Sunday writing chat prompts for 26 March 2023

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    • #9614

      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: publish, articulate, monstrous, carry, imperial. (10 min)

      2. Use the phrase, “…and a half.” (10 min)

      3. Write about a traffic jam. (10 min)

    • #9615

      “So… I don’t know if this runs in families or what, but I have this grand-sibling…”


      “Niece, nephew, whatever they are this week,” said Ann.

      “Gotcha,” said Bill.

      “They’re very articulate about their wanderings through various identities and genders. I think we could learn a thing or two about how they carry their issues,” said Ann. “It’s like grief in a lot of ways: it doesn’t go away, though it’s different sometimes, and we have to learn to live with it. There’ve been times I was convinced that I was some kind of monstrous something, just because… Well, let’s say I didn’t match any of the published options.”

      “Can I borrow that bunch of imperial blue puzzle pieces near your elbow?” Renee said.

      “Oh, sure,” said Ann, and she gathered them up, dumping them into Renee’s cupped hands.

      “Anyway, Joey’s in grad school, studying anthropology, I think?” said Ann. “And she… they… have gotten hooked up with some kids in neuroscience or biochemistry or something, so they’re all three of them exploring gender identities together. It’s kind of inspiring.”

      “And they survived the ‘twenties?”

      “They’re just twenty-two now,” said Ann. “So not yet.”

      “I meant the twenty-twenties,” said Bill.

      “They’re pretty careful about keeping track of who knows what,” said Ann.

      “I know the feeling,” said Bill. Everyone at the table was nodding.

      “You said they had multiple partners?” said Becca. “How does that work nowadays? Stephan and I had a third person sometimes, and had to be careful to keep her out of sight.”

      April put a hand on top of Becca’s and squeezed.

      “Well, real estate now is way more expensive than it was when we were kids,” said Ann. “So Joey lives with two roommates. Nobody has to know about what they do together.”

      Renee looked at Becca and smiled. “We…” she said.

      “Yes,” said Becca.

      “It’s a little easier now that Ravyn’s gone home again,” said Renee. “She seems to live in a warp field, twisting rules to suit herself.”

      “That she does. I hope I didn’t contribute too much to that,” said Becca.

      “Nah. If anything, it was me. We had this thing where we would sort of bid against each other to see who got to be the bad girl on any given day. Ravyn usually won, but I certainly encouraged her.”

      “She doesn’t need encouraging.”

      “No, it’s true. She’s a bad girl and a half, always has been,” said Renee. “Anyway,” she added, turning away from Becca and towards Ann, “You were telling us about Joey, your sibling.”

      “Grand,” said Ann.

      “She does sound grand,” said Renee.

      “They, apparently, this week,” said Ann.

      “Right, sorry, and apologies to them,” said Renee. “Getting people’s pronouns right is important. Especially when I’m sitting with a table filled with trans-folk.”

      “Appreciated,” said Chloe.

      “It’s complicated,” said Bill.

      “I have the advantage that I look the part,” said Becca, “and sound like people should call me her.”

      “That would help,” said Chloe.

      “We’re envious of folks who grew up when that was possible,” said Bill.

      “And whose parents were on their side, helping take that deep breath and then nod,” said Chloe. “Put you on the roller coaster, and wait for the ride to end to help you off again.”

      “All true,” said Becca, “and I’m grateful. Somehow I’m imagining a traffic jam at the, what did you call it? The exit gate. More kids these days seem to be willing to try it.”

      “I imagine having friends doing it would be helpful,” said Chloe.

      “In different ways, but yes,” said Ann. “Joey seems to be happy with her… ahem, their, situation, and the fact that both of her… gah! Their, partners are helping.”

      “It’s hard,” said Renee, “getting the words right.”

      “Sometime I should ask my friends Mo and Cris to come visit,” said Becca. “Different kinds of folks from before it was cool.”

      “It’s amazing how much difference a decade or two made, both for the good and the bad,” said Bill.

      “And now, thank whatever gods there be, for the good again,” said Ann.

    • #9616

      The burden of guilt I carried with me across the parking lot into the hospital’s emergency entrance was monstrous. My knees wanted to buckle under it’s weight every time I pictured Blake on the ground, bleeding from his head. I was almost to the door when I heard my name called.

      Blake’s daughter Daphne was running toward me. “Janice, thank God I caught you.” She grabbed my arm as the two of us checked in with reception to see if we could go right back.

      “Only immediate family.” The receptionist said as she nodded in my direction.

      I started to step back so Daphne could go to her father. Before I could articulate words to tell her to go ahead, she gripped my arm harder.

      “She’s family too.” Her voice has a haughty edge, becoming an imperial princess.

      The nurse shrugged and motioned us to the door for us to be buzzed in. “Turn left halfway down the hall. He’s probably still on the gurney.”

      It took a disconcerting amount of time to find him. Wheeled beds littered the hallway.

      It took me only a second and a half to realize he was awake and smiling as he watched us approach. I could feel my face growing red. It was one of those moments worthy of a publish in a trashy romance novel.

      “Daddy, what the hell?” Daphne scolded as she approached her father and wrapped her arms around him. “Didn’t you always tell me to check the outfield for gopher holes before playing ball?”

      “I took it one step further.” His chuckle was the best sound I’d ever heard. “I’m the one who dug the hole that tripped me up.”

      “H-how are you?” I asked, as Daphne stepped back to give me room to approach.

      “C’mere.” He held his arms up for me. “You like you’re freaking out worse than me when I came to in an ambulance, careening through traffic jams to get me to surgery.”

      My voice squeaked, “Surgery?”

      At the same time Daphne scoffed, “Traffic jams?”

      I was close enough that Blake sat up and pulled me toward him. “Bad joke.” He assured me. “I’m only going to need a few stitches and I’ll be as good as new.”

      “No concussion?”

      “Okay, an x-ray and a few stitches, just to be sure I didn’t fracture my skull.” He pulled back to glance at his daughter and then look me square in the eye. “I passed concussion protocols. The wheelbarrow clipped the side of my head on the way down.” He touched his forehead to mine before wincing. “Despite the bruise that’s currently forming, I’m going to be fine.”

    • #9617

      This is Ude’s contribution:

      ‘Her Imperial Majesty – Queen Calibaya of Imo is here to represent the Imo people and claim the artefacts dating back over 500 years ago that her people want placed back in its rightful home in her kingdom. The imperial aggressors carried out their monstrous act of clearing all living memory of the palm tree. Cutting down the trees, against the will of the people. This carnage of a vital plant that provides food, sustenance, natural sustainable food in the form of palm oil, palm milk, fabric, material for environmentally conscious housing materials, this carnage will now in the 24th century, be published in documents that will be housed in Imo Museum and library and will be distributed around the world. So that all will know the terrible crime that has been inflicted on her people and that she means business when she declares that her country will not carry out any trade with these aggressors until these artefacts are returned to her people’.

      Jo watched the news broadcast, dipped a chip into the mound of tomato sauce on his plate and chewed the soggy mess thoughtfully.

      “Well, she means business doesn’t she?”

      “Does this mean we might go to war with Imo?. You know how powerful that country is and the fiery reputation of her fighters”

      Maya couldn’t even pretend she had any appetite. Jo was a terrible cook anyway and oven chips with baked tofu burgers and ketchup was pretty much all he was capable of.

      Jo picked up his plate of half- eaten food. With a knowing half smile he grabbed Maya’s hardly eaten meal and disappeared into the kitchen.

      Maya knew desert was coming ,probably his homemade bread and pudding. He emerged with a baking tray and two plates.

      “Here we go” he announced dramatically. Placing the plates and baking tray on the table.

      He sank a spoon into the pudding.

      “And a half for me please” she said quickly. Trying to articulate a tone of eagerness into her voice.

      The lines of cars, trucks, vans, cabs, taxis, vehicles of every shape, model and colour moved like one endless snail trail nosing across concrete a couple of inches a minute. The government had announced that the country was in a state of emergency, there was no guarantee that Prime Minister Douglas could ensure the safety of the citizens. In 10 days, Imo would strike as the Government had no intention of returning the priceless extremely valuable artefacts back to their former citizens. These artefacts were part of the country’s heritage and if it meant going to war to ensure that these gems were kept in the country, so be it.

      There was fear in the air. Countless people in their cars that were stuffed with emergency belongings that would see them through for a few days till they reached the border.

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