Friday, May 02, 2008

Saturday Wordzzle Challenge: Week Eleven

This is week 11 of the Saturday Wordzzle challenge. Anyone new to the process can refer back here to find out how it works.

The words for this week's ten word challenge were: cranberry sauce, amber, laundry list, coffin, morning glory, shalom, mystery, sparrow hawk, pumpernickle, stained glass And for the Mini Challenge: margarita, gum wrapper, spring fever, Darfur, lace

Here's my ten-word offering for this week.

Sarah sat in a daze of grief. She barely heard or registered the “shaloms” and hushed conversations of the other mourners gentle efforts at comfort. She barely registered the coffin sitting at the front of the temple bathed in the beautiful rays of green and rose and amber light that filtered down from the stained glass window. It was so beautiful she thought – but odd, too with morning glories and what looked like a sparrow hawk flying. A mystery to her why they chose those symbols for a temple window – but then it was beautiful and comforting – so maybe that was all it needed to be. It was so different from the doves and and lambs and pretty Jesus figures she had grown up with before marrying Solomon and converting to Judaism. Now he was gone and she felt herself a stranger in a strange land, though she had known these kind people now for years and knew them to be friends and knew that wasn’t really true. But it was what she felt. Empty and alone. Lost. Reaching into her purse for a Kleenex, she found the laundry list of chores and groceries he had written out just a day ago…. Pumpernickel bread, cranberry sauce… Suddenly she saw his smiling face at breakfast, and it was followed by a flood of other images of the beautiful man who had for the 40 years of their marriage made the sun rise in her heart every time he walked into a room. And the dam of sorrow she had been holding back burst at last.

And here's my mini challenge:

Watching the lace curtain blow gently in the soft April breeze, Annabelle felt her raging Spring Fever pulse even more strongly through her veins. She laid aside the paper with its grim headlines about Darfur and the infuriating news stories about the President un-elected, feeling restless and frustrated and torn between anger at the state of the world and a desire to run out into the garden and revel in the newly opened flowers. Both options left her restless and almost too full of emotion to bear. In the end she opted to celebrate beauty. Picking up an empty gum wrapper, she placed her used gum into it and then into the garbage. Then she made herself a margarita, picked up a bag of chips and her camera and settled into the weathered old rocker on the back porch. I will focus on beauty, she thought and be grateful for my blessings.

And the mega challenge:

For Jeremy and his wife Anna, food was a profoundly sensual experience. Foods were not just about taste, they were about texture and color and beauty: the dark amber color of the roasting turkey and the rich red and the complex texture of home-made cranberry sauce. Jeremy breathed in the rich aroma of his special pumpernickel bread stuffing and the sweet spicy scent of his special mashed yams. Today was Anna’s day and things had to be perfect. He straightened the drape of the linen table cloth to even perfection and noticing one of the tall white candles tilting slightly, quickly slipped the contents of a gum wrapper into his mouth, chewed it and used it to right the offending taper. Better. The fresh morning glories that filled the low-lying vases along the table were not quite what he would have wished, but he had managed to mask their flaws with tulips and Queen Anne’s Lace. "Morning Glories and tulips are the stuff of spring fever," Anna always said, "and Spring was God’s way of kissing the earth." He thought she would have liked his arrangements. He hoped so. He quickly ran down the laundry list of what needed to be done. Wine was chilling and the makings for margaritas were on the side-bar. It seemed everything was in order. As if to confirm that the afternoon light began to peek through the stained glass window Anna had crafted with such skill and love. “Shalom,” it would soon write in rich blue letters on the soft cream of the wall. It was a mystery to him how she had been able to design it that way. If he had timed it right, that glow would be at its peak as they sat down to dinner and this last celebration of his beautiful, gifted wife. For now, he would not think about the reality of her precious ravaged body that was coming back to him from Darfur in an unadorned coffin. He would not think about how all the love and goodness that was this precious woman had been snuffed out by people she had wanted to help. Even with oceans between them, he had felt it in his heart as the life left her body. As if to confirm the truth of it to him, a sparrow hawk had circled the house that day – that hour – then landed not three feet from him, as though her spirit was seeking him out to say good-bye. Even as he felt her gone, he also felt her with him. Tonight was the gathering she herself had planned to celebrate her life/death should she go first. Her favorite foods, favorite people were to gather, to feast and to rejoice. As the sound of voices announced the arrival of their first guests, he hoped she would approve his efforts. As if to assure him that she did, as he opened the door to their arriving friends, the sparrow hawk circled again and swooping low, seemed to call out his name.

This week's vanity wordzzle used the words: aardvark, continuity, railroad, serene, keyboard, teacup, ruler, bulletin board, newspaper, gravel driveway.

Martha sat in front of the computer keyboard stumped, words stuck in her fingers, clogging her mind, trying to sort themselves out into some coherent continuity of thoughts and ideas. She looked up at the bulletin board hoping it would supply the key. Nothing there but an out-dated railroad schedule, pictures of the kids, and a few yellowing old newspaper clippings from better days. "Damn." She tried wiggling her fingers to see if any words would come loose. Nothing. Maybe if she pulled on them - one finger at a time - starting with the pinky and moving inward towards the thumb. Still nothing. Any time now she knew it would be too late. Jack's tires would sound the alarm of his return on the gravel driveway and her writing time would be over. He would approach her, serene and loving, concern and devotion etched onto his face. "Hi, Hon! How'd the writing go?" And then, when she confessed her failure, he would carefully hide his disappointment, so carefully that she flinched from it, that she felt its power like a ruler slapped across the palms of her word-congested hands. She was not sure she could stand much more of his suffocating devotion. The teacup rattled against its saucer as she picked it up with shaking hands. "Oh, God! Look at me! He'll see and it will be even worse." She looked at the clock. "I've got to do something. Anything. Where's the dictionary?" She heard the whining engine of Jack's car at the end of the street. "Oh, God," she muttered. "There must be something." The dictionary shook in her lap. "Aardvark. No, that's no good. Butterfly? No. Deception! That's it! Yes." Slamming the dictionary shut, she quickly typed: "Today I will begin to explore the uses and benefits of deception in American society." Quickly she pressed "Save," turned the computer off and rose smiling to greet her husband as he came through the kitchen door. "Hi darling," she beamed. You wouldn't believe what a great day I've had."


Next Week's Ten Word Challenge will be: florist, grave yard, sausage, magnificent, soap opera, linguist, columns, volume, French, canvas And for the Mini Challenge: suspension bridge, veracity, lunch, multi-faceted, house of ill repute

Thanks for playing. For those who are new, here are some guidelines to make the process more fun.

Enjoy! See you next week.



Richard said...

I loved your megawordzzle today katherine. It told a very touching story.


Akelamalu said...

The first one was sooo sad! :( All three were very clever - I loved them.

Anonymous said...

Ditto for me, Raven! You write so well!

Raven said...

richard, akelamalu, maryt - thanks. You all did splendid work as usual, what with love stories, undertakers and vampires. We have all taken very different directions this week, which is kind of cool.

Jay said...

That first one was sad! The Mega was both sad and heartwarming. Great job Raven.

maryt/theteach said...

Raven, I've tagged you at my Work of the Poet blog

Anonymous said...

Raven, I think you know by now that I'm maryt and the teach, right?

Raven said...

hey, jay - thanks.

maryt, teach... yep... I know you are one in the same.

R.E.H. said...

Very good Wordzzle's today! The mega and 10-word versions were touching and beautiful.

I couldn't play this week - but I have another story up in which you are part of...

I'll be back in the Wordzzle fun next week!

Dianne said...

I loved the mini most of all. Can't explain why, I just felt Annabelle.

Of course, as always, they were all wonderful but something about Annabelle ... I think I know her.

I'll be checking all the other through-out the day - I am intrigued by your mention of undertakers and vampires :)

Anonymous said...

Here's a shorty with the mini challenge words: Far from Darfur.

Thanks for the wordzzles, Raven!

Linda Murphy said...

Wow, such a touching wordzzle this week. You have a gift.

I have to work tonight, but looking forward to getting to the other players tonight or tomorrow morning.

Raven said...

r.e.h. - sorry you couldn't play but I can see why - wow, what an incredible effort your story is. I was honored to be included.

dianne - your inner annabelle must want to put her feet up and watch the flowers grow.

niebla - glad to have a new participant. Thanks for joining in.

snoopmurph - thanks for the kind words. Hope work went well.