Saturday, May 22, 2010

"Goodbye Daddy," A Saturday Centus

I have never, ever entered a writing contest before or submitted anything for publication, but someday I would like to.  In fact it was one of my New Year's resolutions!  And though blogging is a good exercise to get those creative juices flowing, for me it's something altogether different than, say, writing a short story.  That is an area that I can use some practice on.

That's why this week I decided to give it a whirl and see what happens.  To aid in this endeavor, I am participating in Saturday Centus, a themed writing meme hosted by Jenny Matlock at her blog on my tangent....  Every Saturday she posts a "prompt", a phrase that must be used in the essays of each contributor.  The essays must contain the prompt as written and be a total of 100 words or less, not including the prompt words.

Here is this week's prompt:

I look back over my shoulder, squinting into the late afternoon sun, gawking with stunned alarm at the broad rolling muddy waters of the Mississippi,  

After posting their stories, the writers link up with Jenny's Saturday Centus meme post so that we can all share our treatment on the prompt.  Having read several of these, it's more than a little intimidating to put my toes in the water here because the writing from these bloggers is so good, but you know, no one ever won a Pulitzer Prize for thinking of a story, right?  

I encourage you to come on by and check out Jenny's site here and submit one of your own essays!  Trust me, it's fun and challenging trying to keep your story to 100 words or less!  While you are there read some of the other submissions to this meme, as well as her other writings.  She is a very good writer and very worthy of a spot on your blogroll!  Just sayin'!

Here is my first Saturday Centus effort.  I call it "Goodbye Daddy."

Back home.

I walk the dirt path I’d known as a child.

Memories rush forth,

filling my senses like so many vivid dreams.

The smell of barbecue hangs heavy in the air,

mixing with the dingy air of poverty, rusted

factories and cotton fields.

Daddy’s life and love had been the river.

Oh, the times spent catfishin’, daddy singing

the blues to music flowing from a nearby juke joint,

or playing his harmonica.

Damn, but the man could play.

I look back over my shoulder,

squinting into the late afternoon sun,

gawking with stunned alarm

at the broad rolling muddy waters

of the Mississippi,

wondering if daddy is up there in heaven now,

smiling and listening to his delta blues.

The tears flow.

Jenny Matlock


  1. I love this story...excellent job with the prompt.

  2. I love how you worked with this prompt. Welcome aboard.

  3. Wowzer, LOL. This was REALLY good and I'm just not saying that because this is your first time. I love all your descriptions and it made be feel like I was right there. I look forward to reading many more of your Saturday Centus'. Great job.

  4. Do I detect a bit of Steinbeck? Good stuff.

  5. Tom, that was wonderful! Good for you. Do keep at it. You've definitely got the knack.

  6. Nicely done, sir. I do believe you are ready for the big time.

  7. I felt this, I heard daddy playing and he was good and I smiled at the thoughts of heaven. I am so glad you played along. I will be back. I like what I see!

  8. Great job, Tom! You wasted not one word...very vivid descriptions. Hope to see more of these. We may yet hit the big time...And I knew you when.... ~Tom

  9. What a very thought-provoking post- I loved the images that your words invoked....

    Wonderful job!


  10. Wow, your story is awesome. It has a warm, nostalgic feel. Your first attempt? Amazing, Tgo.
    Thanks for the plug re Jenny's blog. I'm intimidated, but I'll go check her site out.
    Cheers, :)

  11. Welcome to our mad world with Jenny! What a great first contribution!

  12. Wow! This is an amazing piece! I love poetry from the heart! Welcome to Jenny's!Good to find your blog!

  13. I absolutely detect just a hint of Steinbeck. It's fresh, tangible......and tugs at the heart strings. Very well done!!!

  14. No reason for you to be nervous, because this was fantastic. Loved the descriptions and the scents, they really painted a great picture of this! :)

  15. That's great, Tom. I like the idea of using a phrase in a essay. I'll have to check this out.

  16. Wow! This was fantastic. It really hit home for me, I just visited our family farm in Mississippi for the first time in almost 30 years. And your words brought it all back. Beautifully written. Kathy

  17. Perfect!

    Writing prompts have been great for getting me to step outside of my comfort zone. So glad that you decided to take a whirl!

  18. I could taste and smell the essence...very nice...Peace and blessings

  19. This is beautiful! I'm glad to see a poem because I have been thinking about the same format! Your work is very visual and sensual. That is what makes a poem and good poem. Thanks!

  20. Wow, that was good. "The dingy air of poverty" is a GREAT line. I know exactly what you mean, yet it didn't take you a lot of words to show me. Awesome!

  21. Hi Tom! are an awesome writer. Definitely keep it up. I stopped by your blog because I saw that you are a new follower of mine! Thanks so much! I really appreciate it. I'm assuming you stumbled across my blog from Jenny Matlock's? Very cool. And are a fantastic writer! Start checking out all the writer sites and blogs, and start submitting! :)

  22. Wow - excellent piece of writing. Definitely kept me interested enough to read all the way to the end, and wishing there was more.

  23. That was brilliant thank you for sharing cant wait to see your next offering

  24. Hey, glad you joined in the fun, you fit nicely (o:

  25. Great story! It's hard to tell a story within 100 words, and yet you did in such a nice style.

  26. Looks like a fine start. Great practice also, learning to cull and make each word worthwhile.

  27. Well darn! Now we all have to quit writing! Wow. This was really amazing. And you get nervous about sharing? For real? You have such a true and sure voice...I cannot imagine that you are not filled with the confidence your finely crafted words portray!

    Thank you for participating.

    Game on!

  28. Love it! So when does the book come out and will you autograph a copy for me?


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