Writing Prompt

Kids seem to write effortlessly. Is it because they read and write everyday, or at least often, without the pressure of ‘producing’ anything? What if we went back to our silly, impromptu, and good-for-fire-starting roots? No matter how badly we write, if we all wrote a fictional piece a day, unplanned and only writing off a prompt, writer’s block would become the less intimidating creature that it is. To me, unanswered questions in news stories serve as the best creativity kindling, and through answering these questions, maybe something that wasn’t illuminated before with serve as a springboard for more.

Prompt: A five car pile up on the way back from Jasper, Alberta, which killed four people.

Janice had insisted on loitering in the undersized and tacky souvenir shop to buy caramel licorice despite leaving her stuffed dog in the car. That was the first sign that no amount of convincing would deter her. The way Janice described it, she’d lose magical powers if she was deprived of the treat, but she wouldn’t explain how. Licorice from sunny Jasper, Alberta, was somehow the epitome of not only the tourist experience but also the world. It was all I could do not to wring her stick-like neck. But with her wrinkled day-five clothing and mousy stature, people often mistook her for an invisible midget warlord, so I took pity on her. When you’re seven, I guess you can afford to think that way.

When we finally stepped outside into the sticky sunny afternoon, surprised that it was still sunlit outside, the tourist store seemed like a distant universe. The fantasy world of the tourist trap was replaced by murmuring throngs of tourists, all holding precarious cones of ice cream, and hyperactive toddlers that had somehow broken free careened down the street. Even the babies shaded by their strollers seemed to be crying and screaming at once. Immediately we sought out the gleam of faraway cars baking in the sun, and, guided by a haphazard glimpses of our one of a kind yellow car, pushed our way to the parking lot.

Mother immediately picked Janice up and I nudged her to do the same, but she only asked me where I had put the change. Reluctantly, I uncurled my hand and relinquished the enticingly glinting coins. Janice giggled at my expense, letting Dad pluck the drooping stick of candy from her hand and in one swift motion, the liquorice was freed from its wrapper and stuffed into her mouth. Janice’s giggle rose into a high pitched laugh, and her voice was joined by Mom’s own bright laughter. The sizzling heat seemed to sear my shoulders and I slunk into the shady back seat without a word and closed my eyes.

“Did everybody enjoy the vacation?” Mom’s effervescent smile radiated from the rearview mirror, her grin slipping in and out of view as Dad adjusted it.

“Everybody clip in their seat belts!” was Dad’s way of formally announcing the end of our vacation.

I only sighed as the air conditioning hit my face full blast.

Little did we know we had made all the right decisions that day.

Yes, this is very boring.


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