Sunday writing chat prompts for 28 Feb 2021

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    • #7130

      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: salon, twin, stroke, organ, breeze. (10 min)

      2. Use the phrase, “How can that exist in the same world as this?” (10 min)

      3. Write about a sad memory. (10 min)

    • #7131

      Jun returned to the conference room, no longer out of uniform, in plenty of time for the status briefing. Like most anomalies, this one didn’t really have anything much to do with the propulsion system, except that the recovery would involve reopening isolation valves, and some thruster firings to convince the attitude control system it was doing the right thing.

      Jun was rarely lucid in the wee hours, and figured she wouldn’t be able to sleep again any time soon, so she looked up where the salon was and discovered they had an opening. It was in the forward part of the ship, a place engineering staff rarely ventured, but on Deck Six, just like the conference room. So she breezed through the pressure door. Some of the passengers bound for Mars were out and about. At some point they’d change their schedule to Martian Sols instead of earth days, to get used to the extra 40 minutes each day. Circadian rhythms have many of the same kinds of unexpected consequences that changing gravity does. And presumably they’d need to be alert whenever they actually had to do their entry, descent, and landing thing.

      Jun was idly wondering how that part of their mission worked. It wasn’t something the shuttle ship needed to be concerned about, except to coordinate with the engineers who were. Besides, she needed something inside her head while the fingers of the attendant were on the outside of her head, washing her hair and trying to get it to do something, anything really, other than find the local direction of down.

      “Your hair wants to stand on end,” the stylist told her.

      “I sleep upside down, dangling from the ceiling on Deck One,” Jun told her. “We have twin sleeping bags, hung up like bats.”

      “I totally want a photo of you with your hair straight over your head,” the stylist laughed.

      Jun laughed along with her, and started trying to figure out which way was up in the pictures of clients that lined the walls. Some of the zeroG antics she and Gin had figured out involved hair that went swirly, responding to the Coriolis forces up on the axis of rotation. There’s no down up there, so hair tended to stick out in all directions until she moved, and then it was something like streaming behind because it hadn’t gotten the message yet, plus the weird screw-like things that happen because the ship is rotating and your perceptions aren’t. Or really because both the ship and your perceptions are rotating but your hair doesn’t know that.

      She tried not to laugh, because it would disturb the hair the stylist was working on. It seemed odd to her that the weird forces along the hub could exist on the same ship as the more or less ordinary gravity-like forces down here. Deck 6 had six tenths earth normal, for example.

      Anyway. Split ends dealt with. Environmentals liked keeping the air pretty dry to prevent condensation from forming, and Jun’s hair tended to get charged up with static electricity. There’s a product for that, which helps for a day or two.

      When the stylist let her go, Jun decided to take the long way back to her pod, hoping for sleep and perhaps some company from Gin. Systems was involved in everything, so maybe Gin would still be working.

      Jun studied the diagrams of the ship in her head bug, and had one of those moments where something puzzling was suddenly obvious, when it occurred to her that the reason engineering didn’t use decks three through five was that they had Mars-like gravity there, and the outbound settlers were getting used to that. The lift took her through Marstown to Deck One, and she swam more than walked down the long straight passageway, bouncing now and then in the one tenth gravity plus wicked coriolis forces. She stopped for the pressure door between the crew quarters for junior command staff and the engineering kids’ place. She tried to remember if she knew anybody in One Forward, but couldn’t.

      Oh. Well. There was Sam. She remembered Sam. The two of them had similar family reactions to the news they’d signed on for this ship. People everywhere knew the policy: more smarts per kilogram if you select small women. Which they extrapolated to the fly girls rejecting male company in favor of each other. Sam and Jun had introduced each other to culturally appropriate whiskeys: Scotch vs. Korean, in that bar in Annapolis years before they’d embarked.

      As Jun came to the pressure door, there was Sam, appearing hair first out of a hatch in the ceiling, not so very unlike the way Jun did it back aft.

    • #7132

      test post

    • #7134

      This is Sue’s contribution, posted a paragraph at a time to see what the issue is.

      I was almost late getting to the picnic. Kamila picked up Joey to give me time to go to the salon. With the lockdown, I hadn’t been in months and of course the lockdown happened just after my decision to cut my hair. Before then I hadn’t stepped into a hair dressers in years.

      Needing a change, I had my hair styled with layers and it looked good, until it started to grow out. My hair is curly enough to get frizzy and frankly it was driving me nuts. The layers looked like crap as they grew and the slightest breeze pulled them out of the barrettes and I was stroke level stressed to keep my hair neat, let along styled.

      As I approached the group, I didn’t see my son. “Where’s Joey?” I asked Kamila.

      She pointed to a small group of kids with Leah. “Jenny took him down with the other kids. Leah’s showing them a bird’s nest she saw during the week when she was walking at lunch.”

      Her daughters huddled together to give Joey and another little boy space to see. They had twin expressions of wonder on their little faces.

      I smiled as the panicked thumping of that pesky organ in my chest eased. My brain doesn’t understand why I was worried, even for an instant. I trusted Kamila and knew she’d look after Joey as well as I do. Shades of his father, I guess. He was always pushing Joey to be adventurous and rough like him. It was constant fear Joey would overcompensate and do something stupid to please his father. It was a lot of pressure for a six-year-old.

      Kamila suddenly had a smile on her face I didn’t trust as she started to introduce me to the rest of the group. She started with the gorgeous guy who was sitting alone on a blanket. “Dave this is my best friend and indispensable co-worker, Alison. Alison, this is Dave, he works with Gail and Leah and has the most adorable son, DJ.”

      “Nice to meet you.” I said as she held out my hand and then corrected myself and offered my elbow.

      “Hi Alison.” He rose up on his knees and gently bumped his elbow with my own. “I’ve already met Joey, he’s a great kid.”

      My smile grew. “Thanks, I’m kind of partial to him myself.” I turned back to Kamila. “Where should I set up?”

      Kamila looked at the blankets already in place. Gail was beside Viv and her crew, and Leah was on the other side with Dave beside her. “I think you should set up close to Dave since your kids are the same age.” She motioned to Arif, her fiancée. “We’ll set up by Gail.”

      I put my bag down and took out my plaid picnic blanket. It was older than I was and had so many great memories attached to it.

      “Wow, I haven’t seen one of those in years.” Dave said as he helped me straighten out the edge closest to where he sat.

      “It was my Grandmother’s. She’d take me for impromptu picnics when I was little. She left it for me when she died.”

      “I’m sorry to hear she’s gone.” His expression was sincere. “She sounds like she was a wonderful woman.”

      “She was.” I sighed as I sat down and my gaze automatically sought out my son. “She raised me from the time I was five. Mom wasn’t able to look after me.” Now why had I just told him that. Hell, Kamila barely knew the sad story of my childhood. “The blanket is Grammy’s way of always helping me see the bright side of things.” There, that should steer us away from talking about my mother. “Like this day. It makes you wonder how the pandemics can exist in the same world as this. Sunshine sparkling on the water, friends and laughter. Take that, Coronavirus.”

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