Story Starter December – Christine Kim

December Story Starter - Christine Kim

Wow! We got some great entries for the November contest! December features a gorgeous piece by Christine Kim!

To enter, write a short piece (100 words maximum) inspired by the art featured below. It can be any form of writing (poetry, prose, dialogue, haiku, etc.) as long as it is original. Submit your entry in the comment section below. Check the full entry rules and format here.

Introducing our December inspiration piece:

 

December Story Starter - Christine Kim

Christine Kim headshot Christine‘s love for paper grows and grows. Although she developed a special affinity for drawing on stones, it was the paper that she coveted, bought, and stowed away. She became accustomed to climbing ladders, often hanging paper fragments and sculptures, wanting them to defy gravity. She is fascinated by the tension of a heavy stillness, a pregnant pause, and often describes her work in terms of volume and weight. Her collages started by accident – a drawing of a figure that was poorly planned. In an attempt to salvage the figure, she cut it out and started to occupy different spots in her studio. She realized that in the cutting, she had liberated it from the confines of the original surface. Soon, she began to layer cut paper fragments, watercolor washes, and illustrations. It is this process that she finds most invigorating and challenging. She hopes to maintain this balance of playful experimentation and strategic compositions, so that there is always room for chance discoveries.

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Feeling inspired? Paste in your 100-word entry below!

48 Comments
  • Alive in the wrong century
    Her mind an architecture of broken ruins.
    Past life revisited
    Love lost
    Time lingers; Moves on
    Memories, she weeps…

  • Did the world made us or did we make the world?

    Where did moths disappear? Did our souls spark and merge into clouds? Was there a buried netherworld, where lay trembling multitudes of butchered animals, poised side by side with angry victims of wars, pestilence and greed?

    Were we condemned to repeat the same madness again and again?

    Sometimes, the vastness spilled out of her head into the river and then to the unyielding ocean. Sometimes, she believed, her flaming, but shy eyes, could capture everything, all of it, within their intense gaze.

    But mostly, she wasn’t so sure.

  • I am, confined only by the walls of my imagination.
    I am, an accumulation of all my pasts.
    I am, as strong as an aging sapling, weathering the storm.
    As the vines that take root, wither and reseed
    to climb and possess the fortress walls,
    I am…

  • There. She had slain the dragon. Her hands trembled as they held the bloodied sword. She was exhausted. Only a portion of the castle stood, its grey walls glistening in the morning rain. But that was alright. Though the battle had been tough, she had survived. Now she could rebuild despite her mother’s untimely death, despite her husband wandering off to parts unknown, saying he needed to journey alone. She would take one stone at a time, lift it up and place it one on top of the other until the castle was complete, until she had a place of her own.

  • I was fine before I met you… happy, creative, full of wonder, life and light. Then my world crashed and fell apart. “Too sensitive. Fragile like a paper doll,” your mother hissed as she sneered at my creation. You took her side and stole away my independence. You made a ruin of my castle in the sky. You tore a strip off me and then you left me here to die. But I won’t give up! I’ll pick up the pieces and emerge, a stronger, better me… full of new wonder, life and light!

  • tanka

    No longer able
    her dream began to crumble
    dimming her outlook.
    Strong, with stoic endurance
    her tears washed away her pain.

  • Headstone
    Eyes of the soul you’ve seen too much
    Your youth sacrificed by the enemy
    Bombing your homeland and leaving you for dead
    Still you rise above the impossible and turn masses of grey into subtle shades of brightness
    You take control of your destiny and forge ahead

  • Mother Nature

    The weight of mankind’s ruin
    rests precariously on my head.
    I weep for the loss of life, lost value of life.
    With Each drop of blood shed
    the earth spins a little more slowly
    the wind blows a little less energetically
    the fires burn a little less brightly
    and the water flows a little less vigorously.
    Color of life is slowly leaving my surface.
    You are almost out of time
    The burden is getting too heavy
    I would hang my head in shame
    For I know what is to come,
    but dare not lest you all fall off.

  • The pain, sorrow, and heartache is felt through the layers of Mother Earth . She weeps as the destruction of mankind tears away at her precious gift to them all . The life and abundance that once thrived for generations , upon generations has begun to fade away. Bringing tears to Mother Earth like the rushing waters of the northern spring thaw. As she hangs on to preserve what little life still remains deep, deep into her gift to mankind. Herself !

  • Kathryn Edgecombe December 9, 2014 at 9:58 pm

    THE PORTRAIT

    Memories grow like dead fortresses,
    Broken and crumbling.
    Tears flow –
    Rain from bygone days
    Interrupting the movement
    Of the sun.

    An alternative story to be
    Printed on smoked glass
    Transparent, but not quite.

    The past feels etched in stone.
    Illusion disintegrating, transforming
    Turning to mist swirling upwards –
    Held tightly in clenched fists
    That distorts. And

    Builds a mote around the rubble
    Impeding the invention
    Of a narrative constructed
    With marble and glass,
    Airy windows to let in the breeze
    And the golden dawn.

  • They tell me that I am a strong woman; that I have accomplished much, that I have forged ahead and built a good life. But this is the truth, this is the real me; the falling apart, not the building up, the ruins of my life constantly on my mind, the tears I have cried creating a series of moat-like structures that make parts of me inaccessible, my clothing the colour of dying roses. Whose drops of blood are these? They are mine. Maybe I am strong, maybe I am not. I look ahead and think of home.

  • The weight of remembering lay heavy upon her brow. Layered bricks now piled in a heap of ruins. A mess. A burden she was doomed to carry. And the sorrow of them carved deep, leaving behind the savage welts of bright suffering she embraced. Tears, silent tears; she wept copiously for the past. For the horrors. For the loss. For the multitudes of sins she could not erase, no matter how her heart bled. And oh, it bled. As it would always bleed.
    For the suffering. For the damned. She was one of them now. The unclean.

  • Innocence lost!
    Elizabeth struggled to maintain her composure! She had dreamed this life as long as she could remember. She had come to this place with such high spirits – literally.
    She had engaged with heart and passion. Now it was crumbling. She believed in angels. They were real as any child would concur. Too late she realized the innocence she preferred had no concept of good or evil, no internal thought of right or false. Now she had to deal with the external concept which belongs to the mind, which stems from the will and from understanding………..

  • I built a castle on my head; my refuge when faced with
    life’s insurmountable hurdles.

    There I found peace, bliss and freedom to do as I please.
    Till I met a man I thought was the ONE; to share my beautiful
    castle for a lifetime.

    We were happy and in love, but not for long. He wanted to be free
    from the shackles I’ve bound him with; he complained.
    “Not true,” I said.

    When he left, my castle was completely ruined. Bricks and stones
    crumbled down. Mortars thickened my flowing tears.
    My castle collapsed: so did my life.

  • NOT A SCULPTURE

    I’m not a sculpture;
    You can’t mould me
    Into what you want me to be
    I have a heart and soul
    I have dreams and goals
    I’ve carried your seed
    Cut me, I’ll bleed!
    I’ve smiled with great joy over the years
    At times my pain has spilled over into tears
    But no-one can break me;
    I’m not a sculpture, you see
    I have an indomitable spirit
    I’m blessed with human emotions and wit
    I’m not made of paper or clay; I have a brain
    Life can knock me down, but I’ll rise time and again

  • Marie Beswick-Arthur December 15, 2014 at 8:37 pm

    Midlife Primer: See Hannah advise. See Mary’s Epiphany.

    “You did it?” Hannah slurped too much frozen margarita.

    “As instructed. Closed eyes. Summoned future self. Asked it, her, me: should I do it?”

    “Leave him, you mean”.

    Mary nodded while sipping her vino tinto. Overspill darkened her lips and bled above the lip-line.

    “What’d she look like?”

    “Kinda rocked out, but not diamonds. Her head—”.

    “A faux-hawk?”

    “No. A castle’s ruins. A cathedral wronged.”

    “On your future self’s head.”

    “Yes. Or in my head.”

    “Shit, brain freeze.”

    “You never said meditation would be metaphorical.” Another drowning sip. “You said if I asked my future self she’d answer.”

  • Dreams of her homeland haunted her. ‘War changes everything’ was her new mantra. She was stepping out of the cab at Das Hotel Ritz-Carlton when the bomb fell. The stone building had exploded, chunks of debris hurled toward her, a rock gashed her shoulder and bloodied her new blue dress. She froze in the street, people ran past her, screaming, crying.

    She was supposed to meet her parents and sister inside. She watched in horror as the walls crumbled and the flames rose higher, her world collapsing around her.

    How do you stop the tears from falling, and the hate from devouring your soul?

  • And from her dreams ran sorrows that fed the seas. On her marriage day, she saw her children born, grown and passed, her parents in the earth, her man build a home, defend and lose it, then build again. Her vision swept on into old worlds, new worlds, the skies beyond the thin window of her dressing room where cold stone warmed near the fire. She swept aside her homespun veil, tilting her head back, and drew the living blue sky into her heart, promising never to dream again.

  • Life splatters a canvas
    with crumbled dreams
    of a bruised soul.
    Death salts the image
    destroying its magnificence
    but its wisdom is immortal.

  • she sensed
    the link broken
    felt the sting
    he just stopped
    loving her
    no rationale
    a ruin
    imperceptible
    mind energy
    her gaze devoid
    no one knew
    she knew

  • Shattered by Darryl Foster

    Our homes, our lives: shattered. The earth doesn’t discriminate. The shaking, the crumbling of walls, the crushing weight of rock. Many died. The ruins of our village poured over us like a great wave of despair. The young and strong knocked to their knees. The elders, the ones who’d built the foundations before us, didn’t’ see ruin like my generation. Hopeless. But to the old, they who’d seen wars and the ravages of time, they saw something different: opportunity. And like a sapling springing up between rocks, its roots stretching for water and nutrients, we began to build again.

  • The colour dripped slowly from her life without notice and a stark existence emerged.

    In her mind the walls of stigma grew and soon she could only see herself as weak.

    “Snap out of it.” She told herself, echoing the words of others. “Think positive.”

    But the dense fog had taken root and she knew from experience that she had a long road to recovery.

  • My mind was a brick wall,
    impenetrable,
    tough and strong.
    But like bricks,
    with time they fall apart,
    My mind is a mess.
    My mind is broken.
    He broke me down,
    brick by brick.
    He tried to build me back up,
    He couldn’t.
    I trusted,
    I opened up,
    I fell.
    Now, I wonder when I’ll completely collapse.

  • She found her “Prince”! It was not long until their lives were intertwined. But, within a year, every attempt to nurture their relationship and build their dreams was torn down by his condescending comments, his egocentric attitude and his male chauvinist insults. She became a commodity, used, then tossed aside. Their home became a war zone. Her dreams, imagination and spirit crumbled into ruins that were hardened and broken. One by one they vaporized and deterioted, flowing out of her mind like the tears that flowed down her face.

  • Martha had the feeling of ‘déjà vu’ near the ruins of the castle. The stones and mortar from its walls had fallen everywhere. She entered the large hall with broken columns. In a flash it became alive with uniformed, armoured men. She climbed what remained of the winding staircase and remembered to walk to the window facing the front. The enemy was fast advancing toward the castle. Angry, she turned around to give orders to her General. But she saw a strange man urging her to hurry up. “Hurry where?” she asked, confused. “Mam,the tour bus is leaving soon.”

  • Mirror to Future
    By Dinesh Patel

    The mirror to our future,
    lies buried in the past.
    Conjoined with feeble suture
    of shattered images that last.

    Crumbling ruins tell a tale,
    of paths chosen in haste,
    that led us to fall, fail
    and drive efforts to waste.

    A timeless face looks within
    the labyrinth of our desires,
    revealing follies, chagrin
    compelling to flare pyres.

    Today is yesterday’s offspring,
    for tomorrow will remain unborn.
    As from pain dreams we wring,
    and of misfortunes forewarn.

    Despite despair, thoughts impaired,
    without ample reasons by our side;
    with nonchalant egos flared;
    false pride, yet we’ll ride the tide!

  • GHOST OF CATHARINA

    Haunted centuries spent languishing in loss had melded Catharina’s likeness with the surrounding Roman ruins. Near dusk, the ghost of Catharina alarmed sightseers who sauntered about the crumbling ruins. Her ethereal likeness floated high above the forum hall as sun faded to twilight. Catharina’s demise after witnessing her husband being devoured by hungry lions, in A.D. 150, had triggered these eerie hauntings. That old villain, Time, had eroded her goddess-like features. Would her lover still desire her? Only Catharina’s desperate need to hold him close against her hungry heart, when sated, could release her sad soul to soar heavenward

  • Eternal Flame
    By Dinesh Patel

    Gone yesterday,
    tomorrow forgotten!
    Flaming cinders
    dazzles, douses
    burning passion,
    of inert soul.

    Crumbling thoughts,
    rumpling plots,
    guilty whispers.
    Piercing eyes
    reveal all
    with disdain.

    Herculean burden
    of buried past
    weigh down
    hope-laden
    sparkling brows,
    intense minds!

    Tears, blood,
    mixed, mingled
    tell tales
    of treachery.
    Innocent voices,
    silenced screams!

    But hope,
    struggles, springs
    as foal snared.
    Freedom betrayed
    love dashed
    on barren shore!

    Yet doused flame
    will flicker
    and blaze
    through evil,
    vices, violence
    to stand supreme!

  • He made her feel one dimensional, flat. She felt unable to speak or even move when he was nearby. It was not long ago when things were very different. Hadn’t it only been a year ago, when she felt so intoxicatingly infatuated with him? Back then he made her feel alive, vibrant, and almost weightless. She remembered the night they met, at that party when they were both so lost and just trying to endure life. Their conversation flowed effortlessly and they laughed as if they’d been friends for decades.
    Now she just felt edited, crumpled up and tossed aside.

  • Asteria
    Picturesque in adorned beauty; ramparts adorned her hair; melting in the chaldron of life. Asteria gazed into the setting sun for a sign. None was evident.
    She was cast into the earthly realm to serve her penance among the humans. The Greek gods were angry with her. Asteria was motionless.
    High cheekbones and full lips paled against her stone eyes. Her pitted forehead attested to the fact that she had been dead for decades. Cast out of Olympus, she was turned to stone to be an example of the punishment given to sinners.

  • Jadis and Pendaran

    This feeling had never been felt before. It was quite strange, a slight tingle but in her soul, Jadis knew it was right. It began in her bosom and was spreading in all directions. It wasn’t long before the blue crystals had thawed enough that she could perceive the person of Pendaran Dyfed staring at her from across the feast board. Liquid coursed from her face; her cheeks acquired blush. So, this was the end of the Ice Queen. The fire of Pendaran Dyfed’s passion had melted her heart. Her lips, now scarlet, curved into their first smile.

  • He could tell pieces of my life were coming back to haunt me and he was using it against me. What other choices did I have? Regardless how much I tried to transform myself, built a new identity, a new home or even moved to another country, unfinished business caught up with me. Of course there were skeletons in my closet, literally, but I never thought he would become one of them. The ruins of my life are but equal to the pain and hatred I brought along with me everywhere I went.

  • She was four when she crafted her first brick. She buried her hurt deep within the smooth white stone. It was so beautiful and flawless, without imperfections. Over the years she had crafted enough bricks to build a house where love, trust, desire, joy, passion and wonder were all kept safely locked away in its rooms. Hope was the last left free to roam. Hope was fading, losing strength, on the verge of disappearing altogether. Then she saw him and with all its strength, Hope started knocking down the walls.

  • Panic started to set in when she realized she was lost. When she came upon the same three stones that she had been circling for what seemed like an eternity she could feel tears bubbling to the surface. They began pouring out of her in waves. She fell to her knees and continued to sob. When she looked up something caught her eye. A set of ancient markings etched into the third stone. She stood up and crept closer. The second her fingers touched the stone the ruins started to spin around her. She cried out, than everything went black.

  • Your expression is so cold.

    Look at your heart inside that castle of ice – what’s the point of having one at all if you let it die?

    When flesh thaws, the first thing we feel is pain. It’s horrible, it stings, at times it’s unbearable. We scream, we shake, we cry out. We want it to stop. But the anguish subsides when warm blood moves through our defrosting arteries.

    You will heal, though there will always be scars. Damage makes us who we are.

    Love is the warmth melting away your fear. It will take time. And I will wait.

  • You know that old abandoned, stone house at the edge of town? That’s where Ricky first kissed me. We were just fourteen, two kids in love. Sweethearts all through high school, you know. Then I went to college and he joined the military. I begged him not to leave but he said he’d be back. He kissed me and went off to Afghanistan. Yeah, we wrote. I waited, desperate for him to come back, but he never returned. He was killed in action. That’s why my heart is like stone doc, broken and empty, just like that old, abandoned house.

  • CASTLES IN THE SKY

    We had our pipe dreams and castles in the sky, like most young
    lovers. Now I wear our dreams like a red and blue and black bruise around
    my shoulders. The castles are melting into my sadness that surrounds me.
    Where did you go ? Who was it that called you away from me ?

  • CONFUSION – 100 words:
    “Hey Shel?”
    “Uh . . . Hullo?”
    “Shel. It’s me Nanc.”
    “What time is it?”
    “Almost 5:30.”
    “In the morning?”
    “I just needed to talk to you.”
    “Okay, I’m still pissed but go ahead, shoot.”
    “What was in that hair straightener you gave to me?”
    “Hair straightener?”
    “Stuff you poured into the green bottle.”
    “Oh, that. If you buy the hype, the package says enchanted castle dust, witching well water.”
    “And you let me drink it?”
    “Drink it? You rub it into your hair!”
    “You told me to drink it.”
    “No, I said let your hair drink it.”
    “Fuck.”
    “Fuck.”

  • As I walk, the night triggers the vestiges of me. I just emptied my soul, out there. I am scared to look ahead, although I need it. I wish it clears out, somehow. I hardened my love. Is it hopeless? Bellowing in silence for the present to alter, I crave for the world to thin out, since I want to move forward. Can I still reach for help? The resilient fear puts everything to a halt. Will that dissolve one day? I must look upon myself, now. This is my awakening. I have just become an adult.

  • “That’s beautiful.” Amy points at the picture on the way to my bedroom. “Who did it?”

    I wrap my arms around her tiny waist. “My sister.”

    “It’s so sensual.”

    “You think?” I nuzzle her slender neck.

    “Such intricate detail, a collage of life.”

    I tip my head and close one eye. Nope. Not seeing it. “Uh-huh.”

    “What’s she like? Your sister.”

    “When she takes her meds she’s almost normal.”

    “She must have been in so much pain.”

    I shake my head. “Nope, she’s just a bit of a flake.” Seriously, how tough is it to get laid in this town?

  • The glaciers slowly release their icy grip letting their cold, clear discharge wash over the Great Mother’s visage like weeping. Her broad shoulders cast the flow between her proud mountains to pool on the flat prairie of her belly before trickling through the tangled thicket to disappear down the crevice ‘tween hard thighs. Mother is stoic in this warming phase, knowing that time means change; the ages will frostify her once more but though her beauty may change, it persists without end. Only in the eyes of her anxious lovers is she threatened.

  • Unfinished stories linger in our minds like stone ruins
    We try to wipe away the nagging whispers that continue to
    wash over us like unexpected thunder showers
    Echos of forgotten voices loiter uninvited in our thoughts
    Eyes that try to focus on tomorrow but are blinded by yesterdays ghosts
    Unfinished stores have something to tell you
    BE STILL AND LISTEN

  • I coagulate my thoughts into diverse projections,
    the flow from colour to form to emotion all emanating from the Unmanifest.
    I am all the potentialities of the Prism,
    caught in the karmic wheel of time and space until I wake.

  • The experience changed her; the way she viewed herself and her purpose.

    “We’ll go to the place she was born,” her mother’d said. “It’s not much to look at now, but in its day, it had a regal form – not unlike your grandmother, herself.”

    The sky that haloed the homestead ruins gave off the ominous threat of snow. The leafless, ancient trees around the perimeter bent inward as though ready to support any further advancing lean.

    She stepped onto the foundation of the structure, pulled her thin silk wrap around her shoulders and whispered, “I’ll carry you with me, always.”

  • Embers and ruins.
    Breathe in.
    A smallish soul, smelling of clay.
    Exhale.

    I built this. I destroyed it. It was my right.
    But my thoughts and senses
    They are gathering
    Making sense
    Now
    Answering their Maker’s call.
    They scream: I am coming.

  • TW for assault

    Ode to a Father’s Daughters

    Your yielding neck, Wife.
    Joyous tears from Your eyes,
    Down Your glowing face,
    Into the resurrected moat.

    I climbed ruins.
    In England,
    Scotland,
    Wales – now Your breakdown, My Wife.

    The castles of the Isles –
    Took centuries,
    To slant –
    After punching You in the back –

    It took moments to make You collapse.
    A sweet heap,
    The floor at My feet,
    You surrendered to My battle.

    Did not abdicate.
    Victorious –
    Like My Father,
    Dealt You what He taught My Mother.

    This shield passed down.
    Love My Daughters,
    Have to teach Them too,
    Chumps, do not be.

  • There was a hole where there should have been a window: a scar on a corpse, she thinks. Corpses don’t feel the injury of their scars but on them remains the ligatures of life: lines across death. Death is a line we’ll all cross but never nigh for those whose tears wish it washed away. And that’s what it is, she thinks, to be alive after a love: too much time. Time seeps into the fabric of the world and makes ruins of it. There’s still time in life for love and corpses but there’s no life in time.

  • **CONTEST CLOSED** Good luck to all entrants!

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