Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Writing Prompt

Ann Linquist was my first and most favorite writing instructor. I follow her blog and participate in her writing prompts when I can. Here is her latest writing challenge:

Someone is soon to arrive.The room is ten by twelve. The walls are freshly painted in a flat ivory latex. The floor looks like wooden planks but is actually a laminate that does not stain, chip, or peel. There is one window that has white plastic miniblinds.  One light is embedded in the ceiling. A single bed is made up with white sheets, one pillow, and two flannel blankets, one olive green and the other navy blue. Someone has drawn a picture of a face on the ivory wall. Who's coming? 

The smiling woman squeezed her hand as she led her into the small room. “And here’s where you’ll sleep.”

Lorena was momentarily blinded by the brilliant whiteness of the space as the early evening sunlight bounced off the walls. She sucked in a deep breath and coughed.

“Oh, I’m sorry; we just finished painting it this morning when we heard you were coming. The smell will go away soon.” The lady hurried across the room, raised the mini-blinds, and slid open the window as wide as it would go. “We’ll just air it out while we have dinner.”

Lorena stood staring at the starkness of the space. A single bed with a  navy blue blanket hugged the wall. The floor reminded her of the doctor’s office she’d just come from.

“Tomorrow we’ll get a dresser, a rug, and a pretty bedspread with matching curtains. And some new clothes, too,” the lady said looking at the shopping bag clutched in the girls arms. “You can leave your bag on the bed while we have dinner; it will be fine.”

 Lorena hugged the torn shopping bag to her chest-it contained all her possessions.Out of the corner of her eye, she spotted a small drawing on the wall by the head of the bed and she stepped closer to inspect it. Dora the Explorer. She’d had a Dora the Explorer backpack once, but it had been stolen. Or maybe her mom had sold it to buy more drugs. She didn’t know.

“Oh, my daughter Mandy must have stuck that on the wall for you. It’s a peel-off sticker, so you can take it down if you don’t like it. It’s Mandy’s favorite cartoon character. She’s anxious to meet you.”

Lorena heard a soft meow and turned towards the door. A blonde girl her age stood smiling shyly at her, holding a white kitten in her arms. “You want to pet Snowball? She’s my new kitty?”

“Lorena, this is Mandy. She has the bedroom right next to you.”

“Do you like Dora?” Mandy asked.

Lorena nodded. “Si.”

“You want to come see my Dora stuff?” Mandy asked.

Maybe living in a Foster Home would be better than living with her mom and the different men who came to their place each night–the men she hid in the closet to escape from.

Lorena smiled, set her bag on the bed, and followed Mandy out of the room.

If you want to read the vastly different responses to this writing prompt click on:


  1. That's a powerful "Si." Very nicely done.

  2. Excellent, Linda. I love your story...it's more than sweet and very well written. I wish I could get motivated to write.