Take Ten – Lighting a Fire/Fighting a Liar

Camp FireToday’s Take Ten  For Writers’ exercise involves spoonerisms. What’s a spoonerism? I’m glad you asked. 🙂

It’s an error in speech, which can be either unintentional or intentional and usually for comic effect.

Here’s a definition from the Oxford Dictionary Website: a verbal error in which a speaker accidentally transposes the initial sounds or letters of two or more words, often to humorous effect, as in the sentence you have hissed the mystery lectures, accidentally spoken instead of the intended sentence you have missed the history lectures.

Some famous spoonerisms are 

fighting a liar lighting a fire
you hissed my mystery lecture you missed my history lecture
cattle ships and bruisers battle ships and cruisers
nosey little cook cosy little nook
a blushing crow a crushing blow
tons of soil sons of toil

The first one listed is the one I used for my writing exercise. I had to start with the phrase “lighting a fire” and end it with “fighting a liar.” Although it’s written in first person, it’s totally fictional and is absolutely no reflection on  me or my parents. When I wrote it, I actually imagined I was some guy named Jeffery.

I was lighting a fire when I heard a sound from behind me. I put my fire lighting stuff down and looked around. As far as I knew I was alone. I had come out into the woods to get away from all the clamor and noise that had lately become my life. My friends and family were unable to understand me and I had given up trying to tell them what was wrong.

Disgusted, earlier that day I tossed a backpack into the trunk of my Subaru and drove to the nearest state campsite. Since it was nearing the end of the summer season, there weren’t many people about. I was glad of that. The last thing I wanted or needed was to run into some big-bellied accountant who felt that just because he had driven his state-of-the art RV out into the woods, still connected, by his smartphone, to everything he had supposedly gone into the woods to get away from; his nagging wife, his bratty kids, the constant emails from his asshole of a manager wanting him to put out whatever fire had flared up in his absence, he was somehow communing with nature.

How could you commune with nature when you were still back at the office, if only in your tortured mind?

As for that noise, I didn’t hear it again. It was probably some animal skulking around wondering what another human was doing in its woods. I wish I could have answered that particular question. I had no idea when my life had begun to implode. I say implode instead of explode because it seemed as if everything was falling in on me.

I wasn’t making any progress at my job, the last relationship I’d been in had turned into some kind of wide world of wrestling because all we did was fight, and my parents, who were getting on in years and making more and more financial demands of me, were apparently still disappointed I hadn’t become a millionaire so that I could spend the rest of my life taking care of them in the lifestyle they’d never had but had always dreamed of.

That was what had driven me to the woods. The last conversation we’d had on the phone. My father had been in the background, assuming, as usual, that I couldn’t hear him grouching about what a loser I was. Meanwhile my mother had been berating me for not remembering their anniversary.

Why, for Pete’s sake, should I want to or even care about my parent’s anniversary? They’d been married for so long they were starting to look like each other. My mother had even been reduced to tears, and I realized at that moment that I honestly didn’t like my parents and never had. That I had been living a lie and, perhaps, so had they. They probably didn’t like me either. All my life, without even knowing it, I was fighting a liar. Me.



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