Writing Prompt: Day 220

220.jpgDay 220 of 365 Days of Writing Prompts: Be inspired by the Randolph Bourne quote, “Few people even scratch the surface, much less exhaust the contemplation of their own experience.”

Shannon: Sometimes I catch myself feeling bad for flies. Sure they’re annoying, but they can be squished in a matter of seconds and their life is over. What kind of existence is that? Then I realize that mine isn’t so different. We just have different threats. I could die any moment in some freak accident, and what will my life have meant to anyone but myself? Maybe all we can hope for on this Earth is that our lives will be memorable than our deaths.

Erin: Sometimes I like to just do absolutely nothing, but think about my life. It’s a tricky balance though. As I get to thinking, I think about how I’m using my time. Then as I think about my time, I think about how my nothing sessions might be a waste. I haven’t decided yet. I’m only going to have decided the value of the time when it is too late and I guess I have no choice but to be okay with that.

Read other’s quotes then make your own quotes.

2 thoughts on “Writing Prompt: Day 220

  1. “Today’s class will center on our own individual existence in the universe as whole,” echoed Faith’s crackling falsetto voice in the expansive room, the ripples bouncing off every marble surface in waves. Her bare feet padded softly on a thin layer of air as she made her way up to her meditation mat and breathed in the sweet-scented smoke which curled at her feet. Speaking as though in a trance that held her far away, she exhaled, “You may begin whenever you feel you are ready, keeping in mind that I shall be checking up on you all periodically.” As soon as she sat cross-legged on her mat and closed her eyes, there was an oddly familiar wave of red energy that changed the hue of the room substantially.
    Glancing around at the remainder of the class, perhaps thirty other young people dressed mainly in natural cotton robes and dresses, I watched several others take their seats on the plush carpets and begin to relax. A few of us were looking around expectantly, but most of the people were simply getting in the right mindset to meditate. After I watched a scrawny fellow, in what appeared to be a dress, sit comfortably, cross his legs, and close his eyes, I took a deep breath. I mimicked the general idea of this meditation thing and was sitting tensely on a satiny cobalt rug that was shot through with brass and alabaster weaving.
    Minutes, or perhaps hours, went by as I shivered and twitched in the deafening silence. I opened my eyes wide in the bright, luminous room and busied myself with counting every stately pillar that appeared to be holding up a roof shrouded in pale mist. Outside all I could see was thick cloud that drifted lazily by, but I couldn’t tell where we were, which sent me into a momentary panic. Thinking back through all my memories, I couldn’t remember a single moment that had led me to this unknown, dazzling place; how could I not recall what must have been quite a journey to get here? In a fluid motion, I got to my feet and stood turning in a slow circle in an attempt to understand.
    “Christopher,” called a wistful voice that echoed in my mind as though I’d known it my entire life, “please take your seat.” Something clicked in my mind and I let out the breath I hadn’t realized I was holding; it was Faith’s voice, and she was my teacher. I did as I was told and returned to my relaxation pose, this time sinking fully into the depths of its trance-like state.
    All the swirling clouds outside the windows began to drift dozily toward me, bobbing like excited puppies. I felt something struggling to break free in me, and when it pulled away, I was drifting through a field of cloud and stardust. Around me was an escort of shimmering stars and diamond-edged puffs that floated in circles to protect me from the unknown.
    Touching down in a flattened part of dewy clouds, I staggered forward and fell into the thin arms of Faith, smiling gently at me. She helped me to my feet and chuckled gracefully, “Christopher, this is the place where you can build anything and experience anything in all the worlds. It is a safe place, but right now we are holding class a few levels down. Follow me,” she called back as she took a few long, bounding leaps, dove head-first into a snowy bank and disappeared from my view with a sound not unlike a vacuum. I wanted so badly to call to her, cry out that I didn’t understand, but instead I took a few steadying breaths, bounced on my heels like a runner and sprinted through the bright air toward the spot she’d gone.
    As my feet reached the suddenly-soft clouds, the slipped right through the surface like an ice bath, and I tumbled through the air below. Falling was terrifying, but as I watched the cloud-cover disappear rapidly from my view, I turned to see the next level quickly dawning below. Faith’s voice called through the unbearable whooshing sound of the wind, “You can slow yourself. This is all in your head. Just imagine yourself flying.”
    With the ground getting nearer and nearer, I struggled to catch a breath to imagine myself flying, and as it became apparent I couldn’t stop myself in time, I squeezed my eyes tightly in preparation for impact. Holding my arms tightly against my chest and tucking in my head, I thought about feathers and wings and bubbles until I thought I was a goner.
    I didn’t hit the ground, though. Instead, I felt the air slowly cease to rush past me and there was a faint scent of roses in the air, mingling with the warm, heavy smell of impending rain. Peeking around me, I noticed Faith leaning against a tree with her gown billowing around her and an impatient look on her face. When I looked down, I was hovering about three feet off the ground, and when I gasped in shock I dropped on all fours. Behind me, folding neatly, were two enormous bird’s wings that had all but shredded the back of my loose shirt. “Wow,” I whispered, getting awkwardly to my feet with the added weight behind me and the sudden solidity of the ground.
    “This way, Christopher, we don’t have all millennia,” ordered the teacher, stepping aside to reveal a doorway cut into the tree’s massive trunk. All around us were trees of every age, bushes of wild flowers and boulders the size of houses. With a huff, Faith answered my unspoken question, “This is one of your classmate’s dream creations based on what she believes heaven to be. The first one is like the default setting, and everyone creates their own. This next one we are going through to is mine, where we shall meet up with the remainder of the class.” Turning round, she walked through the archway and into a shroud of darkness.
    Not wanting to be left behind again, I rushed through, caught a wing on the rough bark, and struggled to get free of the tree. By the time I managed to tear away from the bark, I was out of breath again and Faith was almost at the end of a long, steep staircase that seemed to be leading us to nowhere at all. I stopped a few steps down to watch the opening grow over, obscuring what little light I had to see by. We went on like that, in complete silence, for what felt like hours until I had a brilliant idea.
    Stopping between two steps and stooping down, I unravelled my wings, the feathers brushing against the impossibly-dark ceiling and walls of the tunnel, and tried a couple experimental beats. I coasted down several steps with my feet dragging painfully on the ground before I caught a wing on the wall and crashed against the solid surface. Down the way was a tinkling, gentle sound like a tiny wind chime that I recognized as Faith’s laughter. Face burning, I tucked the massive appendages back behind me and staggered forward until I smacked into a closed door at the bottom.
    I searched around blindly for a handle, but couldn’t find one. Frustrated, I lashed out with my wing with such a gusting force that it blew the door right off the hinges and let in the streaming sunlight on the other side. Though I was a little banged up and startled, I stepped through into the light and stretched my wings wide beside me in the fresh air.
    Before me was what I’d imagined heaven to be; there were bunches of clouds cluttered about with buildings and gazebos and little streets made of marshmallows. Everywhere I looked, there were patches of grass where massive trees sprouted and bore brilliantly-hued fruits and nests of songbirds roosted comfortably. The surfaces glowed and reflected light as though everything were made entirely of light and such determination that made the light itself into solid material.
    Everyone was standing in a mammoth gazebo blinking in the blinding sunshine and chatting idly as they waited for the last of their numbers to join them. When a couple of them noticed me and waved pleasantly, I tried to wave with just my normal arm and ended up lifting myself straight into a tree with my overly-powerful wing. I expected everyone to laugh, but instead they appeared genuinely concerned, so I dusted myself off and leapt several feet into the air, catching a gust of wind just right. Gliding over their heads, I veered to the side and touched down at the edge of the cloud cluster, managing to smoothly tuck my wings back. As I joined them, several students patted me on the shoulder genially.
    “Well, now that we have all arrived in one piece, we can get started on the lesson,” spoke Faith in her normal, vague voice. “I would like everyone to partner up for this lesson. Off you go, quickly now,” she pointed around the space and everyone hopped together in pairs. A lovely girl with a spectacular emerald scarf tied lightly around her neck stepped beside me smiled warmly with her umber eyes. “Good, good, now, contemplating your own existences will be easier with someone to help pull you out if things get hairy. You will each take turns looking at your own lives from the following views; the world as a whole, your city, your peer group and your family. Go!” she shouted, and three pairs disappeared instantly.
    I stared at the place where a tall man in dark clothes had been holding hands with a very short woman in a short skirt. “Hello, my name is Jasmine,” spoke a soft voice at my arm. Turning to her, I noticed the warm colour of her skin and a cute cluster of freckles across her nose.
    “Oh, uh, hi, I’m Christopher. It’s a pleasure to meet you, Jasmine,” I cooed, bowing so low my wings almost fell over my head. When I leaned back up, Jasmine had a petite hand covering her lips to keep from laughing.
    Reaching out to touch a feather, she raised her voice a bit, “So, you fell into my heaven, huh?” She must have seen my confusion, because she clarified, “I made up the world above Faith’s. It’s based on a perfect earth where humans haven’t yet ruined the ecosystems.” As she spoke, the little dimples on either side of her lips crinkled adorably. “We should really get going or Faith will be, well, not quite mad, but she will be less happy than usual,” she explained, heading down a twisting path to the right with me in tow, being extra careful not to knock anything over with my wings.
    We arrived at a kind of dock that stretched out into the middle of a watery sky floating far above the planet we used to call home. “So, now what?” I asked, glancing around in wonder.
    “Well, the idea of this experiment is to understand your previous existence by looking at yourself through the lens of the entire world,” here, she opened her arms wide and created a spinning world in sifting shades of emerald and seafoam, “so we can see how unimportant we are in the grand scheme of things.” Shattering her globe and sending little shards all over, she spun a web of streets and greenspace in the air to create a tiny, working village. “Then, we look at our city to understand the impacts we had, or didn’t, have on our community.” This little vignette vanished as well, replaced with picture frames with moving imaged of happy people, which Jasmine explained were, “Friends and family member were touched the most in our lives, so we also need to understand that we had a lasting impact on them.” If I’d known her better, I likely would have asked about the tears making their way down her cheek, but I didn’t want to pry.
    Instead, I spread my wings out behind me, was caught by a sudden gust of wind and was flown out over the abyss in a complete panic. Struggling to flap my wings, having never had a life or death situation like this, I shouted at the top of my lungs for help. When a hand reached down and pulled me up on the dock, I flushed with relief and grinning at the tiny girl beside me. “You really need to learn how to use those if you’re going to keep them. Otherwise, I’d lose them if I were you and take up levitation.” She let go of my hand and floated gracefully out into the blank space beyond the dock and hovered ethereally. Chuckling lightly, she addressed my horror with gentleness, “It’s alright, you’ve only just arrived; it’s easier than it looks, but it is a trick to get used to. I never got the hang of wings, but this is definitely the way for me.” I watched her float in backstroking circles as she hung there like a ghost in the void.


  2. With seven young adults, two teenagers, and three middle age to elderly adults, all the farm chores were done before lunch. Everyone sits around the table, chatting about various things. Josh picks at his half finished plate, then sets his fork down.
    Everyone stops and looks at him.
    “I’ve… I’ve decided something.” He looks up, “And I’m not going to change my mind, so if anyone is going to-”
    “Dude, what?” Rick asks.
    Josh takes a deep breath, “I’m quitting college.” He looks at August, “No, I haven’t told Mom yet. But I… It just doesn’t feel right. My professors are even saying that I’m above college level. I can learn what I want to do without spending thousands of dollars, you know?”
    Josh looks at his brother.
    “You… Don’t know what you want to do?”
    He leans back, seeing Heather’s face is also confused. The adults are all a little confused.
    “I… It’s just… it’s complicated,” Josh states, “between the changes in the group, and a future career… let alone-”
    “Denisa?” Finn asks with a cheeky grin.
    Josh sticks his tongue out, “I feel swamped and have no clue where the dry ground is.”
    Noah takes a sip of milk, then says, “Few people even scratch the surface, much less exhaust the contemplation of their own experience.”
    “…Randolph Bourne?” Josh asks.
    Noah clicks his tongue, “Exactly.”
    August thinks on the quote, “You’re saying Josh is in a good place, because he’s thinking about where he is, even if he doesn’t know where he’s going.”
    “Different wording, but yes,” Noah says, “Josh, you are at a good spot, even if it doesn’t feel like it. And you have plenty of people to help you along the way.”
    “And it’s not like you don’t have anything to do,” Heather states. Everyone looks at her for an explanation. “I mean, your mom could use help in the dojo. And if you can’t find anything else to do, someone has to keep it running in the future.”
    Josh tilts his head in contemplation, “True…”
    “Don’t worry too much,” Rick says, “and who said we’d harp on you for leaving college. Nikki did it. Did we yell at her?”
    Before Nikki can comment, Heather leans over and says she wants to hear all about working with Shuri later.
    “And Denisa can’t ignore your charm forever,” Jacey says with a wink.
    “Isn’t that the anti-hero you’ve encounter a few times?” Heather asks.
    All the Novelty members put on mischievous grins. Except for Josh. He just sinks into his seat.


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