Concrete Words: An Abstraction on the Rock


I brought him home to my family on a late Friday night only two weeks after meeting him. All it took was rain that one night in the parking lot, how we ran and I had my both hands around his arm, our feet the same pace, together left … right … wet to the ankles, thought I’d die. We had held hands already, baptist limits, really more like only barely letting our finger tips touch. I brought him home, and he slept in my bed, and I with my sister.

I woke him Saturday morning. His head was on my pillow, and coffee had laid thick on the house, daddy in the living room waiting for me downstairs. I sat on the edge, and he told me he loved me then and said the words, “rest of my life.”

We ate the biscuits, sausage, and eggs that Mama made, and then we dressed for the warm-in-the-sun cold of late Southern Autumn. We hiked down the bluff and crossed the creek, smooth as glass, minnowed, wild around the edges of mossy rocks. Then up the other side, a waterfall over there and this way a cave, I pointed it out. The way to Eagle Rock can feel lost. Saw briars catch the jeans. Stones trick and feet slip into rustle of leaves. You have to watch it.

It’s thick woods and a trail by the edge, and it follows toward the river. At once it opened to a gap, and the sky blared there at open rock, jutted over a convergence of springs and hills, all the trees untouched and dipping deep into the side. Eagles land here. Natives once hunted and burned the rocks black cooking.

On the flat top the wind comes in cold. We learned we were alone with God, the two of us hot-mouthed, afraid of our own skin.


This time, friends, as we write out the tangible things, I want us to list out our own concrete words in our own comment sections. See how the concrete words you use have a certain tone. See their weight, their connotation – how those things point to the invisible? Last week, Melissa Fedderson used such words as snake, scales, bellies, underbrush, dirt, bones, thistles, cacti, fangs. These words connote earthy deceptive power. To what abstract things are your concrete words pointing?

As I consider a writer’s voice, I wonder how it is for you. If we all have one, I wonder about other things, other things that most of us have. Like what rock comes to mind, for example? If voice is cadence and music and space, how you write out the matter in your life and the meaning it gives, what about that rock? It’s certainly different than mine. So how is it for you?  —  On Mondays I write out spirit by practicing a little with the concrete things in my life and maybe in a fictional life. If you want to join this small community with these prompts, send your readers this way, and link up below at any point this week. Practice writing, the craft; share it with us. Next week’s topic is the Box. Make sure to use #concretewords on twitter. Thank you always for coming here and walking with me.

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What’s Up: New Year and a New Plan
January 13, 2017
An Uncooked Story
January 10, 2016
Dear Seth: A Marriage Letter on Your Sobriety and What it Looks Like to Come Clean
October 27, 2015
Celebrating Wild in the Hollow
August 04, 2015
Do it.
January 21, 2014
Revolution: A Blessing Over My Own Book
October 23, 2013
Begotten: Notes from The Creed
October 15, 2013
The Woo
September 25, 2013
On the Establishment
March 22, 2013


Reply January 28, 2013

dang. love this.

don't see the linky. here's mine:

    Reply January 28, 2013

    Kendal! I fixed it so add it any time! Thank you so much, friend. I can't wait to read it.

Elizabeth W. Marshall
Reply January 28, 2013

I am getting all Dr. Seussy on you ..but the places we'll go oh the places we'll go...with these prompts, our pens, our hearts, our take us to places we didn't even know were there with you and concrete/abstract on these Mondays. Sweet little community here, friend. Love hearing this part of your story.

Jessica Y
Reply January 28, 2013

Girl, just gorgeous.

Reply January 28, 2013

Oh, Amber. This is dripping good. Thank you for this gorgeous telling of both restraint and freedom. Wow. I am so grateful for this place to work out the concrete and what it means.

Tanya Marlow
Reply January 28, 2013

This is all magic and gave me goosebumps. I love that sense of girlish excitement and homeliness and then the switch to the thrill and awe of being on the precipice of love. Wow wow.

I have been looking through my stuff and considering the nouns I use. I use surprisingly few! This is useful thinking...

Tanya Marlow
Reply January 28, 2013

Okay - you've inspired me to have a go!

Reply January 28, 2013

Nice, of course! Thank you for continuing this. I've really enjoyed it and it's stretched me as a writer, especially this one. It was difficult for me for some reason. My heart has seen things because of this abstract writing that it would not have seen before. Thank you!

tammy@meadows speak
Reply January 29, 2013

Amber, your writing is pure inspiration! I'm loving this series. :)

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