One writer's experiment to tackle any subject his friends come up with.

Serious Monkey

Taken Root

…Water makes us all the same, moves everything through and between us. It is life, always moving, always invigorating, through and under and around us all the time, in every space, in all its forms.

Yeah, but is that going to help me pass Science?

The Task of Charon

…I fear not for myself, for what is one soul? My fears are for my people, and the slow creep of oblivion that awaits them.

Waiting To Fall

…Sometimes, out in the lake, my imagination gets away from me, and I start to picture this incredible void underneath me. Being in the water, feeling it all around me, but seeing nothing, it’s like my senses are saturated and denied, all at once, and this primal part takes over. It’s terrifying, but liberating too.

Loretta’s Gift

Forty-two years of memories in that damned treasure box, and I pull out this ember of shame. Forty-two years of goodness. Him crying on Santa’s lap. A heavy metal concert in high school. His first haircut, pulled tooth, broken collarbone. All the stuff you can keep and can stand to keep that reminds you how much you forgot about your own flesh and blood. All in a Sears and Roebuck box with Greg’s name on a crackling piece of tape. All this, and I gotta dig up these ledger pages I’ve never seen for a company we both own.

The Power Of Ignoring

Of the World
Claire had precious few moments to herself in the community, and the opportunities to hold the flawed weight of glass could sometimes be separated by seasons. But her treasure’s real value was in knowing it was there, secreted away, a piece of another world, an answer to a question she hadn’t yet learned to form.

Vale of Peers

Ashteroth bore his band’s message of pain and loathing well on his small, perforated frame. The network of piercings: ears, nose, lips, cheek, tongue, nipples, epiglottis, interconnected with a cat’s cradle of chains, rubber bands, bits of bone and feather. One might think from his slight, ninety-eight pound build that the metal web girdling his face made eating an infrequent affair. One would be right, partially. But more importantly, one would be at risk of missing the metaphor provided, that being just how utterly shit this thing called life really was.

The Broken Bridge and the River Beneath
Dear Future:

I’m writing to make you real. To seize onto you. To force you into existence despite impossible odds. I want to believe you are out there. I want to believe that a planet that has aborted half of itself and abandoned sexual reproduction is somehow not in cardiac arrest. I want to know that there’s something more for the remaining women than living out the death throes of this world.

But that certainty is not going to come. I know. The past two years have seen nothing but struggle. Evolution has not performed any great intervention. With what little sperm that survived the Great Thaw, we are able to bear girls for a while longer. But we can barely manage these efforts for ourselves. We can do nothing for the animal population. Our planet cannot feed itself.

Beyond the Pale
…All the details that enlivened the world around him had become a sickening draught, one drunk too fully too often, holding nothing new. The timeline of his life had been stretched to an infinitely thin thread, a single piercing note perpetually suspended to form a background keening he’d learned to ignore.

Blood From a Stone

“If this is supposed to be so cathartic, why do I feel sick?”

“Honey, I’m not sure you know what catharsis means.”

The Mechanics of Life

…his main job was hefting squares of shingles up ladders most of the day. Eighty pounds each, thrown over one shoulder, ferried up one or several flights like some anti-fireman, delivering his payload to the roof rather than rescuing the damsel to safety on the ground.

The World of Light

She stepped back from the door and stood transfixed. Light emanated from it, glowing stronger by the minute. It encompassed her vision; its light eclipsed the mundane setting around her. She peered intently into the opening, which began to grow larger.

The Drowning World
I saw the slow swallowing of shorelines and the quick erosion of cliffs. I smelled wet earth turning to pungent mould. I felt the saturated ground become a swamp, tasted acrid decay in everything that required light and air, and heard the downpour’s steady hiss, so unceasing that it became inaudible.

The Drowning World, Chapter Two
I hold up the frameless polarized lens and squint out over the water. Three miles out from the coast, you can just make out the tops of Wells Fargo and a couple of other moldering structures. On our few salvage forays, my eyes followed their edges down, down, where blue turns to black. Denver is still there, a new Atlantis sleeping beneath us.

The Rise and Fall of the Gatewood Empire
he pulled from his vest pocket a small daguerreotype of himself holding a couple of dollars in gold nuggets: his first real find. The picture had cost him most of the profit shown in his hand…

Register Five
Looking up from his reverie, he found Natalie staring at him again. He glanced around for another distraction, trying to avoid the telephone that hung near the door, its cord like a noose.

The Prophet of Oblivion
…he looked up from her lap and gazed on the features, both worn and hard, like an Indian Chief, forever stalwart in an unappreciated resolution. He noted the fresh mark on her lip, but only as a member of her ensemble of features. Over time the cuts and bruises that appeared on her face and hands had established themselves as temporary and sporadic, garnering no more thought than a pimple or uncut fingernails.

Deus In Machina
Captain Ted Macallan awoke to the french horns of the Brandenburg Concerto, while the bright scent of tangerine gathered in his nose and a cool mist quickened his skin.
His mouth was rawhide, however, and the faint glow from the cocoon’s interior was a visual assault sending barbed assailants down his optic nerve. You never get used to induced hibernation, he thought as he lay with his eyes closed, tightening and releasing various muscle groups. A faint buzz tickled the edge of consciousness at base of his skull. And I think they’ve given up trying to abate the aftereffects.

To Love Fate
I wake, struggling to emerge from a consuming whorl of thought. A myriad of cycles and repetitions have pushed through into my dreams, patterns that only become apparent after their infinite depths are repeatedly plumbed. I lie in bed and grapple with the concept of infinity. The human brain, its limitations – infinity may be an alien concept, completely antithetical to our existence. But I’m willing to try.

Frank’s Fortune
The work he had found in fitting and repairing the bulging, twin-engined Chinooks had allowed him to focus on concrete solutions, and helped him to ignore the gross fallacies in the individual and systemic approaches to the situation surrounding him. It had proved a sufficient distraction until he had spent a night by the bed of a dying friend, and been undone not by the friend’s suffering, but by his confessions and the barbarities they revealed. Removed from personal experience as they were, these images and their revelation began to wear on Frank’s psyche. Several months later his tour of duty was thankfully completed, and he began to find some peace when he adopted a meditation practice he had witnessed among the villagers.

The Last Baloney Sandwich. Ever.
“There’s nothing! Nothing!” Doctor Steve emerged, his head wreathed in fog, his face set in disbelief.

Welll ALLLLLLLLRIGHTY then! Go Cole! I want you to write a love story… Mad scientist woman works for large Monsanto-like corporate pharma-conglomerate and is on the verge of discovering a break-through in molecular healing, basically a “fountain of youth” that would allow our cells to regenerate and recover from any disease at all. She falls […]

Two boys (about 10 years old) are riding their bikes and knocking down mailboxes with baseball bats in a rural community. One of the mailboxes bursts open to reveal an interesting package. What’s in the package? Do the boys open it? What do they do with the contents? How will this affect them?  

Three parallel stories in the “not-to-distant” future, introduced at the opening: Grave robber exhuming remains of two graves: Old man, not particularly likable but nothing against him (crotchety) It may be best to refer to him in pronouns only (He / his / etc., third-person quasi-omnipotent) Professional woman working with SETI: In a time of economic […]

A young man or woman with a terminal illness is granted the ability to perform one miracle.

Mandala. Study circle on healing racial divisions. Woman turning 40. Green algae. Child knitting prodigy – male or female, your choice. The 2nd Prelude and Fugue (but especially the prelude) from The Well-Tempered Klavier. Jamal Mashburn.   I thought you’d find a way to bring them all together.  I was inspired by your open invitation, […]

Four different types of knights at a princess’s birthday. A dragon comes, and one of the knights fights the dragon and cuts off his spikes. The dragon uses all his fire on the knight’s shield, then has to go to the gas station to get more.

An affordable drug that makes you profoundly content for an 8 hour stretch even if working but can cause seizures if you use any electronic screen.

Idea: Guy putting on socks for run notices bump near ankle. During run pain gets worse and worse, then unbearable. Man sits, picks and digs, pulls small media disc from leg. Goes home and it’s photos of him at different moments in time. Go!

Aisha was one of the wives of Muhammad. She was the only one of his wives who was a virgin when he married her. She grew to be a strong-willed woman. Aisha was once accused of adultery but declared innocent. After Muhammad’s death, “in Aisha’s arms,” according to Sunni doctrine, she took on a more […]

Setting: why, San Francisco, of course It’s a story of a person’s journey there. Maybe we know their name, maybe we don’t. Maybe we know their gender, maybe we don’t (maybe they don’t). Their purpose at least for traveling there is not the journey that results. Their purpose is for something mundane — work? a […]

The beauty of cancer.

A night in Paris. And it has to make me cry.

Here’s a story: of a man named Brady, who was bringing up three lonely little boys. Each of them had hair of gold, like their mother, though she could not be found.

Some inspiration, some encouragement, and a bit of fun for all. That’s all he wanted from his Facebook writing “contest.” But the 37-year-old architect and writer from Lexington, Ky, got more than he bargained for.

Uh, kinda taken up with a combo of school finals prep and HONK! fest prep…how bout you write about a dumbass volunteer marching band on a 16 hour bus trip to we know not what. –I guarantee I’ll certainly have plenty to write about, if I murder no one and no one murders me.  We […]

  All she wanted to do at the end of a long day was take a hot bath…. but as soon as she began to soak and finally let go of the excitement of the day, she felt a strange lightning sensation in her toe. The energy and electricity continued to build until it finally […]

Cole! :) I couldn’t figure out how to post these to the blog, but I wanted to give you a multiple choice submission!  Whichever of these three photos tells you the biggest story is what you should write about.  Give yourself 60 seconds with each one, and whatever has the most “spark” after that time, […]

I young (seven year) old boy falls in love with a beautiful girl named Lisa, who moves into town and start into school. He has never felt such a strong desire and attraction for any person or anything before. He is in love. One day, he takes a camera his dad gave him to school […]

I have lived a good life with no regrets…Mrs. Frances Smallwood.

A 45 year old refuge woman from Bhutan arrives in the United States by stepping off the plane in Lexington, KY. Her first task is to get groceries. From her perspective! I want all 5 senses fleshed out! :)

Unfortunately, I have two ideas and can’t decide between them. Please pick the one you find the most interesting and/or compelling: 1) Two aliens from different planets meet in a trendy SoHo night club. 2) You’re the only passenger in a particular subway car late at night when you suddenly notice a trap door opening […]

The basic idea is I introduced a character to write a story around.  Neurotic, way off.  Very frank internal dialog.  His normal routine had been disturbed by a recent, surprising brush with competence.  This has him caught in the grip of fear and paranoia.  The scene ends with him walking through the doors of the […]

Owen’s idea: Write a story about Owen. He does lots of tricks, like hopping on one foot and flips. And ends up in the circus. and p.s. He misses you Uncle Cole

Maggie’s idea: Bing. A little girl named Beema got to play with lillies. So she went off to play with lillies and she grabbed all the flowers up. She just got them and went home. She put the flowers down. She got the flowers back up and went to the park. She went and told […]

My idea: A crazy woman who saw Toy Stoy and now she’s afraid that the toys in her house come to life when she leaves the room (This could probably go scary, but it shouldn’t – it should be funny)