A Moment in the Life – An Exercise in Creative Thinking

Since this blog is all about creativity, I thought it might be fun to lay down a challenge to my readers to move from passively reading about creativity to actively being creatively. So here’s a creative challenge for you. In 500 words or less, create a description of a moment in the life. This can be a moment from your own life, the life you wish you lived, or a life that exists only in your imagination.

The catch is that you have to use the following 25 random words in your composition:

  1. affect
  2. farmer
  3. swearing
  4. shoe
  5. outraged
  6. ordered
  7. trial
  8. home
  9. irrational
  10. milk
  11. balm
  12. shopped
  13. mature
  14. faint
  15. absolutely
  16. cuckoo
  17. quiver
  18. livid
  19. gravity
  20. merging
  21. void
  22. problem
  23. impulse
  24. suppression
  25. seventh

If you want to share your efforts, post a comment with a link to where you’ve posted it.

Here’s my effort, just under 500 words. Obviously, this is not my life nor is it based on anyone I know. Sorry in advance for the slightly depressing nature of it, but sometimes stories ask to be told.

“October seventh two-thousand nine. That’s what’s going to be carved into my tombstone. RIP pal, you managed to live to the mature age of 41 only to die in a stupid way a million miles from home. I shouldn’t let myself ponder it, but being in a fiery crash tends to affect the way one thinks. For example, I never had an irrational fear of dying until I thought it was actually happening to me.

What stupid impulse made me decide to take a motorcycle trip up the Vietnamese coast? Ten hours from flying home to my pregnant wife, it sounded like a good way to end this journey. I had finished the photo-journalism assignment of documenting a day in the life of a peasant farmer. Not just an peasant farmer, but a man named An who had lost his family in a bombing when he was six, a gift from the land of milk, honey, and napalm. His only English statement to me was about survival: “You win. You lose. You still you.” I’ve lost, An, but am I still me?

If I were at home in Chicago, an ambulance would have arrived by now and some kind of lovely drugs for pain suppression would be flowing through my veins. I’m pretty sure that the overall effect of merging gravity with a fireball of twisted metal was to take most of the flesh from one leg. For better or worse, most of my body is void of any sensation at all.

For better or worse… oh God, Becca I’m sorry. My dear wife who has been my life for the last six years, how will you take the news? Will you faint? Will you be outraged and livid at my idiocy? Will you just face it in that mature, stoic, quiet way of yours? You who kept a straight face at the wedding reception when opening the garish cuckoo clock that was my aunt’s gift to us, you who ordered the flowers for your father’s funeral without even a quiver in your voice, you who shopped for a coffin to bury our first child while I wept, you who face every problem and trial with courage and bravery. I don’t want to be the person who breaks you, Becca. God, please help her through this, give her strength. I love her, let that be a balm to her now.

I can hear a voice but can’t seem to focus my vision beyond the shoe that has appeared next to my head. I think he’s swearing, probably cursing the dumb American who discourteously has marred the highway with flesh and blood. I’m sorry… so sorry for the end to this story. If I could, I’d take a different picture of the end, one in which I ride off into a Vietnamese sunset, journeying home to the life that should have been mine.”

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