Today was a Prompt Writing Workshop day.
I arrived at Market Street Books in Southern Village a little early, and had a cup of discounted coffee (for "the writers") at the little coffee shop next door. I always say, "I'm with the book club," when I ask for my $1.00 cup of coffee, and then have to correct myself, and say, "the writers' group."
Guess that's what happens when you've been in three book clubs over the past 15 years.
They have free wireless there — at the coffee house — and I connected to the Internet to kill some time.
We had a small group today, which got a lot smaller after our break, which happens about two hours in — after the readings of the second prompt.
I got to change my introduction a little, to include the fact that I'm now "writing" a book. Yay!
"The first prompt is an opening line: 'You are eating waffles...' Begin."
This is what I wrote. I have edited it slightly. I read all three pieces of my work today, since the group was so small.
|You are eating waffles by hands that have made waffles for over 26 years in this very Waffle House.|
Let me start by showing you my teeth. I have all of them. And they're all mine.
I'm the one you don't hear about in that tired old joke, "What has six breasts and three teeth? The night shift at the Waffle House." So funny I forgot to laugh.
So anyway, even though I've worked here for 26 years, that doesn't mean it's all I've ever done.
I used to be a professor. I taught mathematics. So, I'm really good with recipes, especially dividing them up. You know, when a recipe for 8 servings calls for 3 1/2 tablespoons of oil? It's not a problem for me to adjust the amount of oil to make 5 servings instead.
Hell, I can even slip over to the cash register when the place gets packed — and I do — because I can make the correct change even if you give me some extra change after I enter the amount tendered, and hit the "change due" key, or if the power goes out and the cash register doesn't tell me what to do at all.
So, why am I making waffles? Well, once I served waffles to the president of the United States — John F. Kennedy. And I felt good about it. At first, I thought it was because he was the president, but eventually I realized that it was all about the waffles.
I've thought about retiring several times now, but I just can't decide — back-and-forth, back-and-forth — just can't decide.
I guess that's why they call it waffling. I just keep waffling, and making waffles all the while.
Some comments shared:
- I liked the joke. I'd never heard it.
- I liked the "but eventually I realized that it was all about the waffles."
- I thought when you talked about her slipping over to the cash register, it introduced some momentum that was carried out in the piece as well.
- I liked the "waffling" word play at the end.
"The second prompt is, 'Write about running away.' Begin."
|I ran away into my intended life on August 5, 1978. That's when I married — a woman.|
It was like I went through a door — a closet door — that had a sign on it that said, "Your Expected Life."
For 16 years I worked as hard as I could, with the greatest of intentions. I intended to have a good relationship with my wife — and I did — well, all except the sex. My wife and I grew together — we shared life goals and life dreams, and we were good friends. Our families and all our friends remarked on our remarkable marriage. And I intended to honor my marriage vows, of being faithful — and I did — for 16 years.
I intended to be successful professionally — and I was. I had the job at IBM. I had the $200,000 house while still in my twenties, and I intentionally drove around in my BMW.
The years passed and those intentions began to wear me out. I got tired. I got real tired. And then, one day, riding home from IBM to that $200,000 house in that BMW, I wondered, "Is there any way that I could drive this 'ultimate performance machine' into that ravine in such a way that I could be sure I wouldn't have to live with an 'intending to die' for the rest of my life?"
That was my turning point. That was the day I decided to live my authentic life. And I look forward now, thinking, "Thank [insert deity of choice here] that I didn't live my entire life here with only good intentions."
And this Saturday, 27 years to the day that I married that woman with whom I learned skills that transfer to any kind of relationship, I will join her and her family at the 50th Wedding Anniversary of her parents, "Mom and Dad C." At least one of my intentions still holds true — my intention to have a successful relationship with her.
The feedback on this piece was, well, it's the kind of feedback for which writer's write. The group was very generous, and my heart was full.
Shar, who's own story from this prompt, I absolutely loved, suggested I think about trying to have it published somewhere like The Independent.
There were some very, very good stories to come from this prompt — I also loved Aggie's piece on this about a co-worker of the narrator running away to Nantucket, and Kathy's story about her narrator's sister with cancer. (Though I wonder now if that story wasn't as a result of the "eclipse" prompt.)
"Today's final prompt is, 'Write about an eclipse.' Begin."
I really, really, really am displeased with this piece, and have "waffled" about putting it in here. I really don't want it in here.
|You may not be aware of this, but there is a website you can go to that when you click on it, this oval comes up in your browser.|
It's just an oval, and at first you don't realize that it's a head — a human head, that is. And what else you don't first realize is that when you move your cursor over the oval, a drawing palette will appear along the bottom of the screen.
Most people find this out when they grab the mouse and drag it up to the BACK button, or to the "address field" to put in another URL that might take them to a page that will actually do something.
"Bling" — you hear the sound as soon as your cursor moves past any part of the browser window and the palette appears on the bottom. It flashes for the first 5 seconds enticing your engagement.
You see from left to right, icons representing an eye, nose, mouth, ears, eye lashes, eyebrows, facial hair, and all the way to the right of the palette, hair for the top of the head.
You dip your cursor into the mouth paint and are amazed at how once the mouth is "released" onto the face, you can rub your cursor over it for all kinds of special effects, including botoxification.
Giddy — you go through the others adding a nose, and then flaring its nostrils, and then ears on which you hang earrings with another rub.
Then, as soon as you decide on the perfect 'do, one with long bangs, and release it onto the face, the palette flashes, a noise sounds, and an additional icon appears to its end — scissors.
You think, why not, and start clipping those bangs — they're too long anyway. As soon as you click to finalize your cut, a message box appears in the middle of the screen:
People found one or two positive things to say about this piece, bless their hearts. :-)
What I hate about this piece was getting all the way to the end, and finding out that what I really wanted was the word "e-clip" but was stuck with making it sound like eclipse.
It's like getting all the way to the end, and finding out you took a wrong turn, right at the beginning. A good lesson in contrivance, perhaps.
I really enjoyed Jane's piece on this prompt where her narrator says something to the effect of, "Ok, I'll watch the stupid eclipse, as long as I don't have to ooh and aah about it."