Sunday writing chat prompts for 4 July 2021

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    • #7426

      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: reader, theory, pause, drawer, reaction. Bonus word: earwax. (10 min)

      2. Fill in the blank: “Where did I put my _______?” (10 min)

      3. Write about studying a map. (10 min)

    • #7427

      “Thanks for your help tonight,” Jun murmured into Gin’s ear, when they had settled in for their sleep shift.

      “The theory is that we’re all in this together,” said Gin. “And it’s literally true, that we’re all going to end up wherever Attitudes and Prop can take us. Clever idea, by the way, using nitrogen for the reaction gas.”

      “The boys back home had a lot to chew on, very quickly,” said Jun. “I gather they thought about it and had some plans in a drawer someplace.”

      “Anyway, I was happy to help. That’s what we’re here for,” said Gin.

      “And thanks for the off-script pause, to make sure things warmed up as expected,” said Jun. “We’ll probably be revising the procedure based on what we learned tonight. Making it easier to follow, for one thing, with fewer redlines and detours to distract the reader.”

      “We’re just a flying document archive, I think sometimes,” said Gin. “Once in a while we actually do stuff, and it’s never quite what’s in the documents somehow.”

      “There’s always a little more earwax to clear our or something,” said Jun. “I mean, I was staring at a page wondering who thought writing it that way was a good idea. So at the next pause, I turned back to the beginning to find my own name there on the author line. Whatever was I thinking?”

      “Probably trying to stay awake on a too comfortable afternoon in the office,” said Gin.

      “As opposed to trying to get to sleep at oh-dark-thirty on a spacecraft,” said Jun. “Not that it’s dark on any kind of schedule here.” But Gin was snoring softly.

      They slept well and long, making up for the crazy schedule during the anomaly, with an overabundance of meetings early in the day shift, in the middle of their sleep time. So it was a delight to wake up together not to an alarm or a klaxon or anything, or even to a subtle silence deeper than normal, but just because they were well-rested.

      “May I take you out to breakfast?” Jun asked, when they had decanted themselves from the sleeping bag, dangling from its toes from what might be the ceiling. On Deck One, with about a tenth earth-normal gravity, it almost didn’t matter. And that was near the floor, where the hatch was. Up top, gravity was probably half that.

      “Where did I put my leisure-time shirt collection?” Jun asked aloud.

      Gin turned around, already wearing the one Jun had been searching for. “Heavens, they’re tasty and expeditious,” Jun read aloud from her partner’s torso. It was a quotation from an old-time advertisement for something or other… it was difficult to tell what dish from the picture on the shirt. But it was amusing because the Flight Dynamics people called their trajectory an Expedited Hohmann Transfer. Jun had thought it sounded like a good name for a rock band.

      Jun picked out something else and joined Gin on the lift down to Deck Six where the canteen was.

      She felt like spending her first waking hour doing something meticulous and yet mostly devoid of consequence, so Jun ordered tea in an actual cup. Which, at 60% gravity, was manageable if you pay attention. For today, there were no distractions.

      Both of them firmly suppressed the urge to tune in the data pages and find out how their restart was doing the morning after. There’d be time for that when they were on the clock. “Is this what they mean by work-life balance?” Gin asked.

      “I’m pretty sure we’re not even allowed to think about that,” said Jun, but she was smiling. The aroma of hot tea calmed her.

      “That smells divine,” said Gin.

      “The open cup is harder to manage, but it’s part of the experience, inhaling the fumes,” said Jun.

      “Maybe Systems should take lessons from Prop on this one,” said Gin.

      “We have all the best rocket fuels,” said Jun. “This one’s from Darjeeling originally.”

      “India?” said Gin. “My geography is about as precise as my Areography,” she added.

      “Oh, like on Mars,” said Jun, when she’d figured it out. “Some day maybe I’ll take them up on the idea of a sabbatical there, waiting for the next round-trip shuttle to come by and resuming my career as a space jockey.”

      “Little people, riding the great steed,” said Gin.

    • #7428

      Not that it’s really worth posting, but just to avoid another null day,

      Where did I put my map? Oh, yes, the right pocket. It should be in the left pocket. He unfolded it and compared its lines to the landscape stretching out in front of him.

      (I was remembering the Horizons West radio program… no real plan for a story or anything.)

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