Sunday writing chat prompts for 1 May 2022

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    • #8511
      Broker
      Participant

      The Sunday Brunch Prompted Writing Chat is an opportunity each week to test your skills at writing under pressure — or to have some fun without the need to be brilliant — or both!

      The prompts are intended as both as a challenge and a starting point, open to creative interpretation. You can use these as an excuse to write anything that comes to mind, whether it’s fiction or creative non-fiction or a mixture of both. You can write a separate piece for each prompt, or try to link them all together in a single story.

      If you join in the chat, you can add “an excuse to complain about unfair prompts” to the entertainment, too. But even if you can’t attend the chat session, feel free to give the prompts a try anyway (and leave your responses, comments, or complaints in this thread if you like).

      This week’s prompts are posted below.

      1. Use the following five words: projection, fox, helpless, integration, forum. (10 min)

      2. Use the phrase, “When does that start?” (10 min)

      3. Write about trying to remember where someone lives. (10 min)

    • #8512
      Broker
      Participant

      “Well, that’s a little weird,” I muttered under my breath. I was trying to follow along as the lecturer derived… something he promised would be interesting. So he wrote out the usual equations, did a transformation to his favorite projection onto ordinary 3-space, and proceeded to pick apart the equations so he could integrate them.

      “What’s he talking about?” Peter wanted to know. Peter who sits to my left in this class and whose eyes are never as high up as my face when he looks at me. Well, sometimes.

      But I’m helpless to do anything about either of those problems, and I think there’s something weird about to happen on the board. This was one of those first lectures that I’d ever seen at least, that was computer enhanced. It helped with the visualization thing, to be able to see the problem rotating on the screen in front of us, but the prof wasn’t really up on the tech and it stopped working part way through what he wanted to do with it.

      “If I had a fox for every lecture interrupted by technical difficulties,” said Peter.

      “You could open a fur farm,” I said, grinning at him. Hair encroaching on my view of him, so I flipped it. He checked me out. I crossed my legs and slouched, sliding my butt forward on the chair, while we waited for technical help or somebody in the audience to volunteer a solution.

      “D’you know how this thing works?” Keith was standing in the aisle looking at me.

      “No clue,” I said. Not that they’d listen to a girl even if I did.

      “Well, maybe it’ll work next time,” the professor was saying. So we had an extra ten golden, stolen, minutes.

      “I’m walking back outside,” I announced, and a small handful of my fellow students followed along. “I love the feel of sun on my back, after a long winter,” I said. Eyes shut, I turned around to face the sun. “And my legs,” I added. With a decent but appropriately modest lifting of the skirt to expose more skin.

      You can’t hear drooling, but there was a dramatic pause in the conversation while they tried to think of something, anything, to say to me. Because geekboys + girl makes for awkward conversation. Or something.

      “Are you going to Dr. Fitz’s lecture over in the geology auditorium this afternoon?” Peter finally managed to get out.

      “When does that start?” I asked the air, the sun, and any humans who might happen to be present. My eyes were shut, I wouldn’t know.

      “Um, four? I think?” said Peter.

      “You upspeak like a girl?” I said. “Like both of my students, at least?”

      Drop the skirt, open the eyes, toss hair everywhere, and think about going inside again.

      “Ravyn,” said Peter, as my eyes were readjusting to the relative darkness inside, before trying to climb stairs wearing removable sandals. “If you’re going, I’ll be there too. If, like, you want to walk over with me. Or whatever.”

      “Or whatever,” I echoed. I guess he was deprived of ten minutes of watching me in class this morning. Or something. I mean, who knows. Once I get him talking he has interesting things to say, but some days the obstacles are just a little too much or something. He’s probably on his cycle is what flitted through my head and I had to stop halfway up to our offices and laugh out loud.

      And then refuse to answer when they wanted to know what was funny. Keith was following us up the stairs. I think his office is… on our floor? Peter seems to bring him back from his trips to the bathroom sometimes, all the way down the hall and back.

      So there we were, three of us, in an office built for two, with two of those magical extra minutes left, and they’re looking at me watching them looking at me. Probably more exciting than watching paint dry. We did that one day before the beginning of the term, while they tried to figure out how to talk to a girl and I reread all the syllabi.

      Some days I just don’t know.

    • #8513
      Sue
      Participant

      Thirty years after leaving my parent’s yard, I flicked on the signal light and turned onto the gravel driveway again. Sure, I’ve been back at least once a year, but this time I’m home for good.

      Lots have changed. For one, it’s no longer my parent’s house, it belongs to my dad and his new wife now. Mom passed almost twenty years ago, and Dad didn’t do too well on his own. My brother and sister were relieved when he started dating again. I was away, so it took me longer to come around to the idea of Mom being replaced until I saw them together. It was an entirely different sort of relationship. They giggled and joked with each other like teenagers. It took me a while to understand the burden Mom and Dad carried together to raise their family. The current version of my dad was unfettered, much like I would imagine he would have been when he and Mom first started dating. After seeing him battle depression for the first two years after mom died, it took less than twenty-four hours to erase my hesitancy.

      Mom would want this for him.

      A lot of my wariness was a simple integration of my own refusal to date again after my divorce. I projected my fears onto my father. I let myself remain helpless and refused to let myself heal and learn from my disastrous marriage.

      It took a forum of my friends and my sly old fox of a boss to get me to see what I’d been doing to myself.

      Once I saw, I vowed to turn over a new leaf.

      “When does that start?” My best friend said over video call when I told her about their intervention.

      I tried. Really, I did, but my longest relationships still lasted only a few months. After my last break up, I decided I wasn’t going to get anywhere if I was still living across the country, essentially still running away from home. Within weeks, I put in my notice at work and put my house on the market.

      It had been time to go home. So, here I was, returning to the scene of the crime… so to speak. I had no intention of seeking out my ex. I may be dumb, but I wasn’t stupid.

      I spent the afternoon and early evening catching up with my family. It’s always amazing how there is always so much to say even though I talk to my dad and his wife at least once a week. It’s just so much better in person.
      Driving to my new home later that night, my head was on a swivel. While the road was the same, right down to where the worst potholes lay waiting, there were so many new houses. I looked at every front porch to see if I remembered how lived there.

      Then, there it was.

      Nostalgia hit me square in the solar plexus. Curt’s house. At least it was. I had no idea what he was up to these days, if he was still even living in our hometown.

      I’d seen it online using Google’s Street View and honestly, having his childhood home so close to my new place seemed like a good omen.

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