Story Starter September – Lorette C. Luzajic

Story Starters Contest September 2014

We’re kicking off the 2014-2015 Story Starters Contest with a bang by featuring the stunning work of Lorette C. Luzajic!

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.

Story Starters Contest September 2014

Lorette C. Luzajic

Lorette C. Luzajic has channeled her overactive imagination and voracious curiosity about everything into collage-based mixed media art.

Every technical and philosophical facet of her art is committed to the application of mixed media, redefining the term to include concepts and ideas as well as tangible physical materials. This cross-genre pasticcio is born from and dependent on collage, which naturally experiments with subliminality, intercontextuality and the unexpected narratives that emerge from both playful and planned juxtapositions.

Assorted materials for a piece might include, for example, acrylic paint, oil stick, chalk pastel, eyeshadow, gum wrappers, a conversation heard on the bus, religious symbolism, spray paint, graphite, inspiration from a Michael Jackson song, snippets of poetry or Bible verses, found letters, vintage postcards, playing cards, newspaper clippings, a ghost story, photographs of people she’s never met, overt or hidden references to classic or contemporary literature, and glitter glue.

Lorette lives in Toronto, Canada, where she shows her art regularly. Her work was also featured recently in Expose: New Orleans as a twenty foot wide, ten foot high billboard. She is also a writer, with poetry, stories and articles published in hundreds of journals, zines, blogs, and papers. Her latest books include Kilodney Does Shakespeare, and Other Stories; Fascinating Artists; and Funny Stories About Depression.

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

  • Where is he?
    What would have compelled him to leave like that?
    Doesn’t he understand the commotion and turmoil he created?
    Is this some type of mid-life crisis or a way to get attention from everybody?

    Where am I?
    Chaotic but nevertheless in order.
    I feel anxious but at the same time a sense of familiarity with my surroundings.
    There is a dance of images. Like memories coming in and out of my mind.
    I don’t remember clearly but somehow I know who I am.

    Is he ever coming back?

    I am not quite sure where to go from here?

    • Dear Normand,
      I think you captured the essence of this art piece! Some parts of our lives are so definite yet some other parts are still blurred but nevertheless as important for us as human beings! It’s a little scary sometimes but answering the call of an adventure is the essence of our freedom. Something will happen or he will meet someone and he will be able to follow his path or find his dream!!! It’s normal to hesitate but no worry, he will find his answers pretty soon!!

      I will like to know what will happen next…

      Congratulations on your story, I cannot wait to read you again,
      Celine xx

  • There and Gone
    By: Star Spider

    He was there and gone so quickly. But the cars kept driving, the joggers jogged and everything looked so perfectly present it was impossible to imagine that anything had been lost.
    I was sure it was time just playing a trick so I screamed at the clocks for days, but they just ticked and tocked and refused to go any way but forward.
    Soon the memories of him started to blend together into a stain of colour, liquid and insubstantial, and all I had left was an impression, a guess, an ache.

  • Crayon Mystic
    By: Star Spider

    “See?” she says, holding the crayon as though it’s sacred. “This is what it looks like in the past.” The picture is obscured, colours and shapes buried under a thick layer of white wax. “This is now, but far from now.”

    I don’t know what to say. What do you tell your child when she’s showing you your future recollection of this very moment?

    She’s a mystic and that paper is her crystal ball.

    I want to rip it up, forget about the fact that this precious time will soon be lost, but instead I smile and say “good job”.

  • We laugh
    By: Star Spider

    We laugh because there’s nothing left, faces turned towards the sun, teeth white stacks of gleaming bone. There is paint on our hands because we were trying to say something to the world, but the message was lost in the infinite spaces between the weave of the canvas and we forgot what we were trying to say anyway. No matter, we shout as we open our mouths to taste the indigo sky, there are so many colours in the rainbow and more than enough ways to draw a straight line.

  • Marie Beswick-Arthur September 8, 2014 at 3:19 pm

    Little Brown Bird, sparkly stars: The deliverance of David Ferguson.

    Oh, how the world breathed for David Ferguson during his ninth summer. Liberated from the confines of the brownstone’s front steps, layers of city rolled out in gridded blocks bisected by grey alleys, the boy explored. Urban roars of red and shrieks of yellow, fast cars and faster women, numbers written in air, the hollow pavement a busy history of footsteps over-trod by David’s own hop, skip, jump en route the moon. And below, tunnels of trains and drains, and basement apartments with litter cluttered stairwells to subterranean dwellings in which to live and work as building maintenance men.

  • she watched him arrive
    in a million people they did meet
    their time rushing forward
    a chance to complete
    zero six seven nine eight,
    not even a date
    with thought about this
    wondered what did she miss
    the chaos surrounded
    he had played the whole game
    restricted his life for a purpose that came
    the notes
    the messages
    all intent on the same
    a future, no blame …
    she searched his eyes for a clue
    as he drew closer to view
    and then…
    she knew
    his numbers, his neck, he was free
    she awaited
    …his kiss.

  • My entry:
    Colours of Life
    A kaleidoscope of colour, activity……….
    Her mind blurred the shades, the hues
    She sifted through the confusion of life
    And tried not to drift…………
    She learned to drive in the red car
    Deriving a freedom unknown to the teenage her.
    Then later ~
    She waited outside the school
    For her children to come out
    And run to her, arms open for an after school hug.
    And now `~
    She stood alone
    Under the light on the corner of her street
    Remembering the days
    When she was not alone…..
    Her mind blurred the colours of her life.

  • In the blink of an eye

    Time goes so fast
    The writing is on the wall
    Colors of my being to brighten my day
    Past, present and future is on display
    For all the world to see
    Childhood games in the park
    Dashing between the cars
    Ghosts of family long ago deceased
    Surrounding me just beyond sight
    Teen years gone in a flash
    First love, first kiss
    Blink BLink
    Adulthood is now the norm
    Organized chaos in an unorganized world
    This is life

  • As we hurry along in the continuance of our lives,
    Battling demons and overcoming adversity helps us thrive,
    Coming and going in scribbling things down as we strive,
    Driving or running to dodge others is where we are at,
    Effectively managing our time and money before falling flat,
    Face to face in disagreement or joy builds all of this and that,
    Grappling with anger or fear strengthens our will to go on,
    Hoping for another fine tomorrow heading towards a new dawn,
    In times of good and bad we exhaust our energies in full,
    Just anticipating everything as never dull!

  • Whitney Collins-Wilson September 14, 2014 at 1:09 pm

    It ‘s always like this.

    The street, the people, the noise.

    Don’t they know it hurts my ears, my head, my thoughts?

    If only they would shut up long enough for me to get past.

    My vision blurs, I hold my head, close my eyes.

    That screaming horn. Is it for me?

    I’m in the street.

    Why am I here?

    “Quiet!” Escapes from my throat.

    “It’s Tuesday.” I mumble.

    They back away afraid of me yet not the chaos.

    It’s not going to work today.

    I retreat to my bedroom.

    Wrap my blankets around me.

    Until it’s all calm again.





  • Conversations from the Past

    Raging anger swims in my temple,
    I feel my pulse, even in my fingertips,
    My mind shifts into over drive,
    and the tires of this beat up chevy try to hug the road.

    Thoughts like whirling eddies
    Swirl like the fall leaves,
    That scatter in my dust.

    How long? Do I know her? Do you love her?

    Do you still love me?

    I wipe roughly at the tears,
    upset at myself for caring.

    Damn you, Damn her,
    Damn me for not paying attention,
    You tried to tell me,
    I didn’t listen.

    Will I forgive you?
    Will you let me?
    …I guess that remains to be seen.

  • My heart is full; my wallet empty. I own a red truck. At last.

    Wait! Those women sashaying by are way too close to my Very Berry Sparkle finish. Crap. Here comes a heedless kid. He’s running right through that mess of paint blobs. Doesn’t anybody watch their progeny anymore?

    My writing assignment will have to wait. I’m taking Harry (yes, I named it after the British spare heir) out of this picture, back home, safe. Oh, no. Loose gravel bouncing off the road, squealing brakes.

  • Bohemian artists, eager shoppers, playful children and relaxed tourists crowded the bustling downtown streets of Eastville, Georgia. A sudden break in the deathly heat of summer had infused a merry burst of energy throughout parks, beaches and downtown areas. Tippy, our eccentric town clown approached both children and adults with balloons and candy for their delight. Sparkling jewels, brilliant paintings, clothes of every color and style bedecked the vendor tables lining walkways. The air overflowed with joyous laughter and friendly greetings. It was the kind of day that made one think nothing could go wrong. But something was missing …….

  • This overcast day screams for bubbles. It stopped raining. Rain, or tears from heaven? It doesn’t matter now. I watch the wisps of liquid sunshine floating on the delicate spheres. When they disappear, I take another deep breath and pause. Slippery coolness envelopes my clubbed fingers. How many more breaths do I have left? Exhaled into a tiny prison, my breath is freed from its cage. The wind spirits my life away. Past pedestrians in the morning rush, it kisses a red car. My last dance. The bubble pops, delivering my gift to another soul.

  • Life can be funny, not in the ” haha” sense but rather the peculiar. A life filled with so many colorful memories fading into nothingness as a rainbow inevitably does. The faces blur and become unrecognizable, the events switch order like schoolchildren trading seats when a supply teacher shows up. The profound freedom that was discovered with my first car has now been taken from me. I lived my life well, helping others, giving and receiving love. I know that my life was not pointless but life is taking away the memories, the faces, the love… the point.

  • The matrix of this country, an homogenous blending of ethnicity.

    Our leaders boasting of this mixture as a truely Canadian entity.

    The fading cultures and traditions of the original peoples as the residuals of this new nation.

  • Viviane Marie Giroux September 15, 2014 at 10:30 am

    The Fog

    Oh how I wish,
    I wish the fog would lift
    Who are all these people
    I feel as though I should know

    I recognize the pick-up
    But the children
    Who are they and why are they running
    Are they afraid of me
    It’s still me
    I may not know you
    But I know you are part of my life

    Oh how I wish the fog would lift
    There’s a veil obscuring my brain
    Don’t be afraid my children
    I will not hurt you
    Let me continue loving you

  • In a Dream

    As I got in the door from a hard day at work, I went directly to the bathroom and ran a shower. After the shower, it wasn’t long before I fell into a deep sleep and had the strangest dream. It started as if I was just there and by that I mean purgatory.
    As I saw many different souls waiting to go any where but here.
    What most caught my attention was a little boy running with a bubble wand, streaming bubbles in his wake. I suddenly realized the boy with the bubbles was me.

  • The oversize red truck will get me and my broken facade to the tennis lessons (or perhaps that’s a bubble wand)don’t I wish,
    the dance lessons(I am the most graceful in my flowing skirts)why does no one notice
    the art classes(I am sure those blotches and splotches mean something special I am just not sure what)
    Improve, be better,head of the class always
    Modelling is my life if only I had the time or presence to read those horrid contracts they keep scribbling in my face-just keep going-no time to stop
    the numbers add up and still you are here
    but where

  • Rush Hour

    I stand on the curb,
    Watching people rushing by.
    Why must we hurry?

  • I did it:

    Haunting screams flash across my eyes;
    a silent howl left my lungs, releasing the panicked eruption of footsteps;
    I slipped into the background.

    Ringing in my ears, clouding my eyes;
    under the guise of disaster.

  • A Mental Note From the City

    Passing me by
    The faces I thought I saw
    The bleeding leg, the soured heart
    Along the stops of a transit bus

    The smell of pie, wafting out the window
    Your hand in mine, on the way to the creek
    A strong voice to encourage me

    “Next stop, Main, next stop, Main.”

  • Jutting hip, akimbo arms

    Running racketer, dripping blood

    Green girl, twisted
    heavy fisted

    Yellow bile, spilled and splashed
    spurts of blue edging purple prose
    sweet words and angry
    round and round the shades spin

    Red truck racing, tracing
    wheeling white shadows in the mists, judging
    smudging the corners of life.

    Here’s to the chase!

  • The Rush

    Everything rushes past so fast, the cars, the people, the bikes. Heads are disconnected from bodies, words from a former lover spin through my head. Stop! Slow down! I’m here. I want to join in the race but instead I float above, seeing the madness all around. There’s my small body, still, crumpled, liquids oozing from within. A man stops, kneels beside me, his back starts to jerk rhythmically, his tan coat bleeds red. A rushing noise fills my ears and I am pulled into darkness, pain. Now I see his face through red-stained eyes. Relief washes over us.

  • Bernadette McClenaghan September 18, 2014 at 11:32 am

    Rear View

    The reasonable voices proclaim loudly, exhalting in vain to rise above
    the exhaust fumes of the newly departed
    who never look back
    as they once had
    intent on pilgrimage
    to the land full of promise
    reversing the lure of a modernized charlatan

    In the rear view, seductively offering bondage,
    bright lit faces reflect colourful dreams
    while their gasping voices choke from the fumes


    This was the third time Alex had come to look at the collage. At first it was the colours that attracted her.
    The second time, it was the images representing for her, here and hereafter. As a medium she connected with both. Now, it was the number of people, the obscure words, letters XW and the number 06798.
    “Art speaks to us individually.” The curator had said. July 6, 1998 Alex’s brother died. His red truck hit a tree.
    That night his spirit came to her. Was the collage going to tell her why the accident happened?

  • It tasted awful but she swallowed it. “There we go, dear,” crooned the nurse, moving on to the next patient in the Alzheimer’s unit. Margaret closed her eyes, and looked out of her secret window. She giggled as she watched Michael run past the others with his bubble maker. “Big bubbles,” he cried. Was that Irene posing by Steven’s red car? She had forbidden her daughter to see him again! “You just wait,” she croaked. Then it came again – that searing pain above her right eye. “It’s all right, mom,” Irene whispered tenderly as she caressed her mother’s cheek.

  • A perfect painting forms in my head as I stare out the window of my apartment located in Toronto. Faded people scattered all over the canvas representing the people who walk in and out of our lives. A bit of swirled writing and paint splatters to show people that it’s okay to make mistakes. The clearest part would be a big red car, just to prove what our world has come to. In order to add extra emphasis on how we’ve polluted our world everything will be blurry and worn. That will be the best painting ever to be painted.

  • The intruder ran through the town, capturing the dreams of the townspeople and rendering them immobile. Justine stood by the fender, frozen in time. “Quick, get down, son,” hissed Frank. Teddy immediately scootched down on the back seat. His father finished what he was frantically scribbling, opened his window just a titch, and waited. As the intruder dove, howling, at the car, Frank threw the note out of the window. Screech, bang, the intruder began to fade away. As bubbles burst and the people awoke, Frank smiled as Justine lowered her hip and sashayed over to them with a smile.

  • People tried to escape the blast, running frantically through the fog. The red truck succeeded and left the town in chaos. Soldier’s helped the injured; another town hit by terrorist.
    The soldier woke up irritable and realized it was another nightmare. His heart pounding and sweat dripping from his forehead,the soldier sat up in bed. He turned to his wife and asked, “When are these nightmares going to end?”

  • A beautiful day at a park to get my free dose of Vitamin D from the sun rays and watch people having fun. It’s therapeutic for my slowing mind. Some teenage girls in colorful pants, joking around, are quite loud. That’s all right. I’ve been a teenager once. What catches my eye is the boy running with balloons; his face beaming, suddenly he fell tummy down. His balloons race up to the sky. I hear him cry “Mommy.” A woman came running, picks him up, hugs him tight. They walk slowly to a beautiful red car and drive away fast.

  • Doodles of life

    Doodles everywhere
    Someone running from the past
    but unknowingly dragging it behind him
    A shadow hiding in the trees
    as life melts around her
    An exhilarated woman breaking the bonds
    of self sabotage
    Two people communicating beside the big red truck
    Is there rationale in doodles?
    If you look closely between the circles, shadows and colours
    that run together they will tell you your own story
    Or you can escape in the big red truck
    trusting that you will always find comfort in the
    never-ending oodles of doodles forever.

  • Mama, where are we going? This loud moving box you call car looks pretty but it has a funny smell. Sometimes the smell gets in my mouth and I want to scratch it away.
    Mama, I feel the wind on my face and it makes me want to close my eyes. But I want to see the outside. I like that little boy’s balloon. I want a balloon too. Where did the balloon go? Where is the little boy?
    Mama, I see the big people. I don’t like them. I want to go back inside the moving box you call car.

  • I found the letter at the bottom of the wooden box under piles of knick-knacks. I had forgotten about it after all these years. I could hardly read it now for the letters were faded and smudged. But I knew its contents- a confession of lasting love and promises made for the future! I did not cry now but felt the ache deep within me. Memories flashed before me – of long drives in a red car on bright sunny days, of aimless walks in the park under the blue sky, of passionate games of tennis played late nights.

  • Ava was living life through dog’s eyes. She had always felt that she was meant to be toasting with friends at cocktail hour, hailing cabs on 1st Avenue in New York City, leaning on trees along Champs Elysees listening to the whisper of River Seine or running through High Park crafting giant bubbles against the soft blue of the sky. Michael taunted that she was used to be like abstract art; vibrant colours and ideas but now…boring. It seemed to Ava that her life had been licked off the canvas and now lay on the floor in the dog dish.

  • After a long drive I suddenly stopped,looking around. This is not where I wanted to go. What I see scares me. Despite the lovely pastel colours the eerie hazy images belong to the past. Also the people enjoying their leisure, men playing tennis doubles, women having a heated conversation and others just being there. The circles remind me of wreathes on the wall. Am I in the cemetery full of ghosts or is it what afterlife looks like? In any case I desperately want to drive away. But I cannot leave, my car cannot start. Is it dead too?

  • Holding the soap-dipped wand high, Benji ran laughing across the park, streaming bubbles in his wake. Talia sat cross-legged on the automobile’s red hood awaiting his arrival, intrigued by the creatures created as each bubble rose then burst. The beasts swelled to normal size as they were released.
    “Any rabbits, Mommy?”
    “A white one,” Talia called back, pointing excitedly behind him.
    An elephant also whumped to the ground. Other park dwellers weren’t impressed.
    Talia knew the monsters would soon evaporate, although some made a disturbing entrance that rattled swing chains. She was more concerned about the three men in black heading straight for Benji.

  • It comes in threes, always. First the chick with nail polish thing waving in the air until would you not know it she cashes in in a crash! Flighty bimbo. And the one by the red car, that ultra sleek body that only required 900 calories per day and her showing it off like to lead the parade when wham old heart stops tickin’ from the cellular lickin’ she’d be giving herself. Anorexic! Sheer stupidity!
    But one more. Where else…why are the colors so faded? Why are the people scooped out?
    Oh oh…I always dreaded the number three.

  • The boy ran into the crowd of women dancing in place. The women’s hips caressed the air, rhythmic and cool. She told him she was leaving and climbed into the red car leaving a stream of frail words.

    Above, scratched clouds bled colour, the angry orange bursting through rifts in the white. The boy was afraid he would be swallowed inside this bare bubble of time, never to escape, as fractured thoughts nicked his tender insides.

    Blurred lives immersed in their shadow stories surrounded him. Scribbled fragments of possibility hung in the air. He turned and ran.

  • St. Clair & Yonge.
    Confusion spreads in layers.
    More glass and concrete edifices; chaos on the street.
    Newness is the word. The city must grow, grow, in all directions: skyward, underground, sprawling, gobbling up the farmland.
    Streets close off, detours align and re-align, traffic cones sprout overnight like mushrooms.
    Streetcars, buses, bikes, car, pedestrians compete for narrow lanes of asphalt.
    Graffiti spreads. An effort to create art in a desolate cityscape?
    Can we make sense of this place, carve out a nice life?
    We hang out, styling, playing, chatting.
    The hurry assails us.
    Anger bleeds over the vibrancy…

  • Dementia

    Bubbles of light lead me through
    The chaos of my mind.
    People pass in heedless haste,
    Wind their way into my head.
    Create an anarchy of thought.
    Led into madness
    I wander in disarray.

    Is this commotion real?
    I don’t know how to feel
    In this world.
    When did I leave?
    How did I get here?
    My search for peace,
    Derailed somewhere
    Along the way

    Someone takes my hand
    A woman I think,
    The mist too thick
    For me to see.
    Noise and people
    Push us through
    I close my eyes
    And follow
    For I am safe with her.

  • Alexandra Kasatkina September 29, 2014 at 6:44 pm

    Strangers tinted with daring shades of independence,
    All devoured by the idea of transcendence.

    They parade the Earth oblivious to the words etched into their actions,
    They don’t have enough time to delve into their own stories; there are too many distractions.

    Personalities blurred by vibrant hues,
    They conceal their deep-rooted blues.

    All blowing bubbles, hoping they will rise into the chromatic air,
    Praying that their despairs will join the bubbles and create a perfect pair.

    They will continue to live in their picturesque state of mind,
    It really is a shame that they are all color blind.

  • DENISE KEMP (29/09/2014)


    Hazy number 06798;
    I couldn’t relate
    Narrowly missed the red truck that appeared from no-where
    Frozen moments of fear as I slide towards the yellow tractor
    Screeching brakes and twisted metal!
    This broken petal
    Red paint spreading through my hair;
    Flowing everywhere
    Anxious voices and frantic feet
    Golden sun melting onto the street
    In the distance; an ambulance wailing
    Eyesight’s failing
    But I can read the writing on the wall
    “Stand tall,”
    I tell the ghost of the man I used to be
    Mother Mary’s following me
    Number 444;
    Wrong door!
    My number’s now clear on Heaven’s Gate:

  • The newspaper, for once quoting science rather than faith, said we’re all intersection sof possibilities. Simply the highest probability at any moment. This explained much to her. Why she felt people shimmered the moment she stopped watching them. How she could be running with scissors and forgetting her grand-daughters’ name. When you looked closely, the survivor elm and the red truck parked beneath were not separate, merely distillations of the same energy. Wormholes blinked and shut in the solidest granite bank walls. The world has too many colours, she thought. She put her blinkers back on and chewed golden-green hay, content to rest.

  • Like the splash of colours on the painter’s canvas, life rolls along in strokes, curves and splatters, seemingly structured but uncontrollably accidental. She stops for a moment to ponder her path. She remembers the people, the places, and the truck. The red truck that carried her hopes and dreams into the future she so carefully planned out. She sees shadows of her former self – the parties, the friends… even the hurried traffic attendant that helped the children at the school crosswalk. But that is all they are now – colourful outlines masked in memories, lived in a life gone by.

  • A gunshot rings through the air. Pain shoots through my chest as the bullet pierces my heart. Colourful splotches fill my vision. I know this is my end. I knew i would die this way. The writing on the wall told me someone was out to get me. The numbers told me my death date would be 06/07/98. A crimson red car is the only thing i can see, the colour of my blood matches the shade of the car. Darkness closes in on me. I open my eyes to see a light and figures from my past welcoming me.

  • Packing up the pieces of our life and loading them into the back of our old pickup truck was the easiest part of our move. We say our good byes to family, friends, knowing we’ll see them again, just not knowing when. We look forward to this move with a quiet excitement, a new job, new opportunity, chance to get ahead. I was fine, not a tear, until I saw the height chart on the inside of the hallway closet and realized all we ever really take with us are our memories.


    Thanks and good luck to all who entered. Check out the October contest here:

  • Joyce George-Knight December 3, 2014 at 4:09 pm

    The melancholy in her eyes shielded all the stored past that weighed heavily on her brain. Only she knew the path she had taken; only she knew the ever present streams of pain and shame that she lived with. Memory of the event had long ago drained of any colour, leaving only black and white reflections. Feeling her life was over, her statuesque figure could only stare with disbelief.

    Bits and pieces that had crumbled with time remained vivid blobs of various colours that meant nothing to the aging woman, other than to serve as evidence that happier times had existed.

  • Percival stood within the shadows of the upper landing. Dusk descended. The war had ended. But Percival had only, recently, unexpectedly, miraculously, returned. Percival returned to Cressy. Matron Bingley announced up the staircase. “Miss Monahan her to see you.” Beatrice had waited. She was faithful to her troth these six long years. Percival descended into the light. Beatrice gasped at the appalling phantom now revealed and fled. Percival clawed her back foiling escape. Beatrice swung in horror to her captor. Between them was only terror. “So the war has ruined us both”, moaned Percival as he pulled out a pistol.

  • Aw, this was a really nice post. Taking the time and actual effort to create a superb article…
    but what can I say… I procrastinate a whole lot and don’t seem to get anything done.

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