Creative Prompt, 11.9.22
Damp moss, wet tree, needle-covered path.
Hi everyone — our community’s own missed connections can be found here, and if you’re looking for the real thing, the Craigslist missed connections board never disappoints.
Speaking of ‘full figured man in tweed coat,’ don’t miss this short video I shared on Monday —
Reminder — we have a Creativity Night on the books for Friday, 12/9, in Brooklyn. If you’re in the area, hope you’ll grab a ticket.
As always, the prompt is entirely open to your interpretation — you can follow it as closely or as loosely as you want, using your creative medium of choice.
Scroll down for the prompt…
I suggest waiting until you’re ready to create — the less time to overthink it, the better…
It’s just below here, time to head into Airplane Mode…
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Questions? Comments? Feel free to drop me a line.
Until next time,
He’d been alone in a cabin in the woods for the better part of a year when the wraith made its first appearance. He’d woken up at five thirty with the sun as he did most days and walked out into the kitchen to boil water for coffee. A tall, slim figure leaned against the counter. The sun came in from the east facing windows so he thought it was his own shadow he saw, but that changed when it stood up and began moving towards him. What do you want? he cried, and the wraith disappeared.
He was distracted all day. On his hunt he shot a wild goose out of the sky and then couldn’t find it on the ground. He searched for an hour at least before throwing his hands up and walking back to his cabin, cursing himself all the way. Maybe I’m too old, he thought.
The wraith was standing outside the front door. Hey! he called. Who are you?
The wraith charged him and the man closed his eyes and braced for impact but it never came. When he opened his eyes it was gone.
He packed a bag that night and began the 40-mile trek into town. He covered half the distance on the first day and made camp on the bank of the Pine Needle River. He bathed that night and when he emerged from the water he noticed the wraith watching him from behind a tree. So you’re a creep! he shouted, and wraith shrieked and disappeared.
He made it into town at four o’clock the next day. It was quieter than he remembered and he decided to stop off at Maud’s Ale House for a beer. The door was open but the bar was empty. He walked over to the grocery store, which was empty too. The shelves were stocked but the smell was too rancid to stay.
He walked back outside and shouted, Where is everybody? There was a deafening 'Pop' and a cloud of black smoke and then he was gone.
Lydia stared at the blank screen. Her fingers wandered, almost of their own accord, to the trackpad where they sought out a new internet tab, desperate to receive content rather than this anguish of attempting to create it. But then, she realized that there was no internet here, no hope of being rescued from this abyss. Her fingers reluctantly trudged back to the home row and waited.
Lydia had come, alone, to this cabin in the woods to write. This was the first time she’d been away from her two children, one of whom she was still nursing. The previous evening, she had driven away from them after a scrum of a family hug and a mess of tears and smiles, some braver than others. As she drove away, her eyes wandered, almost of their own accord, to the rearview window to search them out until they faded into the sea of dusk and glaring lights, and, reluctantly, her eyes trudged back to the road ahead.
She had been about three-quarters of the way through her first novel when her oldest was born. There had never been a more creatively productive time than her first pregnancy. Her due date functioned like deadlines had college. Deadlines didn’t just focus her attention, they seemed to spur inspiration, creating a manic, sleepless drive to produce. Of course, the most obvious, Psych 101 interpretation of her bizarre nesting behavior was correct. She was incredibly anxious about becoming a parent and her avoidance of that feared outcome was the engine of her fiction. Predictably, baby shower gifts were still in their original packaging when she went into labor two weeks early. A crib, picked out by her husband and purchased by her in-laws, sat unassembled in the unpainted and mostly vacant room they had determined would “someday” be the nursery when they had moved in.
Now, just over three years later, the single-minded focus she had brought to her writing back then seemed unapproachable. Her recollections of that time are blurry, as if she had been in a trance. Predictably, when she’d gone into labor, that trance had ended and another one started. From that day forward, she had trained her focus on her son and, then, two years later, a daughter. She had never felt so grounded. Her existence became simpler, more concrete, though never easy. It was only on the rare occasions that she had a moment to sit down to write that she realized her head was filled with cliches, that her body was preoccupied with the appetites of her children, and her creative instincts, that thing she once understood to be the visceral signal emitting from the very essence of her true self, had become imperceptible.
This weekend was an experiment in determining if she could resurrect it and, so far, it was not going well. Her back ached from the wooden chair. The air in the cabin was thick, almost damp with humidity. And the noise, my gosh, the noise. A wall of sound that consisted of some unknowable combination of disconcerting animal and weather noises so pervasive that it blocked out her thoughts and, frustratingly, defied her powers of description. But then, she noticed the remarkable freedom from screeching, plaintiff cries of hunger that seemed to trigger a primitive part of her nervous system. Freedom from small, sticky hands that grabbed at her clothes, her hair, her very thoughts. With that in mind, she thought that just maybe this noise was one she wouldn’t mind remembering and that maybe, just maybe, she should just try her hand at describing.