Story Starter January – Annabelle Murray

Moon Fruit January

We had some great entries with our December Story Starter! Thank you, and good luck to all who entered.

Our January Story Starter features a beautiful work by Annabelle Murray.

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 January inspiration piece:

Moon Fruit January






















Annabelle Murray

Annabelle Murray

About The Artist:

Annabelle Jane Murray is an artist and writer residing near Port Perry, Ontario. Born in 1961 in London, England. Annabelle has a B.A. from Queen’s University, with a subsequent career as a graphic designer. Annabelle is a poet with two published chapbooks of poetry, and winner of many awards and recognition for her writing and art.

Annabelle is a self-taught artist. Her subjects are expressions of nature using acrylic, pastel, and ink. Many of her pieces include her writing as an additional layer to the work. The final painting is a portal into the beauty of the natural world.

Annabelle initially exhibited her artwork in 2009, and has been showing her work in various venues ever since. Most recently over 50 pieces were exhibited at a solo exhibition at the Kent Farndale Gallery in Port Perry in July 2015. Annabelle was also a guest on the 2015 Lake Scugog Studio Tour, Durham West Studio Tour, and the Uxbridge Studio Tour.

In addition to her original artwork, all of her work is available in fine art prints. For more information and selections of Annabelle’s work, please visit her website at or contact her at 416 897-1014.

Want to check out the December entries? Click here.

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

  • An eye in the sky
    Watchful, piercing the blueness
    Life sparkles in awe.

  • On The Nemogosenda

    Under a Carl Sagan sky,
    the narrow inlet
    barely breathes
    jack pine

    The moon oozes from
    the horizon
    and extends
    a serrated finger
    that invites,

    In its evening lullaby
    the Boreal forest
    darkly dozes
    and waits,
    and watches,
    and plans
    for tomorrow.

    In the dying campfire
    a cedar branch
    and showers

    The overturned canoe
    my supplies.

    My sleeping bag

    A loon moans

  • Hayley Cornelius January 1, 2016 at 6:02 pm

    The sun dipped behind us, signalling everyone else to leave the falls. We stayed alone on the rocks that jutted into the river, the noise of the water rushing past us forced the silence between us. I willed the moon to freeze in place. If it stayed suspended bright and full in front of us, he wouldn’t leave in a few minutes, the summer wouldn’t end and my parents wouldn’t send my sister to look for me, making me come home. He could sit beside me, forever about to hold my hand for the first time.

  • Marie Beswick-Arthur January 1, 2016 at 8:04 pm

    The first time I kissed the moon, I became disoriented when the small-me looked up, up, up through the canopy. Only the sound of the river steadied me; brought me back to earth so that I could release my dreams downstream. It was then I took the setting—earth to sky—and, as if it were a bandanna, tied it around my thigh so that I would always walk with nature.

  • Can you hear them?
    They are everywhere, in everything
    Their whispers nearly indistinguishable
    They brush your skin, you breath in their essence
    I’ve felt them, though I cannot see with my eyes
    The energy is alive with them
    They protect her, our mother
    I cannot imagine such a place without them
    The silent but present vibration keeps everything flowing
    I walk among them and smile
    For the elementals share the same heart as you and I

  • Nathalie Balakji Balabanian January 1, 2016 at 9:20 pm

    Where does it flow….

    Where does the river flow
    As the flowers bloom and grow
    The sky bright and eternal
    The earth is our gift and it is special

    Where might we be going
    Is our picture bright and glowing
    Or do tears fill the rivers as they travel
    Can we STOP, and simply marvel

    What is the bigger picture?
    Do our lives reflect something deeper
    Can we be the beauty in this world as in the beginning
    Or get swallowed by oceans of ongoing suffering

    Could we make it picture perfect?
    Though it can never be
    To try is to live free!

  • Riverbends

    I follow life’s river; I wind and I wend
    Without ever knowing what’s ’round the next bend.
    My journey unfolds as a string of surprises
    With hidden potential each time the sun rises.

    Some days I have dreamed of a magical wand
    To capture the future and quickly respond,
    To learn if I’ve time to repair all my messes,
    To see far-off places and try on silk dresses.

    But then I think no, I shall stay here and play.
    To pass through tomorrow would ruin today.

  • The Hwy 69 bridge over French River offers a break from the monotony of pavement and birch trees and transport trucks flanking my comparatively tiny green Toyota,

    Sun reflecting off the water,
    Rocks glistening with moisture and minerals,
    Trees twisting and stretching upwards,

    Seeming like a gateway between my life down south in the suburbs and my longing to stay up north, with my heart.

  • Winter Solstice

    Faces drawn towards the light
    Shadows fall behind
    Red as the blood and fire
    That pulses in your veins
    Blue as the sea and sky
    Offering stability with each tide, each dawning
    On whirling eddies hope rushes in
    Hushing despair, claiming life
    With this Winter Solstice

    I’m in awe of these freshly painted evening skies
    And hypnotized by the flitting fireflies
    An age-old song flows straight from my heart
    And caresses God’s magnificent work of art
    There’s a fire in my soul; it burns as brightly as the stars
    In my dream, Venus sweetly seduces Mars
    I am one with the sleepy forest scene
    And the lake so sparkling and serene
    Everything in my world is as it should be
    Suddenly the mystic moon winks and smiles just for me
    Then she sprinkles snow-white icing
    Upon this delicious slice of Heaven that I’m savouring


    It’s another sleepless night, my oh my
    I long for Mr. Sandman and his ancient lullaby
    But I wait in vain
    I guess he’s lost his way again

    I smile when my ethereal friend glides across the sky!
    I gaze upon her beauty; oh she with the Heavenly eye
    She unveils her silken soft blanket of sweet dreams
    And I’m soon counting moonbeams

    200 moonbeams later and I’m a little less weepy
    1000 moonbeams later and I’m pretty sleepy
    I sail away into the land of peaceful sleep and wonder
    Upon this endless river with its shades of sparkling silver

  • My paddle draws liquid kisses from the river as the distance rumble of the waterfall is nearly drowned by the cicadas call. The moon guides my way with glowing, cotton fingers and still waters reflect the firefly sparks.
    But these are more than just fireflies. They fill the air, a kaleidoscope of colours that fill my head with the tinkling of minuscule bells.
    The sound and colours overwhelm me with a sense of peace almost claustrophobic, encompassing all and the water dances along.
    I close my eyes and give myself to them as my canoe slides over the edge.

    Trip down endless river. Peace. Tranquility. Breeze. Pine tree smell. Am I paddling a canoe or in a sampan moving through mangroves? The tinkle of water is universal, silences differ. Dampness varies — chokes in Ghana, envelopes in Mexico, reassures in Algonquin Park. Do I hear Spanish or English or African tongues, or Khmer sing-song on Lake Tonle Sap? Are those cicadas or parrots or woodpeckers? I am in travel-mode, mindful, centred, relaxed. Happy to be alive and loving this moment. Thankful to the woman in blue for painting the scene that takes me everywhere.

  • My life is in its moon phase.
    Gone is the brilliant sun of youth
    With all its promise.

    Life is gentler now, the days drift
    Like clouds across the moonlit sky.
    I am happy.

    My river of existence continues its inevitable journey;
    But my memories stay – like submerged pebbles –
    That I call to mind as I please.

  • my first kiss was by the river that flows behind mama’s house
    where blue waters meet with lofty skies
    the trees, silhouette of smiles, dinosaurs
    lollipops, sliver of watermelon
    from there I hear tales by moonlight
    shared by mama and her age grades
    to children gathered every full moon to hear
    tales of metamorphosis of neighboring flora, the fauna
    myths of the lush hills, how the highlight of studs crystallized
    legend of silver linings behind patches of cloud
    fables upon fables upon fables
    there I sat enraptured in kisses
    the fading tales, a beautiful symphony

  • Down the speeding river without a paddle, splashing away with my hands, desperately trying to get to shore, knowing it’s inadequate but doing it anyway because its the only choice I can see – better than doing nothing. Doing nothing doesn’t get you out of the rushing river, only gives you time to contemplate the next bend and the hidden falls. At the turn, the sky is reflected in the suddenly smooth water where a crisp moon, sluicing clouds and stars are sucked into the sharp drop off. A lovely moonlit night that’s about to end abruptly.

  • Neptune Delight:

    On Enceladus the poppy trees grow,
    Under the cold light of the Titan moon.
    The icy rivers reflects her glow,
    And the lavender corn begins to bloom.

    At midnight rise the fairies sow,
    Harebells, sweet peas, and macaroon,
    Flitting in giggles between the rows,
    Beginning the first of June.

    Lollipop bushes gather the crows,
    Preening their iridescent plumes.
    They squawk and caw and compete to show
    Who has the brightest stripe of maroon.

  • Help.
    The moon searches for me.
    Does she hunt for you?
    I swam across the river.
    To escape.
    To escape. The moon’s light.
    I am hiding in the forest.
    The moon still hunts for me.
    Is she hunting for you?
    The moon’s light illuminates all the foliage.
    No darkness left wherein I can hide.
    All is a ghostly silver hue.
    I can see all of you.
    You can see all of me.
    The Moon hunts us both.
    We have nowhere to hide.
    All is illuminated by the Eye of the moon.
    All that we hid is now uncovered.

  • We belong to the universe – twinkling among the stars, howling with the wind, flowing in all water, making up the dust and air.

    We are beautiful works of art – holding each other, expressing love, living and continuously being replenished back to the Earth.

    We live among stardust – golden hearts shining bright, energy that is recycled and transformed, feelings that are deep, electric and wondrous.

    When we take all of the pain away, we are love and light. That’s what we really are.

  • Karen stood in the middle of the wooden bridge and gazed into the water rushing below her. The river seemed quieter than it should be, she thought. The water was moving quickly, but it was deep enough and free enough of obstacles, that it raced past with stealth. Watching it made her head spin. She looked up. The moon illuminated the world around her in spectacular, uncanny detail. The hushed forest seemed to buzz with secret life. Karen sensed, with certainty, that she was only one of many dots of life here. The knowledge brought her unfamiliar peace.

  • If we feel small
    When comparing ourselves
    With the moon –
    Bright and magnanimous,
    Beacon and berth –
    She understands.

    She knows what it is to be
    Second-fiddle to her golden brother,
    And lush, life-giving sister,
    Who sustains us and we walk upon.

    Yet, she whispers quietly
    In the dark
    Lighting up the river,
    Anointing the trees,
    And blessing our tears,
    Here we are together.

  • Hi Writers! I am delighted and honoured by the beautiful pieces of writing inspired by my painting ‘Moon Fruit’. Thank you so much for the invitation to participate in your January Story Starter.
    – Annabelle

  • The sky museum is open twenty-four seven. When it’s dark, look up to connect the dots, count the stars, or just think about heaven. When it’s light, look for blue skies, rainbows or fluffy bunnies. I’m a cloud. I’m holding lots of rain. I’m stretching out from my core, making a full circle. I’m trying to compete with Mr. Moon. I know I can’t. But if you look closely, my eye is following you.

  • The moon appeared from behind the clouds revealing dancing waters splashing through the woods below. In the darkness thousands of fireflies danced through the branches in rhythm with natures song.

  • Sugar River rolls the happy Heaven-Babies home. Fairy-Angels dance and slurp sunshine on the surface of the river. Moonlight man sings his Maternity Song. Heaven-Babies drop from the blue sky, bounce along the trees and fly into the river, swept down to the warm arms of marmalade mothers reaping the morning’s harvest at dawn. Moonlight man is delighted.

  • Inspired by the imagination
    fueling the brush
    which dared caress
    the blank canvas from left
    to right then back again,
    pausing to swirl while contemplating
    the contours of the moon.
    Inspired by vivid colours
    dotting the landscape into trees
    which curve away from the
    effervescence of the evening
    water, my fingers gently tap keys
    to create words which, though inspired,
    fall flat – like a love song
    designed to capture one’s
    feelings for a Lover (past or present).
    I fail to capture the essence of anything
    other than the complex elusiveness
    of translating emotion into

  • I stood beside him on the rustic wooden bridge above the starlit lake
    There between all our past and future
    All that existed in that moment was him and I
    Everything danced with an intoxicating shimmer
    “See how the moonlight sparkles like diamonds on the calm lake,”
    he said as he drew me closer
    He pointed to the calm aquatic world below
    The incandescent scene exploded with emotion and vibrancy
    I knew our love transcended all that existed in time

    I awoke and kissed our wedding ring that rests beside my husband’s ashes
    “Until we meet again my love…”

  • Summer Skies

    Dream of starlit nights,
    losing oneself to infinity
    questioning time, direction.
    We lay there that summer
    as if we were forever
    on that dock that rocked us into comfort.
    Remember how long a day was?
    We didn’t work that summer, spent it at the cottage.
    One last hurrah to youth before responsibility
    made us march in time
    faster, more, quick, hurry
    one day blurs into the next and then its house and kids and you forget how to breathe
    take mindfulness to remember
    how to be
    like the 17 year old kid
    at home for her last summer.

  • “I wouldn’t swim if I were you,” he said.

    I turned in surprise at the sound of his voice with my bent leg frozen in the air.

    “Why? The water’s beautiful.” I looked along the gently ruffled surface of the river. The reflection of the night sky mirrored the sequins on my party dress lying a few feet away.

    “Caiman.” His eyes travelled up and down my body, but I couldn’t read his expression.

    I defiantly dipped the tips of my toes, daring him to stop me. He smiled, then turned and walked away into the darkness of the forest.

  • I saw where the moon was leading me. I pulled back, watched the path that went straight, the path lined with all the good things of life. Until, the old one came to me, reminded me of my responsibility.
    Take the path she said. Take the one that is rough and blood encrusted. There’s where your strength will come from.
    But the colorful flowers and the moon’s pull were too much for me. I stepped into the unforgiving water and waded to the edge.
    She reached out, caught me before I slipped beyond the falls.

  • A Moon in Memory

    I see it often…that haunting moon above the tree line as I gaze down the bay. It taunts me so that I cannot look away, even if it is only a memory, a trigger to happy, laughter filled days before the world turned upside down, before the days of sickness and sadness. They were days as lovely as that silvery moon suspended in the sky. It shimmered on the water far below our house. It touched the very places where the loons had cried before night fell. It carried memories of a time long passed.

  • Night Fishing
    “Don’t be such a baby !” My sister spat, ” the moon is full and bright, it’s like sunshine in the afternoon.”
    ” You know we both hate fishing . You begged me to come just so you could see Danny. It’s dark and cold, let’s just go home now .” I pleaded and stomped.
    We both froze in our tracks , when the gun shot pierced the silence .

    Dewdrops like pearls sparkled on the trees along the shoreline of the stream and the stars’ reflections danced in the water. The full moon glided among the pale clouds in the calm, blue night sky.
    The serenity belied the horror lurking in the awaiting dawn.

  • Firefly dancers
    Pollinating the forest edge
    With a confectioner’s touch.
    Across the cobalt sky
    With flecks of stardust dangling from their toes,
    A jet stream of constellations maps their journey.
    Moontime Dreaming
    Like a conversation in Braille,
    Taps out their lights of celebration
    In pirouettes around the moon.

  • The Drowning
    Once the body was identified , The Herald sent me out to report the story. I was troubled from the outset. ” How could Arne Smith drown in this babbling brook ? He was a competitive swimmer , in fact ranked in the top three in Ontario. ” This would be my first question .
    Although it wasn’t my job to be an amateur detective , I intended on doing just that.

  • “And there were these…dots…of light.”

    “Like fireflies?”

    “Sure. Well, not really. Like energy clustered around everything alive.”

    He chuckled. “I knew you’d say something like that.”

    I paused, resenting his implicit rejection of the concept. Still, I couldn’t stop. “And the colours deepened into rich jewel tones, you know? ”

    He smirked, and readjusted his pillow.

    I pressed on. “I kept blinking but the more I blinked the more vivid everything became.”

    He grunted.

    “And the moon was this…beacon.” I faltered there as his disinterest settled around me. “Never mind.” I rolled over in the darkness, and planned my return.

  • Never Give Up

    I’ve been a prisoner for ten years.
    My captor is calling me.
    His voice is sugary sweet, like a conniving devil’s should be.

    Only my nose is poking through the river water.
    It’s a full moon. I can feel him watching me.
    He’s like an animal waiting to pounce on his prey.

    I hear sirens, though, so I gingerly lift my head.
    My torturer is running away. Yes!
    Saving hands grab me.
    “Oh God,” an officer says, his face crumbling in pain.
    “I found you. Finally, I found you. I never gave up, Mom. Never.”

  • Wendy Barrick Rhead January 31, 2016 at 1:06 am

    The Riverwalk in San Antonio, Texas is lined with restaurants, fiesta’s, Mardi Gras festivities, and riverboats. The transformed river now attracts twenty-six million visitors annually.
    As I sit by the rivers edge I imagine the day when this tranquil spot was first discovered, before man “made modifications”. Natural beauty in the raw, a time before the electrical glittering lights strung in the trees replaced the twinkling of the stars. The moon had no competing light. It danced off the water and reflected like mini mirrors along the horizon. It was a peaceful place for inner reflection.

  • They say that magic is dead. That all their elements left this world when the sun beat down and exposed them. But what do they know anyway. Magic is all around us, beckoned from their shadows by the gentle light of the moon.
    They say that magic is dead. That faeries, unicorns, nymphs and ancient deities left this world and will never return. But they are wrong. Magic returns each night, stirred by the sound of the first twilight cricket.
    They say that magic is dead. That we are wrong to believe in such things. But who are they anyway.

  • Blue is the water beneath my feet.
    Underneath this illuminating moon lit sky,
    I can feel the cool solstice breeze.

    Come forth my serenity,
    My bliss,
    My fortune of this encompassing nature.

    Let the sweet scents of trees engulf me.
    To send me to place of free sensations;
    To a place full of sweet dreams and pleasantries.

    Sparkling with divine colours of life
    On this very ethereal night;
    I am guided through the waltz of my life.
    This night I shan’t not forget.

  • The stream ran like a jaguar; graceful and vigorous. Kavya plucked the ripest tamarillo from a nearby tree, and plunged it into the water. The liquid adorned her dry hands like a silk dress, and washed the dirt off the tamarillo’s fluorescent red skin. It looked more like a lamp than a fruit. Cautiously, Kavya took a small bite. It soured her mood and her tongue. She frowned as she scanned the surrounding trees, none of the other fruit were ready. She retrieved her knife and test tubes from her knapsack, and took a sample to return to the lab.

    Thanks and good luck to all who entered. Check out the February/2016 contest here:

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