Friday, October 1, 2010

Writing Exercise

Using one of the first lines of poetry listed below, write a short piece of fiction or non-fiction (at least 200 words):

1. Vivid with love, eager for greater beauty (Sara Teasdale)
2. Zut! it’s two o’clock. (Robert Service)
3. Valiant sons of the sea, (Hattie Howard)

Happy writing!

Susan Wells Bennett


  1. Zut! It’s two o’clock and my work is not done. I’ve got less than an hour to squeeze in what seems to be a minimum of four hours of tasks. I need to refill the dextrose bags and tag the saline. Of course, I have to label the antibiotics that will outdate before midnight. The hood surface needs polished up with some alcohol and peroxide. Why is the phone ringing? I’m really super hungry because I’m trying to cut back on calories. I bargain with myself that if I get everything done, and I mean everything, that I can go to the deli and buy a cookie. I’m debating the merits of peanut butter oatmeal versus the chocolate chip. On the phone is Nancy calling from the heart room with an emergency case. I drop everything and focus on making the two bags of cardioplegia and then the bicarb drips and then the Amicars. Now it is two-thirty. The patient is wheeled past the pharmacy and into the elevator. I’ve already put it behind me and I’m concentrating on restocking the shelves. I’m apologizing to my co-workers who are just coming on for the second shift because I’m unable to leave things as I would have liked. I toss away my mask, bouffant and shoe covers. I like to tear the paper gown at the neck like I’ve turned into the Hulk. I make a ball of my latex-free gloves and I hit the garbage can dead center. Somehow I divert myself from the display case of treats and trot to my car with new energy.

  2. Shelly,

    I like the stream-of-consciousness flow of this piece. Very interesting work. I'd like to see how it reads in third-person.

    Nice work.

  3. Vivid with love, eager for greater beauty, Wanda lightly applied the pilfered lipstick for the first time. Rex rarely looked at her, but she hoped that the additional color would draw his eye away from Una, as well as drawing his body to her bed that night.

    Una claimed that the only way to truly shun vanity was to remove all the mirrors from their home. But Wanda had found the tiny mirror and the lipstick tucked under the edge of Una’s dresser. Either Una hadn’t noticed they were gone or she was too embarrassed to accuse one of her sister-wives of theft. Either way, Wanda had them now and she wasn’t giving them back.

    Barbara was finally up from her sickbed. Wanda wished the new mother would have a relapse so that she would have one less woman to compete against for Rex’s attention.

    “All right, ladies,” Una announced, “it’s time to line up. Rex will be here in a moment.”

    The five of them, including Una, stood on their marks and waited in silence for their husband to appear: Una first, Wanda second, Sheena third, Barbara fourth, and Perdita last.

    Rex’s darkly tanned figure paced toward them from the front of the house. Wanda shifted anxiously and received a piercing glare from Una.

    “Good evening, ladies,” he said, his deep baritone resonating through Wanda’s body.


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