Sunday writing chat prompts for 20 Jun 2021

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    • #7409

      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: ceremony, scheme, prey, charm, hesitate. (10 min)

      2. Use the phrase, “Repeat after me.” (10 min)

      3. Write about uncooked food. (10 min)

    • #7410

      “Hello, I’m Charlie.”

      It was one of those twelve-step things for… uh… something. Reconstructing people coming out of the re-education program or something.

      “So the ceremony is,” said… I think her name was Zoe? “Well, not exactly a ceremony. A scheme. Tell us what pronouns we should use for you.”

      A huge sob formed in my throat. While I was hesitating, I found the water bottle I’d brought along and managed to drink a mouthful. “Well, that would be telling,” I said.

      “Okay,” said Zoe. “Telling is sort of why we’re here, though.”

      I mean, there was a complicated swirl of feelings around the whole thing, but in the middle of the vortex was a ferocious updraft of clear air, blowing it in my face.

      “I need a new gender,” I blurted out before I could clamp down on my tongue. I’d been not wanting to bite too soon because my tongue would have been prey to the teeth I have way more of than I really need. I mean, not literally, just… Ann told me my bite is worse than my bark and she would be in a position to know. She’s why I’m here, trying to work through… issues. “So maybe my pronouns are malleable.”

      Zoe glanced at someone who was standing in the back who hadn’t been introduced. “Okay,” she repeated. And we went on around the circle. Everybody else’s pronouns were predictable, except Zoe let us have the option of calling her they. Calling them her. Uh, maybe not using pronouns at all could be a thing.

      “Charlie, tell us more about needing a new gender,” they said.

      “I dunno, I’m just so done with the one I had. I look around and people are so toxic, throwing words around like they don’t mean anything. Sometimes I think they’re trying to make me cry, but the truth? What is truth anyway. Repeat after me: they don’t care enough to notice. Doesn’t seem to matter who’s in the way, whether there might be somebody in the little group who’s… not… what I seem to be. What they seem to be. And we’re back to pronouns again.”

      I sat down again.

      There was a silence, there was another glance from Zoe hoping for moral support from the back of the room. “I see,” they said.

      “Probably not,” I mumbled. “But thanks.”

      There was muttering around me as well. Like why should you be special. The rest of us just deal. Does anybody really like themselves? We all have our burdens.

      So, okay, maybe I should check my actual thoughts at the door and make something up while I’m in here. What I’m getting in the vibe is don’t talk about that here. We’re all kind of volatile and flammable and you’re playing with fire.

      I let the rest of the meeting swirl around me, buzzing, avoiding my tornado. There was coffee at the break. Somebody had brought in one of those plastic vegetable and dip platters from the grocery store. And there was some sushi-like stuff. It was good, though the combination of wasabi in my sinuses and ranch dressing was very very strange. I tried standing by myself, somewhere near the end of the serving table, juggling a paper cup, a little plate, and chopsticks.

      Zoe was facing the window instead of the room, which let them put their plate on the windowsill.

      “Good idea,” I said, turning around and following their example. Before I remembered I probably wasn’t talking to her. Them.

      “So tell me more about Charlie,” said Zoe. “I’m intrigued.”

      My eyes were open wide, rolling to focus on her. On them. I’m so sorry I can’t… I was hoping the hunted prey look wasn’t too obvious. I had a mouthful of sushi and a sinusful of wasabi fumes, so the tears were at least partially chemical. When I had chewed and swallowed, what came out was “Woh. This is your brain on wasabi.” Along with what surely must have been a foot-long plume of flame.

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