Today’s #writingprompt took me in another strange direction. This sign made me laugh when I first saw it at the mall, but I guess I wasn’t laughing about it today 🤣
I bloodied my ivory tulle dress with barbeque sauce. I smeared my hands down the bodice, ensuring it would stain. My mother watched from the entrance of the empty reception hall. She’d followed me in after vomiting out the news. No one else dared.
I ripped it off my body without unzipping. The crackling of tearing seams echoed. GRAHHHHHHHHH. I threw my body to the ground, knees meeting the hardwood first- crunching.
The smell of smoked chicken and brisket still makes me nauseous.
“You should have never gotten mixed up in a man who did his dissertation on Greek tragedies,” Mom stared past the ceiling as if she could see into heaven. “I told you it was bad luck. He was always destined to become one.”
Today’s #writingprompt was more difficult. I wasn’t sure where to take this one. I thought of all the speculative directions I could take it, but none of them sparked enough interest in me. So, we ended up with this…
He told everyone at the Monday Morning Mimosa Mixer the story of the time he saw an alien when he was eleven. He’d drag it out. The luminescent green of its 10-foot-tall paper-thin body. The way he slammed himself to the floor before it could see him watching. The story was weird enough to paint Lewis as eccentric but not too odd to make him unapproachable.
The room reeked of orange juice and Maureen’s Dolce and Gabbana perfume. Maureen wasn’t a fan of the alien story. She could trace her lineage before her family came over on the Mayflower. And she constantly reminded people that she didn’t need to work by flashing them her eighteen karats gold custom-made Tiffany’s wedding band adorned with thirty garish diamonds. Her family had one saving grace: they believed everyone needed to earn their living.
Maureen’s father set her up with her first job as a secretary when she was seventeen at his plastic surgeon’s office. There she met local TV personality Cheryl Crouch who gave her a job doing social media for her morning show. One of the guests on the morning show was Brandon Skylar, who she eventually married. She repeated her favorite saying every Monday, “people need people.” For a networking opportunity, it was an apt slogan.
“Oh,” a man took in Lewis’s dark wash jeans. He stood out amongst the wealth surrounding him, but that worked to his favor. They craved a taste of him. “So, what exactly do you do?”
“Pleasure to meet you,” Lewis did not stick out his hand. “I’m a writer. I do a lot of copy for businesses, big and small. I’ve also written ghost stories, but those aren’t high in demand these days.”
The man laughed from his stomach and clapped Lewis on the back. They got talking about his son’s dispensary business. Of course, the man pointed out that the son did not imbibe in the product; it was purely entrepreneurial. He had tried to talk his son out of the business decision, telling him drugs are for people who watch that trash on that swimming adult channel. But hell, the man had to admit, you could make damn good money off crazy people.
By the time the two-hour mixer wound down, Lewis had hit on three leads with increasingly drunk clients. When he got home to the other side of town, he sent a follow-up e-mail to each. Then he took off his tweed jacket and toe-squishing shoes in favor of a topless boxers look. At 4:20, Lewis lit his Gandalf pipe packed with Blueberry Kush (coincidentally from the son’s dispensary). Looking over his balcony, he started brainstorming.
Tuesday nights were open mic night at Al’s bar, an unlikely place for the best music and writing the city could offer. The mix of academia and stoner culture is a cocktail that will never go out of style. This was the type of crowd it would be easier to count who didn’t have a nicotine addiction.
The rotten berry aftertaste from his ale clung to the back of Lewis’s tongue. 10:05 PM, his slot was up.
He never told the alien story to this crowd.
“XOXO, Gossip Girl. Our city’s Westside is hauntingly similar. But without the glamour. The romance. Or the anti-heroes.” He begins his five minutes with standing-tall confidence.
Everyone loves a story that’s out of their world.
Thank you to everyone who has been reading these daily prompts. It means the world to me. I’m just happy to finally be getting back into a writing routine, even if it’s just generative.
I used today’s writing prompt as more of a creative journaling prompt—some pondering and reflection. I don’t have limitations for these prompts. They can range from nonfiction to speculative works. I hope you can be as relaxed with your expectations for your work too.
I used to ride the 50 bus into the city. The free student bus for the university I wasn’t a student at. I’d carry a backpack and pray the driver wouldn’t check IDs. Most days, I was lucky; I’d save a dollar seventy-five each way.
I’d seen them two times before- the person with the caution-tape-yellow shoelaces. I tried to hide that I was staring. Was I just envious of their style, or was it an irrelevant crush on a stranger I knew I’d never meet, so I could romanticize our fictional relationship in my daydreams? Both. It was both.
I fall in love with strangers weekly without a word between us. But this person, I had the overwhelming urge to make friends with. I formulated conversation starters in my head, but I didn’t speak. Society told me that would be “weird,” and anxiety begged me not to break the status quo. On the bus, you’re meant to sit straight ahead with earphones in and distract yourself until you reach your stop. Not disturb strangers with poorly formed conversations.
Why are there so many limitations to making friends as an adult? Why can’t we walk up to anyone and say, “Hey, I like your style. Wanna vibe?” Between stunted conversations, lack of time, and mental illness, it feels like a marathon not worth running.
I’ve survived toxic friendships that brought out the worst in me. When this picture was taken, I was fresh out of the friendship responsible for most of my repressed memories. So, in this person across from me, I saw possibility.
I imagined my favorite bands were humming through their headphones. We could jam together, or go to concerts, or badly dance. Or…
My expectations weren’t even that high. We didn’t need to do any of those things. They could sit with me. We didn’t need to speak. We could just chill. Vibe. Coexist.
On the 50 bus at 9 am, I imagined we had that.
I couldn’t say hello, but I could immortalize the idea of our could-be friendship in a photo. I tried to make my phone look natural in my hands as I angled it for the shot. I tapped the button. Then-
My phone made the camera sound loud enough to echo, and they looked up at me.
Today’s writing prompt/art prompt comes from a street sticker that was a part of Artprize (an art competition in Grand Rapids, MI). This was a part of the #unsentproject. I hope this prompt helps you out today.
Noah wasn’t a bad guy, but he embodied the word “meh.” He had style—that 1950s greaser look. People dreamed of taking up the space under his leather-clad arm and riding in his brand new corvette.
Jazz fluttered like a moth crashing into Noah’s dim light. If you asked Noah, he would say they were “just having fun,” but it’d been eleven months and eighteen days- Jazz counted. Jazz lived for aesthetics and perfectly curated Instagram grids, and Noah fit the bill. But they knew when to put the phone away; Noah didn’t. They cried when they watched Once at the Cadillac Palace Theater; Noah said he “didn’t get it.” And Jazz leaned in for a kiss at Niagra Falls, but Noah was too busy complaining about getting wet in the spray.
Noah and Jazz had traveled all across the country together, but they were at odds in everything they did. And when Noah didn’t kiss them, they knew it was going nowhere. And nowhere wasn’t where they wanted to go.
It wasn’t worth a confrontation. They wrote a note and left it on the driver’s side seat of the red Corvette. Years later, when Jazz thought about it, they wished they hadn’t exposed their heart through the words. Noah would say, “huh,” toss it in the trash, and find another partner to lug around.
Without him, Jazz didn’t have the means to travel or eat lavish meals. They wanted that back; they wished Noah had just kissed them, and it would have all been okay. But now, Jazz sings karaoke on Tuesday nights, hoots when hockey players brawl, and spends hours in museums soaking up every bit of information. Jazz had been confused; they weren’t a moth. They were a monarch who needed space to fly.
Today’s didn’t come out as good as yesterday, but it was still something that got me writing. I’ve learned lately that not everything needs to be good writing; there just needs to be writing.
Thank you for reading, and wishing you luck in your creative endeavors.
Writing prompt/ art prompt! Please, take this bit of inspiration along with me. Write or draw whatever comes to mind.
Here’s mine: ——————————– “Why are you crying over a bug?”
“Spider.” She corrected, the years scorching at the corners of her eyes. “American Grass Spider, actually.”
And that a-hole had the audacity to laugh. He enunciated each syllable – huh huh huh. But the woman focused on the spider trying to eat the cigarette butt that had been carelessly clicked into its blanketed funnel web. The spider dragged the bounty into the eye of its home and searched for the nutrition it would not find.
“I always forget you’re a bug freak,” he winked, but unlike a year ago, she did not smile.
She debated stepping in and trying to save the spider from the carcinogenic heartbreak. All she had to do was remove it from the funnel. But trying to save it might be damaging for both of them.
Audibly, he sucked in the air between his teeth. The silence weighed down the brisk 11 pm air. “How about we go home and watch that movie you’ve been nerding over?”
She didn’t look up at him; she nodded toward the spider. As they walked home, the tears fell. He didn’t notice.
She logged into Netflix; he’d called asleep before she even pressed play.
I found this graffiti year ago and always thought it was poetically beautiful. It’s been in my mind for years, but I’d never done anything with that inspiration. Isn’t that just how it is? So much wasted creativity.
I hope today, you’re able to use this as inspiration. I hope you create something. Please let me know if this prompt sparked something in you.