Wednesday’s Word: Once I clicked, I committed.

I’ve got a long list of excuses as to why today was not a good day for writing a new piece of flash fiction (in fact, if this post gets out by midnight tonight, I’ll be lucky). The problem is, I clicked over to Wordsmith.org this morning and read the word of the day and, therefore, committed myself to write something – an essay or a poem or a very short short – based on today’s word:

phycology: noun. The branch of botany dealing with algae. Also known as algology.

Algae. Green, slimy, stinky snood. Wordsmith never makes it easy, but then who said writing was easy?

(Past pieces from Wednesday’s Word exercises can be found by mousing over to the sidebar on the right and clicking on the Wednesday’s Word category.)

*****

Solitude

Joanne’s canoe glided towards the far side of the lake and carried her into a space void of campers, unreachable by motor boat, and reminiscent of times when the electricity went out at home; the air surrounded her with a heavy quiet.

Relief, she thought.

Sometimes she tired of the constant buzzing or humming caused by electric or other what not noises that smothered her at home and at work, sounds that were noticed more so when they ceased. She thought a weekend retreat to her cabin would offer solace, but the Wisnewskis were up this weekend, too. They were a raucous bunch, even at breakfast, which is why Joanne pushed off in her canoe shortly after her second cup of coffee.

She relaxed her shoulders and relished her space and didn’t think twice about floating into a blanket of algae. The canoe cut through it like a wedge, splitting the muck and setting off spirals of green around her. She scooped up a handful of slime and rubbed her fingers together, searching for the substance. The algae held together only in mass.

Figures, she thought, just like the Wisnewskis. They thrive in clumps and encroach on the lake just the same.

Joanne breathed a sigh of disgust and, at the same time, lurched forward; the canoe had slowed, almost stopped. She brushed the tip of a sunken log, and as it scraped against the underside of the canoe, it pierced the quiet with a sound that frightened a kingfisher out of the trees just feet in front of her. She about had a heart attack because of that damn bird, and now, with her hands clenched to the sides of the canoe, she watched her paddle bounce and slip right off into the water. Into the muck. Away from her canoe.

Now, she certainly was alone, and the algae was closing in behind her.

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8 responses to “Wednesday’s Word: Once I clicked, I committed.

  1. Oh, I love this! I can see why once you clicked you had to commit, but you did an awesome job of creating a a creepy and satisfying story.

    The imagery is fantastic — the quiet of escaping electricity, a wedge splitting the muck, the quiet, the algae closing in behind her. Well done. This is a story that will linger for quite some time.

    • Cathryn,
      Glad you enjoyed the story. You know, it’s funny because I wrote off and on all day in my journal, scratching out ideas, but this tale didn’t come together until the end of the night. And, it’s not even close to any of my initial ideas. I guess I needed all day to let the image of the algae work on me 🙂

  2. Christi, this rich piece grabbed me from the beginning–but in a much more pleasant way than algae! I think my favorite part is this:

    “Figures, she thought, just like the Wisnewskis. They thrive in clumps and encroach on the lake just the same.”

    I agree with Cathryn. This is a story with staying power.

  3. This is terrific, Christi! Within seconds I was right there in the canoe; all my senses were engaged.

  4. So, so much comes to mind here, Christi. I’ve been in the canoe and I’ve slept in the Wisnewski family lodge. The ending is pure gold.

  5. Hahahaha, that was definitely the best you could have done with phycology, but really, I think it was a great story under any circumstances.

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