Oblivion. After Earth. World War Z. If the latest batch of blockbusters is any indication, 2013 is the year of the apocalypse movie. Although Hollywood has no shortage of apocalyptic visions, predictions for the end of the world have been made since the beginning of the world itself. In recent times, the urge to predict the end has become especially strong, and the explanations increasingly weirder. For example, in 2003 The New York Times reported on a web writer identified as “Nancy” who claimed to be an “emissary” for a group of aliens and predicted the end of the world through the collision of a mysterious “12th Planet” with Earth. The opening of the Large Hadron Collider in 2008 prompted fears that the high-tech machinery would tear open a black hole that would swallow the Earth. According to a report by CNN, scientists dismissed these fears as “baloney,” a lunchmeat that could probably describe most apocalypse predictions. Even in the past year, however, end of the world fears resurfaced as people bemoaned the end of the Mayan Calendar as a sure sign of the end times.
Emma Lazarus was a Jewish-American poet/activist whose work is an example of how a poem can immortalize a person, a thought, and a voice. Us being New Yorkers and it being Jewish-American Heritage month, we figured that she makes great inspiration for this week’s prompt.
Lazarus kinda/sorta/definitely killed it with her sonnet ”The New Colossus“, an excerpt of which is immortalized on a plaque that sits nestled at Lady Liberty’s Foot. You’ve probably heard those famous lines, because they’re kind of a big deal:
Give me your tired, your poor
your huddled masses yearning to breathe free.
There’s much more to that poem, much more majesty and beauty than those lines can even begin to convey. Seriously, you should really go read it.
As for your own writing, we ask you, this week, to write from the perspective of Lady Liberty. If you get stuck, return to the images and phrases of Emma Lazarus’ powerful poem/statement on immigration, freedom, and compassion.
I’ve been thinking a lot about my Grandfather lately. He turns 80 this week–today, actually–and is still married to my Grandmother. He and she have loved each other for a very long time. Much of their life and marriage unfolded via something we don’t really have anymore: letters.
In this texting, tweeting, facebook-ing society, the art of getting out a piece of paper and a pen and putting thoughts into words is a little bit of a lost art. Ok, fine, it’s a lot of a lost art.
Write a letter from you or your character. If you are feeling particularly creative/ambitious, also include a reply.
Who taught you how to be romantic? Mom? No. Your best friend? Definitely not. Your dating coach? Oh yes. Today is National Dating/Life Coach Appreciation Day, in case you forgot. On this day, we are all asked to remember the tireless work of those oracles of social grace and romance who teach the hopelessly awkward how to find true love. Admit it, you still have the 20 Secrets Men Keep pinned to your bathroom mirror, and you run through your dating guru’s rules before going out with anyone.
I’ve often wondered how well dating coaches handle their own love lives. With all those mantras and techniques for finding Mr. or Ms. Right, they must have romance down to a science…
For today’s prompt, imagine a dating coach going on a date. How do they act? Do they follow the rules they give out to others? Is the date successful?
While riding the subway the other day, I encountered a weird little flyer advertising a unique opportunity to be healed in a reverend’s own home.
“Are you suffering? Sick? Do you have bad luck? Do you need help?” The flyer asked. “What your eyes see your heart will believe and then your heart will be convinced that this is the Holy Religious Man you have been looking for.”
I was impressed with the flyer’s promises–this man healed the sick and removed all suffering and bad luck. There was a phone number at the bottom, and it was all I could do not to call and see what the deal was.
Imagine that you or your character calls the number at the bottom of the flyer. What happens next?