"I'm going to speak my mind because I have nothing to lose."--S.I. Hayakawa

Thursday, February 7, 2013

A Writing Prompt from Ann

Ann Linquist, an on-line writing instructor, is kind enough to post writing prompts for her former students and others who choose to participate.  Her latest was this:  I was standing at the gas pump, filling the tank with regular when...

I was stumped.  After a couple days, I posted something I'd written a year ago but only because it had its genesis while I was pumping gas at the Costco station.  Then, at 1:30 on a sleepness night, a  single line came to mind.  Primed only with that, I went to the loft, booted up the computer, and started typing, not having a middle or an end in mind.  Just seeing where this thing would go.  These things frequently occur at 2 a.m.

Here it is:

I might never know what caused me to turn around at the exact moment I did.  Perhaps it was a moment of perfect serendipity, or maybe it was simply a coincidence, though I, with a wide vein of the romantic in my heart, find serendipity a more palatable explanation, coincidence being just too cold and distant for my tastes.

Sometime in the future I will be lying awake at 2 a.m., trying to figure it all out, and reach a point where “By George, I think I’ve got it,” and thank you very much Professor Higgins.  But those early morning epiphanies have a way of growing wearisome after a while, as if the night-time devils were at play with your mind, leading you down some fantastical garden path of neo-understanding until one morning you wake up and wonder what on earth you’d been thinking when you told everyone who’d listen about that flash of purest reason and logic, neither of which have ever been your strong suit. 

All I know for certain is that one minute I was filling the car with regular at a gas station I’d never stopped at before, and the next? Well, the next I was looking into the darkest eyes I’d ever seen, powerless to break away, even after that loud click signaled to all that the tank was full. No, I’d stood there like I was turned to stone—warm-blooded stone, though. Very, very warm-blooded stone.

Coffee? Yes, I’d like that. Kaladi Brothers? I’ll meet you there.

The coffee shop was close enough to walk to, less than a block away, but I chose to drive so I’d have my vehicle in case I needed to get away quickly or follow him wherever. I’ll admit I was still hypnotized by those eyes as I pulled into traffic and headed for the Kaladi Brothers parking lot.  What came over me in that block is what I lie awake nights pondering. 

I was thinking about those eyes, just day-dreaming about losing myself in them during pillow talk, when I drove right on past the coffee shop, never slowed a bit, just kept right on going until I was out of town and on the long highway headed home, away from dark eyes and entanglements and broken hearts and long-held memories of other dark eyes that had pinned my heart to his eternally.


This particular piece is so unlike most of my writing, and I continue to marvel at the finished product.  The long sentences are very unlike my newspaper-trained writing.  The only similarity is that I often start writing without an itinerary, and wind up in places unexpected.

Over on the left side of this blog, in the side-bar, is a link to Ann's site should you want to read some of the other stories there, and there are some good ones.


  1. I love it. If you are interested in submitting this as "micro flash" fiction, I'll send you some venues. I like the long, lyrical sentences. It would be interesting to read an alternate ending where you stop at the cafe.

  2. The problem is simply this .. when you find an answer .. the question has disappeared ! .. Cap ..