The Write Practice

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Ruin [words on wednesdays]

The word of the week is:

Ruin

Definition:

noun

  1. the physical destruction or disintegration of something or the state of disintegrating or being destroyed
  2. the remains of a building, typically an old one that has suffered much damage or disintegration
  3. the disastrous disintegration of someone’s life
  4. the complete loss of one’s money and other assets
  5. something that causes the disintegration of a person’s life or the complete loss of their assets

verb

  1. reduce (a building or place) to a state of decay, collapse, or disintegration
  2. cause great and usually irreparable damage or harm to; have a disastrous effect on
  3. reduce to a state of poverty
  4. fall headlong or with a crash

Here’s an excerpt from Diary of a Bad Year by the Nobel prize winning author JM Coetzee

I saw Anya the last time on the morning after the fateful celebration when that fiancé or protector of hers or whatever he was used the evening to insult me and embarrass her. She came to apologise. She was sorry the two of them had ruined the evening, she said. Alan had got the hell in – that was the phrase she used – and once Alan had got the hell in, there was no stopping him. I would have thought, I said, that if it was Alan who got the hell in then it is Alan who ought to be apologising, not his lady friend. Alan never apologises, said his lady friend. Well, I said, as a matter of semantics, can one properly apologise on behalf of someone who is not in an apologetic frame of mind. She shrugged. I came to say I am sorry.

Dunstanburgh Castle ruin by DancesWithLight

Dunstanburgh Castle ruin by DancesWithLight

PRACTICE

Write for five minutes, save yourself from ruin, using the word in its many forms. When you are finished comment on your fellow practitioners’ work.

Also, extra credit if you use the word of the week in your daily practice!

My Practice
Mothers’ ruin or should it be mother’s ruin? Is it the ruin of all mothers or just this particular one? Even though she was steadily drinking the “gin and it, lose the it, lose the ice, lose the lemon” her mind was still as busy as ever. This was why she drank, of course, to stop the little thoughts that would explode in her head. She hated it, she hated her head.

Ever since she could remember thoughts that didn’t belong to her ruined everything. These words, sentences, entire paragraphs were not even in her language, though she understood them. And that presented no end of trouble.

Before she got wise to it all she would repeat the thoughts out loud to her parents. Shock would cloud their faces into masked grimaces. She remembered talking to her Sunday School teacher and summarily got kicked out and had to spend an entire year listening to the sermons of the evangelically challenged Reverend Peardron. Her parents were accused of ruining her.

She read about Noah and the ark and wondered if the thoughts were like that, go build a boat. She liked that idea and yet she knew it wasn’t true, she was hearing someone else’s thoughts and they were not from this world. So at twenty six she was sitting in the bar, it didn’t matter what bar, or what town, or what country.

She sat and she drank and thought of her children back home with their daddy, she thought of her childhood and college and marriage and all the ruined things in between. She filled her mind with mundane facts and figures, but until she became a cliché at the bottom of a bottle of mother’s ruin, the thoughts continued.

About Joe Bunting

Joe Bunting is a writer and entrepreneur. He is the author of the #1 Amazon Bestseller Let's Write a Short Story! and the co-founder of Story Cartel. You can follow him on Twitter (@joebunting).

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  • Mary Meyer

    Thanks for this Suzie! I’ve often found that one’s ruin can ruin so many other lives. Thanks for giving us this word to chew on today. I love expressive words that can be used as verbs and as nouns. Good luck with your novel!

    • http://www.facebook.com/people/Suzie-Gallagher/100001281206171 Suzie Gallagher

      totally sidetracked by setting up a writing collective/group and this but the thoughts are beginning to be filed appropriately rather than all jumbled up

  • http://www.facebook.com/jwarner33 Jay Warner

    “You’re going to ruin your chances of ever finding a good job,” she pointed out for the millionth time. Avery rolled his eyes and pretended to ignore his mother. “And I
    suppose you’re comparing my relationship to Mavis with your fantastic ruin of a
    marriage?” he finally replied, putting what he thought was a slight sarcastic edge to his voice. It was evident she didn’t know how to respond. She opened
    her mouth as if to say something and then her jaw snapped shut. A pale hand with long fingers brushed her hair away from her face and she turned back to the cutting board where the green bell pepper lay waiting to be chopped. “Will you stay for dinner?”

    “No,” Avery replied. “You’ve ruined it for me now. Mavis and I will go out to eat.”

    “I’d like you to stay, I promise I won’t talk about it any more “. his mother whispered. She began to nervously slice the pepper, her back to Avery so he couldn’t see the tears welling in the bottom lid. “All I want is for you to be happy.” Avery stared at her back, shoulders hunched. “Just don’t say anything mean to her, Mother. We’re going to get married and I don’t want you to ruin the wedding for Mavis. Or for me”.

    “Okay.” But she was dying inside.

    • mariannehvest

      I feel the sadness and dissatisfaction here. This is really well written for such a short piece. It is very easy for me to picture.

    • http://www.facebook.com/people/Suzie-Gallagher/100001281206171 Suzie Gallagher

      Jay, I like this, it is bitter and lots of unresolved tension. It would play out into a great piece.

  • Thomas Petri

    Thanks for this, Suzie. Keep the words coming :)
    Here’s my practice:

    ——-

    Nat ran down the side walk, bumping into people as she hurried past them.

    “I’m going to ruin him.”

    She blinked away the tears that made it hard to see where she was going and once more found herself in front of the bar where she and Amy had been last night.

    “Oh, Amy.”

    Nat went inside. It took a few moments before her eyes adjusted to the dark but she already knew the scene: chairs and tables were smashed, bit and pieces still lying around, and the floor was ruined by a large black burn mark in the middle of the room. She was the only one in there except for a man behind the counter that she didn’t recognize from last night. She went up to him and pulled the black revolver from her coat pocket.

    “The guy who worked the bar last night. Where?” Nat’s hand trembled as she pointed the piece.

    The man raised his hands in front of his face: “Woah. Please don’t shoot. You mean Ash? Don’t shoot, alright?”

    “Where?” The click when she cocked the gun sounded loud as thunder in the ruins of the bar. He told her everything she needed.

    “I’m coming for you, Ash. I’m going to ruin you.”

    • mariannehvest

      this is an interesting one. You have got a lot of story and action in such a short piece. It makes me wonder what on earth Ash did.

      • Thomas Petri

        Glad you liked it. I would like to know what he did, as well. I think it might have something to do with the burn mark on the floor. Not entirely sure yet. Thanks :)

        • mariannehvest

          Yeah. It’s kind of like it’s waiting to be told. I like that kind of story. I hope you get to work on it. Thanks

    • http://www.facebook.com/people/Suzie-Gallagher/100001281206171 Suzie Gallagher

      Thomas I so want to know more, so engaging well done

      • Thomas Petri

        Thank you :)

  • BernardT

    (Apologies for any similarity with the headline practice – I wrote mine before I read the other one, honest!)

    Mary closed the door behind her with a force that shook the fragile
    fabric of the house. Somewhere upstairs, a window rattled in sympathy, as if it
    was trying to free itself from this ruin of a building, perhaps to escape to
    join some other safer, saner, place.

    But there was no escape, not for the window nor for Mary
    herself, as she went into kitchen to survey the mess from the morning’s
    breakfast. The twins’ cereal bowls, resting at uncomfortable angles in the sink,
    with the remains of a half-eaten piece of toast perched on top.

    Life? This wasn’t a life, it was a wreck. She reached for
    the cupboard, the high shelf where the children couldn’t reach and where her
    husband wouldn’t reach because he was a lazy slob. On the cupboard, her only
    comfort of the day, the only thing that kept her going until it was time to
    retrieve the kids again.

    Her very own bottle of gin, that might just about keep the
    monsters away for a few hours. Mothers’ ruin, they call it.

    She was ruing it already.

    • mariannehvest

      Gin as mother’s ruin. Great idea.

    • http://www.facebook.com/people/Suzie-Gallagher/100001281206171 Suzie Gallagher

      BernardT, until Tuesday I thought every one knew gin as mothers ruin but it is not well known in Ireland.

      Historically it comes from mid 18th century England where ginhouses were as common as coffeehouses today. It was a penny to get drunk and tuppence (two pennies) to get dead drunk.

      The government of the day became alarmed when it was found that the average Londoner drank 14 gallons of spirit each year!

      “The government decided that the tax must be raised on gin, but this put many reputable sellers out of business, and made way for the ‘bootleggers’ who sold their wares under such fancy names as Cuckold’s Comfort, Ladies Delight and Knock Me Down.

      Overnight, gin sales went underground! Dealers, pushers and runners sold their illegal ‘hooch’ in what became a Black Market.

      Much of the gin was drunk by women, consequently the children were neglected, daughters were sold into prostitution, and wet nurses gave gin to babies to quieten them. This worked provided they were given a large enough dose!

      People would do anything to get gin…a cattle drover sold his eleven-year-old daughter to a trader for a gallon of gin, and a coachman pawned his wife for a quart bottle.

      Gin was the opium of the people, it led them to the debtors’ prison or the gallows, ruined them, drove them to madness, suicide and death, but it kept them warm in winter, and allayed the terrible hunger pangs of the poorest.” http://www.historic-uk.com/CultureUK/Mothers-Ruin/

      Check out the Hogarth picture “Gin Lane”

      Then in later times a “gin bath” became known as an option for an unwanted pregnancy. The reference I have come from the Alan Sillitoe story “Saturday night …..” and the film directed by Karel Reisz. Women sat in boiling baths and drank a bottle of gin. Some thought the gin went into the bath.

      Things like this remind us keep our rose coloured glasses off when looking to the past.

      • BernardT

        A whole quart of gin for my wife? Now that’s a thought…. ;-)

    • mariannehvest

      I like this a lot. I like the window rattling in sympathy and the correlation between her ruin, the houses ruin, and the families ruin.

  • Tawanda

    It’s said that a tornado is the most
    destructive force of nature known to man. Do you know how a tornado
    is formed, my love? It requires a current of warm, moist air to be
    joined with a current of cold, dry air. When these two opposing
    forces come together, no man can stop the ruin that follows. But,
    listen to me rambling on about tornadoes. Let’s get down to the point
    of why I am writing you, shall we?

    I sat and watched you from the car that
    must have been responsible for the death of scores of innocent bovine
    just to dress it in its smooth leather interior. So heartless, just
    like you. I saw her 6 inch heel poke out of your similarly heartless
    car’s door as she leaned over to kiss your cheek. That was my cheek.
    The cheek that I have laid my lips upon countless times, the same
    lips that I used to kiss away our baby’s cries. You smiled a smile
    that I only saw after you used my body for your own satisfaction. She
    hopped out of your car and landed expertly, like a dismounting
    gymnast. A perfect ten. She stopped at the glass door of your office,
    turning toward you and put her manicured hand up to her mouth. I knew
    if that bitch did what I thought she was going to do, I would have no
    control of what happened next. My heart twisted inside of me like a
    boa constrictor as I saw my friend, the girl that had played Barbies
    with me, encouraged me, lifted my head up when it was too heavy for
    me to lift on my own, I watched her place a pouty kiss on her hand.
    She blew that Judas kiss toward you but she missed. You see, her cold
    and treacherous kiss me my hot, seething pain and, well, you know
    what happened next.

    I hope your lover didn’t ruin her Gucci
    heel as she was diving to escape me parking that sadistic, cruel car
    in your office building. Actually, I do. I do hope she ruined them. I
    heard after that your company went belly up after the insurance
    company that inspected your building decided to do a little research
    and found a few naughty cases of insurance fraud. They buried you
    with legal fees.

    But what was my point again? Oh, yes,
    I’m leaving you. I’ll only remember you as people remember the ruins
    of a city that was once so magnificent. I will only look in the rear
    view mirror of my cloth clad car with pity. It’s a pity that the city
    you built could not withhold the terrible tornado of a woman’s scorn.

    • mariannehvest

      At the end the comparison of the relationship they had a “city that was once so magnificent” but is now ruined is good. The anger and feeling of having been used is very clear here.

    • http://www.facebook.com/people/Suzie-Gallagher/100001281206171 Suzie Gallagher

      Tawanda, wreaking vengence is that thing we dream about when a relationship goes belly-up (to borrow the phrase you used) Good writing and great tale

  • selkie99

    Gazing at the ruin of Castle Urquhart, she felt her eyes tearing.

    “Oh god,” she said, looking at it. “What the hell happened to it?”

    “I don’t know, probably the wars. It’s been around for
    centuries. I’m sure planes dropped a few bombs on it in WWII. I mean, I’ve never
    seen it any other way. Wait a second, are you crying?” he was incredulous.

    “Well, it was so beautiful. It just seems so sad,” she said, by way of explanation, quickly wiping her cheeks. She felt like an idiot. It wasn’tthe castle she was crying over. It was the beauty of the place: the serene Loch Ness, a bittersweet landscape given its exquisite, haunting, perfect desolation. She had never been anywhere so beautiful in her twenty-four years, and certainly never with anyone so adorable.
    The music of his brogue helped.
    She wanted him to keep talking, but didn’t know how to elicit it. Another tear plopped from her check to the ground.

    “I had no idea you were so sentimental,” he said, smiling. “You
    know if you keep looking, maybe Nessie will pop up and give us a show.”

    Forget Nessie. That wasn’t the monster here. The monster was this
    overwhelming feeling. This local doctor had no idea how she felt about him. Or, if he did, he wasn’t remotely prepared to handle it. He was going to ruin
    her. She knew it. Maybe that’s why the tears poured forth.

    • mariannehvest

      This is interesting. I think it could be the beginning of a romance or a romantic comedy depending on how you wanted to go with it.

    • http://www.facebook.com/people/Suzie-Gallagher/100001281206171 Suzie Gallagher

      Selkie99, romance and bittersweet against my favourite back drop the rugged highlands of Scotland

  • SC

    The first time it happened she was noticeably disturbed. One moment she was singing in the shower, the next she looked down and saw it lying there, covered in shampoo.

    “Don’t worry,” he said. “It’s just my big toe. I didn’t even notice. Anyway, you don’t need your big toe, it doesn’t really do anything.”

    But he knew this wasn’t good. That night he came home early, thought he’d cook her something special for dinner, make it up to her. He had the Barry White-scented candles, the rhythmic music, wow, this was what you called pulling out all the stops.

    She smiled at him as he set down the dish of marinated faux-chicken. Then she made positive mmmm sounds as she tasted it. Then she was spitting it out, spraying that delicious faux-chicken over the beautiful tablecloth – as well as his left ear.

    He rushed to the kitchen to get her a glass of water but with the sudden movement, his head fell off. He realized, of course he did, but he carried on talking as if nothing had happened. “Oh man, this is not how I imagined tonight.” he said.

    Later, in bed, she placed his head on the pillow facing her and he lined his body up underneath it. He looked at her lovingly. “You know I’ll always love you.” he said.

    The next morning, she woke up late. He was gone already but he’d left her a little present nestled under the duvet: his penis.

    Enough was enough. She called up the My Man, My Way Company.
    “He’s a walking ruin,” she whispered, almost ashamed to say it. “It says here
    that he’s meant to last five years without any problems.”

    She held his flaccid penis in her hand. “No I do not want a replacement,” she said. “I want you to fix this one.”

    • http://aprettytruestory.blogspot.com/ KP

      Hah, what an interesting story. I really like how you kept the reader in the dark until the last moment – I found myself rushing through the first reading just to see what the ending was (I’m totally impatient though!) I also chuckled a few times – great sense of humor :)

    • Puja

      You had me hooked as well! Nice ending and line; I also like the company name haha

    • mariannehvest

      Absolutely hilarious. I can see this being a film or a cartoon. Thanks!

    • http://www.facebook.com/people/Suzie-Gallagher/100001281206171 Suzie Gallagher

      Very funny, great story, well done, SC

  • http://aprettytruestory.blogspot.com/ KP

    I wipe my forehead, take a step back and survey what I’ve done with a sick sense of satisfaction. The room is in complete ruins – pictures and posters have been ripped from the walls, leaving light-colored squares and gaping holes where the frames had once been securely mounted. There are various explosive wet spots where vases were hurled and consequently smashed, and bits of colored glass glitter like wet sand over the hardwood floor. I’ve had to remind myself more than once to be careful where I step. Large pieces of broken stone dishware have been carelessly swept into a corner. Books have been pulled down from their shelving and while a few have been carefully stacked against the wall, most have been hurled against walls (leaving sizable dents) or thoughtlessly dropped on the floor and currently sit splayed open for all to see, birds shot down in mid-flight. The dining table we’d searched so long and hard for sits flipped on its side, the three remaining feet hanging rather comically in the air. The chairs are nowhere to be found. As I look around I know I’ve ruined more than a few things this afternoon, but then I remember that he’s ruined more. The hand holding. The exchange of secret texts and smiles and coy looks. The kiss he shared with her that morning in front of Starbucks, so passionate that some of the people sitting by the window pointed and smiled over their lattes and morning papers.

    There’s a box thrown in a corner labeled “stuff” and, fittingly enough, piled haphazardly with stuff. Crap Devin will take with him when he leaves. Standing there in the ruins of our marriage, I finally feel a sense of calm envelop me. Like the storm I’ve been preparing for has finally come and gone, and while it knocked a few things loose I’m still standing. I turn as a key clicks in the lock and Devin walks in. He’s so engrossed in something on his phone that he doesn’t even realize I’m waiting for him until he almost trips over a frame that’s leaning against the wall. His eyes bulge as he takes in what was formerly our living room but is now a spot where a tornado has touched down and destroyed everything.

    He looks at me, openly confused. I look at him and without saying a word, hold up the photograph. Of him. And the girl. And Starbucks. His mouth opens and closes a few times, a fish that’s been yanked onto land. He looks around, maybe for help, but there is none to be found here. Eventually, he spots his box of shot glasses, sports jerseys and action DVDs in the corner. I give the most miniscule jerk of my head and he silently, obediently, walks over to it. Glass crunches underneath his shoes, the only sound in the wrecked apartment. He picks it up and bounces it in his hands as though he wants to say something but nothing will come. Finally he trudges towards the front door, dragging his feet as if to apologize for everything.

    Me? I smile at the thought of never having to see his stupid shot glass collection again.

    • SC

      I can totally see the massive destruction. And feel that mixed feeling of triumph and despair. Cool how the shot glasses were spared too. Spot on.

    • mariannehvest

      I knew it had to be a natural disaster but then when you mentioned a marriage falling apart I was afraid that the spouse had done it. Thanks for this I had fun reading it.

    • http://www.facebook.com/people/Suzie-Gallagher/100001281206171 Suzie Gallagher

      KP, this is a great description of a break-up. Would love to know how she pieces her life back together after this rage

    • http://www.facebook.com/audrey.chin.9655 Audrey Chin

      I love that the guy is so remorseful he crunches his own shot glasses. I don’t really get what went into the relationship before that would make him be so compliant … unless he was just so shocked by her anger.

    • http://www.facebook.com/audrey.chin.9655 Audrey Chin

      Ah sorry, I’ve reread. He went to get his shot glass collection. He was stepping over the other bits of glass. That is a nice touch then.

  • mariannehvest

    The house was a ruin, dust stood on bookcases. They were tall mahogany bookcases from which volumes tumbled when disturbed. The books remained on the floor where they had fallen, sometimes left readable but sometimes ruined by cats who clawed and sometimes chewed on their corners. The person who disturbed them was a ruin himself. He disturbed the books by pulling out volumes that he thought might help his ruined health, his ruined house, his ruined finances, his ruined heart. He would pull out one volume and read it though. He found escape in some stories, but as he got near the end he knew that soon the party would be over in a few pages, and he would return to his life. His life was built upon a long saga of misspent rage, that had led him to this ruined state. He kept hoping though, as he rifled though his books to find a way out.

    • http://twitter.com/JewelsCat Giulia Esposito

      I like the idea of this ruined man searching for a way to fix all the things in life that are so ruined.

      • mariannehvest

        Thanks Guilia

    • SC

      I like it that books and stories offer the way out ;)

      • mariannehvest

        thanks

    • http://www.facebook.com/people/Suzie-Gallagher/100001281206171 Suzie Gallagher

      good job Marianne, like the ‘book of life’ and misspent rage

      • mariannehvest

        Thanks Suzie. I like the word misspent.

    • Thomas Petri

      Very intriguing. I agree with Giulia; The picture of a man in ruins searching for answers or simply respite is very strong.

      • mariannehvest

        Thanks Thomas. It is a sad situation but a realistic one in this day and age I think.

    • http://www.facebook.com/audrey.chin.9655 Audrey Chin

      What an intringuing character Marianne. And what will happen when he does return to his life. I can feel it lurking outside, all the sorrows.

      • mariannehvest

        Thanks Audrey.

  • Puja

    She’d ruined the ruins. She discovered them and right off the bat had to go and ruin them. Moving as far from the remaining wall as she could, Camille sat on a hollowed log and put her head between her hands. The grey brick remained in her grasp.

    She had only wanted to know. To find the source of her family’s fortune and ruin. To stand on the same ground as her ancestors, gaze upon the old white estate on top of the hill. They didn’t plant tobacco here any more, but the ground was shot with purple flowers and dandelions.

    She had driven the eight hours from Newark to North Carolina to see it. What she’d most wanted, more than anything, was to find the cabin. She’d heard that it might be somewhere in the wooded area near the hill. After hours of trekking and searching and wishing she’d never come, she had spotted it. And she knew, this was where her family’s roots had been replanted after a long, long passage across the ocean. When 200 years ago, a Mr. Calhoun set out to ruin a black man so he could ensure his own prosperity. That tale didn’t seem very outdated, really.

    Grandma June had told her about the stories of James’s drawings. James had been an artist deep, deep down. Maybe that was what drew Camille to graphic design painting in the first place. She had so wanted to paint this old, grey cabin with its two walls. But now it was just a one-walled ruin. Her curiosity, the fervor that seized her as she looked through the house for any traces of James’s art, pulled on a grey brick that looked like it might be hiding a compartment, ruined it all. With an ominous, dusty groan the wall came down and she had to run to avoid its crashing down on top of her.

    She’d ruined it.

    • Jay Warner

      quite an entertaining read, and wonderful use of the word “ruin”. I like it.

    • SC

      Love the way that ‘ruin’ runs through so many different levels – literal, historical, emotional.

    • mariannehvest

      I love this. The idea of going back to the ruins and ruining them. What an idea! I enjoyed reading this

    • http://twitter.com/JewelsCat Giulia Esposito

      Very well done!

    • http://www.facebook.com/people/Suzie-Gallagher/100001281206171 Suzie Gallagher

      Puja this is lush, well done

    • http://www.facebook.com/audrey.chin.9655 Audrey Chin

      This is wonderful. I’m drawn into the history of the family already.

  • Jeff Ellis

    Sand shifted in the desert winds that blew outside the old ruin, skittering across the stone floors to curl in tiny clouds about Liam’s feet. Laying in a sandy pool of blood, the Maraji of the Desert Clan stared up at the young man, eyes wide and chest still. In one hand, Liam held the Dagger of the Dunes, and in the other, a lock of the Maraji’s raven-black hair. The years had not been kind, but he was done now. It was over.

    Liam dropped the Dagger of the Dunes and, as promised, it poured like sand when no longer in his hands. The wind stirred the shining dust of the dagger’s disintegrated blade and swirled them across the floor until it was so thinly spread that no one would ever know it was there. Looping the lock of the Maraji’s hair like a ring around his finger, Liam knelt down beside the man and looked one last time into his eyes.

    He didn’t see the years of the Maraji’s torture. He didn’t see the Maraji killing his mother. He didn’t see anything, but an old man, staring back at him without so much as a whisper of life on his lips. It felt cheap, somehow. As if Liam had lured some innocent man to his death for no reason, but his own sick satisfaction. He had planned to celebrate; to dance the death-dance over the Maraji’s body and to drink of his victim’s blood like in the stories. Now, he could only ruminate on his life outside of these ruins. When you have made someone’s blood your only goal, where do you go once you’ve taken it?

    • mariannehvest

      This is really profound at the end Jeff. I like the idea that once the guy is dead he feels let down sort of. Very good.

      • Jeff Ellis

        Thanks Marianne! I wanted to do something a little less pro-vengeance :P

    • Paul Owen

      Ooh, when is this book coming out? I want to know the whole story! This had a great flow, Jeff. Thanks for sharing.

      • Jeff Ellis

        Thanks Paul! Flow is something I am really trying to get down and seeing good progress in :)

    • http://www.facebook.com/people/Suzie-Gallagher/100001281206171 Suzie Gallagher

      Jeff, excellent, well done. I often think about people on a quest once the quest is over, do their lives become empty?

      • Jeff Ellis

        Thanks Suzie, me too :)

  • mariannehvest

    What good example Suzie. I feel sorry for her.

  • http://twitter.com/JewelsCat Giulia Esposito

    Hmmm. What an interesting word. I’ve been feeling slightly uninspired lately, but here’s my practice:

    I lay in my bed, thinking I am completely ruined. My life was tatters. It had all started out so innocently, they had only just gone for a walk. How could things have ended so horribly? We had talked about such stupid things, the weather and how it was ruining the crops, the latest TV shows, our friends–some of who were ruined by the current state of the economy. It made us sad, and we said how lucky we were that weren’t in their shoes. Innocent, stupid things. When we arrived at the ruins, had stopped to take them in. Such ancient beauty was awing, and it made us fall silent. And that’s when it started, the pull between us. I was sure he felt it too, but we stood, admiring the ruins for a while, and then ventured closer, Nathan offering his hand to me and soon we were in the shade. I leaned against the cool stone wall to catch my breath, and Nathan looked away. He started talking really fast about I don’t know what and I have no idea how it happened. How we ended up in that kiss. I have no recollection of putting my arms around him, or of who kissed who. But I’m ruined just the same. When Daniel finds out, what will I tell him?

    • http://www.facebook.com/people/Suzie-Gallagher/100001281206171 Suzie Gallagher

      Giulia, this is lovely, a good practice and a great soundbyte of a piece of their shared history. It would be interesting to see how it develops…

      • http://twitter.com/JewelsCat Giulia Esposito

        Thanks Suzie! That’s so good to hear :)

    • mariannehvest

      This could definitely be the beginning of a romance novel. Very well done.

      • http://twitter.com/JewelsCat Giulia Esposito

        Thanks! There are spots I want to polish up, but I think this practice might go somewhere….

  • http://twitter.com/JasonZiebart Jason Ziebart

    Beth just didn’t have a broken heart after he left. She was ruined. Not in the perverted sense. Emotionally. Mentally. Left to pick of the pieces of a marriage that resembled the ruins of some forgotten English castle, Beth looked to the only person who could help.
    “Mommy,” she whispered into the phone after the tears couldn’t possible come any more. “I need help.”

    Her mother was understanding, having experienced a similar ruining of her own life. Two failed marriages, a son who continually ruined every occupational chance he had, and the ruinous cancer that took her femininity. She knew what true ruin was.
    “Talk to me, baby,” Beth’s mother replied.
    And they did. For hours that night. For days afterwards. And slowly, daughter and mother began cleaning up the pieces of what was once a ruined existence. And together they learned that even the most fragmented ruins can become a thing of beauty when regarded as a place in history rather than shambles in which one must dwell.

    • http://www.facebook.com/people/Suzie-Gallagher/100001281206171 Suzie Gallagher

      Jason, good job. I love the last sentence that sums up that hope that we yearn for.

  • Paul Owen

    Not sure why this was on my mind, but that’s how it goes sometimes. Today’s practice:

    I jerked awake at the alarm’s insistence. Must have fallen back asleep, but how?
    My mind was a ruin. Regret flooded in again as I sat up in bed. What had
    started as a few words about our finances turned into a verbal brawl, no holds
    barred, nothing held back. After shredding each other for an hour, there was
    nothing left to say, and I had been alone since. It was my fault, really. Those
    last couple of trades had been so foolish, ruining the portfolio. Our
    relationship was in ruins along with it. I felt like an old castle ruin, with
    no protection, just alone. There was nothing of value left.

    How bad was the damage now? I glanced at the clock. The markets were open.
    Stumbling over to the laptop, I fired it up and logged into our account. It was
    even worse than I had feared, with tiny numbers compared to two days ago. My
    forehead beaded with sweat, my stomach churned, my hands trembled with moist
    palms. There was no way out of this.

    I shouted to the empty room in a croaking voice.

    “I’m ruined!”

    • http://www.facebook.com/people/Suzie-Gallagher/100001281206171 Suzie Gallagher

      So relevant to today’s culture of money being the root of a happy life. Good practice

      • Paul Owen

        Thank you, Suzie

  • http://www.facebook.com/audrey.chin.9655 Audrey Chin

    What a clever practice Suzie. But until she became a cliche at the bottom of mother’s ruin..the thoughts continued. Wow!

    Here’s mine.

    She’ll ruin him for sure, some said.

    She’ll be ruined for sure, others whispered.

    And sure, they were a pair. He with his dreadlocks falling over his pretty face and his white skin like a girl’s; she as tall as a man and forward like one too.

    He’s too young for her they said, and a fool is soon parted from her money, more so an old fool. She’s too old for him, the other’s argued. It’s her who’ll turn him into a rake, her with her man’s manners and her drinking and her wild ideas.

    She showed him the world, gave him all the advantages she’d fought so hard to own. He became a reason to pull the ruins of her aging body awake each day. He found mother and lover in the ruined arms she wrapped around him each night. She was his coming home, his letting go, a closness he’d hever known.

    They were to be the ruin of each other. Who could imagine, they’d be each other’s salvation?

    • http://twitter.com/pootlesuzie Suzie Gallagher

      Audrey this is totally lush, well done

    • mariannehvest

      That is beautiful Audrey with exceptional use of language and characters that I love already, “He with his dreadlocks falling over his pretty face, and his white skin like a girl’s: she as tall as a man and forward like one too”, I just love that. The whole thing is amazing and so short too. Wow,

    • AH Roberts

      Beautifully descriptive language.

  • Gabrielle

    “Why does he have to ruin everything with his oblivious fucking macho lack of self awareness?” Portentia said aloud, surveying the rubble of what was, at least to her, once such an inspirational relationship. She paced the empty flat yet again, trying to work out who he’d be with this time, but hadn’t a clue. Desolately she wondered pointlessly what to do with the wreckage of what had once so promising between them, more than promising, ecstatic! Yet perhaps even that was a lie, perhaps even then she’d been kidding herself. No. that couldnt be true. Could it? She no longer knew who to trust, what to trust and worse than that in the realm of doing, knew that she was a coward. He knew and she knew that she’d do nothing. Nothing at all. Nada.
    “Why is he such a bastard?” she wailed aloud to the indifferent room. There was no answer of course.
    “More to the point, why am I such an idiot?”
    The rotting debris of their ruined relationship permeated every room she wandered restlessly through. Their miscommunication was strewn everywhere. It was a mess.
    “It’s a mess!” She wailed again, to nothing in particular, swearing to herself that this time she’d take it no more, she’d act. The air was full of knowing. It was a lie. Her mobile rang….

    • AH Roberts

      Sometimes I get distracted by too much description “desolately she wondered pointlessly.” But, that’s just me. This was interesting and made me want to know more… why was the relationship so great initially and how had it deteriorated?

  • Eyrline

    This is over a week late, as my grandson and I have been busy trying not to ruin Keith’s homecoming from the hospital. Physically, we’ve been cleaning as much as possible, and spiritually, we’ve asked God to help us understand the events and illnesses that have plagued us recently. We know God’s in control. We also know that when we go our way without asking for God’s guidance, we might ruin what God has for us. The illnesses may have been a wake up call for us to listen to that “still small voice” telling us to lean on God for everything, even writing.