CWE – Camping

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I went a little nuts on this, but I think that’s the point of these exercises. To really open your creative juices up and put words to paper.

 

Creative Writing Exercise - After completing a solo camping trip, a woman gets her film developed and discovers that several photos are of her … sleeping.

 

 

The door swung open and jingled as Samantha entered the small shop. The air outside was cold, but inside it was warm and dank and smelt of old wood and dust.

“Hello, Sam. Didn’t expect you here so fast.” The small woman behind the counter peered at Sam over her crescent spectacles. “You must be really excited to get those pictures back?”

Sam laughed. “You know I am, Gina. It’s not everyday you can get real film developed, now that everyone has switched to digital.”

Gina smiled and stood up straighter. It added negative inches to her small frame. “Why haven’t you switched, yet?”

“Oh I don’t know. Call me a purist. I love the way the colors are and the way the slick photos feel in my hands. I like the smell of the chemicals as they waft up from those tiny pieces of plastic paper.”

Gina continued to stare at Sam with a look of awe and bewilderment. “Well, whatever the reason, I can’t be too upset. You’re almost single handedly keeping me in business.” She smiled at Sam as she reached underneath the counter and handed her an overly large off white envelope.

“Thanks Gina. Did you see anything good?”

“You know I don’t go snooping through other peoples belongings.” Gina sounded off.

“You know we both know that’s a lie.” Sam’s eyebrow raised and she gave a half grin to the attendant.

Gina laughed a small giggle and patted the counter. “You got me there. I saw a few of the pictures. It looks like you and your boyfriend had a wonderful time camping. I just wish I had gotten to see a picture or two of him.” She wiggled her eyebrows up and down in a manner that would make a cartoon wolf shamed.

Samantha laughed and started walking out of the store before stopping abruptly. “Gina. I didn’t bring anyone with me. I was the only one up there.”

Gina got a look of confusion on her face. “Well, that’s weird, why are there so many pictures of you sleeping, then?”

 

Sam rushed out of the store, barely hearing the jingle of the bell. She hopped into her jeep and slammed the door behind her, frantically flipping through the pictures as she leaned on the steering wheel. About ten pictures in she saw it. She was lying in her sleeping bag. Eyes closed. Her long dirty blonde hair tussled about her thin face. She looked content, happy, and very much asleep. Panic gripped her as she kept going through the pictures and kept running across the same things. Her asleep in her camping chair, sunglass on, mouth slightly agape, her head tilted to the side. Her taking a nap in her jeep, a hat precariously perched over her face. Samantha felt terror grip the bottom of her stomach. Someone had been following her and she wasn’t safe. She turned the ignition of the jeep and sped out of the parking lot to the only place she knew she would be secure. The sheriff’s station.

She skidded the vehicle to a stop outside of the station and tried to collect her composure. Samantha had begun to shake on the way over and she laughed at herself. “Get it together, Sam.” She looked in the rearview mirror to make sure her makeup was still in place. She grabbed the stack of photos of her sleeping and got out of the jeep and marched into the station, looking all around her as she went.

“Yes ma’am, can I help you?” The gentleman behind the counter was obviously a deputy. His balding light brown hair, thick matching mustache and rather large mid section gave it away, but the badge that said ‘deputy’ on his shirt confirmed it.

“Hi, I do need some help. I think I’m being followed.” Samantha was still visibly shaking.

“Ok, ma’am, just calm down, now what makes you think that?”

“Well, I went on a solo camping trip this past weekend. You know, by myself.” The deputy nodded even though he looked slightly annoyed. “I turned in some film to get developed and I just got them back and, well, you take a look.”

Samantha plopped the pictures in front of the man and started spreading them out so he could get a glance at all of them. The silence lingered as the deputy looked over the photos. He pulled a few to the side and his face scrunched up in confusion a few times. Finally after what seemed like years he spoke.

“Ma’am. Is this some sort of joke?” He looked at Samantha with a serious expression.

“What are you talking about? This is very serious. Someone has been following me and taking pictures of me while I’m sleeping!” Panic crept into her voice and it cracked.

“Ma’am. It looks like you took these pictures yourself. I think it’s what the kids are calling selfies. Look.” He turned the pictures so Samantha could see them right side up. “You can see your arm here holding the camera.” He pointed to the reflection in her glasses. “And here.” He pointed again to the reflection of the arm in the jeep’s side mirror. “I’m no expert, but I think the person following you is you.” He got a big smile on his face as if he had made the best joke known to man. Samantha glared, wide eyed at the reflections in the photos and started picking them all up as fast as she could.

“No, no. This isn’t possible. I would have remembered doing something like this.” She muttered to herself.

“Are you sure you’re okay, ma’am?” The deputy brought her out of her stupor.

“Yeah, I’m fine. Ha-ha. It was a joke. Just making sure the PD is on their feet.” She smiled as best she could and scooped the rest of the photos in her arm and walked as fast as she could out of the station, leaving the deputy there by himself.

 

Sam drove home erratically, not even paying attention to street signs or other drivers. Her mind was in a fog. There was no way she could have taken those pictures herself. It just didn’t make sense. There had to be someone there with her. The deputy just didn’t care. He was making fun of her. She would get to the bottom of this herself. She pulled into her driveway without realizing she had gotten home. On pure instinct alone she had gotten herself there and it startled her a little bit.

  She got out of her jeep and half jogged up to the door to her little house. She jingled the keys in her hand, looking for the one for the door. As she put the keys into the lock, the door swung open and a tall man with dirty blonde hair was staring back at her. Sam screamed.

“Woah, woah. It’s ok Sam.” The man put his arms around her in a simple embrace. “Are you ok?”

Samantha stopped shaking for a few seconds and began breathing normally. “Jeff. What are you doing here?”

He pushed her back and let her walk into the house. “Gina called mom and said you were acting weird, so I came over to check on you.”

Sam nodded and threw the contents in her hands on the table by the door. “That’s sweet, but I’m fine. Really. Go home and take care of that pregnant wife of yours so I can have a healthy niece.” Sam smiled at her brother and immediately he knew that she wasn’t ok.

“Sam. Have you been taking your medicine?”

“What? Yes. Of course I have.”

“Sammy?”

“I mean, I think so.” She looked down at her feet. “I don’t know. I don’t remember.”

“Sis, you can’t forget to take your meds. It helps with your memory. With your ‘youknowwhat’.”

Sam looked at her hands and then covered her face. The schizophrenia. It had gotten bad, but the medication helped. She had forgotten to take it on her trip and now it explained everything. She looked up at her brother with tears flowing down her face. “I just don’t know who I am anymore.”

CWE-Astronaut

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Creative Writing Exercise = You are an astronaut. Describe your perfect day.

 

 

 

My perfect day involves me waking up in complete weightlessness. Floating around until I am facing the side window of the shuttle, waiting to see the Sun creeping from behind the Earth to greet me in all its glory. I’d eat an MRE (all of the bacon and eggs) for breakfast and wash it down with some watermelon tang. My perfect day continues in utter quiet and relaxation.

Until the alarm sounds on my audio receiver, sending a cacophonous screech through the cabin. NASA has informed me of an asteroid heading to Earth and I’m the only one who has any chance of stopping it. I swim frantically to my captains chair and strap myself in, firing the ignition thrusters until I slowly orbit around into the path of the asteroid. I glare at the massive shape looming in front of me. It looks like polished rock and the sun glints off it, casting rays of light into my eyes and blinding me for milliseconds. I stare at the hunk of debris sitting stationary in front of me, with no plan whatsoever on how I’m going to stop it. And that’s when I get hit in the gut with a startling realization: The asteroid has stopped moving. completely. I hit the outer lights to the shuttle and effortlessly creep around the rock, trying to examine what’s going on. I slowly venture to the other side and immediately do a spit take (which is really hard to do in zero gravity). There were exhaust ports staring back at me.

This wasn’t an asteroid. It was a ship.

My perfect day had just begun.

CWE: The Sneeze

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So, for christmas, I got this wicked awesome creative writing book.  I thought it would be fun to start posting them on here as well to expand my blogosphere.  From this day forward my Creative Writing Exercises will be known as CWE (catchy aint it?).

 

For this one, I was given a white box and the phrase – “A sneeze”

 

 

It lingers at the edge of consciousness and reality. It sits at the cusp of the sinus, dangling its feet over the abyss, waiting for the worst moment possible to take the plunge. You know the time. When you are finally talking to that special someone. You go to say a joke and the sneeze JUMPS! You face, realizing the horror, begins to scrunch up, mortifying onlookers and terrifying small children. You panic as you race around trying to find something, ANYTHING, to hide your shame. But alas. As most sneezes do, this one doesn’t end well. Your nose pulls a pompeii and with little warning showers local guests and tasty treats with you bacterial nasal mist. You try to recover your embarrassment, but the damage is done. It’s time to head far away where you can hang your head with remorse and wait for the sneeze to show up again. When you least expect it…

The Hangover Promise

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Ever had those moments, right when you open those crusted over eyes, when you can feel your heart pounding in your skull, that you will never ever drink as much as you did the night before? You swear off all dark liquors, especially those that rhyme with flavormeister, and tell yourself that it won’t happen again. You know, until the next day.

Welcome to the world of New Years Resolutions. Where, in a haze of drunken debauchery, we tell ourselves and anyone who will listen that we swear to break the habits that we have been living with our whole adult life. “I swear I’ll cut back on drinking” right after this mimosa. “I resolve to eat better,” but these deep dish pizzas topped with gummy bears won’t eat themselves, and I just don’t want to be rude. “I’m going to work out,” and walking to the fridge to get said pizza counts as cardio, right?  

Don’t get me wrong, I think resolutions are a great way to get motivated, and I know many have probably changed their life on them, but the staggering amount of people who haven’t is what makes up this little opinion. Also I’m no where near perfect in this category, and that’s why I’ve been doing one of two things these past few New Years:

 

I’ll make one resolution. That’s right. Just one. Last year it was to find a job I loved and the year before that was to read 30 books. I nailed both and at the end of the year, I felt invincible as I shoveled pound after pound of chocolate coated turkey stuffing into my mouth. With one resolution, I feel it’s easier to stay on track. Instead of “I’m going to eat all the health there is to eat AND work out until I can’t feel feelings” pick one or the other, and that way you won’t feel as disappointed at the end of the year when that $8000 elliptical you got is gathering dust and spiders in your patio corner.

 

Secondly, I’ve been known to make predictions. What I do is write down a few predictions of what I think will happen across the year and seal them and put them in a safe hiding spot. After about a week I forget that it exists and when the next year comes around, I suddenly remember I wrote something. It’s fun to sit down with friends and read off what you though might happen over the past year (did the world end? The Cowboys finally make it to the playoffs? Things like that). This way, the only sadness you feel at the end of the year is about how many predictions you got wrong.

 

The New Year is a great time to start fresh, even if it only lasts a few weeks, and for me, well, I predict that I’ll swear off bacon. I’ll never eat it again! You know, until the next day.

Dog child

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Can you believe it?? I have decided to do two dog inspired posts in a row. No, it’s not an illusion and please don’t keep hitting refresh on your browser.

So, once again, I found myself thinking about my dog (as one does during the day) and the more I heard stories from people with small children, the more I began to realize that my dog is the perfect try out for having a child. A doggy-starter kit if you will.

Let’s just assume that for all intents and purpose, ‘dog’ and ‘child’ can be interchanged. Here is what I found out:

Dogs can’t be left alone – If I leave my dog alone to his own devices, he ends up murdering the trash or dragging kitty poo through the house. If you do this with a child, much of the same probably happens, except it’s their own poo. Eventually, though, children start becoming creative and make you nice things like a badly drawn picture of a scribble.

You have to feed a dog on a regular basis – Seriously? There are times I wish my dog had opposable thumbs so he could pour his own damn bowl of food. You have to do the same with kids until they reach age 5 or 6 as well, so another point to them I guess.

Given the chance, dogs would poop and pee everywhere – I have to take him outside or the consequences are dire. He is actually pretty good at holding it though, which is more than I can say for most kids.

Dogs require constant attention – Maybe this is my fault for being a big softie, but if I’m not paying attention to him he starts to get all whiney. If I do the same to a kid, the same happens until they get much older and then they just resent me and don’t show up for Christmas because they are “biking the country with their new boyfriend ‘Brad’”

Dogs try to put everything in their mouth – I’ve seen kids do it on a constant basis. Hell, they even have warnings on all toys made after 1980 that tell you not to let children have whatever it is because they WILL put it in their mouth. I think there needs to be a warning like this for every product ever made just for dogs. Because you always think “nah, my dog couldn’t possibly want a bag of Sriracha peas made from asbestos, they are gross, spicy, and potentially cancer inducing. I’ll just leave them by his bowl with no thought of repercussions. Nothing bad at all could happen from this.” and then BAM, you’ve got a fire farting dog with lung cancer.

I know there are a few more ways dogs are like children, and I’m sure I’ll get a few scathing remarks along the lines of “Dogs are nothing like kids.” “Raising them are completely different.” blah blah blah. You may be right, but what I do know is that eventually your kid will grow up to be a giant jerk, and my dog will always be the same old dopey, dumb, sweet guy he is. That is, until he dies, of course.

Everyone’s Best Friend

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Dogs.

They say that they are “man’s best friend” but I’m inclined to think that they are everyone’s best friend. I used to think that people who only liked cats have no souls, and the more I hang out with dogs, the more I believe this to be true.

My wife often mentions that I love our dog more than her and I casually reply with “Well, if you jumped up and down and licked me on the face every time I came through the door, then maybe I’d love you more.” She normally doesn’t appreciate it, but it helps drive home a point. Whenever you walk into a house with a dog, that animal is always excited to see you. It shows it by wagging its tail and hopping around in circles, or even for those unfortunate ones, peeing all over the place. What does a cat do? Glare at you and maybe give you the middle finger.

Now I’m sure you’re saying “Well Chris, you are biased, you have an amazing dog and a really crappy demon cat.” While this is true, it always wasn’t. I actually grew up with cats. There was always a cat somewhere in my house at any given time, and what I can base from all these years of catitude is this: cats suck. They only want to be petted on their time. They only want to cuddle for seconds at a time and have no compunctions about puncturing your skin when you’ve had a bad day. Dogs on the other hand want nothing more than love at all times. I’ll admit that they may be overly needy, but I’d rather have a roommate who wants to try and be your friend than the one who sits quietly in a dark corner sharpening knives while staring at you, an evil grin spreading over their face, like the Grinch on cocaine.

I digress, as I know trying to convince lonely cat people that dogs are the greatest pets on the planet is like trying to convince gun toting, right wing southerners that salad is better than steak (it isn’t). Hopefully when the cat overlords finally take over the planet, they won’t come across this post, as I’m sure it won’t bode well for my ‘wanting to live’ stance.

Writing is harder than it looks…

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Greetings again from internet land.

I realized that although I’m still working on book two in the Scattered Ashes series (pick it up at Amazon), three months is a tad bit too long to just word vomit on my blog board.

I’m sure anyone who is following me has been crying uncontrollably in my absence, possibly to the point of dehydration, but have no fear, for I am still around!

In most of my years as a writer, I think only recently have I come to the realization that IT’S HARD! That’s right, writing is hard. For the longest time, I didn’t think this was the case. Normally you just blurb out something onto a page and everyone generally likes it. Now, however, as I grow in my word painting, I realize that it’s not as simple. I can no longer get away with lame stories with no depth or character development, and I can’t ramble off topic like I’d so much like to do. It all takes focus now, and when you have a terrible need to multitask everything that exists in your life (I’ll call it multitasitis) wanting to sneeze out a post or a blog ends up being a lengthy chore on a never ending to do list.

But all those things aside, I have heard that anything that’s hard is worth doing, and I gotta say, writing is definitely worth it.

Until then!