Anyway, from time to time I’ll be curating collections of these stories and posting them here on my blog. I highly recommend giving it a shot yourself. It can be addictive and it’s a fun brain-tease that keeps the creative juices flowing. Here is my most recent collection from the past couple of weeks. The prompt I responded to is underneath each of my stories.
Hide and Seek
Grace is seven years old. Hide and Seek is her favorite game. Her old Uncle Pete would play it with her almost every day. Then he started asking if she’d touch his secret spot and if he could touch hers. Grace told him, “No,” but Uncle Pete is hard of hearing. Now Grace stays in her hiding place for a long time. Uncle Pete can’t understand why. She still loves to play Hide and Seek, but only by herself.
Lita works nights at The Zoo. She likes working with animals. Animals don’t care about her looks. They don’t mind her scars or limp. They give her unconditional love because she appeals to their base instincts. She’s a warm body to nuzzle, lick, and paw during her breaks — until her boss tells her to knock it off and get back to work. She returns behind the bar, sets out her tip jar, and asks, “Ok fellas, what’ll you have?”
While writing, I only listen to instrumental music. My choices vacillate between classical or jazz, depending on my mood and the type of writing I’m doing. Pre-writing, though, I’ll listen to all kinds of stuff — jazz, classical, hip-hop, 40s Big Band, 70s disco, 80s pop, alternative/grunge, Middle Eastern, blues, lounge, classic rock. My tastes are all over the place. I do go through phases, where I’ll listen to a lot of one genre or time period of music and then switch to listening to a lot of something that is completely different. I get bored easily (<cough> ADD) and my mind needs the variety to stay stimulated.
So, for instance, if I’m feeling like this…
…then I’m in pre-writing mode and my playlist might include:
or perhaps if I want to evoke the bright, sunny days of summer:
However, if I’m feeling like I’m in more of a sing-along frame of mind, then I’ll crank up something like this:
or this (I LOVE Elle King who, in case you didn’t know, is Rob Schneider‘s daughter. Yes, THAT Rob Schneider.):
If I’m feeling like I need something a bit more intense to pump me up before I start writing, then I play tunes like these:
Once I’m sufficiently inspired by whatever pre-writing music I’ve heard throughout the day, then it’s time to get down to the business of writing. I need to be able to focus, so I either opt for complete silence, or I put one of the following on at a very low volume:
Any combination of songs like these can help me to be meditative, yet productive.
A whole ‘nother level to this music thing is the “why” behind a particular song and how that impacts my writing, but that’s a subject for another post. For now I leave you with these melodies.
I’d love to hear from other writers as to whether or not you listen to music while writing and, if so, what kind? Please feel free to share your favorites in the comments or on my Facebook or Twitter pages. Maybe we’ll have some overlap or maybe you’ll introduce me to something new. I’m always on the lookout to expand my music playlists.
“Where were you last night?” was something Tina gave up asking many breakfasts ago. She heard Rich purposely clattering dishes in the kitchen, as if to say, “I’ve been home all along and have just gotten up.”
He popped his head out the screen door to see her in the Adirondack chair he’d grown to hate.
“Nope,” she replied without taking her eyes off her book. She took a sip of her tea as the door slammed closed.
The Big Log
“The Big Log” by Robert Plant was on the radio. We were parked deep in the woods across from Mr. Conway’s peach orchard. We left the engine running. It was the beginning of December. The Catholic school girl and the future felon in the back seat of a 1969 Oldsmobile Cutlass.
I wanted to be on top.
I glimpsed my reflection in the rear window as I straddled him. I knew then I wouldn’t come. He came right away.
Last time, he damn near shit his pants. This time he was ready. He gritted his teeth and steeled his will. He knew it would happen again any minute. He stifled a small whimper. Beads of sweat trickled into his eyes. The intensity of anticipation was enough to make his knees buckle.
Finally, the doorbell rang.
He nearly passed out.
“Ok, kid. Do it again.”
The Boy Scout walked away, then back up the steps, finger poised.
She wore the necklace he’d always told her matched her eyes. She grabbed the photo album that he’d made of her 30th birthday party. He would light up when he saw her. They would sit and talk about years past. She rehearsed what to say. When she arrived the nurse gave her his room number. She took a deep breath and entered.
“Hi, Dad,” she said.
His vacant eyes searched her face. “Who the hell are you?” he bellowed.