My friend Beverly over at Open Road Writing is having a month-long writing challenge. She’s asking people to find four postcards and write a micro-story, micro-memoir, or poem for each postcard using the prompt she provides for each week. The prompt for the first week was a sentence starter, which said: “She couldn’t remember where she set out to go.”
Students often ask me, “But how do I start it?” The “it” being a journal entry, a letter to the author, a descriptive essay, or a story about their lives. They truly believe in the permanence of words and forget that the most powerful part of their pencil isn’t the graphite, but the eraser. They think that if they start with the wrong sentence, it’s all over. So they sit there, frozen in anxiety staring at a blank sheet of paper waiting for the first sentence to magically appear. Sentence starters are the perfect solutions for those students. Sometimes just having a little direction can help you know where you want to go. And then, once they’re off and writing, they usually ask, “Do I have to keep that first sentence?”
Below is my stab at the prompt. It doesn’t seem like the micro-fictional piece would fit on a postcard, but using 8pt font and a little ingenuity, the prose fits just fine.
Sitting in the Driveway
Gabrielle couldn’t remember where she set out to go. It couldn’t be the grocery store because she had no reusable bags. Looking in the rearview mirror, she thought perhaps the salon. She tried to fluff the gray strands that hung like yarn matted to a doll’s face, but the gesture made no affect. The spells came more and more often now. Should she dare tell Dylan?
Knocks on the window caused her to grab her pearl chocker. Turning, she saw keys dangling in midair, suspended on a finger.
Dylan bent to make eye contact, smiling with misgiving. Gabrielle opened the door as Dylan shuffled out of its reach. Gabrielle thought he handed her the keys as though she were Taylor on his 16th birthday just weeks before he met that girl who changed everything.
“Off to Sarah’s bridge party, right?” he asked.
She nodded, grateful to be given a destination. Navigating the long driveway, Gabrielle gave a quick wave before she turned left. She quickly changed her mind and turned the other direction.
What would you write with the prompt?