Create a Better Day – an ISG Writing Exercise

On 17 January 2018, these three words were chosen:

  • Match
  • Island
  • Swing

And these blurbs were written within five minutes….Enjoy!



She lit the match and watched the flame burn down to just before her finger and thumb and then dropped it into the cove’s icy water. The island was supposed to be an escape, a salvation from her aching heart. But instead, it increased the awareness of what she was missing. The swing of the pendulum had only ended back where it started, with a shredded heart and a heavy head. The sun was just dropping down and it looked like it too was being singed to nothing by the horizon. Lifting her head to sky, Sorla gazed upon the slowly darkening heavens and wished on the first star she spotted. She breathed in the salty air, dug her toes in the cool sand and decided to create a better day. As long as she continued to get up, things could be better. It was in her hands… Sorla looked at her hands. The pale skin glowing and knew that it was indeed her hands that would change the face of life.

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She couldn’t believe her luck. She had waited her entire life for something like this to happen.

As she stared out of her cabana to the white sands and blue waters of the beach in front of her she could not imagine a more perfect place.

This was the island of her dreams.

Then she heard the sound that would plaque her forever “Hey there” came a nasally voice from her left. She turned to see a man, well he was at least male, sitting in a wooden bench swing that seemed to be propped between her cabana and her neighbors.

“Ummm” she actually didn’t know what to say.

He decided to get up and walk towards her “So, did you just get here?” he asked. His voice was like liquid nails on a chalkboard.

“Yes” she said trying to look for something to occupy herself instead of speaking with him more.

“Well then we will be seeing A LOT of each other” he continued, she winced “I am here for another two weeks.”

This vacation was ruined in a matter of moments.

This was a tropical match made in hell.

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When I agreed to come out to the barrier island for an overnight, Sandra hadn’t mentioned that there would be so many strippers there. Maybe I would have worn a less grandma bathing suit, or maybe I wouldn’t have packed a picnic in a real live picnic basket like an idiot. Maybe I wouldn’t have brought my largest hiking pack, or a tent. But here I was, sitting somewhere between Caladesi and Seminole beaches on a large mexican blanket on a little spit of land in the intracoastal, with twenty people who belonged in Hollywood. Here I was wearing a large one piece sitting next to the three hottest men I’d ever seen, one of which looked like maybe he might swing my way. Didn’t some movie star start out out here?

Sandra was splashing in the surf, and I watched her in wonder. How did she even know these folks? Near her, two female strippers had on nothing but floss bottoms, and were currently doing lines of coke off a cooler of beer, which wasn’t really what I had in mind, so I dug my toes down into the sand off the edge of my beach blanket and pulled a sandwich out of my basket. Cucumber sandwiches were my favorite, and I’d packed enough to get me through until tomorrow morning.

Do you have a match? said a tall lanky brunette with six pack abs as he walked up with an armload of driftwood.

Um, yeah. As I rummaged, I thought perhaps there was an upside to being prepared for camping out.


“Are you sure this was in the brochure?” Aileen asked, glancing up at the swing hanging from the tree worked perfectly into the side deck attached to the cabana. She tugged the chainlink toward her and touched the black seat bottom. “I think this is real leather.” She looked up at her husband. “Just what kind of place did you bring me to?”

Mark looked at the swing, eyes crinkling as he considered the possibilities. “The brochure mentioned all this island stuff. You know, beaches and bikinis, and massages, and yoga and little drinks with umbrellas.”

Aileen gave him a look. “Seriously? Then what do you call this?”

“A yoga swing?” he tried, voice cracking as he took in the solid construction, the perfect height of the seat, the wooden decking beneath worn smooth by what must have been hundreds of feet over the years. Just because it looked like a sex swing didn’t mean it only had one use. “There are lots of reasons someone might want to swing out here. The view of the wooden fence is lovely, the full bushes perfectly obscuring any neighborly witnesses…” he trailed off.

“Yoga.” It wasn’t a question. “Does this form of yoga come with a matching pair of handcuffs?”

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“Are you sure it’s a good match?”

The boy, the one who did not appear to want her to know his name, nodded and gestured down to his phone.

“But, like, how can you be sure?”

He raised an eyebrow and rolled his eyes, but still did not speak. He had not spoken a word, not since they’d met—as if the island was not creepy enough as it was.

“Okay, fine…fine…” she muttered and continued walking along the path. The sand was too sifting, and the heat just a little bit too hot. She’d overestimated the wine’s potency and was not nearly as drunk as she would have liked.

The boy moved fast, tiny legs easily skimming over the hot sand, and went up a sharp hill. She, with a little panting, followed along, cresting the hill and looking a tad white. What she saw next seemed to undo any of what her time on the luxury island had done for her complexion. All that remaining tan went with a little sweep of emotion.

“Uh…” was all her brain managed, as she stood not too far from a man on a swing, kicking out his feet in little pushes and then coming to almost melancholy stops.

The boy pointed, and then, without a word still, ran back the other way—leaving her there alone with him.

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Filed under Creative Writing, Writers Group, Writing, Writing Exercise

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