Sunday writing chat prompts for 22 Jan 2023

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    • #9470

      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: horizon, articulate, name, dictionary, kick. (10 min)

      2. Use the phrase, “I had such an experience when …” (10 min)

      3. Write about losing something of no consequence. (10 min)

    • #9471

      “Hey,” said Ravyn, dumping luggage into the back seat and joining her sister in the front. “We have to stop meeting like this.”

      Renee chuckled, checked for traffic over her shoulder, and drove away from the airport terminal. “Why? All the good stuff in my life seems to happen when you come to visit.”

      “You know what I mean,” said Ravyn, staring at the horizon. They had a job to do, just this once, and it wasn’t going to do itself.

      “Yeah,” said Renee. Rather than try to articulate what it might mean, selling the house they’d grown up in, they chose silence. “So the last few visits, I’ve been talking up the buyer, how they wanted the power tools, and had ideas about improvements to the house. I told Mom they were thinking of putting in a greenhouse on the south side. She got a kick out of that… you’ll remember she talked about doing that for years.”

      “I do remember,” said Ravyn. She smiled crookedly, wiped something out of her eye. Something foreign; it might have a name in the dictionary, but it certainly wasn’t a tear. She nodded firmly, trying to convince herself, and, just possibly her sister. They’d been apart for years, then exchanged occasional visits over the last few years. Time was, she would have bet money that Renee knew what she was thinking. But their lives had gone in different directions, and it was hard to know.

      Everything about this trip was hard.

      “Eric’s meeting us at the house. We found some sleeping bags and pads,” said Renee. “It’ll save driving fifty miles each way.”

      “I should visit Mom while I’m here,” said Ravyn. “Did I tell you… There was this time I went to visit. I think Mom thought I was you, which makes sense since you live around here and she sees you way more often. She was trying to recall a conversation, and the way her memory is, she was kind of prodding, hoping I’d supply details that would help her remember. But I wasn’t even there, so I was imagining what you might have said to her…”

      Renee chuckled. “Yeah, I’ve had similar experiences. It’s kind of surreal sometimes, talking to her. She can remember when we were kids, but not that she just asked the same thing five minutes before. Or our names, sometimes. Or that there were two of us, unless we did something together that stuck somehow.”

      We found the house. Eric was puttering about, labeling stuff to be donated, or discarded, or shipped home with one or the other of the sisters.

      “It seems to much smaller than when we were kids,” Ravyn said.

      “Yeah. Come look at our bedroom if you think the rest of the house is tight,” said Renee.

      “Somehow two girls got through high school with all our clothes stuffed into this little closet,” said Ravyn.

      “And a couple of chests of drawers,” said Renee. “But yeah. How did we…”

      Ravyn sniffed. “There’s more of that… whatever it was… in my eye,” she mumbled, not quite trusting herself to speak.”

      “C’mere,” said Renee, pulling Ravyn into an embrace. “I cried all over Eric’s shirt yesterday, standing right here.”

      “I, um… oh, excuse me,” said Eric from the door. “You’re having a moment.”

      “Nuh-uh!” Both sisters said, together, and then they laughed through tears. “It’s like being fifteen again,” said Renee.

      “In sooooo many ways,” said Ravyn.

      “Just not that one,” said Renee. “You found something?” she added, to her husband.

      “Oh. Right,” said Eric. “Have either of you lost your marbles? I found your marbles.” He produced an old coffee can, carefully removed the lid, and there, sure enough, were our marbles.

      “I think I’ve lost more marbles than we ever had,” said Ravyn.

      Renee nodded. “We should take them the next time we visit Mom,” she said.

      “Oh, my,” said Ravyn. “I, um…”

      “C’mere,” said Renee again. “There’s plenty of sad to get through. Eric doesn’t mind if we…”

      “…like…” said Ravyn.

      “…hold each other,” said Renee. There was an ambiguous half-grin on her face when they backed out of the hug far enough to look at each other.

      They didn’t say anything for a long moment.

      “Anyway, there’s stuff to do,” said Renee, and the ambiguity vanished like smoke.

    • #9472

      This is Ude’s contribution:

      The dictionary that she had thrown on the table landed on the vase that Shana had given Rubee during her last visit. Luckily the fake green glass did not shatter or the mug that held the precious remnants of her rooibos tea. Rubee took a deep breath and exhaled slowly. That was one good thing about doing yoga. All that stretching, inhaling and exhaling, keeping the mind focused on each asana, had taught her essential calming techniques. She may not be so articulate when it came to expressing her feelings but any anger didn’t last long. She stared out through the window, imagined herself on a beach, white sands, a calm blue sea and a horizon that stretched with no beginning or end, just fathomless. Kick that thought through the window.

      I couldn’t let go. It held onto me so I let the thought envelop me. Let my mind drift back to 20 years ago. Walking with my younger sister. Holding her hand. The long wide street. Virtually empty roads. Passing the blackberry hedge that spread its wire like tangly mesh over the wooden fence. We often stopped there. I would bend at the knee allow Shana to climb on my shoulder. Stand near the bush, careful not to scrape my arms and fingers. Shana would pull at the blackberries. Stuff herself with the plump pea like buds, stuff handfuls in her school bag, in the front pouch. She never forgot to grab the fruit for her older sister. Then I would carefully lower myself and stuff my mouth full of juicy black fruit. I would have such an experience of simple joy and anarchy, stealing my share of nature’s gifts with my sister. The stained mouth and face like dark makeup smeared awkwardly. Mum always knew.

      “You’ve been eating those blackberries again”

      I was looking for the last teabag. I was sure I had one left in the tin. The kettle was boiling nicely, honey ready to be spooned into my white heavy mug, a thick mini puddle of vegan cream floated at the bottom of the mug. Where was the tea bag?

      I picked up my phone and called Shana.

      “Hello Shana” Rubee’s voice sounded cautious. Too wary for my liking.

      “How are you Rubee?” How’s Mum?”

      “We’re all fine. Did you hear about Kante Ko. He’s been arrested for drug trafficking” I wasn’t and have never been interested in the life of celebrities.

      “Rubee, I can’t find my last rooibos tea-bag. Did you have a cup of tea before you left? I don’t remember you drinking tea”.

      “What is it with you Shana! You’re calling me to ask me if I’ve taken your last tea-bag! Rubee laughed. A loud belly laugh, that stung Shana’s right ear drum.

      “Cece is right about you, Mum has said the same and Terree. You’re losing your mind Shana. You’re not thinking straight. What’s happening to you Shana? I didn’t have any tea at your place”

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