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What is this site about?

What is this site about? Who am I?

I’m just a guy trying to hack it as a writer.

What is Vignette365?

Vignette365 is a challenge I have given myself for the year 2020. 

The rules are:

  1. Write one vignette everyday*
  2. Post one vignette everyday*
  3. Each vignette must be at least one sentence long.

(*I plan to write and post on the same day for my vignettes, but I want to give myself a little leeway if necessary…)

The purpose is:

  1. To write with freedom and constructive determination 
  2. To explore different styles, genres, moods, tones, etc…
  3. To provide content for myself and others
  4. To improve as a writer
  5. To have fun!

Crows

Crows (22.1.2020)

    Three crows in my yard are staring at me. I swear they are. Even when they turn their heads, one eye is on me. How do their heads turn like that? Are their bones bendy like rubber? Is that why they can flap their wings like they do? 

They’re on the grass. Shouldn’t they be in a tree? Now one is on my left. Another just hopped to the right. The third is in the center. I’m being flanked.They want something. I can see it in those black soulless eyes. 

Are my neighbors seeing this? Am I about to be attacked?  I’m too vulnerable in this sunchair. Better pack my shit and go. But I just packed another bowl. Alright. I’ll smoke this and go. Goddamn this is good weed. 

An Interruption at the Bar

An Interruption at the Bar (21.1.2020)

“You’re a musician?” said the man at the bar next to me. 

“Kinda,” I said, wishing I could just watch the Bruins game. I regretted telling the man what I studied. “I play with friends,” I said.

“Good, good,” said the man in between his Chianti, “my wife’s a musician.”

“Yeah?” I said with a rising voice. I was upset because I missed a goal and now we were up by one.

“Yeah, or she was, until I made her a housewife,” said the man and I paused. His words were slow and heavy with sadness. I turned and got my first look at him. He was old, maybe sixty and fat and well dressed. He was staring at his glass and ran one hand through his disheveled gray hair and his flabby cheeks were quite red. He looked rich with money but poor in spirit. There was regret there.

“She went to Berklee for a semester and then was part of the punk scene. Use to date the frontman to that band… what was it?” His voice drifted.

I wanted to say something but a fight broke out on the TV and I watched it and when I looked again I discovered the man had left. 

A Breath

A Breath (20.1.2020)

At the end his knees were about to give way and he wanted to collapse. But he could see so much. On the last turn through the trees the mountain rolled out flat and grassy with exposed rock that erupted from the summit. He took off his pack and he could feel his shirt drenched in sweat go cold in the wind. It was very windy and pleasant. It kept him up.

Westward the mountain disappeared down into the slopes and across the tops of pines he could see the river cut into the gorge of smaller mountains and cliffs. It turned away into blue mist. He looked down and saw along the river a little railway with a train like a toy head off to a far off village of little model houses. He took a fine breath. He was exhausted. 

First Snow

First Snow (19.1.2020)

The child woke her father up by pulling at his pillow. He snorted and shot up and was angry like if you stub your toe but it passed when he saw his daughter stand by the window. The two year old swayed side to side as she pointed in excitement. The father looked into the yard. It was painted white in a fluff of fresh fallen snow and the pines were frosted several inches. As he looked, little clumps fell off their branches and light flurries drifted in front of the window. It was the first snow of the year and it would be a fine Sunday morning. 

When they stepped outside the quiet of the white woods across the backyard and the muffled sounds of their boots raised a stillness in the father’s heart. The world was frozen in time. The father threw snowballs for the girl to chase alongside the family Australian Shepard Winnie. She waddled in her bundled up coat and hat and scarf and the dog knocked her over many times but she always laughed. A different stillness flowed through the father. Would she remember any of this? Maybe not everything, he thought, but, he hoped, something. 

Into the Jam

Into the Jam (17.1.2020)

Around midnight on Friday I snuck Dawson and Alec past the campus security guard through a side exit while guard was busy eating chips and playing online Magic Card. We walked up the stairwell in the empty atrium. Dawson’s bag clinked a lot and our footsteps echoed but I figured the guard thought it was only me. On the third floor we reached the Music Department. Down the hall was the closet that doubled as a practice room. Inside it was cramped. The amps and drums and piano were squished by the walls of filing cabinets that smelled of old sheet music. It was home. We closed the door and Dawson put down his guitar and opened his backpack. 

“Right,” he said, pulling out a bottle of rum and a two liter of cola and solo cups, “let’s get to it.”

Lost Dog

Lost Dog (16.1.2020)

    The rain came with the night and the road disappeared into the gloom. Aurelius went underneath the overhang of a long brick building that banked the road. The road had many brick buildings. They were low and had few windows or doors except for the occasional one of big metal covered in strange markings.

    Though his thick oily brown coat protected Aurelius, something underneath his fur alarmed him enough to take shelter. He felt it deep inside and it was fear fed by hunger and exhaustion. He curled up beside a dumpster but then a rat moved away along the wall and a fire lit inside Aurelius and he sprang upon the rodent. It was quick and it was clean. His fur settled back down. After he finished his meal he returned to the overhang and slept. In the morning he would be awakened by a truck and continue his journey home. 

The Collinses

The Collinses (15.1.2020)

    Mrs. Collins was my neighbor and she told me on a first date I should ask a lot of questions. She had lived in our building for a long time and was kind of like a grandmother in that way. 

    “Learn about who she is and learn some more,” she said, “and be pleasant and curious and yourself and have fun.”

    We stood by her open door and she held her groceries in one arm with a strength that somehow surpassed her fragile frame. I could see Mr. Collins sitting in an armchair watching TV and eating cereal. He looked up at one point but said nothing and I was too nervous to ask his opinion. If I had a question about my mom’s car I would have asked no problem. Otherwise I left Mr. Collins and his bald head and thick glasses to direct themselves at Jeopardy.

    Mrs. Collins smiled and picked a piece of lint off my sweater and told me I looked nice and would do great. I thanked her and continued down the marble stairs. As I reached the lobby I remembered Mrs. Collins told me how she first met Mr. Collins. It was in grade school and he tripped her at lunch and that was that and they never knew anyone else but each other. So how did she know so much about first dates? It seemed like sound advice and it ended up working for me but still, how did Mrs. Collins know?

Setting Sail

Setting Sail (14.1.2020)

    When the van pulled off the road and onto the beach the students could see the sailboat. It sat above the sand on a little ramp and the captain was waiting at the base. He smiled with gapped teeth and a salt and peppered beard that caught the wind and he lead the dozen students and their teacher onto the boat by step ladder at the stern.

    One student did not get on, he stood in the sand several yards away. The captain laughed and thought the boy was scared but he was wrong. The boy wanted to look at the boat. Single masted, forty feet in length, its chipped light blue paint was salty and exposed a wooden construction. It was a true sailboat. It didn’t even have an engine. When the boy climbed aboard, the three crew members and the captain shoved off the ramp into the bay. Many in the class prepared to sunbathe but the boy walked to the bow after the jib had unfolded. He sat with a crew member as they took to the turquoise water. The boat cut into the tropical sea and the island fell behind and the boat bobbed and they were there in the open of it all and the spray and the salt and the wind all came forward and and it was cool in the hot sun and the boy was happy to be so far away from home. 

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