful when she reaches the shore. Walking now, the water dripping off, too tired to shake. With a groaning sigh, she lays at his feet and lets the duck fall out of her mouth. As she looks up at him, her eyes say, “I’ll go again if you need me to.” I’m sorry, girl. Never again. I’m so sorry.

Sunday, April 05, 2009 2:58:00 PM  
Blogger johngoldfine said...

And you forgot the bedframe, ally--another place for trouble to start. You give this craigslist piece a nice ride--I especially like all those rhetorical questions you ask.

54 is definitely in the spirit of the week, but, again, trust the reader. Offer less sometimes and the piece becomes more delicate and light. Imagine a recipe that asks for a cup of sugar, and you decide to make a good thing even better with three cups!

Tuesday, April 07, 2009 10:13:00 AM  
Blogger johngoldfine said...

55, ally, is one of these pieces where you tell us everything and let us figure out nothing. Imagine instead you had simply described a job of work, going to your toolbox, going to your husband's toolbox, getting the tools, doing the job....

Try a rewrite. Explain nothing!

Tuesday, April 07, 2009 10:16:00 AM  
Blogger johngoldfine said...

Yeah, cindy, there is a certain attraction to crawling into a hole. In Iceland during the summer, the sun doesn't really set at all. That IS depressing in a funny way--we all need the dark to appreciate the light.....

Tuesday, April 07, 2009 10:39:00 AM  
Blogger johngoldfine said...

54--oooh, don't do that! Don't write me a sad dog story!

Or, you can, I guess. But what if the dog story was a parallel for another tale of aging and loss? Then it would really be mining week 11. Does that makes sense?

Tuesday, April 07, 2009 10:42:00 AM  
Blogger johngoldfine said...

53 is unrealized, an idea that hasn't really come to life on the page. MOre complications on that street might strike sparks. If you want, try a rewrite. But if it feels like it already is all it is going to be, don't.

Tuesday, April 07, 2009 10:44:00 AM  
Blogger cindylou said...

My sad dog story, in my mind was a story of an aging husband who did not know if he had it in him to train another dog. It was also the symbol of undying devotion that you only get from a dog. It's really hard to write symbolically. If you have to explain it, it's not right. I'll think about the street one.

Tuesday, April 07, 2009 12:56:00 PM  
Blogger johngoldfine said...

I can't take much in the line of sad dogs stories, cindylou. I once tried reading 'Lassie Come Home' by Eric Knight to a bunch of utterly heartless 6th Graders. Why was I the only one sobbing???

Tuesday, April 07, 2009 5:42:00 PM  
Blogger johngoldfine said...

cindylou--right, if you have to explain symbols, don't bother. The dog piece needs a hint about the man, just enough so we can see the situation.

Tuesday, April 07, 2009 5:44:00 PM  
Blogger Crystal said...

52. Rest in peace in the sun. 2 cemetery plots plus 1 vault, located Daytona Memorial Park Daytona Beach Florida. Value $6,400 will sell for $4,000. CFM details.

They met at Daytona Beach as children. Her parents lived there, his were just visiting. They had such fun playing on the beach and running through the park. It was so sad when summer was over, but they kept in touch for years as pen pals.

When she was old enough, she flew to Chicago to see him. It was weird. He wasn’t the same boy she remembered, but a man now… a very handsome man. All of their letters had allowed them to gain a close relationship and without realizing it, she had fallen for him a long time ago. He felt the same way, but had experienced a lot of rejection in the past. He didn’t want to be rejected by her because he didn’t want to lose her.

After 5 years, and lots of money spent on round trip tickets, they connected. It, of course, resulted in marriage and children. They always asked each other why they didn’t get hitched sooner. She always said it was because he was too afraid to leap. He knew it was because they had to go through everything they went through together to get them to where they are now… happy.

Old age crept up on them and discussions of who would go first came. To keep the depressing thoughts away they decided to take a trip to Daytona Beach and enjoy some reminiscing. Maybe they would feel like kids again. Just after they had taken off something happened to the plane. The two held each other tight as it crashed. They knew the time would come, but not like this. They didn’t even get to say goodbye to their children.

Their daughter was the one to find their will. Their son packed up the house. It stated in the will that they had purchased plots in Daytona Beach, but for some reason their daughter said it just didn’t feel right. She couldn’t say why, but she felt like her parents wouldn’t want to lie in the ground for eternity. Their son helped her decide to cremate. Their ashes were strewn off the beach so that their bodies could always keep moving with the tide. The two children didn’t want the plots, so they decided to put them for sale. They were sure someone would buy them, eventually.

54. The longest sleep, he realized, takes the longest time to come. I’m so tired. I never get to sleep anymore. I wake up when she wakes up and have to be “on” the rest of the day. Have to make sure she’s safe, the apartment is clean, her belly is satisfied, his belly is satisfied. Then, just maybe, I’ll be able to take a few minutes for me. But only a few minutes, and it will probably be while I go to the bathroom. Even then I don’t always get a few minutes. Multi-task, multi-task, multi-task. Write the grocery list while I’m making breakfast, get the laundry started while she’s eating, take a shower while she’s sleeping. While she’s sleeping. I sometimes intend on taking a nap while she sleeps, but it doesn’t usually work out that well. It’s an internal struggle: “I want to sleep, but I have to go get groceries. I want to sleep, but I have to get homework done. I want to sleep, but I should get some hours in at work because we need money. I want to sleep, but I haven’t seen this show on TV yet. I want to sleep but I’ve done all of this stuff and she’ll but up in an hour, what’s the point? I want to sleep, but my anxiety and racing thoughts won’t let me.” When she goes to hang out with her grandparents I tell myself that I’ll go take a nap in bed. But, the same conversation occurs in my head. Or, I miss my husband so much that I choose him over some shut-eye. 11 o’clock rolls around and my eyes are so heavy. I finally get to go to bed. I should’ve gone when I saw that it was 9 o’clock, but found something on TV to drone out on. I suppose that’s kind of like sleep. I think the only way I’m going to get any good amount of rest is if I get sick because it will force me to rest. I won’t be able to take care of my daughter and I won’t be able to clean or do any errands. Hmmm, does anyone have a bad cold I can catch??

55. My hands have known me since conception. We experienced our first sensations of touch together: Momma’s sweet face, Daddy’s strong hands. We built our first snow-fort together, squished mud between our fingers, and made countless messes. I remember when we made our first cake for Daddy. It was so much fun. The eggs were hard, and it took a couple of tries, but we succeeded. Daddy loved the cake (or at least he said he did). When we touched the love of our life for the first time we got shivers. Now, we take care of Allie. We feed her, dress her, change her, play with her, and love her. When she’s having a bad dream while she’s sleeping all we have to do is touch her and it makes the bad dreams go away and the restful sleep comes in.

Wednesday, April 08, 2009 8:18:00 PM  
Blogger johngoldfine said...

Crystal, you've got me with you in 52 right til the last graf, when for my money it becomes over-explained. How about this for a less-is-more graf:

Their son packed up the house. Their daughter was the one to find their will where it stated that they had purchased plots in Daytona Beach. Her parents wouldn’t want to lie in the ground for eternity, the daughter said.

Their ashes were strewn off the beach so that their bodies would always keep moving with the tide. The children were sure someone would buy the plots, eventually.

To me, that's more ironic, darker, more mysterious, more demanding.

Thursday, April 09, 2009 8:45:00 AM  
Blogger johngoldfine said...

54--I got confused, Crystal. At first, I thought we had a househusbands thoughts, but then there's some reference to a husband, and I got lost in the he's, she's, I's....

I really liked that "I want to sleep but..." litany.

Thursday, April 09, 2009 9:17:00 AM  
Blogger johngoldfine said...

55, Crystal--I don't really see this as week 11. It all seems pretty straightforward. Have you got a crooked rewrite?

I'm remembering, not researching, but take that piece about snowmobiling you did--wasn't that a huge tribute to your father without ever quite saying that's what it was? Or am I misremembering?

Thursday, April 09, 2009 9:21:00 AM  
Blogger danielle said...


Rummaging through my purse, the various slips of paper are just mere reminders of the negative choices I make every day of my life. Being a high school student who dresses to impress, makes mistakes every four seconds out of the day, and doesn't exactly think before she speaks, makes me out to be this crazy person. The slip was underneath the table, and I had to well hid far away from my parents. It was non of their business to be reading my personal information, it was addressed to me, not them. I was going to tell them about it once I got around to it.

It was a Thursday, I had left for my morning run as my mother began to clean the stack of papers off the table, the oddly shaped slip was sitting right there, it must have been like the atomic bomb hitting the floor as my mother dropped it. I walked in moments later to see tears falling from her eyes, "Why didn't you tell me?" I stood there in complete awe, stammering over my words, I was able to blurt out, "I wanted to surprise you with my acceptance letter tonight at dinner."

Thursday, April 09, 2009 12:56:00 PM  
Blogger altrott said...

53. The things I see as I walk along the street--that's heaven to me. Or is it?

We are walking there walking on the road, together. We talk about life and all that we have missed. As we walk we see life in continual motion. Many cars drive past. Going….going quickly. Tourists move in and out of shops. Music playing, cars revving their engines, and people talking. Everyone is moving with a different motive. Life in motion. Life going on no matter what, that’s heaven to me. Or is it? Especially if I am just doing what I am doing watching.

54. Pick a prompt from http://onemillionfootnotes.blogspot.com/. Tell us what it is and run with it.
The longest sleep, he realized, takes the longest time to come.

You lay their awake. Your mind is racing, you can’t stop the thinking. It is continual. You lie there cold and shiver. You move your feet to cause friction for the warmth. You can’t fall asleep. You have a test tomorrow and can’t afford to be lying their awake. You are ready. You are in bed, you are in your pajamas, and you have the tube on for continual noise. It’s not working, you can’t sleep. You lie there with your eyes closed waiting. Waiting for the moment when it will happen, when you finally fall asleep. When it’s over and done with. As you lie there your day flashes through your head and all future hopes and then it happens, you fall asleep when you least expect it.

55. Sometimes humans are defined as tool-using animals. Nowadays, the scientists talk about chimps both making and using tools, but, hey, we're Number One! Tools in their chests, drawers, and wall racks; tools scattered on the table; tools used and unused, new and old; tools of love, tools of war, tools of work, tools of play. Tools can say a lot.

A master is standing there working on his masterpiece. It isn’t finished immediately, it takes many long hours of work. Day and night he works morning, evening, and night. He labors, but not in vane. His masterpiece when finished will be used by many. The tool if not used by a person will at least known. It will be the better than any other like it. It will be at the top of the charts. It will be the source and foundation of many religions. It will be used around the world.
The man’s work is finished. His masterpiece is read and distributed. His tools used have gone away. Their deaths were accounted for. Now he has new tools. Working, toiling away for their souls. They wait for the day when that master will pick up them and use them as a tool for a master piece bigger and better than themselves. They wait, patiently.

Friday, April 10, 2009 12:38:00 PM  
Anonymous Kayla said...

53. The things I see as I walk along the street--that's heaven to me. Or is it?

the gum stuck into the pavement that's so old it's brown. the bilboards. the people walking. the loud crotch rockets that travel in packs all through out the night. orlando, florida is pretty much heaven to me.

i've always loved warm weather, and when i stepped off that airplane and saw palmtrees, i knew that this would be where i'd want to go when i died. the fresh air, the fast paced drivers, the long strips of food chains.

heaven. or is it?

orlando is also home to crime, violence, angry drivers, aligators, little, tiny, annoying bugs, about 500 languages i don't understand, the unbearable heat and humidity. maybe this isn't the place i'd like to go when i die. maybe where i'd want to be.. is right here.

Saturday, April 11, 2009 6:27:00 PM  
Anonymous Kayla said...

The refrigerator cooed like a band of pigeons.

and then it went quiet. i opened the door and all the coolness poured out at me.

"oh no! Darren, the damn fridge just shit the bed!" my mom yelled to my step dad who was in the family room.

"what?!?! the thing is only 2 years old. it can't be broken." he replied.

"well.. i don't know what to tell you, but it won't turn on and it's warm inside. all of our cold goods are bad."

"i guess we'll have to call the guys at sears to come take a look at it lisa." he said.

"they always take so long though. what are we supposed to do about our food?" my mom asked.

"I guess we'll just have to go to best buy and buy a mini one for now."

about 15 minutes later, i watched the back of my mom's black audi trail down our dusty driveway. and they were off to best buy.

Saturday, April 11, 2009 6:36:00 PM  
Blogger Kelsy Rae said...


She flops herself down onto her bed, looking at the ceiling fan. "It's just the holiday's," she tells herself. She pulls her hands together as hard as she can but can't make them meet. Stretching her torso as far as she can, she sucks in and tries again. This goes on for five minutes. Sweat pants are looking better and better.


Head aching, she walked down the aisle's looking for the red SALE signs she was counting on. But no, those were all sold out. Well, this was going to be a permanent part of her life now, why not invest in it? She picks the prettiest looking one, it's blue and matches the sofa.


Walking out of the bathroom, she turns left toward her living room rather than right, toward her bedroom. She wanted her red shirt; it was hanging from the bar of the pretty blue machine in the living room. It matches the sofa perfectly.


Sweating for the first time in months, she rolls the pretty blue machine out to the end of the drive way, not with the trash; no, on the other side of the driveway. The FOR SALE sign from Wal*Mart hangs from the front. $50.00. Her life is just too hectic; it's selfish to keep it, really.

54. I wrestle my way through the mound on basically untouched plastic and metal looking for the hammer. The paint brush with the ninety degree angle handle clatters the to floor; you know, for all those tight, hard to reach, ninety degree angles you paint regularly...

Oh, and then the laser level. It would work fantasically... if only i could get it to stay attached to the wall... I think I broke it last time when it fell from eight feet up my wall. Totally worth the twenty bucks... it will make a great paper weight.

I finally find the hammer, underneath a small mountain of crap. Expensive crap. Sometimes, less really is more.

53. The things I see as I walk along the street--that's heaven to me. Or is it?

Blue and purple melting together like watercolors atop a green stem. Person after person stopping to admire the beauty. Leaning in to sniff the heavenly aroma, a mix of love, joy, passion, sunshine, and nature, all rolling off of petals of silk. I lean in to bask in the glory myself. I sneeze. I sneeze again. And Again... I'm allergic. So much for my few seconds of heaven.

Saturday, April 11, 2009 9:56:00 PM  
Blogger johngoldfine said...

54, danielle--both grafs together gets confusing; they have different tones; were they written at different times?

I'd say either graf standing alone
works to heighten the power of the slip of paper, where both together are smaller than the sum of their parts.

Sunday, April 12, 2009 1:09:00 PM  
Blogger johngoldfine said...

"Life going on no matter what, that’s heaven to me. Or is it? Especially if I am just doing what I am doing watching."

Try rewriting 53 without the material above, abby--instead of letting the words do the work, you are starting to explain at this point. Write, don't explain!

Sunday, April 12, 2009 1:12:00 PM  
Blogger johngoldfine said...

54, abby--you're addicted to making everything tidy in the end! It's a good habit for a student, not always helpful for a writer because it always aims the writer in a direction instead of letting the direction dictate the writing.

You've got a piece that echoes a little if you drop this: "As you lie there your day flashes through your head and all future hopes and then it happens, you fall asleep when you least expect it."

Does it drive you crazy when I push for less, for indeterminacy, for that hanging, unfinished tone?

Sunday, April 12, 2009 1:16:00 PM  
Blogger johngoldfine said...

55--hey abby, no cuts here! That works on its own terms. We get it! No explanations needed!

Sunday, April 12, 2009 1:18:00 PM  
Blogger johngoldfine said...

I dunno, kayla, in 53 I liked it best when you were composing a tribute to strip malls, crotch rockets, and chewing gum. The more you run against expectations the stronger hold you have on the reader. Tell us why you love bugs, heat, crime!

Sunday, April 12, 2009 1:21:00 PM  
Blogger johngoldfine said...

Kayla: "The refrigerator cooed like a band of pigeons.

and then it went quiet."

Nice--was this one of the million prompts? Anyway, the vignette really only works if this fridge was pretty much a stand-in for a failing marriage....

Sunday, April 12, 2009 1:25:00 PM  
Blogger johngoldfine said...

Kelsy, some very nice ironic lines in 52:

* "It's just the holiday's," she tells herself.


* She picks the prettiest looking one, it's blue and matches the sofa.


* She wanted her red shirt; it was hanging from the bar of the pretty blue machine in the living room. It matches the sofa perfectly.


* Sweating for the first time in months, she rolls the pretty blue machine out to the end of the drive way

* The FOR SALE sign from Wal*Mart

Pretty witty, somewhat mean--just what we like here in 162.

Sunday, April 12, 2009 1:36:00 PM  
Blogger johngoldfine said...

Kelsy! Why say 'so much for my few minutes of heaven"??? Take a look at my comments above to abby on the sins of tidiness.... Without that line, the piece is stronger.

Sunday, April 12, 2009 1:44:00 PM  
Blogger johngoldfine said...

54--kelsy--'less is more' seems to be my motto this semester!

Sunday, April 12, 2009 1:49:00 PM  
Blogger herman1313munster said...

52. There are a dozen stories on every page of Uncle Henry's--tales of divorce, death, wasted money, plans that went nowhere, hopes destroyed only to rise again, dreams deferred and dreams turned into nightmares.

46. Sometimes humans are defined as tool-using animals.

onemillionfootnotes - The rain on the alleyway collected all the evening's light.

52) - Jogging stroller $40 (oh, and Goldfine, just so ya know, I plan to make this one pretty graphical...disturbing graphical, but hey, it could've happened and this may be the reason they sold it, and i kinda hammered the reader about the 'less is more'). Her auburn-blonde hair flared in the calm breeze. Everytime her white Nike sneakers hit the pavement, a thudding sound would occur. Every step she jogged, her hair went from one shoulder to another. Her breathing was balanced out and she wanted to get her heart pumping because of her baby fat that clung to her stomach and rump.
Her little child, only a hair short of half a year old, was in the jogging stroller that her mom was pushing. She baby girl had eyes that twinkled like the stars in a nights sky in Dexter, Maine. The love between the two was ever so strong. The mom wanted to exercise so that play time would be a delight not only for the child, but for her herself as well. As the mom jogged with her precious jem, she was thinking about how her dreams became reality - and how some of her reality had become dreams.
The sun was out and about and was scrambling eggs somewhere on the pavement where two young kids heard if it was hot enough the sun could sizzle and scramble them. Sometimes for certain people, a day can start as magical as waking up from a wonderful dream, or watching the old Willy Wonka and The Chocolate Factory. Few others though can start off just okay, and during half of it a dreadful thing can occur. This particular mom's day belonged to her and her child...well, that's what she thought when they both woke up and smiled at each other without even saying they loved each other, because their eyes could easily show it. The mom's sweatband on her forehead was furry and soft and white. She recalled a memory when her child was playing with it one day and the mom thought of the both of them going for walks in the future, both of them laughing at random times and out of a spare random moment, the mom would pick her precious child up, and their world would be as lovely as pure imagination. THe mom was cautious about her surroundings, even watching for twigs or rough rocks on the sidewalk. As her dreams jogged her away, she wasn't too cautious about what looked like a waterspill only feet away. However, looks can be awfully decieving. A homeless man had some grease in a jar, thinking it was runny honey because of the lack of knowledge. Only minutes earlier is when the man had dropped it, but cleared away the glass. As the jogging stroller's wheels glided on the grease, the moms sneakers went right from under her feet. Her hot-pink earphones slipped off her ears and fell besider her. She almost grasped the blue plush handle, but her hands were only one single inch away from grappling it. Her knees trudged to the pavement, scraping her knees and then her chest. Her elbows cracked on the granite, but none of that physical pain was close to what her eyes were about to see. THe stroller kept rolling, faster and faster. The blanket was thundering and shaking, startling the small child with fright. Not light was showing and the danger was growing. The tear ducts in the mom's eyes seemed to erupt with streaking tears. Tears that would only in a matter of time lead to madness, anxiety, and thoughts that weren't very ethical. She screamed with physical and emotional pain, but if only...if only screaming could stop the stroller. THe jogging stroller was meant to go at great speed, so there was no reason for it to topple over sideways or slow down. The baby in the stroller was yelling for light, crying for her loving mom, and two people's eyes were now flooded with tears of despair on State Street. A cream-colored Oldsmobile was on the street that intersected on State Street, but problems already arose with that man driving the car. He was enraged and trying his very best to ignore the flaring sirens that lurked behind him. His car reached a total of 73 miles per hour downtown, and a bloody death would be sure to occur.
A math teacher at Eastern Maine Community College was teaching about graphing points on a graph, and about how fast they would intersect each other and how their collision can make certain events unfold such as questions that were unsolvable before. On state street, the two points that were about to intersect was the innocence of a baby child, with such a bright future. The other point was a darkness that would almost befriend the devil. The math teacher had a pointer and he pointed at one point and dragged the pointer towards the other point with an extreme speed. The stroller and the Oldsmobile were only inches away now. The man behind the wheel suddenly noticed the stroller, but had thought the police were tricking him, so he speed up to five more miles per hour. The nose of the Oldsmobile struck the baby stroller with such force. The mother saw it all before her very eyes. The blanket flooded over the drivers windshield and pieces of plastic flew into the air like dynamite. The baby. The poor innocent and beautiful baby met the pavement in less than 1/50th of a second. Her petite and fragile skull plowed into the hot pavement. Her poor little moon-white arm twisted in ways that were beyond extreme. Her arm tore off her shoulder, making her have one less limb. Blood poured out at the shoulder, blood that never once shown into the sun. The side of her head had split open, making the parietal bone shred into so many pieces. A piece of the stroller got lodged under a part of the car and was barely touching her temporal bone. As the car inched forward, the piece of plastic shoved and went full-force - crushing her temporal bone. Her jaw bone, her forehead, her skin - all skidded underneath the tire. Her baby-blue shirt was now splattered with pieces of her baby bones. Her ribs busted apart with a sinch. Her sternum jagged out and allowed blood to ooze with extreme force on her small shirt. She didn't have any time to cry because of the sudden impact with the car. The driver kept peddling to the metal, but the police slowed down. Her little chunky leg was cruched like a soda can and even that bum would have known the baby was dead. The mom got up from the pavement, but had fell to her knees, with tears and screaming filling the space that she had cupped around her mouth.

*Jogging stroller $40*

46) Men use tools, women use tools, even little children use tools. I used a physical tool today and turned the channel to watch Willy Wonka. I also used a tool today because I wanted to kiss my fiancee. The tools I used was a soothing voice, a smile, and I had made my conquest. I saw my future mother-in-law use a tool today. She used a tool that 99.9% of people have literally - a brain. She ended up using that tool and by using all four lobes of her brain, she convinced me to have a white chocolate easter bunny.
I've seen many people use certain types of tools today, but the most fascinating one is the brain because that tool is what we use to control and make other tools.

54) The rain on the alleyway collected all the evening nights rain.
As I collected my first dvd, I never thought I would own about twelve feet worth of dvd's. I thought it was only a temporary thing. I didn't plan to have a collection, but I had plans to watch them, and then forget about them. Not watch them again or I would have even sold them! I then noticed as I moved to Bangor, I was aware of pawn shops and amazon.com! So many titles, such great prices! I was estatic about owning so many more dvds! I started gathering them about, kind of like how the rain would soon gather on the sidewalk of an alleyway. My light source became brighter because Bull Moose offered such a great amoutn and so many great deals as well. One droplet of rain was kind of like a dvd. I didn't really realize it before, but as water could keep filling a puddle, my dvd after dvd buying could soon make my liviing room almost resemble a dvd rental room. I plan to keep adding to the collection, kind of like how rain can keep adding to make the puddle bigger and brighter.

Sunday, April 12, 2009 3:54:00 PM  
Blogger altrott said...

53. The things I see as I walk along the street--that's heaven to me. Or is it?

We are walking there walking on the road, together. We talk about life and all that we have missed. As we walk we see life in continual motion. Many cars drive past. Going….going quickly. Tourists move in and out of shops. Music playing, cars revving their engines, and people talking. Everyone is moving with a different motive. Life in motion.

54. Pick a prompt from http://onemillionfootnotes.blogspot.com/. Tell us what it is and run with it.
The longest sleep, he realized, takes the longest time to come.

You lay their awake. Your mind is racing, you can’t stop the thinking. It is continual. You lie there cold and shiver. You move your feet to cause friction for the warmth. You can’t fall asleep. You have a test tomorrow and can’t afford to be lying their awake. You are ready. You are in bed, you are in your pajamas, and you have the tube on for continual noise. It’s not working, you can’t sleep. You lie there with your eyes closed waiting. Waiting for the moment when it will happen, when you finally fall asleep. When it’s over and done with.

Sunday, April 12, 2009 4:01:00 PM  
Blogger altrott said...

After rereading it with the changes I do like it a lot better with the cuts. I just never know if the readers are as smart as I should assume. I would like to think they are and I know you get it, but necessarily others. It does improve the writing to leave it up to the reader though. I agree.

Sunday, April 12, 2009 4:02:00 PM  
Blogger johngoldfine said...

John--I haven't read it all yet and I'll comment later, but I know this will interest you, especially after about 5:35.


Sunday, April 12, 2009 6:32:00 PM  
Blogger Sam W. said...

52. Three year old Cichlid for sale with his two tank mates. Don't have time for anymore. $25.

The fish are sitting in their tank. They have to be fed everyday. They need extra care at least once a month. His wife has gone. She bought the stupid things and now he has to take care of them. He sits and watches the fish as they float aimlessly about the water. Being pushed by the air bubbles and swimming through the fake seaweed. How he longs to be like one of those fish. No worries. No place to go or anyone to please. They only hold a fleeting focus on mealtime. For three years he helped her maintain the tank and they had fun doing it together. Twenty-five dollars is almost a full tank of gas and he might as well ask for that little bit to get rid of the memories. Now he is reminded of how much he misses those days and her. Though he will miss his aquatic companions too he knows they have to leave. For their sake and his.

53. Walk down the cobbled streets. You don't often get to do that anymore. All the streets are made for vehicle convenience, but not these. The are wide enough to fit traffic down, but there is none. Just people. Moving from store to store in search of something good. The quiet is so endearing. Street shopping without having to fight traffic. Its amazing. Every step is a gradual trek downhill. Turn right and you are back in time. The street is more narrow and people are everywhere. On either side there is vendors selling local goods. Meats hanging, the smell of baked goods, the robust colors of local vegetables, it takes you back in time. You get lost in a time you never knew. This simple lifestyle, far from the present fast lane, is the closest thing to heaven for someone longing to be lost.

55. The basement shelves. They are filled to the breaking point with tools. Wrenches, hammers, screwdrivers, nails, screws, and everything inbetween. Glance at one after the other. The big screwdriver. It may have been the first one ever made. All the wrenches of different size and condition. Where they will find a use no one knows for sure. Four hammers. Not one is complete. Each contains a part the other one needs. Jars and jars of nails and screws. They have been in and out of use for a hundred years. It is time for retirement. It would be an entirely believable story to say that these tools may have been used to build this house in 1831. Who knows what these man-made tools have seen. If the house could talk it may tell stories of the tolls used by many a man.

Sunday, April 12, 2009 8:27:00 PM  
Blogger jmoody said...


I am looking for in shape males that are comfortable in speedos or less that either know or are willing to learn wrestling holds. Pay varies from $50 - 1000 per match.-Contact Information-Waterville, ME


He didn’t always want to be in a profession like this. He didn’t decide at five years old that he wanted to take pictures that would be frowned upon by almost the entirety of society. Ironic as it may seem, he wanted to be a policeman. He wanted to protect everyone from the transgressions of society. He wanted to be trustworthy. He wanted to be esteemed. He wanted to be a hero.
As he sits at his computer, he types away, thinking back to the pivotal moment four years ago. If only he had finished that test. There were only three questions left. Three questions! Why did he get up and leave? Why did he choose to walk down Grimson Alley? He had never taken this route home before because he had heard what it was known for. And, sure enough someone spotted the fresh meat. Why didn’t he just keep walking? No, he wasn’t interested in making money… Yes, actually, he was. No, he didn’t want to be famous… Wait! Yes, he did.
He blinks. The ad was finished. Send. Close window. Shut down.

The ocean breathes on us as we walk the rocks that lie high on its shore. Soon we find the perfect spot to sit and begin our silent communion. Call it crazy but we have never shared a closer moment than that spent sitting overlooking the ocean. The way the waves crash on the beach, the way the salt lingers in the air, the way we just find each other’s hand while in awe, make this place heaven on earth.
But, as we get up to leave the real feelings start to threaten our hearts and I don’t want to go. I just want to stay here forever and forget all the guilt and the sadness we feel when we’re anywhere else. But it can’t be that way. Our little piece of heaven is torn away as we close the doors to our little car and pull away from this place. I turn and look out the back window. Behind me I see heaven, Facing forward again, I refuse for a moment to look out the windshield. Eventually I look to my future. Will this be hell? Or, can we always stay, at least in our minds, in our heaven?

She cries on my shoulder. “It wasn’t even what he said, Jasmine. It was how he said it.”
“I know, Bri.”
“No, but you don’t know! You left him – he didn’t leave you. You didn’t have to hear that he ‘makes bad decisions with you.’” What she doesn’t know is that that was exactly what I had said to him when I had ended things.
I didn’t know what to say. She had become my best friend in less than three months and there was so much that I still didn’t know about her. Sure, I knew her favorite color, her favorite genre of music, her favorite show, and even some of her family background. But, the important thing about our relationship is that we both know we love each other and that we’re honest with one another… even when it rips up our hearts.
“Bri, honey, I know this hurts right now, but isn’t it what’s best?”
“But I thought he cared about me!”
“Oh honey. I’m so sorry that you haven’t found that one that’s right for you yet.” I wanted to follow this up with, ‘I warned you! He warned you! We both said that he was going to use you this way.’ But, I just couldn’t. There was just something about seeing my favorite girl with tears falling down her cheeks over some stupid boy that shouldn’t matter to either of us. I didn’t want to hurt her any farther. “One day you’ll meet the perfect man and he’ll tell you how beautiful you are every day and he’ll kiss you and love you all over the place.”
She smiled weakly. “I will, wont I?”
“Yes, you will.” And that’s the truth.

Sunday, April 12, 2009 9:54:00 PM  
Blogger johngoldfine said...

We aim to please, abby.

Sunday, April 12, 2009 10:33:00 PM  
Blogger herman1313munster said...

wow...the last few seconds of that link was pretty intense...those movies back in the day were always interesting to watch, especially the charlie chaplin ones. Have you seen The Bodysnatcher with Boris Karloff in it yet?

Sunday, April 12, 2009 10:34:00 PM  
Blogger Kathy said...

52. For sale—stuff, lots of stuff. Antique chests of all sizes and shapes. Open one up, any one and the scent of mothballs wafts upward. Inside brittle wall paper, the charming flower pattern long since faded clings half-heartedly to the sides.
Dust as thick as a carpet sticks to old, wobbly-legged tables, some sporting just three instead of four, and some end-tables have four albeit not all matching. Two rocking chairs, their runners spread precariously far apart from heavy use serve as thread bare quilt racks.
There’s tarnished oil lamps, some with cracked glass shades, and some with no shades at all.
Boxes of books, school books including Dick, Jane and Spot. There’s Sears and Roebucks catalogues, Life and National Geographic magazines, some of their pages stuck together from ageless coffee spills.
An old Monopoly game, an original. There’s also the game of Life, Risk and Candy Land.
Anyone over thirty—search and find some memory that is priceless. Prices starting at $1.00.

53. Mud oozes around my sneakers so I move to the middle of the road. A crow flashes, wings flapping in startling black as it caws, landing in a tree nearby. What a great day. The sky is decadent in its brilliance, reveling in its conducting of the few clouds allowed to skim over its surface with little interference to the sun.
Bushes, the first hint of buds swelling along narrow branches, tap together like beads in the wind. Bits of green have started to peek through the shards of winter brown grass and robins forge for worms.
Making my way to the top of the hill, distant farms are still visible amongst the leafless trees. And there’s no snow!
I’ve hiked up and down the worn road many times, many seasons. It was carved along the overgrown stonewall by tractors long ago. Spring now has laid claim to the farm. But the seasons really don’t matter. The old farm is always heaven to me.

55. It doesn’t look like it, but the knife with the curved, curly-cue top is sharp. So are the nails and they look it all pointy and shiny and thin, almost needle-like thin. The nippers, like huge fingernail clippers, and doing almost the same thing, could feasibly cut off a finger. I’ve seen it happen. The rasp removes skin from knuckles quicker than any nail file ever designed. They too can be sharpened, and they are, but how? Then there are the clinchers. Not sharp. Oh, and the pointy, small hammer designed to drive in those shiny nails. Designed to drive in those shiny nails down through an area no wider than the twelve font words of a computer.
There’s also a forge that can sear off eyebrows, forget the wax and a forge whose weight, hopefully, is greater than mine.
All of these tools are needed for shoes. Not Nikes or Crocs, but horseshoes. And if the luck of the horseshoe prevails, and the horse cooperates, no one gets hurt during the process.
And the blacksmith will be oh-so-grateful.

Monday, April 13, 2009 12:00:00 PM  
Blogger Joel Susen said...

Even with a chill in the air, the song of the peepers filled the woods.

The rich purples of the clouds hung on the light blue of the sky above and the glowing yellows and oranges below. The crisp evening draft drove the familiar scent of the campfire smoke lightly, and caused the tips of the pines to cast dancing silhouettes on the sky. A slight chill began to creep, but I refused to budge from my fireside perch. This total sensory overhaul was what Van Gogh had strived for; what Monet had struggled, with failing eyes, to put on canvas again and again. The greatest of paintings, the original, uncontainable, impossible to replicate, finished brilliantly by the very hand of God, and I sat in His gallery

Tuesday, April 14, 2009 10:16:00 AM  
Blogger johngoldfine said...

52--John, impressive, very visual, obviously fun for a gorehound such as yourself. Most impressive for me was when you suddenly dropped in a math class dealing with points and intersections. It's relevant, it's startling, it stretches the pain out. That's alienating! Major week 10! (Not really week 11 though.) Glad you liked the Odessa steps sequence--I thought the runaway baby carriage would ring your bell.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009 1:42:00 PM  
Blogger johngoldfine said...

46, I don't know, john--did it really take much brain power to convince you to eat candy? What are you-- some kind of anti-candy troublemaker?

Tuesday, April 14, 2009 1:47:00 PM  
Blogger johngoldfine said...

54--I have hundreds of cassette tapes and LP records at home, john, never expecting that they would both become nearly unplayable.... Just saying.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009 1:54:00 PM  
Blogger johngoldfine said...

Oooh, sam--52 is sharp, very week 11. Very true to my experience of how things can stand in for whole huge swathes of relationships and feelings. A compliment to the man and to the relationship that the fish weren't just flushed.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009 1:58:00 PM  
Blogger johngoldfine said...

The ending on that 52, sanm--I was just back there admiring it!

Tuesday, April 14, 2009 2:00:00 PM  
Blogger johngoldfine said...

"The big screwdriver. It may have been the first one ever made. All the wrenches of different size and condition. Where they will find a use no one knows for sure. Four hammers. Not one is complete. Each contains a part the other one needs. Jars and jars of nails and screws. They have been in and out of use for a hundred years."

Those four items are extremely well handled here--that little dart of poetry or insight on the screwdriver, hammers, jars...slick.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009 2:06:00 PM  
Blogger johngoldfine said...

sam, for me, 53 is the also-ran. The other two suggest and hint and evoke, whereas 53 is more flatfooted.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009 2:09:00 PM  
Blogger johngoldfine said...

52, jasmine? Surely craigslist, not good old Uncle Henry's! Yes, I think you've imagined a reasonable biography for the man behind the ad, and the ironies work, the short sentences at the end knock the reader around nicely.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009 2:12:00 PM  
Blogger johngoldfine said...

53--I think you give us too much. Don't tell us. Let the ocean be an ocean..and more. Let the windshield and the road ahead and the back window and the ocean behind do their magic. They will, if you believe. Have you ever seen Peter Pan--did you clap your hands? I'm doubting it....

Tuesday, April 14, 2009 2:18:00 PM  
Blogger johngoldfine said...

55, jasmine--y'think? Is that the truth? To me this hovers just on the edge of irony, of twisting this sentence: "we’re honest with one another… even when it rips up our hearts."

Twisting it: sometimes love trumps honesty and the loving thing to do is to lie and maybe you lied--lovingly--and it isn't the truth. But, no, you never go there, you pull back from it in the end.

Unless, this being week 11, you pulled the doublecross on me and that last sentence is a lie is what you meant!

Tuesday, April 14, 2009 2:28:00 PM  
Blogger johngoldfine said...

Sure, joel, that's a week 11 special--but you're not now in a Thoreau mood again, are you?

Tuesday, April 14, 2009 2:32:00 PM  
Blogger johngoldfine said...

I'm not much good at sharpening stuff, kathy, and never have been able to do much with farriers' knives. And rasps? I thought when they were gone, they were gone!

I liked that piece a lot--has a very consistent tone, clear rhythm, poetic-but-no-nonsense quality. Very strong ending that pushes it clearly into week 11 territory. Tough writing. Nice.

I'm a huge fan of lists and 52 has a good one with a nice little ironic snapper at the close for anyone inclined to take it as such.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009 2:42:00 PM  
Blogger johngoldfine said...

53, kathy--nature writing, nature description not my natural or comfortable habitat. So, I think this works without having anything much more to say about it than that.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009 2:44:00 PM  
Blogger jhowardEMCC said...

I walk beneath the lights, sickly prismatic shades thrown back in the dankness. The pavement sucks souls down as it bites at my feet. A human lamppost rising from the chill concrete, throwing illumination across the faces of passersby and scale patterns across the pavement. The street swims by beneath, the wind groans aloud in my ears shifting the last of the leaves into freefall, fringed by sticky frost, glass fronds that might shatter If they meet a flare of light from beyond the street.

54. "He could never read with music playing, but music only encouraged him to write."

As I listen to the sound slowly drizzling through the speakers
I am over taken by the tide of the chorus and I am drug out to the ocean of blissful indulgence

The wave of emotion the words and melody bring are much to strong and I find myself floating along being drug under by the tow…
My body slowly weaves its way from the chair as I slowly become one with the current of the melody

My hair melds into the bars of the music, each meter becoming a new golden highlight on the auburn sheet
Each note flows across and dissipates into my scalp slowly the music becomes one with me
One measure at a time…

My body is but a slave to the current of it all
It sways slowly with the rocking motion of the waves of the music
It is helpless as the beat crashes into the shore of my psyche and takes over
My body is merely a solitary peak on a wave in the vast ocean of sound that is the smooth melody, shimmering as it floats on into oblivion

My brush graces the tulips, petals flaring with fuchsia. A sweet golden pollen glistens on the anther's tips. The smell of acrylic paint emanates from the blossoming fruit; nature flowing from the slender hairs on my brush.

My scalpel digs deep into the soft meaty flesh;
carefully carving through the marrow-filled bone.
A viscid secretion oozes from the precise incision made. Surgical repairs are dictated cleanly by my shimmering scalpel.

My hammer beats monotonously against the splintered wood; a termite crawls out cautiously to be pounded to it's death. Up and over, gravity leading the strike to the gray shred of iron;
preparing this petrified scrap into a home for my hammer.

My chisel sets to work against this smooth slab of stability; molding a monstrosity into a magnificent marble masterpiece. Michelangelo’s expression shall waver and falter with awe underneath the empowering shadow of my confident chisel.

My hand expands and closes in a fist of frustration;
fearful fingers curled tight into my protecting palm.
Used indifferently for abuse and callous harassment; the stains of impurity grace the fraudulent folds of my hand.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009 3:22:00 PM  
Blogger Jeremy said...

52. There are a dozen stories on every page of Uncle Henry's--tales of divorce, death, wasted money, plans that went nowhere, hopes destroyed only to rise again, dreams deferred and dreams turned into nightmares. And as I read it, I see a million Maine cellars, attics, living rooms, barns, camps, boathouses, garages. Faces, voices, images of people too. You could do worse than Uncle Henry's as a source of writing ideas--how about looking through Uncle Henry's to find a prompt? Find an ad, copy it so we know where you're starting, and speculate on the tale behind it--thinking as you write about meanings beyond the obvious.

“Brand new engagement ring and diamond wedding band bridal set. White gold. Band never worn, engagement worn only 4 mo. Diamond solitaire. 30 carat tw surrounded w/sm. diamonds in band. Wedding band embedded w/sm. diamonds roughly. 50 carat tw. Size 4 3\4 Paid $1500 asking $600 or OBO.”

“20 books in good cond. The Davinci Code Dan Brown The last precint Patricia Cornwell Mortal prey Naked Prey Eyes of prey & dead watch John Sanford The last juror The appeal & The firm John Grisham M is for Malice Sue Grafton The husband Dean Koontz Where are you now & Two little girls in blue Marry Higgins Clark Secret Sanction Brian Haig The Cardinal of the kremlin, op center acts of war Tom Clancy Chicken Soup teenage soul 1 & 2 & Teen love series on relationships kimberly kirberger 7th Heaven James patterson asking $30 for the whole lot makes it only $1.50 per book. If u have any Questions Please email me Can drive to meet you-Contact Information-Portland, ME “

He sat upon the bed, head buried into his hands. He felt sick, like he was going to throw up any minute. He lifted his head and looked into the mirror on his dresser. The man in the mirror was not who he was used to seeing. The mirror man’s eyes were surrounded by red.

“So, how much for the ring, again?” The customer on the phone asked him.

“$600…just like it says in the ad.”

“And the books?”


“Is everything in good condition?” The man flipped through one of the books.

“Oh some have some writing in them…just little notes in the front. They’re no too obtrusive.”

“Okay, I’ll take them. When are you available?”

“Anytime tomorrow,” he said, tossing the book down onto his bed. The book opened to the title page. The note written in ink said: “I know you’ve been wanting this book! Happy Birthday, Mark! I’ll always love you! xoxo


54. Pick a prompt from http://onemillionfootnotes.blogspot.com/. Tell us what it is and run with it.

“The wind against the window didn't move the window even in the dark.”

The wind blew hard outside, rain lashing against window. It was almost pitch black in the room. The boy sat upon his bed, shivering. He gripped the stuffed dog his parents got him when he was just a baby.

His eyes were locked on his closet. The door was cracked open slightly.

“Hello?” No one answered.

The boy couldn’t see anything in the closet. But he always felt uneasy when it was open. The blackness inside was endless…a yawning chasm that threatened to swallow him up.

A tree branch began to scratch at his window as the wind picked up, howling as it blew.

He wanted to get to sleep soon. School started up again tomorrow. He was going to be in the 6th grade and onto a new school. But he couldn’t sleep…not with the open closet tormenting him.

The sound of rain against his window had begun to die down and the wind followed suit. Slowly, the room became quiet and still.

He laid down, placing his head against the soft pillow, and shut his eyes. His breathing and heart rate slowed until they become steady. Under his eyelids, his eyes flickered back and forth. Limbs shifted, breathing became labored, and heart rate increased. Eyes snapped open and looked directly at the closet. Someone sat in the formerly empty space wearing a brown suit, smiling, and waving its hand slightly.

“Mom!” the boy yelled.

But no one answered.

55. Sometimes humans are defined as tool-using animals. Nowadays, the scientists talk about chimps both making and using tools, but, hey, we're Number One! Tools in their chests, drawers, and wallracks; tools scattered on the table; tools used and unused, new and old; tools of love, tools of war, tools of work, tools of play. Tools can say a lot.

The small toolbox was borrowed from his mother. They had black grips on them and were made of stainless steel. They also had a good amount of dust on them. The only two that are missing are the needlenose pliers and the hammer.

The pliers were used to open the door to the bedroom (which leads to the bathroom) one night when the doorknob fell off. It was imperative I opened that damned door, so I grabbed the first tool that looked like it would work, opened the door, did my business, and then screwed the doorknob back on.

The hammer is currently in my Jeep. The hammer is bent backwards and has been rendered useless for hammering nails….but not for self-defense.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009 11:46:00 PM  
Blogger johngoldfine said...

Whew, Jeremy--52 is short and sweet, very effective, and that sharp close is just right. The irony works.

Thursday, April 16, 2009 8:54:00 AM  
Blogger johngoldfine said...

Jeremy--54--fiction? But snappy, I confess, slick close.

Thursday, April 16, 2009 8:56:00 AM  
Blogger johngoldfine said...

The tool box one I don't quite get, jeremy, maybe because I can't picture a hammer bent backwards.

Thursday, April 16, 2009 9:00:00 AM  
Blogger johngoldfine said...

JD--poetic, surreal, weird, distorted, maybe psychedelic--none of which is really my cup of tea, but those prompts are strong in letting words and images point beyond themselves which is what week 11 is all about.

Thursday, April 16, 2009 9:16:00 AM  
Blogger Sarah V. said...

52.) Uncle Henery Ad: " Casco convertible car seat, like new $20, booster seat with tray $10, double jogger stroller, blue great condition $100. Nike sneakers and sandels toddlers boys sz 9 to 9.5 $5 each."
Response: Glad to be finally getting away from these baby years- geez all these accesories from car seats to strollers to clothes that never seem to have an ending. I spend all this money- to have it nto even last for a whole year! Talking about throwing my money away! So heck I might as well get soem of my money back that way I don't feel so bad for all the money that was spent on things I had to have for him. Uncle Henry's is the place to put up the add too- I mean there's got to be somebody out there looking for the next best bargin. Well body do I have one for them. A car seat that just like new--well excuse the the few stains of puke explosions on those long drives to grandma's house, and oh yah excuse the brown stain toward the buckle! It's not poop- well from my best memory I don't think it is, but rather a smooshed chocalte that my older daughter thought she would be so kind to leave behind. But it's just like NEW! So with that lovely purchase you might at well get the stroller, and some nice worn- but hey they are NAME BRAND clothes! Whatever it takes to make a few dollars and finally get away from these baby years! Cause ladies and genntlemen there will be no more babies- I got my tubes tied now!!
53.) As I walk down this sidewalk on a beautiful sunny day witht the grass wanting to start growing and the birds wanting to chirp. The clouds fill the sky with imigination of images to be seen, yet they do not cover the sun. This sidewalk has been heaven for me for 18 years from one end to the other. The animals I haev come in contact with, the people that have stopped to chat, and the nature that has made me smile all these years. Yet this sidewalk that I was once called heaven is now different. The clouds are in the sky, but they are dark with pollution and the air is filled with toxins that make it now hard to breathe in fresh air. The grass is starting to grow but only in patches and only dirt brown instead of lushious green that I once walked my bare feet through. The people do not stop to talk, for anger confronts them . The thinsg I saw when I walk this street WERE heaven.......
54.) "Along in the evening he heard the ringing in his ears as screams or sirens"
Response: As he sat silently on the couch toward the evening hours he starred at the clock it walked the second hand quickly gaze onward and onward. His eyes seemed to never blink- and his stare never traced off.
The sunlight had came and gone- but he did not notice- but rather he noticed the clock- as as the clock grew onward with the seconds, minutes and hours his heart began to race faster and faster. The time was coming just like it had come every night for the past 5 years. At the same hour and same mintue of the same second the screams rang in his ears and flames began to be seen.
This hour of 10:14pm marked the exact time of the fire that took his family. His wife, his 3 children, the beloved family dog and cat. Everything was gone- the ones and loved, photos, precious items, money- and memories! He remembers this hour like it was happening all over again- he sees himself driving into his driveway to hear screams from neighboors and sirens all around.
At 10:14pm alone he sits in the evening to hear the ringing in his ears of the screams and sirens.

Saturday, April 18, 2009 11:14:00 AM  
Blogger johngoldfine said...

Sarah--think about 54 without this: "This hour of 10:14pm marked the exact time of the fire that took his family. His wife, his 3 children, the beloved family dog and cat. Everything was gone- the ones and loved, photos, precious items, money- and memories!" With it, the writer is doing all the work; without it, the reader gets invested and intrigued and figures it out on his own.

53 avoids that over-explaining trap and lets the pictures you create dp the job.

The Uncle Henry--yep, we feel the irony moving behind the words....

Saturday, April 18, 2009 12:46:00 PM  
Blogger Johanne said...

52. 1 Free love seat. Brown in color used for college. In ok cond sm. areas of wear but still usable. You haul away, but will deliver if close to Waterboro. Serious interest only, going to the dump soon-Contact Information-N Waterboro, ME

I can't stand to look at it anymore. I got up in the middle of the night to go to the bathroom and thought for a second I could see her stretched across it half-naked waiting for me. The damn thing even smells like her, and the cat can't keep away from it, always sniffing it as if to tell me, "Hey, what about her? When's she coming back?" That cat's a real wiseass. It was her idea to get the little bastard.

Love seat. That's a crock. But that's what they call it.

Sunday, April 19, 2009 10:38:00 PM  
Blogger Johanne said...


Sunday, February 15, 2009
The wind in her dreams is traffic; in her dreams the wind is traffic; traffic is the wind in her dreams.

I start in the night not sure where I am. Light is a luxury. I hear his breaths. Apologetic stertor. What time is it? A sutra comes to me like salad speak. The hallway is a tunnel. Where is the hallway? I mouth a villanelle. He's drowning. New carpet. A slant of light from the DVD player. I'm there.

The tunnel expands. I stumble with hands outstretched. The silence mocks me. Now is receding. I am half of a sutra. Zombie walk to the bathroom.

I woke up to life empty with questions ready. Now there is no one. Was it a pantoum? I woke before knowing. Instinct makes its reasons. Indoor plumbing.

A new place is better. That's what they tell us. The sutra is silence. I rest without knowing.

Monday, April 20, 2009 8:15:00 PM  
Blogger Johanne said...


I will do it right this time. Bend the broom to my will. Keep my spoons in the drawer.

I squirt Fantastik onto a paper towel. The smell of steak and onions is still in the air. Rub the smudges from the stove. Make everything new.

This is not what anyone expects from me. I thrive on chaos. Reach into a pile of rubbish and fish out requests.

Bent on my knees scrubbing a coffee stain. Wiping the sink.

Monday, April 20, 2009 8:23:00 PM  
Blogger johngoldfine said...

Hey Johanne--playing the poet card, eh?

My favorite in this group is the last one, which I also think comes closest to 'words meaning something beyond themselves.' I like those little imagist squibs.

54 may be along the same lines but gets too obscure too fast for my taste. If it were a room decor, I'd say, "Too busy." If it were a meal, "Too many seasonings."

I think you step on your punchline in the first one, which does not seem to be your usual style.

You have: "Love seat. That's a crock. But that's what they call it."

Why hand so much to the reader? What if we don't want it? Let us work it out. How about: "Love seat. That's what they call it."

Tuesday, April 21, 2009 11:14:00 AM  
Blogger Christina said...

#2326 A length of cat across the bed

Relaxed, stretching in the warmth of the sun. Confident in who it is, nothing moves but the gentle swish of a tail keeping time with a ticking clock in the next room. Fingers can’t resist a scratch behind the ears. Eyes closed in feigned slumber, a purr rumbles from the furry creature, a half smile forming on the cats face. All is as it should be.

Intent on catching that mouse, the goal becomes more important then dignity. Forgetting all sense of self, they charge forward in a foolish half baked attempt to catch their mark. More often missing then not, it is only then they try to look as if they had meant to look like morons. But no one takes them seriously.

Bravely facing down a creature tens times their size, they fight for survival. Using everything at their disposal, fangs, claws and dirty tricks. They make a stand, in the face of over-whelming odds. Only to jump out of their skin at the unexpected small things.

#2259 The ticking clock was a dripping faucet.

Gentle sounds of a distant clock keep pace with the seconds of lost sleep. Eyes drift shut, searching for quiet peace.

One, two, three... Count the beats not the sheep. The mental activity keeps the mind awake, working just enough to elude the depths of slumber. Pull the pillow over the head. Silence, but for lack of air. Open the window a crack, back to bed, with pillow half over my head. A sigh of satisfaction, the peepers sing a gentle reminder of spring.

Tick, tick, tick... The sound is soft, but it still registers in the darkness. A foot begins to keep time with the half heard sound. Sending sparks of energy into an almost slumbering mind.

Awake. The debate to silence the clock is at war with desire and need to sleep. Comfy and warm beneath a quilt the war wages. To brave the cool night air, further jarring the senses awake. Or refuse to move, crafting a plan to destroy all ticking clocks.

Let me count the ways...as the conscience fades.

#2412 The rain melted snow into the lawn. . .

Faded leaves left from Autumn, lay scattered among the new spring grass. A reminder of what was side by side of what can be. Trees shake off the lethargic winter as the sap once again begins to flow. From a frozen ground push forth stubborn shoots of green, tulips, daffodils, iris and lily. Determined to reclaim the barren beds were they have slept.

Birds sing high in the tree tops, gossiping about winter vacations and summers plans. They revisit all their favorite feeding spots, checking for those who remembered. Plumage is fluffed and slicked down as they begin the spring courting rituals. Not even the cool rains can keep their songs from being heard. They are back and everyone has to be told.

Stretching from winter slumber creatures emerge from the dark, less then what they were. Ravenous to regain lost ground, they begin the diligent hunt for tasty treats not seen in almost a year. Coats regain their lost sheen and hides fill out. Those once solitary become social, seeking others of their kind.

The rains melt away the last lingering clumps of snow...

Wednesday, April 22, 2009 9:50:00 PM  
Blogger johngoldfine said...

Hey christina--in a poetic mood, eh?

For my money, the cat piece is the keeper, not surprising, I guess. There's a lot of observation and experience between the lines there.

2412, 2259 in both I think you're reaching a little--that shows itself in the abundance of adjectives, not a sign of material that's motoring along on its own.

Thursday, April 23, 2009 10:51:00 AM  
Blogger Lacey said...

52.Minolta camera srtsc - ii, 35mm,45mm lens, kiron 80 to 200zoom lock lens, 2 lens filters, vivitar zoom thyristor flash 5200 manuels, and carry bag, $400 OBRO, delivery available-Benedicta, ME

I have seen great mountaintops such as Everest and great shorelines, such as the east coast. Lighthouses scattered up and down, each a different size, shape, and color. All unique to each habitat. I've encountered the sight of love. The down on one knee, the single teardrop as he turns away, the passionate way he strokes her cheek. I've seen most things, like a single ant carrying piece by piece of a half of a sandwich back to it's colony. I've captured the essence of a smile on someone's face that warms another's heart with joy. I've seen great things...

53. The things I see as I walk along the street--that's heaven to me. Or is it?
We take for granted the things we find along the side of the road. Acorns, bottle caps, pennies, and chestnuts are among those on my road. As we get older we lose faith in things: faith in people, faith in love, and faith in our dreams. As a child, those things along the side of the road were my most prized possessions. My beautiful collection of treasures, which to my parents probably seemed to be just a bunch of random things. Those treasures of mine were in my fairytale, that just disappeared as I grew older.

55. Tools
My Dad is a simple man, of little care about money, a lot about what he's built for his family. A handyman of sorts, who helped his girls with crafty school projects. Who built the house his family has lived in for 28 years. Who takes great pride in his tools. The little things in life make him happy man. The smell of clean laundry blown dry by the wind's cool breath. His tool: the clothesline. "Dad, my oil needs to be changed." His tools: his hands. Filling in those potholes in the driveway after a springtime rain every year. His tool: his tractor. I remember the day he bought it, beaming with pride, he fixed her up and painted it real nice. I swear he tries to find reasons to use that thing.

Friday, May 01, 2009 11:54:00 PM  
Blogger johngoldfine said...

Lacey--that's a fine group of responses, each different, each incisive.

52, with its enhanced list, really ends perfectly with that ellipsis. I love ellipses, I confess.

53 is my favorite--it deals with week 11 most strongly and handles that switch between childish things and adult things very capably.

55 is a father's day card, and not a bad one at all. Any father would be proud to be its subject and to deserve that much attention and affection, that well-expressed, from a daughter.

Sunday, May 03, 2009 9:34:00 AM  
Blogger ashley m. said...

52. There are a dozen stories on every page of Uncle Henry's--
Parting out 1994 Ford Escort, 5dr hatchback, no eng, all other body, mechanical, int avail,
nothing over $10. call 12-8pm-Berwick, ME

Tom sat at the kitchen table, running his calloused hands through his graying beard as he searched through the classified section of the newspaper. He carefully circled some of the more promising ads with the red ballpoint pen his wife always kept on the kitchen table next to the yellow legal pad that the family used for grocery lists and phone messages. When he finished doing that, he took a sip of his coffee as he ripped the back cover off that week’s Uncle Henry’s. Using a black gel pen from his son’s pencil case from school, he scrawled out the ad he wished to place.
“Parting out 1994 Ford Escort, 5dr hatchback, no eng, all other body, mechanical, int avail, nothing over $10. Call 12-8pm-Berwick, ME.”
Satisfied that he had covered all his bases with the ad, he got up to walk down the driveway to leave it in the mailbox. In doing so, he passed the Escort, a sad shell of a car that haunted the edge of the driveway. It hadn’t been a bad little car. Quite a few miles on it, but the body was still in good shape, virtually no rust at all. The car was older but it probably could’ve lasted another two or three years if Emily hadn’t gone anywhere near it. Tom loved his daughter dearly, but the girl was Death when it came to anything mechanical. She’d called him in a panic one her way to school just last week, he found his daughter standing at the side of the road in tears as black smoke was billowing out from under the hood of the Escort. When he checked the oil, it was bone dry. He put two quarts in the car before realizing that it was all gushing out of the hole in the bottom of the car. She’d been arguing with her brother, Max, as she was backing out of the driveway on their way to school, when she hit a large rock at the end of the driveway.
The engine was fried. Completely unsalvageable.
As he made his way back to the house, gravel crunching under his work boots, he mentally prepared himself for the task of finding a new car for Emily. There seemed to be a few decent cars in the newspaper, he would check them out and see if they were Emily-proof enough. He quirked a smile as he silently wondered to himself how much it would cost to get a tank for the girl.

Wednesday, May 06, 2009 12:45:00 AM  
Blogger ashley m. said...

54. Pick a prompt from http://onemillionfootnotes.blogspot.com/. Tell us what it is and run with it.
“The pencil made a hole in his skin without writing a single word.”

Sitting at his desk, in his dimly lit bedroom, Jeff looked at his alarm clock on the bedside table, the glowing red numbers cut through the darkness of the room. 12:49 am. It seemed like a death sentence. There was no way he’d get the paper finished by tomorrow morning. Panic set in as he tapped the no. 2 pencil furiously against the edge of his desk, trying desperately to think of an idea…”C’mon, c’mon…” he thought to himself, “think!”
He could hear the clock in the kitchen, just a down the hall from his room. The seconds ticked away…he was running out of time. An hour passed in what felt like minutes. Jeff briefly mused about writing the paper about the negative health effects English homework has on students. He decided that such a paper should be called, “How Teachers Are Slowly but Surely Murdering Their Students With Homework.” He was amusing himself with the idea of writing such a paper as he padded down the hallway to grab a glass of water. He nearly dropped the glass when he realized that it was now almost 3:00 in the morning. How did that happen?!
Back in his room, pencil in hand, Jeff gave in to resignation…
There was no way he’d be able to finish now. All was lost. Thinking of ways to talk his teacher out of failing him for this, he began to nod off. So exhausted from worry that he didn’t even bother to put the pencil down. As his head fell to the desk, his right arm limply fell onto his left, the pencil made a hole in his skin without writing a single word…

Wednesday, May 06, 2009 1:04:00 AM  
Blogger ashley m. said...

55. Sometimes humans are defined as tool-using animals. Nowadays, the scientists talk about chimps both making and using tools, but, hey, we're Number One! Tools in their chests, drawers, and wallracks; tools scattered on the table; tools used and unused, new and old; tools of love, tools of war, tools of work, tools of play. Tools can say a lot.

A grandfather is cleaning his garage with the help of his oldest granddaughter. He opens the stainless steel toolbox with his name etched into one side and a minor dent on another. The grandfather lifts an old hammer and a small handful of miscellaneous nails from inside the box. Most of the nails are bent. Useless. The hammer is in pretty rough shape, too. Not at all like the rest of the tools in the garage, he always made sure to put them all back in their proper places, he took good care of his things.

His eyes lit up with a smile as he remembered his young grandchildren sneaking the hammer and nails into the backyard with bits of plywood and a jar of peanut butter from the pantry.

The granddaughter’s eyes grow wide as she remembers sitting in the backyard where she and her cousin were trying to build themselves a clubhouse, eating peanut butter straight out of the jar, when they heard their grandfather bellow from the garage, “WHO TOOK MY GODDAMN HAMMER!?”

Wednesday, May 06, 2009 1:22:00 AM  
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