Robin Hawke

More than a Record
March 16, 2012, 12:56 PM
Filed under: All Writing Challenges

I’ve been through a lousy period. NaNoWriMo did a number on me. In October, I was writing, blogging and satisfied with my progress. In November, the baneful month, I wrote reams, splashing daily word counts across my blog. In December, distracted by holidays and travel, my goal was to maintain. I pulled out my NaNoWritings in January and began the work of providing form and structure for Judging Jade. My progress was slower than a three legged turtle before I realized why: I was writing backwards.

The discovery led me to the conviction that I should always begin with something mysterious–I can’t find the word for it. It’s the opposite of understood, but it isn’t misunderstood. Whether it is an image, an act or a word that propels me, I need something that seeps, ticks, maybe even dives. I’m not entirely sure what, but it operates on a gut level; it’s a conviction. Then, it is time to scrabble around uncovering the subneural, subconscious, subgut. (It’s a puzzle: how do I connect eating scrambled eggs with throwing popcorn and why do I want to?) The answers come slowly, but eventually the tide comes in. The result, if I’ve worked it right, has depth and layers.

During the NaNoWriMo process, I wrote an explicit record of what my characters did. There was no mystery and an alarming lack of subtext. There was nothing left for me to explore. Trying to enrich a recording of events into a reading experience is a slow path to hell. What I can’t do, maybe others can, is take a series of events and convince myself there’s something to uncover. So writing every detail down as I move characters from A to B is not part of my writing process. Feeling my way through images and flashes of phrases is what I need to explore tidepools before creating a landscape out of found sea urchins and seashells. And if my landscape pleases anyone else, it is because I have found the deepest pools of meaning.

I’m overdue—so overdue—picking up an award. And I received a second. I’ve never felt less of a Versatile Blogger, but I’m trying to get back to that place where words flow from the inside out not outside in. Please help me get back into the blog current by asking me questions on my Interview Robin page.

February 24, 2012, 2:32 PM
Filed under: All Writing Challenges | Tags: , ,

The writing on the note was plain, a jumble of capitals and lower case. The paper was perforated, a jumble of lines and holes. The ink was smeared. And I read the words of a liar. I tried correlating them to experiences and memories without success. Staring at the truncated crossings of letters t and f, the open loops of letters g and p, I noticed the haste in the letters I, I, I, the fear I would interrupt him in the gaunt y, o, u. In my search for shreds of content, meaning disintegrated into picked bones on stone.

Friday Fictioneers

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February 22, 2012, 7:38 PM
Filed under: All Writing Challenges

jonquils melt in snow

summer yellow on soft serve

sweet crowns tip off warmth

Visit DIY Romance prompt...

The Bride
February 11, 2012, 3:54 PM
Filed under: All Writing Challenges, Love and Romance

The day of my wedding, mist settled and mud collected on my hem. My father held an umbrella for me. Taking his arm, I sensed the beginnings of a headache. Squeezing my eyes, I managed a smile and a kiss. I set one foot down after another. Dull pain increased with each step. Dismissing it, I let fear fold into the sheath that protected my nerves and waited for a cue.

Pain increased, localized. I rubbed my skull with a hand under the veil, trying not to disturb a hair concoction. Double doors opened. My dubious doll smile went ahead down the aisle. Music swirled. I gathered myself in that stately walk to the man I loved. If tiny velvet nubs sprouted from my head, no one noticed.

Then came that perfunctory pause. Our minister waited for reasons we should not join. I looked over the congregation. By now, everyone noticed the twin antlers growing. I thought I should speak. My mouth pursed, but words stilled.

We exchanged vows.

Each point of my horns dulled with each word of acceptance. A final pronouncement heard, music trumpeted. My new husband grabbed an elbow while I disguised hooves in the bouquet.

Visit DIY Romance prompt...

Coq au Vin
February 10, 2012, 3:45 PM
Filed under: All Writing Challenges | Tags: , , ,

Choose firm, earthy-colored mushrooms. Discard those with spots or slimy gills. Brown everything in sizzling butter: floured chicken, pearl onions, mushrooms, some carrots, much garlic with a pinch of thyme. Be rash, use high heat to sear these flavors. My recipe departs from the traditional one—here—when everything caramelizes, gets crusty, pour wine in the pot. Submerge everything in wine. Add more. Open another bottle. Forget chicken stock; forget hoarding mushrooms until the last fifteen minutes of cooking; forget it all while there’s time to grab another romp through the woods. Let everything simmer while you stoke appetites.

Friday Fictioneers

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February 8, 2012, 9:23 PM
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cascading anger
horn music in dirty snow
glass souls cross at lights

Haiku Heights #105, prompt music

Love Letter
February 8, 2012, 2:43 PM
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I am missing, but not from your thoughts. Or yours from mine: I polish each of our dreams, impatient as ever to rub them into existence.

Today is one of those winter days when the sun can’t break the clouds. The sky glows like moonstone. It wouldn’t you know, if the sun went AWOL. Think of me; think of the sun. Clouds will scuttle off—break like eggshells; hot rays will wake bulbs in the ground; surrounding arms will banish those sad thoughts of yours. All I wait for is a strong wind to blow me home.

I keep, if missing, missing you.

Do not fold my jeans away. Do not fold my letters with tears.

Click to read entries...Inspiration Mondays prompts...

Certain Words
February 4, 2012, 4:03 PM
Filed under: All Writing Challenges, Love and Romance

My first boyfriend was a sweet talker. His native tongue was Germanic but he learned to caress me in English. He planted the seeds of love with tenderness and dry fingers. I studied deep set eyes and couldn’t imagine a finer dialect.

Yes, I said yes to him. I snuck into movies. I played hooky. I smoked cigarettes. Yes I said to his sweet questions and first kisses. I broke parental rules. Yes I said at a party and almost died of alcohol poisoning.

We never broke up. Once, I slapped him in the face, imagining myself on celluloid. And he sulked. And we argued more than a few times. But my family moved. Our last meeting became my first date with costly food.  One raspberry decorated our dessert. I remember the tandem sink of spoons into chocolate mousse while our words fell away into the twinkling lights of the city below.

Our tree he tattooed came down to prepare the ground for tarmac. The fertile glances over geometry books and hot pepper dares leached out of memory. The words he planted in me. That I loved. Yes. They remain sweet forgotten seeds of the lover I became.

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February 3, 2012, 8:56 PM
Filed under: All Writing Challenges | Tags: , ,

My purse is on the chair, the cat is under the bed, the dog is on the couch, the stash of money is in the pot in the cupboard above the stove, the cell phone is charged on the bedside table. Oh, what am I forgetting? Car keys—make sure they’re in the purse. Phone numbers, yes, we’ll need those in case we lose our way, addresses and the GPS. Oh, food, food, food. I’ll grab chips. Water, we have milk. In case that is not the sun: An axe, do you think we’ll need an axe? Or a gun?

Friday Fictioneers

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February 1, 2012, 8:21 PM
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crimson are my curved
lips, playful my lazy eyes
fast I purse a trill

Haiku Heights #104, prompt crimson

A February Invitation
February 1, 2012, 6:41 PM
Filed under: All Writing Challenges

Click to read invitation.

Mind the Gap
January 29, 2012, 5:06 PM
Filed under: All Writing Challenges, Uncategorized | Tags:

There’s a gap, I’m going to call it January and thank you January is almost over, between the sides of my brain. If I spend too long on one side, the gap gets wider. It’s quite lovely on the right, energizing and relaxing. The left is full of shoulds and would yous and couldn’t yous. I’ll mind January (two more days!) and tick my shoulds.

In the meantime, I need help. I’m behind on a few blogging awards. If you would, leave me a question or two. Some whats, whys and hows. Leave them here and I’ll be so grateful for you and February.

What’s up?
January 27, 2012, 2:35 PM
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What’s up?

The sky. That’s a silly joke, get it?

My mom tells me I’m unique. Different than Jerry. He’s my exact twin brother. I don’t know if that’s a joke. I don’t see it. We are both left-handed. We look alike but I’ve something more—a special mole on my nostril. Mom says an angel forgot to wipe off his kiss. And then she kisses me on the same spot and tries to wipe it away.

Today I told her. This time she made me sad. I don’t want to be a dishwasher. I want to be a conductor. Like Jerry does.

Friday Fictioneers

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January 25, 2012, 2:01 AM
Filed under: All Writing Challenges

blind date ayes and nos:
a tiptoe between psyches
in tongues nibbling words

Haiku Heights #103, prompt tiptoe

A Door in a Tree
January 23, 2012, 5:03 PM
Filed under: All Writing Challenges | Tags: ,

Folks expect a door in a tree to be tiny—designed for elf and sprite homebodies—and that humans must bend double to pass from world to world. This door was tall; all right, I crooked my neck to cross the threshold of my kingdom.  Inside, there was plenty of frothy Guinness, friends and darts. After a round of golf, I’d order a shandy for my daughter and we’d replay our game. Stolen hours became ritual, our weekly outing, celebrations of  birdies and fifteen foot sinkers. Then, tourists found our niche, sat on our worn benches, and shared pictures of a castle in Paris and a tower in England.

I looked for a piece of land with its own aged baobab. Found one in another country, up the coast. I apologized to it before we began the work of hollowing. It’s a regret I keep: The interior lacked that oxidized, caramel color; my girl flew abroad for a degree; my knees betrayed me on the links. The next time there was a whisper in my ear, it was a nurse with a cup of pills. Another pint, another round.

Click to read entries...Inspiration Mondays prompts...

Six Sentence Sunday
January 22, 2012, 5:40 PM
Filed under: All Writing Challenges

Current WiP, Judging Jade, rough #1:

She was halfway up the aisle. Twinkling safety lights marked her runway. Upon reaching the double doors, she realized she’d left her notebook. She rolled around to get it. With a sweeping glance she identified most of the dancers on stage. It happened that there was a stranger and he caught Jade’s eye.

Next week, I’ll figure out the rules and link to the official site: 6sentence sunday

January 16, 2012, 2:44 PM
Filed under: All Writing Challenges | Tags: ,

I’ve sifted through possibilities. Every day, they become less probable. If wishes were dragons, I’ve nurtured leather-hard eggs. One by one, the eggs rot. My desperation grows. I fuss. I turn. I inspect.

Mythical creatures will play in my back yard. They will be freakish creatures of sweet mercy, if only wishes come true.


Click to read entries...Inspiration Mondays prompts...if wishes were dragons...

January 13, 2012, 2:21 PM
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They became insane: Worse than any flood, they felt the anguish of  an undeserved war. Worse than any fire, it never ended. Caught by hate, they nursed thoughts of revenge in paraplegic bodies.

They numbered few pleasures: When winds raged, they rent limbs. Satisfied with earthquakes and hurricanes, they blessed a fallen neighbor’s shower of bricks. The hole, another scar, left.

Without mouths, without ears or eyes, they understood our ruthless narcissism. Breathless, they fought back. In unison.

Their combat methods improved, unnoticed as a firmly pressed mouth: Soldiers in an outdated army, they dropped tiny acorns, bombs of mutation.

Friday Fictioneers

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January 3, 2012, 9:49 PM
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Maxine, disenchanted and bored, visited a vintage dress shop. She tried every garment that fit, swirling down narrow aisles in impossible collars. Upon her choice—a revealing dress, cinched cerise—she devised her plans to abandon quotidian underwear, wondering how many dates would glimpse the saucy nutmegs from the fifties.

Click to read entries...quotidian prompt...

Holiday Hint #54
January 2, 2012, 4:43 PM
Filed under: All Writing Challenges | Tags: ,

This is a continuation of Holiday Hint #53 by joem18b:

There is no refuse, large item or recycling collection on the Mondays after Christmas Day and New Year’s Eve. This schedule facilitates finding holiday decorations curbside. These Mondays are an excellent time to pick up deflated punching bags. Salvage a small patch of tape to stop air from hissing away.


100 Words for Grown Ups

The prompt this week is: …50/50: The Season….Click to read entries.

New Year’s Wish

I want wonderful things to happen in 2012, but I’m concerned. Another earthquake, tales of corruption, friends battling cancer—these events threaten the 365 days to come with the true displeasures of life. Conversely, last year I discovered pleasure in writing daily stories on, of all things, this blog.

I’ve scrubbed paint on a canvas; I’ve managed dancers on a stage; I’ve moved furniture and tilled earth. These things taught me to push words around, to lift them, to bury them, to exchange them, to sound them out loud. I’ve drowned my fears for the future with steady, consistent storytelling. If one story fails, surely the next will succeed. Or the next.

But blogging, as I’ve recently discovered, is not limited to a writer’s output, however clever or truthful. There’s more: the good company of other bloggers; the pleasures found sharing reactions, comments and likes; the discovery of kindred blogs; the community of writers.

While this year will be spent traveling with words in much the way I spent last year, and while there will be periods when blogging will be confined to pushing the publish button, I hope to share new adventures in wonderful blogging:

Fulfilling, Creative, Insightful Words to All.

December 21, 2011, 3:11 PM
Filed under: All Writing Challenges | Tags: ,

Dressing: Oysters and cornbread or sausage and thyme?
Dressing: Satin bows or green-minded brown paper?
Dressing: A cornucopia of fruits and nuts or candles in holly?
Dressing: A wreath or a new coat of paint?

During the season of dressings, I’ll lift skirts to find cheer and my blessings.


100 Words for Grown Ups

The prompt this week is: …The Season….Click to read entries.

Buddha Rocks Project and Wrap Up
December 19, 2011, 7:52 PM
Filed under: All Writing Challenges, Emotions, Life and Stuff | Tags: , , ,

I want to thank Evelyn and Eric. The Buddha Rocks Project gave me something I haven’t put my finger on yet. How silly, I just learned BuddhaRocks is one word. Seven days rocking—you think I would have caught that significant detail before now.

This I believe: when we write, we have writing thoughts. When we stop, our writing thoughts get overlooked. During the Project, sentences invaded my dreams and images caused forgetfulness.

I sent the David Foster Wallace quotation to my sister-in-law who’s been MIA on the blog front. It helped her. She’s posting again. And in posting, became excited by what she was writing.

The cure for a writer’s block is absurdly simple. String together any two words. Then two more. Write until you feel like writing what comes.

Buddha Rocks, Saturday
December 17, 2011, 3:32 PM
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Secrets in figured stone.
Other gods'.

This six word story is for the Buddha Rocks project. Photo credit: Eric Alder

Buddha Rocks, Friday
December 16, 2011, 8:41 PM
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A runner of water carpets all noise.
Don't stir.
Don't struggle with twine.

This thought is for the Buddha Rocks project. Photo credit: Eric Alder

A Tree
December 16, 2011, 4:40 PM
Filed under: All Writing Challenges | Tags: , , ,

Georgia’s favorite part about love was the freedom it gave her to be sentimental. That says it all, doesn’t it? She dredged old memories, mining them for romance. Georgia even asked a farmer to bring ugly trees to market. Every Christmas, she rushed to his stall where he twirled each pathetic specimen for her serious consideration.

So, there it stood, a fussed over weakling, the symbol of another tree found on an adventure trespassing between cow patties. Always a bald, scrawny thing, the tree never helped me recapture romance. What did an eyesore have to do with my sweet love?

Flash Friday

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Buddha Rocks, Thursday
December 15, 2011, 3:33 PM
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The future arrived on track. The weeds followed, green signals.

This ten word story is for the Buddha Rocks project. Photo credit: Eric Alder

A Summer Day
December 14, 2011, 9:00 PM
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This was life: salt water, my friend Ayres, and a large, green bottle of champagne. We waded, me in Spanish army boots with a suit hiking up my cheeks, her in a loose mens’ shirt. Low country waves smacked our knees on a day buttery with sunshine.

Our spirits drifted higher on each retold joke. She had the laugh to go with her goddess locks, the ones that went below her hips. Ayres loved a bargain, in humor and other departments. Today’s bargain: fresh crab.

I caught our dinner by throwing rotting chicken thighs out twelve feet to play mind games with blue crab. If I fiddled, pulled sideways when the crabs backed off, acted as if my poultry was distressed—I could tow the malcontents up my green boots. They’d hang on, sure of grip. She’d bend, wet strands of hair tangling with the crabs she netted.

Over frothing mouths, we drank our bubbly. We threw the females onto sand and watched them skitter back to water. I’d run beside them, feeling the sun burn my nose. When I ran back up the beach, we polished the champagne.

That night we enjoyed spicy boil and sweet crab with brown beer. We picked at shells, saving the claws for last. Turning to the television for the tides, we charted our next day’s venture as hunters.

Tandem divorces pulled at our friendship. When the bill collectors insisted on their due, she stopped answering phone calls, mine among them. Two years later, Ayres died of cancer. I lacked the green for a flight to see her put in the ground. The bargain—our good company—terminated in brine water.

Click to read more...Inspiration Mondays prompts...mind games...

Buddha Rocks, Wednesday
December 14, 2011, 4:22 PM
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cubicles of industry—
tiger swarms.

This haiku is for the Buddha Rocks project. Photo credit: Eric Alder

Buddha Rocks, Tuesday
December 13, 2011, 3:58 PM
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The snowbirds marked dirty ice with an ancient two-step.

This ten word story is for the Buddha Rocks project. Photo credit: Eric Alder