Elizabeth: Friday Writing Sprints – In the Dark

As I slowly woke up this morning, the sun was shining, the birds were singing, and someone off in the distance was mowing their lawn.  I was mentally congratulating myself on waking up before the alarm went off when I happened to notice the emergency flashlight glowing from the other side of the room.  I glanced from it to my blank alarm-clock before finally realizing what that meant:  the power was out.

Instead of waking up early, I was in reality late for work.  Ugh.

With no electricity and thus no internet, my plans to work from home instead of driving into the office were dashed.  As I was trying to remember how to get the automatic garage door open without electricity (so I could get the car out), I got a robo-call from the local power company on my cell phone confirming the outage and estimating that all would be restored in less than 2 hours.  What followed next was about 20 minutes of understanding just how much I rely on having power in the house just to do basic things like have breakfast and get ready for work.

Fortunately the power (but not the internet) was back in about an hour and by the time I get home tonight, everything should be back in working order (fingers crossed on that).  I thought maybe this morning’s outage was Mother Nature’s way of reminding me how lucky I am and to help me empathize with the folks in Puerto Rico, Mexico, and all the other places that have been devastated by recent events; some of whom may not have power for weeks or months, in addition to a multitude of other problems they face.

Since no experience is ever wasted for a writer, I’m sure I can put my own power outage to good use in a story.  I’m thinking it may just provide a great way to jump-start a little Random Word Improv.

Care to join me?

Whether you’re powered down, enjoying the turning of the seasons, relaxing with friends, or just looking for a distraction, a few minutes of Random Word Improv are a great way to have a little fun and get some words on the page.


Today’s random words are pretty random.  It’s up to you to find a theme in them.

sincere           adventurous         jump             trouble

lopsided        calculate                retire            whimsical

purple             swanky                   arrest           toes

slippery          stormy                    impolite      explain

For any of you new to Random Word Improv, here’s how we play:

  1. Pick as many words from the list as you want
  2. Write the first line(s) of a story incorporating your words
  3. Post your results in the comments section.

Okay.  Are you ready?  Let’s sprint!

*whistling aimlessly while you are off being creative*

Ah, you’re back.  Kind of fun, right?  Can’t wait to see what you have come up with.

3 thoughts on “Elizabeth: Friday Writing Sprints – In the Dark

  1. We live out in the country, and it seems we get blackouts every couple of years or so. The worst was after an earthquake, and it lasted most of a day — the earthquake to our house was not that bad, and most people didn’t have a lot of problems in their house. It was the infrastructure. It was also Grandmother’s funeral, so a lot of the events of that day are stuck in my mind. The Buddhist priest usually uses a microphone to chant the sutras, but this time he had to use his raw voice.

    One blackout, I remember staring at the living room floor which should have been vacuumed three days prior. I couldn’t do anything about it (well, I suppose I could have pulled out a roll of duct tape and collected the dirt that way). So, I always mean to keep to a regular housekeeping schedule, just in case the power goes out, but I never really wind up doing it.

    My thoughts go out to all the people who are experiencing power outtages today. Such terrible world events that pull the rug of civilization right out from under us — but some people manage to carry their civilization with them, and can carry on even under the worst circumstances, and even become heroes. They won’t see this (power outtage and all), but I’m still thinking of them.

    Going off to scribble a little something-something now. If it’s not complete drivel, I’ll post today, for once.

  2. Susan should have felt depressed, she supposed, but she was just happy to be alive and to have escaped the worst of the earthquake. The lopsided mountain of unfiled paperwork and junk in the office had slid down on the floor, and she was almost done cleaning that up – almost all of it went directly into the trashcan – and she had just reached the layer from that summer, five years ago. Here was the season ticket for the pool from that year, and there was the picture of that boyfriend who didn’t bother to explain their break-up. He just disappeared without a forwarding address, and like so much trouble, it hadn’t hurt like she thought it might.

    The power, of course, was still off, but the sun was shining through the window, when she came across the purple file. The purple file! She’d forgotten that that was even a thing. The cat jumped onto her crossed legs and settled in, so there was nothing to do but deal with the file.

    It was thicker than she’d remembered. She’d kept it to document the strange goings on of that summer. There was a picture of the lawn covered with frogs after that odd stormy night. Here was the two-headed calf that wandered into the living room one Sunday afternoon. Oh, the trouble and strife they had trying to convince the baby animal to go into the backyard, and finally the dogcatcher came and took it away. There’d been no clue where it came from, and to tell the truth, Susan never found out where it went. Oh, and there was the picture of the UFO – not an alien spacecraft, but a true unidentified object that flew across the skies after the fireworks. It had looked like a whimsical pink teacup, and Susan remembered the next morning, the boyfriend had disappeared without a word. He’d been an adventurous guy, always putting on his backpack and heading out into the woods to take measurements in the slippery ravines and making calculations in his little black book. She sincerely wished him well.

    After he’d left, the portents and omens had stopped. The storms became less dramatic, and the ground didn’t shiver like jelly anymore. She missed him, but even when he’d been there, he hadn’t really felt permanent. After five years, it all felt like a strange fever dream.

    A USB stick fell out of the purple file – that’s what made it feel so much thicker. She popped it into the computer, and watched the contents. It was a short video, only about five minutes long, but it had all the instructions she needed. She packed a backpack, and went out into the ravine, made her measurements, and waited for the whimsical teacup to take her away.

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