Writing Prompts – Creative Copy Challenge #193

BET YOU CAN’T do this writing prompt. Take the 10 random words below and, in the comments, crush writer’s block by creating a cohesive, creative short story tying all of them together! And remember: after (if) you finish, highlight your words and click the bold button to make them stand out and help you determine if you forgot any words. (If you’ve missed previous writing prompts, we BET YOU CAN’T do those, either.)

  1. Gentle 
  2. Sweat
  3. Guide
  4. Design
  5. Simple
  6. Full
  7. Borrow
  8. Trace
  9. Technique
  10. Flip

NOTE: Don’t copy and paste from MS Word. Use a program like notepad that removes formatting or just type in the comment field itself. Also, finish your submission, THEN bold the words. Thanks. (And don’t forget to tweet this and share it with your friends.)

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Resources you should check out:
Thesis: Best Damn Theme on the Web
Collective Ink Well: Personalize Your Thesis Theme
Third Tribe Marketing: Marketing done the right way
Story Structure Demystified: Best damn writing book out there

Advertisements

129 Comments on “Writing Prompts – Creative Copy Challenge #193”

  1. Frank Ruiz says:

    I’m currently struggling between the gentle virtues of “Be Here Now,” the addiction to “seeing how far the rabbit hole goes,” and the wisdom of “letting go of attachments.”  My struggle stems from my realization that, after aligning myself with the virtues of all the sayings above, I still have to live and subsist in this life as it’s currently designed for us.

    The “splinter in my mind” of curiosity and a sense that there’s more to life has guided me toward pushing deeper and deeper through my activities in a quest for true substance.  The irony in such questing is that, the harder I look for substance, the less I find.  The distant appearance of complexity gives way to a vista that gets increasingly simple as we look more intensely.  I consume more and more data as I investigate the substance of my life, but, rather than getting more full of meaning, I sail further into an ocean of emptiness, with nary a trace of something to pin the meaning of our lives to.

    In borrowing the lessons of those who created the mantras I follow, I’ve increasingly realized that most of the things I used to be attached to don’t warrant the amount of stress and anguish I used to attach to them.  The result of this flip in my thinking is that my former life of mountains is really one of molehills.

    My technique of re-prioritization for the challenges in my life has turned my “big stuff” into “small stuff.”  When I add this transformation into a life where I “don’t sweat the small stuff,” I realize that virtually everything in my life is “small stuff” when I look deeply enough into it.

    I guess my questions are: Now that I’ve shrunk the “stuff” that is my life, what next?  Is there anything that can’t be shrunken because it still matters?  What if there’s nothing left in this life that consists of irreducibly-important substance?  What if nothing really matters?

    • Shane Arthur says:

      @Frank: That was your deepest yet. Great stuff.
       

    • Frank, write a book. LOL
       
      Assuming the question is not rhetorical, the answer is as important as you want it to be.
      Consider this: none of us asked to be born. We were dropped into a 7 billion member club with no clothes, no money and no food. Guess which two we got first? Guess which one keeps us going? Finally, guess which one we worship?
       
      Is it any wonder that exploring the rabbit hole requires diametrically opposing actions to simultaneously occur? We not only must let go of attachments, which don’t fit down the hole; we must also forego the idea of being here now, in order to open ourselves up for discovery.
       
      “Be here now” and materialism are two sides of the same narcissistic coin. One is the abdication of self-expression and identity in the name of temporal indulgence. The other is a suppression, with things, of that self-expression and identity. To spend that coin is to truly return to the moment of birth – not a comforting thought, at all!
       
      But, only by doing that can we discover our true selves.
       
      Cheers,
       
      Mitch
       

      • Frank Ruiz says:

        Thanks for the comments, Shane, Mitch, and Rebecca.  Much appreciated!
         
        @Mitch: Awesome insight into the limitations of “Be Here Now,” and its link to materialism as another way to calcifying our growth/journey into continued truth-seeking over the long haul.
         
        From that perspective, perhaps my questions about “getting all the way to nothing” simply means getting away from everything aside from my true self.  Now that there’s no distractions from truly seeing me/us/it/everything as I/we/it/all am/is, it can be the beginning of a new journey of discovering truth from there.
         
        Thanks again, everyone!

    • margaret says:

      I have found that the core of what matters boils down to very simplistic terms….harmony and love with those that are important to you,  “live and let live” attitude with the rest of the world, Integrity in what you do for a living to get the basic things you need and then the frills that make it all special…art and music. I totally live by “don’t sweat the small stuff”…I see too many people ruin health, lives and relationships unnecessarily.  Great job, Frank.

      • Frank Ruiz says:

        Thanks for your wonderful list for the core of what matters.  As simple as it is, it’s more than enough, and I’ll try to remember them during my own questing.

    • Jeanette R. says:


      @Frank. I totally feel you on this one.  Life can seem so overwhelming one day and then so underwhelming another.  And I don’t just mean that in a negative context.  I guess the point is to not put a title on either experience and just allow the feeling to be felt.  It’s about withholding judgment and just experiencing what comes your way.  I think the meaning of life is that you put meaning to whatever you experience in your life.

    • Dee says:

      Great questions, Frank. Due to changes in my job beyond my control, I began last school year with a huge work load and for the first time in a long time, the situation was one that used to make me crazy. There was no way I could end the day feeling like I was done. I decided the only way to keep myself sane was to change my attitude, since I could not change the circumstances. The philosophy worked so well for my job that I have extended it to the rest of my life. I show up early. I am nice. I go home.  That’s it. I think the only thing that really matters is the middle part. It is the only part that seems to leave an impact.

    • Punkster says:

      Profound. Clear. Beautiful.
       
      =)

      • Frank Ruiz says:

        Thanks for the comments, Dee and Punkster!
         
        Dee, I agree with you that being nice is one of the greatest gifts we can give each other.  I also think that when folks aren’t nice to us, it’s okay to address the issue.  In a world that I usually see as the bland submission to injustice (in my own life at least), standing up to injustice has given it a new boost of passion.  I may end up becoming a victim of “when keeping it real goes wrong,” but if things are going to be wrong either way, I’d rather do what I feel is right.
         
        Thanks again!

        • Dee Martin says:

          I have no problem with standing up for someone else when I perceive injustice. The being nice is a gift that I have given myself.  I spent too much time being angry and when I am angry and negative it colors everything I do and spreads like a disease to everyone around me. I read an excerpt from the “No Assholes” book – awesome book about the workplace by the way.  Everyone is one at times – even when they are normally positive people.  If you treat it like you would any other communicable disease, it follows that you do not want to spread it to your co-workers (you would cover your mouth when you sneeze for example). I told this story to my lunch group – a great group of folks.  There was one lady in the group who could walk in the door and change the mood of the entire group with her negativity. “Bless you” became our buzz word. The funny thing is – not only did we manage to stop spreading negativity between ourselves, the reverse worked as well. The negative lady began laughing at herself when she would start a rant and saying “bless you”
          I know this sounds like a pollyanna talk and believe me when I say that I fail MISERABLY at times. But it does illustrate how we can spread being positive just like we spread our cold and flu germs. 🙂 It won’t solve the problems of the world and it certainly won’t fix a broken family, an unemployed dad, or any of the other serious problems that we see every day. It just makes me a little more able to deal with them and that is worth something I think!
          Sorry this is so long but it was a good reminder to myself – maybe I will have a good day and make a few people happy as well. I figure if one person goes home to their wife or husband and gives them a hug and doesn’t kick the dog, and maybe says to the kids “what the hell – lets have ice cream for supper tonight” I will have been the butterfly that flapped their wings and caused the breeze that blew the smoke off the highway that avoided the huge wreck that saved the pregnant mother that is carrying the baby who will grow up to cure cancer…
          Have a great and powerful day all!

          • Frank Ruiz says:

            Wow!  Amazing reply Dee!  “Bless you,” and I’ll definitely try and keep taking that practice to heart!  I’ll be checking for that “No Assholes” book too!

            Thanks again, and I hope we all get to have ice cream for supper tonight!

  2. Anthony was in trouble. Worry lines channeled the sweat from his brow to his high cheek bones, where it dried in the gentle evening breeze before the hustlers could notice. He had only recently mastered the technique and, instead of practicing until he could flip the desired card at will, he had rushed down to Orange Blossom Trail to borrow 700 dollars from Big Mike. He blithely agreed to repay 1500 next week or 200 a day until he could raise the 1500.

    Now, he sat on his haunches, waiting for the betting to end. Black Jack Jones went all in, forcing the issue. Anthony was trembling almost too violently to trace his fingernail around the intricate design on the top card. Where was the bump? This should have been simple, but he couldn’t concentrate! Was that just grit from the sidewalk, pressing through the card? If it wasn’t, then this was an ace. Anthony had to choose.

    He palmed the card and dealt a face-down card to Black Jack Jones, and then to Cross-eyed Willie, who had a bust hand, no matter what. He was a shill for Black Jack, guiding the stakes higher with outrageous bets. He dealt the next card to Tiny Dick. Anthony figured the goon for a full house, queen high.  Finally, he managed to replace the palmed card onto the top of the deck and, with a flourish, dealt the card to his brother.

    “Read ’em and weep!” Black Jack Jones triumphantly displayed four kings and a seven of spades.

    Cross-eyed Willie feigned disgust and tossed his cards face-down onto the ground.  Tiny Dick swore angrily and threw his cards down, as well. Anthony tried not to look while his brother slowly, grandly played the eight, nine, ten, jack and queen of clubs.

    “Come to papa, boys. I got me a straight flush!” Jared flashed his Glock pistol casually, ensuring that he would not be molested as he gathered up more than three thousand dollars.

    “Well, you got that, Little Jay.” Black Jack Jones stood up and sauntered down the street. Tiny Dick stared at the cards for a minute then he, too, got up and left. Cross-eyed Willie skedaddled in the opposite direction, leaving Anthony and Jay alone on the street corner.

    Anthony started shaking uncontrollably. “Wh-what did you do?”

    Jared chuckled. “You kidding me? I never trusted any of you from the git-go.” He removed five cards from the cuff of his pants. Three deuces, a king and four of diamonds told the story.

    • Shane Arthur says:

      @Mitch: That was super fun to read. The character names were a trip. I thought the whole time they had double meaning of some kind. I’ll have to read that again.

      • Thanks, Shane. It was super fun to write. Those words just shouted “magician”, to me. 🙂
        The cool thing about made up names is that we can ascribe whatever meaning we’d like.
        I’m glad I resisted the urge to explain those nicknames, as I do have some ideas what they might mean.
         
        Cheers,
         
        Mitch
         

        • Well ain’t you fast and wild with fortune, programmer? Just a blogging game; all of us players, or some such, no?  And a good story, Mitch, also.  🙂

          • Frank Ruiz says:

            Mitch, really entertaining read!  Poker seems to have taken the “Wild West” out of its Texas Hold ’em games, so I’m glad your story helps bring the original spirit and excitement of the game back into it!

          • Thanks, Ant! All the world’s a sidewalk – the fun happens where the sidewalk ends.
             
            Cheers,
             
            Mitch
             

    • margaret says:

      That was fun, Mitch, though I wouldn’t really like to sit next to “Tiny Dick”, LOL.

    • Jeanette R. says:

      @Mitchell. I love the nicknames!  I felt like I was a waitress with my arm resting on Willie’s shoulder, observing. This was awesome!

      • Jeanette, thanks for enjoying the story enough to keep the fellas company! 🙂
        Though, what’s a nice girl like you doing anywhere near the nefarious Orange Blossom Trail?!
         
        Cheers,
         
        Mitch
         

    • Dee says:

      Hope there is a sequel. I am kinda worried about Anthony now…How is he going to pay his debts?
       

  3. Shane Arthur says:

    “Hey Billy! What’s dat technique you designed dat you said makes da gals sweat da sweet sex juices… da one you said is traced back to dat Carmax Sutra feller who borrowed it from some other older feller-with-a-boner’s stone-etched guide?”

    “Which technique you talkin’ ‘bout, Bobby? Da gentle one or dat full-blown bull-rough one?”

    “Da rough one.”

    “Ohhh, dat one. It’s simple. It’s called da flipper technique. You flips her over after every third love-thrust. You’ll have her head spinnin’ and body quiverin’.”

    “Dat explains it!”

    “Explains what, Bobby?”

    “I only get’s to the third thrust before my Little Bobby erupts, and the gals has been laughing so hard they sound like Flipper.”

  4. margaret says:

    My technique for sanity and guide to life,
    is “don’t sweat the small stuff”…avoid daily strife.
    Keep your heart gentle and full of good thoughts,
    enjoy simple pleasures and enjoy what you gots. 😉

    Flip off your bad attitudes, leave no trace of hate,
    design your own happiness, don’t borrow your fate.
    Life is too short to be angry and stress…
    but to be pissed off occasionally, is ok, I confess!

  5. Anne Wayman says:

    It was a simple and gentle guide, designed to eliminate excess sweat. It fully illuminated the flip technique, borrowing from ancient wisdom, traced to the present moment.
     
    No clue what I’m talking about of course.

  6. Rebecca says:

    @ Frank … Talk about deep thoughts. Beautifully written!

  7. Rebecca says:

    @ Mitch … Great read … I loved the character names as well. I liked reading the word ‘skedaddled’ in the story. 🙂

  8. Rebecca says:

    @ Shane … Oh My … This one made me blush.

  9. Rebecca says:

    @ Margaret … Very poetic … Thanks for reminding us not to sweat the small stuff.

  10. Rebecca says:

    Life is simple and you get to design it all,
    Be gentle with yourself as try to live up to your full potential.
    Borrow from great thought leaders such as Napoleon Hill,
    And guide your thoughts to those things that bring you joy.
     
    Can you trace the web of your life to your present situation?
    Use a technique such as meditation to quiet your mind and listen to the stillness within.
    Flip off the All Negative Channel playing in your head every day,
    Sweat no more that you’re not good enough – you are good enough.

    • Shane Arthur says:

      @Rebecca: Fantastic. That first line brought the pop!

      • Frank Ruiz says:

        Rebecca, awesome piece, and this is my favorite line:
         
        “Can you trace the web of your life to your present situation?”
         
        Usually, investigating back to the root of whatever issue we’re dealing with ends up reminding us that it was in large part us at the other end helping to birth the problem that we’re keeping alive in the present.

    • Dee Martin says:

      great motivational thoughts!!! I am copying this and putting it as my wallpaper while I try to scale the nanowrimo mountain – that negative channel wants to play 24-7 these days!

  11. He could have written a full guide to the rain forest’s butterflies; but Stanley’s technique was simple.  He hated aimless articles that promised insecta at every trail intersection. If an ignorant suited editor ever knocked, he’d flip the bird.
    Sometimes rumor rose that another hiking map design was wanted somewhere; Stanley didn’t sweat.  He’d put his phone in the drawer.
    If ever you really want to talk though, Stanley’s not hard to trace. But the only way you’ll get his local knowledge is to go gentle-like to his door, and ask to borrow his mind awhile.  Stanley loves to chat about Blue Morphos over a beer. You’d best bring plenty.

  12. Thank you Shane; great fun ’tis.

  13. I am at a convention here in Las Vegas, so took a minute to contribute and this is what came out.

    Slow Love
    Full of gentle love
    let simple sweat guide you
    borrow time for this technique
    flip the body design and trace her curves
    passion soft and slow
     
     

  14. Brad says:

    “I’ll just borrow this”, Connor egotistically thought as his gentle collision into the man wearing the grey suit allowed him to lift the wallet without a trace of inquisition from the affair. The technique was acute and its design clever from its sharpened simplicity.
    “Pardon me sir” Conner aired with full condescension in his voice. “No problem” said the man in the grey suit. Connor tipped his hat in acknowledgement and began to turn back around. Just then, he heard the man’s voice. Sweat on his palms began to accumulate. He’d abducted many a wallet and never felt the guide of suspicion from a mark.
    Connor was uneasy with his actions and slowly turned to face the man again. He watched the badge flip in the man’s hand as if the world had slowed to where freedom was lost and all exuberance of his chosen vocation dare exist.
    “It’s simple. You give me back my wallet, and I won’t take you to jail.” commanded the man in the grey suit.

    • Shane Arthur says:

      @Brad: haha. I loved that. Surprise followed by surprise ending. More of that!

    • Jeanette R. says:

      @Brad. Nice ending!

    • Yeah, Brad, rock it! That was tight writing! This was really great:
       
      Connor was uneasy with his actions and slowly turned to face the man again. He watched the badge flip in the man’s hand as if the world had slowed to where freedom was lost and all exuberance of his chosen vocation dare exist.
       
      Cheers,
       
      Mitch
       

    • Brad says:

      @Shane
      @Jeanette
      @Mitchell
      Thanks for taking the time to read and comment. I’ll try and bring the heat every time I write one of these.

  15. Rebecca says:

    @ Shane … Thanks … I couldn’t resist.
     
    @ Frank … I agree. I traced the patterns in my own life to the ‘root’ and now recognize self-sabotaging behaviors which have kept me stuck; I’ve learned a lot of lessons. If we stop for a moment, we’ll see how patterns will keep ‘popping up’ in our lives until we face, correct and learn from them. I’m learning to listen to the ‘whispers’ so I won’t get hit with a ton of bricks! Lesson learned… 🙂

  16. Cathy Miller says:

    May the gentle sweat from my brow guide you to a design that is simple, yet full enough to borrow understanding as we trace the latest technique to flip it into eternity.

  17. Tiffany Hudson says:

    Sky was just that simple girl so gentle but full of life. 
    Her sister Star was her guide, her world. 
    A trace of a bond so strong and so pure the design of it would destroy anyone who tryed to borrow it from the two sisters so vunrable and special to a world that no one would ever understand the workings of such a magical place that was the home to such powerful girls. The technigue used to take such a bond would leave the most powerful person dead in cold sweat. It would flip a person’s life upside down so fast they wouldn’t even remember it in the end. 
    A bond so fragile between two girls that a life time of death and distruction lays in front of them.      

    • Shane Arthur says:

      @Tiffany: That was AWESOME. Love how you held back some information on me. Made me fill in the blanks nicely.

      ps. Can’t believe it’s been 6 months since you’ve been here! Time flies.

    • An expanded, literary Haiku, how ’bout dat? 🙂
      Love what you did here, Tiffany!
       
      Cheers,
       
      Mitch
       

      • Tiffany Hudson says:

        @Shane Aww thanks 🙂 I’m actualy quite proud of it.
        I know, sorry about that. I’ve been realy busy with school and exams but I should be on here a bit more now.

        @Mitch Thanks it means alot that you like it. 
         
         – Tiff

    • Jeanette R. says:

      @Tiffany. Really powerful.  Great job.

  18. Jeanette R. says:

    The women at the table are perfectly coiffed. I regret not having spent more than five minutes on my make-up and not ironing my clothes.  I always seem to get stuck at the ‘old lady’ table.  The flower designs are tasteful and simple; white daisies in clear glass vases.  

    Tracing my finger around the rim of my cup, I secretly wish there was wine in it. I borrow a line in Spanish from my mother-in-law to excuse myself and escape into the backyard. The humidity instantly sticks to my body and produces beads of sweat on my forehead.  A gentle breeze would be perfect right about now.

    I flip open my cell phone to check the time. A wrinkled old cigarette falls from inside.  I turn my back and guide it onto my lap.  It’s been three whole days since I’ve had one. The faint smell of the tar tickles my nose.

    I run through the list of my coping techniques and decide on a plan of action.  Walking up to a pile of dog shit, I squat down and gently lay the cigarette on top. A fly gets too close to my mouth but I stay still.  

    I stare back through the sliding glass doors and recreate the conversations.  I can imagine the full blown “oohs and ahhs” each time the guest of honor opens a gift. I can see the harried mother’s shifting their babies from side to side and trying to get one minute of reprieve to make a comment.  The maternal sensations are lost on me.

  19. Dee says:

    Still slogging my way through nanowrimo. I plan to hit 25000 tonight. Here is an “outtake”
    Aedan stopped at the door.

    “Go after her. You will have to guide her until she learns.” Simon smiled. “Don’t worry about me. I will clean up here and get some rest.”

    Simon had worked magic and skill with herbs and Jae had survived the attack, but she had shifted and was a new wolf. It would take a gentle touch to show her simple things that Aedan took for granted. She would need to master the technique of holding her humanity deep inside when in wolf form, while changing her perspective to fit her new body. The brain could adjust but it was meant to deal with one form, by design.

    Aedan took off, running full out, until he caught up with the wolf. He came at her from behind and flipped her onto her back. He stepped back and stood in front of her waiting.

    “What did you do that for?” Jae jumped up, shaking herself. A trace of leaves and grass clung to sweat dampened fur. She was angry and confused but her wolf instinctively reacted to the alpha. That seemed to anger her more.

    “You have to take it slow until you get used to this body. Your height is different. Your coordination is different. I’m sorry, but I don’t want you to kill yourself by running off a cliff or into a tree.” Aedan watched as she hesitated.

    “Wait. How can I hear you?” Jae knew they were not speaking, and yet, she understood Aedan as though he said the words.

    “I can hear you too. You will be able to communicate with the entire pack. In fact, you will need to learn to shield your thoughts or they will know everything you think. Not always convenient.”

    “Lucia?”

    Aedan had been waiting for her to ask. “Simon would not let her in. She tried to talk him into it and then she tried to force her way in. She wants to kill you. I’m not sure if there is anything human left in her.”

    Jae bowed her head. “I don’t know if I have the strength to handle this.”

    Aedan felt the panic rising in her. “Then you can borrow mine.”

  20. John F. Moynihan says:

    She stood in the middle of the room, eyes closed.
    “Turn around at look at yourself in the mirror, dear.” her mother said.
    But she just couldn’t. This moment had been a long time coming, a moment she could trace to the most difficult experience of her young life. It had been the night of the Sadie Hawkins dance that she stood in this very spot looking in the same mirror she now shied away from. “I was naive.” she said under her breath. As was the tradition, all the young ladies at school had asked one of the young men to attend the dance. She had asked Bryce Nelson. The two of them were lab partners in Chemistry class freshman year and had since become good friends. She had secretly adored him. Thrilled that he said yes, she was sure it was the beginning of a life-long love affair.
    Well, it wasn’t. The night of the dance, she professed her love for him.
    “Bryce,” she said, “we have come so far as friends, but my feelings are stronger than that. I love you, Bryce!”
    He didn’t exactly recoil, but she knew immediately the fantasy was over. Bryce tried to be gentle, but adolescent awkwardness stepped in.
    “Kare,” her name was Karen, but Bryce always shortened it to Kare, “I really like you, but just not in that way.” If he had stopped there everything would have been fine, but he continued.
    “You always shoot for boys out of your league.” He said, “You need to find someone more like you.”
    Without thinking she pressed him for more, “What do you mean, more like me?” She hoped he’d say “chunky” or “red-haired” but her worst fear was realized.
    “You know, Kare. Handicapped.”
    Karen immediately started to cry.
    “Do you need to borrow my handkerchief?” he asked weakly.
    “No, just leave me alone.” she said. After that she wouldn’t even let him drive her home.
    There certainly are people who would have let such an experience keep them down, but Karen’s response was just the opposite. When her father came to pick her up from the dance, the first words out of her mouth were,
    “Dad, I want to go to the gym with you. I want you to help me get stronger.”
    Her father’s assignment was not so simple. Karen didn’t have complete use of her legs. She had used braces on her legs most of her life, particularly when she was doing something strenuous, like going to a dance. Although her parents were always apprehensive, Karen insisted on attending every dance, getting out on the dance floor and at least swaying to the music. Now she was determined to do it without the braces.
    Her dad sought professional help, and they broached the subject with her doctor who was blunt, “You know that as you age your legs will become completely useless?” She nodded. “For now though,” the doctor continued, “there is no reason we can’t adopt some strengthening techniques that will help you in the short term and, perhaps, delay the inevitable. But I’m not making any promises.” Then seeing an opening to address one of his pet peeves, the doctor continued, “And it would help you immensely if you dropped some weight. The extra pounds are just a barrier to success.”
    She smiled, “Thanks, Doc.”
    After reviewing a plan with Karen and her father, the doctor wisher her luck, but warned her. “I want to see you regularly during this experiment. And if it gets to be too much, I’m going to pull the plug.”
    As Karen left the office, the doctor turned to his office manager and said, “There goes the most determined girl you’ll ever meet.”
    And determined she was. At breakfast the next morning she said to her mother, “Can you help me design a better meal plan?” By dinner, her mother had planned every meal for a month.
    With her father as her guide, Karen visited the gym three times a week. She dutifully climbed on the various leg machines the doctor had recommended. With light weights and repetition, Karen actually began to feel a change in her legs. She wore the braces less often and did not tire so easily. At home, with her parents nearby, she would practice balancing without her crutches. She didn’t mind hanging on to her father for support.
    “Dad, 3 minutes is all I need. Just to be able to stand for 3 minutes with someone there to lean on, that’s all I ask.” Not only would she get her 3 minutes, she would get her someone.
    One day a boy she had seen but did not know approached her at school.
    “Hi Karen,” he said, and stuck out his hand. “I’m Jason, my Dad is a partner in the gym where you workout. I’ve seen you there.” Then he thought to himself, “And I think you are pretty.”
    “Hello.” She said, confidently and shook his hand.
    “I was wondering,” Jason asked, saying the words he had been practicing for a full week, “If I can help you with your workout sometime. I’ve know a lot about fitness and would love to share it with you.”
    “Well,” she replied, “as long as you don’t mind seeing me sweat.”
    He laughed, “No problem.”
    Their partnership paid off. Karen trimmed down, and her legs gained a bit of strength. More importantly, and much to his delight, she and Jason became close friends. One day, as he drove her home from the gym, Karen asked, “Doesn’t it bother you to be seen so often with a handicapped girl?”
    “Handicapped?!” he exclaimed. “I’ve worked out with you enough, Karen, to know that you are anything but handicapped.” She smiled.
    When it came time for prom, it was almost understood that they would be attending as a couple. Still, her heart did a flip when he actually asked if she would be his date.
     
    So here it was, prom night. She slipped into the dress she had picked out months ago, even before she fit into it. It felt right, but she was afraid to look.
    “Turn around, now”, her mother demanded.
    So she did and for the first time in her life, she loved what she saw. The dress fit her perfectly. It hugged her trim waist and hung perfectly around her ankles where there were no braces to hide. Her lovely red hair fell across her shoulders and those freckles that had always made her frown before, now seemed to compliment her round cheeks.
    Jason knocked on the door moments later. She nonchalantly grabbed her crutches and met him at the door.
    After some tense moments putting on her corsage, a few pleasantries with her parents and the obligatory prom pictures, the happy couple was out the door.
    It was a wonderful night. They laughed and talked, and owned their spot on the dance floor. During the upbeat tunes, she used her crutches and did her usual sway. But when the slow dances came around, she set the crutches aside, and with Jason there for support, danced like she’d never danced before.

    • Whoo! What a ride! This is so good it sounds like you lived this in some way or another.
      The transition to the transformation had me transfixed!
       
      Cheers,
       
      Mitch
       

      • John F. Moynihan says:

        Thanks, Mitch.  There is actually a young woman who comes into the gym my wife and I belong to.  She does need crutches to walk, but she makes the rounds on the machines.  Her father works with her.  I really don’t know her and this is not her story.  It’s just the one I imagined for her.

        Have a good day,
        John

        • Awesome. The writer at work 🙂
           
          Cheers,
           
          Mitch
           

        • Jeanette R. says:

          @John. I love doing that…taking something from my personal life and expounding on it.  Nicely done.

          • John F. Moynihan says:

            @Jeanette, thanks so much. This was a very interesting exercise for me. I had already reviewed the words and was thinking about what direction to go in while I was working out. I saw this young woman and words just filled my head. When I got home, I opened my computer and my fingers just started typing.

    • Shane Arthur says:

      @John: Love how you tied everything back into the original scene. Well done indeed.

  21. Aslam Yaqoob says:

    It was a lovely evening. Gentle breeze was whispering around us as if suggesting us to go out for an excursion. Since the suggestion was to our liking, we followed the breeze. It guided us to our favourite place; Beach. By the time we reached there everyone seemed to be enjoying the  full moon and the sweet,  whistling breeze.  We noticed that breeze, had kept changing its fragrance during  the course of our journey to the beech. While we driving past a perfume shop it became so fragrant that we had to stopped our car for a few moment to  take a deep breath; as soon we move away from the boundary of that shop an unbearable odor flipped our nasal experience; it even made us sweat. Now we understood that breeze had to borrow something from its surroundings.  It changes so abruptly that no one could trace that it has actually been travelling through different places.
     
    We are also like breeze, travelling and heading toward our mortal destiny. During our journey, we also meet and experience good and bad people and learn through them. If we stay with a bad person  more than he deserves chances are that we may become like him too. Most of us are designed like that. However, there are techniques to become like an adorable fragrance which at once changes a nasty breeze into a mist of love. Instead of adopting bad habits from a bad person we may instill in him our good characteristics and make him adorable too. No doubt the task is not simple but great people do it every time. Give it a try and change people around you. But do not forget to change yourself first.

  22. Jen says:

    Man. I get lonely for you guys when I don’t get over here weekly. Anyway. Hi!
     

    I trace the streets with my finger, following the straight and simple lines from Boston to 5th Street. From the map, I see the suggested curve of the river, the tracks that demarcated north from south, Greenwood from the main downtown. This map is only a guide, telling me how to get to a longitudinal spot that exists in the real world.
     
    It doesn’t show me the full scale of the city’s history.
     
    I make the drive westward along Route 66, long imagined by me as some kind of herald, a spotlight of design and human sweat.  But I don’t see red plateaus across the horizon. I don’t see cacti or the Pacific. I don’t see women in bouffants and men with sleek, oiled coifs. I don’t see soft tops or T-birds. I see worn old buildings, gently bowing to age, borrowing sustenance from my romantic imaginings.
     
    I flip over the map, disappointed. The technique of visiting via paper and drawn symbols is nothing compared to standing at the corner of of 11th and Harvard, willing the past to rise, a vapor, before my eyes.

  23. Punkster says:

    He wiped the drops of sweat on his forehead. The design was finally complete and the human-like structure made of steel was standing before him. What started out as a simple project to trace mice in the dirty basement he lived in, turned out to become a full-fledged model. The digital screen blinked in the darkness, with the words “Battery full” flashing in green text. He had worked very little on the design of the model which made the figure look like a dummy from some low-budget sci-fi movie.
    With a gentle push he guided to the large figure to an open area. He plugged a large device to the model he had borrowed from the laboratory. There are advantages in a Janitor’s job too, that’s why he can “borrow” the equipment and the “techniques” without the knowledge of people working there. He pressed a red button and the machine came to life, letting out a loud growl, vibrating the model’s steel skeleton. The machine suddenly stopped and silence took over. He waited for something to happen and finally let out a sigh of disappointment.
    He removed the plug from the model and it suddenly flipped backwards landing in front of a mirror. The figure noticed its steel body in astonishment, tilting its bald steel head from side to side. The figure suddenly turned towards him letting out a shrill mechanical voice, “Papa, Why am I so ugly? “

  24. Hello Beautiful Penners!
    Wonderful words to take off from! 🙂
     
    ……………………………………………..
     
    This time I had to flip the script. Unable to remain gentle, I opened the hose full force.
     
    No, there is nothing like having your blood, sweat, and tears borrowed to fuel another’s simplistic take on privilege. How easy is it to trace the beginnings of your morphing design, from simple synapse germination to spread-eagle lift-off? Not so easy.
     
    Whether recalling the exact techniques put in play to achieve what is now, or remembering every move that guided you to what now is . . . It.Is.Your’s.  Own it.
     

  25. Rebecca says:

    @ Dee … Good luck with NaNoWriMo! I totally understand about the ‘All Negative Channel’ playing. I do my best to replace a negative thought with a positive one. It can be challenging. 🙂

  26. KathleenKL says:

    Mind-full Conversation — Continued:

    Hey
    Lovie! Did you see that post? Yes, the one from yesterday. The one in which
    your friend, Breanna reminded me that you had more than a trace of me in you. She reminded me of how much you were like me….
    Yes son, it made me smile with pride too. Reminded me of how kind and helpful
    you were to others. She said the advice I have been giving to your friends has
    been full of useful things. How it made
    her miss you, because you did the same thing.

    Yes,
    Breanna is sweet. But she reminded me of how gentle you were. She said, “I remember when we used to go to
    school. He used to talk about how much his family meant so much, about how much he loved you.”
    Okay Lovie… this really made me smile… in ever cell of my body.

    Lovie,
    I know you know how much I love you. I also know that you love me. I just never
    realized others knew too, because of the way you shared us, if you will, with
    them. Silly,huh.

    There
    have been other posts… on your Facebook page … yes from Maggie, that’s one of
    them. They miss you too Lovie. Your uniquely “Kline” way of friendship,
    listening. They miss your guidance. How you guided others, in the simplest
    ways is wonderful son. 

    Remember
    when you flipped the tables. You asked
    me to go into work, speak with Tracey, because she was being stalked and she
    needed my help, our help. Oh, no son. That was not steeling time away from me. Still to
    this day you can borrow me at any time, don’t sweat it Lovie, especially if it
    is to help someone else avoid what we endured.

    Pretty
    nice legacy Lovie… Pretty nice legacy, I love you son.

  27. Sweat drips off his brow landing in large blotches staining the front of his shirt. What was once such a simple technique is now a monumental challenge. He guides the spoon slowly and deliberately from bowl to mouth, each tremor spilling the contents onto the clean tablecloth. Tomato soup creates a crime scene for later clean up.

    It hardly seems fair that the design of life for this gentle soul has come to this place. He hardly had a chance to live a full life before the accident stole his future. I am reminded daily as I visit him that my life is only on borrowed time. What seems concrete for me today, might only be a trace of someone’s memory tomorrow. If the coin were flipped and it were me struggling to do something as basic as eating a bowl of soup, would I have half the amount of grace as this young man?

    He pauses as if reading my thoughts. A lopsided grin lights up his entire face and I find myself starting to smile in return. I had no idea when I volunteered to work with Danny, that I would be the one who gained the most.

    Danny has taught me how to love. 

  28. sh13151223 says:

    He was forcing himself against breaking and throwing that pendulum out, silence was eerie but any sound that broke it seemed more threatening. He flipped opened her portfolio, it had those fabulous precious designs in it, thoughts ran like ants all over the head and he began to sweat badly. She is a beginner, it is as simple as drinking water to deceive her, but still that choking effect was full on his throat. She is as gentle as a deer, he can borrow her design if he asks, but that would hurt his self imposed image. Till now every move was calculated. Tomorrow is a decisive day, he must carefully guide himself on things ahead. No trace of suspicion be there on that mask he will wear tomorrow, it is no child play. This technique is new to him but how can he, the master, bear a novice’s outstanding talent. He is sweating heavily.

  29. Rebecca says:

    @ sh13151223 … Thank you!

  30. Pam says:

    Momma always used to say, “ain’t no use a-borrowin‘ trouble, boy.” Sounds like simple advice, but my stomach was ready to flip and I could feel the sweat tricklin’ down my back. Weren’t no trace of the calm my Momma would have had. Or maybe she woulda. I could just hear her voice, all gentle an’ warm caramel syrup, tellin’ me “God got a design for us all, boy. You jes’ relax and He’ll let you know what His plan be in the fullness of time. Jes’ let Him be your guide, sit back an’ enjoy the ride.’ Couldn’t say the technique were workin’ for me until the organ started. Then I turned round an’ saw my bride all beautiful comin’ towards me an’ I thought, “Yeah, Momma musta put in a good word with God. He sure got a good one for me.”

  31. Kelly says:

    (Another from November.)
     

    LARGE-ISH
     
     
    A gentle rain fell outside.
     
     
    You know it did; rains are only gentle in short stories. It was, therefore, inevitable.
     
     
    Inside, however, a great many things can occur; and in this particular instance, a smallish man sat in his basement (inevitably, it was damp and dark there, but that is for another story), sweat pouring from his brow. He was putting together a bicycle for his daughter, who was also smallish—just eight this year!—and he had started early, almost two weeks before Christmas, to get this nasty mechanical project out of the way; for in addition to being a rather small man, he had rather small hands, and rather small strength, and he had wisely assumed that when coupled with his utter dread of all things mechanical, these would pose formidable impediments indeed.
     
     
    He was the type of man who had to borrow all the tools for the project from a bemused neighbor, though all the tools that were necessary were a hammer, a screwdriver, and a set of ratchets. Perhaps you know the type and give them kindly smiles and encouragement when they ring your house’s bell; or perhaps, you are that simple sort of man, and you’ve already broken out in hives at the thought of such work as the man was contemplating.
     
     
    Indeed, though he’d been underway for three days, he was merely contemplating at this moment, because the guide which came with this smallish, unassuming bicycle was woefully poor in its conception and design. He was now flipping it ‘round and ‘round in his rather small hands, wondering if he’d done step seventy-two before step four, on account of having misread something, or where in Christendom this part in his hand should go, if such was not the case.
     
     
    Perhaps you wish you could give him tips on his manual-reading technique. I know I did.
     
     
    Well, dear reader, he had precious little choice but to re-trace his steps, to find (almost happily) that it was their fault in the writing and not his in the reading, and to un-assemble half of that which had gone before; then he began the unenviable task of re-assembling, while watching a leak form at the very top of the smallish window providing the only natural light in his damp, dark basement, and thanking the dear Lord that it would not make him less of a father if he hired someone to fix that leak… if he ever emerged from the basement, except to travel to and from work and to eat dinner.
     
     
    In the end, it was another full week before the shiny orange cycle with the sparkly banana seat (you know the one) was ready for a big bow Mother had made (and a hiding spot, for those remaining few days, in the very deepest, darkest, and dampest spot in the basement, where it would acquire a thin coat of rust that it never recovered from). Though I can not say for certain, it is quite possible (if not inevitable) that that orange bicycle, top-of-the-line from the Sears catalogue, into which so much love and care was poured before it could even properly be called a bicycle, might be the only present from her childhood that the daughter still remembers, all these many years on.
     
     
    And his daughter, quite happily and quite in spite of him, grew to be very mechanically inclined, the sort of woman from whom her neighbors and her father can always borrow tools of every description… the sort of woman who would never give you anything but kindly smiles and encouragement, should you ever ring and tell her about your mechanical woes, in that slightly embarrassed tone that the smallish people who make large-ish differences without quite realizing it often have.
     
     
    Thanks, Dad.

    • Shane Arthur says:

      @Kelly: Oh man! Love how you made “Thanks, Dad” mean something entirely different. Write on.

      • Kelly says:

        Shane—Poor Dad, this is only a semi-true story. He is the finest being around (‘cept Ma, of course), and deserves all kinds of thanks for everything as the good ones do, and he did put together a bike one Christmas, but he’d be ticked if he thought I was suggesting he wasn’t up to it.
         
        (And he did raise a girl a lot like this one in the story—luv my tools!—but that’s all a biiiig coincidence, LOL.)

  32. […] Creative Copy Challenge 193 Words: Gentle, Sweat, Guide, Design, Simple, Full, Borrow, Trace, Technique, Flip Sweat drips off his brow landing in large blotches staining the front of his shirt. What was once such a simple technique is now a monumental challenge. He guides the spoon slowly and deliberately from bowl to mouth, each tremor spilling the contents onto the clean tablecloth. Tomato soup creates a crime scene for later clean up. […]


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s