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 16, 2013

Week 13 Prompts

Post your take on three of these prompts on your blog.


Remember these are not questions or a test. If you 'answer' the prompt, you're not making it your own, and that would be a shame. Use it, don't let it use you. Big to small, small to big is this week's theme.

Think about the small and then...work outwards.

62. For want of a nail the shoe was lost. For want of a shoethe horse was lost. For want of a horse the rider was lost. For want of a rider the battle was lost. For want of a battle the kingdom was lost. And all for the wantof a horseshoe nail.

(This is not an invitation to repeat a nursery rhyme or make up a rigamarole; it is a prompt--it has its meaning and possibly is a springboard for a mini-essay of your own.)

63. To see a world in a grain of sand. and a heaven in a wild flower, hold infinity in the palm of your hand and eternity in an hour. -William Blake

64. Dump the trash bin on the floor, pull on your rubber gloves, and start hunting for the truth that only your throwaways know.

65. In the drawer is a box made of carved and joined bits of driftwood, which holds objects meaningless to anyone else but sacred, precious, unforgettable to you...


One way of looking at these next prompts is to consider that they (somewhat treacherously) invite you to write about four big things--love or physicality; hate or another kind of physicality; beingness without physicality; and eternity or spirit, another take on unphysicality.

So, can topics this big be brought close to home? That's your job--don't gas on in general, vague terms; instead, figure a way to put yourself in.


66. Loosely holding hands, not even aware of doing so, but, still, skin touching skin....

67. This fist has got pow-pow-POWer!

68. I think, therefore I am.

69. "The things I see as I walk along the street, that's heaven to me...."

62 Comments:

Blogger Ally said...

67. This fist has got pow-pow-POWer! Well, not really the fist. The fist is made up of the hand, which is connected to the wrist. The wrist connects the hand to the arm. The arm is where the real power comes from – the bicep and triceps muscles act together to create the force. But the arm cannot do these movements with signal from the brain (central nervous system). The fist is merely a tool of the larger CNS.

68. I think, therefore I am. I would say I am human, but there are way too many humans in this world that DON’T think. Commonsense would tell me not to work on a heavy metal door without help. Apparently the person with facial trauma when the door fell on him did not possess commonsense. The person that used a chainsaw after removing the safety guard probably fell off the same tree as the facial trauma. Humans as a whole are supposedly a cognitive species – no one would believe that theory after working one shift in an emergency room.

69. The things I see as I walk along the street, that's heaven to me. I should say, country roads … I’m not a city person. As I walk, I hear the birds singing and the scurry of the squirrels. The sound of a jet overhead makes me wonder who is looking down on me as I walk. Can they even see me from that high? Where are they headed? Business or pleasure? I love airplanes. Every flight that I have taken, I have looked down onto the land below wondering what the people are up to. All the snaking rivers, the vast farmland, the specks of houses. Is there anyone walking along country roads, listening to the wildlife?

Monday, April 20, 2009 9:44:00 PM  
Blogger johngoldfine said...

68 plays around with week 13 theme nicely; 67, not so much--reads as if incomplete, as if there is more about the AY hand.

69 is neat--first you on the road thinking about airplanes, then you in airplanes thinking about countryroad walkers. Sneaky clever!

Tuesday, April 21, 2009 11:59:00 AM  
Blogger altrott said...

62. For want of a nail the shoe was lost. For want of a shoe the horse was lost. For want of a horse the rider was lost. For want of a rider the battle was lost. For want of a battle the kingdom was lost. And all for the want of a horseshoe nail.

For want of a ring a wedding was lost. For want of a wedding a union was lost. For want of a union a truce was lost. For want of a truce a peace was lost. For want of a peace a civilization was lost. For want of a civilization an invention was lost. For want of an invention a cure was lost. For want of a cure humankind was lost. For want of humankind life was lost. And all for want of a ring.

64. Dump the trash bin on the floor, pull on your rubber gloves, and start hunting for the truth that only your throwaways know.

I was born in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania.
While digging through the trash, lying on the floor, I found an empty, narrow ribbon roll.
Before this trash grave, this ribbon was used by me. Before it was used by me it was in my home. Before it was in my home it was in my car. Before it was in my car it was on a shelf in Wal-mart. Before it was on a shelf in Wal-mart it was on a shipment truck. Before it was on a shipment truck it was in a factory being made. Where is this factory that makes ribbon roles you may ask.
It was born in York, Pennsylvania.

68. I think, therefore I am.

I am because I was born with a brain in this thought provoking place. I was placed into this thought provoking place in order to share with those around me what I have learned and know to be true. I know what I know to be true because of the parents I have and the creator I trust. I have the parents I have and the creator I trust because the creator has ordained it to be that way. The creator has ordained it to be that way because he knows best. He knows what is best and it is to be born with a brain in order to think. I think, therefore I am.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009 9:39:00 PM  
Blogger johngoldfine said...

Abby--here are my instructions for 62: (This is not an invitation to repeat a nursery rhyme or make up a rigamarole; it is a prompt--it has its meaning and possibly is a springboard for a mini-essay of your own.) But I think what you've done is make up a rigmarole of your own. Try a rewrite.

Thursday, April 23, 2009 7:42:00 AM  
Blogger johngoldfine said...

Now, 64, abby, though actually another rigmarole, is inventive and fun to read, to imagine the ribbon in each of those places. There, you're using the idea for your own purpose, not imitating.

Thursday, April 23, 2009 7:44:00 AM  
Blogger johngoldfine said...

68, I always admire when a writer can take a prompt and use and shape it so that it becomes a lead-in to writing about the writer's own concerns. In your case, I know your Christian faith is always in your mind and heart, and here you take a neutral prompt and use it as a way of faith-witnessing. Good!

Thursday, April 23, 2009 7:48:00 AM  
Blogger cindylou said...

Week 13 Prompts

66. Loosely holding hands, not even aware of doing so, but, still, skin touching skin....

I held his hand as I had done for forty years, but only as far as the big steel doors. The nurse smiled as she said, “Say good-bye, this is as far as you go.” Every day stuff for her, heart whipping for me as my hand slid from his. The anesthesiologist in the hospital that war built tells us it’s more like woodshop in there than surgery. Saws, drills, screws, planers, levels. He tells us that things sure have changed since they discovered that bone could be treated just like wood. Now they can saw his knee out and put in a metal one. Technology that is improving partly due to the fact that our young men and women are being blown up in foreign countries. Metal that is improving due to the fact that our space program needed better, lighter metals.


69. "The things I see as I walk along the street, that's heaven to me...."

When it’s too cold for golfing and too warm for skiing, I walk the streets of my little town. I know most of the people and their dogs and they know me and my dog. I know who lives in what house and who lived there before them and before them. My town has no street lights and we don’t need them. We barely need blinker lights. We know where that red truck is going to turn because we know them and know where they live.
This past weekend, I had a different sort of walk. I walked the streets of New York City. More people at the Metropolitan than live in my little town. I knew the four people that walked with me and not another of the millions of souls on the street. I looked up at the apartment buildings and could not imagine what they looked like on the inside. The only clues I had were television shows like Friends and the Jeffersons. Each window of each building holds a story, a life, a generation.

63. To see a world in a grain of sand. and a heaven in a wild flower, hold infinity in the palm of your hand and eternity in an hour. -William Blake

She is four, maybe five. Young enough to be mesmerized for hours by a small pile of sand with a hole in the top and ants coming and going. Young enough to spend long periods of time squatted in a position only the young can be truly comfortable in. She watches them carrying things over their heads and on their backs. She doesn’t know where they’re going when they go in the hole. After a while she feels the urge to push sand over the hole. Ants rush from under and around the hill to repair the hole. When her Dad comes home from work she drags him out to the pile of sand. Together they watch as he explains to her about tunnels, rooms for food storage, nurseries for eggs and babies and burial grounds for the dead. A complete little town under her feet.

Thursday, April 23, 2009 8:55:00 AM  
Blogger johngoldfine said...

Mmm, cindylou, sometimes I regret dropping irony as a week's theme--when I read a dark piece like 66....

Thursday, April 23, 2009 11:08:00 AM  
Blogger johngoldfine said...

The ending doesn't work in 63--there's a payoff, a moment of epiphany for either dad or daughter or both, and instead of finding out what it is, we get a summary.

I really like the front half of 69--small small town life, and getting ideas about big city life from the Jeffersons...that got a smile!

Thursday, April 23, 2009 11:13:00 AM  
Blogger altrott said...

62. For want of a nail the shoe was lost. For want of a shoe the horse was lost. For want of a horse the rider was lost. For want of a rider the battle was lost. For want of a battle the kingdom was lost. And all for the want of a horseshoe nail.

Oh, for the want of a horseshoe nail. If only there had been a blascksmith that could make such a nail. In all the kingdon it seems likely that there would have been one to save the kingdom, if nothing else was saved besides it. If only we had in our grasp the little things that we need in order to save the kingdom. If only we had known what that one key was before it was too late and the kingdom was too far gone.

Thursday, April 23, 2009 10:10:00 PM  
Blogger Crystal said...

63. Nathan got up that morning just like he does every morning. He kissed his wife, Meredith, who still lay fast asleep (like the rest of the world does at 4am). Sneakers on his feet, and ipod on his arm, he opened his door to a fresh spring morning. It was cool now, but once he got moving it was going to be a comfortable run.

By the time he got home his wife was up and had made him some breakfast. He rushed through it and jumped into the shower so he wouldn’t be late for work. Meredith got in his path to the door so she could sneak in a loving hug, a sweet kiss, and a well-deserved I love you. They had only been married three years but the love between them would bring them a long a way. He’s a military man and she’s working toward becoming a doctor. Two very honorable positions in life.

He hopped on his motorcycle and headed to work like he always did. Left onto Dew Street, right onto Route 117, and left onto Main Road. The day played out as it always did at work, nothing too exciting. Tasks to complete in hopes that the clock would move faster today than it did yesterday. It felt like forever for lunch to come. 10:30am came and Nathan’s stomach was ready for some food. Such is the regime of a personal trainer/body builder. When lunch finally came he was ready for a good ol’ Subway. $5 footlong, can’t beat it.

He took the same route he always did. A right onto Main Road, left onto Tewksbury Avenue, and Subway was up over the hill. He almost made it. The intersection of Tewksbury and Stage was a busy one. Several residents had requested that a light be put there to help slow people down and to decrease the possibility of accidents. Just the week prior a woman totaled her car but thankfully walked away with no major injuries.

As Nathan came up over the hill on his motorcycle, a BFI garbage truck was coming through the intersection. Nathan didn’t see the truck until it was too late. He tried so hard to miss it, but the collision was inevitable. The loud crash brought nearby residents outside and an ambulance was called immediately. Nathan lay in the middle of the street, unconscious. His motorcycle was on its side several feet away from where Nathan was, completely demolished. The injuries he sustained were so severe that a helicopter landed in the street so he could be airlifted to a Boston hospital.

Meredith got a call from the hospital in Boston. Luckily, she wasn’t too far away and made it there in a short time. All she could do was wait because he was in a room she wasn’t allowed to enter. Nathan’s parents made it from South Carolina to Boston in 12 hours. His brother and sisters had to work their way to Boston from Florida.

When the doctor came to talk to the family after he had spent time assessing Nathan’s condition, they were devastated, but hopeful. He was in an induced coma. The bone around his right eye was shattered and he would likely lose that eye. One of his hips was also shattered. His liver was lacerated, a kidney had died, and the head injury caused a lot of fluid build-up. It wasn’t looking good. All they wanted to do was see him. They weren’t ready for what their eyes were going to behold.

His father thought he looked 8 months pregnant with all of the fluid that had built up in his belly. Meredith collapsed. His father was trying so hard to be strong for his wife and daughter-in-law, but this was too real. His little boy was at the threshold of death and there was nothing he could do but give it to God and pray.

Nathan is still in the hospital. He opened his eyes for a period of time and has gained some warmth in his fingers and face. But, the doctors have said that they are staying “cautiously hopeful.” Words to live by, hopefully.


65. Javier and I had been dating for three months. It was a new love and he wanted to do something special for me. So, we went out to dinner at Olive Garden and to a movie afterwards. At that point I had a dorm room in Gannett Hall, his was in Stodder. He had a double as a single so I pretty much lived in his dorm room and stored all of my stuff in mine. After the movie he asked if I wanted to stop by my dorm room to get some clothes, and I did. I unlocked the door and opened it up to a beautiful bouquet of purple irises. Irises, not roses (too cliché). It was so perfect. He had planned this out from beginning to end and it worked out so well. They became “our flower.” The ones I held at our wedding.

A few months down the road I came to his dorm room to find a special gift wrapped so sweetly. He told me that he had found something that made him think of me. He said it wasn’t much, but a beautiful jewelry box with a piece of glass on top of it. On the glass was a hand-painted iris. I cried. He always made me feel more special than anyone else ever had.

The jewelry box, at that time, didn’t have much for contents, but now it holds only the special treasures that are sentimental to me. The heart-shaped locket my father gave me for Christmas one year that has “love always dad” engraved in it. The ring my father gave me another Christmas. My high school ring. My grandmother’s wedding band. My first belly-button ring. The ring with 2 diamonds and 1 missing that my Aunt put together for Javier to give me (since we couldn’t afford a diamond when we were married). It also holds a special ring that Javier’s grandmother had given to his father a long time ago with a ruby in it that was made for a very small finger… our daughter’s.


66. My past boyfriends weren’t really much to write home about. I was either arm candy or nothing more than a friend with benefits. I wanted so badly to be loved and gave the best of myself, without reciprocation. Until my husband came along. He treated me as though I was a gift, just like my Daddy told me it should be. I knew I was in love, and he told me he loved me too, but I was cautious. My heart had been broken so many times that I just didn’t want to go through it again. So, I let him run the show. If he showed me love, I showed it back. It was hard for me to initiate those moments for fear of rejection.

We would go for walks all the time, not much else to do as two broke college students. It was always fun to go hand-in-hand down a path, didn’t matter where we were (or weren’t) going. He was my prize and when we walked together I got to show him off. I secretly wished that the previous good-for-nothings would see us and realize that I was the one that got away. I never really noticed that he always walked on the “outside” until I started a walk that way and he asked me to move to the “inside.” When I inquired as to why, he explained:

“My dad taught me that that’s what you do with the woman you love. When he was growing up in Mexico it was always a sign that the woman was for sale if she walked on the outside. It meant that the man on the inside was her “seller.” He also said that it’s a matter of protection. If you walk on the inside then I’m protecting you from the outside and keeping you safe.”

It was at that moment I knew it was true. For some reason all of the other ways he showed me he loved me were important, but this was the icing. I really was special to him. He wasn’t trying to use me and abuse me, he was trying to love me the way only he could.

He still walks on the outside and treats me like the Queen of his castle. He wears his crown well, and deserves every gem.

Friday, April 24, 2009 2:32:00 PM  
Blogger Kathy said...

65.
It’s a big, plastic box and the sides are bulging, the top erupting as the contents seep from beneath. Pop the strained latches and look inside. It’s all evidence to the very best of my life. Scribbled pieces of paper hold pictures of stick people and they’re labeled, ‘Mom, Dad, Me and Sam.’ Shawn’s handprint is tiny and green. ‘I love Mom’ is printed in fingerpaint blue.
Everyone of the kids’ first haircuts, a single blonde curl, is sealed in an envelope and marked with their names, Shawn, Sami, Emily and Jake.
There are paper clips attached to string, a necklace from Sami. There are drawings of pink and purple ponies. A fuzzy pink hat and matching mittens, tiny thumbs sticking out of their sides. Several ‘My Little Ponies’, kinda chewed, kinda dirty huddle in one corner. Those ponies are survivors. Both had been tossed out the window by Shawn on more than one occasion.
Aaah, yep, here’s Emily. An old Barney. The purple dinosaur has seen better days, stuffing pokes out of one side. Buttons of different sizes and glued to a piece of yellow paper spell out ‘Emily loves Mom.’ A pair of sneakers, purple, pink, orange and yellow, size 1 are tied together.
Then there’s Jake, Winnie the Pooh and Tigger too, onesies. Gosh, were they ever really that tiny? A blue pacifier sealed in a plastic bag, now that was tricky getting that thing away.
Like a match, the collection in the big box ignites a thousand memories.
And like any riches that are accumulated and cherished, they continue to grow.
And I find myself in need…of another box.


66.
“Please, please, please,” I begged. “Let me go.”
I was finished. The lions were locked away. I really, I mean really wanted to go help with the elephants.
Oh, I knew the stories. The ones where they had gotten irritated and had broken chains then ran loose in the parking lot. But that was before, when they had a mean and abusive handler. Mark was different. He was quiet and calm and even Pete, the head bull elephant seemed to like him.
I just wanted to give them hay.
Day after day I asked. And day after day, no.
Then, a month later Mark pulled up in his truck. “Ya done?”
I shook my head, grinning.
“C’mon.” We headed out to the field and the elephants.
I jumped out of the truck and started pulling down the bales of hay. From far across the field I saw Pete look and then he and his heard of eight, headed towards us. Like obedient soldiers they all took up their positions on the cement pad and waited for Mark to fasten the chain around their tree-trunk sized legs.
Pete was last. While he waited, he scooped up hay and shoved it into his mouth, tossed it over his back and kept an eye on…me.
Once Mark was done, he rummaged around in the front of his truck. “Here.” He filled my hands with big, red apples.
Pete stopped eating his hay.
Mark walked over to the adult, African elephant and stood beneath him. “C’mere.”
I really, really wanted to take care of the elephants, but standing underneath Pete, well, he was really big. Big like standing beside a tractor trailer…with eyes and wrinkles.
Mark took and apple and raised it up. Pete took it from the man’s hand with the delicacy of a father taking food offered from a toddler.
“Go ahead. I’ll finish up. He seems to like you.”
Whatever gave Mark that idea, I’ll never know. But I side-stepped under Pete and looked up.
He glanced down.
Then ever so gently, Pete’s trunk fluttered over my face. He plucked at my arm, down my side and casually wrapped his trunk around my legs, nudging me closer.
I stood on my toes and offered up an apple…then another and another until the bag was empty.
Pete stood complacently chewing, his trunk still poking around my legs.
Cautiously, I touched his trunk, feeling the roughness of his skin and slowly wrapped my arms around the elephant. I was overwhelmed by his size and humbled by his intelligent and kind nature. And I would be forever grateful for such an extraordinary experience.
He patted my legs and tugged at my sneakers.
Mark snapped a picture.

68.
I think a cheetah can outrun a bear. But, I don’t think you can ride a cheetah. I think Santa will be fine even if we don’t have a chimney, he’ll use the door.
No, I don’t think the Easter Bunny could beat Santa in a race. After all, Santa’s got reindeer.
No, no, and no, you can’t breathe under water. I think you’d drown, so stop it.
Yes, I think you’re an excellent reader and speller. No, I don’t think that’s a good word to spell or say.
I think your sister’s going to be very mad if you lost her hamster.
And yes, I think there’s a Heaven for hamsters, dogs, yep, cats too. No, not bugs.
What a great game, you’re really pitching fast now.
Nice ride. I think he’s a good horse for you and that was your fastest time on the barrels so far.
Yes, I think you’ll get your driver’s license and I think I’ll never get a good nights sleep again.
I think you look beautiful in that prom dress.
I think the color of that tux is perfect. She’ll love that corsage.
Married! Don’t you think you’re a little young? I am glad that you think family is important.
Do I think he’s a nice guy? Yeah, I do.
Twenty-two years, I think…I am…a mom.

Friday, April 24, 2009 4:08:00 PM  
Blogger johngoldfine said...

62 just seems to me like a different version of the original prompt, abby. If the prompt had led you to write about how small things can suddenly loom large or how small things really aren't small or something along those lines.... But it didn't. So, let's close the book for you on 'for want of a nail.'

Sunday, April 26, 2009 7:05:00 AM  
Blogger johngoldfine said...

Further 62 comment on your blog, abby.

Sunday, April 26, 2009 10:56:00 AM  
Blogger johngoldfine said...

crystal, you do a nice, quiet (and that's important) job in 63 in showing us how close the small and large always are to each other. I say 'quiet is important' because in an emotional piece like this, the issue is always going to be the writer's control of tone: we want to feel but not be overwhelmed and inundated, and the writer has to walk that line. You do.

Sunday, April 26, 2009 11:15:00 AM  
Blogger johngoldfine said...

65, interesting, crystal, after what I said about 63: here I think you tell us everything you have to say but don't take the reader to the point of feeling anything--you don't quite walk the line successfully, and I'm not really sure why, nor would I have any suggestions for changes here. Just seems that way to me.

Sunday, April 26, 2009 11:19:00 AM  
Blogger johngoldfine said...

Crystal, 66--now we're back again to you walking the line; that speech and what it made you realize and feel work perfectly. We're with you in this one, but not overwhelmed.

Sunday, April 26, 2009 11:22:00 AM  
Blogger johngoldfine said...

Kathy--65 works off a willingness on the writer's part to not be afraid of that list, off a realization that God is in the details and that they are not in the least boring. Most novices would write: "a bunch of baby stuff and other memories" and think they were done. YOu know better!

Sunday, April 26, 2009 11:26:00 AM  
Blogger johngoldfine said...

66--beats getting nipped by the Greatest Racehorse in History!

Consider this for the Eyrie?

My only suggestion is to avoid being explicit. I would cut this:

"Cautiously, I touched his trunk, feeling the roughness of his skin and slowly wrapped my arms around the elephant. I was overwhelmed by his size and humbled by his intelligent and kind nature. And I would be forever grateful for such an extraordinary experience.
He patted my legs and tugged at my sneakers.
Mark snapped a picture."

to this:

"Cautiously, I touched his trunk, feeling the roughness of his skin and slowly wrapped my arms around the elephant. He patted my legs and tugged at my sneakers.
I was overwhelmed by his size and humbled by his intelligent and kind nature. Mark snapped a picture."

Sunday, April 26, 2009 11:29:00 AM  
Blogger johngoldfine said...

68, kathy--whoa, maybe this is the one you should consider for the Eyrie!

I like the unconventional approach and the very unusual ride you give the prompt. Unconventional as it is with that immediate plunge in, it's also very accessible, so I think it might be an eye-opener for people who think they can't handle fancy-ass writing. It's fancy and it's handle-able both, nice trick.

Sunday, April 26, 2009 11:36:00 AM  
Blogger jmoody said...

63. To see a world in a grain of sand and a heaven in a wild flower, hold infinity in the palm of your hand and eternity in an hour. -William Blake

One decision made in only a milliseconds time can affect the rest of your life.
The choice to try drugs, the choice to lose your virginity, the choice to cross the road, the choice of words you let slip from your mouth – all can change your life.
A gentle man chose one day to smile at a beautiful woman that came to his workplace. This choice was oh so very small. The beautiful woman made the very small choice to smile back. The man quickly decided that he would speak to the woman and see if he, personally, could help her. Another small decision. He then smiled and did not turn away the phone number she handed him. Any polite person would do the same. He then made another choice when he called her the next day. During the conversation he decided that he would arrange for a date. The date went swimmingly and he decided to accept when she asked if he’s like to, “come up for some coffee.” All of these seemingly small choices, made in a second at most, resulted in something life changing and, I like to think, beautiful. A baby girl was born, altering the lives of these two people forever.
Someday I, like my parents, will make some choices that will eventually result in a blessing. Someday I may choose to smile at someone, to help them, to spend time with them. And, maybe, I’ll just be lucky enough to have a daughter that’s nothing like me.

64. Dump the trash bin on the floor, pull on your rubber gloves, and start hunting for the truth that only your throwaways know.

The semester is ending soon, and because that is the case I have spent hours cleaning my dorm room. If I were not hoping to get this very room next year I wouldn’t put forth such effort. Regardless, I have spent hours dusting, sweeping, moping, spraying, wiping, dousing, drying, and folding.
The other day I uncovered something while going amongst my self-assigned chores. I found something quite condemning located in the receptacle near the toilet. Not that I am in the habit of looking through the garbage, but that a strange pink box caught my eye. “First Response,” Just what I had thought. It wasn’t concealed very well so I had only to move an empty paper towel roll.
I must confess, I picked the box up and shook it. It rattled and I put it back underneath the paper towel roll before exiting the bathroom for only a moment. Returning, I locked myself in the stall and emptied the contents of the box onto the floor. Who would’ve had to take a pregnancy test in my bathroom? Was it one of my friends? One of my bathroom mate’s friends? Who else had used my bathroom? My mother! No, it couldn’t be her. She’d tell me. As all of these thoughts came swimming into my mind I saw the little pink strip that said “not pregnant,” right underneath it. I shrugged, picked up the test, put it back in the garbage and proceeded onward with my chores.

66. Loosely holding hands, not even aware of doing so, but, still, skin touching skin....

When you’re with someone for a long time, you tend to forget a few things. First you forget that as you walk, your hands intertwine. Next you forget that you put your makeup on as he uses the shower. You stopped complaining about the steamy mirror a while ago and have formed a habit of wiping a circle of considerable size every few moments. Then you forget that he forgets to put the seat down. On auto pilot, you flip and then unzip. You forget birthdays, anniversaries, and sometimes holidays. Then, you forget that you forgot as soon as he makes the same mistake. You forget that he compliments you on the flush of your cheeks after making love. You forget that he tells you, quite formally, to “have a nice day” every time you part. You forget that he touches his chin when thinking intensely. You forget that you can only fall asleep with your back touching his. You forget all of these things until there is reason to remember. You forget until these little things are made large through the loss of them. Through his absence, these actions become the focal point of your existence. Without these you begin to feel lonely, lost. And then the tears fall. Hard.
With his return these moments, actions, words, begin to shrink up again. They again begin to be forgotten until reminded once more of just how large these little things are.

Sunday, April 26, 2009 9:29:00 PM  
Blogger herman1313munster said...

69. "The things I see as I walk along the street, that's heaven to me...."
As I walk through the mall on a Sunday afternoon, I feel like a pattern is happening, and each time I walk through the mall the stores don't seem as satisfying as they would if I went there once a month. In fact, even the mall smell is starting to give me a feeling oh "ugh, work again...here...at Spencers...I want to get out of ehre and actually do something with my damn life!" The little candy shop with little squares of expensive fudge in the window is now boring and it gives me an anger feeling. The little candle shop doesn't make me think "wow, these candles smell great!" but now I think "damnit...more time of my life wasted at Spencers...I can't wait until I graduate and do something! Something that can help someone's life. I'm not going to work at Spencers for twenty fuckin' years, not here, not there, not anywhere.

62. For want of a nail the shoe was lost. For want of a shoe the horse was lost. For want of a horse the rider was lost. For want of a rider the battle was lost. For want of a battle the kingdom was lost. And all for the want of a horseshoe nail.
Her words came right out of the blue and basically just ahnded me the white regular envelope with instructions and a lottery ticket. I read the directions and I didn't really follow them and I basically forgot about the whole game. The instructions were a bit too much and if it some how was simplified, I would even be able to explain them on here. A few days later though my fiancee bought 10 lottery tickets and split 5 with me. The results for me was a 10 dollar ticket, so today I purchased 10 tickets. 'All of one kind' I thought would be better because there's a chance at least one of them would be 5 bucks or more. I thought how Amber shared ehrs with me, so I split mine up. Suddenly, a 50 appeared. Another 50 ended up getting scratched off. My heart sunk and I had a hunch I was going to lose, but the dime I used ended up revealing another 50! Fifty bucks I won! I then spent 21 on the tickets, gave some away, and kept 6. I scratched them off in hopes of a $10 winner, but I ended up only getting one measly dollar. I brought it in and got another, this time I got zilch. I ended up getting a 10, then a 50, then a 1, and then 0...and all for the want of another fifty dollar ticket.

65. In the drawer is a box made of carved and joined bits of driftwood, which holds objects meaningless to anyone else but sacred, precious, unforgettable to you...
I shuffled down the list and then after 5 seconds went by of me scrolling, I was still in the catagory of the bands that begam with the letter "A". 'This guy has a shitload of bands on here!' I had thought. I ended up trading one of my basses for a 30 gig Zune and it also has a little voice recorder, which is one of the main reasons I traded my bass for it in the first place. In this box, this little rectangle box made from microchips about 1/15 the size of a chocolate chip, is so many songs and bands that I love. There is songs in here that gives me goosebumps when I hear it, songs on here that I can picture my fiancee and her mom and I and possibly my fiancee's aunt drinking to in the middle of summer around a camp fire. There's songs on there that gets me pumped up before class, and without that 2 minutes of music, I may not have such ambition to attend class. There are some songs on there that I have not a clue why they are on there, but they are. I know people that are like those type of songs, but those particular "tracks" will be named unknown. Some songs on there could even go on an album if I had a soundtrack that went with my life. Every song on there would have some sort of memory, but some songs I would want on there just for filler, so it'd kind of be like watching a movie on T.V. There'd be commericals, but those commercials would just get you ready and they kind of resemble the end of a cliffhanger.

Monday, April 27, 2009 6:22:00 PM  
Blogger johngoldfine said...

Aww, jmoody, 63--you just can't do that! You give us a very calm, sweet, measured, quiet piece, gently unfolding...until the last four words which are like suddenly dropping an anvil on your readers' toes.

There's nothing wrong with slagging yourself, but it can't be in the context of an otherwise accepting and generous piece. You can't ride two horses heading off in different directions--it completely undermines the tone of everything earlier.

Monday, April 27, 2009 9:05:00 PM  
Blogger johngoldfine said...

64--does a nice job with that mystery, jmoody. What strikes me about these first two (haven't read the third yet) is the calm tone, the balance and internal consistency in the narration.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009 6:56:00 AM  
Blogger johngoldfine said...

66, whew, jmoody--you really give that stuff a ride. That's very nicely handled--you drain away anything that would embarrass the reader but still leave the reader with a full plate of the emotions of 'you' and a large helping of sympathy. The repetition and formulaic language is just right as is the reversal and close. I'd suggest Eyrie if I thought you wanted to broadcast this piece to the universe.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009 7:01:00 AM  
Blogger johngoldfine said...

69, john--I can sympathize. That's not boredom; it's existential stress. Life is short and when does it start? The mall is a metaphor, maybe even a symbol, for the poverty of riches we face, if that makes sense.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009 10:26:00 AM  
Blogger johngoldfine said...

Ah, john, the State o' Maine will balance its budget right out of your wallet if you aren't careful.... If you buy any more of those things, I'll ask for a raise!

Tuesday, April 28, 2009 10:33:00 AM  
Blogger johngoldfine said...

65, john--this list is very nicely handled; never underestimate the power of repetition and pattern:

"There is songs in here that gives me goosebumps when I hear it, songs on here that I can picture my fiancee and her mom and I and possibly my fiancee's aunt drinking to in the middle of summer around a camp fire. There's songs on there that gets me pumped up before class, and without that 2 minutes of music, I may not have such ambition to attend class. There are some songs on there that I have not a clue why they are on there, but they are. "

Tuesday, April 28, 2009 10:35:00 AM  
Blogger Joel Susen said...

64. Dump the trash bin on the floor, pull on your rubber gloves, and start hunting for the truth that only your throwaways know.

I don’t remember when it happened, but at some point I became a garbage can. If I attempt to pull my pockets inside out, something closely resembling a landfill will pile up around my ankles. Sometimes I can find rare delicacies in my pockets, like melted chocolate treats that still taste fantastic. Most of the time I can only find normal useless stuff, like gum wrappers or little reminders that I am constantly writing to myself. Recently I pulled a note out of the wad in my pocket that read, STOP CRAMMING STUFF INTO POCKETS. I cannot seem to break the routine of constantly stuffing things into my pockets. I have started to see it has become a disgusting habit that can be closely paralleled with smoking or drug addiction. My name is Joel Susen…and I have a problem.
For years I have looked at my tendency to collect garbage as a positive attribute. I wanted to think that I was somehow better than others because I did not litter. Like any addict I simply rationalized and made excuses rather than admitting I had issues that I was unwilling to address. I would tell my self that I was always prepared because I had a stockpile of goods at my disposal. However, things like booger filled tissues and old chewing gum did not prove to be helpful. After a ruptured tube of crazy glue spilled out into my pocket and glued my pants to my leg, I decided that I should change my cluttered ways for good.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009 12:02:00 PM  
Blogger jmoody said...

how would one go about submitting such a writing?

Tuesday, April 28, 2009 12:33:00 PM  
Blogger Christina said...

63.
The wide expanse of water holds many mysteries and the ocean will often leave remnants behind on the sand. Walking along, there are shells, pieces of glass, and various flotsam and jetsam. I wonder what they were before they ended up there on the beach and how far they traveled.

Sitting down on a water worn rock I bury my feet in the sand. Stubbing my toe I reach down to pull out the offending stone. It is white, oval in shape and smooth to the touch. Turning it over, I wonder where it came from. It must have been part of a much larger rock, perhaps worn down by ages of water. Where was if from? How long was it in the beach? Was it possible the very sand which I had walked was once part of the stone? How long before the stone itself became nothing more then sand?

Shaking my head I pocket the stone. Life’s mysteries would have to wait for another day. The sand was beginning to make my skin itch.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009 10:51:00 PM  
Blogger Christina said...

62.
I was in my late teens and on my way to the Garland Horse show. It was one of the first shows with my newest mount, Peaches. I had been half-leasing her for a short time, but we connected and the upcoming show would be a great way to have fun with friends as well as see how she’d do in a show ring.

That was until we off loaded her from the trailer. She kicked out at a fly, tripped backing out and lost a shoe. Fortunately there was a farrier stationed there who was able to take a look. However, the shoe she lost was a ‘special’ shoe, one he couldn’t just whip up in a couple of minutes. Even if he pulled all the other shoes, the problem was the cracked hoof. Apparently the shoe she had lost in the first place had been to help it heal. I forget the how and why of it..

It got even worse, the person who trailed me to the show also had a horse, and couldn’t drive us back to the stables. So I was stuck at a horse show with no horse to show. To ride her would possibly have made the crack worse and it’s no fun riding if you’re worried something awful is going to happen. Then Peaches developed a case of separation anxiety, so I had to spend the rest of my day either in the trailer, or the back of the truck, barely able to see what was going on.

My day was effectively ruined.

It turned out I had to wait two more weeks for the farrier to come out and put a new shoe on Peaches, and the owner (a slightly nervous woman to begin with) decided that I could not go to any more horse shows, other then the one held at the stable itself. Goodbye summer. I even wound up having to pay for half of the farrier bill, even though it was not my fault. I did manage to feel vindicated when a week or so after the farrier visit, when the owner went on a trail ride and Peaches threw a shoe, then new one.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009 10:53:00 PM  
Blogger Christina said...

65.
A long shelf stretches the length of the room, upon it rest many boxes. Some are large, some small, some wear patterns, some remain plain. Some hold memories of different times in my life, some though just hold different collections of various objects.

Reaching up I snag one of the smaller boxes, it is a simple cedar chest. Perhaps 4x3 inches in size. My mother gave it to me when I was in my teens. The hinges have been replaced and there are dents and scratches over its surface. The latch sticks but that doesn’t matter.

Inside are just a few things, small reminders of important people no longer in my life. Grandfather’s wedding band, a pair of Grandmother’s earrings, my father’s pocket watch and a few photos of those departed. Simple reminders of how fleeting life seems, yet also how full those years can be if we allow it.

Placing it back on the shelf, I dread the day I will add to its contents.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009 11:07:00 PM  
Blogger johngoldfine said...

65, christina--that's nicely done; the ending pulls the piece together very tightly and suddenly forces the reader to rethink all of it, without your trying to 'trick' us with a surprise close.

Wednesday, April 29, 2009 8:53:00 AM  
Blogger johngoldfine said...

Those leasing deals can be nightmares, christina. I know they give people a chance to keep a horse who might otherwise not get a chance, but you describe very nicely some of the problems. Then there are the problems the horse faces....

The original owner of our Eclipse leased her out and then emigrated to New Zealand. After a few months, the lessee decided she didn't want Eclipse so she subleased the horse (without the owner's permission) and eventually the new sublessee subleased her again. Got all that?

When we rescued Eclipse, she was staked out on a chain in a dusty yard strewn with bottles and building debris, next to a barbwire fence, hadn't had her hooves looked at for months, and had lost a few hundred pounds.

Seeing that scene and poor Eclipse made my very very mild-mannered wife come as close as she has ever come to saying, 'I hate that bitch.' In the end, she left that up to me!

After some emailing back and forth to New Zealand, we brought Eclipse home....

Wednesday, April 29, 2009 9:05:00 AM  
Blogger johngoldfine said...

63, christina, large to small, from the mysteries of time and space to skin conditions! Works for me.

You handle that 'downshifting' from high gear to low very adroitly.

Wednesday, April 29, 2009 9:07:00 AM  
Blogger johngoldfine said...

Krazy Glue will certainly offer a wakeup call to the terminally stuck, joel.

;)

Wednesday, April 29, 2009 9:10:00 AM  
Blogger Kelsy Rae said...

64. Dump the trash bin on the floor, pull on your rubber gloves, and start hunting for the truth that only your throwaways know.


I know it's probably hopeless to be searching through days worth of garbage for a tiny receipt, but I can't get past the fact that it must be somewhere! I pull out crumpled math homeworks, empty water bottles, and comics from last week's paper, but still no reciept. I want to buy this new "green" tote bag from work so I'm attempting to exchange a bathing suit for it. As I'm seething about my disorganization it occurs to me, I almost all of what I have pulled out of this can is recycleable. Not only that, but I can get MONEY for those bottles... money I can spend on that tote... or other "green" items. I think about that disgusting landfill off of the interstate and how they are now using the natural gases from it for enegry. Everyone is trying to make things better, and here I am tossing things that could make a huge difference. I scold myself and sort my "garbage."



65. In the drawer is a box made of carved and joined bits of driftwood, which holds objects meaningless to anyone else but sacred, precious, unforgettable to you...

It may just be a box tied with a ribbon hidden behind my books. It may be... but to me, it's the holder of the last ties I have to the person I lost. The letter that I am still to scared to open. Not because I think it says anything cruel... I don't think that at all. But if I don't open it... It can say anything I want it to. It could be an explaination, it could be an appology, it could be the lyrics to his favorite song for all I know. But for now, that thrift store box, worth probably a whopping fifty cents, will hold my hope, my fear, my never ending "what-if."

62. For want of a nail the shoe was lost. For want of a shoethe horse was lost. For want of a horse the rider was lost. For want of a rider the battle was lost. For want of a battle the kingdom was lost. And all for the wantof a horseshoe nail.


Matt Giraud went home on American Idol last night. He has been my favorite contestant from the start. He is fantastic. My other favorite, Alison, didn't seem to do quite so well, so I go ahead and give her a pity vote, not that my one vote will make or break her future with the show, but it won't hurt. Oh, yes it will! My ONE vote, could have made of break Matt's future on the show, had I voted for him perhaps he would have stuck around for another week. But no, people like me, all around the country thought, "he will be fine; everyone will vote for him. I'll pity-vote for Allison!" Allison, by the way, was in the top two. Fantastic.

Thursday, April 30, 2009 3:49:00 PM  
Blogger Sarah V. said...

66.)Here sitting at the funeral, we are all reminded of just how precious and short life truly is. To say that he lived a good life and had a lot of accomplishments was true, yet I still felt like I was not ready to let go. I know I am being selfish but this wasn’t supposed to happen to me, what I had done so wrong to god to deserve this. Okay yet I had been a bit rebellious in my teen years, and told a few lies but nothing that I thought I would be punished like this in later life for. I am shutting down inside where I close my eyes to avoid the faces around me. I close my mouth to avoid the voices that surround me, and I close my hands inside each other to avoid the sensation of comfort from another. Yet I find that within my hand is another’s hand not my own. I think how did this happen, and how did I not notice it! He said he always understood what I felt inside yet I never talked, and he said he could always feel my pain- I still wonder if he has powers beyond which earth allows him. Here I sit at the funeral with my cold slender hands brightly decorated with silver rings for every hand to capture memories along the way. And there his hand sits in mind- his hand of large quanity and a mole ontop of the palm to mark the kiss of an angel.
67.) Joe was asked to describe his best friend of 11 years. The friend that has been through it all with him- from little league try outs to ding dong ditching houses, to graduating high school with high school with high honors. Joe replied with the answer saying, “He’s kind, gentle, family oriented, trustworthy, weak at times, but boy does he have a fist of POWER!” And Joe would know because for the first time in their 11 years of friendship they had an argument which led to harsh words and an alteration that neither saw coming. He never realizd just how strong he really was- since he was always known as being somewhat weak even in terms of his best friend Joe. All of the sudden in the lightly lit room while playing x-box 360 his caleoused fist came across Joe’s face like a lighting bult striking ground for the very first time and letting out a big bang that alarms all and makes all eyes brighten with fear. Joe’s face wasn’t neccesairly filled with fear but rather joy- that he could now no longer call his best friend weak, for that shot to his face proved he’s got a fist of Pow Pow POWER!
68.) I came into this world with bright lights all around and nurses quickly running around as if fear had entered the room. The tell my mom that if they can’t suction out all the poop from my mouth they I might suffocate. So wow how nice is it to tell me people that yah I almost died from my own poop! Quit a story is all I have to say, and as I think about that now that I am going to be having my own child I can’t help but to wonder what kind of story will my child live to tell when they get older. I think of all the possibilities of how my life could have ended when it had just started. I am constantly thinking of life and the shortness and high joys it brings us in such a short period of time. I think of all the precious gifts I’ve been given and the best of all being life. I think and pray that I will be a wonderful mother with much determination and love to offer to them and because of that I am going to be a wonderful mother.
I will one day leave this world but not without thinking. And because I thought and appreciate the life I was given I am who I am, and I’ve lived the life I wanted to live.

Thursday, April 30, 2009 8:52:00 PM  
Blogger johngoldfine said...

Kelsy--I have to confess that I've watched Sawyer Mountain every day I commute, from its humble beginnings to its near Katahdin-like status today, and I enjoy it. Its growth, the huge trucks that look like Matchbox trucks up on top, imagining all the shitty diapers in there, I like it! But, yeah, by all means return those bottles!

Sunday, May 03, 2009 10:03:00 AM  
Blogger johngoldfine said...

65, kelsy--that's very sharp writing--emotional without being embarrassing, mysterious without being confusing, ending where it should.

Sunday, May 03, 2009 10:05:00 AM  
Blogger johngoldfine said...

62--for me comes in at the other end from 65, kelsy--65 is very user-friendly but since I haven't seen the program I don't quite get 62, though I do see how it picks up the prompt.

Sunday, May 03, 2009 10:24:00 AM  
Blogger johngoldfine said...

Sarah:

"I am shutting down inside where I close my eyes to avoid the faces around me. I close my mouth to avoid the voices that surround me, and I close my hands inside each other to avoid the sensation of comfort from another. Yet I find that within my hand is another’s hand not my own."

Oooh, that's very good writing. Wow. That repetitive formula and rhythm and the figurative hand at the end--very very effective.

Sunday, May 03, 2009 10:41:00 AM  
Blogger johngoldfine said...

67, sarah--unusual. Starts strong, loses its way a little in the middle, ends strong and surprisingly.

Sunday, May 03, 2009 10:46:00 AM  
Blogger johngoldfine said...

All three of your pieces this week, sarah, work the small/large stuff very nicely and none better in doing it than this last one which starts with birth and ends with death, which pretty much covers everything there is to cover! Ambitious.

Sunday, May 03, 2009 10:48:00 AM  
Blogger Jeremy said...

62. For want of a nail the shoe was lost. For want of a shoethe horse was lost. For want of a horse the rider was lost. For want of a rider the battle was lost. For want of a battle the kingdom was lost. And all for the wantof a horseshoe nail.

(This is not an invitation to repeat a nursery rhyme or make up a rigamarole; it is a prompt--it has its meaning and possibly is a springboard for a mini-essay of your own.)

A. When I was younger, I used to love to find bird feathers. The black ones were my personal favorites. My friend’s mother once made a pen out of a bird feather. I never really thought much of them when I was younger.

But, looking back on it, I can’t help but wonder what type of bird the feathers came from. The bigger black ones probably came from crows. But what about the white ones? The brown ones? Did any of them come from a migratory bird?

The feathers I used to hold in my hands could have come from anywhere. I probably had found feathers from the Maine chickadee in my travels around the township I grew up in.

How many were from non-native birds? I can only wonder at how many geese feathers I might have acquired. When they were going south from Canada, many must have passed by, shedding feathers that had traveled to Florida, Georgia, or Alabama. These feathers may have gone farther than I had in my entire life.

B. I look in the window, to see the TV, that was shipped from Portland, that was flown in from another country, that was trucked from a factory where the employees work long hours for little pay so they can barely feed their families.

66. Loosely holding hands, not even aware of doing so, but, still, skin touching skin....

Love…passion…desire. It can eat you up inside and tear you up or it can make you feel like the happiest person in the world. Sometimes, it does both. There are whole industries that cater to those in love. Thousands upon thousands of greeting cards get bought up…millions around Valentine’s Day.

Everyone in the world wants to be loved, but not everyone gets the love they want. Listen to the radio long enough and you’ll find plenty of people of problems with love. At least arranged marriages are no longer the norm for the nobility. While they weren’t always bad (and noble children in England had veto power during the Tudor dynasty) you didn’t marry for love…you married for support, money, land…what have you.

For teenagers, love is…extravagant. Hormones coupled with romance leads to Romeo and Juliet-like circumstances where people meet and think they have fallen in love with one another. When the breakups happen, it might be worse on teenagers. A tub of ice cream or a few rounds with a punching bag might not be enough. Teens tend to cry a lot or get real angry. They yearn, they pine, they perish…they die. It’s all very dramatic.

The sad thing is, a lot of them don’t really understand love…what it is, what it means. I’m 21 and I’m sure I don’t even completely understand it. But I think I’m old enough to have some vague idea, even if I can’t quite put it down on paper.

I feel for those who can’t find love…who feel lost and lonely. It’s not a fun feeling to have. I wish people felt…love…completeness, acceptance, warmth…

Right now, though, I have someone…someone who can make me smile more than anyone can…even if we’re just holding hands, no matter how loosely.




(I'll have one more in tomorrow)

Monday, May 04, 2009 12:10:00 AM  
Blogger Johanne said...

67. This fist has got pow-pow-POWer!

I count my bruises in the shower matter-of-factly, taking inventory. It's fine. The bills are paid. Everyone's laughing. No whoop.

It means he respects me, knows I can take it. It's fine. He's not angry. Everyone's laughing.

Proof he wants to touch me. Thinks I'm sturdy. Pain's not a problem. I can't feel it. Lie to coworkers about the marks on my collarbone.

It means he's strong. Not some pussy. Though he brings me ice. Gentle. Everyone's laughing.

When I leave him, people congratulate me, but I still miss him. I leave that part out.



66. Loosely holding hands, not even aware of doing so, but, still, skin touching skin....

We are dead. And then I'm alive. Just enough sunlight to make out his profile. I move my hand. It's touching his. Shut the alarm off.

Sneak to the bathroom. Fuss over my complexion. I look crazed. Perfect.

When I'm alone, I remember the people I've touched -- not as trophies or conquests but as windows into the Great Mysteries.

Who are you all, and what the hell am I doing here?



64. Dump the trash bin on the floor, pull on your rubber gloves, and start hunting for the truth that only your throwaways know.

When I'm drunk, I write solely for myself. This is the only time I stop censoring what I say and protecting innocent people from my personality.

This is the only time I'm honest:

In my memory, we are moving in the mint grass. I knew what temperature to cook the salmon and how long with only a little help from Google.

Or:

Medicine curiously enough has a fascination with holes. There are scads of them: foramen, lumen, fossa. To each their own body poetica -- for amen, loom, and fossils.

I'm left discovering myself with these tea leaves. There are certain things that you can only realize when you've been poisoned. Always good for a laugh. I always return to this "poem" scrawled nearly illegibly on a receipt minutes before I became diaphoretic with alcohol poisoning:

The Dentist

Happy
spitting diamonds
into cracked pottery.

Monday, May 04, 2009 11:20:00 AM  
Blogger johngoldfine said...

Version 2 of #64 reads like a poem gathered into grafs. I'm professionally wary of poems; they are much trickier than prose and always leave the writer an escape hole ('Oh, well, you're just too insensitive and dim to understand....').

Tuesday, May 05, 2009 8:01:00 AM  
Blogger johngoldfine said...

64 version #1, I'd say same as #2, but that last line is pretty funny.

I had g/f once, a good writer but inveterate fibber, who always swore that her writing was the one place requiring honesty. I took that as yet-another fib, this one unconscious. Writing does not mantle the writer with purity, a new character, and high ideals....

Tuesday, May 05, 2009 8:05:00 AM  
Blogger Jeremy said...

64. Dump the trash bin on the floor, pull on your rubber gloves, and start hunting for the truth that only your throwaways know.

Trash heaps are disgusting things to look at. They smell and can pollute the area around them. There are mountains of trash all over the world, spreading noxious fumes and creating eyesores.

Humans make trash…we kind of have to. But some things could be reused or recycled. Why are humans so wasteful? In America, is it due to our fast paced, capitalist, spend, spend, spend mentality? When our clothes get torn, many people just go out and buy new ones instead of trying to repair the ones they have.

It’s a horrible spiral…mountains and mountains of trash, piling up over the years into islands of filth and waste. Waste could leak into the groundwater, infrastructures could be damaged, and scavengers could injure themselves while looking through the trash: these are the things that could happen if the trash heaps are not managed carefully.

There must be something we can do to circumvent this cycle? Recycle? Reuse old waste for fuel?

I’ll finish this in a second…I have to go throw something out.

Tuesday, May 05, 2009 8:08:00 AM  
Blogger johngoldfine said...

johanne--66 & 67 are nicely compressed--more and more, I see your material is always aimed at those sharp last lines. Do you know Felix Feneon's 'Novels in three lines'? Might be up your alley.

Tuesday, May 05, 2009 8:09:00 AM  
Blogger johngoldfine said...

I don't think a throw-off ironic line really can balance the front half of the piece, jeremy. When we're given a snapper at the close, we start to assume all the rest of the material only exists to set up that last line, and if the last line doesn't knock us out with novelty and insight, everything is undercut.

Tuesday, May 05, 2009 8:12:00 AM  
Blogger Jeremy said...

69. "The things I see as I walk along the street, that's heaven to me...."

Main Street in Ellsworth is my favorite part of town. Well, Main Street and the area directly around it. It gives off more of a community feeling then the other parts in town. There is a sidewalk up both sides of the street so you can walk to get to one of the shops. There really aren’t many sidewalks in Ellsworth and quite a few of the ones we do have are in some state of disrepair.

I honestly don’t shop at many of the places on Main Street because the things I need to shop for (mostly groceries) are found in other parts of town. However, I love the Grand Theater, which gets movies the theaters around the area do not get. They also have plays and there really isn’t another place in town that has live plays. It also has the best theater “feel.”

The rest of Ellsworth is nice enough, but it doesn’t have the same vibe as Main Street. The town is expanding and changing. Now we have a Walgreens right down the road from Rite Aid and a Lowes not far from a Home Depot. There’s a one-way street near the McDonalds that doesn’t make much sense to me and the city completely fucked up the Hannaford parking lot.

Ellsworth is growing and the changes that come with growth are inevitable. It is not necessarily a bad thing, but when done wrong a town loses the appeal that made people want to come live there. Too many places in the world have devolved into urban sprawl or filled with filth. I’m worried that the expansion of the town will cause the city to become fraught with problems.

Just the other day, I visited a local bookstore called the Book Shelf. It dealt primarily in used books. They are closing down. With the economy tanking and the prevalence of places like Amazon, the store couldn’t make ends meet. I found that very sad. It was wonderful store with friendly people. But, it must go like so many other businesses.

More places are losing jobs…thousands are being cut around the country and many cannot find other work to do. It shouldn’t be surprising it’s happening here, too.

I hope Main Street does not fall. I’d hate to lose a little slice of Heaven.

Tuesday, May 05, 2009 3:13:00 PM  
Blogger johngoldfine said...

Main Streets are nice, jeremy, but what you see today is a ghost compared to the Main Streets even as recently as the fifties when I first came to Maine. Main Streets are done, except for cutesy little boutiques catering to tourists. History.

Anyway, you give us the small/large nicely here, keeping the material close to home and expanding and contracting it carefully and returning cleverly to the prompt in the close.

Tuesday, May 05, 2009 3:50:00 PM  
Anonymous Kayla said...

66. Loosely holding hands, not even aware of doing so, but, still, skin touching skin....

my great grandparents love each other like yesterday was the day they fell in love. they are each other's other half and have been for a very long time.

as they walk down by the shore of pond front property, my grampy leans over and kisses my nanie on the cheek. that's what love is. skin on skin without even taking notice.

Tuesday, May 05, 2009 4:19:00 PM  
Anonymous Kayla said...

64. Dump the trash bin on the floor, pull on your rubber gloves, and start hunting for the truth that only your throwaways know.

the slimey banana peels stick to my gloves as i'm digging through the trash for my lost diary entry. i guess i could thank my little sister for that though. she always goes through my diary. no matter where i hide it, she finds it, and this time she has ripped out the page where i confess my undying love for a guy i go to school with.

finally, i find the light purple piece of paper lined with tiny little pink flowers that has the date 4/21/2008 in the upper left hand corner. it has ketchup stains all over it, but i don't care. i'm just glad i found it. now nobody will know the truth besides me, my sister, and the paper plate smeared with dried on ketchup.

Tuesday, May 05, 2009 4:27:00 PM  
Anonymous Kayla said...

67. This fist has got pow-pow-POWer!

i know it may seem weird, but sometimes i wish i was from the flower power generation. i am just so out spoken and opinionated, i feel that i almost belong in a time where mass amounts of people stood up for what they believed in.

i can see myself being one in the crowd of millions listening to Martin Luther King Jr give his speeches and just raising my fist, my fist full of power. do my part in supporting everything he and millions of others believed in.

Tuesday, May 05, 2009 4:32:00 PM  
Blogger johngoldfine said...

Kayla--I like the material in 66, but, thinking about vignettes--imagine the second graf without the first. It works!

The garbage piece also sits right up for the reader--great close with the ketchup and the description of the trashed page is good too.

Flower power? Nice to imagine oneself on the Mall that day. of course, we've all been through history too....

Thursday, May 07, 2009 10:54:00 AM  
Blogger Sam W. said...

62. We need a hammer. A hammer should not be this hard to find. I'm trying to put up the fence for the nine-hundreth time in the past year. It has been pulled from the wooden posts and the only way to fix it is with...a hammer! I have tried using a rock, but substituting a rock for a hammer just hurt me more. I have asked for days for someone to find that hammer, but no, like always I am on my own. The problems I have, whether it be as small as the hammer, or as big as going to the emergency room, I am on my own. That visit to the hospital, before I even knew my way around, to fix my broken arm, I was the only one there to help me. All I can hope for is to just find what I need one of these days.

64. My puppy dumped over the garbage again. I better clean it up before anyone else sees. Oh, now who did this. One of the first things I pick up is the plastic can holders. The one that is fitted around the top of six pack cans. How could someone have thrown this in here like this. Ever since I was little my mother told me to cut up the plastic thing. I would always sit there and roll my eyes at her explanation. "If you dont cut out the holes, animals can get their heads stuck in there." 'Wow,' I used to think, 'I can't believe she actually thinks this.' I thought that until I got older and went to college. Studying biology, I had teachers who, just like my mother, found it absurd that people did not cut up the plastic. They showed me pictures of dead animals with these things around their necks. Now I take the same reaction as my mom and these teachers..."Cut up those death traps!"

66. He is holding my hand for the first time. Actually I am holding his hand. I made the first move and grabbed it. We are both just holding loosley, but I can feel his skin close to mine. We walk through the mall hand in hand. 'What am I feeling right now?' I think to myself. 'Excited, happy, nervous, I'm not sure.' As I look at him walking next to me and I wonder, 'Do I enjoy this because I love him or is it the enjoyment of physicality?' Love has to be something different than just holding hands and walking side by side. Love of physical closeness to someone is something entirely different from actually loving them. So I hear anyway.

Saturday, May 09, 2009 7:59:00 AM  
Blogger johngoldfine said...

Interesting group, sam--from my point of view, each heading in a direction contradictory the others. Are you all alone or holding hands? Is everything up to you or do you get advice from other people about plastic tops and other things that eventually makes sense? Are the two possible loves you mention things you've experienced or just things you've heard.

Anyway, I chose to see them as a group, as not-really-linked vignettes. But each stands on its own, the six pack one perhaps most completely.

Saturday, May 09, 2009 5:24:00 PM  
Blogger Lacey said...

64. Dump the trash bin on the floor, pull on your rubber gloves, and start hunting for the truth that only your throwaways know.

There were these books when I was younger and they were Amelia's notebooks. Those black and white bound notebooks to write in, but it had already been filled with tales and triumph's of a young girls life. It had pictures and side-notes and I wanted one. I wanted to make one of my own to look back on someday.
I began to write one and kept it at my bedside, mostly it was about boys and told between my 8th grade summer into freshman year. It had a poem about bubbles, which I was extremely proud of and a tale between two boys. One of which I had dated in middle school, nothing serious, just your average middle school relationship, but it did last for 7 or 8 months I think. He always made me laugh and I thought I loved him.. and I thought I knew what that meant back then. The other was a blonde-haired blue-eyed babe. He was the exact opposite, shy and reserved, but I knew he liked me too. I couldn't decide between the two of them, which is why I wrote in my notebook, to compare the two.
One day I reached down from my bed to write down my daily thoughts, but it wasn't there anymore... I freaked, but thought maybe I dragged it downstairs or something and I'd look for it in the morning. I searched high and low, everywhere I could think to look, especially the places I hid it when I wasn't home so my mom wouldn't read it. Well, I must have left it out one day because it wasn't there and I was sure she had gotten rid of it. I searched the piles of papers in the basement that had the fate of being tossed into the woodstove and I found the spiral bound cover and back of my notebook, with no pages in between...

65. In the drawer is a box made of carved and joined bits of driftwood, which holds objects meaningless to anyone else but sacred, precious, unforgettable to you...

I'm a packrat of sorts, a trait that I inherited from my father and I collect all sorts of strange things. But mine isn't a box, it's a bunch of obscure objects that hold my treasures inside. One is a red box that Brandon gave me my Christmas present in many moons ago, one is a blue pail that I bought at target in that dollar section when I lived with uncle Louie. Inside the box holds the candles from our senior prom and the star with our name on it amongst a bunch of love letters from years ago. The few that survived the massacre of tearing them up so my mother wouldn't read them. The ones I hold closest to my heart. And a life is good cardboard tag from a shirt that he bought me in Bar Harbor last summer.
The blue pail is home to movie stubs upon movie stubs that I always keep. Red sox tickets from the game that I went to when I almost got a detention from my school. The tickets from the first Umaine hockey game that I attended with B, when I snuck into the student section to sit with him. A penguin magnet and a silver heart Brandon gave to me on separate occasions. A running number apparently separated from the rest of the bunch I've kept as well as all of my safety pins to hold them on my uniform all four years of races. I never reused a pin, just added it to the string after every race. A penguin magnet and a silver heart Brandon gave to me on separate occasions.

66. Loosely holding hands, not even aware of doing so, but, still, skin touching skin...

It doesn't matter who does it, it's usually him now, who instinctively grabs my little hand compared to his big ones as we walk side by side. Laying on the couch watching a movie he puts both arms around me and I latch my fingers with his because it feels good. I don't know why... but it makes me forget about our problems, it makes me feel secure.

Monday, May 11, 2009 12:49:00 PM  
Blogger johngoldfine said...

I'm always looking for detailed lists, memories, unusual twists and surprises with these particular prompts, and you offer all of those in the first two in the series.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009 9:51:00 AM  

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