Sunday writing chat prompts for 16 May 2021

Home Forums Just the Place for a Snark Sunday writing chat prompts for 16 May 2021

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    • #7342

      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: recommend, class, abnormal, gravity, city. (10 min)

      2. Use the phrase, “scratching people off the list.” (10 min)

      3. Write about hoping not to encounter anybody you know. (10 min)

    • #7343

      “What’s up?” Sarah wanted to know, next time they had a group meeting after Susie’s return. Those had gotten rare, since things seemed to be going along okay without one, and Sarah hated managing things.

      “Math society conference in Boston, of all places,” said Susie when it was her turn. “So Mama and I… Lia and I, dropped in on Miranda while I was there. She’s doing well.”

      Vicky looked at Susie carefully, and Susie had the feeling of having her retina scanned or something. Vicky seemed a little more… marginalized or something, since Miranda had given up on the idea of moving into Jim’s house with them.

      “How’s Lia doing?” Sarah asked.

      “Better, I think?” said Susie. “She’s kinda figured out what to do with excess stimulation and takes breaks when the sea changes on her. It’s kind of inspiring, watching her redeem herself.”

      “How’s… what’s the baby’s name?” Vicky asked.

      “Sonia. She’s cute,” said Susie. “She’s kind of at the meatloaf stage of infancy, not a lot of personality. Just enough to piss off her roommate, Kristi, who’s a year older. She’s Al & Cin’s kid. And not an early riser, but of course Sonia wants to get up and have a snack at two in the morning.”

      “Of course,” said Vicky.

      “Awww,” said Sarah, in a most un-Sarah-like display of maternal feeling.

      Susie looked at her, uncertain what would come next.

      “What?” said Vicky, looking at Susie’s skepticism. “Sarah can be grandmotherly if she wants to be.”

      “Of course,” said Susie. “Sorry.”

      “I have…” said Sarah, taking off her glasses, and covering her face with her hands. Elbows on the table, she rubbed her eyes for a moment. “I’ve always sort of had trouble keeping track of time,” she said, at last, putting her glasses on her nose again. “Since the accident. I mean there’s professional time, keeping appointments, that kind of thing. Domestic time, so like around the house, and Mo and Cris keep me going in the right direction. But the emotional, touchy-feely kind of time? Nope. I knew Miranda was pregnant, of course, and I’m sure I saw the birth announcement, but I forget when.”

      “It was a little late coming out, what with working out living arrangements with Cin and Al,” said Susie. “Once living here in the city wasn’t an option anymore.” Susie glanced at Vicky and then away, trying to be interested in her hands, gravity holding everything together, anything but the complicated social situation. “A lesbian household with another kid like hers seemed to recommend itself.”

      “Makes sense,” said Vicky.

      “She gets to see her other grandmother sometimes,” said Sarah. “That’s a good thing.”

      “Yeah, it is,” said Susie. “And she’s as mushy about it as you are.”

      “Is she cute?” Sarah asked, with a grin.

      “Kinda? I guess?” said Susie. “She looks like Winston Churchill, just like most babies.”

      Vicky laughed while Susie got out her phone and pulled up a dozen or two baby pictures, some including Miranda, and some with Al, or Cin, or Kristi in a really cute red jumpsuit with a mom-handle sewn into the back.

      “That’s actually a great idea,” said Vicky, admiring the handle.

      “Miranda needs to bring… Sonia, you said, right? Needs to bring her to visit sometime,” said Sarah.

      “Or you could go to Boston,” said Susie. “I gather travel isn’t happening with a little one. Amtrak can scratch another regular passenger off their list for a while.”

      “Yeah, there’s a whole lot of stuff you need to take along,” said Vicky. “What Jim called ground support equipment.”

      Susie laughed. “Accessories,” she said.

      “Yeah. I was there to help lug all that stuff when my sisters were little,” said Vicky. “I sorta feel like I did my motherhood thing vicariously.”

      “Did it come with apple pie?” Susie asked.

      “Uh…” said Vicky. “You lost me.”

      “Motherhood and apple pie?” said Susie.

      “Oookay then,” said Vicky. “Is there anything else you need from us today, Sarah?” she added, reminding everyone that this was, after all, a business meeting.

      “Thanks, everybody,” Sarah said, standing up and gathering her things. “I’m in the GW clinic this afternoon if you need me.”

      Vicky came to set next to Susie’s desk after the meeting. The silence went on long enough to be uncomfortable. “So how’s Miranda doing, really?” she said.

      “Busy. Tired. She’s trying to work at least part time, and it really takes all she has and more.” Susie stopped to consider the Miranda and Child tableau, and wondered if she was totally lacking in maternal feelings or if they’d happen whenever they might be called for. Some day. Some day far into the future, if it ever came at all. She shuddered.

      “What’s up?” said Vicky.

      “Just remembering Miranda, boob in the kid’s mouth, recovering through the postpartum thing,” said Susie. “She’s not so tired that she couldn’t tease her ace kid sister.”

      “I should hope not,” said Vicky. “That seems to be a pretty basic part of being an older sister, especially for Miranda.”

      “She was showing me the garden, and I said something about how she had another pumpkin growing. ‘Do I show already?’ she said, and I wanted to melt into the earth and never encounter anybody I knew, ever again.”

      Vicky was laughing hard enough that she had trouble staying in her chair. “And no, there’s no way she’s pregnant again,” she said, when she could get her breath.

    • #7344

      Sharon didn’t make it easy. She didn’t seem to understand the gravity of the situation if we were to get caught. Corporate frowned upon fraternization amongst staff. Which is a relatively small city like Saint John, would be abnormal, if not impossible. There were so many siblings, spouses and best friends working together, it was hard to find someone to not fraternize with.

      My brain recommended that I keep as far away from her during the system switchover, but since we were teaching the class how to manually input reservations from the old software into the upgrade, avoidance was impossible.

      And, my inner voice said. You really don’t want to scratch her off that list. Scratch her itch maybe, but…

      I sighed and walked over to where Kendy was waving at me for help. She wasn’t truly in trouble. Her provocative pose was blatantly trying to get my attention. Apparently, not fishing in the company pool wasn’t a warning she took seriously.

      Thankfully, Sharon joined us. It’s hard to play dumb when also trying to impress your boss because there was a promotion available after the new system was in place.

      Kendy had to choose between playtime with the temporary consultant or more money in her pocket permanently.

      Later at the Brig, the hotel’s bar, management sat around several tables pulled together. Going over the plan once again. I hated upper management attempting to micromanage, especially when I’m the one in charge of the project. The other managers already knew their roles and nothing required additional adjustment. This was my twentieth switchover and it was the smallest hotel I’d done. This meeting didn’t need to happen.

      “Gentlemen, and Lady.” I gestured to Sharon, the lone female at the table. “I suggest we allow ourselves to take a break. Everything is progressing smoothly and the conversion to the new system will take place on schedule.”
      “Here, Here.” echoed around the table.

      Apparently, I wasn’t the only person fed up with the unnecessary oversight. This was further emphasized by the swift break-up of the meeting after my suggestion to chill.

      “Hey, want to go for a walk?” Sharon said as she passed me by. I glanced around the table to see if anyone was paying attention. They weren’t. “Sure. Meet me out front in ten?”

      “How about up by the Statue in front of Market Square? Fewer Nosey Nellies.”

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