I’ve been interested for a while in the idea of a Universal Basic Income, in summary this is a payment made by the Government, equally and unconditionally to everyone. There are several trials happening right now (see links below) and the concept has support from a wide political spectrum, for various reasons.
However this is not a political post, but a writing prompt post so….
The prompt I would like to share from last Friday’s session is the following. £1000 is deposited in a bank account, unconditionally. You could imagine it being your own bank account, or that of a fictional character(s). What happens next? Write the story. You have ten minutes.
There were a very wide variety of responses, and some very brave and bold writing. I am aware that money is a very tender subject, by which I mean many people have some strong emotions around it for a huge variety of reasons, but that is exactly why I believe it is something ripe for exploration in terms of writing. Below is the story I wrote as an example. I hope you enjoy it, and I’d love to read both your responses to this story, and your own response to this prompt, should you choose to give it a try.
“Get up love,” she nudged her partner. “It’s 8. You’ll be late.”
It took a moment for his mind to catch up – it took longer by bus. The car had been sold. They couldn’t afford to run it now that Sarah hadn’t been getting any hours at work, since they found out she was pregnant. A month away. In spite of his fears, he couldn’t quite dispel the joy as he met her gaze with a good morning kiss, and swung his legs out of bed.
The sound of the front door clicking closed woke her. She must’ve drifted off again. She stroked her abdomen in wide, gentle circles; then lifted each palm to her lips and kissed. She heard her phone ping with a message. A balance alert, to tell her what was in the account. She’d need a coffee before she looked at that, but coffee was no longer allowed. She opened the message with held breath.
She heard his key in the lock, and rushed into the corridor to meet him. His tiredness was put aside the moment he saw, felt, the buzz coming from her. She hugged him tightly.
“Let me get my coat off!’ he joked, a little unsure now. “What’s brought this on?”
“Happiness isn’t metered yet, is it?” But her tone was playful, not sarcastic. She allowed him to hang his coat, then linked her arm through his.
“Close your eyes.” She sat him on the sofa. “Open!” In front of him was an impressive array of baby stuff; bath, cot, clothes.
He stood angrily. “Where? I wanted… We can’t…”
“We can. It’s all second hand, only £150 the lot. And this,” she handed him a neat pile of banknotes, “is your half. It’s going to be ok,” she smiled, taking his face in her two hands, and kissing his forehead before hugging him tightly. “It’s going to be OK.”
I would also like to share with you a couple of books I’m currently reading which explore the subject of a Universal Basic Income, should you be interested in further context.
If you enjoyed this prompt, then you can find more here: