Writing prompts at random

“Describe an important item from your childhood. Why was it important and where is it now?”

It was her eleventh Christmas that she go the pink teddy bear from her grandparents. Pink wasn’t really her color. Her initial reaction was confusion and a touch of disappointment. Actually that disappointment was strong. Her parents were there and expecting something more from her so she smiled and laughed in what she hoped was delight. Her mother asked if it had a name and she said something akin to not yet. She hadn’t decided if was going to have a name yet. Did it deserve that level of personalisation? Perhaps. It was so pink, that pepto-bismul pink… It wasn’t fair to the poor bear for her to judge it so. Her cheeks flushed with embarrassment for dismissing it so quickly. Sure it was a strange color but that made it stand out amidst her blues and purples.

She hugged it to her chest. It was soft and smelled of the cardboard box and fudge. Her grandmother so enjoyed sending things to them. It probably made her feel closer to them despite the infrequent and bridg trips her family made to visit. It wasn’t her faluth that she didn’t know her grand daughter well enough to know that pink was nearly as abhorrent as red or orange. She probably thought it was a safe color for a pre-pubescent girl. She likely was right and her grand daughter was too inflexible to be grateful.

That night the teddy bear stayed on her bed. It actually made a decent pillow. The size of the belly and arms, just a few inches larger than her head, made it comfortable to lean on. That and how soft it was though the fur tickled her ears and nose.

A week later she gave it a name. Lacie, the same as her half-sister. She loved Lacie, both the bear and her sister, in a rather abstract way. After all, it wasn’t Lacie’s fault she lived so far away and that her younger sister didn’t even know she existed until 3 years earlier. Lacie visiting always meant adventures and her parents taking time off from work. Lacie’s presence helped to bring them together. Her parents didn’t fight or get so angry. That bear could be a tiny piece of her sister and all the things she meant. Those nights when there was yelling and screaming and crying were the worst. The bear was there though, a tangible thing of comfort.

She would write to the bear and talk to it late night, imaging what it would be like to have her sister there instead. In a sense she was with a wee bit of herself within the bear, though her sister would never admit it.

A few months passed before her mother noted how much she fell asleep with the bear in her arms. “What’s your bear’s name?” she asked again.

“Lacie,” was all that the girl said. Her mother nodded slowly, understanding instantly the importance of that name. Fast forward fifteen years and she still has Lacie with her. She no longer sleeps with it, that right is now reserved for her cats who get as much comfort from the soft bear. They are smaller than it, a perfect companion for them to snuggle up to. Sometimes she still talks to Lacie, sharing her thoughts with that wee, tiny piece of her sister. She may not speak with the bear’s namesake but much like that abstract love her bear shifted into something deeper and real, so has the love for the person that is her sister. Each monologue to the smaller Lacie ends the same, “I love you, Lacie.”

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Writing Prompt: There Were Three, But Now There’s Only One

Again, unedited, first draft. This one is kinda meh, but could be worse I guess. Methinks I should stick with something a little more silly.

There were three, but now there’s only one.

The lump in his throat had been there for weeks. No amount of swallowing or drinking made it go away. Sometimes he could forget it was there, but that only lasted as long as it took him to find another bottle. Anna lectures… lectured me all the time about drinking this stuff. He didn’t know what else to do.
It had taken weeks to get courage to do more than stand in the doorway to their small bedroom. He stood at the foot of the bed, staring at bed covers that were still tossed back and rumpled. The mobile above the crib still spun, sending stars and moons running across the walls and ceiling.

They were gone. Anna and Tony, both gone.

This was the last place that had any bit of their presence, their things, their scents. He had scoured the rest of the tiny house the same night he lost both of them. He had gotten rid of everything, scrubbed and painting the walls and ceiling. He had bought only the most minimal amenities, an air mattress, a single set of dishes and a mini-fridge. He kept telling himself that he would toss everything from the bedroom and sell the house, go back to the days when he wandered. There was something he had to do first.

Vengeance was not typically his style. He had been a loner and had learned the hard way when he was young that the only way he would survive was if he kept his nose down and avoided all contact with the locals. He and Anna both knew that lesson. They had made sure to find a place that was considered free territory and kept out of the local and regional politics. They made a living doing normal things, he as a substitute teacher, she as an assistant librarian. Tony, barely 18 months old, was either watched by their neighbor down the street who had her own baby or happily played with the other babies at the library. Nothing they did ever drew attention. They even made sure Tony never overheard discussions or saw their less human tendencies so that he wouldn’t say anything out of his naivety.

He only had two leads: the rental car he had found outside town with their scents all over it and the small cross he had found around the neck of the third thing he had called. Few of their kind followed a human faith, least of all the Christian faith.

He expected that he would find them tonight. After all, it was a full moon. They had to be upset about losing five of their coven to only two wolves even if one had not made it. And they had forgotten that he could track them, even six weeks later. Witches always left imprints of their presence everywhere they went. Five together, well their trail would be there for months longer.

“Watch me tonight, love. Be ready to guide me home, please,” he whispered to the empty room. He turned around and left without touching anything, leaving this last tangible memory to keep them here. He needed them still. If he failed, he hoped they would understand.

Writing Prompt: It Was Just A Normal September Day, Except

Unedited, first draft, first writing prompt in forever and a day.

It was just a normal September day, except…

It wasn’t September. Or rather, it was September, as far as she could tell by leaves on the trees, but it wasn’t supposed to be. Last she knew it was April and she had just gone to sleep. She had no idea where she was or how she got there or what was going on. Actually, she did know what was going on; she was in her pajamas in the middle of the day getting robbed. She just didn’t know why.

“I don’t have any money, really! No pockets, no jewelry, nada, nothing, zilch,” she said in a rush. The man holding the knife did not look very impressed.

“Who the hell goes outside with nothing of value? What am I supposed to do, just let you go?” he said, frowning at her. She could only figure this was a foreign idea to him and she would have to work hard to convince him that it was a good idea.

“I didn’t mean to be outside. It just sort of happened,” again, she added to herself though she dared not say it out loud. “Last I knew I was going to bed and then I was, well, here. You wouldn’t mind telling me where here is, would you?” Maybe if she distracted and confused him enough he would just give up and go find a less difficult victim.

“So… You’re crazy then,” he stated more than asked.

“No, well, maybe? I guess. I don’t know,” she thought for a moment before deciding that was the best way to make him go away. No one wants to rob a crazy lady. “Yes. I must be crazy. After all, you pointed out that no one in their right mind goes out and carries nothing of value. Therefore, I must be crazy. Thank you for pointing that out to me,” she said and smiled brightly. It was better than the other explanation she could tell him. At least this one he could believe.

He thought for what was the longest minute of her life before coming to some sort of decision. He turned his whole body away from her and looked up the street before saying, “Listen, lady, I don’t want to get mixed up with nothing weird, okay? Just… forget about it. Don’t tell no one, bad for business, get it?” She nodded vehemently. He never saw it though. He had already turned around and was walking away. Fast. She didn’t really care. She was just happy the crazy lady argument worked so well.

Am I crazy? How many people wake up missing months of their lives? Maybe it’s the best explanation for what’s going on. Except she knew what really happened to her. She knew because she had lied to him about not having anything of value with her. There was the earring she had bought at some dusty, hole in the wall thrift store a few years ago. Ever since, she seemed to have started experiencing odd things. Like waking up on a different day besides “tomorrow”. Or finding notes addressed to her in someone else’s handwriting. Or setting things on fire on accident. Luckily the fire one had only happened twice. She figured out how to avoid that one at least.

“Come on, Toto, let’s follow the yellow brick road,” she said to no one in particular as she started walking.

Daily Prompt: Silver Screen – “There are other forces at work in this world Frodo, besides the will of evil. Bilbo was meant to find the Ring. In which case, you were also meant to have it. And that is an encouraging thought.”

“There are other forces at work in this world Frodo, besides the will of evil. Bilbo was meant to find the Ring. In which case, you were also meant to have it. And that is an encouraging thought.” Gandalf the Grey, Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring.

This line is probably one of a few lines that struck me as *important* when I first read LotR. Some were remembered because of the scene, “You. Shall. Not. Pass!” (read exactly like that) or perhaps because I liked the idea of something, “It’s a dangerous business, going out your door. You step onto the road, and if you don’t keep your feet, there’s no telling where you might be swept off to. ” Still, none of them rang with the same sense of truth like what Gandalf’s words to Frodo within the Mines of Moria did.

I believe, that at its heart, this is what LotR is about. It is not about saving the world from evil. It’s not about the corruption of man and the loss of magic. It’s not about industrialization and how it will destroy the world. It’s not about war and the havoc it wrecks. It is about this one, simple truth. That there is something more in this world, something that guides people to be where they need to be. It doesn’t mean that evil will be thwarted at every turn-there is still free choice and free will-but there will always be those who can make a difference.

The greatest hero in LotR gets little credit, but he has the biggest heart and the strongest determination. He has something more to look forward to beyond ending the war with Sauron and destroying the Ring. Samwise Gamgee has his role to play and he plays it well. Not even Gandalf understands Sam’s role within the whole, though he knows it is important. Regardless, he gives Sam his only order, “Don’t you leave him Samwise Gamgee.” Sam, being the most loyal of the entire party follows his directions and ends up carrying Frodo and the Ring, physically and metaphorically.

I know it’s pointed out ad nauseum that LotR depits how it is the actions of the smallest of the characters that makes the greatest impact and the most sacrifices. However, I believe it is applicable to real life. We may not all be fighting this grand battle against an evil entity that is threatening to take over the world, but we are each have a role in the overall well-being of our fellows. Small kindnesses have a big impact. Small acts send out ripples that can either join and enlarge the ripples caused by others or oppose and diminish them. We were born here for a reason, there is some sort of plan. While most of us are but the smallest of players upon this large stage even our small roles have an impact in how the show (the world) turns out.

I just hope we’re all getting our lines and stage cues kind of right. Most of what we do and know is unscripted, but there are those special moments where we are caught up in a bigger scene and there is actually something we’re to do right then and there. I don’t know how many times we are given to get it right, one or fifty or however many we need, but I still take heart in knowing that there is something out there, some greater part of ourselves, that can nudge us in the right direction. Maybe not quite with the same authority and directness of a stage manager, but still some whisper of a hint of what we ought to do.

Seems kinda odd for someone who claims to be agnostic to hold such a firm belief, but then again, I don’t believe that the nudging comes from something that is omniscient or omnipowerful. It just is and it likes balance and there is an overall direction that we’re all traveling and thus there is a collective general intent that guides it as well as us. More or less, give or take.

Wow did that go in a very different direction than I thought it would when I started.

Daily Prompt: Ghostwriter

John Ringo. He’s funny, he writes science-fiction set in this world and urban fantasy that seems just as plausible. I believe he could totally write a biography about a normal person and make their life something most could read.

If he wasn’t available I’d go for Brandon Sanderson or Neil Gaiman. Sanderson because he has come into his own as a writer in the “epic” side of fantasy and I believe could weave a tale of suspense of even the most mundane of things. Gaiman because his perception of this world and all those in his head are something like 217 degrees left of “normal” which is awesome.

All growed up. Or not

I still don’t really feel like a grown up. I’ve basically come to the conclusion that I probably won’t actually ever feel like an adult. Maybe if I ever have kids, but I get the feeling that I would just be going “holy crap! I’m an adult! When did this happen? How do I make this stop? Why in the world did anyone let me have a kid?!” and so on and so forth. It’s ironic given that I have a job that is serious and a “real grown up job” and have since I was 20. Even being married, divorced and married again hasn’t made me feel like a grown up. If that doesn’t make one feel grown up then I don’t know if anything will.

A Bird in Hand is Worth Two in the Bush. Sometimes.

When I first read this prompt I couldn’t help but think, “man, I hate trying to remember this sort of stuff.” As it turns out, it took only a few extra moments of thought for me to realize that I was highly focused on those “two birds” more so than the “one bird” for months.

There was a time, not so long ago, a year ago actually, where I was desperately looking for something else. That something else was a job that could pay me enough that I wouldn’t feel that I needed to work two jobs in order to be more or less financial stable and not have to rely on my husband so much. I was stressed at my main job and really not all that interested or happy in my second job. I had little time to spend with family or friends and was pretty much just constantly tired. It got to the point that before I found that mystical different job I quit my second job. I still needed the change in employment. I really needed the higher pay.

So I continued to pretend that I was doing alright in my only job while daydreaming about something different, something inpatient or in a hospital or even in a completely different sort of outpatient clinic. I was thinking of all the things I could do with my magical new income. I was despairing that after 6 months of searching and turning in applications nothing was happening. No call-backs. No emails. No letters saying “sorry, too much inexperience, come back in a few years.” I was getting desperate. Work was harder to focus on, I was missing important things and my boss was unhappy with me.

The story actually has a happy ending. When I finally stopped constantly thinking about a change and jut tried to go with the flow, I got a call-back. I got an interview. A month later (a very long month later mind you) I got an offer. Huzzah! Sometimes, looking at those two in the bush can be very motivating and give you the extra drive needed to do change circumstances so you can let go of the one in your hand and “catch” the two in the bush. It’s not impossible. Yeah, it’s risky, but there are many things that are worth a risk and a leap of faith.

Daily Prompt: Nightmares – Creepy crawly things

The last nightmare I remember having was a recurring theme sort of nightmare, though it was a new twist on the theme. I have a nightmare about once every year or so that I am being attacked, or at least covered by thousands and thousands of small insects. The usual culprits are bees or spiders. The most recent dream actually had these *huge* ants that I can only assume are from Africa or the Amazon.

The dreams always start the same. I am laying in my old bedroom in my old daybed and am just about to fall asleep. I feel a tiny tickle on my leg or torso and look down to see a single bee/ant/spider crawling there. In the dream I always freeze at this moment. I can see three more crawling across the or feel them somewhere else on my body if I am covered by a sheet or blanket. Within seconds there are hundreds more crawling up the bedposts and the walls. At this point in the dream I am usually seeing everything from my own eyes and also from a third person POV above and away from the walls. If bees are the culprits they are flying in through the window and the drone of their wings is nearly as terrifying as feeling them crawling all over me.

Within minutes of the dream starting I am covered by thousands of insects/arachnids and they are tickling me with their legs and it is the most terrifying thing because I’m waiting for the first one to bite or sting. I lay absolutely still, hardly breathing. I can’t close my eyes because that would be movement on my face and I’m afraid the ones there will sting me. The ants actually crawled across my eyes. It is usually at that point that I wake up, but sometimes I only wake up after I have been bit or stung, sometimes dozens or hundreds of times. It’s always the same way that I wake up; a gasp and reflex of sitting up, sometimes even jumping off the bed, and scraping my hands across every part of my body to get rid of non-existent creatures.

After dreams like that I cannot fall back asleep for an hour or more. I will wake up again at every twitch of the blanket whether it’s because of a cat or the heater/AC turning on or my husband turning or twitching. I will sometimes even feel phantom creepy-crawlies as I’m falling asleep and wake up all over again.

I think the ants creeped me out the worst because I was pretty sure they were the kind that could actually latch on and control bugs and in my dream way of thinking I knew that if enough bit me they could do the same thing to me. Did I mention the absolute most terrifying dreams I’ve had in years and years? Oh, and everything is in normal colors so I can see the reds and blacks or yellows and blacks of everything creeping across me and obscuring my skin and bedclothes? *shivers*

Yeah, I hate those dreams. Thanks WordPress for bringing them up again.

Daily Prompt: Far From Normal – Things about me

Daily Prompt: Far From Normal.

Six things about me that make my life a little different from the average Joes’. Huh. At risk of sounding conceited or self-important I’ll give it a go.

1 – I am a nurse on a psychiatric acute treatment unit. Most people don’t quite know what that means, but it basically means that I work on a locked sub-acute unit with people who are suicidal, homicidal, actively psychotic or so gravely disabled that they are not safe in society. It’s basically a half-step below a hospital psychiatric unit. Most everyone I meet and tell them about my job pretty much tell me that they could never do that and good for me.

2 – I was in the Army Reserves. And found the training to be rather easier than I had expected. Honestly, I’m of the opinion that if I could make it through, then pretty much anyone of decent physical health and moderate mental health should be able to. Sure, some people will require an attitude adjustment or more motivation than others, but most of those who didn’t make it through were the ones who I overheard telling others and themselves that even when they were signing up they thought it was going to be too hard for them.

3 – All my experience, especially in psych, has been on the job training. I got my LPN license through the Army and therefore never had any college education and the hospital where my course took place didn’t have a psych floor. We had 1 week to learn about psych and then test and honestly, I couldn’t have told you the difference between a personality disorder and a psychotic disorder. I couldn’t have told you what medications were for what or what the best treatments were. Essentially, I’m amongst the most un-educated clinical staff at the entire agency that I work at.

4 – Despite having been in the Army reserves, or perhaps because of it, I find it hard to be patriotic. I find blind patriotism one of the worst traits in people, right about level with blind religiosity, and annoying. I know that I am privileged to have been born and raised in the US. That doesn’t mean that I think it’s the best country in the world and that everyone should want to live here. It’s got its good traits and its bad traits. I rarely say much about my opinions because the scorn I receive for this way of thinking is really annoying and not worth it.

5 – I speak and understand “Geek.” Apparently this is a rather special and unique thing, at least when I talk to most people. They are fascinated by how I can discuss things like Lord of the Rings, Harry Potter, World of Warcraft, Ender’s Game, Doctor Who, D&D, Magic, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, basic computer things, and can even fiddle around and figure out my way through typical programs people use at work or home. The fact that I’m female and can discuss and participate in these sort of discussions makes me fascinating to others. This attitude just confuses me, especially when some of the things are such pop-culture things like Harry Potter.

That about covers the random things that make me/my life/my attitude a little more unique or different.