Warmup Wednesday!

Directions: Write a scene or an entire story of 100 words on the nose (no more, no fewer), inspired by this photograph. No judging. All fun. (Normal Flash! Friday guidelines regarding content apply.)
Don’t forget to add your Twitter handle & link to your blog, if you please. And a few words on how your week’s going would be nice.

This week’s challenge: Include a word of gibberish.

Harp. PD photo by Skitterphoto.

Harp. PD photo by Skitterphoto.


169 thoughts on “Warmup Wednesday!

  1. Jessica West (West1Jess)

    Royalty and the Muse
    100 words, on the nose.

    blum biddledee dum

    The harpist, she played and the people swayed,
    Standing on their chairs and tables.
    The king stood confused, yes surely bemused,
    When he asked them to stop and they all refused.

    The harpist, she played and the people stayed,
    Long after they should have been able.
    For the queen now was rude, feeling ill-used,
    In a rage and not even slightly amused.

    The harpist played and the people, they played,
    Raising their arms up like gables!
    They held up the ruse, each lost to the muse,
    Only ending their dance when the royalty diffused.

    blum biddledee dum

    I’m absent for weeks and now here I am with nonsense. Eh, well I hope someone enjoys it. Good to be among you as I’m able. For whatever reason, this picture called to me. And when the muse calls, we answer, do we not? 🙂

    I miss this crowd, this fiery bunch. I’m much more interested in hearing how your week’s going. I’ve only been writing and editing. Editing and writing. Stuck in a cave, but it’s necessary sometimes. 🙂

  2. Those Damn Newfies
    (100 words)

    “Ow’s she cuttin’, me cocky?”

    “Excuse me?” Jennifer responded, staring at the man in front of her.

    “I said, ow’s she cuttin’, me cocky?” He repeated as he swayed back and forth.

    “Fine………….” Jennifer assumed that the stranger had asked how she was. Jennifer looked down and continued playing her harp, hoping the man would go away.

    “Say,” the man eventually blurted out. “I’m just ’bout gutfounded”

    “Thank you.” Jennifer hoped it was the correct response.

    “I gotta fire up a scoff, long may your Jib draw.”

    Jennifer shook her head as he walked away.

    She didn’t understand Newfanese.

    • How’s my week going? So far so good, it’s been much warmer and way less snowier, thank god! It’s amazing how fast the snow melts with a bit of rain and some sun. I have to admit that I haven’t written much, it’s been busy with family stuff, hopefully this weekend. That’s about it. But for those that may not be aware, Newfies are a nickname we in the rest of Canada have for people from the province of Newfoundland. They have an interesting way of speaking that sounds very much like gibberish at times. The gibberish in this is actual newfie phrases. FYI, I am not a newfie myself, but I’ve met a few, and although they can be hard to understand, all the newfies I’ve met have been great people.

      • I was kinda wondering about that. I thought maybe they were fictional characters in a story you’d written. Real life can certainly be as entertaining as fiction, though, especially when you toss a heavy accent into the mix. 😉

    • These phrases are GREAT!!!! I may have to go around saying them at people today. Long may your Jib draw!!!!! 😀 😀

      Delighted to hear you’ve gotten some relief from the snow. And I’m glad you are there to handle family stuff; your Muse will wait! though not for long…. 🙂

    • I feel like the humor of this piece is a bit lost on me being an ignorant American, but I enjoyed it all the same – I like how you took the “gibberish” requirement and ran with it, integrating it fully as opposed to sloshing in a random gibberish word like the rest of us 😉

      • Thanks howdylauren. Truth be told I did some digging online for newfie phrases. Translated they are:

        Ow’s she cuttin’, me cocky? = How are you?
        I’m just ’bout gutfounded = I’m really hungry
        fire up a scoff = make a meal
        long may your Jib draw = wishing someone good luck.

        Quite frankly if i didn’t look up newfie phrases I wouldn’t have a clue what they meant.

  3. Strumming away
    bills to pay
    heart’s dismay


    Used to love this instrument
    played my souls lament
    Now I regret the time spent


    Fingers used to fly
    Time swam by
    On a lullaby


    Listeners snooze
    Some from booze
    Pride I lose


    Nobody’s actually enjoying
    The skills I’m applying
    Inside I’m crying


    Busking is a last resort
    I don’t enjoy the people I court
    they think I’m full of mirth


    Despair leaks through my hands
    In my head it stands
    I’m floating away to a foreign land


    Strumming away
    bills to pay
    heart’s dismay


    100 words

  4. The Player of Harpsichord Square

    As she sits in the glow of the sodium light,
    She weaves her music into the night.
    Notes meet strings and swim like fish,
    Making beauty of what seems gibberish.

    Long golden hair and dress of white silk,
    Fingers nimble and skin like milk.
    She casts her spell out into the dark air,
    Drawing to her the lost who always linger there.

    When the old yellow light hits the cobbles of stone,
    You will find yourself feeling chilled to the bone.
    Be warned and beware – if you look into her face,
    Of sentience and humanity there is not a trace.

    100 words
    F. E. Clark – @feclarkart

    My week: I am enjoying taking part in several flash fiction challenges, starting to learn to swim again and painting a wee painting daily.

  5. A Song for the Moon

    I played the moon a song to keep her from leaving.

    People tell how the moon was the sun’s lover in an age long forgotten. But their ways parted and the sun forsook the moon and left her to wander the paths of heaven alone. The stars took pity on her loneliness and played the music of lulurasetsin for her. She tarried in the sky, listening, never leaving earth’s side.

    But the stars are dimming. And, with them, their music.

    I will play star music for her, hoping that she will tarry here and not leave again to wander alone.

    Words: 100

    I’ve been working on a few different writing-relating things this week. A bit of fiction, but also some articles. I’m hoping for some midnight inspiration about a problem with one of my plots…

  6. Riff

    “I don’t suppose,” said Jack, none too politely, “that you’d give me something expensive.”

    She looked at the boy, her fingers strum, strum, strumming.

    “Thing is, we live in a shack,” said Jack. “A real papperstacker. When visitors come, I’m sentenced to the couch. It’s inhumane.”

    Strum, strum.

    “And my mother could use a servant or two,” said Jack. “A man like me, doing dishes?! Insulting.”

    Strum, strum.

    “Lost my cow recently, not my fault,” said Jack. “Could use another.”

    She stopped strumming.

    “How about this golden harp?” she said, smiling her special smile, her so very special, hungry smile.

    100 words

    * Having a good week here; hard at work on a writing project which is making me all kinds of happy inside. WORK, MUSE, WORK!!!

  7. The soft melodic notes of his daughter’s harp drew him from his bed into the town square.
    “What are you doing out here, Eliana? Go back to bed.”
    When she didn’t respond he knew something was wrong. His stomach lurching, he knelt at her feet and looked into her strangely cloudy eyes.
    “I must play. Belial must be summoned,” Eliana whispered.
    “No, daughter. You’re all muckscrambledy. You don’t know what you’re saying.” He tugged at her harp futilely.
    “I play for Belial.”
    His sharp sobs escaped and cut through the harp’s seemingly angelic notes. Finally, she stopped.
    “Belial has come.”

    100 words! @rachelforgets on Twitter

    My week: I’m trying to bust out of a slump by completing a few flash fiction challenges. Here’s hoping! We’ve been “snowed in” (really, “iced in” – it’s NC afterall) and I’ve been working long weird hours (telecommuting) trying to keep up with the day job. The fiction challenges are a nice break. ❤

  8. @colin_d_smith
    100 words

    Lucy glanced up at the clock. Ten more minutes. Her fingers plucked at the harp strings. People passed, turning but never stopping. Some hesitated, as if momentarily caught by the hook of a melodic phrase, the turn of a tune, the thrill of a note resonating on heart strings. But they always shook it off and moved on.

    That was to be expected.

    Then, at the stroke of twelve, she suddenly disappeared from the damp streets of London, and was again facing Gabriel.

    “I hope you’ve learned your lesson,” he said.

    She had. Angelic time-out is actually kind of fun.

  9. 101010011
    (100 words)

    01010010 10010101 0101101001
    The people on the street were catalogued.

    1010111 1010011 101101111
    The cars on the street were catalogued.

    100001101 101010110 10010010110
    The buildings on the street were catalogued.

    Overall, the mission was a complete success. The bipedal life forms didn’t suspect a thing. Disguised as a musician, agent Blibblahblibblah had spent hours on the street, watching and entering data into her computer. It was time to return to the mother ship.

    “Hey babe, wazz up?” one of the humanoids slurred at her. “Let’s go for drink.”

    Blibblahblibblah was going to have to take this one for further study.

  10. @colin_d_smith
    100 words
    REVISED VERSION (with gibberish word)

    Lucy glanced up at the clock. Ten more minutes. Her fingers plucked at the harp strings. People passed, turning but never stopping. Some hesitated, as if momentarily caught by the hook of a melodic phrase, the turn of a tune, the thrill of a note resonating on heart strings. But they always shook it off and moved on.

    That was to be expected.

    Then, at the stroke of twelve, she suddenly disappeared from the damp streets of London, and was again facing Gabriel.

    “I hope you’ve learned your lesson,” he said.

    She had. Angelic time-out is actually kind of cooli-dooz.

  11. The Classic
    (100 words)

    People stared at Gwen as she plucked her harp.


    “That’s not music.”

    “She’s a stain on classical elegance.”

    Most gave her a scowl or angry glare as they walked past. She was ruining their evening.

    But one group enjoyed the melody that grated on the nerves of others. With long hair and leather jackets they danced and body slammed into each other to the music.

    “Rothagock othagon!” they shouted as they played air guitars and bobbed their heads like Angus Young.

    It wasn’t often they came across a harpist who could play ACDC’s “Highway to Hell” with such precision.

  12. Play On

    “Play on.”
    The gentleman in grey pinstripe suit flashed an ultra-white condescending smile. I sensed the casual dismissal in his voice. I play to the unconcerned audiences who have more significant lives to lead and presentations to deliver than an underdressed for the chilly hotel-lobby harpist.

    “Billy, stop hogging it. I wanna ride.” A whiny toddler with denim overalls and runny nose chased his older sibling spinning his scooter around the lobby.

    “Honey!” a middle-aged woman in a tight-for-her-bulges dress beckons her ungainly shorts-clad man.

    Cagony! Oh, the searing agony of cacophony of sounds.
    I don’t flinch, just play on.

    100 sparing words.

  13. A Dance Before Dusk

    Her music became long golden ribbons. They defied gravity and floated up into the sky, tendrils waving and undulating, tickling the lemon and lavender early evening sky.
    She plucked her strings with nimble fingers and smiled at her instrument, at herself, at being the Goose Girl.
    Her golden ribbons would draw the geese from their planned and plotted routes and instead encouraged them to swoop and glide and fly between the ribbons, feeling their smooth edges ripple against their wings.
    The geese pirouetted, promenaded, and paddlescoped; a maneuver that belongs solely to webfooted aerialists. And the Goose Girl kept smiling.

    100 words

    I’m having a joy-filled rest of the week now that my radiation treatment is well and truly over and my cats are once again draped over me. I

  14. Tamara Shoemaker
    Word Count: 100


    You conduct the orchestra that greets me when I watch you sideways over the cubicles. Your fingers stroke my heartstrings when you brush past; the soft whfft of your shirtsleeves whisper across my workspace.

    Daily highlights are at 10:15 (morning break), 12:30 (lunch break), 3:10 (afternoon break). You’ll be there in the break room, coffee mug in hand, a loose grin parting the steam that fogs your glasses.

    I try not to notice the band on your finger, but it drags my gaze downward like a millstone. She brings you lunch, kisses you goodbye.

    The orchestra dies to numbing silence.

    Today: I feel like I’m drowning. I’m doing some polishing edits on two books to be released in the next weeks and months, and I’m still in my pajamas at 2:30 p.m. The kids did eat lunch. One thing accomplished.

  15. The Strings of Love
    Margaret Locke (margaretlocke.com or @Margaret_Locke) – 100 words

    He’d always disliked harps. They reminded him of great aunt Enid, who constantly played recordings of the dratted things, making it feel like he was in a funeral home whenever his family visited.

    So when he heard the familiar sounds–like a drowning whale–echoing from the square, his first impulse was to cover his ears and yell “BlahblahI’mNotListeningBlahblah”.

    His second was to prostrate himself before the figure at the strings. Surely an angel come to life.

    “Is that a Salvi Arion?”

    She looked up at him, pleasure shining from her cerulean eyes.

    “You know harps?”

    Thank you, Auntie Enid. Thank you.

  16. Bach’s Final Sonata

    The plan was to start playing right at 18:45. We synchronized our watches. He told me which dress to wear.

    The old men in parliament would be drawn to me. They were too proper to approach, but they would stare. Ding, dong, dingleby ding. Twing, twang, twingleby twing.

    From where I played I could see him slip in behind them, unnoticed. I saw him set down a package, at the foot of a pillar, opposite of a security camera.

    When he is gone I play Bach, before packing and leaving.

    Only I was nothing to him, except an unwanted witness.

    100 words exactly

    This is a big week. All the normal stuff, but have to be done by Thursday night to travel 5 hours into the urban desert. Will take mom to doctor on Friday, and on Saturday will deliver my wife to a conference. In between I will need to trim trees, paint doors, order security doors and more.

  17. @blurosemd
    Word Count: 100

    Students rush out the stern gay colored
    lunch room on cue and just as delivered
    One classmate said “Challenging” another
    “We will upset you” straight face and bright red lips
    My stomach rose in protest, spaghetti or eighth graders?
    Invisible bell screams and the jungle springs to life

    Opening my chapped mouth, intent on grabbing slippery attention
    Trickles out “thsoielhg!”
    Screaming, drumming, dancing, fighting
    All stop and I have their attention
    Deep breath, I clear my throat and softer I say
    “Slgoiweaoegvn, dslagioh. Sliagoskhe? Alkdidgo?”
    Can they not understand directions? How can I make myself more clear?
    Bell rings: “dlsajgoieewoiggnveoigiwrio!!!”

  18. The rules of cricket.

    @geofflepard 100 words

    ‘What are you doing?’
    ‘We need the strings.’
    ‘Sport takes precedence over music. The rackets need restringing.’
    ‘You’re joking.’
    ‘I never joke. Can you take the frame to the workshop.’
    ‘Is this tennis too?’
    ‘Cricket. Is it willow?’
    ‘No, cherry.’
    ‘Shame. Could have got a bat out of that bit.’
    ‘I don’t understand cricket.’
    ‘Oh it’s easy. There are two teams. The one that is in goes out until they are out when they go back in. Then they have tea.’
    ‘That’s gibberish.’
    ‘Like your harp music. You should listen to yourself sometime.’
    ‘That’s unlikely, isn’t it?’

    Pretty good week so far; London bathed in sunshine; I made a ridiculous pancake cake for shrove Tuesday; I left my phone on the train and my new hero, Ryan from Carshalton found it and returned it to me; I submitted book two to my editor (and am now cringing at what he’ll do to it).

  19. Foy
    100 words

    Stringed vs Percussion

    “Do you have to beat those things. All. Day. Long?”
    “Kettle, much? Who was pluhpluncking her strings ‘til midnight?”
    “It’s the only time I have to practice.” Alisa punctuated her words with hands on hips, lithe frame splitting the doorway to Alexa’s room. “If you were more predictable, we’d all know when to avoid attempting homework.”
    Alexa burrumped the tom-tom between her knees.
    “You’re just jealous because harps can’t beat drums.” The rocker-chick smiled. She knew what grated her polar twin.
    “Not true! The harp is beautiful, blissful–”
    “And boring.”


    My week? Relaxing. 🙂
    A snow day and a half have spoiled me.

    • Haha! I love how Alisa transforms from the studious, artistic harpist to a typical teen 🙂 You do a great job of creating characters in only 100 words, impressive as always 🙂

    • Glad you said your week has been relaxing–because I can imagine being the mother of these girls and stuck at home with them during the snow: STRESSSTRESSSTRESS!!!! LOL! what a funny and realistic scene.

  20. Behind the Notes
    100 words

    You doubted I’d play it in front of them? They see a triscolette.

    I’ll play.

    Maybe the notes can find you.

    Softly, gently, each caress of the string catches the moon’s light. It hurts to build too fast.
    Rising, falling. Inevitably, faster. Each note quickens, falls on the heels of the one before, like we did. Twirling, louder, whirling, beating against each other like that night, our heels barely touching the ground. You spun me, bodies close, golden in the fading light. Sharp, staccato whirring until—the stop.

    The strings thrumming against my hands pulse with more life than I.

    • Oh. My. Word. THAT LAST LINE!! Killer. Tragic. And so perfect, falling on the heels of a paragraph exploding with life and music. Love what you’ve done here with structure, the short, staccato sentences against the long, rolling, flowing musical ones. So very nice.

  21. Enchantment

    My song is meant for only one. Faceless tourists pass, preoccupied with sights, not sounds.

    Drawn by my melodic tones (or hourglass figure), he cannot help but linger. My fingers dance upon the strings: he dances unselfconscious to the mellifluous melody. He chances to ask my name, prattling as a schoolboy to his crush. Hand in hand, we twirl, dizzy with anticipation, drunk on music, we laugh and spin ever upward — excelsior! — in a breathless bellaroundaballadine… then collapse (he, never to rise again).

    Black widow-like, I weave my melody. My song is meant for only one.

    * * *

    My week so far has been snow and ice, and hot cocoa. Can’t complain.

    • I love how you bookended your story with the same line, but it strikes a much different chord in the reader upon a second look. 🙂 Also… spider metaphor, “weave my melody”… love it 🙂

    • Am I ever crazy about your gibberish word. “Bellaroundaballadine” flows gorgeously, like a motif itself. And I guess if you’ve gotta go, this ain’t too bad a way…?

  22. Down to Earth

    Even since the recession, there has been a real shortage of jobs. They can go on about declining enrolment all they like, it’s all a bunch of bibble-swoddle. Do you have any idea how much it costs to rent a cloud, let alone one with a fancy postcode like 9? It was easy enough on angel wages, but the severance package barely covers me to the end of the month. There’s a rumour flying around there are jobs down below, but I’m not really flush with transferable skills. About the only thing I can do is play the harp…

    100 words

    We’ve had a busy week this week putting up shelves and pictures in the new house. I had no idea we had so many pictures, there are guys working at the Louvre that haven’t hung as many frames as I did this weekend! Our daughter turns one this week, so apparently we are going to bake a cake so she can smash it? I have a funny feeling that means me and the dog will be fighting over smashed up floor cake…

      • Oh, I agree with Jess. I love a good title that makes itself essential to a story, and you’ve done that here with (jobless) panache. Down on her luck, eh?? HAHHAHAHAHA, crack myself up.

        And for the record, smashed up floor cake tastes infinitely better than all the other kinds, particularly if you’re still wrangling it out of your hair hours later.

    • Haha! I loved this take. Very clever, with a bit of dark humor here. “Do you have any idea how much it costs to rent a cloud, let alone with a fancy postcode like 9?” – literally laughed out loud at this one!

  23. The Harpist (100 words)
    @howdylauren. http://www.howdylauren.wordpress.com

    Robert stopped short. It couldn’t be, but the resemblance was startling. Glossy hair, fake-baked skin, heavy makeup, cleavage-bearing top. It was clearly Jessica, hardly changed. Years ago he oscillated between hopeless infatuation and pitiful disdain for the most infamous cheerleader at Lincoln High. Daughter of a drug dealer, star of the under-the-bleachers scandal at prom. He hadn’t seen her since Daniel’s graduation party when she got drunk and began stripping on the table–or as she slurred, an “exowthwickdance.” Funnily enough, he had imagined if he saw her again it would be on a street corner–just not as a virtuoso harpist.


    My week has been good, days off work due to snow have allowed for more writing and reading time than I had anticipated! 🙂

  24. Distressed Wood
    100 words

    Melancholy erects a shelter
    Around the damsel in the square,
    She leans into the soundbox, coaxing sorrow from the strings
    For coins in the coil of velvet cloth

    Once, she plucked joy into the day
    Then night, her sleep clawed
    Across a cardboard hunger
    A full heart can’t sate,
    Her bones splintered against a grey frost
    A radiant soul can’t warm

    Melancholy draws enough sympathy to thaw bone.

    One woe-weary morning,
    She plucks again at hope
    Strings warp away from her stroke
    Shear red tears from her fingertips.

    The refrain echoes across the square
    With the steady splink of coins

  25. The Harplyrist
    By Charity Paschall

    You walk by without seeing me. Just a harplyrist. I’m here every day—nothing unusual. Unless you stayed to watch me, you would never know. I don’t sleep, though I am tired. I don’t eat, though I hunger. I am here; alive yet not; I hunger for life before. Before the deal. I was naïve; and all too vain. I needed to be the best, so I asked. He kept his bargain, but in exchange, I must play for him always–until death; so I wait—for a death that will never come. Because I made a deal with the devil.


    I had a bit of trouble coming up with gibberish today…
    My week has been good. Working too much, but the overtime will look nice on the paycheck.

    • I adore your gibberish word- so elegant, it ought to be a real word! Your take was very thoughtful and haunting- maybe hit a little too close to home with the “needed to be the best” line!

      • Thank you for your thoughtful comment. When I looked at the photo prompt…I asked myself “Why would this woman be playing a harp on a street corner–what tragic circumstance could be behind this…” and it developed from there.

  26. @betsystreeter
    100 words indeed.

    Here’s how you know you will be the next to die:

    Walk to the town square. Once there, cross the cobblestones and enter the church from the front, between the two broadest columns. Take the time to wipe your feet.

    At the threshold, stop. Release your thoughts. Stand still and let the vast breath of silence from within wrap around you.

    Hold your breath if you need.

    You will hear the harp, echoing as if it comes from everywhere at once. Inside, outside, in your body. This is how you know.

    If you hear nothing, go inside and give thanks.


    This week it’s the Continuing Saga of the Novel That Will Shortly Be Released (mere weeks left!!). It’s getting some exciting attention (yay! plus scary! plus yay!) and I’ve also had the weird experience of having someone, um, review my Acknowledgements. Didn’t see that one coming.

    Last weekend was East Bay Comic Con near my home, a small yet passionate show filled with costumes and lovely people. I do so enjoy meeting them. And seeing their costuming skills as I have exactly none of those. And I got to see the tattoo someone had done of my artwork which made me jump about with happiness.

  27. The Anniversary
    By Sheila Weyant
    100 words….. Every year on this day
    Wearing her wedding dress white
    she comes to the square
    to play for him
    in the radiant moonlight
    With every note
    upon her harp she plays
    She remembers her love
    long gone away
    When he hears her play
    his heart does ache
    His tears from from Heaven fall
    into the fountain
    Plip plop
    is the sound they make
    Blending together with her
    Tee tee da dums
    Removing the veil
    between earth and sky
    the melody they create
    makes a lovers lullaby
    Still one…
    Vowing to never say
    Plip plop…
    Tee tee da dum…
    They sigh…….

    This the first time I have written on this site. I have enjoyed reading the other posts. They are all so good. My week has been hectic and I’m feeling a bit stretched with lots to do at work and home. Being apart of this Flash Friday/ Wednesday warm up has fun been a highlight of my week.
    Sheila Weyant

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