Friday, January 6th, 2012

Writing Prompt – When the Urge Strikes

Alien Highway  - The Most Desolate Stretch of Road in the US, according to the NY TimesI was heading to work Wednesday morning this week — my first day back in the office after a long Christmas Holiday — when I’d finally reached the exit for the highway.

The signs loomed above me: east in one direction, west in the other. Usually, I’m on autopilot at a little after 5 a.m. in the morning, and veer eastbound strictly out of habit.

But Wednesday I had the strongest — the strangest — urge to take the westbound ramp and just keep going.

The closer I got to the ramp, the stronger the urge grew, so much so that I had to grip the steering wheel hard and make a conscious effort to make the left hand turn instead of drifting into the right hand on-ramp.

Even after I made the turn and was heading east, something inside me cried out for a U-turn (impossible on this divided highway – I would have spent time playing the clover leaf should I have succumbed to my urges).

Urges are motivated by something, either conscious or unconscious, and I’ve yet to decipher what my motivation was.

We could argue that it was some ghostly pull inspiring the desire to drive westward, but it could have simply been that I had such a blast with family and friends over the holidays that I was reluctant to end that euphoria by schlepping back to work.

Another motivation could be that work is such a heinous place (yeah, it has its moments) that I didn’t want to go back. Somehow, I think my westward urge would have manifested before Wednesday morning if that were the case.

Whatever the reason, I managed to suppress the desire and arrive safely to toil at my workaday endeavors without further incident.

Here’s Your Prompt:

  • If you’re a journal or diarist, write about the time you succumbed to the will of an urge. What was your motivation? Did you anticipate the action with glee only to end in despair? Did giving in prove wildly exciting? Do you have any regrets? Do you wish you’d given in to more urges?
     
  • Write a story or a scene in which a character falls prey to an urge that is completely out of character for him. Why did he do it? What was the motivation? Did it end badly or well??
     
  • Write a story or scene about a character who stands firm against an urge…something she’s not known for doing. Where did she find the power to resist? Does the scene end badly, or well? Does she regret not giving in, or feel self-righteous that she was able to stand firm?
     
  • Some quick prompts:
     
    • a friend urges another to rid herself of a (real or perhaps not) physical imperfection
       
    • a wife urges her husband to overcome a sexual inhibition
       
    • a psychologist urges his patient to face a truth
       
    • a student urges another to deface a university building
       
    • you feel the urge to tell a lie to someone close to you
       

 
 
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Photo obtained from NY Times Web site.

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