Prompts and Snippets
Here’s a short sketch
I wrote one cold, rainy night while living in a small, 64 square foot, 100-year-old cabin in 2015 .
The Moon at 3am © copyright, 2015
I woke up abruptly at 3am one morning to an extremely bright light shining into the little cabin’s window. The light was so bright it startled me. My first thought was “there’s a fire somewhere close.” I sat up immediately, rubbed my eyes and peered out the tiny window again.
A strong wind was up, whipping the long, slender cedar limbs that normally hung loose in front of the cabin window. The blackened limbs moved wildly, sporadically back and forth, back and forth.
Groggy from a dense sleep it took me a few moments to put it together. Finally I had to put on my glasses to make sure and discovered it was simply the moon—full, the color of flames and the lanky, dark tree limbs that were waffling in front of the brilliant sphere, causing the illusion of rippling flames.
Still, from my vantage point, it looked like fire. What an odd, odd thing, I thought. There was no fire. It was just the moon shining in. That was all.
Sometime in August, 2016
Here’s a 10-minute prompt written in my writer’s group. We were asked to write about a deep, emotional issue. Here’s my rendition:
I can’t reach the bottom.
Yes, you can, she said.
Try, she said. Draw it out.
Draw it? How can I draw something I can’t reach? I picked up my pencil and sketched a horizon line. A big, thick, black horizon line. See this, I said. This is where I stop.
Dig deeper … under the line, she said.
I can’t. I just can’t.
Why? she said and held out her hand.
It’s too hard, too painful and I’ll get lost. I won’t come back.
Take my hand.
Tears started to run down my face as I reached for her hand. She squeezed my fingers. Harder, I said. I want to feel the pain.
She got up and came over to me. I’ve been there too, she said and then she hugged me tightly. I hugged back. We held each other for a long moment and then she pulled away.
When you go home, try to draw what you feel.
So I went home and drew. I discovered I could go down deep again … and this time, I touched bottom, down to the deepest part. When I shot back up I could breathe.
June 18, 2016 Below is a 10 minute prompt I wrote in my writer’s group the other day. The idea was to emulate a writer’s style you admired. Since Hemingway has always been one of my writing heroes, I chose to write in a voice similar to his style. I thought I’d share it with you.
Cold as Ice
He looked stone cold. His face white—snow white. Walking passed him I wondered if he was dead. Dead like the soldiers I saw yesterday, out in the field, cold as ice. Or was that another time?
Yes, that was another time I heard my mind say. Not this time, but long, long ago when you were young, virile and ready to hold a gun.
Was I ever that young? I asked. Did I pull the trigger then?
No. You never pulled a trigger, never handled a gun. You only dreamed it.
Yes, I dreamt it, I said.
Yes. It was always a dream.
I went around the corner and retraced my steps back to the man. The cold, old snow white man. My hand held out a dollar. Fresh, crisp. New.
“Thank you, sir,” he said. “You’re a good man.”
I nodded. Yes, I’m a good man. I couldn’t pull the trigger.