Just want to wish all my readers a very happy New Year. And take a looksee back at the previeous year. So there it is. Fifty-five stories. All in all, 2014 was a great year for prompts and for writing. This past year of a weekly short story prompt has been such an enjoyable experience. First on Fridays, then on Wednesdays, it has introduced me to a number of wonderful writers, allowed me to touch base with some old friends, and challenged my creativity.
With each story, I had a conversation with the author. Each writer laid down their part of the dialogue. Then I responded with my own bit of the blarney. I was given the opportunity to experiment with: prose poetry, flash fiction, historical fiction, haiku, humor, essay and other forms. In the process, I explored so many different characters’ lives.
I am thankful for you who have shared my adventure. You are the Best. Even better than that. You are the Bestest of the Best.
THEMES ACCORDING TO UNCLE BARDIE
This is where I figure out what I am reading about.
Acceptance (The Birthmark)
American Dream (The Twilight of the Superheroes, Winter Dreams)
Art (Continuity of Parks, Paul’s Case, A Hunger Artist, Cathedral)
Communication (Hills Like White Elephants, Interpreter of Maladies, What We Talk About When We Talk About Love)
Community (Super-Frog Saves Tokyo)
The Conscience (The Tell-Tale Heart)
Cruelty and Compassion (A Very Old Man With Enormous Wings)
Death (A Death in the Woods, The Death of Ivan Ilych,The Odor of Chrysanthemums, A Rose for Emily)
Denial (The Jilting of Granny Weatherall)
Desire (The Monkey’s Paw)
Family (Barn Burning, Everything that rises must converge)
Grace (A Good Man is Hard to Find)
Hope (Rita Haworth & the Shawshank Redemption)
Independence (Where Are You Going, Where Have You Been?, Why I Live At the P.O.)
Isolation and Loneliness (The Fall of the House of Usher, The Metamorphosis, A Perfect Day for Bannafish, The Swimmer, A Clean, Well-Lighted Place)
Love (A & P, Araby, Brokeback Mountain, The Lady With the Pet Dog)
Nature (The Open Boat)
The Past (Babylon Revisited, The Dead, Everyday Use)
Pride (The Necklace)
Reason (The Red-Headed League)
Religion (Young Goodman Brown)
Time (An Occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge)
Tradition (The Lottery)
Race (The Man Who Was Almost a Man, Sonny’s Blues)
Technology and the Future (Harrison Bergeron)
War (The Most Dangerous Game, The Things They Carried)
Women and their Lives (I Stand Here Ironing, The Story of an Hour, The Yellow Wallpaper, The Chrysanthemums, Girl)
Work (Bartleby the Scrivener)
FIVE FAVORITE SHORT STORY PROMPTS
Each of the fifty-five stories had something to offer. Each of these five sent shivers down my spine as I read it. They are extraordinary stories which I would highly recommend.
“The Man Who Was Almost a Man” by Richard Wright
“A Very Old Man with Enormous Wings’ by Gabriel Garcia Marquez
“The Dead” by James Joyce
“Where Are You Going, Where Have You Been?” by Joyce Carol Oates
“Interpreter of Maladies” by Jhumpa Lahiri
FIVE FAVORITE CREATIVE RESPONSES
It’s hard to choose just five, but here goes.
“When She Wore That Dress” in response to “Winter Dreams”.
“Sam” in response to “A Rose For Emily”
“Aurora Farquhar’s Prayer” in response to “An Occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge”
“The Train Station” in response to “Hills Like White Elephants
“A High School Sophomore’s Book Report on ‘The Metamorphosis’” in response to “The Metamorphosis”
HARDEST SHORT STORY PROMPT TO RESPOND TO
“Connie” in response to “Where Are You Going, Where Have You Been?”
CREATIVE RESPONSE I AM MOST PROUD OF
“The Thing They Carried” in response to “The Things They Carried”.
You can find all fifty-five stories I wrote as a response to the Short Stories under the From Prompts Category.
Some of you may have noticed that I have been putting a link to a You tube video at the beginning of each post. I am calling it Video or Song for this Post. The link is to a piece of music or some other video that may have inspired the post or that may reflect the mood of it. I began this practice on Wednesday, December 3, with the “When She Wore That Dress” post. For some time, I have been trying to incorporate music into my posts. I even thought about writing a third post for the week, using a musical number as a prompt for the piece. This new practice seems like a good compromise. Hope you like it.
I don’t normally repost other blog posts but I have reposted twice post this year. One from Carrying the Gun blog called “The Battle of As Samawah” and “Xmas in the Hood” posted on DevynStella’s blog. Both were posts I thought should have a larger readership. (Not that I don’t think all those I follow shouldn’t have larger readerships.) Xmas in the Hood is about how a South African celebrates Christmas with her community. The Battle of As Samawah is the story of an American soldier’s first days of his sojourn in Iraq. Neither were a substitute for my regular Sunday and Wednesday posts. Hope you enjoyed them.
UNCLE BARDIE DOES HAMLET
When I began this adventure in January, 2014, I wasn’t sure how well it would go. Whether I would make it through. I like the idea that I was out there, walking a creative tightrope without a net. I hope you enjoyed the stories as much as I did creating them.
Now on to 2015. On Wednesdays, I will be posting 52 responses to William Shakespeare’s “Hamlet”. Each week I will take on a scene or aspect of the play, such as the opening scene or the costumes the characters are wearing. I might even write a to-be-ing with a chair in the room, giving the soliloquy. You just never know..
I am not a Shakespearean scholar. On top of that, Shakespeare has always scared the hell out of me. What would make me embrace this madness? Someone once asked Sir Edmund Hillary, “Why climb Mount Everest?” His response, “Because it’s there.” That seems about as good a reason as any.
It is always fun to go exploring. I never know what I will discover. Who knows? Uncle Bardie may just bring a whole new set of questions for Shakespearean scholars to work on for the next century or two. He might reveal that “Hamlet” in no tragedy but actually comedy. Now wouldn’t that be something. Really something.
So stay tuned as Uncle Bardie does “Hamlet”. One thing is for sure. It will be entertaining. As the Bunny used to say, “On with the show. This is it.”
ONE FINAL QUESTION FOR YE READERS
What was your favorite(s) of my Short Story Responses to the Short Story Prompts?