Thursday, March 18, 2010

Writer's Workshop

I chose prompt 3.

3.) Could a routine become interesting through words?  Write about a person (perhaps you) caught up in a daily routine.  Establish a rhythm with the story’s words that impersonates the rhythm of the routine.

Be forewarned though, it's mildly depressing. I don't know exactly why I wrote it the way I did, but that's what happened when I just let my fingertips flow across the keyboard.

The Local Post

It’s 7:00am. The coffee pot is full. The newspaper is unfolded on the kitchen table. Reading glasses, dirtied from use, lay on top of the paper as if hastily placed there in the rush of the morning. Scrambled eggs, salted and peppered lavishly, await his wrinkly entrance.

The toilet flush can be heard from down the hall, and a few minutes later one unsure footstep after the other can be heard thudding toward the kitchen inhabited only by a rumply old lady and her frying pan.

“Good morning,” she chimes in a chipper sing-song voice indigenous only to those who are what are referred to as ‘morning people.’ The old man grunts in return. He sits in front of his eggs. The fork scrapes against the plate. Neither registers the sound. Neither even knows the sound existed.

His hands with calluses and deep wrinkles from long years of hard work gingerly put his spectacles in front of his faded blue eyes. The gingham curtains blew slightly from the warm summer breeze through the open kitchen window. 

He turned the page of the local Post.

It’s 7:00am. The coffee sits in the pot, its aroma wafting through the little farm home. The newspaper, collected from the stoop that morning, rests on the kitchen table with the old, round reading glasses. Scrambled eggs smell up the kitchen and dining area all salty and peppery and genuinely delicious. They are made with the eggs from the hen house.

The hens are none too happy.

The sprightly old lady has lived on this farm since she married the man down the hall who flushes the toilet and grunts his grumpy way down the hall to eat his eggs. It was a lovely spring wedding in her parents' backyard. She was pretty sure he was the handsomest man on the face of the earth.

“Good morning,” she greats him with the same enthusiasm she’s had since she was nigh twenty. He scrapes the plate with the fork. No one notices. The gingham curtains rustle in the wind, but the screen keeps out the bugs.

The old man, glasses on his broad nose, scans the articles. Nothing that interests him, as usual. Death, destruction, politics. All things he followed once upon a time, but now his ancient blue eyes search only for the weather forecast and the crossword puzzle.

He turns the page of the local Post.

It’s 7:00am. The coffee is brewed, the eggs are scrambled. This morning she drank some orange juice before she set his spectacles on the table beside this morning's paper. 

The toilet flushes.He shuffles down the hallway.

“Good morning,” she smiles. She has a lovely old lady smile, polished dentures and all. Her face lights up when she sees him, still as beautiful as the day he met her. He sits at the table in front of the eggs. He adds the salt and the pepper, forgotten in the haste of the orange juice.

He scrapes the plate with the silver fork. It used to be polished and lovely, but has faded with time. It was a wedding present from her mother. She purchased the silverware in a shop in New York where only the finest things are found.

The gingham curtain sways with the wind. It’s a pretty blue color. It used to match his eyes. He hardly notices the curtains anymore. Threadbare and patched they have hung in the kitchen window since their youngest son was born. He’s now forty three with a wife and two kids. He lives on the other side of the country and never calls.

The old man shakily places his spectacles on his face, bringing the words on the paper into perspective as he turns the page of the local Post.

It’s 7:00am. A woman stands in the middle of the room, tears in her emerald eyes. Her fiery red hair curls around her face. The scent of coffee still lingers in the air, but there are no scrambled eggs.

The toilet is silent. The gingham curtain is still. No breeze blows through the window today. The glass is shut.

The paper is absent from the table. The reading glasses are nowhere to be found.

The woman looks around the empty room. All the fine china has been boxed up and dispersed to those who laid claim to it. She eyes the gingham curtains, she’s known them since her baby brother was born.

He refused to come to the estate, always too busy with his own life to make time for others. The woman took the curtain rod down and rubbed the gingham curtains between her fingers and thumb. Pressing the fabric against her cheek was comforting to her ivory skin, and she sobbed.

No more coffee. No more eggs. No more turning the page of the local Post.


  1. Wow.

    I think it is so interesting how this is the second post I've read choosing this prompt besides mine and they are all so DIFFERENT.

    I really like yours.

    And your blog background makes me happy.

  2. Aww that was beautifully written and kinda sad...great post!

  3. I really love it. Just awesome. :)

  4. Oh. This broke my heart. The sadness is so deep. I am sorry for your loss. Deeply sorry. This was written so beautifully.

  5. Wow, what a great post. You are very talented, I could see everything in my mind.

    Thank you for sharing this.

  6. That was so sad but liked it. You painted that picture very well.

  7. I love how you start the next sequence the same, but mix it up ever so slightly. At first I thought "She's saying the same thing- must have pasted twice", but upon further reading I realized this is intentional.

    I am guessing that the last woman was the daughter. At first I thought that perhaps the woman had changed her hair to see if the man would notice, but then realized that the scene was completely different.

    Excellent story telling, bravo!!

  8. WOW! Tears in my eyes and goosebumps!!

  9. Beautiful writing! So, so sad though. I hate/love it when that happens -- it's cool to sit down at the computer and just write and see what comes out of it, especially when you're surprised by how beautiful it is. But when it's sad, it depresses me. I'm always saddened that I have something so sad inside me. Does that make sense? I kind of feel like that's what you mean in your intro.

  10. ah-maz-ing. thats all. better than the dumb stuff we read in my lit. class...really...this could be a classic piece of literature if you wanted it to be.


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