Category Archives: Sandbox

Sandbox 12: Round Robin Story

collaboration time! this round robin was contributed to by the Section 2 CWers, and I think we all had a fun time with it. my sentences were pretty bland, but all together we made a really awesome, mysterious story.

and we were quite happy when Ms. Gaines declared that we’d won the informal competition. sorry, Section 1. XD

Amy shuddered when she looked at the clock. She knew she was late. But still her mind shrunk from the thought of facing what was before her. Every fiber of her being revolted with each sickening tick of the great, gaudy grandfather clock. She knew she could not escape the coming crisis, but perhaps she could procrastinate a little longer.

“Amy?” Will’s familiar voice called out, echoing down the empty hallway of the old mansion, “Amy, where are you?”

Amy winced, groaning inwardly. She didn’t answer. Opening the window she threw a backpack filled with her belongings onto the lawn below, then carefully climbed down the lattice on the side of the house. Once she reached the ground, she slung the backpack over her shoulders and ran.

She skirted the lawn, keeping as close to the trees as she could. By now, she thought, Will would be opening the door to her room, looking around. Now he would be realizing she was missing and now–blaring sirens echoed across the grounds.

Amy refused to acknowledge the shrieking in her ears, not daring to even shift her eyes, but instead crept between the azaleas and the shadows. She raced for the mansion’s front gate, looking behind her wildly for any pursuers. Then, right before her shaking fingers lifted the latch, she saw him. 

Biting down hard on her lip to stop a surprised scream, the girl was silent as she listened to the sound of her heart pounding in her chest. Fighting back panic, Amy considered her options. Surely it was too much of a risk to run past him? 

But he had already seen her. “Where do you think you’re going, miss?” Johnston asked. The lardy-cheeked butler stepped forward and pointed in the direction of the mansion. “Master Will is not going to be pleased.”

Amy sighed, realizing she had been caught. Trying to keep her cool, she said slowly, “I had some things I wanted to think about before he came to talk to me.”

Johnston shook his head, saying, “You aren’t supposed to be wandering the grounds Miss Amy.” 

Amy sighed once more. “I got something for you from the kitchen and if you let me go, I’ll give it to you.” Johnston’s eyes sparkled as she took a bottle of Dalmore Malt Scotch from her backpack. 

“My, my! Miss Amy you have out done yourself. In that case,” he looked down and felt the bottle lovingly. “I didn’t see you just now.” 

Amy sighed again, this time with relief. If the gift of scotch really would keep the butler’s mouth shut, then perhaps she could escape the painful fate she knew awaited her at the mansion. That is, if no one else found her.  The girl, though breathless, started running again. There she found the bike which she had paid Alex to plant there. She quickly jumped on and began biking in the direction of the city at full pace. 

And with that she peddled rapidly onward, her feet propelling her forward into the new life which awaited her. The endless possibilities of freedom lightened her soul as the fresh air of the morn scented with the bloom of the spring roses filled her lungs. Yes–it would be a good life indeed! 


Sandbox 11: Bits and Pieces

this Sandbox was by far the most fun. the object was to put together the beginning and ending lines of 10 books, chosen for whatever reason we want. most of the ones I selected are from books that have some sort of special meaning to me, either for childhood memories or because of a part it played in my development as a teen. well, except for Frankenstein; that one I chose just because I wanted to. ;D my favorite of these would probably be Little House in the Big Woods, mainly for the childhood sentiments associated with it. my mom read it to me a couple of times when I was little, I’ve heard her read it to my sisters, and I’ve read it myself once or twice. the other one that I really like is The Hiding Place, for obvious reasons. I think it was the first book I ever read that actually made me (almost) cry.

Little House in the Big Woods, by Laura Ingalls Wilder:

 First: Once upon a time, sixty years ago, a little girl lived in the Big Woods of Wisconsin, in a little gray house made of logs.

 Last: She was glad that the cosy house, and Pa and Ma and the fire-light and the music, were now. They could not be forgotten, she thought, because now is now. It can never be a long time ago.

 Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea, by Jules Verne:

 First: In the year 1866 the whole maritime population of Europe and America was excited by a mysterious and inexplicable phenomenon.

 Last: Two men only have a right to answer the question asked in the Ecclesiastes 6,000 years ago, ‘That which is far off and exceeding deep, who can find it out?’ These two men are Captain Nemo and I.

 Frankenstein, by Mary Shelley:

 First: I am by birth a Genevese, and my family is one  of the most distinguished of that republic.

 Last: He sprung from the cabin window, as he said this, upon the ice-raft which lay close to the vessel. He was soon borne away by the waves, and lost in darkness and distance.

 Alone yet not Alone, by Tracy Michele Leininger:

 First: Barbara Leininger shielded her blue eyes from the sun as she looked up at the cornstalks that stretched high above her.

 Last: With tears of joy and a voice full of emotion, she whispered in Barbara’s ear: “I remembered my promise. I never lost the song of my heart!”

 The Hiding Place, bye Corrie Ten Boom:

 First: I jumped out of bed that morning with one question in my mind—sun or fog?

 Last: “Windowboxes,” I said. “We’ll have them at every window. The barbed wire must come down, of course, and then we’ll need paint. Green paint. Bright yellow-green, the color of things coming up new in the spring…”

 The Hobbit, by J.R.R. Tolkien:

 First: In a hole in the ground there lived a hobbit. Not a nasty, dirty, wet hole filled with the ends of worms and an oozy smell, nor yet a dry, bare, sandy hole with nothing in it to sit down on or to eat: it was a hobbit-hole, and that means comfort.

 Last: “…You are a very fine person, Mr. Baggins, and I am very fond of you; but you are only quite a little fellow in a wide world after all!”

“Thank goodness!” said Bilbo laughing, and handed him the tobacco-jar.

 The Reluctant Dragon, by Kenneth Grahame:

 First: Long ago—might have been hundreds of years ago—in a cottage half-way between an English village and the shoulder of the Downs, a shepherd lived with his wife and their little son.

 Last: And, as they turned the last corner and disappeared from view, snatches of an old song were borne back on the night-breeze. I can’t be certain which of them was singing, but I think it was the Dragon!

 Black Beauty, by Anna Sewell:

 First: The first place that I can well remember was a large pleasant meadow with a pond of clear water in it. Some shady trees leaned over it, and rushes and water-lilies grew at the deep end.

 Last: My troubles are all over, and I am at home; and often before I am quite awake, I fancy I am still in the orchard at Birtwick, standing with my old friends under the apple trees.

 Just David, by Eleanor H. Porter:

 First: Far up on the mountainside the little shack stood alone in the clearing. It was roughly yet warmly built. Behind it jagged cliffs broke the north wind, and towered gray-white in the sunshine.

 Last: There in a quiet kitchen he plays to an old man and an old woman; and always to himself he says that he is practicing against the time when, his violin at his chin and the bow drawn across the strings, he shall go to meet his father in the far-away land, and tell him of the beautiful world he has left.

 The Last Battle, by C.S. Lewis:

 First: In the last days of Narnia, far up to the west beyond Lantern Waste and close beside the great waterfall, there lived an Ape.

 Last: All their life in this world and all their adventures in Narnia had only been the cover and the title page: now at last they were beginning Chapter One of the Great Story which no one on earth has read: which goes on forever: in which every chapter is better than the one before.


SB3- The Shark Tank

this Sandbox assignment was to take a character and put them in a tv show.  so I took Zoe and put her in The Shark Tank, a show where entrepreneurials go to millionaires to get an investment. she’s a quirky, somewhat harebrained girl, maybe even a little bipolar, so this is totally the sort of thing she would do– whether or not it actually worked.  ;)                         oh, and a little background for my non-Whovian friends. http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b006q2x0/profiles/tardis

Upon receiving her cue, Zoe Carson confidently strode down the hallway and entered the room. Facing her, in chairs lined up in a row, sat five professional-looking people. They appeared to her like judges preparing to deliver her death sentence.

It will be a kind of death sentence—a financial death sentence, she thought, if they don’t see the promise in my remarkable invention.

To her left, exactly where she had expected they would be, a camera crew covered her every move. This was no ordinary business meeting; this was a nationally broadcasted television show.

“Hello, Sharks,” Zoe said with calm assurance, “my name is Zoe Carson, and I’m here today to convince you to invest in a world-changing phenomenon—my invention, the TARDIS.”

Robert looked baffled. “That sounds strangely familiar,” he mused.

Zoe grinned, “That because you’ve probably heard it before. But don’t worry, I’ve acquired legal permission to name my invention after the famous time machine—and with good reason!”

“Time machine?” Daymond said, “I don’t like the sound of that.”

“Oh, come on!” Barbara laughed, “It’s not as if she’s saying her invention is a time machine.”

Flashing her most charming smile, Zoe replied, “Oh, but I am.”

Now all five sharks looked worried. They exchanged questioning glances, cleared their throats, and sighed.

Knowing that this was her chance to make it big, Zoe pushed herself into full presentation mode. Nothing could stop her now—she was invincible! And she would convince the sharks.

“My invention, Time And Relative Dimension In Space, will change the world,” she began, drama and emphasis on every word, “It will change the way we see everything—history, the future, and the universe itself.”

Daymond put up his hand, interrupting Zoe’s presentation. He sighed, “I can’t take this. I admit that I find it amusing, but I don’t invest in amusing. I’m out.”

Zoe stared for a few seconds, unable to regain her composure. She could hardly believe that things were going downhill so fast. She’d hardly even begun!

“Right, ah, well,” she stuttered, “Anyway, thank you for your time and consideration.”

She cleared her throat and continued,  “Now, as I was saying, my TARDIS is—”

“Wait,” Mark interrupted, “I’m still confused. Are you really saying that this so-called invention of yours is a time machine?”

Trying not to be perturbed, Zoe replied, “If would let me finish, you wouldn’t be confused. But yes, it is a time machine—it can travel into the future and into the past. It’s also a spaceship.”

Dropping his notebook on the table in front of him, he said, “Eh, I don’t have time for games. I’m out.”

Her body shaking, Zoe pressed onward, hoping she didn’t seem unprofessional.

“I know it sounds far-fetched,” she went on, “But really, this is no game! My invention truly can travel through time, space, and even other dimensions. Now, if you all will only give me a chance to prove to you—”

Kevin broke in, “Can you send me on a trip in it?”

“What?” Zoe stopped dead in her tracks.

He clarified, satire dripping from his words, “Can you prove to me that this thing of yours is real, by sending me on a magical, timey, spacey adventure?”

“Well, theoretically, yes,” Zoe answered, her confidence wavering, “But it would be a great liability, one that I’m not prepared to take on.”

Kevin shrugged, “That’s all I needed to hear. I’m out.”

Shocked into silence, Zoe glanced at the two remaining sharks, Barbara and Robert. Barbara was looking down at her notebook, tapping her pen. Robert had an apologetic expression and appeared as if he was about to speak. Before he could say anything, Zoe hastily plunged in.

“This is the opportunity of a lifetime! I am presenting you with a unique chance to get in on a revolutionary idea. Now, I know what you’re thinking—if my invention is so fantastic and groundbreaking, why do I even need investors?  Well, the problem is that it costs a lot of money to make a TARDIS, and it’s hard to get by when I’m just starting up.”

She had hardly stopped for a breath when Robert spoke, “I’m really sorry Zoe. You’re enthusiastic, and I’m sure you’re a great girl, but I can’t get behind something as ridiculous as this. With that, I’m out.”

“Well,” Kevin said, “Zoe, it looks like you’ve got one last hope.” He grinned at Barbara, “And I’m sure you can convince her; Barbara is known for investing in dead-end ventures.”

Breathless, Zoe turned her eyes to the last shark.

Barbara sighed, “Um, look, let’s not draw this out, ok? I mean, I can’t even wrap my mind around the fact that you’re actually here and you’re actually selling a time machine. So to spare all of us—you, me, the other sharks—any more agony, I’ve gotta say I’m out.”

Realizing that her fleeting chance had now fled, Zoe pulled herself together, determined to be calm and collected for her exit.

“I’m very sorry that no one here was willing to listen to my full presentation—you never even got to see my TARDIS itself. But no worries; I’ll still find a way to make it big, and my transcendental invention will be revered by all.”

Kevin cut in for the last time, “Might I ask just how you were planning to show us your invention? I don’t see it here,” he scoffed.

Zoe grinned bitterly, “That would be thanks to the chameleon circuit—which I never had a chance to mention.”

Taking a few steps to her right, Zoe suddenly let her body lean to the side, as if she were falling over. The sharks gasped, but her weight was caught—seemingly by thin air. Straightening herself up again, she then made a movement as though opening a door. She winked at the sharks, and stepped forward, becoming invisible along with the door.

Sitting in shock, the sharks heard a whirring, almost wheezing sound, and then silence.

“Was that. . .” Robert began.

“Nah, can’t be,” Barbara said.


SB6- Mad Libs: When I Run

Mad-Libs

this unusual Sandbox is an original version of the game that taught me grammar as a kid– Mad Libs!  

here’s how to play: fill each blank with the type of word it calls for, then fill in the blanks in the paragraph with the corresponding words you chose. then, if you want, read the original paragraph, taken from  Journal 9, When I Runhave fun!

1.  ______ (noun)

2. ______ (noun)

3. _______ (verb, past tense)

4. _______ (noun)

5. ________ (term of endearment)

6. _______ (noun)

7. _______ (same noun)

8. __________ (verb ending in ‘ing’)

9. _________ (emotion)

10. _________ (adjective ending in ‘ly’)

 

  I braced my ____, adrenaline pumping through my veins. With ____________ giving me an edge, my body tensed as I __________ a yelp of excitement. My eyes trained on the _________ and the goal at the other end; I shot my glance back to my _______. Her ____ and her ____ alone would send me ___________ down the beaten path at top-speed. Sensing my _________, my Beloved spoke calming words lest I take off ___________ and spoil the whole effect.


SB4- Theme Quotes

this Sandbox required that i put together a selection of quotes representing the theme for my novella, including one Bible verse and one quote in my own words.  is it just me, or does it seem just plain wrong to quote oneself amongst C.S. Lewis, Eleanor Roosevelt, and Winston Churchill?? but what must be done, must be done.

Wherever you are—be all there. – Jim Elliot.

  Every great dream begins with a dreamer. Always remember that you have within you the strength, the patience, and the passion to reach for the stars and change the world. – Harriet Tubman.

  Many of life’s failures are those people who did not realize how close they were to success when they gave up. – Thomas Edison.

  Promise me you’ll always remember that you’re braver than you believe, stronger than you seem, and smarter than you think. (Christopher Robin to Winnie the Pooh) — A. A. Milne.

  It has long since come to my attention that people of accomplishment rarely sat back and let things happen to them. They went out and happened to things. – Adam Smith.

  For God has not given us a spirit of fear and timidity, but of power, love, and self-discipline. – 2 Timothy 1:7 (NLT)

  Success is not final; failure is not fatal. It is the courage to continue that counts. – Winston Churchill.

  It may be hard for an egg to turn into a bird: it would be a jolly sight harder for it to learn to fly while remaining an egg. We are like eggs at present. And you cannot go on indefinitely being just an ordinary, decent egg. We must be hatched or go bad. – C.S. Lewis.

  Learn from the past; plan for the future; live in the here and now. – Beth Campbell.

  You gain strength, courage, and confidence by each experience in which you really stop to look fear in the face. You are able to say to yourself, ‘I have lived through this horror. I can take the next thing that comes along.’ You must do the thing you think you cannot do. – Eleanor Roosevelt.

  If you’re going through hell, keep going. – Winston Churchill.


SB2- Not My Cup of Tea

this Sandbox assignment, to write a description of an imaginary reader of my future novella, was actually rawther fun. my first instinct was to be self-deprecating– but that’s a bit clichè. mindless bragging isn’t particularly pleasant either, so i tried just being realistic.  but then, realistic can be boring too… but whatever. i’m just rambling now… i had fun, that’s all, goodbye. :-}

“Keep that thing away from me!” Justine hissed with feigned drama, remembering just in time not to yell. She was in a library, after all.

“Aw, come on!” her friend Rose giggled, while shoving the objectionable book in Justine’s direction.

Her other friend, Mindy, added with a sly grin, “You want to find out which guy she chooses, you know you do!”

Neither Mindy nor Rose was actually a fan of the romance series, but they were keenly aware of Justine’s abject distaste for the books. Being the good friends that they were, they loved to tease her any chance they got.

“Actually, no, I don’t,” Justine retorted. “When you find a romance novel that’s not mushy, unrealistic, and sentimental, let me know. Until then, you’ll find me in the historical fiction aisle.”

“Historical fiction?” Mindy queried. “I thought you preferred high fantasy? Lord of the Rings kind of stuff?”

“First,” Justine began, “let me say I’m rather impressed that you’ve managed to retain terms such as ‘high fantasy,’”—Mindy rolled her eyes—“Second, yes, it’s true. Fantasy is usually my cup of tea. Today though, I found a World War II story that looks promising; I’m actually pretty stoked to read it. I think I saw a couple more copies if you girls want—”

“No thanks!” Rose interjected, “I think we get quite enough history reading from school assignments. Doesn’t that stuff ever bore you?”

Justine shrugged, “Sure. But see, our school reading tends to be educationally informative, and usually lacks a certain creative intrigue—”

“Enough!” Rose cut in again, raising her hands in pleading. With a patient sigh, she asked, “So what’s this book about, anyway?”

“Well,” Justine grinned, unperturbed by her friend’s interruptions, “it’s partially a military story. It’s about a lieutenant during—”

“It’s about the military?!” This time it was Mindy breaking in. “Are you serious?” She raised an eyebrow in concern.

“Ah, but wait, there’s more!” Justine playfully punched her friend on the shoulder.

“Yeah, like?” Mindy folded her arms.

Justine turned the book over and began scanning the back cover. “Well, like… oh, there’s a teenage girl in the story too.”

“Oh, well that sounds promising,” Rose said. “Is she involved in a romance?”

Now Justine was flipping through the first couple of chapters for more information. “Uh, no. It looks like she’s the one telling the story. But it’s not really about her.”

“Is there any romance at all?” Mindy asked. “There has to be romance.”

Looking up, Justine said, “Ok, now it’s my turn to ask if you’re really serious.”

“Well, there’s got to be some kind of romance!” she said defensively. “I mean, I’m not all into the chick flick sort of novel myself… but without any romance at all, it can’t be very captivating.”

With one more searching glace at the cover, Justine sighed, “No, there doesn’t appear to be any romance.”

Mindy shrugged, “Eh, not interested.”

“But, but…” Justine protested, “it’s about a heroic lieutenant in the U.S. Army! It’s about courage, and self-sacrifice—and finding purpose in life!”

“Justine,” Rose said, finally exasperated with her friend’s persistence, “you haven’t even read the book yourself. Besides, how could a fictional story be so inspiring? It’s just another made-up tale.”

“If someone can imagine it, then it can happen,” Justine trumped. “Besides, I think it did happen—it’s based on a true story.”

Rose and Mindy seemed to be waiting for elucidation.

She perused the descriptions again. “Well, loosely based, anyway… ok, so, some of the plot points were inspired by true events. At any rate, the heart of the story is real. That’s good enough for me.”

“Sorry, Stina,” Mindy said, patting her friend on the shoulder, “it seems like a nice book, but it’s just not my, uh, ‘cup of tea.’ Anyway, I gotta get going. See y’all tomorrow!”

As Mindy walked off, Rose said, “Same here. War just isn’t my thing, girl. But you enjoy it, mmk? Get all, you know, inspired by it and whatnot. Later!”

Standing in the library aisle alone, Justine ran her hand across the cover.

“Looks like it’s just gonna be you and me,” she whispered to the inanimate object. Grabbing her backpack, she checked the book out, and headed for home.


SB1- The Anticlimax

i haven’t much to say on this piece. it is a pangram mini-story, with each sentence beginning with consecutive letters of the alphabet. it was probably one of the easiest assignments, and yet by far my least proud.

After a long and grueling run, I stumbled into the house with exhaustion. Barely able to move, my mental faculties were so dimmed by overexertion that I paid no attention to my surroundings.  Causing me great alarm, my two energetic dogs scampered past me, right by my unstable feet. Down I went, crashing ungracefully to the floor with a thud. Falling didn’t improve my finesse, but I found that I was still able to hurl insults at the dratted dogs. Getting back up, I decided to find a way to revive my tired body.

Hoping to get something to eat, I made my way to the kitchen. I put together a tasty PB&J sandwich, and then searched in the refrigerator for something cool to drink. Juice had recently been bought, so I got a glass of orangey goodness. Kicking back in a comfy chair, I relaxed, ate my snack, and turned on my iPod. Looking through my playlist, I finally found my favorite song. Music always lifts my spirits, and pretty soon I was jamming away. Not for long, though.

Of course, at that moment my dogs decided to disrupt my peace. Prancing into the room like caffeinated kangaroos, they got mud on my chair and knocked over my iPod stereo. Quitting my cozy chair, I got up to chase after them. Racing around the house, I tried to apprehend the rambunctious canines. Seizing them at last, I had to decide how to discipline them. Telling both to sit and stay, I went to search for the one thing I knew would punish the criminals adequately. Under boxes and bags I searched, determined to locate my tool of cruelty. Vast numbers of cupboards were explored before it turned up. With my last ounce of patience, I finally discovered my object of interest. Xylophone in hand, I strode back to where I had left the dogs, only to find that they had fled the scene. Yelling for them at first, I suddenly realized that all I really wanted was for them to be gone anyway, so I let them be.

Ze End.