Sunday, July 10, 2011

Expansion Joints Challenge, part 19: "Break"

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. I do my best to continue the practice. As someone who grew up on the Space Coast of Florida, I have more than a little fondness for the US space program, and this week brought two rather sad pieces of news relating to it: the last launch ever of a US space shuttle, marking the start of what the government assures us is only a brief hiatus in the US manned spaceflight program, although they can't tell us exactly what comes after, and a preliminary congressional vote to kill funding mid-development for, among other NASA programs, the James Webb Space Telescope, planned successor to the Hubble. In related news, it turns out that the shuttle Atlantis and the ISS may have to take evasive action this week to avoid being hit by pieces of a defunct satellite. On a more personal level, this week brought some welcome recreation, if little actual rest, with an unexpected string of cancellations at work Friday mid-day yielding an extended lunch, and two very pleasant late evenings (and an equally pleasant day) spent with family and friends watching Harry Potter movies in anticipation of the release of the final film this coming week. I was with my son over at our complex's far swimming pool (our usual one was non-functional today due to problems with the filtration and chlorination system), relaxing between his play rehearsal and dinner and gearing up to write today's post, when I got a call that my friend with brain cancer had developed severe psychological symptoms bordering on psychosis and was at the Emergency Room. So, instead of blogging, I went to the hospital to see what use I could be, which turned out to be not much. The best I could do was assure her husband that going home and getting some rest while he knew that she was safe in the hospital was the absolutely most productive course of action that he could take. The only common theme running through all of these events that I could find was "break', and that is the word of the week.

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, rush, tie, line, and free, 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. Hard to believe I'm first to get here. Where is everyone? Holiday season's kicking off by the feel of things.

    I've paired it with a rule again, here. I can't match the existential force of your intro though.

  2. Yes definitely a powerful and comprehensive intro there Jenny!

    My offering this week is:

    Maverick approached them, while the others had made a break for it, he'd covered them.

  3. Break! Porky was first, Arlequín was second but who would be the last? Not me!


  4. lol... smooth CK

  5. Mine for the week is here, doing double duty as a Flash Fearsday.

  6. Great work this week, all of you!