I’m in a great writing group of two with a pal of mine. We simply Google prompts online, take turns emailing them to each other, dash off a quick 500 words, and meet once a week to discuss. Rarely do the prompts line up with what I’m working on – currently a long-form nonfiction piece and the beginning of a novel – but the vignettes are wonderful. They keep me engaged and, most importantly, accountable. Working from home, splitting my time between two projects that I have no idea where or when they will be published? Is anything simultaneously more thrilling and miserable? Fellow writers, I know you can relate!
I thought it would be a fun exercise to also share some of the results here. The prompts are helping me, and if you’re down a rabbit hole looking for inspiration, maybe you’ll find a little something here to help you on your journey. Good luck out there!
[Prompt: Think about what’s around you that you’ve bought. Think about what you’ve found and what’s been given to you. Imagine each thing is a disguised angel with a message from a hidden part of yourself. Allow a message to surface. Describe.]
I am looking at a new hair dryer I just bought from Target. It’s a sleek mini Con Air professional series. It was $25. I’ve been feeling guilty about it for weeks. You see, I already have a hair dryer – also a Con Air, but with decidedly fewer bells and whistles. Did you know there was such a level of difference in hair dryers? I didn’t! But this fancy Infinity Pro called to me from the shelf. “You need me,” it said. And really, I thought I did.
My longtime, had it forever, didn’t think I’d need another hair dryer had finally bit the dust in a most spectacular fashion – sparking from the plug-in with a dramatic puff of smoke that left a singe mark on the wall. Terrifying, really. It had already sent me a warning signal once, acting up a few weeks before. I’d blamed it on a faulty electrical system and kept right on using my trusty tool. But this? This was literally playing with fire. I gave up the ghost and tossed it in the trash.
Now I was in need. I didn’t feel like spending a ton of money, so I went with a basic model. I got it home and found it to be… curiously lackluster. It had enough heat, but the power I wanted was not to be found. However, I’d already recycled the box. This little engine that couldn’t was now all mine.
Cue to a couple weeks later, and I find myself at Target again. (Don’t we always find ourselves at Target, in between Amazon packages?) As I rounded the final corner of my errands, I found myself in the hair care aisle. It’s there that I see the siren song – the Infinity Pro. I don’t know why, but I started to justify my need for two hair dryers. I travel a lot and this mini Con Air looks smaller than the one I just bought. Surely thiswill make it all better! I mean, I can still use the lesser hair dryer, while still enjoying this powerful, sexy little number. Right? Right. Excuse firmly in hand, the mini Infinity is in my basket and I’m on to the checkout lane.
But a curious thing happens. Something keeps niggling at me. Yes, the Con Air professional series is powerful. But… maybe too powerful? It seems like it should dry my hair faster, but instead it feels like it’s yelling at me. I start to miss the quieter, gentler hair dryer. Holding the new Con Air in my hand, I feel a voice speaking to me. It says, “You already have everything you need.” I grab the lowkey hair dryer I’ve stashed and replace it in my bathroom drawer. I box up the swanky professional Con Air, thank it for the lesson, and drive back to Target. I walk in with the return and walk out with nothing. I have everything I need.