I love writing warm ups – or any kind of creative warm up – that are fun and a challenge.
My warm up this morning comes from WordPress’ Daily Prompt: Fearful Symmetry: Choose a letter and write with every sentence starting with that letter.
I instantly thought “m”. Of course I then immediately wanted to choose another letter, but I believe (from experience rather than from any supporting scientific evidence) that it’s important to go with one’s first gut response to a creative challenge.
“Should you be writing this sort of stuff?” someone asked me after reading one of my writing warm ups. “Aren’t you wasting your time?”
That’s not the point. The point of a writing warm up is to get your synapses firing so that you are alert, focused, hyper-sensitive and open to thoughts and images – however odd they may seem – flashing through your brain.
So, in that spirit, here’s my response to the prompt:
My hat flew off my head as I leaned over the bridge while watching the reeds stretching out in the water. Meandering through town, the canal was a hot tourist spot and so I was not the only one leaning over the bridge, nor the only one whose hat flew off in the gust of wind that was – despite the loss of the hat – a welcome respite from the steamy heat. Many times I’ve lost a hat here so usually I hold onto it but given the startling event that had happened that morning, it’s not surprising that I’d forgotten my habitual grip.
Maybe, if Monica hadn’t come by – before breakfast too, which was a first in the more than twenty years I’d known her, or maybe if she hadn’t felt compelled to tell me what Adrian had told her (which, I later learned, she’d promised not to tell a soul), then I wouldn’t have been on the bridge watching the reeds at all. Most often, when I’m distressed, the bridge is the place I go as I find reed-watching wonderfully soothing.
Monica had arrived panting. Make-up far too hastily put on, hair a bird’s nest, she gasped out words I couldn’t make out, collapsed into my chair and seized my mug of coffee. “My coffee,” I told her firmly, taking the mug from her. My experience with Monica has taught me to be firm and not to worry too much about hurting her feelings. Monica certainly doesn’t worry too much about anyone else’s feelings. Moreover, I knew that whatever had brought her here in such a rush was bound to be something unpleasant she’d learned about someone else.
“Manganese dioxide,” she gasped.
“Mineral,” I guessed, knowing for a fact it wasn’t animal or vegetable. Monica sighed out the words “Adrian” and “mistake,” shuddered, then was still.
“Monica?” I whispered, reaching out a finger and touching her hand gently. Motionless. Making out a livid purple streak down the side of her face, I could only come to one conclusion. Murder.
Mingling with the tourists on the bridge, I watch my hat disappear downstream and muse the problem of what to do with Monica, who – unless she has miraculously recovered and is at this very minute finishing my coffee – remains slumped on my chair in my kitchen, and wait for Adrian.