Tag Archives: Learn to Write

Shlub

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Photographer Tom

schlub [SHləb] NOUN

shlub (noun)

  1. a talentless, unattractive, or boorish person:

K.J. Hanson describes Jeff, a character in his short story Cheapskate, as a shlub. The noun remained in my head until I wrote something.

Shlub

“He’s a shlub,” said the guy at the next table.

Although unfamiliar with the expression, I couldn’t have agreed more. The restaurant was crowded, and the jerk, dressed in a worn t-shirt and a grunge baseball cap to cover a scraggly head of hair, stood out in a crowd of business people. Some chatted effortlessly, others sat people watching, like the guy alongside of me. Whose dress was trending; jeans, white t-shirt and a herringbone blazer. His companion did all the talking while the guy pretended to listen, preoccupied with the ensuing drama.

The server delivered the check to the shlub, who immediately became agitated, flinging his arms up in the air and indicating some problem with the food.

His woman friend turn red in the face as the server removed their lunch plate like it was a hot plate. She was attractive in an intellectual way and rummaged through her handbag.

I imagined they’d met on line or some dating app. You know the type, skilled at embellishment and all about himself. It was probably their first date, but clearly their last as the woman got up to leave visibly shaken.

The guy at the next table stood when she did.

“Let me get that for you,” he said.

As they left the restaurant together, the shlub yelled, “What the fuck! You can’t do that.”

Autumn — claudiajustsaying

Autumn In New York Autumn In New York I missed the first day of Autumn or Fall or the Northern Equinox, whatever you call it these days. In Florida we don’t experience the typical indicators that cooler weather is coming. The temperature did drop, but not significantly; it feels cooler because it’s less humid. What […]

Autumn — claudiajustsaying

Yippie Ki Yay Breakthrough

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Photo By Nev P

Daily Prompt Breakthrough

 

Yippie Ki Yay!  A breakthrough, I am writing.

What happened? I had writers block, and touted this previously enjoyable pastime, tedious.

Well, Saturday evening between bites of bratwurst and sauerkraut, a friend commented that she missed my blog posts and enjoyed my writing.

Sunday morning I awoke to write something. I am ready to get back on my horse and go for a wild and crazy ride. You know what I am saying. I love to play with words, cut and paste incomplete sentences to make complete sentences and obsess over where to place the comma or maybe it should be a semicolon.  

My breakthrough . . . . listen to what I tell myself about a favorite activity, writing.

There is nothing more enjoyable than fixing a dangling participial.

. . . . Seriously just saying

 

Brown Hash

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Writing prompt/Write about a family event that goes wrong.
Brown Hash
     The back door slammed and their lively banter entered the room before them. Jennifer kissed her mother’s cheek saying, “Happy Easter, Mom.” Her brother, Josh, smiled, “You made the bunny cake.”
     Laughter filled the air as they lifted items out of brown paper bags while talking. Carol arranged jellybeans on the white coconut icing to form the bunny’s eyes and mouth. His nose and whiskers made from black licorice were in place. Josh ran his finger along the cake edge to clean up dripping icing then licked his finger clean, “Delicious!”
     Josh, better looking than his sister, was the type featured in the New York Times fashion section, blue eyes starring poignantly into the future pondering a secret. His hair was black like his father’s. Today he wore a scruffy two-day-old beard that accentuated his masculinity. He called to his dad who stood by the stove, “Happy Easter. Whatever you’re cooking smells good.”
     His father looked up, “Come, give your old man a hug?” The fifty-five year old held a spatula high above his head as they embraced. Josh looked in the skillet, “Hash?”
     “Yea, hash. Gotta have your grandfather’s favorite. I doctor it up by adding onion, green pepper and more potatoes. They’ll be here around 10 a.m. or there-a-bouts, after mass.”
     Jason question, “They?”
     “Yup, Grandpa and his new squeeze, Pattie,” said John.
     Grandma had been dead five years. Recently Grandpa had been dating and now infatuated with one woman in particular, Pattie. Grandpa, a  ninety year old, was physically fit which Pattie said earned him the nickname Muscles. Grandpa frequently revisited his youth bragging about weight lifting. When he did, Pattie became amorous and misty eyed, after all the man still had a full head of hair. At eighty-five, she dazzled others herself dressed in bright neon colors, decorated with sequins. A schoolgirl’s laugh accessorized her personality.
     Carol rattled mixing bowls and baking utensils in the sink, rinsing them with water before putting the items in the dishwasher. She swished water in two empty cans and tossed them in the recycling bin, but missed. Jason bent to retrieve them. He studied the wet labels, “Did we get a dog?”
     His mom, Carol quizzically said, “A dog? Why would you think we got a dog.”
     “Because these are empty dog food cans you’re recycling.”
     “No put your glasses on, Dad’s cooking hash, the cans . . . . .” Carol did not finish her sentence but glanced at her husband who was cooking as the door bell rang. “Jason, get the door. It’s Grandpa and Pattie, I’m sure.”
     Carol disposed of the cans in the regular trash, pushing the cans to the very bottom of the pail. She joined her husband at the stove and inhaled deeply to confirm the revelation of he really was frying in the pan.
      Jason opened the front door and greeted his grandfather with a hug. Grandpa wore a navy blue pin stripe suite, a crisp white shirt and solid periwinkle tie, but no muscles. A Calla lily was pinned to his lapel. Pattie wore a ridiculously large hat, much too much fragrance and a big smile.
     Formal introductions took place in the kitchen. The egg and hash casserole was in the oven. John removed a mitt potholder to shake Pattie’s hands. Carol embraced the elderly woman pleased that she was hugged backed. Jason whispered to Jennifer, “Not really the Grandma type.” Jennifer responded by poking her bent elbow into his side and said, “Grandpa I made Mimosas.”
     Grandpa took Pattie’s hand and led her towards the granite counter, pointed at a stool and said, “Well what are you waiting we’re thirsty.”
     There were six champagne glasses on a green Plexiglas tray and Jennifer filled the glasses then deposited a stemmed maraschino in each orange juice drink.
     When the kitchen timer rang John said, “Time to eat! You folks get settled in the dining room. I’ll bring in the food.” He opened the oven door and removed the hash casserole, a platter of sliced baked ham, baking dish of corn pudding and cinnamon buns.
     Carol ignored Jason’s skeptical eyes saying, “I’ll get the coffee.”
     “None for me, Pattie and I will have another mimosa, won’t we.” Pattie nodded her head in agreement.
      Seated at the table everyone joined hands as they gave thanks.
      The conversation was lively except for their observation that Carol was not eating much. Her response, “I’m vegan. Well not completely but pretty much a vegetarian, don’t eat meat,” as she pushed some corn pudding around her plate.
     Grandpa keep chewing and with food in his mouth said, “You don’t know what you’re missing everything is delicious, especially the hash.”
     After a period of silence, Jason wiped his mouth with a cloth napkin and questioned his mom, “So did we get a dog?”

Gizmos & What-cha-ma-call-its

It has been a real struggle to write recently, so I have returned to a daily writing exercise. Randomly flip through the dictionary and point at a word. Once you have ten words stop. Like them or not, use as many of them in a story/paragraph.

June 25th, 2015
Interview, ban, states, disturbed, inspector, location, announced, wine, recipe, gizmo

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A Gizmo or What-ch-ma-call-it

     “Hand me that gizmo,” Rita said.

     “What gizmo?” Allen asked while tying his tie and studying Rita’s reflection in the bedroom mirror. Sunlight reflected the red highlights in her auburn hair.

     This morning he was dressing for an interview. It was his third in the hiring process. Today he would meet and chat with staff, each of whom had the ability to ban his employment. A mental picture of several inspectors carrying poster boards that read, “Go Home, We Love Fred!” disturbed him. If hired he would replace a popular boss whose subordinates had whined and complained about his firing. He need of a recipe for success, not distraction!

     Rita primped oblivious to his situation. With both hands raised above her head and holding a curling iron she stated, “You know that thing-a-ma-gig I use to curl my eye lashes.” Rita bent her neck and pointed her head to indicate a location, “That gizmo over there.”

     Allen tightened the Windsor knot at his neck and looked in the direction of her dresser. It was cluttered with; tweezers, nail clippers, buffers, files, and emery boards. Things scattered haphazardly about.

     Clueless, he responded, “Which what-ch-ma-call-it?”

     Rita sighed with annoyance. “It’s the one with loops for your fingers and a bar to you slip your lashes between. Don’t play stupid. It’s right there.”

     Allen sauntered across the room and examined the items on her bureau. He debated which one best fit her description of torture. Then as though playing Russian roulette, held it out to her and said, “You mean this doohickey?”

Red Pepper

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It has been a real struggle to write recently, so I have returned to a daily writing exercise. Randomly flip through the dictionary and point at a word. When you have ten words stop. Like them or not, use as many of them in a story/paragraph.

June 11, 2015:

Spacecraft, understated, dummy, numbers, goblin, downriver, rigor, sneak, thief, cayenne

Red Pepper

      A dream woke me in a terrible fright. I was swimming downriver and goblins were everywhere. In the moonlight, their distorted features appeared ghoulish. Some had their eyes in the wrong place, others suffered with over-sized lips, missing ears, or a hole in place of their nose. To say I was glad to be awake was an understatement.

     In the bathroom, I applied a cold cloth to my head then decided to sneak downstairs. I could hear my husband snoring. It was the middle of the night and everyone else was asleep. I took the stairs one at a time avoiding the steps I knew would creak.

     The numbers on the kitchen clock read three thirty and I sat to ponder my dream and recover. Then felt like a thief rummaging through the pantry looking for something to eat.

     The rigor with which the goblins had chased me chewed at my mind. They had not been violent but only a dummy could believe that would not happen with time. Who could these monsters represent in my life? I munched on stale popcorn and made a mental list of anyone I might have harmed. While looking for salt in the spice shelf the cayenne pepper fell on the floor. When I looked down broken glass and red powder covered my feet. My husband was still snoring as I fell to the ground.

. . . . seriously just saying

The Whistler

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Recently it has been a real struggle to write so I have returned to a daily writing exercise. I randomly flip through the dictionary and point my finger at a word, then use as many of these words in a story/paragraph.

June 10th Writing Exercise:

Use these ten words to write a story; Transport, discrimination, estimate, collection, chance, whistle, layer, best, provide, and forth.

The Whistler

     Tanya turned around when she heard the whistle. It came from a man sitting on a wooden box turned sideways. His butt overflowed on the top while his feet straddled its sides. It was the kind of box featured in a Norman Rockwell painting. You know the kind, usually had some colorful lettering on it advertising Borden’s Milk or another dairy or produce company. Sometimes the lettering was in bold block letters done in black ink.

     This box was weathered, like the man who sat on it.

     Tanya put her hands on her hips and wiggled back to where he sat. Her high heels scratched the pavement as she walked. She said, “Mister here’s your only chance to apologize, so give it your best shot.

     The man wore a week old beard but smelled of day old cologne, possible Old Spice. He drank coffee from a white Styrofoam cup after blowing a circle of steam aside. Then slurped and said, “Ah . . . .” signifying the caffeine provided some relief. “Now why would I do that? That would be discrimination. I whistle at every pretty girl that goes by, regardless.”

     Tanya’s layered thoughts confused her. She was flattered while offended. She pulled at her too tight too short skirt and turned her chin to say, “Well this pretty girl wants to be the exception . . . discriminate me. I won’t be part of your collection. “

     The man nestled his coffee cup between his knees to free his hands and wrap a coat of sadness around him. “Collection? Never thought I was collecting anything, but now that you put it that way, guess I have a collection of sorts, a collection of memories.”

     Tanya watched the man as he stared into space, got a faraway look in his eye. The sadness he wore fell to the ground. Then a smile appeared on his face and when his eyes met hers said, “Well Miss whatever your name is, I don’t have bad intentions. Just like to whistle no need for you to be part of my memory collection.”

Fang Man

Help-me

     Help Me! I am truly struggling with my writing. Ideas used to pop into my head, gnaw at my mind and interrupt my thoughts during the day. I even woke during the night to write in my head. But, and this is a big but, that has stopped. Yes, there are some upsetting things in my life and I am suffering with vertigo; so I have good excuses. Nevertheless I worry the world is passing me by. This morning I decided to nip it in the bud and resume a writing exercise from the past.

     Writing Exercise:

                 Randomly select ten words from the dictionary or any book and use them to make a story. I don’t time myself, although when this is presented to a group there is usually a fifteen minute time frame. I also like to title what I have written. This is what I wrote.

Fang Man

          (Stretcher, Lady, fang, checkpoint, random, lodging, mixture, single-minded, infectious, smoky)

     “I had to force myself,” the lady said as she was carried on a stretcher. The reporter hurried along-side scribbling in a note pad. Her voice contained a single-mindedness that he knew had saved her. But how long would she be alive? Determined to get her story, he jogged with the rescue team as they weaved their way through the mixture of smoky air and chemical scents he noticed at checkpoint.

      “Lady, can you hear me?” He yelled at her listless body after the stretcher had been placed on the ground next to other victims waiting transport. “What’s your name madam? Miss, what’s your name?” He prodded her to answer.

     “My name?” She lifted her head to ask with skepticism followed with an infectious laugh. The reporter lowered himself onto the grass and sat at her side. He felt helpless and wished to be invisible, not there. All he knew was there had been a loud explosion.

     The woman looked into his eyes and said, “I remember his fangs,” and collapsed on the canvas mattress.

. . . . seriously just saying

Me A Sandwich

In response to The Daily Post’s writing prompt: “You, the Sandwich.”

If a restaurant were to name something after you, what would it be?


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                                  The Crunch

It would be a sandwich, not a hoggie, hero or sub.
Something simple and delicious, to take on the run
My mouth starts to water and I lick my lips
Thinking of this everyday pantry item, always a hit.
Smooth and creamy it sticks to the roof of your mouth
Not to worry a thick slice of apple is packaged inside
That’s why it’s called  the “Crunch”

Recipe

2 pieces of rye bread, or any soft mushy bread of choice

Lots of creamy peanut butter

Slices of Granny Smith Apple

Cut the apple first than, than spread peanut butter on bread, layer apple inside.

Idyllic Not Heaven

In response to The Daily Post’s writing prompt: “Idyllic.”

reverend-francis-o-morris-carrion-crow

     I wrap my hands around a hot cup of coffee for warmth and wander outdoors. The morning temperature is cool, not more than sixty. I have on socks and a sweatshirt. Our back yard views the golf course. The sounds are peaceful, tranquil or some prefer to say, serene. The trees rarely move. The manicured greens create a sameness that is boring when there is nothing to do. The community not gated nor age restricted, is idyllic.

Then frenzy, a frantic fluttering of leathers and squawking, starts. High above hawks swoop down on a crow’s nest eager for breakfast. Squeals and squalls erupt, like a distress signal, and numerous crows appear as words do in a television screen warning. Alert; heir young will not be eaten.

Over the next hour, crows perched in trees, change watch as the hawks linger eyed for a weakness. The crows have a larger extended family. I wonder if there is a situation room in which their strategy was discussed then conclude it was idyllic and natural instinct.