Every day we start with a daily prompt. Each day, a different teacher chooses a prompt to get us writing for 10 minutes. Then, we share what we've written.
One day the prompt was a commercial. In it, a father kept doing crazy things with his kids and kept saying, "Don't tell Mom." (It ended with the mother going skydiving and saying, "Don't tell Dad.") The prompt: Begin your piece with the words "Don't tell."
Sometimes the prompt is a photo on the internet. Once, it was the first line from a novel: "The mouth is a strange place." It's the perfect way to start the day--warming up our writing mind.
Yesterday we had five columns, and we had to choose one word from each column to use in our piece. As soon as I saw "Mrs. Cassidy," I knew what I was going to write about. (The other words I chose were sink, scatter, swell and iconoclastic.)
Here's my story:
"Swell. You're here," I said. A middle-aged woman stood at the door. She didn't look worthy of him. She looked like he had settled. Really settled.
"Yes? Can I help you?"
"So, you must be Mrs. Cassidy. When you married him, you got me all whipped up into a frenzy. Years ago, I made a voodoo doll of you, and eventually, scattered parts of it all over the country. You're an undeserving skank and your reign with him--the partridge of all the Partridge Family, the iconoclastic singer of the 60's and 70's--well, your time is up."
Her mouth gaped open, like a brainless fish stuck in a tiny fishbowl.
I yanked her by her hair, not even giving her the chance to say another word, and started shoving her in a direction I hoped would lead in a direction which would lead to either the bathroom or the kitchen.
Another reason to shout "swell," because we had gotten to the back of the house where the kitchen was. I filled up the sink, keeping my grip on her hair and despite her struggling, managed to hold her head under the water until she was limp and motionless.
Now I could take my rightful place beside David...
Why did "Mrs. Cassidy" instantly spark an idea? When I was 11 or 12, I was in love with David Cassidy. When he married the actress Kay Lenz, I was aghast. I could easily imagine a pre-teen crush going awry.
|Aaah... the days when all hair was feathered back...|
Certainly there are huge holes in this story, and if I was interested in revising it, there's loads of work to do. However, I benefited from warming up with a little creative spark.
How do you warm up? What rituals do you engage in to start off your writing?