Sunday writing chat prompts for 29 Aig 2021

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    • #7548

      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: half, release, jewel, X-ray, double. (10 min)

      2. Use the phrase, “How do we clean that?” (10 min)

      3. Write about disobeying rules. (10 min)

    • #7549

      backstory… probably not for direct inclusion in the narrative…

      Sam was obsessed with Miranda a little before, which was why he was teasing her in class when she got angry and admitted she was gay. After that, he couldn’t stop thinking about her. He let a comment slip over dinner at home, when Mom had asked what he was thinking about.

      Dad had turned bright red, excused himself, and gone for a drive. He left his dinner uneaten. “Your father has an anger management problem,” said Mom. “Mostly he keeps it under control, but I worry about road rage.”

      Over the week and a half after that, Sam’s obsession only deepened. Miranda and Vicky stood side by side at the railing on the second deck of the courtyard at school. Mostly Sam stood on the other side of the courtyard on the third deck and watched. Once, he had done more than that. He got his glasses broken by a well-paced fist of Miranda’s and lost his notebook over the rail. There was blood on his knuckles, but the x-ray that Mom insisted on showed no other damage.

      The school system sent someone around to talk to his parents. It didn’t help Dad’s mood at all. He overheard Dad releasing some of his bile, his hatred, really, for gay people, with threats, and shouting, and intimation that they forfeited any claim to humanity. He was like a whole different person, a double or something, of his real dad, who worked hard to control himself.

      Dad did a lot more driving around. He also did a lot more griping about the cost of gasoline.

      Jim was around school some. Presumably he was around school every day, but Sam saw him rarely, tending to run in other circles. He mentioned Miranda, oh and Vicky.

      “They’re pretty cool people,” said Jim. “Do you actually talk to her?”

      Sam mumbled that he didn’t. “She’s, like, gay,” he said.

      Jim shrugged it off.

      “My dad really hates gay people,” said Sam.

      “They’re just folks,” said Jim. “I think a lot of the hate comes from suppressed feelings… tells you more about the hater than the gay folks.”

      “You think Dad’s secretly gay?” Sam asked, incredulous.

      “I don’t know him,” said Jim, with another shrug.

      Sam dismissed this notion as absurd.

      But he did find that driving Dad’s truck the long way around when asked to run an errand helped with his own obsession.

      And… he could never get straight in his head what happened, really, except there was Vicky beside the curb as he drove away. Dad noticed a dent in the hood and set Sam the task of hammering it out and touching up the paint. Sam learned what the round end of a ball-peen hammer was for.

      “How do we clean that?” he asked Mom. Apparently there was some blood in addition to years of grime on the finish, which was in turn ground into his shirt.

      “Cold water,” said Mom. She pointedly did not ask any questions. Figuring, perhaps, that Dad had done that, and not wanting to provoke another rage.

      But Dad approved of the repair. “Makes the truck look a little more rugged,” he said. He messed up Sam’s hair like he’d done with Sam was ten.

      Miranda was out of sight, and eventually, mostly, out of mind. He wasn’t on speaking terms with Vicky, but there were rumors about hospitals and it all sounded pretty grim to Sam.

      He also resolved to straighten up and fly right, both to prolong Dad’s approval, and, well, in the other sense of “straight” to get the gay stuff out of his mind. Not staring at Miranda whenever she walked by at school helped with that. Vicky was still there, of course, but she kind of wasn’t his type or whatever, and they didn’t really have friends in common besides Jim. Sometimes Sam noticed Jim at a third corner of the courtyard between classes, watching him try to not watch Vicky, who was standing alone in those days. Sam figured out if he stood one floor up directly above Vicky he couldn’t really see her, or at least any more than the part in her hair and an occasional armload of books on the rail. “Pointedly ignoring” is what he called this.

      So he was a little amazed when after a month or two Vicky spoke to him. Right out loud, like.

      “Hey, Sam I Am,” she said, “You really liked that Green Eggs and Ham book when we were in first grade.”

      Sam blushed. “What, eleven years ago,” he said.

      “You wanna get dinner sometime?” Vicky asked. “I know we don’t talk, but…”

      The only syllable Sam could get out was “Kay.”

      “Friday night at the Stockyards, then,” said Vicky, and walked away.

      But he showed up, and there she was.

    • #7550

      Release the Kraken! Is kraken capitalized or lowercase? Is it a proper noun or just what that type animal is called. I mean, there’s only one, right? Even one is more than enough. Do we know where it came from, if not from other krakens? Actually, if Kraken was a name, they would say, “Release Kraken” without an article. (Sounds less impressive, but surely they wouldn’t insert an article just to sound more impressive? That’s not how English works.) We say, “Call the plumber” or “Call Bob,” but not “Call the Bob.”

      Some other languages do say “Call the Bob,” and I actually think that makes sense, since you are talking about a particular Bob. I don’t think anyone ever says (in any language), “Call a Bob”, but I think that’s only because there’s never a case where any Bob would do, as there is with “a plumber” or such.

      I don’t know what I’m writing…


      I’ve seen many impressive feats of engineering and design, but I feel that many designers don’t think to ask themselves how their gadgets will be cleaned. Which seems strange, because they do give some thought to user experience, and procude things that are all very user-friendly…until you need to clean them, and THEN you find out how hard it is to get dirt out of all the little nooks and crannies. “How do we clean this?” should really be a top-level question in the process of design.


      There was a time, when I was maybe around 5, that my mother kept rabbits. And some of those rabbits had bunnies! They were so soft. She let me pet them, but only when she said so. One day I wanted to pet the bunnies, and my monther said, “Not now.” I had yet to develop any patience, so naturally, I took matters into my own hands. If she wouldn’t come, well, I didn’t need her. I went and opened the cage door and reached in… and got a painful scratch on my hand! I had not foreseen this possibility, and in a mixture of pain and surprise, I drew my hand back, leaving the door open. Rabbits shot out and ran in every direction. I don’t know how many there were, but it seemed like about a hundred.

      I ran to my mother and yelled “The rabbits got out!” I didn’t feel the need to disclose my involvement in the matter. I think I tried to hide the scratch on my hand. I don’t remember if I got away with it or not. She probably knew very well how the door was open, even if the scratch was not noticed. But she was busy chasing rabbits all around the yard and didn’t have time to reprimand me. I think they mostly went to hide in the strawberries, and were successfully retrieved after some time. I had still not learned patience, but I did not open the cage by myself after that.

      • This reply was modified 2 weeks, 5 days ago by Kes.
      • This reply was modified 2 weeks, 5 days ago by Kes.
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