Writing workshops are fun. You should attend them, if you don’t already. The one I occasionally go to gives us a prompt to start writing and then drops in more prompts during our short allotted writing time. Here’s a bit of strangeness I wrote at my last Writers Workshop in White River Junction, Vermont. We were told to write two stories/essays based on the following prompts:
First prompt: “The worst thing about this time of year is,” or “Why I hate early November.”
Second prompt: “brown leaves”
Third prompt: “a cat”
The worst thing about the fall are the screeches of pain from the trees. Yes, I hear trees, and yes, I know that you don’t. I hear all the sounds that plants make. They don’t talk like animals – not like people words or dog whines or cat purrs. They express themselves in a more basic primordial way. And it’s not meant to get a reaction from you, like animal sounds; plant sounds are unfiltered, automatic, necessary reactions to the stuff of the universe.
This time of year is especially difficult to listen to, because while everyone else is goggling at the beautiful colors of the trees, all I can focus on is the endless miserable, wheezy, creaking from the trees as they are inexorably and painfully pulled into hibernation.
You’d think they’d get used to it and stop complaining. The very worst part of this unhappy cacophony are when the leaves finally turn from yellow, red and orange to brown. That’s when the trees are in their death throes. Finally they sleep after dropping their leaves, like tears, on the ground for us to rake up and throw out.
First prompt: “This is the jolliest time of year,” or, “Why I love early November.”
Second prompt: “The first snowfall.”
Thank God for autumn! This is the season where nature rewards us with candy colored trees. All other seasons suck by comparison. Summer and winter are obviously too extreme and belong on some other planet. But what of spring, you ask. Isn’t there something delightful about spring, new life, green, renewal, blah blah blah? No! Spring is pregnant with false promises. It’s alluring but misleading. You think, oh, finally, after what seems like and endless colorless frozen death, we have life! But what is life if it ends so quickly? There’s no point to it. The caterpillars morph into butterflies. Yay. But then they die. A lot of insects and other animals fly, run and swim around just to mate and die, passing on the pointless misery to another doomed generation.
If you think about it, the other seasons are just as dishonest. Everyone gets al excited about the first snowfall – how pretty is the snow on the the branches – it’s a “winter wonderland!” But then it just keeps coming and coming! Piling up, burying us in a frozen wasteland. And summer just drains the life from you. So, the other seasons suck.
But fall is truly a marvel – our reward for suffering through all the other seasons, just so long as you don’t listen to the trees.
Well, that’s that. I challenge you to take the prompts listed above and write your own stories. Give yourself a short amount of time if you like. And if you’re into writing challenges, check this out: