Writing Prompts. A Good Thing or a Cautionary Tale?

If you’ve read my blogs, you’ll understand the title of this one and why I chose to write it. Let’s begin by breaking down how a traditional cautionary tale is supposed to be structured and its purpose.

As the two words—cautionary tale, imply, it is an ask for you to stop, and proceed with caution. There may be danger ahead. There are three parts of the tale. The first would be to state the danger. In this case—writing prompts are dangerous. The next would be the narrative where you go forward anyway and disregard the warning. The last part of the tale would be to explain what happened to the violator who ignored the warning. Because something bad will happen to them.

Consider part one accomplished. I have been warned of the danger. I’m going to ignore this and carry on.

Once upon a time there was a blogger. Let’s tip-toe upon the scene and see what she’s writing. Shhhhh. Annabelle is so naive and clueless. 

I look at writing prompts for inspirational ideas for things to write about. You never know where the big ideas are going to come from. 😊 I also see writing prompts as a personal trainer. If you’ve paid for a personal trainer to get your ass in shape and you don’t show up for the appointment, guilt will wash over you like a tsunami hitting the shore. A writing prompt is like exercise for a writer. Gotta do it. Gotta do it to keep in practice and keep writing. Get off my back, I did it. Whew. Look, I accomplished something today!

Hmmm. Why is Annabelle sad? What went wrong? Why is she crunching through a bag of, angry food— Doritos— and watching Rachel Maddow? Ohh. She wrote something from a writing prompt, and it led her somewhere she didn’t intend to go. Let’s go back to the moment it all went wrong.

See Blog Entitled:  Favorite Food Memory where Annabelle encounters involuntary memories which remind her of sucky parts of her upbringing. Annabelle would later go to bed early and force a good cry by listening to Barry Manilow music. This would be an example of the bad thing that happened in consequence of ignoring the warning. But she would wake the next day, determined to get to the bottom of the issue! Which brings us, sigh… to the attempted explanation below.

Unlike the work on my novels, when I write a blog, it is a stream of consciousness—technically a narrative devise to see where the mind takes you. I have no idea what I’m going to write. It’s leaps of thought. You begin at Thought A but make a leap to Thought E without care. My husband, George, often cares about this streaming problem and sometimes falls asleep before I connect the dots and bring us full circle, but we are not talking about him.

Digressing here! Yay. Wouldn’t Proust be proud! Yes, I own his seven-volume set of In Search of Lost Time, and yes, I’ve opened all of them and read overviews and passages, but damn. I am not a genius. No way can I read Proust’s 1,267,069 words and retain the plot. It’s like a two thousand-character Rubik’s cube. Fun trivia, there is a popular book called 1Q84 by Murakami where the main character spends an entire season locked in her apartment reading this Proust masterpiece.

And by the way, I realize Proust would not be proud of me….why are you even making me say this? Would Proust and I have anything at all to talk about? What if he and I were put into a room alone together for a season? Would we look at each other askance? Yes. Would that vastly understate the horror of the predicament? Yes. Would he tell me to go away and be quiet? Quite possibly, yes. But where do you want me to go, Marcel?  I can’t help my stream of consciousnesses any more than you can, pal. You say reality; I say reality TV. Multiple perspectives. You get that. Knowledge formation affecting our experiences. Our different realities. Show some understanding and maturity there, Marcel Proust. I can’t help who I am. My mother never bought the Dijon Mustard! We never made a pie!

Poor George. It’s going to be another long evening.

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