Volume 2 Prompt 4

Color prompts are always fun, don’t you think? So far we’ve done blue, yellow, and white. Let’s heat it up this issue with red. 

You get a longer writing session this time and double the word count as well. Make the most of it, writers.

Volume 2 Issue 2: Wildlife

For the last three nights in a row, a marten has run across my path. I am rather certain that it is not the same marten, for each night I was in a different neighborhood when it happened. My reaction, on the other hand, was the same each time: exhilaration.

I live in a suburban neighborhood surrounded by mountains on three sides and a very shallow sea on the other. Occasionally, I will get an alert from one of my kids’ schools warning us about boars or monkeys roaming the streets, having left the comforts of their forest for the chaos of cars and supermarkets. I have never actually seen the undoubtedly disorientated beasts but I like the idea that I could see them.

So spying the martens, their slim copper bodies racing across my path, thrilled me. Martens are solitary creatures, controlling a carefully selected territory and only socializing for the usual Spring flings. They prefer the woods but it is not uncommon in Japan for them to establish their habitat in human-dominated regions since every neighborhood is a mixture of modern concrete buildings and old houses with sculpted gardens. Not ideal but they are opportunists and make do with the hand dealt them. They use shallow drainage channels as their main routes but occasionally have to cross a regular street, as I witnessed this past week.

My days, on the other hand, feel decidedly not wild. I work and then come home and prepare for the next day of work, repeating until the week is spent. My food is wrapped up in clear cellophane, my sleep is determined by digital pulses instead of the lightening sky. My choices have become rote; everything feels tame, controllable, and infinitely so.

The flash of the martens disrupts that delusion. That sleek red streak of fur is unconcerned with my PTA meetings, my dentist appointments, my tests that need marking. The martens are living a wild life within our constructed tameness.

We humans are less honest than the marten. We live a pretend life, making up to-do lists to distract us from our own primal nature. We don’t want to be part of nature’s cycle because we know its rotation; instead we encase ourselves with material goods, petty obligations and expectations, thinking that the weight of them can sever our animalness, our birth and bloom, our decay and demise. We keep detailed day-planners and drink Frappuccinos and build highways and shopping malls and pretend that we have a better grip on life than the humble marten, scurrying through the wilderness that surrounds us all.


I knew when I selected this week’s prompt it that there were many ways to interpret the term. And as usual, the writers delivered. Issue 2 features prose and poetry that explore all forms of wildlife and wild lives.

(2) No Signal by Kelli Gavin
(3) Chill Out by Lynn White
(4) La Visite by Sarah Russell
(5) WILD MOTIVES by Jose Varghese
(6) I remember Dunia: The Earth by Annie Bien
(7) The Beast by Sunil Sharma

Pages: 1 2 3 4 5 6 7

Week 21: Prompt

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Hello and welcome to Week 21!

So this week,  I want you to use a nonsense word in your story but do not define it directly. Rather, let the explanation be in the context. For example:

“Hank, grab the sannibroet!”
“No, Martha, I really don’t think it has come to that. I mean, look at the poor thing, it’s trembling already.”
“Hank, do what I said,” Martha said, her voice low and firm. She was not a cruel woman, she loved animals; in fact, she just pulled over to move a gopher tortoise off the road that morning. Hank knew that she was scared, that it was the shock talking, not his sweet wife so he remained motionless.
“Hank.”
“Martha, I think you need to calm down. We can’t be hasty. We don’t want to do anything regrettable.”
“Hank, the sannibroet! Now!”

I really just ran my fingers over the keyboard to make up that word. And I still don’t really know what it is but I am sure if I went a little further with the story, I would figure it out. Have fun, be inventive, and get writing.

I look forward to seeing your stories.

500 words or less with a short bio (not included in the word count).
Due Thursday 8 pm EST via mercurialstories@gmail.com

 

 

 

Week 20: Prompt

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Turns out, if you Google “small town”, my hometown is right there on top.

I look forward to seeing your stories and if you have any suggestions for tomorrow’s playlist, add it in the comments.

Week 19: Prompt: Oh, those summer nights…

untitled(15)Hi there.

Well, now that we got off to a terrific start, let’s keep the (flash fiction) party going.

This week’s prompt is SUMMER NIGHT(S), inspired by the heat wave that is baking my adopted homeland right now.

As always, 500 words or less submitted by Thursday at 8 pm EST to mercurialstories@gmail.com. And please include a short bio with your story along with any website/social media links you wish.

I look forward to reading your stories!


Oh, by the way, I am considering doing a small print of the best stories (nominated by the public then blind judged by a small panel of readers). What do you think of this idea? Let me know in the comments or by sending me a message at the email address above.

Week 18: Prompt: Starting Over

Hi there.

Did you miss me? I know a few of you did and I do appreciate the messages of concern, truly. I am sorry I did not leave a note telling you about my extended absence but at the time it was a bit impossible (technical issues). All is fine now so we can press along.

This week’s prompt, appropriately enough, is STARTING OVER. 

Remember the rules?

500 words or less. Due Thursday by 8 pm EST. Submit to mercurialstories@gmail.com.

I look forward to seeing what you come up with.

Week 17: Prompts

In this week’s news we saw a tragedy of four people killed while dining early in the morning at a Waffle House. Watching/reading the coverage, the aspect that struck me was how fixated everyone was on the nudity of the shooter. There are many bizarre details to this story but his nakedness is definitely ranking high, which is fascinating to me.
So for this week’s story, write about an event, negative or positive, but include a bizarre aspect that overshadows the rest of the story. For example, you could write about how a couple struggling to conceive were finally able to start their family and a clown delivered the baby. Or how a high-schooler got a football scholarship and his father and she-wolf mother were so proud. You get the idea. Normalcy, tragedy, triumph but with one detail that is distractedly off.

Okay?

500 words, Friday morning (8 am- I am adding 12 hours because I am late this week.)
Send to mercurialstories@gmail.com.

Week 16: Prompt

Hi there and welcome to week 16.

This week the focus is on the structure of your story. I want you to write your story in the form of either a text message or an email (or series of emails). Try to make it unpredictable or unexpected. Dismiss the first three ideas that came to mind when you read the prompt. See how far you can go within the common containment.

As always (or almost always), five hundred words due by Thursday, 8 pm EST. mercurialstories@gmail.com

The playlist will be ready tomorrow.

Now get writing!

Week 14/15: Prompt

Hi there.

For the next two weeks, I will be busy with other projects so I have decided to do something different here. I am going to double the amount of words and time you have. 1000 words due April 12th, 8 pm EST. Send to the usual place: mercurialstories@gmail.com.

And the prompt, which seems appropriate considering the double nature of this assignment: twins, in whatever shape or form appeals to you. If you need a suggestion, one idea is that you write 500 words from one twin’s perspective and 500 words from the other’s. Again, just a suggestion. Do what you like and enjoy the extra time and length.

I will see you in two weeks. Happy April.

And, because I will not be here, I went ahead and put the playlist together.

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