Writing in the Margins, Bursting at the Seams

Writing in the Margins, Bursting at the Seams: July 2013

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Notes from the Enquiry into Dr. James Z. Orwen

"They weren't supposed to have emotion or intelligence, outside of basic instincts that would detect danger: fire, say, or a burglary," Orwen said.

"Nannies. That's what they were for?"

"That and hospital attendants. People don't trust machines."

"So you turned computers into humans."

"More the reverse. Humans into computers."


"Yes, sub the prefix meaning..."
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Saturday, July 27, 2013


She snagged a firefly from the air, removed its light with a fingernail, rubbed it onto the sidewalk to make it glow. But the gold had lost its shimmer. The treasure was gone.

This was written for this week's Trifecta Writing Challenge.  We were to write about a color.


Thursday, July 25, 2013


"Prayers are threads." Ian lazily drew his oar towards him before pulling it from the water.

The sun slanted across Findley Lake, temporarily strewing it with gemstones. "Prayers are just words, Ian."

"Prayers bind us to each other, unite us in common purpose."

"Not if we ain't all praying for the same thing."
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Sunday, July 21, 2013


How to stage a murder: Contaminate the water and the fields. Ring up the world. Invite all to a banquet. Chew your deeds thoroughly. Swallow your actions with care: You, too, must partake.

This was written for this week's Trifecta Writing Challenge. We were to write 33 words using ring, water and stage.


Wednesday, July 17, 2013


"I need to tell you something."

There had been rumors about his affairs. "What is it?"

"There's a crack in the universe."

My father had taught literature for forty years until the board forced his retirement. At the time I'd thought it was a bad idea. Now I wasn't so sure.

"Maybe it's a crack in time."

"A wrinkle?"

"No." He held his palm against the sky, smoothing it agains emptiness. "If you're real careful, you can feel it."

"No, Dad."

"Humor an old man."

I reached out halfheartedly.

"Put your hand flat." He placed his hand against mine and pushed before moving my hand slowly to the right.

"I don't see what this..."

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Friday, July 12, 2013


Doubt then believe.

This week the editors at Trifecta wanted to know our writing process in three words.


Thursday, July 11, 2013


They said I should enjoy every moment of my marriage; the time will just fly by.

They didn't say I'd be saving my cigarettes, scraping them against the curb whenever I go to town for groceries, carrying them around in a vinyl change purse while I stock up on damaged goods--dented cans of corn and five-day-old bread riding around in a cart with a wonky wheel.

They didn't say my husband would blacken my eyes when the kids bring home C's, necessitating a big floppy hat that fools no one, especially Margie, who sells me pea salad and shimmering squares of gelatin half off, even though it's not sale day yet. She dishes up a styrofoam container of gelatin and offers it with shaky hands and a congealed smile across the sterile counter of the deli and I examine the skin on her arms for the burn marks of which we will not speak.
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Saturday, July 6, 2013

July Fourth

When the explosions end and the colors drip from the sky, we grab our bikes and hit the trail, illegal after dark. Fireflies twinkle among wildflowers. Peepers sing from marshland. Nature celebrates earth. 

This was written for this week's Trifecta Writing Challenge: A 33 word free write piece.


Thursday, July 4, 2013


Three weeks after they struck oil in Titusville, PA, Louis Alts decided to become a prospector. He cut a branch from the willow that grew outside his bedroom and announced over eggs and bacon, "I'm going into prospecting."

His father looked at him. "You're a farmer, not a doodle-bugger."

But his mother, a forward-looking woman, nodded. "Look for where the earth weeps," she said, patting his hand. "Begin your search there."
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