Sunday, June 19, 2011

Expansion Joints Challenge: part 16, "Tie"

When this exercise was hosted over at Porky's Expanse!, he always chose the word for the Expanders! challenge based on some relevant happening or theme. This week has me reflecting on connections, both ephemeral and lasting. In many ways, this was a time for revealing and re-establishing connections for me. Early in the week, I was surprised to find messages from a few people I hadn't seen or spoken with in over twenty-five years, a welcome, if somewhat inexplicable, renewal of bonds I'd thought long-severed through neglect on both sides. Continuing the trend, I went into the office on Saturday (a relative rarity) to help out a client who was only back in town for a few days, and received news of some old college roommates - from someone who I had no idea knew them. In other ways, this week has been a reminder of how tenuous and fragile those links between individuals and within communities can be, how easily small things can disrupt them, and how carefully and intentionally we need to cultivate them to keep them strong: a friend of 20 years, whose home and business have been gathering places where many have come to laugh, cry, organize, be nourished, share, and create may be moving a thousand miles away; my younger brother, back from Iraq for the past six months, deployed to Afghanistan yesterday. This week also marked the twentieth anniversary of my father's passing. So, in recognition of the strands of love and affection, relationship and interest, coincidence and intention that join us all, and in a nod to the perennial present of Father's Day, (an object expressly forbidden to appear at my father's funeral), the word of the week is "tie".

If you aren't familiar with the Expansion Joints project, it all began over at Porky's Expanse!.

The rules are just as they are described over at Porky's: as much narrative as you can cram into fifteen words, one of which must be the word of the week.

This can take the form of

1. An epyllion,or litle epic, a stand-alone fifteen-word narrative, or

2. An epos, or 'epic'. Instead of an independent 15-word story, you can choose to develop someone else's story from a previous week, or extend your own story from week to week. Just write the next installment. If it has 15 words, uses the word of the week, and continues the story, you've done it.

There are two important things to think about if you choose epos. First, you should have the permission of the person who wrote the story you will develop. If anyone writes a 15-word epyllion or adds to an epos and is happy for others to develop it later, please say so, with something like 'for use in an epos'. Second, by using specific elements of someone else's story, we technically create a derivative work, so it's best to avoid this.

There are a number of generous contributors who have given express permission to use some of their writing as the basis for epos:

Porky, the founder of the project, offers up all of his contributions.

GDMNW has opened up the three stories here.

Dave G_Nplusplus makes any of his Expanders! stories available for use in an epos.

Arlequin has an epos running on his Expanders! page, and he has graciously extended permission to play with any or all of the contributions there.

Andy, over at The Creepy Corridor, has also made his epos posts available for expansion.

And, as always, feel free to use any of the stories on this blog that are tagged as "Expansion Joints" in an epos.

Words that have previously made an appearance in an Expanders!/Expansion Joints include: food, fort, stuff, elf, rogue, pass, fool, hammer, note, temper, table, twisted, missing, sacrifice, spirit, and rush, in case you are of an historical bent, or wish to write a complete set.

When you've finished writing your entry for this week, either post your 15-word story directly in the comments here, or leave a link in the comments to the blog page where we can find it.


  1. Interesting word and a bit of a hard one for me to work in to be honest. Good rationale as always though.

    Okay I've gone for;

    In this new world winning was the only option, even a tie meant certain death.

    Hosted here

  2. @ Arlequín - You've done very well with it - that fits right in. And it's starting to sound just a little contemporary.

    Mine for this week is here.

  3. @Porky - I'm impressed that you manage to produce one piece for two exercises.. Very clever indeed, I raise my hat to you Sir!

  4. Just the necessities: brushes, paint, water, miniatures, laptop, tea, chair, table, dvd's, comics... a tie?

  5. @Arlequin, I didn't mean to tongue-tie you, or make you feel the need to tie one on. But it seems you've solved the rather knotty problem quite well!

    @Porky, Up to your usual hyper-stratospheric standards again! You tied the two challenges together beautifully.

    @Captain Kellen, This made me laugh. Thank you! Here's something that ties into the theme in return.