DOORKNOBS & BODYPAINT ARCHIVES
GUIDES & PROMPTS
from issue 62 Work
The work issue is often very personal. This issue, however, takes work beyond your narrator’s experience and focuses on other people’s work. Whether it’s watching a small child choose between fireman or baker; whether it’s someone in a mid-life crisis choosing to continue in a profession or start something new; whether it’s an end of life decision of how best to finish one’s life and work, you choose, and then, write your story within the limits of our contest guidelines.
In the last paragraph of James Baldwin’s short story, “Sunny’s Blues,” the narrator watches his brother, Sonny, take the stage and begin to play. While watching him and listening to his music, the narrator gains a profound understanding of his brother. An understanding, which wipes away all of the hurt and pain each one has caused the other. The narrator writes:
Then they all gathered around Sonny and Sonny played. Every now and again one of them seemed to say, amen. Sonny's fingers filled the air with life, his life. But that life contained so many others. And Sonny went all the way back, he really began with the spare, flat statement of the opening phrase of the song. Then he began to make it his. It was very beautiful because it wasn't hurried and it was no longer a lament. I seemed to hear with what burning he had made it his, with what burning we had yet to make it ours, how we could cease lamenting.
Write a story in 450 words or less about watching someone work and how your narrator gains a new awareness of that person. Then, post it in comments or send it to Cairo Room at firstname.lastname@example.org