Writers for Recovery Week 3 Prompt

Copyright 2014 Gary Lee Miller

Copyright 2014 Gary Lee Miller

First sentences are doors to worlds. S0 says author Ursula K. LeGuin. For this week's prompt, choose one of these first sentences from Best American Short Stories 2013 and write what comes next. Spend only ten minutes. Don't think. Don't edit. Just write. Send the results to writersforrecovery@icloud.com and we will publish them. For a bonus prompt, write for seven minutes on the following: "This is all I can remember from that night."

Here are the first sentences: 

I’d been out of the conservatory for about a year when my Uncle Raúl died.

                 — Daniel Alarcón, from “The Provincials”


As a teenager, her junior year, her favorite trick involved riding in cars with at least two other girls.

                —Charles Baxter, from “Bravery”


When I was in college in Eugene I had a girlfriend named Nora Vardon.

                  —Michael Byers, from “Malaria”


Years later, you would wonder if it hadn’t been for your brother, would you have done it?

                  —Junot Díaz, from “Miss Lora”


Bob was in the dark.

                  —Karl Taro Greenfeld, from “Horned Men”


Goodwin Lee and his brother, Morehouse, had bought it at an auction, for nothing.

                  —Gish Jen, from “The Third Dumpster”


Lambright had surprised everyone by offering to drive his son’s girlfriend home.

                  —Bret Anthony Johnston, from “Encounters with Unexpected Animals”


Sandra holds her eldest child, S.P., tightly on her lap while she listens to her sister, who is telling about her husband, a heart surgeon. 

                  —Sheila Kohler, from “Magic Man”


Day after day I went through the paternal motions, testing my son while he tested me, trying to teach him not only to do what I said, which seems like a given, but also to see and taste the world in certain ways, with an ideal in mind, a purified version of the best way to live reduced to a rudimentary five-year-pld version: good eye contact with others, a sustained gaze, not just looking, but giving an indication of having seen, —a head nod—and maintained long enough to show respect and not too much fear.

                  —David Means, from “The Chair”


The small boy Samuel wakes in the dark.

                   —Steven Millhauser, from “A Voice in the Night”


For the third time in three years, they talked about what would be a suitable birthday present for her deranged son.

                  — Lorrie Moore, from “Referential”


This is a slow train anyway, and it has slowed some more for the curve.

Alice Munro, from “Train”


Tired of telling her own story at A.A., Hil was trying trying to tell the story of her neighbor.

Antonya Nelson, from “Chapter Two”


There is a picture of me standing with my cousin Nemecia in the bean field.

Kirsten Valdez Quade, from “Nemecia.”


Days before she met the novelist, Cora went to the library and brought home a stack of plastic-sleeved hardcovers with one-word titles like Heirloom and Ruffian and Seductress.

Suzanne Rivecca, from “Philanthropy.”


September 3rd

Having just turned forty, have resolved to embark on grand project of writing every day in this new black book just got at OfficeMax.

                  —George Saunders, from “The Semplica-Girl Diaries”


Sunday 1 January

Fair and very cold.

                  —Jim Shepard, from “The World to Come”


Her students are the devotees and tenders of machines.

                  —Elizabeth Tallent, from “The Wilderness”


The news from Spain is terrible.

                  —Joan Wickersham, from “The Tunnel, or The News from Spain”


There were cats in the barn.

                  —Callan Wink, from “The Bretharians”

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