Oiling the Hinges: Writing on Wednesday’s Word

At almost 100 years old, our Grandfather clock stands with authority in our living room. Its inner workings are simple, but delicate, and when I don’t pay attention – when I let the weights wind their way to the bottom – the gears stick. Only a silent prayer and a gentle nudge of the minute hand will break an invisible seal and get the clock ticking again.

Caring for that clock requires the same diligence as nurturing all aspects of my writing. If I ignore one area of writing for too long, it grows stagnant, it stalls, and it takes muscle to get that part of my creativity flowing again.

Recently, I had a chance to crank out a flash fiction piece for Pam Parker for a Flash Friday post. She emailed me and two other writers a prompt and asked that we turn it into a 100 word flash in a few days (you can read the pieces here). Writing 100 words was not an easy task, and it was a reminder that I can’t ignore that side of myself that loves creating something new. Rewriting and editing are great (dare I say fun?….nah. Great, but not fun). But my muse gets bored helping me whittle down the same old short story. She wants shiny, new, get-the-blood-pumping kind of work. So, I’m dipping back into Wednesday’s Word today, basically so my muse won’t leave me high and dry when I return to those rewrites.

Today’s word from Wordsmith.org:

volte-face. noun. A reversal in policy or opinion; an about face



Lately, Nick predicted his wife’s moods with the same success rate as the new guy on Channel 9 when he predicted the weather: nine times out of ten he was wrong. When the forecast called for sun, Nick was pelted with insults like hail. If Nick braced himself for frigid temps, he came home to a barrage of affection. He began to wonder if there wasn’t something in the water. Or, maybe it was all that Sweet and Sour Chicken his wife had been eating for the last week. The sauce had an unnatural color, that was for sure, and maybe housed some other infecting quality.

He watched her scarf down another take-out order for the eighth day in a row. He shook his head.

“What?” she asked, as she licked each finger clean.

“Nothing,” he said. “It’s just –”

“Hold that thought.” She pointed her index finger at him in a way that made him jump, then she ran to the bathroom. He considered retreating upstairs, to wait out whatever might be brewing. But, when she came out of the bathroom, she looked flushed and giddy.

She pulled him out of his seat and squeezed both his hands.

“I’m pregnant!” She beamed.

He rolled his eyes. “Thank God,” he said. “I thought you were going crazy.”

She squinted, then she slapped him, and then she drenched him in kisses.


15 responses to “Oiling the Hinges: Writing on Wednesday’s Word

  1. That’s cute! I love the image of her licking the sweet and sour sauce off her fingers.

  2. I like the writing using the word of the day.

    And I love the writing about the grandfather clock. paying attention to the different aspects of writing. The imagery of the simplicity and longevity of the clock; the result of letting it sit unattended.

    Thank you.

    • Dot,

      Using word prompts was something I picked up from Ariel’s first Lit Star class, and I love Wordsmith.org for its odd choice in vocabulary. There’s a hidden flexibility in writing from a word I’ve never heard of before.

      Glad you stopped by! πŸ™‚

  3. You’re back to your old tricks! πŸ™‚ And it was a good one.

    You “flashers” intimidate me. It’s funny how the muse works differently in each of us.

    P.S. I have clock envy.

    • Thanks, Linda. It felt good to get back into the “word of the day” swing. I might have to make it a more regular occurrence again.

      And, I inherited that clock from my parents, from my mother after she died. It didn’t work for years, but when I moved it up to my house, I called a clock doctor. He was a little old man with a quiet countenance who nursed the clock back into working again. It’s a treasure, that’s for sure.

  4. πŸ™‚ Yay for flashing!

  5. Fun! You had me at “grandfather clock,” but I enjoyed the piece too.

  6. Christi, I know just what you mean about the thrill of creating something new (Pam’s invitation was a wake-up call for me, too, in that regard). I also think that the self-imposed parameters of using a word as a prompt or a line or a word limit is creatively liberating in an oxymoronic kind of way.

    Your piece makes me wish the closest Chiinese take-out were open NOW! lol (and I’m not even pregnant).

    So glad to have your Wednesday Word fiction back this week. πŸ™‚

    • Lisa,

      It’s funny. Morning pages help get my blood flowing. But, when it comes to writing exercises, I often do better with those “self-imposed parameters” than I do trying to pull an idea out of empty air. And, these word prompt exercises always guide me into a different kind of writing (or different kinds of stories) than what shows through in my longer stories or my novel. I think that’s a good thing, that versatility.

      Also, I love Sweet and Sour Chicken, too, with a greasy egg roll on the side.

  7. I’m with Jan on this … you grabbed me with grandfather clock! Your flash is charming, right down to the slap and the kisses!

    Happy writing, Christi!

  8. Ha! I knew it! I want your clock, and your talent of flashing us so eloquently.

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