The Word is Sword

by Tom Swift

In our writing group the format is as follows. After intros and a reading of the rules, the organizer says aloud a word, one word only,, and for 30 minutes we write in silence. Most take up the word in some direct or indirect way, though it is not in the rules that you must do so. After the time expires, we go around the room and each person is given a chance to read (which is optional).

Until joining last year, I had not before been in such a group. The format allows one to tailor the time to his or her personal aims — whether to augment their writing practice in a general way, to help with a specific project, or, I suppose, or to engage in what some might describe as a form of therapy. For me, given that writing is such a solitary act, I appreciate the chance to transact words on the page while in the company of other writers. I like, too, that I am placed in a position to go at some writing in a way that I never otherwise would have. Also, we have coffee after.

Today’s word? Sword. Here, unedited, are the words I wrote in response to that one:

I had one — and only one — sword when I was a kid. I got it at the Pirates of the Caribbean in Disney World. It came in a black sheath. It made a sound when you pulled it from the sheath quickly so as to be ready to chop down an intruder.

Except we lived in the suburbs. There were no intruders.

This does not mean I understood there would be no introducers.

In fact, I felt sure that we would get some introducers. So at night, after everyone else was asleep, I would tip-toe upstairs to the front door and check the lock. Almost always, the lock was locked. But one time it wasn’t. So I locked the lock as fast as I could so that we would not get any intruders. So that I would not have to quickly pull out of its sheath — voosh! — my Pirates of the Caribbean sword and chop down those intruders.