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Your Writing Assignment

Choose any two of the items below and combine them together to produce a story:

  • A girl settles in front of a store window staring inside at the wedding gowns.
  • Describe the provenance of several items in an antique store: aside from sharing the fate of landing in the same store, they also share a hidden and interesting correlated past.
  • Write about a venerable dusty gym with obsolete equipment. What heroes passed this way?
  • Share some happenings and atmosphere about a small beach town. What is it like when the fog rolls in? Who are the town "characters?"
  • Who is the office floozy and what are her kinky sexual exploits?
  • Two people traveling opposite directions across the dimension of time meet and chat. Does their reversed orientation toward causality make them interpret language differently? What does this prohibit them from discussing?
  • What was it like the first time you saw somebody of the opposite sex naked?
  • Write about a dime dancer: she lives in a world with total authority over her psychics and half of the psychics of everyone she meets. She is free-loving and modestly attractive, but can't see beyond the realm of the Catholic God.
  • Breathe: the quality of the air.
  • She is an urban "Amazon" woman, large and wild: her life though is one catastrophe after another. A couple of years ago she was married to an abusive sailor. Three nights a week she smokes cigarettes at home, reads romance novels, and cries. She lives vicariously through her girlfriends.
  • A palm and tarot card reader.
  • Loving somebody's soul as they undergo the process of dying.
  • A man and a woman are chatting at a table -- they talk aloud but also have perfect clairvoyance into each other's thoughts. Describe both the verbal and the nonverbal conversation.
  • You are having a preposterous hallucinogenic experience.
  • What bizarre things do you suspect that warped people do?
  • A specific thought possesses a man (death? a love obsession? revenge? a treasure?). He recognizes however that carrying out actions in pursuit of this thought is against his best interests. Describe the tricks that he uses to distract himself and survive the possession.
  • Sublime oriental leaf reflections.
  • As it is difficult to share, rehost your most embarrassing incident applied to somebody else. Describe the thoughts and backstory leading to that moment and then, after the incident, the reactions by others.
  • Their sunglasses attest to them having been scarred in love.
  • Use an extended metaphor for a sublime and personal control of some aspect of a bodily function. It doesn't have to be embarrassing -- it could be exciting or just spiritually modulating in a small fashion (a haircut) or it could be severe (birth). Or any number of things in between.
  • A young man Suddenly Understands.
  • As a sleazy man in a library solicits via a computer terminal you discover a redeeming value deep within his shrewdness.
  • Life in prison: use most of the unusual dialects and peculiar tics and traits of the strange people that you've met.
  • What perspectives and touchstones do you receive from your cousins?
  • An African man hunts, kills, and eats a gazelle. Describe the full colorful earthtones of his culture.
  • A woman who can see into the future meets the man that will be her husband. She also broods over his future during a war where he will kill people.
  • You accidentally kill somebody in an automobile crash.
  • He has his own small triumphs and challenges that none of us can imagine: describe the daily pilgrimage of a paraplegic.
  • The triumph of physics over sorrow.
  • From both your own perspective and that of a dispassionate observer, write about an incident that left you breathless.
  • The fascination of watching a Zamboni.
  • Sketch people on the fringe: a man consumed by skin cancer, a drop-dead gorgeous woman, a short ugly fat man, a queen of grace, a master of bullshit.
  • Describe a singular location with unusually nonpareil spiritual characteristics.
  • Write a tirade about what irks you the most.
  • All you can do during a sudden extreme life-zapping illness is lie in bed and listen to music while just struggling to even keep a presence.
  • Write excruciating detail about a commonly visited place but at a very uncommon hour -- when nobody is around and the bugs rule during the wee hours of the morning.
  • Write with the intention of making the reader sad.
  • A case of mistaken identity causes ... (Somebody gets killed? A disparate romance? Wrongful revenge? A feigned business deal?)
  • Climbing a tree.
  • You recall a hideously nostalgic moment; at the time it seemed drenched with significance. Recalling it now though leaves you longing achingly for something that you can no longer experience.
  • Describe why playing at "spy" is so much fun when you are a kid.
  • What are your emotions while watching somebody get punished unjustly? Project yourself into all the participants: yourself observing, the one suffering, and the person doling out the chastening.
  • Get into the psychology and personality of a long-distance runner, both while wrestling the challenges of a trek and amidst his other activities.
  • Find a small coffee shop that has live entertainment and write about the people who hang out there.
  • Write about the impact of some physical natural object behaving "out of character." A tree gives ripe fresh fruit every day. A bird sings Mozart. We suddenly have extreme ocean tides.
  • Make up a nursery tale: concoct the characters and the happenings as you go along.
  • A person has a single artificially enhanced sense or skill: maybe he has implants to heighten his color perception. Or he can hear the most distant quiet sounds. Or he can lift ten thousand pounds. Without overdoing the melodrama describe how this skill interferes with his life and creates imbroglios that he otherwise wouldn't normally face.
  • Lunchtime in middle school.
  • You discover a trinket or talisman reminder of something that resolves a longstanding spiritual search. The deciphering of this found object lends insight into the downfall of a long-ruling dynasty.
  • Sketch a portrait of a retired couple from a neighbor's point of view.
  • You are in an anachronistic slum -- don't go back in history, rather describe it in the present. Although it has many of the aspects and culture of the past, what is most striking is the contrast of the present with its out-of-place fixtures and bathos.
  • Imagine sitting in the backyard with the lemon tree in bloom.
  • Describe an "out of body" experience where your body is doing things to satisfy overwhelming needs and your brain is just following along.
  • Senior citizens voice their shared memories of the past.
  • Describe a gift that you purchased but never gave by elucidating your shift in sentiments toward the receiver due to your bobbing and conflicting desires.
  • What do people really think and experience while lounging around at a picnic?
  • Follow the conversation of three woman friends at tea, at the ages of 10, 13, 16, 20, 30, 40, and 50.
  • Describe the self-discipline and sacrifices in lifestyle of a person consumed by spiritual soul work, and his different perspective on normal everyday things.
  • What conflicts does an honorable person face while stealing because he is hungry?
  • Imagine how a small "crime of convenience" snowballs into something of grave consequences. Conveniently forgetting to do something causes a breakdown of transportation, a failed delivery, a person dying.
  • Talk to somebody who nurses for and is in love with an indigent person.
  • Describe a man who loves his car more than anything. It doesn't have to be a car -- it can be any physical object or hobby.
  • The moon is a friend for the lonesome to talk to.
  • An otherwise normal side-street covertly disappears around a bend into a different dimension.
  • Describe a conversation between two people containing an undercurrent driven by a past event that has bound them together forever.
  • You work at the only store in the nation that makes a profit with their custom, personalized poetry.
  • Ask and then philosophize an answer to a "duality" question -- e.g. What is more important: Gravity or God? What is more important: Understanding or Fun? Et cetera.