This week we’re pleased to present two creative writing pieces coming out of the Sunday creative writing sessions. Thank you to both Jennifer Cornick and Marianne Graninger for sharing their writing with us.


The Kiss

By Marianne Graninger

beach-clouds-couple-415351

Kiss me like a stranger,
like we’ve never met before.
Kiss me just this one time
and let it lead to more.

Let’s meet in a bar,
in a pub or on the street.
Meet me for the first time
and fulfil my need.

Wrap your arms around me
and feel my pounding heart.
Act like it’s the first time,
like we’re right at the start.

Electrify my senses
with the touch of your lips
Make me feel all dizzy
by resting your hands on my hips.

Lay your hand on my back
and slightly stroke my hair,
Pull me even closer
and feel my longing despair.

Let’s dive into the passion
and touch with trembling hands
Let’s revive our love
and give it one last chance.

Writing prompt: Kiss me like a stranger.


The Second Hand Book

by Jennifer Cornick

blur-book-casual-1097177Photo by andres chaparro from Pexels

The booked smelled old, the kind of age which librarians and avid readers love, aging glue, brittle paper, and cotton threads.  The corners of the burgundy cover frayed and blunted with age.  A subscription library replaced the frontispiece and bound in a friendly greeting to the reader.  More than one hundred years of handling made for a fragile thing. 

The book itself was odd, a meditation on mortality by a physician in the time of the great philosophers.  When everyone could lay claim to be one or the other, or both.  The book attempted to do for medicine and natural philosophy what Kant had done for empiricism and classical thought.  Whether he was successful or not was up to countless readers to judge. 

The book had spent years in a travelling subscription library, this specific one having travelled through the south of France from Paris, visiting towns and villages where there were no bookstores and no libraries not locked up in manor houses, behind mazes and shrubberies.  In each stop, the heavy wagon would stay no longer than a few weeks before moving onwards.  This was a lonely life for an enterprising young man looking to make a fortune.  His hand caressed the fingers of every young lady with morbid curiosity to whom he passed the book.  His every flirtation ignored.  Passed over for permanence despite his charm, sonorous voice, and physical attractions.  As years passed, he became lonelier and paid for the pleasure purposeful flirtations would not avail him.  He sold the collection to pay for mercury baths.

A private collector purchased the entire stock of the subscription library to immediately build and present the perfect middle class library in his house in Lyon.  It did not matter if there were duplicates in the collection, he would never know as he would never read them, not a single one.  The books would sit on the shelves, untouched for two generations, until a toddler pulled out the burgundy book.  The boy’s feet turning purple under his body weight as he crumpled a page and chewed a corner only to have his mother pull the book away and explain its dirtiness and unworthiness as a toy. 

This early interaction with books caused a short but lifelong disdain for the written word.  He sold off his grandfather’s collection, the pride of the home and the seal of their middleclass status, to a book dealer in Marseille for some easy coin to buy a necklace.  The necklace was carefully secured to the woman who would be his wife.  She would run off to Italy with her lover after the birth of their second daughter.  He would later shoot himself in what used to be the library, leaving behind the legacy two embarrassed children caught in a scandal not their own and an unwanted gift. 

The bookseller would slowly dismantle the collection, selling a volume here or there to interested parties.  No one wanted the small burgundy book.  He died alone on a battlefield far from home.  His small shop in Marseille was ransacked during the occupation.  Valuable volumes packed in crates and shipped far away, to be stored deep below the earth in salt and copper mines.  Again, the burgundy volume was left behind, not valuable enough. 

A father and son, looking for anything to sell in the wake of war, shuffled through abandoned places.  The occupation had burned so many things on the way out.  In the burnt timber and ashes small hands shift and pull, grasping the book.  It is not anymore damaged than it has been.  He proudly presents it to his father to sell for shoes and food.

The book is sold, to the lonely young woman in the manor on the hill.  She shows her latest acquisition to anyone who will listen and look.  It still smells of fire and sorrow; of ash and sadness.  She finds solace in books and her growing library.  Her husband has a lover and two plump and pink children in the village.  His absence a constant reminder of what she failed to provide him.  She reads and learns and cries herself to sleep in a silk upholstered chair surrounded by her precious books. 

The lonely woman’s husband has died, but before his death he insisted she promise to take in his lover, her children, and grandchildren.  They are not allowed to evict her nor she them.  They live uncomfortably, she in the library and them everywhere else.  The smallest girl plants a garden outside the window; an enticement into the light and an invitation to share, at least in the summer weather, the precious words, garden blossoms, and light.  And soon, the little girl will live everywhere and the burgundy book will remain hers. 

 

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