Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Stretching Writing Muscles

Thanks to a great idea at Keanan Brand's blog, I tried this writing exercise. His idea was to find a book or magazine or something, flip through it and point your finger down at a random spot and take that word under your finger. Then do it again for three words. Then set a timer for no less than 5 minutes and no more than 15 and without thinking about it, just start writing something that uses those three words. Then when the timer goes off, stop writing wherever you are. It exercises your writing muscles, you get the gears going for more serious writing, and you get some ideas for future stories.

So with a short bit of time here before I go off to bed, I gave it a whirl. I grabbed a book and three words. Started my timer for 15 minutes and went to it. Not sure where this was going, but this is what I came up with. I'm too tired to use it to charge into more serious writing, but it was indeed great fun and now I've got a new character and possible short story. Great idea!

My words to use:

1. ballyhooed
2. tour
3. right


Sure, whatever she said. Go make them swoon, make them throw pretty under-things on to the stage. Make them feel a dagger in the heart and a smile on their face.

So I did what the manager of this fool's tour said and I climbed the metal steps up to the stage with my trusty six gun of a wired-for-sound guitar in my right hand and I aimed for their hearts. When those lights came up and the music hit the air like a steel fist of lyrical truth, I finally felt something.

I wasn't sure what it was that I felt, but it felt right. It felt like home. It felt like whiskey on a cold night straight from the bottle in a neon saloon. All the pain could come flowing out and hit everyone in front of me. And they not only paid me for the pleasure, they wanted more. So I gave them all the more they could take, and all that I could give.

For that ninety minutes of truth and golden limelight, I was the poet, the preacher, the bartender, the drinker, the circus clown, the make believer, and even a liar. I sung of heart break and world changing love. Of the thousand wrongs and the one thing right. Lies, truth, and extensions of both. I showed them a world they couldn't live in and I couldn't leave.

'Cause in the end, they got their money's worth and I walked back down those steps after a ballyhooed attempt at emptying my soul and praying somebody would see through it all and want what was left. There'd been a hundred towns and a million lights, and it had never happened.

So the taut stringed six gun went back in the case, and I climbed back aboard the bus that would take me somewhere else and I'd do it all again. And if I kept doing it often enough, maybe I'd get her out of my blood stream with all the rest of the turbulence. But somehow, that just didn't seem likely.

Comments on "Stretching Writing Muscles"


Blogger KEANAN BRAND said ... (February 20, 2008 11:20 PM) : 


I'd like to see where it goes; but, ya know, it's a dandy piece of flash fiction, a complete story in a nutshell, and it doesn't really matter who "she" is or the history behind the moment on stage.


Blogger Eaglewing said ... (February 21, 2008 4:10 AM) : 


I was kind of surprised when I stopped that it could almost stand on its own as a story, although more might come. Never know...


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