Short-Story-Writing-Exercises-old

Group: Short Story Writing Exercises - old

Exercise: Through a window darkly.

Write a short piece based on your observations through a window. You have no conversation with anyone outside of the window. The only thing you know about what is going on outside is what you observe with your own eyes.


Deborah Boydston

28th September 2011


Striped shadows on concrete
From steel bars up high
The sound of something familiar
As wings of freedom flutter by

It draws my attention heavenward
To the two square feet of sky
And instinctively I whistle
A call for God knows why

I listen so intently
Awaiting a reply to my call
For what seems like an hour
But nothing do I hear at all

The hours give way to days
The days give way to weeks
Until I hear that sound again
A noise that sings so sweet

This time I stand upon a chair
Underneath the window bars
And peer out through the turret
But all I hear are cars

I sit and think about the birds
I used to keep at home
And how in cages did they chirp
The cagebirds I once owned

And now I look out through the bars
As once my cagebirds did
And the irony not lost on me
I laugh, I do not fib

Weeks turn into months
And months turn into years
Until at last the song returns
As music to my ears

Stripes on a concrete floor
Cast by bars in an opening
How I long for a sound familiar
When jailbirds again do sing


Paul Day

28th September 2011


Awesome first entry in the writing assignments group. Thank you Paul, another great story told in verse.


Deborah Boydston

28th September 2011


I actually wrote this a while back, but it seemed to fit perfectly. I did alter it only slightly. I hope this was ok to do so. :)


Paul Day

29th September 2011


yes that is fine.


Deborah Boydston

28th September 2011


Trapped inside, the only one who sees me is the reflection staring back. Dead eyes and drawn mouth, aged by time and trials untold. I watch as people go throughout their day, never realizing that I watch them always. Do they see me? I always wonder, but I can't seem to break free, I can't ask. Occasionally someone stops and stares back at me, but usually it is just me and my reflection. Sometimes I really hate that reflection. Just a reminder of who I was, and what I am no longer. Bright sunlight makes it fade, I crave the bright hours of the day, dreading the times when the dark night rules. I can see that hated person in the window as clearly as if it were a mirror. Why do they always put me in front of the damned window? Don't they realize what a cruel joke it is? To sit here and watch kids running by, couples strolling hand in hand, people going about their lives, never realizing that they taunt me with those happy smiles and laughter I can never share in again. The nurse walks in front of me and I hate her for disrupting my view, even for a brief second. I try to tell her, to yell at her, she set me here, taunting me with what I can never have! Why would `she walk in front of me, disrupting my view of paradise? But no matter how hard I try, my lips won't move, my voice will never be heard again. My arms won't work, I will never play ball like those kids in the park, nor walk next to a sweetheart. I am trapped in this useless shell and can't even scream at them to release me, to move me. It's just me and my damnable reflection, staring at each other, hating each other.


Randi Du vall

3rd October 2011


Wow, that was very compelling and sad. This was a very good addition to the exercise. Thanks for submitting it. Have you thought about turning it into a short story?


Deborah Boydston

3rd October 2011


I just came up with it, but I believe there is more there that wants to be written, so I will attempt to develop it.


Randi Du vall

3rd October 2011


That was REALLY good.


Summer Breeze

12th February 2012


@ Paul Day- That was awesome dude! There's this certain confined feeling I get when I read your poem.

@ Randi Du Vall - That was very deep and quite sad. The emotions and frustration were real! Excellent!


Daniel Bird

13th February 2012


Carla's from the suburbs. She's probably having a great sleep right now. She doesn't sleep well at my place. I'm not sure if its the wailing of sirens at all hours of the night, the cops with their regular rounds keeping an eye on the neighbourhood or the fire trucks racing off to save the night. I think its the constant yelling of gang activity three floors below that gets her. It isn't uncommon either to hear the odd gun shot ring out every now and then. All that stuff...well, let me just say that I am the opposite of Carla: I can't sleep at her house. Its too damned quiet. Tonight is the same as always, the gangsters on their corners still hustling their crack and heroin and whatever else they're pushing.

I'm alone tonight, but I found that I sleep better alone. The constant noise - to me - is like a sleeping pill. But, unlike Carla - when shit goes down, I can't help but sitting straight up out of bed to stick my head out. She gets scared when bad things happen. It bothers her that I seem unaffected when I see a knife or metal pipe come out and someone starts running for their lives. I tell her that I'm not numb to it. Its just that, by my way of thinking - a guy from the streets - most people have it coming. I also know full well that its very rare that people get hurt for absolutely no reason. "Hey...I know that guy down there. His name is "Little C." Some of his boys call him "Short Carlos" or just "C" to distinguish him from a rather hulking goon at the far end of the block whose name is "Carlos." Not "Big C" or "Tall C" just "Carlos. From what I know of Carlos is that he's the boss. Or rather A Boss.

Tonight is unusually quiet. Its Sunday. I find myself sitting up more often on Sundays, 'because' things are quieter and that savage part of me, that part that has not been totally killed off still yearns to see some action. Its wrong I know, but I'm just a man. watching "Little C" right now I'm actually entertained seeing him bring out his gun, showing it off to his boys. I know some of them. There's Taz who I always see at the coffee shop on the corner, Jerome who I always kind of give this slight 'Nod,' and I think the little guy's name is Erzel. They're all crazy and wouldn't hesitate to knock someone off to keep their corner. I know that much. They see me every day. We cool.

Its a funny thing to live in Chinatown in Vancouver. Its odd that a Mexican gang runs the corners in this neighbourhood. The Triads and the Bikers have a more 'behind the scenes' kind of way of operating. Its a rough neighbourhood but I'm home here. I grew up close to here. A few blocks over, so I know the terrain. I walk like I own the damned place and nobody bothers me. Carla doesn't understand it. She never will. She can't understand why I live here amongst old brown bricks heavily populated with drug dealers pimps and the like. To me its just home.

A True Story from back when I used to live in Vancouver's "Downtown Eastside" Chinatown.


Daniel Bird

13th February 2012


It had an old time feel to it, despite being so modern. Almost like those detective agency stories. I liked it.
Human beings can adapt to just about any circumstances. If you were raised there, you aren't as afraid as if you hadn't been raised there. I think gators would terrify me. To just see them wandering around would probably freeze me up. But if I saw them every day, they'd just be another animal. I wouldn't ignore them, but I wouldn't freak.


Summer Breeze

14th February 2012


Well, you did say darkly....


My light is fading with the day.
How did things turn out this way?
I just wanted to be free
to find out what’s inside of me.
Ironically it’s now infection
coupled with so much dejection.
At least moonlight will ease me now
window above me slows things down.
I don’t need to see the view
inside my head I see it true:
beloved garden, now asleep
so beautiful I want to weep ~
years of watching Sweet Pea grow
cannot be covered by the snow.
I loved it all: her, him, and you
too bad my feelings wouldn’t do.
A fool I’ve been for all in life
perhaps I’ll pass away this night.


Summer Breeze

14th February 2012


Daniel great addition to the exercise. I liked how you described two different perspectives to the same neighborhood. I can relate to both perspectives having lived in a bad neighborhood for a while. When I was there it all seemed so normal. Later I moved to the suburbs. After a while I began to wonder why anyone would want to stay.


Deborah Boydston

15th February 2012


Yes I did say darkly Jan. Very good I could sense the hopelessness of the situation. You are good at poetry, Thanks for submitting your work to this exercise.


Deborah Boydston

15th February 2012


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