Wednesday, January 11, 2017

First Drafts- A Literary Social: 3 January 2017

Ellen Plumb's prides itself in showcasing local writers and spreading literacy throughout our wonderful community. Each week we create prompts to engage the community in different forms of writing, allowing writers to practice their skills in a fun, encouraging environment. Here are our submissions for this week's free writing prompt.

Free Writing Prompt: Write for 20 minutes using the following as your starter: "Shoot the Glass".

Shoot the Glass
By Becca Resner

There was a new game starting up and going around, like new things often do. It began with the twenty-something crowd and grew downward to middle-schoolers. Something of “board game meets contact sports,” which is how the game advertised itself, makes a surprisingly accurate description.
The rules of the game are pretty complicated, but at least four players are needed, and always an even number. The more people you have, the merrier! Once, my family had twenty, and our stomachs hurt from all the laughter.
Large soccer ball sized dice are thrown and teams move around the life-sized game board, or “down the path.” Contestants have to hop their moves: sometimes on the left, sometimes on the right, sometimes bunny-hop. Certain moves require a twist mid-jump. The moves are hops, because players hold beanbags in a pouch around their necks. If a player loses a bag while moving, he/she doesn’t get it back.
At the end, a player’s team wins when the last player knocks a glass off his/her teammates’ heads with the beanbags.

Here's a bonus short from Becca Resner as well.

Love: A Cup at a Time
By Becca Resner

At the corner of 118th and Union sat Mama Lou’s. It was your basic, hole-in-the-wall coffee house. The unique thing about it was that instead of serving people within a couple of blocks, as is the case with most metropolitan coffee establishments, Mama served people from miles around.
Most of his friends didn’t realize Sandy moved uptown until a month after he did, because he showed up precisely at 7 o’clock every morning for coffee and a smile from Mama Lou. When questioned why he’d ride 5 miles out of his way, he laughed, “Only Mama knows how to start the day the right way: with love in her heart for every single person and the smile on her lips to show it.”
Mama closed the shop for a week over Christmas one year. She wanted to go visit her sisters for a week. She did just that, but when she reopened people lined up out the door for a morning brew. Most seemed to think that Mama’s sister wasn’t a good reason for her to be away so long. Mama shook her head and explained that, in this case, blood runs thicker than coffee.
Mama served the best cup of coffee in the city. She made it strong but with a lot of flavor, and people loved her coffee. But for most of them, the attraction was Mama Lou herself. She stood 5 foot-nothing with wrinkly, brown skin and steel-silver hair that she always kept short.
One of her newest customers asked her how she always managed to have a smile on her face. “For one thing, I don’t have time to be unhappy; for another, I have so much to be thankful for. The good Lord adds to my list every day too. Why, just today I added you to it!”
The young woman who questioned her had a smile on her face the rest of the day.
Then it happened. Mama, who lived in a flat above her coffee shop went to have dinner with her daughter’s family one night. Some young kids broke into the shop, smashed a few things up, and set fire to the place.
Fire crews raced there and tried to quench the fire as it licked and swallowed the shop where Mama Lou built her life.
She showed up as the firefighters gained control of the blaze, but her home and business were ruined.
A week passed, then another. People in the community started talking with one another, making plans. It started as a low murmur and as the volume grew, so did the support. The people decided.
The only thing that remained in tact of her business was a coffee pot. The flames blackened the glass to a sooty grey and heat shattered the lip and grew a crack down from the disfigured top. It wasn’t much use to anyone; it became their symbol.
The Coffee Buds, the group that formed to raise money and awareness, held a rally in the street outside of the now shell of a building. They passed the broken coffee pot around there as a collection plate. A printer took a photo of the sad pot and made buttons as well as t-shirts and baseball hats to sell for funds.
Responses were phenomenal. News anchors wore buttons in their lapels. A baseball team bought a bunch to shoot out of their t-shirt guns on a Saturday game. People even left anonymous donations at Lou’s daughter’s house. Finally, an architect offered to design and contract the building for a fraction of his rate.
“I miss my daily cup of coffee too,” he said when Mama asked him why. SHe threw her arms around his middle after his comment. He kissed her forehead and set to work.
Building started and Mama had the delight of making some of the design choices. She told the team what she wanted and let them take care of the rest.
Mama Lou’s opened exactly 6 months after the fire. The governor even showed up to the ribbon cutting to get a cup of coffee. People lined up out the door and down the street. Mama was in her element, “serving up love, one smile at a time.”
And the old coffee pot? A local artist smoothed its jagged edges, and Mama uses it as the tip jar.

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