Writing Prompts

The Norman Galaxy of Writers will offer monthly writing prompts. If you are inspired and want to see your answer published here, send your response to: Cuethelight@cox.net. Please remember, however, that if you want to use what you have written for a writing contest, many contests do not allow entries which have been previously published.

The May, 2019, writing prompt: Write about a favorite teacher.

Bob Macfadzean (new member)

Some people you don’t forget.  Edwina Brown assigned projects in a way that seemed to compel you to do them and do them well.  She was around thirty years old, short blond hair, trim, probably teaching high school English at Woodrow Wilson in Dallas about 8 years … but her dominating feature was her intense blue eyes, and the way she communicated.  She did not imply that you were going to do this because if you didn’t you were going to get an F. She had a way of convincing you that you were going to do it (whatever it was) and do it well, with no negative connotations. She sort of treated you like an adult.  She went out of her way to help you learn how to learn. It has only been fifty-nine years, and most specifics are dim, but one anecdote remains firmly entrenched in my brain to this day.

Ms. Brown (Mrs. In those days) assigned a book report.  The class was Speech, and my recollection is that we had to write the report and present it verbally to the class.  My chosen book was Giant by Edna Ferber.  I had read Giant, and being raised in Dallas, I thought it was a great book about how wonderful Texas was … it all sounded perfectly normal to me.  I went to the library on Commerce Street and found a couple of book reviews on Giant.  I think (I hope) I attributed those book reviews in my book report.  I found one sentence in one of those reviews that I thought really needed to be in my book report. It went something like this, paraphrased:

Ms Ferber’s Giant is the apotheosis of the grandiose.

I loved those big words, and it sounded to me like it meant the pinnacle of grand, the greatest.  And I put that in my book report, and presumably used it in my verbal presentation.

After class (it was the last period of the day), Ms. Brown asked me to stay, that she wanted to talk to me.  She asked me if I knew what “apotheosis of the grandiose” really meant.  In so many words I said, “well, it means Texas is the greatest, grand ….” 

“Did you look up `apotheosis’ and `grandiose’ in the dictionary?”

“No ma’am.”

She handed me a dictionary.  I looked up apotheosis and grandiose.  In today’s google dictionary search, they mean:

Apotheosis: the highest point in the development of something; culmination or climax

Grandiose: impressive and imposing in appearance or style, especially pretentiously so

“In other words,” Ms. Brown explained, “Ms. Ferber was actually poking fun at Texas.”  Today I think another way of saying this might be that Texas (and Texans) are the culmination, the maximum achievement … of pretentiousness.

I thought about it.  I agreed … and I learned a lesson; don’t use words unless you are certain you know what they mean.  Ms. Brown taught me a lesson I have never forgotten.

The  new prompt: When life is too much, I always . . .

The February, 2019, writing prompt: I can't write because . . .

By the 2019 Galaxy President Dan Snell: I can’t write because of all my great ideas . I mean yesterday, there was that wonderful concept for a play about marionettes that come alive but never eat. You see the implications! Or maybe an epic poem about constipation. No. My wife would never approve. Not exactly approve, just refuse to listen. Or how about a novel based on a graphic novel? But except for Maus, I haven’t really read a graphic novel. Better write that down as To Do; otherwise, I’ll forget it. Just like that dream about another comic novel about forest service personnel in California. Better go to California. Or a short poem about coffee. No appeal like coffee. I should get some ready for tomorrow. Or am I out of coffee? A rondolet, that’s it, about going to the grocery store: the repeated line: I could probably get it cheaper elsewhere, but this is where I am. Also: study rondolets.
That’s why I can’t write. Wait: That could be a rondolet!