Currently viewing the tag: "survival"

The gondola dipped to the high-town landing and I climbed out. I carried no baggage, sent ahead to the pension, except memory. Childhood, youth, young manhood. The little war, the famous siege that nearly killed me. I was lucky, they said, the doctors, when I woke in the field hospital of the international forces. Lucky. –Two Dead Men by ALEX JEFFERS

Fiction Writing Prompt: Write the story of a lucky man who arrives back to the scene of his near death experience.

Journaling Prompt: Write about the most interesting way you have ever travelled.

Art Prompt: Gondola ride

Non-Fiction / Speechwriting Prompt: Tell your audience a dramatic story about an escape from death.

Photo Credit: Kim Olson on Flickr

Imagine it’s 1942, and you’re a member of Britain’s Royal Air Force. In a skirmish above Germany, your plane was shot out of the sky, and since then you’ve been hunkered down in a Prisoner of War camp. Your officers have told you it’s your duty to escape as soon as you can, but you can’t quite figure out how—you’ve got no tools and no spare rations, and you don’t even know where you are.

One day, though, you’re playing Monopoly with your fellow prisoners when you notice a strange seam in the board. You pry it open—and find a secret compartment with a file inside. In other compartments, other surprises: a compass, a wire saw, and a map, printed on luxurious, easily foldable silk and showing you exactly where you are, and where safety is. You’ve received a package from Christopher Clayton Hutton—which means you’re set to go. –How Millions Of Secret Silk Maps Helped POWs Escape Their Captors in WWII by Cara Giaimo

Fiction Writing Prompt: Write the story about a POW who escapes.

Journaling Prompt: When you were going through a tough time, what do you wish someone would have given you?

Art Prompt: Silk maps

Non-Fiction / Speechwriting Prompt: Tell your audience about silk maps and POWs during WWII.

Photo Credit: Joe Saunders on Flickr

During World War I (and, to a lesser extent, World War II) the Dolomites saw extremely fierce fighting. The year 1915 had Austro-Hungarian forces taking up strategic positions in the Dolomites to protect themselves from the advancing Italian army, and over the next few years both sides created and relied upon via ferrata as a method of moving through the mountains…

Italians referred to the battles in the Dolomites as il fronte vertical. Soldiers were fighting not only the enemy, but the elements as well: 60,000 World War I soldiers are thought to have died in avalanches in this relatively small mountain range. Temperatures plunged to 40 degrees below freezing for days on end as troops huddled in the mountainside huts and tunnels. –Ladders Through Time: Hiking the Dolomites’ Via Ferratas by Charlie Boscoe

Fiction Writing Prompt: Write a story in which troops have to improvise  in order to survive.

Journaling Prompt: Write about the toughest hike or climb you ever did.

Art Prompt: Via Ferrata

Non-Fiction / Speechwriting Prompt: Tell your audience about the Via Ferrata and its role in WWI.

Photo Credit: Jan on Flickr

The girl screamed once, only the once. –Knots and Crosses: An Inspector Rebus Novel by Ian Rankin

Fiction Writing Prompt: Write a story starting with the line above.

Journaling Prompt: Write about the last time you screamed.
Art Prompt: Scream!

Non-Fiction / Speechwriting Prompt: Tell your audience a dramatic story about the last time you screamed.

Photo Credit: Gustav Astorga on Flickr

…the most comprehensive work being done at the moment is the somewhat off-centered initiative announced by NASA in 2013 called the Asteroid Redirect Mission (ARM).

That plan is to develop and build an unmanned spacecraft that can rendezvous with a near-earth asteroid, carve away a chunk of it weighing a ton or so, and tow it back to a lunar orbit where astronauts arriving in an Orion Spacecraft can explore and study it and return samples to Earth for more detailed analysis. This program is planned (hoped) to be ready by the mid-2020s.

NASA’s website states that ARM is part of their larger plan “to advance the new technologies and spaceflight experience needed for a human mission to the Martian system in the 2030s”. I’m a little fuzzy on how this mission leads us to Mars, but many of the technologies involved (asteroid rendezvous, asteroid carving and asteroid repositioning) would absolutely be relevant to learning how to deflect a killer asteroid. –Killer Asteroids: Can We Stop Them? by Jack Clemons

Fiction Writing Prompt: Write a story where the plot is driven by an asteroid on collision course with Earth.

Journaling Prompt: Are you worried about threats from space? Why or why not?

Art Prompt: Killer Asteroid

Non-Fiction / Speechwriting Prompt: Tell your audience about ARM and why we need it.

A man can go along obeying all the rules and then it don’t matter a damn anymore. –What We Talk About When We Talk About Love by Raymond Carver

Fiction Writing Prompt: Put your protagonist into a situation where the rules don’t apply anymore.

Journaling Prompt: How do you feel when the rules are suddenly changed?

Art Prompt: The rules

Non-Fiction / Speechwriting Prompt: Tell your audience a humorous story about a time that you broke a rule.

Photo Credit: Dr. Zhivago on Flickr

Hi, I’m a hero, but I can’t tell you why. It’s classified. –Cetaganda by Louise MacMaster Bujold

Fiction Writing Prompt: Write the story of a hero who can’t talk about what he or she does.

Journaling Prompt: Who is your unknown everyday hero?

Art Prompt: Hero

Non-Fiction / Speechwriting Prompt: Tell your audience a story about a hero in your life.

Photo Credit: Martin Biskoping on Flickr

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Poisoning used to be a much more effective method of doing away with your enemies, thanks largely in part to the ineffectiveness of historical antidotes and medicine. One fabled poison cure was the bezoar, a hardened spherical deposit of indigestible material that forms in the gastrointestinal tract of hoofed animals.

For hundreds of years, bezoars were believed to be able to render any and all poison inert. And when you couldn’t get your hands on a naturally occurring bezoar, you could, for the right price, opt for an artificially created bezoar known as a Goa Stone.

Bezoars, which appear as stone-like lumps, can form from hair, seeds, fruit pits, rocks, calcium, or pretty much anything that has trouble passing naturally through an organic system. They are most often formed in the bodies of hoofed animals like goats or deer, although bezoars taken from Asian porcupines were also popular…

Possibly the most famous use of a bezoar was in an experiment by the 16th-century French surgeon Ambroise Paré, who set out to prove that they were not actually the cure to all poison. A cook sentenced to be hanged agreed to be poisoned instead, just so long as he could be administered a bezoar immediately after, to be set free if he lived. The cook died just hours later, and Paré’s experiment had proved that the power of the bezoar was not quite what it seemed. –Atlas Obscura

Fiction Writing Prompt: Write a story with a protagonist who is constantly afraid of being poisoned.

Journaling Prompt: What lengths do you go to for self-protection?

Art Prompt: Poison

Non-Fiction / Speechwriting Prompt: Tell your audience about strange remedies from history, including bezoars.

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On October 24, 1901, 63-year-old Michigan school teacher Annie Edson Taylor became the first person to go over the falls in a barrel as a publicity stunt; she survived, bleeding, but otherwise unharmed. Soon after exiting the barrel, she said, “No one ought ever do that again.” Before Taylor’s attempt, on October 19 a domestic cat named Iagara was sent over the Horseshoe Falls in her barrel to test its strength. Contrary to rumours at the time, the cat survived the plunge unharmed and later posed with Taylor in photographs. Since Taylor’s historic ride, 14 people have intentionally gone over the falls in or on a device, despite her advice. Some have survived unharmed, but others have drowned or been severely injured. Survivors face charges and stiff fines, as it is illegal, on both sides of the border, to attempt to go over the falls.

In 1918, there was a near disaster when a barge, known locally as the Niagara Scow, working upriver broke its tow, and
almost plunged over the falls. Fortunately, the two workers on board saved themselves by grounding the vessel on rocks just short of the falls.

Englishman Captain Matthew Webb, the first man to swim the English Channel, drowned in 1883 trying to swim the rapids downriver from the falls.

In the “Miracle at Niagara”, Roger Woodward, a seven-year-old American boy, was swept over the Horseshoe Falls protected only by a life vest on July 9, 1960, as two tourists pulled his 17-year-old sister Deanne from the river only 20 feet (6.1 m) from the lip of the Horseshoe Falls at Goat Island. Minutes later, Woodward was plucked from the roiling plunge pool beneath the Horseshoe Falls after grabbing a life ring thrown to him by the crew of the Maid of the Mist boat. –Wikipedia

Fiction Writing Prompt: Write a story about someone who tempts fate at Niagara Falls.

Journaling Prompt: Write about the most dangerous stunt you’ve ever tried.

Art Prompt: Niagara Falls

Non-Fiction / Speechwriting Prompt: Tell your audience about the history of daredevils at Niagara Falls.

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Jean McConville had just taken a bath when the intruders knocked on the door. –Where the Bodies are Buried by Patrick Radden Keefe

Fiction Writing Prompt: Use the first line of the week as the starting point or inspiration for a scene, story, poem, or haiku.

Journaling Prompt: Write about a time when you were interrupted in the middle of doing something personal.

Art Prompt: Taking a bath

Non-Fiction / Speechwriting Prompt: Tell your audience a dramatic story involving intruders.

Photo Credit: martinak15 on Flickr