Sunday writing chat prompts for 4 Dec 2022

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    • #9089

      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: snail, prove, snarl, squash, lack. (10 min)

      2. Use the phrase, “What have we learned from this?” (10 min)

      3. Write about an advertisement. (10 min)

    • #9090

      “You should probably go home sometime,” Renee said to Ravyn. “I mean, I like having you around, and it was wonderful having you help me adjust to Eric needing assisted living.”

      “But this room ain’t big enough for the both of us,” said Ravyn, trying to smile.

      “The problem is really that it is big enough for the both of us,” said Renee. “Both the room, and the bed.”

      “It’s nice you have other friends locally now,” said Ravyn.

      “And you have a house full of friends to go home to,” said Renee.

      So they made airline reservations and Renee dropped Ravyn at the light rail station with instructions for getting to the airport. They held hands on the platform, and Ravyn leaned in for a kiss just before she boarded.

      But somehow in her mind, half asleep on the airplane, the experience felt more like a snarl than a friendly parting. She moved toward acceptance, though it proved at a snail’s pace. Renee needed space to have a life of her own, with Eric when she could visit him, and with her other friends when she could not. She did not need a sister living in her space, squished together and unable to turn around without…

      Well, without stirring up their shared history, in all its facets. The pandemic hadn’t helped, though it did make it obvious that she was staying for months and not just for a few days. But she’d kept in touch by phone and computer video hookups with her housemates in Boston, and they were there meeting her sleepy self when she came out of security. They had done this often enough that the arrangements of which two women would go to the bathroom together while the others waited for luggage didn’t need discussing.

      “Hey, you,” JJ murmured in her ear when it was their turn to watch the endless baggage claim belt.

      “Mmmm?” Ravyn replied. She had zoned out and was attempting to zone in again.

      “I’ve missed you,” said JJ.

      “I’ve… missed you, too. All of you. Each more than all the others,” said Ravyn, gaining wit as she spoke.

      “And now you’ll be missing Renee,” said JJ. “I know how that goes. But we can help with that. It’s what we do.”

      Luggage claimed, household assembled, they took the subway from the airport to the station nearest the house. Which was remarkably quiet, after all the road noise, train noise, airplane noise, relationship noise.

      “Welcome home,” said Emily. “As usual on airport days, there’s beef stew. And I’ve been experimenting with biscuit recipes. This one comes from an English cookbook, except they call it scones.”

      “I think they pronounce that ‘scahns’ to rhyme with ‘ex-cons’ or something,” said Rachael.

      “I missed having a resident linguist around,” said Ravyn, pushing a hand across the table to her wife. “And they’re delish, whatever you call them,” she added, to Emily. “What did we ever do without you?”

      “How’s Renee getting along?” JJ asked.

      “I dunno. Pretty well. Happy to be rid of me in her apartment and her bed and her clothes, I think,” said Ravyn.

      “What have we learned from this?” Rachael asked. Probably rhetorically, Ravyn figured.

      “Sweet potatoes are yummy!” Ravyn replied, quoting some otherwise nearly forgotten tale off the internet.

      Half of the women around the table laughed hysterically, while the others wondered what was going on.

      “So…” said Joy from the other end of the table. She was one of the wonderers. “Howzabout if I google the punch line. Maybe that’ll clear things up.” She mumbled as her thumbs tried to spell out ‘sweet potatoes are yummy.’

      “Woh,” she said. “This will… bear reading aloud, I think. And from a larger screen.” She waved her phone in the air, demonstrating… something.

      “We’re getting old,” Ravyn said, watching Joy try reading her phone with glasses that were otherwise parked atop her head.

      “Yeah, I was gonna say I like the half-gray look,” said Andi.

      “Renee and I dared each other to stop dyeing our hair,” said Ravyn. “I guess it’s customary to get a cut and a style and a dye that matches the roots, but we looked into each others eyes and figured out it’d been sixty years since our last haircut and couldn’t do it.”

      “Yeah, it’s hard to imagine, um…” said JJ, “without being able to pull great handfuls of curls while we’re doing it.”

      Ravyn whirled her head around, scattering the curls JJ had mentioned, and stared into JJ’s eyes for a long moment. “I’ve missed you, too,” she said at last. “And thanks for picking me up at the airport, and holding the fort for months while I was gone, and feeding me dinner and everything. But I really need to…”

      Joy supplied the unprintable word.

      “Yeahthat,” Ravyn confirmed. “With JJ, tonight. The rest of you, soon.”

      “Thought you’d never ask,” said JJ, flipping her still jet black, utterly straight hair.

    • #9091

      “Even though there’s no audio, it’s clear that there was a high level of abuse. I can lip read a little and she was far more vicious to Theo than he ever let on, at least to me. My brother Ted would probably know more. Those two were tight throughout school.”

      The lawyer nodded. “We could clearly see that, and we hired a lip reader to do an analysis of the tapes to prove abuse was happening, but then Robert was killed the day before she was to start. So, we had to cancel.” Jon shook his head in dismay. “Robert was furious at the way his wife was snarling at his son and her utter lack of compassion when dealing with either of his children when he wasn’t present. He was ready to squash his soon to be ex-wife like the parasite she’d become.”

      “Justice works at a snail’s pace.” I nodded. “The kids I deal with here at my clinic are proof of that.”

      “I’ve been in touch with my father to make sure I don’t overlook any details from the files. We’re both glad we have a chance to revisit this case and hopefully right the wrongs from so long ago.”

      “Moving forward, I can analyze the ‘what have we learned from this scenario’ and use it when working with abused kids. The video tapes are a goldmine of physical and verbal intimidation, even without the audio.” My stomach growled. “Speaking of audio.” I opened a drawer in my desk and hauled out a stack of printouts I’d made of local food places that deliver.

      Jon looked at me oddly and then glanced at my smart phone and computer.

      I shrugged. “I’m a visual guy. Plus, I often have scared teens here, so it’s easier if I give them a physical list to choose from.” I handed him the stack. “Flip through these and let me know where you want to order from. I’m going to try to text Krista again to see if she’s all right.”

    • #9092

      This is from user Ude:

      It has always been said that the Iro tribe lack the credentials or the intelligence to lead our people. We are now in a dilemma. We need fortitude, strength but most of all intelligence. I am afraid these are qualities that the Iros lack.

      Ipeet looked at me sadly. I know he was waiting for me to attack. Blast angry words and fuel a bitter exchange that would prove his superiority over us Iro women but I was having none of that. I stood up, as leader of the Iro clan, wearing my wooden shield and helmet, my face daubed in red paint, my lips outlined in white flaky chalk. A lipstick my ancestors had worn for centuries with pride.

      Our development our fighting spirit will not crawl like a snail crawls in its own slime. We Iros will prove to the Ikoyor tribe that we can fight and prevail in battle as well as you men. I tried to keep the snarl of contempt hidden as Ipeet returned.

      They will squash you under their gigantic thumbs like an ant is squashed by a human foot. I do not say you lack courage. You lack power and strength. Women will always do so.

      My clan held up their spears and laughed.

      We shall see Ipeet. I cried in anger.

      The fight has just begun!

      Two years have passed and the war is over. Water supplies are very low but we manage. I have an international trader who delivers wooden barrels of this precious liquid everyday. We asr still able to grow our crops, tubers, tree nuts, various seeds and fruit. The coconut is a precious commodity, we use the flesh to produce milk and the outer feathers serve as garments . Palm trees are rife for growing milk and oils and of course where would we be without our beloved cocoa plants. They provide drinks, scent and butters and you know how us women like to cover our bodies with tantalising sweet scents!

      I imagine the conversation I would have had with Ipeet, as I stare at the watery blue sunlit sky. He would say as he looked at our country, free from war and surviving and growing.

      So what have we learnt from this?

      I would reply, We have lesarnt we are fighters and our lives our society, our children, our people, are worth fighting for.

      I had gone past the charity shop on Tottenham Road hundreds of times. On my way to work doing the daily walk then bus ride. On my way to the gym carrying the too heavy rucksack that wore me out and got me ready for my 1 hour workout, to the supermarket pulling my designer trolly, that had the habit of stalling suddenly when I was dragging it full to the brim, across a busy road.

      It was Saturday, no trolley today. Today was a lazy day of window shopping, sneaking an expensive smoothie down my throat, trying on clothes that were too expensive for me to buy or just wandering and looking at the masses of people getting on with their lives.

      I don’t like the musty smell of charity shops but something drew my attention. A large A3 size notice, yellow background, words written by hand in a black ink flowing style. I am looking for descendents of a West African tribe that existed 100 years ago – the Iro tribe. I have donated a wooden spear to this Charity Shop however I would like to interview any descendents of the Iro tribe for research purposes.

      I stepped up closer to the window. I saw a picture of a spear and the face of a woman holding up the weapon. The woman’s face was identical to mine.

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