Tag Archives: Creative Writing

A Vowel Movement with the High Colonics

The first and third Wednesday of the month arrives with anticipation. A group of us, unofficially called the High Colonics, get together and have Vowel Movements. During these meetings one of our esteemed group is charged with a writing exercise. The results are scattered as a shotgun blast.

Tonight’s exercise was challenging, thanks to Brooke, the unofficial leader. Our assignment:  Make up a word and in a brief story use the word without defining it. The reader must get the gist of the word.  You have ten minutes, go!

The following drivel is my attempt:

We waited hours before another rig came along. We were stuck on the Road of Bones. It stopped, the occupants staring us down. I had a bad feeling. The Russians stepped out. The driver swaggered towards us, a Tomakov hanging from his belt. My buddy, drunk on vodka crossed his arms at shoulder level and said “Hi, how are you, Hi how are you.” The driver grabbed the Tomakov and threw it, wedging it into his forehead.

My Russian is shitty, but I think he said: “How’s your splitting headache you rat bastard.”  I shook the Russian’s hand. My buddy was a pain in the ass. For two bottles of Vodka he pulled me from the mud and helped me bury my friend.

It is fascinating where inspiration and subsequent words come from.  I immediately spliced known words and wasted time with chestnuts unmentionable here. A couple of minutes in, an image of a documentary about the Road of Bones followed by an Indian brave flashed in my head and then I connected the dots.  Someone very close to me jokes: Pressure is good, insertion is bad.  That idiom proved true in this case. The pressure forced the muse’s hand, the insertion caused a fatal headache.

One wonders what the next Vowel Movement will bring?

Ten Years

The clock tells me its just past 1:00 AM. The date is May 3rd, 2011. Almost ten years to the minute, I typed the words: “maybe it’s a good thing that in a world of presumptuous people, irony is alive and well.” The End. 5/3/01 4:44 AM.

It was one of the proudest moments in my life. My baby was born. I floated for days. It was a baby only a ‘mother’ could love. During the course of gestation, well before delivery, I said to a friend, ” I don’t care if it takes ten years to get it right, I’ll take ten years.”

To make a long story short, it took ten years to get it right. In the mean time, I collected rejection notices like baseball cards, never understanding why people didn’t see the masterpiece inside.

I put it down and got to the business of life, which included pulling up stakes in PA and moving to Montana. I set to writing other books. Upon completion of Nightwatching, my latest manuscript (more on that during a later post ) I acknowledged the icon on my desktop that pestered me like an unreachable itch. Somewhere in the back of my mind, I heard my own voice remind me about ten years.

In late February, I began ‘editing’ Cemetery Street. In reality it was a major rewrite. If words were pieces of trash, I would have filled a dump cleaning up my baby. Night after night, in three and four hour blocks;  on rainy and snowy days off, fifteen to eighteen hour chunks, I re-birthed the baby. My wife calls me obsessive,  I don’t know what she is talking about. Then I was done, but can one ever be done editing? At some point, you take a deep breath, call off the dogs and click submit.

I pulled the trigger on the submit button roughly the same time as Seal Team Six pulled theirs on bin-laden. Tonight, it cleared the first hurdle to publication, if all goes right, within two weeks my baby – Cemetery Street – will be delivered to the E-book world. Cross your fingers with me, in hopping the baby has ten fingers and ten toes as it pops up on kindles, nooks and I-phones and pads across the world.

I can’t speak of Bin-laden, but for the proud parent, ten years was worth the wait.


PS.  Shameless plug, if you’re want to see a picture of my baby, you can go to Scribd.com and type in John Zunski and read the first three chapters. If you would like to frame the picture, you can purchase it at Smashwords.com.