This week we’re talking about freedom. As you all know by now, we lost a unique voice this week. Maya Angelou was a champion of freedom in all of its forms: freedom from fear, freedom from bias, freedom of self-expression, and freedom to follow one’s passion.
Personally, I find microfiction freeing not in spite of its restrictions, but because of them. With all the words out there in all the world, we get to choose the 42 that matter the most. We are able to gleefully strike extraneous words from our sentences, wielding that Ctrl-x with abandon. It’s like taking a log and carving it into a beautiful figurine. We’re not restricted by the size or shape of the log; we’re merely releasing the beauty locked within.
And so we turn to this week’s ultimate question. There are a million reasons a caged bird might sing, both literally and figuratively. Maya Angelou gave us one in her beloved poem. That leaves at least 999,999 for everyone else to explore. Tell us:
Why does the caged bird sing?
Give us your answer in 42 words, but be creative. Don’t go where we expect you to. Don’t write down the first thing that comes to mind. Think, craft, edit, and craft some more. Give us your very best.
You don’t need to include the question in your 42-word response, and you should make sure your answer stands alone. What do we mean? Write down the question. Write down your response. Now cover the question with your hand and read your answer out loud. Does it still make sense when you don’t know the question? That’s what we’re looking for. A few more things:
- Do not mention anywhere in your post, either as intro or footnote, that you are writing to a prompt.
- We want the story the furthest away in your imagination from the original prompt. Let your imagination loose.
- Keep your writing style! Do you tell stories with humor? Prose? Verse? Photos? Illustrations? Keep doing that.
The grid is now open, and will close at midnight on Tuesday. Yes, that’s only 24 hours to post, so you’d better get writing now! We’ll announce winners on Wednesday. Don’t forget to badge your post – the current gargleblaster badge is below.
Recipe for a proper gargleblaster
- Entries must be 42 words exactly. We count. (Tip: don’t trust your word processor – use your eyes!) Also: hyphenated words count as one (willy-nilly, self-centered, etc.).
- Non-fiction, fiction, and poetry are all welcome.
- Let your post speak for itself. If it needs an explanation, it’s not really 42 words, now is it?
- Link to the individual blog post, not your main blog page.
- Include the gargleblaster badge and accompanying backlink. Scroll down to get this week’s badge.
- One post per person, please, and no cross-posting to other link-ups. We want you all to ourselves!
Any submission deemed not to meet the guidelines will be removed from the grid and the author will be notified. Read the gargleblaster FAQ for more information.
Remember: the grid is limited to 42 (of course!) submissions. If you miss the grid, don’t panic! Leave your link in the comments of the voting post and you may be eligible for the hitchhiker prize, which may be awarded at the editors’ discretion to someone who missed the grid, but wrote up a particularly excellent response to the prompt. However, to be eligible for the hitchhiker’s prize, you’ve got to stick around for the whole ride, not just hop on, drop your link, and hop back off. After leaving your link, go forth and read, comment and vote on the grid as usual.
Please be sure to include the proper gargleblaster badge in your post. Not sure how to add the badge? It’s simple. Copy the code under the badge below and paste it into the html or text view of your blog editor. Having trouble? Contact firstname.lastname@example.org for tech support.
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