Join in. Write for 5 for fun

Dear friends,

Thanks for joining in today in this little experiment: Write for 5.  

I will say, it was a wee bit of a challenge choosing a single image! So I decided to choose 3. Pick just one to write about.

Whenever you’re ready, start the timer. (We won’t include choosing/examining the photo in the 5 minutes of writing time. Take your time for that.)

Write for 5. That’s how it’s going to work. At least for this first time.

We can complete the Write for 5 exercise any time this weekend so if it doesn’t work right this minute, then later. But if you’re just procrastinating, don’t! Do it now if you can!

We’ll all be brave and agree to post our Write for 5 submission in the comments of this post when we’re done.

I’m arbitrarily choosing 9pm on Sunday, Feb. 26 as the cutoff for submitting to this week’s Write for 5.

The first person to post their Write for 5 result gets a subscription to Geist Magazine (6 issues) courtesy of me for one year.

I’ll respond to some of the writing throughout the week on the blog and we’ll do it again with a new image next Saturday. That’s the plan. The universe may have other plans. We’ll just see. baby steps!

If you want to say anything about the experience for you, that would be interesting. Only if you want to.



  1. [Still hopeful this won’t be the last submission. There’s still 4 hours to submit. but I want to get out of my house so, here’s mine.]

    They could not know, giggling and chasing each other in the high sun near mid-morning, about the history of this ground that their feet now played on.
    So many years of desperation, segregation and imprisonment, now a World Heritage Site: Robben island. Nelson Mandela’s prison for 27 years. Forevermore known as that in spite of its official title.

    But today, the breeze kissing their smiles, they were just my kids. Just a game of hide and seek. And suddenly they’d spotted me.

    “Daddy, we caught you,” they shrieked, their eyes alight from the chase. “We found you. We found you.” The youngest one shyly nestled her way up to me when I’d stood up. She’d hung onto my pant leg as if to say, you’re not getting away so easily next time.

    We had brought them here intentionally. When would we ever get here again? From New York to Cape Town and the Island, out there, squint to see it, because of course it was something we felt compelled to see with our own eyes. Across the water, wind pushing back at us as if to warn, no good ever came to anyone coming here.

    Tourists eagerly walking from their tour boats single file, like the prisoners used to, except these modern day visitors feeling only the exhilaration of their feet first touching the scrubby, sandy ground.

    So many layers to this place. Ship wrecked survivors. Irishmen after the potato famine. A leper colony; one sick person avoiding another. Outcasts.

    My daughters, raised in New York, knew a different history. And yet sometimes I asked myself, how different had it been, really? Deep down in some hearts, nasty voices, ugly gazes throughout the centuries, those judging attitudes, adamant or insidious, still waiting to trip them up.

  2. Crap, these matches are soggy. Third one. The head just comes apart. I’m just going to sit back and suck air through this thing. I can smell the old smoke, even wafting over the unlit tobacco. The plastic sits tight against my teeth. Jude’s dad’s pipe. I shouldn’t have taken it, but it lay there. The old man’s lip prints on it. Now it has mine. I bite. Teeth prints too. The lake is flat and black today, and I imagine Jude walking through the shore, Jude with his dad, and me watching. The cut of Jude’s burst of laughter, the flip of a wrist skipping a rock. The pipe is sour.

    1. Hi Marjorie. I love the succinctness of this and the mystery of who Jude might be. Thanks! I also learned you have a website which I hadn’t thought to check out prior to this. Have a lovely Sunday.

      1. I just tried writing for 5 a second time. I am not prolific! I’m impressed that other writers can get more down in 5 minutes. Even if my fingers are moving it goes slow.

  3. It was the first quiet minute since the delivery that he’d had to just sit for a minute on the beach and smoke. The pipe he had inherited from his Uncle Tim. He had enough tobacco for a few more smokes but not enough cash to buy any more. He liked the weight of it between his lips and the hint of smoke it gave off. He hoped that smell would linger.

    The book he got from a guy at the coffee shop in town who’d just finished it and was going to leave it behind. He saw Russell looking at it and offered it up on the way out.

    The image on the cover reminded him of Eleanor. It was the kind of book she liked to read. The kind she tried to encourage him to read before he had to leave the city. If it weren’t for the delivery, the total fuck up, he’d probably be at the video store now, hanging around, trying to get Eleanor to go back to his place with him after her shift.

    But instead he was here, sitting on a log on the beach, wearing the shirt he’d taken from that cabin he’d broken into on the way here. Not because he needed it, but because he thought it would help him blend in.

    He didn’t really want to crack open the book. He’d never been much of a reader. It was more the feel of it in his hands as he ran his fingers over the cover. The memories of Eleanor trying to read to him at the diner, after they’d finished their burgers, when all he could think about was getting her into bed.

    He stared at the title, the author’s name. Had trouble making out the fine print on the back jacket. He would need new glasses soon and would have to find a way to pay for them. He thought of all those wise guys in Hollywood movies who went into witness protection after deliveries ended in disaster. Bet they never had to worry about vision care problems when they went into hiding. Just about getting back into the game.

    He wondered what Elle was doing right now. Whether she was mad or sad or maybe glad that he was gone. Without time to say goodbye.

    1. LOL! Hey Michelle. This has a real Dragnet series feel. Thanks for sitting yourself down and doing this! I had so much fun reading it.

  4. Through a series of well-timed phone calls, Hannah’s aunt, Aunt Lois, secured Hannah her first job: stocking assistant at the Time to Remember antique store. Aunt Lois’s best friend, Ruth, was the cousin of the owner and Ruth knew- well, it was at that point in her aunt’s long explanation that Hannah lost interest in the actual pedigree of her employment. She was told where and when to show up on Saturday morning and that was good enough for Hannah’s summer off high school priorities.

    That Saturday, Hannah knocked on the back door of the antique shop at five minutes to 8 a.m. A large woman, large in stature though seemingly quite fit, opened the door and ushered her in. It surprised Hannah she didn’t have to identify herself other than simply arriving at the shop door.

    “I’m the owner, Mrs. Handicott. My husband purchased the shop and all its contents about fifteen years ago. We sell antiques on consignment, but since I can tell from your dismal expression you don’t know what consignment means, you’ll just dust and move items for me. You must be extremely careful around all the antiques. Some may look like junk…well, to be honest, most may look like junk, but they are valued by their owners and we’ve been entrusted to find them all new homes. Do you have any questions?”

    Hannah shook her head no, then brought her arm up to stifle a sneeze in her elbow rather than achooing into the open canister of semi-moldy, rose-scented potpourri. The scene was set for a long, stuffy summer.

    1. Hi Jo-Anne, Thanks so much for participating! Appreciate it. This brought a smile to my face, especially the second to last line. I could picture it.

    2. I love this so evocative and funny. Would love to read how the summer goes for Hannah and the eccentric Mrs. Handicott.

  5. I love this challenge, Gayle! Where I’m staying this weekend doesn’t have wifi, so I’ve written this on my phone instead of my laptop–where I type much slower 🙂 But here’s how far I got in five minutes!

    The first thing I thought when I saw the first photo above was, what a smile; what a captivating, inviting smile. Second, I began to think about the other captivating smiles I’ve witnessed on children around the world. I think of Aridaña in the mountains of the Dominican Republic, whom I met on my first trip outside the U.S. in high school, and the smile on her face as our bus pulled away from her school and I waved goodbye through the window. And I think especially of the children I met in India–the kids that came screaming hello to us as our rickshaw flew down the muddy, rainy hills of Meghalaya, and the students I met in the southern villages of Tamil Nadu, on project visits with an NGO. And I think of the circumstances in which they all lived, circumstances that didn’t always warrant such smiles and such joy, and yet their joy was real. Their smiles stay with me today.

    Can’t wait to read the other entries!

    1. Thanks for the extraordinary effort, Candace! So appreciative for you taking the time to do this given that you are somewhere in Uruguay without Wifi! With any luck, you and I won’t be the only ones doing this. I don’t feel it would be right for me to put mine up here yet. I did it this morning. Still hopeful others will play along. A few other people I know said they would so we shall see. Anyone who wants to has until 6 pm Sunday. Have a great weekend. And technically, you get a subscription to Geist. Just not sure they send that to Uruguay so I may have to work something else out for you but we’ll see…

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