Tuesday, 22 November 2011

Writing Prompts: From the Ridiculous to the Sublime

During the course of this month-long blog extravaganza, I have been rather fortunate. Ideas, stories, and anecdotes have magically presented themselves to me. I have lived in abject terror of the well running dry, of hitting the proverbial wall, but so far so good. Many online sites including Blogher have been offering helpful writing prompts designed to stir the creative juices, but so far (thanks to the deity!) I have found them unnecessary. I was kind of curious about other writing sites and what they might be offering, so I decided to float around the interweb and do a quick and dirty search to see what nuggets of ideas they might be offering to those of us in the final laps.

One site actually suggested that I imagine my life as a coffee maker. Seriously! A coffee maker. How could one possibly get creative about a coffee maker? I kept imaging the sexually satisfying properties of Folgers versus Maxwell House. Which brand really was the best part of waking up or did I really need it to be good to the last drop? Twisted and perverse, I know. Never a true fan of pornography, I decided to move on.

Several sites wanted me to recall a painful breakup or to describe an incident when a supposed friend had wronged me. Gothic images of Inquisition-like torture devices invaded my sleep. Bloody tableaus with dismembered limbs littering dark forests (why do these things always take place in dark forests?) crept into my waking thoughts. Messy crime scenes worse than any imagined or depicted in the most grotesque slasher film pervaded my subconscious. Revenge may be sweet, but it is definitely not clean. After several fitful and sleepless nights, I decided that these kinds of stories were better left up the experts-serial killers and Stephen King.

Several prompts asked me to imagine that I was a princess searching for Prince Charming. Look-I have been married for more than twenty-six years to the same man and have been with him for over thirty. That number encompasses almost 2/3 of my entire life span. I love him dearly and respect him tremendously. How many men do you know who would allow his wife to continually bash him in her blog? He is a wonderful husband, father, and son, but my delusions about Prince Charming disappeared the first time I saw the holes in his socks. No partner is flawless and no marriage is a fairytale. Relationships take work-real involved and tough work-and frankly selling that "princess living happily ever after" bullshit just isn't my style. I prefer the "warts and all" view of life. Sometimes when the princess kisses the frog, he is just a frog. And sometimes he is a brilliant, kind, decent, sort of geeky, but still tremendously sexy man who just happens to love me. I will take that over Prince Charming any day.

Yesterday's prompt on Blogher asked about passion projects and try as I might, for the life of me I couldn't think of a single thing that I am currently passionate about. This little realization just about had me running for the Zoloft. My kids? Always, but they are off on their own life's journeys. My guy? Well, he got his own paragraph one up. My work? I love it and still find satisfaction in it, but passionate? Not so much anymore. Chalk that one up to middle-age. Politics? Puh-leeze! And then it hit me. Sometimes our passions are hidden and out of sight. Sometimes we don't know we are passionate about something until we start to do it and realize that it has become the best part of the day. That is what this little writing exercise has become for me. A true passion. I need to do it or else my day seems incredibly wasted. Am I any good? Who cares! I do it because I truly love it. Look-I may never be able to imagine myself climbing Everest or know what it feels like to be an Italian sports car, (both prompts from other sites!) but I do understand passion and the grip it has on my psyche. Finally, a writing prompt that I could use.

1 comment:

  1. As I read the writing prompts each day, none really grabbed me. I always feel surrounded by inspiration so like you didn't really need any prompts anyway. Some of the "deep" topics could also be a bit much for my kind of blog.

    You made me laugh! Out loud! Especially about the coffee maker and the princess. I've never fallen for that princess for a day crap even when I was getting married.