Describing through negation.

Written in response to a prompt from Method & Madness by Alice LaPlante:

It was not fated. It wasn’t even ever planned. It didn’t stop time. It didn’t stop my heart. He wasn’t cuter than James Dean, and certainly Paul Newman he ain’t either. It was not the fact that he was riding a tricycle on the balcony…No, definitely not.

He wasn’t ugly either (don’t get me wrong, etc.) I didn’t walk my dog down his street two days later just to maybe see him. It wasn’t fated. I didn’t blink when later he told me he never hangs around outside like that. It was just two Pointe kids, meeting for the first time when they should have met everywhere else before.


Wakefield, Quebec

A short exercise, written from a prompt in Method & Madness by Alice LaPlante. Edited for my first semester portfolio. P.S: I love scuba diving, and it is not scary like it’s made out to be in here. Really not. Promise. The piece:

The first dive was easy – after nine weeks of training in the pool, Molly and the others had learned about nearly every situation they might face. Twenty-five feet was exactly as expected. “Just remember,” she told herself, “Never hold your breath while ascending.” Now, Molly was sixty feet below the surface of the water according to her console, and she was the coldest she had ever been. The world above her head was grey and silted as she looked up and cleared her mask for the third time. Her diving buddy was a stranger named Ernest. His face was white and pale like an uncooked fish fillet. Her mask was filling up again. Molly found that she couldn’t breathe. She cleared her mask and drew panicked breath. Remembered section 4.4.1: air embolisms, 4.4.2: mediastinal and subcutaneous emphysema, 4.4.3: pneumothorax. The pressure seemed to be squeezing her, the decrease in pressure of only four feet… squeezing her, caving in her chest until she would spit out the regulator, panic closing the glottis, causing the lungs to become a sealed container and she would drift up and… decreased pressure causing the lungs to collapse, and up, and …Stop. Breathe. Clear the mask. She told her buddy that she was fine, flashing a circle made of thumb and index at him, with a smile that she didn’t feel. Her face felt numb. Then came the realization that she was not fine. Molly was sixty feet below the surface, exhausted, shaking with adrenaline, shaking with cold, she was down here, and she was going up. She pointed topside with her thumb, urgently, compulsively – two times, three times…

4.4.1  Never hold your breath while ascending.

4.4.2  Never hold your breath while ascending.

4.4.3 Never hold your breath while ascending.


A short exercise  written from a prompt in Method and Madness by Alice LaPlante:

That time Mikey put his arm through the back door window didn’t bother me so much, because that was an accident.  The sliced-up vein in the crook of his elbow even bled behind the furniture, and on the phone jacks, from the back door to the front hall. My two-doors-down neighbour even made a tourniquet with his belt (the doctor said he might have damaged the vein), but this was worse. No blood. It happened quietly.

The rocking chair had been moved to the dining room, next to the table. At seven o’clock, she was rocking in it in the dark doorway, eyes closed, impossible to miss. I brushed my teeth at the kitchen sink. The green numbers on the microwave are alien tail lights even in memory: bright and strange. I climbed up creaking stairs slick with layers of cracked orange paint. I went back to reading Bryce Courtenay. At seven-thirty, my father called her name as if to wake her. At seven thirty-two, he called the ambulance.

I listened from upstairs. The microwave flashed 19:37 – or so I imagine. There had been a power outage the day before – we had reset the clock in military time – what my family sometimes called “in French.” Dad kept her talking. She was bleary-eyed, her voice thick with sleep.  Wanting to know why he was bothering her. At seven o’clock, I had missed the Tylenol on the table. Tylenol – not sleeping pills or Drain-O. “An obvious cry for help.”

Four sessions at the Douglas Institute was all they gave her. They call it that now – an Institute. I did not go with them to the hospital. There are no scars – not like the bumpy one that Mikey still bears where they didn’t get all the glass. The rocking chair was moved back to its place. We never talk about it, except as ‘when I tried to do what I did.’

Getting things all sorted out.

The next couple of posts are going to be my putting up of older work that I’ve done in the past couple of years – and particularly work from the past year in Fiction 226.