Sunday writing chat prompts for 24 Oct 2021

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    • #7677

      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: horseshoe, porter, glove, sea, spider. (10 min)

      2. Use the phrase, “Make it fit in the box.” (10 min)

      3. Write about making copies. (10 min)

    • #7678

      It was remarkably easy. He’d never really understood how people got together, how they formed relationships. Most of his friends were people he’d met in primary school. When that group exploded (Not to use sensationalistic language, but it did.) he wasn’t quite sure what to do next. Isolation wasn’t good for him, and he was aware of that, but he turned the horseshoe on his wall upside down and the luck poured out, not to return.

      And then Jen. She just sort of happened. He was awkward around girls, but she wasn’t at all perturbed by the fact that he walked in on her changing in the employee lounge. And once she’d noticed him, in a way that pulled him out of the generic crowd of wait staff, bus-persons and other hangers-on, she actually seemed to enjoy hanging out with him.

      And, um, stuff, as Jim had put it once in his hearing.

      “This is an interesting porter,” Jen was saying from her barstool next to his. Unlike their restaurant, this bar had a very wide selection of beers, and a wheel on the wall that the bartender would spin for you if you couldn’t make up your own mind. He even had a white glove he would put on for the ceremony.

      “Do tell,” said Sam. “And remind me which one you got.”

      “If I close my eyes, it reminds me of the time I got half the Mediterranean Sea up in my sinuses. I was snorkeling, and something that looked like a spider startled me. Screaming underwater is not a good idea.”

      Sam chuckled, and patted her hand.

      “So, not to change the subject, but I’m changing the subject,” said Jen. “Do you have plans for halloween? There’s this party some friends of friends are throwing…”

      “I have no life,” said Sam. “You know that about me.”

      “That’s silly. I like hanging out with you,” said Jen.

      “And stuff…” popped out of Sam’s mouth.

      “And stuff,” said Jen.

      “What are we doing for costumes?” Sam asked.

      “I dunno, pretend to be something you’ve always wanted to be,” Jen suggested.

      “Seems like I’m pretending to be something I’m not every day of my life.”

      She set down her beer and turned her barstool to face his. There was a little room on the floor so she stood him up, put his beer stein beside hers, his right hand on her shoulder, held his left, and put her left hand around his waist. They swayed to the music.

      “Oh,” said Sam, embarrassed. “I’m supposed to put my hands…”

      “Hush,” said Jen, not rearranging anything. “And I think we should dress as each other for the party.”

      “Speaking of pretending to be somebody…” said Sam.

      “…somebody you’ve always wanted to be,” Jen interrupted.

      “But you’re not,” said Sam.

      “It’s Halloween. You can be anybody you want,” said Jen. “Come over to my place. We’ll scour the closet and see what we can find.”

      Ooooookay then, Sam was a saying to himself. “I’m… a little out of my comfort zone.”

      “Maybe it’s time you did that,” said Jen.

      “Is it going to fit? Am I going to fit in it?”

      “We’ll make it fit you, and make you fit in the box,” said Jen, with a grin that Sam could only think of as devious. Or maybe deviant was the right word. “You kinda don’t fit in the one where you’re living now.”

      “So I pretend to be somebody I’m not,” said Sam.

      “Let’s turn it around. Be who you’re not, pretending to be what you are,” said Jen.

      “I’m lost,” Sam admitted.

      “Let’s see what we can find, wandering in the forest like Hansel and Gretl,” said Jen.

      “Don’t eat any cottages,” said Sam. “And I have no idea what that means in this conversation.”

      “You don’t have to be me, you can be…” Jen looked around the room. “Them,” she said. “When you can’t think of something original, make copies.”

      Sam followed where her chin pointed. There was a couple at a corner table. Masculine woman with a serious expression on her face, talking to a guy who was dressed in the usual way but somehow his mannerisms were somehow not nearly as masculine as hers.

      “Maybe I want to be him,” said Sam.

      “And maybe I want to be her,” said Jen. “We’ll have to think about how to make that obvious to party-goers. I think it’s doable.”

      “Okay,” said Sam, very very quietly. “I’m in.”

      “I’m excited already,” said Jen. “I kinda wasn’t expecting that until we were trying on clothes in my bedroom.”

    • #7679

      MOM: Is everything all right?

      ME: Yes, just thought the tradition had run its course. Kamila got married and the kids aren’t little anymore.

      It struck me how gently Mom always treated me, as if she was handling me with kid gloves.

      The voice in the back of my mind teased me, probably to avoid one of your incessant lectures about how she should do it better, different, or any way other than what she was doing… no matter what ‘it’ was.

      The therapist warned me that my thoughts would get sticky. It would be like attempting to unravel a spider web, and avoidance would be as effective as trying to hold back the sea with a few grains of sand.

      Since I was a teenager, I’d strived to achieve so much and truly thought I’d had a horseshoe up my butt because it all seemed to go so smoothly, but lately circumstances have rudely informed me it’s more likely a two-by-four rammed up there. It’s made me ridged and uncompromising. Which I’m learning is not a good thing.

      Self-awareness sucks.

      It’s like you’re trying to take all of your old beliefs and fit them into a new paradigm and you can’t make them fit in the box. Worse, there’s no porter to help you carry the leftover attitudes and assumptions. Which forces you to discard them.

      Allowing yourself to be vulnerable is exhausting.

      MOM: Are you sure?
      ME: Yes, Mom. This isn’t the year to have a family gathering.

      I made sure my response was copied to all the members of our family group.
      Hopefully, they all will think I was referring to all the restrictions around Covid and not ask for further information. I’d been skeptical about the pandemic until Kamila got sick and we almost lost Arif.

      Between their illness, and Samuel’s distress over my actions last summer, I’d been forced to take a long hard look at my life and have a lot of regrets.

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