A Bit Out of Hand – an ISG Writing Exercise

These words were chosen:

  • Tea
  • Popcorn
  • Plum

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



Sarah picked up the tea pot and poured herself a cup of Earl Grey, her favorite, and sat down on the swing of her porch. It was a chilly night, so she pulled the plum colored fuzzy blanket across her lap. She had already brought out a bowl of popcorn and was ready to settle in for a while and relax from her crazy day. She thought back on it and frowned. Things got a bit out of hand, she was only going to cast a small spell to help get her paperwork done, but she had sneezed in the middle of the incantation and well, all the papers in the vicinity spontaneously went up in flame.

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When Jon poured the tea that afternoon, Ellie noticed the strangest tug in her belly. Frowning, she spooned tea into her cup and watched him through her eye lashes as he spoke jovially to her brother Thomas about the upcoming match of some sport or another that boys tend to get into.

Ellie took a bite of plum biscuit and made a face before she remembered present company. She looked up and met Jon’s eyes. He winked at her then, her toes curled and her heart skipped. When he looked away to continue the popcorn string they were all making for the holiday ball, Ellie frowned once more.

What in the devil was going on? She felt this ridiculous draw to sit near him, to serve him biscuits or drag him outside for a walk. Elli glanced at her brother, Thomas and found him scowling at her. Her eyes went wide and he quickly looked between her and his friend.

Ellie’s mouth rounded as she sighed in realization.

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“I really hate popcorn,” Marie said.  The toothpick she was using wasn’t working and only served to wedge the small hard shell farther up into her gum.

Sam snickered from the couch.  “Well, if you weren’t such a pig about it.”

“Watch it buster,” Marie warned. “Ow!” Marie had stabbed a little too hard and could taste the blood as it coated her tongue.  She took a sip of the iced tea that had been left on the counter to wash out the coppery flavor.  She gargled a little and then spit it into the sink.  Ugh, It was pretty bad she thought.

Sam walked up behind her and leaned over to look in the sink.  “Really got it bad, huh?”

“Be a plum and get me some floss, would you dear?” She asked.

Sam sighed.  “Fine.  But I get another hour on your lap when you’re done.”

“You poor kitten, never getting any love,” Marie consoled.  Sam got the feeling her sympathy wasn’t terribly sincere and hissed in annoyance.

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“What the hell is that smell?” Violet asked covering her nose with the arm of her sweatshirt. She walked into the kitchen to see Matt pouring some sort of steamy sticky substance over popcorn.   


The smell grew worse the closer that she got to it. She clicked the fan on over the stove and then opened the small window letting in the frosty winter air.  


“So… What is it?” She said sounding just as annoyed as she felt. 


“Well” Matt started. The look on his face indicated he knew this was not already going to go well. “Remember how you wanted to try new things?” He asked and she nodded slowly. “Remember that you thought we could spice up movie night?” He waited for her to nod again but Violet simply tilted her head to the side. “Well… You love tea…” He breathed in deep “And plum tea to be exact” she felt her stomach begin to twist…. So, I made Plum Tea flavored popcorn… 

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I was trying to find words to properly impart to my class the importance to American History of the Boston Tea Party when Principal Itiegha walked in and said that school was canceled for the day. Apparently, the government was down. Since going fully digital, it often did so. But we’d never gotten a snow day out of it. All the kids scanned themselves out, and started to get ready to wait in the pick-up room. Mr. Iteigha sent texts to all the kids to instead gather outside in the baseball field to watch history being made, but I was trying to get his attention, still rather miffed at having my lecture interrupted.

As the kids gathered, I tried talking to him about what a perfect opportunity it was to show a good American History movie, and that we had plenty of popcorn for a movie day, but he silenced me with an idle wave, his eyes never moving from the eastern sky.

Mr. Iteigha put his hand to his mouth as I joined him, along with many of the kids, in staring east. A bright pillar of light shot upward like a doric column from an oddly luminescent plum-colored cloud forming far on the horizon. I’d never seen anything like it.



Samantha considered the food on the table for a long moment, then turned to face the fairy in the kitchen. “Um, are you serving tea and popcorn?” At Martin’s eager expression, she tried to school her face, but he was too fast for her, flitting into the dining room and staring at her nervously.

“I was, yes, but should I not?” He glanced at the table, heavily laden with steaming teacups, the delicate china perched on small saucers that were filled with popcorn, the puffs surrounding each cup in a sea of white and yellow. Looking closer, she saw that the rim of each cup had a piece of sliced fruit wedged into it.

“Uh…” she began, trying to identify the fruit. “Are those plums?”
Martin’s normally pale face began to redden, a deep line of crimson working its way up from the collar of his white shirt. “Yes, plums and tea and corn are the cornerstones of civilized conversation,” he insisted, voice faltering as he saw her face, “but not so much in this realm, I gather.”

“It’s definitely going to spark some conversation,” she admitted, reaching for a cup and lifting it. The smell of herbal tea and fresh plums wafted–and it honestly wasn’t a bad combination.

The buttery popcorn sliding off the saucer and trailing on the table and surrounding floor, however, was another matter.

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

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