I’d like to share a super simple prompt from last week’s session, which could be taken in many directions. I’ll also share what I wrote in response, though it feels quite incomplete, and is a piece I may choose to take further.
In my experience this is one of the beauties, one of the fruits, of short bursts of spontaneous writing; they leave you wanting more, wanting to put more pen to paper, more keys to screen, more ideas zooming around inside you. It can be hard to decide which one to catch. A tree knows not all its pine cones will take toot and grow into strong tall evergreens. Life proliferates and then waits to see where the desire and the strength is. So never feel you have to bring each idea to full fruition, that’s not the point. Create, proliferate, and then take the time to see which idea has the juice to grow.
So, the prompt – super simple! Close your eyes (well, you’ll have to keep them open for a second while you read on a bit…) and picture a key, in detail. What does it look and feel like? (Pause) Who’s holding it? (Pause) What does it open? (Pause)
Now, write a story – you have 10 minutes.
This is what I wrote:
There are no lights on, but that’s expected. He still sighs though. Hands go into a pocket full of a collection of bits that is anything but treasure. Still, his hands aren’t squeamish, and they find the hard coolness of the key among the bits of wrapper, stones, crushed shells and undefinable fluff.
He slots the key into the door, and throws his bag at the radiator beneath which shoes are strewn in not-pairs. Coat off. Lights on. Phone pings. He reads. “Running late. Make yourself a sandwich. DO NOT just eat cereal. Back 7.30ish.”
In the kitchen he takes out a bowl and fills it with nutty crunchyness; uses the last of the milk even though he knows his mum will want a cup of tea when she gets back home and will be angry.
He goes to his room. Music on. Shoes off. Phone in palm. Text conversations; plans, complaints. The phone is more ‘home’ that this empty bloody house.
Later. Another key. The same door opening goes unheard over the music. The steps that follow go unnoticed too, until the knock at his door.
He hears it. Ignores it. It’s more insistent. He ignores it. It ignores his ignoring, and the door opens. She enters, and sits on the edge of his bed.
“I’ve had a shitty day.”
He sees the red eyes and something opens. No longer a wish to punish, but to soothe.
“Sorry I used all the milk.”
“What? Oh. I hadn’t noticed.”
No words. The music feels loud. He turns it off. Silence. Her tears make him reach out, and she hugs him so tightly he can hardly breathe, but he knows it will pass. It always does.
“Thanks love.” She shivers. “Why didn’t you put the heating on?” He shrugs. She leaves. He hears her go downstairs, picks up his phone. Puts it down again. Follows her.
If you enjoyed this prompt, then you can find more here:
May I also take this opportunity to draw your attention to a fundraising campaign I have going at the moment, on behalf of a dear friend and her sons in Rwanda. Follow the link for further details. Thank you 🙂