Writing prompt


I think I love Saturdays.

I think I’m particularly in love with having all the time in the world to write. I wrote for 90 minutes straight, dragged along by the story in a way I only kind of vaguely remember. I’m exhausted, but in that really good way that comes after an outpouring of creative activity.

Damn, that was good.

Today, the plan was to do a timed writing prompt, followed by word play, etc. It’s national poetry month — I was even thinking about trying to write a poem or something, focusing on images.

I’d also decided to slow down a little during the writing prompt, not just to let the words flow, but the right words.

This morning’s prompt was “You’re in a grocery store.” This took me to a character named Hammond, who was a British man, in his 50s, and his favorite green grocer, Tómas, who claimed to be Hungarian.

I slowed down while I was writing this morning. Not a lot, I didn’t let myself get stuck. But I did slow down a little, letting the images build, maybe writing about the same thing three or four different times, playing with words and images until it felt like I’d gotten the right one — not the cliched, typical one that is usually the first thing to come up, but a striking unique one.

I also let myself meander away from the story for a while, because I really wanted to write about old Mrs. Stewart and her French poodle Freddie, who she’d named in honor of Freddie Mercury. (He had a mohawk instead of a poofy crown at the top of his head, and his teeth were more broad and flat than a usual dog’s. . .)

When the timer rang, I just turned it off and kept writing, letting the story take me. It finally finished with Tómas being only part Hungarian (on his mother’s side) while being Serbian on his father’s side. At the end of the story you find out that he’d been accused of war crimes, and came to England to hide. Tómas claimed that he would never have joined Milosevic — he would have supported the resistance. He also claimed to be in Hungary for most of the war.

Hammond doesn’t trust his words — there’s a ring of truth to what Tómas says, but that’s it. He thinks that possibly Tómas did do something during the war, but only for revenge against the atrocities committed against his family.

Hammond plans on turning Tómas in, but it’s too late — Tómas is gone the next day, after telling Hammond his story.

With a bunch of rewriting, like telling more of Hammond’s story, talking about his cheating ex-wife and his lying kids, I could have a story here. There are parts of it that are really good. I’d have to let go of the whole Mrs. Stewart bit — really isn’t appropriate — or else cut it way down. I don’t think I will rewrite this piece, but I haven’t decided 100% either. I like Hammond, and I like Tómas, and I like the whole set up. It’s straight literary though, and I’m not convinced that there would be a market for it. If the story stays with me and demands to be more written, I will — it doesn’t do to piss off my muse. (She’s fairly demanding — if I feel the need to write about one thing, but my brain tells me I “should” write something else, then I try to write what I think I “should” write — I often end up not being able to write for days.) I actually like the whole neighborhood, and could see writing little stories about the different characters that inhabit it, all loosely connected by geography.

The most important thing, though, is that this writing session felt *so* good. Really, really, *really* good. I’m still wallowing in that feeling. I’m still happy, coming down off of that orgasmic high. Felt like a real writer this morning, for most of the thing. I don’t know if it was the subject/story, or the fact that I let myself slow down to actually write, or that I had time this morning — much beyond a measly 30 minutes.

I’ve been thinking about that a lot — redefining what writing means to me. That quick flow of words pouring out — that’s sometimes writing, but not always. I write that fast when I journal, and that’s kind of what a lot of the writing practices before this morning have felt like — more like journaling and less like writing.

Slowing down as I did, doing minor rewriting as I did (I never let myself stop all the way), that’s more of what writing is to me. That’s more of what a writing session feels like. Again, it isn’t just the words, but the *right* words. It isn’t agonizing over each and every one, though. It’s really about balance, and me finding that balance again, between the flow and the choice.

This has been such a learning experience for me. I’m so glad that I started this. I’m pleased with the results so far. I don’t know whether I’ll be able to keep up this progress. The point right now is quantity, as well as quality. To do this every day for a month. Then see where I am at, where my writing is at.

I hope that all your writing experiences are as sweet as this!

::random smooches and hugs::

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