For my birthday I received a wonderful gift from my friend, Micah. It’s called The Storymatic, and it’s essentially a card game/writing exercise generator.
This game can be found at a place called Marbles The Brain Store, which may or may not have a location near you. Click that link to go to the website and explore around. Click on the picture of the Storymatic to get a link to its page so you can order one for yourself!
The rules of this game/exercise are simple! And there are many variations in the rulebook so you can include other people, or just write a little story for yourself. In this case, I went with the go-to method of story prompting. The box contains a set of gold cards and a set of copper cards. First you choose two gold cards. Those two cards become your main character. Then you draw two copper cards which set up the story you’re going to tell. The two “rules” are that you can’t kill your character (because that’s too easy!) and you have to have your character change in some way from the beginning of the story to the end. In other words, give him/her an arc.
So let’s begin!
My first gold card…
And my second gold card…
Let’s uh…let’s see what the story prompts are.
First copper card…
Second copper card…
So I have an aging clown who is also a pirate. An Aging Clown Pirate. And the story has something to do with a fever and hospital waiting room, which fortunately fit together a lot better than clowns and pirates do. Jeez, they didn’t make this easy on me.
Okay. Story time.
Gorkel the clown’s arthritis was acting up again. It was compounded greatly by his omnipresent seasickness. When he’d been kidnapped as a child from the island of Lorgane, he never thought his pirate captors would be so entertained by juggling. It was this skill that had kept him alive, and yet now it was beginning to hurt more and more to toss swords and twirl batons.
“Gorkel!” the captain bellowed from within his quarters.
Gorkel winced and nearly dropped the apple he’d been doing tricks with. His real name had been Gordon, but the captain didn’t think that sounded clownish enough.
“Yes, Cap’n?” Gorkel said.
The ship had changed hands twice since Gorkel had been kidnapped. The original captain had retired to the Bahamas, and his successor had been killed by the current captain to whom Gorkel was now speaking.
“I’m thirsty,” the captain rasped. “Fetch me some water.”
Gorkel obliged, gritting his teeth. For years, decades even, he’d dreamed of escaping. But he had always been too cowardly to try anything. He ran to fetch a cup and dipped it into the water barrel. Then he hesitated, staring at his watery reflection as it wavered beneath him, as surely as his confidence wavered whenever he thought of escaping his life of servitude. There was a way he could…but no…he couldn’t…
When he returned, the captain was visibly red in the face.
“What took you so long?” he barked, snatching the water from Gorkel’s hand.
He tipped his head back and downed the drink in one gulp. Then he slapped the cup back into Gorkel’s chest.
“I’m bored. Go find something to juggle.”
Gorkel left with the cup and returned with his crate of juggling supplies. The captain looked on with mild interest as various objects flew through the air.
“You know, I thought my predecessors were crazy for keeping you on board,” he mused, “but I have to say, I’m starting to see their reasoning. Nothing like a loyal clown to liven up the…the…”
The captain’s words died as he swooned in his chair. Gorkel let the batons he’d been juggling clatter to the floor.
“Cap’n? Are you all right?”
He ran to the captain and steadied him. Sweat was beading on his forehead, and when Gorkel tentatively touched a hand to his face, he drew back quickly. His skin was burning.
“Set sail for a hospital!” Gorkel called out to the men.
It took them hours to reach a hospital, as ships were not the most expeditious modes of transportation.
After explaining the captain’s condition to the nurses, the crew was forced to sit in the waiting room while the doctors did their work.
“I’m gonna go out for a pack of cigarettes,” Gorkel said after a few minutes.
“But you don’t smoke,” replied Briney Joe, one of the crewmen.
“Maybe the captain will want some when he gets better,” Gorkel said, knowing full well he wouldn’t.
He strode out of the hospital, took a breath of fresh air, and started walking.
By the time the doctors discovered the poison in the captain’s system, he’d be long gone.
Well that was supposed to be a silly story, but it didn’t turn out that way did it? Still a darned fun exercise. I recommend the game to anyone who has a creative itch that needs scratching, or a way of entertaining a moderate number of house guests.