Monday, August 25, 2014

Part 2 of Ray Bradbury's Inadvertent Writing Prompt

February, 2012

Here's the Raymond Chandler quote again, in case you missed it from the earlier post:

“You have to write the way you see things. I tell people, Make a list of ten things you hate and tear them down in a short story or poem. Make a list of ten things you love and celebrate them. When I wrote Fahrenheit 451 I hated book burners and I loved libraries. So there you are.” 
Ray Bradbury 

You sent me some great hate lists, and now it's time to list ten things you love. I think what comes after that is something that you create from both lists. In fact, let's have a contest. Send me what you "tear down" from your ten hates and what you "celebrate" what your ten loves -- a short story, a play, poetry, a prose poem --and I'll read it. Hell, if you can write a novel really quickly with this prompt, do that and send it to me! I'll pick out the one I like best, post it here and send you a copy of my friend Brittany's new novel Angel Food. I've been meaning to review her raucous book, unlike anything I've ever read with an almost old-fashioned sense of story and plot and characters, yet so twisted in sensibility that your head spins in the best way, making you feel at once invigorated and breathless with anticipation. Oh, and the characters become as real as anyone you've ever met but are at once completely surreal, both terrifying and irresistible. How's that for a mini-review? If you're not going to win the contest, you need to click on over to Amazon and buy it and read it for yourself. You'll thank me for telling you to do so.

Here are ten things I love:

  1. the moon
  2. the word and the color cerulean
  3. fat and tedious novels written about characters in the nineteenth century
  4. those three children in that old photo up there
  5. pizza, pasta and yellow cake with dark chocolate frosting
  6. California and its temperate weather with no humidity
  7.  men with wicked senses of humor
  8. Van Morrison's voice, especially when he sings "Astral Weeks"
  9. Yosemite Park
  10. a stack of books not yet read with a few slim books of favorite old poetry mixed in

Your turn --


  1. Things that I love:
    My children, my husband, the way I look with make-up on, beautifully rendered fonts, the feeling of success, the feeling of having absolutely nothing left to do in a day, snuggling under warm covers on freezing mornings, fireplaces in winter, the sound and smell of the ocean, being able to have somewhere to run away too but deciding that staying home is good enough :)

  2. 1. Human physical contact including everything from baby snuggles to the best sort of hugs to holding my lover.
    2. My chickens. The way they sound, their busy lives, their eggs.
    3. My house and my yard and these trees which are not mine but which I get to live beneath.
    4. Good books, good books, good books. Sharing them.
    5. Sleep.
    6.Planning a trip with my lover. Especially to Cozumel.
    7. Cozumel.
    9. Babies. My babies, their babies. Your babies.
    10. Peace.

  3. 1. Broccoli & garlic & olive oil, together
    2. Perfect temperate sunny days
    3. Strong, dramatic shadows
    4. Animals, pretty much all of them, including bugs
    5. Desert paintings by Georgia O'Keeffe (but not so much the flowers)
    6. Essays by E.B. White
    7. Late Beatles, but not early Beatles
    8. Gin & tonics
    9. Shirts made of interesting print fabric
    10. Really good novels that I don't want to stop reading

  4. 1. My babes.
    2. Taking surface streets.
    3. Simpsons marathons with the babes.
    4. Estheticians.
    5. Speculating on John Irving's personal life.
    6. Spell check.
    7. Mormon sewing blogs.
    8. Tiny houses, yurts and converted school buses.
    9. The Iditarod.
    10. BuzzFeed quizzes. (Only BuzzFeed quizzes. The rest are cheap imitations.)

    1. Ha Mormon sewing blogs. I was vaguely obsessed with Mormonism for quite awhile - not in a joining kind of a way but in a wow kind of a way. I finally ran into two Mormon missionary boys on the street and bent in half I was so excited. Then I forgot everything I wanted to say.

    2. You have to check out the sewing blogs. All those children beautifully photographed in coordinating handmade garments! They're addictive. This is my favorite.

    3. I love this website more than I could ever express.

  5. This one is easier:
    1. The honey locust tree outside the window of my blue room.
    2. My blue room.
    3. Books, libraries, bookstores.
    4. My daughters.
    5. My sweetie.
    6. Ice cream, especially Tin Roof Sundae.
    7. Hugging.
    8. Receiving handwritten letters (and writing them).
    9. Being in the middle of a really good book.
    10. My sisters and brothers.

  6. My Children
    My husband
    My sister
    Coconut cake
    pretty clothing
    department stores
    My friends
    English TV Mysteries
    Eating lunch in a restaurant by myself
    Being alone

  7. Oh Elizabeth thank you so much! I really cannot thank you enough for your support of this book I feared you would hate!

    Things I Love:

    1. You
    2. That sweet review
    3. Warm, fresh flour tortillas with butter
    4. The holy trinity: chips, guacamole, margaritas
    5. Bookstores
    6. Morning coffee
    5. Paint-by-numbers horses
    6. Mexican folk art with the skeletons
    7. Traveling to new places
    8. Tana French
    9. The desert
    10. The light as it starts to turn toward fall

  8. 1. Kitsilano pool in the summer. My temporary shrink told me today that two of her colleague shrinks swim in the pool but do not acknowledge each other when they do so. Bizarre, I said. Then I told her to never swim in the pool so I wouldn't have to see her out of context.
    2. My art therapist. I seem full of therapy but this has only been the case since my mom died eight months ago. My art therapist, who sadly isn't free but nonetheless, spends 75 minutes a week building me up. It's a great thing.
    3. K.D. Miller's book of short stories called, "All Saints"
    4. Having lots of good things to read around me.
    5. Coziness during a thunderstorm (which rarely, if ever, happen in Vancouver, Canada).
    6. Ativan (yup). You should drink wine, suggests temp. shrink. No I like the more potentially dangerous benzos, I said. Small amounts.
    7. Peeing my pants laughing with my friends (more apt to happen now in middle age).
    8. People who are really smart but uber down to earth and not arrogant. I present one Dr. Ian Affleck.
    9. My niece.
    10. Vague natural calm feelings after a long bicycle ride.

  9. 1. Family--husband, children, mother, bros and sweet memories of my dad
    2. Cooking, cookbooks, cooking mags, Food Network, eating out. I LOVE food!
    3. Red wine especially from Paso Robles and craft beer. I LOVE to drink. haha
    4.Paso Robles and Chanticleer B&B
    5. FitTAP--I have to work off all above calories.
    6. Spooning in the early morning.
    7.Getting lost in a book.
    8. Laughing and anyone who makes me laugh but most especially my bestie Anna.
    9. Anna.
    10. My home. That's all? Hmmmm. There's so much more. This is good to know-good to know.

  10. In the spirit of trying to get myself to spend more time and energy going after what I love instead of fighting what I don't, I skipped the last one, but I'm totally in this time. Here goes:

    1. Dark, creamy chocolate ganache
    2. Clear, cold, crisp mornings that require a sweater that I will peel off by mid-afternoon
    3. Reading
    4. Honest, challenging, complex conversations with people who are truly engaging and willing to listen
    5. My husband's cooking
    6. The sound of my daughters laughing together over some shared secret
    7. People willing to give others a chance for no other reason besides faith
    8. Supportive communities
    9. Sandy beaches that stretch for miles
    10. Discovering new musicians



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