Out of My Head

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In an effort to get back into the writing groove per one of my New Year’s resolutions, I found a few workshops to take from the Emrys Foundation’s Writing Room.  The one this afternoon was just the right price for my budget — five bucks — and was led by one of my favorite authors, local writer Mindy Friddle.  I fought the urge to geek out and take my copies of her two novels for her to sign.

But I thoroughly enjoyed the two hours and felt motivated and inspired afterward, and I thought I’d share the results of our writing prompt exercises.  I’m looking forward to the next one on March 21st!

Exercise #1: Write about a car negotiation from the car’s perspective

They should just put me out of my misery. I’m 14 years old. I leak and I can’t get rid of all the water. Every time I turn, the rusty, brown fluid rolls from one side to the other.  Years ago, I had sunny days with the sunroof open and the fresh air swirling around the inside.  My owner hopped in and out of me and sang along to the radio.

Then there were two accidents.  The alternator had to be replace. I developed this rattling sound, and I couldn’t take the bumps in the road like I used to.  So I went from being the preferred car to the back-up car.  The woman who bought me pushed me off on her husband, who curses my existence each time he cranks the engine.

Exercise #2: Figurative language (Finish each phrase with whatever metaphor or simile comes immediately to mind.)

Graffiti on the abandoned building like a solitary neon sign on a deserted highway.

The dice rolled out of the cup toward Veronica like the widow’s mite dropping into the offering.

The fog plumed through the gunshot holes in the car windows like a smoker exhaling after a long drag.

If I should wake before I die, I promise not to sleep before I live.

The library books left in the rain like ducklings trying to find their mother.

Exercise #3: Photo prompt

Woman with baby monkey

Woman with baby monkey by Diane Arbus (1971)

Infertility wasn’t treatable during Aunt Maggie’s childbearing years.  My father often commented that the Lord must have known what He was doing because anyone who found raising a monkey a suitable substitute for raising a child probably wasn’t sane enough to handle children.

I, on the other hand, was never quite convinced that Aunt Maggie was satisfied.  While she named the monkey after her and my father’s maternal grandmother, Viola, I developed my doubts about her motivation after seeing the first photo of Maggie and Viola together.  Her smile seemed less than enthusiastic, and apprehension lingered in her eyes like a salesperson who refuses to be dismissed.  Yet the most telling evidence came from the way she held Viola.  The monkey’s arm reached up as if she knew that Maggie was her caregiver, but Maggie’s hands barely held on to the primate’s body as she laid in her lap.  Her entire posed seemed to question whether or not she was doing the right thing.

Dad was always quick to tell Maggie that she had made a mistake. I secretly thought he’d be happier with the monkey than he was with us.

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