Exercise: On Storms

Here are the rules:

1. Use a second-person narrator

2. Use 150 words

3. Use the following words: bones, glint, forge, salt

4. Title it “On Storms”

5. Make it creative nonfiction

6. Go…

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8 Responses

  1. Your eyes fly open, awakened by the rolling roar of thunder in the forge of the sky. The smell of rain comes in through the window, salted with a hint of woodsmoke from the distantly burning forest fires, and you can feel the newness, the unexpected change in atmosphere pulling you from your bed and towards the back door. The sound changes when you walk outside, the rain’s steady rush and flow everywhere, inescapable. Streetlights glint and shimmer in opaque puddles spread in sheets across the pavement, their oily reflections rising ghostly from the dark. The world seems coated in shadows, spilling away in every direction, until a sheet of lightning illuminates the world in a camera flash, the tree leaves and the lawn mower and the barbecue grill outlined in stinging clarity. When you look up, towards the pale, luminescent mountains, they look like the bones of the world.

  2. “On Storms”

    Driving across the flat bones of Saskatchewan, you knew you could make the Manitoba border before dark. The road was straight, the air clear, your energy in that soft limbo of cross-country travel. Easy with one another, ready to throw yourselves into the forge of marriage, yes–you thought you might even drive through the night, through several nights.

    When the gaping sky suddenly shape-shifted, swiveled, exposing its insides, though, you, you lost your bearings. Yellow-green salting a purple rash, deepening, infecting the plains. And no sound at all except for the tires, the engine. Just freaked-out sky hunkering over the flat flat land.

    He glinted. “A good summer storm! About freakin’ time!” You withdrew into a New Englander’s silent shelter. But the sky responded, shattering around you into slicing rain, lightning, thunder–a cacophony of sensation, chasing you onward onward, he, soon-to-be-husband leaning into the windshield, strange, a stranger.

  3. “If you hear a train, jump out of the car and dive for the ditch.”
    My uncomprehending fingers gripped the handle and turned shades of red, purple, white. Veins and bones poked out at odd angles. I didn’t realize that I was stealing their oxygen, that my lungs were vomiting unclean air into the static vehicle.
    Clouded hands reached down from the chartreuse sky, and I prayed that we might be spared. (My only comfort was in remembering that the claw machine always dropped the good prizes.) My eyes dripped into my mouth, sending shivers through my petrified body. Everything had become dry, brackish.
    Flashes glinted off the side-view mirror and betrayed my hysterical eyes. I wanted to be strong for my parents. I tried not to think of grass flattening or of cows flying or of that straw embedding itself into a tree three miles away from the tornado.

  4. These are wonderful prompts and responses! My contribution is on my own blog.

  5. You are an unnoticed voyeur at an intimate show. Lightning stabs the valley in unrelenting waves of bleeding power and explosive sound. The valley alternates between day and night by the fickle light of this passionate sky. You are having a staring contest against the trees on the slope of the mountain that is so many miles away; you resist the urge to focus or close your eyes and miss another strike at the heavenly forge. Each drop of the hammer creates and destroys a fractured, deformed bone of spontaneous electrical conduction. You feel your own bones resonate to the serenade of each successive volley of thunder. An invisible and magnanimous smith is resolutely pounding out the skeleton of meaning. He constantly scraps his work and reforms it anew, determined to create an impeccable support structure for the flesh of glinting reality to hang from. You taste the salt of beautiful, slow tears.

  6. On Storms

    You think of the ninth, you think of yourself as invincible. The storm seems like it can destroy all but is powerless against the ninth, because you’ve heard the ninth and you use it now to experience, contemplate but most importantly complement the storm. The forge, music and fear, is an encounter with the sublime. The sublime is art and danger, affective art and real danger. You understand it now but you realize that you’re a junkie. The sublime is a drug, you realize it now because you’re soaked to the bone, and the cigarette you were smoking, the only glint of light that cracked the eerie darkness was put out by the storm. It’s not enough; there can never be enough until the furies decide otherwise. You step forward challenge the storm and slip, wondering why there was no salt on the pavement.

  7. On Storms.

    In New Mexico the wind sweeps up the sides of sandstone canyons, turning hillsides into moon paper that silhouettes the sky. It gasps through the holes the sky peeks through, exposing the bones of the land and turning everything into dust.

    We drive through the desert. She is silent. I am silent. We have nothing to say to each other. During this dusk the lightning glints off the tips of sculptures, forging greens and purples and deep blues into the under bellows of the clouds that do not rain. There is nowhere to go.

    The salt of the heavy air, metallically poignant mirrors in our longings.

  8. On Storms:

    In New Mexico the wind sweeps up the sides of sandstone canyons, turning hillsides into moon paper that silhouettes the sky. It gasps through the holes the sky peeks through, exposing the bones of the land and turning everything into dust.

    We drive through the desert. She is silent. I am silent. We have nothing to say to each other. During this dusk the lightning glints off the tips of sculptures, forging greens and purples and deep blues into the under bellows of the clouds that do not rain. There is nowhere to go.

    The salt of the heavy air, metallicaly poignant mirrors in our longings.

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