Free Write Like a Sweaty-Toothed Madman

by Joe Bunting | 120 comments

This guest post is by one of our reg­u­lars, Sara Steeves. A writer, dreamer, and wild horse chaser from Canada. She blogs at To Chase a Wild Horse, and can also be found on Twitter (@Missaralee).

Free writing is an exercise we often practice here at the Write Practice to unblock the mind and increase creativity and fluidity.

But free writing is more than a pill you dole out to cure writer's block, isn’t it? It has a much more important function than helping you finish a scene or discover an ending that resonates.

Free writing, practiced deliberately can set you free from fear.

Free from Fear

Photo by R'eyes.

Free Write to Become Free.

You cannot create art worth reading if you are always forcing yourself to color inside the lines of what’s acceptable and safe. You have to scribble right off the page and resist the urge to keep it sweet and sanitized. Of what value is your writing to yourself or others if you aren’t willing to be real and get messy?

Let your free writing be a pickaxe puncturing the dam dividing worthy thoughts from unclean. Let it set you free.

Free of fear:
Fear of expectations.
Fear of judgment.
Fear of self.

In this sacred space, no ones' eyes are on you and nothing you have to say is unworthy of the ink flowing across your page.

Getting Started: Utter, Seussian Nonsense.

There is no better place to begin than with utter nonsense. Let your freak flag fly and unleash the ravings of an unstable mind into the void in front of you. Do you remember the scene in the Dead Poet's Society where Robyn Williams pushes Todd, his most reluctant student, into free-speaking a stirring piece about a sweaty-toothed madman? I don’t know about you, but it gave me chills.

Unleash the sweaty-toothed madman. Let your mind go and write down every syllable of delirium that forms in your mind. Doo de do dee dum de dum.

Just let ‘er rip!

I was surprised when this bit of nonsense bit into my page:

And then the brown dog was leaping through the truck-o-sphere
dancing to its bone dog ways leaping over pits of fire and edibles,
eating its way into the night and airy way of life.
What a wonderful thing to be a free dog, fleas and all.

Believe me, it was a struggle not to take control of the pen when truck-o-sphere popped up. What does that even mean?

Don’t reign yourself in or your words will be dead fish stinking up your page. The world has enough smelly fish. Go for ugly fish, obnoxious fish, spiny fish, or even mutated-man-eating-fish, just please, no more dead fish.

Getting to the Heart: Be Obscene.

This paper is your private world. Give yourself express permission to be rude.

If you've ever thought it, no matter how ugly, write it. Invite the ugly to the surface. Resist the sober, polite voice demanding that you censor yourself, and trying to scare you out of honesty. If you are scared to write something down, you must write it! Don't avoid it. It may be your most important thought: a lie that has taken root, a wound you have buried, a rebel cry, a barbaric yawp. Whatever you do, don't be sedate.

When I write with the intention of keeping it polite and clean the words are always dead on arrival. Worse still, by keeping my pen on a leash, especially when I am supposed to be free writing, I am reinforcing the ban on uncomfortable thoughts, and burying them even deeper and with them my best stories. If you keep saying no to your muse she’ll stop sending you gifts.

Be impolite.
Be obscene.
Tell the whole truth.
Tell horrible lies.
Rant and rave and yell.
Write from a place of rage.
Write from a place of weakness and despair.
Write what you are most ashamed to think and feel.

Put all that ugliness out there on the page.

It is awfully selfish to hold back on authentic expression. To gloss over the ugly and raw places. To pretend they don’t exist, to wrap yourself in bleached linens and wad sterile gauze into your wounds hoping no one will smell the stench of rot and decay.

We don’t need more saccharine sonnets. We need your real, gut-wrenching, clotted, choked-up word spit.


You don't need to publish the carnage of your soul, but to create art that rings true you need to acknowledge the lies and thorns cluttering up your brain case.

Write while enraged/desolate/impassioned/ashamed. Edit while sober.

Rather than approaching free writing as an exercise to be done alongside your real writing, what if you gave yourself over to it? The honesty you pour onto the page could be the raw material for something great, something true.


Free write like a sweaty-toothed madman for fifteen minutes. Let yourself be absurd. Let yourself be obscene. Most importantly, let yourself be honest. Share the absurd in the comments. The ugly is for you to redeem.

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Joe Bunting is an author and the leader of The Write Practice community. He is also the author of the new book Crowdsourcing Paris, a real life adventure story set in France. It was a #1 New Release on Amazon. Follow him on Instagram (@jhbunting).

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  1. AnthemionIrk64


  2. Marla4

    I stood in the rain last night, sober as a judge, and
    listened to Alan Jackson, who was high and lifted up on a stage in a field that
    used to be a cow pasture in Arkansas.

    “I’m sorry y’all are out there in the rain,” he said.  “I can feel some of it, even up here on
    stage. I swear,” he said, but then he stopped, the thought already gone done
    some long country road.

    The girl next to me spilled beer on me during “It’s 5 O’clock
    Somewhere,” and she started one of those long apologies called out over a crowd
    of people that brings a spotlight right on the two of you.  Which I didn’t want.  I wanted to stand still and hear a man who
    sings the way I feel.  He likes the
    heartbreak songs, he likes the songs where the boy doesn’t get the girl, and
    his truck breaks down, and his dog gets sick, and he can’t pay the rent.

    On the screen behind him, photos of his mama and daddy roll.
    They look like poor people, at least in the beginning Alan Jackson he made it
    big.  His daddy let him drive a boat when
    he was too young, and a pickup on the dirt roads that crisscross the great
    South.  His mama was, well, his mama,
    which is enough if you’re good at it.

    The guy to my right, waving a Confederate flag, starts to
    weep. He’s knee-walking drunk.  His
    buddies flank each side, and they wrap their arms around him and the three sway
    together, their good boots stuck in the red mud.

    Alan Jackson’s shirt is green, and he’s unsnapped it
    mid-chest, and his legs are skinny, and his cowboy hat is straw. He can sing to
    me; he can talk to me, it doesn’t matter. 
    It’s the voice I’ve come for, the twang and the dropped “g’s” and the
    slow rhythm, hypnotic as a snake charmer.

    I know he’s cheated. 
    I read his wife’s book, and I wish that he hadn’t.  You want to believe in something. You want
    the man in the boots with the howdy ma’am and the I declares and the hands
    rough from real work to be different.

    They seldom are.

    I met Bill Clinton once. At a high school ballgame. He asked
    my name and I told him. The next year, I met him again. You know what? He
    remembered my name. That’ll make you feel like somebody. And he had a way of
    taking your hand in his. He had a way of blocking out everybody else and
    looking right at you that made you sparkle inside, I swear. And he loved his
    mama, even though folks around here kept hearing she’d been the cause of
    somebody’s death when she worked the hospitals, but Bill made every bit of
    trouble go away when he was our governor, but wouldn’t you if you loved your

    Even now he shows up at his library in Little Rock, sneaks
    in when kids are touring, looking at Chelsea’s little bracelet from when she
    still had some fat on her, and he sticks out his hand and introduces himself
    and everybody goes mute, knocked down by that charm.

    A man like that, even after he’s white-headed, can make a
    woman can forget every one of the Commandments. The guy in front of me is
    swinging his hips and he grabs me and before I know it we’re dancing together,
    me twirling beneath his raised arm and him bringing me close, all beer breath
    and cigarette smoke, and I feel the way you do when the world is shifting and
    the long lens of possibility zooms right down on you.

    The camera guy on stage sees us and the next thing I know we’re
    on the giant screen behind the band, me in my flowered dress and cowboy boots
    and this guy in his Wranglers and cowboy hat and the crowd cheers and Alan
    Jackson starts to play “Remember When” about first love, which tears me apart
    because I tore my first, and maybe my only love apart, and if he thinks of me
    at all it’s probably bad and empty at the same time, like a super-sized meal at
    McDonald’s.  So I sink into this new
    guy.  We dance close and he puts his chin
    on the top of my head and I shut my eyes tight and the music rolls through and
    the rain falls and life goes on, I swear it does, but it’s never the same.


    • Pjreece

      Marla… that’s just plain good writing.

    • Missaralee

      Oh, Marla. You pulled me right in. I have to go wash the mud off my feet now.

    • Marla4

      Thank you so much! I think the rain helped the concert. The fog rolled in and everything was ethereal. Just perfect.

    • Plumjoppa

      I like this whole piece, but I especially love the part about Bill Clinton.  I knew a very Christian, happily married woman who once met him.  She was not able to describe him as you did, except to say he was handsome.  But I can tell by the way she blushed when she said he shook his hand, that you nailed it.  What is it about that guy?! 

    • Marla4

      Well, first there’s his voice. It’s like honey and the front porch and the best country song all together. And then it’s the way he singles you out and you feel like he’d talk to you forever, that there’s nothing more important at that moment than you. And then there’s the way he holds your hand between both of his. He’s Southern charm personified.

    • wendy2020

      Okay, even this commentary post is amazing.  I love how you describe his voice and the total attention he gives the person he is talking to.  Now I want to meet him. 

      Since you and Bill Clinton are on a first name basis, can you introduce me? 😉

    • John Fisher

      Man, that’s great!  Alan Jackson, everything you write of his voice, talkin’ OR singin’, is the truth!  I like him because he moves kinda like Hank Sr. did onstage, if you ever see any old footage of Hank check it out and see if you don’t agree.  And Mr. Clinton, he IS a charmer, I can just tell never having met him.   The guy next to you at the show — love and humanity.   The whole piece is just great!

    • John Fisher

      ……yes, that was me.  Enjoyed your article on the Buffalo River; the ancient barns and general stores are things I remember from my youth here in my home state, but urban development has gone further where I am — I’m glad I’m old enough to remember how it was!

    • Kate

      I absolutely love this. I love that all your thoughts are in a back drop of the music concert, and how your feelings and memories are all mixed in. I’m not expressing myself very well here, haha, suffice to say I really enjoyed reading this, and i want some more.

    • Marla4


      You express yourself very well. Thank you so much!


    • Mirelba

       That’s funny- you wrote as guest, but when I finished it, I said, wow, sounds like Marla’s writing:  now I see why!  I guess I love your writing even when I don’t know it’s you 🙂

    • Mariaanne

      That needs to go in a book.  You don’t just set a good stage with great characters but you make a point every time you put even something short up here.  I like the last paragraph after all the stuff about longing and love and charming men at the beginning.  That first long sentence is the last paragraph made me cry but it was funny too.  You are a hell of a writer girl. 

    • wendy2020

      This was so slice of sloshy southern life.  Loved it (and it made me want a sloppy drunk in cowboy boots to twirl me on a dirt floor and offer to buy me a tacky necklace that glows in the dark for a maximum of 8 hours.)   hehe

    • somebeach7

      Saw Alan Jackson and love his music and style. Your story brought back memories and made me nostalgic. I have danced also to “Remember when”

    • Mirelba

       Beautiful!  Now I have to look up Alan Jackson to hear some of his music…

  3. Brittany DiSalvo

    Writing for freedom or writing for free?


    I did cartwheels on the beach yesterday. That’s a GOOD day. With a guy — should I say man? nah. — I didn’t know a month ago, and his Wisconsin family.

    We probably would not have chosen to be close friends. But we were thrown into the same basement together, overlapping on our coming and going. We silently, separately determined to be friends. So very stubborn is he…and his beard.

    But not the “he” I’ve been thinking about for three summers.

    I even asked for a stone, but was given bread.

    …and it was taken before I could savor it.

    The cursor blinks, the clock changes, the sun falls behind the trees once more and still there is no sign of him.

    Some disapprove of my waiting. Some cheer me on. I am caught between their musings and cannot decipher my own. But where else would I go with my hope? I have tasted and seen. I cannot go back. It cannot be undone.


    I asked for it. But even if I didn’t…well, would it have happened?

    I would say that I struck gold, but it’s truer to say that gold struck me.

    How could something so beautiful have such a seemingly devastating effect on me?

    I love differently. That much is true.

    The devastation is the longing for more, the discontent with the way things are because I have tasted — TASTED! — love on earth as it is in heaven.

    Am I spoiled? Forever?

    Shall I apologize to my people?

    The best part is the worst part sometimes.

    Am I even saying anything?

    I’ve grown so fond of the man in Maine. Yes, man.

    Am I foolish for letting love have its way? Will I regret letting grace running its course through me?

    Do wisdom and love ever contradict? Could it be called wisdom if it is not love?

    Where there is knowledge, it will pass away.

    Grace eclipses reasoning, that I know for sure. Think about that sentence…

    All a man’s ways seem right to him…that I know, too. And tremble.

    Free to love…empowered to love…that thing in me that wants to love is God Himself.

    Love is the only thing to make me stubborn. It is the only thing that gives me bravery without certainty.

    I want to live a life of extravagant love. What do I have to lose?

    It’s just life.

    We are meager. There’s grace for that.

    The greatest of these is love. So, Love, do Your thing.

    • PJ Reece

      Brittany…  I am humbled by your poetry and images and expansiveness and truth. 

    • kjones

      Beautiful how you added the words of God in with your words. I really like this.

    • Missaralee

      I love this Brittany. To live a life of extravagant love. Very beautiful.

    • Sarah Hood

      This is so eloquent! Beautiful job!

    • Kate

      I really love the line “Love…is the only thing that gives me bravery without uncertainty” – how true!
      Nice piece. Stirs some stuff up for me. That’s what it is supposed to do, isn’t it?

    • Cindy Christeson

      So many great lines Brittany…such as the cursor blinks, the clock changes, etc….but there is great power in the the short sentences near the end…”We are meager.  There’s grace for that”


    • Yvette Carol

      Brittany, you even managed to throw in a bible reference at the end. Good job.

    • Mariaanne

      I like the lines “love is the only thing that makes me stubborn. It is the only thing that gives me bravery without certainty.”  Very poetic. 

    • wendy2020

      This is my favorite part:

      I love differently. That much is true. (cause it made me chuckle and say, “You too?) 

      And your final line… “So, Love, do Your thing.”  Capitalizing Your as if to give it the same status as God.

      I get the friends on both sides.  Ones that believe in your happily ever after, one ones that want you to move on for Christ’s sake.   You captured that well.

      And I like the distinction between guy and man.  Doesn’t every girl/woman want her guy to really be a man? 😉

      Well done!

  4. PJ Reece

    Interesting practice… yikes!  I’ll file away the better (worst) part of my ramblings… but I appreciated the space it led me into… a kind of existential fear that I remembered while visiting a village near Lake Victoria in Africa.  An encounter with a witchdoctor, a crazy dancing dude dressed in pink and wearing a boa… and coming toward me…

    “…to be afraid of the truth about this world I live in.
    How f—– is that! What a sham… and this guy, crazy as a cockroach in a
    barrel of chibuku… and he can mess me up like that. I hate it… and yet I’m
    going to remember it. Forever. Why is that? Damn it. There again… this insanity
    is punching nails into my precious little phoney life. I want it and I hate it.
    I live to cheat myself of life, then I inch toward it, get excited by it, want
    it, even. Though I’ll never admit it. Surrender to it, are you kidding? What
    would this guy do to me? What’s the worst thing that I could imagine happening
    in his little witchdoctors hut in the forest…”

    • Missaralee

      PJ, I’m so glad you found some worst/best to hide away! I love coming back later to find all the ugliest (and most honest) ramblings that I’ve hidden away. It always sets off sparks for new writing and stories.
      Your story about the witch doctor is intriguing.

    • Yvette Carol

      insanity punching holes into a precious little phoney life
      Man, you gotta hold onto that line. It’s genius 🙂

    • Mariaanne

      I like the “insanity punching holes into . . . life” too, but my favorite thought it “I hate it. .  and yet I’m going to remember it. Forever. Why is that?”  

    • wendy2020

      Really glad you gave a bit of a prologue up front, otherwise it might remind me of one of my really bad dates. 

      What’s really cool is that you made something you can’t get out of your head memorable to me as a reader.  Sounds like a wild experience.

      And as to the witch doctor…

      Crazy cures a lot, I think. 🙂

  5. kjones

    It wasn’t as if she even knew what was wrong. She just sat there on the old porch swing her momma hung up when she was eleven. Faded green paint peeling like snake skin, she sat there and cried. Her tears flowed from her crystal grey eyes, and all seemed hopeless. She wanted to scream out; to God, to man, to animal, it did not matter. All she needed was someone to answer her. Someone to hear her voice through those tears. Someone that could help her, to take the desperation away. Numbness, God’s unending comfort, overwhelmed her insides. Everything begun to look very different, even though the scenery had not changed. what an odd sense of reassurance. A calming from the raging storm. A release from a pressured pain that delved so deeply minutes before…….

    • Karen Jones

      Not fifteen minutes, but all that would come out.

    • Katie Axelson

      I love this! I’m sad more wouldn’t come out because I didn’t want it to be over.

    • Karen Jones

      oh thank you. I did not know if anyone would even read it. That means alot to me.

    • Cindy Christeson

      I want to hear more….did someone hear her voice through those tears?

    • wendy2020

      Definitely got in that porch swing with that character.  Not sure I followed the transition of emotions from hopeless to feeling numb due to God’s comfort, but this is free-flow writing after all.

      As the author, do you know why she was crying, cause you have me curious!

      (p.s. I know what you mean about wondering if anyone is even going to read your stuff.  Like if a tree falls in the woods and no one hears it, did it really make a sound?  If a writer writes something, and no one reads it, is he/she still a writer?  I try to tell myself that it this point, it is not “the being heard” that matters, but I don’t always buy it)

    • Karen Jones

      Thank you so much for that. Yes, I feel ignored often, but I keep trying anyway. Really, That meant alot to me. (all of what you said). Maybe I will work on taking this free write further? Just an idea.

  6. Rachel Altsman

    I don’t write anymore.

    I did this summer, when there was time and space and slow moments and hopes that this year would be different, that I would make the time or find the time or whatever it is that people do when they are able to actually accomplish things in their life.  That secret they must have that I can never seem to discover.

    But school has started and the words are stuck.

    I have made them stuck, I have walled them up in the catacombs of my brain, like Montresor did to Fortunato in the short story I taught my students last week.  We read it and pulled it apart and talked about the words and I spent all week speaking words and reading words and hearing words, but not writing any.  Or at least not any that matter.

    I have chained them to the wall and added brick after brick, level after level because I am afraid of what will happen if I let them loose.

    It’s not the words I am afraid of though.  It’s the places I will have to go deep inside my mind and heart to find the words.  The deepest part of me where words of meaning and value actually live.

    But those parts are dangerous.  And I do not have time for dangerous places.

    I have lesson plans to write and papers to grade and students to listen to and parents to call and lockers to watch and merits and demerits to give and advice to hear and advice to tell and meetings to attend and tests to write and scantrons to scan and books to shelve and on and on and on.

    And if I go to those dangerous places, I will have to let the words and the emotions out and I will fall apart.  And if I fall apart, the plans won’t get written and the students will see weakness and the merits will shrink and the demerits will grow and will find myself desperately trying to tread water all the while I am sinking back into the pit I worked so hard to claw my way out of.

    So I bottle them.  I wall them up.  I hide them in pockets and recesses and under the bed and try to keep them from getting out.

    Because in my mind, I am not the one that matters.  It is the students.  It is their future that is important, so if I make myself miserable educating them, it’s all ok.  I will bury and tamp down and smush the words for the sake of the kids.

    And I wil tell myself it’s humility, even though if I were to really look closely at it (which I won’t), it’s fear.

    I won’t look closely, because if I look closely then I will be aware and if I am aware I will have to DO something about it and I do not have the energy to do anything about it.  Or if I find the energy somehow, chances are I will fail anyway and that will just create more words and more emotions that I don’t have the time or space or energy or will to deal with.

    So I shut the lid and shove the box with the words to the back corner of the closet and turn out the light and shut the door and leave the room and shut that door and hope that all those walls and doors and locks and lids will keep me safe.

    But I do not think that they will.

    • Katie Axelson

      “I have chained them to the wall and added brick after brick, level after level because I am afraid of what will happen if I let them loose.”
      These are my favorite two lines. Well done, Rachel. Hear the words wailing from their box in the corner, screaming to be free.

    • Missaralee

      Ooh, such honesty, Rachel, thank you for sharing. The whole time I was reading I was thinking “nooo! Don’t stop writing!” Messy is worth it. Even tiny sips of messy and dribs and drabs of writing when you’re feeling courageous is so worth it. You are so wonderful to be so strong for your students. They are so lucky to have a teacher who wants their best, even at the cost of her own self.

    • Cindy Christeson

      I love this!  I love your poetic honesty and passion and I wish I was one of your students!    Summer may be over and school may have started, but you MUST keep writing….we need to read it!  You offer something we are thirsty for!  

    • Yvette Carol

      There’s nothing better than a dose of honesty. Love your bravado!

    • Mariaanne

      I don’t think you should give up. This is really good. 

    • wendy2020

      This piece is so relatable, yet so uniquely written.  My favorite line is: 

      …or whatever it is that people do when they are able to actually accomplish things in their life.

      I guess what people do, is ‘do’?   Myself, I find ‘doing’ pretty damn hard.

      One thing you might consider is pretending you are one of your students.  What would teacher you tell student you? 

      You are talented as a writer.  This was a pleasure to read.

  7. Sarah Hood

    Well, I’m a slow writer even when I freewrite! This is all I got in 15 minutes:

    “The football flies
    flippantly through the fog, fires through the goalpost. Crowd cheers.
    Players pumping fists, slapping each other on the backside. Red
    numbers on the scoreboard, barely showing through the fog: Home, 31,
    Away, 29. The chill air is electric with the thrill of victory.
    Everybody standing, screaming, the kicker hoisted onto his teammates’
    shoulders and paraded around the field. He’s a hero. They leave the
    field, the cheering goes on a little longer then begins to die down.
    A mass exodus of 70,000 leaving the stadium. Everyone chattering
    excitedly. Looking forward to next week, we’re headed to the
    playoffs! The week is one long holiday. Buying tickets and jerseys
    and ballcaps and inviting friends to watch parties. Those annoying
    radio talk show commentators analyzing the game to death. Who’s gonna
    win? As if they know beforehand. Everyone contributing their bet. Of
    course it will be the home team. The playoffs are a
    once-in-a-lifetime experience. At least for these fans. It doesn’t
    happen enough. Let the game begin!”

    • Katie Axelson

      I love the alliteration at the beginning of your piece, Sarah. Did you plan that?

    • Sarah Hood

      Thanks Katie! Haha, well, it was about the first actual line that popped into my head. I thought it was pretty cool, even though “flippantly flies” and “fires” are kind of oxymorons. 🙂

  8. Rebekah Schulz-Jackson

    Fantastic post. I think my favorite thing about this type of free-writing is that you always get more original word choice when you don’t think about it so much. Thanks for sharing!

    {Also, I love that scene. Great movie.}

    • Missaralee

      Thanks Rebekah 🙂
      I love the crazy words that just pop up too, it’s almost like minning your subconscious for vocab you didn’t know you had.
      Isn’t it the best movie, though?! I think it might have been one of the seeds for me starting to write poetry years ago.

  9. Missaralee

    Scandalous reality.
    What the bloody ‘ell is going on here in this cesspool of wealth and deception with dogs running off leash and leases not paid and parking tickets for lunches and the freedom of writing whatever the ‘ell you want but not wanting to say the thing that we’re all thinking: that honesty is hard and nakedness is harder still and a life lived in safety is a safe life. And it’s safe to say you’ll make it to the grave but gravely and without grandeur. But it’s just life.
    Does it matter if it’s grand or gripping or just a grumpy trek through the walls of each passing folly and figment? Who’s to say what is a life well lived? If you are okay to wander through yours at a grumpy crank of a pace and just dawdle through the challenges and ignore the roses and the thorns and see only the black and white newsprint of reality and never the multi-dimensional odiferous scent of lively butterflies and figs hanging from cursed trees, then why not just do that. Why not just die a little more every day? Why try for immortality at all if you just want to get it over with and you can’t be bothered to stop and try to breathe into another’s life and give gifts of gold and good sense to the younger ones who are struggling? Why not just get in their way instead? Tell them to stop dreaming. Tell them to stop trying. Tell them that that life is boredom and apathy and pain. Forget about lifting up and just push them down. Make sure they are below you and less happy even than you. Make sure you die alone and can’t be bothered by tearful goodbyes. It’s better that way. Less like work. Less trouble, less pain.
    Wait, no it’s not
     It’s more pain. A pain that isn’t dulled by red balloons escaping into the sky and by the calls of blue jays and smile of a child sampling gelato in some cobblestone square. Why do you want to waste it when you can make it everything and nothing? You can make light of it. Take it less seriously, treat it as having little worth, and it could be the more joyous for just being a game rather than a job and a quest for perfection. Make life a hobby and a handsome price for seeing what cannot be seen and hearing the melody in clouds that sway through the upper atmospheres. Music of spheres that dance their powerful winding dance round and round in 3/4 time just dada-dada da-ing to the beat of dust and gravity. There it is again, gravity, pulling you down to the ground. Pulling you into a grave. But let it be one that you make yourself. An end at sea or in the throes of an adventure. Every day, court death by living fully every day.
    Throw yourself into the arms of dangerous life. Hint: that’s the one where you step outside. The one where you speak up, the one where you let yourself be seen. Go ahead. I dare you to be seen. I dare you to test your theory that death lurks around every corner that every mistake is the end for you. Are you dead yet? Imagine that! Maybe this life thing isn’t so dangerous after all. The worst you can do is wait for the silent death to take you. Go out and meet it. Make the most of it. Make it glorious and bright as copper gleaming shields in the sun of ancient deserts. Why not just run into it? Death won’t be so tempted to take you when you mock it by making yourself immortal. Grasp hold of the light that makes all things last forever. The lamp that lights up even the deepest blackness of the soul. Be not afraid of light that burns clean, and exposes you to ridicule and censure. Because, it can also expose you to love. Real love. Being fully seen you can be fully loved. Being hidden, love is hidden from you. Step out into the burning light of day and be tanned by life.

    • Cindy Christeson

      Wow, such passion and such powerful words and phrases!  Pain can be dulled by red balloons and a child’s smile…if and when we have eyes to see….I’m so glad you do, and that you can write in a way to help us see too!

    • Missaralee

      Thank you, Cindy, that means so much. It’s the funniest thing, when I point out tiny bits of wonder in conversation, people look at me funny. But somehow, written out it sounds less like madness. 🙂

    • Mariaanne

      Great writing Missaralee. I like the alliteration and the rhythm.  I love the last line, love it.  I like the child smiling and eating gelato and the blue jay and i love the beginning with the part about going to the grave gravely but without grandeur.  This is good rich stuff. 

    • Missaralee

      Thanks Mariaanne!

    • Mirelba

       Wow, so many great lines, where do we begin?  beautifully done!

  10. Brendan

    I rose to my window to the fascinating flurry outward. The sun had temporarily allowed moisture to fall in it’s presence, and the wind-kicked dust remained so, combining in a seemingly artificial amalgam of elements, at odds-but even in their part of an ignorantly  disoriented enigma dry-wet-hot-still-stirring and suffocating, each shouting loud in mindless inaudible force . I turned to see him still sleeping. I then returned, but the enemies had recognized their futile intrusion and abandoned Abaddon in exasperated tantrums as children, leaving the ultimate illuminator to rule supreme. But it would be bested yet again by man’s invention. Time– the intangible polypheme, unfluctuatingly passive but continuously static in it’s action. Soon enough it would banish and paralyze the star westward, summoning the moon with cain and his bundle of twigs.

  11. Jackie Davie

    Dance dance dance dance out of the pain,
    out of the tiredness… dance it all away. With You by my side what is there I
    cannot face, cannot overcome in Your name. The picture Jennifer had years ago,
    still fresh in my mind. You and me, dancing, twirling, twirling, as though
    no-one was watching, (as the song goes…) me, beautiful, wearing the finest
    dress… covers all scars, bags and wheels. Indeed there is no need to think of
    any of that, for you do not see those. You only see me. Created, as I am, in
    your image.  You and me, nothing else


    I enter that place of rest, place of peace,
    which I have not found for some days. I see only what matters. All around me is
    vivid, how could I not see if before? The dewy grass, beauty all around me, the
    space, the air, the sun… One day, that will all me mine, as You have promised.
    For now, I see only glimpses. Then, I will see clearly, and none of what matters
    now will matter then.


    The times, at my lowest, I remember this
    picture, from, when was it, at least 5, 7 years? Suddenly all of this
    disappears, for all I can feel is the pain. Back to remind me, that the picture
    in my head is not yet reality. For once the neighbours are silent. No shouting,
    searching, coughing, screaming. How is it, they are silent, and I am the one
    who cannot sleep. Doesn’t seem fair. No fair no fair, I want to scream it and
    shout it, be a child again, someone else take over all of this. So all I have
    is the place of rest. And yet, with You by my side… You promised, I could have
    that rest, that peace, so why is it is so fleeting? 

    • Cindy Christeson

      Beautiful words, and well expressed – oh that we could all dance away our pain!

    • Yvette Carol

      For now I only see glimpses. Wow! I can see how free writing can create poetry.

  12. John Fisher

    It’s never like that though never like I think it’s gonna be.   Springsteen they got streets of fire down here too I know I’ve spent all night on ’em before.  I hate neighbors who yell and so what’s it all for, there’s no audience and I’ve fired every boss I ever had so I’m free & broke and if these limbs worked better I’d — well, I’d no longer be me [SCREAM] that’s fairly ugly you could say I was born into death she still mourning the love of her life & carryin’ me so it is what it is I see now that mi padres were just as mangled only in different ways before I was even thought of and between German military conscription the potato famine the red scare and the dust bowl we was had before we was had so walk on these sagging legs ’cause parts is parts and if I catch up to you Mr. Deity I’m ‘on [EDIT]

    • Karen Jones

      wow. very nice writing.

    • Mariaanne

      That was pretty fierce and angry. I felt the energy and I love this part “you could say I was born into death and she still mourning the love of her life and carrying me so it is what it is”.  It reminds me a bit of Faulkner in the way you string the words together. 

    • John Fisher

      Thank you so much Mariaanne — it leaves me somewhat breathless to be referred to in the same sentence as a Faulkner!  This is the angry beast.  One of the selves.  Lewis Thomas said something to the effect that it’s a matter of lining up the different selves and making them wait their turn — I guess this exercise was this guy’s turn.  It’s not the whole story but there’s a place and a time in the story for  this energy.  It’s great  to have this blog, to be able to write and communicate with others like this!  It’s a continuing education for  all of us I would think.

    • wendy2020

      Fired every boss I ever had… love the twist of that phrase.

      I don’t know anything about German military conscription or the red scare. But the cool thing about this free-flow writing exercise is that I don’t have to get the essence of the piece.

    • Missaralee

      “you could say I was born into death she still mourning the love of her life & carryin’ me”

      Love the flow, John. I hope you really did scream while writing this, because it just makes the whole thing so much more vital.

    • John Fisher

      ……….the scream was silent, for which my neighbors would thank me, but very real.  Thank you for this exercise!

  13. Bjhousewriter

    Spelling-what a pain. I have some great ideas but when I go to write them down I don’t know how to spell the word I want and then I have to stop and look it up. Then not knowing how to spell it I have to look at all the ways I think it is spelled. You guessed it. Lost my drive to write what I want.

    Why is it that when we think of something and don’t have something to write it down with or on we can not remember it when we do have materials on hand.

    Another complaint is why does it sound so good in our head (idea) but when it is written out it doesn’t sound the same?

    • Missaralee

      Spelling! Such a pain. I use a plain text editor for drafting and believe me you have never seen creative spelling until you have seen my first drafts.
      Try, try, try to ignore that urge for instant perfection and refinement. Write like a drunk slurring their words, stutter it out, spit it onto the page. Maybe it won’t make sense later but the process is the prize.

  14. mlhatcher

    I made a statement the other night about we all should color outside the lines, it is free out there, no regulations to be held under, no obligation to please, please only yourself, the heck with what others think, you are expressing the idea that is circling in your mind. This is, in my case, a vital asset and a must, to deliver what is current and required, to be effective and deliberate. I am simply alive on the outside and proud of it. I do not need to make excuses for my alternative self and believe I make my voice heard and there is an impact that clearly is not muted.

    • Missaralee

      “I am simply alive on the outside and proud of it. I do not need to make excuses for my alternative self ”
      So true and so easy to forget in the midst of crazy life and everyone demanding their piece of us. Sometimes you just gotta YAWP to snap yourself out of those lines.

  15. Ernest

    Looking down I could see 300 feet of absolute void. An infinite abyss filled with nothing but darkness. Picking up a stone I dropped it into the cliff and waited patiently for it reach the bottom. After an eternity the soft click of the fallen stone reached my ears.

    I smiled and turned around.

    • Karen Jones

      Small, but powerful. very nice

    • Ernest

      thanks… i like to keep it short because frankly I’m not that good a writer who can put everything he wants into the the text!!!


    • wendy2020

      I liked the satisfaction of seriously dropping a rock and hearing it land.  Good piece.

    • Ernest


  16. Naida West

    Wow. I’m halfway through revising my first novel, and I’ve been chewing on the idea of a sequel. I’ve been thinking about this scene a lot, but I’ve been too afraid to actually attempt it.

    And I wrote this in fifteen minutes? WHAT?

    For a little background, Millie has wings (she isn’t an angel btw). And Leo may look like a total asshole, because this is just Millie’s side. I’ll write Leo’s eventually – his isn’t nearly as daunting as this was, because he’s the main character (or I like to think that. Not sure if he has more or equal pagetime to Millie). 


    Her mind whirled as she stared at the dark haired figure
    from the parapet she stood on. The girl – that girl, who had… had kissed him – said something and turned
    to walk away, waving over her shoulder. Millie couldn’t see Leo’s expression.


    It could have been anything. A misunderstanding. A sneak


    But then he caught her wrist.


    Millie couldn’t believe him. From here, it looked like he
    wanted to kiss that girl. But Leo was…


    Millie launched off the parapet, snapping out her wings. She
    wouldn’t go back down to the gardens. She couldn’t – he was standing right
    there, and it was like she didn’t know him anymore.


    She’d thought she knew. She hadn’t before, over a year ago,
    even though she had known him her whole life. He had been a liar, even if it
    was to protect her. But then she had learned the truth, and must have thought
    that meant that he wasn’t a liar anymore.


    But had he changed? Had he really, deeply, truly changed?


    Absolutely not. He was a liar. He had always been a liar.


    He always would be.


    She didn’t know what to do, so she ran. Her slippered feet
    slapped on the marble floor as she raced by a group of servants. They said
    hello, but she took no notice. The only sounds she heard were her feet, and the
    thudding of her heart, beating in time with the one word that repeated over and
    over in her head.


    Liar. Liar. Liar.


    Up stairs that she barely noticed. Around a corner, down a
    hall. Through a door.


    Millie stopped short in the center of Leo’s room.


    What? She had meant to turn right, not left! But as she
    thought this, she realized that she had meant to come here. Because along with
    bewilderment and betrayal, another emotion had sprung up in her chest.




    Millie glanced around. She couldn’t really break something
    of Leo’s. That would be childish. She should just confront him, even though it
    would be difficult. Taking deep, calming breaths, the girl strode over to a
    window and looked out.


    Leo’s window overlooked the gardens. He was still there,
    head tilted back as if he was scanning the sky for Millie.


    In her mind’s eye, that girl was still there. She pulled Leo
    close and kissed him, and he leaned into it.


    Before Millie knew what was happening, her fist collided
    with the window.


    The glass shattered with a clinking noise and dropped, where it broke further on the cobblestones two stories below. Millie didn’t hear


    She stared at her extended fist. Her knuckles were chopped
    up, the gashes stained a deep crimson. Millie pulled her hand to her chest and
    cradled it, sank to her knees.


    And that was when she cried.

    • Kate Hewson

      Nice writing! lots of emotion in there. I like the ‘steps she barely noticed’. I can totally empathise with banging on a window til it breaks (been there…). Im hooked, I want to know more! ha.

    • Missaralee

      Naida, it’s so great that you jumped into it and got it done! Keep fighting the fear.

  17. Cindy Christeson



    I hate timers!  There
    are many things I hate, but I’m supposed to be a lover.  I am to be a reflection of God, but so often
    I look like mud, and throw it too!

    I have more pet peeves than I want to admit.  My pet peeves multiply like rabbits.

    See that car driving so selfishly, like he’s the only one
    that matters?  That the rest of us
    obeying the laws are peons?  And to top
    it all off, I be he’s going to church. 
    The same church I’m driving to! Sure enough, he arrogantly cuts in front
    of a whole string of cars, just to sit in front of us at the red light pointing
    us all to the same parking lot. Big man in the shinny car with its nose in the
    air.  He thinks he’s ‘better-than.’


     What if I recognize
    him?  Maybe he’ll end up sitting next to
    me during the service, what will I say when it’s time to greet your neighbor
    and say something nice? How do I calm those angry thoughts buzzing through my


    What if I don’t want to play nice? What if I’d rather throw
    verbal darts like the ones I store in my arsenal as great come-backs for people
    who boast or treat others like they don’t matter?  Sometimes it’s hard to restrain myself when I
    watch a well dressed couple talk down to a waiter in a restaurant, trying to
    magnify their own superiority while making someone else feel small, or stupid,
    or insignificant.  Who do they think they
    are and who made them king?


    I may shoot a few evil eye stares, but those rarely land on
    them or make a dent.  All they do is dent
    my own heart.  Better for me to treat the
    waiter with respect, and to pray for the couple.  But I don’t want to pray for people who prey
    on the weaknesses of others.


    I don’t want to ignore the angry mother who belittles her
    child in the crowded market, I want to take the child home.  The gorilla mom is giving that small waif a
    piece of her mind, but it’s a piece the lonely looking little girl doesn’t


    Who am I to think the piece of my mind that I’d like to
    swing at that out-of-control mother belongs in the equation either?


    I hate timers, and I hate haters, yet here I am one of
    them.  I hate the pushy parents I see on the
    sides of the soccer fields, putting down coaches, and over pushing their
    eager-to-please little ones.  It won’t be
    long before that sweet eagerness turns to sullenness. 


    “Just love them”,  I
    want to shout!


    “Be grace-filled with those around you!  We’re all struggling!  ” I long to announce to an angry world!


    The golden rule is tarnished and sitting under a pile of
    junk stuffed in the corner of the closet. 
    Is it too late?  Is there still
    time to take it out, push out the dents, polish it up, and hang it on our front


    Can its golden glow begin to rise up and wash away the
    narcissistic smog that has descended far and wide?


    Is it possible?



  18. Brendan

    Ma Ma Mother Mother he said. couldnt he learn to get along. I managed to stir, slow and thick without moisture for lubricating. God have mercy on a body reserved of livelihood

    It was getting worse he left and it got worse and I ant stop anguish from turning to incineration inside

    I dont know

    He knew and I knew it. Intuition.
    He wont run, he cant hide from me. Intuition.
    The sturdy rough but bare abraised floor on my feet as I had excoriated him

    Goddamn you dont you know this wont
    stop stop its no good dont

    Pacing. I couldnt stop. Not Pa not Alan Not Calvin not my own soul into chaotic ruin out out

    He wanted a little brother–Where was Michael? 

    (Somebody please read this, Feedback is greatly appreciated :)) 

    • wendy2020

      I read this.  I definitely get the raw emotion out of it, but I do not know what the flip is going on with this character?  Is “He” Pa?  His little brother?  When does the I narrator stop and the He one start, or is the I talking about He is third person? 

      It read like a blood splattering of words.   Like something dark went on, but it is a mystery as to exactly what left the stain behind.

      (Agreed, an exchange of feedback is always appreciated)

    • Brendan

      That’s the point 😉

    • Missaralee

      Brendan, this piece is so deliciously abstract. I got the feelings out of it: fear, shame, regret, confusion. I also was left with a taste of a story, like copper. The holes you left in it were like pin hole cameras capturing the darkness in the reader’s own mind. I filled in the blanks and what I put there was the more horrifying for being my own fears.

    • Brendan

      Thank you! I try to write semi-faulknerian, which I suppose is quite abstract, so I really appreciate it 🙂 This is from my first novel (At the ripe age of 16) and I have much more written, let me know if you would like to see more 🙂

  19. Marla4

    Thank you so much! I love your work.

  20. Kate

    Hi everyone – there are some seriously good writers in here, really enjoying reading your posts! this is my first ‘practice’, hoping to improve as i go along!

    I want to go somewhere that is just you and me. Somewhere
    quiet and cool and comfortable. Somewhere we can just be us, and not worry
    about other people’s expectations and opinions. I want to know what is REALLY
    in your heart and on your mind when it comes to me.

    I want to look into those flashing, sparkling eyes, and
    brush your hair back from your face, and trace my fingers along your jawline to
    you lips.

    I want to kiss you. I wonder what you do if I did? I wonder
    if you would kiss me back. I wonder what your mouth tastes like and how soft
    your lips are, and if my heart really WILL leap out of my chest when we
    connect, like I imagine it will.

    I want to laugh with you….big belly laughs, tears trickling
    down our faces, struggling to catch our breaths for something that only we share.

    I want to hold your hand, stroke your arms, hold you close.

    I want to know if you love me the way I love you.

    • Jeff Ellis

      Welcome Kate! 

      It’s interesting how often our free thoughts turn to want. We all waste time censoring ourselves in order to come across as professional adults, but in the end I think we just want time with our significant others, and to know they want significant time with us.

      This read like a very honest practice and whether it is or it’s fiction, it was well written. Good job 🙂

    • Kate

      Thanks Jeff! And thanks for your welcome!

    • Mariaanne

      This is so romantic.  I especially like “struggling to catch our breaths for something that only we share”. 

    • Kate

      Thanks Mariaanne! I never think of my writing as romantic, but this was what happened when i let go…

    • wendy2020

      Nothing like precarious balance between wanting to know and not wanting to know how someone else feels about you.  You captured the desire to go for it very well.

    • Kate

      That is exactly it, thank you!

    • Missaralee

      Hi Kate, welcome!
      I really connected with your words, with the feeling of longing and the pure simplicity of just wanting someone and wanting to be wanted. When we get down to our most elemental thoughts, we start to touch others at their deepest levels too.

      Well done

    • Kate

      thank you! You make it sound better than it actually is, haha!

  21. wendy2020

    (I feel like Julia Roberts mouthing off to the store clerks in Pretty Women.)

    Okay playground mom b****, listen up.  Whether to get a shellac manicure or just a natural buffing is not a critical debate. It’s a drivel of luxury that emits from your latte-laden mouth because it is too much effort to work your own coffee pots while your husband is away in San Diego on a business trip.
    How will you ever manage to take Harold to trombone practice at 3:30, Lydia to 4pm “travel” soccer (yes, congrats on YOUR accomplishment of your daughter making the third grade travelling team.  Harvard is going to love her) and still have time to pick up new peep-toes from Lord & Taylor before your 7pm Moms Night Out because none in your closet full of shoes is quite right for the occasion?
    I’m sure it IS the teacher’s fault that your son Archibald Cooper Renault III got detention for talking on his iPhone during class and stealing other kids’ colored pencils.  If only fourth grade was more entertaining, your son wouldn’t have to focus his attention on such mundane issues as self control and restraint from petty thievery.
    Also, let me give you a little schooling of your own.
    ‘Hi’ and ‘How are you?’ are NOT synonyms.  “How are you?” is an interrogative sentence, not a one-and-done interjection like “Hi.”  And when you say “How are you?”  you are asking a question.   Question and In-ter-og-a-tive sentence ARE synonyms, by the way.  So please don’t say “How are you” when you mean “Get out of my way so I can talk to some mom who understands my plight about the traffic to and from my house in the Hamptons.”
    Cause next time you ask “How are you?” I am very tempted to answer with a very, very compound sentence:
    “My husband hasn’t had a job in 18 months and we are losing our health insurance on Halloween and I’m resisting bulimia but not temptation and am on month 11 of an on-line affair I started with a man I met on and I posted on Facebook asking for hand-me down clothes for my daughters so do your little brats have any? Sorry I can’t stay and talk any more but I need to rush home and take my Xanax.  But thank you so much for asking.”
    That’s not all true (or is it?).  But I would really like to say it just to see if I can make you drop your Venti, sugar-free, double-cupped extra foam mocha latte on your brand new Gucci peep-toes.
    “Nice shellac pedicure, by the way.”

    • Missaralee

      Wow, hello catharsis! Wendy, I just love this: all the things you are just dying to say to people and can’t bring yourself to because of good manners and a decent upbringing. If you don’t mind, I’m just going to live vicariously through this scathing comeback.

    • Kate

      This really made me giggle…i don’t pick my kids up from school any more, they walk to a friends house and I pick them up there, but I know what you are saying.
      So, about this guy from….

    • wendy2020

      Oh, him?  Well, not sure what to say, because I am a writer of fiction, of course.  😉

      However, if you are interested in “fleshing out his character”, you might want to cross-reference my post in the longing exercise…

    • Antonia

      Wow. I loved this. Especially your answer to ‘How are you?’. This is great.

    • Zoe Beech

      Wendy!  This made me LAUGH!!!  I love the honesty, I love this rant… Only thing I’d change is add ‘skinny’ to the Venti!! 😉  It’s funny, you get those types all over the world.. In my city, we call some of them Umhlanga mommies – and I’m sure they have the same type of nails to back them up too!!  Loved your other piece as much as you can love something devastating – but you’re on a roll!  I’m having to talk to my head about my writing a lot these days = especially WIP = but this site helps keep things fresh!!  

    • Mirelba

       This was great!  Had me laughing out loud.  You’ve definitely got it!

  22. Jeff Ellis

    I couldn’t actually do this for a full fifteen minutes, because it started to hurt my head. Somewhere in there is a subject. Your guess is as good as mine as to what any of this means, but it was therapeutic to write:

    When the words come to mind and nothing really makes any sense, it’s more like I’m me than I’m you. My mental mathematics are my only matter in this substance-free nothingness outside of the normal nothing I feel from day to furious fated day. Floating for you has its own weight and when I start to float for me I begin to know myself, wholesome and free. True buoyancy bound for space and sure of its success. 

    In the never nether between every word I am infinite possibility wrapped in finite seconds succumbed to physics’ rules, but physics drools so why bow before this king? Why not waiver between reality, when and where – who knows how? If mind is over matter, then make matter matter less and be instead the free-wheeling Dylan, matching masterpieces of music with matterpieces of mastery. Be your own master.

    Never dance with your demons. Instead defeat your dragons with devotion to your own divinity. Drag those damned do-badders down the dusty trail, tied to your trusty appaloosa, Destiny. When fear bares its ferocious fangs know its just a scared puppy pleading for attention. Give it what it needs, but not what it wants, or it will win. And once fear has won, no one will win again.

    • Mariaanne

      This is great!  I love the rhyming and I do think it makes sense.  It seems to be about being bound by fear and physics.  I really enjoyed reading this.  

    • Kate

      This is great! I LOVE the last paragraph especially, there is really wonderful imagery there. I can picture it in my head. All the ‘d’s make for a great rhythm. My very favourite line is ‘never dance with your demons’ – you could make a whole novel out of that!

    • wendy2020

      Okay, love that you prefaced it with your first paragraph.  As if to say, “Hey, I’m going on an acid trip of writing.  It might be one big nonsensical hallucination, but here goes.”

      My favorite line was “if mind is over matter, then make matter matter less.”  Also like the concept of fear being a scared puppy pleading for attention.

      Agree, I found this writing exercise to be as much about therapy as writing. 🙂

    • Missaralee

      Jeff, this reads like slam poetry. You should totally link up with the slam poetry collective in your city (all bets is there is one). Nothing like writing from the heart and then dropping your words in front of a crowd! 

  23. Naida West

    Thanks! That’s one of my favorite phrases, too. ~_~ And I’ve never ever bashed a window, another reason I was afraid to write this – Millie’s personality is such a far cry from mine. Honestly, when the scene first popped into my head I was really mad at her for hurting herself.
    And if you want to know, it was a sneak attack and Leo is about as bewildered as Millie. And feeling horribly guilty. 😉
    (Where did all this angst come from? Gah! Teenagers!) 

    • Kate

      It sounds so intriguing! Hope to read the whole story one day!

  24. somebeach7

    The Meadow
    Like when the days are so hot
    all you can think is “Get to the Lake”
    through the city, and over the mts
    The crisp cool air,ahhhh
    Breathe, deep, breathe long
    already better, already free
    Lighter up here
    Brighter up here
    Younger – in there
    hearts let go and live
    Used to pack the van
    an overnighter; bag or two
    Grab the kids, dogs
    tents and inner bubes
    whatever we need
    and if not, oh well!
    We’ll make do
    It took so much to go
    But damn, it took much more to stay
    snow caps glisten,
    Rocky Mountain High
    anything, anyday,
    Oh Joy! Just to get away
    Old soft flannel shirt and jeans
    hair back, and face clean
    No mirrors, no make- up
    free to be, just me
    loving them and loving you
    Go deeper in the woods
    Go higher up the hills
    The roads get rutted and rocky
    city lights fade away
    stars abound and glow
    long climb, but worth it
    even ifs its only for a night and a day
    The meadow is where we went
    seems everyone sometimes
    needs just to; run away
    Grab the firewood, 
    don;t forget, For gosh sakes
    grab the marshmallows too
    There’s no suimming pools
    no hot tub or games to play
    just step out, and breathe, breathe in
    breathe out
    you just expand, and the blues go away
    We climbed rocks,
    hung from trees
    floated boats or even our butts
    in puddles or cold clear streams
    Its not here now, but in my memory
    I can still clearly see
    Come away, come away
    where we were so young
    and free.

     Longing: Rocky Mountain High

  25. Suzie Gallagher

    The queue was endless, well not really endless but long enough to annoy the sensibilities of a non queue liking woman. Or me. If I may, my name is Be, I was baptised Beatrice but once the wee boys in Junior Infants started calling me Beetroot, I went by Be. Not Bea or Bee, just Be. Much as I hate being in a queue I couldn’t help but look at my fellow queue-ees. The woman in front of me needed a bath with carbolic soap, she stank to high heaven. Good-ness where do these people come from. Behind was a shifty looking youth, swarthy. He looked like a mugger, someone you did not want behind you. Where’s my handbag? Ahh, that is better, handbag is front and centre over my slightly convex stomach. Years ago I could put that down to sit-ups but now. Ah that is an entirely different day’s work. 
    The queue did not move, the hatch did not rise, slowly people started moving away. Be shuffled the way she had come, down Main Street. There was a guy had a caff half way down, maybe they could come to an arrangement.  Be good, Be nice, Be thoughtful, that had got her nowhere, or rather in the middle of noplace-in-the-rain. The other homeless, were bums, shiftless, no hopers, she had a van, a mattress and hope. A life time of Be nice, Be good, gave a person a little bit of hope. Be’s hope was dwindling, it had been a Mass candle at the beginning of the emergency.
    The emergency began four years ago, Poland invaded the rest of Europe including the3 islands, where Be lived. All houses were confiscated, Be was nice about it and got beaten by her neighbours for it. She had a van to sleep in, but no one knew she owned it, it was her guilty secret, slipping off in the middle of summer from the terraced house she shared with no one, she walked over the fields to the garage on Farmer DeLeon’s land. The van lived there. She slept in the van with the door open. She had an arrangement with the farmer for the garaging rights.
    Be good, Be nice, Be thoughtful. She was always nice, good and thoughtful, she had very little, the clothes on her back, her handbag, front and centre with a half bottle of water and a packet of communion wafers. That was the first and only thing she had ever repatriated, if she couldn’t be good or nice and come to an arrangement she ate one half a wafer per day. 
    Farmer DeLeon was long gone, as were most of the people only the dregs of society were left and Be, but she was nice and good and thoughtful and made arrangements.

  26. Zoe Beech

    I want to taste the sweet sugar of life in the loving friends loving family loving food and tasty lamb on my table.  I want to wade in God’s water, not just take a little toe in, not just swirl around because it looks so beautiful – ooh even hold your hand up in worship – I want the waterfall and the passion and the I’m-new-in-love again.  

    Church with it’s smiles and glass doors is not where it’s at.  Great yay yay, I love the bride He died for, although she’s been cut up and seems like a brawler sometimes – at times even been rapacious in her persuit for power and prestige, backing it up with scripture too – but I know she’s more outside of those buildings than inside. 

     She’s the hand that touches the girl who’s shuddering in her own tears.  She’s the one who closes her mouth when everyone else is condemning and opens her arms wide, wide and wider.  She’s the one who can dance, damnit!  

    We’re  not one of those straight-laced, don’t move a muscle in smiling, everything’s cool calm and calloused on our hearts because we’re so tired of pretending and let me get out of here so I can stuff myself silly on the two for one buffet.  We’re messy, we’ve put our handprints on walls we shouldn’t have, we’ve spilt the paint, we’ve run away from buildings halfway through – but wow, we shine.  

    Shine shine shine, the light goes in on and around, cutting through the darkness.  Not even our own darkness has a chance.  And yes, it’s because of the suave Groom, the one who’s cleaned us up, who likes us dancing and loving and giving like we’ll break if we don’t give our all.  He’s the one who sings, swings over us, the harmony of the seas, the crashing wave songs, and the silent songs that dawn sings.

     I want to hear Him sing.

    I’ve known the false groom, the one who pushes and shoves people into corners, who’s all black and white and loves to argue with a stronger voice than anyone else, the one who looks at people through little slits in his eye and scribbles furious lines over their names in his notebooks.  That’s not the groom I know.  He’s a bloody imposter, and I don’t want anything to do with that one.  

  27. Mirelba

    No! No! No! No! 
    There, I’ve said it!  Live with
    it!  But I don’t.  I smile and put up with it.  I swallow it down.  Putting myself out to keep others happy.  Reining in the rage to keep the peace.  But I feel the fatigue, I feel the rage, I
    just bottle it in.  Super mom, super
    daughter, super sister.  And if I have a
    moment where the dam breaks I plug up the hole, rein it all back in.  Murmur my apologies.  Let’s keep the peace.  Let my brother vent again and blame all
    things bad in the world on me, hey cool, I’ve got broad shoulders.  Middle child syndrome?  We’re used to it, everything is always our
    fault.  Hey, we can live with what we’re
    used to, right?  And is it better to let
    it all spew forth no matter what happens? 
    Hell or high water just say my piece and just watch his rage consume us
    all?  Keeper of my memories, deciding for
    me what is true and what is not, what is valid.   Is that why I’ve become adept at swallowing
    so much?  Pain, boulders, thoughts,
    mountains- they all go down the gullet. 
    They stick in my throat a while, then slither down further, distending
    my belly, pulling down my shoulders- but only as long as I let it.

    My tears I cry in private, where none can see.  Then I wipe my eyes, wash my face and go out
    again to face the world.  I am woman I am
    strong, I can conquer anything but my heart.  So I shore it up from time to time.   And
    still, I can get up singing the next morning, with a smile and a laugh I rise
    above it all.  After all, I’m super mom,
    super daughter, super sister.


  28. Puffy

    I really don’t like when there are kissing scenes in those mucky romantic movies. I mean, seriously. Sometimes they’re just people you’ve only known for a week and a half; other times it’s your best friend. I have a problem with both of them.

    First of all, YOU’VE ONLY KNOWN THE DUDE FOR A FLIPPING WEEK AND A HALF. And you fall in love?! JEEZ. For flipping sakes, haven’t you noticed that in most Disney movies, the princesses get married after knowing their partner for who knows how short of a time.

    Second, your best guy friend. Yeah. Imagine if you went back to your childhood, with you playing with your little 8-year-old friend-turned-boyfriend and said, “HEY YOU’RE GONNA KISS THIS GUY AND GET MARRIED. HAVE FUN.” The fudge. Srsly.

    And I don’t get why 89% of movies have a kissing scene. I bet a good 64% of people have never even been kissed, and watching their idol actresses/actors moosh their faces on some other dude/lass like a bunch of fighting hippopotami, I just feel like tearing out the stuffing of my pillow and turning it into a voodoo doll. And dropping that voodoo doll into the toilet. RIGHT AFTER YOUR BIG BROTHER HAD DIARRHEA 😀

    Plus, all those love songs. GLOB. I’m pretty sure that I’m probably never gonna fall in love and be forever alone and my only companions will be the Internet and the television. So why flood everyone else’s ears with lyrics that go “LALALALAL I LOVE YOU FOREVER LALALALA YOU AND ME TOGETHER, DIE TOGETHER FOREVER AND ALWAAAAAAYS YEEEEEAH”. There are plenty of awesomely awesome love songs, but you can’t really relate to most people if they’d never fell in love.

    And now I shall become a random narwhal.


  29. Helegad

     Warning, Ma15+ content ahead. Please skip if you’re not up to some obscene language 🙂

    Fuckity fuck
    fuck fuck. Fuckity buckets. Obscenity! That which I never want to pronounce. I
    prefer other adjectives in real life. But this isn’t real life. These are bits,
    little bytes, little dots of colour on other colour inside glass. Or is it real
    life? Is there another dimension behind every LCD panel, behind every screen,
    just waiting for us to reach though, or waiting to reach through itself and
    grab the Earth by the balls. The weird world web. A place deeper than the Marina
    Trench with fire, damnation and the sickest voluminous, corpse bloating
    material in the world. Those craggy gutters overflow with vile substitutions
    for entertainment. Oh internet, you seemingly impossible, inquizzical, brand
    new force of nature so unnatural. A hive mind, a mass mind, all rolled into one
    and armed with a thousand penises and a million keyboards. There is no task to
    big or small for the collective consciousness that is anonymous. Online you can
    be anyone, see anyone, fuck anything, eat rainbows, barf them back up and watch
    Twilight Sparkle do Rainbow Dash with a spiked dildo and a hosepipe. This mass
    mysterious pool of algae and brain matter that is humanity; is it evolving or
    devolving? Comparitable to animals we are, chimpanzees of the future, gnomes of
    the past, unicorns on a rock. Golems made of wire and flesh and blood. Think,
    speak, breathe, eat, screw, work your ass off. Be human. Join us. We have

  30. Penelope Silvers

    I LOVE free writing and it has set me FREE! I had been journaling for years and years, not even realizing what I was doing. I had that Aha! after reading “The Artist’s Way” by Julia Cameron, and made sure to stretch out my pages to three whenever possible. It changed my perfectionistic tendencies (somewhat). But even more importantly, the thoughts were coming like wildfire, which helps when you are a writer!


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