No. 8: Prompt

Hello there and welcome to week 8.
Hopefully it will go better than week 7, for me at least.

This week’s prompt is: parallel lives.

Do what you will with it. I look forward to seeing the results by Thursday 8 pm EST.
Submit to

Check in tomorrow for the updated playlist, though this week’s will be a little tougher to put together as I don’t know that many songs related to parallel lives. Regardless, there will be a playlist.

Get writing my dears.

(No. 7) Delay

A bit of a delay as I grapple with an exceptionally rough work week. There will be at least two stories this week and at least one of them will be awesome. Thanks for your patience. Take care.

Prompt No. 7

Hello all and welcome to week seven.

This week’s prompt is: the golden years.

You can tackle the phrase directly, you can keep it in mind as you write, whatever works for you but I would like to see how your creative mind reacts to this rather interesting phrase. Especially since so many participants end up being American.

I will be back tomorrow with the new playlist. Get writing, lovelies.

Prompt No. 6

Hello there and welcome to week 6.

The prompt this week is: dead-end jobs.
500 words, due Thursday 8 pm EST, stories posted Friday. Playlist will be up tomorrow.

Six weeks of Mercurial Stories. Six weeks of thinking of new prompts, trying to get the word out, and writing my own response. It has proven to be an interesting side project for me. Besides for the act of coordinating this project, I also get the opportunity to explain to others the reasoning behind this endeavor.

Like millions of others, I have always wanted to be a writer and like millions of others, I have found that the reality of writing is much different from the concept. I am the type of writer who has a solid talent, decent ideas, but have yet to meet my own projected output (you fellow scribes know what I am talking about, the whole “by the time I am thirty, I will have written five thousand stories and won the Man Booker and Pulitzer prizes, in the same year” thing). I mean, Terry Gross has never interviewed me. Not even once.

I have been through some massive nonsense in the past few years and the insight it provided about who I am and how I write was phenomenal. I could not finish a story because I was suffering for a crippling combination of low self-esteem and over-idealization of writing. Add to that recipe the fact that I am a language teacher, well, you get a rather promising and grammatically tidy first paragraph.

I read a lot of short stories that could have been written by me, had I persisted past those initial feelings of self-loathing. They would make A+s in any English class. And yet, for all their lovely syntax, they are not noteworthy stories. They are stories that fill literary journals but they are not stories that linger in the collective imagination. They are sincere stories written by serious introverts who are so desperate to be Writers that they forget to write. And unfortunately they also end up mangling that true voice that distinguishes one storyteller from another.

Mercurial Stories is an attempt to knock Writing down from its pedestal. I want to make that W lowercase so that it is no longer a proper noun but a working verb. I want to give people a chance to participate in this writer’s gym where the point is to get stronger as a writer. I want participants to forget the idea of writing for fame and glory, to abandon the shitty notion of perfection. Read the prompt, write something in response, and let it go so you can go through the process again next week. And the week after that. As the late great Ray Bradbury said:

“Write a short story every week. It’s not possible to write 52 bad short stories in a row.”

Prompt No. 5

Welcome to Week 5.

In honor of the unique celestial event we have this week, this week’s prompt is…

lunar eclipse

And, just a reminder, 500 words or less, due Thursday 8 pm EST, to

Come back tomorrow for the new playlist.
And don’t forget to share our project with your writing peeps. The more stories we get, the more we get to read.

Happy writing.

Prompt No. 4

Hello and welcome to Week 4 here at Mercurial Stories.

It was a really shitty week last week for me and so I was unable to either participate in the writing project or promote it. These things happen, eh? So onward we go.

Week 4 is a bit broad. This prompt does not have to be included in the story directly but can be woven in. The prompt is:

the color blue

Do what you like with it but do it in less than 500 words. And submit it to by Thursday, please.

Check back in tomorrow for the new playlist.

Happy writing.

Prompt #3 – No stories

Due to an extremely frustrating and long work week, I was unable to promote this writing project like I normally do and thus had no submissions this week, even from myself.

So I will let it go and try again next week.

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