Elizabeth: Friday Writing Sprints

Here we are again at the end of another week.  Can you believe it’s almost August?  I can’t.   Although, to be fair, it feels like this year has already been infinitely long.

I’m on day two of a five-day break from work.  It feels a little odd having time off in the midst of a pandemic with unnecessary travel curtailed and so many places still closed, but we were all strongly encouraged to take some time away from work this month, so I’m doing my best.

One of my coworkers packed up the family and headed off to the woods for some socially-distant camping, but I think I’ll pass on that.  Perhaps I’ll take a day-trip to a local (empty) beach with my camera in tow.  So far my time off work has included a lot of reading and a lot of napping, with a trip to the grocery store for some necessities.

Not particularly exciting, but it is nice to have a break from conference calls and Zoom meetings.

I have a list of things I was planning to do during my time off but so far it is looking fairly unlikely that much progress will be made there.  On the plus side, I’ve already done plenty of reading and napping, so I think I’ll consider that a win.

Regardless of whatever else I do or don’t do, I’m definitely going to give today’s writing prompt and random words at shot.

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 either today’s random words or writing prompt will catch your creative fancy.

Ready?

What if: “Your character has absolutely nothing to do?

Feel free to interpret the “What” any way you choose (or ignore it completely) and include any (or all) of the following random words:

camel             heatstroke       undersea     sound

fright             blonde             diva              dizzy

cannon          blockhead       orchard         hospital

contempt      bang                acrobatic      bulldog

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!

5 thoughts on “Elizabeth: Friday Writing Sprints

  1. Have fun on your week off, Elizabeth! A break from zoom meetings sounds like a good idea, even if your chosen activity is still reading and napping. Although a trip to the beach with your camera sounds like fun! What else was fun was the sprint (and how’s that for a segue?)!

    The Recalcitrant Camel
    Clementina shoved a wayward lock of her blonde hair behind her ears and regarded the camel with contempt.

    “I’ll have heatstroke before I get this blockheaded bulldog home,” she said, tugging on its halter. “I’m dizzy already.”

    “Don’t be such a pessimist,” her sister Evolette said. “Just set the cannon off. A nice big bang will give him a fright. He’ll get moving. Anyway, don’t worry about the heatstroke. There’s a hospital nearby.” She waved her fan languidly, her face a warm glow.

    “Maybe it only understands German,” Clementina said, pushing the camel’s rear end. “It seems to like those undersea gutteral sounds.”

    “Maybe it likes fruit.” Evolette gazed at the apple orchard on the other side of the fence. “Why don’t you act like an acrobat and pick a few apples for it?”

    “Why don’t you?” Clementina said. “You’re just sitting there doing nothing.”

    “Sweetie, that’s my job, to inspire others. Your job is to get the camel home.”

    • LOL, what a fun set of sisters! Fruit sounds like a great idea.

      Did I tell you guys about the llama that we visited this month? It seemed friendly and nice, but then decided to spit at (but it deliberately missed, I think) my daughter. I think I read somewhere that llamas and camels are related . . . .

  2. This week has been nothing and too much, all at the same time! Lots of stupid little chores that really ought to get done. Maybe next week.

    I think I used all the words this time! Here’s a take on the Decameron.

    “Alexander, I’m bored!” Tiffany looked like a regal blonde diva with a dizziness quotient off the charts, but Alex had learned not to ignore her ingenuity when it came to erasing ennui. The last time she’d used his full name to proclaim her lack of her thrills, he’d wound up in the hospital, she’d wound up with Spot, the bulldog, and there was a camel that was still missing to this day.

    Today, they were escaping heatstroke and viral infections in a beautiful cherry orchard 50 miles from anywhere. Alex liked the boredom. Read a little in the shade, climb a ladder, have 20 or 30 cherries, come down, pour a glass of lemonade, and read a little more. It was a perfect summer day, as far as he was concerned; the sound of buzzing bees in the clover had almost lulled him to sleep when Tiffany woke him up with her pronouncement.

    Like a good personal assistant, he sat up straight and started reciting a list of boredom busters for her.

    “I have your latest movie on the tablet.”

    “Bored with it. Haven’t you got anything I haven’t rehearsed a hundred times?”

    “*Casablanca*?”

    “Old.”

    “*Raspberries on the Lawn*?”

    “Ugh, I don’t want to hold a clammy tablet in this heat.”

    Alexander knew he needed to give her some extra options quickly before she came up with something on her own.

    “I know,” she said. “Let’s go exploring.”

    Too late. Still, he had to try. “We could go swimming in the river.”

    “Sure,” Tiffany said, winking at him saucily. “Bring along the towels and my hairbrush. But we’ll go exploring on the way to the river.”

    Now he was going to be a pack mule. He put the backpack with water, snacks and the first aid kit on, and gathered up the totes with the towels, goggles, bug repellent and beauty accessories. He hoped they wouldn’t run across any caves with bats this time. Or bears. Wrong season for sleepy bears though.

    Tiffany had her own tote, and was skipping out of the orchard into the meadow, towards an old barn. She skipped very well for a 35-year-old movie star. Alex thought her personal trainer might have her on some sort of skipping routine. She did get bored so easily. Alex caught up with her quickly; she insisted that her personal assistants stay in shape. Quite rightly, too. He’d been worried that the demand might be some sort of sexual harassment, but it was quite necessary for keeping up with the woman. He’d put in a lot of extra time in the gym so he could keep one step ahead of her.

    “Tiffany, the barn is going to be hot and dusty this time of day. Why don’t we save it for a rainy day? We’re going to be here for two weeks. No need to rush things.”

    “Don’t be silly, Alex. It’ll be cold and musty on a rainy day, and probably leaky. You’ll slip on something; you often do. It’ll be much safer to check it out today and come back later.”

    Well, maybe she could be persuaded to check out the barn in fifteen minutes, and then go to the river, which he knew would burn off some of her excess energy and curiosity. He’d had the oxbow stocked with the most unusual area fish he could get the local grad students to find. She loved a good fish story.

    By then, they were at the old double-doors, and as Alex pushed them along the rails, he realized that Tiffany’s nose for trouble had not failed her. There was a Civil War-era cannon and cannonballs, of course. It looked like Farmer Jones was a re-enactor, because there was a powder keg and an assortment of mysterious tools in a barrel next to it.

    Tiffany had already flitted into the interior of the dark barn, her pretty blue sun dress floating like the translucent fins of an undersea mermaid. She’d found a trunk. Oh, god. Of course, she’d found a trunk.

    “Look, Alex!” she said breathlessly. “Costumes!”

    Union soldier costumes that looked very accurate – at least, he could tell they were wool and heavy and a dark color. He groaned, because he knew what was coming next.

    “Let’s try them on!”

    “Mr. Jones said . . . .”

    “Mr. Jones said we could have free run of the house and property. If he didn’t want us playing with his stuff, he would have put it away.” She held up a jacket with something that looked suspiciously like a gunpowder burn. “Anyway, if we damage anything, we can replace it with something new and better.” She put on the jacket, and looked like a little kid playing dress-up in her daddy’s jacket. She rolled up the sleeves, and tied her scarf around the waist. “Let’s find something for you, Alex.”

    Clothes were OK. Clothes were pretty safe. Alex opened up another trunk, and was blasted with the scent of dry-cleaning fluids and lavender. At least these were clean clothes.

    He heard a rumble, and turned to see Tiffany pointing the cannon out of the barn door. “Hurry up, Alex! I found the instructions to this thing.”

    “Oh, god, let’s get it out of the barn fir . . . .”

    How had she loaded the cannon so quickly? Tiffany, despite her appearances, was a mechanical genius. She was already lighting the fuse, so all Alex could do was scramble to the side and hope the thing wouldn’t recoil through the back of the barn.

    “Bang, bang,” Tiffany said, and winked again.

    And then there was an enormous BOOM that rattled the timbers of the old barn and shook dust and bits of hay from the loft above. Tiffany did an acrobatic backflip in her ridiculous costume as the cannon shot back a few feet before stopping at a curb.

    “Tiffany, you blockhead!” Alex said in fright. “You could have killed us both.”

    Tiffany looked at him with a bit of contempt that changed to pity when she saw him huddled in the trunk, peeking over the top. “It’s alright, Alex. I made sure it was OK. I’ll tell you what let’s do. It’s nice and cool in here. Let’s put on a show in the barn!”

    Alex’s breathing started to slow. A show in the barn sounded harmless enough.

    “I’ll be Peter Pan! Look, there’s a nice pulley and some ropes here!”

    Alex groaned. She’d be bored with this farm in two weeks, and insist he find a new place to ride out the virus. He’d insist she at least ten people to quarantine with them – if they couldn’t keep her entertained, they’d at least help him tie her to a post. Safety in numbers, after all.

    • “Let’s put on a show in the barn” —LOL.

      Fun story, Michaeline. Poor Alex though; it’s going to be a long two weeks, I fear.

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