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Day 22- Growing Stories from Plants by Monique Cuillerier

Write a story inspired by plants

StoryADay Prompt Illustration

The Prompt

Write a story inspired by a plant.

I love plants, whether they are in pots on my desk, in my community garden plot, or–best of all–growing where they choose outdoors.

Do you have a favourite plant? One that you find particularly fascinating? Or repulsive?

It could be a tree or shrub, a vegetable or a plant known for its flowers, or a so-called ‘weed’.

What does it make you think of? Do you have memories, positive or negative, associated with it? Do you associate it with a favourite food or a terrible rash or a wonderful fragrance?

Think about the texture of the leaves, petals, or bark. How would you describe the smell? What does it taste like?

Use some of these ideas as the basis for your story.

The story could be a fleeting encounter with someone wearing a floral scent you find repulsive. Or a story about a child planting pretty flowers with their grandmother. It could be about the struggles of growing hops in a Martian settlement.

Or maybe your story won’t be about the plant itself at all.


Monique Cuillerier

Monique Cuillerier writes (mostly) science fiction. She lives in Ottawa (Canada) and spends her non-writing time running, knitting, getting angry on Twitter (@MoniqueAC), and (unsurprisingly) gardening. Her work can be found at notwhereilive.ca

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8 thoughts on “Day 22- Growing Stories from Plants by Monique Cuillerier”

  1. I’m writing a horror story titled “The Red Lily.” I got a late start, and it looks like I won’t be finishing it today. Right now the story is just under 1000 words. Third person, past tense.

  2. I wrote 294 words. This prompt brought back wonderful memories of my grandparents and their red geraniums. They lived in a small apartment in Germany and every year long planters of red geraniums hung over the balcony railing. In the fall, my grandfather cut the plants down to little nubs and carried the planters down six flights of stairs to the basement. In the spring he would carry them back upstairs. Come summer, the geraniums were just as beautiful as the year before.

  3. Wrote about the FICUS tree that I had in NYC as a young girl and then again in my side yard in California. I love the lustrous dark green leaves and the beautiful branches that welcome you to its domain. It reminds me of people who are sometimes planted and just grow, while others are replanted and replanted to have new lives in new places. Ficus trees and other plants do this too
    They welcome you when you drop your bag at the door after a days’ work and allow you to peacefully gaze at their beauty without feeling bashful or turning their head.
    They can grow in different environments just as children do. Some are nourished and spoken to and others are somewhat neglected, but they retain their luster and beauty waiting to be discovered by a careful soul who is able to see the beauty within.

  4. I also loved this prompt. I free wrote for 35 minutes on my Grandpa, who was a Master Gardener and all the things he did with flowers and veggies. Not a story, but wonderful memories dug up. Thanks Monique.
    PS. I also forwarded your website to a friend who is struggling with hers. Yours is so beautiful, I thought it might inspire her.

  5. I grew up around flowers and plants. My maternal grandparents were in the business. She was the floral designer and store clerk. He was the grower, the deliveryman, and the business manager. I hung around the store and greenhouse a lot as a kid. I remember the beds of carnations and gladiolas. That said, I have no especial affinity for plants. But I have some great memories, and a couple that aren’t so great, but are the seeds of stories. I wrote one today. It’s set in the flower business about 60 years ago. Historical fiction!

  6. Wrote 441 words with two characters having different reactions to the smell of lilacs(one liked it, which is why they had them in their kitchen, for the other the scent brought back bad childhood memories). This probably won’t end up in the larger story(Heart to Heart 2), but it does help flesh out the characters a bit.

  7. I simply loved this prompt!
    Here’s my story entitled ” The Fall of The Kamini Tree” :
    “They will be cutting the kamini tree down and run the bulldozer over the gardens in order to have a bigger area. A bigger area will boil down to more commodious, spacious apartments. More of such apartments would bring in more money. But that can’t be my headache any more. For, tomorrow, we are shifting to the new apartment.”

    I still remember those early days in childhood. On Sundays, I would go out to the attached garden on the left outside our house. The garden had flowering trees and plants of all kinds. There were a papaya tree in a corner and a jackfruit tree as well. But one of my favourites was a madhabilata (mistletoe) tree that had its branches reaching up to the roof on the northern side. Just under the tree, there grew the kamini tree. It was, is and will always be my most favorite flowering tree.
    Let me also tell you, in this connection, that my ancestral house in the heart of the city, was a palatial building of art and architecture. Nestled amidst an area of 9 acres, there were 4 entrances to the house, 2 in the southern side, 1 in the northern, and the last 1 in the western part. There were twenty-six rooms in all! The huge wooden gate in the northern side was adorned with 2 gardens on either side with a passage in between that served as the entrance to the house. In the other garden there were shiuli, jaba and a host of other trees and colorful plants.

    On Sundays or holidays, I would go out to the garden on the left of the house, sometimes to plant a mango tree or to dig out a warm for my goldfish.I would find the passage in between the gardens filled with the white, crescent shaped petals of the kamini flowers. The inexpressible scent of the kamini flowers along with that of the shiuli flowers would make me insane. They simply had a hypnotic effect on me. Unfortunately, I took the kamini tree for granted in those days.

    (2)

    Those days, my ancestral home teemed with a multitude of people. My grandpa was a renowned Sanskrit scholar of India, so there was no end to the sea of people coming in continuously to pay their respects. The cacophony, the excitement, the very environment of the house in those days was too electrifying for me too describe.

    In course of time, my grandpa, my parents, uncles and aunts, who all lived under the same roof, passed away. I left for the Himalayan Kingdom of Bhutan, and would come down occasionally during the vacations. Things began to happen so first! Then one day, post superannuation, I found myself to be one of the few inhabitants of the house along with my family in our part of the house. There were still a few relatives living in the other parts but their number had come down to a single digit by then.

    The dilapidated house in front of our house got sold one day. In its place, a mansion stood up. The owner, one Siraj, shifted to the ground floor of the mansion. Then the house beside ours! All the other apartments of the mansion in front were sold off at an exorbitant price.

    People started talking about how lucky the new mansion proved for the owner when in course of the next 2 years, he went on to purchase a number of old houses in our locality.

    The day was not far when the by-lane, on which our ancestral house stood, which was once proposed to be named after my grandpa, came, to be popularly known as “Siraj Nagar”.
    While no one knew me in my locality, Siraj was growing in popularity. From the local MLA to the sweeper, Siraj was known to all, and started building nests in everyone’s heart. I realised that ‘the whole thing is that, Bhaiya, sabse bara rupaiya’ ( money counts like nothing else!)

    That was a bleak Sunday. There was some sort of Puja going on in my ancestral house. The august presence of some invited guests including Siraj, lent a new dimension to the Puja.
    As prasad ( fruit offerings) was being distributed, Siraj, reclining on a chair with his arms on the back of the chair and his toddler of a son in his lap, looked around, smiled before complimenting the look of our spacious house, and what he could have done with it.

    I couldn’t help remarking :

    “Dekhben Bhai, ei baritar opore kintu najar deben na.” (Please dont cast your eyes on this building, Bro.)

    Though I was told that the Indian Government had declared our house as a heritage building, there were no papers, no nothing to that effect! What had to happen, happened at last when Siraj offered a whooping 10 crores for the house.

    (3)

    It is just the time before sundown. We are shifting to the new apartments tomorrow. Amidst the hectic activities going on around me, I come out of the main Gate and leaning against the door, I look at the kamini tree fondly for the first time.

    It is such a bushy, rounded, well spread-out tree. The lamp-shaped leaves – the young ones of lighter green and the older, of darker – give it a regal bearing. I remember how in my childhood, I would jump on the rock, one each on either side of the passage leading upto the house, and try to pluck the red cherry-like fruits of the tree. While I felt like devouring them, someone told me not to eat them as they were very poisonous.

    What I also find for the first time is how unique the stem of the tree is. From the roots, it has gone up spiraling, one part of the stem on top of the other!
    There is a gentle easterly wind blowing across. The rustle among the leaves along with the mesmerizing scent leave me spellbound!
    I climb on the rock again and put my hands around the most beautiful tree in the whole world for me. There is a sob choking in my throat.

    “Forgive me for being the blacksheep of the family. For not being able to keep you out of harm’s way. ”
    I break down finally.
    The end

  8. “The meek shall inherit the Earth” was the phrase that came to mind when I read this prompt. I don’t think the Bible meant plants, but when Bertie returns from his solo mission to Mars after 15 years away from Earth, the buildings are full of life, but devoid of humans… 754 words written, with many more to possibly come with a beautiful prompt like this. Thanks Monique and Julie!

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