Reddit Writing Prompt – Immortal (For Sarah)

The prompt,

You’re one of the universe’s few immortals. You’ve witnessed stars forming, studied life on remote planets, and seen the evolution of numerous sentient life forms. Today you were laid off after working at McDonald’s for twelve years.

*******

“What the hell happened?”

“No idea. Mark pulled me into his office and blabbered on for, like, twenty minutes, and then he’s just like, you’re fired.”

“Son of a bitch.”

“Right?” Kipp leaned back against the driver’s door of his Chevy Cobalt. He pulled a pack of cigarettes from the inside pocket of his jacket, “I just, I don’t know what to say.”

Pash crossed her arms and sneered, “You know, I bet it was Cynthia. She’s had it out for you forever.”

“Cynthia? Really? So twelve years is down the tubes because I wouldn’t make out with her at the Christmas party last year?” Kipp dug a lighter out of his front pants pocket and lit the cigarette.

“Christmas party? Isn’t she like eighty years old?”

“She’s only sixty three Pash,” Kipp half closed one eye and gazed off into the distance, “We connected on some really weird level.”

Pash’s lips were in a thin, tight line as she watched Kipp.

“Hey, she was hot when she was younger. You get a sense for these things after a while.”

“Wait, did you say twelve years?”

Kipp took a long drag from the cigarette, “I don’t even know why I’m upset. Shit, the things I’ve seen, the things I’ve done, and after twelve years I couldn’t do any better than a bloody fry cook?”

Pash looked Kipp up and down, “Seriously dude, how old are you?”

“I don’t know that I’ll ever understand this place. I didn’t know there was such a thing as being petty before I came here.”

“I was like, not even in kindergarten twelve years ago…”

“What’s the saying? Something about a train wreck, or a car accident maybe. You can’t look away. That’s me I guess, I didn’t look away, so here I am.”

“But you don’t look…”

“Even that shithole out on the edge of the Cygnus Arm, bag of dicks those guys, but at least they didn’t pursue extinction on a daily basis.”

“What the hell’s a signus arm?”

“I mean honestly,” Kipp exhaled a stream of smoke through pinched lips, “I’ve seen balls of slime that were more supportive of each other.”

Pash’s eyes were wide, focused on the pavement in front of Kipp.

“No really, slime balls. That was out past, what the hell was it called? I think it was in the Columba Supercluster anyway. Granted they had the collective acumen of paste, but they were good to each other,” Kipp looked toward the sky and smiled to himself, “Anyway, if I was waiting for a sign, I’m pretty sure this is it.”

He reached into his back pocket and took out his wallet. He pulled cards out one by one and let them spin to the pavement. He palmed the last, it was brightly coloured and covered in strange writing. He removed a small stack of bills and held them out, “Here, take it. You’re a good kid Pash, and I sure as hell won’t be needing it anymore.”

Pash stared at Kipp, her mouth slack. Slowly she reached out and grabbed the money.

“Alright, stay cool, or whatever the hell it is you kids say these days,” Kipp dropped his empty wallet to the pavement and then lifted the card in front of his face. He drew the tip of his index finger along a metallic strip on the edge. There was a faint pop, and then a distinct absence of Kipp.

Pash licked at her lips, looked to her left, and then to her right. She folded the bills and slipped them into her pocket, and then lifted the visor cap from her head and smoothed out her dark hair, “I think I need a day off.”

*******

This is for my friend Sarah who said I should check out the Reddit Writing Prompts, and then for days hounded me nearly to death to see if I had written anything. Okay, so she actually only asked me once in passing. It’s nice to try something different once in awhile, even if it makes you realize that you’re getting old and have no idea how young people talk to each other. Anyway, here’s the Reddit link in case you want to see some of the other responses.

 

unsplash-logoMohdammed Ali

99 Words #26 – The Raven

“Anything?”

“No.”

Sean squinted and rubbed at his earlobe, “I thought you said they’d be here soon?”

“Yes. Soon.”

“But, you said that, like, twenty minutes ago. And twenty minutes before that.”

Torben focused a dark eye on Sean.

“Soon. Got it.” Sean looked back past the ridge, and over the clutch of snow tipped Spruce trees, “It’s just, I need to know they’re alright.”

Torben turned. He stretched out his neck and shifted on his feet, “It’s time.” He spread his wings and launched into the air, feathers shining like obsidian in the light of the rising sun.

*******

unsplash-logoDean Truderung

Inspire Your Audience

I wanted to share something important for my 100th post, and this is immediately what came to mind. It was written as my tenth speech for Toastmasters, the project was to “Inspire Your Audience”, and I chose to do so by highlighting three quotes. It was one of the hardest projects I’ve done to date, not necessarily because of the subject matter, but because I wanted to do it justice. I hope it brings you some inspiration, or motivation as the case may be.

 

*******

You Are Dying

This is the opening line of a spoken word piece by Shane Koyczan called “Pinned to the Dish.” In this he speaks about regrets and missed opportunities. He asks,

What Are You Waiting For

It’s easy for us to resist change even though our current path leads to all kinds of unproductive situations. We make excuses because we’re afraid. We say things like, I’m not good enough. I don’t have time. Or it’s too late, I’m too old. Well, the first two are easy, you are, and you will if you make it a priority. The last one I struggle with, because I often hear it from people who are far too young to have anything to complain about. And so, in response I offer you quote #1.

It's Never Too Late

I like this one a lot, but the problem is that George Eliot didn’t say it. It actually comes from a passage in “The Ghost in the Picture Room” written in 1859 by Adelaide Anne Procter,

 

No star is ever lost we once have seen,

We always may be what we might have been.

 

What I’m learning lately is that for many the most productive and rewarding years of their life aren’t until much further down the line. In fact, there are people all around us who have changed direction late in life and had a huge impact. George Eliot didn’t write quote #1 but was in fact a renowned author. She didn’t publish her first novel until the age of 40. I said she, because George Eliot was the pen name for Mary Anne Evans.

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I shouldn’t have to explain why a woman might want to adopt a male pen name in the late 1800’s, or today for that matter, but what I like to take away from this is that she wanted to write, and she found a way.

 

 

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Annie Proulx is the author of five novels, including The Shipping News and Postcards. You may be more familiar with a short story she wrote that was later turned into an Academy Award winning movie called Brokeback Mountain. This past November, at the age of 82, she won a National Book Award for Lifetime Achievement. This was amusing to her as she didn’t start writing fiction until she was 58.

 

 

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This is Charles Bradley, also known as “The Screaming Eagle of Soul”. He was 62 years old when he released his first studio album, “No Time For Dreaming”. It was named one of Rolling Stone Magazine’s top 50 albums of 2011. The follow up, “Victim of Love” came out in 2013. “Changes” was released in 2016. That same year, in October, he was diagnosed with stomach cancer. He fought hard and it was thought to have gone in to remission, but on September 6, 2017 he announced that he was cancelling all upcoming tour dates to focus on treatment as it had moved to his liver. 17 days later he passed away at the age of 68.

Welcome to quote #2,

The Problem Is

According to the internet this comes from the teachings of Buddha, but it’s actually based on a much longer passage in the third book of the Don Juan series, Journey to Ixtlan.

There is one simple thing wrong with you – you think you have plenty of time … If you don’t think your life is going to last forever, what are you waiting for? Why the hesitation to change?

 

 

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This is my mother in-law, Jane Arams. In September of 2014, just before her 62nd birthday, she was diagnosed with Stage 4 Metastic Colon Cancer. She passed away in July of 2016. I had never experienced a loss like this before, but watching a life that was once so vibrant, diminish as it did, made me realize how much I take for granted every day.

Shortly before she passed, I found out that she had always wanted to see the Penguins at the Calgary Zoo, but didn’t get the chance. At that point she had been admitted to a palliative care facility and there was no turning back. It was something so small, but it still sticks with me today. Never mind that she won’t see her grandchildren grow, or get to experience retirement, even though she hadn’t needed to work for a number of years. It opened my eyes to all that I don’t make time for, or that I set aside, waiting for “one day”.

None of us lives forever, but some small hope comes in the form of quote #3, and the closing line of “Pinned to the Dish”,

Don't Panic

I have struggled over the past few years with putting perceived obligations to work and to my family ahead of my own needs. I resisted steps to change because I didn’t want to let certain people down, but the fact is, by playing small and setting aside my hopes and dreams, I was in fact letting everyone down, most importantly myself. The way I look at it, life is like an emergency situation on an airplane in that you need to put your own mask on first. By taking care of yourself, by being happy and living your best life, you are giving everyone around you permission to do the same. With this realization in mind I decided to take some very small steps in a new direction.

This pile of paper (you’ll have to use your imagination here) represents 47,000 words of my first novel. I have a plan in place to self publish this, and a collection of short stories before the end of the year. I’m generally pretty hard on myself, but it’s a fact I am not extraordinary. If I can do this then anyone can. And so I ask all of you,

What Are You Waiting ForWhat can you do in the next thirty days to begin the journey to fulfilling your dreams? There’s still time. Don’t wait any longer.

Thank you.