Skip to main content

"Popol Vuh: Seven Random Bits"

Exercise #42 : "Popol Vuh: Seven Random Bits"

I just pulled the Popol Vuh off the shelf and found these seven random bits:
  • sweet drink!
  • Jaguar
  • undone
  • you tricksters!
  • And they remembered what had been said about the East.
  • vagabonds
  • corn with fish
What can you write in five minutes that incorporates all of these?

5 minutes start now... BEEP!

The vagabonds trudged through the dry sand, the sun beating directly on the top of their heads. Each step brought them closer to exhaustion.

The first vagabond, the one with the deep scar on his cheek, was sweating profusely, but he was walking faster than the other two, charging forward with the determination of a bear.

"Hurry up!" he barked. "We have to be quick!"

The second vagabond fell to his knees. "I can't," he said. "I can't go on. We've been walking like this for 3 days. We are out of water and food. If we continue, we'll be dead in mere hours."

The scarred vagabond scoffed at his fallen comrade. "If you don't get up, we'll leave you here, and then you will die, most assuredly. If you stay with us, at least there's a chance that our luck lies to the East."

With all of the strength he could muster, the second vagabond pushed his body upward, sand and dust falling of his shoulders in clouds. His face cover button had come undone in the fall, so he draped the fabric across his mouth and refastened it before moving onward. Once the scarred vagabond was certain that his weaker fellow was not going to hinder their progress any longer he turned and began to walk toward the East, but he had walked less than 5 steps before he was halted.

"Excuse me," said the third vagabond, a woman, "but I believe you are going the wrong way."

Whipping his body around, he charged the young woman whose red hair was falling out from under her head scarf and flowing freely down her back.

"Would you mind saying that again?" he snarled. His eyes suggested that if she were to repeat herself she would suffer greatly, but she knew she had to speak. Otherwise, they would get lost and perish, hopeless in the desert.

"You are heading North, not East," she said, looking him directly in his red-veined eyes. All of the sudden, the two men remembered what had been said about the East.

Before they had left on their journey, they were having a farewell dinner with the leader of their nomadic tribe. It was a feast of sweet drinks and corn with fish, a meal that took his people several weeks to gather. It was an honor to receive such treatment.

"You must be wary of the East," their leader said. "It is elusive and frequently shrouds one's thoughts in confusion, making one unsure which direction they should be heading."

"Mysticism?" said the scarred vagabond.

The female vagabond, who was sitting next to the elder, added, "Or possibly just the heat and exhaustion."

The elder nodded his head. "It could be either of those, among other things."

"But how can we know if we are going the right way?" asked the second vagabond.

"Your lady here," the elder said, gesturing to the woman, "is of the Jaguar. Her directional capabilities are unmatched across these lands, and she will be sure to lead you toward your goal."

"Sir," interjected the scarred vagabond, "You cannot expect us to bring a woman with us."

"I do," he said, "and you will."

5 minutes up.

Wow, I wrote a lot for that one. That couldn't have been just 5 minutes... Oh. hah It wasn't. It was around 8 or 9. Whoops. I guess I just lost track of time.

Part of me wants to go back and see if I can find somewhere to add in "You tricksters!" but I won't alter it here. You know, I may even add it into my work in progress.

Speaking of which, I may eventually start posting excerpts and story ideas for the aforementioned work in progress. Right now, I don't really have anything prepared, but if I get something together I'll let you all know.



Wow. Never knew anyone actually read the Popol Vu, just remember a response-call pronunciation lesson on the title in HS Spanish.

Saw you at On the Path and just had to stop by and say The Count of Monte Cristo is my all-time favorite, too. Every swashbuckling, swooning part is fantastic.
Stef Howerton said…
Finally, someone who loves Monte Cristo as well!! I've been hard-pressed to find anyone who has even read the whole thing! Very sad. hah I wish people still read Dumas. I personally believe the world would be a better place. :)
Lisa said…
Oye! That was fun but difficult! Going to read yours now Stef. Thanks for the exercise!

The vagabonds took the Jaguar into custody, luring him with an old vagabond recipe of corn with fish.

"Egads!" said the Jaguar, "this is delicious!"

"If you follow us, we will serve it to you everyday." replied the CV (Chief Vagabond).

"Where?" asked the Jaguar.

And they remembered what had been said about the East.

"To the East...where, with your corn and fish, you will receive sweet drink!"

"I'm in." said the Jaguar.

In the East, a Jaguar's head on a wall is worth more than a lifetime of corn with fish. The vagabonds planned how to cage him once they arrived at the East's border.

They travelled for many days. The Jaguar getting fat and trusting, the vagabonds whispering in tent corners.

What the vagabonds didn't know is that the Jaguar prowled at night, around the tents where they had been sharpening and keeping reeds, in the tents, and close to the vagabonds' thoughts, sniffing them out. He knew their plan, and he waited.

A week before they were to arrive at the border, two of the vagabonds disappeared, taking the reeds with them.

And so it was later that the Jaguar saw the cage built and waiting for him, sweet drink in large buckets waiting inside. But he knew, of course, and smiled.

"You tricksters!" he said. "Did you think you could fool me?"

And with a swipe of his grand paw and a tear of his large canines, the cage came undone, and the vagabonds wound up floating, all of them, in a mixture of their own blood and sweet drink.
Lisa said…
Nice Stef! You must finish! Is the woman leading them the right way?? What will happen to the scarred vagabond?

I went back and edited my piece after the 5 minutes...was I supposed to do that? Or just post it as it was? Thanks.
Stef Howerton said…
Lisa, thanks for adding your own foray into the writing exercises here! It was great. I was impressed that you found a way to fit all of the "bits" into your piece. I had a really hard time with that and think I actually left out one.

Either way, though, I think I may actually finish it over the long weekend and then post it sometime next week. It was an interesting story, and I, myself, want to find out what happens. hah

As far as editing after the 5 minutes, I don't see a problem with it. It's a personal choice thing. Once I write something I may edit a grammar mistake or a spelling error, but other than that I don't really change anything. But once again, that deals with your personal preference.

I think it's a good idea, once you've completed the 5 minute requirement, to let the exercise sit for a bit and then go back to it. It's possible that the exercise will form into something substantial, you know? Editing right after seems, to me, to be too quick. It's too fresh on the mind to effectively alter, but then again, I am a lowly novice writer. What do I know?? Does anyone have any ideas about that?
Lisa said…
If it is a shorter piece, I'll tend to edit it right away, taking out all the unnessecary words and finding better descriptive ones for others. Then I'll go back and do that same thing again. THEN I sit on it (hours or a day) and come back yet again.

I had a question about the exercise we just did. Did you find you had a story and tried to fit the words into it? Or did you build your story around the words?

Also, since I am new to your blog, should I be posting what I've done from you exercises here?

Stef Howerton said…
I didn't have a story in mind. Well, that's not entirely true. The second I read "vagabond" in the exercise, I knew I would have a group of vagabonds. Other than that, I went in cold, just writing what came to meas I typed.

And you can most definitely post what you've done! Please do! I love reading other people's writing. :) In fact, if all of my readers posted their own exercise responses, then we'd have a pretty awesome site here.

Popular Posts

Soft Things

Exercise #105 : "Soft Things" Make a list of soft things. GO!!! This should be easy enough, shouldn't it?

Bonjour New Followers! Well met!

You'll quickly notice that I love lolcats. Don't judge... They're hilarious. Today's post is going to be pretty short, but it's purpose isn't for me to write, but for YOU to write! Tell me a little bit about yourself! Who are you, from where do you hail, what is your favorite thing about blogging or reading other people's blogs? Tell me anything you'd like! If you have a blog, don't fear the shameless plug! haha Leave a link in your comment and go visit some of the blogs linked by your fellow commenters. Speaking of your blogs, I've been going through my list of followers and looking at your blogs. There is some really great content out there! :) Let me just say that I am so humbled that you would be interested in following me and my project. You're all so wonderful, and I can't thank you enough. So get on with it already! Leave a comment about yourself!

"Yellow List"

Exercise #83 : "Yellow List" What things are yellow? Make a list. At the end of the five minutes, note the three you find most curious. Ah, yellow. One of my least favorite colors. I mean, it's nice and all, but there are so many versions of this color that are simply eye-raping. Anyways, on with the list. Things That Are Yellow: bananas school buses yellow bell pepper tennis balls Post Shredded Wheat boxes (see right) lemons canaries the middle traffic light traffic lines the sun cheddar cheese hay corn butter cabs #2 pencils grapefruit raincoats (stereotypical ones, anyway) bees squash yellow jackets (I HATE those things!) the yolk of an egg scrambled eggs or an omelet peanut M&Ms the Simpsons various flowers rubber duckie etc... So that's my list of yellow things! :) The most curious? Well... I'll go with... but none of those are curious! That's silly. Check back later today for my 5th Character Profile on Nolan Ha