welcome readers & writers! in this cyber space please find: + a photo writing prompt + a place to post your creative writing response (poem, memoir, short story or the like) to the prompt + a community of readers and fellow writers excited to read your writing + morsels of genuine fiction, poetry & creative non-fiction as the blog is updated. share a response as often as you'd like. everyday discoveries from my life, captured on film, will serve as prompts. this is not a place where we will critique one another's work; however, words of encouragement or praise for writers who share their work are most welcome. writers, share your story, poem or creative non-fiction response to the photo by clicking on comments; word count is flexible. cheers! demery

Thursday, August 5, 2010


welcome, readers & writers!  thanks for yesterday's great posts, including new contributions to previous prompts (tasted, designed and rejected).
here's my take on today's photo prompt, chalk on railroad tracks:

Jojo jumped from the train as it slowed for the small town crossing, first stumbling, then falling on the jagged rocks. Her new "friends" stuck their heads out of the empty rail car they'd shared, some of them since New York, others scrambling on as recently as Mississippi and Louisiana. It was a friggin miracle she'd made it this far without getting mugged, railroad style. Or worse. But then she'd brought nothing worth stealing except a backpack full of granola bars, and she'd shared those around so liberally that everyone was sick of them anyway. They told her it'd be hot in Texas this time of year, and krunk were they right. Losers. They'd actually believed they were giving the weather forecast to "Joe," that "he'd" jumped parole. She'd crafted her monologue for days: the lower voice range, the adolescent boy shrug, the defiant chin lift. Before sneaking out she'd chopped off her hair, leaving chunks of it wherever they fell around her desk then stabbing the scissors as hard as she could into the solid slab of cherry wood. "Let them wonder," she'd said, laughing out loud for the first time in months. Dressed in her brother's best raggy jeans and his I Fight Dragons concert t, she'd bolted, snatching his lucky baseball hat off the hook in the mud room and leaving the back door wide open behind her. Now she was in Texas. She wiped her hands on her jeans and straightened her backpack, scanning the horizon for a signpost home.        

what do you make of this mysterious message?  submit your creative writing below by clicking on comments.  250(ish) words or less.  thanks for writing with me!


  1. Christ, Marty thought when he saw the writing on the rail, is the department going to make us walk all the way to Ithaca looking for this chick? Morning traffic was still light but already it was eighty-two degrees. Haze hung just above the weeds in the highway median and along the railroad tracks. So another crack head whore went missing. One less for Albany’s finest to haul downtown, and one less for the taxpayers to shelter. Why waste more of their money looking for a drain? “I know what you’re thinking,” Officer Randol said, matching her stride to his. It was one of the things about Randol that he couldn’t adjust to, had come to dislike. His last female partner had been short and trailed him by at least a half pace and his gaze fell naturally above her head. He missed that. “What am I thinking?” He stopped to light a cigarette and blew the smoke in her general direction. “Someone cared enough to call it in,” she said, “it’s our duty to follow through.” This was another thing he disliked about Randol, her fucking fairness-to-all-of- humanity attitude. Her next words would likely be, hate the sin, not the sinner. “When there are missing kids to look for? and grandparents who wandered away from nursing home picnics? This chick knows something, has something, or connects somebody big with something dirty. Our duty,” he said in a cloud of smoke, “is to protect his nefarious ass.”

  2. The kicked stones rang as they bounce off the train tracks. The dust rose and coated the front of his shoes. He had shuffled and worn a path up and down, up and down this quiet lonely stretch of the railway. He wasn’t sure why he arrived and stopped at this part of the track but here he was, uncertain but resolved. He had thought about suicide before, many times in fact, but only ever in an abstract kind of way, like in a late night drunken game. What would be the quickest way? What would be painless? Which would be the most painful? He had thought about it in the same way he had thought about what he would do with the money if he won the lottery. Never actually thinking it would happen. Never actually thinking he would go through with it.

    There was a bend in the track so the driver would see him too late and would not be able to stop. It would be quick and it would all be over once and for all. He had toyed with leaving a suicide note but he didn’t in the end. He was never good at expressing himself and so it would only end up confusing people and being misunderstood.

    He heard the train in the distance. He stepped onto the track and lay down facing away from the direction it was coming from. The train got louder and louder. It turned the corner. The end.

  3. You know chalk is a funny thing. Highly effective. Easy to use. Messy. Cheap. And you just never really think about running out of chalk when you are using it. Now here I was tagging rail for repair, and it dawns on me. I am going to run out. It is a long long walk back to the pickup. And it is not like I can just go borrow some from the guy over there with his beer in a bag. Maybe if I use it sparingly... just enough, I can get this done. So I can go home and drink a beer. Not in a bag. So have you ever tried to use chalk sparingly... you know, just a little bit? Well it has one setting, one amount and that is just about it. And as ended the day I sat down there and stared at that final rail. And I thought... this is stupid. Tomorrow I will have to come back before the crews and finish this. Because I am out of chalk. Dammit. Funny thing was as I started to put my head in my hands I realized... my hands were covered in chalk. Just enough to finish the job. And go home. And have that beer. Without a bag. Hell yeah, I love chalk.