Herman went out recruiting for his Antler Posse every Tuesday afternoon. When the idea first came to him, he had hoped to form a sort of social club with his friends in which to discuss, admire, and perhaps try on various pairs of antlers. But when he received the scorn they so plentifully heaped upon him, there was no other choice: the Antler Posse would have to be comprised of those who truly appreciated antlers as much as he did. After six months, he had only managed to recruit a few caribou to follow him around occasionally, and even they were a bit baffled by his insistence on wearing the antlers of an elk or deer as though they were angel wings. Herman reluctantly came to the conclusion that there was likely no one who shared his fervent love of antlers, but decided that spending time with those who appreciated them was better than spending time with those who scorned them.So every Tuesday afternoon, Herman went out recruiting for his Antler Posse.
Some days, I got nothin’. As far as writing goes, that is. Either I’m too distracted to think of an idea or there’s so much going on in my house that by the time I get to sit down and write I feel like relaxing instead.
Sometimes I get ideas from the internet. Usually from things people are talking about on social media like facebook or Google+, or stuff my friends are talking about on Skype. But I wasn’t feeling anything I came in contact with in those places today (the inauguration wasn’t inspiring me).
So I googled “writing prompts,” and found a wonderful tumblr (a blogging website that has an element of social networking to it): http://writingprompts.tumblr.com. It is maintained by a humanities teacher who posts pictures, phrases, or questions to prompt writers to produce material. I never liked the question style writing prompt, because it was usually, “if you could have any animal as a pet, what would it be, and why?” but I think I could produce an interesting answer to the prompt, “If you had to live the rest of your life as a Spartan, Viking, Knight, or Roman Soldier, which one would you pick?” I was never really inspired when asked to share the reason I would enjoy living on the moon, but for some reason, “This houseplant is dying. Tell why it needs to live” just gets my creative juices flowing. And I can’t resist a strange picture! Even if there aren’t any words to prompt me, I’m asking the questions myself. What are the subjects of this picture doing? Why are they doing it? What could have happened to bring them to the place and time that the picture was taken, and what happened after it was taken?
When I first looked at this picture, I was formulating some story about a secret agent infiltrating a gang of roving reindeer when my husband walked by. I asked him, “what are these things? Caribou? Elk?” He identified them, informed me about the relationship between caribou and reindeer and the similar relationship between pumas and mountain lions, and then he pointed out that one of these things was not like the others. One set of antlers in the picture was not caribou in origin. So that got me thinking about why this guy would be standing in a group of animals, and why I couldn’t see the one animal that was different in the picture.
Herman’s Antler Posse was born.
I’m sure most things that I will produce in the future in response to a writing prompt will be silly, but I don’t mind. I’d rather write something silly than not write anything at all.