With only one exception, it has been since July 1st since I have responded to an OWLG prompt. Obviously, my attention and creative energies have been focused elsewhere. This past week I’ve been snowed/iced in. Nothing better to do but write (well, there are several better things, but they can wait).
The following is a very fast, no over-thinking, “flashy” stab at the 75 prompts I’ve missed (75?!), plus the 3 new ones. I embraced the spirit of OWG to just jump in and go, fingers a-flyin’ over the keyboard. I made no attempt to develop or weave them together into any sort of story or stories. Mostly, it’s vignettes or simple turns of phrase.
The prompts are in bold. Happy New Year!
‘In a more organic way‘ is one of those phrases that annoys me. A version of “keeping it real”, which is also annoying, it doesn’t have the gravitas people think because it always comes off sounding a shallow, corny turn of phrase. What does it actually mean? How does something come about, if not in an organic, or real way, because, what isn’t organic or real? The synthetic, or an alchemy, is not something of another dimension that doesn’t exist in our galaxy. Right? Real is real. Someone can really (pun intended) be a put-on. A thing’s evolution; it’s process comes from a basic starting point, whether its chemical base has been manufactured or has been left to its own devices, it’s “way” cannot be claimed it is any less “real” or “organic” than anything else. Natural vs. unnatural would be better.
“Chase and Veronica and the devil makes three,” the old woman scoffed. “Hope you lock ’em up and throw away the key.”
The detective asked, “What do you know about Chase and Veronica?”
“Ya know Bonnie and Clyde? HA! A figment of a Disney fantasy story, compared to those two.”
Abigail approached everything in life like a girl with a grudge, cursing and snapping at anyone who dared speak to her. The worst of it was the obligatory visits to her grandparents family gatherings. She despised everyone of her relations, and particularly hated the way they were with each other when everyone was forced together. This time, she had had enough. She grabbed one of her grandmother’s favored antique Spanish porcelain figurines and hurled it down at her feet. It shattered in a million pieces when it hit the ground. Abigail stood definitely over the shards, glaring at everyone, silently daring them all.
You lost more than your hair: You lost your faith. In yourself, and others. The world. I know you’ve been dealt a very bad hand, but many others before you have had to play that bad hand as well. Just keep living, and believe one day not only will your hair return, you’ll notice you feel alive again.
Take her to church. The moment I read this prompt, the chorus refrain from the popular song, “Take Me to Church” popped in my head. Talk about being bewitched. Obviously, religion gets her all worked up.
We’re going to the store. Need anything? Nope. I’m good. But, thanks for asking. (I mean, what else do you do with that prompt?)
Earl emerged from the burned-out camp site, clawing his way across the hot, ashen ground. He slid into the river, submerging in the cool water. That was all he could remember. Sitting at the bar days later, slumped all the way over his beer, with dirt of the burnt ground still under his nails and smoke still in his lungs, Earl began to sob.
Take away the dark, creepy forests; the ragged black clothing; the wild, untamed hair; the high-pitched cackling and the boiling cauldron. Strip all that away, and you still had a bevy of maniacal spirits. They were everywhere. Walking along the street, shopping in the stores, riding on the busses, working in the offices, drinking in bars and dancing in clubs. City witches, with their glowering stare from behind smokey eyes, long glossy locks, revealing fashion, spiked stilettos, blood-red lips sipping iced cocktails, and a mocking laugh to match their disdain.
Aggie’s shot rang out and a thousand blackbirds filled the sky, their deafening caws scattering the hands in all directions ducking for cover.
Daryl survived for years selling Persian carpets, bone China, sterling service ware and fine jewelry out of his car to gullible merchants up and down the Connecticut and Hudson Rivers.
“A bunch of fives,” Nadine quipped.
“What’ya mean, a bunch a’fives?” Bob replied.
“I mean, I have fives. A bunch of ‘em.”
“Well? show ‘em!”
Nadine laid the four fives out. Bob slammed his hand on the table.
“That mean I win?” Nadine asked.
“Hey, now. It’s just a game.”
Just because I don’t want you to live here, or that I can only take your company in very short visits, doesn’t mean I don’t love you.
C’mon down, you’re the next contestant on the Price is Right! (what else goes with that prompt? I ask you!)
Adaku was accustomed to not only being one of the lone female scientists on a project, but the only Nigerian doctor any team of doctors, researchers or scientists encountered in their careers.
“Scold me! Scream bloody murder! Tell me to leave and never come back! Whatever! Just, for fuck sake, say something!”
“Oh, OK, you want me to be some two-pot screamer? Some crazy bitch going all bat-shit on your ass? You got it. Fuck you! Just, fuck you! I got a jealous heart, alright? Not gonna apologize for that. Can’t…won’t forgive you. No way. So, this is how’s it gonna end. Right now. Just like that. Gimme your house keys.”
I love this city and will miss living here. It will make return visits all the sweeter. But, the time has come to move on so I can start writing the next chapter.
Robert slowly filed through the gently used love letters, noting the date on the stamp and the return addresses. Obviously, his grandmother read and re-read these many times over. His grandfather lived in dozens of places in those years. Robert couldn’t imagine how tortured his grandfather’s soul must have been when he finally returned home to discover his wife had been given only weeks to live.
Whoa! You look amazing! Be still my heart!
From the bottom of the Tarot Reader’s deck, Dirk pulled a seven of clubs. Tina smiled. She finally got a man whose fate is a responsibility to honesty and integrity.
Whatever doesn’t kill you, makes you stronger, except that it just might kill you, period. Just sayin’.
It happened in 1863 in a hidden canyon just outside of Natchez. They say there were no screams, no wailing, no tears. No more did anyone ever hear from or see the McHenry clan again.
Just tell ‘em I’m payin’ for everything. Then, the rest will be easy money.
There was nothing like a summer’s late afternoon, thought Rocco, sitting in his rocking chair, sipping whisky in the shade of the giant oak, watching the occasional hawk soar by as the blue sky faded into evening’s gold, pink and twilight’s lavender.
He received letters from strangers begging him for help. It took time, but eventually, he cotton to the idea of becoming the kind of hero they were pleading for him to be.
Seated across from the man conducting the interview, Marisol hoped he couldn’t see her foot swinging from her crossed legs under the table. He seemed to have an endless number of questions, to which she patiently lied in every one of her replies. She almost never prayed, but, if the good Lord could see his way to getting her this job, Marisol silently promised she would end each day in Our Lady of Perpetual Sorrows lighting a candle to Saint Joseph instead of kicking up her heels and kicking back shots at Jose McMurphy’s.
Little Kelly kneeled over the dying calf, gently coaxing it. Grandpa knelt beside her, wrapped his arm around her shoulders and pulled her close. “She can’t hear you anymore, sweetie.”
“Notice the light? The way it falls on the floor through the cracks and broken seams in the wood?” asked Stephanie. “Can’t you see how cool this barn could be as, say, a summer event venue? Weddings? Concerts?”
The old rancher scoffed. “Concerts? You kiddin’?”
“Small concerts. Of course. Ensembles. Chamber music!”
The old rancher seemed to be considering the idea. “Nah,” he finally concluded. “Burn it down – for the nails.”
Be a world traveler for $15 or less! See street dogs, old shoes and an imaginary Arizona! Eight-year-old Mickey stood proudly beside the large poster he made from yellow butcher paper and watercolor paint. In his hand he held a basket with a small sign that read, ‘Deposit your $15 here. I like cash please.’
Spit out the sun! Play your horn, Leo! Grab life and go, go, go!
Baseball cards and overcoats, table lamps and typewriters, the place was stacked from floor to ceiling with everything Albert needed to furnish his new apartment.
burgundy skies / look the devil in the eye / all the tears in the world / you’re my favorite kind of crazy
The bride’s waiting…
The place was built by a great uncle, I think, or maybe a cousin, some generations back. At the time, it was located a good distance outside Halifax, but these days it sits comfortably in the suburbs. I nailed the windows shut and double bolted the doors. Tough to have to close the old family homestead up, but as the song goes, the times, they are a changin’.
Whatever he believed, his was no god worth worrying about. Clearly consequence, kharma, the golden rule, or any of the rest of it had no place in his world. The ungrateful brute was selling truth out.
He was just another Mr. Jones in the joint, with that sickly greenish-blackish color of a Kambaba Jasper stone.
The sacred, or the grotesque, the roses and the weeds, the yin and yang, all of it is what makes life worth living. Afterall, you cannot appreciate the warmth of the bright yellow sun without the cold grey of the clouds.
Tanya was one of them smoky hot girls you see behind the bar at the Five-n-Dime Tavern downtown, pouring the poor man’s poison by the gallon and dishing out whip-smart comebacks for every attempt the bastards tried at getting on her good side or in her pants.
Girl Scout Cookie season was the one bright spot during the pandemic, because nothing about it had to change: Girls and their parents/scout leaders still set up card tables outside grocery stores hawking their goods. Any bit of life-as-expected last year was a God-send.
The muliebral approach to spoiling for a fight is to be slow, but steady; constant and easy in the trick before taking the first swing.
From his car he could see the dried, cracked and broken land on either side of the road for miles around. For the first time he felt afraid. Truly frightened.
don’t explain … brings another song to mind. Problem is, it’s been an age since I’ve heard it. “don’t explain” is part of a refrain, but I can’t think of any more of the song, nor who wrote/performed it. Ugh!
El Paso princess, Ciudad Juarez darling, walking the border between childhood and womanhood, go toward your future with your head held high.
Danny watched his mother walk away. He turned to look up at the strange woman holding his hand and then back at his mother, who now was driving off in her car. Years later, as an old man, he could still vividly recall the moment.
belly full of gin / with a child too soon to be / dig two graves tonight
Writing is not to be avoided! If it’s the thing that you can do all day long and feel nothing but happiness, even in the moments of frustration, then make it your go-to rather than your blow-off.
The red Valentine cards with giant hearts cut from white paper doilies sat in their box on the kitchen table. Carol stared at them, fantasizing about how they would look if she ripped half the hearts off of each.
I’m on a one-way street to the next thing in my life. There’s no going back now. I am so excited! I’ve sold the condo and am renting a place close to work. So, what is next? That’s just it! I don’t know, but now I have the ability, the freedom, to go for it.
“Apostrophe’s don’t make plural’s?”
“Correct! Just asPh also phonetically makes an f. See what I did there? HA! Anyway, it’s simple, really.”
The Lamberts opened their Orleans inspired restaurant, La Chèvre Poire et Vin, in June 2019. They were among the very first establishments that had to close only 2 weeks into the shutdown. Years of planning, gone in a moment.
Red from the petrol station. This prompt seemed specifically about something for which I had no idea. So, I looked it up on the internet. Every time I type a question into a browser’s search, I always think of my father. He never got used to the immediacy of an internet search. For my parents and generations before, if you wanted an answer to a mystery, you took on discovery as you would a weeks or months-long project. It required many trips to reference libraries, news article archives, and, if you are lucky enough, a willing professional who would divulge insider information.
Not a prompt response. Just a happy post about the Ice Cream Truck coming ’round my neighborhood this summer.
Last night, for the first time in all the years I’ve lived in my neighborhood, an Ice Cream Truck drove through our condo and apartment lined streets. Every summer I hear the telltale chirpy tune coming from the surrounding single-family neighborhoods, so it was a pleasant surprise to hear it in our corner of the city. In fact, it brought more people out onto their decks and balconies than the Seahawks winning the Superbowl or the fantastic lightning storm a few years ago.
The sound of the Ice Cream Truck may make some cringe, but it always makes me smile, remembering a couple of chilhood summer vacations.
When I was around 7/8/9 years old, my parents and friends of theirs went in on a 2-week southern CA beach rental (when I recall the time, I’ve thought it a weird thing to do since we lived just a few miles up the coast and relatively close to the beaches. Wish my folks were still around to ask why, but I digress).
Our time was primarily spent on the beach, but once a week, an Ice Cream Truck would come around, and no matter what our parents said we ought to be doing, we would vehemently protest. We had to wait for the Ice Cream Truck. Inside. Quietly, expectantly. And then, from a great distance (OK, probably only 3 or so blocks away), we would hear the music box broadcast of “A Bicycle Built for Two”.
We ran out to the street and jumped and shouted as if we were frantically waving down a fire truck to put out a fire. The driver was brilliant. Each time, he’d make us freak out that maybe he didn’t see us. “Oh! Sorry,” he’d joke, “I almost didn’t see you guys!”
My favorite ice cream choice, to this day, is the Drumstick, simply because it reminds me of that Ice Cream Truck. And, years later, a college roommate drove an Ice Cream Truck during the summer, always keeping at least one Drumstick on hand in case I came around on her route.
Just sayin’, if you don’t know what is an Ice Cream Drumstick, then you don’t know what you’ve been missing. 🙂
A writer agonizes over the lost memory of the perfect story that came to her in whilst showering that morn, while her (twerp) partner laughs at her agony.
Wish I knew the artist. Please tell me if you know!
Bend it to your liking, he says. Make of it what you will. Alrighty, then…
Instead of OLWG Prompts:
- I voted
- the wetness of his soul
- overcome the legacy
- you born in a barn?
- if I don’t go I’ll never know what’s there
- that’ll be fun
- I fall in love with you every day
- and no one even knows I’m gone
- be like snow
- I like fun
- You don’t even know
- Wetness overcomes snow (how do you do that as rock/paper/scissors?)
- Every soulful legacy is born of love
- His barn was voted best in the county
- What’s gone, I’ll never know.
- Fall, and no one in a hundred years will help you up
- That’ll be over there one day, you just wait and see
I know. A bit of a copout. But it was kinda fun! OLWG #196
The prompts are:
- I’ve got no further use for these
- writing is like sex
- courage is a weapon
- you can’t play
- we’ll both be surprised
- damn, no ketchup
Or, the provocations are:
- I’ve got the catsup.
- Damn, sex is like, ya know? We’ll both be surprised!
- You can’t play at writing.
- No further use for weapons.
- And, while I’m at it: Both courage and sex be damned. I’ve no further use of them, either.
- Catsup: the surprising weapon in your pantry.
In response to Un-OLWG #164
Oh, I think I get it: It’s like a game of Jeopardy, yes? “What word did Sir Kerr use from that list of ‘23 Emotions People Feel, But Can’t Explain’ to tell the story?”
(BTW…Never mind the fact it’s right there in your post title. Yet another chapter and verse lesson from the book of “Never Before Morning Coffee.” So, just play along, OK?)
How about, “What is a word similar to ‘vellichor’ for a T&A dive bar?” After all, the setting is a frequent “character” in your narratives, usually encased in some sort of melancholia. Definitely some sort of meanness or gritty-ness. Then, I thought perhaps the reverse of ‘énouement’ would be another close fit. Also, ‘opia’. ‘Chrysalism’ could be a very good fit for your bar settings.
After pondering over all that, I wondered if the Jeopardy question might be, “What is the backstory to, ‘C U Then’?” As in, your story is the backstory to mine? Thinking at the time you had linked to my last post, specifically, and not to my blog, in general, but more curiously — again, pre-coffee as the only excuse — not concerning myself with the fact that none of your characters’ names are the same as the ones in my story.
Whatever. It was fun to consider: Maybe ‘lachesism’? I thought some more on it. I can see how Chris could be struck with ‘exulansis’. I know I am, having started the story in the first place. Readers will certainly succumb to ‘andronitis’, or worse, ‘liberosis’ if the story can’t figure out the characters, or more importantly, a plot.
Anyway, while Chris probably also suffers from ‘nodus tollens’ and ‘altschmerz’, you will just have to live with your ‘ellipsism’ regarding “C U Then.”
And, just what is this all about, you ask? I shared a list of obscure words with TNKerr a couple of weeks ago, challenging him to use one in his weekly list of 3 prompts. He used ‘sonder’ to inspire his preamble story this week. Have a go yourself! See what inspires: https://lrosedotblog.files.wordpress.com/2020/07/23-obsure-emotions.pdf .
If none of those suits, check out the Dictionary of Obscure Sorrows, from which the list probably was gleaned. My favorite, for our “Zoomed” times, is this one:
v. intr. feeling the tranquil pleasure of being near a gathering but not quite in it…feeling blissfully invisible yet still fully included, safe in the knowledge that everyone is together and everyone is okay, with all the thrill of being there without the burden of having to be. From Middle English “midden” a refuse heap that sits near a dwelling.
- A member of the Penny Whistle Band in the 70s, Joseph wonders how life would have turned out if he left the band and followed Alice to Selma. Love of music. Love of a woman. The same word, but such different meanings.
- He’s racing the moon through the night, trying to make it to dawn, tapping out the minutes like a blind man with his cane. His focus is locked in tight. Only one more chance to get it right.
- The weekly meeting of the Beach City Camp counselors was called to order. The group was dog-tired. The campers this year were a real handful. “The whole girls cabin going ballistic because one of them saw a spider in the tub completely undid me,” one counselor admitted.
- Dave wondered the significance of a weathered trombone attached to the sign marking the entrance to the Tahoe Mud Baths. As he drove down the long dirt lane to the lodge, he kept rolling possible reasons around in his mind, when a young woman dressed in just a blue lamé bikini and hiking boots stepped out onto the lane. She smiled and shrugged an apology as she continued across the lane and into the wood. Dave wondered what a woman in a fancy bikini and hiking boots was doing wandering around out here. It was still some distance to the lodge. It struck him as weird as the trombone on the entrance sign.
Four weeks of prompts! I felt like I needed to get caught up, but couldn’t thread them through a single story. Had fun composing the little snippets, though!
How to avoid mixing your metaphors?
It’s not rocket surgery.
First, get all your ducks on the same page.
After all, you can’t make an omelette
without breaking stride.
Be sure to watch what you write
with a fine-tuned comb.
Check and re-check until the cows turn blue.
It’s as easy as falling off a piece of cake.
Don’t worry about opening up
a whole hill of beans:
you can burn that bridge when you come to it,
if you follow where I’m coming from.
Concentrate! Keep your door closed
and your enemies closer.
Finally, don’t take the moral high horse:
if the metaphor fits, walk a mile in it.
Saw this today on FB and had to share on OLWG #105 [attributed to Brian Bilston, “Frequently described as the ‘Poet Laureate of Twitter’, Brian Bilston is a poet clouded in the pipe smoke of mystery.”]