Writing Prompt: Happy Halloween

I’ve always been fascinated by horror films. Although I prefer ghost stories, vampire flicks and zombie movies, now and again I enjoy watching the odd psycho slasher. Once a year I go to a four-day horror film festival and huddle in the dark with 200 strangers with a pint and my jacket raised up to my chin so that I can pull it over my eyes for the particularly disturbing bits.

My little black cat is pacing in front of me and I wonder where the myths about black cats comes from.

I start to daydream about the things that scare me and devise stories in my head that I want to write down. I think about being trapped in a house during the zombie invasion or finding myself lost in the woods at night. I’ve been trying to think of any films that ever really creeped me out.

The one that springs to mind at the moment is “30 Days of Night”. Right now, I’m watching “The Shining”

For today, write down anything that frightens you and try to spin a yarn about it. Alternatively, make a list of the 1o most frightening films you’ve ver seen and see if there’s a pattern. Are there any common themes?

Or….be bold and write down what really scares you, and I don’t mean horror in the conventional sense. What really gets your heart racing, makes your throat close and your hands shake. Think of true, unadulterated terror, the kind of fear you never want to feel or expose to others. Sometimes, its things in the real life that are truly frightening and it’s different for everyone.

Happy Halloween….

Writing Prompt: Flashback

I’ve been going through my Spotify playlists and realised that nearly every song it tied to some significant memory. Depending on your age, a dozen songs can get you thinking about all of the different stages in your life. In my case, 70’s music reminds me of times with my mother, times bouncing on the livingroom sofas listening to Abba tracks, the Beatles and a lot of Carly Simon. The 80’s was really my decade. It was when I discovered New Order, Depeche Mode, The Smiths, Michael Jackson and Madonna…

cityferret’s 80s

I remember going to my first concert in Los Angeles at the Wiltern Theatre. Crowded House. I recall listening to “How Soon is Now” by the Smiths the first time I met my first crush at a party at the age of 14…

In the 90’s it was all sensitive boys with ponytails, baggy jeans and flannels shirts listening to Nirvana and Pearl Jam. Cityferret’s 90s

The prom theme was “Vision on Love” after the Mariah Carey, which went completely against the grain musically…This was also the prom where I couldn’t get a date and my friend Morten had to step in to rescue me from the humiliation of going alone…for that, I was eternally grateful.

These days, there are songs that remind me of people. It’s too telling to let you know which song is associated with which person, but I think a lot of us to do that. 🙂

So, the 2000’s have been about melody and nostalgia. Have a look and see if any of these spark a memory or go through your music collection and write about a particular person, place or image that it brings back.

cityferretindie

Cheers!

Writing Prompt: I see you…

What would it be like to pick a random stranger and compile a list of facts and figures, perhaps a whole portrait of their life just through observation and the internet? Spooky, huh? There’s a word for that – stalking…

I’m not suggesting you actually do this But try writing a short piece about someone who is either doing the stalking or from thee point of view of someone experiencing it.

If the former, start by creating a situation where they either meet or observe their victim. Then, flesh out how they go about fining things about them. What happens next? Do they eventually approach them or simply keep their distance? What are the consequences?

If you write from the point of view of the victim, how do they find out and what is their reaction?

Have some fun with this one.

 

Writing Prompt: All Sorts of Crazy

Here’s to the crazy ones, the misfits, the rebels, the troublemakers, the round pegs in the square holes… the ones who see things differently — they’re not fond of rules… You can quote them, disagree with them, glorify or vilify them, but the only thing you can’t do is ignore them because they change things… they push the human race forward, and while some may see them as the crazy ones, we see genius, because the ones who are crazy enough to think that they can change the world, are the ones who do.
Steve Jobs –US computer engineer & industrialist (1955 – 2011 )
This one is simple. What does crazy mean to you?
Today, it means sitting in an office when you’ve been working 12 hours, you’re starving and there’s a cuddly toy monkey perched on your desk staring at you….

Writing Prompt: Another Year

Well, today is my birthday. I’ve had loads of greetings and drinks and cake. This morning I feel a little fuzzy, but amongst the treats and wine, I’m filled with love. My friends and family have made me feel special and that goes some way to remove any feelings of stress or self-doubt I’ve felt of late.

Birthdays can be funny. In some ways we dread the time passing, that little reminder of our own mortality. In others, it’s a nice time to reflect on the year. It’s a chance to reboot and start again. It’s like a New Year for each of us. A time for ambition and resolution. I have so many grand plans for the year ahead and I’m eager to get started and make my friends proud of me, those people who have spent the time and effort to wish me well.

So, try this: write about what you would do with a full year to do as you please. Alternatively, think back on all the birthdays you’ve had. Do any of them stand out? Write in the style of a memoir.

Writing Prompt: Destruction

I tipped the vase from the mantle and it smashed on the fireplace. There was no water in it and when I knelt down to gather up the pieces, I sat there examining them, noting the cleanness of the breaks. There was one large piece, part of the base. The neck broke into three imperfect parts. The edge of one sharp piece cut the tip of my finger. I watched a little drop of blood gather there, and gave my finger a little squeeze to bring a bit more to the surface.

It’s easier to destroy than to create. Creation is hard. Writing is hard. I’ve often looked at my endless rows of journals and seriously considered setting fire to them. There was something delicious in the sound of glass breaking and I found myself scanning the room for something more to break. My eyes rested on a picture frame of metal with jewelled edges. I ran a finger across the top of its smooth surface and pictured flinging it full pelt at the French doors.

Sometimes when we break things, there’s that sick instant regret at our own clumsiness. But what would it be like to perform a random act of destruction just to see what it feels like? Try writing about destruction as a theme.

I keep reading this

He Wishes for the Cloths of Heaven

HAD I the heavens’ embroidered cloths,
Enwrought with golden and silver light,
The blue and the dim and the dark cloths
Of night and light and the half-light,
I would spread the cloths under your feet:
But I, being poor, have only my dreams;
I have spread my dreams under your feet;
Tread softly because you tread on my dreams.

Writing Prompt: 1st Ticket Anywhre

I’ve decided that for the next 6 months, whether it’s for work or holiday or just for the sheer joy of it, I’m getting on a plane and going somewhere. There is a list of places I want to visit, so I’m doing it. I’ll pick my places, write down my adventures, meet new people, see something different. When you consider I haemorrhage the equivalent of between £150-£200 a weekend in partying, eating, taxis and shopping when I’m careless, I could easily spend that on a flight and B&B somewhere. Maybe I’ll couch surf…

So, the list is as follows:

Amsterdam

Stockholm

Düsseldorf

Paris

Venice

Dublin

Berlin

in short, any place I can take a last minute direct flight…

Next week it’s London (it’s for work, so it doesn’t count) so in a couple of weeks I’m going to pick a random city and have some fun.

If you could run away anywhere for 48-hours, where would you go and what would you do? Would you tell anyone?

Have fun…I’m off to check out last minute flights. 🙂

One of my favourite poems, but mainly for the last verse…

ULYSSES

Alfred, Lord Tennyson

It little profits that an idle king,
By this still hearth, among these barren crags,
Matched with an aged wife, I mete and dole
Unequal laws unto a savage race,
That hoard, and sleep, and feed, and know not me.
I cannot rest from travel; I will drink
life to the lees. All times I have enjoyed
Greatly, have suffered greatly, both with those
that loved me, and alone; on shore, and when
Through scudding drifts the rainy Hyades
Vexed the dim sea. I am become a name;
For always roaming with a hungry heart
Much have I seen and known—cities of men
And manners, climates, councils, governments,
Myself not least, but honored of them all—
And drunk delight of battle with my peers,
Far on the ringing plains of windy Troy.
I am part of all that I have met;
Yet all experience is an arch wherethrough
Gleams that untraveled world whose margin fades
Forever and forever when I move.
How dull it is to pause, to make an end.
To rust unburnished, not to shine in use!
As though to breathe were life! Life piled on life
Were all too little, and of one to me
Little remains; but every hour is saved
From that eternal silence, something more,
A bringer of new things; and vile it were
For some three suns to store and hoard myself,
And this gray spirit yearning in desire
To follow knowledge like a sinking star,
Beyond the utmost bound of human thought.

This is my son, my own Telemachus,
To whom I leave the scepter and the isle—
Well-loved of me, discerning to fulfill
This labor, by slow prudence to make mild
A rugged people, and through soft degrees
Subdue them to the useful and the good.
Most blameless is he, centered in the sphere
Of common duties, decent not to fail
In offices of tenderness, and pay
Meet adoration to my household gods,
When I am gone. He works his work, I mine.

There lies the port; the vessel puffs her sail;
There gloom the dark, broad seas. My mariners,
Souls that have toiled, and wrought, and thought with me—
That ever with a frolic welcome took
The thunder and the sunshine, and opposed
Free hearts, free foreheads—you and I are old;
Old age hath yet his honor and his toil.
Death closes all; but something ere the end,
Some work of noble note, may yet be done,
Not unbecoming men that strove with gods.
The lights begin to twinkle from the rocks;
The long day wanes; the slow moon climbs; the deep
Moans round with many voices. Come, my friends.
‘Tis not too late to seek a newer world.
Push off, and sitting well in order smite
the sounding furrows; for my purpose holds
To sail beyond the sunset, and the baths
Of all the western stars, until I die.
It may be that the gulfs will wash us down;
It may be that we shall touch the Happy Isles,
And see the great Achilles, whom we knew.
Though much is taken, much abides; and though
We are not now that strength which in old days
Moved earth and heaven, that which we are, we are—
One equal temper of heroic hearts,
Made weak by time and fate, but strong in will
To strive, to seek, to find, and not to yield.

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