I don’t know about you, but it’s cold where I live, and the snow won’t be leaving for some months now. That means it’s time to dream by the fire. (No, I’m not going to ask you to describe a flame. Ack!) Life marches on, and most of us have picked our path or at least been handed one that we’ve had to follow. Even so, those dreamy flames encourage the fun of imagining all those paths we might have followed.
Let’s say you can command the forces of fate and pick a couple of other paths. What would have liked to try?
Would you have liked to be a trapeze artist named Regina Glorina? Or perhaps a world-famous environmental attorney, defending the preservation of pure water and clean air? How about an explorer who circled the globe in a boat you made in your garage?
What dreams (you are not limited to one!) lurk in your flames?
The Winter Solstice brings together a number of religious and holiday traditions, including welcoming the New Year. These celebrations typically involve families gathering, perhaps some gift giving, a variety of parties (both at work and with friends) and lots of eating. No two people in the world have the same experience of the holidays. I’d like to hear about an odd holiday event from your past. It can be a unique tradition, an unusual memory, or even something best forgotten.
Take us with you into a weird holiday scene. Fiction and nonfiction are both welcome!
You live in a five by eight foot concrete block room with a locked door, one small window above head-height. Meals and clothing are provided for you. You have a cot, commode, sink, a tiny desk, and one metal chair. You get one hour outside per day, with others of your gender, but the guards do not allow you to talk. You will be released in 2030. You can have five personal items. How do you survive?
We all live two lives. One life is the one where we are social creatures, interacting and being around other people. The other life is the one we have where no one is looking. It’s this second life that intrigues me since there is a definite freedom in being unobserved. We needn’t fear embarrassing ourselves or causing other people to raise their eyebrows and turn away.
I once had a very bad day where every single thing I tried to do fell apart. The computer froze up and stayed frozen all day, a disaster since I work online. The fish I cooked for supper tasted like a kid’s rubber boot left out in the sun. My spouse rather mindlessly suggested that I was never likely to have any meaningful success outside the home (and then he went to bed). I stuffed the disposal full of the coleslaw that neither of us had eaten, and the pipe under the sink exploded, shooting stinky cabbage all over the kitchen floor.
All alone, I carefully picked up a wooden kitchen chair and smashed it against the floor over and over and over until it was in pieces. This is quite out of character for me, since I am a fairly cheerful and nice person but then, I was all alone and fuck that shit!
So here you are, anonymous and posting as a lone human. Tell us about a time you took advantage of the freedom of being alone and did something you would never do in front of other people.
I would have picked 1967, but dang, that is such a cliche. So fill us in on your adventures. Where were you in 1970? What were you doing!
Okay, I couldn’t make my Monet Challenge work at all. What seemed like a really elegant and terrific idea, inspired by an Impressionist painter, turned out to be something that didn’t work in words. I am not a big fan of tricks in writing unless they are entertaining, and this one, though intellectually and theoretically intriguing, ended up being boring and a bit like navel gazing. (Me! Me! Me! My stuff! My insights! My cleverness!)
So let’s talk about lousy ideas. I’ve just owned up to one of mine. Let’s hear about a writing idea or piece that you tried that really tanked once you got into it. It might also help to hear what you learned from this kind of dead end. (I have several more, but now it’s your turn.)
Our mothers may be living or dead. Mom, Mama, Mother–she was usually there when we were young. Those distant memories can be captured rather than lost.
This is a creative non-fiction challenge. Remember being a child. Remember your mother (or the one who raised you) as she was with you. Write one memory, not a summary. Show her to us through your young eyes.