Week 9-Day 4-Mountain Stream

Mountain Stream -> Roars -> Lion

Lion: pride, hunter, golden, fur, menacing, slinky, slink, big cat, big game, cat, teeth, fangs, sharp, white, antelope, zebra, prey, shouting, stalk, kill, carnivore, reign, king, steppes, grasslands

The mountain stream tilts back its head and roars out its animalistic call to the wild. Trees shake in terror at the stream’s growling burbles. Slinking its way menacingly over cowed stones, the mountain stream prides itself on its white fanged foam. Waves hunt unsuspecting chipmunks, birds, and rabbits. The stream’s reign flows from time immemorial and into the back of the mountainside, feasting on granite prey.


Mountain Stream -> Trickles -> Hourglass sand

Hourglass sand: hourglass, sand, white, trickle, countdown, finite, infinity, test, contest, falls, falling, desk, pen, timer, timed, timing, life, regret, triste, wistful

The remaining granules of a once-burbling mountain stream trickle slowly through a narrow opening in its path. One droplet at a time, the stream’s wistfully watches its essence pass out of time. Regret and sadness tinge its blue into grey. The mountain stream cries sand. It mourns. Only the quiet hills attend its funeral.

Week 9-Day 3-Linking Qualities

Summer  -> Carefree -> Children

Children: kids, young, run, jump, play, potential, growth, education, love, chubby cheeks, sweet, fingers, learning, alphabet, reading, crayons, daycare, happy, play games, hopscotch, jump rope, dodge ball, horseback riding, pool, beach, volleyball, softball, baseball, naps, day camp, campers

Summer jumps on into the season, giggling and laughing, splashing us playfully. Passing sun showers hopscotch over our heads. Rainbows draw their colors on the blue paper sky. On June 21st, summer stretches her potential length to its maximum length. Warm days shine their light on us. We bounce over Martha’s Vineyard on the knees of excited Atlantic waves. The suns rays tickle our faces and dot our cheeks with love.

Summer  -> Oppressive  -> Dictators

Dictators: dictation, regime, military, under orders, oppressive, violent, killing, move in, strategy, show of force, anger, hatred, family

Violent August sun beats down on us as we swelter under angry ultraviolet rays. Our lungs heave under the force of its humid rule. The heat index moves into position and holds its ground for two weeks. The assault is relentless, beating us down. We get our marching orders: turn on the air conditioning. Summer’s stranglehold on our body temperature induces sweating in less than three seconds. We sit and wait for the next attack.

Summer  -> Active  -> Athlete

Athlete: run, jump, play, bike, train, triathalon, gym, reps, abs, rowing, kayaking, jogging, walking, slim, trim, toned, healthy, glowing skin, shine

Summer jumped onto its seasonal bike in May and rode straight into New England. She skipped rope around New Hampshire and sprinted into Vacationland without looking back. Summer’s enthusiasm swam laps around us, inspiring us to train harder. With skin aglow and shining hair, summer’s healthy demeanor imparted its look onto us via dark skin against pale tan lines. After a long day, summer stretched its muscles carefully and then walked home into dusk.

Week 9-Finding Essential and Linking Qualities

This week in my BerkleeMusic course, Creative Writing: Finding Your Voice, we’re doing work related to last week. Last week, we were given a noun and an essential linking quality; our assignment was to find another word that has the same essential linking quality and write about this. This week, we are still given the first word; but we are to decide on both the linking quality and the other word that has the same essential linking quality. In my writings below, I’ve also included the words I associated with the second word I chose.

Debt — > Expands — > Hot Air Balloon

Hot Air Balloon: Rises, heat, gets bigger, enlarges, balloons out, vista, view, awesome, awe-inspiring, floating above clouds, helium, wicker basket, adventurers, rainbow, streamers, nylon, cluster of people, blue skies, light breeze, experience, once-in-a-lifetime experience

Your fluent signature breezes upward above the dotted line on the last page of your thirty-page mortgage documents. You rise quickly and float out of the lawyer’s office. Your chest fills pleasantly with hot summer air as you begin your home-owning adventure. Awe-inspiring images of wicker basket hampers and rainbow nylon sashes fill your mind. Backyard flowers dot your vision in colorful swathes as you survey the vista from your second-story bedroom window. The high from your once-in-a-lifetime purchase will bring you slowly down over the next 45 days; your first bill will bring you back down to earth. For now, you will enjoy the scenic panorama of your future.

Debt — > Contracts — > Muscle

Muscle: Working out, contract, the gym, holding pattern, squeeze, squeezing, muscle men, muscling, competition, hard skin, ripples, abs, chest, repetition, reps, holding breath, stress ball

Bills come in hard with a repetitive force. Day after day, you are in a holding pattern of piling up the unopened bills you cannot pay, making phone calls to doctors’ offices to arrange payment plans, and avoiding the hard-skinned telephone calls of hostile collection agencies. Muscle men came to your door one day; their arms rippled menacingly. You held your breath, curled into a ball, and waited for them to leave. Your debts squeeze you like a stress ball, their fingers pressing into your trachea ever so slowly.

Debt — > Deceives — > Mirage

Mirage: eyes, sight, shimmering, heat, desert, sand, blue sky, haze, approach, disappear, thirst, hunger, shade, crave, aloneness, alienation, dehydration, starvation, crawling, hot, sweating, brow, heavy breathing, slow moving, barefeet

From across the room, you squint from into the glare of a shimmering pile of white envelopes stacked haphazardly on your desk. Sweat appears on your brow. Your dehydrated mouth cannot salivate. You fall to your knees and crawl; your palms and knees sting as they grate against a gritty floor. Blue skies fill your vision as you slowly make your way to the table. You grab the table’s edge and pull yourself up. You put one elbow down, then another. You push. Your gaze rises as you do. Vanilla soft serve with chocolate sprinkles in a sugar cone fills your vision. You reach for it. The alienating sound of plastic crinkles wakes you from your hazy reverie.

Week 8 Assignment

This week’s assignment parameters:

  1. Choose one of our writings from this week and expand it to 200-400 words;
  2. Write from second person narrative using both present and future tense; and
  3. Use sense-bound language
Earlier this week, my teacher commented that my writing from Day 3, A needle is a thunderstorm, was written backwards. I wrote about a thunderstorm using needle terminology when I should have been writing about needles using thunderstorm terminology. Even with a list of nouns, adjectives, and verbs that I free-associated from the word ‘thunderstorm’, I could not get it right. I tried four different times to start, only to realize that I kept doing the same thing — writing about thunderstorms, not needles. It wasn’t until I hit on the idea of a sewing needle, vs. a medical/injectable/sharps type of needle, that I got it to work. I think. Here it is:

A (sewing) needle is a thunderstorm

            As you sit at the antique Singer table, your sewing needle pelts the fine cotton hem with lightning-fast jagged dashes of bright white thread. The sharp tube focuses a downpour of electric, metallic artistry in your hands. You whip out the skirt with a streak that lets out a thunderous clap. Overcast skies darken your vision and you squint as you blink hard, trying to focus. Your lashes are heavy and wet; your gusts of sewing ruined your efforts at planting the needle just right. Your grandmother will soak you in your next Saturday afternoon lesson if you don’t dry out the mess left by your hail of sharps.

Side by side on her sprawling porch you will both sit, a duo of clothing storms vaccinating your clothes with color and style to combat their fashionable finish. You will inject new life into your tired blue jeans by rejuvenating them with swells of shiny pink thread. You think of your grandmother, who will want to puncture her 20-year-old housedress within runoffs of pastels.

Much later, your weekly follow-up visits will turn into one-sided, annual visits where needles and cloth are replaced by stems and flowers that you leave in solace at her grave. You will reflect on these painful lessons, cry, and be glad that she inoculated you against the jab of saying good-bye.

Week 8-Day 5-Friendship comforts …

This first section is ganked from my BerkleeMusic.com materials, to aid in prompting writing.  The second section has my choices, ideas, and writings.

Section 1

Prompt: Friendship

What quality does my idea have?

Linking quality: It comforts.

What else has that quality? What else comforts?

Now you find two target ideas: things that comfort. Your result will be an expressed identity: Friendship is a _________.

  1. Friendship–>Linking Quality: Comforts –> Target Idea: –>______________.
  2. Friendship–>Linking Quality: Comforts –> Target Idea: –>______________.

Section 2

Describe friendship in the key of ‘comforts’ using nouns/adjectives/verbs from the word ‘Fleece blanket’

Friendship->Comforts->Fleece blanket

Fleece blanket – soft, warm, fuzzy, touching, gentle, hugging, relaxes, kiss, babies, winter, seasons, childhood, infancy, cookie monster, blue, pink, cookies, snuggling, fireplace, hot cocoa, snooze, snore, sleep, cuddle

Your friendship wraps around my shoulders and gently squeezes tight, reassuring me that I am not alone. Your voice soothes my jittery nerves like a good hot cup of cocoa on a cold winter’s night. Snuggling together, a heat wave envelops us.  Chocolate chip cookies on matte black plates cozy up to tall glasses of cold milk, a pair too delicious not to share.

Friendship->Comforts->Summer breeze

Summer breeze – warm, gentle, caress, eyes closed, sunny, fluffy clouds, a touch, humid, beach, offshore breeze, tequila, turquoise, water, drinks, sharing, stretch, suntan, heat, skin, tingles

You breeze in through the front door, wafting in gently, wrapping your soothing arms around me and squeezing.  We share fruity drinks topped with paper umbrellas and stretch ourselves out, like an offshore breeze that cools our humid skin. Fluffy clouds float happily as we salsa dance on hot sand.

Week 8-Day 4-Friendship nourishes…

With feedback from teacher on yesterday’s assignment, it seems I wrote things backwards. Good, but backwards. I should have been writing about ‘needle’ in the key of ‘finger’ and ‘thunderstorm’ but it seems like I was using ‘needle’ when choosing the nouns/verbs/adjectives. I think I got it right this time.

Our given object was ‘friendship’; the linking quality assigned was ‘nourishes’. I chose ‘poetry’ and ‘meditation’ as my two second objects for comparison. I tried to write about friendship using words about ‘poetry’ and ‘meditation’ in nourishing terms. Here I included the words I used when thinking about ‘poetry’ and ‘meditation’ so you can see the way my brain works.


Poetry -> inspires, readings, emotional, expressing, Khalil Gibran, children, life, Shelley, homosexuality, sex, love, heat, timeless, humanity, human condition, politics, nature, Mary Oliver, the Cape, Robert Frost, New Hampshire.

Poetry feeds friendship’s awe-inspired reverence of deer walking through Walden woods. Inspired laughter echoes timeless tales of our girlhood that would make Mary Oliver proud.


Meditation-> Calms, breathing, deep, rhythms, quiet, alone, mantra, peace, union, universe, Buddha, temples, walking, focus, water, mind, clear, clarity

Friendship’s mantra focuses on nourishing companionship. The regular back and forth rhythm of reciprocity breathes love and life into the human soul. Peaceful unions of alone togetherness shine light on the universe’s interdependence in itself. Buddha’s quiet nature under the Bodhi tree models the mind-like-water philosophy of relationships. 

Week 8-Day 3-A needle is….

Today is a repeat of yesterday’s exercise: we were given the object needle to start.  However, the linking quality we were given is injects, instead of penetrates. We were asked to come up with something that also has that quality.

At first, I was not happy. Needle, again? Boring! Then I went online and typed what things inject – that was not helpful, as you can imagine. Isn’t inject very similar to penetrate?

And then, it happened. I thought of something. No, I thought of two things! The moral of the story is don’t decide ahead of time what will and won’t work. Make yourself try it.  Below are the writing prompts, my selections, and writings.


Prompt: Needle

What quality does my idea have?

Linking quality: It injects.

What else has that quality? What else injects?

Now you find two target ideas: things that inject. Your result will be an expressed identity: aneedle is a _________.

  1. Needle–>Linking Quality: Injects –> Target Idea: –>_____finger_________.
  2. Needle–>Linking Quality: Injects –> Target Idea: –>_____thunderstorm______.

A needle is a finger
A needle is a finger stabbing you in the chest and poking you hard enough to leave a bruise. With each jab, cutting words sting your heart. Jeff! Chris! Steven! Phil! The names of your buddies pierce your mind in horror. Your trust withdrawn faster than the blood can leave your face.

A needle is a thunderstorm
A needle is one of millions of spears racing down from thick clouds and forcing themselves into the ground. Dirt injected with swells of rain drives mud slicks down the street’s gutter. Daffodils and lilies of the valley greedily imbibe their lifesaving medication. The ground swells and breaks open to let it all in, addicted to its springtime ritual.