lines from songs writing prompt 1

Below I’m posting a bit from a song I love and then I’ll write something around it (not necessarily in the context from the original source but maybe).  If the line grabs you, please steal it and play along too.  Post a link in the comments so I can check out what you did with it as well.


“… meet me in a dream of this hard land.”


The sun set gray behind the ash rising on the horizon.  The fires had been burning in the west for longer than he could remember.  Some he met worried they would spread east but it had been years and he’d never seen a flame.

He watched the darkness spread towards the west and eventually overtake the gray.  There would be no stars.  The nightly winds brought clouds with them that sat low upon the ground.

As the stillness of the evening settled into his mind he threw his bedroll on the ground and prepared for sleep.  As always, his thoughts drifted to the friends, the brothers, he had left behind.  Some had gone to battle the raging fires.  Others had stopped traveling to try and build something, a life, a home, a family, here and there along the way.  He alone had kept on.

He missed them but he did not regret his choices.  His path was hard but so was theirs.  Life can kick and gnaw and grind a person down even when everything seems to be going their way.  He could not fight who he was.  They couldn’t fight who they were.  Trying to do so would have been folly.

A chilling breeze pushed down from the clouds and he curled further into his blankets.  It would rain later, he knew.  The ground would be colder and harder in the morning and yet he would wake and carry on.  That was what he knew how to do best.

Turning towards sleep, he yawned and murmured, his eyes already closed and his thoughts drifting back across the years to his brothers, “I’ll see you all again.  Until then, stay safe and meet me in a dream of this hard land.”


Samara’s Mix-tape Submission

Happy Birthday, Samara!

For my pick in your birthday mix-tape, I selected (the below modified version of) Bruce Springsteen’s “No Surrender.”  The pounding rhythm of the song reminds me of your writing: a driving force that cannot be ignored.  The refrain easily stands in for your show-no-mercy posts.  You tackle sentimental and poignant topics in equal and measured strides, mixing current cultural issues with the experiences of your life.  This song resonates with me in so many ways, from the progression to the content, and for some reason I’m certain it resonates with you as well.  Plus, you are a Boss, too.

I hope you have a wonderful day.


She busted out of class, had to get away from those fools.
She learned more from a three minute record than she ever learned in school.
Tonight she hears the neighborhood drummer sound,
She can feel her heart begin to pound,
She’ll never say she’s tired and never close her eyes to follow her dreams down.

She made a promise she swore she’d always remember:
No retreat, baby, no surrender.
Like soldiers in the winter’s night with a vow to defend:
No retreat, baby, no surrender.

Now young faces grow sad and old and hearts of fire grow cold.
You swore blood curses against the wind.
You’re ready to grow young again,
And hear your brother’s voice calling you home across broken projects.
Well maybe you could cut someplace of your own,
With your words and their effects.

‘Cause you made a promise you swore you’d always remember:
No retreat, baby, no surrender.
Truth writer in the stormy night with a vow to defend:
No retreat, baby, no surrender.

Now on the ‘sphere tonight the lights grow dim.
The walls of your room are closing in.
There’s a war outside still raging,
you say it ain’t ours anymore to win.
You want to sleep beneath peaceful skies in your lover’s bed,
With a wide open country in your eyes,
And these romantic dreams in your head.

Because you made a promise you swore you’d always remember:
No retreat, baby, no surrender.
Blood poet in the stormy night with a vow to defend:
No retreat, baby, no surrender,
No retreat, baby, no surrender.


And here’s the original version for your listening pleasure:

Prompt: Finish the Story (#5)

It’s Tuesday!  And we all know what that means!  The worst day of the week, hooray, hooray, hoo … oh, wait.  No, that’s not what it means anymore.  Now it’s Finish the Story prompt day!  That’s really worth celebrating.

In a bit of sad news, I no longer have access to WordPress for most of the day and will consequentially be far less prompt (see what I did there?) in reply to comments.  But, I will reply to all of them, eventually.  I promise.

And, I will even do proper pingbacks and recognition for everyone who plays along with these silly prompts, eventually, too.

And here’s the new one:


The girl who sang the blues finished her pleas for a new car, a color TV, and a night on the town, the player shuffled down a song, and the unmistakeable sounds of the E-Street Band took her place.  The Boss began to sing from his soul, and then his harmonica plucked yours loose to hauntingly tag along as he raced down the streets.

Blue flashes sparked off the dull red glow of the taillights shining in the windshield as you pressed firmly down on the gas pedal and sped through the morning gloom.  You didn’t mean to speed but you couldn’t help it either.  The car was trying to catch up to your soul as it flitted through memories of your past and visions of your dreams.

The Jack of Hearts, standing on the sidewalk next to a mangled motorcycle, his leg in a cast, caught your attention, a crystal clear image bursting from the blurred edges, but then you turned back to the road, back to the pursuit, back to the chase you’d been on before he’d caught your eye.  Bruce’s voice didn’t allow time for distractions.  There was too much urgency.  There was too much at stake.

The lights streamed into continuous lines of red.  Other colors swirled away to be swallowed by the darkness.  A warm glow on the horizon heralded the imminent arrival of dawn, but its time hadn’t come yet, and there were still miles to travel before it did…

have a bawl

I was tired this morning on my way too work, and when I’m tired I find I’m more emotional (read: I cry a whole lot easier) than when I’m fully rested.

That’s right, I cry. I have no problem admitting that.

We aren’t talking full on sob sessions (and so what if we were), but my eyes will water up and spill over the edges on occasion while watching movies, reading books, listening to music, telling stories…  It happens.

This morning, listening to Bruce Springsteen sing “This Hard Land,” I had to wipe my eyes:

Hey frank won’t ya pack your bags
And meet me tonight down at liberty hall
Just one kiss from you my brother
And we’ll ride until we fall
We’ll sleep in the fields
We’ll sleep by the rivers and in the morning
We’ll make a plan
Well if you can’t make it
Stay hard, stay hungry, stay alive
If you can
And meet me in a dream of this hard land

There are a couple things going on here:

First, he is calling out “Frank,” which always brings to mind “Jessie.”  (You know, Frank and Jessie James.)  So, there’s history, and family, and life and death, and all the romance I ascribe to the old west all rolled into that one word.  Who among us hasn’t made believe at one time in our lives that we were these notorious outlaws robbing a bank or train, stealing from the rich and giving to the poor, watching each other’s backs, protected by family and friends and tradition?  So, with all that now running through my head, we proceed into the rest of the stanza.

The second hit comes from: “Just one kiss from you my brother, and we’ll ride until we fall.”  I haven’t always been close with my brother, there were a couple years where we didn’t talk much at all.  But, since then, we have become much closer.  This line resonates with me.  I know, either way, if one of us needed the other, we’d be there to whatever end.  Without question.  Without complaint.  Guns blazing if needed.  At this point I can already feel the pressure behind my eyes as my tear ducts are starting to do there thing.

Then it all comes together with the third and final stressor on my (fragile?) emotional state with the final lines: “stay alive, if you can, and meet me in a dream of this hard land.”  If you can?  If you can!  That’s it, I’m done, I can’t stop the tears from coming.  Life is a struggle, there are always going to be challenges, but there is hope, there is something wonderful about meeting those adventures head on with someone by your side, there is more going on in those lines than I have the words to capture.

From there, on my drive, I moved on to thinking about the other lines from my life that I can’t help but cry when I hear them (see them):

For Love of the Game – written on the baseball – “Tell them I’m through, ‘for love of the game’, Billy Chapel”

Schindler’s List – Oskar Schindler (Liam Neeson) – “I could have got more out. I could have got more. I don’t know. If I’d just… I could have got more.”

The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers – Aragorn (Viggo Mortensen) – “Ride out with me. Ride out and meet them.”

The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance – Jason Tully (Willis Bouchey) – “Nothing’s too good for the man who shot Liberty Valance.”

Zulu – Adendorff (Gert van den Bergh) –  “They’re… they’re saluting you. They’re saluting fellow braves. They’re saluting you.”

Five seems like enough for today.  And now, of course, I want to watch each of these films again.  If you haven’t seen them, add them to your must watch lists.  That’s an official kingdom proclamation.

I can hear you just fine…

You can go ahead and come down from your soap box.


Daily Prompt: Art Appreciation

by michelle w. on April 30, 2013

Do you need to agree with an artist’s lifestyle or politics to appreciate their art? To spend money on it?


Does this seem like a couple of simple “yes” or “no” questions to anyone else?  Alas, I digress…

I tend to tune out the talking heads when they get up on their soap boxes and start preaching to the masses and that includes my favorite artists too.  I don’t have to agree with you, with your politics, with your beliefs on religion, with your judgements and behaviors to still understand and appreciate that you are truly talented at what you do when you step down from your soap box and return to being an entertainer.  I have before and will continue to support artists I don’t agree with 100% of the time.

And, honestly, I can’t even tell you who all I’m referring to because for the most part I don’t pay attention to these people when they remove themselves from the environment I like them in.

I don’t even have a problem with you setting aside your talent for awhile to step on that soap box in the first place.  We are all allowed to voice our opinions, that’s one of those things that makes this place great.  Say what you will, people will hear you, and then they can decide on their own if they like what you had on offer or not.

However, if I paid money to buy a ticket to attend some sort of art thing – a concert for example – and the artist sets aside his entertainer role while on stage to preach at me about this or that it really irks me.  I didn’t pay to see you get on your soap box.  I didn’t drive however long to then wait in long lines full of the rowdy stinking masses to hear (0r see) anything other than who you are as an entertainer.  Get back to the music, or the show, or the art, or…


This has been a public service announcement from the matticus kingdom.  You may return to your regularly scheduled blogging.