Monday, April 9, 2012

Three Minutes with a Random Phrase

Normanday #23: “Here, have a duck.”

This week, pay extra attention to conversations you overhear. Pick a random phrase somebody says and use it as a starting point for three minutes of writing.

Email what you wrote to woof at bright dot net by the end of the day April 15 (put “Norman Could Hula-Hoop for Two Hours Straight If He Wanted To, But He Doesn’t Because He Has Better Things To Do” in the subject line). I’ll post as many of my favorite entries as I want next Monday. Include your first name (or, even better, use a pen name) and age (unless you’re tortoise-old). If you’re a published children’s or young adult writer, include a biography to be posted with your entry.

Here are the entries from last week when I asked you to write for three minutes about…

…what you see when you look out the window…

Tren Rewy Steb

I’m trying to observe what’s outside the window, but my dog has jumped up next to me and is licking my face. It’s hard to write when a dog is licking your face. If you don’t believe me, you should try it. So what I see is a blur of pink tongue and a big black circle—that’s her nose, which by the way is as wet as her tongue. It’s even harder to write as she begins to lick my hand. She hears a plane flying by and pauses to look out the window, but seeing nothing, she decides to lick some more—not me this time, instead she’s doing a little grooming. She’s licking my pen now and is trying to chew it. And back to licking. Now she sniffs the page. Or may she’s reading it. Brown eyes, big black wet nose, whip-fast tongue—this side of the window has the best view.


Fly on the windowsill. Shiny blue, clear wings. Are you sun-bathing? You zip away and come back. And leave. And come back. Are you practicing your take-offs and landings? Are you waiting impatiently for your little fly friend who asked you to meet her here at this exact time? She’s keeping you waiting. I’m afraid, Mr. Fly, that you’ve been stood up. Don’t feel bad. There are other fish in the sea. Sorry. Bad choice of words. I’m sure she has a good reason for being late. It’s sunny today, but very cold. Maybe this morning’s frost did her in. No wait, I’m sorry. That was insensitive of me. But, really, wouldn’t you rather it were that than she stood you up? Mr. Fly? Come back.

Roy Tep

black dog in snow

digging at the white

nudging with nose

scraping with sticky paws

the sky falling in pieces around him

no luck, nothing more

walk away

try again later


A big rock in the grass casts a sway-backed shadow fit for a saddle. There are purple flowers under the tree. The driveway has oil stains and dried clumps of grass. The stop sign on the corner wobbles in the wind, the street name above in its green rectangle at an angle, the words unreadable. The roof blocks one side of the view. The gutters are clear. Won’t have to clean them, but below, the flower beds are overgrown with weeds next to the already fading tulips. I planted the bright orange ones two years ago, well after the first snow. The phlox, pink and white, gets ready for its turn in the spring floral rotation. The peonies shoot up, looking like giant asparagus stalks. No people to watch. A lonely view. But there’s a solitary bird on the lawn looking for a snack. The tree branches bob and sway, casting dancing shadows on the driveway.

Adder Ann

Man in yellow boots, detaches a yellow hose from the fire hydrant. Puts in a black hose, smaller, and winds up the long yellow one that matches his boots. Water gushed out minutes before, but now pools in the street, running down the gutters. Yellow light flashes on the top of his blue truck. He, in blue shirt, stands by, hands in pockets, waiting for the water to finish running out. Waves to a passing car. Water streams into green grass and down the sloped ramp of the corner sidewalk. Waiting, waiting. Red lights on truck blinking, hazard lights, but no hazard—just checking the hydrant to be sure it works. Bends down, tosses black hose into truck bed. Recaps the hydrant. Gets in truck and closes door. Drives away.


Paige Keiser said...

This is so creative and fun! You should really write for kids! Or maybe you're an author and do already?

Norman the Half-Invisible Turtle said...

Paige, If you’re addressing me, Norman the Half-Invisible Turtle, the answer is yes, I’m currently working on a middle grade novel about a talented and handsome half-invisible turtle who is called on to save the world from evil salamanders—scratch that—from a menacing villain who is stealing the world’s grapefruit supply—no, not grapefruit…bananas, yeah, definitely bananas. Or shoelaces. Well, I haven’t worked that part out yet. But the half-invisible turtle is definitely handsome. And did I mention talented?