Saturday, April 18, 2009

Writing Adventure Group: Results #7 / Instructions #8

Writing Adventure Group: Results #7 / Instructions #8

WAG #7 Results and WAG #8 instructions below. All are welcome to join next week’s adventure!

The theme for the Writing Adventure Group #7 was “Imaginings“. Don’t forget! The Writing Adventure Group is on Facebook. Join us there too, and get weekly reminders so you never miss an adventure.

For those who participated, please cut and paste the links below (and instructions for next week, if you wish) to your own blogs. This will help promote the group and give some linky love to each other, creating a fantastic cross-promotional network of WAGs!


Next week’s Writing Adventure:
“WAG #8: Rose Colored Glasses”

Go out and choose an unfamiliar object (in other words, one you have no history with) that strikes you as ugly, repulsive, annoying, etc… some ideas might be: a wad of squashed gum on the pavement, a dead squirrel on the side of the road, an ugly sign, a loud construction site, a tacky sculpture in a charity shop… and write about it in such as way as to make it appealing to your reader. Really sell it! Use whatever words you want and cheat as much as you want, but do your best!

Post the results on your blog, and read this post about the group for information on how to notify me (Nixy Valentine) so your post will be properly included in next week’s list. (Note, please include WAG #8 in the subject heading and tell me how you want your name to appear please!) Deadline: next Tuesday, April 21st.

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Ok, here goes...

Picnic table in the park, outside the roadside rest stop. How comfortable you look after a long ride, nestled under a shedding pine tree. Modern vintage, metal piping curled under sturdy brown tabletop. Names of past lovers carved into the wood surface like faded tattoos, some filled with ball point ink. Ashley + Matt within a crude heart. Others scrawled in black marker, or attempted with nail polish. Reminders of so many passing flings.

I'm tired; the kids are hungry. On either side, the bench seats are raised like hands in offering. And I accept. Careful where I sit, inspecting the years of weathering before plonking down. I sigh and tighten my ponytail. Squint behind my sunglasses. Tell the kids to lay down napkins, white, clandestine sheets covering scars. Making new. Pretending to overlook, offering a false forgiveness.

It's nice here, shady and green. Above us, the tin overhang is a home for birds, and a grudging protector from the dappled sun. A breeze drifts in from the direction of a landscaped tract of woods, the soft gust stirring the smell of french fries and rich dark soil. I take a deep breath and hold it for several seconds, absorbing it until eventually, as I must, I let it go.

Unwrapping the food becomes a ceremony, a ritual forgotten as soon as we settle in to eat. Over the course of our meal we share broken conversation, hushed as though afraid a passerby might hear, which I'm not sure is even possible. Interstate traffic rushes past, colorful vehicles gleaming in the sun, each darting away with the harsh whisper of a ghost.

It's time to go, get back on the road, and in preparation, I tuck everything into a single bag for disposal. The napkin sheets are stripped away, revealing truths I'd already forgotten. So many faceless names.

While the kids stretch their legs and head toward our vehicle, I use one of the napkins to swipe the water ring my paper cup left behind - an old habit. But the stain is resistant, and very dark. The standing moisture soaks up like cold tears, but an opaque circle with a ragged edge has absorbed into the wood.

Intentional or not, my mark will be there even after we've gone, at least until it evaporates. Which seems somehow fitting. The faded memory of a brief affair.


  1. Wow, Cora. That was incredible. I'm blown away by your ability to make a rest stop picnic table breathtaking.


  2. Wow, thanks, J! I'm glad you liked it! ^_^

  3. Anonymous11:01 AM

    Wow indeed! You captured the sense of the place and yet there was a nice undertone. Very subtle writing here.. I like this!

  4. Nicely done! I loved this piece. It was so simple yet elegant and interesting.

  5. I think I've been there, made it sound like a real family outing. Good job.

  6. Beautiful piece Cora. It really struck a cord with me, brought back some wonderful memories with my kids on one of our "adventures." Very wonderful.

  7. Really nice piece, makes me want to pack up the kids and pay a visit.

  8. Thanks everyone! I'm glad you liked my exercise. :*)

  9. That was so impressive! I was completely uninspired and could not get into the project at all. Now here you go and make it look so effortless. Nicely crafted!

  10. What great use of description. Reminded me of some of Emile Zola's prose.

  11. So simple, yet so compelling. You made me feel like I was there!


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