Month: January 2015

Magnification

There’s much in nature that the naked eye can’t perceive without assistance.  For example, look at this:

This is the eye of a fly.  It's looking at you; can it read your mind?  (Photo is in the public domain.)

This is the eye of a fly. It’s looking at you; can it read your mind? (Photo is in the public domain.)

Without seeing the magnified image, one probably would have expected a fly’s eye to resemble what we see everyday among people, dogs, cats, fish, and seemingly every other animal we encounter.  However, the compound eye we discover here reveals the excellent vision we could only presume every time one of these pesky creatures dodges a fly swatter.

This week, you will use words to accomplish similar revelations through magnification.  Begin by describing an object or event using broad brushstrokes; then, choose an element to look at more closely.  That element should add insight to the original description.  Then, take a closer look at some aspect of that magnified image and inform your readers what the new details reveal.

You may zoom in as often as you want but each magnification should continue to provide an ever closer look.  For example, don’t magnify the fly’s eye and then switch to the wings.

Compose and publish your response to this prompt on your own blog.  Be sure to include a link to this post so that a pingback will appear here, thereby allowing other participants to discover your work.  Please be patient if your pingback does not appear immediately; I am not at my computer 24/7 and I have to approve all pingbacks.  For this reason, using the bcandelabra tag may be advisable.

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Deliberate Misquotation

This week’s prompt requires you to revise the past.  Many of you will recognize the following as the butchering of a quote by John F. Kennedy:

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The original quote reversed the two ideas: “Ask not what your country can do for you, but what you can do for your country.”  Needless to say, the revised version casts a strikingly different tone and would have been received as such.  We can’t precisely know how history would have been different if Kennedy had used the misquotation instead, but we can always speculate.

Speculation is the name of this week’s game.

Take an important quote and modify it.  Then, do one of the following:

1- Describe the possible historical implications of that quote being different.

2- If you choose a literary quote, you could rewrite the poem or create a new plot for the novel or play that would fit the modified quote.

3- If you choose an important quote from your own life (such as a marriage proposal or a medical diagnosis), discuss how your life would be different or rewrite the moment in which the original statement took place.  If you go this route, please inform us of what the original statement was.

4- If the quote has no context that lends itself to one of the preceding options, use your modified version as the title of a post on a topic of your choice.

Compose and publish your response to this prompt on your own blog.  Be sure to include a link to this post so that a pingback will appear here, thereby allowing other participants to discover your work.  Please be patient if your pingback does not appear immediately; I am not at my computer 24/7 and I have to approve all pingbacks.  For this reason, using the bcandelabra tag may be advisable.

What Kind of Idea Are You?

Because of last week’s terrorist attack in Paris, I have rescheduled my previously planned prompts so that I can present one that originates from Salman Rushdie’s “Satanic Verses.”

Have you read this man's work?  You should.  (Original photo by David Shankbone.  Photo edits by Parzi.)

Have you read this man’s work? You should. He’ll win a Nobel Prize unless the selection committee is too afraid.  (Original photo by David Shankbone. Photo edits by Parzi.)

The novel gained notoriety because a string of similarly motivated murders, death orders, and bookstore bombings followed its publication.  However, few people realize that the novel stands as a great aesthetic achievement.  You can read the novel and take pleasure from Rushdie’s writing style even if the disjointed storyline doesn’t appeal to you.

Also, contrary to popular belief, the novel does not seem to have been specifically anti-Islam in intent; people who read this book seeking hatred of Muslims will only find severe disappointment.  It’s more philosophical and critical of religion in general, but religion is arguably not the book’s central theme.  If you didn’t know that the word Islam translates literally as “submission,” you might not even recognize how Rushdie was using Islam as an example for one of his larger claims.  The “offending” portion takes up only 30-40 pages out of approximately 600 total.

“The Satanic Verses” impressed me like few other novels have and I am pleased to offer you a passage from this book as this week’s prompt:

What kind of idea are you? Are you the kind that compromises, does deals, accommodates itself to society, aims to find a niche, to survive; or are you the cussed, bloody-minded, ramrod-backed type of damn fool notion that would rather break than sway with the breeze? – The kind that will almost certainly, ninety-nine times out of hundred, be smashed to bits; but, the hundredth time, will change the world.

Play close attention to the phrasing.  The prompt does not ask whether you tend to compromise or not.  Compromise, dealmaking, and survival mean and imply different things when an idea is at issue.  Therefore, before jumping into your response to this prompt, you should consider reflecting on what it means for an idea to compromise (etc.) and how that might translate into human actions.  You might also benefit from thinking in terms of how an idea is structured; for instance, it might be an all-or-nothing proposition or be constructed exclusively of impeccable logic, etc.

Compose and publish your response to this prompt on your own blog.  Be sure to include a link to this post so that a pingback will appear here, thereby allowing other participants to discover your work.  Please be patient if your pingback does not appear immediately; I am not at my computer 24/7 and I have to approve all pingbacks.  For this reason, using the bcandelabra tag may be advisable.

Creation and Destruction

For the inaugural writing prompt, I am challenging you to discuss the interrelatedness of creation and destruction.

The destruction of this stadium created a lot of dust.  That's not what's meant with this challenge.  (Photo is in public domain.)

The destruction of this stadium created a lot of smoke and dust.  (Photo is in the public domain.)

Start this process by contemplating something you have experienced, witnessed, or performed that involved some aspect of both creation and destruction.  (If nothing comes to mind, imagine a fictional scenario.)  Try not to use the obvious examples.  For instance, we all know that the creation of a new shopping mall often entails the destruction of an existing natural habitat.

Instead, get philosophical.  Offer a story that sheds light on less commonly considered patterns of creation and destruction.  You might state your underlying message explicitly or you could choose to imply the message within the narration.  Either approach is acceptable and you may narrate with prose, poetry, or drama.

The Titanic's destruction created a legend.  Would we have created so many stories if the voyage had succeeded?  (Image is in the public domain.)

The Titanic’s destruction created a legend. Would we have created so many stories if the voyage had succeeded? (Image is in the public domain.)

Compose and publish your response to this prompt on your own blog.  Be sure to include a link to this post so that a pingback will appear here, thereby allowing other participants to discover your work.  Please be patient if your pingback does not appear immediately; I am not at my computer 24/7 and I have to approve all pingbacks.  For this reason, using the bcandelabra tag may be advisable.