Sunday, July 18, 2010

Writing Prompt: Cake or Pie?

This writing prompt, from Lisa Romeo, just begs to become a Two Kinds of People post. For this SFD, I'm just going to list the things I want to touch on in my post and see where it takes me.

There are two kinds of people in the world: cake people and pie people.

Not a big fan of cake. Cake is too dry, except truly decadent cakes like those molten chocolate things. 

Cupcakes are a pain in the ass to make. Tell the story about the little boys eating the tops off of all those cupcakes. Molly's black-bottom pies and how the recipe calls for frosting, which seems redundant. 

Then there was the time when Al Segretti inadvertently made my favorite pie for dessert on my birthday for the progressive dinner.
Cindy Fey's pie from last year. What a treat. Not many people will bake for mere acquaintances.

Making pie with Amy up at Michigan Tech. It was my first effort and a complete disaster. Pie is tricky, even though there are only a few ingredients. The dough is sensitive to ambient conditions and overworking it can make it tough. Also mention baking pies with Grandma. Cindy and I used to get the trimmings to make tarts, but we usually just made a mess. Interesting that some people who like to cook don't like to bake, and vice versa.

Pie song from "Michael".
So, this was interesting. Writing my thoughts down just as they came without molding or shaping them. Oddly, it did not feel freeing to write this way. I think part of the fun for me of writing Two Kinds of People post is shaping all these random, barely-connected ideas into a cohesive whole. Here's a pun for you: I like kneading the randomness into a workable shape. Which is what I'm going to do right now. See the finished product over at Two Kinds of People. I'll leave it cooling on the window sill.

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Writing Prompt: Infected

Today's writing prompt, from Lisa Romeo, reminds me of a game we used to play in college that involved the use of creative insults. We were big into Shakespeare back then, and our everyday vernacular began to sound quite flat in comparison. It's one thing to call someone an asshole — anyone can do that, but it doesn't even compare to one of the Bard's famous insults, like this one from King Lear:

"Thou art a boil, a plague sore, an embossed carbuncle in my corrupted blood."

So, this is where today's writing prompt is taking me — to insults. Probably not quite what Lisa had intended.

Infected wound
Infected, foul-smelling wound
Infected, foul-smelling wound on a corpse
Infected, foul-smelling wound on a rotting corpse
Infected, foul-smelling wound on the rotting corpse of your soul
Oozing, infected, foul-smelling wound on the rotting corpse of your soul
Oozing, infected, foul-smelling wound on the rotting corpse that had been the soul of mankind.
You are an oozing, infected, foul-smelling wound on the rotting corpse that was once the soul of mankind. You represent the final stages of decomposition, the seething remnants of our former glory, the pathetic ruins of our great potential scuttled by corporate greed and human arrogance.

Flaming red
Infected, flaming red 
Infected, flaming red mound
Infected, flaming red mound of pus
Infected, flaming red mound of pus-filled boils
May you be infected by a flaming red mound of pus-filled boils
May you be infected by a flaming red mound of pus-filled boils that render you hideous to those you wish to impress.

Infested with maggots
Filthy, infested with maggots
Filthy bottom feeder, infested with maggots
Filthy, bottom-feeding parasite, infested with maggots
Useless, filthy bottom-feeding parasite, infested with maggots
Useless, filthy bottom-feeding parasite, infested with disease-spreading maggots
You are nothing but a useless, filthy, bottom-feeding parasite, infested with disease spreading maggots, and I will use every tool, every weapon at my disposal to rid the world of your plague.

So much more fun than simply calling someone an asshole. Cathartic, really. Feel free to give my little stream of consciousness game a try in the comments below.

Friday, July 16, 2010

Writing Prompt: Putting Out Fires

Today's writing prompt is courtesy of Lisa Romeo's Summer Writing Prompt Program. You can get free prompts from Lisa, too. Here we go — 10 minutes on putting out fires.

It seems all I do these days is put out fires. There's no time for planning, thoughtful contemplation, cool assessment of the situation. I just aim the fire extinguisher at that flare up, blast the hose on this flame, and spread the chemical foam on those dangerous crash and burn fires.

The little flare ups are caused by my two youngest boys, who are a combustible combination these days. Prior to adolescence, they were best friends. Now that can't seem to be in the same room together for more than five minutes without igniting a simple bicker into a big blowup. 

The visible flames come from our robbing-Peter-to-pay-Paul financial strategy. We haven't intentionally increased our spending, but our income has been cut (like everyone else's), our healthcare expenses keep rising, and every time I turn around, there's a new bill burning to be paid. Just when we get one fire under control, a new hot spot shows bursts into flames. 

The slow, undousable burn stems from my inability to stop time (or at least slow it down a bit). Children are heading off to college, step children are getting married, little boys are turning into big boys, and there's not a damn thing I can do about it. This particularly deadly fire is complicated by my tendency to burn the candle at both ends, leaving me vulnerable to the shifting winds of middle-age mood swings that provide endless fuel for this fire.

10 minutes. I know. I know. I took this poor metaphor and squeezed it's guts out. But, that's what shitty first drafts are for.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Writing Prompt: Bolt

Lisa Romeo has once again offered to send daily writing prompts to your (and my) inbox, so I'm picking up the SFD blog again. Ten minutes is all it takes, because that's all I'll allow. Go.

Bolt out the door. Bolt down the block, around the corner, into Cassie's backyard. The hammock is empty, swinging slightly in the breeze. No Cassie.

Bolt down the alley, through the hole in the chain link at the end and climb the fire escape up to the roof of Sully's Garage. There's a pretty good view of the neighborhood from up there. Sully's working on that heap of his in bay #1. I can't see him from up here, but I can hear the clank, clank of his tools and then him swearing as he finds yet another problem. It's like a mechanic's symphony down there:

Clank, clank "Shit"
Clank, clank "Fucking piece of junk"
Clank, clank "Got it"
Clank, clank "Dammitalltohell"

He should dump that car.

Like I should dump Cassie. Every time I turn around there's drama and more drama. Back to business. Vince and Capo are on their boards at the skate park. I look for Cassie and the yapfest she calls a dog. No pink leashes to be seen.

Bolt back down the fire escape, jumping the last 10 feet when the ladder sticks. Bolt down Jackson into Murphy's Drugs. I check the aisles. There she is, holding yappy under her arm and staring at a little box. Like she senses me standing there, she looks up and turns the home pregnancy test toward me.

I bolt.

10 minutes. Don't know why this teenager popped into my head with the prompt, but all I could see was a skittish, wiry kid in black jeans and a white t-shirt looking for his on-again, off-again girlfriend. Strange what pops into your head with a writing prompt.