Sunday, January 11, 2015

Playing with #750Words

  It has been several YEARS since I last updated this blog. I have decided to give it another go. My source of inspiration comes from a site called "" which asks you to write at least 750 words per day.

I am going to start posting my entries (or at least some of them) as a way to show not only what runs through my brain when freestyle writing, but to hopefully provide some thoughts and insights as to the writing process as well.

All entries are copyright David W Henderson, Prescott, AR. Feel free to contact me regarding usage, etc if you are so inclined.

Tonight's entry:

Elmer Johnson washed his hands in the dirty bathroom basin. The mirror above the sink was a piece of polished stainless that had long ago lost its lustre. Now, as he looked into it, a ghostly image stared back. Actually, stared is too strong a word, for the surface was so scarred and so disorienting, one could not make out any specific features at all. So, instead of seeing his own defined reflection, there were mere impressions of his being looking back at him. He could not make out eyes nor little, round wire-rimmed glasses nor the bald head with a taunture of hair on each side above the ears. He simply saw an ill-defined shape that shifted when he shifted. He smiled, and the reflection made no noticeable change. This made Elmer scowl and then he spat on the mirror.

Looking down, he rubbed his hands under the running water. Blood washed off in sheets and streams and rivers and tributaries. It fell into the sink, splashing all around, leaving ribbons on the side as the blood found its way to the drain. He tried using the soap dispenser, but it was long empty. As the faucet continued to run, he grabbed a few paper towels out of the dispenser on the wall. He rubbed and he wiped, using circular motions that reminded him of a scene in a movie he had once seen. In the that scene, a boy washed and waxed a car in specific circular motions as commanded by his teacher, his sensei. He smiled again. There was no sensei, no master here. Unless, of course, he counted himself the master, which he did not. He shook his head to show himself there was no master, least of all one Elmer Ray Johnson.

He turned off the water and used more towels to clean up the sink. The thing was so grimy, he couldn't tell where the blood stopped and the filth began. By the time he finished, the sink was as clean as it must have been the first day they installed it, save for the cracks and dents and dings that time so ungraciously provided to it. He considered wiping the stainless steel mirror, but thought he had already wasted too much time in this rest stop restroom. He gathered the used towels and stuffed them into the pockets of his light jacket. He looked down to see his shadow puddling around his feet as the fluorescent light above shone down from the ceiling.

He turned around, unbolted the door, and opened it. As he did, the day's light filled the space and flicked the switch on the wall to turn off the light. He walked briskly to his car, not because of what had just transpired but because the temperature had fallen a great deal while he was in that bathroom. He watched as his breath made vapor in the air.

"Lower than 40," he said out loud to no one. The sky above had grey, smooth clouds. In fact, everything seemed to have taken on a decidedly grey look to it, as he had noticed seemed to be the norm as the season changed from Fall to Winter. And here it was, the first real sign that winter had arrived: monochromatic scenery and smooth clouds overhead. Snow would come. He squinted against the bright, reflected and refracted light around him. If there had been snow, surely he would be blinded by the light all around him. He reached his car and unlocked the door. After getting in, he laid his head back against the headrest and closed his eyes.

When he woke, he shivered a moment before opening his eyes. As he began to come back into the world, he realized he hadn't driven anywhere. The bright, grey light was gone. Left behind, the dark sky overhead, still covered he presumed since he could not see stars. His windshield was covered in a light layer of snow, easily brushed away with the wipers once he started them. He put his key in the ignition and turned it. The wipers raised up from their hidden place and wiped away the snow. The engine hesitated once then came to life. The headlights automatically lit the way before him. He reached over to the center console, flicked the temperature dial to the large red section, indicating maximum heat then he turned the fan to maximum. He punched the button that split the airflow between the windshield and his feet. Curling his toes inside his shoes against the rush of cold air, he threw the car into DRIVE. He hit the gas pedal so hard, his tires spun out on the icy surface beneath them for a moment before catching a dry spot, lurching the car forward.

(Note: at this point, we see that the story is TELLING and not SHOWING. To remedy this, we need to go back and add thoughts, dialog, etc. We need to show more of the surroundings. What does he hear, smell, feel?)

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