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Monday, November 24, 2014

Half a Spider's Bottom

Half a Spider’s Bottom.

Almost conjures up a visual, doesn’t it? Or at the very least a notion; an idea already forming of what in all that’s right on earth this could be about. Perhaps it’s but another ingredient in some new-fangled Witch’s Brew to go along with eye of newt to ward off smelly feet.

One of the things I admire most about writers and embrace about myself is the intrinsic ability to hear and see and feel beyond the black and white. The very same wind that wrecks your hair whispers to writer’s the words of ether worlds, while spectacular sunsets are resounding concerts to our souls.

So naturally, when I asked my grandson how his morning walk was and his nonchalant reply was “It was okay. There was half a spider’s bottom in the road…” everything else suddenly muted. There was only him and me—and half a spider’s bottom. 

I was fascinated and had to know more, to hear more of his take on all things unimagined. Was I talking to a budding writer? Only time will tell, I guess. But it certainly fortifies a suspicion that there are certain qualities of being a child that never cease to exist within the hearts of writers. Or maybe it’s just me.

Had I been given the task of describing a scene such as that one I probably would have stumbled and stewed and chewed my lip to shreds before coming up with something profoundly pathetic like “squashed remains of what may have been a…” Ugh.  Writing is tough sometimes.

So, what’s your formula for climbing out of a word or description funk? Do you just move on and go back to it later? Give it up altogether? Ask someone how they’d describe it (kids are pretty good at this, by the way ;-)?

Typically if it’s not remotely important to anything I’m working on, it is nonetheless a challenge and my response is to have fun with it!  It’s good exercise. So how could I expound on a story so succinctly summarized? Well, I wrote a poem instead!

With morning but a rose-tinged lamp
behind the mountain peaks
Songbirds rise from cozy camps
coyotes long for sleep.
A spider pauses, center road
her eyes alert with fear
and silent is the river toad
as human smells draw near.
No danger from the walking ones
beware the kind on wheels
death by rubber, life undone,
as break of day reveals.
What nature knows as senseless truth,
bleak and oh so solemn
Center road, in trodden proof;
half a spider’s bottom.

diedre Knight© 2014


  1. Ha! Love that poem! You know, children just have a way of being so matter of fact, and sometimes we writers could probably use a bit of that when we write (instead of agonizing over certain sentences). If I get stuck I either go back to it later or, as your grandson, just say it plainly.

  2. Thank you, Quanie! So true about the agonies that ensue when literal is upstaged by literary aspirations. But then, returning to it later is often the perfect way to get it right!

  3. Kids are so inspirational. I sometimes leave a particular spot to go back to later and describe. I like to keep pushing through until my drafts are finished, so that's what works for me.

    1. I typically do the same, especially if I've an entire paragraph--or more--dripping from my fingers! Just to be sure it isn't forgotten I highlight the stubborn description and carry on.

  4. Great poem, I like the way that the animals wake up one by one, and the slightly unconventional ending!


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