The semester ended on December 17th. Myself and the rest of my colleagues sat around a rectangular dinning room table feasting on pepperoni pizza, seven layer dip, and copious amounts of wine. It was our last “hurrah” before the month-and-a-half long break until Spring Semester. Most of us were on the waiting list for our professor’s advanced fiction workshop in the spring, but we all knew there was no way 7-plus people were going to mysteriously drop his class to make room for all of us. The one person that did get into his class modestly flaunted it and took our hate like a champion. Kidding — no one was mad.
The night was a nice close to Fall and a gentle way to usher in Winter. For the first time I felt like I could actually write something good enough to be published. (The hard part is maintaining a writing schedule; that is my Achilles’ heel. Curse ye, oh fleeting time. Yar!) But my work has only just begun: query letters and Submittable submissions; countless follow-up emails and simple, courteous promises that seem to drag on forever, like a potential employee ending an interview with, “We’ll get back to you by the end of the week.” It’s like a rejection letter, only worse. Much worse.
I wrote a lot of fiction in that class, and for the first time I am in the editing/ second draft phase. It’s an interesting place, like that moment in-between turning the shower off and stepping into the cold air of the rest of the bathroom. You cringe as you lift your foot out and over the tub and cry, “Fuck, fuck, fuck,” as you race to wrap your towel around you. (Note to self: Invest in bathrobe.)
Our last assignment for the semester was to bring in a 100-word story based on one of three prompts we were given in class the previous week. Two of the prompts were to be used as beginning sentences. The third prompt was this: Describe a field of flowers from the point of view of someone about to kill a child. Can you guess which one I chose? I’ll give you a hint:
She pulled herself from the window. The flowers were withered: pedals creased like aging lips, dry and brittle; color was sucked from the blooms of their faces, now closed and shut tight in agony; their stems of bodies close to snapping with every gentle gust of wind. The fields would not survive this winter; much in the same way some are not meant for this world. People are cold: harsh words caught up in a single breath of wasted opinions. Weight of the blade in her left hand, right griped tight around the axe handle, she whispered, “Mommy loves you.”
Take a stab (no pun intended) at a 100-word story yourself. You can use the prompt above or one of the following to get started:
- “I swear to God, she’s cheating.”
- As he lifted the lid, a rotten smell stung his nose.
- He tried to convince himself like he liked it.
- “Forget about it,” she dismissed Marco, “Let Tony be the one to pull the trigger.”
Happy writing! Maybe submit your story somewhere when you’re done…