Elizabeth: Friday Writing Sprints

Hi there and welcome to the end of yet another week.  Keeps happening, doesn’t it?

This week, among other things, I spent some time in San Francisco.  While walking off a day’s worth of stuck-sitting-in-meetings”, I encountered the whimsical Museum of Ice Cream, which my  son tells me is “an Instagram hot spot.”

Who knew?

The museum is “an experiential installation inspired by ice cream” and among other things, visitors can jump into a pool full of sprinkles.

Well that sounds like fun.

According to the museum’s website, it was born “under the premise that ice cream is a universal symbol of joy, a personal pleasure, and a transportive vehicle for anyone’s imagination.” I love that, as I do their “anything is possible” tag line.

Speaking of “anything is possible”, we’ve got a brand new writing prompt and sixteen random words just waiting to be turned into an entertaining story.  Our Friday sprints have inspired some fun entries and I’ll be doing my best to add one of my own this week.

Care to join me?

For those of you working away on a story (whether a first draft or a polished version on its way to publication), if you’re not feeling random, we’d love to hear a bit – whether it’s a scene, a paragraph, or even a phrase that you are especially pleased with and would like to share.

If you don’t have a story in progress, or just want to work on something new, I hope today’s story prompt and/or random words will catch your creative fancy.


What if: “Your character opened their own museum?”

Feel free to include any (or all) of the following random words:

lovesick         recluse          project                illegal

couch            electric           blindfold            bite

riot                  industry         aficionado        confidential

brute             felt                     exquisite           philosophy

I look forward to seeing your stories in the comments.  If you’re not feeling in the writing mood today, or don’t have time, feel free to post suggestions you might have for future “what-if” prompts.  Ideas are always welcome.

Happy writing to all!

27 thoughts on “Elizabeth: Friday Writing Sprints

  1. I can’t compete with San Francisco’s ice cream museum, but here’s a small snippet from one of my novellas, still under wraps. The artist heroine is designing fans and shoe clips as accessories for a foodie fashion show at a fictional hotel in London’s Bayswater.
    “Ella surveyed the list of foodie comestibles: ingredients for savoury and sweet dishes to be served up in the five star restaurant as taster menus during the fashion parade. Quirky names for each platter took flight in her mind – ‘Punchy Prawns’; ‘Saucy Shrimps’; ‘Crazy Cantaloupe’; ‘Celebrity Celery’ – after all Lady Annabel was going to be present, so why not? ‘Cunning Crab’; ‘Seductive Salami’; ‘Vivacious Veggies’ – the quirky descriptions came to Ella faster than she could type them into her iphone.
    The names so far would work for the entrees – yes – get things off to a flying start. She envisaged the foodie shapes clipped to the shoes, embossed with beads so that they shimmered in pinks, oranges and pale greens. For the next part of the show, foodstuffs could be paired: ‘Strawberry and Salmon’; ‘Pumpkin and Apricot’; ‘Bilberry and Blue Corn’. The growing list contained so many possibilities.”

    • What a fun snippet. And now I’m both hungry and longing for shimmering shoe clips. Thanks for stopping by today.

    • Today when I was at the DMV, one of the employees wore platform sneakers in a tie-dye pattern of pink to yellow, covered with pink and yellow sequins, and the platform soles had lights that flashed. I wanted those shoes. But you know what would have made them better? A foodie shoe clip.

      Thanks for the snip!

        • Thanks! I have to say, I’ve been shocked by how much Instagram seems to shape our world. My kids are on it; I look at one lady’s pictures each day but don’t do anything myself with it. In the US, there’s that scandal about an Instagram Influencer whose rich parents got her into a college — she mostly wanted to go so she could do college-related ‘grams. Her business savvy is admirable, but her honesty is a bit tone-deaf. (But she’s what? 18? I was hugely tone-deaf at 18. I had no idea whatsoever.)

          At any rate, Instagram is full of beautiful things, and these sound like such a nice idea. (-: You may be able to add “merch” to your novellas, if you can find someone to do up these foodie shoe clips. They sound awfully cute!

        • Yes, agreed about Insta. I have two accounts and they raise quite a lot of interest. You’ve given me a few ideas for the future!

  2. Pingback: Elizabeth: Friday Writing Sprints — Eight Ladies Writing – Freedom Writing

  3. My Friday routine was disrupted today, and I almost missed the Friday writing sprint! Quel horreur!

    The Philosophy Museum
    I’d wanted to run riot for months, and I had just the right project in mind.

    “What if we opened a philosophy museum?” I asked my significant other from the comforts of our exquisite couch, upholstered in a pink color so electric it should have been illegal.

    “What if we don’t?” he replied. Formerly a captain of industry, in the past year he’d quit his job, become an aficionado of The New York Times crossword puzzle, and turned into something of a recluse. This morning, the brute was still in his bathrobe.

    I felt that he was revealing an unnecessarily negative attitude. Moreover, the days when I’d been a lovesick child, following him blindfolded into any fray, were long behind me. From Armani suits to Target bathrobes—confidentially, I’d had just about enough.

    Our discussion had started with the thesis and moved to the antithesis. It was time for the synthesis.

    “Bite me,” I said.

        • (-: Excellent. An arc!

          In my own life, my husband is turning into a grumpy old man, too. I think he’s still the liberal I fell in love with, but he’s starting to hate the system with a kind of blind hate, and tars all politicians with the same brush. Which might be OK, but then he wants to rant about it for an hour, while I can only talk politics for only about 15 minutes before I must go and lie down in a dark room.

          So, that guy, going through a life change, and his wife trying to jolly him through it, or at least kick his ass right into some positivity? Oh, I feel it.

    • The ending really worked out, completely by chance. I was looking for a famous quote by any philosopher, which I thought would be fun. But then I remembered a real life instance where someone actually said that “thesis/antithesis” remark to someone else. And voila!

  4. George Mason was a lovesick recluse who hired me to curate his collection just so he’d get a chance to talk to me. I’d worked for him for six months, and so far, I’d never seen his face – just the shadowy back of his giant executive office chair in his dim, curtained office. For the first two months, I thought he was an ignorant brute, but I needed the job. “Putting up with a gruff monster for a year is worth it if it pays off Mama’s mortgage” was my new philosophy and daily mantra.

    Sometime around month three, I began to see the method to his madness. He was gruff, he was curt, and he was vicious about mistakes (although to be fair, when you are getting paid my kind of salary, mistakes should be few and far between), but what looked like a riot of tangled yarns and flotsam began to take shape. He was a true aficionado of the art webs, and knew just how to shape a collection to bring a certain synergy to the collection – more than one of his guests nearly swooned from the overwhelming power that emanated from one of his exhibition rooms.

    I knew nothing about art when I took the position; I was a bartender studying for her criminal justice degree. But I knew how to study, and after putting in fourteen-hour days at his mansion, I spent hours at home studying about modern textiles. I caught up.

    Confidentially, it was two weeks ago that I realized I was in love with his baritone voice. I woke up from a dream where I’d been taking a nap on the leather couch in his office, and he woke me up with a kiss that turned into a full-blown make-out session. I could have shot my alarm clock that morning, but instead, I stumbled to the fridge in my studio apartment, opened the door and turned the damn thing off. I could barely say two words to Mr. Mason that day because the dream was still so vivid it made my knees shake.

    But you don’t shit where you eat – at least not until Mama’s mortgage was paid off. I put my feelings into a little box, and endured the exquisite torture of being summoned to his office each day, discussing each new acquisition thoroughly, and pretending I was only there for the money. Ignore the electric tingles in my breasts, the pool of molten lava in my belly. I ate a lot of toast, hoping to settle down these odd feelings.

    Mr. Mason, in his strange way, was still in love with me, but I was afraid a sudden change in my attitude would make him think I was a gold-digger. I wasn’t certain if he was in love with me – I was afraid he was in love with some cold, distant image of a woman. I wore a short skirt to the office last Thursday, and he banished me to do inventory in the South Warehouse all day without an extra word of explanation. I wore my usual Friday suit the next day, and my spectacles instead of my contacts, and was allowed to stay in the inner office for the entire day, basking in his voice while hiding my arousal in my meticulous note-taking.

    This morning, however, was the day everything changed. Making art webs is not a large industry, and the applications are only known by a few of the most powerful people on the planet – people who enjoy art, and need the technological connectedness that the best artists provide. Over the course of six months, I’d probably met 90 percent of the people involved in the business, and of all the strange people I’d met, only Billy was stranger than George Mason.

    Billy was an artist who was usually accompanied by two handlers, but today on the delivery docks, he was alone. First he offered me some illegal stop-poppers, and when I refused the brain enhancers, he went straight for what he wanted.

    He took me in his arms and said, “Susie, I’ve been waiting to get you alone. I’m going to take you to my island and let you be my muse.” Unfortunately, he’d trapped my hands so I couldn’t ram his nose into the depths of his brain.

    I was calculating the angle of a headbutt as he detailed the ways he’d humiliate me in the evening in order to bring out proper strands in my personality when I heard Mr. Mason’s voice. “Let her go, you miserable creep.”

    Mr. Mason had emerged from behind his desk? I hoped his sudden appearance would throw Billy off his game so I could get a knee into him, but it seemed to only invigorate the goatmuncher. He held me tighter. “Back off, George, or I’ll bite her.”

    “Billy.” His voice was a low warning. “You know that’s illegal. She’s not one of us.”

    Billy was starting to get distracted. I was able to hook my foot into a loop of the new installation he brought us. Would all that studying pay off? Did I really know what I was doing?

    “I’ll do it anyway,” he growled and lunged for my neck. The shift in balance was just what I needed. I brought the installation down on us, and a cascade of knowledge flooded my senses just as he pierced my jugular. But then I instantly knew what to do . . . the information on the art webs gave me the precise location on his wrist that stopped his chi and made him pass out. Unfortunately, I was losing blood fast, and I swooned. George caught me, and the last thing I saw was his blue eyes in a black face. He was stunning, but he was definitely one of the Others.

    I woke up in a hospital bed in a dim, curtained room that smelled like money, not disinfectant. George was holding my hand, and despite the dimness, I could see every whisker on his face and those glowing blue eyes. “George?” I whispered, then raised a hand to touch his face. There was an IV in it, and I stared at the glowing green liquids that coursed through the tube.

    George took my hand, and kissed it. “God, I’m sorry, Susie. I never meant for . . . .”

    “I’m Other now, too, aren’t I?”

    “Yes, but I swear, you won’t be alone. I’ll bring you into our Sector, and protect you with my life.”

    “And my mama’s mortgage?”

    “Paid in full, this very afternoon. Please stay. I’ll give you your own cottage, and you won’t have to see me. How can you bear to see me, when it’s my fault you’ve become Other?”

    I could see he expected punishment for his mistakes, but honestly, I couldn’t see where he had made any. Billy . . . he’d made a mistake, and as soon as I’d recovered from the Transformation, I’d make sure he paid for it. But George? Not his fault.

    “George, look at me.” Ah, those eyes. “It was my own impatience that brought me to you.” I could see now, with the virus coursing through my veins, that Mama’s mortgage wasn’t the life-and-death situation that I thought it was. It was a minor inconvenience, although I was glad that it was now settled. Still, without my human impatience, I would never have allowed myself to be employed by George. My Otherness was only beginning, but I could see the angles and twists that I couldn’t before. “George, I want you to make me your partner. I want us to hunt down Billy together.”

    I could see he was floored, but then his eyes began glowing as he made some of the same mental calculations I was making. Apparently he was pleased with the answer he got . . . . “Susie, we’ll make it work.”

    “Damn straight we will.” And I kissed him until the nurse made us stop.

      • (-: Thank you! It kind of got away from me at the end, and if I re-do it, I’ll either put more creative cursing in the first part, or drop the “goatmuncher” for consistency in tone. I gotta say, though, that “goatmuncher” could be key to character development, whether it stays in the story or not.

  5. It’s always a fun bunch of words, but this was just what I needed to start my writing vacation! Thanks, Elizabeth!

    My daughter got a make-up brush set from the Museum of Ice Cream, LOL. It was the most impractical thing I’ve every seen — a box made of two layers of plexiglass with fake sprinkles sandwiched in between. But it sparks joy in her, and that’s what matters!

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