Somehow I didn’t get the memo about winter coming back. This nor’easter caught me completely by surprise, especially since we’d been having what you might have to call the first stirrings of spring. Until now, that is. Spring has been run right out of town, in favor of 24 hours of snow and sleet and ice and freezing rain, with more on the way.

But this is good for people who aren’t supposed to be outside anyway. We can put a pot of tea on, light the candles, and write.

Today I found this on Distraction No. 99, and I decided I’d like to play, too.

Turn to page 123 in your work-in-progress. (If you haven’t gotten to page 123 yet, then turn to page 23. If you haven’t gotten there yet, then get busy and write page 23.) Count down four sentences and then instead of just the fifth sentence, give us the whole paragraph.

So here goes: Page 123 of my novel, the paragraph with the fifth sentence in it. (I’d love to see everybody’s page 123!)

He thought about it for a moment, and she could see, in that transparent way of children, how he was working hard to pull himself together. He knew now that she couldn’t save him, that she was useless—even worse than useless. She was somebody that he had to work to save, to allow her her little delusions that things were going to be all right. She saw it in his eyes, that he had resolutely decided to go along with the cheerful tone. He kept hold of her thumb and ran his hand in circles around it, just like where a ring would go. Then he swallowed—that swallow nearly killed her—and said in the bravest voice he had, “Well, are you going to stay here with me until I have to go on the airplane?”

Want to see some other page 123′s? There are a lot of sites doing this, and they’re all wonderful. Visit Counterbalance and Loud Solitude

and Edward Champion.