Sunday writing chat prompts for 12 March 2023

Home Forums Just the Place for a Snark Sunday writing chat prompts for 12 March 2023

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    • #9592

      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: problem, suntan, tidy, soar, habit. (10 min)
      2. Use the phrase, “someone would notice.” (10 min)
      3. Write about feeling alone in a crowd. (10 min)
    • #9593

      “Your deal,” said Renee.

      “Oh. Sorry. Too involved in story-telling,” said Annie.

      “It’s interesting,” said Becca, “comparing notes and such. Like when did we realize we had a problem. Like developing various habits of prevarication and double-speak.”

      “Secret handshakes,” said Ann.

      “It’s kind of interesting to think about what’s held private, as opposed to what’s actually secret,” said April. “In the research admin office there was a lot of proprietary information we needed to know to do our job; I guess trade secrets, maybe, in some other industry. And then there’s personal information, which in a tidy shop is completely separate from everything else, so you don’t accidentally release something.”

      “Yeah, I got doxxed once,” said Annie. “I mean, I’ve been out for a while now; I really don’t pass as female whaat with being over six feet tall with enormous feet and hands and, well, let’s just say I’m not a soprano.”

      “Lots of the old ladies who live here have deep voices,” Renee pointed out.

      “It’s true,” said Annie, “and I’m grateful for that. But some troll got ahold of some identifiable personal info and posted it everywhere on the internet, when it was still kind of a new thing. And so of course I got hate mail. But, being computer savvy once I had a decent sample of the stuff I could just filter it out and dump the offensive stuff.”

      Bill nodded. “The careful feeling out of people, hoping somebody would notice, somebody who might appreciate knowing. Either just to know they’re not the only person like this, or maybe, just maybe, needing an actual friend.”

      “If a friend is somebody you can be honest with…” Said Becca.

      “Yeah. Then maybe I have three of them,” said Bill. “Present company excluded. And there’s always the fear that the wrong somebody would notice, and you end up with hate mail. Or worse.”

      “Or worse,” said Annie. “Thankfully they let very tall women into the self-defense classes when I needed them.”

      “And then between the internet, which allowed forgotten stuff to be easily searched for and found, and the changing culture, we got the pogroms of the ‘twenties,” said Becca. “After a bunch of people had come out, believing a new era was at hand. Maybe we should tell stories of the lost generation, if we know any of those folks.”

      “Yeah,” said April quietly. Ann and Annie and Renee nodded.

      “I remember feeling like it was the last act of Cabaret,” said Bill.

      “Yeah,” everybody said again.

      “But, hey, we’re here now, we survived,” said Renee, “And the community is remarkably friendly.”

      “They are, even if they’re kind of clueless sometimes,” said Becca.

      “I’ll just add up the score,” said Renee. “Was it tonight we were going to dinner together?”

      “Yeah. Maybe I should, like, change,” said Becca.

      “I’m so glad I have you folks to eat with. They seat me with random strangers sometimes when I’m by myself. They chat amiably enough about nothing much. The usual questions: where did you come from, how long have you lived here, what organizations are you in.” Bill mused. “But never anything important, rarely with an idea of making friends.”

      “At least not in the sense of people you can be honest with,” said Renee. “When Eric moved to the assisted living section, it was hard, just going to dinner by myself. I talked my sister into coming to help and she got stuck here for the duration of the pandemic lockdown.”

      “And a good time was had by all,” said Ann, with a grin. “Oh. I probably shouldn’t talk about mysterious noises from the ceiling.”

      “Ravyn is quite a handful,” said Renee. She was smiling. “And I’m sure she would be whooping with glee at how I worded that.”

      “She really would,” said Becca.

      “Would you be my dinner buddy, Bill?” Renee asked.

      “I’d like that,” said Bill.

      “Meanwhile, for tonight, table for six, be there, aloha,” said Becca who took April home to change.

    • #9594

      I nodded. Not that it really mattered. Michelle was already darting toward the playground with her new best friend, Fernie. Meghan jogged along behind them to keep watch while Mitch and I talked.

      Anyone looking at them would assume the girls were twins, or at least sisters. Which I suppose they were. They’d also assume Meghan was their mother. Both girls resembled that side of the family.

      “There is no question she’s mine.” Mitch said.

      Glancing at him, I could see his jaw was clenched even though his words were gentle. “Yes, she is yours. I was careful. I wanted to know who my child’s father was.”

      “Why didn’t you tell me?” Confusion tinged his voice. “You had my contact information. You knew where I worked. Didn’t you think I’d want to know?”

      “That was never part of my plan.” I told him. “I was honest with you back then. I had just gone through a messy divorce and I was devastated.’ I shrugged. “What I didn’t tell you was that I wanted a child. I was already thirty-two. Time was running out, I didn’t have time to waste trying to build another relationship with someone who would likely just let me down.
      So, if a man approached me respectfully, I researched what they told me to see if they were who they said. Then, after a week or two, if they still seemed to be good guys, I accepted their offer to go home with them. It seemed like a tidy solution to my dilemma.”

      “So, you just wanted me for my sperm?” That entire weekend, you were just using me to get pregnant?” His eyebrows rose so high they looked like they were ready to soar off his face.

      “How many men do you know who make a habit of picking up at a bar?” I could feel myself getting defensive. “Don’t hit me with that double standard. Most guys don’t care if they knock someone up. They’re happy to leave the woman alone to have an abortion or raise a child. I wanted a child without a man attached. It seemed like the perfect plan. Use the game for my own purposes.”

      “And it wasn’t like someone would notice if you showed up pregnant the next time you saw them.” He framed the statement as a question.

      “I went to places far away from my usual haunts and knew where they worked. I made sure there was little danger of running into the fellows I selected as potential sperm donors.” Then I remembered his daughter was the same age as mine. “You’re one to talk. Your wife must have been pregnant when you were with me.”

      “I didn’t lie either.” His voice was serious, all anger gone. “She slammed me with a demand for child support the Monday after we were together.

      Apparently, Fernie was a result of the last time we were together as man and wife. Carol was four months along and DNA proved the child was mine. It took a year, but I have full custody.”

      We sat in silence, absorbing the words we’d just heard as a group of teens walked by with blankets to go suntanning at the pond. Even though we were surrounded by the group on both sides, we sat isolated and alone in our thoughts.

      “I named her after you. Michelle seemed to be a reasonable version of Mitch. She knows about you. She’s still only five, so I’ve kept explanations simple. Her father wasn’t with us because he couldn’t be.”

      His shoulders stiffened, “But I could have been.”

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