Writing Exercise

I’m not sure if it’s been the pet-sitting (and getting out of the habit), the revisions, or the lack of keen interest in my current projects (or a combination of it all), but my writing has been unenthused lately. To help break my slump, I did a writing exercise tonight that’s a little silly and a little weird, so I figured I’d share it with you, if you feel so inclined.

Murdered, She Be?

There had been many theories about how she had been murdered.

They were all, unfortunately, wrong.

Meyers Ling was right that her day had started at the dog park. But it wasn’t the one by her house, where she normally went. No, that one always became a mess after it rained, and they’d had a downpour that night, so she’d gone to the one across town.

Elliot Finkle wanted to know why she would have gone to the dog park when she didn’t have a dog.

“The answer is obviously,” Ling said. “She liked to visit with other people’s dogs.”

He was right about that as well.

The last thing he was right about was that she met her murderer at the dog park. He was wrong that the murderer followed her home.

“Nonsense,” said Finkle. “This was obviously a crime of passion. I suspect it was an ex”lover.” He eyed Robert Anderson and Julie Bowler.

“That’s ridiculous!” Anderson said, possibly because he’d been the one to find the body. “If it was me, I wouldn’t have called you all here! I would have covered it up!”

“Unless you knew that one of us knew that you were going to come over to her house today,” Ling pointed out.

“Which none of you did, as I just decided to do it five minutes before ariving.”

“Oh?” Finkle inquired. “And why was that?”

“Because she loaned me a twenty for dinner last week and I knew if I didn’t come over immediately I’d keep forgetting to pay her back.”

“That sounds like a likely excuse!” Finkle accused.

“Well, it does seem too stupid an excuse for him to have made it up for just this purpose,” Ling admitted.

“Um,” Bowler said, but got no further.

“Care to admit to the crime?” Finkle shouted, and everyone’s attention turned toward her.

“Uh, no. I was just thinking maybe we should call the police.”

Finkle, Ling, and Anderson were reluctant, but eventually conceded it might be best to involve the authorities.

In the end, the police questioned each person thoroughly and determined that based on the scene and the information that she had walked her neighbor’s dog down to the dog park for him–as he was getting up in years–and back home, she’d been slicing some chicken for the big bruiser when something had startled her and the dog, and in a fumbling of limbs, she’d fallen on the knife.

She had rolled over–possibly with the help of the dog–but the wound was too grievous and she was unable to call for help. She bled out. When Richard arrived, he opened the door to the sounds of a frantic dog–which ran out and away as soon as he opened the door, and he found the body and called their three friends to figure it out.

“Why didn’t you call the police immediately?” the officer asked.

“Well, she was already dead,” Anderson said. “What good would that have done?”

The end

Facebook and salads

For any followers who prefer Facebook over Twitter, I now have a Facebook account. Right now it’s mostly filled with my Twitter posts, but other content will be forthcoming.

So that was something I started this week. I also started trying to treat my body better.

See, I knew I was gaining a little weight and not eating very healthy. And I got tired riding a lot easier than I used to. After my accident in 2012, I never really got up to my full health again, but after this past winter’s severe depression, it got bad.

I tracked my calories the day after a Memorial Day party, and while I realize it was probably more extreme than normal, it was twice the calories I should be consuming. Twice. Wow.

Obviously that’s not a daily consumption, but I think it highlights how easily I have been consuming that many calories without batting an eye. And while I don’t think calorie counting is the be-all, end-all, I think it’s a good way to check in with my body.

So I’ve begun tracking my calories and trying to make healthier choices. It’s only been three days, so I can’t say I’m on-target, but I’m not failing either.

And to make this post slightly less boring-health-stuff related, here is a recipe that was given to me, which I brought to a picnic this weekend and it was a hit. It’s easy, fairly healthy, and fairly cheap. Enjoy!

Ramen Broccoli Salad (also known as Oriental Broccoli Salad)

2 packages Ramen Noodles (any flavor – I use roast beef)
1 cup canola oil
¼ cup white vineger
1/3 cup sugar
1 or 2 packages (12 oz/pack) broccoli slaw (4 serving pack)
4 oz almonds (sliced)
4 oz sunflower seeds

Cook the noodles in water as directed – reserve flavor packets – I break up the noodles so they are easier to handle in the salad.

While the noodles are cooking, mix the canola oil, vinegar, sugar, and the flavor packets (optional)*.

Drain the noodles and put them into the dressing mix.  Cover and let sit overnight

Shortly before serving, add the almonds, sunflower seeds and the broccoli slaw.  Toss well to coat all ingredients with dressing.

The original recipe called for just 1 package of slaw, but you can use up to two.

* The flavor packets were called for in the recipe I was given but I didn’t put them in when I made it this time, because I thought I knew what I was doing so I didn’t read the recipe carefuly, and it seemed to work pretty good that way. Plus WAY less sodium. It’s a bit sweeter that way, though.

You are what you eat…

After vaguely making a connection between eating poorly (especially high-sodium foods, aka eating out) and my depression/anxiety at the beginning of the year…I’ve realized again that maybe I should eat more balanced, healthful meals. And try to start exercising again. Not that I’m eating too poorly this week (weekends are my bane), but I could use a little exercise. And maybe ease myself into instead of three days of hard-core exercise and then flop on my back bemoaning the world and getting old.

If you want to be health buddies (and you’re not my brother–because it’s just sinful that my older brother is in better shape than I am), let me know!

And you might be wondering why I’m bringing this up on my writer’s blog.

1. It’s my blog and I’ll whine if I want to. (I won’t break into song here, but I’m now humming that and I have no one to blame but myself.)

2. If poor eating triggers my depression, and my depression usually leads to me not writing…then obviously I want to not be depressed!

3. Even if poor eating doesn’t trigger my depression, eating healthy isn’t going to hurt and trigger my depression (most likely). I mean, it’s not like I’m going to stop eating out. Just maybe not four days in a row.

4. I was having a really good time with my writing and editing and in a good mood and then ate out four days in a row and today I am verbally constipated. I realize it could be coincidence, but, again, it doesn’t hurt to try.

Hopefully my post next week will be more on topic and less whiny! (And…not three days late?)

Writing Exercise: 1/18/14

My other stories have been slow in coming. I need to reorganize some things in my life inside my head.

I got practically nothing written this week, but this morning I woke up with a vignette in my head begging to be written. It’s not going to develop into anything more, but it was a nice writing exercise. Of course, one day I’m going to go back and look at all these short pieces and roll my eyes at them and want to fix them up. Also, I need to do more exercises that push my skills, but that’s another story.

This one is just about heartbreak….I guess.

Oh, college life.

I crouched by my bag in front of my dorm room door and searched the pouch where I remembered leaving my key before going to class. Nothing. The sounds of Soul Caliber drifted through the crappy door, and then my roommate, Harry. “So how do you put up with fucking him?”
Will snorted. “What does that mean?”
“I’m just saying. What’s it like?”
“Why, you want to fuck my boyfriend?”
“Um, no.” Even through the door, I could hear the curl of disgust. “Just wondering. He’s so lanky and boney.”
“Well, yeah.” A pause, followed by the curses of one player getting several combo attacks on another. A soft chuckled. “It is kind of like fucking Jack Skellington.”
I stood on shaking legs and stared at the door. But the voices still came.
“He’s aptly name then, huh?”
Will laughed and the curl of unease froze in my gut. “Shit, how did I never think of that before?”
“Obviously because you were so in love.” The eye roll was clear through wood and cement.
“Obviously.” Another snort of laughter from Will.
I shoved my hands in my pocket and curled my fingers around the keys there. Oh, hey, found my keys.
The clatter of controllers hitting the hard floors barely registered. The sound of tussling was not that abnormal, so I slid the key in the lock, thinking I’d call them on talking shit about me behind my back.
Then a groan. Not a ‘that hurt’ groan. Not a ‘don’t hit me there’ groan. But a ‘oh yes, again please’ groan.
I turned the lock and twisted the knob. Pushed open the door.
And yes, my roommate was lying on top of my boyfriend, one hand between them at their crotches, my boyfriend’s legs wrapped around his waist. Harry did something and Will did that groan again, his hips arching up into the touch.
I swallowed down the bile of betrayal, grabbed the doorknob, and slammed the door shut. It was only a moment more to reclaim the key, put my school bag in order, and walk–quickly–down the hall.
Looked like I needed a new boyfriend.
And a new roommate.


Writing Exercise 1/7/14

Another writing exercise, because I couldn’t build up the courage to jump back into the story I’m working on. And I figured writing something is better than nothing. Once again, no editing or re-reading has been done to this piece.

Andy rolled over. The streetlight, filtered through five dollar curtains, cast water shadows across Trey’s dark, smooth skin. He closed his eyes, but when he reopened them, Trey was still spread about beside him, one hand resting on his chest, the other by his thigh, the sheets clinging at his waist. It almost made him look nude.
But he wasn’t. And Andy needed to keep that in mind. Needed to remember that Trey was here because the alternative was lying on hard plastic totes. Because Andy had invited him–as a friend. Because friends didn’t make their friends sleep in dusty warehouses.
Friends didn’t study the slope and curve of one another’s chest as it rose and fell, the sparse hair that gathered thicker near the waist and then vanished beneath the sheet. One little tug and…
And he’d see boxer shorts. Because friends didn’t sleep naked in bed together.
He rolled over, tucking his hands under his pillow. Turning away didn’t hide Trey’s skin, matte in the dimness, anymore than the dark had. But at least now he wasn’t tempted to reach out and touch it. His hands clenched one another. Or at least he thought he had more control to not do it.
He shouldn’t have invited Trey over. But what kind of friend abandoned their buddy without a place to sleep?
The smart ones who have been harboring crushes on their hot coworker.
So not him. Because he was an idiot who gladly invited said crush into his bedroom to sleep beside him. Platonically. Of course. He closed his eyes and squeezed his hand to the point of page. He was the biggest fucking idiot.
“Mmffg.” Trey shifted behind him, and Andy held his breath, waited, but nothing more happened.
Of course. Because the love interest slipping his arm around the besotted fool’s waist in the middle of the night only happened in cheesy romances.
“Mmm.” Trey shifted again, and this time a hand landed on Andy’s hip and slid around to his front, holding him there and drawing him closer as Trey wiggled behind him. Spooning him.
A string of curses, prayers, and hallelujahs streamed through his head before he managed a whispered, “Trey?”
Nothing. Then an aborted snore that rubbed against Andy’s shoulder.
Oh. He was still asleep. Cuddling. In his sleep.
He wished Trey had mentioned this little quirk. He inhaled and closed his eyes, ignoring the reasons and the whynots and just feeling the arm around him, the body behind him, the heat and scent and…well, the boner. Nothing to be done about that (literally, unless he wanted to risk waking Trey up with the motion).
He could always pretend he’d been dreaming about a hot chick or something. Afterall, it was Trey who had started the cuddle party.
Andy pressed his hips back, just enough to feel Trey’s dick press against his crack. He froze. Trey snuggled closer, hips pressing closer, body plastered against him. Wasn’t Trey hot? The air conditioning was doing its best, but still…
Though, maybe it was his pounding heart that was making him so warm.
He exhaled in a rush, then sharply inhaled as the hand on his stomach slid down–oh fuck–and bumped into the Boy Scout troop stationed there. Trey made another sleepy noise behind him and the hand slid up to his chest, once against holding him as Trey wiggled behind him, crotch–hardening cock!–nestling firmly in his crack.
Trey nuzzled against Andy’s short hair, probably envisioning kissing the crown of some high school sweetheart.
“Mmm,” came his sleepy voice. “Am I turning you on?”
That gravelly question should not have made him shiver, but it did. He also realized–several seconds too late–that the question was a little too keen for someone who was sleeping. He froze.
“Trey?” his shadow whispered.
“Mmm. Yeah, Andy?”


Exercise: 12.17.13

Just an exercise, so no editing/re-reading has been done. 
Trey plopped down on the long tote packed full of books, the sturdy plastic and sheer mass of paper holding his weight. Not soft, not comfortable, but sturdy.
And his bed. At least for now. He had plans. Good plans. Great plans, really, if they’d just follow through like he wanted. But for now he was happy with a job, a place to crash–as long as the boss didn’t find him–and enough money for a meal now and then. Once he got his first paycheck. For now, a bed was enough.
The sheet over the totes almost made it look like a bed, even if it was just there to cut down on dust. And it was warm enough he didn’t even need to pull his blanket out, although he should put it down for an extra cushion to sleep on. Once he had the energy to get move again.
He’d just stripped off his shirt to use as a pillow when the unmistakable ku-chink echoed across the large storage unit, practically a warehouse. Shit.
He jumped to his feet and yanked his shirt, trying to find the bottom to pull over his head as the door ground open. Creeeeeeeeak.
Shit. Shit. Shit. He’d gotten his head through the arm hole, somehow. He nearly ripped an ear off pulling the shirt from his head.
He winced. Andy’s smooth voice echoed in the room, despite the books lining the walls. He fisted his hands in the shirt and stared at it. “Hey.”
The door clanged behind Andy, although he didn’t move in any farther. “What are you doing here?”
His fingers clamped harder. The words he’d prepared, the jokes he’d wanted to make for just this occasion, fled him. Instead, he blurted, “Please don’t tell James.” He winced.
The flat soles of Chucks scuffed across the floor. “But why are you here?”
He risked looking up. Andy stood on the other side of the totes, dark brown eyes flickering from the sheets to Trey, then around and back to Trey. He swallowed and dropped his gaze back to his shirt. “I just needed a place to crash.”
“Crash? Crash? You’re sleeping here?”
He shrugged. “I just needed a place for a bit. I wasn’t hurting anything!”
“I didn’t think you were, T. But why are you sleeping here?”
Trey peeked. Andy looked seriously confused and concerned. Jeezy Creezy. Why else would he be sleeping here? “I’m kinda between places.”
“Yeah. So if you could not tell James, I’d–”
“But why?”
Trey jerked back, the words a knife in his chest. What the fuck was Andy’s problem? Did he not understand anything more subtle than I’m a homeless motherfucker right now?
Andy must have seen something on his face, because he quickly added, “I mean, why didn’t you say something! I thought we were friends!”
It was Andy’s turn to look hurt. “Yeah. But I guess not.”
“No… It’s just… Jeez. Hey, by the way, I’m homeless isn’t exactly third day of work conversation, you know?”
“Yeah…I guess not.” Andy’s smile looked sad, which just wasn’t right on the guy. “Sorry. But we have been working together for three months.” He paused, his brow wrinkling. “Have you been sleeping here the whole time?”
He looked back down at his shirt.
“Dammit!” Andy stepped over the book totes and grabbed Trey’s shoulder, hauling him in for a rib-crunching hug. “Way to make me feel like shit, man.”
Trey was suddenly very aware that he was shirtless and the summer heat made their bodies stick, cling, the ripe scent of young man clinging between them. Thankfully he’d gotten a shower the other night at the gym with the shit security, so it was only a heady scent and not a changed-my-mind-about-the-hug stench. Andy’s hand rubbed up and down his back, his breath a humid sigh against his shoulder. “I wish you woulda told me.”
“Not something I go bragging about, you know?”
“Yeah.” Andy squeezed, then slowly let his arms slip away. “Get your things.”
Andy stepped back, shoulders hunched defensively as he shoved his hands in his pockets. “Get your things, you can stay with me. I’ve got a roommate and no couch, but we can share a bed, it’s cool.”
He swallowed. The warehouse environmental control must have kicked in, because it suddenly felt warmer in there. That didn’t make sense at all though. He swallowed. “What?”
“I mean, I know it ain’t ideal, but it’s a big bed, and it’s gotta be better than these, right?” He toed the tote.
“Yeah, but I don’t want to put you out or anything.”
Andy sighed. “Jeez, you’re a dumb ass. Get your things, you’re not putting me out.” He paused and chuckled. “Heh. Putting out.”
Trey’s face flamed and he yanked his shirt on over his head, actually getting it through the neck hole this time. “You don’t gotta do this.”
“I know.” Andy waited until Trey looked up. “But I’m doing it anyway. Now get your shit and let’s go.”
So Trey grabbed his shit–one bag of clothes, a book, his wallet, and some stupid-ass keychain he’d found that now carried the warehouse key so he could open up in the mornings. “What were you coming in here this late for anyways?”
Andy smiled, his eyes distant. “I’d forgotten something.”
“Yeah? What?”

The smile stretched. “It doesn’t matter, I have it now. Let’s go.”