I’m not in the habit of sharing “raw” work, but I just discovered The Sunday Whirl, which offers a weekly list of random words and challenges writers to do something with them–a poem, a short fiction piece. To put “new” words out there feels risky, but it’s a great exercise, so here goes. I used all the words in Wordle 59 in this little piece of fiction:

After Chelsea and Mark split up, she left town and rented a room in a cheap motel across the street from the beach. It wasn’t far, but just far enough she thought Mark wouldn’t find her. She lay crumpled on the bed, going through boxes of tissue. The bruise had begun to fade now, going yellowish. Her ribs hurt less, it was easier to draw breath, but still. He never should have gone that far. Who would have thought they would crash and burn that way? She had tiptoed around the edges of his anger, tried to chisel away his defenses, but Mark basked in the glow of argument, he’d beat her every time, not with his fists—at least not until now—but with words. He could nail her, pierce her like that fly in a poem she’d read in high school, pinned and wriggling on the wall.

When somebody knocked at the door, she crouched on the other side of the bed. It was late afternoon; the sun filtered through the ugly drapes and cast patterns on the walls.

“Chelsea? You in there?” Mark. She thought her lungs would burst, holding in her breath that way, trying not to answer.

7 thoughts on “Sunday Wordle: June 3, 2012

  1. Very good. i contemplated an abuse piece (the words were perfect for it) but could not get my mind there today. A lot of story, suspense and feeling in a small piece. Well done, and welcome to the Whirl!

  2. This is good Gerry. I like what you’ve created. It’s a rough place to be, but a good place to explore in writing. Abuse is pervasive in most societies, it never hurts to shed some light on it.

    1. I used variations on this with high school students. Sometimes I would dictate a long list and have them free-associate with whatever I said, then cross out until they got the list down to 10 or 15 words. Another was to have them create a word bank using index cards (sounds old-fashioned now!), mostly concrete nouns (some place names allowed) and strong verbs, a few adjectives and adverbs, but not many. They would draw a certain number of words from each stack. Neither of these is original with me, but they’re pretty productive exercises. Anything to get them thinking outside the box!

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