Forget love. When the schedule says it will be there at 5pm, it arrives when we’ve already decided that an hour was too long to wait, so we hail a taxi with a odorous, gentle, beastly, but unusually polite man shrouded in cigar smoke. Unknown to us, we will end up marrying and loving this man perhaps until the day we die and think: “What if I had waited ten more minutes?”
Maybe you do. Maybe you get on the train, full of expectations. Will today be the day that Robert finally stops taking all the credit around the office? Will the invigorating start of a new phase in your life build up to something beyond fantasy? Ecstasy, even?
Maybe the people at the office start to take notice. Maybe you feel just a little bit better about yourself. Maybe it lasts. Maybe it doesn’t.
Thank you for your interest in the University of Chicago. Unfortunately, we cannot extend an invitation for attendance this year…”
I stare at the screen while some Santa Cruz stoners blast Bob Dylan dubstep outside my window. My theater friend Katie, a spry optimist, thinks UC Santa Cruz is a hip place to be. Rebellious and deviant but laid back at the same time. All I see is laziness disguised with progressivism, lots of rich white stoner kids talking about how much they love Malcolm X. My classes have turned into reality television shows, people hanging on their seats while me and the potheads go at it. It used to be almost exciting.
You wake up and you’re running late for work. Shit. You brush your teeth and you can barely stand to look at yourself in the mirror because you know that’s how you’ll look for the rest of the day. After throwing on your biggest coat (it is February in New York, after all) you run down the metal staircase to your trusty bike. As if your morning weren’t already full of alarming surprises, you find a feather, plastic compass, and a riddle.
I’ve written another response to writing prompt #2, and this time, it’s a little deeper than Smashmouth running away from the cops after he steals a watch. This time, I’m responding to Brandon Flowers’ “Playing with Fire” from his solo album, Flamingo Road. It’s incredibly soulful and reads like an epic of a young hero going out into the world on his own for the first time, knowing nothing beyond the limits of his incredibly small town, defying the wishes of his father, and whipped around in an inner turmoil. It’s a true story, based on Brandon Flowers leaving the tiny Mormon town of Nephi, Utah to live in Las Vegas and pursue greater heights just before he graduated high school.
Let me know what you think, or if you write a response on your blog, I’ll share it here on mine!
Last night was a regular night, though something didn’t settle with you. Maybe you had the feeling of being watched but chalked it up to your usual paranoid tendencies. You fall asleep alone, soothed by the regular sounds of your town or city, be it chirping crickets or a constant flow of cars.
When you wake up, the only thing you see is white. Could this be heaven? Your head is searing with pain, and in the shocking heat, this is the only thing you can focus on. You know you’re not in your bed. And when you look around, all you see is a desert with no sign of humanity, not even in the far off horizon.
Pick one of your favorite songs of any genre. Ask yourself: “Why did this singer write this song?” Was there a specific event that triggered the lyricist to write it? Write down your answer and get into the artists’ shoes. While you’re speculating about what gave this person inspiration, look for ways it could inspire you to write something else later on down the line. Investigate inspiration in and of itself, so that you can identify it and find muses hiding around in the cracks and corners of your life. But for right now, you’re writing about this particular artist and this particular event in the form of a poem, short story, brief explanation, poem, or anything of your liking.