Welcome to Writing Prompt Pit Stop! It’s exactly one week before Christmas, and as a writing instructor I just recently got all of my grading completed and can finally relax for a few weeks before another new semester begins. So this week with the holidays on my mind, there’s always a couple of other things as well – one, I have free time so I can catch up on even more writing and maybe finish a full-length play or novel that I’ve been working on for years and, two, that it never goes unnoticed that two days before Christmas, when I was twelve years old, my paternal grandma died. This year will mark the 45th anniversary of her death, and that doesn’t seem possible that it’s been that long, or that I’m so old! If that wasn’t enough, in 2007, on that same date (December 23) my beloved cat, Jonathon, who I had in my life for eighteen years, took ill and had to be put down.
Jonathon pics circa early 2007 – one with a wink and one helping me write on my laptop.
Loss is hard to take at anytime of year, but it does seem like it happens quite often near holidays – be it Christmas, Thanksgiving, etc. And, if it’s not loss – there’s always plenty of illnesses to around at this time of year. I was just telling a friend of mine last weekend that as a child I was sick nearly every Christmas with strep throat and a 102 degree fever, and I bet a lot of you had experiences like that as well.
So I was thinking that for this week’s prompt we’ll focus on loss/illness/disappointment…give the holidays a little twist instead of the happy, happy that we always idealize this time of year to be. Here’s your twenty-fifth prompt:
1) In your daybook write about someone close to you that you’ve lost near the holidays. It doesn’t have to be Christmas, it could be the 4th of July, or even your own birthday. If you’ve not lost someone near any holiday, write about someone that you’ve lost that you especially miss during one of these special days. Write about a memory that you have of them at the holidays, did you have any special traditions? Write down anything that you can remember.
2) Write about a Christmas/Winter break when you were sick. Did you miss something you’d been looking forward to? Did you get special treatment? Did you get left behind with a babysitter, or by yourself?
3) If you don’t want to write about loss or illness, why don’t you write about your biggest disappointment during the holidays. Was it something you asked Santa for and didn’t get? A Christmas or New Year’s Eve spent alone? Flip that and write about the best gift Santa brought you, or the best Christmas or New Year’s Eve ever!
4) Write on any of these prompts for 10 minutes or until you run out of steam. After you get to that point, work your writing into your favorite genre: a poem, a play, an essay/memoir, or a short story. Then, as always, revise – cut/add – give your writing plenty of energy and imagery!
As with all writing, this “Melancholy Holidays” writing should be fun! And I remind you that if you ever want to share any successes or attempts that you get from these prompts, don’t hesitate to let me know. You can contact me here.
Look for another prompt next Wednesday! Until then, keep writing!