Waiting to Exhale

Waiting to Exhale

September 7, 2011 Writing 40

It’s Indie Ink time again!! I’ll share my challenge at the bottom, and I will admit that this was WOW out of my league and way out of my comfort zone.

The leaf is dancing with me. It is red and crisp and freshly fallen from its bough. It challenges me to a game of chase. In its newborn innocence, it does not realize that it needs me to be able to enjoy the game. Its dips and whirls are only possible because of me. I allow it to think otherwise and begin the game.

The game is fun. Up, down, around the tree trunks, the hard bark scratches as we go. We plunge down to the earth and we skip across the water and we rest for a moment on the grassy shore of the lake. I am not tired because the leaf is light as a feather, but I like the feel of the grass under my toes. The leaf goes flying again, reaching as high as the top of the oak tree nearby, before it descends towards the earth and I stop chasing it. I watch as it goes down, down and then I breathe and it goes back up, free-falls when I inhale, up with another exhale. The dance continues until I run out of breath and the leaf falls to the water. The water runs away with the leaf. I am sad the game has ended.

I am so sad that my heart becomes heavy and fills the air around me. My sadness oppresses the water and she returns the leaf to me. It is wet and I am still sad and can no longer carry it along. Its tiny voice reaches me in its own sadness, waiting for me to exhale.

This week my challenger was Nick, who challenged me with “You are the wind. Tell me what you see, where you go, and what you feel. Use Hemingway’s Icebery Theory and let the reader use his/her imagination.” Excellent challenge, Nick!!

I challenged octoberesque this week with “…because the river runs through it, an even divide, the old world on one side, the new world on the other like a mirror of past and future.” You can find her response here.

This is such an awesome group, I’m still wondering why YOU haven’t signed up yet!


40 Responses

  1. Jason Hughes says:

    I think that was very good, esp considering how outside of your comfort zone it was… I esp loved how we were to think of natural processes as a game, giving life and joy to an otherwise annoying (at least for me!) part of nature… I hate the wind, LOL!

  2. Sausage says:

    Nicely done…that was bloody good.

    • DM says:

      Thank you! It’s very odd to not have my splashes of color throughout, but refreshing at the same time. I do not think I could write like this all the time, though.

  3. Lance says:


    My favorite author, my favorite style, my favorite sentence structure.

    You killed it. It was was strong. Now we rest.

  4. Renee says:

    This is simply lovely. Excellent work!

  5. Beautiful. Absolutely beautiful. I’ve never read Hemingway before but this makes me want to.

  6. supermaren says:

    Yeah, you totally killed it. I wish I could give you something constructive, but can’t think of anything. I thought you just knocked it out of the park, especially since it was so outside your comfort zone.

    • DM says:

      I am not a Hemingway fan, but its thanks to caring friends and fellow indie inkers that I finally understood what its all about. It’s as unnatural for me as it comes, but after doing it? I’m still not a Hemingway fan, but I did enjoy this.

  7. Sarah says:

    Awesome!! What a great take on the prompt. I don’t think I could have handled it anywhere near as well!!

  8. billy flynn says:

    Awesome DM! The motion and the emotion you created was very good. I’m going to have to google Hemingway’s theory but you’ve have risen to the challenge elegantly.

  9. (FL) Girl with a New Life says:

    What a cool prompt! And I enjoyed what you did with it. Makes me want to sit outside and write.

    • DM says:

      Well, isn’t that the best compliment I have ever received!! To inspire someone to write is probably the biggest dream a writer has.

  10. lizculver says:

    Wow, for being outside of your comfort zone (and I would have totally been there as well) you did an amazing job. Beautiful and sad.

  11. Carrie says:

    I’m not familiar with Hemingway much but regardless, I enjoyed the feeling of this. The floating, the sense of play.

    very pretty piece

  12. amanda says:

    I used to be nervous when prompts were so far out of my comfort zone, but I’ve learned that it always ends up well. 🙂 I love your piece. Thanks for being brave and writing it.

  13. That was an amazing challenge and an amazing response. I can picture that leaf floating in the wind. Especially enjoyed your ending.

    • DM says:

      It’s very comforting to know that despite the very factual aspects of this piece, you were able to see it enact. It gives me a whole new perspective on show not tell. A sort of…odd one. Thank you!

  14. Tina says:

    I think you did a great job, for being out of your comfort zone. You personified the wind, made it child-like. That was really cool!

  15. Galit Breen says:

    Oh my this is poetic. I adore the license tat you took making the wind sad.

    {You rocked it. NOT out of your league!}

    • DM says:

      That’s very nice of you to say, LOL. I don’t think I could write like this all the time. It’s quite a conscientious style for me.

  16. TheKirCorner says:

    Wow, wow, wow. I felt like the wind…I was breezy and light and floating. Great job!

  17. Very interesting, indeed. I have not taken many literature classes (or creative writing, for that matter), so I have to admit, I did not know of this Iceberg Theory. After reading about it, I think it does have a place; though I’m not sure I personally would take the time to omit so much. Pretty cool though.

    As for knowing that this was a story about the wind? Yes. After the first sentence. However, that’s not due to your writing, I just have a wicked overactive imagination. And among other things, I have played with riddles since I was in the single digits.

    Good job, though. That would have been tough for anyone. You had your work cut out for you on this!

    • DM says:

      You would not believe the amount of time I spent sweating over this challenge, but once I really digested what his point was, and started reading a little of his stuff (I am not a Hemingway fan), I found this easier to write than I thought. Perhaps because it was about the wind, I was able to be more expressive and descriptive. I don’t know if I would have been able to do it with another piece.

      Thanks for taking a look and giving me your thoughts.

  18. Nick Rolynd says:

    Oh, wow. I love how you imagined the wind’s thoughts. I think you did a great job! =)

  19. Donna Sturgeon (@Donna_Sturgeon) says:

    What a wonderfully written piece. I read it once to read, and then I went back and read it again, simply to enjoy the beauty of your words. Very nice.

  20. Yep, definitly the wind. I have a hard time with challenges like this, so I’m impressed. Nice job.

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