Thursday, November 22, 2018

GNG; writing fundamentals -- How to write a good first line

After taking some time to view the video below, the GNG members write 3 first lines of 3 different genres. Can you guess which genre?

al-Falaq (Had to outshine us by doing 4, LOL)

“I’m not pressuring you,” Detective Eickes grumbled out through clenched teeth, “but has anybody found this guy’s fucking head, yet?”

Blood trickling into my eyes, I could barely make out the thorn-filled wall of roses stretching up into a cloudless blue sky as I thought, “Okay, let’s try this again.”

Onion, garlic, rosemary, thyme; the loves of her life through nimble fingers drizzled over her magic cauldron while just beyond the varnished swinging door, judgment sat, patiently waiting.

Jacob was waist deep in the ocean in a three-piece suit, the day I became the kind of person who could learn to care about someone else’s feelings more than my own.

Mia Maine

Write three opening lines for three different genres.
Other writers try to guess the genre

He came from a long line of construction workers; he was part visionary, part bulldozer, no wonder he was adept at breaking hearts.

The teddy bear was sticky, not from overuse but from the pool of blood in which it lay.

A feeling of foreboding settled upon my shoulders as I stared at the indigo splotch spreading across the canary sun.

He held her hand as the white sheet was draped across her cooling body; would it be for the last time or would she wake as before?

Be watchful! Fog, can be just as great an enemy as those who hide in it, among the trees,” the General said as he stood on the hilltop.

My life began with a kiss, electrifying. 

At the age of sixty-five, DeAnna decided that her fight with happiness was over.

The dawn brought with it the cold and Vlad could think of nothing but the warm, satisfying taste of blood.

When autumn leaves fall, they fall – they don’t shatter.  

Friday, November 9, 2018

GNG Meeting: An exercise in movement

Within my cupped hands
I hold water
That holds me.
A reflection
In my hands
My breath pushes forward
As I sigh.
The water Ripples.
I ripple.
I sigh again and 
Water escapes.
I escape so I hold on
Until the water is still again.
My reflection is still.
So, I am still
Still hold me
Within my cupped hands.

I started reading my book around three,
Cloaked in the shadow of a sycamore tree.
Jeremy wanted me to ride with hee,
In a rickety buggee,
He plied mee
With an offer to share some brie,
So I accepted his hospitalitee.
And down the dusty road, rode we.
About halfway we came to see
A vagabond stumbling drunkenlee,
Before our horse did tumble hee,
Who then tripped our horse, which sprained its knee.
Then it was not me, but Jeremee,
Who accosted this stranger angrilee
Before he had had a chance to see
This hobo was now just a dead bodee.
“Oh, Shit!” exclaimed hee.
In panicky chaos a plan did Jeremee,
Hatch to resolve this delinquencee
Since I now found out that unbeknownst to me,
He was now smuggling heroin for the thuggee.
“You’re on your own”, I explained to hee,
And disembarked into the forestree,
Wherefrom I could hear his arrest into captivitee
As the police encountered Jeremee.
And there in the shade of an old oak tree,
I sat to read, both happy and free.

She speaks in whispers
Her breath coming in quiet swirls of words
Smelling of sweet nothings in melody, whispers
Whiskey husk glides across drums that vibrate with sound
I watch her lips tip back the glass, then another
Arms engulf me as she moves closer, whispers
The rank and filth around us disappear, as her hair brushes my cheek when she turns her head
Thumping bass moves us as we stare at one another, one eye honey the other chocolate
Bodies moving in the dark, lights illuminating the shadows, whispers
Bumps in the night stir me to wake, she takes another sip
“Sorry pal” he says before moving over to her, grabbing her by the waist
She smiles deeply at him and glances over his shoulder, honey and chocolate
She speaks in whispers but not to me 

Thursday, September 13, 2018

GNG meeting from July 29th 2018

(Click on their names to be linked to their blogs)

Mia Maine
Feeling: Manic
Image: Addict hitting another line of coke
Word: Frenzy
The root of all evil, rolled tautly into a hollow tube, is placed precisely against my reflection and inserted into my nasal cavity.
I exhale and in the milliseconds that elapsed before my inhalation, I hear it again.
Please, just stop
I close my mouth and breathe in Frenzy ground down into a silky powder 
A star explodes, 
Meteorites crash against my brain and my blood surges in the resulting tsunami.
Mania surfs the wave, widening my eyes, 
Words collide with thoughts, at once I want to communicate all and nothing
I slide, washed away or along-side
companion to everyone and yet eerily alone 
Tossed about by memories and experiences
Churned in life’s undertow and spit out upon the shore of here and now 
I lick my lips, shake my head to orient myself
Dip my finger in the Frenzy and rub it across my teeth. 
I pick up the root of all evil, place it precisely against my reflection, 
She looks back at me and mouths “Please, just stop” before she becomes too blurry to see.
eath and tickling my extremities

DAP Tales
Given word – Eger
Image: Beavers crossing the street

Jackie Beaver could smell the river before he saw it. Despite the annoying smell of steaming hot asphalt in front of him, he could smell it. It was this smell that he raked in with a deep breath. The damp moss coxed and called to him with a temptation that he felt deep in his bones, so he took a step forward. Whoosh! The air trail of the passing car, that just missed him, sent him stumbling into the dry prickly grass. Dazed, Jackie looked passed his sprawled feet to the empty road. He looked left. Nothing. He looked right. Nothing. Decision made, Jackie sat up with every intent to cross the street.
            “Geronimoooo!” Came a shout from behind him. It manifested into the furry hind-quarters of another beaver. The ball of fur flew across the asphalt as if being chased. The beaver, whom Jackie decided to name, Geronimo, turned and waved to him from the other side. Before Jackie could lift his paw to wave back, Geronimo was gone.
            Jackie Beaver took another deep breath of the deliciously wet, mossy scent of the river on the other side of the road. Once again, he looked to his left and then his right. Feeling safe, Jackie eagerly dashed in a lung burning sprint. Just as he made it to the other side, several cars blew passed him with fur cinching speed. Delirious with relief, Jackie bolted toward the lake but suddenly stopped in his tracks when a new smell assaulted him. Blood! Stretching his neck toward the scent, he cautiously peeked around a stout pine tree and there, at the edge of the river, a skinny fox was having a Geronimo dinner. Tearing his eyes from the gruesome scene, Jackie sighed with a heavy heart. Today just wasn’t a good day to be an eager beaver.

Indecisiveness- Befuddled

Warm tousled goodness, intertwining with flowing mastery? No. That won’t do. Cool, tingly, bites that overwhelm the senses? No. Not quite. Melodious melting membranes, wrapping, contouring around one another. Close but… not exactly. Golden heavenly light drenched, bursting with happiness! Nah, try again.

My mental facilities race around in circles, as I creep into sensory overload. The sights are all consuming, the smells tremendously outrageous, the sounds joyfully deafening. And the tastes! The multitude of flavors titillating my taste buds short circuit the little hamster in the wheel of my mind. It begins to shut down as my breath becomes shallow. My heart beating wildly demanding an answer to the question on his lips. What is this maddening world of excess?!

“Honey, what kind of ice cream did you want?” he asked with confusion displayed on his face that mirrored my own. 

“Why would you bring me to this place of wonder called B’More Licks?! How dare you?!” 

Word: Worried
Image:  Draw shade
Word:  Fatalistic

Like marbles, your eyes languish immobile, set to absorb the surrounding darkness.  I see them as if through a slight haze, the distance between us not yet fully brought close.  You are hovering in a space between awareness and dream, looking out through your glass-like eyes towards a day you hope would not have begun, but of course, it has.  I know all about it.  So, familiar, looking at you lying there.  Could say, “It’s like looking at my own self,” but that would be facetious.  Because it is me.  Me here, looking at me lying there, the me who is still alive being observed by the me now already dead and gone, come back to stalk myself surreptitiously from the gathering shadow. 
Dread.  Not a specific concern, but a lingering anxiety, generic, everywhere, permeating.  The room swims in shadow, a tiny, glistening highlight visible at the edges of the drawn shade, holding out the intrusive dawning sun.  Like it or not, the day is trying to start.  With or without you, as they say.  They are always saying something.  The murmuring throng.  The Hapless Horde.  The moronic majority spilling out their morality by the cup full to all the thirsty sponges crying out for guidance.  The path to Armageddon, well paved.  If they knew what you knew, would their tongues wag so much?  You haven’t moved an inch, in spite of the ants crawling centimeter by itching centimeter beneath your skin, driven by the thoughts in your restless brain, endlessly harassing nerve after nerve because you know the sun inches higher and higher above the dew-drunk trees.  I remember it.  I want to scratch it for you.  Let you feel the comfort of a human hand, consoling fingertips, warm palms.  I want to shake you.  I want to drive into your head any semblance I can of defiance, indignation, any refusal to give in to the tides of fate.  I’d scratch you, abrade you with sandpaper, lovingly strip from you every millimeter of precious skin, just to get the ants out.  Make you listen.  Free you from your desperate thoughts of the future; a horrified cow-mere feet before the blood soaked apron and the rivet gun.  More than you are haunted by your dead future, come to skulk at you, I am haunted by my ill-fated past, insipidly slithering idly toward fate’s poised hammer, about to strike.
You stare out at the drawn shade, its rectangle of pinkish light like a collection of hungry fingers creeping round its edge to remind you, “Time slides along”.  Your shallow breathing level, barely audible, even in the deathly still of this room -- So controlled.  Your control shall avail you not, friend.  I oughtta know.  See me.  Come on, try it.  I see you well enough, or is this merely the illusion created by the persistence of memory?  Should a dead man even have a memory?  It’s real, I know it.  See me.  Focus your eyes onto mine, here right in front of your face.  Move! 

Wednesday, September 5, 2018

July 14th 2018 GNG Meeting

The Guild members pick words for each other to inspire this week's offerings.


Suicidal- lady outside- distraught

The sun’s rays ride the air current to warm the skin. Such a beautiful contrast to the crisp coolness of the water that surround the feet. The breeze blows the hair that carries the sweet scent of the nearby cherry blossoms as the music plays. The hands brush the delicate grass nearby as a tiny bunny nibbles on its goodness. Birds chirp merrily on a branch above. The world vibrates with life. So full. It’s bursting to sing a song. I stand in the water surrounded by life’s notes like a Beethoven’s sonata. Melodious strings and piano fill my ears, wrapping around me. But it can’t get in. Just like the sun, the air, the water, the life, it can’t get in.

And it tries. The music looks for cracks and crevasses to penetrate down deep into my soul. Some of it gets in. Hooray tiny notes! Husah for you! You made it through only to be sucked into the darkness. The void my soul calls home. You are not enough to fill it. The sunlight is not enough to overcome my darkness. The air isn’t strong enough to blast away the blackness. I sink to my knees in the chilly water. The cold doesn’t bother me. I have always been surrounded by the cold.
Or no not always. Somewhere in the memories of this husk there was warmth. Yes! Yes, there was warmth. Once. It flitters at the edges of the mind and my heart twinges. It, no, her, yes, her. She was the warmth, my light and my sweet… My sweet. Yes, she was sweet, until she was wretched away from me. Ripped apart and left broken like a brat’s discarded toy after a temper tantrum. The chill creeped back in. The music stopped piercing my heart. I sit down in the cold-water stinging, nipping at my breast.

It hurts now. Not the cold. Oh no, the heat, the air, the smells, the sounds. They all hurt because I knew. I knew what it was supposed to be. I knew how full and robust life should be. A shadow was cast over me just like the shadow I cast over her tiny frame. My eyes couldn’t make out the difference between the red blood, the white bone, or the raven hair. She deserved light. She should have never been born to darkness. Carefully, I moved each limb in place, wiped the blood from her face and gently picked her up. She deserves this light, not me. I deserve to be swallowed by the void that is eating away at me. There it is, the shadow, he looms.

“She knew better,” the shadow growls. “You should have kept her safe. You deserve to be in her place,” he says.

“You’re right,” I replied as the music stops. I move back to my knees and pick up the limb doll I laid on the river bank. Even now her warmth tries to reach me as I clutch her to my bosom. Just like that, the water engulfs us. We sink into the murky depths as the final tendrils of the void consume us both.


(alFalaq, for some reason, lost the beginning of this piece. LOL)

Burning pain stabs through the meat of my left arm.  It feels like fire is raging inside my very bone.  Daring a glance, I see my shoulder, too close to my face and out of focus.  Beyond that, my quivering bicep, spasming randomly with each renewed gust of blazing pain.  Beyond that, a tangle of red flesh and torn skin, wet and sloppy with blood.  Nothing else.  My head swims in and out of focus and heaviness lies on me like a two-ton weight.  I’m not sure if my lungs are capable of breathing for much longer, or if they have been crushed in the fall.  I came here from the tree, visible a good distance above.  I remember having been in the tree.  I twist my eyes back up in its direction.  My temple throbs with the effort.  The ragged form still sways, a dark fruit under the mass of leaves.  Corrina was still there, in the tree.  She had gone through with it.  Just as she had promised.  Just like everything she had ever said to or done with me.  She had brought consistency and believeability to my world, a person who always did what she said, reliable and true.  She was the counterbalance to my frivolous, noncommittal habits.  I loved her.  I needed her.  There could be no real world without her, just the wavering, suffocating gel of my shadow world, so despondent and untrustworthy.  I became real with her.  Gained substance, was allocated a real spot in the world of people, a place where reality and expectation were real.  Pain was shooting through the center of my head, somewhere in the back of my skull.  It felt like jelly against the rocks.  My eyes lingered on the scene above, a macabre fruit dangling in an un-felt breeze.  My reality was there, a real world and a savior crucified on living wood.  Once again, she had succeeded where I could not follow through.  True, always, to her word.

How could someone of such light and heart ever have been convinced to follow a path such as this.  The end of the path was evident, even defined early on.  She knew where it all was leading, but she came willingly, like the Holy Lamb.  I guess, for once, I had finally found my place of power, some type of strange gravity that drew her along and, knowing what I knew, I stayed the course.  All of any number of times I should have strayed, abandoned ship, aborted the mission, I couldn’t.  The one thing in the world that ever offered any value at all to my existence was in peril by my own design and I knew it and I just could not sway from what I knew I was doing.  Bastard.  Pain like living flames burned inside the arm I no longer had, pushing all reality to the edges of my consciousness.  My heart beat pounded in the rent flesh like a mallet.  Serves you right, asshole.  I look skyward.  Corrina’s form floats above me, swaying under the verdant canopy of leaves like a child in lay in summer, dangling from the noose.  I gave up and fell; she followed through and swayed in the breeze.  Reaching out with my mind, I try to feet the detached portion of my arm.  Sensing it, I form an image:  the bloody stump of forearm dangling somewhere, the lifeless hand still stubbornly clutching some outcropping or limb where I had thought I could save myself.  Coward.  Ever in life, a coward.  In death, a coward.  Corrina, courageous in her love for me, danced side to side above my misting eyes.

Mia Maine

Emotion: Bloodlust
Image: Vampire bathed in blood and carnage
Feeling: Out of control
Word: Hungry

The melody of experience.
I stretch languidly upon a limb high above the lives below and listen to the rhythms of existence below.
Immersed in my own imaginings of the passersby beneath.

High hummingbird like fluttering of a first kiss
Deep, staccato stomps of anger
Slow, slithering slaps of depression.
It all blends and becomes white noise
Yet, every once and a while, like an off-key note in a symphony, this will peak through
It’s like their cells are sunbathed in illumination
And like a moth to a flame, I am drawn in.

A voyeur, it starts with wanting to witness but morphs into wanting to share.
Yet, intrusion is rarely welcomed with opened arms.
Once sensed, trepidation is introduced.
The pace quickens and fear spikes.
Like cayenne in gumbo or lemon pepper on wings, the flavor whets my mouth.

That’s a dangerous thing
A gnawing, destructive, selfish thing.
It envelops

It destroys sense
any definition of the word

It pilots
navigates all action until its end is met

Until bathed in victory
You kneel
Soaked in effort
Finally cognizant and drenched in the aftermath 

Tuesday, April 10, 2018

Setting the scene: Topics picked by fellow GNG members


A guy who used to be a bald eagle is now a bald guy and doesn’t know why or how this has all happened.

The first mistake is almost following my hunger off the bed this morning.  I don’t bother to open my eyes, because I never do.  The great thrill of diving, face first, out of my lofty aerie each morning, wind rushing past my face and over my wings, the rustle of my feathers, nearly deafening in the morning chill. The spring of the twigs of my nest launching my taloned feet.  Gravity, its irresistible pull, dragging me down toward the yawning crags of the canyon below, hungry for my flesh, hoping to digest my free spirit, but never!  I soar, eyes closed and gleefully untethered by gravity or the world, just me and the rising fire ball of the sun, unstoppable, joyous freedom in abundance!  Yes!!  Again, I am starting my day, already in victory!  I prepare the final note of my daybreak ritual, my signature cry, a shrill scream of ecstatic release, my welcoming announcement of my command over all I survey from on high.  Here it comes…!  And then!…

“Aaaggghhhhhh!!!!!”  Instead a soprano wail of pain and shock escapes my throat, frozen in place by wordless surprise as my head, suddenly unfeathered, bangs hard against something sharp, metal and unyielding.  My body bolts upright and feet with no talons; fleshy, doughy globs of meat with five toes each touch down on some surface as hard and unforgiving as old wood. My arms, naked of even a single feather, reach up reflexively to shield my already battered head and fingers, long, awkward and just as doughy as my feet rub a blank scalp of smooth, bald skin.  The knobby digits rub the space where a rogue night table lamp has crown me as I rose with my eyes shut.  I can feel the wooden floor, polished and smooth, beneath my toes.  Mystified, my mind reels as I attempt tp grasp just how I can even begin to identify such ideas as “Fingers”, “toes”, “night table”, “lamp” or “hard wood floor”.  How can a bald eagle know so readily these commonplace artifacts of the word of man, which to me, a denizen of the stony peaks thrust above the desert wilds, are alien and unnatural.  My fingers trace the shined globe of my bald head, utterly human.  A vague reflection stares back at me from the panes of a window beside my bed.  I have no name.  I have no recollection of this place.  I have no concept of where this place even rests, within the landscape, so foreign, which surely must stretch out somewhere beyond that window.  No memory of any existence, save as a bird of prey, feather-maned and proud, cutting the sky beyond the limitless trees, wherever that now might be.  With no recollection of how I could even know such a thing, I consider the story of the monk whose dream was so real, he woke to question if he was a monk who had dreamed he was a frog, or was indeed a frog who was now dreaming he was a monk.

My reflection gazed back dumbly at me from the cold pane of the window.  A mouth, not mine, opened in the reflection, a voice not mine echoing tragically and full of anguish and crazed confusion ripping out of the reflection’s horrified face:  “WHAAAAAT THEEEE FUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUCK?!?!?!?”

Mia Maine

A mouse and a chicken in an OJ factory. The question is who farted?

Our story opens in a small town in central Florida. Named for its export, Navel is the type of town where the sun rises promptly at 5:45 AM and the roosters crow considerately announcing its arrival. Warm breezes, sweet with citrus, roll over the many orange groves littering this organic haven. The lovely scent gently coaxes the inhabitants of Navel out of their slumber in a way that coffee envies. 

Yet, on this tumultuous Thursday, the citizens of Navel were jettisoned out of their comfortable trances by a septic stench so rancid that it induced dry heaves upon consciousness. Imagine, if you will, as their dreams dissipated and conscious thought tickled the edges of their psyche, a putrid perfume plays with their newly awakened sinuses. Their noses twitched in alarm, their eyes popped with concern and their stomachs rose in protest. Imagine that all twelve hundred Navel occupants shared that experience simultaneously. 

Naturally, we'd want to know why and how such a thing occurred. Who is responsible? Explaining the why and how will take a while and the who will blow your mind. I'll reveal all when I have more time…

Yvonne Walker

Dusk on NYE in 2199….

The air hung heavy on the town below. Up here the atmosphere is breathable. Yes, I could finally breathe again unaided. Or as much as I could before, everything went south. I read about this place in a book once. The hill with the only surviving tree. It’s so big but kinda yellowish green. The book said there many of them and they use to be the bright green of a neutron star burning out. Don’t worry tree, they don’t know what is coming for them. No one does. Not even Jerry. 

He didn’t get it. He would never understand the sacrifices that were being made. So much of the beauty that once was has been replaced by the whine and whirl of machines. The LED and laser lights blind us. Making the night seem like dusk. But it’s not dusk, is it? No, it’s close to midnight. Almost time. 

There always seems to be a constant borage of images; some good, others bad but all of them desensitizing us. To what end, I don’t know. Jerry seems to think they are training us for something new and exciting. Travel to space, make your fortune, see the stars. 
Stars, yeah right. I can’t remember the last time I had seen stars. Not from the valley, at least. Even from up here, I have to squint and tilt my head to the left. Maybe then I could tell the difference between a star and a satellite.  Maybe. But if it’s moving, it probably isn’t a star. 
That’s okay. Pretty soon we will all be able to better see all the stars. 30 minutes to go. Those damn lights are twinkling away blinding us to the truth. Everyone is partying into the new year. Even Jerry. Go ahead, get glammed up. Paint on your happy faces and drink away your problems. It won’t be long now.  

10 seconds now. Oh, there, in the distance, the first lights went out. Ha ha! I knew it would work. 7 seconds, I wish I could see the look on Jerry’s face now. More darkness, it’s spreading. 5 seconds, the machines are winding down, I can hear it. 4 seconds, it is getting quieter. 3, uh oh, I hope people can run, that’s not a star falling from the sky. 2, I can see them now. They’re so beautiful! The stars! 1, Happy new year, tree!