Have you heard of the Man Repeller Writers Club? Every month we pose a story idea, you write about it and then send it to us (email@example.com) with the subject line “MR Writers Club.” We read through all submissions and post the winner on the first Friday of every month. Ready? Let’s go.
When I think back on the times I underwent my most intense bouts of change, it’s easy, in hindsight, to pinpoint when each one started—when the ground beneath my feet first tilted enough to set a single wheel in motion. It’s easy to spot the warning signs that came before those moments, too, and diagnose the bumps that inevitably followed, and justify the roundabout means to the end that was a different me. But transformation rarely feels so formulaic as it’s happening. Usually it feels like chaos. Or maybe it feels like nothing but a delicate stomach swoop you mistake for hunger until such a conclusion deems itself woefully unworthy of what’s actually happening. Unpredictability is part of the process.
But wouldn’t it be nice if it were more of a science? I would pay good money to take a course on the physics of the external and internal renovation that inevitably takes place over the course of a human life. Or hire a contractor who could map it out for me like a complex but physically sound structure. You’ll feel uncomfortable here, hit a snag there, and the next year you’ll laugh about all of it. I think I’d sleep easier.
Of course, changing your self or your life is an act of improv by design; it could never be so rule-bound. But…what if it could? What if the amorphous and sloppy process of gut renovation could be broken down into parts, like the emotional counterpart to the classic hero’s journey? What that might look like? How might it feel? For this month’s writers club prompt, we invite you to consider the how-to of human renovation and transformation, and explore it at its most prescriptive. Then share your findings, in whatever form they may take—a story, instructions, a recipe, a list, a metaphor—in 500 words or less with firstname.lastname@example.org.
Feature graphic by Dasha Faires.