Panicking Through My First Prompts

Stephanie at BeKindRewrite has initiated a weekly writing prompt post, Inspiration Monday. She provides the prompts, we write. I think prompts should be kind of weird or what’s the point?

Every word we write is prompted by something—research, experience, or imagination. In dictionary research, the entry or topic is the prompt, and our mission is clear.  But this is my first time using a prompt as a creative process. My world is all about facts—essays are easy. Stories are not.

Stephanie provided five prompts. I chose two and used them as titles:

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Our Last Kiss

Like I could ever forget. December 28, 2005, a couple days after a shitty Christmas and a few before a shitty New Year. I held him close. I was numb, out of tears, dazed. Who knew it would end this way—the love of my life, in my arms, kissing me goodbye. None of the bad things mattered—over the years they only endeared him to me more. His late nights out, lousy toilet habits, his rejections, the bloody lip he gave me one night as I was getting ready for a meeting. As with all the boys in my life, I forgave him everything because of the laughter and the lovin’.

The vet gave him two shots. The first to sedate him, and then the second, final needle. I watched his body grow still, and then cold. I had written a letter explaining how very much I loved him and always will. I left his collar and tag on and put him in a box with the letter. I wanted to make sure that wherever his travels took him, it’s understood we belong to each other forever. I buried him in the backyard in his favorite spot under the big pine.

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Leftover Humans

We skulk around the outskirts of the city and fend for ourselves. We live on garbage and scraps and a few hidden gardens. They know we’re around but we don’t let them see us. They’re probably going to hunt us down at some point. They’ve taken everything else from us, but we’ve taken something too.

We have fights about breeding but young are born. Zira is only a year old and already she’s 100 pounds and can run as fast as a car. She speaks in sentences and can count. We’re all changing, and they don’t know. We’re getting stronger, faster, smarter. We no longer have much need for clothing as thick wiry fur grows from once-smooth skin. If they saw us they might think we’re devolving, but I wouldn’t call it that.

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13 responses to “Panicking Through My First Prompts

  1. Prompts, hmmmmmm. I will check BeKindRewrite. You’re right, prompts should be weird and a little wickedness wouldn’t hurt either.

    With ‘Our Last Kiss’, you got me. You just made this Curmudgeon cry. Thank you.

  2. Curmudgeon, yes wickedness would be helpful too, I didn’t think of that. A little naughtiness never hurts. Thanks….

  3. I also saw those prompts and didn’t have what it takes to write them!
    ‘Our Last Kiss’ is fantastic. You so got me there. But more than that, it was written very touchingly, in a way that tugged hard at my heartstrings.
    ‘Leftover Humans’ was a clever perspective. I would not have come up with something as good.
    I enjoyed both pieces and must give you big kudos for tackling the word prompt.

  4. I really enjoyed “The Last Kiss” especially given it was writing from a prompt. As I read it I felt my own emotions, especially the bloody lip thing, because at that moment I thought it was some real jerk of a guy!

    And then when I realized it was your best friend, a dog, I was overcome with emotion. That is good writing that can solicit such a response.

    I’m glad I stopped by. This was a very good experience. Thanks.

    • Thanks Bill—It’s scary to step outside your comfort zone. I even wrote BeKind and told her I couldn’t do it, but she encouraged me, thank goodness. (You wanna try?)

      It was a cat, lured out from a under a dumpster long ago. He had a screw loose and sometimes he would slash me for no reason—we bonded immediately. He was with me through two divorces. I didn’t mention what species he was because I thought readers might relate better if they didn’t know.

      Thank so much for writing, I appreciate it, really.

      • It’s funny how I assumed it was a dog. I figured collar, has to be a dog. You know what they say about assume!

        In any case, it makes no difference. Your love of animals is so clear, I think to anyone who reads you.

        You are a wonderful writer. That’s all there is to it. Shooting straight from the hip is so refreshing. I learn so much from reading what others write.

      • I can relate. I went through the same two shots with my beloved cat Simon. He suffered for a month because of my own weakness- because I couldn’t make the decision. Thanks for this.

        • Hi Kay, I think everyone who’s ever been owned by a pet looks upon this inevitable time with a dread like no other. It’s probably human nature to wait too long, hoping for one more month, one more week, one more day. It’s the month of tears.

  5. I told you so. And I love to say it. This is awesome work, Debra. You totally got me with Our Last Kiss – the unexpected interpretation made me go “woah” and reread.

    I love the brisk short sentences in Leftover Humans, the secretive, yet straightforward tone, the details like “she speaks in sentences and can count.” Great last sentence, too.

    I feel absurdly proud at this moment (as if I could claim credit), like I should raise my fists to the sky and shout “Behold! I have created a writer!” But I would probably cower in guilt afterwards and whisper ominously, “May God have mercy on her soul.” In other words, welcome to the ranks of suffering artists!

    • Stephanie, this is totally your credit. (Or your fault!) I would never have had the nerve to try this without you. Thank you for the inspiration, and for the babysitting. You’re a wonderful teacher.

  6. Pingback: Inspiration Monday II « Be Kind Rewrite

  7. Haha. You are so welcome. And I am so sorry. ; )

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