Sunday writing chat prompts for 21 May 2023

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    • #9721

      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: sheep, revoke, gate, personal, cellar. (10 min)

      2. Use the phrase, “You need to decide.” (10 min)

      3. Write about a library. (10 min)

    • #9722

      “I think it’s customary for somebody who to say ‘I suppose you’re wondering…'” said Becca.

      “Except we know why we came together, and you didn’t exactly call the meeting,” said Olivia. “It feels good in some ways to be across the river.”

      “Where the Law isn’t busy trying to figure out how to erase us all,” said Eck.

      “Eradicate, was the word they used,” said Josh.

      “I get that they need an issue to scare people into sending them money,” said Deb. “What I don’t get is why we’re the target. It was the Communists, who at least were a credible geopolitical threat, but the Wall came down. And gays, but the Courts decided they’re just like ordinary folks and so should get married if they feel like it. Which leaves freaks like us, I guess.”

      “Herd us into the cellars hoping we’ll go peacefully like sheep. Shut the gate, and watch to see if they win votes or lose them,” said Becca. “But I’m thinking they’re committed and even if they lose votes they’ll keep the personal vendetta going. Once you start revoking people’s humanity, it’s hard to stop.”

      “Right, so, is everybody done ranting for a while?” said Eck, with a grin. “I mean, you’re not wrong.” He summarized his encounter with the street people, who apparently did have their backs. “I dunno who this Mo person is, but her army of homeless vets kicks ass and takes names.”

      “I’ve met her,” said Becca. “And yeah, you don’t want her on the other side. Stuff happens when she wants it to.”

      Olivia cleared her throat and sat up to the table, hands folded in front of her. “There are rumors at the office about her irregulars, and some of the skinhead type cops are exchanging information with other police organizations around Northern Virginia.”

      “With all the private, for-profit prisons, and the criminal law reforms (like legalizing pot and pardoning people locked up for it), there’s an opening in a lockup near you,” said Josh.

      “I’m not sure how to tell, but it may be time to go,” said Becca. “I know some biochem folks at universities up north; it might be possible to transfer some of your grad credits.” She looked at Deb and Eck. “I’m less plugged in to the gender studies and anthropology departments, but there are lots of good schools in the Boston area. We can ask around.”

      Joey started to cry. They snuggled up to Eck, who put an arm around them.

      “How do we know?” Eck asked.

      “You need to decide. We can help, but the decision is yours,” said Becca. “What about you, Josh? Olivia?”

      “And we just leave you behind?” said Olivia.

      “I’m just a couple years from retirement. We have a bead on a community out west. April’s agreed to come along. I’m really quite invisibly trans, but pretty obviously gay, and they’re not very discriminating in their discrimination.” April smiled and took Becca’s hand.

      “Crimination,” said Joey, who for the moment had control of their diaphragm. They smiled.

      “Incrimination, I think is the word,” said Olivia. “Anyway, getting moved out could be iffy, There are marches and such, and I, for one, worry about them developing into riots, with my brother coppers standing by, watching, and cheering.”

      “I keep on hoping that writing exposé kinds of stories will turn some of their voters against them,” said Josh. “Isn’t that the way things are supposed to work?”

      “I went to the library, tapped into the news archives, and ran some statistics,” said Joey. “Even your esteemed outlet, Josh, is running three to one against us, in the name of Balance and Journalistic Integrity and Just Asking Questions. When the propagandists move to even more extreme positions, the middle ground ends up being somewhere I can’t survive.”

      “It’s true, I’m afraid,” said Josh. “I don’t know how to guess how long we have, but it’s coming, if it’s not here already.”

      “So it’s good to have Mo and her friends available, in case it comes to pushing and shoving,” said Olivia. “Did she give you contact info, Eck?”

      “A drop box,” said Eck.

      “I know people who know people,” said Becca.

      “Maybe we should talk to her,” said Josh.

      Becca opened her phone and paged through her contacts list.

    • #9723

      This is Ude’s contribution:

      Am I like, a sheep or goat, letting others pull me where they wish me to go? The goat in Father’s house had been too clever. She needed to be tethered and now and then unleashed to leave the compound when Auntie Josephine allowed it. My job would be to walk our dainty house guest who lived outside, down the track, past the mango and palm nut trees to the gate that divided Father’s land from the other villagers. What did we call that goat. Madam Ifee. Madame Ifee who was too proud to release her milk and would only do so if her personal gift of the youngest palm leaves stored in my father’s cellar was brought out to her in a wooden tray like an offering, a mark of our gratitude that she some day would sacrifice not only her milk but her body when it was her time. Sometimes we would have to revoke the sacrifice if there was no wedding or birthday or grand visitor from another village or land who would be of esteemed ranking to have the honour of her body and blood.

      The blood of Christ, the body of Christ. How many times had I with pleasure, bowed my Christian head, knelt before the priest to receive his blessing.

      “I think it’s this turning. There’s a park nearby. No, no sorry I think it’s the next turning. Here, see the playground, the park; It’s the building opposite the park.

      The cab driver laughed.

      “You’re going to visit your daughter. You need to decide which street she lives on”

      I laughed with the driver. In my day youngsters would never correct their elders or laugh at them out loud. But I was living in another age, this was now the 21st century. I was in England not at home and even at home the youngsters were worse. Across all lands times were changing.

      “Number 56 Treelawney Drive. Yes, here it is”.

      I paid the driver and included a tip as we had had some good conversation along the way.

      “Can I have your card please; in case I have to go back to Croston?”

      “Of course,”

      He reached into his glove compartment and pulled out a black and white business card. The words were bright and large enough for me to read without my glasses.

      “Thank you”

      I stepped into bright sunshine and the sounds of children laughing. I noticed the playground opposite hidden by large leafy trees.

      My Father’s house had been filled with books. In the old days before the war, my father, an officer at the time had been proud to show his vast collection of novels, histories, biographies and poems (he loved poems!), to any visiting guest who happened to grace our home. Once the palm wine and kola nut had been broken and shared with the male visitor (the women of course spent time preparing these tasty delicacies) Father would take his guest to the main room. A high ceiling affair with oak floor boards and shelf upon shelf of books of a medley of colours, thin, thick, softback, hardbacks. His library where sometimes I would sit and read mainly stories, fantasy tales, as my Mother and his other four wives spent time busying themselves in our compound.

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