Writing 365

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Archive for the month “January, 2017”

Writing 365 – The Collector

I have an idea about hoarders that I want to explore in-depth, but in the meantime I’m going to follow the prompt “Exploring what it feels like to be a hoarder” in a piece of flash fiction.

The Collector

She sits on a pile of old fashion magazines, the pieces of her collection towering above her. A draft of moist air brings the scents of each item she has assembled to her nose. Some of it is moldering, other pieces are covered in mildew, while some have dissected – smelling only of dust. This spot, surrounded by all the things she has compiled over the last twenty years, is the only place in this world where she feels safe.

I think the phenomenon of hoarding is endlessly fascinating and tragic. So, I’ll likely explore this more. See you next time!

 

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Writing 365 – The Marine Biologist

I’m back today with a short story based on the prompt from Twitter’s very own Magical Realism Bot: “A fortune teller turns over a tarot card with a mustache on it. ‘Your destiny is to be eaten by a giant clam,’ she says to you.”

The Marine Biologist

I knew the dangers going in, but the ocean is so vast, so beautiful, there was no way I could avoid my fate. Studying sea life is all I’ve ever wanted to do. So, even though I am trapped in this giant clam, its juices slowly eating through my scuba suit, I am happy I chose this path.

Two years ago, when I started this journey, I didn’t believe it would happen. I had just enrolled as a graduate student and could see the course to a PhD. My friends took me to the fair to celebrate, we ate funnel cake and rode on shaky platforms. Greg found the fortune teller, cajoled us all to get our palms read. I was last.

She took one look at my palm, shook her head, and told me she was going to read my tarot instead. When the fortune teller turned the last card – white background featuring a huge mustache in the fore – she shook her head again.

“What?” I asked. She was getting on my nerves. I’d paid $30 to get my palm read and she hadn’t said one word to me.

That’s when she looked at me dead in the eyes and said, “Your destiny is to be eaten by a giant clam.”

Of course, I laughed, accusing my friends of putting her up to it. None of them would admit to playing the trick and I tried to shrug it off. But that’s when I became obsessed with giant clams. That’s when I made it the basis of my thesis. That’s when I began down the path that led me here, to the soft, gelatinous insides of a giant clam. That’s also when I started carrying a crowbar during every dive.

I admit that it’s hard as hell to pry open a clam – especially when the clam is still alive and you’re on the inside. But I was highly motivated. I shredded the muscles and broke through the shell, scraping out of the opening and swimming back to the surface in a controlled panic. I couldn’t go up too fast, or I’d get the bends. But my radio was out and this discovery would make my career. The clam that had eaten me was definitely a new species: the snapping giant clam.

End

That’s it! I look forward to seeing you tomorrow!

 

 

Writing 365 – The Door

Today I’m using the prompt “What’s behind the closed door?”

The Door

The massive ebony door crouches in front of me. Bas-relief figures warn the unwary away, acting out scenes of violence and destruction. The blackness of the wood makes it hard to see these figures and, as I move closer, I cannot tell if they are in the throws of agony or ecstasy.

For all the intricacies of the door itself, the verdigris knob is utilitarian. It invites my hand, twitching by my side, to rest upon it and swing the heavy door open.

I am not supposed to be in this hallway, not supposed to be in this house. The city will tear down this ruin of a Victorian in two days, and I managed to sneak in to take a look around the oddly homey industrial building. I didn’t expect to find much more than decaying floorboards, but I found this baroque door jammed into a hall on the top floor.

A floorboard creaks as I step forward, putting my ear up to the menacing carvings and listening. No sound penetrates the heavy black mass. I put my hand on the handle and give it a push.

Light floods into the black hallway, blinding me for a moment. Beyond the door is a meadow. A warm breeze wafts through the doorway, tickling my nose with scents of honeysuckle and rich earth. I smile and close my eyes, expecting the scents and breeze to waft over me, but my nose fills with dust. Slamming my eyes open, the room beyond the door spreads out, dark and damp. I flash my light in, but the room just sits, empty and moldering.

I close the door and open it again, hoping to be transported back to the meadow, to the sunshine and warm air. Instead, my hands grow cold in the draft I am creating by opening and shutting the enormous door.

End

I hope you enjoyed the story! See you tomorrow!

 

Writing 365 – Under the Stars

Today I’m writing off a prompt from my friend Carolina L. The prompt is “Under the Stars.” I’m not the outdoorsy type, nor do I enjoy being out in the cold. But, I have always thought it would be beautiful to get a cabin or yurt in the middle of winter and spend time out in nature. Here is a little vignette what I thought of when I read the prompt.

Under the Stars

Mist puffs from rosy faces as we sit around the fire. I look up and see a patch of black with countless specks of brilliance shimmering through. It’s a dizzying scene, cut off only by the tree tops that tower over us.

The smell of pine, campfire, damp, and loamy earth fills my nose as I lean back on my camp chair. It’s been a slog up the mountainside, and tomorrow we have to hike another two miles to get to the peak. My feet speak up, telling me I should have broken in my boots before heading on this trek. Stretching my legs out, I tap the toe of my love’s boot. He looks over and smiles, twinkling eyes matching the brilliance of the heavens above.

End

That’s all folks! See you tomorrow.

© 2017 JULIA SHAW, ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

Writing 365 – Word Play

This week we are supposed to get record low temperatures here in Portland, Oregon. It’s already cold (32 degrees) and it’s supposed to get down to around 19 degrees as the week progresses. That’s apparently a record low. To give those of you in cold states like Utah or Illinois some perspective, I’m from LA – where it doesn’t get below 40 degrees pretty much ever. And here in Portland, we have trouble dealing with a couple of inches of snow – nevermind extreme temperatures.

So, since this weather is unusual for us, I thought I’d try something different when writing about it. I am going to write a little poem and then I’m going to use the thesaurus to see if I can replace every word in the poem and make it a bit better/more interesting. Here goes!

1st Winter Poem

Icy cold shivers through leaves,

snapping at my fingertips,

ruffling my dog’s fur

clearing the azure sky.

2nd Winter Poem

Polar rawness shudders past stalks,

clutching on my digits,

tousling my pup’s coat,

brightening the cerulean firmament.

End

That’s pretty interesting. Two poems that say the same thing, but I definitely like the second one better, though I still prefer “sky” over “firmament.”

Well, that’s all for today! See you tomorrow!

© 2017 JULIA SHAW, ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

Writing 365 – The Collective

Today I’m writing off of a prompt suggested by my Facebook friend, Jason D. The prompt is: Millennial selfies. Now, I personally don’t have a problem with millennial selfies. In fact, technically I’m a millennial. So I tried to think if there might be some secret reason we are all taking selfied. Here’s what I came up with.

The Collective

“You need to take that last selfie,” Sammy told Ethan. He sighed.

“Why am I doing this again?”

“You know why. You know what we’re working toward. Just do it.”

Ethan lifted up his phone, stuck out his middle finger, and shot a picture.

“Now upload it to the collective, it’s almost the cutoff!”

Ethan did as he was told, sighing again when the upload went through.

“I don’t know why you’re not excited about this,” said Sammy. “It’s literally the most important thing in the world right now.”

“Literally?” asked Ethan sarcastically.

“Literally,” said Sammy, frowning. “If you aren’t going to take this seriously, you don’t have to be part of it.”

Ethan rolled his eyes. “Of course I want to be part of it.”

“Then let’s go,” said Sammie.

Sammie started her car, driving it out of the alleyway, toward the warehouse district. Her hands vibrated on the steering wheel and her left leg gyrated.

“I can’t believe it’s happening tonight,” she said.

“Yeah,” said Ethan.

They parked outside a nondescript row of warehouses. Sammie got out and slammed the door, walking rapidly toward the building number 16. She heard Ethan close the door behind him and she clicked the doors locked with her key fob.

“Come on!” She opened the warehouse door and entered a room filled to the brim with servers. Cold air blasted through the huge space, keeping the machines at a comfortable temperature.

Sammie jogged past rows and rows of racked computers until she made it to the small office space at the back. The tiny office was filled with people, all aged between 20 and 30. They stared at the row of monitors hanging from the ceiling, watching the “loading” bar hit 100%.

Ethan’s hand slipped into Sammie’s as the screen, once filled with billions of selfies, switched to bytes, then began the conversion to something completely new. Sammie held her breath. She gripped Ethan’s hand. This was it. A new lifeform was taking shape, right in front of them.

It opened its digital eyes and spoke through the speakers hooked up around the room.

“Hello.”

End

That’s it! Thanks for reading and I’ll be back tomorrow.

© 2016-2017 JULIA SHAW, ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

 

 

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