Prompt #5: Write about Word # 268

Prompt #5: Write about Word # 268

PROMPT:  Our InScribe Word Challenge Coordinator sent out this challenge: Reply to this email and pick a number between 1 and 365. I have a list of 365 writing prompts and will assign the corresponding prompt to the number you select. 

The prompt I received was #268 –  Write about being stranded somewhere – an island, a bus stop, a shopping mall, etc. Or you can go metaphorical and talk about being stranded in time or during a particular event, etc. Allow your muse to be stirred and let creativity take centre stage!

What is a prompt? Check here for an explanation.

Stranded

Oh, look. There. That gentleman looks nice. Maybe he’ll help me.

No. He’s walking right past.

I see the bank. Was I just there? Or am I going there now? Over that way is the drugstore. That’s where I buy stamps. Am I going there?

I raise my hand to a lady rushing by. “Excuse me…” but she keeps going.

“Ma’am, what are you doing?”

Who are you? Are you here to steal my money? I was just at the bank. I have all this money in my purse. Is that what you want? If I give it to you, will you go away?

“Ma’am, you can’t stand in the middle of the crosswalk like this. The light’s going to change.”

“I’m happy, you know. But there’s so many places. How is one to know?” Doesn’t he understand I’ve lost my way? I don’t know if I’m going to the bank or away from it. I don’t know which corner I need to reach. And I don’t know if I can trust him. And I can’t find my words. Lord, help me!

“Ma’am, if you take my arm, I’ll help you across the street. Which corner did you want?”

Listen to him, asking questions like I’m some kind of fool. I yell at him: “People are all around here! How should I know?”

He tips his head and looks at me. Hard. I feel my muscles start to shake. But he’s holding out his arm like Daddy does when he says I’m his special girl. I smile and take his arm. A strong arm for Daddy’s special girl.

“Where do you live, ma’am? Do you live in the Seniors Residence there beside the drugstore? Is that where you’re going?”

I look where he’s pointing. The building is made of red brick. I eat in a building made of red brick.

“That place has a dining room,” I tell him. This is something I know. And I have found my words! “My shoes are there.”

The man is smiling now.

“My mom lived in a Seniors Home, too, “ he says. He snugs my arm in his and puts his hand on mine. We’re crossing the street. “She didn’t always remember details either. But if your shoes are there, I’m thinking that’s where you live. Am I right?”

I lean on him to climb up the curb. We pass the drugstore where I buy stamps. I smile. Here I am, coming home on the arm of this handsome young man. We come to double glass doors. I see people in there and they see me. With a nice young man. I have a key on my wrist. I hold it up for him to see.

“Is that the key for the door?” he asks. “Let’s try it.”

And just like that he opens the door and I’m inside.

“Have a nice day, ma’am,” and he is gone.

Such a nice young man. I think he liked me.

I wonder, will I tell my mother about this?

Then I look back out to the street. My goodness.

Oh, my goodness! This brain of mine left me stranded out there in the crosswalk. Four corners and I didn’t know which was mine.

Lord, thank you for finding me and bringing me home. Maybe…  maybe tomorrow you’ll bring me to my real home.

Photo: mconners@morgue_wite

 

Social Media vs. What We Need Most

Social Media vs. What We Need Most

I finally figured it out!

In our fast-paced world where billions of dollars are invested in finding ways to attract our attention, we succumb to the temptation of reaction versus proaction.

When I open Facebook, I’m not actively stepping out with conscious thought or plan. I’m scrolling, refreshing, liking, ignoring, clicking and reading, getting bored, refreshing again, and on and on and on.

I can spend hours in mind-numbing reactive mode.

Life, however, requires that we be proactive if we’re to move forward, make an impact, feel significant in some way or other.

Reactive is easy, and unproductive, a cunning trap that robs us of what we need most: Purpose.

Proactive takes work and thought, but the potential is great.

Prompt #4: 5 Letters or 1 Syllable

Prompt #4: 5 Letters or 1 Syllable

PROMPT:  A fascinating writing exercise: Write up to 250 words on something you care about using words of either 1 syllable, or 5 letters or less. Proper names and numbers are exempt. 

Several in InScribe took the challenge and sent our results to Short & Sweet Too, the second compilation of pieces written within these boundaries. 

In reading the pieces I was struck by the need for creative new descriptors. In one story, ‘morning’ became ‘the sun was new’.

If you’re a writer, you might want to give this a try!

What is a prompt? Check here for an explanation.

My entry: “Who Cares”

WHO CARES?

I want to care. I try, but I poop out fast. I watch the news and my mind reels. I scroll through Facebook, and I want to cry. I care so much I have to shut down. That feels wrong, so I pout and say, “Who cares?”

To care seems the right thing to do, but to care BIG is too much. Maybe… Maybe I can care small.

A man with one leg sits by my bus stop. He holds silk roses made by his hand. He doesn’t beg, but holds out a stem, smiles, and says, “For you!” I see him and I care. Now and then I take a stem and give him five bucks. He gives back, “God bless you!”

Jesus said, “I was hungry and you fed me.” He didn’t say, “The world was a mess and you fixed it.”

Did Jesus know an age would come when the glut of news could take over our lives, our minds, our hearts until we’d say, ‘Who cares?” Is that why he gave us a simple focus? Food, drink, a roof, a coat; I can care for that kind of need. I can give to others from what the Lord has given to me.

I don’t have to fix the Earth, my city, not even my street.

To be sure, it seems that I don’t have to fix at all.

I get to bless: The man with one leg; Louise, who needs a ride; Joey, who wants to talk; Edna, whose task is too big; my adult kids, who still need their mom.

Yes. I get to bless.

Prompt #3 Bob and Joe in a canoe

Prompt #3 Bob and Joe in a canoe

PROMPT:  Bob and Joe go out in their canoe What they reel in is not a fish. What was it? No dialogue. Show, don’t tell. February 2016

What is a prompt? Check here for an explanation.

The canoe begins to waggle, waves slopping against the gunnels.

Now water slops over, running inside, streaming down the ribs.

Bob looks for the milk jug his mom found last summer, the one she cut the end and part of the side out of, leaving the handle. He remembers how she insisted on tying it to the painter, instructing him that if he was going to go off in a canoe with that Joe from down the trail, he’d better have something to bail with.

Bob’s heart tug-of-wars between relief at seeing the milk jug still tied in place and anxiety as he watches it bounce around on the foamy water under the little bow deck.

Joe’s in the stern, trying to steady the canoe. He has a strong J-stroke, but it’s not helping. You can’t dip your paddle in deep when the canoe’s trying to lay itself on its side. The wrong side.

Bob decides to lean over the other side to see if he can tell what’s caught itself on the line they’ve been trawling. They didn’t really expect to catch anything, but they did gain permission to take the canoe out on their own by telling the folks they were fishing, so this feeble effort had been made as nod to the truth.

Cautiously Bob shifts back towards the stern, then leans against the roll of the canoe, hanging onto the gunnel, peering over the back, when suddenly the boat rights itself, Bob’s weight added to Joe’s causing the stern to dip deep.

Finally catching water, Joe paddles like mad. The bow rears itself into the air. Water floods the back end.

Joe digs deeper with his paddle and wonders what in the world is pulling them back. He can’t paddle much harder. And Bob isn’t any help at all.

Oh man, Bob!

Whatever’s in the water, now Bob’s in there with it!

The canoe flattens for a moment as Joe stashes the paddle in the belly of the canoe, the water at his knees now several inches deep. Deep and cold. But not as cold as Bob must be. Where is he?

Oh, whew! There. Bob bobs up a few feet away. Joe can’t help but snicker. Bob’s  bobbing…

Bob’s treading, too. Like crazy.

Now he’s stroking towards… No, away. Why is he turning?

Joe spins the canoe on it’s tail, trying to keep Bob in his sight. The fishing line on the back now runs across the gunnel.

Enough of this. Joe grabs the line with both hands as Bob swims around to the other side.

Bob reaches up to the gunnels, pulling the canoe level as Joe tries to reel in whatever’s on the line, hand over hand. Mental note. Never tie a fishing line to the painter ring.

Flesh burning from the thin, taught nylon, Joe looks for something he might cut it with. Nothing. Just a milk jug and the painter rope.

Bob’s kicking, trying to get over the gunnel. His head and shoulders dip into the canoe and Joe lets go of the line to counterbalance Bob’s weight before they flip.

Splashing into the bottom of the boat, Bob rights himself. The boys look at each other, determined. Time for pay back. They’ll get this thing now. Both begin to tug on the line. Joe wraps one hand with the tail of his shirt. That helps. Bob’s shirt is soaked, but he does the same. Between the two of them they’re able to make some headway. The end of the line draws nearer.

And nearer.

Sorry readers. The timer went off before I could find out what was dragging the boys’ canoe down. I have no idea what it was. Any suggestions?

 

Illustrations: Pixabay Free Images 

 

Prompt #2 Waking up in the morning…

Prompt #2 Waking up in the morning…

PROMPT:  Waking up in the morning – tell what happens.  April 2015

What is a prompt? Check here for an explanation.

Oh, that Saturday would come quickly, but maybe it would be better if it didn’t come at all. At least I know what’s happening today. I mean, I’m getting up. Well, I will when the alarm goes off, I’m sure not going to jump out of bed early like he always does. But yeah, I’ll get up, and stumble to the bathroom in the dark. Because, of course, he wouldn’t think to leave the light on for me. Oh, that spring would arrive, with longer days, and morning sun, enough to illuminate our gloomy hall.

It is gloomy, but my feet know it well. I guess I don’t really need the light, and when I turn on the bathroom switch the glare pierces my poor, dilated pupils.

But that’s not what I was thinking about. I was thinking about today, and not… well, not…  Saturday. Today. Today I’ll get cleaned up, grab some juice. I know. I know. Breakfast is the most important, yadda yadda yadda. Who cares? Juice is enough. And that’s the routine. Juice, a jacket, grab my school bag, throw in an apple and a package of chips left over from last weekend, and out the door. Before he sees me. Before he has a chance to say anything.

Today will unfold like one of those click-clack toys I had when I was little. Each panel flops down, releasing the one behind it, becoming the top, and then the middle, and all the unordered hours clack and clunk together, from class to class, from course to course, from teacher to teacher, until I’ve run out of clicks to clack. Then back home and make dinner, because, of course, he will expect it to be on the table when he gets home.

What kind of sense does that make? Really! He works his eight hour day sitting around in some office and I do my six hours at school. Then he’s off, with nothing to do but entertain himself. Me? I have at least an hour of homework, a couple more of studying. And I’m expected to do half the chores and make supper for us. He’s lucky he doesn’t complain about my cooking. If he did, I’d stop so fast.  Sometimes he doesn’t look too thrilled with what I put on the table, but I think I come up with some pretty creative add-in’s to Kraft Dinner and Hamburger Helper. If you go to their websites you can find all sorts of ideas. I really do try to keep the menu varied.

Shoot. There goes the alarm. So today gets to be like yesterday. And yesterday was the template for tomorrow. And each of them a predictable, reliable click-clack of hours. No surprises. No joy either, but at least no surprises.

But it won’t be predictable soon. Nope. Soon it’s going to be the day I dread, and desire, and deny all at the same time. Why can’t every day be an uneventful school day? Why do other days need to be loaded with landmines?

He says he won’t be there. He says this was my call, my pursuit. He says he supports me in whatever I’m going to choose, but he’s not going to influence my decision.  I know, I know. That’s what I asked for. Well, that’s what I told him I wanted when I began this search. But then it was just an idea. Then the journey, the outcome lived in my head and I had total control.

Oh, the things I imagined. Sometimes I’d see her as beautiful, or matronly, kind and gentle, or slender and energetic. The closer I get to THE DAY, though, the more my imagination dives into murky waters. What if she’s ugly? A drunk? Mean and selfish? What if she has tattoos? What if she’s a ….  a …. a… slut?

She left us for a reason, but he’s never told me what it was. He just says that one day she wasn’t there, and he didn’t know if she was coming back, and he reported her missing but the police never found her, and we just had to keep going.

I was in kindergarten. I don’t remember her much. Just that I kept looking out the window waiting for her to come home. I’m not in kindergarten anymore. I’m in Grade 10. I haven’t looked out the window waiting for her for years. Instead I looked on line. I googled. I Facebooked. And I found her.

So now I have to see her. I mean, well, I want to see her. Because I’ve committed to that. But it’s not the same as when I imagined. Not now that it’s going to happen. Really happen. Oh, that these school days could go on forever. But after tomorrow, it’ll be….

Saturday.