Prompt #1: Solstice
Perhaps the only thing blistering is your tattered feet, clad in a new pair of Birkenstocks, expecting a sunny walk to the bus stop on June 20th, the day the calendar dictated as the first day of summer. You’re wearing a tank top, expecting sweat stains would grow if you wore a t-shirt, but you needn’t have worried. You look up to an overcast sky. The clouds are dark and heavy.
Even your bus driver made the switch over to the uniform-grade shorts, and you exchange a brief look of shared disappointment about the weather. You wonder if the sangria you made could be microwaved, if some star anise could convince your friends that you had always intended to make a German Mulled White Wine. At least I don’t have to wear a jacket today, you think. Then you notice the tiny droplets beading down the window. Still, your mood hasn’t completely turned. Maybe your parents will be happy that they won’t have to water the garden tonight — they could make pasta from scratch with the extra time.
Weather, a subsection of setting, plays an important role in how we interact with the world. It surprises us, humbles us, and sometimes tests the foundations for things in our lives. Did it rain the day you went to Disneyland as a child? Did that create further family conflict or did it push everyone closer together? What does the weather of the future look like according to your climate-change-denying cousin?
On this summer solstice, let the weather inspire you. It can be a supporting character, completing detail, or an inciting incident in any story.
Perhaps this reminded you of a particular event in your own life. With our Annual Creative Nonfiction contest deadline fast approaching (July 15th), use this prompt to propel the finishing touches on that nonfiction story that’s been collecting cyberdust on your computer, and submit to us! See full contest rules and guidelines here and read more about our CNF judge Alicia Elliott here. Happy writing!
#14summerprompts is a summer writing initiative by Derrick Gravener, a BFA student in the Creative Writing Program at UBC. This summer he can be found dogsitting in suburbia and making ice cream. Follow the suburban bliss on instagram: @derrickgravener.