VIDEO READINGS| “Terracotta Tile,” a prompted tale by Connie Kinsey

NOTE: This is the first in a series of multimedia writing “prompts,” as WestVirginiaVille looks to be a home to intriguing writing birthed in West Virginia, about West Virginia, or connected in some sly, brilliant, subversive, or oddball way to West Virginia. Or, as in this case, a story prompted in West Virginia. First, the prompt and then, the story. And then, the video. Here’s “Three Minutes & a Prompt”

By Connie Kinsey | | July 6, 2020

WestVirginiaVille Producer and videographer Bobby Lee Messer approached me about doing a three-minute video, wherein I would read a story that I would write in response to a prompt he would give me.  I love writing prompts and, thus, was in. 

He then gave me the prompt which was:

 ...”and she spilled it before he could tell her no”  

Less than 24 hours later, I provided him with some flash fiction titled “Terracotta Tile.” Bobby Lee and I spent several hours in the studio where he worked his videographic magic.  I’ve never seen this side of the business—it was fascinating and a lot of work. 

And even more fun. 

“Terracotta Tile” by Connie Kinsey

“Terracotta Tile” by Connie Kinsey

Photo by Terry Vlisidis on Unsplash

Carolina Dunfee Gray liked a fine tempranillo now and again.  She even liked a boxed merlot.  In either case, she’d decant into a lovely hand-blown glass.  The one she was using today was made in Spain and bought as a souvenir.

She was done with Saturday chores. The house was cleaned. Laundry done.  Groceries procured. Pets groomed. David had washed the cars and mowed the grass and was somewhere in the house doing something. She didn’t know what.

She was freshly showered and her hair was still slightly damp. She’d put on makeup— a Saturday afternoon ritual for ten years now.

Wine isn’t just taste. It’s fragrance and color and light shimmering on crystal. Carolina liked to take a sip and hold it in her mouth for a bit—savoring the full bodied reds or crisp whites. Wine is a celebration of life, or so Carolina thought.

She was sitting on her patio with a so-so cabernet in the blue tinted goblet.  The breeze reminded her of Lahaina and the sun reminded her of Cancun.   The fragrance of the wine took her to a small café in Spain. She leaned her head back and breathed deeply. The air was soft and the breeze ruffled her hair.  She could almost smell the paella simmering and hear the rapid-fire Spanish.

She and David had spent their honeymoon in Spain. The avenues and calles of Barcelona opened up a whole world of love, sun, wine and good food.  Her honeymoon. Carolina sighed.

David came out. The sun moved behind a cloud and the air chilled. His body was all sharp angles and dark lines. He stood there. The air now pregnant with foreboding.  The sun gone and the glorious days of Spain just a memory.

He reminded her now of all too frequent stilted conversations, infrequent passionless orgasms and stunted Saturday nights.  He was rage and she was ennui.  She picked up her glass and took a sip. The wine tasted bitter.  She couldn’t remember when he had last been happy.

He stood in front of her.  Silent, but radiating a need to speak.

“What?” she said softly.

He didn’t respond.

“What? “she said louder.

David paused and then said, “I want a divorce.”

“You don’t love me? Her voice was soft again as she picked up the goblet.

She spilled it before he could tell her no. The glass shattered before he could explain.

She spilled honeymoon sunsets and wedding toasts. She spilled anniversary promises and New Year’s resolutions. She spilled Barcelona memories, Cancun sun and Lahaina breezes. She shattered the ten years they’d been together.  She looked at the harsh red liquid and jagged shards on the terracotta tile. She looked at his face.

” O.K,” she said softly as she got on her knees to pick up the glass shards before somebody got hurt.

“O.K.,” she whispered.


HAPPY MOONSHINE DAY |Part 2: “The Plum” by Connie Kinsey: We call it The Plum. It’s the prettiest moonshine we make. The shine is made from my PawPaw’s PawPaw’s recipe in a copper still just like it was a hundred years ago. In each jar, we put 13 sweet plums from the trees my great-aunt planted after the ’37 flood…

READINGS | COVID-19, Day 77: Yes, I’m Waiting by Connie Kinsey: “We are front porch people, but I have to make do with a flat section of mulch and an oversized Adirondack chair the ex-husband made me when he was still a husband.”

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