Triplepeak – part 7

(Find part 6 here.)

The grand hall filled Chase with dread as he crossed it with the kid in tow. He didn‘t look at the floor, the artfully decorated two-square-feet tiles, or the paintings that hung in viewing height and created a border from door to stairway on both sides of the room.

His large frame was squared and tense, shoulders set back and chin up. He was going to face some serious music this time.

He glanced at the kid as he reached the wide staircase straight across the room from the door. He only hesitated a second, only looked at her long enough to frown, but her image was burnt into his mind. He knew what the council would decide on, and that it was his fault. With a few muttered curses under his breath he started climbing the spiral stairs, one hand locked around a thin wrist.

He let go of her when they were half way up and slowed down a little. Not much, just so she‘d have any breath left when they reached the top floor. He saw her rub her wrist but she didn‘t complain. Maybe she felt the weight in the atmosphere. The finality.

The walls started creeping in as they neared the top, ending close enough to the stairs to easily cause claustrophobia. When the couple finished the hike, Chase‘s shoulders were touching the walls on both sides. This was for security reasons, of course. An entrance like this was easily guarded and there was no other way in or out.

Follow me, Chase said quietly and meant for it to sound commanding but it came out like a plea. Damn nerves, he thought and mentally kicked himself. He couldn‘t afford any mistakes now. He had to stay cool and composed.

He stopped a couple of steps from the tall archway into the front room where they‘d wait for an audience with the council. He should tell her what to expect.

“I, uh…” He started and cleared his throat when his voice sounded cracked and insecure. Well, to be fair it probably sounded just as grumpy as always to others, but he cleared his throat anyway.

“There are laws”, he started again, not sure how much to explain. “No one from the outside is supposed to know how to get to the city, or to see it.”

He looked her directly in the eyes now, hesitating a moment when her grin faded. He focused on her hands until she tucked them in her pockets and then looked her in the eye again, the whole thing taking only seconds.

“What they do”, he said and then corrected himself, “what we do, is execute the outsider”. She didn‘t break eye contact when he growled the last words, but she flinched. Of course she did, who wouldn‘t? Someone from outside these walls wouldn‘t understand the meaning of their secrecy. The way of life depending on it.

“There hasn‘t been an outsider for over twenty years, though. So we‘ll see what they…” He stopped without finishing and frowned. She probably didn‘t believe they‘d kill her, so why give her reason to wonder? Might as well let her discover the severity of the situation herself.

He ran his hand through his hair, leaving it even more tousled, and turned to enter the front hall. He heard her follow… Not going to admit to feeling her follow, that was for sure… And headed for a plush-clad bench near the double doors to the council chambers. They had barely sat down when one  of the guards standing on each side of the door leaned his head a little down and to the side, held a hand to his ear and then looked at them.

“They are ready to see you now.”

His partner immediately stepped forth, pushed the door open and waited for them to enter.

Twitter Poem Test Run

Yesterday I tweeted a request for words, lines or names to use as inspiration for a piece of fiction, a poem or a micro-story. Tweets rained onto my TweetDeck… but only one related to mine ;) So, thanks to Gary Murning for playing!

Pernickety. British English, informal.
Worrying too much about small and unimportant things [= fussy]
(Longman dictionary of contemporary English)

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Sitting there,
staring at me.

Long crooked feet and arms,
stretching out like
he owns the place.

His hair is gray, a little,
mostly black.
Sitting there,
staring at me.

I could reach out and
make him go away,
disappear.

I’d have to touch him to do that, though.
And move.
It would attract attention.
Then everyone would see him:
Sitting there,
staring at me.

Maybe use the handbag?
Swing it casually,
hit him just hard enough so he
moves away.

No one would notice.
No. He might grab the handbag,
sit on it.

I will wait.

He might rub off my hem when I
get up and walk out of church with
the crowd.

Some other poor woman will
have to worry about him then.

Today, of all days.
At church, of all places.

Fluff.

Go on.

Dragging her feet
making her way towards whatever she
has to face that day.

Eyes glazed and gray
hair tangled as if soaked and woven
everything is slow.

Maybe she cares
but now that she’s over the first hindrance
she doesn’t listen.

Hands in her pockets
as if digging for lost treasures in there
not that she’d find any.

Dragging her feet
postponing the soon-needed decision
because of that truth.

Shut up Songbird

I’ve stayed for too long
my voice is turning harsh and unforgiving.
My words don’t sound like songs anymore.
I should know better by now, after all this time,
but I couldn’t let go when the melody caught me.

I’ve stayed for too long
I can’t believe my head isn’t empty yet.
The trouble with constantly creating,
within my head or on paper slash keyboard,
is how to not.

I’ve stayed for too long
my voice is drained of all it’s juices.
I shouldn’t utter another word but
I keep singing, humming, pretending that’s not
doing any damage.

I’ve stayed for too long
the same way I always have and
probably always will.
Selfdestructive actions are,
after all,
what being an artist is all about?

Shut up, songbird.

5 Easy Steps to Writing Rhyme-Free Poetry

Image credit: Surrealmuse via Flickr

Have you ever felt like writing a poem but been discouraged by the thought of proper form and rhyme and all those things that make up a good, solid work of poetry? Or have you been discouraged by the (silly) claims that if it doesn‘t have rhyme it‘s not a poem? 

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Let me help you get past that. I am not about to show you which words to use and not to use. I am not about to tell you what to write about. Those are your own challenges. I am, however, going to help you get them on paper/screen in a nice, readable way. 

Now, since that‘s cleared, here are my beginner-safe steps to writing your heart out without the constrictions of rhyme! 

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1.  WRITE SPONTANEOUSLY 

When writing poetry, you are pouring out feelings and opinions in the flexible and multi-toned form of words. This can be a true headache, since there are so many ways to express a single emotion. What works best is to write down as much as you possibly can spontaneously. It will probably be flawed and awkwardly worded, but it will be the closest you can get to your heart-song. (Anyone like singing penguins?) 

. Continue reading

Triplepeak – part 6

(Find Part 5 here.)

Dani admired the view, the surroundings, while they rode towards the city. Once they were threading the streets the sparkling white buildings revealed details of fine cracks and chipped surface, as well as painted murals depicting what Dani assumed to be the city´s history.

The images were like beacons, each one a guiding point towards the council, she realized as they drew nearer. Chase had pointed out a specific tower before they passed through the city gates. Continue reading

Top 5 Things for (extremely) Shy Writers to Think About When Introducing Themselves and Their Work to Strangers.

I´ve always found it easy to talk and introduce myself to strangers, be it a single person or a room full of people. I realise that´s not the case for everybody and, as bravely posted on Writer´s Round-About, some people find it extremely hard if not terrifying. This can be a real problem for us writers, fiction and professional ones alike. For those of you who know what I´m talking about, here are a few bits of advice from yours truly.  

1. MIND YOUR MANNERS

This may seem silly. Why would I need to bring that up? Isn´t it pretty much given? Yes. Yes it is. The thing is, manners don´t mean the same thing for everybody, in every situation. When nerves are added to the equation, things might end up a catastrophe.

What I know I don´t need to tell you is: be polite. Of course you are. What I might have to remind you of is: don´t be too polite. What you have to offer, what you want to bring into this person´s life, is more than fits in a line of “hello, how do you do, very nice to meet you”. Introducing life-changing products, as I´m sure you and your writing are, takes more dramatic measures.

I´m not talking about dancing on tables. I´m talking about what good manners tell you to include in your introduction. Continue reading