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Writing Prompts!

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Fellfrosch:
This is the official thread (for now) for posting your work for the Writing Excuses writing prompts. Please include the prompt itself at the beginning of each post, and try to limit your writing excerpts to reasonable size.

By the way, while here in Time-Waster's Guide land, Brandon is called EUOL, Jordo the techmonkey is called Spriggan, and Dan is called Fellfrosch. Howard is also called but not, apparently, chosen.

stanmanx:
Hey, thanks for the sweet forum space. I've never actually posted on the Writing Excuses site before, so also, hello! Thanks for my favorite podcast.

Writing Prompt: Develop a religion where people worship something that no one would ever worship in our world. And it canít be silly.

Note: Despite my best efforts, this is still borderline silly... just try to take off our world's glasses when you look.

Practitioners of this religion worship the coffee bean. This came about because, at some point, warriors from this particular culture discovered that consuming coffee beans allowed them to stave off the magic of the sleep god and remain on the battlefield longer than their enemies. This enabled them to conquer their neighbors and establish an empire.

Originally, only the warrior class was allowed to consume the coffee bean, as they were considered the true strength of the tribe However, as the centuries passed and the empire was solidified, art and philosophy began to flourish, and the power of the coffee god was slowly made available to everyone at evening rituals. Eventually these rituals became available at several times during the day. The people found that if they stopped attending regularly, they were assaulted by malignant servants of their enemy, the sleep god, who gave them terrible head pains and forced them to sleep long hours.

mbarker:
I know it's been a while since I took an anthropology or social sciences course, but I think we have quite a few undeclared religions around. I seem to remember that you needed to have a group, a common set of beliefs, some kind of practices, and the notion of some kind of sacred objects. It certainly seems to me that the lines of early morning devotees at Starbucks come pretty close to qualifying as a religion. Try getting between them and their coffee and you'll learn about heresy and excommunication.

I'm not quite sure why a religion including coffee as a sacred object is borderline silly? After all, tea was a gift to the Buddhists to help them stay awake. I think the story I've heard about that is that the first tea bushes sprang up where a devotee cut off his eyelids and threw them in the dirt. So coffee in support of another religion doesn't seem too surprising.

Although you might want to consider making it a cult of ecstasy? Several religions have had various kinds of intoxicants and stimulants as part of their religious celebrations.

Perhaps the real question is what coffee symbolizes in your religion. It sounds as if the world is threatened by the gods of sleep, and coffee (not unlike fire) was brought to man to help him fight back? So the world constantly is on the verge of falling asleep forever, but waking your neighbor and giving them coffee is a sacrament? Interesting, really.

stanmanx:
Well, it's borderline silly because I imagined pointing out the Starbucks connection and combining it with a "lol" or a "rofl", rather than actual insight (keep in mind I'm new to this forum, so I have no idea what to expect from people).

Those were really good questions/suggestions. Now I'm actually putting more thought into it. I might actually do something with it beyond this writing prompt...

CabbyHat:
OK, I never would have thought of coffee. That's pretty creative. Um... OK, here's the religion I came up with, it's kind of the only thing I could think of that wasn't actually silly.

This religion focuses on the worship of pain. Early on in this culture's development it was noticed that the sensation of pain always accompanied important, formative events, such as danger or significant injury; sometimes it even warned of worse injury, as in when someone had their hand in a fire without noticing - the pain would warn him to pull it out before badly burning it. Pain thus began to be regarded as a gift from the gods; an important part of human experience, to be cherished rather than avoided and sought after as much as any other feeling.

Any time one of this religion's followers gets a painful injury, he or she will try to hold onto it as long as possible; the wound will be cleaned to prevent infection, but left unbound and displayed as a badge of honor. Those who have earned the privelege will have their wounds perpetually reopened in a ceremony by the priests. These priests are those who have been honored with extreme pain - whether they were burned all over as children, mauled by wild animals, or have some sort of chronic illness that causes them to suffer, their frequent pain is believed to bring them closer to the mind of god. Women are more revered than men in this society because the pain of childbirth belongs to women. Lepers and those who suffer paralysis are seen as cursed and shunned, because they can't feel pain.

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