Word Prompt: Reach | Story Prompt: from the book “Bel Canto” by Ann Patchett

Write It Out: Instruction Video

“Father Arguedas explained to Gen, who explained to Mr. Hosokawa, that what they were looking at in the hours they spent staring out the window was called garua, which was more than mist and less than drizzle and hung woolly and gray over the city in which they were now compelled to stay. Not that they could see the city; they could not see anything. They could have been in London or Paris or New York or Tokyo. They could have been looking at a field of blue-tipped grass or a gridlock of traffic. They couldn’t see. No defining hints of culture or local color. They could have been anyplace where the weather was capable of staying bad for indeterminate amounts of time. From time to time, instructions came blasting over the wall, but even that seemed to be diminishing, as if the voices couldn’t always permeate the fog. The garua maintained a dull, irregular presence from April through November and Father Arguedas said to take heart since October was very nearly over and then the sun would return. The young priest smiled at them. He was almost handsome until he smiled, but his smile was too big and his teeth turned and crossed at awkward angles, making his appearance suddenly loopy. Despite the circumstances of their internment, Farther Arguedas remained sanguine and found cause to smile often. He did not seem to be a hostage, but someone hired to make the hostages feel better. It was a job he carried out with great earnestness. He opened his arms and put one hand on Mr. Hosokawa’s shoulder and the other on Gen’s, then he dipped his head down slightly and closed his eyes. It might have been to pray but if it was he did not force the others to join him. “Take heart,” he said again before pressing on in his rounds.”


It’s a brand new year. It feels like the possibilities are endless – and they are. Just like each new day has endless possibility, or even each moment. The difficulty can be in remembering that, in realizing it.

Stories can help with that!

As I read (it doesn’t even have to be something new), a particular turn of phrase or beautiful description can cause me to stop and reflect, to be just a little more “present” for a moment, and appreciate the effort the writer has taken to describe something so perfectly, or to suggest something so wonderful. At that point, it’s almost as if they have reached out from their writing to say, look at this! I love this. For me, in the above quotation where Ann Patchett describes the Spanish word “garua“, I had to read her description over a few times to really let it sink in, to appreciate it fully. I would never have thought of describing a sort of precipitation as to hang “…woolly and gray…” over a place, but I just love the image it invokes. I get it. I love it. What a reach! It makes me feel like perhaps some of my writing might one day have that kind of reach… even if only to one person!

Thoughts? Feel free to share them here.

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