The Onion Down Below

A simple phrase of multiple meanings–for a writer. Four words of no great import but like any others, they offer opportunity to craft something from them. A fellow writer disputes the virtue of writing prompts, saying they waste time and serve little useful purpose–neither in inspiration or the prospect of published work. I disagree on their value. I see them analogous to a musician playing scales or a well known composition. Practice. Practice to increase speed, dexterity, skill. Will a new symphony come from such exercises or even simple melody. Probably not. Neither are writing prompts intended to create great works. They serve to sharpen a command of language. Increase the speed with which one can create fresh sentences and paragraphs with a few simple words.

So what of the onion down below? Is “the onion down below” a writing prompt? It could be. The title of a story perhaps. A reminder of ingredients from lunch or dinner, noticeable in the aroma rising from the bowl as a bladder’s contents fall into it. Or an explanation of the odor in a kitchen drawer that I ask my wife about, which she explains comes from the onion down below in a lower shelf of the same cabinet–from whence the phrase comes in this post. Or perhaps the beginning of a feature or a fiction about the lands along U.S. Highway 180 north of Deming, where one can see a 50-foot open-topped trailer filled with onions rolling down the road enroute to a long-distance shipper somewhere. New Mexico after all, supplies 50% of the summer onions grown and distributed throughout the U.S. Onions, of course, do come from down below–grown in the ground just as potatoes are. A silly post or a simple post. It’s just what writers do. Make something from nearly nothing–other than a few words.


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