Writing in the Margins, Bursting at the Seams

Writing in the Margins, Bursting at the Seams

Sunday, January 19, 2014


I've moved my site: http://kellygarriottwaite.com.

Hope you can join me there.

Thursday, January 16, 2014

Unspeaking Words Spoken

Lukos slammed from the cabin, the flames of the fire recoiling in response. Aeliana stared at the door, strong and permanent.

"Your tongue is sharp, daughter." Bekka emerged from her bedroom, eyes wary.

Aeliana crossed her arms. "You never discouraged it."

"Lukos is a good man."

"He was wrong."

"You were wrong."

Aeliana's heart sank. "What shall I do?"

"Find Esther."

"The diviner?"

"She knows the location of all of the words ever spake."


"Scribes tell of a magical place, rarely encountered, but tragic and beautiful." Bekka gave her child a shove. "It is your only hope."
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Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Soapstone Sink

There's an old soapstone sink in my basement. Double-basin. Each side twenty-one inches wide and fourteen inches deep. Chipped here and there, like the concrete basement floor, which is webbed with cracks and protestations.

My basement. Full of cobwebs in the old ceiling joists where new electric frowns upon the old knob and tube; a foundation of antique bricks decaying in white flakes onto the floor.

My basement. Several rooms with old doors of scrap wood nailed roughly together, doors that, when shut, don't completely fill the frame, leaving, instead, a two-inch gap of darkness and possibilities: The old coal room with a rectangular cast iron coal-chute, now sealed shut. The room that houses the incinerator—a behemoth of scrap metal that sits, unused, obviously—waiting for a future unknown while the gas boiler in the main room—another giant—keeps my house somewhat warm. Also in that main room, a dance platform, one wall lined with mirrors where someone must have practiced ballet and dreamed of being onstage. A fourth room houses the electric box and a set of wooden shelves, where, if I ever cleaned them up, I could set jars of my homemade jelly.

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Monday, January 13, 2014

New Words to Say

The first time I saw the tree, with slants of red that glanced through bare arms that scraped the sky, I feared no new words could draw it. I was wrong: There will e'er be words to say.

This was written for this week's Trifecta Writing Challenge. 

On now to this week's Trifextra challenge.  This week we are asking you to count syllables.  And words.  It's a lot of math for those of us who might be more accustomed to dealing with words, but we're confident you can pull it off.

We are asking for a 33-word response to the following snippet:
The first time I saw. . .
Here's the catch: all of your 33 words must be one syllable each.  We're going low-brow on your this week.  Or not.  Can you class it up under these restrictions?  Give us your best.

To clarify, we are giving you 5 words.  We want another 33 from you, for a grand total of 38. 


Final Giveaway

I'm finding that I hate documenting every single thing that I give away. It's frustrating, futile, even, trying to find significance in meaningless things; things that hold no value for me: The too-small socks. The hardware we'll never use. The three hundred or so thumbtacks that were used to paper all four walls of my daughter's last bedroom with covers from Newsweek: faces of Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton, mainly, but others as well. These covers will not go up on my daughter’s walls in our new house, not because she's no less of a democrat, but because the plaster walls in this old home are unfriendly to thumbtacks, and even if they were more accommodating to those tacks, I would forbid her from putting up so many pictures in this new room of hers: When we put the old house on the market, the painter we hired had to double skim coat her bedroom walls before applying paint.

What I'm most amazed at, and dismayed by, is the realization that I have so much stuff to get rid of. In a world of need, I need to get rid of things. I am ashamed that I have accumulated so much to begin with, so much that I have a year's worth of things to write about. I am embarrassed to celebrate this giving away, this clearing out of excess in such a public way. As so, I will continue to simplify my life by shedding things no longer useful to me--but more quietly from now on.

I find as I give things away, they leave tiny gaps in my life like so many holes in a bedroom wall.

Gaps I will skim over and paint upon and, eventually, forget about entirely.

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Sunday, January 12, 2014

Great 365 Day Purge - Day Thirteen

I must have kept every single card my husband ever gave me in the twenty-five years we've been together: Anniversary cards. Birthday greetings. Christmas and Easter cards when we were engaged. Some, early on, with brief notes penned by my husband. Others--the later ones--simply signed.

Today, I recycled them all.

And my husband did the same with the cards I gave him.

But I did keep this note, written in my grandmother Alice's hand...a note I discovered shortly after her death...a note that records a conversation she'd had with her husband, my grandfather.
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Saturday, January 11, 2014

Great 365 Day Purge - Days Eleven and Twelve

January 11, 2014

Days Eleven (and Twelve!) of "The Great 365 Day Purge of 2014."

And speaking of growing...

I went in for my physical the other day. Had that horrible stepping-on-the-scale moment (after slipping out of my boots, of course). Height. Blood pressure. The whole bit.

The doctor told me my blood pressure was good. I thought it seemed high. She told me the standards had changed. What was once considered pre-hypertension was now within the acceptable range. My weight, too, is now acceptable: Apparently I'm just a smidge overweight, despite the fact that my BMI puts my body fat at twenty-five percent. As we've grown as a nation, the doctor informed me, the standards have expanded to accommodate us.

This reminds me of the day my teacher explained the changes to the grading system to my third grade class. Whereas before, a student needed a ninety-six to quality for an A, now, the only requirement was a ninety. Suddenly many more people became A students. And while I'm certain I benefitted tremendously from this deflation of standards (especially in chemistry, geometry and physics), the change felt a little like a cheat to me.
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