writerHey, writers, ever get the urge to let your fingers fly without stopping, without thinking? Just let the words flow? It can be a great exercise to loosen up your mind and simply have fun. As most of you know by now, I’ve been doing this on the lovely JD Mader’s website on Friday afternoons. So have a lot of other kick-ass writers, like Mark Morris, David Antrobus, Julie Frayn, Ed Drury, Jt Sather, Yvonne Hertzberger, Lynne Cantwell, Leland Dirks, Jen Daniele, Rich Meyer, Audrey Carden…and that’s just a few of us. For instance, here’s what we did yesterday. What’s great is that there’s no pressure. Write for two minutes (or three, or four, depending on the whim of our puppet master and if you’re timer is working or not) and post in the comments. Respond to other writers’ pieces, if you feel moved to. Or not. Because fun is good. Inspiration is good. The alchemy of writers writing together…can be magical.

Here are the three that popped into my head yesterday. (Unedited, except for typos and egregious blunders, but that’s the spirit.)


She tried to glare him down, but no matter how hard she attempted to make his brain explode by shooting laser beams out her pupils, his blue eyes glistened like those of a small boy who’d just discovered ice cream on a summer day. “And you’re telling me this why, exactly?” Now she just tried to sound bored, as if it didn’t matter that her heart was leaking down into her stomach, drop by syrupy drop.

“I figured you’d understand.” A trolley rolled by and sparks snapped in the overhead wires. For a second he glanced behind him, shrugged, and continued. “She sort of looks like Betty Boop, doesn’t she?”

Her upper lip curled. “Betty Boop?” The cartoon flapper? Was the innocuous reference supposed to distract her? Or excuse what he had done? “No. I don’t see it,” she said. “I don’t see it at all.”


Beethoven’s Sixth floated up to Jessie’s dressing-room window. The graceful roll of Pastoral usually soothed her, which was why she’d wanted to walk down the aisle to it, but now it just grated, reminded her with each passing bar that she still had time to bolt. She’d already counted the steps to the back staircase of the manor house, and had a plan: off with the pinching satin heels, lift the voluminous skirt enough to make it down without breaking her neck. And from there? She wasn’t sure. They were in the middle of acres of farmland, the locale chosen for…again, pastoral calm, and all the cars were in the small front lot. Brian had the keys. Funny, she thought, but it wasn’t so funny, and tears began trickling down her cheeks. Brian had the keys. To her life. To her escape. To everything.


The sky crackled and I flinched. The dish I’d been drying flew from my fingers, landing with a thud on the linoleum. The tiny hairs on my arms stood at pinprick attention, skin bunching up. A flash of lightning blasted in one long thin bolt from the bottom of the swollen cloud bank into the tops of the trees. Ben was up there. Climbing, sitting on his favorite branch, watching the world. Mom had told him to stay inside, but you could never tell my brother anything. It was the mark of manhood, he’d say, his chest puffing up. You take risks. You shake your fist at the sky. I rushed out the kitchen door. The ground trembled under my feet. I stared wildly ahead, watching for movement of a boy in a red t-shirt, but I didn’t see him. Not in the trees, or on the wooden ladder he’d nailed into the trunk of his favorite oak. I took off running, my sneakers slipping on the grass now wet with rain, calling out for him, his name lost in the rumble of thunder.