Object Writing, Prose & Poetry Forum

September 24, 2018, 07:57:31 AM
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This week's words;

Sunday - Instructions

Monday- Motorcycle

Tuesday- Wildflower

Wednesday- Asparagus

Thursday- Stopwatch

Friday - Confetti

Saturday-Homesick



Word of the Day
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1  ObjectWriting / Object Writing Word Of The Day / Forgery on: September 18, 2018, 08:05:58 PM
   Her handwriting didn’t look as neat as normal. The message didn’t match her normal drunken ramblings at the South Side parties. I looked at it like an archaeologist might look at dinosaur bones that were found in some college kid’s backyard in suburban Cleveland. Something felt a little fishy.
   I called up a mutual friend. “I found a note. From Ronnie. It was a little strange.”
   “Well what does it say?” he said.
   “I’d rather not say,” I said. “But I don’t exactly believe it. Let’s leave it like that.”
   “I don’t think I can help you,” he said. “She was talking about you, though. Just the other night, at Pam’s.”
   I gulped. “Well.” The moment lingered. I felt like Wile E. Coyote walking off a cliff. “What did she say?”
   “I’d rather not say,” he said. Before I could put up a stink, he interjected, “Nothing much, really. Your name just kept coming up. It was a sort of sentimental night; a lot of wine bottles found the morning after around the sink. Every little memory that Pam or Jason or me brought up, Ronnie somehow mentioned you every time. It became a little over the top at one point. Laughing about such small behaviors.”
   “What behaviors?”
   “Oh, like falling over a table on Halloween. To which Jason said, ‘I think that was me.’ Then they got into a big debate about it.”
   It was Jason, as a matter of fact, but that didn’t seem worth noting.
   “What the hell does the note say?”
   “I love you,” I said, reading the words like I didn’t remember them. I was standing in the bathroom. I started to feel like I smelled urine. I don’t know if I really did.
   “That doesn’t sound like something she would write,” he said. “But it does sort of match her sentiment at Pam’s.”
   “It does?”
2  ObjectWriting / Object Writing Word Of The Day / Convict on: September 17, 2018, 09:39:18 PM
   It wasn’t on purpose. And I certainly wasn’t the only actor involved. I mean, it was my idea to make the replica in the beginning. It was as good as mine. Except, of course, that it wasn’t mine; it belonged to my father. He had taken my idea and ran with it; to build a replica Civil War rifle.
   I wanted it as a toy, of course, and had suggested it to him one evening over the typical spaghetti dinner topped with a thick inch of parmesan. “We’ve been learning about the Civil War,” I had said, and his eyes showed an interest I rarely saw at the table, under the bright track lights and with the hum of the radio in the living room. “And the weapons are really old and cool. Do you think I could get one of the rifles?”
   He laughed in a way that made my chest sink. It was a laugh I associated with the word “no.” But this time I clung to my guts and said, “We could even make one…together.” And at this, I believe I had hooked him in. Many interests of his combined in an irresistible father/son activity, like a Voltron megabot come to fruition. And we spent many hours in the basement shop together, measuring and chopping wood, gluing it all together, finding pieces of metal down by the creek, until we had something that did not look altogether unlike a Civil War gun.
   But did I get to play with it? No. Where did it end up? In my father’s office, leaning against the closet door, blending in with the other junk that lay in the shadows of his giant book collection.
   And so, when my friends and I came to take it one day at the end of the day, could you really blame us? Could you blame us for taking it to the creek for our own reenactment? Or for running wildly with it in our victory cheer? Who could have guessed at the fragility of the weapon? Not I, surely. Was I a thief? A bad son? A traitor to the cause?
3  ObjectWriting / Object Writing Word Of The Day / Shockwave on: September 16, 2018, 01:33:52 PM
   She says she’s a firm believer in the butterfly effect and that every little action all around the world can have a huge impact on everything that happens to us. She tells a story about a friend being rejected from the college of her dreams, how they ended up rooming together in the hometown dorms, how the roommate slept with her boy crush, how this led her to move back to her parents’ house and eventually out of town to the city where she went out drinking to dull the pain and met a girl who played guitar and offered to teach her, and how when she started writing and performing her songs she established a small fan-following which convinced her to do a small upstate tour, and how at one of those shows she met a guy who offered to record her at his studio barn and then the publicity and the sold out shows and the fame and the money and the new set of problems that comes with all that. But, she says, if Notre Dame had accepted my friend all those years ago, where would I be?
   The journalist nods and jots down notes and thinks, what a freaking lunatic, but remembers his own life being jolted around in similar ways; the trajectory of art school and little failed gallery shows with the undying support of his peers, continuing to fail and fail until going to see a singer who changed his life, suddenly turning to music but knowing he lacked the talent to make anything of it, but deciding he wanted to be close to the business jumped into grad school for a journalism degree and therefore declaring himself a part of the funeral march of two great American industries.
4  ObjectWriting / Object Writing Word Of The Day / Fibreglass on: September 15, 2018, 08:30:41 PM
   At the end of the drive, I’d be going down a steep hill with the AC finally kicking in and the Sun just starting to brighten the morning sky. I would latch on to the esteemed voices on the radio like they were my own dying breath. I was steeped in hyperbolic thoughts in those days. My chest was a birdcage, my brain was an ill-balanced infant. I tried taking deep breaths, but I knew time was beyond my control; I would be pulling up in the parking lot in no time.
   And when I arrived, there would be a lot of tired looking men slamming truck doors and shooting the shit. There was surely the equivalent of a swimming pool’s worth of coffee floating around in Styrofoam cups. There was a sugary smell in the air from donuts being downed quickly, powdered sugar left in stubbly upper lips, and of course, the smell of the cookie factory itself. I steeled myself forward past the folks who were well over twice my age. Greeted by the boss heartily who was excited for another honest day of hard work. He was here from Michigan, spending a couple months this Summer a few hundred miles away from his family. His teeth were jagged and featured a couple of gorging gaps. He was not the picture of success that you’d see on TV or in films. Or in my college classrooms. But I guess he was doing alright.
   Inside the front door were conveyor belts with the last batch of cookies being sent to their packaging from the night shift. I was there to put the pink fiberglass insulation into the brand new oven, which ran the length of a football field. First thing to do, put on your white protective robe and blue rubber gloves and facemask. Grab a pole, climb up, begin pushing.
5  ObjectWriting / Object Writing Word Of The Day / Re: Mutation on: September 13, 2018, 09:45:41 PM
Amen
6  ObjectWriting / Object Writing Word Of The Day / Mutation on: September 13, 2018, 09:43:29 PM
   They ignored it for a while and life went on like normal. It was easier to ignore than the night’s soup being in need of salt. It became as normal as a lamp on a nightstand or a reef on a door. It was like a haircut or a depleted pantry: the tumor was simply there, jutting out of the patriarch’s neck, like the little arm of a critter stuck in a chimney trying to claw its way out.
   They didn’t use analogies or similes to discuss it, when it finally became couth to talk about. Mother came in to the dining room carrying a pot in mitted hands saying, “It sure was a nice warm day today.” This was code meaning: “Looks like the tumor might be shrinking.” You don’t say it’s a nice warm day in January, not in Northern Ontario. Father would say, “Feels cold as hell to me.” I’m guessing you understand what he meant by that. No need to interpret; the man was open as a Faulkner book.
   He shoveled the soup into his mouth until one day he couldn’t swallow. His body was depleted of nutrients. He became a skeleton in a flabby blanket of skin. I told him one day, “Pops, you should really do something about the tumor.” He said, “You should really do something about your face.” I should have seen that coming from a man who had avoided this question for 9 months. And to be fair, he was right about my face; it isn’t much to look at. But I really feel that he’s more responsible for that than I am, but that’s also not the point, is it?
   And then one day, father wouldn’t get out of bed. I said to mother, “We need to do something.” Mother grabbed a pair of scissors and started walking to the bedroom. “WHAT ARE YOU DOING?” I screamed. She said, “Something.”
7  ObjectWriting / Object Writing Word Of The Day / Horsepower on: September 11, 2018, 09:32:34 PM
   On evenings when the ground hadn’t quite thawed out completely, we drove out on one of the long roads that simply went “out of town.” Like somebody pointed and said, “The road will go that way, all the way, just get it out of here.” We drove our mom’s little red Subaru Impreza past the corn and the vineyards, past the ponds and groves, past the farmhouses and decaying silos, to the railroad tracks. Here was our ramp, our homage to our mountain biking days, when we would jump over dirt mounds with a half a second of air time. Now we put the pedal to the floor in a swirl of acceleration. Faster and faster we went, wind whipping through the windows, engine sounds roaring in all directions at once. We had at least one horsepower on our side.
   The tires never once sprung a leak when we did this. Living dangerously used to be so taken for granted. We’d bounce a little and whoop and holler. Then we would come to a standstill. The air was cool, the clouds hung in the air like parasites that haven’t figured out that they are dead yet. The smell of dirt and rubber held thickly to the windows. I felt awake, sometimes, and I thought I could make this moment last forever. It was one of those powers I’m still convinced I have, but haven’t mastered, like invisibility or flight. One of these days, you will see me (or not) flying over the city in a bubble of time and space.
8  ObjectWriting / Object Writing Word Of The Day / Eel on: September 10, 2018, 09:13:40 PM
   You don’t have to pursue a reinvention of the wheel, your dreams have the potential to slip out of your hands like a wallowing eel. Worming about through the ponds of our misfortune, under constant duress; this permanent extortion.
   I’m swimming by my grandfather’s boat hearing the laughter of family, smelling the cold sandwiches and beer grown a little sandy from the beach and polluted water. The Arkansas air is a still staccato in this early Autumn aria. I’m kicking and breathing hard, sucked under again and again even with my orange life jacket, a size or two too big. Sometimes you feel the branches below you; the trees that they didn’t bother cutting down before flooding this valley to make their little lake. Your feet get a little shock from a misunderstanding of what ought to be there. Sometimes I imagine fish swimming by; even though most of them stay by the boathouse where kids toss quarter fish food into their eager mouths. Sometimes I imagine I feel them on my legs, something wily and unnaturally smooth. At least, I hope I am imagining these eels swimming by. I hope there’s nothing down there. I believe in monsters. I’ve seen them under the bed and living in the closet. We’ve had long philosophical chats about the meaning of life; whether or not I deserve one. I can’t believe in lake monsters; it’s just too petrifying.
9  ObjectWriting / Object Writing Word Of The Day / Re: Crook on: September 09, 2018, 02:33:41 PM
Niiiiiiiiiiice!
10  ObjectWriting / Object Writing Word Of The Day / Crook on: September 09, 2018, 02:32:18 PM
   People forget how easy it is to slide. It’s something we learn to do as children. Climb to the top of the steps, sit, and let yourself go. Feel the loss of control in the wind on your cheeks, that beautiful feeling of falling, ending predictably in an inner joy. We learn about safety nets and happy endings. We learn about the world in euphemisms and tightly knitted phrases.
   And we learn to keep our claws out of the cookie jar. It’s a simple instruction meant to keep you healthy and safe. But people forget how easy it is to slide. Even children are addicts and our hands are not really under our control. Once you pop, you can’t stop. Sugar, salt, and everything nice pours down our throats and sticks seductively to our tongues. It’s the memory of the sweet taste that won’t go away, that drags you back to the cookie jar, even when you know it’s wrong.
   So here you are, down on your luck, without a dollar to your name, with a chance to bring yourself a little fortune (and, ideally, no fame). It only takes a few minutes to steal. Guilt is intangible, unlike food, so just go through the motions. Take care of your family. It’s just like the movies, the cops are too busy in the bad neighborhoods to care. People forget how easy it is to slide. You walk through the door.
   Sitting on your yacht. You have everything. But people forget. How easy it is. To slide.
11  ObjectWriting / Object Writing Word Of The Day / Hoax on: September 08, 2018, 07:07:15 PM
   Headlines don’t lie. You can trust your own eyes. What they say is true is true, don’t even try to read between the lines.
   Everyone agrees on facts. Everyone can distinguish between fact and opinion. There are good people in charge, who will extinguish the fires set by the evil minions.
   Let’s not race to expedited judgements. Don’t be so sure about the winner at the 2-minute warning. It would be folly to print the pages of the paper before the clock says 0:00.
   Don’t try to understand liars. Lies don’t have a scent, like smoke, that alerts us to their presence. Lies don’t taste foul, like mold, so usually we swallow them whole.
   It’s not about who speaks fact or fiction, it’s about speed and volume. I get my news from punk rock. I get my news from the comedy shows. Entertainers have no reason to spin webs of misinformation; that line of business is for politicians and poor people. Yeah, the wretched poor must be lying as they fish for more handouts. Living on $10 an hour can’t be that difficult. It’s something you grow out of, like puberty, eventually everyone becomes millionaires if they don’t give up.
   UFOs are real. I have seen things in the sky that I cannot explain. Bigfoot is real. I have heard things in the woods that I cannot explain. Donald Trump’s tax returns are real. I haven’t seen it, but I just have a good feeling about it. 
12  ObjectWriting / Object Writing Word Of The Day / Bumper on: September 07, 2018, 09:06:25 PM
   In the bumper cars, waiting for the buzzer, when everything gets started. In the meantime, stare your friends down, get ready for the trash talk, the wind, the freedom, the jolting stop and go of the night. It begins, and you press your foot to the floor, for a moment feeling that something’s wrong, you are stuck, why does everything always go wrong for you, it’s not fair. Then you zoom forth, into the rear bumper of a man, some father who gets uber-competitive, who feels a vengeful bloodlust, until he notices, you are not one of his daughter’s friends, you are just some kid in loose-fitting clothes, probably pretty smelly and lonely. His smile fades, his eyes scan the arena for another more familial target. It gets loud, magnetic motors raging and sputtering, girls screaming, boys insulting, parents rolling their eyes. Your stomach rages, the taste of stale cotton candy begins to gain a vomit-like quality, then you’re stuck between four cars, and everyone’s confused, no one’s ever parallel parked here, no one knows the 3-point turn. Struggle struggle struggle, until you are unleashed once more. The buzzer sounds.
   You and your friends, unbuckling seatbelts, the other fair sounds becoming a low din, the ride was okay, you feel okay, nobody won, nobody lost, it is just about time to go home. And in the backseat, you relive the battle, you strategize Napoleon’s battle plan, you’re the main character, and you’re gonna win.
13  ObjectWriting / Object Writing Word Of The Day / Birthplace on: September 06, 2018, 08:50:22 PM
   The kids drove down Main Street, between the Save A Lot grocery store and the caboose ice cream and mini golf place, through the diner district (Ned’s, Laura’s, Dave’s, etc.), until they reached the small downtown of the little farm town where they had been born and bred. Parking on the other side of the railroad tracks, they got out of the car to stretch their legs underneath some summer shade. It felt good to be home, like waking up from a really satisfying nap. The kind of nap that don’t have no nightmares.
   Up the hill was the elementary school all of them had gone to until 4th grade. It was definitively a school, although one day when the town died it could probably be renovated and turned into senior citizen apartments. If there were any seniors left who wanted to stay there, that is.
   Walking back over the tracks, they passed antique stores that could have been there all their lives. They were just as ignored and mysteriously open as always. “Maybe we’ll walk in there someday,” one of them lied. There was the café across the street, that had once had a hip young owner who had filled it with couches and decorated it seasonally. When they were in high school, the kids would go there for a cheap hang out. Turns out, it was too cheap to maintain, and that hip young owner packed it all up and moved up to the city, where the coffee scene was having a mini-renaissance. Now, the café was just a low end restaurant, good for a grilled cheese or a BLT and a salad made of iceberg lettuce and cherry tomatoes.
   But the kids admired the architectural bones of their birthplace. They liked the intersection where the train tracks crossed the road and the brick facades of the storefronts. They liked the houses built uniquely up the hillside and how the trees shaded the roads where they had biked well past curfew on endless school nights, causing hell and chaos for the neighbors who didn’t live there anymore.
14  ObjectWriting / Object Writing Word Of The Day / Powerful on: September 05, 2018, 09:29:04 PM
   “Behold! The lightbulb!”
   The tour guide held up a little glowing globe. The children stared with artificial awe. Stephanie let her disdain hang nakedly in the public eye. At 13, she had more important things to think about than little glowing conduits of electricity. Mr. Yukka snapped a photo. The tour guide began to talk about Thomas Edison’s childhood. Stephanie’s mind wandered, and soon, so did her feet.
   She found herself alone underneath the rest of her classmates, down some dusty metallic stairs. There were rows of what looked like blue electric trees on either side of her, making bassy synth sounds in wave-like patterns. There were no workers here, no supervisors. Ironically, there were no light bulbs. Something didn’t seem normal. At the end of the plank on which she stood, was a hulking black barrier. And above that, Stephanie could see a reddish purple glow. She began to step forward.
   “What are you doing?” She turned to see Patrick, wide-eyed and terrified. “You left the group? We shouldn’t be down here.”
   “We aren’t,” Stephanie said, turning back to the glow. “I am. You need to go back to the group.”
   Patrick tried reaching for her arm. Stephanie quickly pulled it away as she moved forward. Now she could see stairs leading up to the top of the barrier. She had to see what was coming from inside. She could practically sense Patrick peaking back up to see if their absence had been noticed, could practically hear his thoughts: “Do I go after Stephanie or do I save my own ass and go back?”
15  ObjectWriting / Object Writing Word Of The Day / Old Fashioned on: September 03, 2018, 02:27:41 PM
   Where we used to play on the dirt roads by the decrepit barns and corn fields, where the Amish lived, we would walk by on boring Summer days and see families just sitting on porches. No books, no toys, no games, no discussion. I wondered what fun they had. I remembered the street hockey game we set up outside their school one time, how all those kids came outside to their front steps to eat lunch and watch us play.
   How did they come to live such old fashioned lifestyles? I asked my mother.
   A long time ago, they decided that technology was changing too rapidly, she said. They chose to ignore the changes.
   And that’s why they have big beards? I asked.
   Um, she said. Sure.
   I envied it a little bit. I felt consumed by television and the radio that was a constant presence in the house. The busy traffic in my front yard, people who would judge the clothes you chose or the haircuts you got. The electricity that let you have synthetic bedtimes, made you tired every single morning. The cartoons that you had to watch or you would feel left behind from the talk at school.
   I wanted to let it all go, bring a tent out to the woods, live off the land without the religious mumbo jumbo.
   Then I saw the Amish folk using telephones, working the land, driving their horse and buggies at a snail’s pace. I craved more speed than that. I once sat down with a book for an hour and just stared at page one without comprehending a damn word. Then I turned on the TV and let the entertainment fold into me. I stuck my head in the freezer on hot days. I felt the reliably hot shower pour over my head. I smelled a pizza the size of the moon warming up in the microwave that I would eat followed by Cinnamon Toast Crunch and Sunny D.
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