642 Things to Write About: Writing Prompt #2

For graduation, I acquired a lovely book called 642 Things to Write About, which was compiled by the San Francisco Writers’ Grotto.  As a direct result of this, I have now challenged my fellow Word Nerds to respond to each prompt as they are posted on a weekly basis.  I will respond in the body of this post, while I ask everyone else to respond in the comments.  This week, the prompt is the following:

A houseplant is dying.  Tell it why it needs to live.

“Sheldon, come on, man, you can’t leave me like this.  I know it’s hot in here, and I know…I know you’re tired.  But, come on, Sheldon.  You’re all I have, man.  You can’t leave me.”

Sheldon drooped even further, if that was possible.

“Sheldon!  You are the only reason for my existence.  I have nothing.  You get that?  Nothing!  I’ve got nothing but you, and you’re gonna quit on me?  We’ve been through so much together!

“Remember, uh, remember that one time when I was a kid and I got that video game that mom said was too violent?  She was so mad, but we, uh, we got through it together, Sheldon.  And that one time, when I got beat up in 8th grade because I wore my Harry Potter invisibility cloak to school.  You totally stood up for me, Sheldon.  You saved my life, man.  I can’t live without you.”

Sheldon drooped ’til his leaves touched the floor.

“Sheldon!  You’re awesome!  The world would lose so much if you weren’t here, Sheldon!  I mean, you, you’re like, like, Chewbacca and Spock and Thor all at once!”

Sheldon shivered and tried to undroop himself.  Just a little.

“Sheldon, you’re the only one who could help me actually finish World of Warcraft!  I can’t do it without you!”

Sheldon shivered again and stood up straighter.  He was paying attention now.  Of course, both had long dreamed of that moment, but never had they actually had the courage to confess to one another that they really were striving towards that insurmountable goal.

“And when we finish it Sheldon, our glory will be written on the internet, so that, for all of eternity, people will praise our names.”

Sheldon shivered excitedly.

“Sheldon, when we finish it, girls will like us.  Real girls, like Diana Prince and Xena.  They’ll finally see that we’re worth something, Sheldon, and they’ll love us forever!”

Sheldon couldn’t talk.  But if he could, he would have said, “Let’s go play World of Warcraft!!!”

It was understood anyway.

Cara Kennaway

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11 thoughts on “642 Things to Write About: Writing Prompt #2

  1. Funny things, flowers.

    Sometimes it seems like they grow everywhere. They spring up in well-watered gardens and sunbaked deserts, in lush, humid jungles and windblown moors. It seems like for every climate, no matter how harsh, there’s some flower perfectly suited to make it seem a little more hospitable.

    I used to think so, anyway. Until I came here.

    Here, there’s no light, no color to soften the sharp edges. There’s nothing but miles and miles of gray concrete and dull red brick, sucking up the cold air and trapping it, blocking out the sky, making the sun a distant, forgotten memory. Here, I’m learning a lot of things I never knew before. A person can be lonely among an uncounted multitude. People can be as hard and unyielding and unreadable as the stone they live behind. Broken hearts and broken wills are harder to mend than broken engines. No good deed goes unpunished.

    And flowers are only fragile creatures after all.

    ***

    You can’t die, you know.

    You’re the only spot of color left to me. You’re all I have left to remind me of the life I left behind. Every morning, you’re the first thing I look at. You want to know why?

    Because you give me hope. Hope that there’s still some light left in the world. Hope that somewhere, anywhere, there are still flowers growing. Hope that I’m not going to be trapped in this frigid hell forever. Hope that I should’ve relinquished a long time ago. Hope that I’m not sure I’d be able to survive without.

    I’ve been watering you. I’ve been trying to get you a little sunlight. I’ve done everything I can for you. Please… oh, please, can’t that be enough?

    Just think of me. Think of me, waking up a week from now. Think of my eyes shifting automatically to the place where you’re supposed to be and seeing nothing. Think of what that’ll do to me.

    You’ve held on for this long. Just try, try to live a little longer. They’ll find us. They are *going* to find us. We’re going to get out of here. Just hold on, hold on for one more week. One more month. One more year…

    ***

    Oh, would you only look at me. I’m talking to a ruddy plant. I have gone mad.

    ~Pearl

    1. Wow, Pearl. This is really good, but…Feeling angsty, much? I mean, I always like a fair bit of darkness when it’s done well, and you totally pulled it off, but it seems so out of character for your fiction, which is usually at least mostly happy and sparkly and uplifting. Yikes. :-D
      Well done, though, seriously. The writing was awesome. I totally got the hopeless, trapped feeling, and I’m dying to know what happened to this poor person that a flower is her (his?) only spot of happiness.

  2. Cara – this is funny and all, but I’m running into some trouble imagining a hardcore gamer geek cultivating a houseplant. I mean, I get that it’s dying and that’s probably at least partly his fault, but why does he have it in the first place?

    1. Well, because said hardcore gamer geek is such an insufferably lame person that Sheldon is the only living being that’ll put up with him, befriend him, and help him through life.

      Anyway, I’m an individualist and don’t believe in stereotyping my characters. Or at least not too much. :-D

      1. That’s fair. You know, the day that Sheldon met The Geek could make for a gripping and heartwarming prequel story.

        What’d you think of mine? ‘Cause, you know… you didn’t say.

  3. My computer crashed the first time I tried to write this. So… you guys are lucky I’m devoted enough to rewrite it. (It’s never gonna be as good the second time around…. Ug….)

    Ehem.

    I’m sure when you chose the wilderness of my backyard to plant yourself in, you never could’ve foreseen the disaster that is now your life. You couldn’t have because if you had, you never would’ve put your roots in the dirt next to Peyton’s sandbox.

    I realize that you were rather unceremoniously plucked from your proper environment and then relocated to this little box made of Lego bricks. I realize that though Peyton was considerate enough to supply you with dirt, she has been feeding you portions of her juice and crushed Goldfish. Hardly flower food. I realize that even with proper care, the likelihood of you surviving the periodic swims through Mr. Betafish’s tank are zero to none.

    But you must live.

    So here’s some water. And see, I’ve moved your multi-colored home next to the window so you can see the sun.

    So live little Dandelion. Live because there’s a little girl who’s going to get home from school soon. Live because she loves you enough to give you pieces from her ice pop. Live because if you don’t, that same little girl will be forced to grow up that much more.

    There. I’m still very annoyed that I lost the beginning of my story (the first time was wayyyy better), but… there it is.

  4. So Cara, I’m feeling like this offended a bunch of readers who aren’t here to read it…. but it was amusing non-the-less I suppose. XD Fun, lighthearted read. *thumbs up*

    Pearl, as usual you are amazing. That was fantastically awesome.

    1. Glad you had fun reading it, Aloisa. Not sure I follow the first part (“So Cara, I’m feeling like this offended a bunch of readers who aren’t here to read it…. [sic]”)…?

      1. Sorry I thought that was obvious. It just felt like you were painting anyone who plays video games (ie World of Warcraft) and who is a geek in a rather negative light. It just felt kinda stereotypy. It’s really not that big of a deal. It’s not like I’m offended by it or anything, I just saw potential for offending people.

        It was written well and everything (pretty much everything you write is btw) and I found it rather funny.

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