If you write fiction, every once in a while you need a little push to get some new ideas flowing or get to know your characters a bit better.

In the past, here on trishajennreads, I did a Writing Prompt Wednesday series where I posted a prompt and then posted something I’d written based on that prompt and opened the door for other writers to share. I’d like to get back into posting prompts for you writers, to give you something fun and random to write from.

Looking for a writing prompt? Look no further!

I just cleaned these floors!

Write what you will! Who said this? Why did they say this? Who did they say it to?

Feel free to post your response in the comments. I’d love to read what you come up with.


Writing Prompt on trishajennreads - I just cleaned these floors!

  1. The man who became Booker T. Washington hunkered over his wooden bowl, jutting his elbows far wide to guard his grits from gobs of half chewed spew from the slobbering mouths of his fellow ex-slaves. He fought down a wary instinct.

    “They’re hungry as me,” he thought.

    He glanced to his right. Five gaunt faces buried deep into the only meal they’d get that day. To his left, eight more hunched their boney shoulders and gobbled as fast as they could. And that was just his side of the narrow, rough hewn boards set on saw horses. And that was just his table in the crowded dining room of the Hampton Normal and Agricultural Institute in Virginia.

    A plate skuddered off the table and two heads dashed below the board. Shouting, unhindered by the 26 pairs of legs under there with them, turned to heaving backs and swinging fists.

    Booker grabbed his sliding plate and jumped backwards off the bench. The table rocked up and twisted over. Food flew everywhere and fists were not slow to follow.

    Booker’s gorge rose as his fellow classmates scrambled to shovel fistfuls of grits into their mouths off the floor. “I just cleaned that floor,” he moaned.

    Suddenly every body froze. In walked the head teacher, Mrs. Mary F. Mackie. She caught Booker’s eye. They shared a moment of dismay before she jerked her head toward the closet.

    Her upper lip had curled and one eye brow had lifted the day he staggered the last steps of a 500 mile journey from Malden, West Virginia to Hampton, into her office to ask for a place as a student. After a while she had given him a broom, then the job as janitor, and finally a place as a student, as long as he kept sweeping and mopping.

    Everyday, he gave thanks for Mrs. Viola Ruffner at whose table he served to earn money to eat with this unsavoury crowd. She taught him about cleanliness. Gazing at the splattered faces and dripping rags of the men fighting over the scraps off the floor, Booker remembered Mrs. Ruffner’s words about dignity being available to all if they’d learn how to be clean.

    Again, a crushing feeling seized Booker’s chest. Two paths opened in his mind.
    Slave! One shouted. Even Ex-slave ain’t no good.
    Freedom and Dignity! The other sounded like a trumpet blast rallying the troops.

    Booker straightened his shoulders. “Freedom and Dignity for all,” he thought. “Least-ways, I know where dem buckets is kep’”

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