Crossword Creations #1: There's an Ogre on My Ulna - LetterPile - Writing and Literature
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Crossword Creations #1: There's an Ogre on My Ulna

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I have been writing off and on for many years. Now that I'm retired from the work force, I'm dedicating more time to the craft I love.

Crossword Creations are Born

One morning before the sun woke up, I found in a stack of papers in my home office the folded, completed crossword puzzle section from our 2 April 2020 edition of the Moscow-Pullman Daily News. I remember thinking I must have had a particularly good solving day that day as there were minimal stray marks and corrections on the page.

What also occurred to me, though, as I was preparing to discard the completed crossword, was that I did not have a pending project to hand. I looked at the solved puzzle and an idea began to take shape.

I spent the better part of that morning crafting the flash fiction story that came to me from the words in the crossword solution. I built a spreadsheet to track the only rule of Crossword Creations: every word must be used in the story. The course thus charted, I marked out each word as it was used, let the muse run rampant with whatever ideas came along.

My conception of Crossword Creations was born that morning, though the particular feat has yet to be replicated. Sadly—or maybe encouragingly?—what instead has transpired is an accumulation of solved puzzles. Noting their collective and collecting presence now reminds daily that if there is not a pending project, there is, in fact, a pending project.

I hope you enjoy this quick little tale as much as I enjoyed putting it together. Or more, even!

Solved crossword puzzle from 2 April 2020 edition of Moscow-Pullman Daily News

Solved crossword puzzle from 2 April 2020 edition of Moscow-Pullman Daily News

There's an Ogre on My Ulna

I was headed to the Depot, keyed up and looking for “oohs” and a score, but certain it would elude after a lifetime of denials. Nattier than usual, wearing sneakers and white with my glasses on, I looked like a college campus nerd, a member of the literati or Ollie Lee ready for Yom Kippur.

I passed my friend Edie, who owns the Palm Reader salon around the corner. She saluted, cat-called and hollered, “Bah ha ha ha! I’m telling Doug!!”

“I’ll sue for libel!” I scream, more nerd-like than literati, but talking really only to myself. Edie was long gone, ‘round the corner, and in any case knew leniency was my wont more than not. Too, Doug and I were no longer a thing as of this morning. Edie just didn't know that yet. Or did she?

Then another thought occurred to me at that very moment:

Hmmm…if a seer says, then maybe I will overcome this inertia. Maybe tonight I am destined to meet my lifetime partner!

And then, just as quickly, another preemptive notion:

Nope, nope, nope. Reset. Ctrl+Alt+Del here, missy. Not going to happen. That is NOT your dole…

But before that second thought was complete, there appeared in a flash an ogre, caught me off guard, sprang out of nowhere and alit erect on my ulna, stuck there like remora to a shark.

I used to drink the driest of ryes

And I loved oh loved me sweet berry pies

But now it’s mash sweet

And I always eat meat

Though young bones are me biggest big prize

— The Ogre on My Ulna

“Tehee,” roared he into my ear, in a panting voice of swallowed helium. I halted in my tracks, lest the beast should be as hungry as bold.

Truly stumped, I wondered who this guy was, this inane goon, like an imagined character from Epcot:

His tongue was taupe-colored; breath rotten onion, Dow chemicals and escargot; teeth dripped goo like raw white of egg. Stagy, ogee-arch ears reminded of Spock from USS Enterprise, though left pointed ENE and right pointed WSW, respectively, and at all times. Tens of hairs looked lonely, like companions had rioted, sorted themselves out, said toodleoo and departed. They appeared also to be nailed in place, ion-charged, and Beaut Blanc-dyed individually by hand. His skin was drier than years’-old cabin firewood stored indoors to avoid morning dews.

He had with him accoutrements, giving his striking appearance even more oomph: The first, which he held in his left hand, was a stuffed animal he’d named Lorelei. It looked like Muppet Ernie, but with two sets of eyes, and it bore a dated CBS tattoo on its chest. When he squeezed it, Lorelei would emote in a beautiful singing voice like Eros Ramazzotti, “Amore. Amore.”

The second was a medal he wore around his neck. It said, “Olé” on the front, and had a poem written on the back:

I used to drink the driest of ryes
And I loved oh loved me sweet berry pies
But now it’s mash sweet
And I always eat meat
Though young bones are me biggest big prize

This all kind of horrified me at first, but I figure as long as he’s stuck to my arm I should be ok.

And besides, I do think he’s kind of cute.

Word Tracker

Goon

x

Tens

x

Libel

x

Ulna

x

Ogee

x

Inane

x

Alit

x

Ogre

x

Tehee

x

Rioted

x

Drier

x

Denials

x

Sorted

x

Erect

x

Nailed

x

Roar

x

Oohs

x

Taupe

x

Yom

x

Lorelei

x

Dow

x

Emote

x

Eros

x

Sets

x

Sprang

x

Epcot

x

Helium

x

Saluted

x

Keyed

x

Remora

x

Cabin

x

Doug

x

Pant

x

Blanc

x

Also

x

Edie

x

Stagy

x

Lest

x

Dyed

x

Down

x

Guard

x

Ollie

x

Onion

x

Nattier

x

Toodleoo

x

Egg

x

Nerd

x

Seers

x

Ion

x

Literati

x

Inertia

x

Bah

x

ENE

x

Lee

x

Ear

x

Ion

x

Score

x

Elude

x

Depot

x

There

x

Dews

x

Ryes

x

Oomph

x

Amore

x

Slops

x

Leniency

x

Escargot

x

Talking

x

Stumped

x

Guy

x

Ole

x

Medal

x

Toady

x

Ernie

x

Dated

x

Dole

x

CBS

x

Alt

x

Baa

x

USS

x

© 2020 greg cain

Comments

greg cain (author) from Moscow, Idaho, USA on July 14, 2020:

Glad you did, too, Ann. And yes, something like this might really add some excitement to the AM stroll. Haha! Happy Tuesday, and have a great week.

Ann Carr from SW England on July 13, 2020:

Glad I popped back to look at this first one. Love the Ogre; it certainly puts a morning walk in perspective!

Ann

greg cain (author) from Moscow, Idaho, USA on July 01, 2020:

Thanks, Dora! That is high praise coming from you, and I appreciate it. And let's hope it all remains in the realm of fantasy!

greg cain (author) from Moscow, Idaho, USA on July 01, 2020:

Thanks, Flourish. I'll take oddball any day of the week! The ogre himself was the main inspiration for the piece, to be quite honest. There were so many words in the puzzle that jumped out at me as applicable to him. That's what sent my mind off to the races...

Dora Weithers from The Caribbean on June 30, 2020:

Unique! Great creativity and every bit of it enjoyable. Your descriptions are so detailed, it makes the ogre seem real. Glad I read this .

FlourishAnyway from USA on June 28, 2020:

Oddball but I really loved the extreme creativity. What a wonderful writing exercise! The character was vivid.

greg cain (author) from Moscow, Idaho, USA on June 28, 2020:

Thank you, Liz, for the wonderful comment. This was an engaging project that I am inclined to do again someday in future.

Liz Westwood from UK on June 28, 2020:

This is a unique and inspirational way of writing. You have done well to work within the parametrrs you set to create an interesting tale.

greg cain (author) from Moscow, Idaho, USA on June 28, 2020:

Thanks, William. This work in progress was a weird combination of constraining and liberating. It was quite a good exercise in discipline and diligence, I think. Thanks again for stopping by!

William Kovacic from Pleasant Gap, PA on June 28, 2020:

Quite a nice job, Greg. I have trouble writing short stories and then to

write under those guidelines would have been impossible for me. I admire your work here.

greg cain (author) from Moscow, Idaho, USA on June 27, 2020:

DreamerMeg - funny you should mention that about the dictionary. I had been considering putting something together based on the "Word of the Day" e-mail I get daily...more to follow!

greg cain (author) from Moscow, Idaho, USA on June 27, 2020:

John - give it a go, mate! I would love to see what you come up with. Thanks again for stopping by for a look-see.

greg cain (author) from Moscow, Idaho, USA on June 27, 2020:

Nor would I have believed it a few short weeks ago, Ruby. It is a new on on me, and though I want to try it again I am now having trouble finding the time! Busy, busy, busy!

greg cain (author) from Moscow, Idaho, USA on June 27, 2020:

Hey Sha - thanks for the great comment. I had a blast putting this thing together. It was a bit of a challenge to use all the words, but I manged to squeeze them in...Thanks again for stopping by and giving it a look!

DreamerMeg from Northern Ireland on June 27, 2020:

That's certainly a creative story and a creative way to develop a story too. Professional crosswords usually are set around a theme so that might make it just a tad easier to come up with a connected story but it must take some work. I think the only harder way would be taking random words from the dictionary!

John Hansen from Queensland Australia on June 26, 2020:

Well, using the words of crossword puzzle is possibly the most creative writing prompt I have heard, Greg. You story was both weird and funny, but well done. I could be tempted to try this, If I get stuck for ideas, but then again maybe not...lol.

Ruby Jean Richert from Southern Illinois on June 26, 2020:

Well, who would have ever ' thunk 'about writing a story from a completed crossword puzzle? Not me in a million years! But, by golly I liked it!

Shauna L Bowling from Central Florida on June 26, 2020:

What a clever way to kick your muse into gear, Box! Who would have thought random words in a crossword puzzle could come together in a story?

Your brain seems to be working overtime - to our benefit.

greg cain (author) from Moscow, Idaho, USA on June 26, 2020:

Eric - haha! I'm going to be okay, my friend. My bride reminded me on her reading of this that the little green guys with pointy ears are not real. Between you and her, then, I think my sanity shall remain in check.

greg cain (author) from Moscow, Idaho, USA on June 26, 2020:

Thank you, Ankita. Much appreciated.

Eric Dierker from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A. on June 26, 2020:

Can I have your phone number, full name and address, like date of birth or even SS#.

It would be well to get a Health and Human services folk over there sooner rather than later.

Just a thought. You do know that ogres are "generally" not real.

Ankita B on June 26, 2020:

Very creative thought. The story is as much entertaining.

greg cain (author) from Moscow, Idaho, USA on June 26, 2020:

Thanks, Bill. Very kind of you. And I had lots of fun putting it together. Time will tell if this can become a thing or not...

Bill Holland from Olympia, WA on June 26, 2020:

You, my friend, have an overactive imagination, and I love it. You never disappoint with your writings. This was brilliantly entertaining.