Writing 101: To Whom it May Concern

Writing Challenge: Pick up the nearest book and flip to page 29. What jumps out at you? Start there, and try a twist: write in the form of a letter.

A letter to Joy

Dear Joy,

I found you on page 29 of a book. The writing challenge, “To whom it may concern,” was the map that led me to you.

Can I connect with you outside of page 29? You are needed everywhere and in every heart.

Word on the street is that a Carpenter has you in an unlimited supply. One of His family members, a half-brother from His mother, even encourages us to think of the trials of life as occasions for joy.

Is such a mindset possible?  Is perspective the key to locating you outside of the boundaries of page 29? Umm… I think I need to reflect on this more.

Also, do you know anyone who can tell me where to find the Carpenter? I would appreciate any help you can provide.



Writing 101: Death to adverbs

The Daily Post writing challenge: Go to a public location and make a detailed report of what you see. The twist of the day? Write the post without adverbs.

He rules the courtyard, talons curled, wings outspread, perched atop a base composed of one layer of iron and the second of stone. A fountain gushes from the middle of the base.  One spout aims for the top of the base but, failing in its endeavor, falls and slips into the circular pool below. Another spout trickles over the left side to join the first in the pool.The sound of the water energizes more than soothes. Four boulders crouch in the pool: two paired and one on each side of the couple.

The six foot, charcoal colored, iron eagle gazes down at the pool but seems oblivious to the surroundings. His visage is fierce as if his thoughts are on matters that will require force and precision. As if there is an enemy who had dared to challenge the eagle’s authority and has to be annihilated. His curved beak rests on his chest.

The courtyard has eight benches, including the one on which I sit. The seat of each bench appears rusted but the finger I swiped across the seat bears no evidence of rust. The frame of each bench is black in some areas and a mixture of grey and black in others, where the elements have taken a toll. The benches are also in pairs with varying distances between each partner, as if the partners share different levels of intimacy.

The benches are on the border of a path composed of embedded river pebbles, framed by a combination of red pavers and brick.  A garbage can is housed in a container constructed with the same river pebbles as the path. Its half dome-shaped, light grey plastic cover has a front opening.

Shrubs and plants of different kinds, reside in beds covered with light brown mulch in the middle, and edged with small rocks.

The blazing heat of the midday sun and the end of my lunch break bring this writing episode to an end. Their combined powers boot me out of this courtyard and order me back to my office.

Writing 101: A Room with a view (or just a view)

I exhale when I think of it. The two storied, brick house, with its red tiled roof, and wide porch that faces the ocean. I have encountered it only in my imagination, introduced to it during Writing 101, June 2014. Yet, it was what I thought of when invited by this Writing 101 September 2014 assignment to choose a place to which I would like to be transported if I could.

The location is unchanged: it is at the top of a hill and at the end of a winding road, about three miles outside of the small town at the foot of the hill. Population – 400.

The waist high, wooden gate, painted red on a whim, hooks arms with the white picket fence. It is the only entrance to the yard and leads up a short, stone path bordered with brightly colored flowers, to the heavy, chocolate brown kitchen door, which sticks during heavy rains.

The door opens into a kitchen that is small and, although there is no wasted space, feels cosy rather than crowded. A worn wooden table reigns in the center with wooden shelves and a wide porcelain sink, paying homage on the sidelines.

The archway from the kitchen frames a short narrow corridor that leads into the dining room. The dining room seems more spacious than it actually is due to the ceiling to floor windows on each side of the French doors leading to a tiny patio.

The walls of both the kitchen and dining room are white. The  white’s dominance in the dining room is interrupted by the burnished mango dining table with its multi-colored, tapestry runner marching down its length, matching chair covers on the four chairs gathered around. Close to and facing the French doors are sofa and love seats chosen more for comfort than style. Together with a a distressed wooden coffee table on a woven mat of various green hues, they comprise the living room.

A staircase with the slightest of curves, steps painted dark brown, and a single wrought iron hand rail, leads to the second floor with rooms that turn the house into a sanctuary. At the top of the stairs is a reading nook, with a red, plum club styled chair and matching ottoman. A small side table with a reading lamp, crowned with a beige lampshade on one side and, on the other side, a built in, three shelved bookcase holding a combination of books and an assortment of framed photographs.

Just a stone throw from the reading nook, is the door to the master bedroom where, upon entering, all senses are engaged. Depending on which of the five senses you lead with, you may first notice the subtle scent of sandalwood, or the soft grey of the walls, with its simple, white carved molding. The white is echoed in the dresser, side tables, the window seats on both sides of the small fire place, and the white French doors, that open to the balcony with its view of the ocean. And what a view it is in all seasons, from all vantage points: whether huddled during the winter under the warm, soft, comforters of the king size, sleigh bed which faces the french doors; or, reclining on the wooden Adirondack chairs or love seat on the balcony during other seasons.

The ocean view consistently invites me to breathe long and deep, to just be. It also reminds me that like the tide, life ebbs and flows, and my role is to set my sails, not try to control the uncontrollable.