Sunday writing chat prompts for 19 Feb 2023

Home Forums Just the Place for a Snark Sunday writing chat prompts for 19 Feb 2023

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    • #9534

      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: merit, ward, water, concept, charismatic. (10 min)

      2. Use the phrase, “is that my phone?” (10 min)

      3. Write about trying to do too many things at once. (10 min)

    • #9535

      There were six the next Tuesday afternoon, so April brought along a folding card table she had just found. “There’s still a mountain of boxes in the den,” she said. “With the table leaning neatly up against the wall behind it. I got Becca to lean against the pile while I pulled it out, so it wouldn’t fall over.”

      “That was smart,” said Annie. “How do we decide who’s at which table?”

      “And who brought more cards?” said Renee. “We’ll need two sets.”

      “Oh. Right,” said Ann.

      “Our stuff is hiding in boxes,” said Becca.

      “Hold on; I’ll be right back,” said Ann.

      “We could use some kind of merit metric,” said April.

      “A what what?” said Bill.

      “Like who’s most charismatic. Or once we’ve done it a few times, who wins and who loses,” said April.

      “I wanna be at the losers’ table,” said Renee. “That’s gotta be more fun.”

      “Here,” said Annie, sorting through the pile of cards and picking out three kings and three queens. She put them face down on the table, and mixed them by pushing them around. “Here’s the concept. You pick a card, and the queens are over there, the kings here.”

      “I wanna be a queen,” said Bill.

      “Draw,” said Annie.

      “You are totally a queen,” said Renee.

      People drew cards. Ann returned with another couple decks. She took the one remaining card, a king.

      “Ooo,” said Becca, when it was apparent who was at which table. “It’s cis people over there and us trans folks over here.”

      “Huh,’ said Renee. “What are the odds?”

      “Left as an exercise for the reader,” said Becca. “Just like in my textbook.”

      “Anybody want a glass of water?” said Renee.

      “I’ll probably spill it,” said April.

      “We’ll just work up some kind of magical ward to keep the cards dry,” Ann was saying when Becca’s attention was absorbed by her cards.

      “Oh,” said Annie. “Canasta. I’ll just sort my cards again.”

      “It’s your turn whenever you’re ready,” Bill replied.

      “So you wrote a textbook? What field?” Annie asked.

      “Physics. I taught this junior-level electricity and magnetism course often enough that I made my notes into a book.”

      “And you tortured your kiddies by making them supply some of the proofs,” said Bill, with a grin.

      “I totally did,” said Becca. “Is it my turn? I loved typing that phrase, left as an exercise for the reader.”

      “I’m still trying to decide what to discard for you,” said Bill.

      “And I got lots of panicked e-mails from students whose evil professors made them do those exercises,” said Becca.

      “It’s kind of the story of my life,” said Annie. “Making stuff up as I go along, to supplement the readings.”

      “There are readings?” said Bill. “But I know what you mean. Living the story for yourself is different from reading about it.”

      “What’s that weird buzzing sound?” Annie asked. “Is that my phone? No… I did in fact remember to silence it and it’s in my bag.”

      “Mine. Sorry,” Renee said from the other table. “I shouldn’t leave it on the table where it’ll rumble like that. Huh. It’s Eric. Maybe I should see if he’s okay.” She stood up and went into her bedroom, shutting the door.

      “I haven’t met him,” said Becca.

      “He’s remarkably good-humored about his situation, gradually eroding as his body kind of gives up,” said Bill. “I met him shortly after I moved in, before he went over to assisted living.”

      “And Renee’s sister came to help her adjust to moving him out.”

      “I’ve met Ravyn,” said Becca.

      “You met all of us that time you came to visit, just after the pandemic,” said Annie.

      “I’ve known Ravyn for years; longer than Renee even,” said Becca.

      “They’re remarkably identical,” said Bill.

      “Like, totally,” said Becca, grinning in imitation of her students. “And yet, quite different in some ways.”

      Annie took a breath, and then closed her mouth again without speaking. She glanced at Bill, and that tipped them both over the edge. Cards on the table, face down, hands over their faces, laughing.

      “You girls are having way too much fun over there,” said Renee.

      “Speaking of water wards, Renee, could we have a box of tissues? My esteemed partners are wetly enjoying themselves at my expense.

      “Wetly,” said Ann. Renee put her cards down to go for the tissue box.

      “Soooo where were we before we were so rudely interrupted?” said Becca, giving her opponents the eye.

      “Ruh-roh,” said April from the other table. “I know that tone of Becca’s voice, and I’m glad it’s not me she’s looking at.”

      “Wait, I’m confused,” said Annie. “I thought you’d take Bill’s discard.”

      Becca shrugged. “I was too busy giving you both the evil eye.”

      “I was afraid I’d lost track,” said Annie. “I mean Bill does it all the time and gives you stuff like that.”

      “Which if I’d been paying attention would have been the winning card,” said Becca. “Perhaps I’ll take one of your tissues and cry for a while.” She laughed instead.

      Play continued around the table, until Bill discarded again.

      “Ah-HAH!” said Becca. “One slip, no foul. Second time, I pounce.” She drew the discard pile, sorted out the ace Bill had discarded before, and put down a high-scoring book of cards. “And now, I have lots of discardable stuff,” she added.

    • #9536

      “I’m not sure there is much to merit a group call.” I chided. “None of us are fourteen anymore.”

      “Have you met Bonnie?” her sister-in-law joked. “I’m not sure she’ll ever grow up.”

      “That’s why you love me.” Bonnie teased back.

      I let them tease each other. It took the focus from me and the conversation I’d had with Blake. I was still processing everything we’d talked about and wasn’t sure I was ready to talk about it yet. I hadn’t discussed the inner working of my relationship with Bob. I wasn’t sure I was ready to start dishing about Blake to my girls. I’d always been a bit more introverted and left the charismatic charm for others to use. The concept of telling all my thoughts didn’t appeal to me.

      Like water trying to erode a stubborn stone in the way, the conversation turned back to me.

      “Did you and Blake talk about your relationship, or did you stick with talking about plants and plans for the yard?” Beth asked.

      “We didn’t have much choice about the subject matter. You’ve been pushing both of us to where it would be uncomfortable for us to spend time with each other without saying something.” Even through the phone I heard three sets of shoulders droop.

      “We’re sorry Mom. We’re just so excited about Blake.” Bonnie said.
      “None of us want to see you alone.” Brenda added.

      “I appreciate that. Really, I do. But your father has only been gone a year. He deserves to be missed for a while before I hop into bed with someone else and replace him.”

      There was silence on the other end of the line.

      I waited a beat or two before making a joke to lighten the mood after my chastisement. “Is that my phone on mute, or did I make you all speechless?”

      “I feel awful.” Bonnie was the first to break the silence. “Dad was so adamant about you not being alone, I never thought that pushing you toward Blake could be seen as disrespecting Dad’s memory.”

      “It’s not a big deal.” I sad to the women who only had my best interest at heart. “You’ve been living with the idea of Blake and I getting together since before your father died. This is new to me. I’m still grieving and just now starting to wonder how I move forward.” I sighed. “I’m still overwhelmed trying to grieve, plan ahead, and pretend that I’m functioning so you don’t worry about me. Don’t get me wrong, Blake is an option, for sure. I’ve always liked him, but I don’t want to rush into something with him because he’s convenient. He and I both deserve more than that.”

      It was funny how saying this to my girls helped to solidify the thoughts that had been whirling in my mind since Blake left. I felt the pressure of the situation lift from my shoulders. The realization that truly I didn’t need to rush into anything calmed me.

      “I’m going to take a few more months for myself.” I told my daughters. “I’m not ready to start anything new. Blake wants me to do what’s best for me, so I’m going to table this whole discussion. Please don’t mention it again until I do.”

      ‘Yes Mom.” Said Bonnie.

      “I’ll keep her in check.” Said her older half sister Beth.

      “I’m here however you need me.” Said Brenda, my daughter-in-law.

    • #9537

      I knew they couldn’t hear me. Could not hear my thoughts. The soundless words that escaped from my blue lips. I was trying to tell them, I’d felt extremely cold, dehydrated now that I remember, but I hadn’t been able to lift myself from the seat. The velvet cushion had felt so warm. The jug was on the counter full of delicious filtered liquid that I’d left out a few hours ago, intending to put in the fridge, although now I think about it, I much prefer water at room temperature. All this nonsense about keeping water in the fridge, this healthy lifestyle concept, didn’t make sense to me.
      So back to me at the ward, my body is as stiff as dried out plasticine, as flat as card. Poor Tom, he looked so worried, tearful, my utter stillness did not merit such tears. I’m okay Tom. I can see you. Your charismatic presence all dulled by my state of lifelessness. And what about the others? How can I tell them why I am here.
      “We’ll have to tell Mum. God knows how she’s going to take this” Mella, as usual was taking control of the situation.
      “She’ll take it as she takes it” Jude grabbed back authority. “I will call her. Is that my phone?” Jude pointed to a white Iphone, one of the larger current models that was on the wooden bedside table.
      Mella grabbed the phone and handed it to him.
      “I’m going out. “She picked her leather indigo leather jacket from behind the plastic seat of the armchair that was beside the bed. Anyone coming with me?”
      Elem, Tia and Neene silently followed her. Jude and Tom looked helpless.
      “Should I leave the room”, asked Tom.
      “No, it’s okay”
      Jude pressed the keypad.
      “Hello Dear” He had his phone on loud speaker.
      “Hi Mum. How are you?” Jude was signalling for Tom to cover my face with the sheet. I felt Tom’s face hovering beside mine as if searching for some sign of breath, a more colourful hue to paint my bluish lips. But there was nothing. He slowly pulled the bedsheet to blot me out. I did feel annoyed. Tom reached for my bag. They had brought my bag with me to the hospital. Jude signalled for Tom to put my bag down. They didn’t know that the sheet was slightly ripped and I could see everything that was going on. Tom ignored Jude and slowly opened my bag beginning to take out bits and pieces of me. My lipstick – pomegranate red, a packet of tissues.
      “Is everything okay dear?”
      “Yes everything is okay Mum. Just that something has happened. Are you sitting down?”
      “Yes dear I’m sitting down.”
      “Tom put that notebook down. It doesn’t belong to you. You’re not family!”
      Tom stared a long hard look at Jude.
      Good for you Tom! I thought. I couldn’t help laughing. Go on Tom open my journal read all about family.

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