Riches and Rhymes

The Poetry and Writing of Janis Gaines

Month: November, 2016

A Boy with Freckles

Writing Exercise – Write an embarrassing moment.

I sat in the back of math class, my worst subject. I surely didn’t want the teacher to see me or call on me. I was seventeen, and it was “Spirit Week,” the week before Homecoming at my high school, and every day the students were encouraged to dress in a fun way, different from the norm. One day was Twin Day, or School Colors, or Backwards day. This particular day was Redneck Day. I grew up in the South, a suburb of Atlanta, and this was the home of Jeff Foxworthy during the height of his fame with the “You Might Be A Redneck If…” comedy routine.

On this particular day, a boy sauntered into the room late who fit the challenge to a T. He made a grand entrance with blue jeans, cuffs rolled up, plaid shirt untucked, with a straw hat on. He was even chewing a long, thin reed hanging out the side of his mouth as if he was fresh from the farm.

Impressed with his commitment to the costume, from the back of the room I shouted out for all to hear, ”Wow, look! He’s even added freckles!” I meant to congratulate the guy, yet he gave me an evil side-glance, embarrassed I had called attention to him.

To my horror, as the boy approached his seat, not too far from me, I could clearly see that he had not added freckles, but instead, he had a horrible case of acne.

I wanted to shrink into my chair even further. Now, we were both red in the face. And I wanted nothing more to do with math class.

© November 12, 2016
Spartanburg, SC


Lyla’s Tears

Attending a writer’s workshop today by Suzanne Van Atten with the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. Given this prompt: Pick an emotion. Write a scene. Can you guess the emotion? This was an exercise in Show vs Tell. 10 min.

Lyla walked to the edge of the riverbank, carrying a small wooden box. This was where they had first met. She had been walking her dog Rufus, and he had asked if he could pet him. Now, five years later, both were gone from her life. Just a year ago she had scattered Rufus’s ashes here, his favorite place. Today she didn’t have ashes but letters, his love letters.

She took them one by one from the box and read them again. She wept at the memories and then tossed them one by one into the river, which would carry her tears away.


©November 12, 2016
Spartanburg, SC