Music City, you sing to me,
serenade me with a melody,
your streets alive with dreams.
There's a brightness shining
from your dingy honkeytonks,
Tips overflowing a tin bucket.
Heartbreak has it's own star,
burned out in a styrofoam cup
on a hot and steamy sidewalk.
I'm a sucker for your ebb and flow,
your waves of salty emotion,
sending me home to reflect my life song.
There are several daily writing prompts offered by talented writers on Twitter. I participate in these writing exercises to keep my writing skills sharp and to help prevent a block from setting into my production. Search these hashtags for writing prompts: #musemon #2bittues #1linewed #thurds
There are more prompts during the week, but those listed above have done the trick for me. The prompts are listed in order, Monday through Thursday. I have provided samples of my work below, based on writing prompts from the past week.
PROMPT: Spell or mine
My tweet: I'm going to sit for a spell to consider what is yours and what is mine. Observe, for when I'm done, so are you.
Saying goodbye to the storm,
The dark clouds & thunder,
The cold & pouring rain,
I'll weather better without her.
PROMPT: Thank, Thank you, or Thanks
Thanks to a rising sun,
Brightness will fill our day,
A blessing we often overlook.
"Mom, I want to die."
"Tommy, please don't talk like that."
"The peace I will know is greater than the suffering I'm enduring."
This dialogue is from a work in progress. #Thurds allows you to link to the story, completed or a work in progress.
Each tweet must fit the number of characters allowed by Twitter. You'll also want to include the hashtag for the day within the tweet. This allows others to find your work in a search and to read along.
It has been a while since I've made an entry on this blog, but that doesn't mean that I'm not writing. Learn what projects I'm working on, and when you can start reading my first release, in the interview.
They were on a collision course, neither aware of their surroundings, only the distraction in their hands. He was peddling feverishly on his bike, down a narrow street, talking on his phone. She was juggling books in her arms while trying to read emails on her smartphone. As they approached the intersection, a four-way stop for vehicles, only the screeching of tires and blaring of horns caught their attention before colliding.
They both lied motionless in the middle of the street, books scattered about and gawkers taking photos of the scene with phones. Traffic came to a standstill as drivers of two of the vehicles went to aid each of them. Miraculously, they were both stunned, yet uninjured in the collision.
He rose to his feet and said, “What the hell happened?”
“I’ll tell you what happened,” she roared as she brushed herself off and started at him with a raised hand.
“You weren’t paying attention and almost killed me!”
He was speechless with a smile, ear to ear.
“Are you laughing at me?” she snared.
“I, I, I’m sorry,” he stuttered out. “No, I’m not laughing.”
She continued with her rant, “What’s with the smile? Do you think this is funny?”
Still smiling, he gently whispered, “You’re so beautiful.”
Shocked, she poked his chest and said, “You better get your head checked!”
He started to apologize, “I’m sorry that I ran into you and I’ll replace any of your books that might be damaged, but I’m not sorry that you’re the most beautiful woman that I’ve ever seen.”
She was speechless. Her anger began to subside and her face became flush as a smile appeared.
They were distracted momentarily as a police officer demanded they gather up the books and bike and move their conversation to the sidewalk.
He refused to allow her to gather her books and suggested she have a seat on a bench while he collected things. After giving her the books, he asked if he could get her a cup of coffee while she checked for damage. She stated that she was on her way to the coffee shop when they collided.
As they began to walk, he asked, “What’s your name?”
“Julie. And, yours?”
“It’s a pleasure to meet you Julie. I’m Jeff.”
Jeff purchased two coffees while Julie inspected her books for damage.
“As I said, I’ll replace anything that’s damaged.”
“They’re fine. Don’t worry about it,” smiling at Jeff.
They continued to chat when the conversation led back to the accident.
Julie asked, “How did we happen to meet this way?”
“Well let’s see. I was riding down Duval, talking to my buddy.”
“I’ll admit it. I was on my phone too,” said Julie.
Then they both paused, distracted as they felt their pockets.
“Our phones!” they shouted as they darted to the intersection that brought them together.
Prancing through the streets, each step in the dirt, the mud, the puddles, and the grime, track to the next. Treasure found in the trash at a seafood restaurant, a sweet confection at a bakery, and sour milk licked up at a fudge shop.
This lifestyle isn’t easy. The weather is extreme. The hurricanes, the lightning, the afternoon downpours, all dampen the day with heavy humidity to wear into the night. Heat intensifies the weight of a coat, missing in patches, yet still sturdy enough to shield against a chilly breeze from a rare cold front.
There are few to trust on these streets littered with vagrants. The homeless, the pimps, the dealers, and the tourists seek survival, a trick, a deal, and a thrill. Screams in the night prevent a pleasant rest. Life has no value on the streets.
A glance inside windows of a home filled with smiles provides hope. A fresh meal, conversation, a warm bath, and an embrace from a loved one, provide the stories shared with few friends. A litter bound by dreams and experiences, often nine lives is too much to consider when the challenges of each day seem a lifetime. If only a door would open, an opportunity present itself, a spotlight shining to share. Only then would a return to the stage be possible.
A cat’s eye view in the darkness is not a trait shared with a broken down, homeless ballerina shadowed in the alleys of a tropical oasis of broken hearts. The dance continues until the day the dream is no longer a flutter in the heart, a sparkle in the eyes, and while feet sing a silent tune of graceful flow. The dance continues until the last curtain call.
Drink a few too many beers,
writing becomes haphazard,
to manage the words,
Mondays can seem like a treadmill workout,
a challenge to begin,
left craving a bowl of chocolate ice cream.
Never on a pirate vessel
has a lavish and gaudy man
offering peace written to paper.
A king, soon to be,
knocked flat on his ass,
stripped of his gold rings and teeth
by a ruthless, blacklisted captain
laughing in the face of
a weak monarchy.
Excuse me for my absence,
my retreat to peace.
I need a break, not from you,
From the busy, the rat race.
Excuse me, it’s time for me,
my retreat to my soul.
I need a break, not from life,
From all of life, except me.
Excuse me, I need to focus,
my retreat to clarity.
I need a time out, a breather,
From the clutter, the decisions.
Excuse me, I’m not leaving,
my journey home begins.
Robert Stanhope started creative writing during his Junior year of high school. In his twenties, he became a motorsports journalist and was published in a number of local, regional, and national trade publications. Now in his early 40s, Bob has returned to creatively writing, including embarking on his first novel, The Last Lie.