All Posts Tagged ‘Writing 101


Trip to Zagreb (II)

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Earlier in the course, you wrote about losing something. Today, write about finding something. For your twist, view day four’s post and today’s post as installments in a series.

Here is a link to the part I of this story

I can’t wait any more. There is no time left. The boarding time is approaching and I’m still waiting. I have my ticket with my reservation confirmed and I’m not going to be left behind. For the tenth time I go to the checking-in desk. It’s my last opportunity.

This time, the same JAT’s attendant that had rejected me nine times before, asks me now why am I so late! I can’t believe it. But I don’t have time to argue. I sigh in relief. At least I’m going to fly to Zagreb. I will be able to cover for my news agency and my newspaper the first free elections in Croatia and the political crisis in Yugoslavia.

I meet again my Spanish colleagues waiting to board the plane. We talk about our job. They are nervous because they don’t know the language and they’ll need a translator. I realise they know little about the country and the situation and less about the political parties and their leaders. I wonder how they would manage once there.

We board the plane. I’m surprised to see it’s almost empty. So the story about not enough seats for all the passengers that they told me when they sent me to the waiting list was a lie. My suspicions that I had difficulties because of my name arise again. But the important thing is that I’m on board.

During the flight they show us a propagandistic video about the wonders of Yugoslavia. Nothing about the crisis or the situations that are making news. The State is in a brink of a collapse. In the video all is idilic and wonderful.

I spend most of the time looking through the window. It’s my first trip to my homeland. I want to catch a first glimpse from the air. But it’s not my lucky day. It’s raining. I only can see grey clouds covering the landscape.

We land in Zagreb Airport. The border police officer take his time with my passport and begins to make questions about who am I, what am I going to do during my visit to the city, where will I stay, and so on. The other passengers pass quickly while I still answering questions. Finally, the officer seems satisfied and let me pass.

I go to pick up my bag. When I arrive all the luggages are already on the conveyor belt. I notice that my suitcase is not there.

Tom and Marko, my cousins, are waiting for me at the other side of a crystal wall. They are waving at me excited. We have recognised each other by photos. I’m trying to tell them by signs that I can’t go out because my luggage is lost. Tears fills my eyes. Not precisely because my lost bag. I’m deeply moved to meet my family for the first time. And now they are so close and still I can’t embrace them and speak with them because of that damn bag.

I go to reclaim my lost bag and after a lot of questions they tell me that it has gone to Belgrade with the plane.

Did they sent my bag intentionally to Belgrade? Did I lost something vital to my work in the process? How was my meeting with my family? Could I overcome the emotions and do my job?


Writing 101, Day Thirteen: Serial Killer II.





Today, tell us about the home you lived in when you were twelve. For your twist, pay attention to — and vary — your sentence lengths.

I’m afraid of the elevator. It’s an old dark wooden machine inserted in a cage-like structure that quiver while it lifts up to the sixth and top floor where I live.

But the shaking is not what worries me. I hate the elevator because once a man cornered me inside it with the intention to kidnap me. He even grabbed my hand. I screamed and a neighbour heard me and saved me. The man escaped. Since then I can’t take the elevator without shivering. I still have nightmares.

Once in my floor I ring the bell. Mom opens the door. She greets me in Croatian with her sweet voice and I feel like I just have left the hostile world in which I live and to enter not only my home but my homeland. I finally feel sure. Inside dwells my family. I understand the sense of humor. I can hear my motherly language.

The flat has a long and narrow corridor with rooms at both sides and the kitchen at the end. We have the apartment rented. The kitchen is very old. It works with charcoal. My mom has to work hard to maintain all clean. She is an intelectual but when she arrived to Spain they didn’t recognised her titles so she is not working outside home.

My dad is professor at the University writer and journalist. He teaches Literature. He has a big library and a desk where he writes his books and articles for the newspaper typing in an old Olivetti. Every night he is in a rush writing his column about foreign politics for the local newspaper. At eight a messenger comes to pick up the original. We all know what a deadline is.

What I love of my father’s work is when he begins to write poetry. He uses to read his poems to mom, some of them dedicated to her. She smiles when he reads. They love each other so much!

What I don’t like so much is his work at the University. He spends too much time there and organises meetings with his students at home also. Once a year he invites all his students. That day is crazy. We don’t have enough chairs for all. Dad helps mom in the kitchen to prepare dinner, buffet style, because many of the students are standing or sitting on the floor. They enjoy it, because they stay till late in the evening chatting and laughing.

It’s the same living room in which we spend so many afternoons singing and laughing and playing all together.

Everything inside is nice and homy to everyone. But I don’t think it is because of how the flat is decorated. I think it is because of how mom and dad are. They are the soul of the home.


Writing 101, Day Eleven: Size Matters.



Unwelcome advice


Focus today’s post on the contrast between two things. The twist? Write the post in the form of a dialogue.

– You are spending too much time at the computer.

– What do you care? It’s my life

– I’m just saying It’s not good being all the time doing only one thing. You’ll end obsessed.

– That’s my problem, not yours.

– Anyway. what are you doing all that time on-line?

– What I want

– I’m concerned. Tell me something.

– You don’t have to. I’m old enough to know what I’m doing.

– It’s not good to have only one activity. As I told you, you can become obsessed or even get addicted. It’s important to diversify. I only want to help. What about to exercise every day? Any chance?

– Nope. I don’t need your help. I have a lot of diversification in my on-line activity. I have my blog, my chats, my movies, my music, I surf the Internet to stay informed I buy things, I have everything I need.

– If you don’t need me, why did you come to see me?

– You’re my psychologist. You told me to come. Here I am.

Writing 101, Day Seven: Give and Take.



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Today, you’ll write about the most interesting person you’ve met in 2014. In your twist, develop and shape your portrait further in a character study.

His was the first smiling face I found in the old Court House when I went pretty scared because I had been summoned as a witness in a trial against a terrorist.

To say the truth, despite his reassuring smile, when I saw him, my heart sank. He was my lawyer. I expected a man with an imposing appearance and instead I found a middle aged bald, short man, looking absentminded with his blue eyes behind thick glasses. I was very nervous. He introduced himself and immediately began to make jokes about my situation. I wondered if he was serious. He was serious. I could see that when we were in the office of the district attorney. He had smiles to everybody, but when it was time for work, he left the jokes and began to show his other face: Efficiency in person.

Later when the trial was over, I get to know him better because I started to cover trials as a reporter. He is always available to solve any legal doubts I may have.

I discovered he has a prodigious memory. He can quote countless laws and sentences without need to search in books or the Internet. His mind works like a computer.

Optimist by nature, he never gives up no mater how desperate a case can be. He fights for his clients till the end. Even when the clients give up he continues appealing the sentences. He is famous for that. He faces every case convinced that he will win.

A family man, he is always with his wife. She works at the office and they use to have a walk together every day to go back home.


Writing 101, Day Six: A Character-Building Experience.



The mistake


You discover a letter on a path that affects you deeply. Today, write about this encounter. And your twist? Be as succinct as possible.

“You’re fired!”, ends the e-mail. My heart stops. I stare at the screen in disbelief. I reread the message. How can my boss fire me by e-mail?. Wait. That’s not my name in the header. It’s Melissa’s. Oh my God! What can I do? Tell her? Tell my boss about the mistake? Pretend nothing happened? I’m terrible at pretending. Above all with Melissa. Poor thing! She is right next to me. In a matter of minutes we’ll have a coffee break. We will have to talk. She will notice something is wrong with me. She will ask. What a nightmare!

Writing 101, Day Five: Be Brief.


Three songs


The sound of an old Croatian song my father used to sing to my mother brings tears to my eyes even today. It’s a love song with a delicate melody and poetic words I can’t translate titled Good Evening, Marvelous. My dad had a fine tenor voice and loved to sing softly those beautiful melodies he learned in his youth. Songs written to be sung while looking at the sun sinking into the quiet Adriatic Sea in a gorgeous symphony of colors.

Oh how wonderful would be hear again that lovely voice and enjoy those joyful evenings with him singing and chatting. Those days are for ever gone. But the memories are so vivid!

No need to leave the sea to remind a second song significant to me. Is called Mediterranean, by a singer called Joan Manuel Serrat. It’s a poem about how people from the Mediterranean are. I learned to play guitar with this song. It reminds me my youth, the time spent with my friends, singing and playing, those happy days without worries.

A jump to the Ocean to find my third song very different to the previous. Take me Back To Manhattan from the musical Anything Goes. I had a lot of fun singing and dancing this song with my friends when I lived in San Francisco. We had a great time. It brings me memories of joy and laughter.
I use to sing it or humming it now and then, maybe with because I would like that the wish of the song comes true.
I know the lyrics by memory. It goes:
The more I travel, Across the gravel,
The more I sail the sea.
The more I feel convinced to the fact,
New York’s the town for me.
That crazy skyline
Is right in my line,
And when I’m far away,
I’m able to bear it for several hours
Then I brake down and say.

Take me back to manhattan,
Take me back to New York.
I’m just longing to see once more
My little home on the hundredth floor!
Can you wonder I’m gloomy?
Can you smile when i frown?
I miss the east side, the west side ,
the north side, and the south side.
So take me back to manhattan,
That dear old dirty town!

Writing 101, Day Three: Commit to a Writing Practice.