Five Words - writercize #162

Phew! Ever have one of those weeks where your brain is chasing its tale in circles, and you just can't get out of your head's auto-replay button? That's me this week! As much as my brain is telling me that the extent of my writing skills is parallel to Bart Simpson rewriting a single sentence infinite times on a board, my fingers are trying to fight that and break out with something new!

So, while I still appear incapable of writing an all-new writercize, I will forfeit power to my fingers and allow them to go, go, go with a recycled writercize. This is an exercise where I give you five words and you create something inspired by them. The words are new, but the concept is old!

writercize: Create a short story or scene using the following words:
  • assist
  • next
  • station
  • teaspoon
  • other
(randomly selected by flipping through the pages of Cutting for Stone by Abraham Verghese and pointing at a word - I have yet to read the book so it should not heavily influence the story)

Please share your result as a comment or link to your response on your website!

Click "read more" for writercizer sample response.
writercizer sample response:


The refugee worker barely looked up from her station as she waved forward the next malnourished body. When she had begun her work "saving the world," she had approached her calling eyes wide open, heart full of courage and tenacity. Now she felt defeated, like for every person she helped, ten more fell unto dire circumstances, and another twenty died. 

Trying to change things felt a little like cutting worms. She'd make deep cuts to the system, only to find that the system would multiply and evolve with every slash, and soon she was drowning in a pit of wiggly primordial vermin, gasping and reaching to hang on to the butterflies of the world instead.

"Hello, ma'am," came the voice of a child.

"How can I assist you?"

"Yes, all I would like is a teaspoon, please."

"A teaspoon?"

"Yes, ma'am."

"And what would you do with a teaspoon?" she asked, still not looking up.

"Well, ma'am, I know it's not much, but the other people are all so hot and tired and I'd like to give them a little music to help them remember something of joy while they are waiting. My Mamma always said that when she was feeling really down, if she could hear a touch of music, even if it was just in her head, she could hang on to the next day, and she could remember that something beautiful is in the world. Something worth living for. She didn't have instruments, but she could make a mean tune with a spoon and a rock and her voice, and it's what got her through. They took my Mamma from me, and I don't know if I believe in angels talking to me or if I'm hallucinating from an empty tummy, but I'm feeling ready to give up, and I hear my Mamma in my ear telling me to make the music. Cure the people with rhythm. Cure myself with rhythm. Bring back my Mamma to me. Please, just give me a teaspoon. Give my water to the old lady over there, and my rice to that baby, but please, give me a spoon."

Without a word, the worker looked up and locked eyes with the child, no more than nine years old, destined to be both the oldest and youngest living member of his family, and gave him his teaspoon. Then she closed her eyes, and let his music wash over her along with the crowd. When she opened her eyes to silence minutes later, the child had moved on, disappearing back into the temporary camp of millions of people, but she knew he had left her with a gift of hope and healing that she could reflect on any time she needed to restore her faith in humanity.


  1. Recycling is always good! Doing an exercise you've done before will always bring about something new.

    Happy weekend!


  2. I was shooting for a 101 word piece, but I cam up a little short....

    Slow dancing to the oldies station, she takes the teaspoon off the rack. She measures the spice in dry bowl. Beads form in the flour as the liquid pours down from the other bowl. The dough ball forms slowly. She sees his face as her hands quickly knead. The familiar chill begins. Thinking about how love rises and falls. The spirit she seeks has come to the scent of her bread. Is she the bread? Will they be the intertwined loaves in the oven? Only in the next life, she knows.


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