First Drafts is a collaborative blog aimed at providing writers with a place to share their work on any subject they like.

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The Free Directory of Independent Writers and Artists

Wednesday, June 21, 2006

Promise


By the end of the longest day of the year he could not stand it,
The ribbon of cars winding all the way to Seattle,
He in the middle, fingers turned plastic from
gripping the steering wheel,
ears attuned to horns and revved engines,
squealing brakes and
FUCK YOU MOTHERFUCKERS
Rebounding off the walls of skyscrapers
Spiralling up into taut stretched sky
Where colors clashed, light streamed through
Particulate poison created by greed

In the belly of his world his guts coiled like a snake
Strike-ready but blind
Hot energy massed, spreading upwards towards
the promise of a new kind of history
an awakening from nightmare and
complicit silence

Down the the metal river he passed
till on the border
Between lands, over water
He stopped, stepped out,
flesh and bone in a world
of nothing natural
But sky above
air and water below

All around the sounds
of ranting road rage rose
as he walked – yes walked –
To the rails, grabbed metal with
Forceful hands and rose up to stand
One moment above the water

For everyone else the days will darken slowly,
A minute here, another there
Later dawn, earlier sunset,
Till the world is swaddled dark for hours and hours
And the daylight that finally comes is tinged gray with rain
And swollen clouds, with only the promise of the winter solstice
And the slow turn to light
As comfort

But he, not standing it,
Falls through poisoned air, fleeing
Machines, cut trees, the slow return to winter
That without human change
Will one day be eternal

Behind him the relentless river
stops, disgorges its human burden, and wakes
to the sound of a wife’s questions, to
the possibility of grief
and of redemption.

Monday, June 19, 2006

The Artist's Jar (Inspired By The List Prompt)

Around a monolith of tall wood,
It’s fibrous tip gathered and pinched by metal,
The end of which is slightly discoloured from use,
That to me is called a paintbrush,
Crowd an indistinguishable Lilliputian army,
The deepest blue, an almost black,
Jostling for worship at the elitist totem
With it’s aged reputation of oils and passion.
An artefact with realisations of grandeur
Which an artist might balk from wielding,
And those Lilliputians of scratchy lines
Whose variety lies in the width of their tip,
Or reliant on the dubious skill of the barer,
Would give up their last drop of life’s ink
For a shot at the big time.
Poor impotent graphic pens.

Thursday, June 15, 2006

List

To do:
Water the plants and pay the bills
Turn down the heat.
Prepay the gardener and get him to remove the rocks.
Cancel the paper.
Send the cat to friends.
Get the neighbour kid to pick up the mail.
Don't forget to set the light timers
And nobody'll know I'm gone.

Wednesday, June 14, 2006

The Stormy Petrel.

The molecule was so very alone. It moved slowly, with effort, pushing it’s way through the dark oppressive atmosphere down there.
It was disconnected from others where it should have been whole.
It was lost, but more than that, something held it there alone and isolated. Fragmented from everything, it slowly explored the dark depths.
Central to its existence was a powerful rigid force with a surface like granite but without granite’s beauty. The molecule was not allowed to move from within this being’s murky underbelly, and for a long time it never even supposed that it could. Its world was this darkness, and darkness was its world.
The molecule spent its days circling this dark wall of oppression, round and round through the layers of smog and filth, never becoming tainted by it, but not knowing any different. The stormy petrel could only fleetingly affect the molecule, but powerfully at that, and would never let on how weak and vulnerable it actually was. While the molecule slowly changed over time, its strength grew in the wake of repeated attempts to retain authority by the Darkness. And as it grew, it became lighter and spread more thinly.
Darkness became incensed and tried to regain control of the molecule over and over again, but having less impact with each attempt, until one fateful day when the molecule began to rise into the air above the smog around the base of the Darkness.
The dark power battered the molecule with everything it had, but where the molecule should have been shattered into submission, each attack stretched it and thinned its structure.
Suddenly the molecule became self aware, and knew that it held a special power all of its own.
When the final desperate blow from the Darkness came, it fell upon absolutely nothing. For the molecule had realised that it’s strongest power came with the ability to thin itself so much that it disappeared without a trace.
Soon after this revelation, and with the Darkness roaring impotently from below, the evolved molecule rose above what had been its captor for so long, and looked down upon it. The Darkness was completely hollow inside. The rigid exterior surrounded nothing of value at all but a bad smell.
The molecule rose to taste true freedom for the first time, and eventually evolved enough to merge with others and become something whole and hale.

Tuesday, June 13, 2006

Inspiration

I just found this site and I am in awe. She freewrites daily and the results are wild and wonderful. I'm afraid that I will never be this loose and creative but I'm now reading her daily for inspiration.

Thursday, June 08, 2006

You've Stayed Too Long

I decided to combine two older writing prompts (from 3/11/06 & 4/13/06) into this one story. The two prompts were 'You've stayed too long' and 'I've changed my mind.'
Enjoy!

I sensed it coming before the gunman contemplated pulling the trigger. I think I even expected it to happen. My hearing heightened in the split second the safety clicked off and the trigger was pulled. I could hear the bullet travel through the barrel with an explosive sound that rang in my ears. It was an out of body experience, as if I was hovering above, watching a man I did not know get shot. But I was actually that man and I could definitely feel the pain.

I watched the bullet travel toward my chest at break-neck speed. But in my world, from my perspective, it was traveling as slow as ducks on a pond during a lazy summer afternoon. I watched it spiral toward me with no way of moving out of the way or nothing to stop its journey. I could feel my body anticipating… tensing… just waiting for the impact. What felt like an hour, but was actually faster than the blink of an eye, the bullet hit me with such force I was thrown back several feet.

I heard the second shot while the first hit my chest, burning a hole through the top layers of my skin before puncturing through my left pectoral muscle. I felt every layer tear, searing the edges of the entry wound. The bullet made a suction sound much like a spoon piercing into a perfect mold of Jell-O, leaving behind a hole that could never be fully repaired.

I felt the pain surge through my entire body. My right hand automatically reached for my chest in an attempt to shield my wound from more trauma as my body crashed to the asphalt.

As quickly as the bullet entered my body, it stopped even quicker, like a semi-truck colliding with a brick wall. I could feel it wedge into my breastbone, coming so close to my most vital organ it was as if with every pump of my heart I could feel the heated tip of the bullet.

As I lay on the black asphalt, watching myself struggle to stay conscious, but also hoping to be relieved of the amazing pain, I heard a woman scream. My mind was racing, thinking that I needed her to call for help even though at this point I just wanted to die.

I saw the woman running toward me in a panic, cell phone in hand talking to a 9-1-1 dispatcher. She was describing the scene before her and the condition in which I lay, the blood from my chest wound staining the ground the deep red of a pomegranate around me. That was the last thing that I remembered until arriving at the hospital.

I found myself in a long white sterile room sitting amongst strangers. There were hundreds of people, yet no one seemed to give me any notice. They all sat, staring ahead at the blank walls. As I averted my eyes from everyone else, I realized what they were watching.

I sat quietly in my seat watching as images were projected on the white walls in front of me. I felt I was watching an old home movie, flickering with no sound and nothing to smile or laugh about. There I lay on a cold steel gurney while doctors worked feverishly around me.

A calming sense fell over me as I sat and watched the projection on all four walls. I thought of the great life I had lead. Though not long, I had accomplished most of what I wanted and was proud of the forty-five years I had lived. I felt ready to exit the life that I knew and move on to my next endeavor, wherever that may lead.

The picture began to scramble and fade as doctors started to silently scream across the table at one another. I continued to watch as they suddenly stopped, staring at the machinery that was supposed to keep me alive.

I could feel myself fading with the movie before me. I had wished for death only moments ago, but a deep sense of sadness came upon me as I looked down at my lifeless body and realized that I would never hold my family in my arms again, dance to my favorite song or even eat my favorite ice cream one last time.

As I continued to fade, I couldn’t take my eyes from the man I once was, laying on the cold metal gurney with the white sheet placed over me. I heard a voice calling my name from afar. I tried to hold on, to not fade away in hopes that the owner of the voice could help me. It suddenly hit me. That was my life, no more…no less. I began to panic. I needed to be back on earth, I needed to live the rest of my life as I had planned.

“I’ve changed my mind,” I yelled. “I don’t want to die anymore! I want to live! Turn back the clock; change my fortune, whatever you have to do! I don’t care. I’ll do anything you ask.”

“But you don’t understand,” answered the voice with a pause. “You’ve stayed too long.”