WRITER’S WORKSHOP I, Week 1, The Fastball

The Writer’s Workshop is live with our first prompt! Come sharpen your pencils and your prose at the godoggocafe.com. Share your thoughts and prompt responses in the comment section, and I will grab all the responses on Friday to link in next week’s post. Have a great weekend, everyone!

Go Dog Go Café

Something to think about:

My stepfather, a custom home builder, taught me the basics of carpentry: “measure twice, cut once.” Sounds simple enough, but it takes discipline and an investment in time to slow down and repeat the measurement, and the power saw can be unforgiving. Many are the boards wasted by a few mismarked millimeters. The lesson stuck with me, and I think about the concept often in other areas of my life, including my writing and editing.

For this prompt, I encourage you to slow down and measure twice. We are writers. We have stories to create. That creation requires an investment in ourselves, a belief in our ideas, a commitment to the hard work of writing so that we may communicate our creative babies effectively to others. In the words of Henry Miller, “open up…discover what is already there.”

Every man, when he gets quiet, when he…

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7 thoughts on “WRITER’S WORKSHOP I, Week 1, The Fastball

  1. I am a poet, so poetry flowed forth. I have been thinking about our province’s covered bridges for some time. In the late 1800s we had 400; we now have 58. I thought about the precise carpentry that went into these bridges and how some have been lost because people don’t ‘measure twice’ i.e. aren’t careful at all. The poem is very rough, just the ideas I want to include really. Not much editing done. Needs all sorts of work.

    ‘measure twice, cut once’

    the slogan of careful men
    the men who raised these bridges.
    beams and posts
    shaped and joined and finished.

    Carpenters and labourers
    Every rafter cut
    To fit, position precise
    A job to do

    Laid out on the ground,
    Marked and reassembled
    to cross the river

    Three timbers marked
    laid precisely
    side by side

    Chords, struts, braces and posts
    Howe truss configured
    Light timbers, metal tension bars

    braces and counter braces
    making ‘m’s and ‘w’s and diamonds
    Built in, a camber, to take the downward weight
    of the bridge as it settles

    Bridge done, and
    and a herd of cattle driven through
    to test sturdiness, vibration,

    Then, careless, someone fails
    to read a sign


    The French Village Covered Bridge (Hammond River Covered Bridge #2) was built in 1912 and removed in 2017 after a 13-tonne excavator dropped through the decking of the bridge in October 2016. The excavator, loaded with 3.7 tonnes of wood, exceeded the 12 tonne maximum posted for the bridge.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I love this, Jane, and poetry is certainly welcome. It is really effective to start the piece with all the careful measurements and painstaking work and then end with a twist of careless behavior. I am glad you included the footnote. It gave some context to the careless person in the poem. Poor bridge!

      I also love the interpretation of the prompt as a slogan. Thank you so much for sharing. I can’t wait to watch this evolve through the edits.

      Liked by 2 people

      1. My pleasure! You can post it to the comments or post it on your site and leave the link in the comments. Whatever works for you. I know what you mean about drafts. I will share my first draft response on Saturday and then show how I approached the second part of the challenge. I get to be the teaching fodder. 😂
        So glad you are participating, Jane!

        Liked by 1 person

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