For a writing contest I won, I received a book called “642 Tiny Things to Write About”, which is basically a book full of small (and some big) writing prompts.
Since I usually never fully complete these sorts of activity books and this one actually interests me, I might as well post my answers as part of my blog. That way, me working through these activities won’t pull out of time I spend on the blog, and I will actually have a solid incentive to keep working through the book (consistent material to post).
So, yeah. Enjoy.
Write yesterday’s fortune cookie. It got everything wrong.
Your problems are insurmountable. You will fail, and you will succumb.
Write last year’s fortune cookie. It got everything right.
Your world will turn upside down. So many things you thought to be right or wrong are no longer so.
Boil down Hamlet, Shakespeare’s longest play, to a tweet (140 characters).
Man seeks to avenge his father’s death. Tragically finds murderer to be his uncle. Takes revenge at cost of innocent lives. Justice served?
Now tweet the plot of the original Star Wars.
Villain is hero’s father. Mess of events ensues, the Dark Side falls and hero’s father redeems himself through his sacrifice.
Tweet the story of your life.
The most agonizing feeling is when you know you can do something, but when it comes time to show it you come up short.
Tweet your day, so far.
Miss girlfriend. Played lots of mahjong after a few-years hiatus. Sitting in front of my laptop. At a loss for what to say. Typical.
Write about a time you broke:
- A bone: I technically didn’t break it, but I flipped over my handlebars riding down a hill on my bike because I hit the front brake. I told my parents two days later that I “fell in gym class” so that I could get to the hospital, because my parents always told me to not ride down hills.
- A heart: My very first girlfriend was quite dedicated to me. Unfortunately, I just didn’t see it working out. Even after we broke up, she seemed to cling on a bit. When she moved away, she kept trying to keep in contact and one day I outright said I could never see it working again. She was devastated. We’re on better terms now.
- The law: I broke my neighbors’ window. I think they know it was me, but it was never officially brought up. My brother and I were throwing rocks and it went out of hand. I plan on paying them back when I actually have money.
- A promise: This is technically many promises. Every time my current girlfriend and I fight, when we make up I promise I will stop pissing her off and making her cry because she deserves better. She still gets pissed off and cries. I will just have to work hard until I can keep this promise properly one day. without breaking its umpteenth iteration.
Think about your weirdest family member and write one short scene that depicts why he or she is such an oddball.
My little brother and I were having a classic kiddie fight, probably over something stupid. I’m bigger so I win. Brother runs down to basement crying. 15 minutes later, I’m watching TV, and I hear a weird thumping noise. Look over, and my brother was almost all the way up the stairs lugging the wooden board of our collapsible ping-pong table. Was scared to death, though I guess he had the mercy to not kill me.
You accidentally hit Reply All—and everyone received an uncensored rant about your boss. Write the follow-up Reply All.
So, yeah. You guys received this email. Hi, Dave. I guess since you’re just gonna fire my ass tomorrow morning and I hate you enough to rant about you anyways, I should just tell you that I’m not showing up to work tomorrow. I quit.
To everyone else, I hope you at least found my rant somewhat entertaining. Maybe you guys might also realize you’re working for an asshole. Or maybe I’m wrong and he’s some saint. Anyways, good luck in life. You guys can pillage everything that’s on my desk, but someone please bring my jumbo box of chocolates to me. Since I am probably not eating for the next while.
[But honestly, I would have to have one hell of a dick for my boss for me to say anything negative about him, in person or in writing.]
Where would you choose to be exiled?
Cuba. If I have to live somewhere for the rest of my life (or a really long time), it might as well be somewhere nice and warm, with free health care and interesting foods. Also, I can drink banana liquor to forget about home. Seems like the perfect plan.
What three essential items would you take with you?
The birthday scrapbook my girlfriend gave me. It’s too cute, and I’ve been looking through it on my sad days. Would be useful if I ever miss home.
A notebook from Canada, with obvious Canadian symbols on it. I will use it to write all of my daily happenings while I’m exiled. Would be a nice daily reminder of my Canadian identity, too.
A laptop. So in the case I can get connected online, I can video chat my friends and family back home. Also, surfing the Web (no matter how limited it might be) would spice up my days.
Describe your first kiss.
I leaned in a bit too early. A bit too willingly. A bit too eagerly. But I don’t think she minded too much. After all, her slightly flushed face betrayed her own excitement.
Before our lips touched, my hand went up to cup her cheek. Her own hand slid up my neck and gently tugged the back of my hair. There was a slight moment of tension. We opened our eyes at almost the same time and looked into each other’s souls.
Then, both of us reaffirming our resolve, we leaned in. It was only a slight peck, and we pulled away. That was it? That was a kiss? Somehow, it felt like the movies were lying. There was no beautiful background music. There was no huge climax coming up after this. There was no spark of true love or some intense revelation.
But at the same time, the moment our lips touched seemed to suddenly swell into eternities. The faint taste of lip balm, the latent smell of her shampoo, the feeling of holding someone in your arms and being completely safe and sheltered from all the world’s evils. Oh, to have that feeling again!
We leaned in again, for my second kiss.
Describe your most recent kiss.
I looked at my girlfriend, and she gave a radiant smile back. We pulled each other into a tight embrace, then she pulled back just a bit.
How many times has it been? Hundreds? Thousands? But somehow, it never gets old.
“I love you,” I tell her as I lean in. The smell of her hair numbs my senses and our lips connect.
We pull back and look at each other, gauging the other person’s reaction.
“Love you too,” she replies as we share another kiss.
“Love you more.” And another kiss.
“Love you most!” And another.
“Love you mostest!” Yet another.
“We love each other mostest!” We do an awkward little dance, and we almost trip over each other’s feet since we’re hugging so tightly. We laugh a bit, and kiss yet again.
Her eyes fall on the clock behind me, then dart back to my face a bit worried:
“Oh shit, we’re gonna be late again!”
Describe your next kiss.
It’s been only two days since I last saw her. But that may as well have been forever.
I start walking faster and faster until I break into a sprint. I awkwardly sweep her off her feet and when I put her down we’re both laughing and hugging each other.
When we look into each other’s eyes, we both stop smiling. We feel a sort of dark cloud over our heads.
I pull her head into my chest to smell her hair. “Sorry.” I utter the word barely audibly as I start rubbing her back.
She looks up after a few seconds. “For?”
“For pissing you off. I didn’t mean it, I swear.” I look away and feel a bit ashamed. Why can’t I be good enough? Why do I always feel so inadequate? Why can’t I just make both of us happy?
Suddenly, my field of view shoots up as she lifts my head up a bit forcibly. “Tim.”
I am a bit surprised, but even more confused. “Yeah?”
She holds my face tenderly and says, with her beautiful voice but more so with her big, loving eyes: “I love you.”
And we kiss. Suddenly, everything is okay. Like every other time we kiss. Like every other moment I’m in her arms.
Write instructions for how to do something you haven’t learned to do since you were very young (blow a bubblegum bubble, or swim, or tie your shoes, or make a paper airplane, or build a snowman, for instance).
How to Be Proud of Yourself
- Find something meaningful to you.
- Try to use your skills to work on that meaningful thing.
- Test your limits without thinking of failure, but continuously assess your work.
- Disregard dissent. It is always worth the shot.
- Carry out your work all the way to the end, and be satisfied with imperfection.
- Hopelessly chase for perfection the next time around.
At a banquet in Kazakhstan, you are greeted as a guest of honor and served the traditional sheep’s eyeball. Respectfully, you decline. You are then offered the sheep’s tongue, instead. What is your excuse this time?
In all honesty, I would not have the heart to turn it down. I would eat both and try to keep a straight face if the texture I am imagining is anything like the real thing.
Write the first sentence of a feature profile of you in a men’s fashion magazine.
His delicate exotic looks do little to salvage his pitiful sense of fashion. [20 Ways to Screw Up Your Outfit]
Write the first sentence of a feature profile of you in a business magazine.
Grasping a penny in his hand and looking comfortable in rags, he sips his three-eggs-mixed-in-saltwater concoction while describing his frugal life.
Write the first sentence of your obituary.
Died of loneliness and broken dreams (upside: he only had one day of suffering and a lifetime of joy).