To be honest, I’m torn on this prompt. Read it here if you haven’t already.
On the one hand, I had a clear concept going in, and I followed it through till the end. On the other, the whole story feels kind of clunky to me. I genuinely want this Thoughts segment to be positive about my own work. I’ve written the piece a few days back and now look at it with a fresh set of eyes, so now I feel differently about it. If it were just any writing of mine, I would go back to edit it until I’m satisfied. But in my prompt series, I don’t want to produce the perfect work. It’s about exploring my creativity and experiment with realizing it into text form.
Obviously that text doesn’t take itself too seriously. In fact, I wanted to contrast the silly with something thought provoking. It just always happens that I’m most critical with myself when I try to be funny. I guess, I have to face it, I’m not as funny as I want to be.
Anyways! If I end up sounding overly critical, take it with a grain of salt. It’s the voice of a creative mind trying to improve. And sometimes we have to break things to rebuild them stronger. That brings me to the story. (Weak segway, but we’ll gloss over it, thanks!)
The story starts off with a description of the scene and place. I imagined a vast temple-like building full of people that all go crazy in their worship of their spiritual leader. Like one of those show events where hundreds of peoples move synchronized. It felt more significant, more colorful than the actual result that ended up on paper.
I wanted the description of the cow to be more ambiguous. It should open the possibility of all of this being fake. Just a normal regular cow in a sea of madness. The people are just projecting their desires and needs onto it. But maybe, only maybe the apathetic, oblivious state of the animal could hint at a higher state of illumination. But jumping into an all-knowing narrator, it feels one-sided to me and lost (probably never had) that nuance.
But that’s just the setup. The actual plot is happening when the ritual is disturbed. Two worshipers bump into each other. They are just two of many. They have laid off everything that distinguished them from one another to conform to the mass. That’s why I only refer to them as ‘the first’ and ‘the other.’ For the sake of the story, it doesn’t matter who they are.
You know how you can get lost in anything if you just keep doing it? But once you stop and think about it, you start doubting everything? This cult has rules in place to prevent that from happening. But once they begin to stray away from it, they notice that things are off. Quickly the doubt spreads and grips those around them. Their attention and shared insecurity are enough to pressure the two dissenters to show their allegiance with renewed vigor.
These past days I have been thinking about the comfort that conforming to the norms offers. Everyone wants to belong, to be acknowledged by the people around them. The more you conform to their standards, the more comfortable you’ll have it. But what happens if the normative system around you is skewed? Many beliefs are harmful and outright toxic. Should you follow them regardless, or fight them?
It’s not my intention to tell you that you should stand up against anything, no matter the cost. There are many situations where it is dangerous to do so. Not only for your social position but also for your life, especially when you belong to a minority group. Saying that everyone should put themselves against the tides just seems privileged to me and a judgment I don’t want to pass. Things are messed up in this world. And I wish it would be different.
I guess playing around with this story was a way for me to deal with things that can resist change even though they are obviously wrong. I hope it ended up being more entertaining then my overcritical self keeps telling me.
On a different note, can we talk about how great the illustration slightly_overwhelmed made for this prompt is? I absolutely adore what she came up with. The over the top way the cow leans towards you, and the trippy background is just perfect. I’m looking forward to the next stories, just to see what she will cook up in her crazy artist lab.
That’s it for now. Read you soon and stay positive!
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