Monday, August 1, 2011

Expansion Joints Challenge, part 22: "Close"

After promising that I would try never to be late again, I am even later this week. Perhaps if I told you all (falsely, mind you) that I couldn't care less about being late, and that I'll post these things when the mood strikes, I'll be on time next week...although, for reasons that will soon become clear, I doubt it.

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 been one that has had the US and the rest of the world teetering on the edge of drastic financial uncertainty. As I write this, it appears that, at the 59th minute of the 11th hour, this Congress may have finally decided that we need to pay our bills, after all, although they still don't appear to grasp that actual revenue may be required to continue to do this. So the side show at the monkey house appears to be over, for the moment. Nearer to home, the sets are struck and the run of the play is ended, leaving all of us with mixed emotions, as the teamwork and camaraderie among the cast and crew were very enjoyable, although the hours and work involved in the production were grueling. It felt like saying goodbye to family to dismantle the sets, put away the costumes and props, and leave the theater and the rest of the troupe behind for the last time until next spring. I promised you at the beginning that you would soon understand why next week's Expansion Joints might well be delayed, and so I move on to the last bit of news to incorporate into the theme: a tropical storm, which is now forecast to be a hurricane by the time it reaches my neck of the woods this weekend, appears to be bearing down on us, and while the forecast track contains quite a bit of uncertainty, these sorts of things can shut down power and internet access even if they are technically near-misses. With all of that to consider, the word this week is a little different. Usually, the words I choose can be used as more than one part of speech, or have at least two different meanings, to give you all a bit of flexibility and/or to torture you with the need to make a decision. Well, this week it is even worse. The word of the week is "close", and I leave it to you to decide which of the words that share that spelling I mean. Both of them fit.

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, free, break, cut, and opening, 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. Why decide when you can use both? :D
    It was close, now, to the close. The Marisi were near, and Death spoke softly.

    He whispered to me of what would happen, when I had to close the door.

    The air grew close about me, as they neared. I said "Let us go, then."

    And Death took me below the pale sands at world's end, the close of all.


    The Marisi rode, close on the Kansiv's trail. Their raven-horses shied away, sensing something wrong.

    They mastered them, and rode on, close to his death. They heard his last words.

    They watched, as he said them. They saw him die, and took the body back.
    This time I chose to do seven, just to top my record. I wonder if Arlequin or Captain Kellen have already done this many? I wasn't involved last time... If they have, then I suppose I can add an eighth later, though.

  2. Creepy Corridor reporting back for more Wordplay!
    Apologies for the long wait, but I think I managed to squeeze every word I had missed into my post ... only in the wrong order, Dang! lol

    check it out:

  3. Porky has posted an entry, remarkable, as usual, here.

  4. Thanks Jennie. I'm often pushed for time when it finally goes up and don't get round to the linking till much later. I used a noun form to surprise too, but it seems to be more a regionalism and isn't mentioned in its modern use in every dictionary. And I can feel the energy emanating from C'nor - seven's a tough number to beat.

  5. 1 - Well, well, well, I see C'nor has posted his best of seven (eight?) for 'close'!

    2 - Now, 'close' is an interesting word that will require some deep thought at this point.

    3 - Close or clothes? I thought about doing a little word play on this one.

    4 - Close?! Where do you get a theme to use them in multiple yet connected sentences?

    5 - I could have been reduntant or perhaps silly with 'close' but it still needs... something!

    6 - It needs to be clever. It needs to be fifteen strong this week with 'close'.

    7 - I need a theme before I 'close' this out to the others or challenge them.

    8 - In certain circles, one liners are my specialty so 'close' should not be a hinder.

    9 - However, 'close', being a verb should be easy but it will get repetative! Who cares!

    10 - This is for fun and enjoyment and 'close' is an excellant word with multiple uses.

    11 - The challenge has been set upon me for 'close'. Some might say thrust upon me!

    12 - The corner beckoned me to 'close' it even before the attempt this week, but no!

    13 - I am up to the challenge! I'll set a bar to exceed with our excellant 'close'.

    14 - This week 'close' will be fifteen of fifteen and let chips fall where they may!

    15 - So C'nor put up the last of eight and I will simply, and quietly... close!

    I'm in a sandy corner on vacation... no it's not a litter box either!


  6. Well, it seems there's a new record to beat. Perhaps I'll do twenty?

    Also, in case it's been noticed, there was some editing done to my last one, which made it not Expansive. I'll edit it soon, after Myth-Marking Merchandise again.

  7. C'nor and CK, I can't come close to those efforts. Nothing will close the gap.