100+ Followers and Inspirational Strangers

I should have worded the title better, because it is two separate thoughts. Allow me to explain.

I’ve broken one hundred followers: my first milestone! Thank each and every one of you so much; I am honored that you find my content worthy enough to follow along. You are what drives this blog, and without you, I wouldn’t have an audience to cater to. I probably would’ve given this up a while back if it weren’t for you. I have a surprise coming as a token of my gratitude- I won’t go into detail other than saying that it will surface by next weekend the latest.

As far as the ‘inspirational strangers’ part of the title goes, I want to take a quick second to recognize an awesome couple I met at Trader Joe’s recently. I’ve seen them three times in the past week or so while at work. The first time, I aided them in their gluten-free shopping adventure. The next time I saw them, I had the pleasure of cashing them out and thereby talking to them a bit more. I don’t normally like to relay information that involves receiving a compliment from someone else (ergo, talking myself up), but these two really made me feel nice. They informed me that I was a part of their discussion at dinner the night I first met them- that I had a ‘really cool vibe to [him].’ It made my whole week to know that I could have had such an impact on someone, without doing anything particularly outstanding. That same day, I learned that she’s originally from Buffalo, while he grew up on the west coast, and they currently reside in California and are visiting. I saw them again earlier tonight very fleetingly, as there was a rush, but the man went out of his way to say hello to me. Again, I was flattered. I also learned that they leave for the west coast on Monday. Unless they stop in to the store before they leave, I won’t get to see them again. I sadly didn’t even get their names. But they were briefly regular customers that will stick in my memory; not because of their kind words, but because they had a way about them that left me inspired. I only wish I’d extended an offer to keep in touch. Maybe I will get my chance on Monday.

It is instances like those that are the reasons I love my job. So many interesting occurrences; so many interesting people. You learn so much without even realizing it, simply in daily interactions and routines.

Going back to my follower base, once again, you are all amazing. Thank you for keeping me going. Wordsmith is for you; not for me. I hope you enjoy everything that’s to come.

🙂

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Vacant

I hear his muffled, rustic tone from the other side of the door. “Do come in,” he says, “I’ve been expecting you.” The knob offers a labored sound, as if it needs oiling; more dissonant than a hyena’s laugh. The door creaks open. Upon stepping inside, the atmosphere is not the least bit welcoming: overturned furniture; cobwebs; a tarp of dust leaving no centimeter of creaky hardwood uncovered.

Nobody lives here. Nobody’s lived here for decades. But then what of my invitation?

Let’s Coauthor a Short Story: A Budding Narrative (Day 2)

The story is off to a fantastic start; the contributions have been nothing less than excellent. If you missed day one, you can get yourself up to speed here. I would love it if you would hop on the bandwagon.

In short, we are writing a story together as a community of bloggers. Each person writes their own excerpt, following the previous person’s submission. What you write is completely up to you; there are no guidelines, but it’s urged to use an example of imagery, assonance, alliteration, metaphor, simile, or any combination in your writing.

The following are the contributions so far, with their respective authors in parentheses, in the order that they were submitted. If you choose to join in, please try to keep in line with what’s already been established (e.g. character names, setting), but feel free to take the plot wherever you’d like it to go.


 

In her own words, the building stood taller than any she’d seen before; so tall, a cloud of fog cascaded over its peak, shrouding it from her sight. 

(jedorsparmilesrequins [me])

Next to her Michael let out a long, low whistle, bouncing energetically on the balls of his feet as he waited for her to put away the scanner and tell the rest of the party if the structure was still safe to climb.

(caroljforrester)

“It’s never too late to reach up and touch the sky, Mico!” she cajoled. “In fact, if ‘you’re’ever going to reach a pinacle it’s quite likely that it will be this one – fearless first: losers last!”

(graemesandford)

Michael, stripped from his previous bravado, displayed a disposition akin to extreme sickness. “The stairs don’t work in this one, then?”

(G. Z. Kieft)

Dubai embraced their group in a dusty warm breeze, very much the opposite of the clear cold cutting wind they would have to endure as they climbed.

(theneuroticpeanut)

‘No its the dare that’s the thing to see if you have it in you like the disposition of a rat up a drainpipe.’ Michael having survived the multiple facial colours of the extremely concerned turned with an air of certainty and announced his intention to rise to and take up the challenge.

(summerstommy2)

A candle flickered briefly in one of the lower windows and the silhouette of one in a hooded monk’s robe appeared before the shade was quickly drawn.

(JanuarysDreamer)

Michael swallowed hard; the lump in his throat felt as if it were the size of a papaya. He shot a glance at Rhea, but she seemed too distracted by her overzealous approach at the impending hike to notice. He scanned the monstrous edifice one final time before choking back his apprehension.

(jedorsparmilesrequins [me])


 

If you’re stumbling upon this project for the first time, I welcome and encourage you to participate. If you’re just here to read how it’s going, that’s perfectly fine as well. If you’re lost and this is simply an unplanned detour, welcome! Have a look around if you wish. Also feel free to stop by the aforementioned authors’ blogs- they are all great people with content that is worth the time to check out.

Let’s keep the story going! What happens next? 🙂

Let’s Coauthor a Short Story

You know that sentence game that involves each player adding to the previous person’s sentence to form a story? Let’s do that.

I will start by proposing an opening line below. You can keep it going by adding a followup line in the comments. Here’s the fun part: try to include an example of imagery, assonance, alliteration, metaphor, or simile, or any combination in your line. It’s not required, but suggested, to get you thinking.

You can either write a line to follow mine, or to follow someone else’s comment. You may quote the line you are following for the sake of clarity, or you may leave it up to interpretation by remaining ambiguous. Some lines may have multiple followings, some may not. As a result, I hope to create a largely open-ended story. There is no deadline, and you may comment as many times as you wish.

When the story is eventually finished, I will post it in its entirety and give credit to each contributing blogger. 🙂 Let’s get the ball rolling.


In her own words, the building stood taller than any she’d seen before; so tall, a cloud of fog cascaded over its peak, shrouding it from her sight. 

Sullen Draft / Sodden Canopy

Clothes-pinned
One of five senses
Feline diatribes
climbing into trees
in the distance
Tiptoeing across fence posts
Ulterior motive
You’re not who you were

Great variance
So what?
90 minutes by train
Still no invitation
Your piano chords
strike me down
like hammers onto strings
I sound flat
I look like
last week
And I feel like
six years ago

I pluck at my arteries
Looking for reason
Pinpoint aches
Epicenter
Uncover latex
altruism
It’s become about the doer
No longer
the deed

I end my letter
with a cliffhanger
Sign off
in a dead language

Thanks for the
flowers
I’m allergic

Mango Purée

Mango smoothie
Rich in vitamins
Shake well before using
Artificial nothing
Coat my esophagus
Cleanse my soul
of all things
pessimistic and
negative

What’s in a Label?

Where do you find labels? Hugging soup cans; hanging out on the side of boxes of food; adhering to household cleaning agents; representing recording artists, but that’s not the kind of label I’m referring to. 

What’s the purpose of a label? To explain the ingredients of what’s contained therein. This is good so that you know what you’re putting into your body, at least in the case of food. If you’re ingesting household cleaners, that’s a problem, and there’s a number you can call. But in the case of multi-purpose cleaning agents, the product labels graciously let you know what you’re using to remove stains from fabric or smudges from glass. 

But when do labels have a place otherwise? People don’t walk around with price tags on their foreheads, or calorie counts wrapped around their forearms. The answer to the question: They don’t. 

Words are everything, and when you really think about it, their sole use is a designation. It’s a natural inclination to wonder what something you’ve never encountered before is called- whether it be a concept, something existential, or something tangible, like a coat. 

But with designation also comes restriction. There’s not quite such a thing as an open-ended definition, and even if there were, it’d be unsatisfying because as humans we gravitate towards the linear. We throw descriptions into the confines of a box, and anything that won’t fit cannot be used as part of the definition. Therefore, though labels can be useful, they’re also quite restrictive. Water is called ‘water’ in English, but that’s as far as that word has that meaning. In French, it’s l’eau. In German, it’s das wasser. These kinds of designations are helpful insofar as they identify things. But what’s to be made of the intangible?

Sexuality. Race. Diet. Heredity. It’s all about perception. Labels are used to define these concepts but they’ve also been used to confine them, as well. Someone whose ideals and beliefs are in line with those of feminism is called a feminist. But that word has stirred up a considerable amount of controversy for the misconception that a feminist is a woman who detests men. And to what do we owe that controversy? The label, feminism. Why isn’t it possible for someone to adhere to those morals and not have to identify as a feminist? Without the label, the concept essentially doesn’t exist. It would simply be what somebody believes in, no holds barred. If there’s no name to the face, it’s difficult to imagine that something could be considered wrong or offensive. There’s no such concept until it’s defined. But conceptualization does little more than squeeze ideas and patterns into groups, disparage, and separate. When you separate, you segregate. When you segregate, effectively you quarantine, and quarantine zones are conducive to conflict. 

That man over there wants to marry his boyfriend of nine years, but he can’t, because gay marriage in his state is illegal. Being gay is wrong. But what if he’s not gay? What if- and I know this is a long shot, but bear with me- he’s merely human? He’s fallen in love, and that’s wonderful. Why slap a label onto that? 

And that woman over there is a devout theist. She loves God and wants to devote her life and time to Him. But she can’t do that without being called a bible thumper. Why mark her?

Because of the concept of homosexuality and the label of ‘bible thumper,’ the woman in the second situation is assumed not to be in support of the man in the first. All theists are homophobic. That’s what labeling does- it bridges the gap between individuality and generalization. Try to look at each circumstance as an onion- there are countless layers. They aren’t all the same, solid, hollow block. The same goes for theism, sexuality, vegetarianism, feminism, etc. Ironically, I’m using these designative terms to express my disinterest in them. But if these things weren’t conceptualized, the terminology wouldn’t exist, and my purpose for writing this would be moot.

I call myself this, because it is what I was taught to call this ‘thing,’ this ‘circumstance,’ this ‘condition.’ But the only necessary designation is human, because I think it is safe to say that we all can identify as that. (Unless you can identify as a turtle, in which case always be a turtle.) The rest will become obsolete once we treat people as people, and not as things, or circumstances, or conditions. 

Umbrella Terms

Soon it will be daylight
and I will have barely slept
My eyes are heavily weighed open
from the salty overtones that laced
the hours I’d wept

Internally
the thought has slowly crept
That my daily routine will
become an antagonizing puzzle
of great depth
The more that I falter and the less
that I’m adept
Because I’ve found that with little rest
I’m less rooted and
more inept
Especially in areas of my life which
are more like buffed out hardwood
and less like floors
I’ve merely swept

These monologues I’ve cached
carry such influence, they
harbor such heft
And the external colors are so noisy
that I’m practically deaf
But they’ve disguised themselves
as promises that I’ve been
too weary to have kept
So I categorize this series
of sleepless weeks
as a phase I must accept
Since most months I am boundless
when the bounds are
purely precepts

Otherwise,
I fixate on the paths that interject
Because I’m but a spore
in the midday sky
without much left

Unto Me

If you hold my hand
just a little tighter

It will provide me the sense
of security
I need to feel like
I can do anything

Without it,
I am a wandering limb,
reaching to grab at any old
blank stare
that will turn its gaze
unto me

Petrichor

The buses run every hour
and
I haven’t had my coffee, yet
but the sugar is nowhere
to be found

So,
I’ll cap my overactive imagination
into a thermos,
grab my rationale from off
the coat rack,
and be on my way
shortly

I might miss it by some
few seconds,
but it’s a clear sky, and
I’ve got time to walk