NEKWE challenge: description

In 100 words or less, describe a scene in such a way as to convey a mood or theme without explicitly describing the the mood or theme itself.

Convey the intended mood or theme through your selection of imagery and the way you express it. It can have people in it, or not; it can be static or active.

Post as many of these as you want. You may also post “found” entries from famous writers, provided you credit the author. If you do, say what you think the writer was trying to convey through the imagery.

For the sake of tidiness we could just post these as comments to this post. (Note: All entries © by their authors unless otherwise noted.) Or you can post them on your own blogs. You might come up with a prose poem you want to keep!

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About Greg Bryant

I teach writing and literature at Highland Community College in northeast Kansas.
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15 Responses to NEKWE challenge: description

  1. Greg Bryant says:

    I’ll start this off:

    The yard is bone dry. Scraps of gray-green crabgrass somehow anchor themselves in the sunbleached dust. The hundred-degree wind beats from the grass what moisture it can, browning the tips and even the runners. Against the house, crowded around the end of the hose that seeps condensation from the air conditioner, stands thick, tall, bright green grass lifting its nodding heads high for the wind to carry its seeds off into the quiet, shaded windbreak. Its roots are in soil so wet you can pull it out without effort. Sometimes it falls over from its own weight.

  2. bryon says:

    This isn’t my usual metier, but as Inspector Clouseau said, “For me, the greater the odds, the greater the challenge. And as always, I accept the challenge.”

  3. bryon says:

    And here is mine (99 words):

    He shot a glance at the clock on the wall opposite the stage; the performance had barely begun. He looked back at the performers and tapped his armrest lightly in time with Gershwin’s Rhapsody in Blue. Another glance at the clock; an entire eight seconds had passed. His tapping became a touch more solid and was now leading the music by nearly half a beat. The clock: another fifteen seconds. He groaned quietly and crossed one leg over the other to keep both still, but his fingers continued to drum, responding now to his pulse rather than the piano.

  4. Chris Bartak says:

    Here’s my first try:

    Frightened, yet excited.
    Comfortable, yet awkward.
    Happy, yet anxious.

    • Chris Bartak says:

      I may have strayed from the intent of this challenge. I didn’t describe a scene at all. It was more of a description of an emotion. Oh, God, I just know I’ll be disqualified.

      • Greg says:

        It would be interesting to see how you’d describe a scene in sensory imagery to convey that mix of emotions. The emotions themselves are a nice balance that draws the reader in. You can use that apprehension in the reader.

  5. Chris Bartak says:

    And so he rocked, solemn, yet alert in his chair. Sixty-eight years with nothing to show but his evil, bitter, sideways paintings collecting mold in the evil, sideways basement beneath the floor where his bitter, evil, sideways bones rocked front-to-back, and back-to-front, back and forth on his tired rocking chair.

    • Greg says:

      That’s a pretty spicy paragraph, Chris, and it would make a strong opening for a short story. It sets a scene and a mood and establishes a potential conflict at the same time, and seems to begin pointing to some themes. You have me hooked.

  6. Doc Arnett says:

    His jeans stick to his joints, heavy denim made heavier by the heat and humidity. The dust of his saw blows away from the blade, swirls in still air, sticks to his arms like memories of younger days in hay and tobacco. Sweat funnels along the back of his thighs, drops to the back of his calf in the gapping space when he stands, lifts the last board into place as sun and shade fade into dusk.

    • Greg says:

      A prose poem indeed. “As sun and shade fade into dusk” is a beautiful image that has a deep resonance. I think I know what the resonance is… and what project was completed when he lifted that “last board into place.”

    • Greg says:

      Doc: you gotta blog you want listed in NEKWE? Paste the URL in here so I can add it, and so the others can subscribe to it. –If you don’t, see the “(about)” tag for a link to wordpress.com’s blog-creation page. Note: before you make a blog, think of some good usernames, because it becomes part of the URL. Mine (“poetseye”) was my third choice. A lot of good ones are already taken. I’m sure you can think of something original enough to be available!

    • Greg says:

      However, your comments are welcome whether you want to start a blog or not.

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