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A Writing Challenge: The Door to Nowhere
Thoughts Before We Begin
I love meatloaf!
How’s that for an introduction to a writing challenge?
Seriously, you could feed me meatloaf five days a week and I’d be a happy camper…but….I hate meatloaf when it is overdone and dry. Gag me with a spoon!
The same can be said about writing challenges. I like them, I see value in them, but if there are too many…if they are overdone….I start to develop that gag reflex.
There have been a lot of writing challenges of late. I have participated in some. I have not had the time to participate in them all. Have there been too many? If so, then this one should have a large number of you gagging.
But never fear! Nobody says you have to participate. Do it…don’t do it….your choice!
What I do believe in, and what I think we can never get enough of as writers, are exercises that force us out of our comfort zones so that we can grow in our craft, and that’s why I’m adding another challenge to the growing number. I want you to continue to grow.
So I hope you take on this challenge, and by doing so I hope you find some added growth as a writer.
Was it really only yesterday? When looking for the hope of tomorrow, women, the shadowed attendants of man emerged from behind closed doors? Became stewards of historical change, administrators of reform? Became a voice, present in narrative? Articulated inalienable rights for all, and called for a shared consciousness?
Breaking down the door to nowhere, opened to windows of possibilities, man and woman alike.
Your prompt is a visual one. The picture above is the Door to Nowhere. Yes, you may use the picture with your essay/story. Also, as part of your prompt, you have to begin your challenge with the following sentence:
Was it really only yesterday?
Let me give you some background for those of you who need that sort of thing.
The picture was taken in downtown Olympia, in what we might lovingly call the seedier side of town. The location was an alleyway which runs between rundown businesses, and there are apartments above the storefronts. The door you are looking at is one such apartment.
That particular alley was strewn with debris and dumpsters, and maybe thirty feet from where we stood, a homeless man slept against the side of one of those buildings. I saw a rat while standing there….I saw two policemen….I saw the dome of the capitol building a half-mile in the distance. It was an overcast day but not raining, but the skies were threatening.
I think that’s all you’ll need to get started. You can use that information or not use it. It makes no difference to me. I just thought I’d toss it in as background information in case you wanted it.
Would You Mind If I Gave It a Go?
I’ll keep it short. Let me just do a few paragraphs for inspiration, and then I’ll get out of your way. Besides, if I do about five-hundred more words, I’ll hit the magic twelve-fifty on this article and the HP staff will be pleased with me.
Okay? Here goes nothing!
Was it really only yesterday?
Or was it ten years ago?
Time has so little meaning now.
I walk among the hallways that reek of vomit and piss. The sounds of human misery seep through the walls, reminding me that life can be death and death, life, and it’s all in the roll of the cosmic dice….silver spoon in mouth or silver spoon cooking a new load for the needle and oblivion.
Where did it go wrong? How did it go wrong?
Looking out the window is simply another reminder that misery loves company. The Night People are patrolling the streets, feeding on the misery of others, rolling a drunk, robbing a tourist, stealing cars and trading it in for five minutes of manufactured happiness, a roll under the sheets with a hooker, a roll in the hay with Jim Beam, that silver-tongued fool who dispenses amnesia one gulp at a time.
I stare at a tv screen that died many moons ago. Now all I see are my reflections, reflections of loss, of shame and yes, of loathing. The rain continues to pour as though the angels themselves cry for us all, a continual torrent that somehow fails to cleanse us of our own personal demons. Movement to my right, a rat, deliriously happy for finding leftovers turned bluish-green on the floor. Movement on my left, my old lady, passed out again, passed over again, the perennial loser in the lottery of life. Her breathing is shallow, her snore grating, her love long ago faded, wilted and disappeared.
Once I walked among lilies growing in a field of unlimited possibilities. Now I am surrounded by wilting blooms and decay, and it can all be traced to that moment, that seemingly insignificant moment ten years earlier, when reality took the train out of town leaving me at the station of hopelessness.
I take another drag of my cigarette and inhale the regrets of a life wasted. What should I do? Where should I go? Every door is a door to nowhere.
The rules are….there are no other rules than the two I already mentioned. You can write poetry…you can write a short story….you can write free-flow verse…..you can write whatever you feel like writing, but you have to use the picture I have provided, and you must begin with the sentence I provided.
I do ask you to notify me if you respond to this challenge. That way I can link your response to this article. The more the better!
What do you get out of this?
You get practice at writing and improving your craft. I’m not sure a serious writer needs anything else. You’ll get a little exposure, and that is never a bad thing. I’ll even feature you on my writing blog, a blog read by millions (well, maybe not millions), and soon fame and fortune will be yours (well, maybe not fame and fortune). J
And you’ll get my respect and thanks!
Then let’s do it to it like Sonny Pruitt!
Sha...Cristen...Audrey....Wayne...John...Jamie...Ruby...Zulma....Ann....all of you...I'm counting on all of you to dazzle us with your writing brilliance.
2015 William D. Holland (aka billybuc)
“Helping writers to spread their wings and fly.”
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