I’m still recovering from my weekend – Smith College reunion and commencement. Need I say more? Ok, lots of food and fancy drink, intense conversations contrasted with boisterous fun, sleep-overs, hot tubs, mingling, singing, perfect sunshine and glowing lanterns.
For some reason I thought it was a good idea to also sign up to volunteer for 6 hours of work at a local theater on Sunday afternoon, say yes to seeing Star Trek Sunday night (Benedict Cumberbatch – best villain ever!), and to attend a women’s empowerment round table this evening.
My introvert side is about ready to dig a hole into the side of a hill, crawl in, and not come out until October.
I’ve been doing this to myself a lot recently. In the last six months my schedule has been getting progressively more full. I’d like to say it’s because I feel obligated, and that would be true for some of the things, but mostly I want to do these things. I just wish they didn’t have to be so…jammed together. I wish it didn’t feel like a runaway train of activity about to hurtle off the cliff of social burnout.
Speaking of Benedict Cumberbatch, have you heard him read Keats? Yes, the accompanying slide-show is a total schmaltz-fest, ignore that and just listen to it with a good sound system.
Your word this week, from the poem:
I fell asleep in a chair last night. I don’t fall asleep in chairs, with the television on, with my head resting in an awkward position that will leave me with a crick in the neck. I haven’t fallen asleep in a chair since I was a toddler (toddlers will sleep anywhere).
Clearly I was exhausted.
That’s why this post is late. I sat down in a chair to watch a show and unwind before writing the weekly prompt post, and then next thing I knew it was 2:00 a.m. when I was woken by something. I dragged myself to bed, dazed and horrified (well, as horrified as one can be when semi-comatose).
That explains me. What happened to you guys last week? Only 7 entries? Was the added challenge too much? Did you start with good intentions and crash and burn in a procrastination train-wreck? Or were you simply drunk on the smell of blossoms and the warmth of Spring?
Was this your way of telling me to stick to the plan?
Ok, back to the basics. The tried and true. The ‘ole pick-a-book-point-and-pick method to give you a word to write JUST 100 words on. This week’s word is from, The Great Gatsby:
Go forth word-nerds.
Dear word-nerds, we’re going to do something a little different this week. If you follow NPR on Facebook you may have already heard about their, “Three Minute Fiction” contest. I only just heard about it even though they’re already on round 11.
The basic gist is that you submit a short flash fiction piece (approximately 600 words) based on a prompt an author gives. The prompt for round 11 is:
Write a story in which a character finds an object that he or she has no intention of returning.
Submissions will be accepted until 11:59, Sunday May 12th.
Here’s what I thought we could do this week. Since this contest aligns so well with what we do here every week, you can either a) write 100 words on the prompt above, per the usual rules etc. Or b) you can write up to 600 words on the prompt and submit it to the NPR contest (all the details here) and link to just a 100 word snippet here (don’t link the whole story as I think that’s against the contest rules).
So what do you win?
Throughout the next few weeks, we’ll post some of our favorite stories on the Three-Minute Fiction home page and read excerpts on weekends on All Things Considered. Russell will be the final judge and select the winning story.
The winner will receive signed copies of all three of Russell’s novels, and his or her story will be published in the fall issue of The Paris Review.
Let me know in comments if you plan to submit to the NPR contest. I’m going to.
Here we are at the near end of National Poetry Month. Did you do anything to celebrate? Buy a book of poetry (I highly recommend this one)? Read more poetry? Write more poetry? Perform and read your poetry in front of an audience? Attend a poetry reading?
I watched more performance poetry since I prefer spoken word. I have one last one to share with you. This performance by Katie Makkai of her poem, “Pretty”.
Let this inspire you to write 100 words (in poem form or not) on:
A short and sweet post dear word-nerds. And can I just mention how humbled I am that you come back week after week and share here with me and each other? Because I am.
The cat cleans herself next to me. It soothes me. Her tiny silky skull, her pink tongue, the soft grays and creams and orange of her fur. It soothes me to know that she is unaware of the foibles of humans. She can’t read the news, or understand the images on the screen. All she knows is that it is time to clean, or time to nap, or time to eat, or time for affection, or time to play fetch, or time to stretch lazily in a patch of sunlight.
She blinks at me when she is done, curls herself alongside my thigh, and sighs once deeply.
Obviously this is not a photo of a cat curled up sighing and sleeping. I pulled it from the archives so as to preserve the present moment as it is.
I’ve taken to sketching again, something I’ve not done on a regular basis since high school. I didn’t know where to start so I returned to a childhood favorite, Dorrie the Little Witch. Here’s the results of my first pass.
Despite all the cold, we did manage to plant a few things in the ground.
These are the things I’ve been doing to stay grounded and sane despite the media onslaught of bad news these days. This is how I unplug.
A friend shared this song with me today. Songs are poetry too, so apropos for this month’s theme in honor of National Poetry Month, and apropos to the news and my mood about it. Also, it’s from the “dystopian folk opera” Hadestown by Anais Mitchell (a Vermont native).
There is so much awesome in that last sentence that I’ll just stop there and let you listen to the song:
Your word this week, my dear word-nerdlings, is:
Do something radical and brave with it. Even if it’s to write your first 100 words.