Wednesday, May 15, 2019

Cards Against Humanity: Writing Prompts for Horrible People

By Eleanor Shelton

On Shakespeare's 455th birthday the Shakespeare Birthplace Trust released a Trivial Pursuit Shakespeare Edition. While Bard buffs may have a leg up playing the game, it purports that anyone with "general cultural awareness" will have a fighting chance.

Linking literature with games is a fun way to celebrate the classics. So, I thought of using another game to help prompt me. Something a little less cerebral than Shakespeare Trivial Pursuit while still offering a myriad of possibilities.

Cards Against Humanity: The Writing Prompt Edition

They Get Better And Better.

For those of you yet to play, Cards Against Humanity is simple. There are black cards that are either statements or questions with blanks to fill. White cards have random phrases and odd quotes.

Put these cards together, and they often make hilarious, yet ridiculous complete thoughts. My thought was to pull three white cards to use as prompts to jumpstart my writing brain.

Author's note: Some of the cards are rated Mature Audiences Only. For the purpose of this PG-13 blog, I had to reject some. 

Eating The Last Known Bison

Patrick hung up the phone, once again not telling his mother any of the things he had meant to say: I appreciate the piano lessons you made me take as a child, I lost the recipe you sent for sherry-laced chicken casserole, I’m gay and am in love with a man named Rufus who I’d like you to meet one day, the photo you posted on Facebook of your climbing roses was blurry. But regret is like eating the last known bison, once you realize what you’ve done it’s often too late. That moment of gilded opportunity when the time may possibly have been right slipped away because Patrick stammered and his mother picked up another thread to gloss over his suspected embarrassment.

Lumberjack Fantasies 

I whistled a Monty Python tune as I vacuumed behind the couch, a floral hand-me-down from my recently deceased grandmother. In an apron and high heels, I looked more like the part of a French maid fantasy than a graduate student studying Green Criminology or crimes against the environment and barely making ends meet. This was my form of entertainment, vapid silliness while tidying. It kept those nasty demons in my head from chomping at my brain.

Cheating At Special Olympics

Once in a great while, when the clouds parted just long enough to see the North Star, and the emerald of Earth’s oxygen met the magnetic pull of gravity, and white needles of gasses pierced the hemisphere, there was a silence so austere that it hurt Gus’s head and made him wish he’d never cheated at the Special Olympics over fifteen years ago. Now, in a remote part of northern Finland, not far from the Arctic, winning at any cost seemed childish.

This Is One of The Cards, Just Saying . . . 

There was no editing, no going back with a better, stronger idea. But in rereading those few sentences, I could see story potential for each one, (maybe).

Personally, I think Old Will would like Cards Against Humanity over Trivial Pursuit, but if the Bard can have his own game, perhaps all it takes for us to find that creative spark is in our own games closet.  

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