Friday, January 23, 2015

First Friday Writing Prompt: "Happy Place"

Disclaimer: this is not a meme!

I’ve been feeling terribly bogged down and uncreative lately, as in, for the past year and a half. Once upon a time I made an effort to paint with pastels and acrylics, sketch my characters (very badly, I’ll admit), dabble in photography, throw a pot on the wheel, MAKE STUFF!!! But for too long now, I have been so focused on finishing the Falcons Saga that, ironically, my creativity has dwindled.

That’s my preamble for starting a monthly writing prompt (to be posted on the first Friday of every month), both for myself and for any visitors who might like to participate. I missed January's first Friday, so I'll get a (very) late start and get back on schedule in February.

My favorite sources of inspiration are photographs or digital art that hint at stories, but I'll look for other prompts to inspire as well. In the comments below the prompt, I’ll post an excerpt of what the image(s) inspired inside my twisted brain. Hopefully, these excerpts will grow into full-length stories (or poems!), but we’ll see. The point is to have fun creating something new while I rework these old novels.

Okay, then, let’s create something…

"Happy Place" by Schnotte

(If you find inspiration and wish to share your creation with me, please do the following:
* DO paste a link to your creation as a comment to the prompt you’ve used.
* DO include a link back to my blog, Wordweaver.
* DO NOT copy anyone else’s work and publicize it as your own.

1 comment:

Court Ellyn said...

excerpt "Happy Place" - (this is pretty much the middle of the story. It's a post-apocalyptic piece, a genre I've never tried writing before. There's not much original about it, but it was fun to write nonetheless.)


She had only two bullets left. They needed to count. “Stop!” she cried, aiming.

The man stopped. His white hair puffed around his spotted face like the down on a baby bird. His brown suit was ragged at the cuffs, torn at the knees. Under his arm he carried a lampshade. “No need to be rude,” he said. “Come along! It’s almost time.” His free hand beckoned as he crossed the street.

Sybil watched him disappear behind a gutted department store, then hurried after him. “Hey, do you know the way to Filly Delfy?,” she asked, catching up. “Am I almost there?” The toothless old woman in Washing Town, the one who sold socks knitted from rat hair, said there was a settlement far to the north, a settlement where lost people gathered to find their loved ones. Sybil had seen many deserted shanty towns and a few that weren’t deserted, but none that claimed to be this Filly Delfy. Still, she had to keep looking. Alec might be there.

Her brother had been too young, too sick, to save her. She’d had to save herself. But by the time she broke free of the Salesman, he’d dragged her halfway across the Western Waste.

“What? No, no time for travel. It’s coming.”

“What’s coming?”

The old man gave her a scornful shake of the head and continued on his way. “Perfect, yes, just perfect,” he muttered. Sybil saw he was admiring his lampshade.

Many of these old-timers had lost their sanity. They’d breathed too much poison, relived too many traumas, or both. Sybil had learned to be patient with them. They traded or talked when it suited them, not before. She followed the old man toward the bay. “Here we are,” he said, turning into an alley between warehouses. “All cozy. Just for us. We’ll have a good view from here. What do you think, Hannah?”

Sybil had never seen a chair quite like the one occupying the middle of the alley. It looked … soft. Soft enough to sleep in, rich enough for the gangster kings in Angel City. The gold patterned fabric was even furry to the touch. The old man had positioned it so that it faced the broad, shining, toxic waters of the bay.

Beside it stood a pole nearly as tall as Sybil herself. The old man set the lampshade upon it, tilted it just so. “Yes, yes, perfect. Do you remember the attic room where we used to read for hours and hours? You had your chair, and I had mine. You’d put your foot in my lap, and I’d rub your toes. What a happy place it was.”

Sybil cleared her throat. “I’m sure it was. Look, I need to find the road to Filly Delfy. Can you help me or not?”

The old man folded himself into the chair with an elaborate sigh. “Cabbage, listen. You trust me? Going to Filly Delfy won’t save us. Not when this comes.”

“When what comes?” Even as she said it, she scolded herself for an idiot. She knew better than to banter with these people. She was more exhausted than she thought.

The old man’s hands snapped wide in a helpless gesture. “The end of the world!”

Sybil sagged under the weight of her backpack and this man’s madness. What good would it do to remind him? The end had already come, and they were walking ghosts.

“They say it’s going to be today. Or tomorrow. Maybe they meant tomorrow. In any case, it won’t be long now. I feared you’d come too late, Hannah.” He patted the arm of the chair. “Come sit with me. We’ll watch it together.”

Sybil hitched her backpack higher. Tins of things jounced around inside. “My name isn’t Hannah. If I find her, I’ll tell her where you are. I have to go.”

With startling speed the old man caught her by the wrist. “Please! Please, watch with me. Will you watch with me?”