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Journal Prompt: Outside The Cabin...

With all the Autumn colours exploding beyond my window, I have been more focused on photography lately than writing. These days are the last chance for us Canadians to get outside still wearing our tshirts; in fact, I have been in shorts and a tank top for some days. Barely needing a light jacket even at night time. We've turned our air conditioning on again All Day. Love this time of year, and I will have some of that fall foliage colour in another post.

For today, it's back to writing with another exercise from The Most Dangerous Writing App.

Remember, the app gives you five minutes to reply to the prompt, and no editing.

The starting prompt: Outside the cabin, the wind howled through the trees....


Outside the cabin, the wind howled through the trees, while inside, the old woman's fire was nearly out. Fingers, cramped with the chill of the evening, struggled with the stitches as her head bent to the difficult labour. Eyes wrinkled at the corners and squinting as she bent over the yarn. At her feet the old tabby cat, rescued in the garden many years ago, lazily swatted at the dangled pieces. Far too content to be warm at the woman's feet than to go chasing string. Both of the cabins occupants in their final season and keeping company before the flickering light inside against the dying light beyond the windows.

The creaking of the old rocker added an odd offbeat rhythm to the crackling hiss of the dying fire. The tattered blanket was thin around her shoulders and she hunched further as a gust of wind blew beneath the door. The cat stirred and curled its tail closer. There used to be a young man who would come tend her fire, but now it was only the old, grumbling sailor from down in the village. His mumbling heard over the hammering of the axe, and as he shuffled over the worn floor boards and dropped his burden with a loud rumble that made the cat run and hide under the bed. The only time she'd seen that sour puss move so fast in years. She always had a stew on the wood-stove to offer him, and he always obliged, tucking in hungrily and dipping the warm bread often.

Life was hard here by the shore. If the weather didn't take you, the long, lonely hours indoors made for poor company. Wood was survival. And a little company, besides a warm feline that hogged the foot of the bed, was good every once and awhile. Pausing, she held the near finished garment up to the meager light. The sweater was nothing fancy - but it would be warm. Especially on the seas as the cold winter winds arrived. It was nice to offer something more than a bowl of soup and sourdough bun. She hoped he liked it. The fire spit out another dying ember, as the shadows lengthened across the small cabin. Kitty yawned and stretched and gave up the now cool spot for the basket of yarn closer to the stove. Its big yellow eyes suddenly turning to the streaked panes; head titled sideways as the hair bristled along the black furred spine. The old lady could not hear as well as the cat any longer. If she ever could so well. She watched the cat circle slowly among the colored string a few times before laying back down, and knew she had a little time yet.

She bent once more to complete the remaining stitches before the light faded too much, or the sound of steps arriving beyond the door. Back muscles begging for the softness of her bed, and her fingers moving slow but sure. A faint crunching upon fallen leaves reached her ears, followed by the distinct slap of rubber upon the paved stones that led from the garden gate to her door. A gentle, satisfied nod of her head; just as she tied the final knot. Rising with effort, she placed the gift upon the chair he favoured. Kitty gave a soft mew at the interruption, and she rubbed a gnarled finger under his chin before moving towards the small kitchen. A red hat with more than a few holes and hanging threads passed by the large window over the sink. A new project idea struck; but that was for another day. Another meow as the cat jumped from the cozy perch and trotted towards the door.

"Best get the kettle on."


I love doing these exercises, but it is so, so hard not to go back and change anything. Especially when you see a phrase such as, "hammering of the ax." Oi, do axes hammer? Good grief.

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Susi Kleiman
Susi Kleiman
Oct 14, 2021

Loved reading this. I could imagine it all.

Susi Kleiman
Susi Kleiman
Oct 15, 2021
Replying to

Good luck!!! Hope everything works out.

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