Sunday writing chat prompts for 19 June 2022

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    • #8616

      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: facility, survivor, stroll, sausage, mourning. (10 min)

      2. Use the phrase, “Are we ready yet?” (10 min)

      3. Write about a frustrating experience with technology. (10 min)

    • #8617

      “OK, everybody relax,” said Josh.

      “It’s not him,” said Olivia.

      “Not who?” said Joey.

      Three people answered at once.

      “Steve,” said Josh. “Guy I know from work.”

      “Peter,” said Eck. “Unreconstructed idiot from my lab.”

      “Um, Mr. X,” said Olivia. “About whom the less said, the better. Now that we’re not mixing work and pleasure, let’s have a bit more of the latter. Another round? We are in a fine drinking facility.”

      “Drinking establishment,” said Joey, “according to the sign over the door. Also eating, if anyone wants a sausage or whatever.”

      “Full,” said Josh.

      “Yup, me too,” said Eck.

      “Here’s to mourning our otherwise wonderful work-free evening together,” said Josh, clinking glasses with Olivia, and then Eck and Joey.

      “Perhaps the fun part can be another survivor of the confrontations we’re jointly and severally averse to,” said Olivia.

      “And I’d propose a stroll down the pedestrian mall, but I guess we’re all a little jumpy,” said Eck. “I just came out to my labbies and I’m still kinda shaking.”

      “C’mere,” said Joey, and scooted over on the bench to put an arm around Eck. “You totally are.”

      “There’s this breathing exercise they taught… uh, that I learned,” said Olivia. “You breathe in for 5 counts, hold for 7, then out for 11 counts. Repeat a few times and it makes me calmer.”

      So they all set hands on the table and tried it, at their own pace. Olivia couldn’t actually shut her eyes, which were still waiting for Mr. X to erupt from the stairway onto the roof. Chances were he wouldn’t, that he was in another county by now. “Are we ready?” she asked at last.

      “That helps,” said Joey. “Eck’s not vibrating like a violin string any more.”

      “Thanks,” said Eck.

      “I’m still tense. It’d help if I could let go of the visualization I had of being interrupted here where the only way out is down the stairs or over the rail,” said Olivia. “Maybe that’s why they met here,” she added, mostly to herself.

      Josh pushed a hand over to Olivia and held hers for a while.

      “I’m still shaky,” said Olivia. “I’m going to need that hand to get my beer to my mouth without spilling.”

      “There’s the smile I fell in love with,” said Josh, responding in kind.

      “Can I, like…” said Eck, putting an arm around Joey’s shoulders. “I dunno what I was afraid of, exactly, except his name is Peter and he’ll think of something obnoxious to innocently misunderstand. In quotation marks.” The air quotes were near Eck’s beer mug, and on the far side of Joey’s where their other hand was.

      “Oh, hey,” said Olivia, retrieving a phone from her bag. It was in the compartment behind the service revolver, which she kept concealed from the others. “I could just…”

      “I love the way the screen lights up your face in the gloaming,” said Josh.

      “Huh. That word flitted by in a poem Joey quoted me half an hour ago,” said Eck.

      “Evening light is splendiferous, don’t you think?” said Joey. “And I might have just made up that word. I’m a linguist. Don’t try this at home.”

      Eck chuckled. Josh smiled.

      Olivia continued staring at her phone. “It’s… I mean it ought to work?” she said.

      “What are we talking about?” said Josh.

      “I’m still… just… gah!” said Olivia.

      “Sorry; my partner gets sucked into the tech sometimes,” said Josh.

      Olivia looked up, and returned Josh’s triumphant smile with a tiny, sheepish one. “Sorry, I’m being obsessive, aren’t I?”

      “A little. I don’t know, maybe it’s warranted in this case,” said Josh.

      “Ah, the warrant,” said Olivia, slapping her forehead. “It’s in my digital wallet, right… over…. here. And then connect it… to… that…” She poked the phone with a certain air of satisfaction. “And as I would have known if I’d been sensible, X is forty miles from here right now.”

      “Sorry, she gets sucked into the tech sometimes,” Josh repeated.

      “Thanks for getting my pronouns right,” said Olivia. “It makes me feel so good, doing work in the rest of a sentence that starts with ‘she.'”

      “Here’s to being out, someday,” said Josh.

      “Hear, hear, what he says,” said Olivia, exchanging grins with Josh.

    • #8618

      Dad and Sylvia had gone all out for brunch. There were scrambled eggs, bacon, sausage, and bagels with three types of cream cheese.

      “After we eat, I’m going to have to take a stroll around the neighbourhood or else start mourning the loss of my figure.” I said when I saw the spread.”

      My younger sister, Sasha, snickered where she sat at the table. Her hands moulded around a steaming cup of coffee. “Like you worry about your figure.”

      Her words could have hurt if I didn’t know they were born of envy. I’d never worried about my weight. Sure, I liked looking good, but being skinny was never a goal, getting good marks was my jam. And yes, I know how dorky that makes me sound.

      Sasha’s friends were more into fashion. It had cost her greatly in high school. She’d battled anorexia until university when she studied nutrition to help her develop a healthy relationship with food. The battle was never really over. Still, I considered her a survivor.

      These day’s she works at a facility to help other young people navigate their way to find balance before it becomes a problem. Our conversations were full of how frustrated she was with advertising and social media for perpetuating unrealistic expectations on impressionable kids. She had it bad enough without the technology which made it easy to bombard kids, no matter how diligent the parents.

      Things got loud pretty quick. Tom’s wife arrived with their kids just after we did and Sasha’s little one woke up from his nap and wanted to join in the fun with his older cousins. Once we got the kids settled down with plates and cartoons in the living room, we noshed as we relaxed around the table. Catching up, even though I rarely went more than a few days without speaking to at least one of them.

      “Are we ready yet?” Sylvia asked as she started clearing the serving plates.

      “Ready for what?” I asked. I purposefully hadn’t made any plans for today other than to spend time with family. Which was exactly that I was doing. “Where do you want to go?”

      “Your dad and I thought we’d take you out to a few stores and choose some patio furniture. Our treat as a welcome home slash housewarming gift.”

      “With all the supply chain issues, I figured it would be better to see what they have in stock rather than trying to order online and then be disappointed when there was a long delay.”

      “Yeah,” said Tom. “My birthday is in two weeks, and you’re next in line to host our next family gathering.”

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