The last time I remember working with writing prompts was fourth grade. Mrs. Adams would put a line of pictures along the blackboard. Each student chose one to write a story about.
My books now trace themselves back to an idea about a plot or a character. I don’t think of these as writing prompts, but suppose they are. That is what a prompt is: a topic idea to build a story around.
A writing buddy likes writing from these prompts and talked me into trying a weekly prompt. We trade off weeks coming up with an idea.
My writing prompts are usually some happening like picking up a coin. Hers are one word. The latest was Cursed. We tend to drive each other mad as the prompts force us to approach our writing from a new angle, get out of our comfort zones.
Cursed was such a word for me. I’m not much interested in the horror, occult or similar topics. I like much more practical, everyday topics. What could I do with this one?
The thing about a writing prompt piece is its rough draft quality. Many times the piece is written in a short time with no editing review. I came up with this one:
I stand assessing the enemy. I am bigger than the enemy. The enemy has vastly more members. I have weapons to attack my enemies. They have only their roots.
And, in the end, the enemy will win.
I know before beginning, the enemy will win. The enemy always wins this war. Still I get ready and go out to do battle hoping to delay the inevitable.
Smart people are supposed to learn from their mistakes. I fight this battle every year refusing to learn, or accept, my defeat.
Every fall I put up barriers to stop the enemy. Every spring I put up more barriers. The enemy’s numbers are reduced, but the army still comes.
Every spring I plow up the legions of tiny enemies. Every summer I dig and pull hundreds of my enemies. The enemy regroups and launches a new assault.
Why don’t I admit defeat? Why don’t I give up and surrender?
Each winter I consider quitting. I tabulate the costs in time and money. Both are precious commodities.
Spring wafts into view. The land greens. The air lightens. The birds sing. The seed racks and transplants arrive in the stores.
I am doomed, cursed, fated to fight the war another year.
Why? Why can’t I admit defeat? Why can’t I resist spring?
That first sun-ripened, sun-warmed tomato is why.
Yes, it is gardening season here. My spinach and turnips are sprouting. Flood cleanup has delayed putting the Buttercrunch lettuce in.
I wanted to see the ravines in flood for the Carduan Chronicles. Wading through the water wasn’t an option.