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May. 20th, 2015


Word: Parlay

She'd been coming to this beach town for years. Everything was as familiar as home. Everything was as monotonous as home: the wind-and-sand-worn pastel houses scrubbed to bare wood around the edges, the nautical theming of every cottage garden, the sour smell of sea on the air. Every summer for two weeks, Imelda would take her deck chair, carry it past the tall sea grass, and plant its feet in the sand. She'd bring a book and a lunch and a hat, and bronze herself while she read, after she read, before afternoon coffee. Then she'd go back to her own little house, open all the windows for the breeze, and shower off the salt and sun screen under sheets of hot water. A nap and a cuddle with her cat would complete the day before a light dinner, a stroll--always the same route, one way or the other--and bed.

When she told him about it in the bored tone that replaced her original enthusiasm, Anthony said he thought it sounded idyllic. "Come and see it," she told him. "It's an idyllic seaside cliche."

She repositioned the Adirondack chairs on the little deck out back. She vacuumed sand and grass off the rag rug in the little living room. She sank a new multicolored pinwheel into the soil near the steps up to her front door. She noticed--for the first time in years--the picture frame made of seashells filled with a photograph of her niece from a visit years ago. The girl had graduated college last year.

It all had to look perfect. It looked bright and fresh, especially after a brief afternoon rain. And Anthony's smile when he saw it made it better, made it different, made it new.

verb tr.: 1. To use an initial asset into something more valuable.

May. 19th, 2015


Word: Edify

I'm trying to get back into this word-a-day habit. I'm rusty. I can feel it, and I feel like the following exercise shows it. But it's a start.

The smell of Dry Erase markers permeated the air, pungent and vaguely fruity. Mrs. Horvath always used berry-scented markers on the whiteboard in the front of the room. Between the white background and the hard, hot spring light pouring through the classroom windows, the marks on the board didn't look red; they looked like fuzzy pink heiroglyphics that Leo had to decipher letter by letter. He squinted at the words as Mrs. Horvath scribbled across the surface--Civil War trivia he had to know for tomorrow's test. Was that Sherman or Sherwin? Was that Chancelville? Leo sighed.

"Do you have something to say, Mr. Loetz?" Mr. Horvath asked.

"No, ma'am. I just . . . can't read your writing." Before he could amend his statement a giggle rippled across the classroom. "My glasses are busted."

"I see. Well, if you can't read something, ask. You should have said something at the beginning of class."

verb tr.: To instruct in order to improve the mind or character.

Jan. 22nd, 2012


Still Maintaining the Account

This account is still active, despite appearances to the contrary. It WILL be completely revived this year.

Jul. 16th, 2010


Maintaining the account

Given the announcements about account purgings here on Live Journal, I wanted to make a post to ensure this account stays active. I have an ambition that I'll come back to writing a word a day. Perhaps I ought to get to that this week.

Jul. 5th, 2008


Word: Linctus

Personal stuff and indulgence of the resulting blues has kept me from posting my words. It's time to get back into the swing. It's been too long. I have 15 minutes before it's tomorrow and must get cracking.

Word: Linctus
Meltitia stirred the linctus in the pot above the fire, its sweet, thick, berry fumes filling the room. The scent wafted toward Barty, who lounged beneath a blanket on the chaise across the chamber from the fireplace where Meltitia worked. Barty could only see her back silhouetted by the fire's glow. He coughed violently.

"Hold your horses, I'm coming," said Meltitia. She spooned the mixture into a shallow bowl and trudged across the room. Barty watched her come, gripped the knife beneath the blanket, fingered the wire-wrapped hilt. The anticipation was almost sexual, wondering what it would feel like to slide the knife between the apothecary's ribs.

She'd been poisoning him for weeks. The time had come to return the favor. Barty coughed again. Maltitia picked up her pace.

n. A syrupy liquid medicine, especially for treating coughs.

Jun. 19th, 2008


Word: Polish

The night of my mother's death, I polished the dining room table, a mahogany oval split down the middle to accommodate expansion leaves. I don't know how long I polished the wood. All I know is that by the time I stopped--mainly because I was tired, my hand cramped up, and the rag was in tatters--the wood seemed like glass, and the light shining upon it made the grain appear like crepey layers of filo baked crisp and fine. Mom would have approved. Wish I'd done it years ago, when she first asked. Who would appreciate it now?


1. (verb [used with object]) to make smooth and glossy, esp. by rubbing or friction: to polish a brass doorknob.

Today's post...

...will come this evening. Late night last night, not a lot of sleep. Can't write, I have teh sleepies.

Jun. 18th, 2008


Word: Sardonic

"Poor baby. You work so hard. I don't know how you do it," Lila said, and slammed the door behind her as she left the house. Through the window next to the door, Barnard watched her--blond ponytail bouncing behind her large, pudgy, jean-and-tee-shirt clad form--stalk down the path to her antique Volkswagon Beetle, get in and tear away, leaving clouds of dry summer dust in her wake. Barnard hmphed. He waddled back through their vintage 1958 kitchen, past the basket of unpaid bills and the sink filled with dishes. At some point, he'd have to tack up the top corner of that NASCAR poster curling down from the basement door, he noted, as he continued back toward the den. He sat down at the desk, fired up "World of Warcraft," and got comfortable. What did Lila care? She was always at the office anyhow. He had a campaign to wage.

1. adj. Marked by scorn, mockery, and cynicism.


Observation: I don't know if what I'm posting are stories per se. In the fanfic community there's a word that might apply: ficlet, which might be defined as a glimpse into a life, without necessarily including plot. I think I've been posting ficlets more than stories. The point, here, I guess, is that I'm at least striking the flint, which is more than I'm doing at other times during the day. It's something anyway.

Jun. 17th, 2008


Word: Stiricide

The century's longest winter kept us indoors day by day. Margot stalked the house wrapped in her thick, lilac cardigan, her arms folded tightly across her chest, her slowly silvering hair pulled back into a severe and sloppy ponytail. Her path was identical, predictable each day: bedroom to bathroom, bathroom to kitchen, kitchen to living room to den to bedroom, round and round. She spoke to no one, usually until dinner. Heaven help the one of us who got in her way, interrupted her endless pilgrimage to who knows where. Before she'd begin her daily circuit, Bart and I would make sure we'd stake out our own perches, his by the fireplace with whatever he was reading, me in the wing-backed chair by the window and the radiator. With the snow so deep outside, the only thing visible, the only break in the monotonous view were the periodic stiricides that pierced the snowpack just outside the window -- like the one that had taken Casper from us. He'd been trying to clear the vents one warmer-than-usual day. I hated to think of him out in the snow, layered in like a Pompeiian caught in pyroclastic flows. But there would be no retrieving him until the thaw.

Maybe we should have let Margot go get him when it first happened. But then she'd be gone, too.

stiricide (1656 -1656)
1. n. falling of icicles from a house

Jun. 16th, 2008


Storyword community reach-around

Since this all started with jaylake's community, and since I contributed to that community every now and then, I'm adding here links to all of those contributions in the interests of completeness.

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