I’m really happy with the number, and quality, of responses from readers/writers to this blog…so a huge thank you to everyone who’s participated. There’ll be plenty more Wordsparks to keep the ideas flowing as of next week, but for now, I thought it was time to celebrate some of the contributions. Here are a few of my favourite Wordspark responses so far…
“Breathes life, takes life, one of life’s pleasures, dead, alive.”
by C. J. Black
(In response to Description: Describe the sea in just ten words, for someone who has never seen it.)
“Clouds fall, pluming to the wave’s tumbled height
Rolling, reflected, on the salt-damp bight”
by Guy le jeune
“Away in the distance is where I stand
My forgotten pieces strewn on the sand”
(Both in response to a photo-inspired rhyming couplet Wordspark)
“Those pesky giant walking broccoli plants were pushing at the kitchen window again, AND Sara was down to her last bottle of Sancerre.”
(The Prompt: to write an opening line based on a photo)
We’d run down the Mill Lane, up the stairs and onto the bridge for the mail train from Strabane. We’d stand right over the line as the train hurled underneath and it was all smoke and steam and fury. Our faces would be black and when we got home me mother would give out stink. This one day we went down to catch the smoke and Eddie was there beside the tracks. Me mother said Eddie wasn’t all right—you’d see him standing on the lane, laughing at the sky. We climbed up to the bridge and we could still see Eddie just standing there, talking to nobody. In the distance we heard the clatter and saw the trail of smoke. Eddie jumped up on to the rails with his hands held above his head. We all shouted for him to get out of the way but he just stood there, yelling all sorts. The train screamed and whistled and squealed. We couldn’t look, but we couldn’t look away. There must have been the length of sweeping brush between the front of the engine and Eddie. That was the day when Eddie McCrae stopped the mail train from Strabane
by Guy le jeune
At the back of our house, across the fields, ran the train line. When Da passed on his way to Cork or Limerick he would beep the horn and we’d flash the light on and off to let him know we heard him. On his way home, he’d beep again to let Ma know he was on the way. Da didn’t drive a car, only a train.
We weren’t allowed near the railway line. Ma and Da would go mad when they found out we were up there. We went to pick blackberries, and the best ones were always along the railway. One day, Da passed on the train and saw us. He beeped the horn and put his fist up at us. We knew he was going to kill us when we got home so we stayed out for ages ’til we thought he’d be gone to bed. He always went to bed when he came home if he’d been driving through the night. He was still up when we got home and there was murder. When Da went to bed for a few hours, Mam still made jam with the blackberries we collected. My Ma made deadly jam.
by Patricia Nugent
(In response to: write a piece of flash fiction of less than 200 words, inspired by the postcard shown.)
Last, but certainly not least, I’m including the opening paragraph of our festive-themed Wordspark of a short story under 1000 words. There’s a link at the end to the rest of the story, which I highly recommend: this piece received the most responses from other readers/writers.
Away in a Manger by Sinead O’Hart
I knew better than to turn on the main bathroom light – the noise of the fan alone would be enough to wake Simon up, and that was the last thing I wanted. I just wished I’d had the foresight to unwrap the thing beforehand, but I took it slowly and kept the rustling to a minimum. As I worked to open the packet, I kept the bathroom door open, just a crack, enough to hear him if he moved, but there wasn’t a sound from the bedroom besides my husband’s gentle breathing. Once I’d freed it from the wrapping, I closed the door to our ensuite as gently as I could, and just got on with it. I wondered, as I sat down, whether it was a marketable skill, this ability I had to pee accurately in the pitch darkness – I guessed it really was true about practice making perfect. How often had I done this, now? I’d long ago lost count. Read more…