Robin Hawke

December 3, 2011, 5:14 PM
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I get ruffled by the monotony. Soon, agitated and dreaming of escape, I circle the perimeter of my tiny cell. It is my exercise, this search for freedom. Under the cover of darkness, I sleep. Calm. Even dreams don’t disturb the dark.

My captors bring breakfast with daylight. It is expected. We have a loose agreement: I charm, they feed.

My gaze fixes on the narrow door. It opens. I scoot through. At last, I flitter free. This time, they’ve shut power to the overhead fan where I prefer to perch. And preen my feathers in the wide open world.


Read entries to the prompt...escape...

November 19, 2011, 3:06 PM
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Ellie loved the lake in front of her house at the foothills of the Appalachians. She swam daily in the jade waters. It didn’t feel like exercise; she liked to imagine she belonged in water. At the end of her swim, Ellie turned over to float on her back, her long white hair fanning out like a halo.

While her breathing calmed, Ellie’s feet drifted down to the bottom of the lake. When her legs became leaden, her swim was over. Without urgency, she waded up the embankment.

After the heavy snow, they found her floating, gaseous, blue and white.

Read entries to the prompt...snow...

Splitting and Spitting

I have given a large chunk of every day to NaNoWriMo. Then, when the chunk is done, I’ve heaped abuse on the three thousand words I’ve written. My behavior is classic. I blame the victim for my ineptitude, for my lack of wit, and for my sorry teabag brain. Despite the embrace of hours and hours, I plan to discard the victim in a divorce that has the earmarks of being a nasty, vocal affair. Somehow, I plan to wrest anything of value, certain scenic ideas, as a settlement. Yes, I’ll abandon the husk for a newer rewrite. With pleasure.

Read entries to the prompt...writing...

October 29, 2011, 5:58 PM
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I look like a piece of ginger: stubs and stumps. The hole where my mouth used to be is stuffed with tubes.

Doctors prod me, amazed I remain alive. I object the only way left me: I grant mystical experiences should their flesh touch mine; in return, I gobble intellect, although I leave my nurses alone. Fellow scientists dismiss the transcendent epiphanies, label their colleagues quacks. They come to my bedside; I swipe their brains clean too. A line of pilgrims forms in the hallway. All Souls’ Day approaches—the day the visits end.

Come all, soothe my naked brow.

Read entries to the prompt...scare me...

October 23, 2011, 5:41 PM
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The heavy doors opened at eleven each morning. Visitors turned left to stand in line, took every allotted second of fifteen minutes to prowl cyberspace. They departed without exploring, without wondering what else occupied the magnificent edifice.

The corridors on the right stayed quiet, day and night. Despite the dearth of humans, the place remained a revered sanctuary. A few, humans who trespassed the aisles, found refuge.

Ignored by people, the library corridors filled with invisible crowds.  The ghosts in the stacks particularly treasured imagination. They poured themselves into substantial books, filling their empty souls with the languages of dreams.

Read entries to "quiet" prompt.

Sum Total
October 15, 2011, 7:26 PM
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The writer stared at her keyboard, wrote one hundred words, deleted seventy. The writer took a shower, stared at her notepad, added fifty words, crossed out thirty, rewrote forty. The writer took a nap, crossed out twenty words, rewrote, rewrote, rewrote. The writer made a snack, answered emails, got distracted by her work and went to bed. Then she dreamed. The writer woke, wrote one hundred words, deleted eighty. She took a shower, stared at her keyboard, added sixty words, deleted forty, rewrote twenty. The writer, never satisfied, rewrote the beginning, added thirty words, subtracted fifty, changed twenty, improved forty.

Note: If self-criticism is a red stoplight, keep moving, pay no attention. If it motivates you to improve, then it’s a green light no matter how often you stop.

Read entries to "satisfied" prompt.

October 1, 2011, 3:17 PM
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There was no boy happier with summer. Matt slept until noon, ate bowls of peanut buttery nuggets and napped by the pool. While Mom sunbathed and Dad played golf, he explored the woods with a slingshot.

“Cool.” Matt scraped his back on the way in, but the cave soon widened into a round chamber. An overhead crack admitted a fan of light. Blinking, rubbing his eyes, he saw sleeping dragons. Hundreds of them.

“Whoa.” Whoops, they woke and flew away, exiting through the crack. Matt clambered out—to see them in brilliant flight—but found bats catching bugs at dusk.

Read entries to "widened" prompt.

September 24, 2011, 2:16 PM
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Three men took their places: Inside, Saunders crouched next to paint cans and drop cloths, his weapon ready. Outside, his associates remained on alert,  a crackerjack driver and—Saunders always had a backup plan—a sniper on the roof.

Saunders shifted his weight. With little but thoughts of his job to occupy him, he stacked cans to make more room. He waited, stretching fingers when necessary.

The body crumpled. Death was quick if merciless, quiet if untimely.

At a predetermined time, the dream team left their posts. Saunders stayed in the closet for the next nine hours, a bloody failure.

Entries -- "occupy" prompt.

September 16, 2011, 1:30 PM
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Sam looked contented with the long table and never-ending spread.

He fought a desire to tear bread apart, smear it with honey. He resisted shoving a neighbor’s hand away. Roasted figs, braised spinach, succulent roast beef, ten types of wine. He put a napkin in his lap.

Before he ate, he watched the revelers. They were gluttons: juices ran down chins; fingers crammed food into overstuffed cheeks.

The thought of scooping crabmeat into his mouth caused a shiver of delight.

No. He would let his manners inhibit him, for now—a wealth of time remained, here in the underworld.


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September 9, 2011, 4:17 PM
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After weeks of rain, mushrooms appeared everywhere. Glowing fairy circles sprouted across the lawn, but only one was a complete ring. Neighboring mushrooms were red and brown and purple and yellow. They were flat and round, domed and furled. The large ones looked like umbrellas for toads; the small ones mosques for insects.

Their magical overnight appearance was their only whimsy. A close look revealed spongy, sodden flesh. It took several hours to take pictures and make notations. After returning with plastic bags and rubber gloves, I filed each one away, wondering which woodsy taste would make the best poison.


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