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  #1  
Old 10-04-2017, 11:54 PM
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Mercutio's 100 Themes

The 100 Themes
1. Introduction
2. Love
3. Light
4. Dark
5. Seeking Solace
6. Break Away
7. Heaven
8. Innocence
9. Drive
10. Breathe Again
11. Memory
12. Insanity
13. Misfortune
14. Smile
15. Silence
16. Questioning
17. Blood
18. Rainbow
19. Gray
20. Fortitude
21. Vacation
22. Mother Nature
23. Cat
24. No Time
25. Trouble Lurking
26. Tears
27. Foreign
28. Sorrow
29. Happiness
30. Under the Rain
31. Flowers
32. Night
33. Expectations
34. Stars
35. Hold My Hand
36. Precious Treasure
37. Eyes
38. Abandoned
39. Dreams
40. Rated
41. Teamwork
42. Standing Still
43. Dying
44. Two Roads
45. Illusion
46. Family
47. Creation
48. Childhood
49. Stripes
50. Breaking the Rules
51. Sport
52. Deep in Thought
53. Keeping a Secret
54. Tower
55. Waiting
56. Danger Ahead
57. Sacrifice
58. Kick in the Head
59. No Way Out
60. Rejection
61. Fairy Tale
62. Magic
63. Do Not Disturb
64. Multitasking
65. Horror
66. Traps
67. Playing the Melody
68. Hero
69. Annoyance
70. 67%
71. Obsession
72. Mischief Managed
73. I Can't
74. Are You Challenging Me?
75. Mirror
76. Broken Pieces
77. Test
78. Drink
79. Starvation
80. Words
81. Pen and Paper
82. Can You Hear Me?
83. Heal
84. Out Cold
85. Spiral
86. Seeing Red
87. Food
88. Pain
89. Through the Fire
90. Triangle
91. Drowning
92. All That I Have
93. Give Up
94. Last Hope
95. Advertisement
96. In the Storm
97. Safety First
98. Puzzle
99. Solitude
100. Relaxation


Regarding comments & feedback
I'm quite open to feedback and commentary, especially if it's constructive criticism. Constructive criticism, to me, means that you can totally tell me I did something 'wrong,' but I expect you in that same critique to tell me how I could do it better or do it right! If you are reading this, thanks!


My personal challenge to me
I want to do at least one of these themes a day, in order.

Will they all be masterpieces? No. In fact, most of them won't be! But it will ensure that I write something every day and provide good writing samples of mine for people to look at. And I think that's how I'm going to get better as a writer--by trying to write something every day, even if I don't feel like it.

If something from the themes is underlined, it's a link to the completed piece somewhere in this thread. Anything underlined here in the first post means that's a completed theme.
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Last edited by Mercutio; 10-12-2017 at 08:40 PM. Reason: #9 completed!
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  #2  
Old 10-05-2017, 03:20 AM
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1. Introduction


He woke up in what looked like a field of fallen stars and opalescent roses. The sky was ink and velvet and nothingness, while the swaying plants all around him seemed to swell with flickering beauty. He couldn't entirely remember what had happened to him, but eventually he saw a path, as if it were gently sewn from rainbows, between the paths of tellurian flora. He expected to feel disoriented and weak for some reason, but he did not. In fact, he got the feeling that this was the best he'd felt in years.

He got up, his legs strong as a billygoat, and set off along the effervescent multi-hued path.

When he reached the end, there was a figure there, cloaked in a massive white lace shawl, almost as if it were a shroud, which billowed in a wind that he could not feel. Their face was obscured by a slender mask of the palest porcelain. It leaned down and said in a voice that was of indeterminate gender, "Who are you?"

His name came to him all of a sudden, the knowledge returning to him. He hadn't even realized he'd lacked a name until that moment, as if the eerie entity had enabled him to recall it at all.

"Marvin Freeman." His voice held a baritone quaver to it. "Who are you?"

The figure chuckled.

"I am Death. It is a pleasure to meet you."

"I wish I could say the same, but this isn't exactly the sort of introduction people look forward to."

Death laughed and exclaimed, "Oh, but I think you will find it a delight. I have a task for you..."

And that was when Marvin woke up in his hospital bed. He remembered the strange place, but nothing of what Death had asked him to do. He knew that it beyond important, almost a need on a fundamental level, and yet he could not recall. But in that moment he remembered how Death had barred his name from him, and he knew then that he would remember his task when the time was right.

So in the interim he sank back into sleep, healing from the skiing accident that had gotten him hospitalized in the first place.
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Old 10-05-2017, 10:29 PM
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2. Love


Red heart and white lace day
Diamonds, silk, and Versace
Purportedly
Supposedly
These speak the language of love
Sung as if borne on the wings of doves

But what does this vaunted feeling
trapped in human hearts reeling
mean

Commercialized on television screens
And gleaned from a billboard's sheen
A polaroid

Love is sitting down with that One
After fifty years when you think you are done
You watch your favorite show
You say nothing, but you know
Tan lines from wearing wedding bands
for decades on those wrinkled hands

There is silence
a brief touch
a smile
the channel is changed
and their love is immortal.
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Old 10-08-2017, 07:53 PM
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3. Light.

I have fallen behind, so I must catch up on these today!


The sun burned hot in the sky. If Radda hadn't known any better, he would have assumed that the world was an oven and he was being cooked. He disliked summer; he came from the Howling North, and summer there was really just a state of 'slightly less snow.' Of course, the real difference between the Howling North and the Shrieking South was the amount and type of light. In the North, the light was a harsh and unforgiving white, the sort of place where the term 'snowblind' would get thrown around casually to warn people about the glare. In the South, the place looked like it was blanketed in gold, as if a particularly angry angel was casting its beneficence upon the land.

Radda was thinking of leaving the South.

What type of person left over lighting?

So why didn't he leave? It was hard to say. Maybe he just enjoyed that the South, unlike the North, didn't have six months of light at a time. It was often referred to as the Holy Six, the times when Northerners believed their gods smiled upon them, when one could harvest and plant what little the ground could offer up. The South had periods of light that functioned like clockwork--roughly 12 hours of light, 12 hours of night, and Radda could pick when he wanted to be awake and working. He was an orc; the light wasn't so friendly to his eyes, which were more suited to long periods of nighttime or even living in caves.

If he was being honest, the heat of the South was more a detriment than it's unpleasant golden sunlight. He could probably get used to things having that metallic sheen. However, Radda was sweating more now than he'd ever sweated in his miserable life, and the plump owner of the tavern, Miss Nikka, had warned him that this was a mild summer day.

Gann have mercy, Radda thought, invoking the name of the Sunlord. But Gann didn't, as he wasn't a god prone to mercy, and Radda slunk into the tavern in the hopes that a fresh mug of ice water would take the edge off the Shrieking South.
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Old 10-08-2017, 08:36 PM
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4. Dark


She kept running. She wasn't sure where she was going; there was not a single speck of light to illuminate the path for her. What she did know was that she was in a labyrinth, that the labyrinth was clearly some manner of magical location since it hadn't existed yesterday when she visited the Faerie Ring, and that something was in this labyrinth with her. Something that was hungry.

There was something about the dark that made it worse. She had no idea what was trying to end her life. All Ladia knew was that its breathing was heavy, its growls rumbled so deeply that it was as if the air vibrated continuously in its presence, and that it had a smell that was all musky fur and canine odor. There was also brimstone, and she didn't want to think about that. The idea that there was an outcome that was actually worse than being eaten by a monster--that said monster might drag her to the fires of Hell itself--was something she couldn't mentally tolerate.

No, she would escape. She would win this challenge. Surely this was one of the tests of the Faeries of Caer Tywyll. She just had to be strong enough and clever enough to rise to the challenge. There was no such thing as a challenge issued that could not be overcome; the Faeries were fair, even if they lacked souls.

Still, Ladia ran. She could not, however, run from the darkness; it was everywhere. She tripped and fell to her knees, and the howling and baying of the labyrinth's monster grew closer. Ladia touched her pocket--she still had a piece of cold iron--her father's old whittling knife. She gripped it with terror, and as she heard the creature lunge, felt its fur on her body, she flicked the knife out and impaled it in the heart.

The creature gave a hoarse cry, and then it moved no more.

Ladia felt it's massive weight vanish. Had she...had she destroyed it?

Just then, a series of soft coral lights illuminated the path, fluttering like fireflies. Faerie lights--always tricky, always leading to something that was invariably a trap. Ladia, daughter of the innkeeper Portland and his wife Marie, turned back around.

She'd take her chances in the dark.
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Old 10-08-2017, 09:08 PM
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5. Seeking Solace

Note: This is an especially sad writing snippet. Please know that in advance. It deals with death and loss as the reason a person is seeking solace.


The wind fluttered, and in response, the United States of America's flag gently undulated its stars and stripes. The military taps theme played, but for Derick James, it was all background noise and color. The world had gone a strange gray for him. Today was a funeral.

His wife's funeral. He had read the letter sent to him, talked to her superior. It was all a blur. Some part of him could not believe it was happening, could not acknowledge the pain of it, but when the pastor began his speech, that was when Derick started to understand the breathtaking and crushing realness of it. It was weird to watch a stranger give a eulogy for his wife, but he knew it was better than he himself trying to take center stage to do it.

There was such a thing as a grief so encompassing that words no longer came, that tears did not come, where there was only a hollowness carved deep inside where love once was.

Her friends came to speak about her. Those that had served with her in the war, who were alive because of her bravery.

Someone sat by him. Who was it? He didn't know, and he didn't dare move to look. He felt like even the smallest movement would create a crack in his emotional stony-faced veneer, and he didn't know what would happen if that occurred. He closed his eyes. His face felt hot.

A hand rested on his. A gentle voice. "Derick, I'm sorry for your loss."

White-hot anger ripped through that void in him. Words. Empty words, sentiment that failed to understand the meaning! He opened his eyes and...

Stopped.

The hand on his was Alice's mother. Her leather-tired face showed signs of non-stop crying. He had never gotten on with Marsha; he had often referred to her as the mother-in-law from hell, but...today was different. Derick didn't have a true mother; his mother had divorced his father when he was a child; he'd barely known her. He had a stepmother, but they were never close. Marsha had, despite all her faults, been more of a mother to him than either of his.

"I don't think you should be by yourself, Derick. Come stay with me and Marty." Marty was her husband, his father in law. He liked Marty; they both enjoyed wrestling, pinball, and reading. Marty was not judgmental; he was a slightly fat balding man with a cherubic smile. Marty was not at the funeral--Derick couldn't understand why.

He didn't answer Marsha.

"It'd be good for Marty if you came," she said gently.

Derick said nothing. He rested his head on her shoulder. Marsha understood; it was an unspoken yes that he would go. Derick just did not have the strength to utter words. The only thing he had strength for was that moment of giving up, of seeking solace from the shoulder of a woman that he had never even liked.

Grief did strange things to people that way.
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Old 10-09-2017, 06:29 PM
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6. Break Away


The first day of school was always hard. It was harder for someone who had never been to school before. Young Jackson was still trying to adjust to the whole 'leaving the house and spending the day with strangers' concept. His mother was always telling him not to talk to strangers and to stay close to her, so Jackson was confused. Had he the sufficient vocabulary, he probably would have accused his mother of cognitive dissonance, but he did not. The four year old was standing outside the door to his new pre-K classroom looking forlorn, holding a scruffy looking alligator plush in one hand and his backpack in the other.

His mother hovered over him and eventually said, "Okay. It's time." But she didn't move.

Jackson peeked into the classroom door. The school itself had made him unhappy; the walls were all bleak white and gray, and it was cold and sterile looking. Jackson associated places like that with the doctor's office, where he was given a shot two whole weeks ago. He was still understandably resentful of having a needle poked in him. The classroom, however, was bright and cheery. There was a big rainbow carpet on the floor, several kids his own age, and the teacher was wearing a big flowery skirt. Jackson craned his neck up to see her face; she was a pretty lady with soft brown skin and fluffy hair and glasses. Jackson especially liked her glasses, as he also wore glasses.

He started to move into the classroom, but his mother did not let go of his hand.

"It's school time, mom," Jackson chided her. But really it was about wanting to show his red-framed glasses to the teacher. She had blue ones. His mother had not gotten him blue and had refused to; she said it wasn't his color. Maybe the teacher would trade him her glasses! He thought she would be very pretty in red. Jackson was surprised at how normal things seemed. His mother had been saying lots of things about how he was very special and needed a school to help him reach his full potential. Jackson liked the idea of being special. His alligator's tail gave a twitch, as if it had moved on its own, and his mother's eyes darted to it, as if expecting it to leap up and start chomping their ankles.

His mother squatted down and said, "Do you remember my phone number?"

"Yes," Jackson said immediately, preparing to answer all questions the way a ninja launched throwing stars.

"Do you have your lunch and snack?"

"Uh huh," he replied, holding up his backpack as if to offer her proof.

"Your alligator should be clean when you get home; don't drag him on the ground."

Jackson noticed the tail was dragging again and hoisted his favorite plush further up under his arm.

"Okay."

His mother waited a few minutes and said tearfully, "Well, I guess that's all. I love you, sweetie." She leaned down to smooch him on the forehead, which Jackson tried to squirm away from, not because he disliked getting a kiss or because of the location, but because his mother was wearing lipstick, and he did not want a big red splotch on his face. But it was too late--splotch acquired.

Jackson stepped through the door. The mother departed. It was hard enough to break away the first time when sending a child to school, and hard enough in this particular instance. As she drove away, the sign on the peculiar white building reflected in her rearview mirror:

- Meadowview School for Exceptional Magic-Using Children -
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Last edited by Mercutio; 10-09-2017 at 06:30 PM.
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Old 10-10-2017, 08:53 PM
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7. Heaven


What was 'Heaven' exactly? The philosopher wanted to find out. The problem with finding out was that he was pretty sure he'd have to die to find out, and as far as experiments went to answer philosophical questions, that was a bit beyond his scope. He had, however, heard stories about angels coming to the world to bring the Word, and he hoped that he might get some answers if he found such an angel.

Another problem: angels were usually portrayed as golden, multiple-faced, burning with light, looking all sorts of strange, and he hadn't heard any new stories of angels showing up looking like that. It stood to reason, though, that the Word still needed delivered and said, so presumably there were still angels.

At first, he tried to see if there was any crisis that an angel might attend to personally. He waited around warzones or scenes of crimes, wondering if an angel would show up. No luck. Then he waited around the sorts of places one might expect to see anything holy where people prayed--churches, community centers, prayer groups, even prisons--to no avail. Then he tried to see if a personal crisis would bring an angel, but all he got out of that was two roof shingles damaged on his roof and a broken leg. In a last ditch effort to find an angel, he periodically followed around maidens named Mary since he figured a second coming might involve another Jesus appearing. No luck, and he got hit in the face with a purse.

All he wanted to know was what Heaven was like--did it truly exist? What were its dimensions? Who was in it?

He eventually had to move back home to Georgia. There was only so much time a person could waste philosophizing. Sometimes the bills needed paid. And he hadn't paid them. So he had his belongings in a sack and waited on the 10:15 to Atlanta when a stranger bumped into him. The stranger looked average and normal, with brown hair, brown eyes, caramel skin, and he wore jeans and a white T-shirt. He did a double-take at the philosopher and let out a groan.

"Ugh, you. Don't you realize you don't need the Word? You already know it. And some things are only meant to be known at the right time. So stop bugging us," the angel said, and then it got on the metro bus to Atlanta, leaving him on the corner as the bus rolled away.

Then he realized he'd missed his bus, swore gently, and realized that while he knew nothing of Heaven, Hell was a missed bus when you'd bought a non-refundable one-way ticket.
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Old 10-11-2017, 07:48 PM
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8. Innocence



Innocence
in a sense
is not so much a state of purity
as it is a lack of clarity

Those that exist in this vaunted state
remain in ignorance of morbid fates

Is this something we should truly treasure
or is it just something that we measure
to determine awareness
or consider fairness...
Can anyone really bear this?

To remain in the dark
while others are bathed
in the terrifying light
of adulthood and truth.
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Last edited by Mercutio; 10-11-2017 at 07:49 PM.
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Old 10-12-2017, 08:40 PM
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9. Drive


The car roared. He thought it was almost a dragon or a monster when he first turned the key in the ignition. Maybe that was why he enjoyed cars so much...not that he knew a lot about them. He just...enjoyed them, the way he enjoyed his favorite food or a particularly good story. There was something about the smell of gasoline and the almost crisp chemical odor of a new vehicle.

His father had given him a 1965 Plymouth Barracuda. He'd had a custom paint job on it; his car was a luscious pastel green, and for Arthur Garth, it personified its era. He didn't have to be a mechanic or a hobbyist to appreciate the vehicle.

What he did not do, however, was drive it. He came out every day to turn it on, but he couldn't bring himself to drive it. He'd been rear-ended six times in his last car, which was had been a half-dead Ford Escort, and he was feeling gunshy.

What was the point of a car one didn't drive?

It was hard to say. Art didn't have a practical purpose either, but people still kept doing that, so Arthur ultimately decided he was not wrong in not wanting to drive it. Sometimes it was okay just to appreciate something and not use it.

One night, however, the car had plans. When Arthur woke up on Sunday to go to church...his car was on his roof. Magic had been involved, as far as Arthur was concerned. Yet if it was a prank, it backfired terribly on the New Mexico resident. He simply reinforced his roof and delighted that his car now could not be driven, but could be admired by everyone up and down the street.
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