Writing Prompts 07.06.18

The sheep have sharp teeth: Write about an unlikely predator.

Pay it forward: How could one act of kindness change the world?

Theme park: Write about a ride at a theme park – real or imaginary. Is it based on a film or super hero? Who can ride? What is the experience like?

Writing Prompts 06.30.18

79. Hero: Write a tribute to someone you regard as a hero.

80. Ode to Strangers: Write an ode to a stranger you’ve seen on the street.

81. Advertisement: Advertisements are everywhere, aren’t they? Write using the slogan or line from an ad.

Writing Prompts

Hail to the King

Hail to the King
Hail to the King
Hail to the king of Israel
Hail to the king
Hail to the king
An Death to the pope
Death pope
Death pope
Death to pharoah
Death pharoah
And all other man-gods
Death to man playing God
Hail to the queen
Hail to the queen
Hail to the queen
We have conquered all
We have conquered all the land
The land is the king
The oceans are the queen
The air is ours too
All to the king for all time

Reserve Note Three – Journal Proves Franklin Kited the Globe (Copyright © 1993 by Jerry Lee Osborne)

(The following article first appeared in a very limited edition of The Miami News that was published on newsprint made from Manila hemp for thirty-one exclusive subscribers. This article was extracted from a copy of that edition which was salvaged from a shipwreck off the coast of Corpus Christi, Texas by a student from the Mortuary Science School at the University of Texas. He was recovering the remains of victims of the tragic accident in the Gulf of Mexico one year earlier. Portions of the article were lost at sea.)

Titusville, Fla. – Archaeologists found a journal that offers evidence that the first recorded circumnavigation of the globe was a kite flight made by Benjamin Franklin. His flight log was discovered during an evacuation of what researches believe is an ancient burial pond used by the Paleo Indians five to ten thousand years ago.

The incredible flight journal was found in excellent condition among the well-preserved remains of hundreds of Paleo Indians resting in the burial pond. The still water of the pond, depleted of oxygen, retarded the decomposition, covering what may be the oldest viable samples of human brain and skin tissue yet recovered.

“We found the journal entangled in some burial artifacts. It had settled between a layer of ceremonial fabric and woven mats,” said Professor Sarcophagus of the Native American Indian School of Research, based at the University of Florida. “A handmade pencil was recovered near the journal. A preliminary examination indicates it is the pencil used by Franklin to inscribe entries into his flight log.”

The entire contents of the astounding journal will be released to the public after a panel of experts complete their unilateral study. The goal of their scientific testing, which will be conducted within the research facilities of the universities around the world, will be to determine if the journal and pencil are authentic Franklin artifacts. These experts express differing opinions.

“We have discovered a veritable fountain of youth,” said Dr. Francine Stein. “The old Paleo Indian burial pond has yielded livid scalp samples. Early tests results prove some of them are at least ten thousand years old. We haven’t figured out how hair could remain saturated for such a long time and not get split ends.” Dr. Stein teaches Anatomy and Biochemistry at Florida State University.

Count Aaer Fetter disagrees, “That precious book would have survived without the aid of that stagnant old pond. Ben Franklin designed a flight log that could withstand every imaginable extreme of conditions, the very conditions he was prepared to encounter during his flights around the Earth.” Count Fetter is Great Britain’s most distinguished Parliamental Archivist and Chief Librarian at Oxford University.

Professor Tip O. Berg, who is the Senior Research Assistant of the Cryogenics Lab at the University of Florida, said, “There is enough evidence to support both opinions. I examined the remains of the Paleo Indians, their artifacts and the Franklin artifacts. When submerged, the journal was more protected.”

One of the journal’s large folding maps guided a team of deep water divers to Poe Springs, Florida where they salvaged what could be the remains of Franklin’s gothic kite. Professor Randi MacNally was the first to examine the journal’s maps. She is the Dean of the School of Bookmaking at Harvard College and a fiber selection consultant for the U.S. Treasury Department’s Bureau of Engraving and Printing.

“Franklin milled the book from a single sheet of paper,” said MacNally. “He cut the huge folio in half, trimming a wide strip from each of the three uncut sides of each half. The halves were cut and securely bound into four signature of eight pages each. On each side and in between each thirty-two page section he placed two, two-sided maps that were folded into the book. The six maps were made from the long segments of trim. Paper trimmed from the edges of the maps was milled into the book’s covers.”

According to handwriting expert Birdie Scrawlings, Ph.D., “All sixty-four pages of handwritten text, the two-sided aerial maps and the mysterious symbols inside the back cover were engraved by Franklin with his pencil. The only real question, aside from the meaning of those strange symbols, is why did Franklin leave the inside of the front cover blank after cramming the whole world into seventy-two pages?”

One researcher found hard evidence that links the discovery of the journal to the recovery of the kite fragments. A professor of chemistry from the University of Texas at Austin, Dr. M.T. Beekers, conducted chemical analysis of the journal, the pencil and the kite fragments.

“Not only was the journal constructed from a single sheet of paper, it was a piece of paper left over from the much larger one used to manufacture the kite,” said Beekers.

In a joint report released early today Beekers and MacNally concluded, “The flight log and the kite were made from a single piece of paper. That paper was blended from fibers of several types of wood, silk, rice, burlap, cotton, Manila hemp, tobacco, corn, tea leaves, and root filaments from coconut, sunflower, and cypress grass plants. The mixture was ingrained with whale blubber, wax, olive oil, rubber extract, Banyan sap, pomegranate peels, lime juice, and several unidentified compounds.

“This pulp was mashed by marble rollers over a large granite slab. The kite supports were set into the deep rims of the pulp and it was then baked in the summer sun. An emulsion formed on the surface of this paper, it not only protected and preserved it, but also reacted with the core of the pencil, developing a permanent ink.”

The report’s findings on the pencil and kite supports was inconclusive, “Cypress was the predominant wood, but there were many layers of veneer, including some that were metallic, instilling both strength and much flexibility. The cores of the kite struts were the same as the pencil. We have identified gold, platinum, diamond dust, graphite, gypsum, coal, pearl grindings, clay, and mud dredged from the basin of the Mississippi River. An equal number of elements remain unidentified at this time. It is likely that some of the ingrains reacted with the surface of the paper, forming inscriptions that withstood rain, snow, sleet, and hail.”

“Despite their obvious durability, many of Franklin’s entries were difficult to read,” said Birdie Scrawlings. “Some of them may never be deciphered, including his perilous takeoff from Lookout Mountain, the many course corrections written admist trecherous crosswinds and the final entry made during his crash landing into a giant tree over Poe Springs.”

Profesor Sarcophagus advances a theory that explains how the journal made its way from Central Florida’s Poe Springs to the waters of the Paleo Indian burial pond on the east coast. His speculations are basaed upon the journal’s entries, maps, and unexplained symbols drawn on the inside of the back cover.

“Franklin designed his kite to make but one flight around the globe. Fortunately, it went beyond its design. He had nearly completed two laps when the kite fatigued under the stress, forcing him to make an emergency landing.

“Failure must have been on Franklin’s mind as he wandered east toward the Paleo Indian burial pond. He didn’t know that his flight was a success. Entries into the flight log and confused mapping prove that he thought the flight had fallen several hundred miles short of a complete circumnavigation of the globe. It wasn’t until after Franklin discarded the F=flight log – leaving the pond to conceal his shame – that he realized his flight had been a success doubling his expectations.”

Dr. Francine Stein said, “Benjamin Franklin was a man of many secrets. The kite flight was certainly his biggest, but there is evidence to prove he secretly returned to Florida seventeen times, attempting to recover his flight log.”

“Benjamin was a vain man,” said Count Aaer Fetter. “In the name of Franklin he wanted to brag, but he was too much a coward to face the skeptics of his time without proof lost in his flight journal.”

Writing Prompts 06.23.18

76. Missing You: Write about someone you miss dearly.

77. Geography: Pick a state or country you’ve never visited. Write about why you would or would not like to visit that place.

78. Random Song: Write something inspired by the last song you heard.

Writing Prompts 06.13.18

73. Last Person You Talked to: Write a quick little poem or story about the last person you spoke with.

74. Caught Red-Handed: Write about being caught doing something embarrassing.

75. Interview: Write a list of questions you have for someone you would like to interview, real or fictional.

Reserve Note Twenty – Paleo Indian Burial Pond

The oldest elder doesn’t have a name. No one in our tribe has a name. Rawl and I still call him Unk. We make up names and words for everybody and everything. Rawl is my friend. I made up his name. He’s always trying to convince me that Sam, Joe, Roc, or Hans would be a better name, but I will always call him Rawl. We have names for everyone in the tribe, but Rawl and I are the only ones who use them.

We make up so many names for things that we can’t remember them all. Sometimes we say “stone” and at other times we say ” rock”. When a rock or stone looks special we might call it “quartz” or “granite”. When we search for nuts, berries, or fibers for the cooks and weavers we use the words we make up to tell jokes about others in the tribe. Our little jokes caused the weavers to ban us from outside their circle many times. They don’t have to know our words to know we are making fun of them. Without the weavers, we go naked – something we learned the hard way with our jokes.

Rawl and I long to be hunters, but the hunters believe that our talk will bring danger to them. We can’t learn to hunt until we learn to be quiet.

Rawl and I are the same age. We were born under the same full moon. The tribe celebrated our 100th moon for an entire night. That night Rawl and I ate more than we ever had. The weavers surprised us with outfits that had a hundred fibers woven down and across. Our favorite pigments, which were gathered on our last walk from the Great North, are blended into bright-colored dyes for the fibers. At the end of each thread is a shell, reed cutting, or bead that we collected on our many journeys.

Rawl and I make up words and names for more than people and things. We invent words for our feelings and ideas, like joy, sorrow, bad, good, love, hate, more, less, forever, and grief. Grief is a word we reserve for the burial pond.

Of the few words the tribe does use, “Water of Youth,” is what they call the burial pond. Other tribes call it “Water of Death” because we submerse our dead there. The still waters of the pond preserve the bodies and garments of the dead. Unk believes that their lives will someday come back to them. He places bodies of our deceased into the water of the burial pond. They wear the clothes the weavers make for them to wear in their next lives.

Rawl and I call the elder who marks the trails we walk Rune. Rune is both a title and a name the tribe accepts. The scribe who inherits his work will also be Rune.

I want to grow up to be the Rune. So does Rawl. We know that the tribe will choose only one Rune and they may not choose either of us. Rune thinks our words are good and that we should make carvings for the ones that could help us find our way to and from the Great North.

Rawl and I are not the only ones who make up secret names. Some of the young couples who are in love make up secret names for each other and the things they do together.

I make up many words for my hatred of walking. Rawl has even more. In the fall, the tribe walks south every day for four months, stopping only four times for the Feast of the Full Moon. In the spring we walk northward for four months. We stop and trade with tribes of the Great North for two months and the tribes of the Water of Youth for two months in the winter.

We must carry things when we walk and are always adding more food to our packs than we can eat. When there is plenty to be gathered we put together sleds from tree branches.

Rawl and I hate dragging those sleds.

Rawl and I are the eldest gatherers. We teach younger ones how to select ripe berries that aren’t poisonous, how to dig the thickest and sweetest roots and how to select strong fibers for the weavers. We want to be hunters and often loiter close to the hunt, watching their every move. The weavers’ circle is for the eldest tribe members and being inducted is a great honor. Some sit outside the circle for many moons before they are called to join.

I like to gather bright, warm colors. Rawl collects colder greens and blues. Most of my pigments come from the mountains that we cross over midway between the Great North and the Water of Youth. The cracked faces of mountains ooze bronze, red, orange, and yellow minerals that the weavers make into dyes. Ralph collects the greens and blues from leaves and blossoms of plants he finds at the shores of the lakes and in the tropical jungles around the burial pond.

Winter follows us close behind us as we walk from the Great North. One cold winter approached us early and entrapped us in snow and ice. Rawl and I huddled inside animal skins close to the two young girls we liked most. The girls kept us warm. We now find places to walk with them that are farther and farther away from the tribe’s activities.

Two of the eldest weren’t so lucky that early winter. They froze to death and we dragged their bodies back to the burial pond on sleds. Every few miles an elder sprinkled water from the burial pond over the bodies to keep them ready for their next lives beneath the Water of Youth.

The two girls who kept Rawl and me warm that winter are planning a double-wedding ceremony for us. We don’t have any new words to say about that. We discovered the two girls have a secret vocabulary of their own.

We can’t wait to learn their words.

By Jerry Lee Osborne

The Scream (Response to writing prompt 06.09.18)

It was breaking dawn, the sky still dark, and the air cool and crisp with sea spray hitting his face. He clutched his black wool coat tightly around his body, in a vain attempt to shelter himself from the cold. He started walking along the dock, the wood creaking and moaning with every step.
He wondered if “It” would follow him here. Although, he still wasn’t entirely sure what “It” was. A phantom that he couldn’t quite describe, that haunted him every day. Stalking him in the streets in broad daylight. From the bank he worked in as a clerk to church. It was translucent, almost the absence of something, not even a shadow.
He recalled a time It almost caught him. Cornering him in the narrow hallway of a train car. Only to disappear as another passenger came out of a cabin. It’s frigid ghostly touch still lingering on his shoulder. The shrill yell it made still ringing in his ears like it was only a moment ago.
He shivered attempting to shake off that thought. It had been weeks ago and he surely got away this time. As he began to turn around, he saw It in the mist. Slowly creeping towards him. Frozen in shock he stayed paralyzed against the dock’s railing.
It grasped him. Making a shriek like something that sounded like a cross between a knife scraping a plate and a siren. It devoured his soul, leaving his body cold and his face a shade of white brighter than snow.
His arms were up against his cheeks, his face forever etched in a scream.

By Ellie Southgate
Writing Prompts 06.09.18

Writing Prompts 06.09.18

70. Recipe: Write about a recipe for something abstact, such as a feeling.

71. Famous Artwork: Choose a famous painting and write about it.

72. Where That Place Used to Be: Think of a place you went to when you were younger but it now no longer there or is something else. Capture your feelings about this in your writing.

Writing Prompts