Each Monday we post a new quote on Instagram and ask our followers to join us in a little creative writing exercise. Simply comment on the quote post with your continuation of the quote, and have the chance to win $20 cash and a prize from the writt.org shop.
Below are a few of our past winners.
Week of 6/17/19
Prompt: "A smile is the same as sunshine; it banishes winter from the human countenance." From Les Misérables by Victor Hugo.
No! Here they come again! I must quicken my steps, oh no! They are catching up, they are going to conquer me again. The big kids didn't mind my sobs as they threw me to the ground, teased me, poked me and hit me repeatedly, they made sure my confidence was levelled with the ground before they left me. I've never been liked much, neither was I cool kid, I was very weird and shy but bullying didn't help much, as a kid I was drained of confidence and self-esteem, but there was something about this dark gloomy day that changed my life forever, her smile. Kate reached out, I looked up and saw her beautiful smile, not only did she raise me physically with that smile, but she raised my soul, she made me feel happiness again, she made me feel love and most importantly she gave me strength through her friendship. Standing here on the day of her funeral all I can think of is that beautiful smile that lit up my world, even as she was slowing fading away with cancer, she said "Joe don't cry salty tears like this on the day of my funeral, I want you to smile." she forced a pale smile with those words, and that's exactly what I would do, I would smile, it might be a sad day but I will pass on her legacy to the world, a beautiful smile.
Week of 6/10/19
Prompt: "We can't behave like people in novels, though, can we?" From The Age of Innocence by Edith Wharton.
You see, the clarity of it all seems so perfect, so vibrant, that we ask innocuously in our toil, if I should live, why not that way?
Grand romances, dangerous escapades, noble trials of heroism, & on occasion, moments so brazenly lustful, we may shy even unto ourselves for having enjoyed it a little more than we ought.
With irony indeed, we realize as we read, nothing in reality seems too perfect or too correct. Rather, it seems farcical as to which is more deserving of reality, the novels, or our life ?
And so we read on, we dream of more, & the novels take us there.
They dare us to see bigger sights, achieve more , relish more & deliciously challenge us not only to enjoy better lives, but more seductive problems.
And yet, these powerful words are most often absorbed in idyllic indulgence.
We consume them absentmindedly, like a rich meal eaten in a rush, to appease our troubled souls & quiet our weeping minds to sleep.
But like a potbelly these words chain to us as discontented bedfellows hungry for their meals which we often feed every night hoping for salvation.
Perhaps failing to ever realize the greatest story remains unpenned.
For whatever we read of these wonderful characters, they cannot be of the living moment.
Having long been soaked in a bath of retrospection, appearing like pickled models of human anatomy they merely deceive a perfect form.
Yet in this structured truth, they remain our best guides for a perfect life without the erratic pulsing mess of blood carrying within it all the chemicals that give us life.
And in as much an address identifies a destination but cannot in its entirety be an office or home, these stories provide us an oasis but not the path we must painstakingly construct to approach it.
And still, they offer a generous final penance to settle the score.
For the characters we aspire to, are harbingers, appearing in limbo between the crystalline form of words & nebulous phantoms swimming amongst the ether of our thoughts.
They call us to act at once upon our own, too familiar & worn-out stories.
To take upon ourselves the pen of life with boldness & live as we should want to write we have lived!
Week of 6/03/19
Prompt: "It was always the becoming he dreamed of, never the being." From This Side of Paradise by F. Scott Fitzgerald.
It was always the becoming he dreamed of, never the being.
Wished to soar high in the sky without
developing his wings.
Fantasized of splendid mansions, sparkling fountains of glinting gold in his vaults,
Didn’t realize how he would achieve them in reality without tending to his faults.
Week of 5/27/19
Prompt: "Love and Truth--their warfare seems eternal." From Howards End by E.M. Forster.
They say love is blind
That love sees no reason;
A flower that blossoms in every season.
They say that love is a madness,
A madness people fall in love with.
I ask my heart, my soul, my mind
I ask whatever’s left of me,
“Do you not hear and see
The words flowing out of their mouth
And the ink from their pen?”
I beg to them. To my demons.
Not to kill me from within,
For love and I are akin:
Blind without reason, and mad.
Mad to love her with a love that fades!
But the grim voices echoing inside
Call me a pervert of truth.
For I who cannot love nor be loved,
Call her dearest and beloved.
Ripped apart by an eternal war
Between false love and the sad truth,
I suffer, as the victims of a war suffer.
Week of 5/20/19
Prompt: "Perhaps there is a language which is not made of words and everything in the world understands it." From A Little Princess by Frances Hodgson Burnett.
We are all
Equally sun tanned
Equally moon dusted
And the world is all
But equally fair
Week of 10/29/18
Prompt: "But his dreams were as gigantic as his surroundings were small." From Jude the Obscure by Thomas Hardy.
Response: “There once lived a boy in the old streets of the walled city. His round eyes always wide with curiosity. He was small, small for his age but not weak. There was an agility to him, a sense of curiosity and restlessness that reminded me of a curious bird perched on tree branch ready to take off any minute, any time. Ready to explore the wonders of the world. He could have been a bird. But God saw fit to make send him into this world as a boy, with all the aspirations of a young eagle yearning to fly, yet no wings. But perhaps not all wings are visible and not all flights take you towards the sky.
That’s what I thought when I saw him one day, while passing through the narrow street of where he lived with his widowed
mother. He was leaning on his terrace looking over the old street.
It was too narrow to allow any view other than the backside of a paan shop, but his eyes were fixed on something, something well
beyond what was present. How can a face look so alert and lost at the same time, how pure and innocent yet, serious and determined? I wondered for a moment, and wandered off, leaving the little boy to his dreams.”
Week of 10/22/18
Prompt: "It is better to be alone than unwelcome." From Eve’s Diary by Mark Twain.
Response: “The masses did not care for his existence. In the sense of the word that matters, he was never unwelcomed. No one cared enough to disinvite him, a mail would pop in his inbox no matter what the event was. He had subscribed to the mailing list long ago. The organizers never cared, he was just another head in the crowd. No one knew anyone at these events and everyone was free to interact with everyone else. Everyone was supposed to attend these events alone, the point was to meet new people. He had enthusiastically subscribed to the mailing list in a failed attempt to “break out of his shell”. He never could. He believed, people would come to him, make him feel welcome, like the world was obligated to make him comfortable, like the world owed him something, like he was destined to be important to someone and that someone would appear magically out of no where through no efforts of his own. One day he read this quote “it’s better to be alone then unwelcome” and has used it to justify his lack of will to put any efforts into building relationships ever since. He’ll die a lone man, finding solace in the belief that Twain did too. He doesn’t read much except for quotes on the internet that lack any context.”
Week of 10/15/18
Prompt: "I love a broad margin to my life." From Walden by Henry David Thoreau.
Response: “I love a broad margin to my life,” I sighed as my sister continued to lecture me. She is convinced that I am too old to enroll in college or pierce my nose. Her contentment in only being in one relationship, one career, and one town her entire life seems suffocating. I want to engage in repartee with intellectuals, find myself in a rainforest, and love in countless ways. Why must she try to confine me? In this apartment, it’s becoming hard to breathe.”
Week of 10/08/18
Prompt: "I don't want just words. If that's all you have for me you'd better go." From The Beautiful and Damned by F. Scott Fitzgerald.
Response: I once fell in love with a man who spoke of love as if he knew it well. His eyes were like icicles piercing into my soul, and his words were as elegant as the Northern snow in the dead of Winter. Yet, I was blind to the cold chill that fed his soul. The words were only a distant mirage of warmth that never resided in his soul. As time has passed without him; I began to idly observe words as only a reaction to a flood of chemicals seeping off our tongues. I shall not bide my time and waste my hopes based off of a dreamer. I will conquer my dignity and study words that flow from a dreamer with every question, and stand my ground demanding action. Don’t let me forget to show you the door in response to just empty promises. After all, they are just words.
Week of 10/01/18
Prompt: “I'm so glad I live in a world where there are Octobers.” From Anne of Green Gables by Lucy Maud Montgomery.
Response: I’m so glad I live in a world where there are Octobers,
for October teaches me to hope.
If there were no spring, October would be a period, a final punctuation signaling the end with each fallen leaf. A burial of summer and the life that was.
Yet because spring comes each year without fail, October is a comma, an intentional pause in which my heart, much like the soil, can adjust to the cold, explore the stillness, and prepare for new life.
So although the days darken and slow, I know this pattern of seasons is deliberate. For death comes not only after life, but before life, too. Take hope in the comma, for there is more sentence to come.
Week of 9/24/18
Prompt: “If at any time you should have need of my life, come and take it.” From The Sea-Gull by Anton Pavlovich Chekhov.
Response: If at any time you should have need of my life, come and take it.
Take it to bits when you need a happy sigh or laugh or cry.
Take it whole, if you want my whole
flesh and when you need another soul.
Take it in a flash, at once with no regret.
And take it again and again and again, as giving it to you gives sense and meaning and a new beginning.
But come. Come make me alive, wholeheartedly alive reliving through you.
Even if I cannot stay.
Even if I’m only blue.
Week of 9/17/18
Prompt: “Just breathing isn’t living!” From Pollyanna by Eleanor H. Porter.
Response: Just breathing isn’t living:
It is I am breathing every second,
but my breath is not the breathe
that I was breathing at the time
when I was with the one for
whom I was living
Now I don’t think I am living, she is not there
for whom I was living that time when she was with me
my breathing was like
the clouds in a windy sky and
the stars in the dark sky
She was everything to me
She was my life for whom I was living and whenever she was with me, my Every time when I breathe feels like “This is the life I want,
I want to be and want to live”
When she has gone without saying anything at that time my breathing changed to breathe of the hell
Like healing anything inside,
Conceived from a long time
It is fear, hesitation, the pain of
the most difficult time that itches or chews every time from the inside out is all that I find while breathing it is the breathe I don’t feel good like before so it is
“just breathing isn’t living”.
Week of 9/10/18
Prompt: "They had nothing in common but the English language." From Howards End by E.M. Forster.
Response: They had nothing in common but the English language. Two souls contrasting each other like words in black ink frozen over white sheets. Dissimilar, yet necessary in order to bring out the best in them. They were on different pages but the book was same. They were struggling with the same punctuations. The optimistically tortuous commas and taunting semi colons of life. Dealing with full stops that look like a dead end but eventually they lead to new sentences. She was an ode to the west wind while he was a gloomy street from the pages of the crime and punishment. But nothing unites like misery and what could be a bigger pool of exquisite burning miseries than literature itself. From the extreme corners of that old public library, two people communicated without words because they had nothing in common but the English language.