Writing Exercise #6


  1. Fester
  2. Stalk
  3. Remember
  4. Dive
  5. Bend


  1. Straw
  2. Loss
  3. Produce
  4. Frame
  5. Effect

Sentences / Short Paragraphs

  • Her anxiety was so severe she sunk into the chair, holding her head in her hands. Sweat beading her brow, she suddenly realized she couldn’t breathe. Getting oxygen now felt like breathing through a narrow, festering straw.
  • He had never grieved the loss of his father. Refusing to deal with his emotions, he had become quick to anger, volatile; the loss festering beneath the surface of his psyche.
  • A swarm of flies, maggots, and other insects had taken over the abandoned supermarket. Unrefrigerated weeks-old festering produce had been left to rot. The smell was unbearable.
  • The family had become utterly dysfunctional, now complete with Mom’s paranoia, Dad’s alcoholism, Jimmy’s drug addiction, and Tina’s inability to commit to any relationship, no matter how perfect it was. Where once stood a neat and tidy family portrait was now nothing but a festering frame hanging off the mantel, waiting to catch fire.
  • Having been in trapped insolation on the island for so long, the solitude (at first, welcomed) was now having a festering effect on Ronald’s sense of reality. He began to hallucinate and could swore he was having conversations with people who he later realized, really weren’t there.


  • The polluted riverbank was a depressing sight to behold. Upon arrival Chelsea saw a lone red and white striped straw being taken away by the baby current, downstream. It would probably end up in the unsuspecting mouth of a fish or turtle. It broke her heart to think about it. Moving downstream, she cleaned up as much as she could; As the sun set, she sat down on the bench and looked around, feeling as though she had barely made a dent. She then looked down and to her surprise, saw the same red and white striped straw stuck in the reeds by the side of river; the stalking straw rolled against the little waves that brushed up alongside it. Chelsea smiled and bent down to remove it, throwing it in her trash bag.
  • Now his depression was spent stalking the loss of his father. He couldn’t get past it, could never see himself getting past it. It was just this Sisyphean climb forever. This is how he would spend his eternity.
  • The private investigator, in his three-piece suit and fedora, stalked the produce isles at the supermarket, scribbling every so often in his little notebook, on the case of the mysterious apple thief.
  • The criminal had a type, stalking girls who fit the frame of young, thin, and brunette.
  • Harold had heard of many stories about this sleep medication, but never had he encountered the side-effect of a “tendency to stalk”. The stalk effect was new, and if reported, the patient must remain within the observation of a medical professional until stalking tendencies were no longer expressed.


  • Jack had fallen into a nostalgic, dusty daydream; Remembering straw and the whinny of horses, the sound the cows outside the dairy, and the smell of manure. The click of spurs, cicadas, and the damp humidity that Summer always brought to the South.
  • Loss remembered like a big, gaping abyss; peering down a dark, bottomless canyon; A infinite expanse, a crevasse.
  • “I remember produce tasting better than this trash,” the old woman viciously said as she spat her partially chewed grape on the ground.
  • Looking at the picture frame, remembering happier times. The family smiling within would now never know times like that again.
  • For the woman suffering from dementia, the remembering effect was all but forgotten, and would be for the rest of her life.


  • Standing at the top level of the stable, Tim stretched into a diver’s pose and took the plunge; the first straw dive of the season, resurfacing with the golden threads on his head, grinning ear-to-ear.
  • She dropped the phone. Now it hung by its wire, gently swaying side to side as the person on the other end chimed, “Hello? Hello?”. But she sunk to the floor in shock, drowning everything else out. Her friend, this reported loss diving deep into the pit of her stomach. Lightheaded now. Numb. Later would it would hit. Much, much later.
  • Grocery shopping in Atlantis, diving for produce in full scuba gear.
  • As his arm brushed the table, I dove for the picture frame, saving it just in time before it shattered into a million pieces.
  • The dive effect from 80 ft up surprisingly splashed no one within the perimeter of the pool.


  • Upon further inspection, it appeared the bent straw actually had a small hole in it, and we asked the waiter for a replacement.
  • The loss of her mother made her mood bend into hues of blue beyond which she knew she was even capable of feeling.
  • After the bad storm, the metal produce sign had bent in half and was now useless to provide directions from the highway.
  • The tornado had bent and collapsed the frame of the already dilapidated house that sat on the bayou.
  • One of the side-effects of the drug was distorted vision; stable lines and edges become soft and bent, then morphing and moving on their own time.

  • wood stove vomits – The wood stove projectile-vomited flames, threatening to consume the whole house.
  • surfboard cancels – It was a surfer’s perfect day; The waves at the local spot were so perfect, it was as if Annie’s surfboard cancelled out the crashing of every wave; She rode it until her board touched sand before she hopped off into the ocean, baptized by the sun.
  • reef celebrates – As we took our descent in our scuba gear, we could tell that the aquatic life was so healthy, colorful, and vibrant; It was as if the reef was celebrating it’s lucky predicament, thriving amongst the fish and kelp, peaceful. The water, clear.
  • aroma palpitatesThe aroma of the double-fudge chocolate brownies made my nostrils palpitate. I could barely wait for them to cool and had to cut myself a square immediately, to quell my watering mouth and hungry heart.

  • squirrel celebrates – Having nudged the stubbornly stuck acorn from the ground, the squirrel celebrated by stuffing it in his hungry mouth and making a break for it across the lawn.
  • wood stove palpitates – Not having been cleaned in a number of years, the wood stove palpitated after it was lit, emitting a large cloud of black smoke when its door was opened.
  • surfboard preaches – The destroyed surfboard preached a lesson of caution about the dangers of the ocean.
  • reef cancels – The large, miles long reef canceled out the view of the pristine ocean floor.
  • aroma vomits – Upon entering the florist, the aroma around them vomited a strange array of scents; Lily, daisy, baby’s breath, roses, gardenias, and more. All jumbled together in twisted, sickening swirl of plant death.


This blue ocean that we would’ve played in as kids drapes over the pile of lumber that has lived in the yard for months. Every time a breeze blows, the tarp shows the now-weather damaged wood that was supposed to be used to make a treehouse. The loss of a father is felt in many ways. I watched James sit in the yard in his overalls, knees to his chest as he cried that day, as he would never remember what it was like to be carefree at 11-years-old.  Tears streamed down his freckle-dotted cheeks, eyes shining as he grappled with the impossibility of truth. His feet bare, I paid attention to silly detail, like how many blades of grass came up between his toes and places where the fabric had tore in his shirt. I smelled hickory and the decaying of leaves and became ravenous for Thanksgiving dinner. It began to grow dark and mist, but James sat there crying, every so often looking at the tarp; the way it would blow, almost like a ghost. But it just reminded me of Grimace.

As our father’s wooden coffin was carried down the makeshift aisle, he turned and watched, stunned. The gravesite wasn’t far. He followed with the rest of the congregation and there, with the throng behind him, fresh earth had been dug up, right next to my grave. Perfect size to accommodate the coffin. Whereas the scene might’ve been too much to bear for some, James had become so shocked and numb, he just watched it happen without caring. If he was numb, he wouldn’t cry and embarrass himself. Wouldn’t attract attention he didn’t want from Grandma and Grandpa. He wanted to be numb and be alone now. I hoped someone would save him.

The men slowly heaved and lowered.


Oh, I know the melancholy well. Dark blue and purple hues that become my aura, cloud my mind, and fog my reality. I know melancholy like hearing crickets sing on a Sunday night on a Southern porch, creaking wooden doubts and nothing but darkness in front – Can’t see three feet out. I know melancholy like an anvil pressed upon my chest while laying down, just just slightly unbearable weight that I cannot move out from under or lift off. Melancholy crying while records spin, sunken darkness, my soul a pit of discarded emotion; I don’t want to have to deal with it. Tear spattered pillow. Depressive mechanics. Do I have a problem? Melancholy like beaded entry ways, rain falling just around my body. Gloom. Days where I relished in the sadness and put this emotive state in a Ziploc bag, put it in the fridge overnight and marinaded in it. The longer I sit, the more I become it. Wasn’t until my soul started to buck under it like taming a wild stallion on horseback did my minor movements start to give me air to breathe, a life to live again. Because each day is different, and I am still bucking, and once in awhile I will fall off and sink in quicksand before decided to grab a branch and haul myself out, or better yet – ask for help by passersby. People in my life whom I love, who love me. I grab their hands. I am still here, trying not to let the melancholy define me, but knowing it has made me who I am.


If I had to tell it, I’d probably start the story at the hotel suite. The sheets had just been changed. The bed was perfectly made, box pleats tucked, not a wrinkle in sight. The wood furnishings freshly dusted, the floor vacuumed. The bathroom smelling of bleach and soap. The room felt so clean, I imagined I was it’s first guest, everything brand new and untouched from before. Then there was a knock on the door, and I froze. No one was supposed to know I had come here. The sun had just set when I had checked-in at the desk; Had I been seen? I cautiously tip-toed my way down the short hall to the door, holding breath as I brought my eye to the peep hole. There I saw that behind the door of where I stood, was a man in suit, tie, and fedora. I caught him inspecting each end of the hallway with a sideways glance. In his hand he held what looked like a small notepad and a ballpoint pen. Clicking it, he tuck the pen into the left hand-side breastpocket and followed with the pad. He knocked again, his head getting really close to the peep hole, fish-eye features bulbous and large. He had aquamarine eyes and looked old and mean. There was no way he knew I was in here, right?

Slowly stepping back, I stood motionless in the middle of the room, barely exhaling a breath – That’s when the phone rang. It startled me so much, I almost screamed. My heart began to chug like a train engine, my adrenaline pulsing through my body, finding my face. The phone chimed loudly, repetitively. I stood there, nearly choked by the anxiety. I couldn’t pick it up, wouldn’t pick it up. I would just stay here like the statue of a tree.


Basketball dreams, shot into a hoop, she shoots, she scores. Rim hit on a snare drum, wooden sticks smack hard and crash on waiting cymbals. The edge of a barrel, a round enclosed space, where I will duck and hide and wait to be found. Free throw from the three point line, reggae music catching me off guard with every stoned head nod. Arthur Rimbaud. A car with large hubcaps, bouncing down the street, an Escalade coming out of a time machine. It is white with black flame decals. Shocks. Slam dunk taking it to the hoop. Space Jam memories mesh with nostalgic daydreams of a seven-year-old. Drum set. Cacophony. Getting started on this drum roll. The build, the hit, the pause.