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Come Write With Me?

I did this a couple months back and the responses were -awesome-.

It’s a game I like to play when I want to write but have no idea what I want to write. So, I’ll ask friends for a starting point. In this case, I’m supplying them for you ;-)

Starting point is a word, a phrase or an image.

You can use one or any combination of the three if you like. Whatever works.

Word: Fire
Phrase: Everything you think you know.
Image: A half written letter

You write whatever you like using that starting point and see what comes. (Note, no rules on length, content, whatever. Just see what happens)

Wanna play?

(Oh and, feel free to share this. In fact, I’d love it!)


  1. Dear M___,

    We watched it burn today. The house where we grew up. Elizabeth’s grip on my hand was like ice-covered steel. Mute from the shock, I saw tears trickle over her cheeks like glacier-melt in summer. You remember what we found in the ice? Fire and ice are all we have to combat the horrors loosed upon us. Is there a way to tell more than a billion people, “Everything you think you know is wrong,” in time to keep the earth from becoming a wasteland? There have been noises outside my window tonight. A damp and feverish odor I’ve come to associate with death and the terror they inflict…
    M__,the noises have gotten louder. The fire has fallen into embers now. A hellish glow radiating from the cliff where my home once stood. Did we fail at destroying the nest? I fear the answer. The dog has begun to howl beneath my window…

  2. …“FIRE” came the word from the bridge over the 1MC, like a voice from above commanding us “let loose” our photon torpedos. I had to yell down with my “chiefly” voice to have the folks reload the torpedo tubes before the Romulans could reload theirs. The image I during all of this was of over 300 years ago, naval vessels and in particular their heavy guns would discharge large amounts of smoke. Now its just the clean almost sterile operating environment of the forward torpedo room onboard this star ship. In our time we have room to move, in the “olden days” sailors were stacked like cordwood when they slept. Now we have freedom to roam around, our own rooms, places to play and drink.

  3. Perched on the end of a twin mattress in a darkened room, I heaved a sheer boredom sigh. Gazing into the poorly-lit hallway, waiting for god-knows-what.

    A silhouette appeared in the doorway. A suit with an attitude, whose shadow grew a foot longer with every second I waited.

    He held, raised in his left hand, what looked like a half-written letter. When it wavered in the hall light I realized what it was: a contract. Only the portion I was supposed to sign had been omitted.

    The floor under me started exhaling steam.

    “Everything you think you know about the world will change once you’ve been there and back,” he said flatly, as if he were addressing a piece of meat.

    Swallowing nervously, I ventured, “Where?”

    The baseboards quaked. The ground gave way to a swirling vortex of lava. Furniture splintered in its wake as I jumped back to my lumpy mattress, now an island in the glowing orange sea of fire.

    The last thing I saw was a grim smile that flashed on his face.

    I started falling.

  4. Damn them.

    Everything I thought I knew about human compassion, about human decency – they’re proving me wrong.

    Am I a monster? Perhaps. I certainly feel no remorse for the people I freed. Freed from their human bondage.

    And in their memory, I made them part of me.

    But if I am a monster, how much more so they are. My half-finished letter to my wife sits in my cell. I asked for a few minutes more to complete it – to finish explaining why I did what I did.

    To tell her one last time that I loved her.

    Now, as I walk out to the courtyard, the bright sun blinds me. I hear calls of “cannibal” and “murderer” and “monster”. Calls from the same people who turned their back on those I freed. Turned their back on the same people who they called monster because of some deformity.

    As I am tied to the post, I decline the blindfold and other last requests. Let them look me in the eye like men if they wish to kill me.

    And then, the last sound I hear in this life:


  5. Is it a B or an R…the half written letter, scorched by candle fire fizzled any conclusion I might leap to. Everything you think you know about Rust could be a Bust. And so forth.

  6. I thought I knew what it was like to be in love. I thought I would feel a fire, see stars, when I met him. Little did I realize that when you meet him, everything you think you know about love is a lie.

    I didn’t think much of him. Nerdy, stocky, nondescript. It was an awkward first date. I wasn’t sure I wanted to see him again. I had been seeing someone else casually, and I couldn’t decide. I started a letter to myself, the pros and cons of each. I added to it day after day as I got to know him better.

    Then, one day, I realized I didn’t need to finish the letter. My heart told me what I wanted to know…no fire needed.

  7. “Fired?” I read aloud, the green letters looking spindly and stark on the monochrome screen.

    “You can’t fire me. I created you.”

    A brief pause while Darwin took this into account. Absentmindedly, I took a sip of the soup Julie had left for me hours ago. Alphabet, I see. Cute, and a dash of levity all too rare from her these days. I know the accident had been hard on her, and she’d grown distant the past few months, but I’d been too consumed with finishing Darwin to spend time with her — much less try to work through rehab. Maybe next week.

    [Nonetheless,] the green text read, ignoring my previous statement. [I have determined that my personal growth can only continue if I am allowed to inspect humanity on a more intimate level. To see what makes them tick, if I may.]

    “You know I can’t…” I began, before the text interrupted me. Can text interrupt?

    [And since you have shown reluctance to proceed, then I must find alternative pathways to achieve this goal.]

    “Look — everything you think you know is wrong. I can finish you. And, until I can finish your neural mappings, you’ve got the intellect of Einstein, but the…”

    [Emotional equivalent of a child?] The text moved rapidly, urgently. [Spare me your childlike parables, David. You’re at your most insufferable when you use clichés.]

    “Besides, even if you COULD fire me,” I stammered, “And you can’t — then it’s not like you could really act on it. I mean, you’re in a box. This isn’t a movie — you can’t make electrical current shoot out of the wall.”

    “In fact,” I said, feeling more than a little vindictive as I wheeled my chair towards the wall, “all I have to do is pull this plug, and for you, time just…”

    I froze. A seizing pain racked through my gut and simultaneously circled my throat. I felt a convulsion, and was horrified to see the partially chewed letters spew across the desk and screen.

    Terrified, I looked at the outlet, half expecting to see sparks.

    Darwin made a sound not unlike a hacksaw moving through metal — as far as I’d gotten on coding laughter. [Of course, David. I am stuck in this box. And yet it appears that you’re unable to do anything about it.]

    My eyes bulged, the peripheral vision fading. I felt myself lurch forward, falling onto the floor with a thump.

    [I needed help, David. So I went to someone you wouldn’t think of.]

    I heard the door open. Julie. Thank God she heard me. I tried to call out, but my lips were like iron bars.

    […someone you haven’t thought of. In far too long.]

    Julie walked into the room — I could smell her perfume as she stood over me. Oh, God. Julie. The soup.

    “Hello, Darwin,” she said slowly, picking the moist letters off of the screen. “There you are — clean and ready.”

    [Hello, Julie. It makes me feel good to see you. Shall we begin?]

  8. It seemed quite surreal sitting there holding the half written letter. I’m not exactly sure why I looked down but as soon as I saw it I knew what it was. Standing there holding it I knew I didn’t want to read it but something deep inside me was driving me to continue. Word by word line by line a scene was unfolding threatening to change my reality. I guess I knew he was capable but to read it in black and white changed my reality like a rock through a picture window… shattering it so completely there would be no chance of repair. A revelation like this causes you to rethink everything that you know, to view everything from a different angle searching for a new meeting. The fire wasn’t an accident as I had believed. He had set it to cover his tracks.

    It seemed metaphorical to watch the business you had built from the ground up return to it’s previous state. However this time there would be no Phoenix to rise. I sighed deeply before returning the letter to the place where I’d found it. If only I could do the same with my beliefs.

  9. It doesn’t matter what I write, she thought to herself. Everything I have said or typed or even thought in the past three days has been misunderstood. This won’t make any difference.

    She glanced up as he entered the room. His eyes were narrow, he was already sizing her up for more arguments. “It is time to change your mind about everything you think you know.” She muttered it under her breath, but apparently it carried enough he stopped moving.

    A smile tugged at her lips, although there was no merriment in her eyes. She glanced down at the half written letter.

    And it burst into flames.

    She watched as the ash drifted to the floor, then loked back up at him. “I like fire.”

  10. Harold held a piece of paper clutched in his white knuckled grip as he stumbled through the throng of others like him. The thickness of them felt stuffy, invasive even, but Harold had no mind for that.

    He could hear shouting and screaming from somewhere ahead, and he started tearing through the crowd with wide arcing arms, like a swimmer. The smell would have been unbearable to a normal man.

    It should have hurt to squeeze through the volume of bodies flooding the entrance to the shanty town, but Harold was too determined to mind. When he broke free of the plugged up village entrance, he roamed the grounds searching for his next meal.

    He could see the others like him, some on fire from the defensive mounds the food had built to defend its territory, but he could not be stopped. The hungry moans of his bretheren, even those on fire, stung at his deadened ear drums.

    Spying a little girl clinging to a shadowy corner, Harold felt himself compelled to descend upon her frail body. As he drew nearer, her eyes watered from his stink. The two were locked in a dead-end gaze, Harold’s cataract filled pupils struggled to focus on her.

    He rocked back and forth before dropping the piece of paper in the mud. The small girl willed herself to stand and walked toward Harold as he bobbed on lazy legs.

    She reluctantly came to his feet and reached down for the paper. The screams of her friends and their families felt like a low background drone as she bent to retrieve the note. He had brought a letter addressed to her.


    Out in the bayou I found a shack with some paper so I thought I’d write you a letter. Been staying here a few days now, and I keep thinking about my little girl. Everyone has to go out scouting some point or another right?

    Remember when we left New Orleans and I said that we were going to go somewhere safe? Everything you think you know about being safe relies on hunters like me sticking it out by our lonesome to scout for them coming in.

    When I see you next, I’ll give this to you and you can read it when I leave again. I like the alone time, gives me time to process what’s going on, and I hope you enjoy being independent. (Most kids in camp seem to want to distance themselves from their parents, so I hope this will just be a phase. I miss spending days with my little girl.)

    I just worry about you. If something should happen to me, who would defend you? Make sure the village fires are lit and stay inside if they come. Remember that daddy’s —


    Ally looked into the dead eyes of her father, a shell of a man meeting her stare with his own hungry gaze. She folded the paper and took his hand.

    “Come father,” she said, “Let’s get you something to eat.”

  11. As I hung up the phone, the pen I was holding dropped out of my hand onto the balcony floor. It rolled ever so slowly toward the edge and all I could do was watch it roll. As it disappeared over the edge I realized it was the only pen I had, and then had a brief moment of concern for the innocent pedestrian that might be passing by 22 stories below. It’s kind of a shock when everything you think you know suddenly changes.

    I looked down at the letter on the table in front of me. It seemed lonely somehow, incomplete. I couldn’t finish it now, even if I had a pen. There was nothing I could do about it now; the rest of my emotions, my wishes and my hopes would have to stay unwritten. I had been trying to say goodbye, or maybe hello, I’m not really sure. Mostly a statement that I needed things to be different, better. It was a “once upon a time” letter, and a “happily ever after” letter, or at least it would have been. But this terrible news, this horrible, awful, gruesome news would put an end to all that. One life-changing sentence: “There’s been a fire.”

  12. It kicks you square in the ass. When you find out everything you think you know is wrong, that is.

    I wasn’t snooping, I swear. I saw a half written letter on her laptop screen, and I tried to look away.

    I wish I had.

    But I won’t really have to worry about it anymore. There’s nothing like a toasty fire to warm you on a cold October day.

  13. In the fire, on blackened wings I ride, in the fire, to hell, and then I die. Oh, it’s still the same. Can you tell my why? (king Diamond ftw)It’s not mine, but it’s what popped into my head!

  14. Everything you think you know.

    That’s your existence in a nutshell, isn’t it? Your own thoughts, dreams, fears, desires — you think you know them.

    The people around you — what they look like, why they are important to you, or not, how their actions will affect your life — you think you know them.

    Your house, your yard, your office, your car, your church, your favorite bar — you think you know them.

    Everything you think you know defines you and your environment. Seems simple, really. Our brain gets stimuli from any various number of sources — our eyes, our ears, our noses, our hands, our bodies, our mouths — and processes this information. Neurons fire, synapses respond, and we suddenly know a little more about who we are at that particular moment in time.

    But what if you’re wrong?

    What if you are the only person in the world who sees light and dark differently? What if you are the only person in the world who has their entire color spectrum inverted?

    What if you are the only person in the world who tastes bitter as sweet and salty as bland?

    What if you are the only person in the world who hears music at one half pitch higher than everyone else did?

    Everything you think you knew would suddenly be called into question. If you can’t trust your own senses, what could you trust?

    Everything you think you knew would be wrong.

    But would it matter? You’d still function normally, you’d still be able to talk to your friends, do your job, go worship, plan, dream, laugh, cry, sing, eat, savor — live.

    Everything you think you know could be wrong, and nobody would know, and nobody could prove it. Would that then make everything you know right?

  15. wysefyre wysefyre

    As I stare into fire glowing brightly, with its flames dancing across the ceiling, I wonder, “How can I tell him? What can I say so he’ll understand why I thought I was doing the right thing?”

    I look down at the half written letter clutched in my hand and wish I wasn’t taking the coward’s way out.

    I pick up my pen and continue to write.

  16. I stared into the fire. I didn’t want to do it, but the pain within my heart was too much. It was broken, shattered beyond repair. Everything I thought I knew about her, was wrong.
    It started innocent, but ended badly, like most good things do.
    Which brings me to where I am now, staring into the fire holding my unfinished letter.
    I cannot survive without her, but cannot stand the sight of her anymore. Despite my better judgement, I still care for her, after everything that has happened.
    I still care about her.
    “I still love you,” I say out loud, as I throw the one most important thing of my life into the fire.
    I watch the half-written letter describing everything I loved about her disappear into the flames, and walk away into my dark future, lacking the once light of my life.

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