Writing Prompt: The Parade

Happy St. Patrick’s Day. For today’s writing prompt, try writing about something festive. How about writing a story about five friends that get separated during a St. Patrick’s Day parade. What adventure does each of them have in trying to find each other?

Writing Prompt: The Room

fleur de lisWhen I wandered into the cafe, I felt like I had been transported back in time to my college days.

There were odd posters and paintings from local artists on the walls. The furniture, mismatched and awkward suited the overall thrown-together feel of the place. It was an open planned room with a stage, random fixtures and glass vases of odd shapes and sizes on the shelves. A cuddly-toy bunny sat abandoned on a window sill. The place seemed to say, pull up a chair, make yourself at home, I’m not really fussed, I’m too busy being a tortured artist.

When I entered the cafe, it was sunny outside, summer having just arrived made me wish I had a place to sit and write with a beer and some colourful company to look at, away from the corporate types that litter my usual part of the city. The cafe offered one, anyway. On it’s menu I could choose from coffees in all shapes and sizes and every free-trade tea imaginable, but no alcohol. I opted for Earl Grey and my reaction to getting no lemon and a splash of milk made me realise was heading towards becoming a middle aged and suited snob. Oh dear, I thought. Best knock that attitude on the head and just enjoy the solitude.

I dragged a chair over to a table in the corner and with tea and journal in hand, settled in to write. The characters in the room were full of colour. No one wore black or anything resembling a suit. Nothing grey, nothing that would fit in at a meeting. Just a rainbow of colours from the hair on down to their Birkenstocks.

When I was at university, my favourite place was a mirror of the cafe where I sat writing. It was called the “Fleur de Lis”. My friends and I met there every night to discuss our projects, listen to local musicians and impromptu poetry readings. Even I found the nerve to spout a verse or two, back before the self-consciousness of public speaking settled in. It was a place where we were all freaks and weirdos, all wanting to stand out as unique, where we were all going to be Shakespeares and Mozarts, Hemingways and Picassos. 

The conservative town where it had found it’s own little corner didn’t approve of the comings and goings of the Fleur de Lis’ clientele. When it was time for the young couple who ran the Fleur de Lis  to renew their licence, it was refused. It was handed over to a retired cop who turned our home into a tea house with white doilies and cucumber sandwiches. Our club house was gone and we all had to move on.

When I graduated, I wanted to have something with which to remember those happy days of creativity. So, when the chance came to immortalise that place and the memories it carried, I thought of the proper tribute. With a friend in tow, I handed the artist my drawing and leaned on the table. The sting of the needle didn’t bother me at all, and now I have a reminder that isn’t going anywhere without surgery…

Writing Prompt: The Room

Describe a room and the personality it conveys. Have fun, leave nothing out.

Writing Prompt: Purple Curtains

I haven’t written in a while. Between work, travel and generally feeling unpleasant, I’ve not felt the creative muse (fickle thing) around lately…

But, since we have to look around us for inspiration, I’m forcing myself to write. I looked around the room to see if there was anything I could focus on and what caught my eye was the way the sun was peeking through my bedroom window’s purple curtains. The light casts a slightly lavender hue on the cream walls. I haven’t left the room for more that a few minutes, just long enough to get some soup from the kitchen and to drag my laptop from my office to the bed. I haven’t been ill in ages, but it got me thinking about people who are ill for weeks or months, trapped in a confined space.

As I look around the room I see my things, my cluttered room, messy and familiar. The overflowing laundry basket in the corner, the little TV mounted on the wall, my pink and silver hairdryer on the floor next to my handbag and the clothes I was wearing yesterday. Perfume bottles litter the dresser, on my bedside table there’s an alarm clock set to the wrong time, next to me is the cat, a permanent fixture at my side whenever I’m ill.

So, look around you. Describe the room. Things, textures, colours, anything that helps us feel like we’ve been there…

Writing Prompt: Purple Curtains

Writing Prompt: Origins

I’ve moved around a lot over the years.  The cities I’ve lived in have helped form my impression of life, given me new friends and allowed me to see the world from different points of view.  However, as much as I rave about my favourite places, like San Francisco and London, I never talk about the place where I grew up.  Maybe it’s because I’ve spent most of my life trying to get away from it.

It doesn’t necessarily follow that I had a bad childhood, quite the contrary. It was just a claustrophobic place. The city itself is part of the largest county in the US, but everything from the shops, to the restaurants, malls and parks seemed so enclosed, as though there was everything and nothing beyond the city limits.  It was that desperate feeling of  drowning and living and dying in a place like that which prompted me to do everything I could to get away.

When I look back now, I suppose it wasn’t so bad. It was just like living in a sheep’s pen. The people in it where contented enough, living from day to day and very few of the people I knew then ever left. The sad thing is that I can remember small independently owned shops on the main street and big brightly painted schools with giant football pitches, but last time I drove through, my old school was fenced off and looked like a prison, complete with metal detectors. The little bakery, flower shop and furniture store I passed on my way to school each day are boarded up. The mall is a gang haven… Looks like I left just in time. When I drive through southern California, each town resembles the next, all blending into each other.

It’s important to look back on where we came from to try to understand who we are, why we think the way we do and to figure out where we’re going.

Describe where you grew up, for better or for worse. above all, be honest about how you feel about where you hail from and see where it takes you.

Writing Prompt: Origins

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