Sunday writing chat prompts for 5 June 2022

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      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: knowledge, favor, hospitality, coverage, departure. (10 min)

      2. Use the phrase, “it helps me sleep.” (10 min)

      3. Write about travel difficulties. (10 min)

    • #8604

      When Josh managed to consume the second dumpling, and felt it was safe, the eyes opened, running with some of the water that had put out the dragon breath from the hot mustard.

      “That’s quite some mustard,” the person at the next table was saying. “I’m Joey, they, them, theirs.”

      “Eck,” said Joey’s table-mate. “Uh, pronouns are complicated.”

      “Aren’t they, though?” said Olivia. “Olivia. This is Josh, who’s… I was about to say taking leave of their senses, but…”

      “Senses are very much present,” said Josh. “At this point their departure would be a favor. Hospitality is nice and all, but the knowledge that I’ll be incinerated before the hour is out concentrates the mind wonderfully. Thanks for covering while I… breathe fire for a moment.”

      “Thanks for chatting with us,” said Joey. “We’re kind of in the two introverts on a first date stage of a relationship.”

      “Or second, if you count beer for six,” said Eck.

      “That doesn’t sound date-like,” said Olivia.

      “It’s complicated enough, impressing one person at a time,” said Josh.

      “Gender is a performance,” said Joey. “Sometimes it feels like a high-wire act.”

      “Work, without the net,” said Josh, nodding.

      “While this, right here,” Olivia said, with a circular wave of the hand, “is networking. Pleased to meet you both.”

      “Drag show, more like,” said Eck.

      There was a silence. The four of them looked at each other in turn.

      “Yeeeaaah, let’s talk about something else,” said Olivia, into the pause.

      “Denial helps me sleep at nights,” said Eck.

      “Denial is a river in Africa,” said Josh. “Where Mrs. Malaprop’s allegories sun themselves.”

      “I… uh… what?” said Olivia.

      “Oh, good, I’m not the only one lost,” said Joey.

      “I think that one’s original to her… Allegories sunning themselves on the banks of denial,” said Josh. “Malapropisms were named for this fictional character.”

      “Huh,” said Olivia. “My education was clearly too practical for such things.”

      “Yeah,” said Eck. “Though there’s something allegorical going on in the way we went from drag to denial in one uncomfortable minute’s dreadful silence.”

      “Dereferencing a null metaphor,” said Josh. “Aaaand I’m the only one chuckling. I mean, it seems like a metaphor but who knows what we’re comparing to?”

      “Computer people,” said Olivia, with an eye-roll. “Can’t live without ’em, I guess, nowadays, but you can’t live with ’em either.” A hand was pushed across the table toward Josh. “Except for this one. I’m happy to share my life with you.”

      “Awww, thanks,” said Josh.

      Eck and then Joey swiveled their attention to each other.

      “That… sounds nice,” said Joey. “We’re… kinda not there yet.”

      “Still in the ships passing in the night phase, I think,” said Eck.

      “Mind the icebergs,” said Olivia.

      Josh speared a lettuce leaf and held it up by the fork handle.

      “Very funny,” said Olivia.

      “Speaking of metaphors for nobody knows just what,” said Eck.

      “Uncertainty is the spice of life? Maybe?” said Joey.

      Josh startled. “Oh, I thought you said ‘spikes’ of life.” After the lettuce was consumed the fork returned to its place, upright in Josh’s hand.

      “Where were we?” Eck said.

      “At work,” said Olivia. “Don’t remind me.”

      “After that,” said Eck. “Separating Joey from the rest of the table-for-six beer drinkers, coming here to…”

      “Eat, drink, and be…” said Joey.

      “…something something,” said Josh.

      “Some kind of something else,” said Eck.

      “Yeah, exactly,” said Olivia.

      “Somebody wanna tell me what we’re talking about?” said Josh.

      “Gender is a performance,” said Joey.

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