A Dark Tunnel

via Daily Prompt: Blindly

I love word combinations. One of the great things about combinations is that they reveal the near-infinite complexity, the wide range of nuances, hiding within the individual words. Take blindly. It most often has a figurative sense of doing things mindlessly, without thinking, understanding or judgment. You might follow others or fall for a person blindly, etc. But it also has a direct, literal sense of not physically seeing things around you. To help pull out those subtleties I sometimes randomly generate pairings, in this case verbs with the adverb blindly.

One verb that came up was creep and it birthed this fragment:

“We creep blindly through the engulfing darkness of the tunnel, not daring even a whisper, communicating only with subtle shifts in the pressure of fingers encircling the ankle of the one in front, slight angling of that bony joint in response. The heat is punishing, pressing on us, seeming to constrict our narrow passage even more. The sweat has long since drenched our clothing, making it adhere to the clay as we inch along crablike. How long have we been moving? I realize I have no idea. The unrelenting darkness has shut down not just vision but also the connections to most other gauges of experience. The only heightened sense is hearing as we listen for the slightest of shufflings from behind that would signal pursuit. How long until we reach the end, hopefully undiscovered so that we may rise and sprint to speed our escape? …”

I don’t know yet who might be pursuing them, where they might be headed or if they escape, but the combination “creep blindly” set a whole train of thought in motion, different than other random combinations that came up, such as inject blindly, stab blindly, rule blindly, prepare blindly, honor blindly and so on.

I’ll say more about the program I use in a different post, but this one is already getting too long.

Cheers

Copyright  © Thomas Ward 2017

A Tenacious Haiku

via Daily Prompt: Tenacious

Trying (tenaciously) to fit all last week’s words (and no others) into a single haiku.

 

pause, cusp denial

heal tenacious champion

prudent outlier

 

Hoping some will reply with different versions. 🙂

Copyright ©  Thomas Ward 2017

How Are We to Heal?

via Daily Prompt: Heal

Haiku (of sorts)

 

how are we to heal

bleeding planet gashed by hate

one heart at a time

 

how are we to heal

weeping planet asking love

one heart at a time

 

how are we to heal

reaching now to different ones

one heart at a time

 

Explanation, skip if too boring: I typically don’t explain what I write. The words will either stand or fall on their own, but I wanted to give a bit of background on this. First, I thought about the old parable about the grandfather telling his grandson that there are two wolves always at war inside each of us, one representing hatred and fear, the other representing love and bravery. When the grandson asks which one wins, the grandfather answers “the one you feed.” Let us feed our loving wolves. Second “one heart at a time” is an adaptation of the story from which the title of Anne Lamott’s book, Bird by Bird, derives. She describes how her brother was daunted by needing to complete a long report on birds, and her father kindly advised “Bird by bird, buddy. Just take it bird by bird.” None of us can accomplish the seemingly daunting task of healing the world alone. But we can each take it heart by heart, one heart at a time. Finally, I’ve never tried haiku before but the phrase “how are we to heal” would not leave me alone, so its five syllables was a start.

Copyright  © Thomas Ward 2017

Outlier Than Thou?

via Daily Prompt: Outlier

In H. G. Wells’ World War I novel, Mr. Britling Sees It Through, Hugh Britling writes home to his father, grousing about British military officers, “…they do not think hard, and they do not understand that doing a job properly means doing it as directly and thought-outly as you possibly can.”

What can we say about the officers’ limited approaches? If they weren’t doing their jobs as thought-outly as possible, then we are forced to conclude that they should have been doing things, in a word (or two), thought-outlier.

Outlier: (out—lee—ur), adj. the quality of being more outly or possessing more outliness. 😉

To extend this outlier construct, things that are more extraordinary or wonderful in some way must be far-outlier. And so on…

And one more stretch, now that outly is an adjective, we should all strive to be as outly as we can be…

Ok…so this post was a cop-out, but perhaps not too cop-outlier than some others. 😉

PS – Kudos (or partial blame) to Orange-Haired Woman for the question about pronunciation that led me to think of outlier as an adjective, and thinkinkadia for proposing the new personality trait of out-liar that provided more inspiration.

Copyright ©  Thomas Ward 2017

Rationalization, Not Denial

via Daily Prompt: Denial

Dialogue from The Big Chill

Michael: I don’t know anyone who could get through the day without two or three juicy rationalizations. They’re more important than sex.

Sam: Ah, come on. Nothing’s more important than sex.

Michael: Oh yeah? Ever gone a week without a rationalization?

 

Rationalization, Not Denial

“You interrupted me tonight. A lot.” She tossed the accusation into the chill space between us in the car on the way home. “Everybody noticed. Did you see the way they all looked at me?” Her favorite means of leverage in an argument. Everyone on her side, no one on mine. “Well, if you would take a breath between words, maybe someone else could speak without talking over you,” I sulked as we pulled into the driveway. “We’ve been through this before. You talk too slow.” “Slowly,” I mentally corrected her, rolling my eyes as I walked to the front door without turning.

As she crossed the threshold, I turned and spoke deliberately, “It’s not my fault. You just never let me get a word in edgewise.” Snorting, “You pause between every word. It’s like you have to think about each one before you say it.” I closed my eyes, then softly “Precision is important to me. Sometimes the exact right word …takes time to find.” Not buying my tired excuse, “You’re in denial. You talk slow. It’s just that simple” A deep inhale before the words flowed out from me in one long gust, “First of all, I’m rationalizing, not denying. Look it up. If you’re going to play armchair psychologist, at least get it right. And for God’s sake, learn some grammar. It’s slowly. Not slow.” She hated it when I pulled the grammar card. So did I. My words had finally flowed smoothly but hurtfully. I was tired and frustrated, another rationalization. We had been down this path many times before.

I knew it was coming. “You…talk…slow…ly,” smirking. “You should join the Slow….Talkers…of…America…………Society,” pausing an extra second before the last word. Tired of the battle, tired of this particular taunt, I muttered, “I did. I’m even running for president.” I had caught her off guard, the first traces of a smile creasing her lips, head tilting in question, “How’s that going for you?” Suppressing my own grin, “It’ll be a while.” “They’re doing a roll call vote.”

Her smile broadened, warming and dissolving the chill. We hugged, grateful for the closing of the distance between us. A soft kiss on the neck. Then the lips. And another, lingering. Then longer, slower, warmer. Our eyes locked onto one another’s. Rationalization could wait. This was too important….

Copyright  © Thomas Ward 2017

Free Form Thoughts About Champion

via Daily Prompt: Champion

Champion?

Musing

Perusing musings

Winnings

Losings

Choosings

Don’tings, Do-zings

Floozing?

Boozing

Doping, Coping, Hoping

Goals. Tolls, Roles

Training, Gaining

Refraining

More musing

Off and on

Snoozing

Thrice achoozing

Pollen’s amusing

Many thoughts

Ink Blot

Champion

Copyright  © Thomas Ward 2017

A Prudent Ride on the Tail of the Dragon

via Daily Prompt: Prudent

“Life should not be a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a pretty and well preserved body, but rather to skid in broadside in a cloud of smoke, thoroughly used up, totally worn out, and loudly proclaiming “Wow! What a Ride!”

— Hunter S. Thompson

At the North Carolina end of the Tail of the Dragon stands the Tree of Shame, a tribute of sorts to the bikers who have been bested by the beast. The Dragon: a stretch of US Highway 129 with 318 curves in 11 miles, running from Tabcat Bridge in Tennessee to Deals Gap, NC. The Tree: adorned with fragments of bikes that missed one of those curves, a fender here, a shard of windshield there, poignant words about bikers who sustained more damage than their bikes.


This photo of Tail of the Dragon is courtesy of TripAdvisor

Is it wise to ride The Dragon? It is not really as scary as as The Tree might have you believe. It merely likes to taunt. I won’t let it dissuade me. The better question is “Can I not ride The Dragon?” The sensation of going into a curve on a motorcycle is unique. It can’t be had in a car. And with its 318 curves, The Dragon periodically beckons me to come glide down its twisting form. tandv And I heed its call. Plus, I guess I’d be described as a prudent rider. No aspirations to break the 9-minute one way record. Not going to literally “skid in broadside in a cloud of smoke” as I ride it. And certainly no interest in adding parts of my beloved S 50 to the tree. Just a steady push to the comfortable edge…oooh those curves!

Copyright  © Thomas Ward 2017

What Would You Do?

via Daily Prompt: Later

Several years ago I stumbled on a way to express what many of us on the far side of middle age know intimately; time is as precious as it is relentless, ever striding forward whether we choose to keep up or not. I called it the 30-30 principle. None of us knows whether we have 30 seconds or 30 years left to live. So, how shall we spend our time? What really matters? As is obvious from the absence of a written record in the interim, writing about the idea was not on the list. I thought about it, but put it off for later. Well, later is here. Gotta love these prompts!

What if I knew I had only 30 seconds? What then? Living alone there is no time for one last comforting hug in the arms of a lover. Maybe a frantic group text to my kids, “I love you. Carry on, Dad.” And what about 30 minutes? Some phone calls to family, friends and former lovers? A quick drive to a close friend’s house for that hug? Though that small Dutch Apple pie on my counter is calling out for attention too ;-). 30 days would be a lifetime, plenty of time to travel to see old friends, with some left over for quiet time at an outdoor café in Paris. So, why am I not doing any of these things right now? I can blame it on the realities of still working for a living, or generalized inertia. Still, it’s worth a thought.

And you, my newfound family of bloggers. What about you? What would you do? If so inclined, please reply to this post with what you would do with a time interval of your own choosing. It need not even be within the bounds of the 30-30 principle. But, please, share.

(Not sure how all this pingback stuff works, but do that too if so moved.)

Copyright  © Thomas Ward 2017