October’s Writing Prompt

It’s a new month and time for a new writing prompt:

The darkness was thick and suffocating, like a heavy blanket had been thrown on the world. He had to get over the wall, had to get across the border before…

In addition to my short story of the month, I am also working on Nanowrimo prep during October. I might even attend some of the write in events with my sister.

Happy writing and reading this month!

snoopy_writing

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Quiet

Present Day — St. Louis 

It flashed through the sky and then was gone. Lucy was sure she had seen a UFO and was equally sure aliens were here to secretly make contact with a human being. Maybe they would choose her. Maybe she would get to visit their ship. Maybe she would finally get away from this place. She was tired of being lonely and isolated. She was tired of talking to herself.

Even an alien encounter would be more exciting than her life. No matter what the outcome.

***********

20 years ago

Lucy woke up late — again. Her boss would be furious. She quickly dressed and headed out the door. Her new job was exhausting. It was all the interacting with people that was wearing her out.

This was her third job this year — and it was only April. So far this one was lasting longer but she could feel the toll is was taking.

“Have a nice day.”

“Thanks for visiting the zoo.”

“Here’s a map.”

She said those three things so many times every day. Why couldn’t a recording do it?

The one redeeming factor for her new job was break time. On her breaks she would sit and watch the hippos. She wanted to watch them all day.

It was odd because before starting at the zoo, she’d never even seen a hippo. Her parents never took her places. They’d both worked so much on their rare days off, they just wanted to be home.

Perhaps that’s why all her jobs were places that families tended to visit together.

If she had a therapist, she might have asked her that.

**********

Present

Lucy walked through the grocery store selecting what foods she might eat this week.

After she’d collected enough, she went back to her house.

Two years ago she’d finally gotten up the nerve to move from her old apartment into an abandoned house.

She’d picked one in a nice neighborhood within walking distance of a grocery store, a home depot, and several clothing stores.

**********

20 years ago

It was already turning into another typical day.

“Thanks for visiting the zoo.”

She’d gotten lucky though. Her boss was out sick so she didn’t get yelled at for being late.

She tried to focus on that to get her through the day.

On her break, she put a hoodie over her zoo uniform. She’d learned to cover up as much khaki as possible or people would ask her a thousand questions. Her first two days she’d spent her breaks answering inane questions.

As she sat by the hippo habitat, she longed for quiet.

She tried to ignore the sounds of children and families. She tuned out the city noise in the background.

She longed for silence.

As she sat there, she watched the hippos. One female hippo waddled towards the water and dove in.

Lucy caught her breath.

hippo swim

This was her favorite part. Hippos were amazingly graceful in the water.

If she’d ever seen Fantasia, she might have imagined them wearing tutus.

Her alarm beeped reminding her it was time to return to work. As she stood up and stretched, she noticed how quiet it was.

She looked around. She was utterly alone. Not a single person was in sight.

All she could hear was the animals in the zoo. No cars. No airplanes. No people. Nothing.

**********

Present

20 years of quiet. 20 years of being alone. As far as Lucy knew, no one was left but her.

Was that even possible? Who knew? It’s not like she could ask anyone.

It was better to focus on what she did know.

She’d seen something in the sky. She should get to higher ground and watch for it.

Maybe she could signal it.

As she sat in her house, she heard something outside in the yard.

She looked out the window and couldn’t help herself. Her laughter startled it away.

It was a flamingo — in St. Louis.

After the first few days of being alone, Lucy had gone to the zoo and set the animals free and then never returned. She didn’t want to know which had survived and which sat in their cages without the will to seek freedom.

Freedom.

She had that in spades. She wanted someone, anyone, to talk to.

Make a signal. Right. She could do that.

Wild and Carefree Writing!

 

creativity

My writing this month has been more of an uphill climb than a graceful ice dance. I feel like I am forcing myself to be creative. And most of my problem is stemming from a voice in my head that keeps telling me I can’t write something. As in, “you can’t have a character do that!” or “you can’t write that because someone else already did.”

And then I remember, yes, I can. I can literally write whatever I want. That’s the beauty of writing.

So I want to use this post  to talk about how I wish I could get back to that time in my life when I wasn’t stifled by my own “grown up-ness.”

We all need to try to turn off those voices. Instead, let’s embrace the mindset of a child.

Write whatever. 

If you want to write about a fireman who flies on a purple hippo that puts out fires with cheese, write it.

If you want to write your story about villains or aliens or naked cats, write it.

I plan to fully embrace the child like lack of caring that lets creativity just run wild.

Here’s to a wild and carefree month reading and writing!

My short story will be posted in a couple of days, and I can’t promise there won’t be any hippos at this point.

September Writing Prompt

Short story of the month club continues, and without further ado, here is this month’s prompt:

It flashed through the sky and then was gone. Lucy was sure she had seen a UFO and was equally sure aliens were here to secretly make contact with a human being. Maybe they would choose her. Maybe she would get to visit their ship. Maybe…

I think this is a great prompt. As you know if you have read any of my stories, I do tend to have sci-fi bent in many of my stories.

Happy reading and writing this month!

ufo

POS

 

untitled

Looking back, it could have gone either way. It didn’t work out, which makes it look like fate, or a stupid decision, or both. But at the time, I did have a few things in my favor. I had ….

my freedom and what I thought was a bright future ahead of me. Instead of a thrilling city, I ended up back at home, living with my mom and dad. To top it all off, I was bed ridden for the next several weeks too. At least until my legs healed. How had I fallen so far so fast?

It all started with a car – a piece of shit car in fact. My father gave it to me on my 16th birthday. It didn’t run well and it looked like utter crap.

I didn’t realize at first, but it was the best gift anyone had ever given me. Every time it needed repaired, my dad would set aside time to take me out to the garage and teach me how to fix it myself.

Once I gave it a chance, I was hooked. I fell in love with fixing and improving my POS. Within a year, it was no longer running horribly. It still looked awful but it ran like a beast. The last two years of high school flew by because of that car. Either I was at work or fixing my car, and I only worked so I would have money to put into my car.

High school came and went and even more to my surprise, on graduation day, my parents announced that I had a trust fund left behind by my grandparents. All of my college expenses would be paid for and then some. I’d already applied and been accepted to City College and now with my new fortune, I couldn’t wait to leave.

It wasn’t long after settling in at school, that I met some like-minded companions who were also into all things automobile related. They introduced to the world of underground racing.

And I was good at it. Even in my POS, I won a lot of races and made a lot of money. Not that I cared though because everything I needed was paid for. I just enjoyed the thrill of the race.

People say things like car accidents happen all the time. And it’s true. Accidents happen. Sometimes you are not even doing anything out of the ordinary but they happen anyway.

When you get in the car and race, chances of an accident increase exponentially. That should seem obvious, but honestly my 18 year old brain wouldn’t have cared anyway if someone had mentioned that to me.

I lived to race. And sooner rather than later, I got in an accident. An accident that landed me in the hospital, barely alive, and now living with my parents again.

If I could do it over again, I would still do it. You only live once and sometimes you just want to drive fast.

Why I Love Shark Movies

 

mega-shark

Per usual for my second post of the month, I am not writing about writing. Instead, I want to take a moment to write about why I freaking love shark movies.

Before I get into it, let me say that I respect creatures great and small. I understand that shark movies vilify sharks and that even sharks deserve to be protected.

That being said, I still love the man vs beast movies that pit idiot humans against a sea-living predator (or other equally large and ridiculous monster). In fact, “bad” monster movies are my favorite type of movies.

If you don’t know what I’m talking about, you need to educate yourself. You need to watch the following: Jaws, Lake Placid, Any Godzilla, Sharknado, Tremors, and Predator. Start with those. If by the time you watch all of those, you aren’t in love with the genre, it’s not for you.

So why do I love something that even I willingly give the title “bad?”

1. They are super predictable. And despite this, it’s what makes them super fun. Let’s face it, when a helicopter crashes but the rotors continue to spin, you know something or someone is being thrown into it and getting chopped to bits.

2. I love that a big bad monster, in this case, a shark, takes some humans out. Let’s face it. It’s the ocean. It’s a shark. Get out of the ocean and you won’t get eaten. (Unless they form a sharknado, then everyone’s screwed). 🙂

3. I like that they don’t pretend to be high art or anything more than they are. They are usually full of mediocre actors and cheesy one-liners, but they are pure entertainment.

You may have guessed what brought this topic to mind — THE MEG. I went to see it last week. I LOVED IT. (Side note, does anyone know if Jason Statham actually ages?)

The-Meg-2018-movie-poster

The Meg was everything I hoped it would be – predictable, action packed, full of crazy stunts, and idiot humans got eaten.

One of the best elements of “bad” monster movies is that humans are almost always the reason the monster was awoken or released. We literally bring about the chaos that ensues. It’s one of the most profound things about these movies. We bring about our own doom because of our own arrogance. And then hell breaks lose and the monsters get to eat at least a handful of people before said monster is inevitably killed.

Shark movies in particular are some of my favorites because of the absolutely absurd nature of the plots. Sharks do not have personal vendettas, but they seem to in these movies. If you haven’t seen many of these movies, some of the best are The Meg, Jaws, Sharknado, Deep Blue Sea, and I’m going to add the whole Mega Shark series. (The Mega Shark series were made for tv, and they feature the Mega Shark being pitted against some other big bad, like crocosaurus, giant octopus, or even a mecha shark).

As you can tell, I am a huge fan of the genre. And the best part is that at the end of every “bad” monster movie, there is always a little clip at the end to hint that the fight is not truly over – the monster had a baby, there was more than one, the aliens have an entire population of hunters to get us, the list goes on…

Happy reading and writing this month! And go see The Meg.

mega-shark-vs-crocosaurus

August’s Prompt

I am running behind this month (like usual). However, I am really looking forward to everything going on this month. Mainly, school starts again.

I love my daughter, but she is an only child and I think she’s bored with me by this point in the summer. Trying to find ways to entertain her can be exhausting. At one point, I was honest with her. I said, “You have a 1,000 toys, an iPad, and a switch. If you say you’re bored one more time, we are donating all those things to someone who will enjoy them.” I think she believed me too because she hasn’t said it again. 🙂  So, I can’t wait for her to go back next week!!

vacay

Hopefully, I will have more time to write in the next couple of weeks once we get back into our routine for the year.

With writing in mind and without further ado, here is August’s story of the month prompt:

Looking back, it could have gone either way. It didn’t work out, which makes it look like fate, or a stupid decision, or both. But at the time, I did have a few things in my favor. I had ….

I think this is a great open-ended prompt. I can’t wait to get started.

Happy writing and reading this month!