Friday is kind of my recovery day, now — for awhile it was a meeting day, but now it’s the I don’t have to go into the city or see anyone, I can catch up on everything that got backed up during the first 4 days of the week day. It’s a I can be here in my office at home, I can be quiet and plain, I can call you back day. Sometimes it’s a The words are all drained out of me day.
So I’m offering a prompt today, and my response. At the MedEd Writers group a couple of weeks ago, I did the prompt where you start writing with a phrase, and then every minute (for the first 4 or 5 minutes of the exercise), I throw out a word for you to incorporate into your writing right away — it can sometimes take your writing in a surprising direction!
If you want to do this exercise alone, you can pick 4 or 5 words at random from the dictionary, write them on slips of paper and turn them over in front of you. After you start writing, give yourself a minute, and then turn over a word and use it immediately (or as soon as possible). (Alternately, you can click here for a random word!) Do that for the first 4 or 5 minutes of your writing, then just keep writing as hard as you can for the next 10 or 15 minutes, following your writing wherever it seems to want you to go.
For this prompt, we started writing with the phrase “When I opened the door, the first thing I saw was…” and the words I tossed out during our initial writing time were electric, antenna, orange and cactus.
Here’s my response to this prompt:
When I opened the front door, the first thing I saw was his chair pushed back from the front room table at an odd angle, an electric chemistry sparked, I knew he was somewhere nearby. I hadn’t thought he would be home yet. Something kinesthetic still sunk in the room.
Antenna raised, all those hairs at the back of my neck, I snuck inside, dropped my bag, didn’t call for him — what I wanted was a chance to get freshened before his orange face pushed up again into my own and I would officially be on the job.
The crash of glass breaking sent shudders through me, and I put my hand to his potted cactus on the front hall table and had to put the other hand to my mouth to keep from cursing out loud in pain — damnit, I wasn’t dressed yet, still had on my street clothes, wasn’t ready to go in there. But that blue howl erupted from the direction of the kitchen, the kind of keening he always did when he was off his meds — it meant he was escalating, might be bleeding, might be ready to top over the refrigerator.
I opened my bag and pulled out the outfit he always had his caregivers wear. I took the risk, stripped down to my bra and underpants right there in the foyer, then pulled on the Wonder Woman body suit and leggings, pinned the red cape to my shoulders, bobby-pinned my hair up and then fitted on the dark long Linda Carter wig.
As I zipped up the boots, just then he pushed open the squeaky door that swing to the over-sized kitchen, the prep rooms and pantries. His overheated face was covered with preserves. Are you coming in? We need help, Wonder Woman! I was clocked in now, stood up with my hands on my hips and nodded sharply, swallowing my sighs.
Thanks for your words today, for how you speak your layered truths, for how you are kind to your secrets.