Writing Prompt #11: Labels

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Avatar for JonicaBradley
2 years ago

"What's in a name? That which we call a rose by any other name would smell as sweet.” - William Shakespeare

My husband and I had a very funny conversation the other day. He was talking about Fibonacci patterns in the crypto technicals.

Our conversation meandered here and there. But ultimately led to him describing a shape as a square. I asked if he meant a rectangle and this is where things got really funny.

Before I replay the conversation you should know my husband is the smartest most talented person I know. He can do carpentry, and electrical, and plumbing, and building anything from a house to a car. He knows shapes. So this conversation isn't about him being ignorant and is definitely not making fun of him. It's about my first giggle and his intention to make me belly laugh. He succeeded.

I think at this point in our conversation, we were talking about cities. I always get lost. He never gets lost. He always says cities are a square.

I said, "But what if it is a rectangle? Squares are equal on all sides. Cities aren't equal on all sides."

He said, "Square."

So I asked him to show me a 90 degree angle. He moved his hand to show a 90 degree angle. His hand was straight up and down, fingers closed. I snickered.

I said, "Ok. So what do you call an shape made of four 90 degree angles but with different length lines?"

He said, "A tall skinny square."

I took a breath to ask another question, but he beat me to the punch, "Or a short wide square."

So then I asked him what he would call a shape with three lines instead of 4.

He said, "A three legged square."

I asked, "What if the city is laid out like a wagon wheel? What would you call that?"

He waggled his eyebrows at me and said, "A curvy square."

My body shape is definitely curvy. Hence the eyebrows.

By this point I'm already laughing out loud and trying not to fall out of my chair. It was difficult to keep a straight face and not roll on the floor laughing.

So I asked, "What about a parallelogram? What would you call that?"

He said, "Fake news."

I guffawed so loudly I scared the chickens.

This little story brings me to this week's prompt: labels.

Another word for label is name. These two words are synonyms. They are spelled differently, but can have the same meaning.

It is this meaning of label I want to address.

Naming a thing helps us categorize it. My husband's squares for example. Each description I gave it asked about falls into the category of shape.

But each shape had it's own name.

Labels help us identify specificity. Shape is too broad a term. So we label the shapes bases on how many lines they have or at what angle those lines meet.

Labels can also be very restricting. The human race is learning to recognize that nearly everything has a spectrum.

Gender has a spectrum. Sexuality has a spectrum. Autism had a spectrum. Music has a spectrum. Writing has a spectrum. Color has a spectrum.

There are many shades of white, black, red, yellow, and blue.

In art red, yellow, and blue are called primary colors because you can't get them by mixing other colors together. Orange green and purple are secondary colors. White and black are called shades, not colors.

Just open any box of Crayola Crayons and you were see the spectrum of colors one can make from the primary and secondary colors.

"Hand me a green crayon," she said. He looked bewildered. He said, "Which green? Olive green? Army green? Pine green? Hunter green? Lime green? Lawn green"

You get the point. For this week's prompt I want you to think about labels. How do you label yourself? Is that label freeing or restricting?

"What kind of music do you listen to?" he asked.

"Yes."

"Yes?"

"Yes, I listen to music."

"But what kind?"

"Just music. Any kind. All kinds. No kind."

He said, "I only listen to hip hop and rap."

She shook her head, sadly. "Oh, you are missing so much."

These two people are using labels in very different ways. The woman is using music on a freeing way. Anything can be considered music. Sounds she heard, crickets or birds, or even traffic sounds like music. The man is using labels in a restricting way. He only listens to two kinds of music, which to many people sound the same. He is missing the music in a child's laugh, or the lyrics of an Irish ballad.

How do you label yourself? How do you labels others? How do you distinguish yourself from others who are similar?

I often get asked what genre I write. I usually say fiction and nonfiction. But even within these labels it is very important to some people (agents, managers, publishers, etc) to further categorize.

Nonfiction can be current events, politics reporting, entertainment reporting (TMZ), history, personal essay, social critiques. And more.

Fiction can be romance, thriller, mystery, suspense, historical romance, historical fantasy, science fiction, sword and sorcery fantasy, urban fantasy, dystopian future fiction. And of course, adult or young adult, or scholastic.

So, "fiction" or "nonfiction" is often too broad. I don't think breaking each category down and labeling is restrictive in a bad way. But it is restrictive.

There's a term for books that can't actually be narrowed down called genre-bending.

The book I'm writing is a psychological-suspense thriller, tragedy. It is also fiction. And would be categorized as a novel if I get around 80 thousand words, or a novela if it's closer to 6 thousand. 4 thousand and under would be considered a short story.

So, you see there are so many ways to label so many things.

The rules are simple:

  1. Write anything on Labels

  2. Write 100% original content

  3. Write at least 600 words (so Rusty will drop by and beer generous)

  4. Tag me @JonicaBradley

  5. Join the Promptly Jonica community and submit your story or article there.

  6. HAVE FUN!

Please consider running your article or story through a plagiarism checker.

Lead image license free from Unsplash.

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2 years ago

Comments

I giggled at the tall skinny square. But I bursted in laughter at the Fake News! πŸ˜…πŸ€£πŸ˜…πŸ€£πŸ€£πŸ˜‚

You've got one witty husband there!!!

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2 years ago

He keeps me in stitches!

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2 years ago

I would also like to share my thoughts with this prompt 😊 will be posting soon. New subscriber here

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2 years ago

Welcome to the family.

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2 years ago

Thank you. I'm struggling with choosing a good topic haha hopefully these prompts will prompt me to write haha

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2 years ago

I look forward to it.

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2 years ago

Please that man deserves a glass of beerπŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚ I can't believe him. Tall skinny square? Curvy square and then when he could not name that parallelogram after his square again he said "fake news" πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚ what a man! He sure gave you a good laugh. Well, things are categorized and given a name so we wouldn't be lost or shut of names for most things

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2 years ago

He's a great man!

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2 years ago

I take your words for it

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2 years ago

Hello, interesting your article. I think that labels are necessary to organize our lives. For example: if you need to take a medicine and you don't know the dosage, read the label, if you are on a diet, just look at the label of canned food and you will know how many calories you will consume, and so many other things we can see or know if they are labeled. Where you have to be careful when using them is with people, for example, just by labeling a person as toxic everyone will stay away from them, and sad for that person if that label is false.

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2 years ago

Such an exciting prompt to share some sentiments regarding the matter. As someone who's vague and unreliable (myself), I think having such labels is 'hard' for me. Well, I think it has definite reasons which I am about to share in my upcoming article.

Again, thanks for this wonderful prompt! I love that Shakespeare quote in the beginning. Surely, names gives a meaningful symbol beyond a phenomenon, a thing, or two. HAHAHA, that conversation is really hilarious, tbh. I agree with him, some shapes are just fake news, lol.

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2 years ago

I laughed so hard at the "curvy square". Your husband is so funny Miss. I always like your prompt. I'm going to write about this now.

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2 years ago

The world would be so confusing without labels. Omg i can't imagine I want to eat something but I can't say it since it doesn't have its distinct name of its own.

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2 years ago

Hilarious beginning.

Naming a thing helps us categorize it.

True. Labeling things (Giving them names) helps categorize things and makes it easier to describe things during a conversation. Instead of trying to describe things, a label or name can be used for easy identification. I just joined read.cash and this is the first post I've read. I've subscribed to your posts and joined your community "PromptlyJonica". I'll participate in one of your prompts, soon. Thank you for the good read. I'm off to exploring other features on the platform.

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2 years ago

Welcome to the family. Let me know if you want/need a sponsor.

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2 years ago

I had to check what it means to be sponsored. Now I know. I want a sponsor.

$ 0.03
2 years ago

You may need to remind me if I haven't sponsored you in a few days. I am expecting a laptop charger adapter in the mail and it is taking forever! I can only sponsor on my laptop.

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2 years ago

I'm not in a hurry. I'll remind you after a week. you will also have time to see if my choice of posts is something you would want to sponsor. you can always change your mind.

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2 years ago

Sweet. Thanks.

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2 years ago

I think this prompt is very challenging. I've been thinking about this since last night. I just know that a parallelogram can either be a leaning square or a rectangle because its legs are tired from prolonged standing.

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2 years ago

So a parallelogram is a lazy square.

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2 years ago

Yes, it is a lazy square that's trying to give us its best angle :D

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2 years ago

I can't even express how much I enjoyed this anecdote that began your piece. It's the best thing I've read on crypto social media all week. Your husband sounds like mine - smart and funny. 'Fake news' - snort. Hmm - will think about the prompt.

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2 years ago

Your conversation is very interesting, and your husband is really the smartest and talented, because he really answers all your questions with explainations.

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2 years ago

Amazing

From shapes to spectrum down to writing and music genres... This was thought-provoking ma'am

And I am really pleased that you are giving us a new word already cos I was still thinking about what to write around the prompt, Pet

I'll send in an entry ..... Thanks for the opportunity

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2 years ago

I hope to read it soon

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2 years ago

I believe that labels solves uncertainty and confusions too. Your husband made me laugh, by the way. I am now thinking what to write about it.

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2 years ago

How do we label ourselves is a good ponder one! Funny chat with your husband. He knows where to click to make you laugh! Cheers!

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2 years ago

He knows where to click for a lot of things. Wink wink, nudge nudge

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2 years ago

Tall skinny square and fake news got me laughing so hard. He's so funny. Anyway, label is important as it will get us out of any expectations and confusions.

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2 years ago

Today's a good way to look at it.

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2 years ago

Your articles constantly amaze me. Putting labels in everything extends clarity to everyone. πŸ’—

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2 years ago

You write very interestingly, I love your style, I wanted to submit my article to your community, but I couldn’t do it.

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2 years ago

Why not? Have you joined the community?

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2 years ago

yes Dear!

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2 years ago

Is there another reason you were unable to post to the community?

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2 years ago

I wanted to send an article I wrote today to the community. I probably need to write a new one and send it!

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2 years ago

Is the article about one of the prompts? The article you wrote. If so, send it away. There's no time limit. I was late with the last prompt. So this one comes rather quickly behind it.

Anything you write on any of the prompts (would you like a list?) can be submitted anytime.

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2 years ago

i've always wanted to write something different from what i occasionally do, i'm about to do something different. thanks.

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2 years ago

You're very welcome.

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2 years ago

"What about a parallelogram? And he labelled it as fake news... 🀣 T'was really funny. πŸ€£πŸ˜‚

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2 years ago

I'm tell him you said so.

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2 years ago

It is good to have a laugh now and again from innocuous conversations :)

Labels what that is one to think on and ponder!

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2 years ago

Great post. Very articulate and thought provoking and I love how your husband could think on the spot quick enough to bring smiles to your face. What a keeper he is :-)

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2 years ago

I've kept him for this long. I guess I'll keep him a little bit longer.

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2 years ago

lols

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2 years ago