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Monthly Archives: February 2014

This week’s Trifecta Challenge gave us five words to use as the end of a piece. We were to provide 33 more to lead into that conclusion. Here’s “That Wasn’t What I Meant.”

Remember when I said that I was going to be okay? When I said I could do what you asked me to do? When I said it wasn’t going to be a problem?

That wasn’t what I meant.

“And So Begins The Long Night”

And so begins the long night, for though the sun
May rise and set a thousand times, until I hear
Your voice again, whispering into my ear, the
Morning will not return.

And so begins the long night, when I find I am
Alone, lost in the darkness and so uncertain
Of which way I need to go without your hand
Reaching out for mine.

And so begins the long night, and I am now
Unable to sleep, despite the silence that
Has fallen, and I pray that I might dream of
You, and find some comfort there.

Sometimes when you’re searching for the perfect words, someone else’s come to mind. Today’s words are not mine, though I feel their sentiment coursing through me. Today’s words belong to the legendary poet, Pablo Neruda. This piece comes from his collection Twenty Love Poems and a Song of Despair. Poem number twenty is shared here for your reading pleasure, as translated by W.S. Merwin. I found the poem online here. You can find the collection here.

“Tonight I Can Write The Saddest Lines” (Pablo Neruda, 1924)

Tonight I can write the saddest lines.

Write, for example, ‘The night is starry
and the stars are blue and shiver in the distance.’

The night wind revolves in the sky and sings.

Tonight I can write the saddest lines.
I loved her, and sometimes she loved me too.

Through nights like this one I held her in my arms.
I kissed her again and again under the endless sky.

She loved me, sometimes I loved her too.
How could one not have loved her great still eyes.

Tonight I can write the saddest lines.
To think that I do not have her. To feel that I have lost her.

To hear the immense night, still more immense without her.
And the verse falls to the soul like dew to the pasture.

What does it matter that my love could not keep her.
The night is starry and she is not with me.

This is all. In the distance someone is singing. In the distance.
My soul is not satisfied that it has lost her.

My sight tries to find her as though to bring her closer.
My heart looks for her, and she is not with me.

The same night whitening the same trees.
We, of that time, are no longer the same.

I no longer love her, that’s certain, but how I loved her.
My voice tried to find the wind to touch her hearing.

Another’s. She will be another’s. As she was before my kisses.
Her voice, her bright body. Her infinite eyes.

I no longer love her, that’s certain, but maybe I love her.
Love is so short, forgetting is so long.

Because through nights like this one I held her in my arms
my soul is not satisfied that it has lost her.

Though this be the last pain that she makes me suffer
and these the last verses that I write for her.

Trans. W.S. Merwin
Poem XX from Twenty Love Poems and a Song of Despair




And for a while the rain fell,
And I pretended (do you still
Remember how to pretend?)
That I was aboard a tall ship,
Three heavy masts thrusting up
From the sea, damp men
Scrambling along damp rope
To secure her sails as the wind
And rain threatened to hurl them
Into an ever-hungry sea.
And for a while I pretended
(And I hope you’ve not forgotten
The rules for pretending) that I
Was a scribe, making careful records
Of all that the men saw and
Did, and of the strange new
Lands we reached, each dawn bringing
With it new adventure. And I
Pretended (but just in case, the
First rule is to forget about reality
For a while. Give reality the day
Off) that this rain was the first
In a series of increasingly fearsome
Storms that might claim the lives
Of many of the damp men
Who guided the ship from port
To port. And I pretended
(And the second rule is to dive
Headfirst into your own mind
And surface with whatever golden
Thought you may have have found
In the depths) that our ship
Had reached a sun-soaked shore.
And for a while the damp men
Escaped from the sea, and the
Rain stopped, and the sun shone,
And for a while the damp men
Were warm and dry and for a
While they were able to pretend
That their lives were something
More than they were. And for
A while I pretended (and the
Last rule is that no matter what
You pretend, that you have fun)
That I was there with them,
Dancing and singing in a
Tropical paradise, smiling
Because, for a brief while, I was
Free. And then the rain outside
My window stopped, and I
No longer desired to pretend.
The ship sailed away again,
And I was left behind.

It’s an appropriate week for this Trifecta Writing Challenge. We were given the word “funk,” and the standard range of 33 to 333 words to tell a story including the “slump” definition of the word. Here’s “Funk.”


Writer’s block is a miserable thing. You’ve had great ideas in the past, and surely you will in the future, but for whatever unknown reason, you’ve got nothing now. Maybe something happened that caught you off guard. Maybe you’re just tired and need to put down the coffee mug and take a nap once in a while (because naps are beautiful things that we shrug off as children for some godforsaken reason and struggle to embrace again as we grow older). Anyway. Something happened, and now you, the great writer that you are, are in some sort of terrible funk. The way out isn’t immediately clear, so you stop writing.

Bad idea. I know it seems counterproductive to write when you don’t have any ideas, when the cursor is just blinking at you, and you’ve been staring at the computer screen so long that you don’t even notice the blinking. I’ve been there too. Hell, I think everyone who has ever thought about being a writer has dealt with a shortage of things that they deem “good” ideas.

What do I do? I take a breather. I go for a short walk around my apartment complex, or play a game of D&D with my friends, or draw a picture of a character I created back in elementary school. Just change my brain’s pace for a little bit. It may not help immediately, but it gets me out of my funk. That way I’m not just sitting around my bedroom doing nothing all day.

If nothing else works, I free-write. No plans, no obligations, just me and a pencil and paper. Writing by hand helps me clarify ideas anyway, so doing a bit of stream-of-consciousness writing is a perfect way to chip away at whatever is keeping the ideas from flowing. Ideas will come when I least expect them, but there’s no guaranteed way for any one person. Find what works best for you, and put it to use. Good luck, and happy writing!

In keeping with some of the themes from last week, I decided to share this with you. This infographic comes from the amazing people over at goodreads. Here’s there “What’s Your Love Story?” flowchart. Find the original here.

Pretty damn thorough...

Pretty damn thorough…

Our latest challenge from the good people over at Trifecta was this. Construct a 33-word story about love gone wrong. The catch? Don’t use any of these words:

So, here’s my entry.


For three years we’d shared everything. We’d met family, taken vacations, and grown practically inseparable. Tonight I came home to find all of her things gone, “goodbye” scrawled in lipstick on the mirror.