Sunday writing chat prompts for 20 Nov 2022

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    • #8892

      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: grave, blind, throne, white, turkey. (10 min)

      2. Use the phrase, “I don’t deserve it.” (10 min)

      3. Write about carry-out food. (10 min)

    • #8893

      The phone blirped. It was in the other room, and it would wait.

      When I had a moment to spare, I looked at it. She had thumbed me a couple paragraphs. I don’t know how she does it. Actually I do… her techie daughter set her up with voice-activated text messaging.

      I replied with an ellipsis, “…” to let her know I was reading. There’s a way to do this on the computer with an actual keyboard. If only I can remember. I guess this is what child progeny are for: figuring out our gadgets.

      “Pardon me, I was in the throne room,” I typed, when I figured it out. It was a holiday greeting, filled with the aroma of turkey, white meat (which she loved and I hated) and dark (my preference). We did a blind taste-test once and we both managed to pick out our favorite. So they really are different. Oddly enough, so are we, if only in this minor way.

      “Shouldn’t pardons be granted from the throne room?” she replied. “What are you cooking?”

      What I was cooking was a Cornish game hen, nicely sized for one, which is all the people in my household. “Bird,” I typed. “A dead one, she added gravely,” I typed.

      “Cooking live animals is not recommended,” Sarah said. “The kids brought friends.”

      I don’t deserve company on a holiday, it seems, even though one of them lives nearby, she’s down there, with her other mother and friends. It sounds like I’m feeling sorry for myself, but it’s true: they deserve to be together. The fact that their mom can’t be in the same room with me shouldn’t change that. They both came to my place once in the summer, and took me to a cookout with some of my friends. Acquaintances. Maybe that’s a better word. I lived with them before I found my own place, and a job to pay the rent (and keep my overheated mind busy doing what I trained to do).

      Stuffing? Into the bird that’s been thawing for two days. There’s way more of it than will fit, so it’ll roast alongside, and for less time. Though of course the recipe is thinking of a bigger bird, so not all that much less time.

      And somehow that nap lasted longer than it should have. It smells divine, but… dry and stringy, like Sarah’s beloved white meat.

      There is a little Chinese hole-in-the-wall carry-out joint, not far from where I used to live. I bet it’s open today. And it is, and they have various Americanized versions of Chinese duck dishes and sauces, all ready in ten minutes or so.

      Perhaps it’ll go with the cranberry sauce I made. What is it the kids call that? Fusion cuisine. A little from this culture, a little from that.

      Tasty. Maybe what’s left of the bird will make a decent soup stock.

      There’s the silly phone again. Susie this time, wishing me a happy holiday. I don’t even remember what that means. I do remember overeating, and I’m thankful, I guess, that it wasn’t an issue this year. And I have tomorrow in peace, to pick at that puzzle that’s been bugging me at work, without phone interruptions or teaching obligations. Pajamas and slippers aren’t normally work attire, but then I don’t need the lab for this one. It’s a time for the ideas to catch up with the lab results.

      Oh. Happy holiday, Susie. It’s what you say. I guess that makes it mean something, right?

    • #8894

      We stayed in the pool for an hour before parents started pulling their kids out to get ready for dinner.

      Without meaning to, I watched Nora interact with our family and play the water games the grandkids dreamed up. Over the past sixty minutes, I’d clucked like a turkey and been de-throned because I’d gravely underestimated the treachery ability of Becky, my twelve-year-old granddaughter.

      As we left the pool area we weren’t as organized going back up to our floor. The older grandkids took one elevator and their parents took the other.

      Nora and I waited with Thomas’ twins and Becky and then split up to distribute them to the right suites. We met up back at our door.

      She was there first and held the door open for me as I jogged the last few steps. “Thank you.”

      “You’re welcome.” She laughed as she walked into our tiny two-bedroom suite and plopped down on the sofa. “I forgot how exhausting the kids can be, never mind adding their hyper fathers into the mix. Every time I tried to join the girls sitting on the loungers, I got roped into playing something else.”

      “I heard there is a list.” I followed her inside. “Tayla warned me that the kids were arguing over what games to play and activities to do when she told them to make a list of their top three and we’d try to get through everyone’s games by the end of vacation.”

      “Why don’t I find that comforting?” She sighed. “There are eight grandchildren. That means twenty-four games in ten days.”

      I laughed, “You didn’t expect this to be restful, did you?”

      “No, not really, but I didn’t expect them to start off with such vigour.”

      “True. Or that they’d expect us to join them.” I lowered myself into in the chair to the side of where she sat.

      “I’m almost tempted to forgo joining them for dinner and just ordering room service.”

      “If it was any night besides our first night here, I’d agree.” I pushed myself up from the arms of the chair. “Duty calls. I’m going to grab a shower and get ready. We didn’t leave ourselves a lot of time between the pool and the dinner reservation.”

      She stood up, too. “I need to wash this chlorine out of my hair. Now that I’ve let my white hair grow in, pools are not my friend.” With that, she disappeared into her room.

      Somehow this vacations was starting to feel like it could be my second chance with my ex-wife. I know I don’t deserve one. I’m the one who got so wrapped up in myself I lost sight of her. But, maybe, I could be the white night for the next ten days and at least redeem myself in her eyes.”

    • #8895

      This is from Ude:

      It’s strange to think that after all these years all I have left is her photograph buried amongst my winter jumpers, in my fake drawer, cum, lift up lid -wooden blanket box. When she became blind, how old was she then – 55, I think, she had no use for photographs. She would give me old pictures, Mum dressed up in bright lace ready for a party, Mum with her best friend Rachel, Mum with Dad dancing at some party. Mum with her workmates.

      She would pile them into old shoe boxes lined with white tissue paper. The remnants of her days buying £300 priced or less, glam footwear- knee high boots, patent leather brogues, soft slipper like pumps. Now I was having my cold turkey season. Not spending a single penny on, heels, flats narrow fronted toe pinching leathers or leather look alike trainers. I would be visiting her grave. I had a wish to burn the photos she had give me. Collect the ashes and scatter them like some kind of compost amongst the earth that covered her sleeping place.

      I don’t deserve it. Don’t want this accolade, this privilege of being the eldest daughter who must preserve her memory through photographs. I could not bring myself of course to burn her memories. Convery them to ash then dirt. I counted 205 photographs in 8 shoeboxes. I slipped the black and white photo of Dad carrying mum across the threshold of their first home in England. New freshly anointed citizens of their colonial home – England. All joy and smiles.

      Who would take a photo of take-away food. I remember this day when Mum decided it was time to strike. Take off her headscarf and palm oil-stained apron and call the nearest West Indian Restaurant. Not that she knew much about West Indian food, being Nigerian but she had been told by her West Indian friends of melt in your mouth ackees with saltfish, boiled bananas that tasted like her native boiled green plantains, smooth tasting callaloo greens that slipped in one’s mouth and felt like the tastes of the green vegetables she had eaten as a child back home. Fried jerk chickens, wallowing in peppered spices savoury white breams swimming in scotch bonnet tomato sauces, tender white boiled yams. All this richness and taste was captured in that colour photo which I had framed and kept on my living room wall for the last 5 years.

      I would look up at that photo each time I needed a reminder of Mum’s quirkiness and odd sense of laughter.

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