Introduction – A New Quote-Based Writing Challenge

Earlier this week, I found a brand new writing challenge hosted by Lady Harvey (click here to check it out.)  Each week, she will post a quote and we have up to 1,000 words to write a response inspired by the quote.  All you have to do is post your response on your blog (tagged ‘quotespiration’), then go to Lady Harvey’s site and add a link to that post.  Easy, peasy 😛

The quote this week:

“What I think is this:  you should give up looking for lost cats and start searching for your shadow”–from Kafka on the Shore by Haruki Murakami

Responding to this challenge fit in perfectly with my tendency to procrastinate.  I have some writing that I must get done today and my brain is doing its best to focus on everything else.  I was going to write a post about this for today, but maybe I’ll do it next week.  (See, I’m good… procrastination is my thing.  Finishing stories for anything other than this blog, apparently is not!)


01-31 Sedona AZ


I sit across from Father with my arms folded over my chest.  My expression sullen, my mood even worse.  I feel like a chastised teenager, even though I’m 22 years old.

“You need to focus.  Pick a major and excel.  It’s irresponsible to make attending college a career.”

I look away because I’m afraid if I look at his face, I’ll explode and say everything that shouldn’t be spoken.  “You’ve lived your life,” I mutter.

“Don’t get mouthy with me.  As long as I pay your bills, you do as I say.”

I smirk-smile.  “Yes, sir.  Are we done?”

“Have you decided on a major?”

“I need to go to my room and contemplate my future.”

Satisfied, he slides out of his chair.  “I have to run to Home Depot.  Dinner’s at 6.”

I make it to my room before tears sting my eyes.  I still occupy a ten by ten room in his apartment palace, but he hasn’t paid a dime of my college.  If mother were here she could talk some sense into him.  But she died eleven years ago.  I don’t want to pick a major.  I don’t even want to be in college.  I want to see the world, explore my likes and dislikes.  How can he expect me to choose my life’s work if I haven’t even found myself yet?

I slide my suitcase off the top shelf of my closet and toss it on the bed.  I select my favorite clothes and roll each item to maximize space.  I line them up in rows and stack them until there isn’t room for even a t-shirt.  I’ll leave the rest.  I dump the books from my backpack onto the floor and fill it with undergarments, makeup, a thirteen-year-old family photo, and mother’s musical jewelry box.

Everything that matters fits in two bags.  For some reason, that thought liberates me.  Before I leave, I sit at my desk to write a note.  He deserves that much.

Dear Father,

I’m not ready to commit to a life.  I need to discover whether I find my peace sitting on a beach with waves crashing at my feet, or if my clarity is on a snow-capped mountain.  I want to be carried by the wind.  Maybe I’m not meant to be rooted in one place.

I know you don’t understand.  To you, my indecision is akin to looking for lost cats.  To me, each found cat is another step toward my shadow.

I don’t know where I’m going, but I’ll call along the way.



32 thoughts on “Introduction – A New Quote-Based Writing Challenge

  1. Carol Ann Hoel January 31, 2014 / 10:23 AM

    Beautifully written, Janna. Blessings to you…

  2. ladyharvey January 31, 2014 / 10:55 AM

    Thanks so much for the shout out Jannat! Great entry and makes me wonder what adventures and cats Abby is going to find outside of the apartment palace.

    • jannatwrites January 31, 2014 / 12:00 PM

      You’re welcome, Lady Harvey. I like the idea and I hope others do too and support you 🙂

      I don’t know what Abby will find but the more she sees, the closer she will be knowing her way.

    • jannatwrites January 31, 2014 / 12:00 PM

      Thanks, Mel! If you have time I hope you’ll check it out.

  3. Bastet January 31, 2014 / 11:04 AM

    Very nice Janna…and thanks for the intro to a new prompt!

    • jannatwrites January 31, 2014 / 12:01 PM

      Thanks for reading, Bastet. If you’re up for a challenge, I hope you’ll look this one up 🙂

      • Bastet January 31, 2014 / 9:00 PM

        I’m tempted, don’t know if I’m up to the challenge yet…but I’m tempted! 😉

        • jannatwrites January 31, 2014 / 10:21 PM

          If you skip this one, there’s always next week, Bastet 🙂

        • Bastet February 1, 2014 / 12:26 AM

          Just posted it… 😉

        • jannatwrites February 2, 2014 / 4:27 PM

          Terrific! I read (and enjoyed) the happy kitty ending 🙂

        • Bastet February 2, 2014 / 10:27 PM


  4. mandyblake95 January 31, 2014 / 5:03 PM

    Thanks for the intro to such a great sounding new challenge, and I loved your story. It really caught the dauntingness of trying to make such a huge life choice so early in life.

    • jannatwrites January 31, 2014 / 10:17 PM

      I’m glad you gave the challenge a try, Mandy! (I saw you posted a story, but I haven’t had a chance to read it yet.)

  5. Kathy Combs (@Kathy29156) January 31, 2014 / 5:14 PM

    Interesting challenge and you took it and ran with it! This is an awesome story, but it made me a bit sad that she is running away. What will happen to her and her dad?? The kid has guts to go after her dream leaving everything she knows behind. This is awesome as all of your stories are. ♥

    • jannatwrites January 31, 2014 / 10:19 PM

      I don’t think she’s running away for good, just until she finds her way, Kathy! I never had the courage to just leave and explore without a plan. I appreciate you reading 🙂

  6. nrhatch January 31, 2014 / 9:08 PM

    Wonderful response, Janna. It would be nice to hear more about her travels.

    • jannatwrites January 31, 2014 / 10:22 PM

      Thanks for reading, Nancy! I haven’t thought about her travels… I bet she finds her way, though.

  7. pattisj February 1, 2014 / 12:26 AM

    You made a great story from this quote. I signed up for notifications, maybe I’ll try this soon…when I’m done procrastinating! Losing a parent at such a young age does alter one’s life for quite some time.

    • jannatwrites February 2, 2014 / 4:27 PM

      I’d love to see what you come up with, Patti (when you’re done procrastinating, of course… wouldn’t want to rush that!)

  8. Debbie February 1, 2014 / 9:13 AM

    Oooh, good one! Sounds like poor Abby was being totally stifled in her dad’s home — completely believable for her to have those feelings at her age!

    • jannatwrites February 2, 2014 / 4:32 PM

      I think it’s hard for him to let go, or send her on a path he doesn’t think will lead to success. I think she’ll find her way, though, Debbie!

  9. diannegray February 1, 2014 / 1:38 PM

    Another beautifully written piece, Janna. Love it! 😀

  10. Eric Alagan February 1, 2014 / 5:38 PM

    Something that most of us have gone through – at least in our minds. Hope she finds herself before her pennies run out.

    On another note: procrastination, my constant companion, oh how I wish I can lose you in the crowd 🙂

    • jannatwrites February 2, 2014 / 4:33 PM

      She does have some money saved, but in time, she’ll have to find her way enough to get a job (oh, those adult responsibilities 🙂

      I’m surprised procrastination has befriended you… you seem to get so much accomplished! Thanks for reading, Eric.

      • Eric Alagan February 2, 2014 / 4:49 PM

        Oops! I didn’t mean that I proscrastinate – never did so in my entire life. Even at this age – 58 – I can’t wait to get things done!

        That second para was just my poor attempt at being an oracle 😳

        • jannatwrites February 2, 2014 / 4:51 PM

          Ah, it makes sense now, Eric! Now if only your determination would rub off on me 🙂

  11. Diane Turner February 3, 2014 / 3:24 PM

    I would dearly love to run around in your brain and gather pieces of treasure. Excellent piece.

    • jannatwrites February 3, 2014 / 9:10 PM

      Haha! Your comment cracked me up, Diane. It’s actually quite a bizarre place sometimes 🙂

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