Jan 29, 2010

Creative Writing: Flat On My Back

In keeping with my goal of publication within the next year, I will be posting something (or really anything) in an attempt to work on my written proficiency, but to garner a little creative criticism from friends and family.

So, feel free to dissect and put some criticism out there. I welcome it. I may not like it, but lets have it anyway.

One thing of note: this is completely unedited. I haven't gone through and re-read, because I didn't want to feel like I needed to make changes here and there. In the future, though, I will make editing more of a priority.

So, without further ado, I present my first creative writing piece:

Flat On My Back

I had come home in this fashion roughly 1547 times. It’s amazing how many times a guy can come home from work in an eight year span. And nearly every time, it’s the same routine. I come through the back gate in the alley. As I do, the stubborn motion detector (that has never worked quite right) either turns on the light or it doesn’t. I wish I could say the odds were 50/50, but that would really be an optimistic guess at the rate of success and brilliant light versus the rate of darkness that generally prevails on nights like tonight. So I entered the side yard in total darkness.

It had been raining off and on all day, and although the light was not recognizing my presence, I was comforted by the fact it was not currently raining and I actually had a chance to grill the steaks D and I were planning on eating for dinner. I’ve tried to BBQ in the rain. It’s not very fun. In fact it’s the complete opposite, its miserable. It’s tough to get the coals ready. It’s difficult to get the grill up to temperature. It’s nearly impossible to maintain a stable cooking environment. It’s a nightmare. And I was not going to subjugate myself to such a masochistic ritual as trying to BBQ in the rain.

I entered the house, where there no lights were on. I have exited and entered this same door more times than I could even attempt to count. I could walk from the entryway to the bedroom with my eyes closed. It’s not a treacherous walk, but there are plenty of obstacles that could impede my trek from the entryway to the bedroom. The terrarium for Kaboobie, our little box turtle, is immediately inside the door. While the terrarium is not technically in the way, it is there and an object inside our home. The first obstacle is out of the way.

But the light is on, and Kaboobie is out and looking for food. Her terrarium light lights the path for me to move safely on to the next area. I moved into the area between the refrigerator and the bookshelf. And while this area isn’t exactly treacherous, it is a smaller space. Well, narrow, anyway. And since the earthquake it always makes me wonder what it would take to topple these monolithic shelves packed with volumes and volumes of books D has read. It is impressive, really; she has read and completed more books than I have started and abandoned; there are easily a couple of hundred books there. Up above one of the bookshelves, near the entryway to the bedrooms, is my hanging pot rack: one of my greatest accomplishments in the goal to save as much space as I can in the kitchen. But again the earthquake comes to mind. In the best of circumstances, it makes a horrible racket with the slightest disturbance. I can only imagine what an earthquake rated at a 6.5 magnitude would cause.

I enter the bedroom from there, and continue with normal ritual. With my work clothes shed and some comfortable nighttime-type clothes on I decide to wash the dishes. The biggest problem with the dishes is I don’t like doing them. The other problem is, they won’t do themselves. So I set about the task of doing the dishes. It’s really an easy task. It doesn’t even take that long. It’s a matter of mind over matter. Before I really know it, the dishes are done. The multitude of coffee cups I own are on the counter drying, along the hurricane glass.

The other night we got together with a friendly couple and watched American Idol on Tuesday night. Its become a weekly ritual. We gather, we eat, and we watch the show and decide who should really get through and who shouldn’t. it’s amazing how serious we take this whole thing. It’s quite the event. So Amy makes drinks, and for whatever reason, when all is said and done, there is one hurricane glass that still needed washing. So I wash it and set it out to dry. About fifteen minutes later I am putting these various cups and glasses away and last is the hurricane glass.

The hurricane glasses are kept above the bed, in the cupboards in our bed room. I grab the glass and head in there. I hop up on the bed and open the cupboard. The glass goes in and the cupboard is shut. All I have to do is get off the bed and make my way into the living room and relax.

So I move to the edge of the bed and put my hand down and look to support myself as I hop off the bed. Somewhere in this process I missed the edge of the bed and my hand slipped. I quickly turned and landed on my back. I have to thank all my training in defensive tactics, and the training in falling for what happened next. I landed on back and bounced off the bed like a trampoline. In the air I managed to flip over. I could see the ceiling fan slowly turning as I flew through the air.

Then there was impact. I landed flat on my back, the small of back hitting a split second before the rest of me. As I hit the ground I crashed into the closet doors. I remember at the time, aside from thinking, “What in the hell just happened?” I also thought, “We are going to need new closet doors.”

It took me a few moments to actually realize what had just happened. As I lay on the floor, flat on my back, my first action was to take account of my extremities and to make sure I could still move them. Fingers moved, toes moved, and amazingly enough nothing really hurt; at least, not yet.

Standing up I looked around, trying to figure out exactly how I landed flat on my back, I decided to check on the condition of my closet doors. With a little bit of moving them around I found them to actually be workable. And with a little force exacted at just the right place they popped right back into place.

It was a few hours later when I realized my back and neck was a little sore, and stiff, but otherwise I came out of the whole incident with nothing more than a rather large bruise on my rear end.

And with that in mind, I went and made dinner.


  1. Nice... I have no criticism to offer, except that maybe you should think about "earthquake-proofing" your house! ;-)

  2. This was great. Never boring. You can take simple things (except the tumble) and make it very interesting. That is a gift. Glad you weren't hurt. And yes, anchor the tall items in your house to the wall. It really helps you sleep better. Great writing!

  3. Fun read, VOR! Keep 'em coming! The only things I could see are things you'd catch on a re-read (repeated words, etc.) but the theme and flow is excellent! I told Iver he needs to read it. He's a great writer and well read, so I think he'd be a good critic for you. But will he do it? Whose to say? Then again it makes me crazy when he edits my writing (but then maybe that's because he's often right!) JM


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