October 31, 2011: Part 2- Write a paragraph that begins a short story about the last year of your life. CWE 29


Audrey sat against the wall in a deep booth.  A pendant lamp painted green hung low over the table, and a jukebox flashed in the dark corner.  Plastic tubes of orange lights were bent into the outlines of pumpkins, and they blinked in the window while snow fell.  It was two days before Halloween.  Cars sped down Union Street and churned the snow into gray slush.  Audrey’s friends talked about fabric samples and an exam on Tuesday.  Audrey walked to the long empty bar and handed over her credit card in exchange for a suede pocket of darts.  The girls took turns lining up behind the disappearing chalk line scratched on the dark carpet.  The bar was dark and quiet.  Audrey had never played darts before.  She was surprised to learn that she wasn’t half bad.  The sound of the dart piercing the cork was smooth and satisfying, a dry sponge drawing up water.  Audrey slipped one of the pointed darts into her sweatshirt’s pocket before she turrned in the suede pocket to the bartender.  She walked outside, and the snow fell in yellow cones of light hanging off the streetlights.  It was getting dark, but the sun had never risen so the day had that eerie feeling of no end and no beginning.  Sara and Nicole walked ahead.  Audrey pressed the tip of her finger against the dart’s point and walked a little faster to catch up to her friends.

What If? Writing Exercises for Fiction Writers Anne Bernays and Pamela Painter, pages 47 and 48

Exercise completed using Audrey, from CWE 27 on October 29, 2011

1. Character’s name: Audrey Elizabeth Shoemaker

2. Character’s nickname: Aud

3. Sex: female

4. Age: 20

5. Looks: pretty in a simple way.  Long dark hair.  Pale skin.  Brown eyes.  In the past two years or so, she’s realized that some people think she’s pretty.  This is fun but confusing and a little overwhelming.  She was always the plain one.  Thrift store clothes.  She doesn’t have a lot of money, so her wardrobe is simple.  She looks at what other people wear to figure out what’s cool, and she replicates it the best she can.  She knows this is weird and is sensitive that people will figure out what she’s doing.

6. Education: undergrad at a small liberal arts college.

7. Vocation/occupation: student.

8. Status and money: part of the “cool” group because she’s friends with the cool kids.  She, herself, isn’t cool.  She blends.

9. Marital status: single.

10: Family, ethnicity: Her parents are divorced.  Her dad cheated on her mom repeatedly and was eventually caught.  She doesn’t talk to him.  Her mom is a big part of her life, in a distanced kind of way.  Audrey is Ukranian and Irish.

11. Diction, accent, etc: none that she knows of.

12. Relationships: She forms fast and hard friendships.  She likes to meet someone at 10:00 PM on a Tuesday night and stay up talking to them until 4:00 AM on Wednesday morning.  She takes friendship seriously and is a good friend.  She always makes time.  Her relationships with her family are more strained.  She can’t find her place among them and often resists trying.  It’s too difficult and everything feels wrong all the time with them.  They don’t seem to pick up on this difficulty, so she feels guilty on top of everything else.  She does not have a boy friend and for a 20 year old, she is strangely unconcerned about this.  Her level of unconcern worries her.  She sees her friends fluttering around, looking for a boy friend.

13. Places: She shares a dorm room with Kristy.  They are very different, but they are good friends.  Kristy always has a new boy friend.  She parties hard and drinks hard.  Audrey admires her.

14. Possessions: Audrey keeps a journal religiously.  She cares deeply about books and music.  Gifts from friends are special and displayed around her room.  Silly things, but they mean a lot.

15. Recreation, hobbies: Audrey knits.  She reads a lot and writes in her journal.  She doesn’t take her classes seriously, which is unexpected because she reads and writes so much.

16. Obsessions: God.  Friends.  Books. 

17. Beliefs: God, most days.  The Earth.  Compassion.

18. Politics: liberal.

19. Sexual history: none.  This is a background worry for her.

20. Ambitions: To be a writer.

21. Religion: raised Catholic.  Currently floundering.

22. Superstitions: none.

23. Fears: being alone.  Being different.  Crickets. 

24. Attitudes: shy, reserved, can seem snotty but isn’t really.  Just shy and uncertain and busy with her thoughts.

25. Character flaws: can seem snotty.  Self-absorbed.  Moody.  

26. Character strengths: compassionate.  Intellectual.  Enjoys conversations.  Likes to problem solve abstractly.

27. Pets: None.

28: Tastes in books, music: contemporary fiction, poetry, short stories, and folk music.

29. Journal entries: constant.  Self pitying.  Rambling.

30. Correspondence: exchanges long letters with a childhood friend.

31. Food preferences: bread.  Cheese.  Beer.

32. Handwriting: boring.  She wishes she had interesting handwriting but doesn’t.

33: Astrological sign: Gemini.

34: Talents: writing. Listening. Bringing out the best in others.

What I’m thinking about

Interesting to note that, as I wrote this, I wanted to make Audrey into everything I’m not.  I wanted her to have a cool wardrobe.  I wanted her to be a prolific writer, the life of the party, the one with the eclectic, intriguing handwriting.  But I can’t write about that person, because I have no idea what it’s like to set trends and be the intriguing one.  I have to write about the person who fades into the background, and I have to make her worth reading about.

October 30, 2011: Write a paragraph that begins a short story about the last year of your life. CWE 28


Audrey sat against the wall in a deep booth.  A glass pendant lamp painted green hung low over the table, and a jukebox flashed in the dark corner.  Clear plastic tubes of orange lights were coiled into outlines of pumpkins.  They blinked in the window while snow fell on October 29.  Cars sped down Union Street and churned the snow into gray slush.  Audrey’s friends talked about fabric samples and an exam on Tuesday.  Audrey walked to the long empty bar and handed over her credit card in exchange for a suede pocket of darts.  Sara and Nicole joined her, and the girls took turns lining up behind the disappearing chalk line scratched on the dark carpet.  The bar was dark and quiet.  Audrey had never played darts before, and she was surprised to learn that she wasn’t half bad.  She couldn’t figure out how to get the dart to land in a particular spot, but the darts kept landing on the board.  The sound of the dart piercing the cork was smooth and satisfying, a dry sponge drawing up water.  Audrey slipped one of the pointed darts into her sweatshirt’s pocket before she turrned in the suede pocket to the bartender.  She walked out into the snow falling in the yellow cones of light shooting down from the streetlights.  It was getting dark, but the sun had never risen so the day had that eerie feeling of no end and no beginning.  Sara and Nicole walked ahead.  Audrey pressed the tip of her finger against the dart’s point and walked a little faster to catch up to her friends.

October 29, 2011: 25 things that make me smile. CWE 27

1. Katie

2. bunny flops

3. a good writing prompt

4. short stories

5. pajamas, especially Lanz flannel nightgowns

6. jewelry.  rings, bracelets.

7. Dogfish Head Punkin beer

8. long, alcohol fueled lunches or brunches

9. darts

10. snow on October 29th!  holy cow!

11. bobbies from Capriotti’s

12. infomercial marathons

13. midday naps

14. setting my alarm on weekend nights, purely to turn it off and go back to bed

15. Words With Friends, even though I suck

16. my friends

17. clean sheets

18. dirty dishes and an empty dishwasher

19. my netbook

20. blankets

21. fireplaces

22. washing my face

23. kids in Halloween costumes

24. not proud of it, but Neil Diamond’s, “Coming to America”

25. when Katie’s fish eat their peas

October 28, 2011: Describe a building from two different sets of eyes. CWE 26

“Here is a classic creative writing prompt that can be found in almost every writing workshop. Describe a building from the point of view of a man who just lost his only son in war. Do it without mentioning death, war, his son, or himself. Describe that same building at the same time of day and weather conditions, from the point of view of a man who has just discovered he’s going to be a father. The same rules apply however, don’t mention birth, or babies. (If you feel more comfortable change it to a woman’s point of view.) The point of this is to challenge yourself to see through your characters eyes. What is ugly and brutal to one person, in one frame of mind, may not be to another.”


Man 1

Bricks are loose and quietly shaking out of their mortar.  The gray mortar is riddled with apertures, pinpricks for decay to breed.  The building is peeling at the corners, bricks rubbed clean of their red, whites and grays left behind.  Broken glass reflects mountainous silhouettes.  Graffiti marks the building, cartoonish rants in purple and white careening across the broken bricks.  Balconies are broken teeth, railings split into weapons.  The building shakes out brick dust and mortar dust and glass dust all day.  It is splitting at the seams.  A day will come soon when a bus brakes hard at a streetlight.  The street will vibrate, imperceptible to pedestrians, but the building will quietly lift its feet from its foundation, sigh one last time, and crumble onto itself, leaving behind a tidy pile of dust that stirs just a little as the taxis drive past.

Man 2

The building has been here forever, long before I was born.  It’s abandoned and has seen better days, but my God, they don’t make buildings like this anymore.  It stands like a sentinel, waching over the city, its city, proud and stalwart.  The bricks have weathered beautifully.  People pay for this effect, but it never looks like this unless the wind and weather do it.  Some things can only be accomplished with time.  The windows are broken, but they reflect the morning sun and mirror the passing clouds.  The woodwork along the roof is exquisite, carved beautifully.  I forget how beautiful the world can be, and then I see woodwork like that.  And someone did that before there were powertools.  They did it by hand.  The front doors are impressive, waiting for presidents and primeministers and popes to walk through.  I could stand here and look at it forever.  It needs a powerwash and some work, but structures like this just don’t exist anymore.  The love and craftmanship and thoughtfulness of so many people.  It’s extraordinary.

I’m reading:

For Esme- With Love and Squalor, J.D. Salinger

Silver Water, Amy Bloom

What the World Will Look Like When All the Water Leaves Us, Laura van den Berg

October 27, 2011: What kind of games did you play in your neighborhood as a child? CWE 25

Teddy knocked on the front door while we were still cleaning the kitchen after dinner, dragging the mop’s heavy braids across the ceramic tile.  As soon as we were done, we flew through the front door, the screen door closing slowly.

Someone slammed down an empty 2-liter soda bottle on the pebbled street in the middle of the court, and Joey held his hand over his eyes, counting out loud.  He spun in a tight circle, one hand over his eyes and the other arm blindly extended.  We scattered, darting around the back corners of houses and hiding behind rhododendron bushes.  Kids laid flat along the tops of hills and hid in forts created by trees.  I wonder if any kids in any neighborhood in any town played the game right, but we certainly didn’t.  Joey never left the bottle so no on ever had the chance to kick it and free everyone hiding.  He stood in the center of the court for an hour, scanning the front and side yards for movement.  Occasionally, he got get lucky and caught a kid darting from one backyard to the other.  He’d run to the bottle, grasp its neck, and use it to beat the hell out of the street while screaming, “1, 2, 3…I see Amy in the Daub’s backyard!”  More often than not, though, his hour of scanning yielded nothing.  His tight circles grew wider and slower, but he never left the bottle.  Those of us hiding sat down and pulled up long stalks of waxy grass, piling them in our palms and smoothing them out until someone finally walked out of a backyard, hands in the air, yelling, “You can’t get me!  I’m not playing anymore!”  The rest of us walked out one by one, saying, “Me, too!  I’m not playing anymore.”  It wasn’t a game.  No one did anything, took any risks, or followed any of the rules.  There were no hard feelings, and we’d play the same game the next night.

October 25, 2011: When you get home, lie down on your back and examine the underside of a chair. What do you see? CWE 23

The underside of a chair’s seat is shaped life a slice of bread.  A woman’s body out of order: wide hips and a high and narrow waist that rounds down into a healthy backside.  A messy stain wraps around the perimeter, rubbed on thoughtlessly.  Just slightly off center and crooked is a stamp, about the size of my little finger, with black numbers partially worn clean: “801363”.  Two unstained 1x2s are nailed to the base, ostensibly to strengthen the chair’s base.  Each strip is nailed three times, at regular intercals.  Two yellow pricetags without prices are peeling off at different places.  They are stamped with 0s and 1s.  Pricetags are becoming pieces of ephemera.  Two dowels pierce the chair’s hips.  They are the base of the chair’s back and remind me of the way chairs used to be made.  Holes and dowels cut for one another.  The undercarriage of the seat drank the stain at different rates which accounts for darker and lighter parts.  The seat is held up with four thin lathed spindels, spun into concentric rings, slimming down before they swell proudly and then taper again.  The four legs are joined by two simple dowels.

October 24, 2011: Write a dialogue between two of your bunnies, the ones that fight. CWE 22

I have five pet bunnies.  Adelaide and Eli live in a bedroom upstairs.  Alma and Esther are sisters who live in the dining room, and Michi/Peach lives in the living room.  The living room and dining room are really one room, so a gate separates the two rooms when the bunnies are out to play.

Peachy’s mate, Sadie, died a little while ago.  We’re trying to bond Peach to Alma and Esther, which is not easy.  Alma and Esther have been bonded since birth, and all three bunnies are girls which makes things extra hard.  We’ve been sporadically trying to bond them in the kitchen for over a year. 

This dialogue takes place mostly between Michi and Alma, who are housed in side by side x-pens.  Esther lives with Alma.

Peach (flat on the floor, head down, submissive):  Psst.  Hey.  Hey guys!  Can you hear me?   

Alma: We can hear you.  We hear you all the time

M: Oh, okay.  Well.  I wasn’t sure.  I. I see that you guys have a.  A bunny club over there?  And, well, I was thinking.  That I’d be a good member.  If you’d let me join?  I mean.  I’ve been in a club before, and.  And I was good at it!  You could.  Boss me around?  And I’ll just do what you say.  Oh, my, my name is Micayla.  Sometimes they call me Peachy.  Or just Peach.  Sometimes it’s Peachy Peachy Pumpkin Pie.  You.  You could just call me Mich, though?  That’s what they called me in my old club. 

A [deadpan]: We know your name.  You live next door to us. 

M: Oh, well, yeah.  I.  I didn’t think of that.  But!  I know your names, too.  You’re Alma, and you’re Esther?  Right?  I’m right, aren’t I?

A [to Esther]: Don’t talk to her. 

M: I know you have a club, and it’s a good one.  I can tell, and.  I mean.  I know clubs.  Because I was in one before.  Did I tell you that?  I know good clubs, and you guys.  You guys got one.  I know how clubs are.  I know there’s a boss and everyone else listens.  And that’s okay with me.  I don’t even like being a boss.  I just like being in clubs.  I can do lots of things.  Like.  Like I can click my heels!  Watch.  Are you guys watching?  Guys, hey guys, ready, here I go!  [jumps in air and clicks heels]

A: We can do that, too.  You’re a bunny, right?  All bunnies can to that.

M: I can do more stuff than that!  Let me think.  Um.  I know!  I can jump on boxes without falling off!  Esther, you always fall off, I’ve seen you!  But I don’t ever!  Watch!

E [quietly, to Alma, cutting her eyes]: Is this bitch serious?

M: Guys, do you see me?  I’m up here, on top of the box!  Do you see?  Hey guys!  Do you see me?

A: Get down, Leach.

M: Oh, okay.  Okay, guys.  I’m coming down. [hops down] Okay, so what do you guys think?  Do you think I can be in your club?  I can run really fast, too, and I.  I can pull all of my hay out of my litter box.  And.  I can dump my bowls!  I do it every day!  And they get mad at me?  But I don’t care.  They’re my bowls, so I dump them whenever I want.  And I dump them next to each other, so that the water makes my food mush.  And then?  They have to get me more.  They don’t want to, but.  I don’t care.  And I can dig, too!  Have you seen the holes in the carpet?  They’re bigger than me!  And when I get yelled at, I keep digging.  I don’t care.  Sometimes I’m like, you know, “Why don’t you guys kiss. My. Butt?  You can’t make me stop.”  And they can’t either.  I just keep digging.

A: Once again.  You know we live next door, right?  What do you do when they squirt you with the water bottle?

M: Well.  I mean.  I guess I stop.  But I stomp my foot first.  You know I do!  You’ve heard it!  I stomp as loud as I can, and then I flick my heels right in their faces.  I mean, it’s not like I just stop right away.  They know I’m mad.  So what do you guys think?  Can I be in the club or not?

A: Tell you what.  Esther and I.  We’re going to think about it.  We’re going to talk about it at our next meeting, and we’re going to get back to you.

M: Oh.  Well.  Okay.  So you’ll tell me soon?  Because I’m telling you guys.  I really am a good club member.    

What I’m reading: Joyce Carol Oates, “How Delicately,” and Sharon Olds, “The Unborn”

October 23, 2011: What do you know about your characters? CWE 21

What If? Writing Exercises for Fiction Writers Anne Bernays and Pamela Painter, pages 47 and 48

Exercise completed using James, from CWE 7 on October 12, 2011

1. Character’s name: James Paul Crowe

2. Character’s nickname: JP

3. Sex: male

4. Age: 27

5. Looks: Average.  He’s plain and will age into a plain looking older man.  He has dark hair cut close to his head.  It’s beginning to recede and sometimes he catches his forehead shining widely in a mirror.  Whenever he excuses himself to use the powder room when he’s with company, he blots his head to swab off the shine.  He has longish, manicured sideburns that work for him now, but he knows he’ll get a couple more years out of them at most before they look silly.  His skin is clear, his complexion medium.  His skin leans towards the oily side but it’s manageable.  He has a wide but thin smile, and his top lip dips just a little too much over his front teeth.  He is thin, which bothers him a little.  He wears a lot of green and black.

6. Education: James has an undergrad in finance.  It’s not from a great university or a not great one.  He lived on campus, pledged a frat, and had a pretty normal college experience.

7. Vocation/occupation: He’s not sure how it happened, but he’s a receptionist at an accountant’s.  It started as a summer job after college graduation.  He applied for jobs at the local banks where he could have used his degree, but nothing panned out and he stopped trying after a year or so.  He is immediately embarrassed when people ask him what he does for a living, and he wants to follow up with, “I have a degree in finance,” but he worries that it makes him look like an even bigger loser that he does have a degree but doesn’t use it.

8. Status and money: both unimpressive but not terrible

9. Marital status: never been married

10: Family, ethnicity: James’ family is from somewhere in Europe.  They aren’t the type who are super proud of being Irish or Italian or Greek.  He is close to his family in the way that people are close in small communities.  His parents are married and live in a small house about thirteen minutes away.  He has a sister, Renee, who is 24 and married to a man named Tom.  They have a three year old daughter named Dawn.  James sees his family at least every two weeks for dinner at his parents’ house or a family party.  He never stays long at these events, but he’s good about making a showing.

11. Diction, accent, etc: James was born in Upper Darby, PA.  To his knowledge, he has no accent.

12. Relationships: James has been dating Brenda for four months.  Things are going well.  Nothing earth shattering.

13. Places: James lives a pretty boring life.  He knows it.  He works at a nondescript office that often depresses him but he doesn’t know that the feeling is depression.  He lives in a one bedroom apartment with a breakfast bar and a large bathroom.  His apartment has a small balcony.  There’s a fitness center in the basement of the complex.

14. Possessions: James has a bike but doesn’t ride it.  He has a Wii that he used to play.  He has a rowing machine in his living room that he uses a few times a week.  His kitchen is pretty empty, and his bedspread is a faded black, almost gray, with geometric shapes in reds and greens.  It is covered in tiny pills but there are no tears.  James is hoping to replace it soon.

15. Recreation, hobbies: James is good at suduko.  He likes to watch college basketball, and he has a row of bobbleheads from different teams lined up on his TV cabinet.  He drinks a lot of protein shakes and eats a banana every day.

16. Obsessions: James worries about the growing bald spot on his head; specifically, he worries that it shines.

17. Beliefs: James believes in life on other planets.  He thinks contact will be made before he dies.

18. Politics: He’s not particularly interested.  He’s registered to vote but truthfully never has.

19. Sexual history: James first had sex when he was 16, and he’s had sex with eleven women.  Since he’s okay looking, he can often get a woman to come home with him, but getting them to go out with him more than once is hard.  He’s kind of dull.

20. Ambitions: James would like to use his finance degree and get married and have a family.  He would like to become a rock climber.

21. Religion: James grew up Episcopal but hasn’t been to church in a few years.

22. Superstitions: none

23. Fears: James is afraid of snakes.  He’s also afraid of being in a dark place by himself.  He often has dreams about this.

24. Attitudes: James is pretty low key.  He worries about a lot, but other people can’t tell.

25. Character flaws: James is a little boring, he worries, and he isn’t a great conversationalist.

26. Character strengths: James is pretty loyal and cares about his friends.  He is always on time for work and even though he doesn’t love his job, he works hard.

27. Pets: none

28: Tastes in books, music: James isn’t a big reader but he likes the Talking Heads, Metallica, and old school rock.

29. Journal entries: James doesn’t keep a journal.

30. Correspondence: James exchanges emails at work.  He talks to his mom on the phone a couple times a week, and he meets friends to watch a game and drink a few beers a couple times a month.

31. Food preferences: hamburgers, chicken

32. Handwriting: neat for a guy, looks like an architect’s writing.

33: Astrological sign: Pisces

34: Talents: he’s a good driver

Wow.  This was so long and difficult and boring.  Lesson learned: don’t try to write about someone who bores you.  Why wouldn’t you take a minute to think about someone you’d enjoy writing about.  Seems like a simple enough lesson.

0ctober 22, 2011: Describe Sundays. CWE 20

Church is a new phase.  I went every Sunday morning as a child.  We took up the gifts.  We were regulars.  I abandoned it for the second half of my life.  Finally and with a heartache that continues still, I quit the Catholics and recently started to attend an Episcopal Church.  I went on a church search for a few months and visited Episcopal and Presbyterian churches.  The Episcopal service rang my Catholic bell, and I started sporadically attending mass- they don’t call it mass, but I can’t stop- at a local church.  It’s beautiful, maybe the prettiest church I’ve ever been in.  My mom tells me this shouldn’t matter.  Maybe it doesn’t, but I think God understands and appreciates beauty.  I hope He does.  I don’t even know if He’s real anymore but if He is and if He’s the kind of God I want to get up early on a Sunday to hang out with, He gets it if I want to sit in a pretty place.  The church is small and cavernous at the same time.  The walls are all gray stone, real stone.  Heavy bricks of stone piled on one another.  The ceiling looks like the interior of an upside down Viking ship, curved planes of dark wood reaching to the apex.  There have to be twenty-five stained glass windows.  Shafts of colored light slide into the pews.  The light falls perfectly on my pew, and I kneel and cross my hands and pile my face against my locked fingers.   Light warms the top of my head.  In that pose, I feel like a prayer.  I don’t need to pray for my mom or Katie or the students at school or the end of wars and famine.  I tilt my face, and God presses the rubber bulb of a medicine dropper and draws prayers from me. The pews are hard, the pillowed kneelers awkward.  It’s usually a little cold or a little warm.  Sometimes the elderly man in the pew in front of mine has a coughing tic and I think I’ll go crazy for three minutes before I stop noticing it.  Nothing the priest says is particularly moving.  The songs are pretty but not special.  I am so grateful that I can follow the mass.  I love that I know what to say and when to say it.  It makes me feel holy.  I particularly like that I can follow the mass because I grew up devoted to the Catholics before I realized there wasn’t a place for me there, and that was a long heartbreak that still aches.

One Sunday they had a healing of the sick.  About fifteen of the hundred people present circled the altar, men and women in their eighties and nineties.  After the priest blessed one, that one placed his hands on the next in line during their blessing.  By the last person, the whole group was crowded around during the priest’s blessing.  All of the gray curls and silver ponytails and curved backs and heavy orthopedic shoes.  I tried to think about what they could be praying for.  What could you really need at 94?  What worries could wake you at night.  It occurred to me that they may not be passing prayers through their touch.  Maybe they were only passing love back and forth to one another.  The truest prayer of all.

What I’m listening to: Zee Avi, The Story

October 21, 2011: Describe the inside of an egg. CWE 19

Free Writing Prompt – Write for twenty minutes starting with the phrase,” The inside of an egg…”


Once laid and cooled, the contents of an egg shrink a bit and an air cell forms in the wider end.  Small cells mean fresher eggs.  The yolk is a saturated yellow that could be squeezed onto an artist’s palette.  It is dense and heavy.  Egg yolk is food for an embryo, suspended in the glaire by two spirals of chalazee.  The glaire gathers its liquid as it moves through the oviduct, picking up layers of discharge to build a dwelling for the yolk.  The glaire is high in protein and low in fat; it is mostly water.  You can identify eggs as fertilized or unfertilized with the light from a candle.  An unfertilized egg will show a yolk or nothing at all.  You cannot see inside a fertilized egg.  The chick draws the curtains so it can develop privately.  As it grows, it takes up more room and curls into itself inside the slick egg.  A beak buds, and big feet end in curled claws.  Round eyes overwhelm a small face.  Three eyelids develop to protect the eyes from wind and light.  Feathers begin to grow on the body, but they’re wet and haven’t unfurled.  Once it is too dark and too small inside an egg, the chick begins to tap the shell with its beak.  The crack lets in light, and the chick begins to work harder at breaking the egg.  Light is something the chick has no name for, but when it leaks inside the egg, the chick starts pecking.  It is hard work, and when the egg finally splits into two hemispheres, the chick lies stunned in the bright, aggressive light, blinking its eyes.  It doesn’t know yet that it can kick its legs, and it lies curled in on itself for another moment.