Shingle [words on wednesdays]

The word of the week is:



  1. a rectangular wooden tile used on walls or roofs.
  2. a pebble beach
  3. dated a woman’s short haircut in which the hair tapers from the back of the head to the nape of the neck.
  4. a small signboard, especially one found outside a doctor’s or lawyer’s office.

Here is a short example from Unless by Carol Shields

I love this house, Tom and I – we’ve been together for twenty six years, which is the same as being married – moved here in 1980, next door to the red-shingled house he grew up in and where his mother still lives, a 70 year old widow, rather gaunt these days, and increasingly silent. Tom, like his father before him, has a family practice in Orangetown, a quick ten minutes away, but he spends at least a third of his time working on trilobite research, his hobby, his avocation, he would tell you in a kind of winking way so that you understand trilobites are his real work.


Write for five minutes, using the word “shingle” as frequently as you can. When you’re fin­ished, post your practice in the comments section.

As many people are clambering across roofs attaching holiday lights and decorations this is for them.

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

The Beach

Deckchairs by Tabsinthe

My Practice

Clarrie hated Mrs. Browne-Thomas. It wasn’t the attitude that came with the double barrelled surname, many of her clients treated her like a serving girl. It wasn’t the odour of parma violets that pervaded from her twin set and pearls, it wasn’t even the occasional silent but deadlies she let out just as Clarrie tackled the nape of her neck.

It was the cut, a throwback to Mary Quant in the 60’s and the emancipated women of the 1920’s. Mrs Browne-Thomas weighed at least 270lbs, she would squelch her frame into the PVC chair, her puffy short legs dangling. She would sit back and start telling Clarrie her many woes.

No matter how Clarrie tried she could not get a straight line on the shingle at the back, the folds of the skin had a life of their own. She would try and try to make the step like tiles on a roof but the skin wobbled this way and that. Clarrie prided herself on making anyone look good, she loved to make these cantankerous old ladies feel pretty again but Mrs Browne-Thomas was her nemesis, or her hair was and this overweight lady left the salon, helmeted. The strands of hair melted  into the skin and Clarrie remained defeated.

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).

  • mariannehvest

    Ha very funny Suzie, I suppose Mrs. Browne-Thomas must be happy though or she wouldn’t keep coming back to Clarrie. It reminds me of my grandfather who had a shoe store in DC worrying about the “stout” older ladies who wanted delicate shoes with pretty little heels.

    • I know, I am one of the squeezers into sizes too small and busting out at opportune moments!

  • Jeff Ellis

    He walked across the shingled roof with hesitant footsteps. In ten minutes the bell would sound and the rest of the township would head toward the square for morning prayer. Eger was of a different mindset. He wanted only to explore and to be thought of as an explorer.

    When Lendron was founded eight hundred years ago, there had been danger on all sides and the sense of security the city provided became a curse in the people’s heads. Now, after the barbarians had been ousted, the monsters slain, and the enemy nations retracted to their own shores, the people of Lendron still feared the outside.

    Eger heard the church bell bong in the tower and as if they had been anxiously anticipating its call, several doors opened on the street and families crept out into the morning mist, funneling toward the square. No one saw him; no one looked up. He sat in the shade of a crumbling chimney, careful not to make a sound, as he watched the townsfolk drawn in lines down the hill and away.

    From among the crowd, he spotted his mother, old and cranky, shoving her way down the street, crying out his name. An old barbarian staple, the stolen son, and still fresh in the mind of his addled mother. He thought to cry out to her, to slide down the shingles to the street and find her in the crowd, but he couldn’t bring himself to action. She disappeared down the street, still calling his name.

    He turned from his fellow Lendroners, toward the resplendent sunrise piercing the morning fog like consciousness through a dream. On one side, the life he’d always known, on the other, untold possibilities. Eger adjusted the heavy leather pack on his back and shimmied cautiously to the lip of the roof opposite the crowd, where an empty street awaited. A clean slate.

    • Jeff, this is a great piece, would like to know what happens next for Eger as he starts his adventure. Good job.
      You could take out the “and” in the sentence …and still fresh… it would increase the pace some. a wee thing though, well done

      • Jeff Ellis

        Thanks Suzie, I’ll edit it now 🙂 Glad you enjoyed this!

    • mariannehvest

      Wow Jeff. What an idea. You are a good writer.

      • Jeff Ellis

        Thank you so much Marianne!

  • Debra Lobel

    It seemed that the fire started out of nowehere. It rolled down the hill, sending sparks onto the tops of the closely built homes in the neighborhood. The wood shingles
    from the old homes were no match for the fire. Those homes were doomed to burn to the ground. Homes with asphalt shingles did better than wood, but they too were no match for the fire. We watched the fire from a distance. We had replaced our asphalt shingles with slate last year. It had rained for days and days. George was constantly on the roof, trying to repair the shingles on the roof. We had to put buckets in every room in the house. Now were hoping that replacing the shingles was going to bring us some luck.

    • way to go Debra on 5, yes, 5 shingle references. Well done

      • Debbie

        My lucky number. 🙂

    • mariannehvest

      Well done. It must be awful to watch your house burn from a distance like that. I like you clear easy to read writing style.

  • mariannehvest

    The hurricane hit with force. We lost electricity and we listened to it howl and moan and sound like a machine gun hitting the house in gusts, but that was how hurricanes always went when I was a child.

    Shingles made the hurricane of 63 especially memorable.

    Her name was Camille. Storms all had female names back then. I thought it was cool that they had female names. I didn’t find it insulting until I was older and even then I think they only started with the male names because guys were jealous.

    During Camille I was at my grandmother’s house at Virginia Beach. I was helping her because she had the Shingles.

    “How did she get shingles?” said my sister.

    “It’s from chicken pox,” I knew this because my mother had told me, but I said it like was just some worldly wisdom that I’d acquired. I was thirteen. My sister was only ten.

    “How do they stick on her?”

    “They come from inside.”

    “What color.”

    “It depends on how bad it is.”

    “We have gray shingles. The Brinkley’s have green shingles.”

    My sister knew the colors of all the houses in the neighborhood including roofs, fences, and sheds. She also remembered all the wall and furniture colors if she had been inside of the houses. She later became an artist.

    My grandmother did pretty well during the hurricane. She took paregoric and drank coffee. That made her feel better. I got to see the shingles but it didn’t look like shingles at all, just red lines going around her stomach. It hurt so bad that it made her quiver sometimes.

    The bad part was after the hurricane when the electric company came to repair the lines. She had taken several doses of paregoric and she went out on the porch. The repair men were trying to cut the lines out of a crepe myrtle that leaned up against the porch.

    “Leave my tree alone,” she yelled. “The wind already blew shingles off the roof, now I don’t need you hitting it with my porch with those limbs.

    The men ignored her so she put on her jacket and walked down the stairs. It was still windy and the road was flooded and I was supposed to be watching her because she was sick. Just as she got up near the tree a line flew loose and hit it. The tree looked like a sparkler and she was right in front of it.

    I ran out and took her hand.

    “Come on back in,” I said.

    “I can’t have them doing this,” she said. “You go on back in and wait.”

    “I’m hungry,” I said.

    She turned and looked at me, her eyebrows drawn up in confusion.

    “I”m really hungry, like I’m going to be sick.”

    It worked. She came in and made TV dinners for us. I was afraid with the shingles and the paregoric working on her she might burn herself while cooking but she didn’t.

    We ate.

    Later the shingles on the roof had to be replaced. The handyman how lived in the garage did it. He didn’t drink paregoric, just wine but still we stood and watched him stagger around and my father, who had come to pick me up, said.

    “Mama you really need to get more insurance”

    “I don’t believe in insurance. It’s gambling,” she said.

    “Well if he falls of the roof and breaks his neck, what are you going to do?”

    She didn’t answer. She just watched him stumble around and after he got down without breaking his neck she gave him a free TV dinner.

    • Oh I love this Marianne, your best stuff is when you delve back in time. You capture the essence of the period so well. Glad someone put the s on the end of shingle. I hope I never get the shingles, ever, they sound horrid!

      • mariannehvest

        Thanks Suzie. I think they are pretty horrible. They have a vaccine here but my insurance won’t cover it and it’s $350.00. I guess it would be worth it but I hate to pay that much.