14 votes

Writing Club #1 Submissions

Valentine's Day Edition

Optional Themes: love / unlove / hate / red / heart / viscera


Submit your "Quick 'Ficts' and Poems" below! Very relaxed rules apply to this first round. Basically, just post something short. And remember to leave feedback for at least two pieces if you're submitting (but more is welcome). You don't need to submit to leave comments. Looking forward to reading!

39 comments

  1. [5]
    Pistos
    Link
    Here's a haiku I wrote a few years ago: with just one shy smile she bears him aloft -- all day, cloudtops and sunshine

    Here's a haiku I wrote a few years ago:

        with just one shy smile
    she bears him aloft -- all day,
        cloudtops and sunshine
    
    9 votes
    1. [2]
      Grzmot
      Link Parent
      Your haiku shows just how much you could do with little. I wouldn't even know what to critique, because I think it evokes the purest of emotions that everyone can sympathise with.

      Your haiku shows just how much you could do with little. I wouldn't even know what to critique, because I think it evokes the purest of emotions that everyone can sympathise with.

      5 votes
    2. mrbig
      Link Parent
      That is beautiful.

      That is beautiful.

      4 votes
    3. Toric
      Link Parent
      I love poetry that is the 'explanation of feelings', giving a more in depth image of what a feeling is like. This is one of those, describing perfectly the feeling of affirmation by someone you...

      I love poetry that is the 'explanation of feelings', giving a more in depth image of what a feeling is like. This is one of those, describing perfectly the feeling of affirmation by someone you care about.

      2 votes
  2. [8]
    etiolation
    Link
    "Armie Hammer Invites You" I was surprised to find inspiration in our theme. A sonnet seemed natural for Valentine's Day.

    "Armie Hammer Invites You"
    I was surprised to find inspiration in our theme. A sonnet seemed natural for Valentine's Day.

    9 votes
    1. [4]
      Grzmot
      Link Parent
      Very nice :) Though I don't entirely understand a few things: the reference to Paul and why the cannibal called his poor guest a chicken liver. Maybe it's something about English that I don't get?

      Very nice :)
      Though I don't entirely understand a few things: the reference to Paul and why the cannibal called his poor guest a chicken liver. Maybe it's something about English that I don't get?

      3 votes
      1. [3]
        Sil
        Link Parent
        This is probably a reference to the movie "American Psycho", which has a similar veneer of culture sitting above brutality. "What am I, chopped liver?" is an expression (mostly older Yiddish?)...

        the reference to Paul

        This is probably a reference to the movie "American Psycho", which has a similar veneer of culture sitting above brutality.

        chicken liver

        "What am I, chopped liver?" is an expression (mostly older Yiddish?) that someone might use when they're being looked over or feel unappreciated.

        Maybe the coincidence of the entree being named "Bridget" and the reference to tossing out the leftovers ("the Ex") is a way of implying the cannibal is a woman named Bridget who killed her former boyfriend who had started dating someone who shared her name? Think I might be missing something as well.

        *Oh yikes, I completely ignored the title "Armie Hammer invites". Haven't heard much of that news story, but that probably explains a lot...

        4 votes
        1. [2]
          etiolation
          Link Parent
          Absolutely, it's a reference to the line in American Psycho. It's the final red flag that the rumors are not untrue. With "chicken liver" I was going for the sense of "chicken-livered," which...

          Absolutely, it's a reference to the line in American Psycho. It's the final red flag that the rumors are not untrue.

          With "chicken liver" I was going for the sense of "chicken-livered," which means "cowardly," but linking in chicken livers, which are also a food. :)

          5 votes
          1. Grzmot
            Link Parent
            Thanks for the explanations, also thank you @Sil for explaining it! An idea I had for the presentation of the sonnet would've been to replace the pig in the graphic with an chalk outline of a...

            Thanks for the explanations, also thank you @Sil for explaining it!

            An idea I had for the presentation of the sonnet would've been to replace the pig in the graphic with an chalk outline of a body. After all, I doubt pork is being served. :P

            3 votes
    2. [2]
      Pistos
      Link Parent
      Nice, though I notice it's not in strict iambic pentameter.

      Nice, though I notice it's not in strict iambic pentameter.

      1 vote
      1. etiolation
        Link Parent
        Thanks! I didn't purport to write it in strict iambic pentamenter, though I blush to find your observation would place me in Shakespeare's company, had his stuff featured Instagram cannibals.

        Thanks! I didn't purport to write it in strict iambic pentamenter, though I blush to find your observation would place me in Shakespeare's company, had his stuff featured Instagram cannibals.

        3 votes
    3. mrbig
      Link Parent
      I'm afraid I didn't understand a thing. I suppose there's something I should be getting and I sense there's something cool about it. But I have no idea what it is.

      I'm afraid I didn't understand a thing. I suppose there's something I should be getting and I sense there's something cool about it. But I have no idea what it is.

      1 vote
  3. [7]
    Sil
    (edited )
    Link
    Praise be to Dawkins! Cancel Sadie Hawkins! What a wonderful thing I have found! If you give me a moment--to let it foment-- I promise that I'll properly expound. We've long known, under chitinous...

    Praise be to Dawkins! Cancel Sadie Hawkins!
    What a wonderful thing I have found!

    If you give me a moment--to let it foment--
    I promise that I'll properly expound.

    We've long known, under chitinous bone,
    A pigment lurked; expressed when it's ground.

    Its use to dye clothes or to paint lips and toes,
    Was economically viable, sound...

    Yet narrowed thinking of men not set to drinking
    Was tethered and fettered and bound.

    They lacked the vision to do simple decomposition
    Of chocolates from fresh scarlet-crown.

    Through quirk of evolution, even in great dilution:
    Bug guts bring Almond Joy to Venutian Mounds.

    Heaped sanguine glaze yields a happy pink haze,
    So shouldn't buckets leave you spellbound?

    "Cupid's call comes in clarion with a spoonful of bug carrion"
    I can see it already! The respect! The renown!

    "A coating, cochineal, makes love bloom perennial"
    ...why are you backing away? Why the frown?

    6 votes
    1. [2]
      Atvelonis
      (edited )
      Link Parent
      Extremely clever poem. I love how you've combined these ostensibly discrete elements with such humor; taking a step back, there's an incredible level of irony in the manifestation of the...

      Extremely clever poem. I love how you've combined these ostensibly discrete elements with such humor; taking a step back, there's an incredible level of irony in the manifestation of the beauty–bug phenomenon you describe, and I feel that your grasp and subsequent use of said dichotomy serves the tone of the poem wonderfully. The image you create of the narrator's ill-fated deduction is very amusing (and is giving me serious déjà vu, though I can't quite put my finger on it). Your diction is marvelous—it's varied and graceful, offering the reader a reasonable challenge and a good payoff. I learned some history about dyes while looking up words! The references to color in particular are engaging and fit neatly into the actual subject matter (being more than just varnish). I'm not particularly studied in poetic meter, but I like whatever form it is you've chosen. The alliteration near the end is hilarious and complements your rhyme scheme surprisingly well. Great work, and I hope to see more poetry or prose from you in the future.

      4 votes
      1. Sil
        Link Parent
        Honestly, I'm completely ignorant about poetry and most of writing in general. The rhyme scheme was probably an artifact of not knowing enough about good writing to transition to something a...

        I'm not particularly studied in poetic meter, but I like whatever form it is you've chosen.

        Honestly, I'm completely ignorant about poetry and most of writing in general. The rhyme scheme was probably an artifact of not knowing enough about good writing to transition to something a little less restrictive. It was based on pattern recognition instead of any meaningful understanding of how to write, and by the end I was feeling more and more like a monkey riding a tiger.

        I cut some lines at the end of the poem that were going to flesh out that the narrator was a drunk guy, alone on Valentine's. I wanted to try to add in a smell of the increasingly ungrounded thought patterns an isolated person may get into, after exhausting all sensible or societally-condoned approaches to dating. Maybe also some of the reductive treatment love gets from the commercialization of Valentine's... that the logic behind more bug;more love isn't that different from ads selling larger bouquet or assortments of chocolate.

        I gave up on that ending partly because of time/not wanting to be a downer, but also because I just ran out of things I could do with the rhyme scheme I got stuck in.

        The number of things I've written since age 10ish can be counted on one hand (in binary) and were always for an audience of 1-2, so I've been a bit self-conscious about providing feedback to others or submitting anything when ~creative came up... appreciate the encouragement!

        4 votes
    2. [2]
      etiolation
      Link Parent
      Cheers for drawing inspiration from the theme so successfully. What is doing which to whom where "Bug guts bring Almond Joy to Venus' Mounds"? I get that Candy enjoys her bar, but is the...

      Cheers for drawing inspiration from the theme so successfully. What is doing which to whom where "Bug guts bring Almond Joy to Venus' Mounds"? I get that Candy enjoys her bar, but is the application... direct? Is there some kind of amygdaloid muff dye I've yet to come across?
      Next month's theme: "castoreum."

      3 votes
      1. Atvelonis
        (edited )
        Link Parent
        My reading was that bug guts are lauded here solely for helping Lady Confectionery catch the attention of Sir Amygdalus, and associated joyous hoopla (i.e. they are bringers of such emotions...

        My reading was that bug guts are lauded here solely for helping Lady Confectionery catch the attention of Sir Amygdalus, and associated joyous hoopla (i.e. they are bringers of such emotions through indirect means only), but the wordplay in the line cited has prompted me to question that assumption as well.

        Almond Joy is, through corporate acquisition, intimately associated with Mounds (a double entendre, you see), the primary difference between the two being the presence of the humble almond in the former, but not the latter. And if we are now to consider the correspondingly blue and red packaging of these two candies, we might be led to believe that the latter, in her lascivious red hue, was perhaps a force so attractive within the industry of chocolate-laden love that some enterprising mid-century mogul decided a partner bonbon was needed, the two apparently serving complementary functions in more ways that one.

        Read once more through the analogue of "the human and the crimson-imbued bug," in whose lives l'amour is surely not a matter of corporate installation but of personal desire, we return to the theme presented so early on by Darwin's cameo. By some evolutionary quirk, the bug found in itself a bit of pigment, and, by what is perhaps just another evolutionary quirk, almonds the world over have found its application upon a companion an irresistible allure! What might that say about the nature of our very being?

        This piece is not in fact an idle commentary on the proper (or improper) uses of bug dyes in procuring romance, but rather a subversive commentary on the unfair human treatment of the insects upon whom we depend so dearly. Our squishing of them unto the matter at hand is the means by which we may realize our holy matrimonies, and yet we maintain a certain disregard for these creatures' lives in favor of our own ends. This behavior is depicted most auspiciously in the case of the narrator, whose plethoric usage of this boon ultimately leads to tragedy. Here stands an emotive representation of the ongoing crisis of humanity's unbridled resource use—what in moderation (and appropriate vessels) evidently proved most beneficial has, in excess, been shown to be the very source of our undoing.

        May this poem stand as a testament to the errors of mankind and also as an indication of our path forward.

        2 votes
    3. [2]
      Toric
      Link Parent
      Maybye im dense/having a brain fart, but what is this poem actually referncing? Some sort of insect derived dye? I feel like the poem never makes this clear, never gives the payoff.

      Maybye im dense/having a brain fart, but what is this poem actually referncing? Some sort of insect derived dye?

      I feel like the poem never makes this clear, never gives the payoff.

      1 vote
      1. Sil
        Link Parent
        Yes, it's referring to red dye from cochineal insects. I'd heard some trivia that this was one of the earliest dyes discovered and until fairly recently there wasn't a desirable synthetic...

        Yes, it's referring to red dye from cochineal insects. I'd heard some trivia that this was one of the earliest dyes discovered and until fairly recently there wasn't a desirable synthetic alternative.

        The idea/"decomposition" is:

        Chocolate + bug guts = Romantic chocolate

        ...and a drunk alone on Valentine's trying to scale that.

        3 votes
  4. [10]
    Grzmot
    (edited )
    Link
    A simple one for starters, much shorter than the limit at 288 words, but I think it flows alright, and I hope it elicits some good vibes: The sunlight tickled his skin, made him open his eyes. Or...

    A simple one for starters, much shorter than the limit at 288 words, but I think it flows alright, and I hope it elicits some good vibes:

    The sunlight tickled his skin, made him open his eyes. Or maybe it was the birds 
    outside, their songs invited through the open window. He wanted to move but 
    didn't dare, as he found his arm obstructed by the comfortablest of weights: 
    Her.
    
    Appointments, due dates, the idea to just get up all crumbled the moment he 
    noticed how gentle her shoulders rose and fell, how the light found its way 
    on her face through her tangled hair, like a fresco of brown and gold, how 
    her breath felt on his chest, warm air rolling across skin.
    
    If he could've looked outside, he would've seen the two lovebirds who woke 
    him out building a nest, an intricate dance. And if the two lovebirds outside 
    looked at the ones inside, they would see that they had built a nest of their 
    own, in a different, but no less intricate dance.
    
    His eyes drifted to the ceiling, back into the land of dreams, but then he 
    worried for a moment. Embraced her tighter and elicited a soft sigh; when 
    the alarm would ring, end this moment, pierce the quiet with sharp sound. 
    When the appoinments would come calling, the due dates demand space in 
    his head. But then she moved, opened her eyes, looked up at him. 
    
    They got lost in each other's eyes for eternities, or maybe just for seconds. 
    He remembered it was the weekend, there were no dates due, no appointments, 
    no alarm. There were just two pairs of lovebirds, one in a tree gently swaying in
    the wind, the other in a bed entangled in blankets.
    
    They smiled, and he asked himself, what could dreams do for him, 
    when paradise was already here?
    

    I hope you enjoy it, and that it gave you fuzzy feels. :)

    5 votes
    1. [5]
      monarda
      Link Parent
      Wow, that opening does a great job of setting up the fuzzy feels, but it also allowed me to set a landscape as well. Throughout the entire piece you managed to keep the theme by using language...

      Wow, that opening does a great job of setting up the fuzzy feels, but it also allowed me to set a landscape as well. Throughout the entire piece you managed to keep the theme by using language that invoked a natural intimacy and awe. I think the weaving of the lovebirds outside kindled that naturalness.

      It does need some proofreading. It looks like there were places where you made changes and orphaned a few words that no longer belong or put a word in the wrong place but duplicated it in the correct place such as in your last line:

      They smiled, and he asked himself, what could do dreams do for him,
      when paradise was already here?

      If it was intentional, I don't know what it means, and I stumbled there.

      Overall I enjoyed reading it and the emotions it elicited.

      3 votes
      1. [4]
        Grzmot
        (edited )
        Link Parent
        Thank you! Yeah I wrote it pretty quickly (probably like one hour tops) and did some revisions. I should've proofread it properly, but it's often difficult when you write a text because your mind...

        Thank you!

        Yeah I wrote it pretty quickly (probably like one hour tops) and did some revisions. I should've proofread it properly, but it's often difficult when you write a text because your mind fixes the mistakes you made for you while proofreading because it already knows what the text is supposed to say, instead of actually saying, if you understand what I'm saying? :D

        If you want more of those fuzzy nice emotions, the main inspiration for this piece was the song The Beautiful Dream by George Ezra. It's basically the same idea, but better. :)

        (Also thanks for pointing out those flaws to me, I read it over again and found another one and fixed both :) )

        2 votes
        1. [3]
          monarda
          Link Parent
          Not only do I leave orphaned words and duplicate them, I will also forget to put the word down. I am unable to proofread my own work for that reason because like you, I read back to myself what I...

          Not only do I leave orphaned words and duplicate them, I will also forget to put the word down. I am unable to proofread my own work for that reason because like you, I read back to myself what I meant. So yeah, I know what you're saying :)

          I disagree that 'The Beautiful Dream' is better than what you wrote. I listened to it and then looked up the lyrics. They didn't do anything for me except make me feel a little wistful. Yours is comfortable because when I read it, I know exactly what to feel because it can touch memories from where I can tap emotion, real emotions that I have felt in the past and can feast on them again but in a new environment. You really have a good piece here, and with a bit of refinement can be an amazing little mood-vignette. Don't sell yourself short!

          2 votes
          1. [2]
            Grzmot
            Link Parent
            Interesting, because I thought the song would realistically touch the same emotions as my story. Where would you say lies the difference? I wrote the piece listening to it, so it worked for me....

            I disagree that 'The Beautiful Dream' is better than what you wrote. I listened to it and then looked up the lyrics.

            Interesting, because I thought the song would realistically touch the same emotions as my story. Where would you say lies the difference? I wrote the piece listening to it, so it worked for me.

            You really have a good piece here, and with a bit of refinement can be an amazing little mood-vignette. Don't sell yourself short!

            THANK YOU BUT LET ME UNDERPLAY MY OWN SKILLS DAMN IT!

            2 votes
            1. monarda
              Link Parent
              I'm not very good at compare/contrast writing, but here it goes. I can see the inspiration for sure, now that I know to look for it. Rereading his lyrics, they feel cliche. He seems more of a...

              Interesting, because I thought the song would realistically touch the same emotions as my story. Where would you say lies the difference? I wrote the piece listening to it, so it worked for me.

              I'm not very good at compare/contrast writing, but here it goes.
              I can see the inspiration for sure, now that I know to look for it. Rereading his lyrics, they feel cliche. He seems more of a slave to an idea that requires her participation. Look at these lines:

              With your fingers ablaze
              You've got that hunger now
              Take me, I'm going down
              Underneath the debris
              That I'm calling out to you
              Do with me what you choose

              He's not enjoying the moment, not relishing in the blissfulness of what s/he is, but in what s/he might do for him. And no where else in his lyrics do I get the sense that he actually sees the person before him. Contrast that to what you wrote. Your writing is in a moment that the narrator if fully experiencing but worries may end. The narrator thinking that the day may intrude upon this moment, never puts any expectation upon the woman who lays next to them, they fully expect the moment to end. Add to that your descriptors of the room, the sheets, the window, bird song and etc, I'd rather be living in your piece than his piece :)

              THANK YOU BUT LET ME UNDERPLAY MY OWN SKILLS DAMN IT!

              By all means. I'M NOT THE BOSS OF YOU!

              2 votes
    2. [4]
      mrbig
      (edited )
      Link Parent
      You know how to write something that is emotional and poetic. That is good. At the same time, the image at the core of your piece, the two sets of lovebirds mirroring each other, is not enough to...

      You know how to write something that is emotional and poetic. That is good. At the same time, the image at the core of your piece, the two sets of lovebirds mirroring each other, is not enough to carry the reader. From the first lines, it is clear what you're setting up to do, and nothing in the following paragraphs betrays that expectation. This does not make for a very enticing story. This may not even be much of a story at all (more a collection of impressions....), and might be better suited as poetry than prose.

      2 votes
      1. [2]
        Atvelonis
        Link Parent
        My impression is that this was free verse, though that could just have been a product of the formatting. To some extent the difference between prosaic poetry and poetic prose is only academic.

        My impression is that this was free verse, though that could just have been a product of the formatting. To some extent the difference between prosaic poetry and poetic prose is only academic.

        4 votes
        1. mrbig
          Link Parent
          Although some prose resembles poetry and some poetry resembles prose, I wouldn't go so far to think the distinction is merely academic. It is usually very straightforward to tell which is which.

          Although some prose resembles poetry and some poetry resembles prose, I wouldn't go so far to think the distinction is merely academic. It is usually very straightforward to tell which is which.

      2. Grzmot
        Link Parent
        A valid criticism. When I wrote this thing, my main objective was to elicit emotions, I wasn't really trying to tell a story, though I tried to add some tension, which obviously didn't hit the...

        A valid criticism. When I wrote this thing, my main objective was to elicit emotions, I wasn't really trying to tell a story, though I tried to add some tension, which obviously didn't hit the spot (probably because it's too short, no proper set up - reminder- payoff etc).

        Changing the format to poetry would probably be a good idea, but I wanted to start with something familiar and since I've written a lot of prose (although much longer) I didn't feel comfortable enough with poetry yet. I don't know anything about poetry, and this was written in a fairly short amount of time. @Atvelonis' interpretation is kind, and I suppose I started with prose but ended up somewhere not quite prose. But like I said, I don't know where the lines are drawn here, when something is prose and when something becomes poetry.

        4 votes
  5. [3]
    mrbig
    (edited )
    Link
    Shitty Hours* — So that's it, then? — Yep. — Right now, on the toilet, crapping a football made of shit? — You always thought one day you would crap your guts out, right? Well, the Man loves his...

    Shitty Hours*

    — So that's it, then?
    — Yep.
    — Right now, on the toilet, crapping a football made of shit?
    — You always thought one day you would crap your guts out, right? Well, the Man loves his irony.
    — So, it's a dude?
    — Yeah, depends on the day. You got the joke.
    — I did.
    — So you're not gonna, you know, ask anything?
    — What do you want from me? — George's innards made an uncomfortable noise. He bellowed.
    — I don't know. To which direction does the water flow right above the equator. The Bermuda triangle. Aliens are popular.
    — Okay, whatta hell. Aliens, a thing or not?
    — Oh, you wouldn't believe our corporate parties.
    — So that's a yes?
    — Definitely. Aliens everywhere. You can't miss them. I suppose the fourth dimension thing makes them hard for you guys.
    — Yeah...

    The Death rests the long white arm on the scythe.

    — So you're not going to shit, is that the plan?
    — Well, I kinda have to, now. I wouldn't wanna waste your time.
    — It's not like you have any choice — flashes a toothless smirk.
    — I could run away...
    — Do you really wanna die with a warm brown river seeping from your legs?
    — What if I stay here, talking to you?
    — I got time.
    — I'm not sure. People die every day.
    — True.
    — I won't shit, then — he says, triumphantly.

    Death sighs.

    — In that case, you'll learn this is not decorative...

    Turns the scythe upside down, showing the glistening end of the handle.

    *dialogue obeys the formatting style of the Portuguese language.

    5 votes
    1. [2]
      Toric
      Link Parent
      I assume Death is prachett inspired? if so, good job, you captured that spirit perfectly.

      I assume Death is prachett inspired? if so, good job, you captured that spirit perfectly.

      2 votes
      1. mrbig
        Link Parent
        No, I never read this author. Thank you for reading!

        No, I never read this author. Thank you for reading!

  6. [2]
    Toric
    Link
    Till closing comes We laugh and smile We talk of all things joy Till closing comes We sit somber We comfort each others fears. Till closing comes We are together, Till night takes us apart. I...

    Till closing comes
    We laugh and smile
    We talk of all things joy

    Till closing comes
    We sit somber
    We comfort each others fears.

    Till closing comes
    We are together,
    Till night takes us apart.

    I wrote this for my girlfriend for when I proposed to her early last month (she said yes!). Early on in our relationship, we went to this one coffee/tea place, and would frequently continue talking until the place closed.

    3 votes
    1. cfabbro
      Link Parent
      Congrats! I like the poem too. It kinda reminds me of Closing Time, but more romantic instead of about a drunken one-night-stand. :P

      proposed to her early last month (she said yes!)

      Congrats! I like the poem too. It kinda reminds me of Closing Time, but more romantic instead of about a drunken one-night-stand. :P

      1 vote
  7. [5]
    Comment deleted by author
    Link
    1. [4]
      etiolation
      (edited )
      Link Parent
      This may be unorthodox, but I'm adding this placeholder to let you know a response is on the way! Response: Your piece seemed to want to philosophize, exploring the metaphysics of a magic system,...

      This may be unorthodox, but I'm adding this placeholder to let you know a response is on the way!

      Response: Your piece seemed to want to philosophize, exploring the metaphysics of a magic system, linguistics, and more. Should you return to it, I would encourage you to indulge in this process, without worrying about character or plot for a good while. Then, when find yourself having to really deliberate about your options and their consequences (that might be about the nature of this species, or of the nature of language itself) give each tine of the fork a name, and let that serve as the seed for a character. That's one idea, anyway.

      I have found myself stymied, unsure of which of my characters would say or do what, because I've proceeded on the assumption that every character should be mentally outlined from the outset, when it's also OK to discover their perspectives in the disagreements I have with myself. Don't know if this random thought helps with your inchoate sketch... maybe it's the beginning of an Oscar Wilde-style dialogue and my note is totally inapplicable!

      3 votes
      1. [3]
        mrbig
        (edited )
        Link Parent
        Nothing wrong with that but I have disappointed quite a few people that way :P Nowadays I do not make promises, I just write (or not).

        Nothing wrong with that but I have disappointed quite a few people that way :P

        Nowadays I do not make promises, I just write (or not).

        1. [2]
          etiolation
          Link Parent
          Q.E.D.

          Q.E.D.

          1 vote
          1. mrbig
            Link Parent
            TIL about Q.E.D.:

            TIL about Q.E.D.:

            Q.E.D. or QED is an initialism of the Latin phrase "quod erat demonstrandum", literally meaning "what was to be shown".

            1 vote