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Exercise #180 : After the Flood

This is exercise in generating specific detail (think "show don't tell"). Without using the word flood, show that there has been a flood. 
Tip: try to come up with detail that appeals to all the senses, including smell, taste, touch, and sound.
LP Field in Nashville, TN
when the flooding came through earlier this year.
 1,2,3, GO!

Attempt #1: Scrapped after 2.5 minutes... hehe

The damage was unbelievable. My neighborhood, once a thriving suburban area, had been reduced to empty homes, rotting walls, and ruined lawns. The waters had completely engulfed my street which was at the bottom of the hill and lay there stagnantly for the next two days, and it wasn't until the next week that anyone was able to get back to their homes to survey the total loss.

My house was one of the better-looking ones. Most of it was simply mold growing on the walls and insulation and ruined flooring, but it was all fixable. Others weren't so lucky with their ceilings caving in and walls collapsing. Needless to say, none of my furniture was salvageable. Nothing was salvageable except for my will to survive.

Attempt #2: I'm thinking this one is a lot better.

As I entered through the front door, I closed my eyes. Dank mustiness assaulted my nostrils, and I felt tears welling up in my eyes. It was gone. All of it. What was I going to do? My husband, George, inhaled sharply behind me as he wrapped his arms around my waist. Slowly, I opened my eyes.

Honestly, it wasn't as bad as I thought. Everything just looked... wet. The walls were darkened by the now receded waters, the berber carpet squished beneath my feet, and the light inside was tinted by the thin film of sediment deposited on all of the windows.

It was going to be hard. I knew that drying out an entire house was a task to undertake, and it would take a long time. But eventually, life would continue, and we would rebuild our home from the ground up.


Whew! It feels good to be back to writing again. I'm still not 100%, but I'm getting exponentially better every day. Glory be!

Anyways, I started writing that first attempt, and 2 minutes in I started to think how much I hated it. haha So scrap it and move on, says I! Of course, I had to post both for the purpose of our exercises! The point of them is not to self edit, but to get something down on paper. Or... er... internet??

Additionally, I have decided to extend the Make It Up Monday one extra day every week, to give both you and me some time to really dig into the writing and so on. So you have 1 more day to submit your writing! Yay! Write, write, write!

I have also decided to start accepting submissions for pictures and other ideas for Make It Up Monday, so please feel free to e-mail me at

See you tomorrow with the Make It Up Monday winners and a new writing exercise!



Much Poopies! said…
damn! is the whole world going down??
Any news on NH?
Guy Duperreault said…
Yesterday, for the first time in my life, I swam home. It was dangerous. The dirty brown water was filled with debris and who knows what else. It stank. I tasted it when my mouth opened involuntarily when my hand hit something squishy in the water. The water burned my mouth. I gagged.

But I continued swimming. I couldn't live with myself knowing my dog Tasha was waiting for me to find her like the time she found me when I was lost.

I stopped when the burning in my lungs, and the weight of my limbs became unbearable. The water was calm, and so I rested on my back. The beautiful blue of the sky, punctuated with the whitest of gentle wisps of clouds, was in startling contrast to the filth I was floating in.

After a few minutes, I'd caught my breathe. I turned and looked around myself and my heart began to race with fear. All I could see were the tops of trees and some of the taller houses. I had no idea where I was. I spun in the water, straining to imagine what the tops of my neighbourhood trees looked like. I racked my brain to remember the colours and shapes of my neighbour's roofs.

I spun around again. But this time I caught a glint of sun reflecting off a metal disk hanging from an aubergine coloured eave. And in that flash I knew where I was! I kicked my legs to get around my neighbour's house.

And I looked forward to eating crow for the many times I'd teased Joan for forcing her husband to string a clothesline strung from her 2nd floor deck, and for the many different outlandish colours he'd patiently painted it over the years.

And when I cleared Joan's house, I could see mine, right where it was supposed to be. Well, I could see most of the roof of it, anyway. And, on it, Tasha, barking. And I know she was barking for me, encouraging me, welcoming me.

Home had never felt so beautiful.
Ghadeer said…
This is one of my blog entires but it fits in here too: :)

Aslam bit his lip and swallowed hardly.

Not that he doesn't like the rain- when he had felt drops on his cheeks, he rushed inside to get his sister out and enjoy it with him. Now it was not so fun. The rain was intent on staying, first shyly peeking through windows and doors and any open cracks in his home, but then it had turned into a cruel unstoppable downpour, creeping into every room, drowning the crops.

"Take the kids and go! Jaldi!"
Amid the hoarse screams of his father and the anxious instructions of his mother, Aslam froze in his place watching the chaos around him. He knew he was meant to help his mother pack up any belongings he can get hold of, and he knew he had to be quick. He just didn't know why his legs refused to budge.

Planted at the doorway, with the water reaching his knees and his heart beating in his mouth, Aslam found his voice suddenly. "Zaara- my books! Get me my books from the room", but it was just a little creak that noone heard. He headed towards the room, trying to move his heavy legs against the steady flow of water around him. It felt like he was back in his swimming classes, except this wasn't the clear sparkling blue pool surrounded by giggles and whistles. This was his village getting drowned, their food stocks destroyed and their house ruined.

"Aslam, there's no time for that now!"
His mother hoisted him up with her strong arms and passed him onto his sister. Zaara balanced him on her side, her shivering unsteady arm carrying a cardboard box on the other side. She started off, flinching at the cold water running up her wide trousers. Then she paused and turned, expecting the others to follow.

Aslam's eyes saw but his mind didn't register. This was a scene from another world- a scene from one of those Bollywood movies Zaara rents for them to watch every weekend. Things like this don't happen normally. They're only meant to be seen on television.

His mother reached her arms towards her husband, as a large current sent goosebumps up their necks and pushed the water to a higher level. Aslam couldn't make out what his mother was shouting to them above the roar of wind and water. His father was struggling now, trying to hold on to anything in the way- a floating wood plank could save the day.

But the current was getting more confident- it was becoming stronger and the water was getting too high. Aslam watched as his father was swept away and as his mother desperately waded in vain against the waters behind him through the screams of his sister and the deafening roar of the water and wind that had orphaned him.
Lou Barba said…
The routine was getting familiar. Turn off the furnace which was setting on blocks in the cellar. It had to cool off before the water came in and covered it up, otherwise the metal would crack. Turn off the gas and electric to prevent a fire or explosion. Keep a watch on the water level through the cellar door. If it came up too far, it was time to move the furniture into the attic. If there was one time, eat dinner with the river flowing by outside the dining room window. Pack some things, and head for higher ground.....come back with a wet-dry vac to suck the mud and water out of the carpets.
Dionne said…
Veiwing the reflection of a sunset on water can be an amazing sight, but not today. Not when it's mixed with the reflection of the beautiful architecture that once graced main street. The torrent rains had left our thriving city in a standstill with the murky remains of the storm.

Today was suppose to be a special day, many had planned to go downtown for the celebration of our states anniversary. Parties were to abound all around the city. Instead the city awoke to sight unexpected, and smells they couldn't imagine until now. The rivers and sewers had over run their boundries during the night with the overwhelming water that had swept in.

Now we were all faced with the decisions of whether to leave, where to go, and how to get to get out of the city we love.
Anonymous said…
I loved reading this post! You're a great writer :) I don't think I would have been able to do it, haha.
Unknown said…
You have an amazing way with words! I liked both of these but I believe the second one was a more interesting read.
Anonymous said…
Anyone know why there hasn't been another post from Stef in nearly two weeks? I can't find any at least... anyone help?

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