Thursday Writing Prompt No. 135

Adironadack chair

I’m in the second week back to work after a week’s vacation. Can I have another vacation? Seriously, I want to do more photography! All right, folks, it’s time for this week’s writing prompt. Let’s take camp as an inspiration.

One night we were out observing the stars and something started screaming off in the woods. Someone said it was a coyote, but since we never actually saw the beast it could have been anything at all. Anything.

So here’s the scenario: you’re at camp for a relaxing week of sun, fun, and mosquito bites. You spend an evening outside listening to crickets and looking up at the stars when you hear it scream. At first you just brush it off as an animal, but soon you start to hear the sound of twigs snapping in the woods. And then you hear something growling.

That’s your cue for this week’s prompt. What is it? What happens next? Take a stab at writing some horror fiction. Oh, and lock the cabin door while you’re at it.

Bug Bites

It’s summer, and that means bug bites. Since I work indoors and rarely venture beyond the front porch to pick up the mail I usually don’t have to worry about more than a mosquito bite or two. But I just came back from a week’s vacation in Maine and I’m covered with red welts all over my legs and hands.

Don’t go looking for photos of things on the Internet if you aren’t prepared to see a lot of gross things you’d rather not imagine crawling on your skin, let alone sucking your blood or eating your skin cells. Gee, I’m glad to learn that chiggers aren’t buried in my skin (OMG!) but I really could have done without the portrait of the nasty little things. However, I’ve learned that putting nail polish on bug bites does relieve the itch. It’s kind of gross now, because I’m covered with nail polish and it peels off after a while just like your skin peels from sunburn. But at least I’m not scratching my skin raw.

This week I’m trying to get resettled into the work routine after a relaxing week off. I’m also drafting some encyclopedia articles for the forthcoming Technical Innovation in American History: An Encyclopedia of Science and Technology. And I have some photographs of the Milky Way that I took at the Maine Astronomy Retreat so I need to look through them and sort the duds from the … ahem … stellar ones.

Bad Weather Photography

I wanted to take a photo of these dark clouds because they looked very dramatic. It wasn't until after I made the shot that I realized there is a small funnel cloud just to the right of center.

I wanted to take a photo of these dark clouds because they looked very dramatic. It wasn’t until after I made the shot that I realized there is a small funnel cloud just to the right of center.

It’s been a tremendously busy spring for me, both at work and for my freelance writing, among other things. In May I went to the Maryland Sheep and Wool Festival in West Friendship, Maryland. I crochet, do a bit of weaving, and am learning to knit. Buying yarn becomes an obsession, as anyone will tell you! In any case, while at the festival I picked up a postcard for the Maine Astronomy Retreat and we’re going. I have a new Sony alpha 7 mirrorless DSLR and I can’t wait to try it out on astrophotography.

So, right after I signed up for the astronomy retreat, guess what? I was contacted to write an article about Carl Sagan for the forthcoming Salem Press Critical Survey of American Literature. Talk about synchronicity! And I also have a batch of technology articles to write for ABC-Clio’s Technical Innovation in American History: An Encyclopedia of Science and Technology, including ones on electricity/electronics topics and Yerkes Observatory. Yay! And yes, I’m nerding out. Time to put my high-school vocational electronics knowledge to work.

I have other writing projects in the queue as well, including a short story that will appear in an upcoming anthology of tales about black dog stories, three other short stories in progress, my novel, and a nonfiction book project. Whew. No wonder I have insomnia.

Water running down the car windshield made some interesting patterns.

Water running down the car windshield made some interesting patterns.

If my life has been a whirlwind, it’s no wonder that I managed to capture a photo of what appears to be a funnel cloud. Last week I was on my way to my music lesson (ukulele and recorder) when I stopped for coffee and a snack. It was hot and sunny when I went into the store, but as soon as I was back outside it clouded over and I could feel the temperature dropping. I turned around and saw these fantastic clouds, so I tried to capture them with my phone camera (yes, I should have taken the new Sony with me!). Looks like a small funnel cloud tried to form, but fortunately it wisped away into nothing.

I drove over to the music academy before the rain started and sat with my coffee. The pelting rain made some interesting patterns on the car windshield, so I tried to capture that, too. It’s not a terrific photo, but I like the moodiness and it’s good for inspiration. Bad weather can be a photographic gem; it just means that I need to be out and about more often. And yes, there was a rainbow:

Rainbow over Columbia, Maryland.

Rainbow over Columbia, Maryland.

Thursday Writing Prompt No. 134

Look, it's five o'clock. It must be quitting time.

Look, it’s five o’clock. It must be time for a hearty Norn ale.

This week’s Thursday Writing Prompt is about transportation. As we enter summer in the Northern Hemisphere many people will be traveling for vacation or thinking about traveling. How will they get from point A to point B? How much is it going to cost? How long will it take?

And the worst bit — if they’re taking any form of public transportation, who are they going to end up sitting next to for long stretches of time?

Your task this week is to make up a protagonist who is traveling for business. Since the company is paying the fare, there’s little choice but to take public transportation — and economy class, at that! Now, be mean to your protagonist and make up a really awful seatmate or two, and describe the trip in 500 words or less.