Sunday writing chat prompts for 5 Sep 2021

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    • #7585

      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: position, forget, ostracize, timber, awful. (10 min)

      2. Use the phrase, “The same old thing.” (10 min)

      3. Write about figuring something out. (10 min)

    • #7586

      There are a few moments in a lifetime, perhaps, that make everything else clear. The time when a young person discovers that parents are not infallible is one of those. It’s been said that when a parent criticizes a child, the child doesn’t stop loving the parent. Instead the child stops loving themselves.

      Sam had booked an outing in the woods, away from any audience. Maybe a bit dramatic, but he wanted to see what his Dad would do with the new knowledge, on his own, with no gallery to play to. No in-crowds or tribes from which to ostracize each other.

      They both had camping gear, arrived at the site from different directions, weren’t planning on leaving together. No awkward logistical problems. Vicky had warned him about that.

      “Yeah, pretty much every time I broke up with an ex, we were living together, all our stuff was mixed together, and suddenly I was in a position where I needed to move out, and it takes a while to find someplace new,” she said. “Thanks for taking me in this last time.”

      And they had. Vicky had slid right into their household. Jim and Sam carried the big stuff for her, donated vehicles for the move, and there they were.

      “I hope there won’t be a next time,” Vicky said. “One forgets how to keep their stuff separate. Because of course this time it’s for always.”

      “Love is awful,” Sam said, “And I’m kidding. Well, mostly.”

      They spent a day fishing. Sam caught a few, removed the hook, and set them free. Dad caught one nice trout they cooked for dinner. “I’m happy you’ve learned to appreciate the outdoors,” he said, after opening two beers.

      “It’s peaceful out here,” said Sam. “Away from civilization, out in the timber.”

      “Yes,” said Dad. “Something on your mind?”

      Sam tried another swig of beer, trying to look nonchalantly into the middle distance. He wondered idly what direction to look to see farthest before his view was blocked by a tree.

      “Dad, I’m gay,” said Sam. He set down the beer on top of the cooler and turned his body to face is father.

      “Well, that’s not the same old thing,” said Dad. “This is about those girls you were friends with, isn’t it?”

      “No,” Sam said quietly. “It’s about me.”

      “They gave you the idea,” said Dad.

      He wasn’t exactly wrong. Sam didn’t have the vocabulary or the experience to put himself into any kind of context before Miranda had come out in school.

      In another way, he was wrong. Exactly, precisely wrong.

      “No,” said Sam. “They gave me words to express what I already knew. That much might be true.”

      “I’ve been fighting this all my life,” said Dad. “It’s like… a forest fire or something. You stamp it out here, it flares up over there. You go over there, and it comes back over here.”

      “People are different from each other,” said Sam. “This isn’t going away.”

      “You have to fight,” said Dad. “All this woodsmanship, I was teaching you to be a man.”

      “You used to camp here with Mom,” Sam said. “Did it make her a man?”

      “You leave her out of this,” said Dad.

      “I’m done fighting,” said Sam. “I’m communing with nature instead of trying to dominate it.”

      Sam stood up, facing his dad, across the campfire. They looked at each other, eye to eye, for perhaps the first time in Sam’s life.

      “You’re afraid,” said Sam, as soon as it occurred to him.

      “I don’t know who you are anymore,” said Dad. “I think my generation, my kind of men, have ended.”

      “I wouldn’t know,” said Sam. “I do know I’m not one of them.”

      “Are you staying here tonight? I think I’m done here,” said Dad.

      “I’ll stay a few days,” said Sam.

      “Don’t…” said Dad. “Don’t tell your mother.”

      “Too late,” said Sam.

      “And don’t come around the house,” said Dad, over his shoulder, hoisting his hastily assembled pack. He tramped off into the darkness.

      Sam finished his beer.

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