The Thursday Writers


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The Thursday writers meet weekly in a public library. We collect twenty minute prompts, mostly one sentence long, draw a prompt at random, then write furiously and read our work to the group. Sharing writing information such as workshops, books, and readings we've been to have kept us current on what's happening in our neighbourhood. Our focus as writers has grown and now this new venture with the Island Woman Magazine is very exciting. We plan on a once monthly submission, rotating writers throughout the year. We are having lots of writing fun!

Early spring. The place we called the cottage is still there. Familiar and strange as eye blinks in a desert. Rose of Sharons cut down, confederate with uprooted lilac and pear tree. The building’s paint is freshened – trendy provincial blue with lemon pie trim. No faded white siding or forest green sills for the latest occupants. Won’t do. Bright tile-red shingles christen the roof. Young hands and feet banned from climbing its slick surface.

The maple is steadfast where two sandy roads carve out the property line. The catalpa tree will soon spread spade-shaped leaves. Offer crisp ‘cigarseedpods. Who will pretend to smoke them? Does the maple regret, this summer, no stout clothesline will tie around her trunk, no small bodies run through wind whipped sheets, no grandmother warn not to pull the line, soil the just washed whiteness?

Its history filled with ten-year old feet pushing a rickety rotary mower, the scrubby grass is thinking about how high to grow this summer. Whose toes to tickle. How many daddy long legs to hide.  Viridian blades once grew up around a swing set precariously near leaving the ground, chains straining as children urged, “Higher! Higher!” Current inspection reveals only remains of rusted iron pins in concrete anchors.

The interior contents will mostly stay, purchased along with the walls, windows, doors. We have come to claim the unwanted things. Daguerreotypes hidden in dusty dresser drawers, sepia faces never encountered in life, names – a guessing game. We climb the nook to cupboard doors, a transparent border often invaded by childhood curiosity.  We must decide the fate of fancy dishes. Red glass, scalloped edges sorrowful under layers of dust. Bowls brimming with painted flowers and edged in liquid gold. Silvered trays and pitchers. Figurines of flat-faced dogs, dancing women in flowing gowns. Giant seashells once held to ears to hear the ocean roar.

Living room curtains repel seasonal light. Bedrooms yield echoes of night-time giggles, whispered secrets. The kitchen evokes a cerebral audio loop of clattering pots and cutlery. Recalls fruit pies, smoked fish, jello moulds, and lemonade. Studded vinyl chairs beg for dining table company.

Walking room to room on spotless floors, specters of family, friends, flit across a zoetrope of those lost or grown away. Emotional phantoms trail their sweet miasma. The last boxes are loaded. The locks click shut.

By Carla Stein


*a bittersweet longing for something lost


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  1. Loved it, reminded me of old silver trays long disposed of. Barbara

  2. What a lovely piece, Carla! Your prose has a poetic quality. You paint a picture that transports the reader right there with all of the five senses engaged.


  3. Wonderfully written Carla.
    The sense of walking into the cottage and seeing the remaining objects with their associated memories, is undoubtably a global experience.

    • Thanks, Chris. Glad it brought some good memories your way.


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