Writing Prompt #117

I have twenty minutes to write  this morning and no ideas, so I’ve turned to a writing prompt. I googled “writing prompt” and was promptly whisked away to  www.ganymeder.com.  The prompt for today was “The cheerfully  dismal  autumn colors reflected her mood.”

I’m not sure I can work with this prompt.  Cheerfully dismal?   How can anything be cheerfully  dismal?  I meditate on this for a couple minutes.  I take a walk down the  street.  It is still dark and there are few colors, dismal, cheerful or otherwise. I am having difficulty processing something simultaneously dismal and cheerful.  What does Ganymeder mean?  Think, Chicken, think!

I look  up the word cheerful.   It’s  defined as noticeably  happy and  optimistic.   I  look up the word dismal.  It means gloomy, depressing,  dreary.  The autumn colors are cheerful about being dreary and depressing?  That doesn’t seem right. Maybe they could be dismally cheerful.  That I could believe.  I’ve known people like that.

Maybe it’s a poetry prompt.   I decide to try that instead.

The autumn colors

are cheerfully dismal now

Whatever that means

Who is this Ganymeder person?  Let’s consider the person behind the mysterious prompt.   I’m  picturing  someone  with a basket of apples.  Yes, an octogenarian with a basket of deliciously tasteless apples and a laptop. There is a pet goose with her who may or may not be a bewitched prince, heir to the throne of Babbleon.  A restlessly contented prince.  And this Ganymeder person goes about dropping odd prompts in the online paths of gullible chickens.

Well,  will you look at that.  My twenty  minutes  are up. I must get myself into the shower.  Have a cheerful, non dismal day.

Okay, fine.  I’ll try again. Won’t you give it a try, too?

The girl strode along, new red coat unbuttoned and flying out behind. The fall leaves swirled around her as the wind snatched them from the trees that lined the sidewalk.  The cheerfully dismal autumn colors reflected her mood. Impervious to the wind  and leaves, she considered the doctor’s words.  Or just the one word, really. The big word, underlined and in bold print, or so she imagined.  It was obviously a mistake. She refused to believe it.  A small flicker of hope caught hold in her soul.  She  smiled up at the sky, reached out her hand, and plucked a yellow leaf from mid-air.

How could her life be almost over when it had barely just begun?

Thanks Ganymeder

Chicken  out


  21 comments for “Writing Prompt #117

  1. Jo H.
    October 14, 2014 at 5:21 pm

    Well done, girl. Both in the lead up and then in your final response to the prompt. I, too, do not really understand how cheerfully dismal can be a thing. It’s not even what I would consider to be a good oxymoron. But what do I know. I’m a reader, not a writer. That is a glorious picture. We have lots of those in these parts, and every fall they take my breath away with their beauty. Please don’t ever stop writing, Chicken. You have a gift.


    • October 14, 2014 at 5:37 pm

      Hi Jo H;-) Thank you-I appreciate that. I’m thinking that maybe it’s the cheerfulness of the colors despite what they signify-the end of life, the end of summer….maybe that was the meanign? We have these trees, too, and I love them. It’s one of the most beautiful times of the year, isn’t it? It’s hard to be dismal in the fall.


      • Jo H.
        October 14, 2014 at 6:06 pm

        Hmm … I’m thinking you’re right. Maybe as an oxymoron it’s not so bad after all 🙂


      • Jo H.
        October 14, 2014 at 10:42 pm

        Aaaaaand I just noticed I’m signed in under my “other” name. It’s me, jenny_o, Chicken!


      • October 14, 2014 at 11:50 pm

        I know-that’s why I was winking up there.


      • Jo H.
        October 15, 2014 at 12:51 am

        Well, that just went right over my head – d’oh … wonder how many other things I’ve been missing today 🙂


      • October 15, 2014 at 1:51 am

        You probably just thought I was squinting in the sun, right? I am sure you miss very little.


  2. October 14, 2014 at 11:30 pm

    Good for you for sticking with it. You totally made that wicked prompt your bitch! 🙂


    • October 14, 2014 at 11:49 pm

      Thanks Jayne-gotta give credit where credit is due. Ganymeder had me going – she writes a good prompt.


  3. October 15, 2014 at 2:53 am

    She gathered the red coat about her legs as she sat down on the park bench, her eyes seeing by not registering the people walking by. The Mayflower Hotel was across the street, Columbus Circle to her left, the subway she’d take home. A block away was the stop for the cross-town bus she took each morning to work. She imagined the conversation she’d have that evening with him, what she would say. The hurt in his eyes that he couldn’t hide that they’d be denied the future he’d planned, so carefully laid out.

    She reached down and took off her right shoe, massaging her foot. What could she say, really? Not that the plans were his, not hers. Not that this had never been her dream.

    She put her shoe back on, sighed and got up, turned left and started to the subway entrance. She saw the vendor, with the soft pretzels. She hesitated, shook her head and walked towards the escalator going down.


    • October 15, 2014 at 10:55 am

      I want to know more! First of all, why doesn’t she want a pretzel? Does she feel sick? Does she have a gluten allergy? Has she exchanged words with that vendor when he gave her change for a 10, not a 20? And who is this guy, with all her plans? I sense someone is about to take a journey.


      • October 16, 2014 at 1:22 am

        yeah….y’know, I only recently learned what this is called, thanks to my oldest, though I’ve been doing it for years. Punking. My youngest granddaughter is a master.
        We’ll see if I can’t respond……..


      • October 16, 2014 at 10:43 am

        Adding on to another story/prompt is called Punking? I didn’t know that either.


  4. Doug in Oakland
    October 15, 2014 at 4:27 am

    “We set out looking for trouble, but our prospects for finding any seemed cheerfully dismal,,,”
    Or perhaps Ganymeder had been listening to Quadrophenia by The Who?


    • October 15, 2014 at 10:57 am

      I’m not sure about Ganymeder, but obviously I will be listening to Quadrophenia by the Who later today. Are there clues? Those very lines? I can always seem to find trouble. I have a nose for it. I’ve heard it’s hereditary.


      • Doug in Oakland
        October 15, 2014 at 6:26 pm

        The song “5:15” has a bunch of similarly contradictory descriptors in it: magically bored, sadly ecstatic etc.


      • October 16, 2014 at 10:42 am

        I will check it out. Was never a huge Who fan, but I love Pete Townsend. Go figure.


  5. ganymeder
    October 16, 2014 at 11:28 am

    What a lovely story and interesting responses! I’m thrilled that you were able to write something from my prompt. Thank you!


    • October 16, 2014 at 2:42 pm

      Ganymeder! You are here and inquiring minds want to know….do you listen to The Who for prompt inspiration? Also, the name of your blog is intriguing…what does Ganymeder mean? It was a great prompt-thank you for visiting. You look considerably younger than an octogenarian.


      • ganymeder
        October 16, 2014 at 2:51 pm

        lol, I like the Who but I thought of the prompt because I noticed the leaves as I was walking my dogs. They looks so bright and cheerful, but only because the trees are dying (sort of). I’m glad you got so much from the prompt!

        Ganymeder is a take on “Ganymede” with an R added to the end for my last initial. When I first got on the internet I liked to go to chatrooms, but when I used a female alias I would constantly get harrassed so I wanted to pick something gender neutral. “Ganymede” is taken from As You Like It by Shakespeare; it’s Rosalind’s alias when she wanders through the Forest Arden disguised as a boy because she didn’t want to be attacked for being a girl. It seemed fitting. 🙂


      • October 16, 2014 at 3:22 pm

        Ah, so I was on the right track with the prompt. It took awhile, as it does take me with many things, but I made it. Yay me. ahem. I love the Ganymeder story. It is very fitting!

        Liked by 1 person

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