Saturday, January 21, 2012

Trifecta Writing Challenge -Week 10: sway

The Trifecta Writing Challenge is a weekly exercise where you get a word and its definition and write a piece between 33 and 33 words long. It's fun, it's cool, and you should try it. At least check out the amazing contributions; you'll be glad you did.

This week's word for the Trifecta Writing Challenge is sway:
3  a : a controlling influence 
    b : sovereign power : dominion 
    c : the ability to exercise influence or authority : dominance
Thank God for deadlines and constraints.


When he’d taken the apartment, he hadn’t even noticed the art gallery on the next block, focusing instead on the local bars and eateries. The gallery had been part of the background noise of the city, and had not registered.

When the painting appeared in the window, though, the gallery (the kind of small, understated place that couples with loft apartments and overextended credit patronized) became the only thing he noticed. The painting became the only thing he noticed.

When he first saw it he’d been stunned into immobility. He’d faced the enormous canvas with its bold, pulsing swirls of color like a mongoose assessing the cobra, each knowing one would be the other’s agent of doom. The last time he’d seen the painting it was drying on an easel in her studio and she was telling him that she wished him well, but she thought it best if they didn’t see each other any more.

Now it hung in a gallery window in his neighborhood, selling for a lot more than he could really afford. But after three weeks of trying to avoid it and failing, finding himself helpless over the painting’s sway, he cashed some bonds and emptied his savings and brought the painting home where he'd sat on the sofa looking at it, propped up against the wall, for hours, drinking cheap beer he’d kept in the fridge.

It was dawn when he went into the kitchen and returned with a bag. He hefted the oversized canvas down the stairs and along the street to a playground a block away. Leaning the canvas against the chain link, he pulled a can out of the bag. Unscrewing the lid, he doused the canvas and struck a match.

The sun was just clearing the neighborhood roofs as the bright flames rose into the grey sky.


LucidLotus said...

You made it! Nice work.

Satu said...

Nice twist at the end. Makes you wonder if it's just to erase the memory of her or whether there is something ON the painting he wants to erase.

karen said...

Oh noooooo!!!

This really crept up on me, I kind of knew each thing that would happen mere words before it did.

Anonymous said...

Given the choice, I believe I'll write a piece that's 33 words long.

JC said...

Thanks everyone! Hey, Anonymous Keith ....LucidLotus wote a killer short short entry before.. it was pretty kickass, so you have good company.

JC said...

Hey did creep up on me, too. I wrote this very late last night, very quickly. It's not at all as polished or as wordsmithed as I'd like, but I'm trying to get into the self-discipline thing. I like parameters.

JC said...

Satu: Interesting. I think the inspiration form thsi comes form the time I sold one of my paintings to an ex-bf. You know, that ex-bf we all have had -- the destructive one we could not help loving but who did our head in while we watched and let him. Anyway, I sold him this after we'd broken up, and we had a discussion about what someone could do once they;d bought a painting. He was of the school that once bought, it was no longer the painter's property. I informed him that a painting is a copywritten work, and that the law does not permit destruction or alteration of that work without the creator's approval. I think he was just feeling petty.

Amelia said...

I was not expecting that. I loved this.

barbara said...

Seeing a piece of my soul destroyed? It would hurt to the core.

Well written

JC said...

I should clarify that the ex-bf did NOT destroy the painting, at least to my knowledge. I think his gf at the time got it. I don't know.

I'm glad it was provocative,. Thanks all of you! I'm glad to be in the pack!

karen said...

woot!!! And I love your paintings!

JC said...

Thanks! A guy I used to go to Junior High with wants to buy one. Small world!