Before we start, let me quote some essential details from my introductory post from Week One, outlining the basics of this month's themed contest. To skip this, scroll directly to the prompt, located midway through this post!

Throughout this contest (and any time, truly), you can reach me fairly instantly by two reliable methods: 1. You can send me a Facebook message, or 2. You can pop an e-mail over to – either outreach pings my phone in real time, and I can respond accordingly.

Remember, the open door policy at the Flame isn't just for show -- reach out! The Mod Hydra is here to help, and to ensure that your experience is positive and constructive.

Welcome to Week Two of the theme, "Can you elaborate?" I understand there may have been some confusion about prompt limitations last week, so I've quoted the 'Basic Premise' portion below with a few choice edits in hopes that there will be no further miscommunication. I do not believe in limiting the creative mind unfairly or unnecessarily, so let's nip that in the bud!:

Basic Premise: You are presented with an example of a synopsis for an episode of a television series (there is so necessity to have seen, or to be familiar with, either the episode or the show). Using this synopsis, write your entry. You may also use the title of the episode or something you know about the series or episode quoted to inspire your entry. You do not have to use the name of the character mentioned in the synopsis. These parts of each month’s prompt are interchangeable at the entrant’s discretion; however, you may like to make a clear statement in an Author’s Note about the origin of your inspiration if you deviate unexpectedly from the episode title and/or synopsis provided as each month’s prompt. All forms of writing are welcome!

Again, if anyone has any questions, the Hydra's three silly heads are here to make sure everyone has a good time. Now, without further ado, the prompt for Week Two!

House, M.D. [S6E8]: ‘Ignorance is Bliss’ –“For the ailing patient, intelligence is a miserable burden.”

I've heard people say Hemingway was crushed by the weight of his own genius. Obviously I'm not claiming to understand what that must be like, but I feel as though I have come close to being able to imagine it every so often. In a world where one mustn't look far to find ignorance, for those of us who have worked hard to be enlightened and educated it can feel like suffocation to caught suddenly in the company of those who either have not come as far, or who choose never to try. Ignorance can feel as heavy as humidity in the presence of the wrong kinds of people, even when it isn't their intention to cause you that kind of discomfort.

In the quoted episode of House, the doctor treats a patient whose intelligence is a celebrated gift, but for whom the gift has become a terrible burden. When we meet the patient, he has deliberately chosen a lifestyle much simpler and less demanding than what he knew before, and has abandoned any pursuits that require the use of his brilliant mind. As the episode unfolds, we learn more about how he has willfully suppressed his mind, if only to feel less alone in a crowded room.

This week, how will you explore the maddening choice between brilliance and ignorance? Or the awful suffering of having to hide your thoughts and ideas, if only to continue to fit in with the people around you? Show us your take on the idea of a gift being a burden, or interpret the prompt in a brand new way, and show us something altogether unexpected. Write what you must!

Remember, to advance to main voting for Week Two, you must have survived Week One voting. If not, your entry (or entries) still qualifies for Just For Fun voting and is welcome in the poll! You can access the poll below. Entries are due Sunday, August 16th at 2345 Eastern Time. No sign-ups are necessary for this contest.

Submit Here

RicoChey had some technical difficulties logging in so I am posting this for her.
Good Monday to you, Flames.

This month, RicoChey is asking us to elaborate on some rather vague TV show & movie synopses she found online. It doesn't matter if you've ever seen the show or know anything about it, the point is to take the thought and run with it...while typing.

Week One prompt: "Rick Struggles To Cope."

Four of our writers were up to the challenge. Let's see what they came up with.
This month will be one of our standard contests. One winner for the month, but you can only compete if you write in all four weeks. Only one of these writers can win the month, but if you want to write with us in weeks two through four, you can submit an entry just for fun that will be shared with the community and voted on for likes not wins.

Your reading list awaits! Get in there and share some feedback with your fellow writers. We all appreciate the #commentlove. Use the comments of this post if you have trouble posting comments to the writer's blog or journal.

Title: none
Author: hwango
Word Count: 646
Warnings: I don't think so.

Title: How To Cope: Chop Until The Screaming Stops
Author: Kathy Boles-Turner
Word Count: 495
Warnings: TWD Spoilers AHOY!

Title: Insomnia
Author: Kristina Van Hoose
Word Count: 1226
Warnings: Characters have sex, but it is not described

Title: Rick Copes
Author: Shane Bell
Word Count: 900
Warnings: Sex, violence, language

[polldaddy poll="9019094"]
 Welcome to Week One of the August contest for 2015!

To view full details, click here to redirect to Word Press! This month we'll be turning vague previews into the big picture. 

Come play!
Calling all readers!
The submissions are in for the flash fiction prompt:


Be sure to set aside some time to read, comment, and vote. I hear drabble goes well with your morning coffee.
When sharing that comment love, please keep your feedback courteous and constructive. If you have difficulty commenting on a particular blog or journal, feel free to leave your comments addressed to the author on this post. The mods will make sure the writer is notified they have a comment here.

Your reading list awaits:

Title: Retrospect
Author: ayumidah
Word Count: 150
Warnings: none
ayumidah Retrospect

Title: School Problem
Author: bluegerl
Word Count: 150
Warnings: none
bluegerl School Problem

Title: Forever knotted
Author: bluegerl
Word Count: 149
Warnings: none
bluegerl Forever knotted

Title: Question.
Author: bluegerl
Word Count: 141
Warnings: none
bluegerl Question.

Title: Knothole
Author: Heather
Word Count: 155
Warnings: None
Heather Knothole

Title: Look Backwards Through The Fir Tree
Author: Kathy Boles-Turner
Word Count: 149
Warnings: Witchery. Two in one post, this is entry one.
Kathy Boles-Turner Look Backwards Through The Fir Tree

Title: The Radley Tree
Author: Kathy Boles-Turner
Word Count: 150
Warnings: Implies domestic abuse. Two in one post, this is entry two.
Kathy Boles-Turner The Radley Tree

Title: The Oak Tree
Author: Kristina Van Hoose
Word Count: 145
Warnings: none
Kristina Van Hoose The Oak Tree

Title: There"s Always A Tree Dying Somewhere
Author: quill_quirks
Word Count: 133
Warnings: There are no trigger warnings. Two in one post, this is entry one.
quill_quirks There"s Always A Tree Dying Somewhere

Title: Robotics
Author: quill_quirks
Word Count: 147
Warnings: There are no trigger warnings. Two in one post, this is entry two.
quill_quirks Robotics

Title: Knothole
Author: Shane Bell
Word Count: 150
Warnings: Mature
Shane Bell Knothole

Title: Tree Singing
Author: skyllairae
Word Count: 106
Warnings: experimental poetry
skyllairae Tree Singing

Title: Inside Looking Out
Author: Sonya Oldwin
Word Count: 100
Warnings: none
Sonya Oldwin Inside Looking Out

Title: A Bug's Life
Author: Sonya Oldwin
Word Count: 100
Warnings: none
Sonya Oldwin A Bug"s Life

Title: Through the Knothole
Author: Sonya Oldwin
Word Count: 100
Warnings: none
Sonya Oldwin Through the Knothole

Thank you to all of the writers who submitted. You don't know how happy it makes us to see your entries hitting the inbox. The poll will let you vote for as many entries as you like, but this contest will only have one winner.

I forgot to include a link to the poll :(
The whole month of July we will be exploring small things to accommodate our tiny word count caps.
For week one your prompt is:


Knotholes form due to the removal or decay of a branch during the life of a tree. Process a felled tree into boards and the knothole remains - a testament to what once was. In a wall or fence, a knothole becomes a place of note to curious passersby. They can peek into a space otherwise off-limits. The knothole offers an eyeful of the forbidden, the forgotten, the secret lives of strangers -- for some it is the glimpse of another life to seed their dreams.

In 150 words or less, tell us what you see and submit it by 11:45 pm EDT on Saturday, July 11. Have fun with it!

This week’s winner will receive an eBook on the writing advice of their choosing ($5.00 limit) via Amazon.

Below are the writers who signed up for this week's contest and are eligible to submit entries:
Shane Bell (full month)
Cristina Van Estes
Kathy Boles-Turner

Each of those signed up may submit a maximum of three contest entries as long as the submissions do not rely on each other to tell one story and are not continuations of one another. Poetry and other forms of written expression welcome. There are no JFF entries this month.

For those of you who are writing with us for the first time. Your entry should be posted to an online blog or journal with public reading access for the duration of the voting process (anywhere from three days to a week). Work you submit to the contest always belongs to you. It should be original work and first written for the prompt provided.
At the end of this post is an electronic submission form - please share a direct link to the post containing your entry and a few stats so we can label the piece in our reading list and voting poll.

Submit Here
We all have that one person in life who inspires us in a very particular way. Or maybe we have one person for each way we need to be inspired. Regardless of how many inspirational people I've been blessed with, there is one who stands out as being my inspiration to become funny.

My Aunt Phyllis is one of the funniest people I have ever known. The way she tells a story gets me laughing long before she even approaches the punch line.
The telling involves:
Dramatic body language.
Exaggerated facial expressions.
Conspiratorially murmured back story and internal dialog.
Closing words delivered with a loud cackle or guffaw once she sees that she's got you hooked.

I could spend hours with my aunt and never get bored or run out of things to say. She's also a really good cook.

Back when I was young, I got to spend a lot of time with Aunt Phyllis (or Ant P as I usually refer to her on cards and emails) and since I was (by her own statement) one of the few people who laughed at her jokes she made sure to tell them all to me.

In the early Eighties, Ant P gave me a book to read just before my family's summer road trip. She passed it on because it made her laugh until she cried. Ant P assumed it would have a similar result on me. The book was Erma Bombeck's "If Life Is A Bowl Of Cherries, What Am I Doing In The Pits?"

I loved it and went on to read the handful of others that were published.

Erma Bombeck was a humorist writer with a number of Ohio newspapers throughout her early career. Around 1964 she hit on a subject that propelled her column "At Wit's End" out of her small local paper into national newspaper syndication. By 1967 she was traveling the country giving lectures and radio interviews, and Double Day had compiled some of her articles into a book that shared the same name as her column.

What writing gold was it that Mrs. Bombeck discovered? Hyperbole, coincidence, and the relatable situations seen daily by a mother and a housewife. She made the mundane hilarious. With insight into a husband's snoring, a child's inability to put his clothes away, an entire household's ignorance of the empty toilet paper roll, and the dangers of gift shops in Europe - she helped a nation laugh at themselves and appreciate their own families a little more.

Here are some examples I found typed out on the internet, but if you happen upon one of her books it in the library or used bookstore (or on Kindle), pick it up. If you have a day where life is trying, reading a few pages of Erma Bombeck's take on things should give you a reason to smile.

First, a few one-liners Goodreads users have shared -
“Never lend your car to anyone to whom you have given birth.”

“Never go to a doctor whose office plants have died.”

“My second favorite household chore is ironing. My first being hitting my head on the top bunk bed until I faint.”

“Sometimes I can't figure designers out. It's as if they flunked human anatomy.”

“All of us have moments in our lives that test our courage. Taking children into a house with a white carpet is one of them.”


These are a bit longer -

Read more... )

Read more... )


Let's talk today about early influences in our reading. It could be humor,  mysteries...anything - what did you read in your youth that stuck with you and helped form the writer you are today? Also, talk to me about how you incorporate humor into your writing. What's your style?


Brigit's Flame reminders:

We have an ongoing contest for June, the topic is Lost & Found and while it's not due until the end of the month, you should be working on it now.

Kathy shared a quick writing game with us yesterday - go check it out.

Flamestorming is happening on June 14th. Make a note on your calendar to join us in Google Hangouts for writing sprints and community bonding.


Did everyone sign up for June? If not, we welcome and encourage you to follow the action, read, vote, and support your community mates! Remember, growth is sponsored by encouragement and feedback. At the Flame, we burn brightest together.

I’ve always been a writer in my heart. Since I was old enough to translate my thoughts into written words, I was telling stories. I’ve also always been an insufferable extrovert, despite all odds, so the storytelling didn’t stop at pen and paper. Growing up, I turned to every outlet possible to let it all out. At my best, I was joining clubs and taking part in activities. At my worst, I was making up tall tales and lying because I wanted something new to say. Kids, right?

As an adult, I’m still exploring. The next thing I really want to try is vlogging. For those of you who don’t spend your entire lives glued to your cell phones and computers, vlogging is a short term for “video blogging”. YouTube is crawling with talented vloggers with genuinely wonderful, funny, or insightful things to say. With enough searching, anyone can find their vlogger soul mate. In fact, I suggest you go try that. Anyway, I really want to try it. I’m always being told I have something to say. People have told me to do stand up comedy or public speaking or just basically anything that involves voicing my opinions or experiences to an audience. I don’t disagree, I think I’d probably be great at it.

So that’s my next journey — lights, camera, YouTube. But what to to vlog? Well, literally anything. I’m ridiculous enough, I could talk about anything. Food, makeup (fails, I’m amateur as heck), pets, single life (in the sense of being unmarried and on my own), feminism/humanism, city life, cycling, economics… That’s the thing about being a writer. We don’t even have to be ourselves all the time. We can be whomever we need to be, just to have something new to say.

How do you, as a writer, transform? How do you channel what you can already do, into something new you haven’t done yet? Do you find art is fluid, or can trying something new be difficult? Alternately, do you have a favorite vlogger to turn us onto?

Congratulations to our May contest winner, Shane Bell! The June contest is afoot; whether you’re signed up or just in to watch, click here to keep up.

In honor of Mother's Day your second writing sprint prompt is -

If your birth month falls during January through June your prompt is:

Your protagonist's mother

If your birth month falls during July through December your prompt is:

Your antagonist's mother

Tell us a story about her. Have a conversation with her. Interview her outside the courthouse. Pull the character's file out of their therapists cabinet and describe what it reveals. How has she influenced them? Perhaps she died when they were young and new leaving only an absence to build a shape around. However you see her - however your character sees her we want to know.

Use only as directed:

This game is open to the whole community, not just those who signed up to write for May's theme. For those who are working on their month-long story, the sprints are meant to help you explore your characters, settings, plot, and other components. The content of your resulting sprint DOES NOT need to be included in your final story. It is an exercise for you, not a requirement.

If you want to share what you wrote in the sprint, paste a link in the comments below. Sharing is also not required.

If you write something today and want to share it with us we'll read it, and share some #commentlove as the reader sees fit. There is no voting for this exercise.

Typically a sprint would be timed, but since we are scattered across time zones and have work and families to attend to the only limitation I will give you is this - the time to share your sprint results with us will end Monday night at midnight (wherever you are).

The first writing sprint shared yesterday is still open until midnight tonight. Go check it out if you missed it.

There will be another sprint on Friday. Our flamestorming session is tentatively set for next Sunday around 4pm EDT.

#gospark your muse and hug your mothers if you've got 'em.
Happy writing.
As promised, here is your first writing sprint prompt -

If your name (username or rl name) begins with a letter A-L your prompt is:

Hypnotic State

If your name begins with a letter M-Z your prompt is:

Vision Quest

Tell us what you character sees and experiences. How do they feel about it, before? During? After? What memories or demons float to the surface? Why or how do they find themselves in this situation?

Before you go, let me explain the exercise.

This game is open to the whole community, not just those who signed up to write for May's theme. For those who are working on their month-long story, the sprints are meant to help you explore your characters, settings, plot, and other components. The content of your resulting sprint DOES NOT need to be included in your final story. It is an exercise for you, not a requirement.

If you want to share what you wrote in the sprint, paste a link in the comments below. This is also not required.

If you write something today and want to share it with us we'll read it, and share some #commentlove as the reader sees fit. There is no voting for this exercise.

Typically a sprint would be timed, but since we are scattered across time zones and have work and families to attend to the only limitation I will give you is this - the time to share your sprint results with us will end Sunday night at midnight (wherever you are).

There will be another sprint tomorrow.

#gospark your muse
Happy writing.

This month, we plunge deep into the concept of reality, and what it means to each of us. So many factors in an individual can influence their perception of reality. We know this much to be true, but how much of it do we truly understand? A notorious BLUE AND BLACK dress (dang it) recently tore the internet to shreds, proving rather frustratingly that a literal reality can be influenced by light, angle, and the actual shape of one’s eye. If something literal and physical can be so fluid, can potential does the figurative hold?

The concept of reality actually haunts me. I don’t know if it’s mental illness or disability or if it’s just me, but there are frequent moments in which I question whether I am on the same page as the rest of the world. This month, I will be using these jarring experiences to create my vision of the prompt. I will parlay my phantoms into something I feel safe to share with others, and hopefully it will be relatable enough to quell my concerns that I am alone. (Now imagine how silly I’m gonna look if I don’t finish?)

In one thing, I know I am not alone. I am joined by hundreds of thousands of other writers who must wonder, at least on occasion, if a mental defect or simple difference is what makes them what they are, as an artist. The track record for mental illness is impressive through the ages of famous artists. We don’t all cut off our ears, but that doesn’t mean we’re hiding our demons as well as we think we are. Mental and spiritual disturbance shape our realities, and our realities shape our work. Unfortunately, there is no escaping this.

Even if you consider yourself completely mentally sound, how do you think the opposite affects talent? Would you argue that mental disease, defect, or glitch enhances the creative edge, or hinders it? Can there be brilliance without madness?

Keep an eye out for the Epilogue reading list, and click here to learn more about the May prompt!

There are two things you've got to do today -
1. Sign-up for the May contest. The teaser is here, put your name in the comments of that post to write with us. So far we have about ten writers' names on the list. Add yours today or be one of our Beta readers this month.

2. You have until 11:45pm EDT Sunday night to write your Epilogue. For April's contestants, this means wrapping up the stories you've been working on all month. For anyone else who feels like writing an Epilogue just for fun - the same deadline applies. Submit here.

I'll see you in the morning with the May Theme.
Happy April, Flamefolk!

RicoChey is hosting our themes for the month of April and has challenged us to write a four part play or story over the course of the month. For Week One, Act I she has 'roused us with a quote from Hamlet -
"We know what we are, but know not what we may be." These words were spoken by Ophelia in her grief-wrought ramblings - when everyone thought her mad - and yet the phrase seems so very wise.

Did our writers find it to be wisdom, folly, or something altogether ethereal? Now is your time to decide.

Your reading list:

Title: Growth
Author: ayumidah
Word count: 552
Warnings: none

Title: I know who I am...
Author: bluegerl
Word count: 790 appr.
Warnings: nil.

Title: Know Me
Author: Kathy/darlinleo
Word Count: 152
Warnings: none
Genre: Cento Poetry

Title: Willa the Wisp Act 1
Author: skyllairae
Word Count: 707
Warnings: none
Genre: supernatural/adventure

Title: A Stranger Comes To Call
Author: jlly_Tami
Word Count: ~1,500
Warnings: none so far
Genre: science fiction


Title: I am King tonight.
Author: bluegerl
Word count: 340
Warnings: not really

The polls close by 11:45pm on Wednesday (EDT).
With this competition the goal is to write a four part story, so we will suspend weekly eliminations and choose the best, complete work that meets the three acts and an epilogue criteria at the end of the month. There will be a poll each week to provide feedback for the writer on how well received their story was, but the votes that choose a winner will not happen until May 1st.

Additionally, we'd like to tighten things up around the competition. Typically when we click our vote it is after deciding which story(ies) we enjoyed the most. This month when you are voting, also consider how well the writer has met the criteria given or worked in the weekly prompt. Though we want everyone to be creatively inspired, we also hope to improve our skills as writers by practicing with different forms and writing outside of our comfort zones.

The contest is now closed to new competitors, but we encourage any latecomers to submit as JFF if their inner bard is provoked by a prompt.

Be sure to spread some comment love, let your fellow writers know they are appreciated. If it's an off-site blog and you have trouble with commenting, feel free to share your comments here and we'll pass them along. In fact, I encourage you to share some [constructive] public thoughts below with the community. Let's talk about what we read, together.

We love it when our Embers write, but we also need the community to come together and read what's being submitted. Even if you didn't have time to write this week, please take a few minutes to read and encourage your friends to read as well. Share our fire!

Good Flames, what cheer?

Our writing theme this month was born of Shakespeare and I have a strong desire to chatter in Iambic pentameter. Worry not, I shall refrain.

Over the centuries, there has been much ado made about Shakespeare and his reputation. Some people insist he was not educated enough to have written his plays. They even accuse him of stealing the work of other playwrights. Others will tell you he had some level of familiarity with seven languages and a vocabulary bigger than his eventual fame.

I choose Team Shakespeare. We all know that a formal education is not an indication of intelligence or ability. Being so gifted with words, then he was likely an excellent listener. For someone with the right mind, listening and observing is a kind of hands-on education in itself.

What I have always loved about Shakespeare is the way he plays with words. The sounds they make were just as important to him as the meanings. And if they has more than one meaning - woohoo - those went straight into his bag of tricks to be thrown down like an Ace in the middle of a poker final.

Did you know, that Shakespeare's word play actually created new words that are still a part of our speech today? About 1700 of them, scholars have counted. I found this article yesterday that has a cool grid linking Shakespeare's word to the first play it ever showed up in. He did for language what we still do today, he re-purposed nouns into verbs into adjectives and combined multiple words into a single one. In fact, if Shakespeare hadn't demonstrated that our language was so flexible in this way, we might still be executing a search for a person's published, public references on the internet -instead of just googling them.

Shakespeare was the Bard with googliness.

What's your take on Shakespeare? Have you read his work? Studied his sonnets? Can you quote him on the fly? How many of his plays have you (knowingly) seen on stage or in film adaptations.

I've had the good fortune to see "The Tempest" and "Much Ado About Nothing" acted on stage (in person) and I try to watch all of the film adaptations that follow the plays verbatim. My favorite of all his plays is "Titus Andronicus", but I'm morbid like that, Yo. "Much Ado About Nothing" and "A Midsummer Night's Dream" follow on the favorites list.

Talk to me about The Bard today.


There's still time to get your act together - April's week one prompt is waiting for you.

APAD - soul food - write it while it's hot.

Camp NaNoWriMo - 21 days left. Don't miss it.

Just a few reminders today, mon Flames.

A Shakespeare inspired month-long contest is in the offing.
Go forth and pen Act I with a mind  to The Bard's line -
"We know what we are, but know not what we may be."
Week one submissions are due Sunday by 11:45 pm edt.

It's a poem a day in April, or what we like to call APAD.
Dive in now and sing to us of beauty true.
Your soul will thank you.

And then there's Camp NaNoWriMo for all you rugged types.
Sit by the fire with Cedar and thousands of other campers - spinning yarns, telling tall-tales, and eating virtual S'mores.

See you tomorrow.

 A very long-winded and verbose man once said (and I paraphrase), “All the world’s a stage.” In this month of April, I want to explore this concept, as well as celebrate a birthday I share with the very man who spoke these influential words. On April 26th of 1564, William Shakespeare entered the world. Four hundred and twenty-three years later, I did the same. So, Bill’s got several centuries of legacy on me, but let’s not assume that makes me less impressive by default. It isn’t just about birthdays, of course. There is some poignancy here! Though I have only had twenty-eight years upon this earth, I already feel as though I have moved through so many chapters of experience. Setting aside the fact that I have (on many occasions) expressed my desire to have my life play out like a musical upon a stage, I have often felt as though all life truly is a work of theatrical storytelling. I’m not sure who’s benefiting from it, but I certainly hope they’re amused. Maybe that’s why writers write, because we’re sick of being only players.

Shakespeare remains one of the most recognizable playwrights of this world’s history. Even for people whose interests bear no column labeled “theater”, Shakespeare is a household name. The concept of the Three Act play, however, is more commonly understood by members of the creative community. Let’s not assume all of us have an interest in the stage and move quickly through an explanation of the classic format of the Three Act Structure. Traditionally, Act I (or “exposition”) is meant to introduce the elements of the script, and build the story. This act should also introduce at least one central conflict. Act II takes us through the main action and inevitable “rising action” of the story, building to the peak (also, the “climax”), of the tale. In the movie world, this would be where we see the biggest car chase or the most explosions. By Act III (which may also harbor the true climax of the story), we arrive at the “falling action”, leading to the ultimate closure of the tale. In most writing, we refer to this as “conclusion”. This month, we will be writing based on this classic structure.

Does that sound too simple? That’s because I’m not done. The Three Act Structure is old hat for most of us, but in April we’ll be breaking the acts up into four weeks of writing: Act I, II, III, and Epilogue. You are free and encouraged to interpret this however you choose to, but there is one clear rule: Your four entries should work together as a cooperative series of installments, complementing one another. If possible or preferred, they should also be chronological. This stipulation is not required, but is suggested. In tandem with the three acts and the epilogue, I will provide quotations from Ol’ Billy himself to inspire and drive you. Ready? Curtain up.

ACT I: “We know what we are, but know not what we may be.”

When I came into this world, apart from having no language or motor skills for a bit, I had no general idea of what to expect from this crazy ride called life. I was completely raw material, malleable to a fault. There are a handful of wonderful years at the very beginning that protect you from the terrifying prospect of becoming an actual person at some point. No one ever knows to appreciate those years, however, and all too soon we thrust forward without warning. I think you can identify the cusp between “just got here” and “just realized it’s going somewhere someday” by looking back on your earliest memories, and choosing a median age. Before that, we are so swept up in simply living, there is no time available for holding onto how things happened. By the time I was no longer in Preschool but rather attending Big Kid School (that’s K-6 in my part of world), I knew something was up. I was on the verge of a journey, and I had absolutely no idea what to make of it.

In Week One, I ask you to open your tale. Show me your world and the person, people, or creatures in it. Help me see and understand the surroundings. Will I be able to grasp where this all leads, or will there be a learning curve? An immediate element of mystery? I challenge you to capture me within those first precious moments after the velvet rises slowly from the stage.

Submission closes Sunday, April 12th at 2345EDT. The poll is here.


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